Friday, December 23, 2011

It's nut(thing)...

We got a tv tray for our bed as a wedding gift 13.5 years ago. It has NEVER been used but was used for the first time today...James made the sacrifice to keep our family at a family of 7 this morning and needed that tray across his lap to spare his life with 5 little monkeys jumping on the bed with him! Heal quickly my sweet James - you are my hero!!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Declan protests...

Declan will be 4 in January. He is a homebody through and through. He is my most strong-willed child. If anyone is going to cause my blood pressure to rise it is him. I don't know how to describe him other than once he decides he is not doing something, Not now, not ever. You can't coax or bribe. He's just DONE. I used to teach preschool and my degree is in early childhood education, but this child doesn't seem to be impressed by that. LOL!

I'm posting this today because Tuesdays are our Bible study days at church. Sometimes Declan goes right in to his Story Hour (an hour of Bible lesson for 3-4 year olds) time and other times, like today...nada. He balked at the door. I finally picked him up and walked in with him, but ultimately left him curled up in the corner of the room with his head buried into the floor repeating this grunting "no" sound. He wasn't screaming, wasn't flailing about. I thought he would come around (his cousin usually comes, but didn't come today) but then I found out that the little ones were going to be walking to each adult classroom to carol for us and hand out candies. Yeah. Um. We *tried* one rehearsal for the Christmas program at our church and it was a complete and utter failure. We didn't even bring him to church the night of the program. 100% not happening. So today the group came walking toward our room and Declan was in the back being carried by one of the teachers...and he was sobbing. Just heartbroken. I got up and went to him and took him in to be with me. He sat with me on his own chair in the Bible study, good as gold for the entire hour. Quiet, appropriate, adorable. But like I said, this is hit or miss. If his cousin comes he loves it.

It's the same on Sunday mornings for children's church. The kids go out during the first few minutes of the service while the adults are singing. I ALWAYS have to walk with him, but I also have to remain with him the entire time or he will not stay. It will be a sobbing mess if I try to leave...and it isn't that he's so traumatized, it's that he's got his mind set up and about it and that's that in his mind. Know how I know this? One week a few months ago he sat with my parents - mommy and daddy were not at church. When it was time for the kids to go out to the classroom my dad walked him about 10 feet to meet the group and then off he went...and stayed in there the entire time with no issues. But every time if it's us with him - he won't go without me staying (which I do).

Interestingly enough, we also belong to a local gym with childcare. Declan loves to go there. No problems with me leaving him (his twin sisters do stay with him there, maybe just the security he needs?). He especially loves it when he gets to play on the giant slides and indoor climbers. I have not had one single time when he has an issue with me leaving. Ever.

He is going to start preschool 3 mornings a week in Sept. Can I assume this will get better? I truthfully don't know what I'm doing wrong - I am open to any and all suggestions!! He makes me want to completely avoid anything at church, which I know is not the answer, either. Do you think he sees this as winning and losing like I'm making it in my mind, a power struggle to be fought? Or do you think this is just a stage and will pass?

He's strong-willed, yes, but he is GOOD for me 99% of the time. He's typical boy, he's naughty but I want him to be when it's appropriate. I'd worry if he wasn't. I can take him to the store, I can tell him no to things without him flying off the handle (which hasn't always been the case, but he's matured a bit). I just wish this one issue wasn't such a big one!

Thursday, December 01, 2011

One of those tough issues...

Caden has been complaining of back pain for over a week now. We know that when he complains we need to take action - he has a very high pain tolerance. I got him an appointment and we went this morning.

Before the appointment I had done lots of thinking. The one thought that kept coming back to me was, "I don't know the last time he's had a really good BM." I asked his teachers to let me know what they've charted and they said it was Nov 15 at school. I thought it had been longer than that at home but he's potty trained and typically takes care of it himself except for the wiping, and I have wiped him several times when he's come to me. However, I also know Caden has a "habit" of skidding his underwear with poop so figured it might have just been a smear of poop when I wiped...I wasn't sure.

Started chatting with the doctor and he said, "Tena, he's got classic encopresis." Now, I have heard about this and several kids with RTS have it, but I took it to mean it was constipation and Caden DOES poop, just not a LOT at one time. I figured since he was going SOME we were in the clear - he wasn't constipated. I was wrong. He did an exam and everything and Caden will pass it, but we have got to get him fully cleaned out with laxatives/suppositories and then start helping him learn how to deal with the encopresis.

Here's where I feel awful. I mean, I have sobbed about it awful. Our dr told me that "he can't help it, it's involuntary". I have punished Caden for it. I have gotten angry, I have raised my voice, I have told him I was unhappy with him. This has been going on for MONTHS if not closer to a year or more. I have been unkind to him because of something he cannot control. I just can't get past how terrible I feel about that. Caden is a sweet boy - he does not begrudge me my behavior, but I believe it may be making it worse (he's now afraid to go at all because mommy gets mad). My heart feels so heavy. I long for a little boy who can tell me, "Mom, I can't HELP it, it just comes out before I even know what's happening!!" but he cannot do that. I don't wish for him to be different, I just wish the whole situation were different in this moment.

