Saturday, December 26, 2009

December 26, 2009

We had a wonderful, blessed Christmas and are now enjoying a relaxing weekend.

My extended family meets together on Christmas Eve at "the farm", which is the area where two of my brothers, my dad and his wife and my uncle and aunt live and where my grandparents used to live before they passed away. It takes us about an hour and fifteen minutes to drive there from where we live. There are other family members who live further away, however they were all staying with relatives nearby so we had the furthest drive on Christmas Eve this year.

We had planned our get together for around noon time however, after listening to the weather forecast multiple times, I started calling family members first thing on Christmas Eve morning, asking if we might move up our start time to around 10ish. Fortunately we were able to contact everyone and make it work out because the bad weather was going to moving into our area sometime between noon and 3ish, according to the forecast. The day before Christmas Eve, we were enjoying 60 degree weather:). Huge change from one day to the next.

We had a wonderful time seeing the whole family, enjoying the holiday feast that my sister and others put together. My sister always makes her homemade lasagna and it is absolutely awesome. One of the nieces read the accounting of the birth of Christ from the Bible and then it was time to open the gifts. Everyone enjoyed themselves and we headed back towards home around 1ish.

It is a good thing we did not wait any longer because the last 20 to 30 minutes of our drive was in sleet and the closer we got to home, the worse it got, until the point where we were having to drive very slowly because it was so icy. The road that leads to our subdivision is one that has not yet been widened and it is a small, windy, uphill two lane road to get to our home, regardless of which direction you are coming from. Our subdivision is at the top of a hill. There was already a car off in the ditch on that road and a fire truck blocking one lane of the traffic so we ended up having to turn around and go around to come in from the other direction. We were very glad to finally get home and we were surprised that we made it up our driveway without any issues.

Later that night I heard on the news that they had closed all of the major highways around us. It was a pretty treacherous blizzard, one of the worst in our state's history....but was it ever beautiful! Once we were home, we could really enjoy it. We all enjoyed watching it turn into snow and it was really windy so it was blowing all over the place. It was very pretty to watch and we ended up getting about 8 inches in our neck of the woods, although with it being so windy, it is much deeper in places and you can see the grass poking through in other places.

We had a lovely Christmas present opening together the next morning. I spent a good deal of the mid-morning preparing our Christmas dinner (my first real holiday meal!) and the husband spent about three hours outside, shoveling the driveway. We invited friends to come over to join us for Christmas dinner around 2:00 so we had preparations. The boys enjoyed their new toys while we worked and everything came together quite nicely, although I did have to call my mom a couple of times to ask her how to do some things. I made the traditional ham, mashed potatoes, corn, deviled eggs and salad and my friend brought a wonderful green bean casserole. I also made a red velvet cake with cream cheese icing and we let all the kids gather round and decorate it and put on the candles. We all sang happy birthday to Jesus and the kids blew out the candles and then we all had cake. It really was a lovely get together and I was very pleased (and very very thankful) that everything came out so well. The food was great and the company was even better and my friend and I ended up wondering why we had not had our families together more often....and promised to do so in the future.

She is a good friend of mine and we have spent a lot of time together, off and on, over the past year or two. She has twin girls who are 5 years old and she has a new baby girl who is 7 weeks old. They go to our church and her husband sings in the choir and has an amazing voice. They only live about a mile from us (as the bird flies, as they say:) and we used to have play dates a lot with the kids, when our boys were 3 and her girls were 4. Now her girls are in school and she has the baby so it had been a while since we had gotten together.

Today I have been reorganizing things, getting rid of more toys that have been out grown or are no longer played with and organizing new toys. The boys have been playing upstairs yesterday and today and they seem to be doing pretty well with it now, which is nice. It gives them a lot more space to run around and there is carpet up there, which is good for certain kinds of play.

Earlier the dad took the boys outside to play in the snow. They wanted to go out so badly yesterday but we just did not have time, with everything we had to do. Plus the wind was really gusting yesterday and the wind chill factor was in the single digits so I don't think they would have enjoyed it much or lasted very long.

We normally get so little snow in these parts and it usually melts so fast that we do not usually spend the money to buy snow boots or snow suits for the boys. So getting them ready to play in the snow was a big task. They each wore two pairs of sweat pants and a T-shirt underneath a sweat shirt. The only shoes they could really wear were their good shoes that they wear for church, which are leather (kind of like dock siders but they lace up). Their sneakers are wearing out and I need to get them a new pair but I knew they would not be as warm as their leather shoes. So, after putting on their leather shoes, we had them step each foot into a large ziploc bag and we used duct tape to seal it to their sweat pants. We also put some duct tape on the bottom to give them a bit more traction. By the time we were done, they kind of looked like they were wearing boots, duct tape boots:)! It was pretty funny and very effective. We also tucked their sweat shirts into their sweat pants and put some duct tape around their waist to make sure they didn't get snow up their shirts or down their pants while making snow angels. Then we put their coats, hats and mittens on. We tucked their mittens into their coat sleeves and put duct tape around them so their mittens would not fall off (they fall off very easily, for some reason). Then they went out and had a great time!

When they came back in, their outer layer of sweat pants were soaked and their inner layer was also wet around their knees. The rest of them, including their shoes and their pants where the duct tape was (just below their knees) were perfectly dry. All the duct tape held perfectly. It was really quite impressive:). They had an amazing time and probably would have stayed out longer, if the dad had been willing. They made snow angels and enjoyed walking through the snow drifts and getting in their snow filled sand box. They were all over the place and they loved rolling around in the snow. It was very cute to watch and the dad got some good pics so I will post some later.

When they came inside, we read some stories, including one that was all about how castles were built, which we all enjoyed. And then it was time for quiet time...which is almost over and then it will be time for a movie.

This is long enough (too long) so I better say good bye for now. I hope your Christmas was blessed.

Friday, December 18, 2009

December 18, 2009 Part 2

Below is Ben, a.k.a. 'David', as in David and Goliath. He plays this all. the. time. and he frequently insists on being called David. In the picture below, you can see the panda bear hanging from the waist band of his sweat pants. But that is no ordinary panda bear. That, my dear friends, is David's harp. And you can also see the sock hanging from his waist band (it is actually a balled up sock inside another sock). That is David's sling shot. He stays very busy being David (and it is absolutely adorable).
Below is Ben again. You may think that my son is playing with my old purses but you would be wrong. That brown thing across his chest is David's shield and the small bag on his arm is David's small pouch that he puts his stones in before he uses them in his sling shot. I'm sure he also has his sling shot tucked into the waist band of his sweat pants but we can't see it because his shield is in the way. He has also memorized all of the words from the David and Goliath story in one of the children's Bibles that we have. He corrected me the other night when I was distracted and said one of the words wrong. He says all the words when he pretends to be David. He asked the dad to be Goliath the other night. They normally play this in the dad's office because it is carpeted (Goliath needs to have a soft landing in our play:). The dad was in his office ready to play and Ben walked away so the dad started doing something else. I was in the kitchen and saw Ben come into the living room, pretending to talk to Jesse and the other Israelites, according to the words from the story in the Bible. It was too cute. When he finally went back to the dad's office, ready to slay the giant Goliath, he found the dad doing something else but he soon got back into the act and was slain by our hero David. David then came to the kitchen to let me know he had slain Goliath and made sure I said the right words, which I never can remember correctly but David is oh too happy to tell me what to say:). It is really something how much of it he has memorized.
Nick loves hanging upside down, climbing on the dad and jumping off the dad. You can also see Ben in this shot. He has pulled up his shirt so he can put his sling shot into the waist band of his sweat pants:). It is a constant theme these days.
And here is our Merry Merry Merry Christmas picture for all the blog readers. You can click on it if you want to see a closer, larger view. Merry Christmas everyone!

