Wednesday, October 31, 2007

October 31, 2007

Tomorrow morning is Ben's surgery to remove the mole from his cheek. I was watching him play today, thinking he has no idea what is going to happen to him tomorrow. I feel bad for him, that he has to go through this, even though I know it is for the best. It makes me sad and I will be glad to get it over with. We have been praying about it and for Ben and that there will be no issues with the surgery and that the scar will be very small, etc., for a while now. It's hard to believe it's already here. Time sure is flying by these days (these days, with children keeping me busier than I ever imagined I would be:).
We have to be at the hospital at 6:00am. I think the surgery starts at 7:00am, although I'm not sure if that's when they start preping him for surgery or if that is when the actual surgery starts. They said the actual surgery should only take about 10 or 12 minutes. They will first give him some gas to put him out and then they will insert his IV and intubate him and all that stuff.

The doctor said that the hardest part for Ben will be when he is coming out of the anesthesia. He said that toddlers of this age always have a hard time with that, because they are confused and don't like the feeling. From what I have heard, when he very first starts waking up, we may not be with him, which is a bummer. Hopefully we will be with him very soon after and he probably won't remember much of it anyway, until he is more awake.

My sister and mom are on their way here now. They are going to spend the night with us and take care of Nick while we are at the hospital tomorrow. I am so very thankful that we live so close to them, that my mom is doing better and that they are able to be with Nick while we are gone. I think Nick will be a bit uneasy because he has never been left by himself before. He has never been away from mommy, daddy and Ben, all at the same time before. He should do well with my sister and mom though. He knows them very well and feels very comfortable around them. He frequently asks about them when they are not here. He loves spending time with them and my sister is wonderful at playing with kids and entertaining them. She will make sure he is kept very busy, I'm sure. I still hate it that I won't be here when he wakes up. After my hospital adventure, I worry that he will think that I will be away for a long time again. I know I just have to turn this over to God and not worry or be anxious about it and everything will be fine.

I am thinking that the doctor said something about 10:00....maybe that we would be done around that time or something. I could be wrong though. I will be glad to get it over with....did I say that once already?

Have I told you how much I love these two little guys? They are growing up way too fast. I think we will be dressing them up in their little costumes and taking them trick-or-treating to a couple of nearby houses this evening. It will be fun.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

October 30, 2007

We took the boys to their first ever dentist appointment today. My husband met us there and I was feeling kind of bad about asking him to do that. I mean, what stay at home mom asks her husband to go with her to take the kids to the dentist. But you know what? I am so thankful that I did and that he was there.

The office was a very nice, kid-friendly office. That was great. We really liked the ship decor and the toy and book selections. They have video games for older kids, a flat-panel TV screen attached to each dental chair and a very open layout.

When it was our turn, someone came to the waiting room and called Ben and Nick. We all got up and went into the exam room. It is one large, open room with many exams chairs and the doors to the waiting room have windows so the parents can look in and see their kid. But we went in because we knew there was no way our little just-two-year-olds (and Nick not even that yet) would go in without us.

I had been talking this up to the boys all morning, telling them how they would get to sit in the "big" chair and how the dentist would look at their teeth, etc, etc. Nick was all excited and jumped right up in the chair. They weren't ready for him to be in the chair yet and he soon tired of it and the little cartoon playing on the attached flat-panel screen, he got down and wanted me to hold him. Soon after, the dentist came along and talked to my husband and I for a minute.

Then he was ready to have Nick sit in the chair. I asked Nick if he wanted to sit in the chair and he emphatically shook his head no (I was holding him at this point). I asked him a couple of times and he repeated the "no" head shake. I started to sit him in the chair and he clung to me, clearly getting ready to scream and cry and very afraid of the situation.

Do you know what the dentist said? He said "you're just going to have to force him into the chair and hold his hands down". I was shocked. I stood there in shock. Not knowing what to do next, I looked at my husband for guidance. He immediately said he would sit and hold him and he took Nick and sat down in the chair and kind of laid him back so the dentist could look into his mouth. They made it work and Nick was not too upset by this. The dentist spent all of about one minute, maybe, looking at Nick's teeth and counting them and declared them fine.

Ben was next and he was not as happy to lay in dad's lap but, after a couple of seconds, he loosened up and was fine too. The dentist spent maybe an extra couple of seconds on Ben, because he fell yesterday and bloodied his upper lip and the gums just above one of his front teeth. He wants him to come back in 8 weeks to have it checked again and have an XRay.

This is a pediatric dental office. When I was filling out the first-time paperwork, there was a question asking if the child had ever had a bad dental experience in the past. If my husband had not been there, all three of us would have had a very bad dental experience today.

I could not believe that this man did not try to engage the kids or talk to them before examining them. He talked to them in the exact same voice that he used with us, not in the nice, funny-sweet kind of voice that our doctor always uses and the boys love. The ONLY thing he did that even remotely resembled what I would think of as a pediatric dental thing was that he asked them if they wanted to hold the little mirror that they use to look at teeth. Nick held it for a second but Ben did not want to. Oh, and they each got a toy but it wasn't the dentist who gave it to them. Other than that, nothing. Completely nothing kid-friendly about this pediatric dentist whatsoever.

I was just really shocked by this. This is definitely not what I had expected from a pediatric dentist. I kind of wondered because of what they had told me on the phone when I made the appointment (thinking two barely two-year-olds might be willing to march into the exam room all by themselves and hop up into the chair) but then they also said they just want to make sure their first visit is a good experience so I thought they would know how to make it a good experience for them. They certainly did not and we won't be going back to this pediatric dentist anytime soon.

My expectation was that the "pediatric" dentist would know how to talk to and engage little children playfully to make it less scary and that he would invite mom and dad to sit in the chair and hold the child when they are this little, if the child shows fear. And maybe he would show the child first how he could look into mom or dad's mouth and the child could see how easy it was and that it didn't hurt and maybe the child could look too, so he would know what's going to happen before it actually happens, in an effort to make it less scary.

I am sorely disappointed and really kind of outraged that this guy even calls himself a pediatric dentist. Maybe he was just having a bad day but this definitely did not meet my expectations. I have no idea what this two minute exam cost but, whatever it cost, it was too much.

Monday, October 29, 2007

October 29, 2007 Part 2

Here are the pictures I tried to upload the other day.

The house shoes. Now that they are no longer new, they are no longer very interesting. They have not worn them in days.

But I still must document my creative use of duct tape, for the record. Do you see the strap made of duct tape, holding the feet in the blue slippers?

I was trying to get the boys to pose for a birthday picture for dad, to put in his new frame, with their hands in the "praying" position. They noticed this in a book recently and I explained it to them so they have been doing it lately when we pray. But it was a no-go, for the picture posing effort. Regardless of that, take a look at the bottom of N's house shoes, for another example of my creative use of duct tape.

Now that the fascination with the house shoes is over, we start the fascination with the hats. I bought the boys their winter coats on Friday and these hats came with the coats.

The hat thing really cracked me up so I took a number of pictures of them, playing while wearing the hats. Ben got tired of his and had taken it off.

Isn't this just too funny!

They really enjoy playing with these aqua doodle toys that their Aunt D got them for their birthdays. They play with them every day. Now they are asking me to write letters on them. We are working on letters A through F now.

