Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

This isn't exactly the way I thought I'd be ringing in 2010 but apparently we all needed some family time. Some wonderful things have been happening here. Some things that maybe you only dreamed about happening, dad, but they're happening. Mom is seeing M.B. right now and I know that will be a huge step in the right direction. I'm glad you're seeing emails. Did you notice that James hacked your account? Darn that son-in-law who knows way too much about computers, huh? We're glad you changed it back....we just wanted to know that you were out there.

Thank you for keeping yourself safe. Thank you. My kids need Papa Tom. I need my dad. But right now, I want you to know that I realize our needs don't come before your needs. You need to do what you are doing, and I understand that. I *feel like* I need you home, but why? I've gone weeks on end without seeing you before, and we live in the same town. I don't want to be selfish. You and mom didn't raise me to be that way.

It's almost noon where you are and you're already hours into 2010. Is it better in 2010? I sure hope so. And I don't mean that flippantly or rudely, I just mean I'm praying the best for all of us. I'm praying (and believing) that in 6 months we will be in such a better place than we were before all of this. That we'll look back on this time and be GLAD it happened. And that will take some time and a lot of work and healing.

More people are going to be supportive about this than are going to gossip about this. You know there's a lot of concern about what this is going to look like, and so many people know so very little about the whys and the hows of all of this. I agree with you dad - let them talk! There's freedom in the knowledge that we have, and I am confident about the truth in what you are saying to us. I will defend your honor and I will speak loudly on your behalf, should I need to. But I don't think anyone's ready for a good a$$-whooping from me if it should come to that.

I'm doing all I can to support and love on mom. You're right - she gets an A+ for being a mom. I love her to death and am doing everything in my power to support and encourage her through this. This is very difficult for her as I'm sure you knew it would be. She's also hearing some very tough things from all of us which is also difficult for her to process. Her heart is in the right place, and I see the desire for change there. All good things!

Happy New Year! I pray for God's richest blessings upon all of us in 2010. May this be the year we don't get pregnant or have any more babies!!!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Dear Dad,

Did you assume I'd worry? Did you worry that I would worry? Did it bother you that I would worry? I'm sure it did, as I know your heart. I know what you're doing. I understand. I am behind you 100%. I just can't be behind the WAY you're doing this. It's too hard. It's too painful for me - do you KNOW I have been saying the things you're saying? Do you know I get it, I want to help? But now I can't, or so I feel. What do you want me to do daddy? I'm your princess, your little girl, your only daughter. You are my first true knight in shining armor. I expect you to rescue me with your smile, your wit, the way you cherish my precious children, your love. Your hug on Christmas day stuck out to me. I didn't know then what you meant but I get it now and I LOVE YOU TOO!!!!

I'm going to share a bit about what's been happening here. I can only pray that you will seek this blog out from your little corner of this big world. That you will use it to connect with us in some way. I'm sharing for your sake, and for the sake of those who are reading this with absolutely no idea of what is going on. I don't share for the sake of drama, lord knows we have enough, but I share to draw you in and to draw the body of Christ around our family.

Last night (Tuesday) around 6:15 mom called me to say that you weren't home yet. She was concerned, and you know that Jeff had already been calling you multiple times. You wouldn't answer your cell phone but we knew that it was on. By 7pm the concern was growing deeper - I was at home to put all 5 kids to bed alone, worried about you, while James was at church for practice. I got that accomplished and started feeling very worried. I tried to pray my fears away but it wasn't working. Chris and Cathy were keeping me informed - mom just filed a missing persons report on you (7:30 or so). By 8 I called James at rehearsal to tell him to come home so I could go be with mom at her house. When I arrived Amy VW was there and P. Art joined moments later. Honestly, I can't remember much of this time, but lots of phone calls were coming in and going out, we just had lots of questions without answers. Around 10pm Chris came over to your house. In typical guy fashion he couldn't handle just sitting around and waiting and wanted me to ride with him to take your usual route to work. So up we went, taking 2nd and all that. We drove the entire campus and agreed with campus police - your car was not there. Chris believed we should drive through the airport parking lot. At 12:39am we found your car. Chris braved checking inside of it and you were not in there, just your coat and some papers in the front seat, one of which had mom's name on the outside. Long story short, P. Art drove all the way up to the airport to meet us with your keys, at which point we read your prose (it was absolutely breathtaking, incidentally). I wasn't convinced you'd really gone, so we went inside and they checked all gates for us. You were really gone.