Thank you for letting me get it out. I'm trying to let go of it. It's going to take some time.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Comparison steals our joy

Yesterday I came to an astounding realization. A realization I posted on Facebook:

there comes a time in your life, sometimes all at once, where you realize if you spend your time being envious of the stages other families are at, you completely skip the precious stage you're currently living (enduring?). Vowing from this moment to live in our stage...and embrace the beautiful chaos it evokes.

Um, yes. A wise friend there shared this quote with me:

Comparison is the thief of joy.

Ummmm, yes. Isn't that so true??? Think about all the times when you thought "life is good" and then 2 minutes later you hear about something someone else has and you're wishing you had it, too. You've completely lost the "life is good" idea and gone straight for, "I want more out of this life. Other people have MORE, I want it, too."

I am CLASSIC for doing this. It's something I spend a great amount of time in prayer about. I think it's a tool the devil uses to pull us away from all the beautiful things God has given us and our thankfulness about those things...and to pull us toward negativity, bitterness and resentment. Who wants to live like that? Who would sign up for that? None of us, and yet we gravitate toward it daily, sometimes even minute-ly (I made it up, go with it).

So yesterday I made the decision to stop doing that. And yes, it's a process. And no, it won't happen overnight. And yes, I will have to make the decision time and time again. But I can do this. It's about my attitude. It's about being able to say, "I can't get to the gym more than once a week because my kids are little." and not seething inside because others can go whenever they want. There is absolutely no need to be pissy about silly stuff like that. I am thankful for my kids who need me, even though they NEEEEEEEEED me with more urgency than I can tolerate some days. I am blessed to be able to be home with them and snuggle them when they're sick (which they have been this week).

Really, it boils down to realizing that you can embrace the stage your family is in without giving up any joy. In fact, I think embracing that leads to greater joy indeed! I've always said it's when we compare ourselves to others we don't allow ourselves to feel deep emotions (so and so has it worse than me, I'll shut up); and when we compare ourselves to others we don't allow God to bless our socks off in the moment.

So today I've been watching for little moments and enjoying them. I hauled in a lighted snowman that's taller than the twins (doesn't take much) and plugged it in near the kitchen. Macey, the twin who always covers her eyes (LOL) when something might scare her (like any sort of animated toy at Walmart) hid in the laundry room but Maddy was right there to see. And within a few minutes, my girls had pure JOY over this little fellow! They were chatting it up with him, "Hi no-man!!" and I felt honored to be a part of it. I was glad that I was nowhere else and I wanted to be no one else other than the mommy of these 2 beauties. Not gonna give up any more of these moments.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Parenting Rule #49567

Do not, under any circumstances, think it's ok to let your 7yo (plauged with generalized anxiety) watch the movie "Soul Surfer". I had watched it previously, and really didn't think the shark biting the girl's arm off was that scary. I loved the story line, loved the fact that it had a Christian message complete with Christian music, loved the story of triumph and hard work. I really thought it would be a good family movie for us to watch together.

It's 9:13 and Avery is still awake. She just chatted with James from the stairway. I asked him what the problem was and he summed it up in one word: "movie". Grrrrrreat.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Happy holiday!

Why is it that we think we must jam-pack holidays with stuff? Today has been spent doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING so far...and James and I are feeling like we're not getting anything accomplished. That should be a good thing, right? We're trying to just enjoy the time with our kids (and the ahhhhhhhhhhhmazing weather to boot) but it's hard when you know there's projects that need finishing up.

After lunch my awesome father-in-law will be coming over to help us tackle our pack porch project. It's more of a covered cement slab with a few plants and our hottub on it, but it needs some painting and a post covered to look nicer and some finishing touches like that. It will be great to have done, I'm excited! We also bought a ceiling fan/light for outdoors that will go there that I cannot WAIT to have put up!

I have a few other little projects I'm working on, but there will be time. I just get so caught up in the fall frenzy! Forget spring cleaning, I am all about fall projects!

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Some facebook sharing

You know, just in case you think you want to be on Facebook but can't quite make yourself. There are some funny things happening over there! Ok, so mostly it's because I am nosey and want to know what's going on in everyone's lives.

I shared this tonight on Facebook (shorter on FB than here):
Tonight Macey took her diaper off and was walking around the living room, patting her bum and shouting, "NAKED! Naked butt!" I really couldn't be much prouder, honestly. But it's all about the fact that she was walking!

They walk more often than not anymore, and I absolutely love it. Madelyn is still a stronger walker, but they're pretty confident. They still love to reach out and grab your finger (or an older sib) to walk more confidently, but they're doing it.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

So cute

So yes, the twins are now officially walking. I say "officially" because I announced it on Facebook, thereby making it "Facebook official" and that is big. Madelyn is still out-walking Macey, but Macey only just started taking steps last week and went straight to full walking, so that doesn't surprise us. We made them walk hand-in-hand one night and that was all it took for Macey to realize she was more confident than she first thought!

