Tuesday, September 30, 2008

September 30, 2008

Boy, have we been busy!

First, my little Ben is now 3 years old. We had a fun time celebrating his birthday. Ben, Nick and I baked Ben's birthday cake together and they both helped decorate the cake. That was a big hit and I think that will be our tradition going forward. It was a lot of fun.

We had a very small birthday party and Ben enjoyed having everyone sing happy birthday to him, eating his cake (finally!....it was difficult for the boys to wait all day to eat that cake!) and opening his gifts. Our friends who live nearby and are like another set of grandparents to our sons joined us for our little celebration. They got Ben a play microwave for his birthday and it came with a couple of handfuls of different kinds of fake food that you might heat up in a microwave. Ben was playing with it and someone asked him what he was cooking. He said "a mouse". He was actually cooking a whole chicken but I guess it looked like a mouse to him:). It was funny.

We are still fighting this illness that is going around our house. I thought I had beaten it but today the scratchy throat started and I had a fever of just under 100 degrees so I guess I have not quite beaten it yet. Hopefully I will feel better tomorrow.

Must go. Exhausted and time for bed:).

Friday, September 26, 2008

September 26, 2008

As I was fixing lunch today, I told the boys to go wash their hands. I normally go to supervise, as they love playing in the water and will make big messes at times. But I am ready to quit supervising so I thought we would see how it went today. They were taking quite a long time and I could still hear water running so I went to see what they were up to. They had put both hand towels in the sink, soaked them with water and had also put some soap on top. They were having quite a good time. I was not so happy about it, although if I am going to have to clean up a mess, I prefer this kind of 'clean' mess to the yucky ones:).

In other news, B woke up from his nap yesterday with a fever and he still has it today. When given ibuprofen, he seems perfectly fine. Without it, he wants to be held all the time and, when I can't hold him, he curls up in a chair and pretty much stays there. Hopefully it will be short lived. He has not had any medicine since early this morning and he seems fine right now and his temp is good so hopefully he is on the mend.

The dad's week of vacation is quickly (too quickly) coming to an end. We have had a nice, relaxing week though and I am very thankful for the break. Yesterday we received the climbing dome I mentioned in an earlier post. (Google climbing dome if you want to see what one looks like.) We finally decided to go ahead and order one so it arrived yesterday and the dad and I set it up yesterday evening. He finished it this morning and the boys had a ball climbing on it. I was quite surprised because Nick is usually the more athletic and coordinated of the two but it was Ben who took off climbing like a little monkey and Nick who wanted help. They never ceased to surprise me. I think it is going to be a popular outdoor activity and am very thankful we were able to get it for the boys.

The dad is putting the boys down for their nap and I have not had lunch yet so I am going to go eat and take a little break before they wake up in approximately one hour or so.

Monday, September 22, 2008

September 22, 2008

We had such a fun time. This was really the first real vacation we have taken as a family. We spent a week in Arizona last year but we were visiting family and friends and introducing the boys. We had fun then too but that was a different kind of vacation than this one was. Granted, this was a mini-mini-vacation, but it was nice nonetheless.

We went to Eureka Springs, Arkansas. I had been there a couple of times over the years but it had been a very very long time since my last visit and it had really changed a lot. It had been so long and things had changed so much that I only really recognized a few things. This little town is in such a beautiful area. The views are lovely and the town itself seems like it might have stepped out of another country. Unfortunately, we didn't take any pictures of the town itself:). We really didn't take very many pictures at all but I will include a couple of the few we did take.

On our way to Eureka Springs, we made a couple of stops along the way. We stopped at this little state park that had a small water fall. It actually looked bigger in person:) and was in a very pretty area. The boys enjoyed getting out of the car and walking around too. It was nice to break up the drive a bit for them.

Just before we reached our destination, we saw these signs advertising Pivot Rock and the natural bridge that were on Ripley's Believe It Or Not so we decided to take another side trip and stop to see it. It was another nice little hike for the boys but we were not very impressed with what we saw, especially for the money we had to pay to see it. But, again, it was a very pretty walk and we had beautiful weather for our whole trip.

The hotel we stayed at was very nice and we all enjoyed it. They had an indoor heated swimming pool so we all went swimming a couple of times. Before we went, they were both very excited and could not wait to get to the pool. Once we were in the pool area, they were a bit reluctant to get in to the water at first. They both got in with a bit of coaxing. It did not take Nick very long to feel at ease in the water. He wanted to try everything and he stayed in the water for quite a while. He had a couple of times when he was playing on the steps, with us very close by, and he accidentally slipped off the steps. He caught himself quickly two times and the dad caught him once. He never went under much but it scared him. He whimpered a bit, as a complaint, letting us know it scared him, but he stayed in the pool and within a few seconds he was happily playing again.