When Ben saw that I was interested in taking pictures of the hat, he put his back on.

Unfortunately, this picture is a bit unfocused and is pretty blurry when enlarged. But it is just too cute so I had to include it anyway.

Another one of Ben. Notice the mole on his cheek. It will be gone on Thursday morning.

Here is the pumpkin the dad carved. He did a great job. Next time, I will have to take pictures of the action. The boys really like the face, especially when it is lit. Unfortunately the light burnt out so we will have to buy a new one. We are using one of our night lights:). Don't mind the bit of purple in pumpky's face.

Another picture of Ben. It looks like he is whistling. The boys both got hair cuts on Saturday evening and I got mine cut on Sunday morning, so we are all sporting new do's. The dad cut them all so it was free:)! He is really doing a great job on the boys' hair cuts these days. He has learned how to do it where it looks like it was done by a pro. He has been cutting my hair since before we were married. He always does a great job on mine and I love it that I am not paying someone $50, or whatever the going rate is, to cut it these days.

And one last picture of Nick, poking his face as Aunt D taught him to when he smiles. They are such cutie pootie's but I was ready to clobber them this morning. It seems like behavior is a challenge on Mondays.

I have tried to post pictures just the way I want them but I really cannot figure out how blogger decides to put them up. It seems that there is no method to the madness.

October 29, 2007

On Friday Nick came into the kitchen, carrying a Mega-Blocks creation he had made, and told me "umbrella". It actually looked more like a large "T" but I thought it was pretty creative for a less than 2-year-old child and he was very excited about how he thought it looked like an umbrella. The dad drove up right around that time so Nick proudly showed him the umbrella too.
Last night we were reading bedtime stories and Ben very clearly said "night night bear". I think we are very close to starting two or three word sentences around here and pronunciation is improving rapidly. Did I mention that we had our last visit from SoonerStart? We ended our participation in the program because the boys are on track and we didn't want to use free state services that we don't need. I thank the Lord, frequently, that they are doing as well as they are. What a blessing!

We left the boys in their class yesterday morning at church and they cried as usual. We stepped around the corner to listen and they stopped very quickly. I think they are actually very comfortable in that class. They were playing happily when we returned.

We were asked to help out in the class during the second hour so we did that, rather than attend the church service. We had four children, in addition to our two. Our two boys and one other girl were about the same age and the other three were a bit younger. The youngest was a little 18 month old, spunky girl and there were three boys and three girls, including ours. It was fun to play with all of them and see their different personalities.

When I was out and about the other day, I heard someone say "boys are wild". I thought, "no they're not. My boys are not wild". Of course, we don't have little girls in our house so we are more used to little boys and cannot make a good comparison. After watching their class at church, I must admit that our boys were a bit more "wild" than the little girls or even the younger boy in the class. It was somewhat of a revelation to us. I don't mean wild in a bad way though. I think they are pretty well behaved, most of the time. Just that they made a bit more noise (truck noises when pushing the trucks and buses around) and they enjoyed knocking down blocks more than building them up...that sort of stuff.

I love their boy noises and "wildness". I am happy to say that I have even gotten to a point where I enjoy their messes, most of the time anyway. I enjoy seeing their toys scattered around the house. It is now part of our routine to pick up and clean up before nap time and bed time so I no longer stress about it. They are so good about helping. Ben was even helping us to clean up their classroom without us even asking him. It was very sweet.

I think I also forgot to mention that we had a nice visit from some friends the other day. You regulars may remember me talking about another family, who lives within a couple of miles from us, who were also adopting two boys from Volgograd, Russia. She brought her two boys over for a visit and they are simply adorable. They are both kindergarten age and have been here for about 4 months now. They are doing so well, it was amazing to see. They are picking up the language very quickly. They are both happy little guys and seem to have no serious attachment issues....lots of great eye contact, loved hugs and affection from their mom, etc. It was so nice to see and very nice to meet them. My two enjoyed watching them play, playing along with them and following and imitating them. I'm sure we'll be seeing more of them in the future.

Big events this week are their dentist appointment tomorrow and Ben's surgery on Thursday morning. I talked to the receptionist at the dentist office, asking how they do what they do for first time, 2-year-old visitors. She said that someone will come to the waiting room and call their names and, if they will walk back there and do it by themselves, I can wait in the waiting room. (yeah, right) If not, I can go back with them and then, if they seem to be doing well, I can go back to the waiting room to wait. (yeah, right) If not, I can stay with them.

She said they don't really pressure them to do anything on their first visit. They just want it to be a good experience. I will be shocked if either of them will even sit in the chair without a bit of pressure. I would have thought they would have the child sit in mom's lap in the chair, on the first visit, if the child would not get in the chair alone. We'll see how it goes. Maybe they will surprise me. (yeah, right)

That's all for now but I will try to post the pictures today during nap time.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

October 27, 2007

We are having such a beautiful fall day today and we have enjoyed some time outside. The dad was raking and picking up branches, preparing to mow, while the boys ran around and played with sticks. It is amazing how long they can entertain themselves without any toys present anywhere. They love to run up and down small hills, over and over again, and a stick can provide loads of fun for a long period of time.

Unfortunately, I forgot to take the camera outside with us but I have gotten a few cute pictures this week to share.

Well, bummer. I keep getting an error message when I try to upload a picture. I'll have to try again later. The dad has taken the boys with him to run errands so I should take advantage of this time to get a few things done.

Friday, October 26, 2007

October 26, 2007

Didn't mean to leave anyone hanging about the concern for Nick's painful knee. After nap, he seemed to be walking a bit stiffly on his right leg for a little while, although he did not complain or seem to notice. After being up and around for a short while, he seemed perfectly fine and we did not see any issues the rest of the evening.

My arm is really sore from that flu shot. I am hoping the boys are not feeling this in their leg, where they got their flu shot. I don't remember it being this sore the last time I got it.

I made a mistake in the last post. It was two years ago that I got the flu shot for the first time and also had the flu that January, for the first time. Last January we were in Russia:). We can't remember if I took the flu shot last winter or not, although I am thinking I probably did.

I have been a bit out of sorts this week. Even though it was my husband that took the trip to Vancouver, the boys and I have been a bit off schedule. I am thankful today is Friday and we are slowly getting back to normal.

We have the first dentist appointment for the boys coming up on Tuesday and Ben's surgery to remove the large mole on his face on Thursday. My sister will be coming to spend the night on Wednesday night, since we have to be at the hospital with Ben so early on Thursday. She will be taking care of Nick for us, which really helps a lot.

The boys are not used to spending much time apart. We have recently been separating them to run errands but, other than that, they are always together and they really miss each other when they are apart. The only times they have been apart have been when they are with us. So this will be the first time that either of them have ever been left alone with anyone else. I am so relieved that my sister is able to be here to take care of Nick. She is so good with the boys and they really love her a lot. She is always playing with them and talking to them so I know she will do a great job of keeping Nick busy while we are gone.