December 18, 2009

Well, we are one week from the big day and I think I am almost ready. Our Christmas cards should go out tomorrow, which is a miracle (if you only knew), and I only have a couple more gifts to find tomorrow morning and then I am officially ready. Then I can relax and enjoy the season a bit more:).

We made Christmas sugar cookies the other day and it was a family project. I was cooking stew & cornbread so the dad and the boys mixed the cookies up, cut them out and put them into bake. After dinner, the boys and I decorated them. The boys really enjoyed the whole Christmas cookie experience, most especially the eating part. Unfortunately the left over ones that we had not decorated yet seemed a bit stale the next day. I should have put a slice of bread in the ziploc with them before closing it and I didn't think of it.

The boys had their 6 month check up at the dentist the other day and their teeth looked great, which is such a blessing. I think it is so hard when little kids have to have major things done to their teeth. I am very thankful the boys seem to have healthy teeth. We try to take good care of them. They were both little champs at the dentist.

Today I printed all the required pictures of the boys for the last post placement report. We are very bad about not printing pictures often so I have to go back through pics from Jan-Dec to find all the ones I want. I ended up printing 141 pictures, although most of them were for Christmas cards and a bunch of them were for family who have been wanting pics (I will send you some soon Dasha:). We are scheduled to have our post placement home visit in early January. The company who has done all of our home visits and reports to date went out of business this month and can't do it so we will have a new company doing it this time, which is kind of a bummer. The lady from the old company was very laid back and the new company will likely not be at all. Oh well. At least this is the last one and I am so glad.

The boys have already received their first Christmas present from Aunt Dasha. Dasha, they love their magazines and trade them back and forth to look at the pics, when we are driving in the car. It is such a great gift, thanks so much! We are really looking forward to seeing you soon.

The next post will be a picture post:). Merry Merry Merry!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

December 15, 2009

Things are busy around here these days. We are getting ready for Christmas and also working on finalizing our plans for the new house. We still have not sold our current house but, if it is God's will, I know it will happen in His timing. In the meantime, we still have much to do before we would be ready to begin building anyway. I have hopes that when we are finally ready, we will be in the process of selling our home but I know God's timing is perfect and He knows so much more than we do so I will continue to trust in Him.

Tonight I am sitting with the boys as they fall asleep. Most of the time the boys still take naps these days, although sometimes we just can't fit it in. On those days, I always end up feeling badly because Nick just ends up falling apart and his behavior is just really bad and then I feel bad because I know he normally does not act that way when he has had a nap. And if he has to skip it two days in a row, look out. It is going to be really bad. He still needs his nap so badly but Ben really could go without it now and do pretty well probably.

In other news, the boys will start swimming lessons in early January and go once a week through the second week of May. It is a great place and they like what they have seen there (we have been there twice and they have watched other kids taking lessons). I anticipate the first 2 or 3 weeks might be a bit difficult, from what other moms and the people who work there have told me, but after that the kids usually start to really enjoy it and learn fast.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 11, 2009

December 11, 2009

Overheard this morning, as boys were taking turns jumping on the mini-trampoline:

Nick: "Ben, the timer is over (the 3 minute timer they use to take turns). Now we can jump together!" (Ben had just finished his turn jumping.)
Ben: (said as he was walking away) "I don't want to jump. I have a head ache and my pants keep falling down."

The dad and I both had a chuckle over that.

Monday, December 07, 2009

December 7, 2009

We have been quite busy lately.  On Thursday evening we went to the husband's work Christmas party and the boys had quite a good time. We had a nice dinner and then Santa came and the boys each sat on his lap and told him what they wanted and then they each got a bag of goodies.
On Friday we had a play date with friends in the morning at our house. We actually went to their house, got their two boys and brought them back to our house. Their mom had to stay home and watch over things, as they had to have all of the carpet in their new house replaced, as it was defective. So I had all four boys with me at our house and I was very impressed with how well they all got along. After playing for a while, I served lunch and an ice cream cone for dessert, which was a big hit. Then we took them home and came back and watched a movie, as it was too late for nap because we had to be at the circus by 4:30.

Some friends of ours got tickets to the circus and invited us to go too. It was actually better than I had expected and the boys loved it, especially the flying trapeze, which was pretty neat.

On Saturday the dad took the boys up north to a Christmas tree farm where they picked out our tree and the dad cut it down. They got to take a hay ride on a wagon pulled by a tractor to find the tree and haul it back so that was a big hit. I did some Christmas shopping that morning while they were tree shopping and then we decorated the tree and inside of the house in the afternoon. The boys were so excited and they love the tree. They helped decorate it, which was kind of funny because they like to hang the bulbs from the cord for the lights and they hang many bulbs side-by-side in a row. They enjoyed helping though and it was cute.

Saturday afternoon we went to a Christmas play at our church. The boys enjoyed it at first but did not last too long. Part of the problem was this was the second day in a row without a nap for Nick and he was getting really sleepy and not wanting to fall asleep. So he kept saying he was hungry. So I took the boys out and we wondered over to the kitchen and the cooks were busy preparing food for the dinner that would go with the dinner theater that night (we were at the matinee). They generously offered the boys some crackers and drinks and the lead cook also had a couple of fun toys (a cash register and groceries and a pretend bar-b-q grill) for her granddaughter that the boys really enjoyed playing with. I gave them a bunch of pennies to play with and sat and watched them. They "cooked" many things for me to eat and also let me buy lots of groceries from them. They enjoyed themselves.

Sunday we went to church and out to eat and then had a relaxing day at home, which was nice.

We have been trying to wrap up our architectural drawings but we still have a couple of things to do before we can do that. We are waiting to hear back from the Kitchen Idea people on the kitchen design and also the master bath design. Things really slowed down when I got sick and then they just did not pick up again because of the holidays, I guess. Anyway, it seems like things are moving very slowly.

We were at Home Depot for a while and one of the sales ladies who was helping us noted the boys were bored so she got them a couple of coloring books and some crayons. I let them get out of the cart and get down so they could color on the floor, but warned them to keep their coloring on their books and not to color on the concrete floor. At one point I looked at Ben and he had this major look of guilt on his face. So I asked him if he had colored on the floor and he said no but he was still looking funny so I started looking and, sure enough, he had. He was covering it up by sitting on it. He was not happy when I took his coloring book and crayons away and made him get back into the cart. He is usually a pretty well behaved child but, for some reason, he has a really hard time not writing on things that he should not write on.  The last time we left the boys with the sitter, he had her pen and wrote a few big marks on our couch. Fortunately I was able to get it off with some fabric cleaner but he just cannot be trusted yet.

In other news, I called our local agency today to schedule our last post placement home visit, only to discover they are shutting their doors as of December something (one day last week) and will not be able to do it. The funny thing is that I was not at all surprised because, for some reason, I had thought of this the other day, that it would not surprise me to find out they were going or had gone out of business. Anyway, they are trying to work with another agency to provide us with what we need and we are just waiting now. It has to be done in January, dated in January and sent in by the end of January. Hopefully we will hear something soon.

The dad is off this week for a week of vacation. The boys are upstairs napping. It is very very cold here right now. I need a warm spot and a nap myself.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

November 24, 2009

It's been a while so here is a catch up picture post.

This first group of photos are from the later half of October.

The boys went through a phase where they loved playing in the closets. I think they were pretending it was a house.

Nick built a tower taller than he was, although as fast as they are growing, it might not be taller today.Nothing like catching the Pooh train first thing in the morning.