In other cuteness, Madelyn now says "yeah" when you ask her things. For example, just now I said to her, "Do you have a blankie?" and she replied, "yeah" - precious!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A week out from surgery...

and I am amazed at how well it went. I didn't do so great with the anesthesia part. They gave me a lot of anti-nausea stuff while I was still out, but I wonder if that actually made me more dizzy and yuck feeling. It took about 24-48 hours to recoup from that.

The pain has been quite minimal. I am surprised, however, at how often my kids whack me in the chest. That becomes PAINFULLY obvious once you cannot have them touching you there!

We're gearing up for school to start! I simply cannot wait. Caden will be entering 2nd grade and Avery 1st grade. We'll meet the teachers on Friday and school starts for both of them on Monday!

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

"Peanut butter starts with J"

This was Caden's proclamation while helping me put groceries away last night. I was initially extremely proud of him for all the connections, but I did have to explain a bit to him about brands and marketing. "Mommy chooses from all the peanut butters, and mommy chooses JIF [y'know, cuz choosy moms choose JIF]. And yes, JIF starts with J." After I asked him what Ppppeanut butter actually does start with, he told me "P!" He amazes me so often.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Breast specialist, she is!

I have to say, she knows her way around a boob. James wondered if he could go back to school to do that. Heather says it's probably too obvious - school wouldn't let him in. I have to agree with Heather on this one.

So yeah, I had my appointment with the doctor today. Honestly, we don't know much more. Well, that's not entirely true. We know it (the mass) is coming out. We know that's going to happen on August 8 at 11am in Des Moines. What we don't know is if it's completely benign or not. It sure appears to be, and the doctor felt pretty confident about that today. But sometimes, pathology can find something else. And that is where I'm praying the fear away. I can call to find out pathology results on Aug 11 after 1:30pm. Do not attempt to call me or speak to me at 1:30 and 01seconds.

My mom came with me. Glad to have her there because they asked a whole lot of questions about grandparents and family members, many of which I did not have the answers to. And glad to have her there because sometimes, a girl just needs her mom.

Thank you for supporting us! And thank you for supporting my boobs. I know, I just, in one measly second, made you feel as if you were a bra. But I really do mean it. Thanks!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

My turn for medical

Normally I spend my time planning my kids' next doctor visits, from well-child appointments to a tonsillectomy for Avery coming up in 2 weeks. I'm pretty good at keeping track of all that, and used to worrying about this, that and everything.

It's now my turn to worry...about myself.

On Thursday I went for my routine physical. Now I want to be upfront and let you know that it's been over 2 years since I have gone, and in that same time span I have lost the equivolent of a 2nd grader in terms of weight. At the breast exam part my doctor paused. Then came the question, "Have you always had this?" Uhh, apparently not, because I have no idea what you're talking about. But I felt it myself - big, BIG lump there.

Then begins the dance with medical imaging at the hospital. I finally get scheduled for Wed (today) in the morning. So I had 5 days to obsess and "pinch my boob" as Avery kept asking me why in the world I was doing that.

Heather came to watch my kids and to the hospital I went. While I was waiting in the Women's Imaging Center this guy walks in. This guy is my husband. He got off work to come be with me!!!! And then he got kicked out, because men can't be in the Women's Imaging Center...but it was really stinking sweet. Then came the mammogram. People, it does NOT hurt. All the horror stories, all the reasons I was nearly pooping myself, all for naught. It doesn't hurt. Does it feel like a tickle? Sheeeeeeeeeeetno, but come on, you knew it wouldn't be comfy. After that I went to the ultrasound, where James was allowed. Incidentally it was the same ultrasound room where I was when I was shocked to learn we were having twins! Good times.

The important doctor came in then and gave us the news. I have a very rare thing called a hamartoma. Apparently it's an encapsulated growth of junk - I dunno what's all in there but it's fat and tissue and more fat and more breast tissue. I've likely had it all my life and it just grew as my boobs grew. It grew lots though. He said it's the size of an ostrich egg. I looked that up. It's 7inx5in. Holy..... He made sure to tell us that it wasn't cancer. And he made sure to tell us that it was very rare. Multiple times. Which doesn't surprise us in the least. That's just how James and I roll!

On my way home my family doctor called. He was more honest with me, which I love. He said it CAN be cancer, but we won't be totally sure until I see a breast specialist, which is scheduled for a week from today. It will likely need to come out, which could make for a rather pancakey shaped boob on the left side. I mean get real, removing something the size of an ostrich egg from a breast would pretty much leave...nothing. I couldn't tell you how I feel about this, other than I've always called my boobs "rocks in socks" because they hang so low, so maybe I'll end up getting perkies with insurance paying for it all! Always a silver lining, friends.

I'm scared. I have to be honest. I don't want to have cancer. I don't want to be sick. I don't want to have surgery. But I'm trusting and praying and leaning on supportive family and friends. God is good, all the time. All the time, God is good. Amen!

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Yep, it's us

Tonight it was our turn for bedtime on our own again (aka, no Heather). Declan did fine at first and after about 15 minutes the screaming began. I had him talk to Heather on the phone, but that didn't work either. The screaming lasted for (only) 30 minutes, so I'd say it's a real success. Here's to hoping we're on our way to scream-free bedtimes!