We drove home (we left your car there dad, and we know you have the other set of keys. I needed to leave your coat in there, too - it's supposed to be really cold the next couple of days) and Chris had to head home so Cathy could get to work. Mom read the letter to her and we talked about a lot of things. A lot of hard things but a lot...things that you know I have been working at already. The Pella PD called and we had your itinerary. New Zealand. Beautiful I am sure. I would love to visit there some day. But I can't believe you really went. All the way across the ocean to a different country. Wow. I'm speechless, and that just never happens.

I love you daddy. I feel like the little girl who is standing on the front steps, watching her daddy walk away as he grows ever smaller and smaller. She's squinting to try to keep him in her sights. Daddy! Come look what I've made! (caden, avery, declan, macey, madelyn) Don't go, daddy! I don't know how to heal your broken heart. I believe in you, and I cherish you, I want you to be happy. If this is what you need to be happy then please don't let my crying take you away from your happiness. Right now I have been awake for 36 solid hours. I have babies who need me, I have a mom who needs me, and right now all I need is YOU.

Will you please, PLEASE just call one of us, anyone, I don't care, just call and give us something. We need something from you, and not just a letter with no answers.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Day 3 of big boy unders!

The rest of yesterday went very well after I blogged. Around supper time Caden actually got on the potty and peed some!! Now, I've never actually seen Caden pee, but when he was on the potty it all came in little drips here and there and tiny spurts randomly. I know, not exactly a great mental picture but hey, it is what it is. I don't know if he just has that much control over it (would be a very good thing!) or if we have a stream issue, but overnight his diaper is just absolutely SOAKED so I have to assume he does pee a good stream...only when his pullup is on!

This morning he's again naked running around. That's pretty much Caden's favorite attire anyway so it isn't like we're putting him out to do this. We'll keep on keeping on!

Monday, December 28, 2009

My sweet Caden is wearing big boy underwear!

Saturday night Caden had a poopy diaper. As usual, I took him to his bedroom to get him cleaned up, and I asked him if he was done pooping. He told me he wasn't done, so I told him we would sit on the potty and finish up. He likes for me to sit on the side of the tub next to him as he sits up on the big potty (he does this at school, so he knows how to get up and all of that, which is nice!) and we chatted for a bit. I just felt it. I just felt he was ready, so I asked him if he was ready to wear his Thomas underwear and be done with pullups during the day. He said yes. Then I told him we would wear big boy undies all the next week while he was home for Christmas break, and if he did well we'd take him to Wal-Mart to buy something special. He immediately said and signed "train!" so it was settled - if he did it and was mostly successful, we'd be going and getting him a train!

Sunday morning dawned and life went on as usual. I didn't even REMEMBER we were going to go for it until James reminded me! So I went and grabbed his big boy Thomas undies and put them on. He was just fine with it, didn't mind at all. He went to the potty a couple of times, once after I saw a tiny bit of wetness on his undies. He sat up on the toilet, scooted way back, but then told me he wanted me to go, so I went out and tried to spy on him...and he flushed before I could tell if anything happened! I certainly didn't hear anything like peeing either of those times, but truly, could a kid go for 10 hours without peeing? I have to think he did pee in these one of those times. He stayed completely dry until bedtime at 7pm, when we put a pullup on him.

This morning Caden woke up absolutely soaked and also poopy. Think he knows what he's doing much? We got him cleaned up and then put Thomas undies back on for the day. He hadn't tried to pee or anything that I was aware of, but I started pumping him full of liquids early this afternoon. At 2pm he was sitting and watching tv when he got up and looked down at the chair he was sitting on. Uh oh. He went immediately to the bathroom where I peeked in at him via the mirror on the bathroom door...I saw him lean over to look at the front of his undies for a short while, then grab the hand towel and start mopping something up. He was standing RIGHT next to the toilet this entire time. I went in and sure enough, he had peed. I didn't make a big deal, just helped him get up on the potty and told him, "Oh no! You peed on Thomas and Thomas doesn't like that! Can you put your pee on the potty next time?" and he said he would! Now he's running around upstairs stark naked, pushing the bubble mower around. (Incidentally, I felt the chair he got up from and it was completely dry, so he did have the sensation, then get up and make it to the bathroom and get right next to the toilet before going...all good things!)

I feel very encouraged by this. Previously, Caden did not care at all if he was wet or poopy. He didn't seem to be anywhere near ready, but I had the feeling and went with it. If he would potty train, I would feel on top of the world. I've always joked that when Caden potty trains I'm going to take out a 1/2 page ad in the Town Crier (local paper) to congratulate him and let the world know! I have no idea what that costs, but I'm still thinking on it. :)

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Spreading (out) a little Christmas cheer.

