Tuesday, June 30, 2009

False Sense of Security

I have all of my children registered on so that I can receive updates on their growth and to see where the kids should be physically and socially. This is the one I received today for Taylor.

"A hallmark of this age is repetition. Your little one may want to eat the same things again and again, wear the same clothes day after day, or do things in the exact same order. Remember that she's trying to make sense of the world, and keeping certain things unvarying is her way of exercising a little control in all the hubbub of life. Rituals provide comfort."

BabyCenter was right on when it talked about repetition. Taylor loves to repeat certain conversations. For example, she is obsessed with the ocean and dolphins and talks to me about them every day. She also adores a baby in our neighborhood named Abby and talks about her every day.

Another case in point, Taylor has recently realized that she can swim by herself when wearing a special swimsuit. She's so independent that most of the time she won't let me hold her in the water; she wants to do it alone. Well, yesterday I took off her special swimsuit that has floaties sewn into it to eat lunch. Next thing I know she is jumping into the pool. Instant panic sets in...this wasn't supposed to happen. Without her special swimsuit, she can't swim. Taylor is used to getting into the pool on her own. She didn't realize that this one time she would be in trouble if I wasn't around to jump in and save her.

I share this story because it reminds me of an important fact of life: Besides faith in God, there is no sure sense of security. Just like Taylor has come to depend on her swimsuit to allow her to swim on her own, we all face moments of panic when the rug is pulled from underneath us. Whether it be the loss of a job, sickness or even death, we are all susceptible to having everything change within a moment's notice.
Friday, June 26, 2009

Friday Fun

I didn't quite know how the day would go since I started the morning off by rubbing hair conditioner all over my body thinking it was lotion. Oops! The day ended up being wonderful though and now I'm ready to jump in bed too and call it a day. There is more fun to live out tomorrow, at least that is what I tell Taylor every night before she falls asleep.

So this morning I took the kids over to a friends house and they played in the kiddie pools and ate lots of yummy snacks including popsicles. We were there for several hours before heading home for lunch. Little Landon was so wiped out from the morning and missing his nap that he fell asleep in his highchair.

I've been spending more quality time with each child throughout the day and I think I love it as much as they do. When Daddy came home, he brought a special surprise home for each of us. Taylor was given a sunflower balloon, Landon was given a Cars sippy cup, and I was given a bouquet of sunflowers. What a great surprise. And Taylor even thanked her dad repeatedly without me coaxing her to do so.

After that, we all got ready for family night. I've been craving Pei Wei lately so we headed off to dinner and then took the kids to a McDonalds so that they could play. Of course you can't leave McDonalds without one of their ice cream cones! Today was wonderful, except the heat of course. As Hank was reading with Taylor tonight, I walked into Taylor's room and she was able to repeat the Bible story of Zacchaeus. Here's what she told me:

Jesus said, "Zacchaeus, come down from the tree. I want to go home and eat with you." We tell her Bible stories every night and it seems like some of them are starting to stick.
Thursday, June 25, 2009

A Fresh Perspective

Right now Hank is getting the kids ready for bath time, but I can tell he is intentionally trying to wear them out while having fun. It sounds like a pack of elephants are running around upstairs as well as a pack of laughing hyenas. Hank has been chasing them both and acting as a crazy horse or something. Gotta love it!

So back to my "fresh" perspective.... Hank and I went on a date last night and inevitably, at some point the conversation always goes towards our children. I was explaining to Hank that my tactic with Taylor in regards to punishment wasn't working. I was tired of threatening her with spankings, and I was even more frustrated with myself for spanking her out of anger. We had a great talk and realized that we really only want to reserve spankings for rare occasions when deemed necessary.

So I felt so bad about myself for a good portion of the night recounting the three to four times I spanked Taylor for writing with a marker on the wall, hurting her brother, or disobeying Mommy. I explain my method of spanking due to the fact that I want to train her now so that she doesn't become an out-of-control child. Taylor is definitely strong willed...and I don't want her to get away with everything and become a brat and on the other spectrum I don't want to be too controlling or break her spirit. Such a dilemma for me. And then I start to feel bad that Taylor has become our "experimental" child. I don't think Landon will test me the same ways Taylor has although I am sure he will figure out new ways to test us.

