Monday, August 25, 2008

August 25, 2008

A funny thing happened in the bathroom this morning. As all mom's of small children know, it is pretty much impossible to go to the bathroom without company during these days of toddlerhood. So today I went to the bathroom and, just after I sat down, Ben came in, pulled up a small stool and said, with a big grin, "Let's talk." That was a first and I couldn't help but laugh. I said "OK, what would you like to talk about?" and he said, with another big grin, "Porcupine."

This is such a cute age:). The boys are so much fun. I love to watch them play together. They are really enjoying each other these days, when they are not aggravating each other:). Three times now I have heard one of them (usually Nick) ask the other one (usually Ben), "Can I play/sit/read with you?" and the response was "Yes, please." I just heard it again this morning when Ben was getting up in a chair to play with this Leapfrog alphabet toy and Nick asked if he could play too. I love hearing them be nice and sweet to each other.

Favorite things to play these days are:

bus - lining up the tall chairs for the island, bringing along some stuff animals or the boy dolls that Aunt Kathy gave them, one of them (usually Ben) with the little steering wheel toy that makes noises like a big truck. If Nick gets the steering wheel first, Ben just can't stand it. Eventually Nick usually gives in and gives it to Ben and then everything is once again peaceful. This happened just today and, once Nick gave the toy to Ben, Ben said "I so happy now!".

shopping - they take their shopping carts and drive them around the house, pretending to shop for groceries or other things. They also like for me to write out a grocery list for each of them sometimes.

driving - they frequently pretend they are driving their trikes, 'bike' or big truck to the grocery store, Home Depot, Sam's Club, daddy's office or to Aunt Kathy and Mama's house. This can keep them busy for quite some time. They will also take other toys or animals along with them sometimes. They are getting better at pedaling now and they practice this while they are driving to where ever they happen to be going. They always tell me, multiple times, "goodbye" or "see you later".

trucks - they enjoy getting all of their matchbox-size cars and trucks and playing with them on the couch. They make mountains and valleys from the cushions and pillows and they have a ball.

trains - they enjoy playing with their train table and have started putting together long lines of trains and moving them around the tracks.

dress up - they dress up in the dad's old ties, any hats that happen to be laying around and their policeman, fireman and cowboy dress up clothes and they pretend to ride horses or motorcycles.

cooking - they love pretending they are cooking up all kinds of foods and then bringing them for me or anyone else who happens to be here to taste.

other - they also enjoy coloring, cutting, pasting, painting and putting together puzzles.

outside - they love being outside, although we have not been out quite as much lately. Now that it has cooled down a bit, we will start getting out every day again. They love playing in the water (pool, hose, sprinkler, spray bottles, etc.), in their sand box, on their swing set/slide, with their wagon, and with all of the other little push and ride on toys. They enjoy digging in the dirt and playing mud pies, coloring with chalk on the sidewalks and blowing bubbles. I have been wanting to get them this for quite a while now. The dad just agreed yesterday that we could go ahead and get it but now I can't find the deal I had found before so I don't know what I am going to do now. I'm thinking about it but I think it might be a good thing to have, since we will be homeschooling and they can't really ride bikes around here safely. We really need to have some things they can do to get some good exercise. I'll have to think about it some more though.

In other news, Ben has had a few accidents lately. I think it is confusing for him because we use pull ups when we go to church and some other places where bathrooms may not be easily available. We are back to square one with Nick. He is now wearing diapers again and he is very happy about it. He wants to lay down for his diaper change and will say "I baby". Not sure what this is all about but he has clearly regressed and is enjoying it. I thought he might refuse to wear the diaper and want to start going to the bathroom like a big boy but NOT. I guess he is just not ready yet. I have no doubt that he can do it if he wants to. He just gets busy playing and does not want to stop to go to the bathroom. Ben will say "I big boy" and I praise him for going to the potty. But today, after he had had an accident, he said he wanted to wear a diaper. I did not let him and I told him he is a big boy and knows how to use the potty and he seemed OK with it. It is a difficult situation, since they are so close in age but I am not ready to go back to square one with both of them. He is normally pretty good about it though. I think I will retrain Nick after he turns three and the holidays are over, unless he shows interest again before then.

