Friday, February 29, 2008

February 29, 2008

We had another beautiful, spring-like day here today and yesterday was similar. The boys were able to play outside without a coat both days and I did a little more yard work this afternoon. It is nice to be outside without a coat on again.

I have been taking the boys to the play area at the mall more often lately. I really enjoy going there and the boys love it. The other day, I met another mom who lives not far from us. She is an older mom like me and she has twin girls. We are both excited to have another mom friend and we met at the mall again today with our kids, visited while they played and then we all went out to eat together. It was very nice.

Also, while we were visiting, another mom friend of mine just happened to be at the mall and saw one of my boys so she came over with her two boys and visited with us for a while too. Our boys enjoy playing together so that was nice. She is my MOPS friend and we have now invited the new friend (with the twin girls) to join us at MOPS.

Our Parents-as-Teachers lady came to see us yesterday. We had not seen her since before Christmas and we really like her so it was nice to see her again. She always brings some fun toys or games for the boys to play with and this time she also brought a cute book to read to them. I really enjoy visiting with her a lot. She gives great feedback about various things and I always end up learning something from her.

Yesterday, I learned that there are three phases that kids normally go through when they are learning colors. The first stage is matching. They will match or sort things by color. The second stage is being able to point to a color when asked. And the third phase is being able to identify a color when asked ('what color is that?'). I learned that Nick is in the first phase and also in the second phase a little (he knows blue and green and maybe one or two other colors). Ben is already in the third phase, although I'm not sure exactly how many colors he knows now.

She was very impressed to see both boys drinking from open cups during snack time. They are really doing pretty well with this now, although we still have a spill every now and then. The only time we use sippy cups now is when we are on the go, which is fine with me because they are a pain to wash. Between meals and snacks, I keep two cups of ice water sitting on the counter and the boys can reach them by climbing up on their little learning tower. They love drinking ice water out of an open cup. They are very fascinated with ice.

Both boys are still eating anything and everything, although Ben does not seem to care for cream cheese as much as Nick. I have been meaning to write a post about their meals and snacks but have not gotten around to it yet. I have also been contemplating a post about my experience of becoming a mom but I have not gotten to that yet either.

I really have been having so much fun just being a mom that I have not been as motivated to post lately. I love my life and feel so incredibly, richly blessed. I am amazed at how much I enjoy being a mom. This morning as I was driving the boys to the mall to play, I was thinking about how much I enjoy my life as a stay-at-home mom and I almost felt guilty about it. I love playing with the boys and teaching them things. I love watching the boys learn, play, pretend and I love how excited they get over the simple things in life and I love to hear them laugh. I love seeing the world through their eyes. I love just sitting and watching them and listening to them when they think I am busy in the kitchen and they are not aware that I am watching/listening. They are so funny and cute and I feel so very blessed to be here with them and with my husband doing this every day. I am continually amazed at how quickly the time goes by and how much they change so quickly.

And it is so very rewarding. The other day, I was sitting next to Nick at the kitchen island, while we were finishing our snack. Ben had already finished and gone off to play. Nick and I were talking and, at one point, he leaned his head over against my arm and said "wuv you", just out of no where. That was a first and it was such a pleasant surprise. That sort of thing just makes your day. It is absolutely priceless.

There are so many times these days when I am watching the boys play and I think about where we all were last year and how far we have come together. We have all changed so much.

Life is good and we are having a ball.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

February 27, 2008

We had Valentine's Day, our anniversary and my birthday (I'm now 45 years young, in case you are wondering:), all within about a two week span so that was fun. I used some birthday money to buy the boys some educational toys. Funny how much your priorities change when you become a mom:). I just love this teacher's store (The Apple Tree) and could spend hours in there just looking at things......and I did just that on my birthday, while the boys were home with the dad.
It sounds as if we may have some really pretty, spring-like days coming up later this week and weekend. It will be nice to get outside with the boys and enjoy the beautiful weather. I am ready to start doing a little yard work again.

I did some cleaning up of the flower beds in front of the house the other day, while the boys were napping. It was a beautiful day and I didn't even have to wear a jacket. That's the kind of day that really makes you look forward to the spring. We have such a beautiful spring here. It is one of my favorite times of the year. Of course, that night it dropped back down into the upper 20's, so winter is not quite gone yet.

