Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Ladybug and the Cupcake

I don't really get into Halloween and I don't like the ghosts, witches, goblins and all of that. I do, however, like dressing the girls up! Adrienne wore Brooke's ladybug costume from when she was a baby and John's aunt made Brooke an ingenious cupcake costume. John's family came over and his parents and I switched off between taking Brooke trick-or-treating and passing out candy at home with Adrienne. I got the best of both worlds and we all had a great night! Here are some pictures of the girls...

Friday, October 30, 2009

Date Night

John and I haven't had a date together for over 5 months now. I've never left Adrienne (except briefly to run to the doctor) and that's just one of the prices you pay to breastfeed. I wouldn't have it any other way, though! I love my girls so much but I have been extremely eager to get out with John. Because we can't really go out right now, I brought a date to our home!

Last night after we put the girls to bed, I made us the NICEST dinner! I made rib eye steaks, grilled garlic shrimp skewers, Parmesan risotto (which was tons of fun to make!), cheddar biscuits (that taste just like Red Lobster's), and steamed broccoli. We set the table, lit some candles, and turned off all other distractions. We're working through the book, Trading Places, by Les and Leslie Parrot (which is a must read, by the way!) and we went over the questions from our workbooks that go with our reading. While we're always spending time with one another and doing things together, I felt like last night was genuine, quality time that really counted for something. Life is so busy and full of so many things to occupy us and it's nice to shut to rest of the world off from time to time!

I feel so refreshed. I think that late night date dinners at home are going to become more frequent around this house!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

5 Months Old!

Sometimes I feel like I should always celebrate Adrienne's birthday on the 28Th of each month instead of the 27Th. Whenever I remember May 27Th, I think of the anguish I felt as I couldn't even meet my baby who was taken from me so quickly. I think of how she was hooked up to an IV and struggling to breathe yet I didn't have the strength to get out of my bed and meet her. Talk about guilt. I think of how I finally got to meet her that night and not only did I not get to nurse her, but I was only able to hold her briefly before the alarm sounded saying her oxygen levels were dipping. It wasn't really the birthday that I had planned for her at all. However, I'm so blessed because May 28Th did come (after what seemed like years of waiting) and my precious little girl is now perfectly healthy. I know that many might look at me and think that I'm selfish or stupid to still feel sad about that because she's totally fine now, but I'm still a human and I still kind of relive those emotions every month when I think about Adrienne's birth.

So, in honor of the big 5-month-old, let me do a little recap on Miss Adrienne and what she's like:

She enjoys: Being on her belly, standing up and looking all around, sucking her thumb, and being put over your shoulder. She's a true daddy's girl it seems and she just lights up whenever she looks at him. That makes two daddy's girls! Darn it! Lol

She doesn't like: Loud noises or anything that startles her. She gets scared very easily and doesn't take it too well. She also doesn't particularly enjoy riding in the car.

Her temperament is: Easy-going, social, content, and goofy. I LOVE her personality and each day I uncover new elements about her to enjoy.

Her favorite pastimes: Sitting in her bouncy seat or laying on her play mat

I am so enjoying watching my daughter grow! I think with the second baby it's just a tad bit more exciting for me because I am anticipating things to come, whereas the first time around, I didn't really know what to expect. I am so thankful that Adrienne is a part of our lives and I feel so privileged to be her mommy!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Motherhood Isn't for the Weak

I confess, I'm sitting behind this computer tonight feeling very discouraged, defeated, and like a complete and total failure. Our day today was pretty much a train wreck from the minute Brooke woke up and it really only went downhill from there. I feel like a sub par mom that I couldn't "fix" Brooke and that I couldn't get us back on track.

It really all started last night when Brooke refused to go to sleep. She was in her bed from 8:30 to midnight wide awake. First she was happy and singing and to me, that's fine. We all need some time to unwind. That escalated to screaming hysterically, kicking walls, and yelling, "I'm not going to bed. I won't take a nap!" Another excuse that she frequently used was, "But I have to go potty." Yeah, I only fell for that about 3 times. Lol! After many, many measures of discipline, she fell asleep around 11:45. When she woke up at 7:45 this morning, I KNEW she would be miserable because 8 hours of sleep is simply not enough for a little girl who usually gets 12+.