So today was a fresh slate. Last night I had to ask my 2-year-old daughter to forgive me for spanking Taylor out of frustration and anger. I tried to explain that she might still get spankings from time to time, but that she would have to sit on the naughty step whenever she deliberately disobeys. She's not quite at the stage where I can start a reward system, but hopefully that will come soon down the road and she'll have more incentive to be good.

She really is a great child. I think I just expect too much out of a two-year-old child. I battle in my heart what I want from her and what she can legitimately do with a two-year-old mentality.

So today was really good.... One of my take-aways from my conversation last night was that when my children are awake, I need to give them my all. Housecleaning and the computer can come now when they are having bath time with Daddy. Taylor took an awesome nap, so that allowed me to spend at least an hour with Landon simply playing together with no interruptions from a big sister.

We played with Legos, shapes and cars AND we cuddled. Landon loves to stop whatever he is doing, crawl over to me, and cuddle and kiss me. I get some of the wettest and most slobbery kisses from my little boy and I just cherish them. This time together just reminded me that I need to be intentional with my time each day and to spend time with them down at their level, whether is be balls and cars or craft projects.

When Taylor woke up, I stamped with Taylor...another way she is like me, the kid loves to stamp and create. Landon sat in his highchair and snacked while he watched us girls stamp away. So my time today with each child was awesome AND they both responded to the attention just like I thought...they soaked it in.

I really have to recommend the book "Ask Supernanny", it was so practical and addressed almost every issue we are facing in child rearing. I am now reading "The New Strong-Willed Child" and hope to find some good nuggets of information to help. I just don't want to take the most important job in the world half-hearted. Especially in these young formative years, it seems like the foundation we are setting is crucial. Not much pressure right?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A Mom's Role

So I just had a little reminder of how important my time is with my children. Some days, like yesterday, seem to drag on forever. I find myself literally counting down the minutes until Hank comes home becuase I know that I might have a few minutes of relief. Sometimes I even pray that they will take good naps so that I can rest myself and re-energize for the afternoon. Kids take a lot out of you, especially the older they get.

So every Tuesday I leave the kids with Hank while I go to work. Something I love and look forward to. In fact, Hank was asking me this morning if I was still happy to be leaving for work. And I said this exactly, "Yes, it's so much easier to go to work than to take care of the kids." I remember trying to leave the house this morning with Landon wanting to be held and following my every move. He wasn't content until I picked him up and loved on him. Then I tried to quickly say goodbye to Taylor since I was running late. Well, that left her wanting Mommy too. She walked me out to the car and watched me drive away. And I was OK with that until....

I was good until I called home on my lunch break to check on Hank and the kids. Hank said that Taylor had be whiny all morning so I asked to speak to her. Normally my voice cheers her up. Not today! Today she sobbed on the phone and didn't stop. I eventually had to tell Hank to call me later. She was sobbing for her Mommy, me, the person she wants to spend her days with. While it touched my heart, it also hurt.

So I was gently reminded that even though a mother's role can be exhausting and unpleasant at times, there is a definite need for my role in my children's life. I know that not every mom is able or even wants to stay home full time to raise the children, but it is something that I have come to be extremely thankful for. Even in these tough economic times, my time at home with the kids is priceless. I only have one shot at this and I need/want to make the most of it...even if it's facing a bright-eyed little girl at 6:00 am or a messy boy who loves to throw his food on the floor for fun. I wouldn't have it any other way!
Sunday, June 21, 2009

Daddy's Day

What an exhausting, yet fun "Daddy's Day" we had today. It started off with Taylor and Landon giving Daddy their handmade card. Then we gave Daddy the books that he has been wanting to read and told him to go and get ready for an hour-long massage. That totally shocked him, and he was happy to get away and relax for a little bit. Hank is such a good Daddy. He helps me out all the time, whether it be household chores or taking the kids for a bike ride so I have 20 minutes of peace and quiet. Hank is also the jokster and the kids find him especially entertaining and funny. Although Hank is not perfect, I truly believe he is the perfect Daddy for our children.

Here is a picture of Taylor's craft project from this past week. She made four cards and all of the recipients loved them.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

One Step at a Time

Landon is about to take off any day now. He can easily master 4-5 steps at a time. It's fun to cheer him on and make it a whole family event. We all, including Taylor, clap and encourage him as he takes his first steps in life...something I hope we continue to do as a family whether it be walking, sports or the ups and downs that come along in life. Sorry the video isn't the best quality.