I am way behind in posting funny things the boys have been saying/doing lately and also posting pictures. Ben has been trying to learn to blow his nose, which is quite amusing. He just blows out his mouth. I tried putting my fingers over his mouth and told him to blow out his nose and he still tried to blow out his mouth. It made a funny noise and we both laughed.

I have to put sunscreen on Ben's scar every day, where he had the mole removed on his face (it's healing very nicely this time). He doesn't like it so we started this thing where he closes his eyes and counts to ten. He usually gets it right too (counting to ten) and he enjoys doing it and laughs when he is done. It has turned out to be a great solution for what was a bad moment of the day.

Yesterday I decided I was tired of taping diapers and decided to try not doing that before nap time. I went to get the boys after their nap and Nick was lying in his bed, naked from the waist down. It was so funny because he still seemed a little sleepy so I think he actually slept that way during his nap. But he didn't wet or mess the bed so that's good. Today I decided to tape again:).

Both boys are very into the whole 'poo poo', 'pee pee' thing right now. They have such an interest, I decided to get the potty chair out and the potty books out again. One day Nick was holding his 'Ya Ya' (small bear) and pointing to it's bottom and telling me 'mommy, Ya Ya pee pee poo poo' and he has also pointed to the back end of the cat and said something similar. I just confirm it ('yes, the cat goes poo poo and pee pee') very matter-of-fact-like and leave it at that. I think we might be ready to start trying to potty train once the weather warms up a bit.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

February 19, 2008

Today was our 3rd anniversary. February is a busy month for us, with Valentine's day on the 14th, our anniversary on the 19th, my birthday soon after and my mom's birthday the day after mine.

We had a fun evening. The dad left work early and we took the boys to Super Cuts for their first ever hair cut in a real hair cutting place. It was fun. Nick was excited and jumped right up and sat very still. He did great. Ben was not quite as excited and cried a little when he was put in the chair but stopped when the lady gave him a comb to 'help'. He did pretty well after that. To be fair though, I'm not sure that he was feeling well today. He did not eat very well and that is really not like him at all. Plus, he was very cranky and then did not take a very good nap and he has dark circles under his eyes. Time will tell but there is a lot of stuff going on around here right now. I heard on the radio today that they were even shutting down a couple of the schools because there were so many kids out due to the flu and other sickness.

Anyway, back to my story. Here are some before and after pics:



I thought she did a better job on Nick's hair cut than she did on Ben's but they both look much better than they did.  And they are both little cutie patooties:). Anyway, we watched what she did closely so we can repeat it ourselves at home:). We'll give it a shot next time and see how it goes. If we need to watch her again, we'll go back.

After the hair cuts, we went to Luby's for a celebratory dinner with all of the retired folks:). It was a very nice, fun evening out. I also had a MOPS meeting today. I missed the last one, as it was on the same day Ben's stitches came out. I went to the one before that in January but the boys stayed home with my mom and sister so they had not been since December. It did not go to well at first. Both of them were screaming and crying for a little while but they soon settled down and had a fun time. They were quite the little cranky pants when we got home though...I'm still wondering if I'm going to have to little sickies on my hands tomorrow.

My husband and I were both running low grade fevers on Sunday and I had chilling and aching on top of the fever. I thought I had the flu because I felt so bad and I spent the majority of the day in bed. Fortunately, I started feeling better in the evening and felt pretty much back to normal by mid-morning on Monday. So they may be getting whatever it was we had.

In other good news:), a couple in our church Bible study class gave us a wonderful gift the other day. These are the same people who gave us a ton of toys before the boys came home....or maybe it was just after they came home. I can't remember now. Anyway, they gave us a train table and a whole set of trains to go with it. What a wonderful gift! Their kids had outgrown it and were not playing with it anymore.

We had a small train set that we were able to combine with the one they gave us. I put it together and the dad glued it to the table with a glue gun that we bought for this purpose and have now discovered it is our new best friend.

I have more pics I want to post but it's past my bedtime so I will do so later. Good night:).

