Monday, May 25, 2009

May 25, 2009

The boys are napping today, which seems strange to me now. It seems unusually quiet on the infrequent occasions when they nap.

Today they were playing outside while the dad worked nearby. I was indoors reading and I kept hearing Ben crying about this or that. I called them in to eat lunch, thinking that might fix the problem. After lunch they wanted to go back out and play so I sent them out, thinking maybe the food did the trick. Nope. I was again reading and again hearing Ben crying. So I called them back in and took them upstairs for a nap, as they both cried....but not for long. It is interesting because they are now getting to an age where they can recognize when they are overly tired and they don't protest too much about quiet time or naps. They were both asleep very quickly and I am sure they will be their normal happy, playful selves when they wake up.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

May 20, 2009

Lately I have had several opportunities to watch the boys in action when they are not aware that I am observing them. I stand there watching them, as they are talking to each other excitedly (isn't everything exciting when you are 3.5?), running to and fro (especially if they are outside and playing in water and sand) and generally just so busy (indoors and outdoors!), and I find myself thinking about how quickly they are growing and changing.

I told the husband just yesterday evening, as I watched from the window as the boys played outside, we will blink our eyes and they will be grown. This evening, as I was giving the boys their baths and washing Nck's feet, I once again took notice of how big his feet are now. The past almost two and a half years have already whizzed by. They are both so funny and smart and sweet and lively. I can't imagine what it will be like around here when they are grown and gone. I am trying to savor every moment of this time.

With such lovely weather here these days, we have fallen into a very nice, loose schedule. We normally spend time outside in the mid-morning. We have play dates or go to the park or the zoo. After lunch, the boys play while I clean up and then it is time for quiet time, which lasts 30 to 45 minutes. After that, the boys normally want to watch their 30 minutes of a video or DVD. They play for a little while and then it is back outside for more playtime in the side yard, where the sand box, mud/dirt pit, small pool of water and climbing structure keep them busy until the dad comes home and dinner is ready.

I started this post yesterday (Wednesday evening) and was not able to finish it until today (Thursday night). The boys and I went to the farm today to see Mimi and Papa. My sister and her son were there and my brother and his daughter and another one of my brothers were all there. We had a very nice visit and the boys had a blast, ate too many sweets and received too much attention:). They loved every minute of it. During the trip there and back (about 75 minutes each direction) we listened to The Trumpet of the Swan on CD. It was a bit old for the boys, although they enjoyed parts of it. I really enjoyed it though. I had never heard the story and was not sure what the listening level was so I thought the boys might like it. I will look forward to reading it with the boys when they are a bit older.

Gotta go. Time for bed. Hope you have a wonderful 3-day weekend.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

May 17, 2009

Finally I have a little time to post a few pictures and document what we have been up to lately. We have been doing a little of everything. We have been playing at the park and have had a couple of play dates. The dad is still on his two week stint of hospital duty.

We went to a small get together yesterday evening with families in our church connect group. Since our church is somewhat large, our classes are divided into smaller connect groups so we can really get to know each other. The couple who hosted our group last evening had hired one of those huge blow-up jumping things that also had a slide. All the kids loved it and had a ball. Our little guys were the youngest kids there but I'm sure they won't be for long, as a friend of mine is expecting in the fall. This was our first time to go to the connect group meeting and we really enjoyed it. We will look forward to attending more of these get togethers in the future.

This morning I had a little time to explore our church library for a few minutes before class started. They have an amazing selection of children's books. I checked out six books and will look forward to checking out many more in the future. We are allowed to check out up to 24 books at a time, since we have four family members and we can each check out six at a time. Not bad. I think this library will really come in handy in the future.

I am reading several books right now. One of them is Knowing and Teaching Elementary Mathematics by Liping Ma. It is a very insightful book and I am so glad I ran across it. Another book I am reading right now is The Read Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease. This is an awesome book and I highly recommend it to anyone who has children under the 8th grade level. Every parent with young children should read this book. It is much much more than just a list of good books to read aloud. The other book I am still reading is my new copy of the Well Trained Mind. I have put this one on the back burner for a little while, while I focus on the other two.

We are having such a beautiful, sunny day today that I decided to get out the little swimming pool for the boys....actually, I had the idea and then the dad got the pool down and put a little water in it for the boys:). Regardless, when I later went outside to sit and watch the boys play, I realized it is not nearly as warm outside as I had thought. But alas, it was way to late to turn the ship around. The boys were already playing and having a ball so I let them play, knowing they would quit when they got too cold. They really had a lot of fun but it didn't take too long before they were ready to change out of their wet clothes and go play in their sand box. This is definitely the year of the sand box....and also the year for the mud/dirt pit next to the sand box. We really should take out some stock in whatever company makes Spray & Wash or Shout or whatever it is we use. Nick always comes in covered with dirtish-mud. Usually the entire seat of his pants are caked with it. He is definitely the type of child who relishes his play with every fiber of his body.