From Diapers to Driving

Taylor is transitioning out of diapers and into the driver's seat. Here is a video of our neighbors taking Taylor for a golf cart ride. (Thank you Kristin!) I will post a video of Landon later today.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

ABC's...or Something Like That

Craft Week

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This week Taylor and Landon worked on a few craft projects. Taylor absolutely loves craft time. In fact, I believe her three favorite things in life are pushing strollers, doing crafts, and visiting the ocean.

In a few days, I will post a photo of their project. Right now, Taylor is going through all of my stickers and keeping the ones she likes. After Landon’s morning nap, we are heading to the pool!

And here is a photo of me at 30 weeks pregnant. My doctor confirmed on Monday that my abdominal muscles are totally destroyed. They are so far separated, the only way to fix them is through reconstructive surgery. The reason why I carry so low is because I don’t have the muscle support to keep my babies held high. All I can say is my children are worth it. I would have a hundred surgeries just to have them here.

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Monday, June 15, 2009

Special Memories

Since this blog is our family's online scrapbook of sorts, I wanted to quickly write down some thoughts from this weekend that show personality traits already developing in the kids and how they are quickly growing up.

Our little chatter box talks so much, I have to sometimes ask her to be quiet...even if it's only for a minute. I love to hear her speak, but sometimes it's just too much. She now understands how to give me commands. For example, on the way to church Sunday morning, Taylor wanted to go to the "ocean" instead so she kept telling me, even though Hank was driving, "Mommy, turn around. I want to go to the ocean." She asks about the ocean every day. If things were different, we would gladly take her back for another vacation. But that is something that can't happen until finances return to normal. So my only answer after her 20th request was to ask her to pray about it. That seemed to do the least for the day.

Taylor is also repeating everything we say. Today after lunch, Hank was saying goodbye to me, and I reminded him say goodbye to the kiddos as he was about to leave. Next thing we hear Taylor saying, "Goodbye kiddos!" It's just funny to hear her repeat so many things. Her favorite line is, "Sorry! No problem man." She says it often even when she doesn't have a real reason to apologize.

Taylor is also "in love" with baby Ryland. She kisses him every day and talks to him. I had a doctor's appointment this morning and so before I left the house, I was explaining to Taylor that Mommy had to go to the doctor so that baby Ryland could get a check-up. First thing she said to me when I saw her after the doctor's appointment was, "Mommy, baby Ryland OK?"

Landon is my little love bug. Right now he is definitely a mommy's boy. Sometimes he will arch himself out of Daddy's hold and want to be held by me instead. I'm OK with that. I just hope he isn't devastated when I have Ryland in my hands more often than not. Landon is also starting to experience a little separation anxiety. They say this normally kicks in around 18 months and usually goes away by 24 months. Well Landon is only 14 months old and he doesn't like it when I give him up to someone else even if it's someone he knows well.

Landon is also my movie addict. I could NEVER get Taylor to sit through 10 minutes of a baby show, she was always on the go and had to much to explore. Landon is the opposite. He squeals with delight when I turn on his favorite video and he gets really into it and bops up and down and claps his hands. We seem to think that Landon is more musically inclined as he shows an appreciation for music already.

Landon makes me laugh because it is so hard to keep him clean. He is the messiest eater I have ever seen and somehow he manages to find dirt and loves to play in it. I guess people would say he is a typical boy. Even though he is all boy, he is very sensitive. If you reprimand him with a certain tone of voice, he cries. If you firmly hold his hand and tell him to stop throwing his food, he cries. He is just more sensitive. He'll be a sensitive manly-man and he'll make a wonderful husband someday!
Saturday, June 13, 2009

Taylor's One-on-One Time

Today I spent a few hours with Taylor alone, just the two of us girls. I'm really trying to be intentional about spending one-on-one time with each of my children. So today, we headed out to get our toe nails painted. Fortunately, I had a gift certificate left over from my birthday and they only charged me $4 to wash Taylor's dirty feet and paint them the color of her choice. She chose orange glitter nail polish. Hey, whatever toots your horn right?