Happy Birthday Honey!! The boys are happy for any opportunity to help someone blow out their birthday candles.I think I was in the hospital on this day. It appears the boys are building a fort out of blankets and books.
And the rest of the photos are from November.

I love these pictures. I was either in the hospital or sick in bed at home when these were taken. Not sure which but they were a nice surprise when I uploaded the pictures from the camera today.

Here is my mom (MaMa) reading to the boys. This was just after I came home from the hospital, when my mom was staying with us for a few days.
Happy Birthday Nick!!
Ben got to open a couple of small presents also. The problem was that they were opening the same gift and Ben was faster at opening his than Nick was so Nick kept finding out what it was by looking at what Ben just finished opening.
Nick, like Ben, had two birthday cakes. This one was made by Aunt Kathy and then daddy put the icing on when he got home from work (I was still feeling very sick at this point). Aunt Kathy also brought a small cake when she and MaMa came for the day to visit. So Nick had a small party and cake with them and then we had another one with daddy when he got home from work. Lots of cake and lots of fun.
I don't know where I was when this one was taken. Another surprise photo on the camera. Our little cutie Ben playing dress up.
And, last but certainly not least, did I mention that David and Goliath are back again, in full force. Everything with Ben is about David and Goliath these days and, if he can talk us into it, we would be reading the story over and over and over again every day. Nick gets tired of reading the same story over and over but Ben still gets to hear it pretty often. Tonight, when Nick complained, Ben said "you don't have to listen". Now I know most of you would not see the connection to David and Goliath in the picture below. But you just have to use your imagination. The purses are Goliath's armor! Did you guess that? He didn't happen to have his sock/slingshot with him for this picture but he had it with him later, in addition to his 'staff', which was made from the marble run. He pretty much knows everything there is to know about the David and Goliath story now. This afternoon he was pretending to be Goliath and didn't know I was watching him. He was making motions with his hands and then made one hand come up and whack his forehead and then he fell down. He is quite the pretender.
I can't believe how big they are getting. I still feel that I am so missing out. I still feel like Yuck from this cold. I'll get down and start playing with them and within 5 minutes I am ready to stop and rest. And my patience is just not what it should be. I am such a bad mom when I am not feeling well and I hate that. I am so ready to get back to normal and start feeling GOOD again.
Hope you enjoy the pics!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

November 19, 2009

Things are getting back to normal around here. I am not 100% yet but I am definitely moving in that direction. I can do quite a bit during the morning and afternoon but I have a lot less energy as the day goes on and I am really exhausted by the time dinnertime rolls around. It makes a day like today challenging. A real estate agent wanted to show our house between 4:00 and 5:00pm. The good thing is that he called the evening before so I had all day to get ready. That helped a lot.

As for the boys, they are doing well. Behavior is slowly improving, as I try hard to be consistent. Sometimes it really tires me out. Also, when I am not feeling 100% (I still have some pain in my lung at times) I am not always in the best mood and I am not always the best role model, although I am trying and I am praying about it. I feel bad that I have not been able to really spend a lot of time playing with them lately but hopefully I will have a lot of time next week for that. Today I had to spend a lot of time on the house and we had to go grocery shopping. By the time you add in lunch, nap and after-nap-movie, there is not much time left. We spent some time reading a couple of times and I built a very nice castle and moat with all of the blocks this evening and they both enjoyed knocking it down and then they had fun building lots of stuff and doing "mommy look at..." over and over, as I sat nearby watching them.

I want to start playing more games with them and I am hoping to be in a position to start doing a little school work with them in January. Ben is so so ready to learn to read and write. He has learned how to write the names of all four of us. He loves trying to write and I really need to get on top of this before he learns bad writing habits. I have also seen him trying to sound out words that are past where we have learned in our book. He is so ready and I am feeling a little bad that I have not taught him more. Hopefully I will feel like getting back to it soon.

As for Nick, he is so ready to be in some sort of sports program. I am hoping to have them both in something in January. Nick is such a natural athlete and he is always trying to do hand stands, flips and other gymnastic-type moves, plus he loves playing any kind of ball that someone will play with him, that I feel bad that we don't have him in some sort of sport or class where he could really have fun.

So, I need to get on the ball but I am still feeling like my ball is not completely filled with air. Hopefully we will be there soon. Really, yesterday evening I was starting to worry that I was having a relapse. I had not been having pain for a while and yesterday I started having pain in my lung again. By bed time it was hurting even when I was sitting still, not doing anything, which had not happened in quite a the point that we were considering getting me into seeing someone today. Today it was back to hurting only when I take a little deeper breath or yawn or sneeze or something. Actually, I can't sneeze because, when I start to take that deep breath in to sneeze, it hurts so much so quick that the sneeze goes away. Until yesterday, it seemed more like I had a tightness in my lung when I tried to take a deeper breath or sneeze or yawn. But as of yesterday it was back to a pain, which is very frustrating and makes me wonder what is going on in there. I don't remember having this much of an issue the last time I was recovering from pneumonia.

Today Ben happened to see one of my bras laying somewhere and he came to me and said "mommy, you don't have your breast on" " I saw your breast laying on the bed". It was very funny. And then, later, when we were at Walmart, I was shopping for some new socks when Nick noticed all of the bras nearby. He said "mommy, look at all the breast-es they have here" "they have a lot of breast-es here". Very funny boys.

They are very excited because tomorrow we have a play date with friends we have not play with in quite a while, due to my sickness and also the H1N1 flu ran through their family at the same time I got sick. Actually, the husband of their family works with my husband. He called my husband and asked him to call in Tamaflu for their youngest son (2 year old) on the same day that I started having chills and aches, way back in the beginning of my ordeal, when I thought I was coming down with the flu only to realize a couple of days later that it was pneumonia and ended up at the ER. We kept in touch with our friends through our ordeal and theirs and that flu ran through their family very quickly. Everyone got it and it was pretty rough. So, now we are all healthy and we are finally able to get together again and they are going to treat us to the bouncy play place for Nick's birthday. The boys are very excited and it will be nice to get together with friends and feel somewhat normal again.

I am really looking forward to the weekend, since it will be the first that we have not had an open house (except when I was really sick). So it will be a "normal" weekend for us and it has been a very long time since we have had a normal weekend around here. And I am really looking forward to getting together with my family on Thanksgiving. It is hard to believe it is already here.

Hope you all have a great weekend. I still need to post pics and a birthday update for Nick. It is coming, I promise:).

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

November 18, 2009

The boys got their shots today and it went as well as something like that can go. They both handled it very well and I was proud of them in their efforts to have courage about the situation.

About a week before hand, I talked to them about having their 4 year old shots, that they would have them sometime next week and that they would each have 4 shots, 2 in each arm. We discussed the fact that shots hurt and are not fun and that nobody wants them but that we have to have them to stay healthy and to prevent some bad diseases. After that discussion, we all forgot about it for a week.

Last night the husband reminded me that the boys should go in for their shots this week and we decided that today would be the best day. So this morning, after we were all well awake, I let the boys know that today was the day. We had pretty much the same conversation over again and then we had parts of it again several more times before shot time. Nick in particular would bring it up and say that he did not want to get shots so we would talk about it again and each time I would finish the conversation with the fun we were going to have afterwards. We also talked about courage and what it means and also that it is OK to cry and that lots of kids cry when they get a shot.

As it turned out, it seemed to be really good preparation for them. There are some ladies at the front desk that are always so happy to see them and give them candy so they both got a lollipop on the way in. They have a television in the waiting room that they keep on Animal Planet and it had a pretty good show on about a black panther being raised by some people that was cute and kept their interest while we waited, along with their lollipops and the babies that we watched.