I still have not arranged for a babysitter so my husband and I could go out on a date. I really need to do that. I have great intentions but then something always seems to come up....or maybe I am making excuses. The boys seems so out of sorts with my husband being gone and were so whiny and clingy after he got back, I didn't think of trying to hire a babysitter for this weekend. And then, next weekend will be just after Ben has his surgery, so I don't know that that will be a good time either. But I really need to move forward with this. I know I do. I know it would be good for my husband and I and it would also be good for the boys, in the long run. Sometime soon.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

October 25, 2007

The boys had their two-year check up this morning and it went very well. The three of us also got our flu shots. This is my second year to get one. Last year was my first year to get a flu shot and it was also the first year that I ever got the flu, funny enough. My doctor said I should get the shot though because my lung is probably still not 100% recovered from the pneumonia I had recently. If I get the flu again this year, I'm not going to be too excited about taking that shot again.

I was changing Nick's diaper, in preparation for nap time, and he suddenly started crying very hard, as if he was in pain. I asked him what was wrong and, at some point, he started saying "knee, knee" and pointing to his right knee. When he got up and started walking around, he would fall down, every time he put weight on his right leg. He was no longer crying about it but seemed a bit confused and kind of thought it was half-funny. After a while, he was bearing more weight on it, although keeping it more bent at the knee than normal and limping quite badly and falling into things.

We went upstairs for nap time and he wanted to walk up the stairs holding the hand rail, which is the fun thing to do lately, although he can barely reach it well enough. He tried it for maybe one or two steps and realized he could not do it and wanted me to carry him up. Just outside the door to his room, he said "walk" so I put him down and he limped into his room.

I am anxious to see how he is when he wakes up. Before changing his diaper, he and Ben had started fighting over a toy and he was trying to hit Ben on the head. So I pick him up and sat him in a nearby chair and talked to him about not hitting. He kept saying "car" because he wanted to get back down and play again but he had a dirty diaper so I told him we needed to change his diaper and I carried him to the living room. He was kicking his legs as I carried him but then he got down and ran over to get a book out of the book basket and then climbed up on the large ottoman for his diaper change. He seemed perfectly fine until, all of a sudden, he started crying and was clearly in pain. Hopefully he will be all better when he wakes up.

The duct tape on the diaper has not failed us so far. As hard as it is for us to remove, I seriously doubt the little guys are going to find a way to take their diapers off again, although they still enjoy removing their clothing. The bummer of that is that we have to keep it warmer upstairs, which dries out sinuses and noses and stuff, while they are sleeping. It would be nice if I could find some PJ's that they cannot remove. I will be going out shopping for them soon. If you know of any good brands that are difficult for them to take off, let me know.

The duct tape usage saga continues. The pair of slippers that are more loose kept falling off. I had tried to use duct tape to hold some folded kleenex in the heel of the slippers, to make them fit more snugly but it just kept coming out. I ended up using duct tape to make a strap and then I taped the strap across the slipper, where it opens for the foot. Now we can still slip their foot in, under the strap, but the strap keeps the slipper from falling off. The slippers now look like very strange ballet slippers:). It is funny looking but it is working. The next time I have some time to run by Toys R Us, I will pick up another pair of the slippers that fit more snugly. Until then, the strange ballet version will have to do.

We are also still struggling with the slipperiness of the slippers, as the stuff that I taped to the bottoms fall off after a period of time. For now, I just keep taping it back on. I may ended up just making my own slippers, completely out of duct tape:). (just kidding)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

October 24, 2007

My husband came home yesterday and was surprised at all of the ways I have been using duct tape while he was gone. After hearing the story of what happened yesterday, he came up with a new way to use duct tape:).

Yesterday, my mom and sister came to visit, which was wonderful and we all enjoyed it so much. Mom was looking so much better, although her energy level is still very low and she is a bit slow in getting around. My sister had played with the boys for quite a while, we had had lunch and we took them upstairs to put them down for their naps.

They played and played and played....which should have been a huge clue to me, since they really should have been very tired. At some point, I decided I should go up and check on them, since maybe one of them had a poopy diaper that was keeping him awake. They had probably been upstairs about 20 minutes or so at this time.

It was very dark in their room but, when I walked in, I could see something that did not quite fit in, laying in Nick's crib. I turned on the light to see both boys sitting in their cribs without their pants or diapers. Nick had pooped and it was all over his sheet and both boys had peed on their sheets also. Needless to say, I was not a happy camper.

I am very thankful that Nick at least stayed out of the poop. He had not played with it or even touched it at all, which was a relief. The clean up was pretty quick actually, so that was good. I put their diapers on, backwards this time, and put them back down for their nap.

I had not been putting their diapers on backwards because it seemed they were not doing the remove-the-diaper thing anymore, even though they continued to take off their shorts at times. I will now be taking more precautions every time they go to sleep.

When we were getting them ready for bed last night, I realized there is not as much padding in the back of the diapers as in the front. Knowing this would not be ideal for nighttime, especially when they are already wetting through their diapers on a fairly regular basis, we decided we needed a different approach. My husband suggested duct tape so we gave that a try. We taped their diapers from one hip to the other, past the tabs on each side and across the front, with one long piece of tape. Hopefully it won't be too hard to get them out of their diapers this morning but it will be hard enough to keep them from taking them off.

I have heard them stirring this morning so I'm sure they will be up soon and I will find out how well it worked. Has anyone else had these kinds of issues? I'm sure that having two in the same room contributes to the mischief but they love being together so much that I don't want to separate them. I know of a mom who has twins girls who went through this and she had to clean up a couple of really bad messes, where they had played in it:(. Yuck. Hopefully we have nipped this in the bud.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

October 23, 2007

Today is the husband's birthday! YAY!!!! AND he comes home today! YAY!! He was not scheduled to arrive until around 10:30 pm, or something like that, but was able to change his flight and will now be arriving around 3:30 pm-ish. YAY!!

We have really missed him and can't wait to have him back....although I have been a bit lax about cooking while he has been away, which I have enjoyed:). I still prepared meals for us, of course, but they were easier and faster meals with no prep work required (soup out of the can, frozen chicken pot pies, etc.). The boys never complained though and I did some house cleaning and completed several lifebook pages so the week was not a total wash.

As for the husband's birthday, he is the HARDEST person to find a gift for of anyone I have ever known. He enjoys reading but hardly ever has time and, when he does have time to read, he spends it reading his medical magazines or an occasional article in one of our other magazines. The only times I have seen him really reading novels was when we were on our honeymoon and during our trips to Russia and, even then, he took along medical literature to read also (not on our honeymoon, just on the trips to Russia;).

He is not crazy about music; neither of us are the ipod type. We typically listen to one of the local Christian radio stations and children's music. Recently we have started listening to famous composers, such as Mozart, during dinner. The friends we stayed with in Arizona do this and we really enjoyed it when we were visiting them. It makes for a very peaceful and relaxing meal.

He enjoys working out, swimming at the health club, riding his bike and lifting weights. I have already gifted him everything I can think of in this department. He has asked for a nice stop watch but I know him well enough to know that he will have to pick it out's either that or I pick it out, he sends it back and picks out the one he really wanted. He has also wanted a new briefcase (I think that was last year) but, there again, he has to pick that out too.

He enjoys doing projects around the house, fixing things up, repairs, etc. I can't think of anything he needs in this regards.

He is very tall with long arms, so buying off the rack clothing is a challenge and, frankly, he does not need more clothes at this time. I tried this last Christmas and everything I bought had to be returned.