Christmas seems to come and go in the blink of an eye. This is the first year that we've had any child (Avery) actually be excited about Christmas and understand what's happening, understand that gifts are going to be opened and all of that. It's been fun to watch things through her eyes, but in typical 5 year old fashion she cannot WAIT to get to opening presents when she knows that might be an option. And truly, who are we kidding? We ALL like that part!

Christmas Day was spent with my parents and family. We had a good time, presents were opened, all that jazz. We came home to take a few obligatory pictures with everyone in their good clothes. That was NOT a good thing. Declan was MAD about it all (no nap) and ended up whacking Macey on the head a good 7 times in a row. That made me MAD and I brought him to his crib, then got MAD at James for trying to take too many pictures and setting up the $*^%& tripod when all I wanted was a quick snapshot of our lives. I guess he captured it, but it was total chaos and lots of pent up anger. Merry Christmas!!

I don't know what we were thinking, but we decided to haul the kids upstairs to see the Step 2 roller coaster we had set up the night before. That was a HUGE hit truly, with Avery absolutely loving it and Declan, still tired, tossing fits about it. Caden liked it too, but what he found was the Fisher Price bubble mower we had bought for Declan. Caden fell in love. He pushed that mower ALL around, sending bubbles up everywhere and just enjoying all the noise it made! We decided not to open the few gifts still under the tree for them and sent them to bed instead....where Avery didn't fall asleep until nearly 11pm due to all the excitement!

This morning we headed to James' parents to do Christmas with his family. We had a great time and spent the whole day over there. Then James headed home and I headed to Wal-Mart to check out some 50% off Christmas deals with my mom for an hour. She brought me home and then we had dinner...with Avery begging to open those presents still! God love her, she does NOT forget easily! So we compromised - after dinner we opened stockings (Target dollar spot and Dollar Tree items!). This seemed to appease her, but both Caden and Declan got Slinkys and apparently she wanted one as well. She never threw a fit, but was insistent that she hold one. She finally got to and now she and James are reading the Bible and doing prayers.

Tomorrow, we have promised, we will open the gifts under the tree upstairs. I hope it doesn't disappoint her! I'm sure it won't, she is quite easy to please really. We just feel it's best to spread these things out and not have a bunch of crabby children because they aren't sleeping due to so much excitement. Or perhaps we're shooting ourselves in the foot, because the anticipation of opening gifts is still lingering, causing them not to fall asleep!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Promise you won't tell our kids?

Because if you do, I will tell YOUR kids there is no Santa Claus.

Ok so over the course of the past few weeks I have discovered Now if you know me at all you know that finding something else to obsess about online is not exactly a good thing. Actually it's not a good thing at.all, but I have discovered it and thanks to I have scored some AHHHHmazing deals. Most of my packages are due to arrive today and tomorrow. Not a great thing - our driveway is glare ice right now and tomorrow it's supposed to be even worse. But I will not freak out if the items don't make it in time - our kids don't know the difference yet! I just wanted to show you a few of the awesome deals I got for the kids. I signed up for a free trial of amazon Prime which means you get free 2day shipping on nearly all items - totally worth it for these last minute deals! Next year I think I'm going to just wait entirely until mid-Dec and do all my shopping from the laptop!

For Declan:

Melissa and Doug Large Knob Wooden Farm Puzzle 4.99 (retails for 19.99)

For Avery:

board game 4.99 (retails for 14.99)

For Caden:

Melissa and Doug magnetic 'Joey' dress up 4.98 (retails 12.99)

Macey and Madelyn:

Fisher Price Amazing Animals Sing-Along Mommy and Baby Elephant 5.99 (retails 14.99)

And then we splurged a little. With free shipping and some Christmas cash from great-grandparents, we got this for the kids:

Step 2 Up and Down Roller Coaster

We have the room upstairs, and it will be great for them to burn off some energy in these winter months. I know they're going to be so excited - Caden and Avery have played with it before at Menards and we had to drag them away from it.

Money's tight for us. I know this sounds like a commercial for and basically it is, but I'm not getting reimbursed for it! I'm just so thankful that they had items at awesome prices so we could give our kids something for Christmas! They wouldn't have known the difference, and we know it's not about the presents anyway, but it's important to me that they got something with a bit of a "wow" factor. YAY!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The tummy bug strikes.