Our friends from Kansas City are coming to visit for Labor Day weekend. I am so looking forward to seeing them. The kids will have a ball together and it will be nice to catch up with my friend. We are also planning a short vacation sometime in September, although the details are still a bit fuzzy. It will be nice to get away though. It's been a long time.

Naps these days are getting shorter and shorter. I am lucky if I get an hour to an hour and a half for a break. I miss my breaks, although I am thankful the boys are playing together more these days. They are also very funny and fun to hang out with but I am not getting done all that I need to get done. They are napping now but not for long.

I must get busy now. Sorry I am not updating as much these days. With the shorter naps, too many things to do on my list and all of the election news to keep up with, I don't have much time left for updating now days. I have more pictures to post but will have to do it later. See ya!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

August 17, 2008 Part 3

The dad took these pictures. The boys are still in their P.J.'s so this must have been in the morning. Not sure where I was at the time but they were having fun.

Pretending to drive a bus.

I have no idea what the attraction is to sitting under the table while eating a snack. They are waiting for me to be ready to go somewhere and, for some reason, this is a popular thing to do these days. If you look closely, you can see that they are holding hands and Nick has his eyes closed and is praying.

Dancer was sitting in this basket and Nick decided that he wanted to sit with him. I was surprised that Dancer hung around for this close-up attention from Nick but I think Dancer really likes Nick most of the time.

This is my nephew, reading to Ben, as Ben is dressed up in his police uniform. They are starting to really get into the dress-up thing now days.

And here is a picture of my sister, with Nick on her back and Ben standing on her legs, as she crawls around the room giving a horse ride. Ben was pulling her pants down and he is quite heavy so I am sure he did not feel too good on her legs. She is quite the trooper:)!

Here is one of our painting sessions. Ben and I were using paint brushes. Nick was using his fingers and paint brushes.

This is the fish I painted this time.

Here are the yummy muffins I made. We ate them while they were still warm, while we were painting. They are chocolate chip, banana walnut muffins:). (must have chocolate!)

Here is Ben, just as his new black eye was starting to emerge. You can still see the bruise on top of his scar too.

One day we just got out a bunch of craft supplies and started gluing and coloring. The boys had fun but I did not have any crafty ideas that we could make. Now I have this book so we will have good projects for a while.

Ben got caught up in the spider web I made:).

And here is the spider.

Unfortunately, none of this was any where near toddler proof so it didn't last very long. Oh well, back to the drawing board.

August 17, 2008 Part 2

I'm back from nap duty and have thought of a couple more things I want to document.

Ben thinks he is so funny these days. He will do something, laugh at himself and say "I funny!", with a great big smile. He cracks me up. Other things he says a lot these days is "mommy, come see!" and "you like it?". He is still stuck on this porcupine thing and, most of the time, that is the answer to the question "what would you like to eat for breakfast/lunch?". It is also the answer to any question to which he does not know the answer and it is normally accompanied by his big, beautiful smile.

Ben has this thing about computers. He just can't seem to resist pushing buttons, even though he knows it is a no no. Today, I caught him (again) playing with the dad's computer and I disciplined him for it, as he knows very well will happen in this situation. I was holding him afterwards and he said "I turn three, I computer, I turn three". I cracked up laughing. He knows that when he turns three he gets to start watching a little tv so I guess he thought he might also try for a computer of his own. He wants one "like daddy's" because, as he says, "I wike it best". I saw a Leap Frog type letter/phonics-learning thing at the homeschooling consignment store yesterday for $10 and I almost bought it. It opens up like a computer and it has a small (very small) screen in the part that folds down. It also has a keyboard of sorts so it looks very much like a laptop. I know he would love this thing and now I'm wishing I would have bought it. I'll have to go back over there sometime and see if they still have it or something similar. His birthday is at the end of September so it will be here before we know it.