So, I bought him a really neat picture frame, for a picture of the boys, although I don't have a good picture of the two of them together to put into it yet. It is really getting hard to take their picture these days. I really like the candid pics but they are not as easy to sneak up on and, as soon as they see the camera, they run up to me, wanting to see the pictures I have taken. They are really NOT into posing for a picture at all. I tried to get them to sit on the couch together yesterday but it was just not happening. I'm sure I will get one eventually. For now, I put a picture of Dancer and Zoe into the frame:). (those are our cats:).

I already did the picture-of-the-boys-in-a-nice-frame thing for father's day. He loved it but I'm sure it's going to get old very fast. I've told him to make a list of things he would like to have so I could pick something off of the list and surprise him (sort of) and he intended to do this but has not. So, he's getting another picture frame. Hopefully he won't read this while he is at the Denver airport between flights today. In case he does, Honey, you are getting another picture frame:). Love ya!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

October 21, 2007

We use duct tape much more often now that we have children. Just today I used it for taping some rubbery stuff to the bottoms of the boys' slippers and also to the front wheel of the new, small big-wheel toy that I bought yesterday with birthday money from my brother. I also mentioned in an earlier post how I used duct tape for fixing noisy toys. It really is a multi-purpose product and I would be lost without it:).

The boys have yet to learn how to pedal their tricycles. I'm not sure what age kids normally learn this. Granted, they have not had a whole lot of opportunity to practice, which is why I used some of their birthday money to purchase the small big-wheel toy for the house. Plus, they have one ride on toy and I thought they would have more fun if they both had something to ride. Now if they could just learn to pedal.

I had enough birthday money left over to buy the boys some slippers. Once we got home and I had put together the small big-wheel (which was a feat in and of itself), it became clear very quickly that we had a traction problem with the wood floors. One would think that all of the dirt on the floors would help with the traction but I guess not (just kidding - the floors are not that dirty but I do need to sweep:). The boys were slipping and sliding in their new little slippers, despite the little (very little) plastic dots on the bottoms that are meant to prevent slipping and sliding. Also with the small big-wheel toy, even if they got lucky and happened to push the pedals correctly or if I was helping them do it, they would be sitting still with the front wheel spinning on the floor, which gave very little incentive to try using the pedals again.

After some thought about this traction problem and a trip to the grocery store for much needed groceries, I had my solution. I bought some non-slip, non-stick shelf lining. You know, that rubbery stuff that you cut to size and lay on the shelf and you don't need sticky stuff for it to stay in place. I cut it to size and used the duct tape to make it stay in place. Now we have non-slipping, non-sliding slippers and the front wheel of the small big-wheel is also non-slipping and non-sliding. Thank you duct tape. Now I just have to get them to try pedaling again.

Day three without the husband and we are all missing him but we are doing pretty well. Yesterday afternoon, I started feeling like I was coming down with a cold, or it may just be allergies acting up again. Either way, I was feeling a bit under the weather so it was more of a challenge for me to be patient and fun. We went outside in the afternoon and that helped to pass the time more quickly. Although, I should have skipped bath time yesterday evening, because it was just too much and none of us were happy. But we did bath time and I ended up feeling a bit guilty for being mean mommy yesterday evening.

Things are better today. I still feel a bit under the weather, which is why I went to the grocery store first thing this morning. Experience says I may feel worse as the day wears on, rather than better and we were out of a bunch of stuff. I'm glad I got that over with and I am resting (and typing) during nap time, so I am conserving my energy for this afternoon/evening. I had not planned to go to church today. I vacillated on this a couple of times but I have not been brave enough to take the boys to church without the husband yet. Nobody uses strollers at our church and there are lots of stairs, which makes stroller use difficult at best. I have this fear that one of the boys (or both) would decide to have a melt down and I would have a hard time getting them to where we were going and taking care of them both. I know, they are not getting any smaller and it is probably not going to get easier. I just need to bite the bullet and do it and say a lot of prayers and let God (and other church members, if necessary) help me. Maybe the next time I am on my own I will give it a try. We'll see.

In other news, Ben is now in the mode of asking "bye bye?" every morning after breakfast. If I tell him no, we are not going bye bye, he is very sad. I can't quite figure this out because the only place we have been lately has been to various stores and he really dislikes shopping, as I have mentioned before. We are gradually moving toward an afternoon nap, which is one of the reasons I have been running more errands in the mornings, hence Ben's request to go bye bye every morning.

Ben is also still on the hunt for spiders (or "bibbies", as he says - the first 'i' is pronounced like the 'i' in spiders) and I frequently hear him clapping his hands, while saying "bibby, bibby", because he thinks he sees a spider. Nick will usually join in with the clapping and sometimes with the "bibby" chant, even if he has no idea where the spider is. They are good teammates, those two.

We have several key dates coming up. The Husband's birthday is this week and Nick's birthday is the second week of November. Within the next two weeks, the boys have their two year check up, their first dentist appointment and Ben has surgery to remove the mole on his face.

Also, my mom is feeling better each day. She is definitely not back to normal yet but she continues to improve a bit each day, so that's great news. Her energy level is still low, which she finds frustrating but her appetite is back, which is a good thing because her protein levels have been low. Overall, things are looking up with her recovery. Thanks again for your prayers.

Two more days until the husband is back, and counting (I think I am half way there now...or maybe I am just half way here...something like that:).

Friday, October 19, 2007

October 19, 2007

The husband left this morning for Vancouver so the boys and I are on our own until Tuesday evening. Today went very well. The boys have been behaving much better these days, mostly because I have been behaving much better these days:). I have been doing a lot more praying lately and it definitely changes my attitude for the better, not surprisingly.

We are all having a lot of fun together and they really played well together today. At one point when they were playing together, Nick was laughing really hard...that full, belly laugh that is so funny. I was laughing at him laughing but I was busy preparing lunch for them so I'm not sure what he and Ben were doing that was so funny.

They are becoming more physical and are spending more time jumping and climbing. One of their favorite things to do now is to climb on top of the large ottoman / coffee table, lay on their bellies and then use their hands/arms to kind of crawl/slide off head first. They get such a kick out of this and they love to do it over and over.

Another thing I have noticed is that, sometimes, they tend to play something for a longer periods of time and are less likely to trash the house with all of their toys. Sometimes, not all the time.

Another good thing is that they are really getting very good at helping to pick up their toys. We all chip in and we are done in just a few minutes, which always surprises me, considering how messy it looks when we start.

I took the boys to two stores today, looking for something specific for their lifebooks. I'm working on them again and I really made some good progress today. I had the boys in their stroller in the first store and they got restless and started whining pretty quickly.

Ben, in particular, has no patience for shopping whatsoever, regardless if it is the grocery store or any other kind of store. He frequently can be heard saying "bye bye?" "bye bye?" (it gets louder and whinier the more he says it), as we are shopping, clearly indicating that he is ready to go. Oh, and bye bye now sounds like bye bye, rather than die die, which is the way they used to say it:).

In the second store we went to, I put them in a cart. As soon as we entered through the door of the store, Ben started crying and pointing back towards the door. He wanted to go back out and he was crying as if someone had really hurt his feelings, rather than the angry kind of cry. It was downright sad. I never found what I was looking for but I ended up buying $23 of scrap booking stuff anyway. They have some of the cutest things. I am much better off staying out of those stores, which is my usual practice.

