Friday, December 19, 2008

December 19, 2008

A couple of weeks ago, the boys and I stopped by Tuesday Morning to check out their puzzles. As we were walking through the parking lot on our way into the store, we saw an older gentleman in the driver's seat of a van. It looked as if he was waiting for his wife to finish her shopping. We all had a good chuckle because he was asleep and his mouth was open very wide. The boys found that quite funny.

Today I was cleaning the house and I could hear the boys playing in the living room. I walked through to see what they were doing. They had been riding their tricycles and had 'parked' them in front of the side door. They were pretending to be asleep and had their mouths wide open. Even though it had been a couple of weeks since we had seen the old gentleman, I knew right away what they were pretending and I laughed out loud. It was so funny to see them pretending this and also very funny that they remembered it to the point of wanting to pretend it a couple of weeks after we saw it. Very funny.

The boys were very good today while I cleaned, thankfully. I am trying to catch up on some much needed cleaning and decluttering. I got a lot done today but still have much to do.

I am very thankful that today was the last day of work for the dad for the next two weeks. Yay! It will be so nice to have him around and the boys are really going to enjoy it too. Also, his sister is coming to visit on Monday and will be staying for about a week and a half, so we are all looking forward to that. The boys are so excited.

As it turns out, I did not have a cold. I had/have a sinus infection and it seems that I have probably had it for quite some time and it just kept flaring up....or something like that. Anyway, yesterday was my worst day. I started taking some medicine yesterday morning and today I felt much better.

My mom and sister and nephew came for a visit yesterday. The boys had so much fun. The lady who does our post placement reports also came by yesterday. My sister put the boys down for their nap while I talked with the post placement lady (can't remember what they are called:). When the boys woke up, the first thing they asked about was whether MaMa, Aunt Kathy and Trenton were still here. When I told them that they had gone home, they cried. They are normally gone when the boys wake up from their nap but I'm thinking maybe we forgot to tell them this time. I felt so bad. Next time I'll have to remember to set their expectations better. They will get to see them more over the holidays though so that will be nice.

So we got the home visit out of the way for our post placement report and I already have all of the photos ready but still need to make copies. It is due by the end of January so we have plenty of time but I always like to make sure that we are early. I think our report will be ready around the first or second week of January so that should be great. After this one, we only have one more to do in January of next year.

I have also been spending a good amount of time knocking out pages for the boys' lifebooks. I am ashamed to admit this because, as much as I have talked about the importance of lifebooks on this blog, I'm sure people probably would assume I had them finished by now. I had done a lot on Ben's but I now have finally caught them up where Nick's and Ben's are at the same point. I am very close to being finished and will be sooooo happy when they are completed. I am going to try to spend some time on it over the next two weeks and see how much I can accomplish.

We are going out to dinner and then to do a bit of shopping, so off I go:).
Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 15, 2008

December 15, 2008

It seems we may have finally hit the bottom of the gas price drop, according to the news folks anyway. We'll see. I was really hoping it would get into the dollar-thirty-something range so I am a pretty happy camper right now. Now I am just hoping it doesn't go back too quickly.

In other news, we got a bunch of ice last night. The ground is covered with a sheet of ice but, fortunately, it did not cover the trees and bushes and stuff like it did last year. The dad went to work this morning and said that just 5 miles from our house there was no ice. So apparently it was pretty selective. The boys and I stayed in all day. It has been a cold one. I think the high today may have been around 17 or 15 degrees.

The boys and I put some water in tuperware bowls outside so we could see how long it would take to freeze but then we forgot about it.

Did I mention that I am sick again? I am once again so hoarse that I cannot even sit and read a book to the boys. It takes effort to talk, although it was worse last time. The funny thing is that I don't think I have ever had this sort of thing in my life before and now I have had it twice in just a few months. Maybe I need to start eating healthier. I seem to be catching colds more often than normal.....although I just finished a stressful four week stretch, with the dad away on a trip and then working extra hours while also spending a lot of time at church performing in a play. I don't do well when I go that long without getting hardly any personal time or any time alone. So maybe the added stress had something to do with it.

Well, I started writing this during naptime and now it is bedtime for me. It's been a long day.
Hope you are enjoying those low gas prices! :)

Friday, December 12, 2008

December 12, 2008

Just returned from the pediatric cardiologist and everything went great. Ben was a real trouper and did everything asked of him. They had Curious George on a small TV mounted up high so he was able to watch that while they did their thing. After that, we went to another room where he had his blood pressure taken and then they did an EKG. I forgot that they do that so I did not warn him ahead of time so he was a bit disappointed about having to do something again but he did it without complaint and I read a book to him while they did that. I also told him we would go for ice cream on the way home, which made him happier.

The doctor said that he still has a tiny whole in his heart. It is only about 2mm in diameter so it is very tiny. She said it is smaller than it was two years ago. We have to go back in two years and do it all again and we are hoping it will be gone. The tiny hole should not impact him at all while he is young but when he is older it could make it more likely for him to have a stroke. She said if that happened, they would fix the hole at that time but it did not need to be fixed while he is young.

In other news, I have another cold, which is a real bummer. Off to fix dinner now.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

December 9, 2008

We just returned from the dentist for a cleaning and checkup. Unfortunately our appointment was at 2:00pm, which really pushed nap time back. They were very efficient though. We were finished and back in the waiting room to pay by 2:20 and we were home with the boys in their beds by 3:00. Not too bad really.

We had good incentive to hurry and to come straight back home because it is really yucky outside today. We started the day with temps in the 50's I think and now we are below freezing and it is windy and misting and very very cold. The wind chill factor must be quite low.

The boys did a great job. This was their third time to the dentist. The very first time, we were really disappointed in the dentist and his way with children. We switched to a different dentist in the same practice and she was really great on the second visit. This visit was the first time the boys actually went into the exam area without us. The hygienist came out and called their names and they both walked in a bit cautious. We were watching through a window. They talked them both into the chairs and showed them the tools, explained things to them and let them pick out the flavor of cleaning stuff and also a small ball to hold in their hand. So far, so good.

