Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A little hope for miss Hope.

She's doing pretty well! http://hoperobinson.blogspot.com/ My uncle (Hope's grandpa) called this afternoon and caught me shopping Christmas clearance at Wal-Mart. He said that's she's doing well, and she's a fighter. I wanted to give her some hope from another little girl who adores Hope (still misses that striped red hat from her earliest days!), my Avery. Avery is a fighter as well. She will fight with anything. She will even fight with herself on a good day. Just ask her to do something, and she will fight! Hey, see, there's hope little Hope! One day you will grow up and be just like Avery and every time your parents tell you "no" you can say "yyyyyyyyeeeeeeeeeessssssssssssss" in your VERY whiniest voice, ok? But one thing, precious baby girl in the isolette, you must NEVER tell anyone that auntie Tena told you to do this, ok? Great. :) I can't wait to hold you some day, and neither can Avery! God bless you baby, I know He is making you strong and helping you fight. It's a rite of passage for every precious Princess of The King!

Monday, December 29, 2008

I have no idea what to write about.

This week is still part of no-school Christmas vacation (oh, is it PC to say that? Should it be "winter break"??) so I have my 3 kids home all day, every day, plus I have my 2 nephews and 1 niece here on MWF. Really, they are all GREAT kids, I have to say that first, but there's a lot of snot wiping and diaper changing and face/hands cleaning going on with 6 kids 8 and under. Today I was so stellar for lunch. I made pb&j. Hey, they were all happy (my 8yo nephew doesn't care for mac n cheese, imagine that?) and it was easy for me. Caden ate a FULL sandwich (2 slices of bread) and several others packed away the food, too. Must have been all that playing outside this morning. It's majorly melting here at over 40 degrees. I am ready for the stinkin' ice to be gone, but the snow is pretty. I like that Walgreens commercial where the snow falls only on the grass, not on the roads, driveways or sidewalks. I think they call the town "Perfect". Agreed.

I wasn't sure what to give Declan for lunch, and I didn't want him to have a pb&j before he's 12 months, so I hauled out a can of candied yams and warmed them slightly, then gave them to him on his tray (yes, you'd think I could just feed him sweet potato baby food, but this child REEEEEEEEEEEEFUSES baby food from a spoon. Will NOT do it.) and he ate like gangbusters! Granted, he was a light brown/orange MESS at the end, but boy did he love it. That's a hit! He's also taken to clapping lately, started earlier in the month, but if that isn't the cutest thing I just don't know what is.

I can't remember if I told you or not, but I am finally on some antibiotics for all this crud I've been having over the past several months. Except for part of a cold still hanging on, I am finally feeling better! Hooray!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

A Caden Christmas funny.

We opened gifts today at James' parents. Caden had opened a few things and it was back to his turn. This turn he had a large box and was struggling to get it open. His uncle and James were helping him, and Caden's back was to grandma (with the camera). He fought the box a few more times and finally turned around and made the sign for "camera" at grandma. The non-verbal child could not have been more clear - "Take my picture lady, this is good stuff!" As Caden's aunt said, "That was the best part of the whole day!" and I concur.

There are many times that I underestimate Caden. I believe he "doesn't understand" or "doesn't care" when in fact he truly gets what's going on and comprehends it to the point that he can actively participate in his surroundings. It's difficult to communicate in a talking world when you yourself do not speak, but Caden teaches all of us, time and time again, that communicating is not synonymous with talking, and he communicates very well. I'm thankful for the Caden's present today, and I cherish those glimpses he can share of himself. He is truly one of my best gifts.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Are you ready?

For Christmas, that is. Are you stockings in a row? And most importantly, is your heart in the right place? Take some time to pray about this, if you haven't already...quiet your mind and heart and find time to thank God for the best present of all - JESUS! I know I have everything "done", but several things have cropped up in the past 24 hours to make me feel a bit frazzled and I just want to enjoy the peace of the season.

As much as possible with 3 kids under 6, that is.

Oh and I installed something called Sitemeter on this site so I can see who visits and all that, fun!! Some of you are coming from far away! Please feel free to leave a comment and let me know that you stopped by...I find it all fascinating as to where you're coming from and why and all of that. Like especially, who do I know in Audubon, Iowa?? I see you frequently, out yourself!!!!!!!

Monday, December 22, 2008

It's starting to leak out, so I better just announce it -

we are pregnant! Well actually *I* am pregnant, but it takes two to make a baby so we are officially pregnant. We are due in late July/early August sometime, and other than being sick with every OTHER thing under the planet lately, I am feeling fine. We were surprised it happened so fast, but we are happy and looking forward to summer! Our tagline is this: Something good DID come from election night, 2008. :D

Sunday, December 21, 2008

It is SO cold!!

I don't ever remember temperatures being so cold here. I'm sure they have been, I just don't remember it. The temps alone are below 0, with windchills pushing the actual temp much further than that. We were outside to get to my parents' today for our Christmas there, and it was just too brutal to be outside honestly. Funny caveat - I was trying to get Caden and Avery out of the van at my parents' house and Caden wouldn't cooperate, which isn't unusual, but I was FREEEEEEZING and I had no patience, so I said, "Quick dicking around!!!". Wouldn't you know it, seconds later, still fussing with Caden, Avery pipes up, "Quick dicking around!!!!" with much gusto. Niiiiiiiiice Tena, good move.

Anyway. We had a great time at my parents' house today. Such good food, I think that is the best part about Christmas. My mom made her usual cheese fondue, plus we had peppermint ice cream dessert and yummy punch, then all kinds of snacks - thanks Chris and Cathy for the popcorn cake, yummmmmmmmm!! We of course exchanged presents and we gave my neice the Baby Alive Learns to Potty doll - huge hit!! Avery loved it too. It talks to you and tells you what to do for it (put me on the potty, I love you, etc.) and Avery replied EVERY time and did just what the doll asked every time. Now keep in mind, this was a gift FROM Avery TO my neice, LOL! But my neice returned the favor, and Avery received a baby that coos and sucks a pacifier, plus really breathes (tummy moves up and down) when she falls asleep. Also a huge hit here, and interestingly enough, it is CADEN who is the most in love with this doll. It cries, and he whips out that bottle to shush it, he pats it on the back, he just loves it up! Of course I want to go to Wal-Mart first thing and buy him another one because they are fighting constantly over it, but James says no. Hopefully the infatuation will die down with her (she's been named Hallie, lovingly rhyming with Callie, Avery's other doll) and there won't be many more fights. But it's a hit!

But yeah, it's cold. It's REALLY cold. With the cold comes our furnace running more, which means we're sucking up the propane ($$$$$$!!!) left and right which is not a good thing, so if you could say a prayer that the temps warm up, that would certainly help us. Of course it's up to God, but we figure He understands this kind of stuff.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

I haven't felt well in AGES.

I am tired of it! Last weekend I had fever, chills, the entire stay in bed thing. Before that I had a nasty cold, and now I have the cold back! This is so unfair. It's like the never ending cold and sickness. I am now officially a mouth breather and I am sure that's OH SO attractive.

In other news. We go tomorrow to my parents' house for Christmas, big fun! Avery is way excited.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas Wish for a terminally ill 4 year old -


Please send out a quick card to little Hannah and brighten her day! 42 cents can make a big difference.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

2 hour early dismissal due to - sunshine??

As I type this, I just got Caden off the bus. It's 1:50 here. School was let out 2 hours early due to an ice storm that's supposed to come through here. But, it's not coming until 5pm or so. I greatly dislike Caden here during naptime for Declan, because he's just plain noisy with no quiet switch. Avery? You can tell her to be quiet and she will. Caden either doesn't get that or he refuses, either way you'd like to bop him a time or two. He's got his pacifier in his mouth and he's in his bumper, so we're good - for a while.

So I'm slightly disgruntled, LOL! I'll get over it I'm sure. What are you doing today?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Avery's preschool Christmas program tonight!

It was so cute, albeit totally chaotic - YOU picture 75 4-5yo's singing (screaming, some of them). She was in the front row (she's small, of course she was in the front row) and she almost pulled her skirt up allllllll the way but my prayers were answered and back down it came. She sang so well, we were proud. All 4 of her grandpas and grandmas were there and she had fun.

She is so weird. I don't know how to describe her, but she gets all funny about things and refuses to speak to people. I don't know if it's a power issue or what, but it's truly annoying. And yes Avery, I hope to still have this blog when you're old enough to read this and understand and I will tell you that it is ANNOYING when you're like that. Enough said. :)

Speaking of Hope - keep praying please!!!!!!!!!!!

Pray for Hope!

My cousin and his wife had a baby, little Hope. Hope was born VERY premature and needs our prayers. My cousin's sister (still my cousin, obviously, lol) started this blog: http://hoperobinson.blogspot.com:80/ Please join in with comments, prayers, let them know that prayers are coming from all over the world to them in Indiana!!!!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

I have to blog about this or I will forget.

Tonight we were lazing around in the downstairs living room and Avery was playing the piano. She kept asking us to suggest songs so I was offering crazy song titles like "Hamburgers Make Me Hurl", we were just laughing and having a good time.

We suggested "The B-I-B-L-E" and she sang it all and accompanied herself. At the end of it she yells BIBLE, so we know she knows the word, and has just spelled it numerous times throughout the song. So I asked her, in my teacher way, "Avery, what does B-I-B-L-E spell?" and without skipping a beat she replies "WORDPECKER"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I about fell out of my chair laughing, James about dropped Declan on the floor and Caden, not knowing what was funny but wanting to join in started laughing his head off. You couldn't have captured a more hilarious moment, seriously. I am still laughing like crazy just typing it out.

So after that I asked her to spell the word she does know..."Avery, what does K-O-H-L-S spell?" "KOHLS!!!!!!!!!" 1:2 isn't bad. LOL!!!!!!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

No school today - oh joy!

I love my kids. I do. The very sun rises and sets on them, but I love them even MORE when they are gone from me. Especially Caden. He can be a real handful at times, and when he's bored he isn't pretty. School was canceled today due to weather (ice, wind) so I have all 3 home here with me.