So our first day without daddy went well, although we miss him, of course. I am wondering if they will start misbehaving more when they really start missing their dad. We'll see. I am trying to make sure our days are full, busy and interesting and also that I spend a lot of time playing and reading to them. And hopefully I can also finish more pages in their lifebooks.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

October 18, 2007 Part 3

I really had not planned to do Halloween with the boys this year. I just thought they are so young, they won't really get it and all of the costumes I had seen seemed very expensive. Today we were at Target, clothes shopping for warm clothes for the upcoming cooler weather, and I happened to see that they had some cute costumes that were less expensive than any of the others I had seen.

So, we have a change of plans. When we got home, the boys wanted to try them on (with some encouragement from me:). They really enjoyed looking at themselves in the mirror in their costumes.

We will most likely only take them to a couple of houses in our neighborhood, where we know the people. The boys very rarely eat candy, at this point anyway, but I think it will still be fun.

October 18, 2007 Part 2

The lady from Parents as Teachers taught us a fun little game and here the dad is doing it with the boys. They both love it and want us to do it over and over.

It goes like this:

(Child sits just in front of your knees, as Nick is doing in the picture. Ben is just sitting on his dad's lap, waiting his turn to ride the poor old horse.)

(The first four lines are said slowly and you raise and lower your legs slowly also.)

Poor old horse.
He goes soooo slow.
He never stops.
In rain or snow.
Buuuuutttt, (drag this word out and raise your knees as you say it)

(now you raise and lower you legs fast)

give 'em a kick and there he goes, there he goes, there he goes.
Give 'em a kick and there he goes,
all the way to town.
Whooooaaaaa horsie. (the boys lean back when we do this part, while still holding our hands)
Whooooaaaaa horsie.

October 18, 2007

Here are pictures from our recent trip to Arizona.

Here is Aunt D with the boys. She was really great with them and they enjoyed her so much. She kept them one day, while the husband and I ran a couple of errands. They didn't cry when we left or when we returned. Aunt D kept them busy when we were gone, taking them outside for a walk and playing in the back of her truck. They were happy little clams, which was wonderful.

Here is a picture of Ben, looking at Aunt D's albino dove. She has had this bird for umpteen years (can't remember exactly how long but it is something like 13 or 17 years). This is a very sweet bird and Ben loved putting his finger in the cage and letting the bird peck him. She has two other birds, a love bird and a parakeet.

Here is Nick, trying to give the kitten a kiss. This kitten is absolutely adorable. It is a Ragdoll kitten and will get very large. We all had fun watching the kitty's antics.

Nick, playing with the balloons that Aunt D put up for the birthday party. We had just given the boys a bath, which is why Nick's hair looks is.

Nick and Ben, blowing out their candle. It took them a little while. Neither of them had enough air coming out of their mouth to make it that far. I think Ben finally blew it out.

As soon as they blew out the candle, Nick pinched the top of it and Ben clapped. Nick was very fascinated with the lit candle.

Photo op. Aunt D taught the boys how to smile for the camera:), hence the fingers in the cheeks. They were too funny.

Opening gifts. After the birthday party we had at my sister's house, the boys completely understand the idea of presents and opening gifts. No help required. They are opening Veggie Tales DVDs, which will come in handy the next time we cut hair or make a long road trip.

These are the made-for-travel aqua doodles that Aunt D got for the boys. They love them and so do we. The pen is filled with water and it has a wick-type thing for the tip, which allows just a bit of water to come out at a time when they are writing. The marks on the page evaporate over a short amount to time. These are wonderful, no-mess writing pads, great for travel and also around the house. I saw Nick trying to write on the floor with the "pen" yesterday and I just smiled:). The hardest part is keeping track of the pens. Nick put one under the rug the other day but I was watching.

We didn't do any sight-seeing while we were in Arizona on this trip. It was a trip to visit with friends and family. When the boys are a bit older, we will head up to the Grand Canyon, as I have yet to see it and have always wanted to.

It looks like it is going to be a beautiful Fall day today in Oklahoma. I love the Fall season!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

October 17, 2007

Today I put the boys down for their nap at the normal time. They played and played. I went up and checked on them, told them not to jump in their cribs and to go night night. They played and played. Finally I went into their room, only to find Nick in his diaper, having taken his shirt and shorts off, and Ben in his shirt and diaper, having taken his shorts off too. They were quite proud of themselves and had obviously had a fun time.

By this time, it was time for lunch so I dressed them and fed them their lunch. Afterwards, I put them back to bed and quickly went to look for Nick's Ya Ya. I was only gone for maybe 3 minutes for so and returned to find both boys once again without their shorts and Nick without his diaper. I put his diaper back on backwards so hopefully that won't happen again.

They are still sleeping and we are now in the middle of a really bad thunderstorm so I am signing off. Oh, one more thing. I talked to my mom yesterday evening and she sounded better. She seems to be getting a bit better and stronger every day. Thanks again for your prayers.

Monday, October 15, 2007

October 15, 2007

The boys are now really into saying "uh oh" about everything. They drop something and say "uh oh". They shove their milk over on the table (on purpose - thankfully it has a lid and straw) and say "uh oh". They drop food on the floor, sometimes on purpose, and say "uh oh". It is very cute to hear them say this but, I am quickly coming to the point where, when I hear an "uh oh" coming from the other room, I dread to see what I will find when I go to investigate.

The other word that they have picked up on is "ouch", since they have heard me say it a few times. It is amazing how many words they know now. We were looking at a book last night and Nick pointed to a picture of a campfire in the book and said "fire". I was surprised to hear that one. Normally I am the one who knows more of their words and who knows when they learn a new word, since I am with them most of the time. They must have learned that one from their dad.

In other news, things break! Before we left for Arizona, my hair dryer decided to start blowing cold air only. When we returned from Arizona, our air conditioner decided to quit working. It was low on freon and the outside unit was frozen up. Also after we returned from Arizona, the shower in our master bath leaked....badly.

My husband ordered a new hairdryer for me. It is the same brand as the one I had, which I had purchased from the salon I went to when we lived in Houston. It is an expensive hair dryer but they last a long time, since they are designed for salons, and it blows very very hot hair, which I need to keep my hair from being frizzy.

I think I wrote something in an earlier post about taking your hair dryer to Russia. I'm not sure exactly what I said and I don't have time to search for it but I do believe that is what killed my hair dryer....too many trips to foreign countries. The converters will allow the hair dryer to work but the fan does not blow quite fast enough and it eventually takes it's toll on the heating element. So, take a cheapy hair dryer to foreign countries.

We paid an air conditioner company around $470 to come out on a Saturday and fix our air conditioner (rip off). One week later, it quit working again...on a Friday afternoon (the outside unit blew a fuse and now it won't even turn on). So we spent the weekend without an air conditioner on the first floor of our house and we don't have any windows that open on the first floor. Fortunately it was relatively cool outside this weekend. We kept the blinds shut and ran the ceiling fans and we were OK. Hopefully our normal air conditioner guy will make it out here today to help us out.