We spent our morning at home and Brooke was overall grumpy and non-compliant. At breakfast, she was hysterical because she wanted eggs and pancakes and cereal. I told her that I wasn't going to give her cereal with eggs and pancakes and she didn't appreciate that too much. Things got really dicey, however, when I went to get her dressed for the day. First of all, she refused to come when I called her (which is obviously NOT acceptable) and threw herself on the floor. I then encouraged her to go to the potty because she hadn't been in a while and she again, threw herself on the floor. John came in and made her sit on the potty (after spankings and everything else) and she still outright refused to even try and kept repeatedly thrashing and screaming. We disciplined her over and over and she still claimed that she didn't have to go potty. When John sent her over to say she was sorry to me for her behavior, she came over to me and wouldn't apologize. As I picked her up to deal with her, she said, "I'm going to pee pee on you." We were literally two feet from her potty and two seconds previous to this episode she had sat on the potty, but before I could say another word, she peed all over me and her fresh set of clothes. I wanted to scream/cry/freak out and then some.

After many other instances, we determined that putting her down for nap at 12 (as opposed to 1) would be best for everyone. She fell instantly to sleep like we knew she would. Adrienne slept from 11-2 so John and I really, really enjoyed those couple of peaceful hours together. Believe me. Brooke woke up at 2 and seemed pretty happy and her attitude at that point really was much better.

Then... Bedtime came. Tonight she pulled the same antics as last night. She screamed until 11 and she seemed unaffected by any form of discipline that I inflicted upon her. I just don't know what to do anymore. I'm truly at my wits end with bedtime. Tonight she was legitimately tired yet she would not give in for anything. When I went in to check on her, she was at the end of her bed folded in half and her pillows were all thrown off the bed. I just stared at her tiny little body in that big bed and cried. Even though I know that her upsetment was caused by her disobedience, I felt so sad that she had to go to bed so sad and angry.

Thankfully most days aren't like this. Brooke is really a great little girl and very rarely do I feel as broken up about motherhood as I do today. I know that I should do myself a favor and put this day behind us, but I'll be honest, I'm so fearful that tomorrow will be the same way and I'm completely and utterly exhausted and frazzled. When Brooke was a baby, I would have never looked into those big blue, innocent eyes and thought that being her mother could really be this difficult. I really thought I was a good mom but today, I'm questioning whether or not that's true:-(

Sunday, October 25, 2009

What a Weird Day!

Sunday mornings. For many, those words mean sleeping in, watching cartoons in bed, having a big family breakfast, taking things kind of slow. For me, however, they mean run, run, run and move, move, move. Because I play the piano and sing in our church's praise and worship team, I have to be at church on Sunday mornings to practice at 8:15. I get up at 7 and get myself together and then I wake up the girls and get them all prettied up in their Sunday dresses, tights, and bows. For us, it's a mega rush to get out the door by 8 but I love being able to play the piano so much that I do it.

This morning was nice because John was going to keep both girls home with him while I went to practice. I still got up early and got them ready and dressed because he worked late and I like for him to be able to sleep a little bit longer. Anyways, I headed off to worship practice and got there right now time. I'm always super happy when that happens!

The routine from here on out is always that John takes Brooke to the grocery store where they pick me out a bagel and her a doughnut and chocolate milk and bring it to church to eat. They used to go to McDonald's for pancakes but they switched it up a bit. This morning, they came out of the grocery store and John informed that Brooke had thrown up everywhere. Nice, huh?

Assuming that my daughter was coming down with a horrible stomach bug, we all went home. I was feeling particularly bummed because not only would I not be able to play the piano, which is something I look forward to every week, but John had to work a 12today (3 hours early) so I knew it would be a long day. I was also a little disappointed because both girls were wearing new dresses and happened to look extra precious (Of course!) and I always enjoy showing them off.

When we got home, Brooke ate us out of house and home and was completely fine the rest of the day. No throw up, no diarrhea... Nothing. She laughed, she played, and she was 100 percent Brooke. Isn't that so odd?