So neither of them really worried about it or thought about it while we were waiting. Before we arrived, we had already discussed that they would go in one at a time and they could pick who they wanted to go in with them, mommy or daddy. We also discussed who would go first. Ben was in a very brave mood and said he would go first, he wanted daddy to go with him and he was not going to cry, to which I replied that that's fine but it is OK to cry too.

This arrangement worked out well because Nick did not want to go first, which was a first for him I think. Normally he thinks he always has to be first at everything:). Ben went in first without any hesitation, although I did see a bit of nervousness in his expression. He kept a brave face though, with a bit of a half smile. We could hear him screaming from the waiting room, which might have made Nick a little nervous but I couldn't tell for sure. I just acted like it was totally normal and some people cry more than others and whatever. Nick had said he wanted daddy to go with him but he changed his mind while they were gone. I was a little bummed because I don't like the whole shot thing myself:).

When it was Nick's turn, on our way in I reminded him again how they would push his sleeves up and use a cold wet cotton ball to wipe his arm clean. He was fine until we walked into the room and he saw the shots sitting nearby, at which time he said something like he didn't want to do this. But he did it, they were quick and they hurt and he barely cried, although he really didn't want to switch arms and let them give the 3rd and 4th shots in his other arm (can't blame him at all).

In retrospect, it seems a bit barbaric to give that many shots to such a small child (with such little skinny arms) at one time. The husband said that these are all the shots they are suppose to have between the ages of 4 and 6, which made me think it might have been better to get two today and then two more 6 months later, or something like that. After Nick got his shots, the lady said they don't have to have any more until they are 11 years old. That's a long time, which again makes me think why in the world do they do it this way, where they get that many shots at one time. If I had known before what I know now, I think I would have insisted they split them up and give them 6 months or so in between to forget about it. I think 4 shots at once would be a lot even for an adult, much less a just-turned-4-year-old.

Anyway, it's over and I'm glad it's over, although we do have some complaints of sore arms. Both boys woke up crying a little after nap, saying their arms hurt, although I have not heard any complaints this evening so that's good.

After the shots, we went to Chick-fil-la for lunch and play time and they were giving away balloons, which is always a really big hit around here. The boys had not had any balloons in quite a long time so they have really played with them a lot this evening.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

November 14, 2009 Part 2

We have two videos of David & Goliath that were given to us and the boys, most especially Ben, really love to watch them. But what Ben really really likes to do these days, his very favorite game, is to play David & Goliath.

He gets a pair of socks, wads one up and stuffs it inside of the other one. Then he takes the outer one and, holding it by the top of the sock (these are socks that reach to mid shin), swings it around and around, pretending it is his sling shot. He does this ALL THE TIME and we are going through socks very quickly around here these days. Nick will do it too once in a while but he is not nearly as intrigued with this game as is Ben.

Ben tries to talk everyone into playing this game with him. What that means for anyone who agrees to play is that they are Goliath to Ben's David and they must pretend to get hit in the forehead with a stone and fall down dead. Ben knows most of the wording that goes with this event and also knows that the winner of the battle, David, puts his foot upon the slain Goliath. It is funny to watch and to listen to but everyone soon tires of playing the role of Goliath. Ben tries to get Nick to play this role but Nick does not like this idea. When Ben is really hurting for a Goliath, he pretends that the play fire station is Goliath and he knocks it over with his sling shot. Thankfully it is a very durable toy.

The issue with Ben's infatuation is that he tends to want to really hit people with his sling shot. We have discussed it many times and he has lost his sling shot several times because he could not seem to resist the temptation to hit someone with it. This normally happens when nobody wants to play Goliath. I don't think he has ever actually hit Goliath when someone has agreed to play the role (but I could be wrong about that).

This evening Ben again had his sling shot. He hit his daddy in the back with it a time or two, lightly I think but enough to cause daddy to tell him to stop because it hurt. The dad and I were busy putting away all of the play dough at the time and were not paying enough attention, as the sling shot should have been taken away when it was used on daddy.

A little later Ben hit Nick with his sling shot and it hurt enough that Nick was none too happy about it. I was nearby and paying attention this time and I took the sling shot away from Ben, only to find that this time, instead of a waded up sock in the sling shot, he had a hard toy inside of it. No wonder it was hurting so much when he was hitting people with it. So Ben sat in time out for a short while, while the dad and I discussed what should happen next.

The final decision was that there will be no sling shots and no type of David of Goliath, play or video, allowed for three days. Ben was very unhappy about this decision and made the bad choice of throwing fits and being a bit sassy. Sassiness has been a real issue with him since around the time he turned 4 and we are working on this issue.

So, overall, it started out being very cute and funny to watch Ben's infatuation with the whole David and Goliath thing. It is now very tiresome and I am happy that we will have a three day break from them:). Hopefully our little one will learn a little more self control from this three day break. Time will tell.

In other news, the dad and I had a few hours to ourselves while the boys had fun playing with their favorite babysitter. I am continuing to feel much much better and am starting to think that I am almost back to myself. I didn't do a whole lot today though so we will see how much stamina I have when I really dig in again, which will probably be on Monday.

November 14, 2009

Just a quickie post to let everyone know I am now feeling so much better. I definitely got some kind of infection from the pneumonia shot and it is now getting better very quickly. My energy is starting to return and, as you can imagine, I am feeling better from an emotional perspective too. It is soooo nice to see our family starting to get back to normal.

We had a bad event last night that had me very upset though. A real estate agent called the day before and wanted to show our house yesterday evening at 5:30. Since we don't have a lock box on the door, the boys and I just head out the back and we leave, as the real estate agent and people are arriving out front and then the agent calls me on my cell when they are finished. The boys and I just drive around the neighborhood for a few minutes while they are looking at the house, as it usually does not take very long. The people yesterday actually took quite a long time, which we thought was a good thing, although we have not heard anything since so who knows.

Anyway, as I was pulling out of the driveway, I stopped next to the agent's car (she was waiting for her clients to arrive) and told her that we have a cat who likes to try to escape. I told her to just kick her foot at him and he would get back away from the door. Unfortunately, she was on the phone, although she had quit talking to the person and was listening to me (I thought). I think she must have been thinking of other things and was not really listening after all.

She finally called to tell us they were finished. By that time the dad had arrived home and was sitting with us in the van just up the street from our house. He got back into his car and we drove up to the house and into the driveway as the agent and clients were leaving. As we came into the house, I saw Zoe, our cat who normally does not try to escape, but I didn't see Dancer so I started calling for him right away. He loves to eat and loves special treats so normally he comes right away (even if he is sleeping soundly) when I call him from the kitchen. When he didn't come, I thought he might have gotten into one of the attics so I headed upstairs while the husband got a flashlight and headed outside. I didn't find him or hear him in the attic so I called the agent and left her a message on her phone. When she called back a few minutes later, the husband had my phone (which was probably a very good thing). She confirmed that the cat did dash out the back door and she said she thought he was an outdoor cat, as I had not said he wasn't. I just couldn't believe it. By this time, Dancer had likely been outside for about an hour and it had been dark for about as long.

We looked and looked for him and called for him all over the place and we never found him. I brought the kids inside and started fixing them something to eat, all the while I was crying my eyes out. I have had my two cats for about 12 or 13 years now, since they were just little bitty kittens. It was really heart wrenching for me to think that I might not see him again. We also live very close to a very busy road, so that was very concerning to me. The husband was still out looking and he finally came back in empty handed too. He took over finishing something to eat for the boys while I came to the bedroom, still very upset.