The problem came up when they wanted them to lie back in the chair. That was where it became a bit too scary. We could see Ben shaking his head no when she was patting the chair and trying to talk him into it. Nick actually started crying and then they waved us in. We were able to quickly get them back into a good place and they both ended up lying back and doing a great job after that.

They were given lots of stickers and small toys for their bravery. I had promised them a surprise if they did very well at the dentist so I am trying to decide which of their Christmas presents I want to go ahead and give them now.

Now they are both sleeping. They are really doing great with this new sleeping thing and I think I am very close to being able to move further away from their door. My next move will be to the couch in the nearby game room. Once they are doing well with that, it will be easy to move downstairs from there, I think. So, I think it won't be very long before we have two little guys who are once again very good about falling asleep without us in the room.

I forgot to mention what I decided to use for an incentive for getting them to stay in their beds at night. If they stay in their bed, they get a coin the next morning to put in their piggy bank, which is just one of those cheap, plastic food holders with a lid that I put a slot in so they can put their coins in it. They love it. Sometimes they get pennies, sometimes nickels, sometimes dimes and sometimes quarters. They tend to always want quarters though, I guess because they know that is what we use for those animal ride things at the mall or grocery store. When they have enough money, they can choose to use it to buy something at the dollar store or to ride one of the rides at the grocery store or mall.

Nick is one of these kids who has such a strong will that I have to be extremely consistent with him. If I give in on something just one time, he will test, test, push, push, trying to get me to give in again. I have to set very clear rules and boundaries and I have to be very consistent in maintaining them. He is such a great kid though. He has such a happy disposition and I love hearing him walk around singing. He also really enjoys getting a rise out of his brother though, which can be frustrating. He loves picking on Ben, taking his toys, pushing/pulling him, tackling him, etc. He is always doing something to Ben. Much of the time, Ben enjoys it but there are times when he does not, understandably. So I have been working on Nick on this.

Overall, behavior around here is very good right now, which I thank God for. When things were not going so well recently, I prayed and prayed that God would help me understand them and show me the best way to deal with the issues we were experiencing. I am happy to say that God is faithful and He always answers prayers.

With behavior so good these days, we are just having so much fun together and every one's attitudes are so good. I am loving this age too. They are able to carry on a conversation and they have such funny things to say. Their imaginations are simply wonderful and I love to watch them play and talk to themselves. Ben talks to himself a lot while he is playing and it is so cute. He has really gotten much better about picking up his toys and helping to clean up when asked and doing it with a good attitude. They are both such good little boys and such a joy to be around (most of the time:). It is fun that they are now at an age where they get some jokes/teasing and will laugh with me about things. I have a tendency to say 'you crack me up' or 'I cracked up laughing' about something funny sometimes and they have picked this up. It is amazing how quickly they learn. They were helping me fold some clothes this morning and Nick is actually getting pretty good at folding the washcloths.

Well, enough of all of the gushing:). I must go find a surprise for the boys.
Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 08, 2008

December 8, 2008

Lots of stuff going on around here. The other night, I accidentally super glued two of my fingers together. I think that was the craziest thing I have ever done. It took me a while to get them apart and it really hurt. Don't try this at home folks. It was not fun.

The other crazy thing I did the other day was, I was cleaning up the kitchen, wiping down counters and the table. The boys and I had eaten some Christmas cookies at the kitchen island and some of the little sprinkles were there so I picked them up and ate them. Yummy;). Then I went over to the table and started cleaning up there. I saw what looked like a sprinkle and, without thinking about it, picked it up and put it in my mouth. I forgot that the boys had been playing with play dough at the table, not eating cookies. Yuck! It was quite a yucky surprise.

I ordered a series of workbooks from Kumon recently and we started using them today. We have the cutting, folding, stickers and pasting, coloring, mazes and tracing books. I think that's all of them. The boys really enjoyed it. When we finished and we were eating lunch, Ben told me that he wanted to "do school more often". We have been spending more time sitting at the table "doing school" lately, at their request. I basically leave it up to them to lead it and we quit or change what we are doing when they want to, for the most part. We spent 2 straight hours in the morning on "school" a couple of days recently and they just keep asking for more.

I am using these new Kumon books to work on having them listen to and follow directions. I am also using these books ("our special books") to persuade Nick to try and hold his pencil a little better. Today he did very well. I only make him try on two of the books, when we are using pencils to do mazes and tracing. If he doesn't want to try, he can color or cut and paste or whatever using other books that we have but he can't do the Kumon mazes and tracing books unless he tries to hold his pencil correctly. As I said, today was our first day and they were very excited about these books. They are very fun books so he was quite motivated to try. Both boys did a great job at all of the things we did today and we all had fun.

I still would like to put together some type of schedule for us to follow but I have not gotten around to it yet:). I am normally not a New Year's resolution type person but this year I think I will have some new goals for the new year. One of them is to start working out again and lose some weight (as a friend of mine said recently about herself, I am quite the chunky monkey these days and I'm not liking it one little bit). Another one is to have a schedule for us to follow and, most importantly have a time set aside every day for quiet time with God. I have been flying by the seat of my pants for too long now and I think the boys are old enough to slide in to the right schedule easily enough.

Tonight we have the Christmas party for my husband's office. It is a family Christmas party and it is always very nice. We have to get there a bit early because we will be caroling with a group of folks, as everyone enters the party. We did that two years ago (before we had kids!) and it was fun. Last year the party was cancelled because of snow and ice, or something like that. I am really looking forward to this tonight and I love that they include the whole family. They have a kids room with toys and they serve a dinner buffet and some of the wives bring the desserts. I am bringing brownies (yeah, I know, very exciting, but that's all I had time for) but I think they might be over cooked. They were not done before I got into the shower so I set them for 10 more minutes and asked the husband to take them out when the timer went off. When I got out of the shower, he told me that he did the toothpick test and they had to cook for another 25 minutes before they were done, according to his toothpick test (he even started to explain the toothpick test to me; what a funny man:). So, I am pretty sure they are way over done, since he cooked them about 30 minutes longer than the directions indicated. I know our oven tends to cook a bit slower than most directions call for but I think that is stretching it a bit:). Oh well, it is what it is but I think I will tell everyone that he cooked the brownies:). (just kidding).