I attend a Bible study at church on Sunday nights but I couldn't bring Brooke, who had thrown up that morning, to the church nursery. Even though I really felt as though it was a fluke thing, I didn't think that it would be fair to the other kids. My mom so graciously offered to watch her while I went to Bible study, even though she would have liked to have gone herself. I am so blessed to have a mom who is willing to do that for me! The break we heavenly and I was truly appreciative. I didn't envision myself getting out tonight but I did!

Hopefully the throw up does make a mysterious reappearance in the morning. But, as I'm coming to realize, with motherhood, you always need to expect the unexpected. Lol! Wish me luck...

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Catching Up

We have been crazy busy over the last couple of days. John was off on Thursday and Friday so we got lots accomplished together as a family. To avoid a long, disorganized, random post, I'm going to just do bullets. It's easier that way!

Potty Training-

Brooke has become a true champ when it comes to using the potty! We just carry on with our normal life now... grocery shopping, errands, visiting family members, church, etc.. and she has NO accidents. She's not afraid of public toilets anymore and she doesn't even wear Pull Ups or rubber pantie covers when we're out. Very impressive! That being said, we have one problem... Poo poo. She's like TERRIFIED to go poop on the potty and she has yet to do so. Thankfully, she's regular so if she's going to go she'll go in the mornings before we're out and about. All you potty training pros out there... Do you have any advice for me?? This is one final hurdle to get us through to the finish line!

New Freezer!

My parents had a freezer in their garage and they offered it to us! John and his brother went to pick it up on Thursday and they scrubbed it down... Inside and out. It looks brand new and it's so awesome to have it! I'm actually able to see all of the frozen meats that we have and I'm amazed at how much easier it has made my life! It's fully stocked with lots and lots of flour, butter, frozen veggies, and any kind of meat imaginable. Having it should truly help me in my quest to save us money on our grocery bill. The possibilities are endless!


My baby has become so much more active over the last couple of days or so. She's insane! She rolls from front to back and back to front... Just not on demand quite yet! :-) She's hilarious because she's staring to blow raspberries so she always has spit on her face (which I wipe off constantly) and she has learned to take her socks off. She loves to reach for things and grab at things and put them in her mouth. My sleepy little infant and has woken up BIG TIME! She gets on her knees like she's going to crawl and I'm hoping that that's a ways up the road. I'm not sure if I'm quite ready for her to be mobile!

Everything is going beautifully in our little world and I have no complaints:-) This time of year is my absolute favorite so that definitely makes it all the better!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Jarring and Canning?

I have the urge to learn how to jar and can some of our foods. I make homemade applesauce that is to die for (if I do say so myself!) and I was thinking that there's no reason why I can't learn to jar it so we can enjoy it all year long. While apples are available year round and it's quick and easy to prepare, it would be that much better if I could make it now while apples are super, super cheap. I was also thinking that it would be a great thing to give as gifts in Christmas baskets.

Another thing that I was thinking I could jar is my homemade salsa. I love making it and it's so, so, so much better than the nasty jar stuff but it's a pain to get the food processor and everything out for one measly batch. If I made that in bulk and put it into jas it would be so nice to have on hand for parties and/or gift baskets.

The possibilities are endless, really... Spaghetti sauce? Vegetables? This could be a really fun hobby for me and I'm ALWAYS looking for things to do in my spare time.

Then, there's the negative Jillian I have to battle... Part of me thinks that I won't be any good at it or that I'll do it wrong and make people sick from somehow letting bacteria grow in it. Also, I wonder if all of the mason jars and stuff are really expensive? I think I also need a special boiling pot to boil the jars in, too. I can't imagine that it would really be THAT much money though.

Have any of you ever had any experience with this sort of thing? If so, please give me your insight! I want to try it so bad!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Bargains are BLISS!

With a little bit of encouragement from my sister, I have become addicted to getting bargains on groceries and other household items. Prior to this whole coupon/bargain/saving money addiction, I would pretty much put whatever in my shopping cart without even thinking twice about how much things cost. I would go to various stores in search of cheaper foods if I happened to notice something in the sales guides, but I certainly wasn't clipping coupons and planning out my visits before each shopping trip.