Pretty sure it's us (the parents)

So after the 2.5 hour screaming fit on Tuesday night we came to Wednesday. Declan woke up in a very good mood (normally he wakes up screaming, but Wed morning he did not) and we went about our day. Our friends came over for supper and Heather blessed me by giving all 3 of my little kids a bath and putting them to bed for me...have I mentioned I adore her? Well wouldn't you know it, she put Declan to bed, laid down the law (he was thinking of crying) and that boy didn't make a peep. No crying, no screaming, no chaos, just right to sleep and out for the night.

Guess what? The problem lies with Declan's parents. I think we knew that already, but it's always good to get reinforcement. LOL!

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

It's 10pm

and yes, he is still screaming.

Declan, sweet Declan

This boy. He can break my heart and piss me off in the same second...much like he's doing as I type. I am currently blogging so that I don't go in there and regret my actions later.

Apparently there's an issue with bedtime. The issue is that Declan does not want it to be bedtime. So he's taken to screaming for an hour or more each night at bedtime. I wouldn't mind so much, but the twins "sleep" directly next door to him while he shrieks out "mommmy!!!" "daddy!!!!" at the top of his lungs. How he can keep that up I simply do not know. There must be some sort of 3 year old code that allows him to perpetuate the unwanted behavior for hours at a time. Such pleasantries.

We moved Declan to a big boy bed in April. Things were actually going very well until about late May. By late May we had some issues with him coming out of his room at bedtime. We have the rule that you do not have to stay in bed, but you do have to stay in your room. To combat his coming out of his room we put a pressure mounted gate across the doorway to his room, but we ONLY put it up if we found him meandering around the house after bedtime. He KNEW it was coming and always ran directly back to his room...we just put the gate up without saying a word (we talked with him about it every night at bedtime). The gate ALWAYS caused a huge meltdown. I'm not talking just crying but full blown screaming in anger. He knew it was coming, but yet he flipped out every time. The screaming usually lasted over an hour.

Now he's taken to crying and screaming every single night after we leave the room. He has 2 nightlights, he often sleeps with the overhead light on (his choice, he gets up and turns it on), and we leave the door open. There is absolutely NOTHING that works to get him to stop screaming. We've tried the threat of the gate and then had to follow through with that (which is somewhat backwards and confusing to him, I would guess) ... you name it, we've tried it. He doesn't nap at all during the day. One day last week he DID nap and then the screaming lasted until 11pm. NO NAPS. He goes to bed around 7:30-8 (this is moved back from winter time, when they're all in bed around 7pm). When you ask him why he's crying he says it's because he doesn't want to go to bed. Fine, I get that, but quit the screaming!!! I cannot CANNOT get him to be quiet about it, and he sleeps right next to the twins, so I HATE how it all plays out.

I think it's a phase. I think he'll stop doing it in a few months. I think we need to NOT go in there AT ALL so he gets no reward for the behavior. Or do you have any other thoughts? We're an hour into the screaming at this point. All the other kids have been quiet for a solid 45 minutes. Declan, you challenge me.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Helllloooo blog!

I am horrible about blogging. Mostly it's because I feel like nothing exciting is happening, so not much new to post really!

Summer is in full swing. Mornings are spent at home, or hanging out at Heather's or driving around running errands where the vehicle is always in full sight so I can run the errand and not have to haul everyone out - this morning was garden centers which worked out perfect! Then we came home and planted which was fun for everyone.

Declan is basically fully pee trained, down to now telling us when he has to go. Pooping is another story, but we're getting there. Somewhere along the lines he learned the phrase "I promise" and he always tells me that after saying he won't poop in his underwear anymore. Very cute, but very obvious he has no idea what "I promise" actually means.

Avery is a big helper to me with the twins this summer. While I planted this morning she had both of them up on the trampoline and was bouncing them, rolling with them, just plain entertaining them for almost an hour while I was working. Avery is learning that mommy is not going to do everything for her anymore, and that comes with a bit of resistance. She "doesn't want" to do things, and she tells me that very matter-of-factly. Having Caden as our oldest has allowed all of our kids to be babied a bit in terms of how much mom and dad help them with...we're slowing making Avery do more and it's been interesting. :)

Caden is having a good time riding his outdoor toys this summer. Caden has an extremely hard time leaving his hands off people (including strangers) and while it's not typically a rough touch it is apparently EXTREMELY annoying to younger siblings. He spent a week at Vacation Bible School and it went very well. I'm always a bit anxious about how he's going to do but he did excellent!

Macey and Madelyn will be turning TWO on July 8! I can hardly believe it, either. No, they still are not walking but do take lots of steps when motivated. They are chatterboxes, too. Macey out talks Madelyn (there's not a word Macey won't try to repeat, note to yourself). They are very fond of routine and give you quite a screaming fit if you change things up.

James is really enjoying work at Vermeer! It is so wonderful to have him in good spirits (almost) all of the time!

I'm just doing the mom thing! Still sllllllowly losing weight but I try not to let that be my entire train of thought. I am, however, enjoying buying new clothes in sizes I haven't seen since high school. James isn't as thrilled about that as I am. I've learned I have to tell him my excitement about the size first, so that he can act happy for me BEFORE he knows I had to buy new to realize the new size. That worked the first few items, now he's on to me.