This morning at breakfast, Nick said "I want milk please". Both boys are doing very well with their pleases and thank you's, although they are still learning when to use want, would like, etc.

It is so funny having toddlers because, one day, you are suddenly hit square between the eyes with something you have been saying all the time but you never realized you said it that much. The word that recently hit me in the eyes is "need". Suddenly, out of the blue, both boys started saying "I need that", "I need to..." or "but I neeeeeeed it", etc. to me and to each other. It really cracked me up because it made me realize how often I tell them they need to do so and so or I need to do so and so. Very funny. The other popular thing to say now, if things are not going just the way one of them wants it too, is "I so sad". This is usually Nick's saying and he says it with so much inflection and meaning in his voice that it just takes everything I have in me not to crack up laughing, especially since it is usually said about something really funny, like the cat does not want Nick's display of affection, or Nick does not get his way about something he wants. Very funny. I really love it that they can communicate so well now. It is so much fun. I frequently tell them that they are two of my favorite people in the whole wide world. So now they will sometimes, out of the blue, say "mommy, whole wide world". Very cute. Nick is especially very affectionate these days. He is definitely our little touchy-feely guy but Ben does not appreciate it much when Nick is touchy-feely-huggy with him. On the other hand, Ben does need a lot of hugs and holdings at various times too.

In other news, the dad is working on finishing up the master bathroom floor, from the tiling project. He is still doing hospital duty, rounds every morning, on-call until 6:00pm weekdays and all night on Sat/Sun...or something like that. We have had a lot of things interfere with finishing up the bathroom floor, most significantly the dad's recent hospitalization. But he has it almost finished. He has put all the baseboards back up, the nail holes are caulked and he is now doing the final touch-up painting and some final caulking. He has done a beautiful job and the tile looks really nice. He really pays attention to the details and does a wonderful job. We are both very pleased with the tile that we picked. It ended up looking very nice in our bathroom.

I have a list of things that I need to finish but I can't seem to spend enough time on any one thing to be able to mark it off my (mental) list. I really need to write down my list, as I might be more focused and be able to accomplish more that way. I am still working on analyzing our grocery bill and we still have more work to do on our budget. I am still working on lifebooks for the boys and am feeling very guilty that I am not further along. At some point soon, I will need to start shopping for fall clothes for the boys, as I am sure nothing from last year will fit them. There are many of other things on my list of to-do's but those are my top priorities right now.

Pictures to come. Happy Sunday!

August 17, 2008 little time. There is not enough time in a day to do all of the fun things that there are to do these days.

The boys and I have been having a great time lately. After receiving some great advice from an experienced homeschooling mom and also reading the articles on this site:, I have changed my philosophy on my homeschooling approach for preschool...or maybe it is that I have finally come to a conclusion regarding my homeschooling approach for preschool. Either way, it is a good thing.

Most (pretty much all:) people that I know who have children 3 to 4 years old are sending their kids to preschool one, two or three days a week. So, I started really feeling some pressure (from myself!) to start 'doing preschool' at home a couple of days a week. I kept thinking about it and pondering it and wondering if I should start this but, after the advice and the articles I mentioned above I am no longer putting pressure on myself about this.

Our approach with preschool homeschooling is that we are pretty much not going to do it:). What we will do is lots and lots of reading, cutting, coloring, reading, running, jumping, skipping (once they learn how:), reading, painting, playing with playdough and modeling clay, reading, going to the zoo, museums, parks, the library, reading, etc.....pretty much what we have already been doing:). Doesn't that sound like fun?

I am really excited and having fun with the boys again, now that I am no longer worried about 'doing preschool' at home. The really neat thing about it is that I finally realized that we were already doing all of the things we need to be doing and we just need to keep doing it. We need to do more field trips type things (zoo, museums, library, etc.) but, other than that, we are doing great and the boys are learning all kinds of things along the way.