My husband turned a fan on the tile in our master bath, where the water had soaked it. He re-caulked the shower and we thought we would be able to use it again in a day or two. A week later and we are still taking showers in our guest room bath. The discoloring on the tile, from being soaked underneath ( we have not seen any water; it is underneath the shower / bath tub / floor), continued to spread even though we were not using the shower and we had a fan blowing on the tile. My husband had to take the front panel off of the adjoining garden tub. He soaked up as much water as possible (there was lots of it back in there) and we still have a fan blowing on it. The tile will have to be replaced, as it is permanently stained. We won't be able to match it so we will have to replace all of the tile in the master bath. The good news is we never liked that tile anyway and had talked about replacing it. It has lots of stains and stuff on it. I think it was never sealed properly or something. Hopefully we will be able to start using our shower again soon but I am thankful we have another shower we can use in the meantime. It is kind of funny how several things have broken at the same time.

As for the update on my mom, I was able to go see her yesterday. The boys stayed home with their dad and I was able to go by myself to see my mom. It was so good to see her. I have really missed her because she has not even felt like talking on the phone lately. She got out of the hospital on Friday and she is starting to feel a little bit better, although I think she still has a ways to go before she is back to her old self. She looked a bit frail and I could tell she was really tired when I left. My sister, her two kids and another niece was there for a little while to. It was nice to see everyone. Thanks for your prayers for my mom. She really needed lots of prayer on her behalf and I really appreciate them. It has been hard to see her go through all of this and I am happy that she is done with chemo and is moving towards recovery.

It was especially nice to get to go by myself and take a break from mommy-hood for a bit. I was really needing a break. Last week was really hard. The boys have really been testing a lot since we have been back from Arizona. I have been a bit hormonal myself and that's not such a great mix. I came back feeling very refreshed and ready to enjoy my two beautiful sons again:). Sometimes, a mom just needs a little break to put everything into perspective and even to miss everyone a little. It definitely put me into a better frame of mind, which is a much better way to start a new week.

Also, church was wonderful yesterday. It was one of those days where our Bible study lesson, as well as the sermon, seemed to be exactly what I needed. God was definitely talking to me and helping me understand things better. I needed that so much and I felt at peace and had my joy of life back afterwards. So, all in all, Sunday was a very good day for me.

Friday, October 12, 2007

October 12, 2007

The lady (Jackie) from the Parents as Teachers program came yesterday and did an evaluation of the boys that was very similar to the one done by the SoonerStart folks. It took a looonnng time to complete but I'm glad she did it because it was nice for us to see how far the boys have come since SoonerStart evaluated them not long after they came home.

Both boys scored very well on all of the areas of the evaluation. Their scores are not even close to being in the shaded areas, which would have indicated they are behind. They would have had a perfect score in Communication, except that they are not quite at the point where they are using two or more words together. However, she was very impressed at their large vocabulary and said we will most likely be seeing that within the next month or so. She said she saw many children this age who are not even close to having the vocabulary our little guys have and that amazed her, considering they listened to Russian for the first 15 or so months of their lives. I think it's pretty incredibly also.

Nick got a perfect score in gross motor skills and Ben had a perfect score in fine motor skills, which was kind of funny. I'm not too surprised by that though because Ben tends to be more inclined to sit and do something for an extended period that requires fine motor skills, whereas Nick is more inclined to try running and jumping and such. The really neat thing about this though was that Ben was soooo far behind on motor skills in general when he came home and now he is really doing well.

Both boys got a perfect score in problem solving, which was fun to watch. The other section tested was personal-social and they received a good score in that also.

She really liked the puzzles that Ben got for his birthday, as well as the "Slow and Steady, Get Me Ready" book and was planning on buying those herself. She also really liked the posters (ABC's, colors and shapes) we have up on the walls and thought that was a great idea.

So that was all very reassuring and encouraging. I also talked to her a bit about discipline. She has already been there, done that with her kids which is great. The SoonerStart lady is wonderful but she is young and does not have children, which is a huge difference.

I had been thinking about ending both programs because I think the boys are doing great and we don't really need them. I really like Jackie though and she brings a lot of fun ideas for things I can do with the boys. So I think I am going to keep doing this once a month and maybe stop the SoonerStart program.

Nick has to go in today for 2 shots, which will be his last until he is four years old, I think. I am really dreading it because he now understands what is going on and I know he is going to be very upset about it as soon as he sees where we are going. In the past, we would go into the "shot room" and we would sit there for a while, watching the "shot nurse" prepare all of the paperwork. This has always taken quite a while. I told my husband that, now that Nick understands and knows what to expect, we are not doing that anymore. We will not go into the room until she has the paperwork and shots ready so that we can get it over with right away. I am still dreading this. I really dislike shot days, although I am very thankful we have them and they serve a very important function. Still, they are not fun days.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

October 11, 2007

I woke up around 3:00 am this morning and could not go back to sleep. I prayed for my mom, for the boys, for wisdom in raising the boys and I tossed and turned, trying to go back to sleep. Finally I gave up, got out of bed and read my Bible for a little while, before eating breakfast while checking a few blogs.

Mom is still in the hospital and, according to my sister, was a little bit better yesterday but not much. I am hoping and praying that today finds her feeling much better. I wish I could go visit her and that I could be of more help to my sister. I know we are encouraged to praise as we go through our trials and tribulations but it sure is hard to do sometimes. I just feel very sad about what my mom is going through and I miss her.

I have also been struggling with the boys since we have been back from our trip. They both seem to have regressed in their behavior and I find it frustrating. My husband and I did some premarital counseling and I remember hearing that we tend to get frustrated or upset when our expectations are not met. That may sound simple but it's funny that many times we don't even realize that we had expectations to begin with and we may wonder why we are frustrated or upset. I expected that we would return from our trip and pick up where we left off. I did not expect to have so many behavior issues.

Nick especially seems to be struggling and a bit insecure, which is surprising to me. I have noticed him sucking his thumb and holding his "Ya Ya" more than normal. He has been very clingy and has been throwing lots of fits about the smallest things.

It's times like this when I start second guessing everything I am doing. I become frustrated with myself (and feel guilty) for not being more patient and calm. I did a better job of this yesterday, after we returned from the pumpkin patch. Sometimes I think I do better after I have had some sunshine:). I know the boys need outside time too and I try to make sure they get a lot of it.

Just after I posted the detailed post of our trip to Arizona, I remembered another significant thing we did. Before we left Tucson, we stopped by the resort where we were married. It was so beautiful. It is nestled into the landscape with beautiful mountains in the background and they had tons of flowers everywhere. We took a walk around and talked about our special day, almost three years ago now. The boys enjoyed the walk, although they missed the significance of it of course. My husband and I really enjoyed it though. It brought back a lot of very sweet memories.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

October 10, 2007 Part 4

I'm sorry that my first post (We're Back) about the trip included mostly complaints about the flight delays and rental car issues. Overall, we had a really wonderful trip and enjoyed introducing our sons to everyone. Forewarning: This is going to be pretty detailed, as I want to document the boys' first trip to visit their family in Arizona.

We flew in to Phoenix, stopped by a friend's house to pick up two borrowed pack-n-plays and then drove on to Tucson. It was pretty much a full day of traveling so we were all pretty tired when we got to Tucson. We stayed with my husband's sister (Aunt D), from Saturday through Wednesday morning and we drove back to Phoenix on Wednesday.

On Sunday, we took the boys to the church that my husband attended when he lived in Tucson.

We stopped by the Bible study class that my mother-in-law attended, prior to her passing almost two years ago. My husband knows many of the people in his mother's class because he used to take her to church when he lived in Tucson. They really enjoyed getting to meet the boys and wanted to know how we and Aunt D were getting along.