My favorite store as of late is CVS. I'm telling you, people, you can save so much money there. They have these wonderful things called Extra Care Bucks that they give you when you buy certain products (that vary from week to week) and it makes it fun to see how much money you can save! Today I got 3 things of Advil, 1 Chapstick, 1 Glade Sense N' Spray starter kit, 1 Glad Reed Diffuser, 1 Robitussin, 4 12 packs of Diet Coke, and Revlon blush and eye shadow all for a grand total of $17 (I also used almost $20 worth of coupons that I printed online) with 3 bucks back at the end. I made 4 separate purchases to take advantage of my Extra Care Bucks that I had earned from some of those products (a total of $24) and left there spending a minimal amount of money. Normally I wouldn't have spent that much but there were no coupons for the soda and I had to pay a deposit on all of that. Overall, it was still a great bargain! I was able to splurge on some makeup that would have been pretty expensive otherwise.

Next, I headed to Price Chopper where I got 88 dollars worth of groceries for 40 dollars!!!!!! I got free Clorox bleach, 3 free packages of Steamfresh vegetables and free Airwick air freshener. Amongst the free stuff, I also got some mega bargains- Tide for 4 dollars (I got 2 bottles!) and 8 boxes of General Mills cereal for a grand total of $2.70. I got a bunch of other stuff there that was priced well, too, but those were my best deals.

I am having so much fun saving my family money and am going to strive to be a better home economist. This is definitely a learning experience for me but I'm just trying to do my part! I might as well enjoy doing it, right?

*As a totally unrelated side note, I just want to brag on Brooke really quick. She was ACCIDENT FREE today and I'm so proud of her! She wore panties to gymnastics, during our shopping trips, out to lunch to McDonald's, and to my parents' house tonight. By golly, I think she's got it!

Monday, October 19, 2009

More Potty Talk

Over the last couple of days, potty training has taken a turn for the better with Brooke! I'm seriously on top of the world because of it and I dare say that this is IT with her. I better be sure not to get too hopeful of that, though, in case she digresses.

It really all started yesterday morning when she declared that she was wearing panties to church and NOT a Pull Up. I honestly had no idea what to do.. Was I supposed to let her wear panties and risk lots of accidents and frustration on her both? Or was I supposed to argue with her and not even give her an opportunity to succeed? I called my sister and the first words out of my mouth were, "I don't know what to do!" Lol! After talking about it, I ended up letting Brooke wear her panties to church and she stayed dry the ENTIRE morning!! She even let people know when she had to go. It was truly amazing! We had a special lunch after the regular service and Brooke was approaching nap time and eating when she had her first accident. It really wasn't that bad though... Thanks to the plastic pantie covers that Alison brought for us! After that, though, she had no more accidents the rest of the day. What a champ!

This morning we got off to a rough start. During breakfast Brooke peed but immediately said, "Ugh oh!" like she knew it was wrong. We also had another issue with poop because she tried to get to the bathroom but didn't quite make it in time. She was making an honest effort though! After that, however, the day got better and better! Once we got into our groove, the accidents were non-existent! I'm super impressed because I put her in a Pull Up for her nap and she woke up completely dry and then she used the potty immediately after waking up. As she played this afternoon, she got up whenever she needed to go pee pee without me even prompting her to do so! Tonight we watched a Christmas movie in my bed to celebrate her success and she didn't even have any accidents during that whole time. She's amazing!

Tomorrow we're going to gymnastics and I'm not quite sure what I'm going to do about that. I had thought about taking a week off just to kind of figure this potty training stuff out but I don't want to take something away from her that she loves so much. Life must go on, right? She's doing great but when we're out and about there's not telling what she'll do at this point. I'm still kind of nervous about all of that...

Things are looking up! I am SO PROUD of Brooke and how quickly she has caught on to all of this. We can do this after all!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Adventures in Potty Training

The potty training saga continues and let me tell you, it's getting old! After several of you commented and told that when Brooke was ready that she would pick it up, I decided to stop stressing about it. However, over the last couple of days we've been talking a lot about potty training and this morning she actually asked to wear her Elmo panties. I wasn't going to say no so I went with it. Here's how the day went...

*She was dry from 9-11:30 and went pee pee on the potty twice. At that point, I thought that she just might be getting the hang of it and I was VERY excited!