We also have a dental appointment tomorrow for dental cleanings for both boys. Later this week we have a follow up visit with the heart specialist for B's heart condition. I can't remember the name for this but he has a small hole in his heart. We had it checked when he first came home and they said it may heal itself but, even if it doesn't, he should not require surgery. But they also wanted us to come back for a follow up. And then next week, we have a follow up visit for the scar on B's face.  It will be interesting to see what the surgeon thinks of it. I hope they do not recommend doing it again. I can't imagine putting him through that again and, also, the scar gets a tad bit bigger each time. So, I am hoping the surgeon will say it will continue to look better and better over time.

Well, I must get up and get moving. I have some ironing to do before we go to the Christmas party. Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 05, 2008

December 5, 2008

I am on the night watch and I am sooo tired. I woke up around 2-something this morning and could not go back to sleep. I finally got up and did a few things and I have been going ever since. Unfortunately that does not make for a very happy mommy tonight. My patience level is right about at 0.0, which does not mix well with two little three year old boys.

The good news is that they are adjusting to our new situation, with me not sitting in their room while they are falling asleep. The first two nights Nick was a bit hyper vigilant, calling out to me to make sure I was still sitting in my chair outside their door. Tonight, he seems fine with it and has not called out to me like that yet.

I am hoping that after a few more days of this, I can move out to the game room, which is just down a short hall from where I am sitting. I have the monitor with me so I can hear what they are doing or if they need me. The only thing is that now I can tell them to settle down without getting out of my chair. I won't be able to do that if I am in the game room, although I could watch a little news. I am hopeful that within a couple of weeks, we will no longer be required to hang out upstairs until they fall asleep.

I think I might fall asleep before they do tonight, here in my chair. I am so sleepy.

My sister is spending the night tonight. She went to a Christmas concert that my niece is in at a nearby university. After it is over, she is coming back here to stay the night and will hang out with us for a little while tomorrow. I am so looking forward to having a little help. I have basically not had any help now with anything around here all week. I did get to have a break one day at the beginning of the week. My friend came over and watched the boys so I could take a little break. I had an hour and a half and I used it to run some errands. It was a much needed break. Very sweet of my friend.

Thankfully, it sounds like they are falling asleep a bit early this evening....which probably means they will be up at 6:00am. Oh well. As tired as I am tonight, I'm OK with that trade off. Hopefully I can head off to bed soon.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

December 4, 2008

....once again I am sitting outside of the boys' room. I just over heard Nick saying:

"Samuel! Samuel!" and "I did not call you. Go back to bed." as he was pretending the Bible story of Eli and Samuel. They are too funny. They pretend about 20 million things in about 5 minutes, from riding motorcycles (the pillow), to playing drums (pounding on the rail).

Last night when I was trying to tell Nick to quit calling out to me to ask me what I was doing, he was going through a list of things to try to keep me in the room, including "I need to go potty" (he had just gone) and "I bleeding" :). He wasn't bleeding, in case your wondering but I did think it was pretty funny.

Wow, I am so tired. I think I mentioned that the dad is in this play at our church. They had a dress rehearsal on Monday night and their first performance on Tuesday night. Wednesday night they were off so I was really looking forward to having a little bit of a break but it turned out he had to work late because there were two admits at the hospital that he had to go check out before he came home. So he didn't get home until around 8:15pm. They are having another performance at the church tonight, they have another one tomorrow night and then they have a matinee performance and the final evening performance on Saturday.

Since he is also on in-service duty at the hospital, he will have to do rounds on both Saturday and Sunday mornings. Sometimes morning rounds can take until noon or later to finish so, depending on the number of patients, he may have to hurry to make it to the play on time. Last Sunday I was really surprised because he made it to church by around 10:15 or 10:30. I didn't expect that at all so it was a pleasant surprise.

Well, tonight has not gone quite as well. Nick has gotten out of bed a couple of times and both boys have been loud and rowdy at times. They are still going strong and it is 9:00pm. They are usually asleep by now. If they sleep in tomorrow, I won't mind so much but today Nick was downstairs by 6:15am. Since he was not around to wake up Ben, Ben slept in until 7:30. It really is not so bad just having one of them awake early. Having one of them is so much easier than having two of them together. With just one of them, everything is calm, we cuddle for a while, sit and eat breakfast and talk and it is very nice. As soon as the second child arrives on the scene (and this is true regardless of which one wakes up first) they sometimes, though not always, start with the bickering.

It seems there has to be a battle over anything blue these days. Ben was the one who first decided that blue is his favorite color. It didn't take long before Nick decided that blue was his favorite color also. Unfortunately, before they decided this, I had already bought a few things (shirts, cups, etc.) where one item might be blue and the other might be brown or purple. So now, we have this constant battle over who gets blue.....and people wonder why I dress them alike so often. It never fails, if I buy two different colors of shirts, they both end up wanting one of the colors and neither of them wants the other color. It is just so much easier to buy things alike, not to mention that it is very hard to find cute boy clothes anyway.

Final status: I finally had to start telling them to quiet down. I started by yelling it through the door, from my chair:), but eventually had to go in and tell them in person. As I came back out of their room, I had a smile on my face because I remember hearing those words quite often myself when I was a kid. This is the way I want it to be for them. I want them to hang out in their beds, as they are winding down from their day, and pretend and play and laugh and joke and get a little loud and rowdy (but not too much) and to have to be told a couple of times to quiet down. Doesn't that bring back good memories? Isn't that what bedtime should be like for little kids? Though I will like it even better when I no longer need to sit outside their room.