I was talking on the phone while they were playing outside and I happened to see Nick throw a not-so-small stick across the fence into the neighbor's yard, or more correctly, onto the neighbor's driveway, just outside of their garage. I hurried outside, hoping the neighbor was not on said driveway and did not just get hit in the head with said stick. Fortunately, he was nowhere to be seen so I explained to Nick and Ben (for one usually follows the action of the other) the reasons we do not throw sticks over the fence and, most especially, into the neighbors yard. After that, we went to the ice cream store and had some yummy ice cream.

The boys are both doing great, although they are becoming more physical with each other and starting to pick at each other more in a physical way. Nick will walk by Ben and give him a little poke/shove and Ben will tip back, falling into the wall a little. He won't be hurt but he will whine to me "Mommy! Nick just pushed me and made me hit the wall!". Ten or fifteen minutes later, Benick will walk by N and poke/push him and I will hear the wail of "Mommy!....." all over again. The other issue I am having right now is I might tell one of them to do something and the response might be "No." or "No, I''m doing such and such." or "No, I won't!". Needless to say, I do not care for these responses at all. So I am working on correcting these behaviors but, I must say, I find it challenging....most likely because I am not consistent enough and/or because I have not been on top of it and corrected it as soon as it started or whatever. It never fails that the "No" issue rears it's ugly head when I am in a hurry to get somewhere, such as this morning when we were preparing to leave for church. In these situations I do not handle this behavior as well as I should and I tend to lose my patience and/or become rather irritated quickly. After reflecting on this at church this morning, I have decided that going forward I need to not worry so much about being late for where ever we happen to be going. My first priority should be correctly the child in the RIGHT way, rather than becoming impatient or angry and later regretting how I handled the situation. I have been praying about this and I am hopeful that, with God's help, I will do better going forward.

And finally, here are the pictures I promised so long ago.

Here are the boys, playing in the kitty basket-bed. I'm not quite sure what they were pretending. They have bowling pins in the basket with them and they are examining the holes in the bottom of the tub we use for storing their little cars and trucks.
Further exploration of the holes is underway. I'm not sure why this was so interesting.And this was probably the start of trouble but I don't remember for sure now.
This is how quiet time usually ends up at our house:

Yesterday the boys found these old bibs in the toy box. It was cute to watch them helping each other.
Ben made some more play dough people.
I thought these were especially good, since he did them all by himself. Not bad, huh?
And, last but not least, here are a couple of pics of my azaelas in bloom. I thought I had gotten a picture up close but I guess I didn't. Bummer. I think this was their best year yet. You can click on the picture if you want a closer look:).
I think these were taken early on, during the time when we were all sick, so these are a bit dated now. Everything here is in full bloom now and, since we have had so much rain, everything looks very lush. It really is beautiful. Also, my day lilies are now really blooming now.

Gotta go. It's bed time for the boys. Hope you had a good weekend. Goodnight.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

May 13, 2009

We are fine and everyone here is still well. We have just been very busy lately, enjoying ourselves now that we are finally all better around here. Also, the dad is still on hospital duty, which keeps everyone busier.

I have a few pics to post so I will try to make some time tomorrow (maybe tomorrow night) to write a better post and put up some recent pics...not very many though, as I didn't take many while we were sick:).

We are getting ready to be hit by a big thunderstorm tonight. I can already hear the thunder in the distance. Hopefully it won't interfere with sleeping because I am really sleepy tonight.

I am also spending some time reading my new copy of the latest revision of The Well Trained Mind. It makes me see that I have jumped the gun a bit with the boys. Fortunately the jump is more with purchased materials rather than pushing the boys and we will still use the materials when the right time comes along. I have always taken a very light and fun approach with the boys and normally we are "doing school" when they ask and, even then, we are doing fun stuff like cutting, pasting, folding and coloring, along with mazes and some other fun things. I have tried a few things they were not as excited about and I just put it aside and wait until they are older. So, so far, we are just having fun and playing when we "do school", which is what it should be at this age. Can you believe they will be four years old this fall?! I can't. It seems like it was just yesterday they were little bitty guys, toddling around here. Amazing how quickly the time goes by.

I'm very tired this evening so good night for now:).

Thursday, May 07, 2009

May 7, 2009

Yay!! We are feeling better around here and today is a sunny day! What a great combination!

Yesterday morning both boys woke up without a temperature and we have been getting better since then. They seem almost back to normal. They are both still coughing a lot, especially in the mornings and at bedtime and Ben may be just a bit behind Nick in recovery, since he caught it last. He is the only one of the four of us that has recovered without needing an antibiotic.

