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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Conversations With My Daughter: The Sweet Edition

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June 17
Lily (pointing to Mommy): My nursies are sticky and sweet. Marshmallows are sticky and sweet. And you are.

June 20
Lily: I said poop! That's hilarious!

June 20
Lily (talking to herself): Where is my ball? I had it earlier. That's weird.

June 24
Lily (talking to Mommy while she's watching a YouTube video): You can watch tornado chasers if you want to. 

June 27
Lily: Say Happy Birthday Mommy.
Mommy: Happy Birthday Lily.
Lily (bashfully): That's so sweet.

June 27
Lily (reaching out to slowly and affectionately touch Reuben's hand as he's sleeping): He's so beautiful.

June 28
Lily: Daddy, you snuck up on me. (quietly to herself) He shouldn't do that.

June 29
Lily: I'm the king. Daddy, you're a king too. And Mommy's a king.
Daddy: Can I be Elvis?
Lily: Yeah. You're Elvis.
Daddy: Who's Reuben?
Lily: Murphy.

July 4
Lily: Its a caudapilder Mommy! Reuben's going to 'molish it!

July 6
Lily (asking to play outside): Mom, I'm assuming the mosquito bites won't get me on the porch.

July 11
Lily (after almost falling off a kitchen chair):! I shouldn't do that. I could fall through there!

July 29
Lily (watching Mommy eat a burrito): Wow Mommy! You packed it in your mouth!

July 31
Lily (hugging her nursies): "Squeeze, squeeze, don't stop please." (phrase is from the book Huggy Kissy by Leslie Patricelli)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Thoughts On the End of Summer + Other Stuff

Can it already be the end of summer?! I feel like it just began. Or I feel like we didn't get everything done that I had planned to do this season. Yeah, its probably that. Do you ever feel that way? That the season isn't allowed to end until you accomplish everything you had set out to do? Maybe I should throw a big end-of-the-summer party and be ok with everything we did do. Although really you can't even tell that we're about to hit fall in about a month with the weather still being in the 90s and humid here in Florida. So I still have time for at least one beach trip (I know! We live 2 hours from the Gulf and we almost never make it to the beach!) and we have an outing planned to the zoo next week for Andrew's birthday. Mostly we've been hanging out at home splashing around in the kiddie pool, running through the neighbor's sprinkler, digging in the sandbox, chasing each other with bikes and cars in the driveway, playing in the rain and going for the occasional walk early in the morning before it gets too hot out. And I'm mostly ok with that. I do need the occasional outing for my own sanity though. Being a mom 24/7 can become pretty exhausting. But that's another post in itself.

Also, school started yesterday for most counties here. This makes me realize how close Lily is to school age. Which actually isn't something I worry about too much since we are planning on homeschooling her anyway. For how long, I don't know. But its important to us that she stay home with us for a few years while she's still forming her character and ideology. I'd rather her learn attitudes, behaviors, ethics etc. from us, her parents, before going out into the world and all its provocative enticements. Not that I'm trying to shelter her from society because God knows, our neighbors, sweet as they are, are a bit potty mouthed and have rougher mannerisms than Lily is used to and I think its great that she's able to play with their son and spend time over at their house. She's learning how to deal with different parenting styles than those that she's used to for one. I just think that the education system has lost sight of what their "job" is. Preschool is now looked upon as serious preparation for kindergarten when it used to be a fun place to go to play with friends and maybe learn your ABCs. Don't even get me started on standardized testing and the lack of child centered learning. I want my children to be able to explore nature, learn to cook and sew and create masterpieces, things that more often than not can't happen with children's busy school lives and then homework in the evening before bed. And I realize that its the system and not the teachers' faults. I have the utmost respect for teachers. They work their butts off! So, sure I wonder sometimes about my children's socialization and how they'll learn respect for others in authority without a formal schooling environment, but we have many close friends with children and a great (large) church family that go a long way towards providing those skills.

In all honesty, I'm not worried at all.

Did this just get deep or what?

This article sums it up very well.

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Friday, August 16, 2013

Growing Pains

Watching your child(ren) go through a physically painful experience has got to be one of the most difficult things we have to do as parents. My heart goes out to those moms and dads who are dealing with the real thing. Those who are sitting at the bedside of a child who is fighting cancer, a parent learning their child has a life threatening illness or a mom and dad at the hospital with a child and a broken bone. I can't even begin to imagine what you all are going through. We each have our very own story to tell and while mine is in no way as heartbreaking as some, I still hurt seeing my children go through trials of their own.

