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.