Normally on Tuesday mornings Caden heads out the door by 7:30 and Avery, Declan and I get ready quickly and head to church for Coffee Break. This morning, none of us were up before 8:00, which was truly nice! And I can't complain too much - right now Declan is napping, Avery is watching Diego and Caden is spinning in his bumper. Things are pretty quiet right now. :)

Monday, December 08, 2008

There is a danger in having a very laid-back child.

Ok so there's many dangers in that, but the one that plauges me the most often is the danger of believing something is seriously wrong when he becomes fussy. I'm sure to a parent of a fussy child or a colicky infant my concern would be downright laughable (much as to me, when parents of typical kids fuss about their 12 month olds not walking yet). However, I went so far as to bring Declan to the doctor this morning because I was sure there is something wrong with him.

And there isn't.

But he has certainly been "off" for several weeks. It started with refusing bottles after just a few ounces, instead of the usual 6-8 ounces he chugs. Then he began to fuss and cry about eating solids. THAT we believe we have figured out - he's taking control of eating and he isn't shy in letting you know (case in point, the other night I snagged something desireable from his highchair tray and ate it myself - screaming temper tantrum ensued for more than 60 seconds, good glory).

Bless the drs heart. She said, "Now is the time when they usually start changing a lot, you'll probably notice he's different in lots of ways." You'd think this was the first time I've done this parenting thing.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Avery just took her pants off,

came over to me and announced that she had to take them off so she could "scratch her owie." Um, she has a tiny, pin-sized dot next to her belly button that is apparently itchy. Maybe I should pay attention to her so that she doesn't freeze as she goes about pants-less.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Oh, and I also wanted to say this:

To whomever took yet ANOTHER "check" out of our checking account without our consent, you SUCK. We will be closing our account now, thanks for making us do all your dirty work.

SAHM's do not get to call in sick.

That is truly a travesty. I asked James to take the day off and give me a sick day, but that didn't pan out either. Then I tried to bribe Avery with a nap and THAT didn't work. I am majorly striking out, but I feel so unwell and I am SOOOO stinkin' tired. Who will watch my daughter while I nap???

Monday, November 24, 2008

Sunday's amazing moment

We were at my parents' house on Sunday for dinner. The kids were all playing nicely when my 8yo neice comes up and tells me, "Caden keeps asking for you" and then I can hear him - "mom, moooom, mom". Figuring he got up on the top bunk I asked her, "Where is he?"

"He's on the toilet."

As if it's no big deal. As if every 6yo kid should be doing the same. Well ok, they SHOULD, but Caden's not every 6yo kid.

I hurry to the bathroom, crew following me and lo and behold, he pulled the step stool up, had taken off his pants and diaper and was sitting on the potty! AND!!!!!! THERE WAS POOP IN THE POTTY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I was so proud of him, he was so proud of him!! Maybe it's sooner than we think...

As I type this, James is at church for the annual congregational meeting. He is up for the office of deacon. We are praying for God's will to be done. We'll see what that will is in just a bit!

Edited - just over an hour later and James is coming home! Is it horrible of me to say we're really glad God didn't choose this time for our family?? He will not be a deacon this year for our church, and we are thankful for the time he will spend with us.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Had quite an exciting time last night!

Yesterday afternoon was one of those afternoons where I was ready to quit being a mom for a bit. Since that isn't an option, I called my good friend Tab to come over. Tab gets off work early, she's spectacularly single and she is ALWAYS fun to hang out with, plus she loves my kids and is SO good with them. I asked her if she would please hang out with the kids while I got some stuff done, which she was great about. We had a good time!

James got home around 5:30 and I had cooked up a plan - Tab and I would go out for dinner while James did bedtime (granted, I had already fed all 3 kids, changed Declan into jammies, and had them all cleaned up). As usual, he was agreeable so off we went - in Tab's car, which was nice of her because she was going to have to drive me all the way back out into the country after dinner instead of straight home to her apartment in town, but she didn't care. She's so cool like that.

We hemmed and hawed over where to go, and finally chose the Mexican restaurant. At the last minute I wanted to go for Chinese, but Tab overruled and we went Mexican. We had a great time, lots of chatting, good pop (soda, if you MUST be that way) and food. We were in there for over 2 hours.

We walk out into the parking lot and I kid you not, her car is GONE. We looked, and looked, and looked some more, but seriously, we BOTH knew where we had parked and it isn't there. The police station is only 1 block away so we walked up there to see if it had been towed for some insane reason. It hadn't. Holy. Poop. At this point, Tab isn't sure if she DID lock it, but we 100% know she had the keys the entire time and NO ONE else has a set. Ok so this isn't good. At all. They take all our information and tell us we might hear something in a few hours. Ugh. I called my mom (in town) to come get us and we decide to walk back to the restaurant to see if anyone there knows anything.

Again, I kid you not, as we near the parking lot we see her car, parked, unmanned, sitting in a COMPLETELY different parking spot, different part of the lot entirely. FREAKY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! As we're standing there, thinking we just MIGHT have lost our 30 year old minds, the cop pulls up and we tell him it's baaaaaaaack. So he pulls in, another cop car pulls in, the checking it all over ensues. The radio station has been changed (she had a Christian CD playing, they switched to hard rock, go figure!), there are candy wrappers on the floor and the passenger side seat was moved WAY back. NOTHING was missing, nothing was added, nothing was damaged, the fuel was nearly the same as previous, but the engine was still warm. As Tab is going over everything with one of the cops, a wrecker truck pulls in to see if we need his help. The police officer says, "No, someone decided to take a joy ride in someone else's car" and the wrecker guy says, "Again??" so we assume this has been happening.

Long story but we head back to the police station so they can pull fingerprints off the radio, etc. We also had to be questioned separately and they let us go, but poor Tab. She is so shaken up, and I am so p'ssd off for her. What a violating thing!! We hung out for a while and then she finally brought me home and went home herself...she said she slept well after finally falling asleep.

Interesting though...the car wasn't hotwired and no one else has keys. How in the world did someone do this?? Hopefully the police can figure this one out. It's probably bored teenagers in Pella looking for a good time but know this, we are on to you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Or I wish we were.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Praying for Kandy, Justin and family.

My friend Kandy lost her baby last night at 36 weeks gestation. Baby Ruby went to be held in the everlasting arms of Jesus last night around 10pm. You can read more about them in the links over to the left - Redneck Ramblings.

Kandy, I am praying for you guys. You have my love, prayers and support, now and always.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Night two and it has been quiet from the get-go!

We set up a few new precautions for Avery - she has fruit mentos on her nightstand that she gets to have if she stays in her room all night. She has a potty seat in her bedroom. She has a large object blocking her way out of the room, LOL! I think that oughtta do it!!

Caden wasn't so blindsided tonight, which helped. We talked it up a lot. We told him it was his job to watch Declan. He liked that! No tears, not one, from ANYONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Not a great night...

I don't have a ton of time but to get the gist of the story...we had Avery in our bedroom at 4:30. She had turned on nearly every light in the house, including Caden's bedroom light so he was up and we went through the entire process of him being MAD that he didn't have a roommate again. I'm tired.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Avery is sleeping in a big girl bed!

I know, you're probably falling over in shock more that she has STILL been in a crib at over 4 years old than that she's in a regular bed now, but it is what it is. She and Caden have been sharing a bedroom for 4 years, both in cribs (yes, Caden is still in one, more on that later) and it goes so well. They love it I think - someone to talk to in the morning, at night, etc. But we were given a wonderful bunkbed in white for Avery and we finally got her room painted in "Breezy Pink" on Saturday, so today we moved her in. She was SO excited. She also got to wear Pull-Ups instead of diapers for bed which means she could get up and go potty on her own, then go back to bed...

She did that about 5 times I think before the novelty wore off.

During that time, it was Operation Stop Caden From Breaking Down. Holy heck, you'd think we cut off one of his limbs. In no uncertain terms he told us he wanted to take his pillow and go sleep with Avery. Granted, there's room - it's a full sized bed on the bottom, twin on top. We had feet stomping, screaming, sobbing hysterics. For 30 minutes. I went in every 5-10 mintues and calmed him down, but it finally took James going in there and rubbing his back for 25 minutes and Cay fell asleep. We HAD Declan in Caden's room sleeping in Avery's crib during that time, but I rescued Declan and put him back in his pack n play in our bedroom so he could actually sleep. So yeah, we still have a baby in our bedroom but hey, there's always tomorrow night.

I just snapped some pictures of Avery sleeping. She's out like a light. We're so proud of her for doing so well! She's so proud.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

I think I have a sinus infection.

I feel like crap. I stayed home from church LAST Sunday to sleep all day and now I'm staying home again...I feel ok for a few hours, then cruddy again. Headache, sore throat top the list of what ails me most times, and now my nose feels tender to the touch. Enough's enough. Pity party for one? Done.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

In light of yesterday's momentous events in our country...

I thought I would share these lyrics from one of my favorite music groups Casting Crowns. These lyrics smacked me between the eyes this evening, just came flying into my head. America, my prayer is that we are not sleeping.

United States of America
Looks like another silent night
As we're sung to sleep by philosophies
That save the trees and kill the children
And while we're lying in the dark
There's a shout heard 'cross the eastern sky
For the Bridegroom has returned
And has carried His bride away in the night

America, what will we miss while we are sleeping
Will Jesus come again
And leave us slumbering where we lay
America, will we go down in history
As a nation with no room for its King
Will we be sleeping
Will we be sleeping

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Caden's "report card" - brag alert!!!!

This isn't your typical report card but then again, Caden isn't your typical Kindergartener. Caden attends Madison Elementary School here in Pella and is thriving. It's Parent-Teacher Conference time (we aren't having one because we just had Caden's IEP) so report cards came home on Friday.His teachers have also reported back to me that there is a severely affected child in his classroom and Caden is his best friend, always talking to him and touching him and trying to include him. I couldn't be more proud of him. The report card is as follows:

Fall Kindergarten Progress Report

Caden has been such a blessing to our Kindergarten class. He warms the hearts of every adults and child he comes in contact with!

He follows the routines of kindergarten as he sits in a group, follows one step directions and interacts with his friends in play. We are all learning to communicate with Caden through formal and informal sign language. Caden's classmates are eager and determined to learn new signs and genuinely love him as a friend in kindergarten!