*Today was John's day off and we had some essential errands to run so we left the house. Brooke wanted to wear her panties but I suggested a Pull Up. After some coaxing, she was fine with that. When we got to our first stop (the grocery store) she said that she needed to use the potty. After rushing back to the store's bathroom she saw the big potty and said, "I want MY toilet mommy!" I said, "Brooke, you're going to have to use that big potty. I promise it won't be scary!" At that point she told me that she would just hold it. Whatever... I didn't want to make a big production and traumatize her so I just let it go.

*When we got home, the Pull Up was moderately wet but I didn't really let that get me down. We switched right back to panties and she used the potty once and then stayed dry for another hour or so.

*Then... The accidents started happening for the rest of the night. The first accident was my fault because I was upstairs putting laundry away while she was playing downstairs. I forgot that I really do need to be on top of her at all times throughout this. The second accident happened about 2 minutes after she had sat on the potty and said she didn't have to go. That one CRUSHED me. The last accident happened while she was eating dessert. Who could blame her... Dessert or potty? Hmm...

When it was finally bedtime, I think John and I were both relieved that the potty training was done for the day. This is SO MUCH WORK. Holy cow! I love having kids but so far, this has been the worst part of parenting.

So, all you experienced mamas out there, I have some questions...

1. What do I do when we go out? She's petrified of big toilets and I'm not sure how we'll ever be able to go places when she's fully trained.

2. Do you have any tricks for getting your child to actually go on the potty when you know their bladder is full? Remember how I said that she went in her pants like two minutes after "trying." Is there a special trick to help with that?

3. Obviously I can't put her in panties while we're out and about now... Are Pull Ups too much like diapers to really do the trick?

I HATE POTTY TRAINING. But... I love my little girl:-) It can only get better, right??

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Looking Back

There are times in life when things are tough. We are often hit with curveballs and are forced to face things that we would much rather not. I'm not sure exactly what verse or scripture says this, but I know that the Bible says to write down the things that Lord does for you so that you can look back on them and be encouraged.

As I remember back to this date exactly a year, I am reminded of how God has blessed my family and provided for us in the midst of a very scary, uncertain time. To sumarize, I was newly pregnant with Adrienne and I started to have some bleeding that morning. After crying and worrying and being very afraid, we went to the doctor only to find her precious heart beating. I'll never get that miraculous moment because through the fear, my faith was greatly increased.

I am so thankful for Adrienne and that she is here safely... Through it all!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

"Leaving it Up to God"

I just watched the TLC showing of Anna and Josh Duggar's baby being born. It was a beautiful birth... The kind of birth that I have always wanted, actually, and it was great to watch.

Prior to the baby's birth in the episode the couple was asked how many children they wanted to have and they said, "We're leaving it up to God." Here's my deal... I know that God is sovereign and His will will be done. I absolutely believe that and I'm not trying to dispute that in any way, shape, or form. However, can we take that sovereignty one step too far and not think for ourselves? Here are a couple of examples- If we believe that God will protect us while we're riding in the car, then why do we wear seat belts? If we believe that God will provide for our needs, why do we save and/or make money? If we believe that God already knows who will accept Him or not, then why do we witness? If we believe that our health is in God's hands, why do we see doctors? Those are all comical thoughts, right? Why do some say that with birth control though?

I am not ridiculing the Duggar's (or anyone else with large families) but I'm just questioning the whole train of thinking. I, for one, absolutely believe in birth control and I don't think that by taking it that I am telling God to butt out of my family planning. John and I are praying about our family size and we are willing to be done having babies but we are also willing to have more kids if that's God's plan. In my eyes, not using any form of birth control is doing it completely backwards.

Don't get me wrong, large families are great. I don't think that it's wrong to have lots and lot of kids... I just don't think that there should be any pressure (religious or otherwise) to make lots of babies. Those who opt to plan their families this way are not more holy than me and I am no holier than them for my point of view.

The bottom line is that yes, God is sovereign, but also, He made us to be intellectual, emotional, and thinking beings. I entrust my family size to Him completely and I submit wholeheartedly to His guidance. While I'm "leaving it up to God," I'm also going to apply some practical thinking and, for the time being, delay the growth of my family!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Apples Galore!