It all began late Wednesday morning. The kids were playing peekaboo behind the curtains at our large living room window when all of a sudden I heard Reuben start bawling. Rushing over I picked him up and told him "you fell down, didn't you?" I didn't notice the blood till Lily told me matter-of-factly "he's bleeding Mommy." Sure enough he had hit his forehead on the edge of the marble window sill. There actually wasn't a lot of blood but the small cut looked deep. I wiped off the blood that was there and held him while he cried for a minute. And it was only that. One minute and he was fine. I slapped a bandaid on it but called Andrew to come home because I was concerned that it was too deep and that a visit to the ER might be in order. While he was on his way home I dialed my mom because of course one of the first things you do in situations like these is call your mom for advice no matter what time of the day or what part of the country she lives in. Bonus if she's a nurse. :) I had a quick, reassuring chat with her and Andrew came home. I think we both felt reluctant about taking Reuben to the ER and putting him through the stress of waiting for what would probably be hours if it really wasn't that bad. I ended up going to the drug store and picking up a package of butterfly strips to keep the wound closed so it could heal. We put one of those on him with a bandaid over it and it was already starting to close up and heal by yesterday afternoon. I'm just glad, for the sake of my own vanity, that the cut is mostly hidden by his currently almost non existent eyebrows. He'll probably love his "battle scar" one day though. Boys.

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I didn't freak out when the incident happened because its not like me to do that but that night when Andrew and I were laying in bed I voiced my worry that I felt like it was my job to keep our kids safe and that I dropped the ball on this one. He reminded me I can't always keep them safe and that its only my responsibility to let them know that I am always there for them when they fall and hurt themselves and to take care of them should something bad happen. Basically I have to trust that God is in control, that I can't foresee every negative situation and for my own sanity I can't worry about what may or may not happen. Also, trusting God and praying incessantly is the only way to get past the misery of seeing your child in pain.

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I was reminded of that yesterday when I had to take Lily to the hospital to get some blood work done. There's nothing more heart wrenching than your 3 year old sobbing into your chest "But I'm just a little grirl (that's actually how she says it)! I really, really, really don't like my blood work. Its going to hurt a little bit." *sob* All it took was me saying in the car after we left the doctor's office and were on our way to the hospital that she needed to have her blood drawn. I guess she remembered having had it done like over a year ago because the tears started flowing immediately. The thing is she did really great that first time. She sat on my lap, held out her arm and solemnly watched as the nurse stuck her with the needle. She never flinched even once it was in for a minute or two. Of course it doesn't help that she knew what to expect this time.