I marvel at the progress Caden has made in a brief two months of formal education. Through God's blessings, a network of dedicated individuals have formed a tremendous support group: from the bus drives, cooks, custodians, secretary, principal, classroom teachers, students and professional educators to every child in his class and other classes at Madison Elementary, to provide genuine love and the very best education possible for Caden. And he, in turn, has blessed each and everyone of us with a contagious love for life!

Thank you for sharing him with us!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Avery's preschool picture

came back today. I'm pleased as punch. I wasn't going to order, but then I thought "she will probably do ok, better than Caden anyway" and I grabbed an order form and payed the morning of pictures. I'm so glad I did! Plus she has on brand new Gymboree and I couldn't have that go to waste. ;) Enjoy!! She's just 4 years old here, taken early October 2008.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The purpose of "goodness" is to point others toward God.

How true. Have you ever thought about the fruit of the Spirit of GOODNESS? Think about it for a minute. What does it mean to be "good"? How is that different from being "kind"?

When you consider it, you might find that being kind is "other-directed"...your focus is not on yourself, but on others. What a wonderful quality to have! The focus of "goodness" however, is more self-centered, but in a good way. Our focus is on striving to be good in the face of all kinds of circumstances.

A recent example of this for me has come online. I have a friend who others are questioning, even going as far as to email her with hateful messages about what a liar she must be, etc. I can understand questioning someone, especially someone online who you don't "know" fully, but I cannot understand being hateful toward them or wasting so much time and energy on trying to prove that she is lying. What is the point?

God spoke to me very clearly through this morning's Bible study on GOODNESS. Being good has to do with a conviction of your heart. It has to do with believing that God will one day make everything right. It is trusting God and allowing yourself to stand up in the face of accusations and hate and say what's RIGHT, even what it's not popular. It's allowing yourself to be misunderstood, to have your motives questioned....because you know that one day, God will make it all right. In doing so, you point others toward God so that He can be worshipped for the true goodness that He is!

God is refining this in me. I have made mistakes along the way, but my ultimate motivation is to be good...not for myself, but because I know that's what God wants from me. I tend to stick up for the underdog, sometimes to my own detriment (or so it seems), but in doing so I am learning about the goodness of Christ. He doesn't care what's popular, He cares what's good and what's right. Ultimately, no matter what kind of flack we might have to endure on earth, our prize remains sure in Heaven!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Happy Birthday Dear Caden!

Today at 4:01am you turned 6 years old. I can't believe it's been that long ago...and in other ways it seems like just yesterday. You amaze me every day. You are doing things right now that didn't seem possible at first. Maybe I didn't believe in you. Maybe I didn't believe in myself. Whatever the case, you are a special little boy in so many ways.

This morning, you woke up in a great mood, as usual. Mommy is not a morning person, but walking into your room and seeing you standing up in your crib with a bright "HI!" definitely starts my day off well. You love your routine, and me adding the interior lining to your usual coat sent you off on the bus in tears. I'm sorry that kind of stuff bugs you sweetheart, but it's cold outside and recess will be ever-so-much more fun if you're snug and warm. We even had to send hat and mittens yesterday! I'm not ready for this weather already, but here it is. It was cool like this when you were born, too. But no one could have anticipated the sunshine you would bring into our lives!

When you were little and when I was expecting you, I had all kinds of hopes and dreams for you. I still do, but they have changed and that's not all bad! Plus, mommy has grown up a lot since then, too, so now perhaps my hopes and dreams are more "realistic". :) My biggest hope for you, Caden, is that you will know that you are loved - both by your family and by God. And in your eyes, I can tell that this hope is being realized. When you come to me for a snuggle, because only mommy can get it just right, I know you feel loved. When you smile and play contentedly, without worry of judgement, I know you feel loved. You aren't able yet to say, "I love you" with words, but your actions tell me you do. I love you so much Cay!!!

Tonight all your grandmas and grandpas and most of your aunts and uncles are coming over for a birthday pizza party. I know you're going to have a great time. I've already snagged a couple of balloons from a local store which you'll be over the moon about. I set up your birthday gift this morning when you left for school, complete with trip to Wal-Mart for batteries! However, I need your daddy to take a look at it - it won't work! (It's a remote controlled Elmo train, bought at a garage sale, and I so wish it would work - I want to see your eyes light up when you come in off the bus!)

Daddy's coming home in a bit to watch your brother and sister so I can come and bring cupcakes to you at school. We're going to share with your special ed class and also your Kindergarten class - it's your snack day today! I can't wait to see you at school and share in your excitement.

I could go on forever about you, my sweetie. My prayer for your 6th birthday is that you develop more words and foster those relationships you are building in your community. You are far more popular than anyone I know, and you are SO kind and deserving. Everyone's a friend to you and you treat everyone with the same, unabashed excitement. I appreciate you, and I am thankful to be learning from you. Thank you God, for the gift of Caden. Happy Birthday Caden James!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

See my pretty-boy?

Thanks to my friend Tammy for brightening up his picture so he looks all the more sparkling! He really is a sweetheart. Just makes me smile every time I get to pick him up...which is a lot as he barely sits by himself yet. Makes him VERY easy to care for! Though earlier today I had an "oops" moment - I sat him down next to me on the floor while I was at the computer (shocked, aren't you?) and he fell over and hit his head on the bottom of the computer chair. Ouchers baby, I am sorry!!

James is home. That's why I haven't been blogging, there's a lot of kissy face to do! I really did miss him. It made me think though about how dependent you should be on someone. I mean, would I be ok if, God-forbid, something happened to James? I mean, I'd like to think with God's help I would make it but man, how I missed him!!! He really is my best friend. But he's hilarious, I have to tell on him with something...

Every time he goes away I like to nag him about how much time he spent thinking about us, etc. Usually, in typical guy fashion he screws up and says he didn't think about me a lot, that kinda stuff. Well, I told him this time that he needed to buy us stuff because usually I get nothing. The kids get nothing. Again, he's a guy, he gets somewhat of a pass, but I was pushier this time apparently. I sent him with $200 cash. His parents spoiled his tush and paid for most everything while he was gone (thank you, but you should have been watching him closer in the gift shops, people!!!) so the only think he really spent on was gifts for us and a shirt for himself. He had $60 when he returned. Holy smack. He did VERY well for me - I got a precious Willow Tree figurine and a beautiful Faith, Hope, Love religious silver bracelet. But here's where it gets dicey. He bought each of the kids tee shirts, Declan a onesie. Want to know the price of the onesie? Sit down. It was $20. FOR A ONESIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Never, ever, EVER again will I hear flack about how much Gymboree costs.

All this, from the man who didn't even remember a card for our 10th wedding anniversary in June. *smack*

God love you James, you rock my world.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Ahhhh bedtime.

It's 7:51 here and I have all the kids to bed. Avery and Declan are asleep (Ave seems to be under the weather today, running a temp and everything), Caden is "reading books" in his crib. I can just picture him, holding them up to show you the pictures the way his teachers do and emphatically sounding all kinds of tough sounds out. It's beyond cute. Not only are the kids in bed, I've just had a shower and am now consuming extraordinary amounts of calories while blogging. And that, my friends, is the hilarious part. No, not the calories, the showering. Would you like to know why? Perhaps this will be funny only to James...

I showered this morning, too!!!!!!!!! Now most of you are thinking, "good for you Tena, you're cleanly today!" but seriously. I never shower twice in one day. NEVER. I used to when I was going to the gym regularly (don't tell the elipticals there what I am consuming at the computer) but not now. So why did I? Because I am so stinking messed up without James here and any sense of time that I had no recollection of doing it this morning! Here's where you can laugh your donkey off at me. It was only when my hair was soaked that I remembered doing it this morning. Good glory, it's been one of those days.

Actually, it's been pretty good. Started off with a LOVELY neighbor-man skidloading in the field next to us starting about 6:30. Not such a big deal, except that the skidloader has the REVERSE BEEPING NOISE enabled. Who gives me a $20 to send him a smack via USPS? Of course the kids were up, so we soon headed in to town to grab mommy an iced vanilla coffee from McDonalds. I was going to look up the calorie count in one of those bad boys but I truly do not want to know. Then we went to my parents, where they watched the kids so I could go sell $65 worth of Avery's Gymboree clothing to a gal I met via Craigslist. Score! After that I headed home with Avery and Declan (so he could nap) and we left Caden at my parents but traded them for my neice N. She helped watch Avery so I could vacuum up the never-ending swarm of flies in the bonus room above the garage. We're going to have to go to one of those industrial fly catcher things they make for barns and such. Because otherwise, it would look like the freakin' 4th of July with 10000000 yellow fly strips hanging patriotically from the rafters. It's BAD in there folks, take my word for it. After that I hit up my parents for free food again and then we came back home for bedtime and shower time for Miss Can't Remember and now I'm here!!!

I know, that was boring for me too, but thanks for making it this far. After typing all of that, Caden is now quiet as well so I think I am 3:3. Wait no, I just heard him again. Regardless, he'll be out soon and all will be quiet except for the peck, peck, peck of keyboard keys. James always knows when I hit backspace and starts laughing. It's a good thing I'm fairly decent at typing anymore, otherwise his jaw would be sore. And that ends the randomness for the day. MUCH LOVE!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Great to hear from you, James!

I loved it when my phone rang today and it was you! Even though I was driving and really should have been paying more attention to the 3 small children in the vehicle rather than you...wait no, I should have been paying attention to driving, that's it. Anyway, we're home so I guess all is well.

I can see 3 teeth on the top of Declan's mouth. I think that is the reason for the night-waking as of lately. Though this morning he didn't wake until 5:30, so not too bad. Right now he's back in his pack n play, screaming again. I can't get him to be happy no matter where I place him. I think it's time for Tylenol or Orajel. I'll probably get him up soon and we'll go outside to do his favorite - SWING! Is he like his older brother or what? Yesterday he fell asleep outside in the swing.

It's gorgeous here, but windy. So you wouldn't like it. It's 74 degrees or so.

Caden should be home in about 20 minutes, with his cousins arriving about 20 minutes after that. Tonight we're going to my parents' to have supper and just hang out. Tomorrow I have no plans, but that awesome chick who bought all my Gymboree clothes from me last garage sale would like to meet up and go through my stuff again, insta-garage sale from the hatch of the Odyssey! That would be great.

