Monday, March 31, 2008

March 31, 2008

I really don't know what I did all last week but I know I was busy. Where did March go? Wow, time flies when you are having fun.

I have been working on lifebooks a lot lately. Well, I say a lot but I am lucky if I can spend one hour a day, on average, working on it...actually, it might be closer to an average of 30 minutes a day. It is hard to make much progress when you only have short chunks of time. But I am making progress and they are starting to look a bit better, although now I realize how bad the beginning pages are so I am redoing some of them.

The boys are doing great. I have had several people tell me that when their child was around 30 months old, it was as if someone flipped a switch and the child became a different little person. I think we are there now. Both boys are now talking in sentences....not perfect sentences, by any means, but more than just two or three word phrases and they can definitely get their ideas across now, most of the time anyway. The other day Ben told me (while pointing), "mommy, Dancer threw up". Sure enough, Dancer had thrown up. Isn't that nice?

Yesterday, as we were on our way to church, Nick said "mommy, be up high clouds". Those are the only two examples I can think of right now but they are really doing this all day long now. They talk all the time and they can understand each other much better than I can understand them. They are really improving on their pronunciation and can say so many words more clearly now, it is amazing to me. But there are still times when I can't figure out what they are saying but they seem to always understand each other.

Back to the 'flip of the switch' story. The other thing is that they are now becoming a bit more particular about what they wear and eat. They want to pick out their own PJ's. This morning, Nick did not want to wear the clothes I picked out for him. Instead, he wanted to wear the same thing he had slept in, which was the same thing he had worn since nap time on Sunday, since he did not want to take it off last night either. I forced the issue, since our Parent's as Teachers lady was coming over this morning, although we did compromise a bit since I told him he could change back after she left. He didn't forget. As soon as she left, he wanted to put the 'Elmo' shirt back on. Thankfully he did change into fresh PJ's this evening after his bath so hopefully he will forget about the Elmo shirt for a while...or a least long enough for me to wash it.

As for food, they are not becoming picky eaters yet but they are becoming rather opinionated about what they want to eat. This morning, for the first time ever, they decided they did not want to have oatmeal for breakfast. They wanted yogurt, which is usually a snack food around here. So, they had yogurt and I offered some of daddy's cereal with some raisins and they wanted that too. But then, Nick decided that once the cereal became soggy that it was not good ("mommy, yucky") so I offered him some toast, which I knew he would want...this kid would eat bread or toast for every meal if I let him. So they both had a piece of toast.

There are a few discipline things we are working on around here, such as: Nick tends to take toys away from Ben, if he really really wants them, and he tends to throw things if he gets angry about something. Ben tends to SCREAM BLOODY MURDER when Nick takes his toys. He takes Nick's toys once in a while too but less often. There is another thing that Ben does that is harder to describe. If I tell him to take a toy and put it 'away', meaning on the shelf in the library/playroom where it goes, he will take it to the library and put it on the floor or on the couch or anywhere other than where it is suppose to go. This has happened enough times now that I know for sure he does it on purpose. I find it quite interesting and somewhat humorous. I try to remember to keep an eye on him in these situations and make sure he puts the toy away. The other thing that he is funny about is picking up something he has dumped out, such as blocks or beads or something like that. If I say "let's pick these up" or even if I just start picking them up myself, he wants to help. If I tell him to pick something up, he will ask for brother or me to help him. If I say "you can do it. You dumped them out and brother is busy picking up such-and-such", he starts crying and will stall and play and everything else. It is a huge battle. So now, if this happens, I tell him he needs to do it with a good attitude or he will have to do it again. It is amazing how well this works with him. He immediately puts this half-fake smile on his face, shines it up at me and quickly picks up the blocks or whatever was dumped. He has yet to have to do it over again. Well, actually, the very first time I tried this with him, he had picked up two or three of something and I did make him start over. But he has always put on the good attitude and picked everything up and the little smiley face he makes is so cute.

I am having such fun, watching them become the little boys that God has made them to be. They are so cute and funny and they crack each other up all the time (and me too). They are growing so fast. They really look more like little boys and less like babies these days. Going back through all of the adoption related information and pictures really brings back a lot of memories. They were so little when we first met them. I am enjoying the journey of revisiting all of the pictures from our two trips to Russia, although it sure pulls at my heart strings a lot.

We finally got the new twin beds on Saturday. We just bought the mattresses and box springs and we also bought two bed rails, since they are still pretty high off the ground with just the mattress and box springs. We have not yet found bed frames that we like but I'm not in a hurry for that yet.

We still have the cribs set up in their room too:). Today, Nick slept in his new bed during nap and he did very well. It was the first time either of the boys had slept in the new beds. They have been soooo excited about them but then they either change their mind at the last minute and want to sleep in their cribs (especially Ben) or they won't stay in their new bed. I have told them that if they get out of their new bed, they have to sleep in their old bed (I can do this now, since they are still in diapers:). There have been two or three times when they started out in their new bed and then I would hear the pitter patter of little feet upstairs. They never objected when I went up and put them in their cribs, so I think it was their way of saying they were not quite ready yet. I was surprised that Nick was able to take a really good nap in his new bed today. Maybe Ben will be able to do it too tomorrow. He seems to find it especially difficult to stay put in his bed so it may be a while before he is ready to actually sleep there.

I am very thankful that we have enough room to keep the cribs up in their room and have their twin beds in there too. So they can transition gradually and maybe we won't have as many sleepless far anyway. And, on that note, it's past my bedtime. Goodnight.

Monday, March 24, 2008

March 24, 2008

We had a nice, relaxing Easter Sunday, which was lovely after such a busy weekend. We went to church and came home after to eat lunch and take naps:). Don't we lead an exciting life?