It's been quiet for a while now so I think I'm finally off duty. Off to bed I go.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

December 3, 2008 Part 3

So today I started talking up the change in the bedtime routine with the boys. I moved the chair in their bedroom to just outside of their bedroom door. We talked about it several times during the evening. I moved their nightlight into their bedroom so their bedroom is a bit lighter than it was. (The nightlight was in the small adjoining sink room of their jack-n-jill bathroom.)

After we went through our night time routine and they were in their beds, I told them we now have new rules. I told them they have to stay in their beds but they can talk to each other and sing and look at books until they fall asleep. They just can't get out of their beds. When I sat in the room with them, I would tell them they needed to be quiet soon after we had shut off the lights and settled down. So being able to talk to each other and sing and laugh and stuff is a treat for them. This might be just the incentive they need.

I told them I would be right outside their door in the chair, which is where I am now. They are still awake. Nick is singing God Is So Good right now. At one point they were both singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star together. It was absolutely precious. They have laughed and talked and generally it has been a very positive thing. Much to my surprise, neither of them have been upset or scared or sad or even had any objections to this change in our routine.

At first, they were yelling at me "mommy!", to see if I would come in when they needed something, as I had told them I would. And then Nick kept yelling "Mommy, what doing?". I had to explain that they were only to call me if it was an emergency, which I said was someone bleeding or throwing up:). I had to remind Nick to talk to his brother instead of yelling at me, which he started doing.

Now Ben is quiet and Nick is singing "...that your joy may be full" over and over". I guess he forgot the rest of that song. That kid loves to sing and I love to hear him sing. It always brings a smile to my face and frequently a laugh to my lips. We will be walking through a store and he will be singing at the top of his lungs "God is so good" and people will look at us and smile. He gets kind of loud sometimes and I have to remind him to sing a little softer. He can also hit some pretty high notes, although not always right on key, and when this is combined with the loudness, it can get a bit funny at times. I don't let him see me laughing though. They are now at that point where if you laugh at something they do, they want to repeat it to get another laugh so I have to be careful what I laugh at sometimes.

Well, the singer has stopped singing and all is quiet so I think our first night is a success. Now I have to set my expectations realistically and remember it probably won't go this smoothly every night. I hope we can get this new routine down quickly, to the point where we won't need to be sitting up here any more soon.

December 3, 2008 Part 2

When the boys were in their cribs and they were not yet able to climb out on their own, we could put them in their cribs, following our bedtime/naptime routine, and they would fall asleep on their own. They would normally have some fun in their cribs first, jumping around, playing and talking to each other but they would eventually settle down and go to sleep on their own. If they woke up during the night, they would go back to sleep on their own. If they woke up too early in the morning, they would normally either fall back to sleep for a little while or just play in their cribs for a little while.

That was then, this is now.

When the boys started climbing out of their cribs, we felt like we tried everything to get them to stay in. We put them back multiple times, we spanked them, we moved them to big boy beds and tried everything all over again and nothing seemed to work. We ended up taking turns sitting in their room (they are sharing a room) until they fell asleep. In retrospect, big mistake. I could just kick myself.

Then, I started singing to them at night because I thought it might help them settle down faster. Well, the dad always takes his laptop with him, when it is his night to sit with them, because he reads or does work while sitting with them. When I told him I thought they settled down faster when I sang to them, he started playing music for them on his laptop. Of course, they really really liked this so I started doing it to. They each got three song requests and then it was time to lie down and be quiet. As you can see, what started out as a mistake just kept growing into an even bigger mistake. Please don't try this at home, unless you want to spend an hour every night and a half hour to an hour at nap time helping your kids fall asleep.

I have been doing a lot of single parenting lately. We have had the perfect storm, with the dad recently in Puerto Rico and now on in-service duty at the hospital, while at the same time participating in a Christmas dinner theater play at our church. I encouraged him to do this when he showed interest but neither of us realized the amount of time it would require and we especially did not know that he would be doing in-service duty at the hospital at the same time.

So, since I have been doing a lot of single parenting lately, I have realized what a chore our night time / nap time routine has become and what a nightmare we have created. I could just kick myself because we had such a great, easy routine for the longest time and slowly but surely we let it slip away...and then turned it into a monster. I am determined to fix this but I don't know quite what to do.

So far, we have stopped the music and that happened pretty quickly and painlessly, so that is a step in the right direction. The next step needs to be getting the boys back to the point where they can fall asleep without us in the room and they will stay in their beds and I really just don't know where to begin with this one. N especially is a bit scared of the dark. We keep a night light on in their room but he still does not like it when the lights are turned out. I think he has become accustomed to having the the brighter light from the laptop screen. Sometimes when I am really tired, I just sit there in the dark with them and pray and rest. He will tell me to turn on my laptop and he is not too happy when I don't.

I am racking my brains for the best way to transition us back out of the room. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated. Maybe we need some kind of reward system. I have also considered trying to move my chair to just outside the room to their door and seeing how that would work. I have heard of moving the chair closer and closer to the door each night until you are sitting just outside the door but we can do that because there is not enough room. There is kind of a short little hallway when you walk into the boys' room because their closet is just inside their room. The chair is already pretty much as close to the door as it can be and it is probably 5 or 6 feet away, at least. So I don't think the gradual-chair-move approach is going to work for us.

The other thing we have done is we put their boxsprings back under their mattresses and put their rails back on their beds. I was thinking this would help a little, since it is a little harder for them to get in and out of their beds. They have done fine with this so far but then we are still sitting with them until they fall asleep.

So, that's our issue. Any suggestions?

December 3, 2008

I have been missing some funny happenings around here lately and I hate when that happens. Today we spent the morning at the play area at the mall. We had planned to go to the jumping place but it was closed. We met up with my friend who has the twin girls and we all had a fun time together. The kids played and played and my friend and I were able to visit and relax. We all had something to eat, rode a couple of escalators for fun and then went to see Santa.

