Wednesday, September 30, 2009

September 30, 2009

We have our first 4 year old! For approximately six weeks or so, we will have one four year old and one three year old, much to Nick's dismay. He was very sad this morning that he could not be four too today however birthday-boy-Ben was very gracious and allowed Nick to help blow out candles and open gifts.

Ben woke up very happy to be four. He told my sister that when he went to bed last night he was three and when he woke up this morning he was four. It was so cute.

My mom and sister came today and brought a small cake and gifts. We had a beautiful fall day here today. Very sunny and cool. So the boys were able to play outside for a while, which they love to do with my sister. She is so much fun and plays hide and seek with them, pushes them on the swings, plays in the sand box and tirelessly pitches to them and chases balls while they hit the ball over and over and over. They love playing baseball and I think, Nick especially, would bat all day long if someone would keep pitching to him.

Ben also received three phone calls, wishing him a happy birthday. Aunt D called from Arizona and two of his cousins called him from college. Every time I answered the phone and then said "Ben, it's for you", he would get the biggest smile on his face. He was very happy and excited to be receiving phone calls just for him and Nick was happy to get to talk too, although he had a hard time with going second so much. It made me see just how often he tends to push his way to be first, ahead of Ben, and he tends to get away with it often because Ben does not seem to mind most of the time. I need to start watching for that more.

So Ben had two small family parties, one with my mom and sister earlier in the day and then the other one with our immediate family this evening after dinner.

I made a cake today and put the icing on it and then the dad wrote Happy Birthday Ben on it, after which Ben and Nick put sprinkle things all over it. So it was a joint effort and the boys were happy to get to help decorate Ben's cake.

Following are a few birthday pics. I still plan to post more pics and news about the boys soon but wanted to go ahead and do the happy birthday post first.

Here is the birthday boy, playing with a birthday toy.
Brother Nick is pretty happy about having new toys to play with and he is looking forward to his birthday coming up soon.

This is the coolest toy! It snaps together pretty easily, although it will likely be a few days or so before they can do it without help. The track is very flexible so you can simply give it a little push and create a new curve just like that and there is 15 feet of track. It was very quick and easy to put together and can be reconfigured easily to make a new track design. It comes with two little cars that run by battery and they are really spunky. I can definitely see why this toy was an award winning toy. I highly recommend it, if you are looking for something to put on the Christmas list and it was only $30, which I thought was great for what you get. It is called Build-A-Road by iPlay and it got great reviews. Ben got this gift from mommy and daddy.

I missed getting a picture of the boys playing with this (below) today but they played with it for hours. I don't know what it is officially called but I call it a marble run. This is also a big winner on the cool toys front and it also got very good reviews. Ben absolutely loved this toy that my sister and her family got for him and Nick enjoyed it also. It can also be changed around to your heart's content, although they are not quite able to do it on their own yet. It is very easy to change around though so I don't mind helping out. I enjoyed playing with this today too;). I like that both of these toys are open ended and allow for a lot of creativity. I know the boys will have lots of hours of fun playing with them.Although I didn't get pics of them, my sister also got the boys some K'NEX toys for 3+ year olds and they are also wonderful for open-ended creative play.

My mom got the Cat in the Hat I Can Do That game and it is so fun and cute. I'm sure we will be playing it again tomorrow. Definitely a great game for kids and I think it won three awards, or something like that. I can see why. It was fun and easy for the boys to play and we all laughed a lot while they were playing it. Lots of good laughs with this game.

I think we had a successful 4-year-old birthday today and we have two very tired little boys. Now I have to start trying to find good, interesting gifts for the second 4 year old...and right after that is Christmas. This is going to be a challenge. If you know of any great toys that your kids have really liked when they were four, let me know!

Monday, September 28, 2009

September 28, 2009

I have been so busy lately that I have not had much time to post. Our friends from KC came for a visit over the weekend and we had such a fun time together. They arrived on Thursday, we went to OKC on Friday for the Thomas the Train event, went to the aquarium and out to eat along the river on Saturday afternoon, and then they headed home. In between those events, we had a fun time just hanging out and eating lots of yummy bagels that they brought to us from KC (I miss my bagel store so much!). The kids really enjoyed playing together and had so much fun. They always get along so well. It is fun to watch. We were sad to see them leave and will definitely be looking forward to our next get together.