James started feeling queasy yesterday already. He stayed home from getting the groceries with my family to try to feel better before we left for Des Moines...unfortunately, it didn't work. We all decided we didn't want to go without James, so we postponed dinner.

I had to take Caden, Avery and Declan to get their second dose of H1N1 after the groceries. Things went pretty well, thanks to my brother and SIL going with us. We were getting ready to get coats on and Avery starts throwing up - and continues to throw up just standing there. UGH! Total mess, thank goodness I had Chris and Cathy there! We leave from there and head home...

It's at this point that I start feeling queasy. James throws up and then James and I spend a few hours in bed after the 3 little ones go down for nap (Caden helped himself to some yogurt, opened by some scissors, sigh) and I wake up from a snooze to run to the bathroom and throw up. Oh joy!

All the kids are in bed now. James is snoring on the couch. I'm feeling pretty tired so I think it's time to head off for bed. Here's praying we all feel loads better in the morning! Tomorrow night is the kids' Christmas program at church...we shall see how that goes!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

We had THREE snow days!

Thanks for checking in with us and wondering if they were back yet, but nope, 3 full days off of school! Was not fun. However, when I had to wake Caden for school on Friday after having 3 days off, he said, "stay home mommy" - it was worth it to hear that much talking! Oh and last Saturday at Christmas program practice at church? All the kids were chatting and Caden was actually doing a decent job of attending, and he decided to put his finger to his lips, "shhhhhhhh"ush everyone, and say, "no talk"!!! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhahahahahahahaa!! It was hilarious.

So real quickly...Sunday I brought Macey and Madelyn in to urgent care. They weren't doing well with their colds and I was concerned. Sure enough, Madelyn had her first ear infection, her left ear. Macey didn't have an ear infection, but I found out that with twins they treat them both with antibiotics, "just in case". Fun! Remember how I told you twins were doubly expensive? Yup.

Avery finally had her Christmas program for preschool on Tuesday. It was supposed to be the 8th, but got pushed back to the 10th, and pushed back AGAIN to the 15th. It was very cute! She actually sang and did some actions this year, not without playing with her bracelet though, and staring at people behind her, and generally zoning out at times. I'm not sure what is up with her as far as that goes - she rattles off every line and every word here at home but it must be different up on stage.
Christmas activities start for us this weekend, going on Saturday with my family to buy groceries for the food shelf and then going out to eat to Spaghetti Works. Excited about that! M&M have been going to bed around 7:30, wide awake, and last night they made it all the way to 5:30 before waking!! It's usually 4 or so, but last night was great. They have been so down and out with bad colds that there really isn't that much new to report with them, other than they are VERY good babies and my initial prediction is that they are actually mirror image twins - a form of identical twins where they "mirror" each other. I've seen evidence in a few pictures where their mouths are turned down in opposite corners. And most obviously is their self-soothing technique, learned with no assistance from us - Macey sucks her LEFT pointer and middle fingers and Madelyn sucks her RIGHT pointer and middle fingers: identical, yet opposite. Fascinating.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

It's a snow day!

They've been forecasting this one for a long time now. Supposedly, we are looking at upwards of 14 inches of snow, plus blowing making for blizzard conditions. So far, nothing is happening and they've canceled school. Which makes me happy on one hand - nothing is happening! Yet sad on the other - they've canceled school. You know I love Caden, I just love him more when he's away from me for scheduled periods of time, lol.

So we're watching Dora's Christmas Carol Adventure, which Avery previously shrieked about, saying it was scary, she didn't want to watch it, turn it off mommy! You get the picture. But I turned it on and recorded it the other day, and now she requests it incessantly. Sigh. I also have a little Macey who has a fever, and just now she took her whole bottle and promptly threw it up ALL over me. Score one for her! The twins are 5 months today, can't believe it!

I was supposed to see my dr today at 4pm for my post partum depression. Um, that's not going to happen. It's somewhat lessened now that I have them going to bed at a more decent hour (7:30-8pm) but I still don't feel like myself at all. Hopefully I can reschedule for when there isn't a blizzard. For now, James is out getting a bunch of groceries...mostly formula which we are too low on for my comfort with an impending snowstorm. Then he'll be home this afternoon and he's thinking tomorrow as well to ride this thing out. You should hear James though, he's always the cynic about these things. He is convinced we're going to just get an inch or two and it'll be over. While I don't love the snow, for once I'd like for him to be proved majorly wrong so I can say, "Ha! God told YOU!"

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Thought you might enjoy this picture.

I never knew you could do so much fun stuff with Photobucket nowadays! Enjoy.