Thursday, February 14, 2008

February 14, 2008

The latest popular thing to say around here is "very heavy!". I guess I have said it a lot to the boys when I am picking one of them up or carrying them around, so they have picked up this phrase. One of them was struggling to get up on the couch the other day, where I was already sitting. He looked up and said to me "vewy heavy mommy". It was so funny. I just cracked up laughing. One of them said something like that again the next day about a similar situation. They are just too funny. They are always coming up with something new. It is amazing how they just use new words here and there all the time, seemingly without even thinking about it. Sometimes I hear them repeating words that I have said, as if they are trying out the word and storing it away for later use. But many words they say, I have never heard them say before and then, boom, they just pop up in a sentence. So far, I am loving the two-year-old phase.

Yesterday, I asked the boys 'do you know what daddy does at work?', 'what does daddy do at work?'. They both looked at me, thought for half a second and said 'Home Depot?' (sounds more like 'old people' :). Now you know where their dad spends a lot of his free time. He takes the boys with him a lot, when he makes his multiple trips to Home Depot on the weekends and they enjoy going with him. Nick is always saying 'my daddy'. When I open the garage door and he hears the chime go off (we have our house alarm set to chime softly whenever one of the doors or window open) he comes running into the kitchen, saying 'my daddy home', 'my daddy home'. It is too cute. I have only heard him say 'my mommy' once but he says 'my daddy' all the time. He is really a daddy's boy these days and Ben is quite the mommy's boy right now.

The other day, when we were eating lunch, Nick put his elbow on the table, lean his head over so his ear was leaning on his hand and started pretending that he was talking on the phone to someone. He was saying 'yes' and 'pot pie' (that's what we were eating) and some other things that I didn't quite catch. It was so funny. He said 'yes' a couple of times. I have been working on this with them. I always hear about how, at this age, all they say is no to everything and I have seen this happen at times. So I started telling them, 'when I ask you such and such, if you want such and such, you should say yes'. When I ask them if they want more milk, I have told them to say 'yes, please' if they do want more. They really pick stuff like this up so fast, it is really incredible. I wish I could learn as fast as they learn. It is truly amazing how God made our brains to learn so quickly at this age.

Today, we sat on the floor, building mega blocks to make a long tunnel for their match box cars to drive through. Then we built some fences with the wooden blocks for the barns and they played with that for a while. We really need some Lincoln Logs around here and one of those cool magnetic rods and balls sets (can't remember the name of them but they look like fun). It's fun to be a kid again:).

I have thought to myself several times that it seems that if you don't have older children, you need to spend more time playing with little ones and teaching them how to play some things. Of course, they know how to play lots of things but they expand on that so much faster if you sit and play with them and teach them other things to play. Anyway, we had a fun time, although Nick was getting frustrated because he was trying to play a certain way with the tunnel and cars and trucks and Ben kept interfering. Nick is a bit further ahead when it comes to pretend play and attention span so sometimes Ben is like having a younger brother around. But then, yesterday evening, when I was fixing dinner, they played together for the longest time really well. The length of time they can do this without fighting has been extending, although it really just depends on the day and their moods. More and more they are finding things to play together, rather than just playing side by side. They will roll and throw balls back and forth to each other and they love to chase each other around the house, follow each other around on their 'big truck' and 'bike', pretend they are feeding the bears and Jo Jo at the table, pretend they are cracking eggs, spilling them (and coffee) on the floor and then cleaning them up, riding their stick horses, putting out fires, and dressing up like cowboys, fire men and police men and driving their little match box trucks around on the furniture.

As of today, Nick has another runny nose so I fear we are headed for another round of colds...most likely from the church nursery again.

So today I decided to try something a friend of mine told me about. Her son was a thumb sucker and they became worried because he sucked so hard that his thumb was starting to look deformed. I noticed that Nick's thumb was a bit dry and red today, due to his constant thumb sucking and the dry weather, in addition to his tendency to have dry, sensitive skin anyway. So I decided to try what my friend and her husband did to break their son of thumb sucking.

I put a bandaid on his thumb. He did not suck it at all the whole morning. He started to a couple of times and then he would tell me "mommy, yucky" and show me his thumb. Buuuttt, the big test came when nap time rolled around because that is when he relies on the thumb sucking the most.