As for cribs VS beds, the boys are still in their cribs and, so far, neither of them have gotten out again. I have reminded them a few times and they distinctly remember the falling on their head part, when I bring it up.

Today, I was singing to them: "two little monkeys climbing on the bed. They fell down and bumped their heads. Momma called the daddy, daddy said. (while shaking finger at them) No more monkeys climbing on the bed! They thought this was very funny and they laughed and laughed and laughed and asked me to sing it over and over and over....and I did:).

We ended up shopping too long for bed frames on Saturday and it was too late to get the mattresses and boxsprings. We thought we would do it on Sunday after church and lunch but everything was closed. I have since bought the new sheets and comforters, water proof mattress covers and rails to keep them from falling off. Now we just have to buy the actually mattresses and boxsprings. We are going to hold off on the frames for now. First of all, we have not found one that we like. Secondly, we won't need it for a while anyway. We are going to set their mattress and boxsprings on the floor for now, until they learn how to not fall out of bed. So that gives me a bit of time to find some twin beds that I like and that are priced fairly reasonable. We checked out two consignment stores but the bed frames they had were junk.

My mom told me today that my four siblings and I (I'm the youngest) had all learned how to climb out of our cribs safely when we were moved to a big bed. Made me think that maybe we might be jumping the gun a bit and we might need to hold off and see how they do first. I'm still concerned that we won't be able to keep them in their beds and there is a safety issue with our staircase.

On the other hand, the boys have expressed excitement about getting their big boy beds and it is clear that they are now remembering things from day to day, as they have asked about it several times now.

Enough for now. It's past my bedtime.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

March 22, 2008

How do you know when it's time to buy the big boy beds? When you hear two big thuds and lots of crying coming from upstairs, just after putting the boys down for a nap:). Bummer. I was hoping we could delay this for a bit but it looks like our time just ran out.

The funny thing is that, just after we left the room after having put the boys down for their nap, I said to the husband, "Nick could climb out of that crib if he really wanted to" and he agreed with me. We both came downstairs, the husband to his office to read and me to our bedroom to lay down for a while and read, catch up on news and emails, etc. And then the big thud. Ben surprised us because we didn't really think he could make it over the rail of his bed...but he certainly can and did:).

So, we will be buying two twin mattresses and box springs this afternoon. We will start out with that before be buy the bed frames. Any tips for getting two toddler boys to stay in their beds will be much appreciated (and I don't mean to keep them from falling out but to keep them in their beds long enough to get them to go to sleep). We'll need all the help we can get with this one. Why do I get the feeling that our blissful nights of wonderful sleeping children and their sleeping parents are soon to come to an end?

In other news, all of our company recently left. We all had a wonderful time together and it was wonderful having everyone here. Our sons really enjoyed themselves immensely and will likely miss all of the excitement and entertainment. Aunt Kathy is quite the entertainer of children.

The husband and I went out on 'a date' yesterday evening. Our idea of a date? We went to Lowe's to look at ceiling fans and tile and then we went to a movie. Wooohooo! Aren't we exciting? We are looking for a ceiling fan for the library/play room and new tile for our bathroom. We didn't find anything....correction....I found a ceiling fan that I really liked and I also found tile that I really liked but the husband did not really care for either so 'we' didn't find anything that we liked:).

I am the type of shopper that I either love it or hate it; there is usually no gray or me. The husband is mostly all gray and it is just a matter of which shade of gray:). It's quite funny really. We had the experience when we moved to Oklahoma and bought this house. We saw around 40 houses in one weekend. The one we bought was the very first one we saw and I loved it but the husband was so-so on it. We both agreed that none of the other 39 were as good as this one but he was still so-so on it. He decided that it was more important that I love the house, since I would be spending much more time in it than he would, so we ended up buying it, much to my delight. And he really likes it now, so it all worked out well in the end:). I have a feeling it is going to take us a while to find the right ceiling fan and tile. I told the husband that we should probably never have a house built, where we have to pick out a bunch of stuff.

Last night we went to see Vantage Point. It was interesting and I think we will rent it again when it comes out on DVD. You have to pay very close attention to this movie because it is easy to miss things. Parts of the story are retold from the perspective of various main characters and more of the story is revealed during each retelling. At one point, I was getting a bit tired of seeing some parts repeatedly but it picked up just in time to pull me back in. We both ended up enjoying it.

My niece and I went shopping yesterday while my mom and sister stayed with the boys. After that I had a chiropractor's appointment and then the husband and I went on our date. I think it was the most time I have spent away from the boys in one day ever, or it sure seemed like it anyway. They had a wonderful time though and they did very well without us. They love spending time with my sister and mom and then my niece was also with them when we were on our date.

My other niece, her husband and their one and a half year old daughter were also here with us. Their daughter had a blast playing with my sister and the boys too and we adults all had a nice time visiting, playing with the kids and laughing at their funny antics. Overall, it was a very fun time.

This morning my niece and her family left and I took my mom, sister and niece to the used bookstore I frequent. We all found some good books and got great deals. After that, they headed for home and it was nap time for the boys (and then the big thud).

The husband is now back in his office and I am getting ready to do some reading. I recently bought For the Sake of the Children by Susan Macaulay and I have been anxious to start reading it. I also bought three books that are guides for buying great books for children. They are: Honey for a Child's Heart by Gladys Hunt, The Book Tree; a Christian Reference for Children's Literature by Elizabeth McCallum and Jane Scott and Books that Build Character by William Kilpatrick and Gregory and Suzanne M. Wolfe. I am excited to start perusing these books also and to put together a master list of books and then I can be on the look out for them at the aforementioned used book store. I have a pretty good amount of credit built up there from trading in used books for which we no longer had any use so I will be able to put that to good use.