I feel like I just wrote a Christmas letter or something. That's a quick recap of our lives!!

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

It's happening again...

I'm potty training someone again. I've decided Declan is ready and we are going for broke. Yesterday was day 1. After a long battle I finally got underwear on him. After a few hours he was standing in the living room and he hollered out, "I spilled! I spilled!!!!!!!!!!" No, you peed buddy. Accident #1.

After lunch he came running up to me and said, "Mommy, I have to go pee." I praised him and took him to the potty and discovered that he had already GONE pee. Accident #2.

He then had some wetness in his underwear but nothing major until about 7:30pm...

I had him sit and try before bed. A lot of crying and tantruming went on from him. He also likes to PUSH really hard which I think keeps the pee from coming out. Regardless, he had SUCCESS, and a lot of it!

Today we have had no success but also no accidents!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Lost some motivation

So it was over a month ago that I made it to ONEderland. Sad part about that is I am still there at 199. It's like I got there and decided to quit. I know HOW to do it, I just am tired of it I think. I want to eat. I want to eat like there's no tomorrow. I want to do that because it feels good and because I've always done that. It's hard to give up my good friend, food.

I've started adding exercise. It's fun, because I am walking with my bestie Heather. It's not fun because it's exercise. Haaaaaaaaa! I also have something on the top of my foot that makes walking painful a bit - a ganglion cyst, from all my web-md'ing. I really don't want to have that removed, but it is causing quite a bit of pain and I think it needs to be drained. *shudder*

So. I'd like to get back into the swing of things. I'd like to see that scale start moving down, down, down. I just need some motivation back. It's hard to find it!!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A first

You may think this means the twins are walking. You would be wrong.

This is another first for our family. It's medical related. It's having all 5 kids on an antibiotic for the same condition at the same time. We officially hate strep throat.

It all started last week Monday. Avery came down with a big fever and said her tummy ached. I waited until Tuesday when I finally took her in. Sure enough, strep was positive. Antibiotics for Avery.

All was smooth sailing until Saturday. Saturday morning Madelyn had thrown up when I went to get her out of her crib. She was super hot with fever as well. So I was getting her ready to go to Urgent Care a few hours later when Macey started being really fussy. I picked her up and snuggled her and Sure enough, 101.6. So I started getting Madelyn AND Macey ready for Urgent Care. At the hospital I explained that Avery was being treated for strep and the dr simply looked in their throats and said it was enough for him. Antibiotics for the twins.

Saturday afternoon brought Avery's dance recital. We were gone to that and James came home while Avery and mommy went for supper with grandma. While we were still gone, Declan threw up all over. James said he thought he felt hot as well. Oh joy! Mind you, this is after 7pm on a Saturday. So when I got home I called the ER and talked with a nurse. They simply called a prescription in for him that we could pick up on Sunday morning - yes! Antibiotics for Declan.

Caden is my healthy one. After his first few years he sorta owes me that. Sunday night we couldn't find him. James finally tracked him down in the bathroom - vomiting all over. ARGH! So I called back to the ER and they told me to go ahead and give him some of the twins' meds as they were calling in the same stuff for him, and then when I picked up his antibiotic Monday I could replenish theirs. Antibiotics for Caden.

Today is Tuesday. Everyone is back to school. The twins are still sleeping. I'm praying we're on the road to full recovery!

Monday, April 18, 2011

I made it to ONEderland!!!!

Yesterday morning I hopped on that scale and it said 199.8!!!!!!!!!! I haven't seen the 100's in probably 10 years. Awesome milestone! Here are some pictures taken by Avery, the first in July and the 2nd just yesterday. I don't know what I weighed in July but one tells a girl she's fat until later, huh?

I have lost just over 67 pounds since starting to give a crap about 15 months ago. I still have another 60ish pounds I'd like to lose but now I know I can do it!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

He won. He won? He won!

Caden went to district qualifiers today for Special Olympics (which will be held at the end of May). Caden was set to compete in the softball throw and the 50m dash. I honestly thought the 50m dash part was hilarious - have you ever SEEN Caden run? It's more like a trot, an adorable trot but still just a trot. I've never seen him with a full-out, unabashed run.

His teachers have been telling me how it all works: they time/measure him at school and send the times in to Special Olympics. He is then grouped with other like-abled individuals (ages 8-11) and then he competes against those kids today. The best time today wins. Gotcha.

So first up was the softball throw. We were able to sneak him in line a touch early since we were there and ready. I noticed that the kids who were throwing before and after him CHUCKED that ball. Caden? Not so much. That's because it wasn't quite time for his group yet, but we got him in early. If he would have been throwing at the same time as the kids who threw as far as he usually did I would have been able to better compare. I didn't really realize that at the time, but it started to make sense as the day progressed. So at this point we have no idea how he did...

Next we moved on to the 50m dash. There was a lot of waiting for this one, but it gave his teacher time to show Caden just what to do and what was expected.

