We had a wonderful Thanksgiving, celebrated at my sister's house with her family, my mom, all three of my brothers, several nieces and nephews and spouses and a great niece (pictured)....and of course, my husband and two sons. I lost count of how many people were there but I think it was somewhere around 18 or 20. It was definitely the largest family crowd that our two sons have seen yet and they seem to have handled it well. They had a great time playing with their big cousin Trent (also pictured). I brought lots and lots of toys and books to keep them busy but they spent more time playing with the toys my niece brought for her little girl. All in all, everyone had a great time, we had wonderful food and it was so nice to see the family again.
These three pictures were taken as I was making the Mississippi Mud, the day before Thanksgiving. The chocolate is from the icing and the white stuff is marshmellow creme. The boys now have a new appreciation for baking.
We had a wonderful, relaxing weekend. I did some book shopping at our local Christian bookstore for myself and am now reading several books at once. I have a really hard time going into that place to shop for a book. I normally come out with several and this time was no different. I found six books that all seemed to be calling my name. One, called Mommy Teach Me is about homeschooling preschoolers and I really liked it a lot. I started it Saturday and finished it on Sunday. Great book with some great ideas and good advice. Another is called Teaching Kids about God. It discusses what children at various ages are able to understand about God and different ways you can help them to learn to have their own relationship with God. I have just started it but it seems very good, although I'm not sure if I will agree with everything they say. Another is called The Discipline Book by the Sears' (husband and wife). It is a fairly large book and I am only maybe an eighth of the way through it but it seems pretty good so far.
The other three books I bought to address a concern I have had, which is making sure I am not just correcting behavior but that I am also shepherding the heart of my children. These three books are Spirtually Parenting your Preschooler, Shepherding a Child's Heart and The Key to Your Child's Heart. I am not far along into any of these to be able to comment on them but I think at least one of them will be really good and all three of them will likely have some very good points. So, I have been doing a lot of reading lately.
Here is one of the little activities from the Mommy Teach Me book that I did with the boys today (sorry for the poor lighting). They really liked it a lot. The trays are plastic and the pitchers are glass. I showed them how to carefully carry the tray and place it on the table. They both did pretty well. I showed them how to be careful with the pitchers and how to pour the rice slowly, trying to hit the middle of the other pitcher. They were suppose to turn the tray around each time, so they are always pouring from left to right, which also helps preparing to read left to right. They poured it back and forth between the pitchers and into the tray and they picked it up with their fingers. They did everything with the rice. I'm not sure that is exactly how it was suppose to go but the book says the number one thing for this activity is teaching them how to concentrate on a task and I think they did that pretty well. They had fun with it regardless.
I went to a dollar store this weekend to buy a lot of the stuff that I need to do many of the activities in the Mommy Teach Me book. I bought some simple sponges, without the rough scrubber things, and I cut one in half to let them pretend to wash their dishes. They loved that and have cleaned their dishes and pots and pans over and over, in addition to the window, the cabinets, trucks, trains, etc.....you name it, they have tried to clean it. Of course, they were using a dry sponge, so nothing is really clean:). But they had fun and I had fun watching them and telling them what a good job they were doing.
On Sunday afternoon, while the boys were napping, I spent a good deal of time consolidating books and rearranging things in our library/play room. I moved all of the books up so that all of the bottom three shelves are now dedicated to toys and books for the boys. It really allows for orderly toy storage, which is recommended in a couple of the books I have read, and we now also have room for materials for crafts and other activities. The boys quickly get the idea of what goes where and everything has a place and they are pretty good about putting things back, although they do get out lots of stuff at once and make a big mess at times too.
I am very happy with the way the room turned out though. It seems as if there is a lot more play room and there is definitely more storage space for keeping their things orderly. The chair and small red couch are also closer to the kitchen, which is nice when I am sitting in there with them but need to check on dinner or lunch. It has also opened up the front window, which is the window that the boys enjoy the most, since they can see cars and trucks going by.
We went to church on Sunday and I, once again, shamelessly bribed my sons with candy. Once again, they went to their class without a peep and they had a wonderful time and seemed quite happy when we picked them up. The candy thing makes it a win-win for everyone involved. I'm sure the caregivers appreciate that they are no longer having to deal with two children crying at the same time, while they also have other children arriving. Our boys are no longer upset and crying when we leave, which is nice for them, and they love the candy of course. We leave them feeling much better that they seem happy. I figured we'll use the candy bribe for a few Sundays and then maybe try switching to stickers or something else. It seems good for now....we'll see what the future holds.
Last but not least comes our health issues:). Nick has a cold, as of today, and his poor little nose has been running like crazy all day. The good news is that he is not running a fever and it has been quite a while since the boys have had a cold so, overall, they are doing pretty well. I noticed that Ben is cutting his 2 year bottom molars. The only reason I noticed was that he has been drooling a bit lately:). I think I have found a really good chiropractor. After one treatment, which felt wonderful, I am feeling a bit better already....not completely but definitely a bit better. That leaves me feeling very hopeful that we will fix these issues once and for all and he will teach me the right exercises/stretches to keep them fixed.
The most terrible news is that we took Ben back to the plastic surgeon today. His scar is not looking good at all. The surgeon took one look at it and said, with a frown, "this is not acceptable". Apparently, his body reacted to the dissolving type stitches very badly. The result is that the scar is wider than it should be. It looks as if it pulled apart before it healed. And you can very clearly see the little holes where the stitches were.
This means that we have to redo the surgery. I almost cried when we were driving away and I had a chance to really digest this. We go back to the plastic surgeon in two months to see how the scar is doing and how much scar tissue is there. We'll continue to pray about this over the next couple of months and I know God will get us through it. I just feel really bad for B, that he has to go through this all over again. That's what makes me more sad than anything else.
Other than that, things here are great:)! Overall, we are all healthy, happy, having a great time together and still counting our blessings:).