Today we took some flowers to a friend at a nearby hospital and then we stopped at McDonald's for a bite to eat and some playtime. After that we stopped at the park and we had such a great time. It was really beautiful outside, although it was getting a bit warm by the time we left. The boys climbed everything and we hit the slides, swings and the sandbox. They had a ball and Nick was upset when we left...but his face was red from being overheated so it was time to go.

We are home now and taking a little break, after which I am sure they will want to go outside again. Our lawn needs to be mowed sooo badly. We have had so much rain, combined with sickness, and so our lawn has not been mowed in a while and it is really overdue. I think the dad is going to come home a little early this afternoon and work on it. I was ready to hire the guy who mows the lawn next door this time, since the dad has so much on his plate right now (he is on hospital duty, in addition to his normal workload, plus he has two projects at home already underway that have been on hold due to rain and sickness). I called him with this suggestion but he was sure he had time to fit it in.

Our temperature around here has been in the 50's for the past couple of weeks, due to all of the rain. Yesterday was somewhat sunny and it was in the upper 70's. Today it is mostly sunny and it is in the upper 80's. Looks like summer may have arrived:).

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

May 5, 2009

I think we are finally over the worst of this virus. Both boys are coughing A LOT, especially at night. This morning around 6:00am they both had around 103 temp. The dad gave them both ibuprofen and they went back to sleep for a while. They did great after that until around 2:30, when Ben started complaining that his head was hurting. I could tell his fever was back up a bit so I went ahead and gave him more medicine. Other than that, both boys played most of the day.

My mom and sister came to see us yesterday late afternoon and spent the night. They were flying out today to go to Oregon to visit my mom's sister. (We are praying they don't end up with our virus.) We had to leave for the airport this morning at 7:00am so I had to wake the boys up around 6:40am or so. They were wonderful little troopers.

On our way back from the airport, we drove through the Krispy Kreme drive through and got donuts, which we all enjoyed. When we got home, behavior was REALLY lousy so we came back upstairs to go back to bed, much to their dismay. It did not take long at all for them to fall asleep and also for me to fall asleep in my chair in their room. We all woke up around two or two and a half hours later at 11:00am and moods and behavior had improved greatly.

It rained all day again and we are so water logged now that it is unbelievable. I am beginning to feel like Noah and wonder if it will ever stop. The three of us are all tired of being sick and tired of being cooped up. We are ready for good health and pretty weather.

Today we read lots of books and worked lots of puzzles and watched two movies. I am breaking the movie rules while the boys are sick and it continues to rain.

I am sitting with the boys as they fall alseep this evening, listening to the thunder outside. They were both coughing terribly when they first got into bed. I have been sitting here maybe 10 minutes and they are already breathing steadily, like they are already asleep. I knew it wouldn't take long, as they tire easily when they are not feeling well. For some reason I have been very tired today too and I am really looking forward to a good sleep.

And now the rains have started up again. I can hear the heavy rain on the roof. Everything here is beautiful, lush and green now and flowers are everywhere. Our lawn needs to be mowed so badly but the rain has not stopped long enough to allow for it.

The dad starts another two week stint doing hospital duty on Thursday, although it might as well be tomorrow, since he has to start reviewing all of the patient charts and familiarizing himself with everything that is going on with each of the patients. I am soooo not looking forward to this two week stint of hospital duty. It would have been so nice to have had a week or two between all of this sickness and the hospital duty. Oh well. We will persevere, with God's help.

Must go to bed. Goodnight:).

Saturday, May 02, 2009

May 2, 2009

And now Ben has a fever too. On the bright side, we will hopefully get through this and be done with it sooner. We are hoping we will have a better night tonight. I am very thankful the worst of this is happening over the weekend, while the dad is around to help out:). ....Goodnight.

May 2, 2009

Little Mr. Nick is so sick. It makes me so sad to him like this. He usually has so much energy and he is a happy-go-lucky kind of kid. We are still overlapping ibuprofen and tylenol and, when both are working together, he has spent some time playing playdoh and lego's. As soon as one of them starts to wear off, he is all curled up in fetal position in the chair or on the couch. Even with both medications, he is still running over 100 degrees fever. He has eaten very little today but he did enjoy crunching some ice chips. He hardly has any voice so he is not talking much and we hear every breath he takes. I am really hoping and praying his fever breaks soon.
The dad and I were both up during the night, taking turns giving Nick medicine. He never called out to us (we still use the monitor because their bedroom is so far from ours) and he never came downstairs but we checked in on him several times to make sure he was OK and gave him more medication to keep his fever under control.

I just put both boys down for a nap and they are now sleeping so I am going to go take a little break. Have a good Saturday!