We are really getting into the painting thing lately. I really enjoy it a lot and could spend a lot more time doing it if the boys had longer attention spans. Yesterday I visited the local homeschool consignment store and got some great deals on some simple art books. One of them shows great examples of some simple things to make with finger paints. Another one shows some great things to make with playdough, which will be very fun. The third one has lots of great projects, from drawing and coloring to painting and also making crafts. We are going to have a great time with each of these books.

The weather here is now a bit cooler and more tolerable. I am not much of a morning person so I really prefer to have our outdoor time in the afternoon, after nap. The cooler weather helps with this. Yesterday I showed the boys how to make mud pies:). Now that is the first time I have made mud pies since I was a little bitty kid and we had a ball! They really enjoyed it. After we were done, we hosed them down and then put them in for a quickie shower with the dad. That was the first time they took a shower and they really enjoyed it.

One of the things I love about kids this age is how any new thing is such a novelty to them and will keep them busy for the longest time. It does not have to be anything fancy or special. I can just find something in the back of a kitchen cabinet and pull it out and they have a blast. The other day they were having a grand time with the colanders and one day they had a fun time with these two little lunch type bags that keep food cold. It really does not take much.

Another thing I found at the homeschooling consignment store is a set of sequence puzzles. Each puzzle has three pieces and, when you put them together in the correct sequence, they show a "story". An example of one: the first pieces has a picture of a caterpillar crawling along a leaf; the second piece has a picture of the caterpillar wrapped in a cocoon and the third piece has a picture of the butterfly that the caterpillar has become. The boys really like these more than I thought they would. This morning they spent quite a long time working the puzzles. When they finish putting one together, they want me to tell the "story". They love that part. I had been wanting something like this for quite a while and I got this yesterday for $5, which I thought was pretty good.

In other news, Ben is sporting his second black eye in the 20 months that he has been home. We went to "the jumpy place" the other day. That's the indoor jumping place where they have those big blow up things that kids can play on. Ben was jumping off one of them onto the floor and he fell and hit the side of his face, just beside his eye. This happened when he still had a nasty looking bruise on the other side of his face, right on top of the scar where the mole was, from a fall he had at the mall play area. Fortunately, the first bruise was pretty faint by the time the black eye really made it's appearance. I was telling someone about it over the phone the other day and B was listening to my conversation. I said "poor kid!" as I was telling the story and B turned around and smiled at me, laughed and said "no poor kid!". It was funny. They are talking so much these days....I know I say that every time. It still just amazes me how well they communicate already.

As for the potty training, we are basically back to square one with Nick. He just does not have the time nor the desire to go to the potty, unless we are out and about and Ben has to go. They both like seeing all of the public bathrooms so they do great when we are not home. At home, Nick might as well be in a diaper these days and we are discussing doing just that. I have mixed feelings about it. I'm not so sure that Nick would really care one way or the other but I really cringed at the thought of doing that to him at this point.... mostly because I think he understands potty training and he can do it if he wants to....he is just not interested just yet. He does not turn three until mid November so I think he is still somewhat young. I am content to let him continue to wear his pull ups. They are easier, he can undress himself, which he likes, and he does not have to lay down (like a baby) when he is changed. The dad was pondering this too and was wondering if it might be a good incentive for Nick to put him back in diapers and lay him down to change him, so he sees the distinct difference between himself and Ben. I have thought this too, at times when my frustration level was high, but I am pretty much past that and I have just accepted that he will start going when he is ready. What do you think? I would be interested in hearing the opinions of other experienced mom's out there, especially those with boys.

Ben, on the other hand, is really doing very well. He usually just runs in the bathroom, pulls down his pants and goes when he needs to go. He might or might not yell "I have to pee/poop" on his way to the bathroom. If he does yell it, he will also yell "coming?". But other times, he just disappears and I later see him come out, naked from the waist down, saying "mommy, I done!", with a big smile on his face. He still has an occasional pee accident, although I am not quite sure they are truly accidents so much as on purpose to get attention. When it happens, he is usually standing at the bathroom door or just in front of his potty chair and when he tells me about it, he has a huge smile on his face, as he says "mommy, I pee pee floor". And it is that kind of smile that says "look at me, look what I did, isn't that funny?". I believe I am correct in my interpretation of this, since I have seen him have one accident that truly was an accident, when we were at church one day, and he was not happy about it at all. But, the vast majority of the time, he is an ace at going to the potty and I am very appreciative that he is doing so well. If both boys were doing what Nick is doing, I would have put them back in diapers and waited a while before trying again.