Can you believe Easter is already here? Time sure does fly by when you're having loads of fun, doesn't it? Happy Easter!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

March 19, 2008 Part 2

Yesterday, Ben called me by my husband's name again. I said, "that's not my name, that's daddy's name". Then I asked him "what's my name?". He said, with a cute grin, "mommy" and I said "What's my other name?" and he said, with an even cuter grin, "honey".

The kind of moment that just makes your heart melt:).

March 19, 2008

I once doubted that I would be able to have the patience to homeschool my children. I think God has really worked on me with that, although I am sure more work is yet to be done. There are some things that I seem to be able to do with the boys and to teach them and we do very very well at it. There are others that don't seem to go as smoothly. It could be a combination of who is tired or not feeling their best or just not in the mood to do something, etc. I am pretty sure that most homeschoolers deal with this type of thing on a regular basis. Sometimes we might not be in the mood to learn and sometimes we might not be in the mood to teach. I'm sure regular schools probably struggle with this too at times.
There are times where I have seen Nick take instruction from the dad easier than he had taken it from me a bit earlier. I was not sure if that was due to the way I approached it VS the way the dad approached it, the particular mood Nick was in at the time or just that he takes instruction from the dad easier than he does from me. I'm still not sure about that, although I do fine with teaching him sometimes. He is fiercely independent and wants to try to do everything without help. I have learned to back off, give him his space and wait until he asks for help on many things. And he does ask for help if he needs it.

As I said, I know God still has His work cut out, in making me what I need to be in order to be able to teach and instruct the boys. But I trust He will do it. He has already helped me become a more patient mom and, over time, He has fostered in me an excitement about teaching the boys new things and looking forward to learning myself. I think the excitement that I have about learning along with them will help them to enjoy learning more too.

Today we went to The Apple Tree and bought the ABC train floor puzzle that I was wanting to get for the boys. I also purchased a dot to dot book that I thought we might start trying to do a bit of sometime. I will start by creating my own, very simple, dot to dot pictures for the boys and then, when they get the hang of it, we will break out this book.

We also went to the grocery store today and bought a ton of groceries. My niece, her husband and their one and a half year old are coming to stay with us Thursday and Friday nights. My mom, sister and another niece will also be here, staying with us on Friday night. I am really looking forward to it and I know the boys will enjoy it. I spent the afternoon putting fresh sheets on the upstairs beds and now I am washing the ones I took off. I still need to do some dusting up there and clean up one of the bathrooms, but that won't take long and I will do it tomorrow.

We got some honey turkey at the grocery store and the boys both wanted a piece of it right away. They normally look forward to getting a cookie at the deli counter, so I was glad that they asked for the turkey instead today. When we got home, they each had half of a turkey sandwich, a baby tomato, some carrots, two strawberries and a couple of chips. They were really hungry! They went down for naps a little late so they are still sleeping.

Today is the husband's last day of his two week hospital duty. Whew! I'm glad that is over. This was the toughest one yet. He worked a lot of hours and several evenings he had to return to the hospital, after recently arriving home for the day. And most of that time, the boys and I all had bad colds. We are all feeling better but the husband may be coming down with it now. He has Friday off so it will be a nice, relaxing weekend and we will do some resting. We will also have a date night on Friday night, as my sister, niece and mom have offered to take care of the boys while we go out. I am looking forward to that. It's been a while and it will be good for us to get out.

I can't believe Easter is already here. The flowering trees here are all in bloom right now and it is so beautiful. I looked at all of the Easter stuff for kids at Walmart today and ended up deciding to get the boys these little $5 wheel barrows for their Easter gift. They don't need any more candy and they will enjoy pushing the wheel barrows around outside this summer. They love pushing their little lawn mower around outside, although they have issues sometimes with taking turns. They are getting better about it though. Today, as I was putting Ben's shoes on, getting ready to go shopping, Nick said to me 'Nick's turn'. So they are definitely getting the idea of taking turns now, thank goodness....not that they always want to do it but, you know, they are two:).

Yesterday we made a slide out of a cardboard box. I cut the box open so that it could lay flat on the floor and then I put pillows under it, thinking the boys would enjoy running their trucks and cars over it. They really liked it so we moved it to the library/playroom and put one end of it on the play table. I was still thinking it was for their trucks and cars. It wasn't long before the boys were sliding down it themselves. Turns out a small stool was sitting under it, right next to the table and was providing support, although when I checked it out, it didn't look as if it would be very comfortable for them, as they slid down. So I put some pillows around and on top of the small stool and it supported the slide even better. They have had such a blast, sliding down it in every direction they can think of, including head first on their bellies and backs and also while sitting backwards. They have also had fun sliding their trucks and cars and anything else they can think of down the slide and they were excited to show the dad, when he got home from work yesterday. It turned out to be a wonderful bit of entertainment during an otherwise cold, rainy day. But today it is sunny and warm so we will get outside to play this afternoon.

Monday, March 17, 2008

March 17, 2008

It's a rainy, cloudy kind of day today we are staying home and living life at toddler pace. The boys have still not shifted their wake up time along with the time change we had recently, so they are waking up around 8:00 or 8:15 am these days. They are still going down for their nap at around 1:00 pm and today they were asleep within 15 minutes. We are also still putting them down for bed around 8:00 pm and they normally go to sleep fairly quickly. I am surprised that they have not started waking up earlier, since they were waking up around 7:00 a or 7:15 am before the time change. The only thing I can think of is that maybe the colds have impacted their sleep requirements, although we are all well on our way to getting better, with me lagging behind a bit.