Alright, time to crack the last full caff Mt. Dew of the day and brace myself for 3 more little ones to arrive. Continue to have a wonderful time! We love you and miss you, but we're doing just fine. :)

PS - it's www.aim.com - add tenacadensmommy :)

Thursday, October 09, 2008

And I'm a single mother.

Wow, hats off to all the single mothers of the world. I sweat just thinking about it, and now that it is here it's not so fun. James left our house around 3:40pm and won't be home until Monday LATE (possibly even Tuesday EARLY). He's going with his parents to visit his home state of Montana and to hang out with family. And I was the one who encouraged him to do so. WHAT was I thinking????? Serious.

Folks, little Caden understands what has happened here. He cried "daddddyyyyyy" for 45 minutes after I put him down for bed. It was GUT-wrenching. I put the kids to bed without James here at LEAST once a week and I never get that reaction. We told them that daddy went on an airplane and he signs "airplane" and "daddy" and then cries "dadddddyyyyy". I can't even tell you how sad it is. We were playing outside just after James left and an airplane went overhead - Caden signed "daddy" super excitedly and when it went past, he was crestfallen. He then signed "home", asking if James was coming home. It had been approximately 20 minutes since James had left. This might be interesting.

Avery on the other hand, totally fine, and SHE'S the daddy's girl! I could hear her telling Caden in their bedroom, "Daddy's on a plane Caden, he'll be home later." but that wasn't cutting it for Cay.

And Declan. Refused any solid foods tonight (sorry Grandpa Barbie, I TRIED!) and then refused the 2nd bottle I offered after he screamed for 10 minutes in his crib.

This might be interesting.

Is it Tuesday yet???

Thursday, October 02, 2008

More LaLa problems...

I have gotten more comments over that! It's what my friend Heidi has always called it, and I think it's great. LaLa...yeah, no big deal, right? ;)

I had to take him back in today. He has a bacterial infection down there. You wouldn't believe how awful it looks - blisters, pus, ugh. I cried when they were trying to get a culture of it. He's being a huge trooper about it, even took his oral antibiotics very well just before nap.

In other news, we are gearing up for a weekend of camping. It's supposed to be gorgeous here, sunny and low 70s. Love it! Tonight is also Caden's school Open House...I'm sure he'll be excited to show off his stuff at school to all of us!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Hats off to a new school year and illness!

I brought Declan in this morning for a "man problem". Ok since he's only 8 months old he won't care that I tell you, but his lala is very sore. We got that taken care of and in talking I mentioned Avery's been running a fever since Saturday. Dr took a look at her and she's got a double ear infection and probable strep throat - tonsils are almost touching each other! Poor girl. So we walked out of there with meds for both kids. I hope they're getting it out of their systems.

Friday, September 26, 2008

I got to see my boy at school!

I had the chance to see Caden "in action" at school yesterday - many thanks to my MIL (that's Mother In Law, for those of you not familiar with internet lingo) for watching the 2 youngest so I could go see him. It was interesting, for sure.

They are very enamored of Caden. It's very sweet to see, but the problem is, he's not always so sweet. And, he knows he's got their number and takes full advantage. While I was there (no more than 1 hour) I saw him hit, pinch, pull hair and slap at least 7 times. SEVEN. It took everything in my power not to get off my kid-sized-not-made-for-parents chair and place him in the time-out of the century. But I did not intervene. I watched, and that was enlightening. I can totally understand why no bigger action was taken, but once I had the chance I spoke to his aide and his Kindergarten teacher about Caden needing to be placed in IMMEDIATE time-outs for such behavior. I feel better now that they are on-board. :)

Caden's IEP is on Tuesday so I am glad I had the opportunity to watch him! He seems to be doing very well.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

It's fall?

You wouldn't know it from looking or being outside. Although inside it is quite fallish, what with my 4 fall items displayed nicely. Did you know our house used to be CRAZY small, so I basically had no decorations? So now I have ALL THIS SPACE and just nothing to put up anywhere. It's kinda funny actually. But I did decorate our railing of our balcony with some nice fake leaves and orange lights. It's purrrdy.

That's all I have tonight folks. James is at praise band at church so it's typically my "spend time on the net" night, but my favorite website is down for maintenance and I am feeling sorry for myself. So I cracked a Mt. Dew (yes, at 7pm, I am going to pay for that later) and am sitting here trying to think of things to write about in the future...

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Caden, God bless your stinkin' ears off.

Seriously. I am TIIIIIRED of ear infections for this kid. He's got his 3rd set of ear tubes in...one has fallen out and the other is not functioning. So. After spending Monday - Wednesday out of school due to FUO (Fever of Unknown Origin - that's mine, you can't use it) I brought him to Urgent Care last night when I saw a HA-UGE pile of wax and junk in his left ear. Sure enough, red eardrum and tons of drainage. Antibiotics and ear drops, plus oral pain reliever. It's time for a call in to our ENT (Ear Nose Throat dr.) - I think tube set #4 is on the horizon. This time, we're getting the T-tubes. Those have to be removed surgically instead of being left to fall out on their own. Surgery/anesthesia is a big risk for Caden, but he cannot miss days upon days of Kindergarten because he's got ear infections. Sick of it. Can you tell? ;)

In other news. Today was his first day back in many days and I had the rare opportunity to be driving past his school as he was being dropped off. I decided to pull in to a parking spot and just watch. An associate from another classroom helped him out of his car seat and he trotted up toward the building where he got hug #1 from another associate (different classroom again, not his classroom). Hug #2 came from an associate from his preschool class last year, full out, down on her haunches hug for my little man. Then out came Charon, Caden's 1:1 aide. BIG HUG!!!!!!!!!!! It was so precious. And the best part is that they didn't know I was watching, so it was all the more special to see how he's treated when "no one's watching". I am so pleased! I also sent his prayer along with him to school today so they will start saying that with him now.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

New families...

I have added some new RTS families to the side. Check their blogs and cuties out!!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The dentist

We have a wonderful pediatric dentist in Des Moines. Dr. Matt is so kind, quiet, patient, good with kids - he's a keeper. Caden's been seeing him for years, and a few years after that we asked if he'd take Avery on as well, so she's been going for quite a while. Yesterday was another 6 month checkup and checkups are very basic - they try to get in there and brush the teeth, then he looks all around with his mirror and that's about it. Avery was actually EXCITED, but as things go with her, I thought she'd probably chicken out of her excitement once we got there. And Caden I assumed would be the same - total freak-out screaming fit the entire time. At least one of them I was correct about...

Avery was called back first and since James had both boys on his lap I went back with her. She didn't want to get in the chair. Here we go, I thought. It took some coaxing, but she finally hopped up into the chair, and from there she was PERFECT!!!!!! She let the hygenist brush and even FLOSS her teeth. She opened wide and didn't try to bite down on the brush or anything at all. Total gem. Thank you for not doing as I expected Avery!! We are SO proud of you! And her teeth look great as well.

Then it was Caden's turn. He was placed kicking into my lap facing me and then laid back into Dr. Matt's lap. Dr. Matt is strong!!! He held that screaming mouth open and got the teeth all brushed, even scraping the bottom teeth where there was some buildup. Caden was still screaming, signing "all done" and just basically having a tantrum. There's NOTHING to it, he just panics himself over the entire process. Anyway, here's where the exciting part comes in (for me anyway) - Caden has a LOOSE TOOTH!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yep, one of those little bottom front teeth is loose. Folks, this is right on time! He did it!!!! I bet he's going to look so different with a little tooth out, but I am just giddy. Ah, it truly IS "the little things."

And, in other news, our children are now the proud owners of a John Deere "Gator" ride on toy. They are thoroughly spoiled. And having a blast! More on that with pics to follow later.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Letters to my children

A thought struck me the other night. I could use this blog to write periodic letters to my children - sort of an online baby book. Sometimes I want to remember what they're doing but I never seem to haul out that baby book and write it down. So I thought this might be a nice place to do that. Plus you get to read up on them and find out what makes them tick and you get to hear me gush. What could be better?

First goes my lastborn - Declan.

Dear baby, you are precious! Never have I experienced such a laid-back, contented baby. You are 7 months, and for the past couple of weeks you have been working on your bottom tooth. You love to suck your lips in while feeling it - it must feel very funny! You look like a little old man with no teeth when you suck your lips in like that.

On Tuesday, you said your first word. Mommy was getting ready to leave and Grandma Jean was holding you. I said "bye bye" to you and you paused, then said "dyyy dyyyyy!!!!" I would have second-guessed that you actually did say it, but Grandma Jean confirmed it - it was definite! You also waved with certainty last week Tuesday when she was here. You must really like her or something! Your wave is precious - you extend your whole arm and curl just your fingers in and out.

You are really getting the hang of grabbing toys too and love to spend time sitting up in your highchair playing with toys. Avery loves to collect the toys that drop on the floor which is very nice for mommy. Everything goes into your mouth, of course. Speaking of that, you don't do super great with the eating thing unless it's sweet things like fruit. Grandma Sue gave you some chocolate ice cream while we were camping on Avery's birthday last week but you weren't too sure about that. Today at lunch you sat in your highchair next to Avery sitting at the island and she fed you bites of her applesauce - it was too cute! Whenever she would take a bite and not offer you one your mouth would hang open, just waiting.

You're still rolling over only from your back to your front, but you don't get a lot of floor time to be honest. I found out on the first day of school for Caden (Aug 21) that you CAN sit up all by yourself, but you're not a big fan of it. You sleep very well for us, going down at the same time as Caden and Avery (6:45-7:00pm) and sleeping until 6:00-6:30am - which is perfect for mommy because she can feed you and get ready herself, then get Caden up to get on the bus by 7:30.

You got your first haircut on Saturday. You have beautiful hair, but it was SUPER LONG in some places. Underneath it was all the same length so mommy just cut off all the long stuff and boy, did it grow you up! You look handsome as ever.

Hugs and kisses Declan-boo! We love you to the moon and back and to the moon and back again and......

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Avery started preschool this morning!