It just made me so emotional to see all these kids with sheer joy on their faces running down the track! Some of them walked, some didn't want to go at all, and some stopped halfway and turned around. The crowd was so supportive, clapping for all racers. I had Macey and Madelyn with me and they liked watching all the racers, too.

Caden's time put him nearly at the end of all the heats with only 2 other little boys. Here he is over to the right, making fast friends with all the young lady volunteers, lol:

The shot was fired, and Caden ran. He ran! He ran all the way to the end without stopping, even as mommy was right next to the track, cheering him on! I know you can't zoom in, but I was able to on my camera and there is a HUGE smile on his face!

I got down to the end to get him and he really didn't seem that proud, just more of his usual "leave me alone mom, I'm strutting my stuff!" His teacher got down to me at the end of the track and said, "He won!" and it dawned on me - he came across the finish line first! I was so dang proud of him for running without quitting that it never occurred to me that he WON! I started crying over, he won! Next she said, "This means we go twice in May, first day for cycling and the next day for track and field!" WOW!

So we headed back to the gym to get Caden's sack lunch and watch his friend Miss K participate in her events. The gym is also where each school has a box and they put ribbons in there for the kids who earn them. His teacher came walking back to me, wide-eyed with 2 blue ribbons in her hand. She said, "They're both his." I thought, cool! And then I looked at them. They say FIRST PLACE. (And now I stand here at the laptop bawling again.) He also got first in the softball throw! So on track and field day he will compete in TWO events!

I can't explain to you what I'm feeling, but I knew I had to get home and write about it. I wanted to process it and see if I could figure out what I'm feeling. I'm proud, of course, but more than that I stand in awe. I'm so glad I went along was one of those things I wasn't totally sure I needed to be at but I NEEDED to be there. I can't believe that this little boy, the one I wasn't sure what to do with as a newborn, the one I wasn't sure I WANTED as a newborn, the one who I have cried buckets over and prayed over and stressed over - this little boy is nothing short of spectacular. Just when I begin to forget that, God reminds me, and today He did so in a huge way. We live in a world that just can't help it - first place is a BIG deal. And today I got to feel the beauty of my kid being a winner in the world's eyes. For once he wasn't the last to walk, last to talk, last to potty train. He was first. And he was first twice over.

I so clearly heard the words to one of my favorite Signing Time songs as today has played over and over in my head. Here are some of the lyrics. It's a perfect way to describe Caden and how he SHINES. You shine, Caden. Love you forever.

Sometimes I see you stuck
For such a long time
A daily nothing new
Pretend I don’t mind
With lists of things you’ll never do
Until somehow you do
And you do — you do — you shine

The days and months and years,
they run together
Is it just one day? Or is this forever?
You’ve taught me in your lifetime
More than I’d learned in mine
And you do, you do, you shine

Shine Shine Shine Shine Shine
Shine your light on me
Shine Shine Shine Shine Shine
everyone will see
Shine Shine Shine Shine Shine
I’m so glad you are mine
And you’ll shine in your own time

Well, maybe I’m too close to see you clearly
Or is it now my role to simply believe?
You’re just one of those mysteries
That may never be solved in time
But you do — you do — you shine

Monday, April 04, 2011

Brutal mommy honesty.

If we aren't honest, then what are we? And if we aren't honest about how hard it is to be a mom, then we're lying only to ourselves.

Being 3 is hard. It's hard for the 3 year old's mom. Declan breezed through the first few years of his life but hit 3 in January and his horrid-ness vomited all over our lives. Honestly, he was my BEST baby, most laid back, easy going, a pleasure to be around. Now I don't care for it when I hear him in the mornings. I know soon after breakfast I'm going to hear, "I wanna snaaaaaack." Actually, I will probably hear that while he's still eating breakfast. It's habit for him, one I want to break. Badly.

And he's just generally whiney. And I mean whiney in the most annoying, baby-talking noise you can imagine. Fingernails on chalkboards seem like Kindergarten play to this kid.

This weekend I was talking to my BFF and I (jokingly) asked her which of her kids was her favorite. I knew the answer would be "I don't have a favorite" - which is the correct answer. All moms know that. I replied simply with this: "I couldn't tell you who my favorite is, either, but I'm certain it isn't Declan."

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

FYI - Purex 3-in-1 sheets are not meant for front loading washers

I went hog-wild at Wal-Mart about a week ago and bought tons of packages of the Purex 3-in-1 laundry sheets. I had 20 of the $3/1 coupons and ended up getting each package for free, and then they owed ME $2.03...on each one. It was an awesome deal but my friends and family mocked me mercilessly because it took about 45 minutes to check out (the store didn't believe me at first, but then found the new policy so accepted it) and they thought it was ridiculous. I thought I was brilliant. I ended up MAKING $40.60 and walking out with 20 (trial sized) packages of Purex. Score one for the extreme couponer wannabe.