The boys always have oatmeal in the morning for breakfast, except Saturday, which is eggs and toast day. They always drink milk for breakfast and I mix their oatmeal with unsweetened applesauce, which they also love. Our ritual is that they each get two bites of applesauce before I dump the rest into the oatmeal (two is their favorite number these days; they want two of everything). They love their oatmeal and at bedtime they will ask "oatmeal?, eggs and toast?", so they know what to expect the next morning. Sometimes they ask that at nap time too, "oatmeal?, snack?". I think they like the consistently because it helps them understand what time of day it is and also what day of the week it is, to the extent they can understand it anyway. They know that the day we have eggs and toast is the day daddy normally stays home from work, the following day is the day dad serves their oatmeal and we go to church and the other days, mom serves their oatmeal and dad works.

When they are done eating, I put some sunscreen on Ben's face, where the surgical scar is healing, while he sings the alphabet with me. He knows a lot of it but not all of it. Some days we will count to 20 instead. He can count by himself up to around 13 or 14 but needs a little help after that. I have to wash Nick's face with a special mild, liquid soap, on a dry cloth so his face does not break out. He likes to count also, since brother does it. They are both counting very well these days. We count when we read certain counting books and also when we climb the stairs. They are getting lots of practice and they really enjoy it. Although Ben knows the alphabet, he does not know them in order very well yet, unless he is singing the song. Same for Nick, although he does not quite know the entire alphabet yet, but most of it. There is a floor puzzle I saw at The Apple Tree that makes a picture of a train, with each letter of the alphabet being a train car. I really want to get that one because I think it would help them to learn the order quickly, while having a lot of fun. They love puzzles.

After breakfast, I dressed the boys and changed their diapers. We used to do this before eating but, once they started having opinions of their own, they let me know they prefer to eat first, even though they are still in their all-night diaper. I think that's kind of yucky but they really prefer it so we go with it:). Then I cleaned up pj's, diapers and dirty dishes and did a bit of organizing, while the boys played.

I am feeling very disorganized with my 'stuff', which primarily includes homeschooling information (quickly growing), arts and crafts supplies and scrap booking supplies. I am definitely the type of person that has a place for everything and everything in it's place, for most things anyway. I still have one or two stacks of magazines and stuff around but, overall, I'm not much for clutter in my house. The exception to that rule is the husband's office, as he is a bit of a clutter bug at times and that is his space to do with as he pleases. I think if I were to design and build my own house, I would have more room for an 'office' type of area in my kitchen for me. We do have a small desk in the kitchen with some storage above it but it is very small. So I am cleaning out another area for this purpose and also need to organize some of the shelves in the library/playroom a bit better for the arts and crafts type of stuff.

The boys played very well together this morning. I helped them put two old bibs on some teddy bears and they spent some time serving their bears breakfast, playing with trucks and trains, looking at books and playing with the phonics/alphabet toy I bought them recently. I only had to help them a couple of times, when Nick wanted to trade a toy ("brother, trade?") and Ben did not ("no thank you"). Anytime this happens, the child who wants to trade does not want to accept "no thank you" as a response and will keep asking "brother, trade?" over and over, while pushing the toy to be traded towards the other child. The other child will keep saying "no" or sometimes "no, thank you" over and over and will keep pushing the toy back. The one who wants to trade will inevitably end up in a bad way; Nick typically will become more aggressive and will either throw something or will take the toy he wanted. Ben will typically start throwing a big fit, crying, yelling or whining, or all three:). Today it was Nick who was wanting to trade.

I have tried handling this in a multitude of ways, none which seem to have worked well so far. The last two times this has happened (this morning and yesterday evening) were both Nick wanting to trade. I went to him before things got out of control, picked him up, sat down with him and talked it out. I would not let him get down until his attitude had changed. This seemed to work the best out of everything I have tried to date, which was nice. The situation was de-escalated and everyone ended up happier in the end, including me. Plus, hopefully some of 'the talk' hopefully sunk in and Nick is starting to better understand that sometimes you don't get to have everything that you want and you have to learn how to adjust to that gracefully and move on.

Overall, the boys are playing together better and better. I have even noticed times lately where they will go off and each play by themselves for a period of time. This is not something they have done much in the past really. They usually followed each other around and at least played near each other, if they were not playing with each other.

After the boys played and I organized, it was snack time. The boys ate yogurt and I had an apple, which they wanted part of also. They are into eating yogurt right now because they like to eat it from the cup and try to stir it themselves. They are so into doing things themselves now. It is really cute and it is amazing how much they can do once you take the time to show them a couple of times. They are such quick learners. Another big thing right now is that they like to get their own ice and water from the door of the fridge. They need help to do it without making a big mess but they enjoy trying and I'm sure they will get the hang of it soon enough. They can do it better if they remember to pull over a stool so they can reach it better. I'll have to work on this with them.

After snack time, we read books for about an hour or hour and a half. They just kept getting one book after another and I just kept reading. They actually sat and listened to a couple of readings today that were longer than our normal reading. We have a bunch of Winnie the Pooh books that my sister gave us. They have always enjoyed looking at the pictures but there are quite a few words on each page so they normally won't sit and listen to more than a couple of pages. Today, they sat and listened to the entire story of "Oh bother! Someone won't share!" and they really got into it. Sometimes I have to stop and explain a word or repeat a sentence in words where they understand it but I can tell their vocabulary is really expanding quickly from some of the books we have been reading. I also read to them from The Beginner's Bible today, which also has quite a few words on a page and has been too much for them until today. We read a couple of stories from this Bible today and they listened really well.

When we read the Pooh book, I would stop and ask them questions to see how much they were really understanding it. I have read this is a great thing to do so I try to do it on a regular basis an the normally surprise me at how much they really understand. I read once that toddlers probably understand about twice of what people normally expect or think they understand. I think this has helped me a lot of having higher expectations of them, although they often still end up surprising me.