Surprisingly, he went down for his nap with no issues. When he first got into his crib, he again showed me his thumb and told me "mommy, yucky". After he told me this earlier, he had asked me to take the bandaid off. When I started to take it off, he said no and he wanted to keep it on. We did this little dance a couple of times and we went through it again when he was in his crib. So, I left the room and he went to sleep with no problem....until about an hour later. He woke up crying and then the crying turned into screaming and crying. He has not done that in a long time so I ran up to check on him and he was sitting in his crib crying. I picked him up and rocked him for a few minutes and I took the bandaid off when he was half asleep and then tried to put him back into this crib. He cried a little but not for very long, especially after he had his Ya Ya and blankie back (they had been thrown on the floor).

He didn't say anything to me about the bandaid at this time but I knew that was the problem and I just didn't have the heart to see him 'suffer':). So I took it off. Hopefully he will break the habit on his own.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

February 13, 2008

We had our follow up appointment with Ben's surgeon this morning and his face is healing very nicely this time, for which we are very thankful. After the appointment, I took the boys to the mall and let them play in the little kids play area. They had a ball and I enjoyed my time talking with a grandpa who was there with his little grandson. This man had adopted two children when he was younger and it was very interesting to talk to him about their journey.

It has been a while since I have taken the boys to this play area. They have grown and developed so much that this was the first time that I could just sit and watch and did not have to stand nearby and help them or keep them from falling. Also, all of the other children were around the 1 to 3 age range so that also helped. Every time I have taken them in the past, there have been children as old as 5, 6 and 7 playing and there have been so many children that I really had to watch them closely. They did great today and they had a great time.

They were actually ready to leave, when it was time to go, which was a nice change. We had lunch at the food court and then came home. They were so well behaved and we had a great time together. They are such nice little boys, most of the time:).

On Saturday I found a wonderful consignment shop for homeschoolers. I am so excited to have found this store. They have tons and tons of stuff and I am sure I will be a regular visitor in the future. I spent a ton of time just looking at everything and ended up buying a couple of books. I also stopped back by the used bookstore, where I now have a ton of credit from trading in a bunch of books, and found 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar' for the boys. I only had to pay seventeen cents for it:). I keep a list of books that I would like to get for the boys with me and every once in a while I stop by the used bookstore and see if they have any of them. This place is absolutely huge and I normally find at least one and usually more than one of the books on my list.

Yesterday the boys were pretending to read books to their bears/Ya Ya's. It was very funny to watch. One of their favorite things to pretend now is that they are pouring and drinking coffee (dad drinks coffee). They pronounce it more like 'cocky'. They also like to pretend they have spilled it and then they pretend to clean it up. This is a fun thing to do in the bathtub these days too. Yesterday I let them take their first bath in our downstairs master bath, which is one of those large, oval, garden spa tubs. They had so much more room and they just had a grand time. I think we will let them use our tub from now on, until they get old enough to take their baths one at a time. Their tub is getting a bit small for the two of them now. It is amazing how much they have grown in just one year.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

February 7, 2008

There are times when the boys will be trying to get my attention, to show me something or tell me something, and I am busy doing something and do not look at them immediately. When this happens here is the method each one uses to get my attention:

Nick: "Mommy, ellllllllooooo mommy!" (translation: helllllllo mommy)

Ben: "Mommy, arrrrrrre you mommy?!!!" (translation: where arrrrre you mommy - and he says this while standing right next to me.)

They are so funny. It cracks me up when they do this and it definitely gets my attention quickly because I find it so funny. I really must start writing down more of what they are saying these days because they are really talking a lot now....pretty much all the time, actually:)...and I love it.

Ben got his stitches out and everything went fine. The doctor said that everything looks really good so far. We are all glad that is over. We go back to the doctor on Monday so he will probably take the steri-strips off and we'll be able to see it then.

Ben knows every letter in the alphabet and numbers 0-10, meaning he can tell you what each letter and number is but he can't recite them in the correct order yet. He also knows tons of shapes and colors. The kid has an amazing memory. Nick knows most of them as well but not all.  It is very hard to tell with him though because he seems to know when he wants to know. We think he often likes to play like he doesn't know and give wrong answers. For instance, he'll point to his gray shirt and say "blue?" and then, before you can answer, he'll give a clever smile and say "gray!". He likes to be funny.

