Friday, November 28, 2008

Decorating Day

Today we decorated the house for Christmas. Can't believe it will be here in 26 days. I'm finally starting to get a little excited, especially since we have young children now.

When we were decorating the house, I was telling Taylor that we were decorating our house to celebrate Jesus' upcoming birthday. I know she has no clue, but some day she will. She was mommy's little helper today. She actually did a great job handling all of the ornaments. She only broke one. And she insisted on doing everything herself. I wonder where she gets that from :-)

One of the traditions we are going to do every year is to camp under the Christmas tree the first night we have it up. But as Hank reminded me, she is still too young so maybe we can start the tradition next year.
Thursday, November 27, 2008

Blessed Beyond Belief

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope your day was relaxing as many of you enjoyed time today with family and friends. We had a late lunch over at my in-laws and my parents joined us too which is a nice treat. So much better than breaking up the day and traveling across town with two little ones. I asked Taylor today what she was thankful for and she said "my blanket". At least she told the truth...even though she didn't say mommy, daddy or baby. Oh well, maybe next year :-)
Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving Eve

We just got back from "Baby Steps" at the local library. It was my first time taking both kids and I think we will definitely go back as often as possible. It's good for Taylor to practice her listening skills, and it's just as good for Landon to hear a book being read to him. I checked out three books to read to the kiddos this afternoon: The Night Before Thanksgiving, The Berenstain Bear's Thanksgiving, and Thanksgiving Mice! Sounds like a great afternoon to sit inside with some hot chocolate and read to the kiddos while it's cold and overcast outside.

The kids are now napping, and I am thankful. But I'm thankful for much more than this hour of solitude. I'm thankful for so many things. The top three things that come to mind are:

1. God's unconditional love for me
2. My children--the greatest blessings in life
3. Good health

Tonight we are having some neighbor friends over for dinner and games. Ronnie, who is 27, has cystic fibrosis. There is no cure for CF and it is terminal. So Ronnie's outlook on life is so different than the average person. I tend to take my health for granted. I tend to think I will live to be old and least that is my hope. But in reality, none of us are guaranteed another day. Ronnie knows that the average life span for someone with CF is 35 years old. He's OK with it though. He said that he will use his life, no matter how long or how short, to glorify God.

Wow! Shouldn't we all live that way? I am so thankful for these little reminders.
Saturday, November 22, 2008

Free Time

We had a lot of free time today as a family...such a treat. Normally our weekends are packed full of errands, events and activities. But not today. We were able to hang out and just have fun.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Two by Two

The reason why we haven't been sleeping at night is because both of our children are teething. It looks like Taylor's molars are finally making their way down. And Landon's two, upper front teeth are breaking the skin too. So our kids have both been up multiple times every night. Hank and I are almost getting physically ill due to lack of sleep.

And what's the deal with insomnia? It's like a plague from the devil. Even when I have the chance to sleep, I can't because my mind is racing. Do any of you suffer from insomnia? It really is a horrible, debilitating thing.

Life could be worse. I am thankful for the happy moments throughout the day. Like today, Landon kept on giving me kisses and was giggling. Taylor walked up to me just to give me a kiss...not something she typically does without persuasion. Thank you God for the little reminders that encourage me to be the best mom I can be to Taylor and Landon. One day soon my kids will be off to school. And then they will be married and having children of their own. Those are happy times to look forward to, but oh how I wish I can put life on pause (even with sleepless nights) so that I could always have my babies with me.
Saturday, November 15, 2008

Another "First"

This afternoon we finally felt Landon was "old enough" to ride in the bicycle carrier with Taylor. Bike rides have become a favorite pastime for Taylor, so we thought Landon would really like it too! The weather was beautiful this afternoon, and I really wanted to get a jog in. So as I was running next to Hank as he pulled the kids, Taylor kept yelling at me trying to get my attention. I almost gave up jogging at one point because she didn't like that I was ignoring her as I was trying to get into my "zone". I finally gave up on listening to my iPod so I could yell back and forth to Taylor.

Well after 7 minutes into my run, Landon decided enough was enough. He didn't like being strapped into the carrier and pretty much demanded that I carry him home. He's been really fussy the past 24 hours because he literally has 3 teeth coming in at the same time. So my jog was put on hold and yes, I carried this 20+ pound baby home. We were almost home and I had to switch places with Hank (who was still riding Taylor around) because my arms were killing me.

Since I'm such a pushover, when Taylor demanded out of the bike carrier so she could walk, I let her out and hoped and prayed that she would walk next to me as I pushed the bike the rest of the way home. Taylor was literally saying, "I wanna walk." We were floored at her communication level.