After reading, it was time for lunch. I normally give them two choices from which to choose. Today was peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or veggie beef soup. They chose sandwiches so they each had a half a sandwich, along with some raw carrots, some frozen peas and milk. They love frozen peas and it is good for fine tuning their fine motor skills, as they eat them with their fingers.

After lunch, they played while I cleaned up the kitchen and then it was about time to start cleaning up toys before nap time. We always do clean up time before nap and bed time and the boys are very used to the routine and they usually help with a very nice attitude. Then it is time for a change of diaper and up the stairs to nap time.

This was our very pleasant morning and now I am taking a break and writing this post.
One of the boys (sounds like Ben) just woke up and I can hear him over the monitor singing the 'I Dig Dirt' song. They love this song and sing it all the time, even though they have only seen the video maybe a half dozen times. I don't hear him anymore so I think he went back to sleep. They should sleep until around 3:00ish, although sometimes on dark, cloudy days like today, they will sleep until 3:30 or 4:00.

Did I mention that I love love love being a stay at home mom?

Thursday, March 13, 2008

March 13, 2008

The boys are napping and I am trying to get some much needed rest, as I am definitely feeling this cold today. They played very well together most of the time this morning, so that was nice.

Last night was interesting and a bit unusual for us. The boys have always been such great sleepers. I still have only had to go up to them at night once each during the year-plus that they have been home. Last night we were in bed, falling asleep, when I heard Ben on the monitor. I listened to him for a little while and he was still sleeping, but it was a fitful sleep and he kept crying/whining every once in a while. He and I are both on the same track with our cold so I thought maybe his head was hurting or he was feeling achy.

I went up to him, to give him a little ibuprofen and had to wake him up to do it. As soon as he woke up, he said 'downstairs?'. That's what he always says:). Anyway, I gave him the medicine but noticed that he was too hot and that may have been part of why he was sleeping so fitfully.

This is a difficult time of year for keeping the temps comfortable in our house. The upstairs experiences rapid, wide swings in temps, as it is cold at night and pretty warm during the day. The downstairs is not quite so volatile but we still have to switch back and forth between using heat at night and air conditioning during the day, since none of our windows on the first floor are of a type that open. Isn't that strange? The other strange thing about this house is that it does not have any linen closets. Very strange.

Anyway, I turned on the air upstairs to cool down the boys room for just 10 minutes or so. I knew from experience that it would cool down very very quickly so I had to be careful to watch the time. I went back to bed to wait for about 10 or 15 minutes. I had not been in bed for more than 5 or so minutes when Nick started to cry.

I don't know what it is about a mom's intuition but you just know your kids and you can tell by their cry when they really need you. I ran back upstairs, thinking that their room might have gotten cold faster than I realized. Ben tends to be hot natured and Nick tends to be a bit more cold natured. I found Nick, lying in his crib without his PJ's. He was just in his diaper so when the air came on, it did not take very long before he was freezing. He was shaking and shivering and was not a happy camper. Ben was still awake and sitting up in his crib at this point.

I picked up Nick and his PJ's and his PJ's were wet, which was strange. The boys like to have a little drink of water before going to bed so I guess he must have spilled his and I didn't realize it. Either he did not want to wear wet PJ's or he got hot...either way, he decided to take them off and then he fell asleep.

I had to run downstairs to get another pair of PJ's out of the dryer:). It was clear he was going to throw a fit if I put him back into his bed, so I grabbed his blanket and wrapped it around him so I could take him with me. I knew Ben would throw a fit when we left him so I gave him my flashlight to play with. I keep it next to my bed so that if I have to go upstairs to check on the boys during the night, I don't have to turn on the hall lights. If I turn on the hall lights, they can see it around their door and they will wake up. Anyway, it worked like a charm and Ben was happily playing with the flashlight when we returned from downstairs.

Another strange thing was that Nick decided he was hungry, as we walked through the kitchen to get to the laundry room. So I got him a small piece of bread and he was once again a happy little camper. We sat in the rocking chair in their room while he ate his bread and Ben played with the flashlight. Then I let them both have another small drink of water before going back to bed.

This all happened around 10:30 or 11:00. The dad was sound asleep by the time I got back to our room. That man can sleep through anything. I wish I could do that. I'm such a light sleeper.

I am currently reading a book called Teaching the Trivium, Christian Homeschooling in a Classical Style. It is a pretty good book. I am hoping to combine some of this book with The Well Trained Mind and that will make up the majority of our homeschooling methodology....not that we will do everything these books say but it will make a pretty good straw man to start with. After reading so many homeschooling blogs and reading about the experiences of other homeschoolers, I am sure we will make modifications to our methodology as time goes on, keeping what works and changing what doesn't. Right now, the classical style really makes a lot of sense to me. We'll see if the planning and actual practice match up as well as I hope it will.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

March 12, 2008

The latest thing that the boys are doing that is just cracking me up is they call me 'honey' or by my husband's name, when they are trying to get my attention. I'll be doing something, sometimes sitting right next to one of them and one of them will say 'hooooonnnnnnneeeeeeeeyyyyy'. Every time I hear this I crack up laughing, which is why it is repeated so often I'm sure.

And they will also call me by my husband's name and I will tell them 'that's daddy's name'. 'My name is Lea'. They repeat 'Lea' but it does not quite sink in, I guess because they hear me calling my husband 'honey' or by his name. They see it works to get his attention so I guess they think it will work for me too.

Ben, Nick and I all have colds and are coughing. Ben and I are just coming down with it and Nick is further along but his cough sounds worse. I have been blowing my nose and wiping their noses all morning long. But we are still managing to have some fun.

Yesterday I found an old Target gift card with $10 on it, or at least that's how much I thought it had on ended up having $24:). It was a gift for the boys so I decided to take them to Target yesterday and get them a little something. We got a play dough set that has a rolling pin, several cookie cutter things and a couple of things that you squeeze to mash the dough through into funny shapes. The boys love it and I have been having fun with it too. We did this yesterday and today.