John's mom has been buying me tons and tons of apples lately. We love to eat them plain or with peanut butter (Brooke's favorite) or to make homemade applesauce, but mostly, I love to bake with them! I find that the fact that they rot is my motivation because I do NOT want to waste them.

The first thing I "mastered" this year was homemade apple pie. I had always wanted to learn how to make homemade pies but I assumed that it would be too hard for me. I was wrong! Believe it or not, I'm semi-decent at making them and they actually look kind of pretty when I'm done with them! I love to make pies for our home because John loves them but I also have like to bake pies to bless others. My mom works full time and was having dinner company the other night. To relieve the burden from her, I delivered a warm baked apple pie for her and her company. I have also baked for some neighbors that we have and they seem to appreciate my efforts!

After making apple pies got a little old, I started to move on to apple dumplings. I really love making these because they require you to measure and be precise... Which is again, something that I never thought I could do. Now that I've made them a couple of times, they're effortless and I LOVE making them!

A couple of weeks ago I made apple crisp for one of John's co-workers. I had said on Facebook that I was making apple crisp and this guy and his wife both said it was their favorite so the next day I dropped some off on their doorstep. It gave me so much joy to actually be able to do something nice for these people!

Tonight I made homemade cinnamon apple muffins. Patty (John's mom) makes them all the time and they are to die for. I am still amazed at how easy they were and how delicious they taste. I also brought some of those over to the neighbors and was very proud.

Sometimes I feel like as a stay-at-home-mom that I can't do much to bless others or like I'm so busy with my girls that I'm not much help to anyone, but little things like baking have helped me realize that I'm not useless. I intend and hope to continue to reach out of my comfort zone to find projects like this around the home. What's next... Knitting? That just might be stretching it!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Just Some Thoughts...

Everyday before heading into work, my husband puts on a bulletproof vest. He also straps to him an enormous gun belt that holds an asp, a gun, extra bullets, hand-cuffs, and a flashlight. As I look at him in all of his official police officer attire, part of me cringes because I'm afraid of what his job could possibly entail, but mostly, I'm proud.

As soon as John leaves, I pray for his safety and ask that God would protect him from all of the dangerous things that he may encounter. Then, I send him a text message telling him just how much I love him and how I hope that his night goes great. The most important part of our "goodbye ritual" is that we never leave an argument on the table and we always let our last words be words of love and kindness.

Throughout John's evening at work, it seems as though I rarely hear from him. He tries to call as much as he can to check in on us and to tell me that he loves me but mostly, he's busy pursuing criminals, pulling over vehicles, answering complaints, etc. My husband often drives at fast speeds, goes into the homes of absolute strangers, and encounters uncertain situations. There are extended times when I cannot get in touch with him and I wonder if everything really is okay with him but I try to not let my mind wander. It is not healthy for me to think those thoughts.

I try so hard to stand by my husband courageously and act like the dangers of his job don't kill me at times... But they do. I try to act like I'm full of faith in God and like I truly believe that my husband's safety is in His hands... But I don't always. I try to pretend like his job is not dangerous... But it is.

It's hard for me to handle and accept that John's job may require him to give his life for another and it scares me to death to know that to adequately support my husband is to "approve" of that. Really though, I'm in awe of my husband's positive attitude towards his job and it amazes me to watch him.

Sometimes I wonder why God didn't call John to be an accountant or an office manager or a teacher or a computer technician or... Anything else! But, this is what John feels as though he is being called to do with his life and I am slowly learning to let go of him and realize that his safety is not my responsibilities. It's God's! Something tells me that it won't always be easy to trust in this area but I have a lifetime of learning ahead!

Friday, October 9, 2009

4 Kids- Aged 3 and Under

My sister and her husband had a wedding to go to tonight and my parents, who usually help out with babysitting duties, are away on their anniversary trip to Seattle. My brother and his wife were also invited to the same wedding, making them unavailable to babysit, so I volunteered to watch my niece, Jenna, and nephew, Nathan. I knew in my head that it would really be a big undertaking but I decided that it would be fine. John was initially supposed to help me but when his schedule got switched up, he no longer had this date off. Thankfully, my trusty sister-in-law, Sarah, came over to help me out. Boy, she was a lifesaver!