Yes, honest to goodness preschool for 4 year olds, not "preschool" where it's actually day care but it makes parents feel better to say preschool. She's doing big stuff. It's Monday and Wednesday morning from 9:00-11:30. She LOVED it. You have no idea how much my heart was soaring listening to her tell me all about it. It's bittersweet - I love hearing it from her, but wish so hard that Caden could do the same. But today is about Avery.

She painted. Luke brought snack. They sang Jesus Loves Me. They listened to a book. She saw the bathroom, but didn't have to use it. They did not, however, use her pouch of school supplies (glue, crayons, scissors, etc.), which evoked a minor foot stomping outside once we left.

I took all the pictures before session started. There's one of her outside by the sign, one of her hanging up her Dora backpack on her hook (that stinking backpack was the ONLY thing she has requested in her entire life...PTL that TJMaxx actually had one! It was so hard to find!!!), another of her getting her name tag pinned on her shirt (she found her own name immediately, very proud) and finally one of her with Miss Teresa (incidentally, I used to be the assistant teacher here so I know Teresa very well which makes it a lot of fun). Enjoy!!!





Thursday, August 28, 2008

"Outdoorsing" again!

We were able to snag a couple of camping sites for this weekend (not an easy task, but we're good!!) but that means we had to pay for the site since Sunday. It's ok though, because we decided to head out there last night (Wed.) already and plan to stay out there through Monday...except of course here I am at home blogging on Thursday morning. hee hee And James is working and Caden has to be brought to school and all of that.

Speaking of Caden and being brought to school...there was an incident yesterday in the morning. I don't know details, but "for Caden's safety" he will either be moved to the back of the suburban (a total pain as we'd have to climb over other seats to get him buckled in) or possibly the route will be switched up so Caden isn't riding at the same time as another child. Please pray for this situation. I am bringing Caden to school for the rest of the week (started this morning) while it gets ironed out. Caden is FINE, wasn't hurt or anything, but his driver is a wonderful lady who wants the best for all, so she's working on it. I brought him this morning and met his 1:1 aide, Charon, who is another wonderful lady! We talked for a bit and things are going really well for all!

And guess whose birthday is on Saturday? Avery Sue will be 4!!!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Pictures of Caden's school bus departure

Here is Caden waiting for the bus, posing by the suburban he rides with his driver Diana (we LOVE her, she brings him to and from school) and in his carseat, ready to go!!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

First day of Kindergarten - wow

Today was a rainy, dreary day, but I think Caden brought some serious sunshine into Madison Elementary. I just got off the phone from a 10 minute conversation with Caden's Kindergarten teacher and I am so elated. She called me to say that it couldn't have possibly gone any better. He was cooperative and friendly and just a peach!!! She told me the day started out with playtime and then they sat together as a group. Caden was making some noise (typical) and gaining some attention from his peers, so she decided to get right into it and tell them about Caden and how he communicates, how he's different from other kids. He heard his name and marched right up to the front of the room to stand with her while she talked about him. "Perfect", she said. I made up a Caden Dictionary with all the signs he knows, words he can say, signs he's made up and his 1:1 aide got that out when he was up front and he just signed away for them. The kids were blown away and were trying to learn them.

She's an experienced teacher which helps TREMENDOUSLY, but I am just incredibly touched that she called personally to talk about his day.

Caden stayed in the K classroom for the entire day. His 1:1 aide did take him out to try to use the potty once, but that's about it. Mrs. B (K teacher) did tell me that he got into another little boy's personal space by snuggling and the other little guy wasn't so appreciative, but they talked through that and got permission to tell Caden to move away, etc, so all is well. She also said there's at least one little girl who has taken Caden under her wing and is helping him out whenever and however she can. I love kids that age!

She said he totally brightened up her day and made many of the kids smile. She told the class that she thought the rain had stopped and they could go outside to play, and Caden clapped like mad! He went into the hallway to help staple up letters on the wall and loved being a helper. She also said I can send along the words to Caden's prayer and his 1:1 aide will help him say it before he eats, which THRILLS me. I didn't know if they could get in trouble for helping a child say a prayer in public school, but it's a total non-issue. She also assured me that nearly ALL the teachers at the school are Christians and they love him as such, which made my heart soar.

I'm impressed folks. I love it. Here I was, just a few days ago, thinking I could never send him, and here I am tonight after a phone call thinking - this is it God! This is exactly how I pictured it! You are so good!!!!!!!!!

Pics to follow.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Meet the teacher day

Today from 2:30-4:00 is Caden's Meet the Teacher time. We will have to go into 2 classrooms - his special education classroom to meet them and to bring his diapers and wipes in and then the Kindergarten classroom to meet that teacher and bring all his regular school supplies. It will be nice to have all that taken care of before school starts tomorrow.

I've told a few people - Caden's been a STINKER this past week or so and I honestly can say that I am ready for him to go to school. I have been praying that God would give me peace and make me want to send him and guess what? As always, God came through! Wasn't exactly how I pictured wanting him to go to school because I've wanted to pull my hair out, but oh well, it works.

I'm still not certain I'm ready for tomorrow at 7:30 when the bus comes, but I know I'll make it. My good friend Val is having me over for what I call a Boo-Hoo Party. It will take my mind off it and we'll get to hang out and have fun. I can't wait until I can go into the school and see how Caden spends his time. That's what I want to know the most I guess and that's probably pretty typical of any child going off to school - what are they DOING with him all that time??

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Insensitive Hollywood....

I have read something tonight that makes my blood boil. It is found here:


Read that, try to calm yourself enough to sign the petition, and pass it along to EVERYONE you know. PLEASE do not see this movie. Do not perpetuate this kind of hatred.

Petition: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/stopTropicThunder/?e

Thursday, August 07, 2008

In a better mood now...

it's amazing what a little Dairy Queen will do for ya! I deleted an entire post here and no, you will not see it again. It was whiney and annoying, and it didn't need to be here. AND, it was also full of incorrect information (I love you Heather, but what are you smoking??).

Tonight was school registration for Caden. I went, paid a lot of money and now he's all signed up to go!

I am going to post an email that I just sent off to the RTS email list (all parents and family members of individuals with Caden's same syndrome) about how I am feeling on K. Please add your thoughts. I am really really struggling. The email is as follows:

I never thought this would be so hard. Caden has been going to ECSE (Early Childhood Special Education) at our local school for 3 years now. I have sent him off on the bus with a kiss and a wave and off he goes. He loves it. I loved it. Win, win.

But now this little man is entering Kindergarten. Never mind the fact that he looks at acts like a 2 year old. Never mind the fact that he is nowhere NEAR a 5 year old's capabilites. Just send him, right? Other parents do it all the time. He'll be fine.

I can say that to myself. I can post cute little inspirational sayings on my mirror and force myself to repeat them 100 times a day but it boils down to this - I'm scared (of what, I don't know for sure), I'm sad and I just don't want August 21 to come. I think part of it is the all day, every day thing. I mean, holy smack, that is going to be exhausting for him.

I'm at a loss. I really am. I am mustering all the courage I can and talking with him about it and I can tell he's getting excited about it, but I just want to keep this precious babe home with me for the rest of forever (and yes, I have thought about homeschooling him but it's simply not an option for many reasons). I love my other kids, don't get me wrong. But there is something passionate and fierce in the way I love my Caden. I can't explain it other than to say it feels like a piece of me is leaving home to go off to big school, and I am not taking it well. I want ALL OF ME at home.

Does this resonate with anyone else? How did you cope? I'm positive it will get easier as time marches on, but this waiting game is torturous.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Unexpected blessings

You know those times when you've been really down about life in general? When things just don't feel great overall but nothing you can do really seems to make it better? Well yeah, I've talked with you about my depression (I've increased my meds with my drs help and things are looking slightly up) so you kinda know. I've just been in a funk I guess. And seeing Kindergarten just days away for my precious firstborn is not helping matters. Especially when I now have the child who will be mainstreamed. I never imagined it. It's the grief process, starting all over again....

Today I got a phone call from a dear friend who also happens to go to our church and who also happens to have a child with special needs (mental illness but let me tell you friends, she "gets it"). We didn't talk for long - I haven't been chatty lately and she cut right to the chase. She volunteered her services from now until whenever to be Caden's 1:1 aide for Sunday School at church. This may not seem like a huge deal, but James and I have considered not putting Caden in Sunday School because it's always such a chore to ask someone to be there with him, help focus his attention, the list goes on. I'm crying again writing this...I really didn't have the words to say thank you, you have no idea what a gift from God this phone call was. But if ever there has been a time this week where the hand of God reached right out and gave me a hug, here it was. Thank you. You know who you are and I love you.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Home sweet home.

I think our kids are thinking that. Today we are finally home. Currently everyone is doing their favorite thing - I am on the computer, James is sleeping on the couch, Avery is sitting on said couch watching Noggin (Max and Ruby, someone needs to smack those bossy bunnies), Caden is spinning in his jumper and Declan is sleeping peacefully for the first time in a long time. AND. We're in air conditioning and not outside. It is SO HOT here today. With heat index it's like 108 degrees. Not fun. But we did have a great time!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Goin' camping

I guess you can't really call it camping. I told my friend Kim that we should call it "outdoorsing" because we spend lots of time outside but the actual sleeping part is pretty cush. We share a camper with my brother and his wife and their family and it's very nice, indoor plumbing and the whole works. No tents for us, no way. I personally think there's just a little bit of insanity involved with people who tent camp with small children. I mean, I love you if you do it but you gotta admit you must love punishment or something. I love me my microwave for nuking those 5am bottles I shouldn't be nuking, that sorta stuff.

We brought the camper out last night to the site (right next to my parents and brother) and we'll be sleeping there all the way through to the 3rd of August! Pretty exciting stuff. On Tuesday we'll be going out on a boat all day with the whole family.....oh CRAP I still need to find somewhere for Declan to go that day!!!!!!!!!!!! Bye!!!

Edit - just called my wonderful mother in law and Declan has a home for Tuesday, yay!! Thank you!!!