It wasn't such a great first experience for Hank and I, but the kids really had a good time.
Thursday, November 13, 2008

Gone Baby Gone

My little girl is growing up. And today confirmed that fact even more. It makes me so happy to see her growing and changing but kind of sad too. My precious first-born daughter is no longer a baby but a sweet little girl.

Today my mom (Oma) and Grandpa Lou met up with us for Taylor's haircut. I told the stylist I was thinking of a bob cut, but still wanted the option of putting Taylor's hair in a pony tail. So that's what we got....



Another mark of Taylor's maturity is that she went poopy on the potty today. Although it was one little nugget (too much information), she did it! Not to mention that she went pee on the tile and pooped again (or the remainder) outside, I think we are moving in the right direction. And she really enjoyed the Snicker's candybar leftover from Halloween for her reward. So besides reminding her to pee and letting her run around naked but watching her closely, I don't know what else to do. We have the potty by our backdoor next to all of her toys so leaving the "fun" isn't the issue. There is so much "information" out there, so I think we will just practice until we get it and not stress about the process.

On the way to the haircut place, I heard Taylor saying "Baby! Baby!" Landon looked at her and they giggled back and forth for several minutes. My heart melted again. I am so blessed to have these little ones under my care.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Caught Red-Handed!

I caught Taylor red-handed today...or should I say orange-handed. See today was the first time Taylor ever had Cheetos and she loved them. She devoured the ones I put on her plate next to her sandwich. Of course she ate those first and then refused to eat her sandwich. Her whining kicked into high gear, and I was firm about making her eat turkey, orange or avocado first before getting more Cheetos.

So next thing I know, a friend calls and I turn my back on the kids for a second. When I turned around, this is what I saw.

The little sneak climbed up on the table and snuck more in her mouth like a little chipmunk. She's teaching her brother bad habits. Now Landon sits with us in his highchair at mealtime. It's so fun to look around the table and see their sweet little faces. I am a mom in love!

Taylor later redeemed herself by being daddy's little helper. She is showing herself to be a tom-girl who loves dirt, rocks and the outdoors. She did recently let me paint her toe nails though.

So Taylor's new favorite word is "owie". She likes to have me kiss her owies several times throughout the day. Well tonight after I gave them a bath, she noticed mommy has an owie on her foot. I counted three times that I found her crouching over to kiss me clean feet. Isn't she sweet!

And Landon is still so yummy to me. I love him to pieces and thank God he gave me a boy to raise. I was telling Hank tonight that I was afraid to raise a boy for many reasons, but God knew that a son could teach me so many things.
Sunday, November 9, 2008

Special Blessings

This weekend has been full of blessings. I am so thankful for the little things. Sometimes it's the little things that mean the most. Here are some blessings from this weekend that I am thankful for:

1) My husband watching the kids for several hours so that I could have time away to be with friends.
2) My friend taking our family photo for us for free.
3) A new friend gave us a fabulous gift and I just met her today! (I will explain more about this.)
4) Hearing guest speaker and author Mark Cahill and being totally encouraged.
5) Spending time with neighbors and old friends all day Sunday.
6) Eating yummy food that our friend/chef Harrison created.
7) Watching my kids love each other through laughter and affection.
8) Coming home to a house that provides shelter from the wind and rain.
9) Sleeping in and letting Hank take care of the kids. Awesome!
10) Hearing the quiet whisper of God speaking to me.

So more about this fabulous gift that was given to us. Well we spent the afternoon at a couple who I barely know. In fact, I just met the wife today. Kelli was showing me all of the "old" toys she was getting rid of in this coming weekend's community garage sale. Guess what was neatly tucked away with all the toys? A beautiful bright, shiny cozy coupe. Remember the plastic kid's car I posted a few weeks back?

I told Kelli that I would buy it from her and she turned me down. She said, "Nope, it's yours to keep!" I was so excited. I couldn't believe we found one and that it was free. It's in pretty good shape. While Taylor was taking a late nap, I cleaned it off and had it all ready for her when she woke up. Let's just say should would probably sleep in that thing if she could. Anyway, I feel so blessed and just wanted to share. Here are some fun pictures from our weekend.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Fall Family Photo

Today has been awesome. This morning I had a monthly breakfast with my good friends Robin, Krystal and Megan. We sat there in the restaurant for two hours and it only felt like 30 minutes. Time goes by quickly with good company. Thank girls for being so wonderful....

And then this afternoon we had our fall family photos. It's so crazy to think now we have two children and we are a family of four. Not even two years ago we were husband and wife...and now look what's happened. And it really is wonderful. So my friend Joanna is training to become a freelance photographer so she practiced on our family. She's only shown me one photo so far, but I am eager to see all of the others. Thanks Joanna! It's really hard to get a baby and a toddler to look in the same direction and smile for the photographer, so we'll be happy with what we get. And I will be happy with whatever "air touching" Joanna decided to do to my hair, face and body. Ha Ha!