Fast forward to today. There were probably at least 5 loads of laundry that went through our machine yesterday. Today I started early with the boys' sheets. I noticed that the washer was taking forever to get done and it kept switching over to pause and then finally just turning off and not draining or spinning. We've only had our washer/dryer set for 10 months so I called the appliance store and they were literally here in under 2 hours (go, them!). He figured out right away that the draining was the problem, and said it was probably the drain pump. Not an easy fix. He also said that sometimes kids' socks will get stuck in the pump's basket and once you pull that out it functions fine so we'll hope for that (although THAT'S not covered by warranty, sigh). He pulled it apart and there was something stuck in there...I'm guessing you can guess what it was...

Yes, a stupid Purex 3-in-1 sheet plugging it up! Aauuugh! He showed me where things can slip between the seal and the machine, right down into the pump and sure enough, those things are just thin enough to do just that. He said this isn't the first time he's seen one of those stuck, either, and it will probably cost us more than the $40.60 I "made".

SO! Do not use those if you have a front loader. He actually told me to just stick it in a mesh laundry bag with socks or something and then I'd still be able to use them all up so I don't have to just throw them away - brilliant! But I'd like to save you from a repair bill if you're thinking of using them.

= evil

Monday, March 07, 2011

A bit of a setback

So I posted about how I wanted to reach ONEderland by my birthday. Fail. Today is said birthday (and it's snowing, that is just wrong) and I am not there. I did sort of set my goal a little lofty, especially for someone who loathes exercise. I'm not disappointed, but I want to remain accountable to myself. I've had a wonderful weekend of traveling with my 3 oldest and James to Wisconsin Dells and visiting with the other midwest RTS families, but it was not good for the calorie aspect. Today I am giving myself the day off (I had malted milk balls for lunch, darn that Easter candy!!) but tomorrow I am back on track. The next time I talk about weight loss I will have reached 199.x. Ta-ta for now!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Holy health-related craziness

Sooo, I guess we can count on February being a banner month for our family. Last year it meant whooping cough for James and both twins, leading to an ambulance ride for Macey and several hospital stays. The twins also both had RSV last Feb. Which leads me to THIS Feb...

All 5 kids have been sick with one thing or another. First it was strep, which made its way through the ranks. Now it's the tummy flu, which started with Madelyn on Wednesday, then moved to Macey Thursday and also to Declan Thursday night. This morning (Friday) Macey has thrown up a few more times but Madelyn and Declan seem to be doing ok...though Declan hasn't had a thing to eat or drink. I'm being cautious, especially considering the fact that he's laying on our bed watching cartoons right now. Here's a picture of Madelyn from earlier in the week. All she wanted to do was lay down and sleep, wherever she was:

Which leads me back to Monday (still in Feb, noted). Avery fell off the monkey bars at school, hurting her wrist. Her teacher called me when Avery was on the bus and told me about it, so I watched her when she got home - I could tell there was a problem. Off to the ER we went and she has a buckle fracture to both bones in her wrist! She got a splint in the ER, and she wore it proudly. We had to amputate one of the sleeves of a pair of winter jammies but I'm ready to amputate winter anyway:

She was ready to go to school the very next morning! All smiles, what a trooper:

And on Wednesday she had a regular cast put on. She wanted RED (daddy's favorite color) and she is so proud of it. I finally talked her into letting me write on it and I wrote "mommy loves you!" with a little heart. She loved it and is taking the Sharpie to school today to let her classmates have at it! We'll see what it looks like after school. Here's yesterday, after I wrote my message:

Monday, February 07, 2011

As of this morning...

I now weigh what I did when I got pregnant for the very first time (found out 9 years ago on Valentine's Day)! It's good to see that number on the scale and know that I am so close to the 100s. Down over 55 pounds and still going. I still am reaching for ONEderland by my 33rd birthday (Mar 7) - best gift I think I could give to myself. That feeling will be amazing!

Thursday, February 03, 2011

A time for everything...

and apparently it's finally my time to be sick. I went to the doctor yesterday and I have a sinus infection and more than likely I also have pneumonia. I started on an antibiotics yesterday and today I am honestly feeling better. Thankful for that!

What makes me feel bad is that Caden is also sick, Avery is sick and they are both feeling pretty miserable. Caden has a fever more than anything else and Avery is struggling with the same awful runny nose/head cold that I have. Today we finally had school after after the blizzard and everyone is here at home with me. We just put the twins down for a nap and the big kids are upstairs watching iCarly with me. Ok, so they're watching and I'm blogging.

I have a feeling no one will be going to school tomorrow, either. It's a time to recover. If you recall our whooping cough episodes of last year at this time, we'll take what's going on now over that for sure! If that doesn't put things in perspective, I don't know what will. (It was Feb. 5 last year I had to call the ambulance to come get little Macey because she coughed SO hard I was worried she wouldn't breathe!)

James got an unexpected day off yesterday due to the weather so he was home to help me and allow me to get to the doctor. Rumor has it he now might be working on Saturday all day...cooooooooooooooooool. You'll have to forgive me, I just feel like complaining today.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Connecting with your spouse

I still have questions about this arena, and we've been married a while. Right now, James and I would love nothing more than to go away overnight for two nights: eat when we want, sleep when we want, talk without interruption and just basically do a whole lot of NOTHING. Because let's face it, when we'd come home (if we decided to) there'd be a whole lot of EVERYTHING to do.