I swear, if I have to hear that ONE MORE TIME from Avery I might just flip out. She likes to sit on the couch to watch tv. (Yes, my children watch tv. Some days they watch HOURS of tv. Deal with it.) Guess where Caden likes to stand? You guessed it, Mr. Antagonizer likes to stand directly between the couch and tv, right in her line of sight. And instead of asking him politely to move, Avery says, in a big whiney voice (something she might have learned from tv, hmmm), "I can't SEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!" Glory be child. You'll live.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

And Declan's 6 month pics

You can find them here: http://www.photoreflect.com/pr3/ThumbAccess.aspx?e=3955938

password: declan

Isn't he the cutest??? And yes, he is usually that smiley and laid back. I ADORE this baby!

Postpartum or just depression?

Lots of you know I am a depression gal. Yeah, if you just knew me you'd think I was pulling your leg at that in my usual way but no, it's true. I struggle with it a lot.

I have bipolar disorder, diagnosed a few years ago when I couldn't explain why I yelled at a complete stranger in the street one day. Of course there were a few other things happening as well. A good psychiatrist saw what was happening and helped me piece it all together. I've been on meds for bipolar ever since (we won't talk about my one little stint of going off meds because I thought I was doing so well, but I have promised that will never happen again, and it won't).

But lately, I'm sad again. I'm not feeling the highs/lows of bipolar, just sad. Very sad. The kind of sad where it takes an effort to smile. I have talked to my doctor about it and we are working on some increase of meds - hateful that meds take so long to kick in. So we'll let it ride. I'm sharing because prayer can only help. I'm sharing so that depression isn't the untalked-about epidemic in our society.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Is the first pic not working for anyone else?

If you can't see it, you can just go here:

The promised pictures!

I'm impressing you lately, aren't I? :)

Here's a picture that was taken before we even bought the house I think. It looks like there's a walkway of sorts to the front porch that I never remember being there when we moved in (1998). I got this off an appraisal website. BTW, I've heard that http://www.zillow.com/ is pretty neat if you want to check out properties, what people paid, etc. Good for us nosy folks. I used one specific to Iowa though.

The second pics were taken just a few days ago. I took the first one from the same angle as the original pic I think, but then it was too big to fit in so I backed up and took another. Forgive the messy, trashed front yard. You can see the work that needs to be done - front porch finished up, more siding put on, etc. The only way you can tell it's the "same house" is the front door and that stinkin' bay window. HATE that thing, but it was too expensive to replace, so it's gonna stay. We're going to build it up different....someday.

Monday, July 14, 2008

So I told you about waiting for the house appraisal...

It came back today. $200,000!!! WOOOOO FLIPPING HOOOOOOOO!! So now we finalize and get the money and pay back all the wonderful people who helped this happen (mainly my parents, God bless them for waiting so long). So this house is considered "done". How weird does that feel after 3.5 years of non-stop working? It's so amazing to think of what's been accomplished though. Amazing. Pics to follow soon.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Twice in one day!

Our family pictures are now online. Check them out at: http://www.photoreflect.com/pr3/thumbpage.aspx?r=1&e=3939560

password is: family

We chose the very first one as the pic of our kids and the 9th as the pic of our family.

I see how it is.

You all harass me about not blogging, so I do and then NO ONE comments. Phooey on you.

In all seriousness, I assume it's because you think you have another 2 weeks before I'll check back again, right? Surprised ya!!

Right now I have 8 children in my home. It's crazy, but lots of fun!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

HOLY SMACK, has it been that long?

I tell you, I keep forgetting about this place. My poor neglected blog. Maybe it's a good thing I DON'T get paid to blog or we'd be pretty destitute!

Things here are good overall. We've been enjoying summer and I just can't believe how fast it's going! Caden and Avery are enjoying bickering with each other all day long which is oh so fun for mommy. James and I were just talking about that last night. I think Caden "brings out the worst" in Avery in some respects. She is capable of being sweeter and asking nicer and being more mature, but she sees Caden "be allowed" to be immature and whine for things instead of ask (partly because he just does that, partly because we allow it too much) so she follows suit. It's frustrating, and sometimes I feel bad asking her to check her manners every few seconds, but she has got quite the attitude if left unchecked. Caden is sweet as pie but man, he can be a pushy little dude. I've asked several people this about Avery - how do you punish a nasty tone of voice? Seriously, that child can ask you for something with a "PLEASE" that would knock you over it's so testy. I suppose she gets that from her animated mama. Oops!

Declan. What's not to love? He is seriously the sweetest, biggest baby ever. Ok maybe not the biggest, but he IS the sweetest. He's big though too. Probably 20 pounds now and he'll be 6 months on the 17th. SO different from my first two. He has rolled over a few times but nothing much yet. He of course rolled over for my parents on the 27th of June when they had him overnight.

He was there overnight and Caden and Ave were at James' parents overnight because the 27th was our 10th wedding anniversary! So James and I went overnight to Des Moines. We had a great time and it was fun to be carefree for a while. It lasted until the next morning when we met James' parents and our kids (sans Declan) at Adventureland, a local amusement park for the day. We found out that Caden, our master spinner, doesn't like rides. Go figure! And Avery, our cautious-of-everything worrier, loves them. GO FIGURE!

This morning at 9am is our house appraisal. I found out about it only yesterday at around 11am so needless to say yesterday was a whirlwind of feined cleanliness. It was good for me to see how much I CAN get accomplished instead of sitting at the computer (yes I know, you'd think if I am on here all the time I could at least update my blog every week or so, I hear you). James got home late last night and then he had the audacity to sit around and read books to the kids while I kept working. And I had only told him about 10 times during the day that when he got home he was going to be work work working! So I was tempted to be rrrrrrrrrrreally grumpy with him. I muttered to myself, "Yeah, he isn't going to do a dang thing for this appraisal" and God smacked me with reality - Honey, he's done 3.5 years worth of work ON THE HOUSE for this appraisal to even be happening! So true. Sorry James. I didn't mean to be a grump with you. Our last house appraisal (before THE ADDITION started) was 80,000 for the house and land. We shall see.....

Monday, June 09, 2008

Welcome to the RTS family!!!!

If you've found this via the RTS website or email group, I'm glad you stopped by! Feel free to contact me if you have any questions!

Friday, June 06, 2008

Problems posting...

Ok, does anyone else have issues with the text box in Blogger? It's like it's double-thick lined around the outside of the box and when it does that it will NOT let me enter text in the text box. I can do it in the Title box, but not the text box. It's frustrating! I just spent the better part of 10 minutes being able to post this!!!!

On the whole, things are going well. Avery has had a couple of accidents but overall she's doing great. In the past couple of days she wants to give me attitude about going potty, but there's been attitude coming about everything so I shouldn't be shocked. I'd like to call her a "snot" and send her packing, but I am going to have faith that when she hits 1st grade some other little snot will do that for me. I think we're pretty much officially potty trained for day time. Not bad considering day 1 was May 7. Proud of us!!

Caden is a Kindergartner!!!!!! His last day of school was yesterday. I choked back tears but was fine overall. I can't believe he'll be going all day, every day next year! But I have to be with him all summer, sigh. LOL, kidding *mostly*.

Declan is now on his THIRD antibiotic. Same ear, same infection. He just can't get over it. I feel awful for him. Let's hope this new one knocks it out of him.

It's hot here. And we don't have central air (yet) because we prioritized a front porch over central air. Before you say we're stupid, consider that we have to have this house appraised asap and the looks of a front porch will matter much more than air conditioning. At least that's what we assumed. Watch, we'll be totally wrong and kicking ourselves.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Happy Holiday!

That's just plain fun to say in mid-May. I may I add that it's unreal it's mid-May (actually late May) already? Wow.

Avery. Potty training successful as far as pee is concerned. I shared that on Saturday she pooped in the motor home (sorry Grandpa, but we were thrilled). On Tuesday she had a poop accident, and with it came a pee accident - the first in a LONG time. I think that was due to pushing with the poop and all, who knows. Anyway, I made her clean herself up after the poopy accident which she thought was fun. Sigh. I also told her that we are DONE pooping in our panties. No more. Poop is for the potty and that's where it will go. She agreed, and on Wednesday she pooped in the potty, unprompted. Exciting $hit, I tell you!!! And today she has thrown up her entire lunch of mac and cheese. That was pleasant. She's not feeling well, bad cough, etc.

Speaking of not feeling well, Declan. Little bugger has his first ear infection. He's been sleeping through the night since he was 7 weeks old and the past 1.5 weeks he's been up by 5am or so, creeping closer to 4am some mornings. No fun when we've been so spoiled. He had his 4 month check up yesterday and I mentioned he wasn't feeling well, and he had a temp of 100.0 and the red eardrum. So he's on his first round of antibiotics. The appt went well though overall. He's 16lbs 9oz and 25.5 inches long. No problems growing. :)

Caden. Big boy is winding down his final year of ECSE (Early Childhood Special Education). He will be a Kindergartener in just a few months! On Wednesday we had his transitional IEP meeting - he's moving out of the early childhood services/therapists and moving on to the school-aged folks. It's bittersweet. Some of these people have been coming to our home and have known us since Caden was 6 weeks old! But it was a great meeting. We found out who his K teacher will be (2 huge thumbs up) and his special education teacher will be (another round of thumbs up). Everyone was excited to have Caden and to share in the planning for his transition to K. We are excited for him, and I know he'll have a wonderful year!

We're camping this weekend. No way, no tents. We're using Grandpa and Grandma Barbie's motor home. We'll be camping with my parents and brother, and my other brother and SIL and all the nieces and nephews. It's always fun, and we're going to make the best of it, even with the rainy skies and frigid temps. Kids never seem to care, right? We're really looking forward to camping this year because both Caden and Avery now know how to ride tricycles!!! A whole new world has opened up to them now, and it's very exciting.

Have a blessed and fun holiday weekend!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Doing great!

She hasn't had a pee accident in ages. Pooping is still hit or miss, mostly miss. She likes to sneak it in after bedtime when she has a diaper on. However, on Saturday night we were at Grandpa and Grandma Barbie's motor home at the campground and she pooped in the motor home (yes, on the toilet)!!!! Maybe we just need to camp all the time.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Four days...

of zero pee accidents! We are not quite there with the pooping, but she is SO AWESOME at the peeing thing! She has to announce that she has to go (wonder where she gets that need to be HEARD from, lol) but after that it's off to the races!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Day 7 - no accidents, pee-wise

So these updates are getting shorter. And you may be tempted to be upset about that. But remember one thing - I am not getting paid for your entertainment so unless you are prepared to send me cash to blog more, then you're SOL. Whew, that felt good.