Let's face it, when you have a 3 year old, a 2.5 year old, a 10 month old, and a 4 month old all together under one roof, it's going to be crazy no matter how you slice it. Even though each kid was truly at their very best tonight, it was still pretty hectic around here! The kids were dropped off at around 3 and I had a nice snack waiting for them... Sliced apples with peanut butter to dip it in. Jenna just had plain apples and cheerios because she's still too young for the peanut butter. Anyways, that was a great way to kick off our time together because it occupied the kids for a while!

After snack time, the kids played and played and played some more. I must say, they all interacted really well together and there were only a few quarrels between the oldest two... Brooke and Nathan. Everyone shared great and the babies were just awesome and content the whole time! We had a super kid friendly dinner of chicken nuggets, french fries and green beans and all of them devoured it! YAY!! I think Jenna had THREE chicken nuggets and tons and tons of green beans. I love a baby who likes to be fed:-) Lol

Bath time was really another one of those activities that was my saving grace because it occupied the three older kids for a good while. They all had so much fun splashing and playing together and truthfully, I was just happy to have them all contained in such a small space!!

Bedtime was going awesome. Perfectly smooth and wonderful, actually. Adrienne had fallen asleep and Jenna followed shortly behind her. To wind down the big kids I had a movie night planned- We made popcorn, drank juice boxes, each kid had one thing of Smarties, and we snuggled up in my bed to a Christmas movie (it's never too early)! Then... Jenna decided to wake up. The rest of the night was history from there... She was bright eyed and wide awake until her mommy and daddy came at 10:30. Thankfully, all of the other kids slept great, though! Actually, I was able to spend some rare hours of alone time with my precious niece that I wouldn't have ordinarily been able to enjoy.

The night really couldn't have gone any better! I'm so blessed to have 4 wonderful babies in my life to make me smile and laugh constantly. As wonderful as they are, I'm wiped out so I'm going to put my feet up and rest now! Goodnight, world!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

More Sickness:-(

We cannot seem to stay healthy over here. It's getting old very quickly! I have a nasty case of asthma as it is so whenever I get a cold or a cough, it's bad. It almost always turns into a respiratory infection or bronchitis and it takes a lot for me to get over it.

After coughing for weeks and constantly reaching for my rescue inhaler to be able to catch my breath, it all came to a head on Monday night. John was at work and I had just put Adrienne to bed. Brooke was in the tub when my sister, Alison, called and I could hardly talk to her without having to take a breath every few seconds. She was concerned but I hung up the phone with her and took a breathing treatment, in hopes of some relief. I hardly even noticed a difference after taking the treatment.

A few minutes later John stopped by to grab some dinner and at that point, I was dizzy, my fingers were tingling, and breathing was extremely painful. He was the only car on the road at that time so he couldn't leave work to take care of me. Luckily, his mom had just stopped in to drop something off at our house and she was able to watch Brooke for me so I could go to the emergency room. John's mom called my sister and my mom to take me to the hospital. One of them was going to stay here with Adrienne so she could sleep but we didn't know how long I would be and we didn't want her to wake up hungry... Especially since I had no milk in the freezer or anything.

After getting to the hospital, they injected me with a steroid shot and then gave me three breathing treatments in an hour. I left the hospital about 2 hours later feeling like a completely new woman. They said it was bronchitis, and like I said, that coupled with asthma is rough.. Especially when you're an idiot and you let it go untreated for so long! I'm on an oral steroid and an antibiotic now to continue to fight this and I'm so thankful to have my lungs almost back to normal!

On top of my issues, Brooke has a nasty, nasty cough and runny nose and all of that. Luckily, she's acting more like herself today, which is great. Hopefully the cough continues to disappear so she can sleep more soundly. She's been coughing a lot at night.

John called in to work for the first time last night because he was running a fever, had a throbbing headache, and was achy all over. It sounds a lot like the flu so we were kind of nervous about that. He still doesn't feel great but he's going to go to work tonight. I hate having him sick but I LOVE having him home.

Hopefully Adrienne stays healthy and we all start to feel "normal" again. If not, it's going to be a LONG, LONG winter. Wish us luck!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Pumpkin Farm!!