We stopped by the class where my husband attended when he lived in Tucson. I had also visited this class with him a few times when we returned to Tucson for visits. They had already started the class and we were not sure whether or not to interrupt but we did and they were so happy to see us. They asked us to sit down and wanted to hear the highlights of our adoption story. The best thing of all is that they prayed over our little family, some of the sweetest, most needed prayers we could have asked for. It was so touching and it really meant a lot to both of us. I cried and it still makes me tear up to think of it again.

After that, we were able to catch up with the senior pastor between services. He was my husband's pastor for many years and he also married us in Tucson almost three years ago. He was happy to see us and meet our sons and it was very nice to catch up with him again.

Afterwards, my husband went with his sister (Aunt D) to her church because she was being baptized that Sunday. The boys desperately needed a nap, so I stayed at Aunt D's house with them but my husband took pictures of her special day.

That evening, we all went to Penny's (she is a travel agent and she planned our honeymoon to Australia and New Zealand for us:) for a little get together she had planned for us. She had invited several friends over to her place for pizza and visiting, so we could catch up with lots of people at the same time. She had some really cute gifts for the boys that they loved, of course:). It also kept them busy for a while, although the thing that kept them busy longer was eating popcorn, for the very first time. They loved it. We had a wonderful time visiting with everyone and telling them about our adoption experience and how much our lives have changed.

We had a short but nice visit with my husband's nephew and his almost one-year old daughter. It was our first time to meet her so we took lots of pictures and really enjoyed finally getting to see her.

We had lots of time to hang out with Aunt D and the boys loved her. She really knows how to entertain them and they took to her right away. We went out to run errands and they stayed with Aunt D. They did not cry when we left them nor when we returned. They had clearly had a wonderful time, getting to know their Aunt better. She took off work so she could spend more time with us. I am so happy they got to spend a lot of time getting to know her. It was a wonderful visit.

Aunt D is crazy about animals (in a very good way:). She currently has three birds, a very well-trained dog and a beautiful, adorable kitten (that I had a hard time saying goodbye to:). The boys had the best time with all of the animals. It was especially fun to see them with a kitten, since our cats are older. I am still looking forward to the first time they get to play with a puppy, as they have yet to see a little puppy.

I have lost track of when we did what in Tucson, after that first day but, one of the days we were there, we visited Connie. She has turned her house into an assisted living place and she runs it and takes care of 3 to 5 elderly people at a time normally. Connie is a very special person and it is clear she really cares about every patient who comes into her care. She took care of my mother-in-law, she came to our wedding and was also at my mother-in-law's funeral. She is like family and it was special to be able to introduce our sons to her. She also likes animals and she has a chicken and some dogs that the boys enjoyed seeing. They also got to see their first rainbow, when we were standing in Connie's backyard. They had seen one in one of their books and it was pretty well defined in the sky, so they knew what it was. Another first:).

We had many wonderful meals and enjoyed our relaxing stay at Aunt D's house. It was a wonderful first trip to Tucson with the boys.

We stayed with friends in Phoenix. These are the same friends who were visiting us around the time I was getting out of the hospital due to the pneumonia. It was nice to see them again and we had a nice stay with them too, although we were only there Wednesday and Thursday night and then headed home first thing Friday morning. They have two children. The boys really enjoy playing with their kids and their kids really enjoy playing with the boys so that worked out well.

We were also invited to dinner with some other friends of my husband. I had not met them yet but had heard a lot about them, so it was very nice to finally put faces with names. We really enjoyed that visit also and had a wonderful time visiting and eating delicious food.

I am sure there are things I am leaving out but maybe I will remember them later. I am going to post pictures separately, since my battery is running out and I was having to post them one at a time earlier today, due to some issue with blogger.

October 10, 2007 Part 3

Yesterday I was cleaning up in the kitchen and the boys were playing in the living room with the Jo Jo the Clown doll. The clown said "let's wave hello" and I heard Nick say "hewo" and then it says "let's stretch reeeeaaaaal high and I saw Nick stretching his arms up as high as he can.
I was playing with the boys with the puzzles Ben got for his birthday. These puzzles are great for helping them learn their shapes. I asked Ben "where does the oval go" or something like that. I laughed as he looked under the table. This is another Melissa and Doug toy, made in the U.S.A. It comes with 5 of the puzzles seen in this picture but there are puzzles on both sides so there are really 10 puzzles in all, along with triangles, rectangles, squares, ovals and circles. They can do them all very well but they have a bit more difficulty with the triangles.

When we were in Tucson at Aunt D's house (my husband's sister), she had this very large spider hanging in her entry way (pictured). When you clapped your hands, it would suddenly and quickly drop down on a string and then it would slowly climb it's way back up. The boys really loved this thing, especially Ben. He was just a little scared of it so he wouldn't go into the entry way (this is a rare shot of him actually in the entry way, watching the spider climb back up but he didn't do this often) but would peak around the corner at it and then clap his hands, watch it fall and then he would run away, clapping his hands and yelling "spider" "spider" "spider". The funny thing is that his pronunciation of spider was more like "bobby", so it sounded more like "bobby" "bobby" "bobby", all while he was clapping and laughing. We would tell Ben, "say spi" and he would say "pi" and then we would say "say der" and he would say "de" and then we would say "say spider" and he would say "bobby", and he would say it really quickly. It was so funny. He was so into this thing that he would do this over and over and over again....and he got as much joy and laughter out of doing it the 55th time as he did the very first time. It was very funny to watch.

But then, another funny thing was that, at the Dallas/Ft Worth airport, we were sitting in an eating area and the boys kept saying "bobby" "bobby", over and over again and they kept clapping their hands. Finally, I noticed and said "where?", "where is the spider?". They both pointed up. On the second floor, there was another eating area and above the entrance was this very large, round, black ball-looking thing and there were these lines coming out away from it (looked like spider legs), all the way around it. It was just a decoration and was definitely not a spider but I could see how it looked like one to them. They were clapping their hands because they thought it would drop on the string, like the spider at Aunt D's:). It was quite funny.

Gotta run. Nap time is over. More to come about our trip.

October 10, 2007 Part 2

This morning we met some other mom's and kids at the pumpkin patch. My friend, Francie, went with me and was a huge help with the boys. We all had a very fun time and the weather was cooler this morning so it felt more Fall-ish. I love Fall!!

The boys enjoyed climbing around on the hay. The is the first time they have ever worn jeans:). There were lots of school groups there so the boys watched the other kids climb around on the pumpkins. Nick looked like he really wanted to do that too and I tried to help him a little but he is still just a bit too little for that. They both enjoyed trying though.

Ben especially enjoyed climbing onto the hay bales and then jumping off or really more like stepping off. He can't quite make a jump out of it yet but he tries.

In this picture, Nick is clapping. I think he was clapping because he had climbed on a pumpkin a little bit or something. Whatever it was, he thought he had done something special.

Neither of the boys were very into having their picture taken so it was really hard (impossible) to get one of them together. I tend to prefer the non-posed shots most of the time but I still like to get a few posed ones too because I have a harder time catching their faces in the non-posed shots. So this one of Ben was one of the rare posed shots.