When we first got into the pool area, Ben quickly decided he didn't want to go in after all. I worked hard on coaxing him and he got in but wanted back out quickly. We did this for quite a while, he wanted in and then out and then in and then out, over and over again. Eventually, his times in the pool were longer than his times out of the pool and he didn't want out as much. The second day we went to the pool, he pretty much stayed in the whole time, so he did very well.

We had planned to take the boys to see the old locomotive trains they have and to take them for a ride on the trains. We were all very excited to go but we were bummed to find out they were closed on Sunday and Monday. If we had known that, we would have gone first thing when we got there on Saturday. We'll have to catch a real train ride some other time. I think Ben was actually relieved, as he was worried the train would go through a tunnel, which he does not like. They have a small train at our zoo, which we have ridden a few times, and it goes through a small tunnel and is very loud. He does not like the tunnel at all but he likes the train ride.

After the disappointment of the train, we needed something fun for the boys to do so we found the local park. They had a huge, commercial Lil Tikes play system and it was the best one I have ever seen. I didn't know they even made them like this. It had lots of climbing stuff and the boys really enjoyed it a lot. It was such a beautiful day, sunny and cool, and it was so quiet and peaceful. The dad and I enjoyed it a lot too. Just a very relaxing time with no time schedules. We took a tram ride around the historic part of the town and the boys enjoyed that a lot too. We ate lots of good food and some amazing ice cream. This morning, before heading home, we went on a guided tour of two caverns. They were both amazing and we all enjoyed it. I was a little concerned that the boys might get scared but neither of them did. For the most part, they both really enjoyed it and they were very well behaved. Towards the end, Ben started getting antsy when we stopped to look at something specific and listen to the guide but they both did very well over all.

They were so excited to get to the hotel and sleep in their bed together. It was so cute. We took their bed rails with us and the dad laid between them until they fell asleep. That was the only way we were going to get them to go to sleep at a decent time, since they were so excited. They also woke up very early both mornings we were there.

So, over all, we had a wonderful time and I am now very much looking forward to our next trip. I think this was kind of a trial balloon for us...or maybe just for me. I have tended to be a bit of a homebody since the boys came home. But we all did so well together that I think we are ready to really dive in now and start taking more vacations and maybe longer ones....if/when we can afford them of course. I really like being able to drive to where we are going. It's just so nice to be able to take whatever you want with you and to be on your own schedule. There are so many places in the U.S. that I have not been. The dad and I were discussing it on our way to Arkansas and we really want to do a lot of traveling around the U.S. with the boys. Since we will be home schooling, we can choose when to travel to miss the crowds and we can all really enjoy all of the educational aspects of our trips too. I am excited about it. Hopefully we will enjoy many more fun trips over the years.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Sepember 15, 2008

One day last week, I was almost finished fixing lunch for the boys and they were patiently waiting while sitting right next to each other at the kitchen island. They had just gotten up there and sat down when Ben said to Nick, "How was your day today Honey?". Without missing a beat, Nick replied, "Much better, play with Ben much". I was cracking up laughing.

They were so funny that day. Later they were pretending to dive into water, as they fell onto the living room floor. Then it became snow and they were pretending to play in the snow and then to throw it at each other. Then I heard one of them say "do you like it in your face" and the other one said "yes, I like it any place". For those of you who are Dr. Seuss fans, you might recognize those words from the Snow book.

Today I took them out to buy some new sneakers. We ended up buying the ones that light up when they walk. This is the first time they have had the ones that do that and they are just thrilled over their new shoes. It is so funny to watch them walking, running and jumping while trying to watch the lights. They don't even want to take them off when they come into the house, which is normally the first thing they want to do.

After shoe shopping, we went grocery shopping, which took a while because we really needed a lot of groceries. Today was one of those kind of days when I just wanted to ring their little necks many times throughout the day. Whew! I don't like days like that. Tomorrow I am going to get out of the other side of the bed and see if we can't get started off on a different foot.

Don't have much time to write this evening as I have to look up hotels. We are going to spend a few days in Eureka Springs, Arkansas soon...just a short family vacation. The dad has all next week off of work so we are going to do this and maybe do a few other things locally. We also have a whole bunch of things to get done while he is off, such as rent a UHaul and borrow a truck (hopefully) so we can move a piano from my sister's house to our house. I bought this piano a long time ago when I lived in Houston and was single and I took lessons for a short time but then my job began to interfere to much because I had to do some traveling. I ended up moving the piano to my sister's house because my niece was taking piano lessons and I knew she would get a lot of use out of it. I really meant it as a gift but my niece has now gone off to college and they said we could take it back if we wanted it. We have thought it might be good for the boys to take piano lessons for a year or two so we are going to take them up on their offer and bring the piano back to our house. Must go now.