I guess I'm getting ahead of myself a bit and should explain why she needed blood work done. She has had recurring fevers since she was around the age of 1 or so. They can get very high (she was in the 104s at the doctor's office yesterday) and come like clockwork...every 4 weeks to a month. I can guess almost down to the day when she's going to get one and can almost plan my schedule around it. And so far, I have no idea why she's getting them. She doesn't have any other symptoms other than the normal ones that come with a high fever like sore limbs, watering eyes, lethargy and loss of appetite. For a while, when she was younger, I thought that maybe they were associated with teething and therefore didn't worry about taking her in to see the doctor. There did seem to be some sort of pattern to back the theory up. And she did stop having them for a short bit either late last year or earlier this year...I can't remember. I thought she was cured...and then they came back with a vengeance. I asked the doctor about them a while back and was told that some kids just have weak immune systems and are therefore more susceptible to germs and stuff around them, eventually their systems will catch up and they'll be fine. I could accept that if it wasn't for the predictability. So since she was in the middle of yet another one I took her in yesterday to hopefully get some answers. I explained everything to the doctor emphasizing the uniformity to these fevers and asked what the first step should be in figuring this all out. I just couldn't take watching her listlessly laying around the house for days in a row any more. She looks so miserable, and between watching her look that way and just hoping that these fevers go away soon and having to get blood taken and whatever else is needed down the road, well I'd rather go with the testing because hopefully we can find out what's wrong and cure this once and for all. So there I was waiting at the hospital with Lily crying in my arms and I was hugging her and reassuring her the best that I could that yes, it was going to hurt but only a little bit and it would be over quickly and that I was going to be with her the entire time and she could cry and squeeze my hand as hard as she needed to. I managed to distract her a little with Curious George episodes on my phone until we were called back. The phlebotomist was a sweetheart and knelt down to Lily's level and asked her what her name was to which Lily calmly replied "Lillian Estelle." She never volunteers her name so promptly so that was helpful that she felt comfortable with her. I felt comfortable when the girl told Lily, when she started crying again, that it would hurt a little bit but she was going to be very gentle. She didn't talk down to her and sugar coat it but she didn't give too much information to terrify her either. Comfortability didn't last long though once Lily was sitting in my lap while I held her arms and legs and the girl started prepping her for needle insertion. She made it through picking her bandage colors (pink and purple) but when that needle started heading towards her arm it was all I could do to keep her tiny body from flailing all over the place. The worst was when it was over and the girl looked at me after filling the tubes and whispered, with a pained expression on her face, "I need to do it again, I didn't get enough." Oh great. Lily managed between sobs at that moment to say that she wanted nursies to which the girl suggested I nurse her right there in the chair while she left to go get another person to help her this next time since Lily was moving around so much. She returned about 10 minutes later with an older gentleman who was also very sweet and though that it was great that I was still nursing Lily at 3 years old and said "when you gotta eat, you gotta eat" with a smile. After that brief moment of validation, we geared up for another round of torture Lily and let out huge sighs of relief when it was finally over.

Everyone who talked with us was impressed with how intelligent and articulate Lily was about everything. That's my Lily. Nothing gets past her. It just makes it more emotional for me having to listen to her talk about her fears versus if she only cried about them. The thing is I have a gut feeling that this journey to an answer isn't going to be a short one and that there will probably be more situations like this that I am going to have to explain to Lily and help her through. They say that being a mother is never easy but it totally sucks when you have to tell your sweet child that she is going to have to go through something painful.

Edited to add: The test results came back an hour later and the only thing that showed up was that she has a slight bacterial infection. So she's on meds for that and we're waiting 4 weeks to a month to see if she has another fever so we can move on the the next step of discovery.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

A Quick Visit to the Farm

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Some friends from church have been urging us to come over and check out their small family farm. So one morning last week, when we heard that some chicks had very recently hatched, we got our little butts in gear and headed out there. Daddy took a few minutes off of work and met us there since its just down the road from his brother's barn where he works every day. The sun was bright and very hot already at 9:30 in the morning but we had fun traipsing around in the dirt and mud chasing chicks and other animals.

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^^A week later and Lily still talks about the chicks and how they "love" her.^^

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^^Reuben wasn't too enthusiastic about any of the animals. That could have been because it was his nap time.^^

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^^Chick butt!^^

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^^Well hello there!^^

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Visiting the farm further solidified my dream to have my own farm one day in the not so distant future. I can totally see myself getting up early to gather eggs and feed the animals (stop laughing Andrew...). And a garden...I absolutely want a large garden where I can grow strawberries, broccoli, squash, zucchini and other fruits and vegetables that my family love. Lily already enjoys watering the few pots of plants we're growing here in town. I know they both would love having animals around all the time and lots and lots of fruits and veggies to pick. Someday I hope...someday.

Monday, August 12, 2013

12 Years

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We dropped the kids off at a friend's and went out for lunch this afternoon to celebrate our 12th anniversary. The weather was warm, the food was delicious (we were surprised with a free crème brûlée!) and the company was wonderful.

Happy 12 years Andrew!

...I love you...

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Random Thoughts for The Day

...Andrew's contract at Disney ended about a month ago which means he no longer has to wake up at 4:30am and commute over an hour to work every day. This also means he can sleep in and be with the kids and I in the morning before he leaves for his other job...beekeeping. At first I didn't know how I would feel about him being home more because I'll be honest, after almost 12 years of marriage, I need time away from him and I think he feels the same. But it turns out I'm really enjoying this new routine of ours. Andrew leaves for work mid-morning and comes home in time for dinner. Occasionally he drops by the house for lunch or to grab something he forgot. Also, if he wants to go to work later or cut out early or take the day off he can just do it. That's the beauty of working for yourself. When he was working at Disney he left about 5:30am and often wasn't home before 6:30pm. And he couldn't take the day off unless it was a holiday. The only thing that I miss is being able to text him a list of things I need at the store and he would stop by the store on the way home and get them for me. There are no stores on the way back from where he's working now. Darn.