She did excellent and was very patient. It probably helped that the nail techs kept giving her lollipops. I think in every picture she is sucking on a lollipop. Anyway, it was her special time and she enjoyed every minute. We then headed over to Rubio's for a quick lunch and then we had several errands to run. All I cared about is if she had a good time. She says she did, so I'm happy with that. I'm sure next time you see her, she will be eager to show off her toenails to you!
Thursday, June 11, 2009

Day at the Museum

Tuesday while I worked, Hank and his mom took the kids back to their favorite place on earth (this is until of course they are introduced to Sea World or Disneyland). Anyway, for now they are quite happy at the museum. Hank didn't have time to blog about their day, but said they loved it. So here are some photos from their day together.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Many New Things

We didn't have much planned for today. So when Taylor woke up requesting "Hot Bagels", we all jumped at the chance to eat out and take a little road trip. Nothing like getting out of the house for a change of scenery. So after Hot Bagel, I took the kids on a "quick" grocery run to get some items we need for the week. But today, I checked Taylor into the "Kid's Corner" for the very first time. Can I just tell you what a blessing that was. Last week when I took just Taylor, Landon was at home with Daddy, it took us an hour and a half to get 30 items. Taylor insists on pushing the shopping cart (it is her very favorite thing in the whole wide world) and causes me multiple distactions. I try to budget and use coupons, but with her around it is almost impossible...unless I want to spend several hours in the grocery store.

So on the way to Fry's, I told Taylor she was going to play at the grocery store. And she said with big eyes, "Play with shopping carts?" Nope, not quite. I told her she could color or do crafts in the kid's corner and she was game for that. So I checked her in, and off Landon and I were. Seriously, even though Landon was so tired and cranky since he was once again missing his morning nap, we were in and out within 30 minutes. And Taylor had a great time! I don't know why I didn't stick her in there before. Maybe because I thought she had to be completely potty trained, maybe because I feared some crazy person would abduct her, maybe because I wasn't ready. I have to say that Beth, the childcare coordinator, put all of my fears to rest. No more drawn out shopping sessions!

So of course, while I have all of this free time to shop, I notice a huge summer/pool display right near the check out. Last week, Hank told me that Taylor's backyard pool had a rip and would probably need to be replaced. Even though swimming pools aren't in our budget, who could pass up a froggy pool that shoots out water. So in fact it is part sprinkler, part pool. What a hit! Well for Taylor at least; Landon would rather eat the rocks. Such a boy!

This afternoon, Taylor and Landon enjoyed their first sampling of an Otter Pop. I thought these frozen treats would be great for the hot afternoons. And both kids loved them. Little Landon has four molars coming in at once, so he was happy to chow done on something cold. Taylor kept on saying, "Mommy, this is yummy! More please?"

Last but not least, Landon is making progress in the walking department. He can take about 4-5 steps by himself. Then he falls down and claps for himself with a huge sense of pride. He really is precious. I am so in love with that boy! Just like I am in love with Taylor and will be with Ryland.
Saturday, June 6, 2009

Stairway to Heaven

So Landon has this unique way of coming down the stairs. He usually slides down, backwards on his belly, as fast as he can, and then climbs back up to the top again like it's a game. I tried to capture Evel Knievel this morning to illustrate his craziness. Somehow, he must have known the camera was rolling because he only partially slid down the stairs. It would probably freak daddy out to watch his son sliding down so fast, but I watch him pretty closely and he loves it.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

29-Week Ultrasound

This morning I had my 29-week ultrasound. The primary reason was to check to see if my placenta had moved. At the 19-week ultrasound, it was low-laying and too close to my cervix. If it didn't move, there was a high chance I would require a c-section at Ryland's birth. But all is good and the placenta moved just as it should have. So I am happy and relieved.

The ultrasound tech confirmed it was a boy once again. You can never be too sure of these things :-) And she was commenting on how much Ryland looks like me. She kept on saying, "Seriously, he looks just like you!" I get that about Landon too, but I tell people, "If you think he looks like me, wait until you see his daddy. Then you will change your mind." Anyway, Ryland has a big nose and that is probably what people associate with me. Ha Ha!

As far as we can tell, Hank and I both agree that Ryland looks very similar to Landon's ultrasound photos. Only time can tell though. Hank thinks that Taylor is a mixture of him and I; Landon look like him; and Ryland will look like me possibly with darker hair. It's fun to imagine what Ryland will look like and how he will fit into our family.