One of the things I love about being a mom is being able to play again:). It really is a lot of fun to hang out with them and play with them. Yesterday I showed them how to play grocery store with their shopping carts and cash register. I found some old cards, such as an old Babies-R-Us gift card, my old Texas drivers license and a couple of other old cards for them to pretend with (we always use a debit card to pay for most things so the boys hardly ever see cash). They will give me a card and I will pretend that I am swiping it and pushing some buttons. Then I will tell them 'that will be $10 Mr. Pisarik', 'have a nice day'. They love this and want to do it over and over again. Then they will try to say the same thing and it is quite funny....they get the 'nice day' part pretty clear but they really butcher our last name. We also have some small bags (that can't fit over their heads:) for them to bag their groceries. They have had quite a fun time with this. I was actually looking for some small wallets for them at Target but they didn't have any pretend ones. I am thinking of looking at the dollar store and see what they might have. We played this for quite a while yesterday and played it again for a little while today too.

Yesterday we also went to the mall and they played on the little indoor playground for about an hour before we went to Target. We ate at Target because I was running late and it would have been very late by the time we got back home, to eat and get the boys down for their naps.

Today we played with the play dough set again and we spent some time talking about colors, shapes, numbers, letters, large/small, big/little, etc. We each colored the 'blue' page from our coloring book. It is a page with the word 'blue' on it and you are suppose to color everything on the page blue. So we each did this and then we hung our work on the fridge. They really enjoyed that. Ben already knows a ton of his colors but Nick is still learning them. They both need practice at holding a crayon or pencil though, so it is good for them both.

Yesterday I had the bright idea to surprise the boys when they woke up from their nap. We have a fairly large Rokenbok set that was given to us by my sister (it was my nephew's). So I spent all of the time they were napping getting this stuff out, organizing it, building the ramps and stuff and just generally trying to get everything to work right. It comes with a bunch of little red and blue balls and we have 5 of the vehicles that can do various things with the balls (a front loader/dump truck that can scoop them up, put them in the back and then dump them out, a street-cleaner looking truck that can vacuum the balls up and dump them out, a plow for moving the balls around and two others that I can't think of right now). Anyway, it is quite a production and it was a very expensive set that a bunch of us went in together to buy for my nephew when he was younger. Needless to say, the boys were very excited about the whole thing, although one of the controllers was not working so they could only play one at a time. You use a controller, much like a controller on the Xbox or whatever TV game you might have seen in the past, to remote-control move the vehicles around. You can use the controller to switch vehicles also and you can have up to four people and up to eight vehicles, if everything is working right.

This did not turn out to be such a wise decision. You see, the guidelines for Rokenbok indicates that it is for 5 to 6 year olds and I am sure they say that for a good reason, in retrospect. I don't know why I do things like this because it always backfires. The boys did have fun with it but we had to supervise every moment because they were doing things with the vehicles and controllers that they were not meant to do and we were afraid they would break them. I ended up having to put it all away, but not until the dad had gotten home and seen this fun toy. He was pretty excited about it, enough so that he found two used controllers on eBay, bid on them and won! So, when the boys are a bit older, they can both play with it with the dad (or me!) at the same time and I know they will have loads of fun.

I was exhausted after getting all of this stuff out, setting it up, supervising, making dinner, cleaning up and then breaking it all down again and putting it all away. It was a lot of work but I'm glad my husband got to see it. I think he will enjoy playing with it with the boys in another couple of years.

I keep meaning to post some pictures but I just have not taken the time to do it. Below are some, although I left my camera at my dad's so I won't be taking any more pics for a while.

I think the boys had seen someone do this and decided to imitate (of course). It is so cute how they just come up with some of this kind of stuff and you didn't even realize they had picked it up.

I ended up throwing out this potty book, as I think it goes into too much detail on body parts. We have two other potty books that are less detailed but sufficient to get the idea across.

 The boys love to play in our master bathroom bathtub, even when it doesn't have water in it. They are probably making 'cocky' (coffee) :).

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

March 11, 2008

I woke up this morning feeling like I am getting a sore throat. Based on how Ben has been sounding lately, I have a feeling that he and I both might be getting Nick's cold. Hopefully this will be our last for this winter, since it is starting to warm up here during the day.

Yesterday I heard the woodpecker again, for the first time this year. He was drilling on the metal thing on top of our chimney, which makes a very loud noise in our living room. I went outside and yelled at him and he flew away. I think we need to get a fake owl to put up somewhere near our chimney.

Well, so far, our potty training interest is really going nowhere. Nick wants to sit on the potty when HE wants to sit on the potty, which is usually around the time we are preparing to go down for nap or bedtime. Ben seems to think we need to get a second potty chair, so he can have one of his own. He has mentioned it to me a time or two now. Nick has yet to actually go potty in the potty chair. If he happened to do this once, he might decide he wants to try more often but, so far, it has not happened. It is not likely to happen at the rate we are going now, since he usually wants to sit after we change his diaper from already having used the bathroom in his diaper.

A couple of times around the time when I think he might need to go, I have asked him if he wants to sit on the potty but he says no. How do you get them interested in wanting to sit on the potty often enough and long enough to actually go? I certainly don't want to turn him against it by making him. What do you do to get them to want to sit on the potty when you think they might actually be ready to go?

I continue to hear new words from the boys every day and their sentences are getting longer. Ben is so funny. He walks around talking to himself a lot, which cracks me up. He also has this thing about tearing things up. His latest attack has been on the train set. Two days in a row, he has pulled up parts of the train tracks. They were glued down with a glue gun so they are not that easy to pull up but he seems to think this is a personal challenge for him. I am hoping God will show me sometime soon something positive that will come from this tendency to want to tear up things, as it can be somewhat annoying. It's a good thing he is so cute!