In other news, we are still working on selling our current house and finalizing the plans for our new house. After noticing that we always seem to have more people come through for our open house on Sundays than on Saturdays, we have decided to only have them on Sunday afternoons going forward. That is a relief because it gives us back our Saturdays to get things done

We had an appraisal of the house today, since there has been some confusion on the exact square footage of this house. When we bought the house, we were told it was just under 3800 square feet. When we listed the house on the MLS website, the agent got the square footage from the county records and it was listed at just under 3500, much to our surprise and dismay, since that raised our price per square foot for the amount at which we had the house listed. The results of the appraisal today? 3972 square feet! I was a bit surprised, since I thought it would come in closer to the 3800 square foot amount but, at the same time, this is a big house so I'm not too surprised.

Our architects told us that the square footage number they give us on our new house plans will be less than the number an appraiser will come up with because they calculate it differently. That is why we decided we should go ahead and pay to have our current house appraised, because we were thinking the smaller number in the county records was probably from the initial house plans and the 3800 sq ft number was probably from an appraisal. Lo and Behold, we ended up at 3972 sq ft so, who knows, but we are happy with this new number. It will really make our price per square foot so much more attractive and means that our price on the house is really a pretty good deal. So that was good news today.

As for our house plans, we got the second iteration back on Tuesday and they look great. We are really happy with them and have only found a couple of small tweaks that need to be made.....and then, this evening, the husband suggested we might want to consider moving the boys bedrooms upstairs, which is a pretty big change I think. I do agree with the husband though that, in the long run, it will be cheaper because it is much cheaper to build up than it is to build out on one level. So now we are thinking we will move the two bedrooms and their bathroom upstairs and we will also have another smallish room finished upstairs that will hold our workout equipment. That makes me happy because I really did not want that equipment downstairs, as there was not really a good place for it.

Hopefully this will not be too big of a change. We had already added a staircase to the upstairs in anticipation of future owners who might want to finish out the space upstairs. We have always been a bit unhappy with the way the three car garage was going to stick out at the front of the house and in the last iteration the architects had rotated the garage a bit so that it was at an angle and did not stick out quite so much. So now the garage can move back into the area where the two boys bedrooms are currently and we will have to rearrange some other things, like the laundry room, powder room and some closets. In the end, I think we will have more of what we want for less money, which is great.

The other news is that we will be celebrating Ben's 4th birthday this week. I sat on the couch this evening with the boys and we looked at pics from their 2nd and 3rd birthdays and it was fun to see how they have changed so much. They are such big boys now.

I have had a hard time finding gifts for Ben this year. It seems that we are at an age where so many of the toys and games are based on movie or TV characters and our boys really don't know most of them. They know a few, such as Winnie the Pooh, Thomas the Train, Barney and Curious George but not much else. I really like to pick toys that are fun and educational, along with some cars and/or trucks, since they both love to play with those. I searched long and wide on the internet for award winning educational toys and I did find a couple of goods ones but I think it is going to be a challenge to find good ones for Nick's birthday and Christmas.

The boys are both doing great but this post is long enough already. I will post some pics and a boys update next and will try not to wait so long between posts next time. Tomorrow the boys have been invited for a play date and they are going to be treated to play time at one of the fun bouncing places as a birthday gift. They have not played with these friends for a while so they are really going to have a blast.

My mom and sister are coming for a visit on Wednesday and we will be celebrating Ben's birthday, so that will be a fun day to.

In early October, the state fair and rodeo is coming to town and this will be the first year that we are taking the boys. I know they are going to enjoy it a lot. Then we will celebrate the dad's birthday and then we will celebrate Nick's birthday and then it will be Thanksgiving and then Christmas. Wow! This year is going by so fast!

We are having beautiful fall weather and are trying to spend as much time outside enjoying it as possible. We played outside in the yard a lot today and I so enjoyed watching the boys play and playing with them. It was a nice, cool but very sunny day. Absolutely perfect. Tonight it is suppose to get into the 40's, which is a first for us this year. Fall is truly upon us and I am loving it.

Next post will be a picture post with a boys update, I promise. Hope you are all doing well and enjoying the fall weather (for those of you with seasons:).

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

September 22, 2009

Sorry it has been so long since I have posted. We have had a busy week. We received the first draft of the house plans so the majority of my spare time has been spent going over it with a fine tooth comb and making lots of changes. We met with the architects today to go over them and they had more suggestions also. The husband and I both felt it was a great meeting and we are really liking where the plans are headed. I am anxious to see the next iteration, which should be ready sometime next week.