My issues with Ben and his whining have greatly improved. We have gotten to the point where I can simply tell him that, if he is going to whine or cry, he can go sit in the library until he is done. That normally has one of three results:
1. He stops immediately,
2. He keeps whining and I tell him to go sit in the library (he knows he can get up and come back as soon as he stops). He goes to the library, whining as he walks away, comes back in a few seconds, gives me a big smile and says "mommy, yay!", to show me that he has stopped and everything is ok now, or
3. I have to take him by the hand and walk him into the library, over to his little stool where he always sits when we have this issue, he cries louder for a few minutes and then stops and comes back to join us, sometimes saying "mommy, Yay" with a smile and sometimes just giving me a look to make sure I noticed.

Naturally I prefer the first option but that is probably the one we see the least of right now, although I am hopeful we will see more and more of that one as time goes by. If his whining fit happens as we are getting ready to eat, we always see the first option because he loves to eat and that trumps the fit any day:). Isn't that funny?

The boys are really getting into the rough-housing thing lately. They like to push each other down, which I really don't like. They think it is funny and will tell each other (by saying something I don't understand "brother, blah blah blah", while patting their own chest with their hand) and, next thing you know, they are chasing each other around the house and then, when the pursuer catches the pursuee, he pushes him down. Or, one will walk up to the other one, just out of the blue, and push him so hard he falls backwards on his bottom. I really don't like this because I think it is dangerous but they really think it is very funny, so it has been a challenge to stop.  I am looking forward to the day when I can send them outside to play, without having to go outside with them.

Yesterday I filled the ice trays again and put drops of food coloring in them so today we will have some water play time. I didn't get to see them do this last time so it will be fun to watch today. They love playing in the water so much and they are fascinated with ice.

Monday, February 04, 2008

February 4, 2008

Wow, what a beautiful spring-like day we are having here in Oklahoma today. It is currently about 74 degrees and still climbing, the sky is crystal-clear blue and the sun is shining brightly. The boys and I spent the entire morning outside. As soon as we finished breakfast, we headed outdoors and we did not come back in until almost noon. We even ate our snack outside today. It was wonderful and the boys really enjoyed it.

I got such a kick out of them, watching them run a little ways down this small hill in our side yard and then fall down and roll. They thought that was such a fun game. I sat there watching them, with a smile on my face, remembering last year around this time when they did not want to touch the grass and could not really even walk in it without falling down. What a difference a year makes. We are going to have such a fun spring and summer this year. A day like today really gets you ready for it.

The boys were both filthy dirty when we finally game in doors and they both had sand in their shoes. Now that is a testament to a good day outside, for a little boy. I enjoyed watching them get dirty:). Nick spent much of the time collecting acorns and sticks and then breaking the sticks in two.

They seemed so cranky after we came inside that I really thought they would go down for their nap easily today. NOT. We ate lunch and they played for a few minutes and then it was time to go upstairs. It took them over an hour to finally quit playing and settle down and go to sleep and it seems like this is becoming the norm lately. I am really getting to the point where I think we are going to have to move one of them to the other room. I have a feeling they will not like that too much though.

Tomorrow morning we take Ben back to the hospital to have his stitches taken out. We also have to vote. It is suppose to turn cold again soon but I'm not sure exactly when. I don't want to think about it because I am enjoying this spring weather too much.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

February 3, 2008

Today was our day to manage the 2 year old classroom that our boys attend at church. We did this during the second hour (the church service hour) so we were able to attend our class during the first hour. We have done this before and I have always found it to be a lot of fun. I enjoy watching the other little ones and seeing where they are developmentally. Plus, they are all just so cute.

Well, today it seemed like the longest hour of my life. We had nine little two year olds with just me and the husband. One of the department managers stopped by to see how we were doing and said there was another class with just three children and three helpers so she sent one of them over to us, thankfully. The other helper who joined us was a young girl but it was good to have two extra hands to help out.

When you have that many children to watch and then combine that with the fact that several of them are tired or clingy or both and want to be held a lot and one little boy is quite a challenge to keep track of (keeps opening the door, trying to get away, pushed other kids down or pushed them aside, etc.), we had ourselves quite the challenge today. I was glad when it was over.