The latest new word I heard was 'empty', as Ben showed his empty cup to the dad at the dinner table and said 'daddy, empty'. They come up with new words so often that I frequently don't notice but I was paying attention and caught this one. I had heard them repeat this word when I said it but this was the first time one of them used it on his own. I am still in awe of how quickly and efficiently they learn new words and learn to speak....can you tell? I don't know why this amazes me so but it does.

They are both counting pretty well these days. Ben can count to 10 easily and is now in the early stages of learning 11, 12, etc. Nick is getting pretty good at counting to 10 now too, although he sometimes misses 7. They both have issues with being able to actually count 10 of something on a page in a book, such as 10 sheep. They do pretty well up to 4 or 5 but then they start missing some unless you point to each one for them. I need to see how they would do with counting things they could actually hold in their hands, such as pegs or something like that.

We are also still working on learning what each letter 'says', although I have not spent much time on this yet. So far, I am just letting them play with the phonics thing on the fridge and the new phonics game I bought for them. We'll see how much they learn from that first. I think Ben will pick it up quickly, since he plays with these things more but Nick seems to follow fairly quickly after Ben with these types of things. They still have a ton of time to learn this so we are not in any hurry.

I have been working with them on words like huge, tiny, large, small, big, little, in front of, behind, top, bottom, on top of, underneath, etc. They already knew several of these words/phrases from just playing with toys or searching for lost toys. I think they pretty much know all of these now.

I am going to take down the learning poster I had put up, as we don't really use it and Ben likes to pull it apart. We seem to be covering everything on it and more in an informal manner that is working so we don't seem to need it for now.

The other day, I made them some yogurt ice pops. I thought this would be a huge hit but it kind of fell flat. They were interested and they ate some of it but it was too cold for them to eat very much of it I think. Maybe this summer. It does make for a pretty good, fairly healthy treat though.

I really need to do more with them to develop more strength in their little fingers, as they cannot hold a pencil or crayon very well. Nick especially tends to hold it with his whole hand, rather than with his fingers. I have heard that getting safe, kid friendly tweezers for them to play with is a great way to do this but I have not found any of them yet. I may have to go on a search mission just for this purpose.

The boys had been waking up around 7:00am but now, with the time change, that means they are waking up around 8:00am again. I had kind of gotten used to them waking up earlier. They are still going to bed at 8:00 and they are taking a pretty good nap (usually 2 to 3 hours). Of course, Nick has been sick and Ben sounds like he might be getting sick so maybe they need a bit more sleep now. I was going to take them to the mall to play yesterday morning but they were so cranky I decided not too. We may go today, depending on how everyone is feeling.

They will be ready to get up soon so I had better get my act together. What I would really like to do right now is go back to sleep.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

March 8, 2008

We had fun at the Easter egg hunt. Thankfully it was indoors, since it was pretty cold here that day but we did avoid the snow and sleet this time.

Yesterday the boys and I went to see my grandmother and then on to see 'Papa and Mimi'. My sister met us at my grandmother's and then we followed her to my dad's. We all had a great time. The boys really enjoyed themselves. It was my dad's birthday so that made it extra special. Nick and Ben got to blow out the candles on his birthday cake, which they enjoyed. And we ate and ate and ate.

On our way home, Nick was asleep within about 10 minutes or less. Ben took a little longer but not much. Unfortunately, this was their only nap of the day and it is only a little over an hour drive so they did not have a very long nap. We met the dad at my chiropractor's office and traded cars and he took the boys home while I went to my appointment. The boys were awake and all seemed fine when I said goodbye to them.

I was home maybe an hour and half later (or less) and Nick was showing signs of having the croup and was getting worse quickly. It was shocking how quickly he appeared to come down with it. The doctor dad hung out with Nick in the steamy bathroom, with the hot shower running, a couple of times but it really did not seem to help much. We thought we would be up with him all night. I heard him around midnight or 1:00, coughing and crying a little, so I woke up the dad. By the time we got to the top of the stairs, Nick had gone back to sleep. It took the dad about an hour to go back to sleep and it took me longer than that, but I'm not sure how long. I heard Nick again around 4:00am but he seemed to stay asleep that time. I could not go back to sleep for a while though. I also woke up at around 1:00 the night before and did not go back to sleep until around 4:00.

So, we are lacking sleep around here a bit today. I am hoping the boys will take a long far, so good. The dad is doing his two week stint on hospital duty as of this past Thursday so no days off for two weeks straight. He only works about a half a day on Saturdays and Sundays but it really makes for a long two weeks. He only has to do this about once every three months though so that's not too bad really.
Anyway, Nick was still croupy today so we spent time this morning doing things that keep us a bit more still and quiet than normal. We did play dough and colored and read books and did puzzles and stuff like that. It worked out pretty well but we were all ready for nap time, when the time came. I am hoping that Ben doesn't get it but won't be surprised if he does, since they drink after each other constantly. I'm guessing that Nick got this from MOPS on Tuesday. The timing is right and, since he is a thumb sucker, he catches things easier in those types of environments. I am very glad it is not the flu though. So far, we have avoided that, thankfully.

As for those sleepless nights, I don't mind them as much these days as I once did. I have decided that sometimes these are the only times that God can really get my attention and tell me some things so it is a very useful bit of time when it happens:).

Cute boys happenings:

We were driving yesterday and the boys were in their car seats in the back and I was listening to them. They were holding hands and closing their eyes and Nick would pretend to pray and then he would say "kisses" and make the kissing sound and then he would make the snoring sound, like he was asleep. Ben was just cracking up laughing. He thought it was so funny. I thought it was pretty funny too. Very cute.