I heard the boys shouting and I could hear the husband saying something loudly also, including Dancer's name, and I knew he had returned home. I had left a very smelly can of chicken on the step, hoping it would lure him home. He might have returned anyway but he does love to eat so I'm sure the chicken probably helped a little. I was so relieved. His return was an answer to many prayers and I thanked the Lord.

So, it was an emotional evening but it had a happy ending. Today we have the boy's favorite baby sitter (our only baby sitter:) coming from 3 to 7 so the husband and I can have a few hours to ourselves. It should be a relaxing kind of day around here and I am going to bask in it.

I can't tell you how wonderful it feels to be feeling good again. I am so thankful and it really does make one take stock of what really matters in life. I am going to enjoy this day:).

Thursday, November 12, 2009

November 12, 2009

I think I mentioned in an earlier post that I had a follow up doctors appointment on Monday and, while I was there, I got the pneumonia shot. I had finished the antibiotic I was taking for the pneumonia I have had on Monday evening.  Since then, things have not been going so well. My arm has continued to be more sore each day. I have really felt so badly overall and then, yesterday, I started running a fever again.

My mom and sister were here yesterday to celebrate N's birthday. They left just before I put the boys down for their nap. Then I went to bed and I was chilling and aching again. I was running 101.3 degrees temp. The boys woke up and I let them watch movie after movie and they played with new birthday toys. They were very good, while I was covered up under tons of blankets, chilling and aching and generally feeling miserable.

I called the husband at work and I was crying because I felt so miserable and really felt like the whole thing was starting all over again. He ended up calling two of the doctors that were seeing me in the hospital. They did not think I would have this reaction from the shot, which is what we had been thinking was causing this. One of them called in another prescription for me of the same medication I had finished on Monday and they were thinking I might need to see a lung doctor or something and maybe even have something taken from my lung and tested (doesn't that sound like fun!).

The husband came home early and took over, which was a relief. The boys had really been very good but I still felt bad that I was not up and watching over them. At one point, they were both standing at the end of my bed, singing songs for me with their new little microphones that they got for Nick's birthday. It was very cute and entertaining. I will post a birthday post later, since we now have another 4 year old:).

I took some medication that took my fever down and started feeling better and the husband got my prescription filled so I have had a couple of doses of that now. Last night we noticed a reddening on my arm, around the site where I had the pneumonia shot and today it has spread a bit. So it seems that maybe all of this is just a reaction to the shot. I am hopeful that is all it is. My breathing is so much better that I would really be surprised if it was my lung getting worse.

Actually, after only two doses of the antibiotic, I think the soreness in my arm is already feeling a bit better. So, I am hopeful that I am once again on the mend. This has been so frustrating, as it seems I have been sick now for a long time. My sister thinks I came home from the hospital too soon and I should have spent two additional days there. I think I probably would have recovered faster if I had stayed longer, although I was so ready to come home when I was there. The problem with being home is that I am constantly over doing it, whether I want to or not, because there are just those things that have to be done.

I am very thankful that our friend has come today to take care of the boys. She is absolutely wonderful. She loves to play with them and they are so happy while she is here. They stay busy, they are not arguing at all and I get to rest, which is wonderful. Off to my resting.

Monday, November 09, 2009

November 9, 2009

This recovery thing is definitely taking longer than I would like. Everything is such an effort right now and I always feel exhausted, even though I am sleeping very well at night. Today was the first day I had the boys all day by myself, although I'm not really all by myself because my mom came to stay a few days with me. She is great moral support and also helps out as much as she can. It is very nice to have her here and I am thankful she offered to come. She will stay for a couple more days and then I will be on my own. It will definitely be a challenge. It takes about three weeks to really get your strength back from being this sick with pneumonia.

I am gaining in strength and endurance each day but it is still quite a chore and I feel I am dragging myself around most of the time. I feel for the boys because I am sure they are really tired of all of this, and of course the husband too. He works hard all day and then comes home and has to take on more than normal at home too.

I was surprised by the good behavior today. The boys were better than I expected, after observing them over the past few days. We all got along pretty well and I was patient and kind, which was great because it is not always easy to be that way when I am feeling so yucky. My pain was a bit better today than yesterday so that was a big help too.

I am so tired of all this and so ready to get back into my life. I feel I am sitting on the sidelines and life is passing me by.

I had a follow up appointment with my doctor today and she is going to refer me to a gastro specialist for my acid reflux issues. We all agreed that the problem is bad enough that we need to do something to improve the situation, especially since there is a good possibility that this is what has caused me to aspirate and end up with pneumonia twice within two years. I got the pneumonia shot, just in case:) and the boys got the H1N1 nasal spray. They were not too excited about this since they had just had the regular flu nasal spray a couple of weeks ago and remembered it well. But I think they preferred it to a shot and it was over quickly. In another week or two we have to take them back in for their 4 year old immunizations, which will be 4 or 5 shots each. That is not going to be a fun exercise.

Friday, November 06, 2009

November 6, 2009

I was starting to feel better and could see much improvement on Saturday. For some reason, that was all lost on Sunday, when I woke up in more pain and was feeling worse again. By the afternoon, it was back to the hospital I went, this time as a direct admit. I stayed at the hospital from Sunday evening until Wednesday evening. It is so nice to be back home and I am quickly regaining my strength, although I still have a ways to go.

The husband has had quite the juggling act, trying to keep everything running around here, making sure the boys had supervision and also attending to his work. He has been on call at the hospital all this time, which means he also has to do rounds every morning too, plus still do a lot of his regular work. Thankfully my sister was able to come and stay with the boys from Monday afternoon to Thursday morning. She is such a gift from above. We also have a friend who came and stayed with the boys the last time I was hospitalized for pneumonia and Paul called her again this time. She has been able to come yesterday and today to help out, since I am not quite able to do it all on my own yet.

It is very hard to tell how much is too much right now. I find that I tend to over do things and then I am not hungry so I end up going to bed and not eating anything. That happened last night at dinner and almost happened again this morning at breakfast, although I force myself to eat a piece of toast.

I will be doing it all by myself for half a day on Saturday and half a day on Sunday, since the husband will be doing rounds at the hospital. That is definitely going to be a challenge and I am going to have to be very selective about which things really have to be done.

This morning, the husband had a new theory on what may be causing me to get pneumonia. I have acid reflux extremely bad so his thought is that it is making it too easy to aspirate. I would not at all be surprised if this is the case. I have known it is very bad for a long time, since I live with it every day. So, I think we will likely be doing some testing and searching along these lines and try to get this under control a little better. I'm sure that means changes to my diet:( but it will also mean I will feel better over all, which is good....and I really don't want to get so sick with this pneumonia again. Twice is way more than enough for me. Hopefully we will find a good solution.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

October 29, 2009

The bad news is that I am sick and I'm in a lot of pain. Tuesday afternoon I noticed my body was a bit achy. I took 2 Ibuprofen and then the boys and I went outside to rake some leaves. By the time we came back in, I was a bit more achy and thought my back was hurting from raking the leaves.

I made dinner as quickly as possible because I just wanted to go climb into bed. At some point I started chilling and my aches continued to get worse. I didn't eat anything but left the boys and husband to eat and I went on to bed.

My backache was now starting to wrap around to the front and it was really painful. I felt like I had broken a couple of ribs. My fever continued to climb. Later that night I started throwing up and was extremely nauseated. This went on until around 10:00am or so the next day. After that, the nausea went away, thank goodness, and my worst symptoms were fever and severe pain.