We had another weekend of open houses. On Saturday, the husband managed the open house while the boys and I drove up to my sister's house for a visit. My niece was in from college so we got to see her, along with my nephew, brother-in-law and my mom. The boys really enjoyed it and it was nice to get away from the open house. Turns out we didn't miss much. There had only been one couple come through. When we got home, we all went out for dinner and then it was time for hair cuts and baths. The boys really needed hair cuts badly. Their hair was longer than it had ever been.

This coming weekend we have company coming in from K.C. We are very excited and looking forward to their visit. It will also be nice to have a weekend off from open houses

I have been staying up to late lately, going over house plan stuff and searching the internet for tips and info about designing a house. I am falling asleep now and it is before 9:00pm. I am heading to bed early tonight.

Good night.

Monday, September 14, 2009

September 14, 2009

We had a fun and relaxing vacation week last week here at home. We went to the zoo and we went to see Papa and Mimi, where the boys got to ride Uncle Kelly's tractor and Papa's four wheeler. They always enjoy that and we had not been there for quite a while so they had a fun time.

On Friday we had a sitter for the boys while the husband and I went to the local Home Show. The boys were very happy about this because they had been asking for Katy to come over to play with them for quite some time and they had a fun time with her.

As for the husband and I, we thought we would spend about three hours at the home show and then go to dinner or a movie or something. We ended up spending the entire time at the home show and we were not quite finished when we had to leave to head home. We went home and got the boys and took them back with us so we could finish up. As it turned out, we had basically already seen everything that we needed to see so we were not there very long with the boys.

We talked to a lot of people at the home show and received a lot of good information about building an energy efficient home. Our next meeting with the architect is Wednesday and I am excited to see what he has come up with as his initial draft.

We are getting back into our routine. We had another open house Saturday and Sunday. We did Sat and Sun from 1:00 to 5:00. We had fewer people come by than we expected on Saturday and more than expected on Sunday, as the weather was very cloudy and periodically rainy.

In other news, Nick has been sick. He has had a high fever, although it seems to have broken now so I am hopeful that it was only of the 24 hour variety. On our way to church, the dad said Nick had only eaten two bites of oatmeal for breakfast, which is not like him. I thought he would really be hungry by lunch time. We got out of church at noon and our open house starts at 1:00pm so that does not leave much time to get everything ready.

While we are in open house mode, we don't go out to eat after church on Sundays. Instead, we go after the open house on Saturday evening. When we come in from church on Sundays, I quickly change clothes and then start getting the house ready for the open house, while the dad fixes a sandwich for the boys. Yesterday Nick said he wanted a sandwich and then decided he was not hungry.  It was not long after that his fever was up up up and he just wanted to be held by mommy. We ended up giving him Ibuprofen, which brought the fever down but we think it was around this time that his eye lids started swelling pretty badly. I was beginning to think his eyes were going to swell shut but they didn't and it didn't seem to bother him much. We are not sure if it was the Ibuprofin that caused this but we are being cautious and not giving it to him again yet. The dad put a little of it on a bandaid and put the bandaid on his back to see if he has a reaction to it.

So far, nobody else has gotten sick, although I am very tired and have a bad headache today. The tiredness is understandable, as I was up with Nick during the night and I laid with him in his bed until he fell back to sleep. So I missed a couple of hours and then woke early this morning, hearing him yelling because he did not want to take the tylenol the dad was giving him. After he had the tylenol, he went back to sleep, thankfully, although I think we will all benefit from a nap today.

Today we are having a relaxing day, as much as one can have with two almost-four-year-olds who may not be feeling their best. After a weekend of open house, Monday's are always nice because everything is already clean. I do a few quick chores in the morning and I do one or two loads of laundry but that's about it, except of course snack/meal prep and clean up.

The husband called to let me know his trip to Boston has been cancelled. He was scheduled to go to a conference in October but they would not have had enough docs in the office so he had to cancel. He was understandably disappointed. He starts one week of hospital duty on Thursday morning so things will be really hectic around here next weekend. We'll cross that bridge when we get to it. I really do prefer the one week hospital duty stints much more than the two week ones. Much much better.