Also, I had a nice surprise waiting for me when I went to get them up yesterday morning. Nick had taken off his PJ pants and his diaper and had wet his crib. He was laying in it and everything smelled like pee. I had to give him a bath and wash all of his bedding. His diaper was laying on the floor and still had the duct tape on it:). He has figured out how to push it down like underwear so the duct tape does not help much with him now. The diaper was dry, so I have a feeling that he might have slept without it all night. Isn't that fun?! It's a good thing that their room is pretty warm at night.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

March 5, 2008 Part 2

Nick is now very into taking off and putting on his pants and taking off his diaper and sitting on the potty chair. He started this without any prompting or encouragement from me. I give appropriate amounts of praise for his interest and efforts, although he has yet to do anything in the potty. I am just waiting for the moment that he uses the potty chair for the first time because it will sing a song and he will be quite surprised.

I actually bought some pull ups today so that he can take them off and on by himself. They turn green when he pees in them but he still denies that he did so:). I saw him looking kind of surprised as he looked down at himself. He had peed in his pull up for the first time and I am guessing that it probably feels different than a diaper. I have heard they don't pull the wetness away as much, so they will feel it and know they are wetting their pants.

We were planning to go on an Easter egg hunt tomorrow but I think we are suppose to get some nasty weather so we may not be going. If we stay at home, maybe he will get to actually do something in his potty for the first time. It seems that the only time he wants to sit on his potty and try is when he really doesn't need to go. I'm OK with this, as I am just following his lead for now and letting him sit there when he wants.

I have a feeling that he might potty train quickly once he finally starts actually doing something in the potty. He sure shows tons of interest. He reads books while sitting on his potty. Although, he also does not seem to mind being in a wet diaper, so he may have a ways to go yet. Sometimes he does not want to be in a poopy diaper but sometimes he does not care.

I really had no intention whatsoever of starting this until the weather warmed up....and I'm really not starting it. I'm just letting him do what he wants to do and watching to see what happens, for now. So far, Ben shows very little interest. He likes sitting on the potty in his clothes sometimes but not for very long. He wanted to wear a pull up like Nick but I told him pull ups are for when he wants to start sitting on the potty without pants and a diaper. He did not object, ask again or want to sit on the potty. He just went on about his business and did not seem to care.

We'll see what tomorrow brings.

March 5, 2008

We continue to be very busy around here, so much so that I relish the days when we can just stay home all day and take life slower.

Yesterday was MOPS. Part of our area had ice and a bit of snow so the turn out was down compared to our normal MOPS crowd. My friend with whom we have had several play dates with her son (and the baby son:) was there and we invited our new friend with the twin girls and they were there. There was another mom at our table, me and our table leader. We had a nice visit, good food, watched an interesting video, talked about our table discussion questions and did a fun little craft. I invited the other three moms and their children over for a play date next week. This will be our biggest play date ever and I am really looking forward to it. I think the kids will have fun and the mom's will enjoy getting to know each other a bit more. Hopefully it will be a pretty day and the kids will be able to play outdoors part of the time.

This afternoon we have an appointment to have our dryer fixed. It is still working but it makes an extremely loud noise, to the point that I'm almost afraid to use it. The laundry is piling up so hopefully it will get fixed today. Tomorrow we have an Easter egg hunt. This will be the first Easter egg hunt for the boys. I think they will really enjoy it. Hopefully the weather will be nice. We are at that time of year when it can be 75 and sunny one day and sleeting and snowing the next, which happened just this week, so you just never know what it's going to do next.

We have our time change coming up this weekend. I think it will work out nicely for us because the boys have been waking up a bit earlier and earlier as time has gone by so this will put them right back on schedule to what they used to do, at least for a little while.

They are so funny. Yesterday I was vacuuming and they would run to the bookshelf, grab a bunch of books, run to their tent, which is still set up in the dad's office, and sit and look at their books. Every time I turned off the vacuum to move something or relocate to a different outlet, they thought I was done and they would cheer 'yay mommy!'. It was so funny. They still point to light bulbs that the dad changed out a couple of months ago and say 'yay daddy!'.

The other thing that is big right now is the word 'be'. They will point to something that is up high, such as a balloon or something, and say 'mommy, balloon be up high', in a very excited voice. Or when the dad puts one of them on his shoulders, they will say 'be tall' or 'be up high' or something like that. I am not sure where this came from but it is quite funny. I normally just repeat their sentence in the correct way. I have to repeat everything they say anyway or they won't quit saying it:).

They are talking so much these days. I am actually starting to hear complete sentences here and there. I have to work to understand them though, since they are not quite put together right but they certainly get their message across. Ben especially loves the new little toy that I recently bought with my birthday money that helps them learn the alphabet and play letter games.

Nick is very into removing clothing and wanting to sit on the potty chair right now. I am just going with the flow and letting him sit on it when he wants. He normally has his PJ's off, when I come in to get them in the morning and he frequently takes off his pants when he is running around the house and sometimes he tries taking off his diaper too. He knows how to pull his pants up by himself now, if he is wearing sweat pants or some other type of pants with an elastic waistband.

They continually surprise me on what they will eat. They really like tomatoes, carrots, baby spinach and regatta cheese in their salad and sometimes we throw in some fruit too. They like mushrooms and will now eat a hamburger with everything on it. Nick actually picked up onions that had fallen off his burger and ate them. He would kind of make a funny face but he kept eating them anyway. I have found some really good mixed frozen veggies, that come with some sauce/spices type of packages to put on them at Sam's and they are really good. They have red peppers in them and the boys love them.

They are awake and calling me now so I must run. More later. I am way overdue for posting a bunch of pictures.