The husband has been working on our emergency escape plan:). Meaning, he has been working on a plan for us to get out of the house quickly and be able to get the kids out, in the event of a fire. He bought a new ladder because the one we had was not tall enough to reach their bedroom window. Since our bedroom is downstairs, we need a way to get to the kids from outside the house, in the event that a fire is so consuming that we can't get to them through the house. We have french doors in our bedroom that allow us to go directly outside but the kids' room is upstairs. So we are keeping the new ladder in a place outside, where we could get to it quickly. We already have two fire extinguishers, one for upstairs and one for downstairs, so we are in good shape in that regard. Not sure if he has any additional plans but I'm glad that he is working through it so we would know exactly what to do in the event of an emergency and we would be able to move very quickly to get the boys out of the house.

What else? Well, the boys continue to thrive. Ben had his second surgery on Thursday morning, while Nick stayed home with Aunt Kathy and MaMa. They both did exceptionally well. Nick did not have any issues about being away from us this time, which was great. Ben's procedure went off without a hitch. I was really dreading this because it went so well the first time, I thought that there is just no way it could go that well again. Well, it actually went even better. This time he did not even cry as he was coming out of the anesthesia. He was quite the little trooper. We have to go back to the hospital on Tuesday morning (have to be there at 6:00am again) to have the stitches removed, again under anesthesia (just gas this time though), and this time we will have to take Nick with us. Hopefully it will go quickly and will be a non-event. After that, we just wait, watch and see how the scar heals and pray that it heals nicely this time.

After I brought Ben back home, I had to run out and get a prescription filled for him so the boys stayed with Aunt Kathy and MaMa. The boys were having a snack when I left and they both happily gave me a kiss and told me bye bye. They are doing pretty well now with us leaving and knowing that we will come back, although Ben is still going through some mommy clingyness. He cried this morning when we left him in his class at church, although not for very long. Nick opened the door and walked in, as big as you please, for the second time in a row. And I did not give any candy for the second time in a row either.

The boys are still talking up a storm. The other day, Nick had opened the little doctor's kit and had it sitting next to me on the small love seat. Ben was behind him, trying to reach past him to get one or two pieces of the kit to play with, as he said to Nick "share", "share", "share". It took me a minute to realize what he was saying. It was so cute (and Nick did share:).

One of the things the boys love to pretend now is that they are drinking coffee (sounds like "cocky"), as the dad is a big time coffee drinker. They frequently enjoy playing like they spilled it and then they run off to get their towels (I donated a couple of kitchen towels to them for their pretend play) and sponges and then they pretend they are cleaning it up. Sometimes they pretend they are stepping in it. I am frequently the commentator to their pretend play, saying things like "oh no, you spilled your coffee!", "you better go get your towel and sponge and clean it up", "uh oh, you stepped in your spilled coffee", "yucky, it is squishing between your toes". They think this is great fun and they normally repeat a lot of what I am saying and laugh a lot. It is quite funny.

This morning as we were in the car, on our way to church, we heard Ben say "big yawn" to Nick after Nick had yawned. That is something I say to them when I see them yawn. It is so amazing how much they remember and pick up.

Yesterday, as we were getting ready for nap time, Nick asked if they could take "books upstairs?". I think that was one of the first clear questions that was not related to wanting more food or something like that. The answer was no, because every time I have let them take books to bed with them, they end up throwing them at each other and when I let them take the kind of books that don't hurt when you throw them, they tear them up. So no more books in bed at naptime for now.

I'm hearing more and more short sentences lately, although I can't think of any right now. I need to start writing them down again because I know I am missing some cute things.

We got a bit of snow the other day and the boys were so excited. Nick woke up from his nap and Ben was still sleeping. Nick ran from window to window, looking at the snow and asking to go outside. He was so excited and ready to go but we waited for brother. I got them all bundled up and took them out to play in the snow and they had a very fun time. They cried when they had to come in, which I knew would happen. But their little hands were so cold and it was getting late. I have mittens for them and they started out wearing them but they couldn't get their thumbs in the thumb spot so they could not do much with their hands while wearing their mittens. So the mittens didn't stay on very long. I have a few pics of them outside that I will post sometime soon, although I don't think they are very good pics. The snow was completed melted by the end of the next day (Friday) and today it is around 70 degrees here. We are hoping the boys wake up from their nap in time to go outside and play for a while, since it is so beautiful out. They did not go to sleep until around 2:45 though so I'm not sure if they will wake up in time.