Well, it's naptime so it's time to sign off. I hope you all had a great weekend.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

September 8, 2009

The husband has the week off so we are sort of vacationing at home. He has to give something like 4 or 5 months notice these days so he just puts it in the schedule even if we don't have anything big planned.

Yesterday I spent the morning cleaning house and the husband spent the morning catching up on some of our personal things, while we both spent time with the boys. In the afternoon, my mom and sister came to visit. We all had dinner together and then I made an egg and sausage casserole for the morning while my sister and the husband played with the boys. My mom visited, watched the boys and read a book. It was a very nice evening.

Today we woke up to a yummy breakfast casserole and then the husband and I got ready for our first appointment with the architect. It was very interesting and it went very well. He had a lot of good ideas for how to change the plan we found on-line, making it better and more space efficient, better flow, without adding too many square feet (we hope) or big cost. I'm not sure how long it will take for them to have a first draft ready for discussion.

After our meeting with the architects, we arrived home to a house that smelled of cooking apple pie. Yum! My sister made one of her delicious apple pies and the boys had fun helping. They really enjoyed it and we all really enjoyed eating the finished, she baked some pie crust with cinnamon and sugar on it and that was Yum too. My sister makes the best apple pie I have ever tasted and I think she probably makes the best apple pie anywhere, ever:). It is that good!

After pie and lunch, we visited for a little while, as the boys played nearby, and then they had to head home. After nap, we headed out to the aquarium. The beavers were out and very active this evening and they were so cute. The female was very friendly and really hammed it up for us. I have seen the workers there hand feeding the beavers and petting them so they are friendly towards people. We watched them for quite a while and it was definitely the highlight of our visit to the aquarium. We saw all of the other fish and sharks and stingrays and everything else and the boys had a great time there. We had been wanting to go for a while so it was especially fun to be able to go with daddy. Also, since it was evening (they stay open late on Tuesdays), there were not very many people there, which was nice for us.

After the aquarium, we went to a place that has a pizza, salad, pasta (and everything from chicken to hotdogs to mashed potatoes, etc.), dessert buffet and it also has a arcade type of place. That is really an understatement. They have bumper cars, mini golf, bowling, race cars, plus and arcade, plus a little kids area that has one of those big blow up things that the little ones can jump around in and slide and stuff and a small train ride and on and on. Too much stuff but it sure made for a fun evening. We did not even hit half of it but we all had a great time and it felt like we were really on vacation, even though we never left our city. Not bad.

Tomorrow morning we are going to the zoo. The dad has only been to the zoo once before, when the boys first came home. It was just before he had to start back to work and we took the boys even though it was pretty cold out that day. We didn't stay very long that day and didn't see too much because it was too cold. So tomorrow will be fun. The boys will enjoy showing their daddy all their favorite things to see and do at the zoo. Then we will be sure to take a good nap and have an early dinner because we are going to church tomorrow evening. We signed the boys up for the little kids choir and a class afterwards but they have missed the first two weeks because they were sick. So tomorrow will be their first night. I hope it will be ok and they won't feel bad that they don't know what the others have already learned in the past two weeks.

When we were at the aquarium today, Nick was not watching where he was going (and this particular area was poorly lit) and he ran right into a small display that was standing right in the middle of the walk way. He hit his head on it and, at first I thought he was really hurt. There were some people nearby and I saw him kind of look at them, as his daddy picked him up to comfort him. Turns out he really was not hurt that badly but I think he was embarrassed. This is something new that I have noticed recently, with Nick in particular, that he can be embarrassed now. He is a bit ahead of the game socially so I am not surprised to see this with him first. I'm sure Ben will be following soon, if not already, although I have not seen it yet.

Things around here have been going well overall with the boys. I think I may have said this already but, just in case, we hardly ever have any day time accidents anymore. Night time is another matter, although we are bad about eating dinner late and also not taking the straight to the bathroom when they first wake up. But, overall, things are good and everyone is healthy and happy around here....and tired.

Time for bed. Good night!

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

September 2, 2009 Part 2

Wow, I just went back to see how long it had been since I had posted pics and it has been quite some time. I have also not been very good about taking pictures so I am going to work on that. We are at that point where, every time we take out the camera, the boys want to take the pictures. Anyway, here are some pics.