After photos we took the kids to Chili's for dinner. Sometimes I wonder why we put ourselves through such agony. They really are well behaved, it's just we have to entertain them both or else a breakdown could happen at any moment.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008

3 Little Monkeys & New Rules

Today we stopped by Kat and Brody's house for a late afternoon visit. We started off downstairs, but slowly the kids headed upstairs for some real fun...jumping in the crib. We stuck all three kids (especially since they wanted to be together) in one crib and let them jump to their hearts' content. It was quite cute to watch them smile at each other and laugh without hesitation.

This morning the NICU follow-up nurse came by and was quite pleased with Landon's progress. I told her the story of how he decided to to sit within the past 24 hours. She gave me a few exercises to practice with him on and that was it. She also told me she could tell he was a happy and loving baby. Landon is so loving he is always trying to kiss me. I will take as many kisses as I can get because I know soon enough will come a day when kissing mom is no longer cool.

So some new rules have been set in place.... Taylor will now only get her pacifier (or nay nay as we call it) at naptime and bedtime. She is already throwing fits and stealing her brothers, but we'll just work on it. She has become increasingly more dependent on the nay nay and so we feel it's time to establish some boundaries.

Also, Taylor will get rewarded for listening to mommy and daddy with candy. Yep, you heard me right. A few m&m's a day won't kill her. We'll just have to be more diligent about brushing her teeth twice a day. Spanking doesn't work, stern lectures don't work, and so far time out doesn't work, unless I call a time out for myself :-). So we'll swing a little to the other side and see if some positive reinforcement helps. Any of you moms out there will strong-willed, independent children need to tell me what worked for you. I wouldn't trade her traits for the world. It's fun to have two kids with totally different demeanors. It keeps life exciting and keeps Hank and I on our toes.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Perfect Timing

I was a little concerned that Landon wasn't developing on schedule since he hasn't been able to sit upright without falling over. I also know that there is no real schedule as each child is different and matures at their own timing. I mentioned my concern to our pediatrician at the 6-month check-up and was told everything is fine and not to worry. So I haven't been....

The NICU follow-up nurse called today to say that she wants to stop by tomorrow to check on Landon. I told her that he is doing GREAT except he's not sitting yet. She agreed that he should be sitting by now since he is nearly 7 months. Great...he really is behind.

So I take the kids to the park this afternoon and Taylor needs my help. So I try to prop Landon up to see if he'll sit...even for just 10 seconds. I think I got a whole minute and a half out of him. The boy sat all on his own. Yeah!

The nurse will come tomorrow and show me some exercises specific to his needs. I love this particular nurse so it will be good just to see her and chat for a bit. She's been with Landon ever since he was in the hospital after his 17-day stay in the NICU.

This is just another thing that I am thankful for. It definitely cheers me up as the President I was hoping to be elected into office will probably not make it. Oh well...God is charge of it all anyway.
Monday, November 3, 2008

Special Time

Today Hank's Oma (she's my Oma too) came over for a visit. She came over bearing gifts for the kids and groceries. The intent was for her to teach me how to make a special soup that is common in Holland (where she was raised). We spent a good 5 hours together and chatted during the kids' naptime. We munched on yummy food and basically had a wonderful time catching up. When Oma first came over, Taylor kept on shouting out for Oma's attention. Oma happily lavished Taylor and Landon with as many hugs and kisses as possible. Oma gave Landon a cute little robe to wear after bathtime and she gave Taylor a winter coat with a matching hat. When Taylor tried on the coat and hat, we were laughing at how cute she was and saying how she looked like a Russian princess. Taylor seemed to like that title!
Saturday, November 1, 2008

Halloween Weekend

What a whirlwind the past few days have been. Last night was Halloween and we had our small group over for pizza, bon fire, ping pong and pumpkin carving. While everyone chilled out on our driveway, Taylor and I headed off to trick or treat with our neighbor friends. All I can say is that Taylor might look like me, but she is totally her daddy. She is pulling all of the same pranks he pulled as a kid.

First, when neighbors opened their doors to welcome us and hand out treats, Taylor beelined right past them into their homes. Most of these people I had never met before. So either myself or the homeowner had to run back into their house and retrieve her. What a crazy kid!

Also, she loves to share...something her daddy does often (unless it's a really good meal in front of him). So as people gave Taylor treats, she gingerly pulled a candy out of her pumpkin basket and gave the people a treat back. It was quite cute.

And this morning we headed to Tempe Town Lakes for the JDRF walk. We were able to walk in support of our neighbor friend Addy who is 5 years old and was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes three years ago. Living close to Addy's family has opened our eyes to the severity of diabetes. We were happy to be a part of the walk in hopes to find a cure.