The boys had been to see Santa one weekend with the dad. I think Nick stood in front of Santa and Ben was much further away. Since then, they have seen him from a distance several times and we have read some books about him so this time they wanted to sit on his lap. It was very cute. They both told Santa what they wanted for Christmas, which was anything they could think of at the moment. Nick said a truck and Ben said a tractor, which they already have. Santa gave them a little talk about picking up their own toys and not expecting mom to do it so I was ready to ask Santa what he wanted for Christmas. I thought that was very nice:). They got to pick either a Santa hat or small coloring book out of Santa's basket and they both picked the hat.

Then one of the twins wanted to see Santa but the other one was scared so I took the one who wanted to see Santa. She didn't want to sit on his lap but she stood in front of him and let him hold her hand. A little later, she wanted to go again and sit on his lap so her mom took her and she sat on his lap.

By the time we left Santa, both girls had the coloring books and both boys had the hats AND coloring books. As we were walking to the elevator, Nick started waving his small coloring book back and forth, fanning his face, and he said, "Whew! I hot! Whew! I have flash!" or something close to that. It was clear he was imitating my response to a hot flash, of which I still have too many. I found it laugh-out-loud funny though. Too cute what they pick up and a bit scary really.

Sometime last week, the dad decided to grill some chicken on the outside grill. It was freezing cold outside, so I wasn't very excited about the idea. I found very simple instructions for grilling chicken and it is really delicious so we do this every now and then and we normally cook a bunch so we can make several meals out of it. It is very simple. You turn on only one side of the grill and then you put the chicken on the other side, so it is not over the flames. Then you close the lid and let it cook for about 45 minutes. Then you open the lid, brush on your favorite bar-b-que sauce, close the lid again and let it cook for another 15 minutes. Then it is ready to eat. This is for bone-in chicken with the skin on. The skin keeps all of the juices in the chicken. I think it is probably the juiciest chicken I have ever tasted, and the most tender. We normally cook dark meat though.

Anyway, so he has been cooking the chicken for 45 minutes and it is still not done. He got a late start putting it on the grill so I had already fed the kids because I knew there was no way they could wait that long. I was hungry but I was waiting with him so we could eat together and I knew the kids would probably want to eat a little more too.

Anyway, so the chicken had been cooking for 45 minutes and it was still not done. He had gone out to check on it and came back and told me this, right around the time that I was giving the kids something extra to eat because it was taking even longer than expected. I thought it was probably taking a lot longer to cook because it was so cold outside. He said he was going to turn on the fire directly under the chicken, so it would cook faster. I told him I thought it would burn if he did that. I was helping the kids and not paying a lot of attention so I was not sure what he did next and I just forgot all about the situation.

A little bit later, he again went outside to check on the chicken. When he came back inside, he said, "Well, the chicken is too burnt to eat". I said, "How do you know?". And he answered, "It's on fire". You might have had to be there for this to be funny but, the way he answered after everything we had already been through, it really had me laughing. He brought a piece in and it was really yuck. It was solid black and the crispy black stuff was pretty deep. We found that underneath that, there was still some juicy meat but it tasted like smoke.

I had a couple of other things to write about while the boys are taking their nap but I am falling sleep in my chair so I had better sign off for now.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

November 30, 2008

Well, we are all pretty much over our colds, which is nice. The friends with whom we were going to have Thanksgiving dinner called first thing Thanksgiving morning to say that their son had a throw-up-virus. So we ended up staying home that day and having bacon and eggs for our Thanksgiving dinner. We also thawed out a turkey and cooked it the following day.

My sister, her two kids and my mom all came over on Thanksgiving evening and spent the night. My niece stayed an extra night and half day with us too. The boys had such fun with everyone here.

My family brought lots of Thanksgiving dinner leftovers to us, including a whole apple pie that my sister had made. She makes the very best apple pie that I have ever eaten. There is only one piece left. We had a very nice visit.

The boys are still napping, but not for long, and the dad just got home with our Christmas tree. Let the fun begin! (Note to self: Hide the stick horses this year!)
Happy belated Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

November 26, 2008

I have another cold. The boys seemed to have it a bit but don't seem to be as impacted by it as I am. I felt pretty good yesterday and was able to get a lot done but today I am not feeling well at all. I had thought that this might be a better year for us regarding colds but this is already round two so now I'm not so sure after all.

The husband begins his two weeks of in-service duty at the hospital tomorrow morning so we will not be going to my family's Thanksgiving get together. This means he has to do rounds in the mornings for two weeks straight (including weekends) and then is on call for a big part of each day and for the entire day/night on certain days. It is never a fun time and we are always relieved when it is over.

But, on the bright side, we have been invited to share Thanksgiving dinner with some friends and our kids like to play with their kids so we will all have a good time.

Woops, kids just woke up from nap. Gotta run!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

November 23, 2008

For the first time ever, other than for church directories, we had professional pics taken yesterday evening. Here are the results:

We had a terribly difficult time getting a good picture of the whole family. This was the best we were able to do, after many tries.

They told us to pose like this and it was kind of funny because this was the same pose we had for our engagement picture, which was the first professional picture we had taken together.

I really like this one of my three guys:).

They were not suppose to include the one below but they accidentally did. We bought this grouping of pictures except we had a family photo as the large one on top.

And now for some Christmas pictures of the boys:

Friday, November 21, 2008

November 21, 2008

This is the simple expression the boys used for this situation. My response was a prayer to God, thanking Him for His protection. Both boys were in this jeep. Ben was driving and he drove it up on the little hill next to the driveway which is actually our neighbors yard. I have watched them do this in the past, over and over and over again, without any issues. I was not watching this time when this happened (I had my back to the window and I was breaking the crayons into smaller pieces:) so I am not quite sure how they ended up turning over backwards, end over end.

I am really kind of glad I didn't see it because I know I would have freaked out. They both came running into the house and Nick was kind of whining/crying. I had not seen the car so I didn't know what had happened. The last time I had looked outside, they were taking turns lying on the driveway, while the other one drove in circles around the one lying down. Ben had actually tried running over Nick but the dad had stopped that activity pretty quickly, while they were both still laughing and thinking it was fun sport.