I have nap duty today so I must run now but I plan to post a bunch of pics a little later.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

August 12, 2008

Whew! I have been so busy lately that I just never feel like I have any time to sit down and relax, much less update the blog. We have not been doing anything special, just living every day life, but boy has it been busy.

One of my nieces is starting college on Thursday at a university near our house. She went to church with us on Sunday and has been hanging out with us a couple of days. The freshmen move into the dorm earlier for freshmen orientation so she had a couple of free days to hang out with us. We really enjoyed having her here and are happy that she will be so close by. The boys love having her around and I enjoy her company too.

My brother has also been around some, as he has a friend who has been in the hospital in our city. My brother has been hanging out with his friend at the hospital during the days and then staying here at night.

My sister, her two kids and my mom also came and spent the night with us one night recently, which was nice. So we have had a lot of company and the boys have been in heaven having so many people to play with and entertain them.

Speaking of the boys, they have really been getting along nicely lately. I'm not sure if this is just a fluke or if maybe they are hitting an age where they are playing together better or what, but it sure has been nice.

Nick is really turning into quite the little helper around the house these days. He wants to help me do everything from laundry to cooking and putting away dishes and loading the dishwasher. He can really do quite a bit too. I am going to have to start working on Ben though, as he tends to disappear during these times and does not seem to be the type to hang around and want to help as much. They often go through various phases at different times though so I am thinking maybe that is all it is....although he is sometimes less than happy to help out when it is time to pick up toys.

Speaking of picking up toys, the boys are both getting pretty good at doing more and more on their own. We sometimes have a pick-up-toys-time just before nap and then we normally have one just before the dad gets home from work. It is getting to the point where I can tell them it's clean up time and I don't have do spend quite as much time giving them specific instructions.

They talk all the time these days. When we are riding in the car, they normally talk to each other or to me. They were very excited to see the school buses out today, as schools are starting here this week.

We let them watch some of the Olympics the other night and they really enjoyed it. They were pretending to dive into the water. The living room floor was the water.

They are asking to watch more TV these days so we have told them that when they turn three years old they can start watching 30 minutes a day.

Well, it's bedtime and I hear some crying going on so I must sign off. It is also my night to sit with the boys while they fall asleep. We now take our laptop up with us and play songs for them. They love it! And they settle down and go to sleep pretty quickly. Gotta go now.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

August 2, 2008

I have a cold and my throat feels yucky. I thought Nick was having allergy problems but, turns out, he caught a cold, probably from church last Sunday, and now I have it too and the dad's throat is not feeling too great either. So, not much going on around here today, other than just trying to get some rest and trying to have more patience than I feel like having.

For lack of anything else to say, here are some pictures for your entertainment:).

Playing 'train'.

Ben loves 'driving' and constantly asks to go back to our friends' house to drive the car.

The boys had a very fun time pretending that their stickers were bandaids and they were hurt. They kept coming to tell me 'I hurt mommy', in this little, pitiful voice.

The dad was getting ready to go out for his early morning bike ride, before it got too hot. They each have one of his bike shoes on and they are trying to tie a bow.

Here we are painting. We all really enjoyed this and I'm sure we will do it more often, now that we have some paints and paintbrushes. I especially enjoyed this and would really like to take some art classes someday. I have never taken an art class in my life but I just have this feeling that there is some sort of art person locked up inside me:).

Here is my finished painting. I think it would have turned out better if I had not been sharing paints with a 2 year old. The boys kept mixing the colors so I would go to get a nice bright orange and end up with brown.

My husband said he thought we should frame this picture and hang it in the boys' bedroom. I asked him if he was making fun of me but he said he really meant it, he thought it was good. Makes me want to try again with my own set of paints:).