And you know I was joking, right? Cuz next I am going to have SOMEONE email me and say, "Was someone truly upset at you? Are you mad or something?" No, I was joking. A funny. A ha-ha. That sorta thing.

Ok folks, day 7 and no pee accidents once again. Avery had the pleasure of going to Aunt C's house today and while she didn't pee there she DID try which was very big of her. And then she was with her adopted grandma all afternoon and peed TWICE for her!!! So far, that's the only other person she has gone potty for besides mommy. I'm so proud!!!!

Tonight she had a poop accident tho. I think she tried to take it out of her panties and put it into her potty to show me she had succeeded (she's been promised another family trip to the park if she poops on the potty, which she is vehemently opposed to) but that God, with me again as usual. It fell on the floor and she didn't want to touch it, so she had to confess. HA HA!!!! But still, no pee accidents 2 days in a row folks! Send this girl some cash (but address it to me, she'll never know).

Monday, May 12, 2008


You read that right. No accidents. YAY Avery!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Day 5 - Happy Mother's Day!

Hope all of you wonderful mommas had a wonderful day! Ours was good. Caden was scheduled not to go to church what with the puke fiasco last night, but James said the FIT he threw when James and Avery were getting ready without him was tantamount. So Caden went. I stayed home with Declan because I was going to stay home with Caden and Declan and I couldn't get ready in the amount of time....

So on to potty training. It was a pretty good day but a few accidents. James put Avery in a diaper for going to church. Maybe that wasn't a good idea, not sure. She came home and within 5 minutes she was poopy. No shocker there. So far, we've had zero poopy success.

We put panties on her (she always always fights us on this, any tips? We get them on her, but she "doesn't waaaaaaaaaaaaaant!" them on!!!) and headed to my parents' for Mother's Day lunch. Hours later, we were going to head over to James' parents, and told Avery she had to pee before we could go to "Grandpa and Grandma Barbie's" house (guess which grandma has barbie dolls at her house? YEP! James' folks). Potty success! Off we went.

Spent a few hours there and then headed home. Avery had gotten a sucker from Grandma Barbie and I told her she could have it if she peed. Peed again! Poor girl - Caden gets the sucker with no pottying at all. No fair. We hung out for a while upstairs and then came down to get some supper. After coming downstairs she tells me she needs a towel to wipe up her legs. Uh oh. Yes, she'd peed again, no warning at ALL. And then it got close to time for bed and she's in a diaper and in dreaming-land! More tomorrow...........

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Day 4 - and what a day it was!

This is gonna be as short as possible because I am TIRED.

7:30 - we all leave for my parents' so I can go garage saling with my mom and my dad will watch the 3 kids. Ave hasn't peed yet and says she doesn't have to. Diaper was wet overnight, but not soaked. By 8 my mom and I are out the door and hitting the sales....

10am - we're back and Avery still hasn't gone. She tried for grandpa but "no water came out". We decided to all go to Des Moines so I told Avery she HAD TO put her pee in the potty so we could go. By 11am she had GONE and everyone was so proud!! We were on our way to Des Moines. I decide she will stay in panties.

2pm - we're in Menards (like Home Depot) and Avery has to go. She signs "potty" to me and so I take her. After one failed attempt, we go again, and she GOES!!! On a big potty in a community bathroom!!!!!!!!!!!! She goes a lot!!! We are so proud.

5pm - we're in the restaurant and Avery doesn't want to get into her highchair. VERY strange. And it dawns on me - she doesn't want to sit because she's wet or poopy. She admits to being poopy, so James takes her to the bathroom with the already prepared change of clothes (thank goodness for Gymboree and their mix and match stuff - we only have to change bottoms!). They're back and we start eating.....

we're getting close to being finished (except for me and James because we've been up and down 300000 times for demanding kids and crybaby Declan) and Caden starts to vomit. And he pukes, and pukes and PUKES for the next 2 solid minutes. It's INSANE. POOR BABY!!!!!! So we finally get that all cleaned up and everyone goes out except me and James who try to finish up eating.....

7:15 - back at my parents and getting everyone ready to head home to their own homes. I wasn't inside the house, but apparently Avery peed on the floor there. Lots of chaos going on. We head home and she tries to go on the potty once again, but "can't". So now she's in a diaper and in bed....

Today wasn't super successful, but we were busy and in lots of different places. So all in all, it was good for day 4! I'm just amazed at how infrequently she goes....

Let's hope tomorrow is more low-key. Happy Mother's Day to all the awesome mothers I know!!!

Friday, May 09, 2008

Day 3 - poor Caden!

Now you might be tempted to think that Avery has somehow turned potty training into a war against Caden, or somehow peed on Caden, or something like that. But you would be wrong. Let's talk about our sweet firstborn for just a sec before we move on to miss thang. Caden fell at school this morning and crashed foreheadfirst into the cubbies/lockers - and is now the proud owner of stitches. Leave it to Caden to get the first stitches in this family. (We won't talk about how many stitches James has had in his life, but Caden's the first in our little family.) He is SUCH a trooper too. I wasn't able to go to the ER with Caden and James (remember, I watch my neice a nephew and there was no more room in our little car, an no carseats....this HAD to happen on a Friday) but James said he was such a good boy. Certainly didn't LIKE it, but was good. He has to have them removed in 4-5 days so I'm sure that'll be a trip. His teachers felt so bad, bless them. He doesn't have the best balance and they had just come inside from the playground. It had been raining and his shoes were wet and there's tile in front of the cubbies...and the rest is history. I have taken a pic and will edit to get that up in a bit. He's now home with us of course which makes the craziness here all that much more crazy. So what do I do? I blog. Giving my COMPLETE attention to the children. Hey, in my defense, the 2 year old and 3.5 month old are sleeping.

Speaking of editing, I edited yesterday's post to update how the evening went for Avery.

And we come to today. Day 3. Avery wakes up with her eyes GLUED SHUT from matter. She's got allergies kicking her heiney. So I think, "great, she's going to be in NO mood" but I pressed the issue anyway. Her diaper was wet but I told her it was time for panties, and that we were going to go bye-bye to a few garage sales so she needed to put her pee in the potty before we went. That child sat on the pot for 30 minutes before finally going. What gives? I mean, sometimes I can barely make in into the water my pee rushes out so fast. It's like my urethra (sp? who knows?) sees the toilet and just let's 'er fly. Not Avery. Good grief. Oh wait. She also hasn't given BIRTH 3 times. I forgot about that.

It's no wonder the kid talks all the time. Back to the point Tena.

Ok so she peed and we left. During our outing the fiasco with Caden ensued and the garage sales were a TOTAL waste of time, but it was good practice for Avery to stay dry. And she did. And she STILL hasn't peed and it's 1:30. I cannot BELIEVE how long she can hold it. Do I worry about that? And no poop yet either. She's an every day girl and she hasn't gone since Tuesday. Sorry Avery sweetie, but yes, I am posting this for all the world to see. You don't care right now...you will care in a few years but by then I will have stopped sharing your potty experiences, and if I haven't then the rest of you will have to hold me to keeping quiet. Speaking of keeping quiet, good heavens, I've run off at the mouth/fingers again.

So yeah. It's 1:30 and although she tried for 30 minutes while I was preparing lunch we still don't have pee. Hopefully soon! This morning at 11:15 she said this: "Mommy, I have to pee." And she walked herself to the bathroom. But she wanted the toilet in the kitchen because she wanted to assault me with her barrage of words for the next 30 minutes.

And now she's "washing" her cousin's hair. I gotta go.

UPDAAAAAAAAAAAAATE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 2:20. I hear the toilet flush and Avery is cheering for her cousin (too hilarious because E is like - what's the big deal? I've been peeing on the potty for a year now, sheesh). Not 5 minutes later I hear the toilet flush again. And Avery comes BUSTING out of the bathroom - "I did it mommy! I did it, and put it in the big toilet, and it's going bye bye, wanna seeeeeeeee??" and sure enough, the little potty was wet!! She DID it, completely on her own, without telling me or me prompting her!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

UPDATE again - she went once more before bed! Today was 100% successful!!!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Day 2 - success and then not so much

I'm just going to give a brief synopsis, mostly for Avery's benefit later on when I show her how headstrong she really is.

7:15am - wake up, diaper is wet (but not poopy, I was WRONG), panties go on. Some resistance but mommy's not taking no for an answer.

10am - dancing and holding herself has begun. Refusal to sit on potty.

10:45am - mommy enforces a "you will sit on that potty until you are DONE" rule and Avery is sobbing, but sitting. Mommy is sitting next to her in the chair (we are in the downstairs living room) and periodically getting up to attend to Declan and other things.....

11:15 - still sitting, still sobbing. Mommy walks back into the room to HEAR the pee hitting the toilet. Taking her cues from Avery, who is still crying, mommy does not pretend she hears it and quietly sits down again. Lots of pee happening. Mommy still pretends she doesn't hear it and Avery asks for more books to be read to her (she's done peeing now, but still acting like she hasn't done it). 2 books are read and Mommy asks if Avery is done - she says yes and we have a quiet celebration. Avery doesn't like it when you get allllllllllllllllll hooped up and excited, so we get a sticker and get ready to go to McDonald's for a promised lunch!!!

12:30 - lunch is finished and Avery pees all over the kitchen floor. Thank goodness we have a concrete kitchen floor. Guess she wasn't totally done....

2:00 - potty dance again. After numerous attempts and lots of playing in the bathroom, mommy again instills the "no getting up until you're done" rule and she has gone again. Again, not very much but we still get a sticker!

3:20 - dancing again. I know there's more to come. Doesn't want to sit. "Caden and mommy are going to swing outside. If you want to come you'll have to put your pee in the potty first." Guess who just peed?

More later.........

UPDATE: We played outside for a while and came in to start supper.

5:20 - potty dance! She agrees to sit in the kitchen (James, Caden and myself are sitting at the table already eating) but the child WILL NOT SHUT UP while sitting there - no comments about where she gets the mouth from. Mommy enforces NEW rule - "no talking until you put your pee in the potty." It's a good thing she's a good listener. She pees, and joins us for supper.