We feel weekends away are crucial but it is just not a reality for us at this point in our lives. I mean I'm not blind, we've "done it to ourselves" by having more kids than is really necessary. (Yes, I did just say that I will will NEVER say who the unnecessary one/s is/are/mightbe.) The burden of asking someone to take 5 kids for a weekend is just, well, it's a lot. And we take it very seriously. That being said, we can't help but long for it because this is a season of our lives where it's not happening. We always want what we can't have. Just ask Declan (who turned 3 on Monday, had a "monkey cake!", and always, alllllways wants what he can't have).

Which brings me back to the title subject. How do you reconnect with your spouse when you have lots of children or when you maybe only have a few children but don't have reliable babysitting? And I want your feedback on this, because I want to know, too!

All too often after our kids are in bed (they are good about bedtime, everyone's down and out by 7:30 and no one makes surprise visits out to the living areas, bless them, I've scared them well) James and I just want to catch up on our favorite things and enjoy the silence. We've joked that our ears ring and almost hurt from the silence after our kids are in bed and that's really not too far from the truth. I tend to gravitate toward the computer (I know, you're shocked) and James grabs his iPod and crashes in front of the tv. We don't MAKE time to just be together, and this gets to be a problem. We miss each other, but we don't work at spending quality time together. So maybe, connecting with your spouse has a lot more to do with behaviors than it does with the knowledge of what to do to reconnect.

Some little things we do, in case you're looking for a little morsel of something from all this rambling:
1. We serve the kids supper first. Yes, they all sit down and eat around 4:50-5:00 while we run around like crazy getting refills and seconds and MORE APPLESAUCE PLEASE! Sometimes James will sit down with them and I'll do what James has named "The Negative Calorie Meal" - if I've eaten too many calories already during the day I won't eat and will just do all the running for supper. I actually burn calories during a meal and don't take a single one in. ANYWAY! We serve the kids first so that when they are done, WE can sit down together as two and eat food that's actually still hot and have a semi-decent conversation. We are able to chat entirely about the kids' days while they eat and we don't feel POed that we can't talk to each other. Win-win-win-winner on dinner!
2. We put a tv in our bedroom, and got an electric blanket for Christmas. It works for us. We're drawn to the bed because it's allllll cozy and warm, plus there's the added benefit of tv viewing, connected to our DVR so we can catch up on all the important shows. Lordie, we sound so pampered!

So there's some ideas to get the ball rolling. What do YOU do?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Two babies and a banana.

You'd swear I've never given my kids fruit. Ok, so I am terrible about it and I'm just now incorporating them into the twins' diet regularly. Sue me, they're 18 months old but I've been sorta busy - they had them as infants but I've gotten out of habit. My older kids eat them fine so I'm doing something right. Annnnnyway yeah, just now giving them to the twins.

Madelyn has this *precious* habit of taking whatever she doesn't like and throwing it straight to the floor. To be more correct, she actually takes whatever she doesn't THINK she'll like (without sampling) and throws it straight to the floor. Macey will usually just politely ignore it and eat all around it. I'm appreciative of Macey at mealtimes.

So a few days ago I introduced banana at a snacktime. They both sampled - Macey put it back on the tray without sampling again and Madelyn's taste buds can apparently decide in .05 seconds that she doesn't like banana. Down to the floor it went. I ignored. I tried again yesterday morning at breakfast. To my amazement, Macey sampled again - and she liked it! She is eating banana with no problem! Which leads us to Madelyn...

She tosses. And tosses. And honestly if you put it on her tray before anything else, she will become angry with you. Downright honked off, thank you very much. I tried that this morning at breakfast and she.was.mad. I guess I just keep trying!

We go to their 18 month well-child checkups this morning! I'll update with how they're doing later. Ta-ta!

Thursday, January 06, 2011

A teacher who believes in your SN child...

is worth more than any gift I've ever been given. Caden's 1st grade teacher this year is nothing short of phenomenal. I literally just hung up the phone from her calling me to tell me about some big successes Caden has had in the classroom. They (the students) were going around in a circle, telling her what sound each letter group made - ir, or, etc. It came to Caden's turn and he had "er". He nailed it. They went around again and he nailed it a second time. No fluke. Came around again and she challenged him with a new one - qu. "Qwah," said my boy!!!! I literally have tears running down my face. She just believes in him so much! She said she just feels so confident he is going to read. I'm so excited about that, too!! I just feel so blessed, so very blessed that God has given us this amazing woman to spend the year with him. He's doing so very well!!

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Happy 2011!

I just can hardly believe it. 2010 was a great year really, aside from whooping cough, multiple hospitalizations, job changes, money uncertainty...ok so it really wasn't that awesome.

However! I did lose 50 pounds in 2010 so that's awesome!

I'm excited about 2011. I plan to lose as much weight as possible (another 75 is my goal) to reach my goal weight. I want to see the twins (finally) start walking! I want to see sir Declan potty train. I want so many things and we'll see how God sorts it all out!

I am not the kind to make New Year's Resolutions. Mostly that's because I never want to be disappointed! But I can promise you this much - I am determined to make 2011 a year that I remember...for lots of good things!