...We may be getting chickens some day soon. Andrew sent me a text out of the blue one afternoon asking me if I would be interested in buying a few chicks and raising them for eggs and maybe eventually meat. I only said "uh yes!!!" And so begins my dream of having a farm one day...

...My mom posted this link on Facebook yesterday. I read The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman years ago. Now they have a test on the book's website that will help you discover what your love language is. I took it and its still what it was when I first read the book. Mine is Words of Affirmation and Andrews' are Physical Touch and Words of Affirmation (it was an even match). Take the test and find out what yours is. Andrew's now going out of his way to tell me in the most obnoxious way how much he "affirms me" and I've been touching him as much as possible...even if its a casual fingertip to the leg while we're sitting on the couch reading. Because we're theatrical that way. haha!

...I've given up sweets...temporarily...sort of...cutting back...part time...I can't think about it too much or I'll totally rip the lid off that tub of frosting in the pantry and eat the whole thing. Seriously, its an addiction guys. And I'm having withdrawals. I wish I was joking. That's the only reason I can think of that I'm getting a few headaches a week when I would almost never get them. I can't wait till I can get to the point where I don't want to dive head first into a trough of Häagen-Dazs.

...This terrible three phase is giving me a run for my money. Can we just go back to the days when she accepted what I told her with no questions asked? And definitely no screaming, whining, hitting, and general temper tantrum throwing. I know, I know. Wishful thinking.

...I'm considering buying a pair of overall shorts I saw on the rack at Walmart. I know. Its Walmart. Plus, overall shorts?! Maybe its my childhood calling like back when I was 11 years old and all I wanted for my birthday was a pair of overalls. I begged and begged for them. And sure enough, a friend of my moms (I think) bought me a pair. They were bright yellow. I mean Man in The Yellow Pants kind of yellow. I was devastated. I hope I was gracious and thanked the lady despite my disappointment. I can't remember ever wearing them and I definitely don't have any pictures of me in them. Maybe this could be my second chance? :)

...I'm very grateful for Go Diego Go on Amazon Instant Video. Sometimes its the only way I can get a shower if I don't take my chance while Reuben is napping. Like today.

And now for a few irrelevant photos of my kids because what's a blog post without photos?

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Tuesday, August 06, 2013

It's Official, He's a Walker!

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Sunday afternoon Reuben surprised himself by taking a couple of steps unassisted in an attempt to get from one kitchen chair to another. He looked up at me like "what was that?!" and the two of us had a good chuckle over his accidental discovery. I thought it had ended there and that, while we may start seeing more steps slowly over time, that he wouldn't be making it official for many weeks or even months to come. But Reuben had other plans. Later that day he let go of the couch and took several purposeful steps before falling to the ground. He kept practicing the rest of the afternoon with a big grin on his face as he tottered precariously for first, a few feet at a time, and then, after several attempts, making it across the entire room. Later that evening he decided to work on standing up from a seated position. Not one to give up easily, he was determined to perfect his newfound skills.

Now I'll hear wobbly footsteps coming from the other room and I look around the corner and there's my little boy, arms straight out at his sides with his tongue sticking out, concentrating on the task at hand. He sees me and his face lights up and he starts laughing from pure joy...which inevitably makes him tumble to the ground. :) He's so proud of himself and golly but if his excitement isn't contagious! I'm so proud of you too my little man!

Friday, August 02, 2013

Hamming It Up

I was doing my bi-annual check of my Google+ account earlier today when I came across these video call snapshots of when the kids and I were in Maine a couple months ago. It was the first time Lily had ever video chatted and she loved being able to see Daddy and tell him goodnight before going to bed. And apparently I like to make goofy faces when I know I'm being recorded.

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I was thinking Google+ Hangout was pretty cool and easy to use. And then we discovered the effects and it got way more cooler. I'm sure that last part isn't grammatically correct but sometimes you just gotta to get your point across am I right??

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^^Those horns mean so much more after a day like we had today. :/^^