Then daddy takes over for the night as I have to go to Vacation Bible School Registration Carnival for church. Avery gets a bath and ready for bed, which means naked and then diaper - THANKS daddy, for all the help with potty training. I bet she peed in her own bathwater. *snort*

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Potty training? Or Mommy Training?

I have a new mission - to keep this blog going until Avery is at least married with one child who is of potty training age. We've been trying off and on with Avery to potty train for a while, but recently we gave up because we were getting NOWHERE and she was sooooooo upset by the whole process and I was getting soooooooo upset by the whole process and it was becoming ridiculous. So we quit. And I was good with that.

Lately, we've been talking about it again. Talking about getting a brand new (pink) Dora backpack so she can attend preschool, being potty trained so we can go swimming and take swimming lessons (in her brand new pink and white Gymboree swimsuit with a hot pink heart on it, woo hoo!), all those fun things that people get to do when they're potty trained. So yesterday (Tues) she was really talking a lot about it, so I decided to ask her if she would be ready to start the next day (Wed, today). She said yes. After picking myself up off the proverbial floor we agreed - no more diapers unless it's bedtime. And no, no naps in this house save for the tiniest one. Sucks, but it's what it is.

This morning rolls around and I get up to get Caden ready for school. Strangely, Avery is not awake yet. She doesn't wake until nearly 9am, and I assumed it was to avoid any talk of panties. But it seems it's because she has a snotty nose and major goopy eyes - ahhhh allergies. Anyway, I take her temperature to ensure that she is indeed feeling ok and at 98.0 I decide we're going for it. Tears from her. I think she was hoping for 102.4. I calmly explain again all the fun things we can do once she goes on the potty and she's ok with it. On go the Hello Kitty panties with bubble gum. Classic.

Fast forward to 3pm. Yes, 3pm and she still hasn't gone potty on the potty and has had no accidents. Bladder of steel much? She is now asking for a diaper. I tell her this means it's time to go on the potty and we have tears again (about 1 hour prior she'd asked for a diaper, I had said no, and she was fine at that time). And she becomes hysterical. Hello to the Avery we all know and love from previous potty training sessions. So after 20 minutes, I cave - sorta. I tell her she can have a diaper IF she sits on the potty with the diaper on to go pee. She sorta agrees, and I sorta change the rules up - I cut a HAUGE hole in the diaper (no easy task, hello absorbancy) before I bring it back upstairs to put it on her. She is still screaming this entire time, holding herself, the works. I put the diaper on her and force the sitting on the potty issue, and about 20 seconds later she has gone. However, she still doesn't realize that I've messed the diaper up. I have her stand up and she sees the pee in the potty and let me tell YOU, that does not please her. You'd think she'd be proud that there is actually pee in the potty and she didn't have to try, but nope, someone has double crossed her and you are now on her "naughty list." So, that didn't work out so well and the screaming crescendos. So I calmly and matter of factly tell her that we will NOT be getting any more diapers AT ALL and that diapers ARE for bedtime only.

I decide to calm her down by going outside to swing. Always a winner. We're good until about 5:30pm.....someone has to pee again and she's holding herself and starting to cry. Long story (about 15-20 minutes) made short - I physically held her on the potty in a sitting position until she stopped fighting me. Yes, 15-20 minutes worth AT LEAST or that and screaming - she was the only one screaming.......

You know what's so great about God? You ask, He delivers. I prayed for that entire time for patience, not to hit her, not to pinch her, to remember that she is just a child, not to not to not to not to.....and I didn't. I remained calm and matter of fact the entire time (no small task for me when it comes to Little Miss Strong-Willed and her daughter Avery, lol) and she finally just sat there. And a few dribbles of pee came out. And they were bloody and she said "OWIIIIIIIEEEEEEEEEEEEE" amidst her screaming and I started thinking, "What have I done??? I have fully sent her to the ER over going pee on the potty!" She insisted that was all she had to do so I allowed her to get up, but since she DID pee some she got a sticker and she was proud. Not 2 minutes later she's finally sitting at the table to eat and she's sobbing for a diaper. I go to pick her up and she's screaming "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO" but I take her right back to the potty and sit her down. She doesn't fight me this time. Smart cookie. I sit right down with her and, even though she's crying, she does pee on the potty a decent amount. I can tell that's not all she has, but it's a good amount and again she says she's done so she gets another sticker! YAY chicka!!!

And then she goes outside with James not 10 minutes later and pees all over the seats in his pickup. Praise God for a 1988 falling apart rattletrap with a daddy who's always cool as a cucumber. We talk about how accidents are TOTALLY ok and I ask if she's ready to get into pajamas. Her response - "Do I get a diaper on???" How much you wanna bet she's poopy right now? Who'll give me $10?

Monday, May 05, 2008

My Space

I consider myself pretty computer savvy. James would tell you I spend nearly every waking hour online. Pretty much true, save for all the HOUSEWORK and CHILDCARE. *ahem*

A true friend is on My Space and has been bugging me to sign up. So I finally did, and I don't get it AT ALL. What on EARTH do you spend your time there doing??? I suppose that's the same question you could ask me of my Gymboree clothing message boards, but I actually have an answer to that - buying and selling clothes!

So Valerie, I love you, but you must help me make My Space into MY SPACE!!!!

Friday, May 02, 2008

Has it really been one month since I updated?

James and I went to Des Moines on Tuesday with Declan for a couple of appointments and then to do some shopping. We ran into a friend from high school and her husband and their PRECIOUS new baby boy (holy smack is he cute) and she teased me about nothing new on the blog. She was SO right. So, this is for you Alyssa - I promised!!!

It's Tulip Time in Pella right now. Yesterday was actually really nice, so we went up to the afternoon parade. Caden had to ride a float with his ECSE (Early Childhood Special Education) class which was just adorable. Lots of our neices and nephews were also in the parade so that was fun. Declan slept pretty much all the way through the parade, police car sirens and all (they "open" the parade but he was zonked). Avery loved the "marching bands" but kept her ears covered pretty much 100% of the time. She cracks me up.

On Fridays I watch my neice E and nephew D who are 5 and 2. I will also watch their older brother N during the summer - he's 8. It's really fun for me. They are super good and they keep my kids entertained! It's like E is babysitting for Avery....they play dolls all day and just generally love each other! The first Friday they were here was rough, but Avery has gotten over her naughties and now we all have fun!

Yeah, Tulip Time - I don't think we're going to do anything else because the weather is cruddy (rain, rain, rain) but we got to see the parade yesterday and ate some great food as well. So now we can just take it easy.

In other news, our tax stimulus check came into our account this morning. Wahooey!!!!! Front porch, here we COME!!!!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

So it's been a while...

I encourage people to check here often but do I post often? Nope. It's not for a lack of wanting though. Just time I think.

Yes Jana, sleeping through. Since March 8, 2008. He went from waking every few hours on the night of March 7 to sleeping through for 10 hours on March 8 and has never looked back. We're basically ready for him to move out of the pack n play in our bedroom and share with his older brother, because he sleeps longer than Caden! But first we have to move Avery out of Caden and Avery's bedroom and into her big girl bedroom with Hello Kitty. All things in due time.

Speaking of "big girl", we went last night to register Avery for preschool. She will be attending Creation Station Christian Preschool starting in September. That is, if she is potty trained by then. I came to the realization on Monday night that I am incredibly upset about Avery not being potty trained. And then it hit me. That's not it at all. You know what it is? It's the reality that yet another one of my children is not meeting milestones on time. Do you have ANY idea how hard it is in our society to have children who are not "super stars"? Children who do things early are apparently exceptionally bright. Children's IQ scores (yes, at FOUR) are touted as predictors of future successes. And then if you have a child who doesn't do things early, you've probably got trouble on your hands. Or at least you're not quite as blessed as others.

Obviously, I am speaking in some jest, but this is the overwhelming idea in society, and little Pella is no exception. It's just difficult. And I realized that THIS is what I am struggling with. Yes, Avery is extremely strong-willed and this not pottying thing is totally her thing, but I'm going to have to back off. I thought maybe I could just force it but it's not going to happen. I'd LOVE for her to be trained, but she wouldn't. So if she can't go to preschool in Sept, she'll owe me the non-refundable deposit back when she's older.

Monday, March 24, 2008

It figures

I just loaded up this whole thing to post an update, and guess who just woke up? Yep, tiny man. He's been sleeping through (like 9pm - 8am, woo hoo!!) so I am super happy. We're off to Wal-Mart after he eats. Happy Monday!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The picture says it all

but if you know ME at all you'll know I have to add some. Here is Declan, taken a few weeks ago when I had the date stamp off because I was trying to get cute pics for his baptism (which was on Sunday and VERY awesome). So I don't know the exact date but DANGIT he is cute. This has to be my all-time favorite picture I have ever taken of one of my children.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Most of us are feeling better!

On Friday my temp rose to 101 and I felt just awful, terrible, no good, very bad. Just like Alexander, you know that book? It was that kind of day. I muddled through, all the while feeling TERRIBLY sorry for myself because it was my birthday and I hadn't even had a decent Mountain Dew. About 6:30pm, my fever broke. I started to feel better, and better, and BETTER until I honestly felt like nothing at all had been wrong. Woo hoo! Know what I had for my birthday dinner (yes, I am a birthday fanatic so this was seriously traumatic for me, you have NO idea)? I had oatmeal. But it stayed down and it tasted really good after a whole day of nothing.

I also got lots of birthday emails and ecards on Friday. I heard a rumor about someone who may or may not have sent an email out that piggybacked on mine. A-hem. Yes, I know 30 is not that old, but to ANNOUNCE it to everyone, now that's just slappable. Or huggable actually, it was VERY nice and it did lift my spirits.

Avery's back to herself though more whiney than is usual, even for her. Caden is fine. Declan seems to have skipped it entirely...now it's just James who needs to get better. He's got the poops, there's no other way to say it, poor guy. I keep telling him he needs to get into the dr because it's been DAYS on end of this for him, but in typical man-fashion he is declining. We shall see.

Here's my random though of the day: this time change is really nice when you have a newborn because it APPEARS as though they slept an hour longer than they actually did! I'm still miffed at you Valerie. :)