I finally took hydrocodone just before bedtime, hoping it would help the pain enough that I could get some uninterrupted sleep, since the night before I had only slept in 20 to 30 minute increments. It did help a lot and I was kicking myself for not giving it a try earlier. But then I woke up around 4:00am and was in such extreme pain that we went to the ER. I was so thankful that nobody else was there and I didn't have to wait at all. Additionally, when you tell them you are having chest pain, they tend to get right on that too, just in case.

Long story longer, they took an X-Ray and I do have pneumonia, although it is in the opposite lung from when I had it a couple of years ago. We are now not sure if I have the flu or not or how in the world I ended up with pheumonia. Very confusing to me.

So not much going on around here right now, for me anyway. The husband had to call in and let them know I am sick so he has to take sick days yesterday and today. He was suppose to be on call at the hospital and doing morning rounds, this weekend but we are not sure I will be well enough by then. I am hopeful.

So far, nobody else is showing any signs of sickness, although the boys had taken a nap around 9:30am today, since they were so very tired from getting up at 4:30am.

Hopefully I will recover quickly and life will get back to normal soon.

Friday, October 23, 2009

October 23, 2009

The dad got home from Boston just fine and I was very happy to see him, as were the boys. His schedule is what gives the boys and I a schedule, somewhat, so when he is gone I tend to feel a bit rudder-less in some ways. Also, our normal routine allows me to take a break in the evenings, while the dad is playing/reading to the boys and he and I normally take turns putting the boys to bed. We both help with getting ready for bed but we take turns, every other night, reading bedtime stories and their Bible, saying prayers and sitting with them until they fall asleep. So, without the dad here, I end up doing mommy duty from son up until son down:).

I am an introvert and we introverts need to have some alone time to re-energize at times. Also, I find that I am just a better mommy and have a lot more patience when I have some down time each day. So going from Tuesday through Saturday late afternoon with no down time was really hard for me. I felt pretty wiped out, physically and emotionally, by the time he got home. Also, I really don't sleep nearly as well when I am here alone so that contributed greatly to the physical and emotional exhaustion I felt.

In other news, nothing has changed on selling our home. We have five more Sundays left until Thanksgiving and then we will have a break from showing the house for a while. We met with the Kitchen Idea folks about our kitchen design this week and it went very well. She had some great ideas that I would never have thought of. We will meet with them again sometime next week and I am excited to see the results. We meet with our architects again on Monday. We are pretty solid on everything except the layout of the upstairs bedrooms and also the master bath. We have never been happy with the master bath. I think we need to meet with a master bath expert, if such person exists. Hopefully we will figure something out soon. I am ready to finalize this thing and I know our architects are too.

Today the boys and I went to some consignment shops, looking for twin bed frames for their beds. Their mattress and boxsprings are still sitting on the floor and I would really like to find them a bed frame sometime soon. I found some pretty good consignment stores near here so I will have to make frequent visits to find something. I saw the perfect set today but it had already been sold.

I woke up with a scratchy throat today so I am either coming down with something or having allergy issues. It is sometimes hard to tell which, although both of the boys seem to be coming down with something so that may be a clue. Time will tell. I hope it is not the flu, although I don't think it is because nobody has a fever or chills or anything like that, just runny noses so far.

Better run. My click click typing is keeping someone from falling asleep for nap:).

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

October 14, 2009

Thanks for the book advice. I will definitely look into those suggestions.

One of the books I stumbled upon at the used bookstore is The Bears on Hemlock Mountain. We read this one yesterday and the boys really enjoyed it a lot, so much so that we reread it again today. Definitely a winner and we will likely be reading it often.

Another book that was recommended in The Read Aloud Handbook is Dinosaurs Before Dark, which is the first book in the Magic Tree House series. We started this one just before nap and finished it this evening before bed. The boys absolutely loved, loved this book. They were so excited about the story.

The boys have not watched or read anything much that is scary. I don't know if this is why or not but they do not like things that are scary. It took them a while to get up the nerve to watch the David and Goliath video we have and they still have not been brave enough to watch Jonah and the Whale. So I was not sure if the Dinosaurs Before Dark book would be just a bit too scary for them. At one time, Ben did say something about not liking the "monster", which was the T-Rex in this story. But he definitely wanted me to continue.

The funny thing is that I had forgotten that my sister had given me a set of these books that had belonged to my nephew. I remembered after we returned from the used bookstore yesterday and I looked through them and, sure enough, we have books 1-8 and 9-16, or something like that.

When we finished reading book 1 this evening, I told the boys that we have more of these books and they were so excited. They ran to the library and wanted to look through them right away. They decided they wanted to start reading book 2 for our read aloud before bed so we just finished the first 2 chapters in the second book.

I am glad that we found some books that they enjoy. These books seem to have just the right level of excitement and suspense that they are able to hang on during the pages that have no pictures and sometimes that is two page turns away, which is big for a 3/4 year old. This is the first time they have really been able to maintain interest at this level with so few pictures. These books are stretching them another page turn for a picture and I am a bit surprised that they have both been so captured by these books. It is fun to see and I am enjoying them too so that is icing on the cake for me:).

Not much else new around here. Time seems to stand still, to some degree, when the dad is away. But tomorrow things will pick up again because my mom and sister are coming for a visit and the next day (Friday) we have a play date planned and then the dad will be back on Saturday.

Now I just hope I can sleep better tonight than I did last night. I do not function nearly as well when I am short on sleep. Boys are sleeping so I better head that way too.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

October 13, 2009 Part 3

We are still showing the house on Sunday afternoons from 1 to 5.  We have discussed our timeline between now and Thanksgiving and have decided that, if it is not sold by then, we will take if off the market for the holidays, about 6 weeks, and put it back on in January. When we were discussing this, I told the husband that I just have a feeling that we will spend the holidays in this house and he agreed that he thought we would too. I am actually happy about that because I really like this house and it is a beautiful house in which to celebrate the holidays with family. I would much rather be here for the holidays than in a rental and I would really rather not have to move over the holidays.....although if someone offered to buy the house the week before Thanksgiving, I am sure we would sell it:).

As for the new house, we are still working on our house plans. We had another meeting with the architect yesterday and I think we are 98% done with the layout. We still have some work to do on the outside of the house though.

We also have a meeting scheduled for Tuesday with a company called Kitchen Ideas to start working on the design of our kitchen. I visited two of their locations on Saturday and walked through some of their kitchens and I am very excited about the possibilities. It will be fun to start working on the details of the kitchen.

And that is the update on the house. Can you tell I have been without much adult interaction today?

October 13, 2009 Part 2

I am trying very hard to teach the boys to sleep under their covers this year. It has already gotten cool enough here to do so and the pajamas we have this year are no longer the thick, footie ones. They are much thinner, although I do put a T-shirt on them under their pajama top. Still, they need to learn how to sleep under covers.

We are keeping their room much cooler this year. Actually we are keeping our entire house much cooler this year, except our bathroom which has the radiant heated tile. I am so glad to have that back on and Dancer the cat is very happy about it too. I decided to dress warmer this year and keep the house cooler for many reasons. The number one reason is for better health though. That dry heat is really tough on us all but I think it bothers Nick a lot and it also causes cracked fingers and heals with the husband and I. Ben does not seem to be impacted by it much. There is also the added benefit of reduced heating bills which nobody will complain about.

But my point of this post is to tell you that Ben has a real issue with learning to use his covers. He has the habit of sleeping with his head towards the bottom of his bed. He is a child of habit and ritual and does not like changes a whole lot so he is not so happy to change his sleeping habit around. It has occurred to me, as I am writing this, that I might try changing his bedding around so that the head of his bed is at what is now the foot of his bed. That would probably do the trick. Then he could sleep in the direction he wants and still be under the covers.