Anyway, it wasn't until I noticed that Ben was only wearing one sock/shoe and his other foot was bare that I realized something was really amiss (it was 27 degrees outside!). I asked "what happened to your other shoe?" and he said "it in the car". I looked up and saw the car upside down on the driveway and was shocked that they were not hurt. Nick was whining/crying because he was scared but he stopped as soon as they were in the house.

Indeed, the shoe was stuck inside the car where the feet go, with the sock still in it. It is a miracle they were not hurt. I am convince it was only because of God's protection.

For those of you who are wondering why our two boys are driving around in a pink and white Barbie jeep, a friend of ours gave it to us. Also, the boys are still in that gender-neutral mode so they have not noticed that it is a girlie jeep. They like driving so much, I'm not so sure it would matter even if they did know it was girlie, although they might want to hide it when they had friends over:).

Bonus picture, since it was on the camera. Nick: "I go to work." Me: "OK, have a nice day honey."

In other news, I had the day off yesterday:). The dad took care of the boys all day and let me have a day to relax, run errands and just enjoy myself. I took a very long, hot shower, did a little shopping (very little), spent some time relaxing and also spent some time at my favorite used book store, searching through the books for the good ones. I enjoy doing this and have found some great deals. Yesterday I found some great books about insects, butterflies, frogs, fish, etc. that are a bit above the boys' level. They love them. We have to do some summarizing and skip some sentences here and there for now but they have wonderful pictures and the boys really like them. They were $1 each and I just had to pay the tax:). I need to take in more books for trade though because I used up all of my trade money yesterday.

When the boys are a little older and a bit more reliable about being nice to books, I'm sure we will be getting the majority of our books from the library. But, for now, having this as a resource has been such a blessing.

We are having a beautiful, sunny, cold fall day here today. I am glad it is finally getting cold. It doesn't seem like Thanksgiving time when it is not cold. Hope you are having a beautiful fall day as well!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

November 19, 2008 Part 2

So I have been wondering how to handle Nick's reluctance to let me show him how to hold a pencil or crayon. I have offered to show him many times and he always says no. He gets upset with me if I try to get him to let me show him.

One day this week, he finally let me show him one time, only because I was talking about how he will have to learn to hold his pencil correctly so he can learn to write like daddy. Any time I talk about being like daddy, I get his attention pretty quickly. Even so, as adamant as he has been about not wanting me to show him, I was surprised that he let me show him even with the daddy-carrot. After I showed him, he only tried it for a couple of minutes before switching back to his fist-grip on the crayon.

 Everything I have read says to make sure they learn to hold it correctly from the beginning so I am starting to get a bit concerned about this and wondering if I need to start forcing the issue (if you want to write/color, you have to try to hold the crayon correctly?). He loves to color and draw (scribble) and cut and paste and all that and I have not wanted to curtail his interest so I have not pushed the issue up until now.

I read somewhere that one way to get a child to hold a crayon correctly is to break the crayons so they are so short that they can only hold it with their finger tips, much like holding a small piece of chalk to write on a chalk board. So, when they were not around, I broke all of their crayons:). I really didn't think they would even notice, as they had already broken some of them. Nick did notice right away and mentioned it to me several times over the following days, which was funny. I don't think I broke them into small enough pieces though because he can still hold most of them in his fist-grip.

He is a very strong willed child and I often wonder, if I have this much trouble just getting him to let me show him how to hold a crayon, what is it going to be like homeschooling this child? I think I have my work cut out for me. Also, if potty training him is any indication of how homeschooling is going to go, I'm in big trouble.

November 19, 2008

The great news of the day is that the dad is back. Yay!!! I am so relieved he is home. He left very early in the morning, before I was up, last Friday and came back this evening so he was gone the better part of six days. In retrospect, I should have hired our babysitter to come over for a few hours one day and give me a break.

I don't sleep well when he is gone, so that does not help my situation. By today, I was really really tired. So today was a special day, as I told the boys. I let them watch three videos; two before nap and one after. By the time they finished that, the fence guys had finished putting up our new fence so the boys could once again go outside and play without me having to be out there with them. It was wonderful because we had an absolutely beautiful day here today. I think it got up to somewhere in the mid-70's. The boys had not been able to play outside without an adult being out there with them for a couple of weeks so this was just wonderful for all of us. God must have known that I really needed this today.

When the dad got home, he took us all out to eat for dinner. When we got back, he took the boys upstairs to play and now he is putting them to bed. So I have had a very peaceful evening and I am going to go to bed early. I am looking forward to getting out by myself for a bit tomorrow and doing some errands. The dad is off work the next two days so we have a nice four day weekend ahead of us to get back into our groove.

I can't believe Thanksgiving is next week. Time is going by so quickly and the boys are growing and changing so fast. They have been singing the Jingle Bells song lately and I'm not sure where they heard it. They sing: "Jingle bells. Jingle bells. Hey!" It cracks me up.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

November 18, 2008 Part 2 promised.

Nick asking Ben what he wants for Christmas. They were at the mall with the dad the other day and Nick sat on Santa's lap for the first time ever. Ben was scared so he watched, although I assured him that lots of little kids are scared of Santa.

They dressed up as cowboys for Halloween. I ended up eating most of their candy:).

November 18, 2008

Today's gas prices here are $1.68 per gallon. I notice this and comment on it so often when we pass by the local gas station that the boys will now comment on before I do if I forget. It's funny because they make up numbers that make no sense. They do this also when they step on the scales to weight themselves. They are so funny.

We went to the aquarium today and bought a year membership for our whole family for $85. I thought that was pretty good, considering it would have cost around $35 for me and the boys to go one time. They had added a lot of stuff since I had last been there and they had some really fun things for kids. We pet some sting rays and small sharks, which was an interesting and fun experience. Very cool place where I am sure we will be visiting often, since it is pretty close to our house.

The dad comes back tomorrow and we are all looking forward to that very much. We have all missed him a lot. When we were saying prayers last night, I asked the boys what they wanted to pray for. N immediately said he wanted to pray for daddy to come home and then B said he wanted to pray for daddy to come home too. I'm glad I saved the aquarium visit until today because I think it took their minds off missing dad for a while and gave us something very fun to do to pass the time.