This was taken sometime in July. We were doing some arts and crafts.
This one may have been in July also. I just happened to look up to see what the boys were doing and they were sitting like this, "reading" to each other. It was so cute that I grabbed the camera real quick and snapped a surprise photo.
These next two photos were taken on a day when we did a science experiment. They were seeing which piece of paper would fall to the floor the fastest.

This was also a science experiment. They were blowing bubbles and watching them pop on a piece of paper, leaving wet marks on the paper. We were learning all about air.

This is Nick's artwork. It is the first time he has ever drawn a complete face all by himself. Sorry it is turned sideways. I forgot to spin it around before I loaded it.
And this is Ben's artwork. After he saw Nick's face, he had to draw one too. I asked him what the blue and purple areas were and he said they were eyebrows.
I took this one today, just so I could post an updated picture, since they are both growing and changing so quickly. Ben was playing with the spider that Aunt D gave the boys. They have a mixed reaction to all of the Halloween decorations that are already out in the stores. They talk about them before we get there and can't wait to see them and then they get kind of quiet when they first see them and then they don't want to get any closer and then they don't want to see them at all:).

And here is a picture from today of Nick, playing with the toy mouse.

And, of course, when I got the camera out, the boys each had to take some pictures. Nick took this one.

And then Ben took this one.

And then Nick took this one.
And then Ben took this one...and then I put the camera away.
That should do us for a couple of days. The husband has the week off next week so we might try to spend a couple of days in Arkansas. They have an outlet mall there and I have not bought any fall/winter clothes for the boys yet this year so I'm thinking I might find some really good deals.

The boys are now in bed and I am sitting with them until they fall asleep. I am racking my brain, trying to think of some of the other funny things they have said lately. One thing that I hear sometimes is, if I ask one of them to do something, he will say "certainly". I don't know where they got that one because I don't say least I don't think I do anyway.

This evening, the dad came upstairs and noticed a tear on Ben's face and asked him if he had been crying. Ben told him that he had been "weeping" and that it was the same thing as crying. The reason he had been crying is that, earlier he had gotten his foot shut in the door, when coming in from outside. It left a nasty mark and came just short of cutting his foot open so I am sure it is very sore. When they were upstairs with me, getting ready for bed, Nick pushed Ben in fun but it made Ben step on his foot in a way that made it hurt again so he had been "weeping".

The other word that one of them used today was "tidy". I can't remember the context now and I think it was Ben who said it. He used it correctly and I was surprised to hear it because it is not one of my normal words. They pick up so much from books and movies, it is really amazing.

The other night, Nick leaned over to give the dad a big hug and said "I lovin' on you". It was so sweet.

We went for ice cream this evening and, on the way there Ben happened to notice the numbers on the CD player so he started counting. He counted to fifty something before he lost interest and stopped. I had to help him with thirty, forty and fifty but he could do all the others. It really is amazing how quickly little ones remember things and pick up new things. I am constantly impressed by their memories but then, at the same time, I am always surprised when they don't remember something we did a number of weeks back.

Time to sign off for now. Goodnight!

September 2, 2009

The boys are doing great. Today we were looking at some of their baby pictures and I had a hard time believing how little they were then...and they were both such chubsters. They are such boys now and very cute and sweet ones, even if I do say so myself.
They are both very into telling us what to say these days, in their pretending. It is so funny. Nick has told me to say something and then, after I said it, he said "why?". I never know what to say to that so I just say, "I don't know. You told me to say that".

Yesterday we were driving in the car and Ben said something (I don't remember what he was talking about now) that started with "In the old days....". It really cracked me up because it was not something that related to "the old days" at all but that did get them talking about how in the old days they didn't have cars and they used horses to pull buggies and such. They are coming up with some very funny things these days and I need to do a better job of writing them down.

We are all getting over colds around here. Nick got it first, then the dad was very sick last Saturday. I have seldom seen him feeling that badly. I think this was only the second time in the almost 5 years we have been married. Ben ended up coming down with it around the same time as the dad. Now they are all recovering fairly nicely, though with some running noses, and I have not felt so well the past couple of days. But I think we are almost over it all.

The boys have really been enjoying playing outside lately. Our weather has been absolutely incredible. The is the coolest August Oklahoma has enjoyed in quite some time and I think we have set quite a few record days with coolest ever weather. It is now bright and sunny and around 74 degrees outside. The perfect day, although it was cloudy and trying to rain most of the day today.

Dinner is ready so I must go. Maybe more later...maybe with some pics.