The boys now know what a pumpkin is and they also got to see many different types of gourds. I think they really liked the gourds the best and also the tiny pumpkins. My friend let them each pick one out to take home and I picked out a pumpkin for us to take home to carve. I am very excited about carving the pumpkin, as it will be a first for me too:). I'm not sure how I missed that when I was growing up but we never did that at our house.

There were lots of animals, including goats, cows, horses, ponies, donkeys, geese, pigs, some type of animal that looked like a very large jack rabbit (but wasn't), llamas and camels. The boys really enjoyed the animals. Ben kept letting the goats lick/suck on his finger and then he would pull it away real quick and laugh and laugh (that's what had just happened when I took this shot). It was cute.

And this was my highlight of the day. Nick is always into trying anything and everything but Ben is normally a bit more unsure. Nick was very eager to ride the pony but Ben took off walking back towards the goats, shaking his head no. Francie stayed with Nick while I went after Ben and when he saw Nick was very happily sitting on his pony, he wanted to try it too. They both loved the pony ride and were very unhappy when it was over. Ben laughed during the ride and cried when he had to get off. It was so funny.

We also went on a hay ride and the boys really enjoyed that a lot but I didn't get a picture of it. Overall we had a very fun visit to the pumpkin patch. Unfortunately Nick fell asleep just before we got home so he was quite the grump (an understatement) between the car and his bed, with a stop for a snack on the way.

This picture was taken on Monday, just before we went to Ben's plastic surgeon appointment. I had to wear a cap because my hair was a mess (broken hairdryer - another story) so the boys wanted their caps too. They are too cute.

October 10, 2007

I'm rushing around this morning because we are headed to the pumpkin patch soon. I have been wanting to post and have a million things to post about, including lots of pictures, but have not had a lot of time since we returned from our trip. I have been jotting down some cute/funny stories about the boys that I want to share when I have more time.

Here's a quick update on two key things going on right now.

- We took Ben to the plastic surgeon on Monday and it looks like everyone agrees that the mole on his face should be removed. The surgeon said he could do it as soon as Thursday (tomorrow) but we could not do it that soon. My husband is already scheduled to see patients that day and we need to schedule something with my sister so she can take care of Nick while we are at the hospital with Ben. It looks like it is probably going to be November 1st. It is a very simple procedure. The surgeon said the actual surgery will only take about 10 or 12 minutes. They will give him gas to put him out and then they will insert the IV and intubate him, etc. His will be the first surgery of the day, since he will have to go without food and drink, which is not easy for a child this young.

- My mom is in the hospital. She had her last chemo treatment on Tuesday, followed by the shot on Thursday. This is the shot that is suppose to keep her white blood cell count from dropping. As usual, her blood pressure has been very low but this time it is even lower than it has been, to the point that it did not register on the monitor when they took it at the hospital the other day. My sister took mom to the doctor on Monday and they gave her some fluids. She felt better but then when she woke up on Tuesday she was not feeling well again so my sister took her to the ER. Her blood pressure is very low, her white blood cell count is extremely low, which is very concerning, her potassium level is way too low, as is her hemoglobin level. She will most likely be there for several days. My sister is an RN and used to work at this hospital, which is good. She is also extremely protective of those she loves, when it comes to this type of situation so I know mom will be very well taken care of. Mom has also decided that she will not take the radiation treatment. She has had enough and she has heard too many horror stories of those who have taken the treatment for breast cancer and how they have been burned so badly that they ended up having serious issues for the rest of their life.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

October 7, 2007 Part 2

When we put the boys to bed every night, at the end of our bedtime routine, we rub the boys' backs. I rub Nick's back and my husband rubs Ben's back, or vice verse, for a little while and then we switch. We always tell them "mommy/daddy loves you" and "night night".

I always leave the room last. I stand in the doorway and blow kisses to them. They blow them back to me now but, in the beginning, I would say "blow me a kiss". Then I say "night night" and they say it back to me. I used to have to tell them "say night night", but not anymore. Then I say "love you" and they say that back to me now too.

But last night was different. Last night was the first night that, while I was rubbing Ben's back, he said "wub you" to me without me saying it first. It is likely that only a mommy or daddy would have understood it but it was very clear and very precious to me. Tonight was the second night he said this to me without prompting.

My heart is melting.

October 7, 2007

Actually we came back from our trip to Arizona on Friday but I have been resting and re-energizing for the past two days....and doing laundry, and trying to get the boys back on their sleep schedule, etc.

We had a great time and had visits with my husband's family and lots of friends. It was definitely a challenge, traveling with two toddlers. We got off to a great start with a 2 hour delay before ever leaving our city. We had just pulled away from the gate when they discovered that the intercom system was not working properly, so we sat there for two hours while they tried to fix it. We finally had to deplane with no idea of when/if it might be fixed and, while we were in the process of trying to book another flight, we were told to get back on. We took off soon after and the rest of the trip was uneventful...until we got to the rental car place.

We rented two car seats. Only one car seat was in the car and it had not been installed. It took them a while to get another car seat for us. My husband had to install both of them and some of the parts were missing so he had quite the challenge. He persevered though and, although it took us quite a long time, we were finally on our way. I had the fun of trying to entertain two little boys who were quite tired of traveling by this time.

On the return trip, we had another one or two hour delay in DFW. This turned out to be a good thing because it gave us time to have a leisurely meal and change diapers before boarding.

Ensuring the boys had enough sleep was particularly difficult. At home, they normally sleep from 8:00 pm to 8:00 am and take a two to three hour nap. During our trip, they were going to bed around 10:00 pm (despite our best intentions), waking up before 7:00 am most mornings (much to our dismay) and naps were hit or miss. A couple of days, when we were in Tucson, they had 3 hour naps, which they desperately needed, but most days they only had an hour or hour and a half, which did not put us in our happy place:). They really did pretty well, considering....although the number of temper tantrums was definitely increasing as the week progressed.

Ben officially turned 2 while we were gone. My sister-in-law had a birthday party for both of the boys and it was really sweet and fun..and very cute. They had many firsts on this trip; too many to keep track of but I'll have to try to think of some of them and document them for when they are older.

The morning of Ben's birthday, he said "more" "oatmeal". He paused between the two words but this was the closest either one has ever come to putting two words together to communicate something. I'm not counting things like "big bear" or "Busy Busy Baby" (a book) because those kind of things they learned to say more as if they were one word. Both boys learned how to turn somersaults and have been practicing their new feat since we have been home.

Both boys were very into waving to people and saying "hi". When we walked down the aisles of the planes, Nick was waving to everyone and saying "hi", as if they were in his personal fan club. It was quite funny.

I know there were other important firsts that I just can't think of right now. I will think of them at some point and post about them later.

More details of our trip and pictures to come. Our next big event is a trip to the pumpkin patch this week, my husband's birthday is coming up later this month and then Nick's birthday is in early November.

I have almost finished "The Well-Trained Mind" book. I really like the classical education philosophy but am also a bit overwhelmed by the amount of work. When I finish the book, I am going to go back and re-read the very beginning of it, where they focus on the birth-to-five-year-old crowd. That will put my focus back on the here and now and then I will just take it one day, week, year at a time.

I found a very interesting and encouraging article on the HSLDA website today about a recent (I think it's recent; can't find a date on it) study on home education. My husband and I were both amazed at the findings. If you are thinking of homeschooling, you might want to read this.

I can't believe it is already October. Where does the time go??