Monday, September 08, 2008

September 8, 2008

My little boys are growing up so fast. I have been going through old pictures and it's hard to believe how much they have changed. The dad and I were talking about the boys yesterday and how we can actually carry on a conversation with them now. It is so amazing how children develop so quickly. They want to do everything for themselves and I try to let them do as much on their own as they can. They are such good helpers. Nick tends to be the little shadow who is always at my elbow wanting to help. Ben usually tends to go off and play by himself at these times. Sometimes Ben wants to help too, especially if we are cooking something yummy. If we are folding laundry or putting dishes away, Ben usually escapes to go play by himself. I am starting to try to pull him in more often and give him tasks to do, sometimes much to his dismay.

From what I have seen so far, Nick tends to be the happy helper and Ben tends to be the reluctant helper. So I am working with Ben, trying to focus in on that and help him learn how to enjoy work:).
We took down the cribs again last night. The boys are sleeping on their twin mattresses on the floor again. I thought it would be good to go ahead since we are sitting with them until they fall asleep anyway these days.

Our potty training approach has once again changed too:). Ben is back to wearing big boy pants during waking hours and Nick is wearing pull ups during waking hours. I started a new sticker chart for them, because Ben had been asking for it and he normally does so well with using the potty, while Nick was totally refusing. So I thought Ben needed some type of recognition for his efforts and success. It was a very positive thing for both of them. Ben continues to do well and is very happy with the sticker reward and Nick now wants to use the potty sometimes too. He still wets his pull ups and is an ace at being able to squeeze out the smallest amount of pee so he can get a sticker too. But at least he is wanting to sit on the potty again and I think that's a move in the right direction.

The dad and I both have noticed that Nick is really initiating a lot of affection these days, though Ben is not normally very happy to be on the receiving end of Nick's affection. Ben initiated a kiss on my cheek the other day too, for the first time, which was very sweet. I love it when they initiate affection. It is so sweet.

The other thing I have noticed lately is that, not only are the boys playing together more these days, they are also behaving better overall. I am not having to correct them as much as I once did. As I listen to them talking to each other when they play, I often hear them self-correct nicely when one of them upsets the other one by not sharing or taking a toy or something. Of course, there are still plenty of times when I have to help them resolve their differences but it is nice to see them starting to do it themselves sometimes too.

And, as for the boys playing together, they now tend to play together very well while I clean and cook. However, if I want to just sit down to read to myself or work on something, they have a hard time with that sometimes.

They are very into pretending to cook these days and also playing with their trains and cars, trucks and bulldozer-type vehicles. With birthdays approaching so quickly, I really need to decide what to get them for their birthdays. I was going to get them a pretend coffee maker and toaster but then my sister said she would like to get it for them. They are both intrigued by the dad's coffee maker and they love to help make toast so I think they will enjoy these toys a lot. They can also use the coffee maker in the bath tub or the kitchen sink and water can actually run through it. They are going to have a ball with that but I will probably end up wishing we had two coffee makers. I just keep reminding myself that it is good for them to learn to share and we are building character:).

We were reading our "cookie book" the other day and N jumped up to pretend to cook something so we decided to make cupcakes together. They thoroughly enjoyed the cupcakes and so did I:).

Here are also some pictures of our "preschool" time together this morning. Our preschool is very spontaneous and normally happens when they are interested in doing something that fits in nicely with what we need to be learning anyway. We have lots of fun learning letters and letter sounds and also numbers and counting. The dad likes to read counting books with them, which I don't enjoy as much, so that works out pretty well. Most of what we learn just happens very naturally in our day to day playing and living and we all love it....and yes, they both love wearing my reading glasses, although I am sure it is very difficult for them to see while wearing them:).

And now, I am going to go have a cupcake before the boys wake up from their nap:).

Friday, September 05, 2008

September 5, 2008

We were busy busy busy last week so this week we have been taking it easy. My mom and sister came to visit last Thursday, two other families came for a play on Friday and then our friends from K.C. came on Saturday and stayed until Monday afternoon. The boys have been having a blast (so did I:) but we all ended up with colds this week so we have been laying low.

It is finally cooling off around here so we went shopping for fall/winter clothes for the boys yesterday. Fun times. Today we had another play date and I am very thankful that tomorrow is Saturday:).

I have not been blogging much lately because I am spending what little free time reading about the current political happenings and watching the speeches. I am a political junkie so this is my super bowl season:).

Don't have much time, since nap times are so short these days, so I will post a few pics and sign off til later.