Actually, it is our evenings when we miss him the most, since he is normally at work during the days. Yesterday evening, after we had finished dinner and I had cleaned up, I hung out on the couch and let them both climb all over me for a while. They love doing that. I was lying down and they took turns lying down on top of me, face up. I would put their arms up high, near my head, and tell them to hold on so they wouldn't fall off the plane. When they had their arms up high and they were kind of holding on to my head, I would tickle them under their arms and on their sides. They would laugh so hard and start wiggling until they fell off onto the floor or, as they say, into the "man hole". They thought this was so funny and so we did this over and over again. Then we went upstairs to play for the last thirty minutes or so before bed. So we filled our evening pretty well and we all had lots of laughs.

Just one more evening and then most of tomorrow before the dad will be back and life will get back to normal. I think he said he would be home around dinner time tomorrow.

Here are a couple of pictures but I have a bunch more to load, which I will do sometime soon.

The first two pictures are of the boys playing ambulance.

Here is a picture of the boys preparing to help the dad blow out his birthday candles. Happy Birthday honey! Don't they all look like they are drooling over the cake?? They were:).

And these last two pictures are of N's birthday party. He wanted B to help him blow out his candles and open his gifts. It was very cute and nice, since N help B on B's birthday too.

Monday, November 17, 2008

November 17, 2008

Little Nick is always walking around singing a song. This child loves to sing. One of the songs on the car CD player that we often hear goes "Behold! Behold! I stand at the door and knock, knock, knock".

I had a real good laugh yesterday when I overheard Nick, as he was playing nearby. He was singing "Hee Ho! Hee Ho! (humming) knock, knock, knock".

Another funny thing that happened yesterday is that I accidentally pushed the panic button on my key faub thingy, just as the boys were getting into the van, while it was still sitting in the garage. I had my hands full as I was trying to lock the door to the house and also open the side doors on the van for the boys and I was not looking at which button I was pushing. It startled us all and I quickly turned it off, as the boys stood there looking at me with these huge eyes. I was laughing because it really was a funny moment but it took them a couple of minutes, with me explaining what happened and apologizing, before they saw the humor of it and laughed with me. Later in the day we were again preparing to leave the house and Ben said to me "no honk at me mommy". It took me a second to realize what he was referring to and then we both had a good laugh.

And, last but certainly not least, was an incident that happened the other day, about which I was not a happy camper at the time. It took me a few minutes after the clean up before I was able to laugh about it. The boys had been playing with playdough and we were getting ready to eat so I sent Nick off to wash his hands because he had it all over him. The boys are not quite trustworthy in the bathroom yet, but we are working on it, so I normally wait a little while before I head in to make sure they have not done anything they shouldn't and to clean up the mess they have inevitably made. I heard Ben head that way, saying he needed to go to the bathroom, so I headed that way a couple of minutes later.

I had quite a surprise when I walked into the bathroom. Ben had indeed gone to the potty and was now bottomless, wearing only his shirt. He and Nick were both standing on the little stool at the sink and they were playing in the water. Nick had pulled up the stopper to the sink and was running water into the sink, which was full and overflowing. The water was running all over the counter top and onto the floor all around the cabinet, which is one of those cabinets that is made to look like a piece of furniture so the water was streaming down to the floor from all sides.

I have never liked the sink in that bathroom. It is one of those little, bitty tiny ones and the prior owners probably had to pay extra for this fashionable tiny round sink but it is really too small and the boys always make a mess when they wash their hands in that sink. Because it is so small, it also fills up way too fast, which was not something that had crossed my mind before:).

I am way behind on posting pictures. I loaded up pics from my camera today but am very tired this evening. Hopefully I can put some up tomorrow. The dad is in Puerto Rico, left last Friday and will return home on Wednesday, so I have been quite busy the past few days. Also, I never sleep well when he is gone so I am a bit sleep deprived too.

Now, off to bed with me. Good night.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

November 9, 2008

Today I noticed that the price of gasoline here is now $1.78. Isn't this amazing?

Makes me kind of wish I had a long trip to take somewhere. My husband is going to Puerto Rico soon. We had initially planned to go with him but decided not to when gas prices sky rocketed and our grocery bill went up along with it...ever conscious of the budget we are:).

Needless to say, I am bummed because I have never been there before and would have enjoyed going. Maybe I need to take the boys on a trip while he is gone:). The bright side is that he is off work this coming week, as we had planned to take some vacation time together in Puerto Rico before his conference began.

We will be celebrating Nick's birthday this week. He will be turning three years old and he is as cute as the dickens:). Nick is quite the strong willed child and often has me scratching my head as to how to keep him in line. Nonetheless, every time we drop him off or pick him up at his Sunday School class, we always receive rave reviews on how wonderfully behaved both our sons are and what a delight they are to have in class. It warms my heart, although I sometimes wonder if we are talking about the same children:). I guess it means we must be doing something right, although all the credit must go to God because I am constantly praying that he will smooth over and correct all of the many mistakes I make every day.

I'm not sure if I mentioned that we joined a new church that is closer to our house. The pastor teaches precept upon precept and it is absolutely wonderful. I learn so much. I love the Wednesday night meeting because it is a much smaller group and we all sit around large tables in the fellowship hall while he teaches in the front of the room. He really knows his Bible and can explain the Hebrew and Greek meaning of words and he has such a friendly, warm way about him. Additionally, everyone we have met at this church is also very friendly and warm and we really like the Sunday class we have joined. We already knew three different couples who have also recently joined, which is wonderful too. We switched churches just when the boys would have had to move up to a new class at the old church, so it turned out to be good timing. They really like this church and have never cried when we left them. They just missed the cut off for the children's choir so we will wait a year for that but I think they will really enjoy it when the time comes. I have also joined a ladies Bible study class on Monday mornings. They provide child care and the boys really enjoy going too. The dad will be playing a part in the Christmas play they will be putting on soon and he is enjoying the practices. It has definitely been a blessing to our entire family and since it is so much closer to our house, we can participate more often, more easily.