Friday, May 01, 2009

May 1, 2009

Just when you think the whole family is getting back to feeling good again, another one bites the dust, so to speak. This morning, Nick woke up with a funny sounding voice, a croupy sounding cough and a runny nose. I decided to have the boys take a one hour nap for many reasons and, when he woke up, he was running 103.1 temp and sounded croupy. I gave him some ibuprofen and sat in the steamy bathroom with him for a little while and then he and Ben watched a movie.

I checked his temp again after the movie and it has come down a bit, although it is very hard to get a good reading because I am using a digital thermometer that goes under the tongue. On a side note, we have the kind that you rub across the forehead and the kind that you put in the ear and we have not been very happy with the accuracy/consistency of any of them.

The dad is bringing home a flu test kit so we can test him, just to be sure, although since the dad didn't test positive for the flu and it seems we have all (except Ben) had the same symptoms, I am doubting it is the flu. I am really dreading having to do this test though. I have had this test done and they stick this thing so far up the nose that it really hurts and brings tears to your eyes. Nick is not going to be a happy camper about it. But the dad says we need to make sure, just in case he might have the flu so we could treat him.

In other news, I am keeping the house alarm set all day, even when we are home, since someone out there has my keys. My brother stopped by today to drop something off and I forgot to turn the alarm off before opening the door. Unfortunately it was not one of the two doors that allows for a short grace period to turn off the alarm before the very loud alarms go off. It made quite a ruckus and the boys were still napping, although it was almost time for them to wake up. It was really not a big deal but it really shook me up, for some reason. The alarm monitoring company called and I actually started crying on the phone, much to my dismay:).

Side note: As I am writing this, the boys are playing something, although I can't really tell what. Nick keeps running into the library and pushing buttons on the play microwave and then he runs back and bows his head and says a pray "Dear Lord, thank you for this food, Amen." and then he runs back to the library. I guess he must be fixing a meal and then praying before eating.

Yesterday they both rode their trikes into the living room and Nick was saying "Ben, let's go to your house". The he asked Ben "This you house?" and Ben said it was and wave his arm around and said the whole thing was his house. Nick said, "It so pretty. Who build it?" and Ben said "My workers." and then Ben said "Old King Cole." It was an interesting conversation. They have such vivid imaginations.

Today they were building blocks together. They are both getting to be very good block builders these days. I was in the kitchen working and heard Nick say "Ben, that's pretty?" (I think he wanted Ben to compliment what he had built and then Ben did in response.) Then Nick said about what Ben was building, "That's berry high!" and Ben said "yeah."

This morning we finished our first chapter book. Thanks so much for the recommendations. I am going to check into them, since we all really enjoyed reading this one. They were asking me every day to read some more of it.

After we finished our book, they wanted to "do school" so we did some mazes, cutting and folding from our Kumon books. They really are not much into coloring, even with the coloring that is in the Kumon book, which to me looks like a pretty fun, easy thing to do (three balloons of different colors, each with a white circle in it and they are to color the white circle the same color as the rest of the balloon). It seems that is always the book they don't want to do. They like the cut and paste books the best and they enjoy doing mazes and some of the other activities in the books from the Critical Thinking Company.

Well, the dad is home so I had better get with it. Time for the late afternoon / evening shift:).


Nick sounds really bad when he breathes and we are concerned he might not be getting enough air. The dad got medication and then went back to his office to get his pulse-ox machine (not sure how this is spelled but that is how it sounds). The dad made it back home and Nick's levels tested fine (98%). But the dad agreed that Nick sounded really bad (Nick was sleeping by this time) so he went back upstairs with his stethoscope to listen to Nick's chest. When the dad came back down, he said that Nick had coughed and then had sounded much better. His chest sounded fine and everything seemed to be more in his throat. So, that's a big relief and the dad and I will both sleep better tonight, knowing Nick is breathing fine. I won't be surprised if his fever spikes again and wakes him up though. But if that is all we have to deal with tonight, I'm ok with that. Hope you have a good night.


The flu test came back negative, thankfully. I really thought it would and that he has what the dad and I both have already had but it is good to confirm it is not the flu. Nick actually did very well with the test, so that was a relief too. We have already sat in the steamy bathroom twice and plan to do it again before bed. Little Nick hardly has any voice left and his cough (and sometimes his breathing) makes me cringe. The dad just went out to get a prescription filled for a steroid, just in case Nick might need it tonight. We are concerned about his breathing.....that said, he has done this before and has always slept good at night with no trouble so, hopefully, we will not need anything. Nick is much more cuddly when he is not feeling as well. That part I enjoy. They are both so busy these days, I don't get as much cuddle time as I once did:).

Ben is the only one in the family that has not caught this yet and they drink and eat after each other quite often so it is probably just a matter of time. Once that happens, we will all have had both of these crazy viruses that are going through our household right now and we will hopefully all be well again. We are just finishing up using eye drops in Ben's eye from the other virus, as he was the last one to catch that too.