Problem solved.

October 13, 2009

The dad left this morning for Boston for a conference so we are on our own for a few days. Today we went to the used bookstore. The boys enjoy this place as much as I do and, when we go on a weekday, it is not crowded and they can really wander around the kids area and have fun. They have bean bag chairs and kids tables and chairs and tons of books and some stuffed animals; lots to keep them busy for a while. I found several books from The Read Aloud Handbook. I trade in books there so we got a little over $30 worth of used books for around $2.75. That's my kind of shopping!

I am finding that we are at a challenging time for finding the right books for reading aloud. The boys love any book that anyone wants to sit down and read to them, for the most part, as long as it is not too old for them. And we still read lots and lots of picture books, Dr. Seuss type books, Beatrix Potter, the original Winnie the Pooh books and the original Thomas the Train. But I like to continue to find books that stretch their ability to sit and listen without having quite so many pictures to look at and also having a bit more plot (the Beatrix Potter, Winnie the Pooh and Thomas the Train books are great for this too, but we need more variety).

One of the best I have found so far is the My Father's Dragon series. I read the three book series to the boys quite a while back and they loved it. It was perfect because it had a lot more text vs the number of pictures and it was full of action and left them hanging at the end of much so that they were frequently asking me to continue. We actually reread the first book in the series again a while back and this morning we started the second book again. It does seem though that they were much more into the suspense of these books the first time around. Now they know the story so the suspense is not quite there as much.

Generally I think there is a real need for more books in this area. They seem to skip from books with lots of pictures to books with very few or no pictures and there is not a good enough transition, in my opinion, or at least I have yet to find it. And it seems they assume that children who are reading the books with fewer pictures are older. Or the chapter books are those for children who are learning to read so the words and plots are much more simple. We found several today that might be good, although I am not sure if the topic/plot might be a bit to advanced because these are geared more towards K'ers or above. We'll see. I might need to look on Amazon to see if I can find some and order them for Christmas or something.

Friday, October 09, 2009

October 9, 2009 Part 2

We got these write and erase books for the boys for their birthdays. Nick has not had his birthday yet but he got to open a present when it was Ben's birthday. That red panda bear is just dotted lines for them to trace. I thought N did a great job tracing it with his red pen. Nice panda Nick!

And here is Ben, showing us the trailer he drew behind that tractor. It is hauling bales of hay. He also drew some long-legged people in the barn. Nice job Ben!Nick is very into coloring these days.
I have just purchased a writing program to start teaching the boys the proper way to write their letters, so we will be starting that soon but they are having fun with these books in the meantime. They are very interested in trying to write their letters. You would think that I could teach them that without any guidance from a writing program but I have found that the way I form my printed letters is not the "proper" way to do it:). Oops!
We recently went to the Tulsa State Fair and the boys had lots of fun.
This was by far the favorite ride for both boys. Unfortunately I thought they would really like this miniature roller coaster and they were all for trying it. The entire time they were riding it Ben had a look of terror on his face and Nick was screaming and crying, so that turned out to be a bad choice on my part.
They had this huge room set up with lots of fun stuff for the younger kids to do for free. They had a huge sand pit area, this Lego area with tons of fun Lego parts, a long wall to color and a magician, just to name a few.
This was another one of our science experiments that we did about air. They are blowing bubbles into the pot of water. We also put an empty plastic bottle in the water and watched the bubbles come up as it sank and we filled a balloon with air and then let the air out under the water and watched the bubbles come up from that. I think we did a couple more things for this particular experiment also but can't remember what they were now. We have now finished the section on air and are ready to move on to the next section, although I can't remember now what that is.
The dad, reading a library book to the boys after he got home from work that evening.
The boys and I have all had a fun time making different road scenarios with the new Build-A-Road that Ben got for his birthday. They have learned to put it together themselves now, which is great.

October 9, 2009

I'm making up for many months of no pics so get your coffee and pull up a chair.

These first two pics are from a trip to the zoo we made when the dad was on vacation and we were vacationing at home.

This was early one morning, the boys were working together to make shapes and I was amazed at how well they were doing this by themselves. Kids learn so fast.
The following pics are from a trip we made to OKC to see Thomas the Train when our friends were here from K.C. They had a tent with lots of tables set up with all different kinds of Thomas the Trains on them. Ben especially enjoyed this tent. At one point he went missing and scared me to death. He had been telling me he wanted to go back to this tent and we were standing not too far from it so I should have known. It didn't take us long to find him but it was one of those scary parent moments.

We took a short train ride, with 'Thomas' pulling and pushing.
The boys were excited to meet Sir Topum Hat. (I know I probably spelled that wrong but, in the interest of getting all of the pics posted as quickly as possible, I'm not going to go look it up:)
They had lots of fun things to do, including a fun climbing area and the obligatory bouncing places. Nick ended up with a massive blister on his big toe from bouncing so much. It is just now going away.
More to come but I'm going to put them in a separate post, as this one is getting too big.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

October 6, 2009

Today I was going through the drive through at our bank to get some cash. It is one of the older ones where you put your card in and the machine takes the card into the machine and keeps it during the transaction, spitting it back out at the end. Ben sits behind the driver so he could see what was going on but he missed seeing the machine spit the card back out. As I started to drive away, he asked "mommy, where is your card?", followed by "did it change your card to money?". I got a good chuckle out of that one.

We were driving in the car the other day and I was using the opportunity of a captive audience to explain more about sin, how God is perfect and cannot look upon sin, how we are sinful but God sent His Son Jesus Christ to die for our sins. I was doing my best to explain it at a 3/4 year old level. When I finished talking, I was quite surprised when Ben immediately said 'We should pray and thank God for that mommy" and then he said a quick prayer, thanking God for Jesus dying on the cross for our sins.

Today as we were driving and I was listening to talk radio, the boys started singing songs together. It was so sweet. They sang three different songs together and I had to turn down my radio and listen to them because it was just too cute. One was The B-I-B-L-E, yes that's the book for me..... Another one was Glory, Glory Alleluia, which sounded like Gworwy, Gworwy Awewuia, which kept me smiling the whole time they were singing it. It was precious. I can't remember what the third one was but I clapped for them when they finished. This is such a cute and fun age.

Today we started a new system of memorizing Bible verses. I soooo needed this. Our first verse is: A soft word turns away wrath. Proverbs 15:1. We read it this morning, along with a short story illustrating how a child put this into practice while playing with a friend. We role played it a couple of times (Nick and I did; Ben was playing nearby.) And we have discussed it and recited it several times throughout the day. We will stick with this verse for as long as it takes us all to memorize it well, which shouldn't be too long since it is a shorter one. I wrote it on an index card and I drew a picture on the backside to remind us of our verse. I need to read more about this system and get the details down. It is a free online at I am hoping it will work out very well for us.

Well, the boys are awake and I have to get out of Nick's chair and give him his blanky so he can watch his 30 minute movie. Pictures are still coming, I promise:).

Thursday, October 01, 2009

October 1, 2009

Lately the boys have been very into "doing school". It had been a while since we had done anything and now they are really making up for lost time. Nick is particularly into coloring and tracing lately and will sit for long periods of time doing both. Both boys are doing a great job of coloring for their age. They also enjoy doing mazes and we spent a good amount of time yesterday morning doing pasting. I would cut out pictures from our Let's Sticker and Paste Kumon book and they would take the pieces and paste them back together to make the appropriate picture. They did a great job. It was a lot like doing a puzzle and they do lots of puzzles so they enjoyed this activity.