We have some fun stuff coming up. Nick's birthday next week and then having fun with the dad while he is off work and then we have a play date scheduled this week and another one the week after and a sleep over play date while the dad is gone. My friend who lives near by is going to bring her twin girls over to play and they are going to sleep over one night, which will be fun. And then hopefully we will also see some family while the dad is gone and we might go to the children's museum and the aquarium. I am going to think of some fun things to do so the week will go by quickly. I am always a bit off when he is gone because our schedule revolves around his schedule. When he is gone, I never know what day it is, as they all seem the same. So, we will try to do some fun things and stay busy.

I need to post some pictures soon. We are going to have to buy a new camera, as our seems to be flaking out a bit. That's all for now. Boys are asleep so I need to enjoy my free time:).

Friday, November 07, 2008

November 7, 2008

This morning I noticed gas was $1.83 per gallon. I waited to fill up because I had heard on the news one day that they normally lower it on Friday's. This evening it was $1.81 per gallon. You just have to wonder how low it will go and for how long it will stay low. I will enjoy it and appreciate it while it lasts.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

November 6, 2008

Yes, gas where we live is now $1.85 per gallon. Is that awesome or what? Every day that I drive by a gas station and notice that the price of gas has fallen again I laugh and give a big cheer. The boys think I am crazy:).

We went to the farm today to see Papa, Mimi, aunts, uncles and cousins. My niece was there with her two little girls. The youngest is only 3 months old and it was the first time I had seen her. She is such a cutie and we all had fun holding her and playing with her. My niece's other daughter turned two over the summer and she is a cutie too. She is talking so well now and she is so tall. She is taller than both of my sons, younger by almost 6 months, and my sons are both in the 80 to 90 percentile range on height....and she is taller.

Anyway, the boys had a great time playing with everyone. A bunch of us drove out in one of the fields and picked up a bunch of pecans from under the trees. They have so many, they don't know what to do with them all. We really need to go back and get more of those. They are delicious. The boys had fun picking up pecans and also eating them. They each had two rides on Papa's four-wheeler. Nick even got to cross the creek on the four-wheeler, which was exciting. They also each got to go on a long tractor ride, which they loved. I was in the house and could hear the horn on the tractor beeping the whole time they were riding around out in the field and around the pond.

We also had a wonderful meal of homemade stew, delicious bread rolls and a fantastic dessert, all cooked and prepared by Mimi. I ate too much but it sure was yummy. The boys enjoyed all of it too.

Both boys fell asleep on the way home, which was much needed. Overall, we had a wonderful day out on the farm. I really love this time of year. Today we had clear blue skies, lots of sun and wind and it was just a bit chilly....a perfect fall day.

And all the better when we are paying $1.85 per gallon of gasoline:). We had better enjoy it while it lasts because it probably won't last long.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

October 28, 2008

Well, I just finished giving the boys an unplanned bath. They were outside playing when Ben dumped a bucket full of water and sand (very watery sand) on top of Nick's head. It went all over him, inside his coat (it was pretty chilly outside too!), down his back all over his neck and all over his shoes. Nick was quite a mess, very cold and not very happy. Ben thought it was funny. I did not:).

Yesterday I was in the kitchen and the boys were playing in the library/playroom, which used to be a formal dining room so it is right next to the kitchen. I was listening to them and this is what I heard:

Nick: Ben?

Nick: Ben!??

Nick: Ben!!!???

Nick: Mickey!
Ben: I not Mickey; you Mickey!
Nick: I not Mickey; you Mickey!
Me: laughing, as they went back to playing whatever they had been playing.

I have heard Nick do that a couple of times now. I don't know where he got "Mickey" from, unless it is from Mickey Mouse, of whom he has seen very very little to date. I guess he has figured out that it works to get Ben's attention when Ben is ignoring him.

Friday, October 17, 2008

October 17, 2008 Part 2

The boys love to play outside and have discovered that it is more fun to play in the dirt next to the sandbox than in the sandbox itself. They have trucks and tractors, spoons, forks and bowls and lots of other things in their dirt/mud pit these days.

Our new climbing dome is not far from the dirt/mud pit but it does not get the attention of the pit these days.

The boys are very into pretending and dressing up. They pretend they are going to work or to the store or where ever. One day we were out for a walk and I was showing them the man hole covers. They like the Stop That Ball book by Dr. Seuss and there is a guy in a man hole in that book. Since that day a couple of months ago, I have heard about man holes umpteen times a day. They are always pretending to go into a man hole or come out of a man hole or what ever toy they happen to be playing with might be falling into a man hole, etc. The other popular pretend thing is pretending there has been a crash and/or somebody is hurt and has to go to the hospital. I guess this is because we live a mile and a half from a hospital and we hear/see ambulances and fire trucks come by our house or we have to stop for them while driving home from somewhere a lot. It took quite an effort to get these bandages off of the bears. They stuck much better than I thought they would.

Here is Nick the cowboy.

Here is Ben wearing one of the dad's slippers. Nick had on the other one. I could not believe that Ben could actually pedal with this huge slipper on his foot but he did it.

And, we have also gone for ice cream a couple of times here and there. When I was sick recently, I became tired of being cooped up so we went through the drive thru at the nearby ice cream place and the boys and I enjoyed a treat. It was just what we needed.

We have done some additional art projects too. Here are some cut and paste things we did one rainy day. I did the cutting and the boys did the pasting. They really enjoyed it.

And here are some additional birthday pics:

This first one is for you, Aunt D! All three guys loved what you sent.

A funny story about the microwave in the picture below. It was a gift for the boys from our close friends and it came with some little pretend food. A very small whole chicken was already in the microwave when we opened it. It was held in place by that plastic wrap that you almost need a crow bar to remove it. The boys were pretending to cook and when we asked them what they were cooking they said "a mouse". They thought the whole chicken was a mouse. We had a good laugh over that one. If you look closely at the picture of the boys and the microwave, you can see the chicken-mouse inside:).