It is interesting to see how far they have come in their ability to do all of the crafty things since the last time we really did a lot of it. It had been a while and I was thinking they might be rusty but their skills had actually improved. We have not worked on cutting in quite a while so it will be interesting to see how they do with that now.

I had been telling them for a couple of weeks that I was going to start sitting with them one at a time and working on reading, while the other one works on other things at the table. Today we finally gave this a try and it really went very well. Nick sat at the table because he wanted to continue his coloring. Ben and I sat together on the small couch in the library/playroom. I wanted to start out slow so I set the timer for 10 minutes and explained to Nick very nicely that he was to stay busy and not interrupt us.

I gave Ben a choice of reading through words on flashcards I had made or reading the Bob Books and he chose the Bob Books. We started out with the first book in the first set. I was interested to see how he would do because, again, we had really not done anything for quite a while. He amazed me. He sounded out the words and read right through the first two with very little help. Once or twice he tried to guess at a word and got it wrong (Sam instead of sat). I just reminded him to sound out the letters and not to guess and he did so just fine. I was very impressed with how well he did. He seems to have a natural bent for learning to read and he enjoys his successes.

In the meantime, Nick kept himself busy at the kitchen table for the 10 minutes Ben and I were reading together. He did an awesome job and we never heard a peep from him. He continued with his work even after the timer went off. I wanted to do a few minutes of sounding out letters with him but he really did not want to. I tried to talk him in to doing just 3 minutes of work with me and we started to do it. He did OK for the first two pages or so and then he stopped trying and I could tell he really did not want to do it and was soon going to refuse. So I just asked him if he wanted to stop and he said that yes, he wanted to color again, so that's what we did.

I was working with Nick on a paper he wanted me to tear out of his book so he could color it. It was one of those that had rows of pictures and, for each row, you had to put an X on the picture that did not fit in. Like on one row there was a picture of an airplane, a helicopter, a tree and a balloon. He X'ed out the tree and told me all the others fly. He did very well on this exercise and, overall, I was very pleased with how both boys did today and quite surprised since we had not done anything for a while. Kids are amazing! Oh, Nick also traced a dotted picture of a panda bear's head and he did an exceptional job (in my humble opinion:). I was really impressed, since the last time we were really into "doing school" I could not get him to do much tracing at all.

We also played the Cat in the Hat, I Can Do That game this morning and we had so much fun. That is really a great game for little ones. The boys think it is so fun and funny and I laugh a lot, watching them do the silly things. After they were done, they had to count their cards. Nick counted his and he had 13 and Ben counted his and had 20. All this to say that was the highest I had seen them count out objects and they both did it perfectly. Makes me wonder exactly how high they can count out objects. We'll have to test that sometime.

What else can I tell you? Well, here is something I have noticed lately. Nick does not like to be messy when he eats. He really does not like to get food on his face and will refuse to lick icing off a spatula if he thinks it will make his face messy. He always wants and uses a napkin to keep his face and hands clean when he is eating. Ben, not so much:). He was eating some cake today after lunch and had icing all over his fingers and face and he thought it was funny. He was a mess, so bad that I gave him a rag to clean up and told him he needed to use his fork and quit making such a mess. He frequently leaves lots of crumbs in and under his chair and I always have to wipe his chair down after he uses his dirty/sticky hands to climb down. They are quite opposites when it comes to this.

Nick has recently started becoming a bit pickier as to what he will eat. Don't misunderstand. I am still the pickiest eater in my home but his once "I'll eat anything" attitude has been a bit tempered of late. There is one casserole I make that has mushrooms in it and he recently decided he does not like them, when he had eaten them without comment for a long time. Actually, he and Ben both had eaten them with joy, even when I cooked up a whole pan full of mushrooms, because their daddy likes them so they had to like them too. I guess that is no longer the case now. We normally eat salmon once a week or so and he has decided that he does not care for it so much, although he will eat bites of ours (and will say yum) but then still hardly touches his own and insists that he does not like it.

Ben's eating habits really have not changed at all. He likes almost everything. Neither of them like cucumbers or watermelon, although I think Ben had cucumbers recently, not knowing they were cucumbers, and liked them so who knows.

Both boys seem to switch back and forth between left and right hand, when they are writing, Nick more so than Ben. Ben still tends to favor his right hand and Nick seems to favor his left. Ben has really come along with his coordination and athletic ability, although Nick still seems to be a bit ahead of Ben is this area. Both boys enjoy climbing to the top of our jungle gym, hanging by their knees, falling backward while holding on at their knees and then flipping over as they jump to the ground. It amazes me that they have taught themselves how to do this already. My hope/plan is to find some sort of sport or something to put them in next year. I would actually like to put them in swimming lessons this winter but I'm not sure if everyone else agrees so we'll see. I think Nick would really enjoy being in T-Ball and Ben might also, although he might tend to get bored with it faster. We'll see. They will change so much by then.

Both boys still sleep very well and have been sleeping in since it is getting light later. I like this:). They take a nap from around 1:30 to 3:00 ish and they are usually in bed, ready to fall asleep around 8:30pm. They have stars and planets on their ceiling and we usually talk about them when we turn the lights out. The dad and I still take turns sitting with them until they fall asleep. It usually does not take very long and their behavior has greatly improved. I am still hopeful that, some day soon, they will be able to stay in their beds and fall asleep without us in their room:). We have not tried it in a long time so maybe we should try it again.

The boys love playing outside and they usually play outside for at least 1 to 3 hours a day, depending on the weather and what we have to do that day. They stay out longer if an adult is outside with them.

Making it to the potty in time is going pretty well these days, although we do have our bad days too. One day this week, Nick wet his pants twice and Ben wet his bed at nap time so that was not a stellar day for us. Most days we have no accidents though so it makes the other days tolerable.

Both boys are normally very well behaved when we are out and about, although Nick told me that a boy from church bit him one Sunday. After a few questions in an attempt to find out what had happened, I learned that they had been fighting over a toy and Nick had hit him first. Nick did not have a bite mark on him and he said that their teacher had told them both that we do not hit or bite so it sounds like it was handled well.

Both boys are a pleasure to be around and I am enjoying staying home with them. This is still my dream job and I still feel as if I am living my dream and there is nothing else I would rather do. I am also feeling very good about how we are spending our time, as far as making the choice not to do formal school time this year and just having fun and playing it by ear. We won't have very many more years we can do this and we are enjoying it while we can. At the same time, it seems we are still doing a good job of learning the appropriate things while we play and have fun so it's all good.

Next year the boys would officially be at the Pre-K4 level so we can really do the same thing next year if we want. I will make the decision as we approach that time frame and I can see how mature the boys are and how they are doing with what we are learning. I would like to be able to do another year of no formal schooling but we will see. Regardless of which we choose to do, I will definitely be ordering more age appropriate school related materials to be doing with them. I might also keep trying to do the 10 minutes of learning to read with Ben and build it up to 20 or 30 minutes, maybe three times a week, or something like that.

I'm just not sure yet exactly what we will do when, we'll play it by ear, but I am really enjoying watching them learn and seeing how great they feel about their successes in learning and how much they enjoy it. We are having fun and learning a lot and they seem pretty happy about staying at home for school, albeit they know nothing else. Several of their friends are at the Pre-K4 level this year, some at three days a week and some full time, so the boys know about "going to school" and that they are going to have school at home. This morning we were discussing this and I told them that some kids ride the bus to school but we just change out of our pajamas. They thought that was funny (not that we are officially doing school but it was still funny).

So, that's the update. I will try to put up some pictures within the next day or two.