Today we took the girls to the pumpkin farm and had a wonderful time. We look forward to going there very Fall and we always enjoy ourselves so much when we go. The weather was absolutely perfect today, too. There was just a nip in there but it wasn't freezing. I'm all about that!

Brooke got to feed goats, baby pigs, and bunnies and she really got a kick out of it. She's hilarious because she's petrified of hay so any time she had to go remotely near it she would cringe. She's such a girly girl. What can I say?

Adrienne was her happy, content self the whole time and just took it all in. She's at that stage now where she stares at a certain object and if you move her, she'll do whatever it takes to not take her eyes off of it. I love watching the world through her eyes (and Brooke's, for that matter)! I'm really looking forward to next year because she'll most likely be running all around by then. I can't wait for that!

Brooke picked out her annual pumpkin for herself and then she picked out Adrienne a tiny, tiny one. It's funny because if you look at our front steps there's this enormous pumpkin next to a tiny pumpkin that's like the size of an apple. It's the thought that counts, right? Lol! As for me, I got all of my gourdes and pretty corn to decorate my house with. Things are looking pretty festive around here, I must say.

It was an overall great day! Now it's time to unwind with my husband and watch a movie. Happy Fall, everyone!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

You Only Get ONE Chance

I read something today that really made me think. It's a seemingly obvious and simple statement, but I think it's pretty profound... "Remember, your kids only get one childhood." While everyone really knows that, how often do we sit down and think about what that means? When raising kids, it's so easy to get caught up in the mundane things of life that you just start going through the motions. After reading that statement, though, I'm going to really, really start focusing more on giving my girls amazing childhoods that they will look back on fondly one day.

For me, it's easy to be so schedule-oriented and so worried about accomplishing things that I miss opportunities to laugh or be silly. Of course I laugh with my kids and have fun with them, but when I'm trying to meet their needs, I often snap into "work mode." There are obviously times and places to be focused on being productive, but there needs to be a fine balance between that and the times of total and complete goofiness. I need to learn to take life much less seriously and realize that some things are just not that big of deal.

I also need to learn to pick my battles more wisely. Sometimes Brooke wants to wear black shoes with brown pants and in the grand scheme of things, that does NOT matter. If I choose now to be lenient on things of absolutely no eternal importance, then I really that my kids won't feel as though they're incapable of making any decisions for themselves. Besides, why would I want to start a fight over shoes when there are real issues waiting just around the corner??

I also want to focus on being more intentional in things that I do with my kids. I said it a few weeks ago, but Brooke and I have been baking a lot together and I've been including her during my cooking time. Because of something so simple, she and I have spent countless hours laughing and working together. As my children grow, it will be important for me to foster their interests and abilities. Also, I want them to know that I choose to do things that they enjoy because of my great love for them.

The list of how I can give my children wonderful childhoods could go on and on. What it boils down to, however, is that they know how loved and valued they are by their mom and dad. John and I can never, ever show them that too much but we're sure as heck going to try!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Potty Training Envy

I distinctly remember a night in the church nursery when Brooke was just a couple of months old. A couple of the other moms and I were talking and I was mentioning how Brooke hadn't rolled over yet. At that moment, I decided that I wasn't ever going to put my kids on a "time table" or get stressed about when they accomplished things but that I was just going to accept if they were early or late bloomers. I also decided that I would never use my child as a source of competition and that I wouldn't compare their abilities to the abilities of others. Brooke has always been an early bloomer.. She crawled early, walked at 9 months, has always had amazing verbal skills, etc.. So really, I've never had place to become frustrated at her time table. Until NOW, that is.

We've been casually working on potty training for a while now. Brooke went through a stage a couple of months ago where she was really into potty training and of course we encouraged it! Just when she was starting to succeed, she got sick and now she refuses to wear panties anymore. That is so extremely frustrating because I know that she's ready.

I had planned on not letting this set-back get me down and I figured that Brooke would eventually regain interest in the potty. Then, we went to gymnastics and I realized that a bunch of the other little girls around Brooke's age were wearing panties. I love my daughter so much and am so extremely proud of her, but I found myself growing slightly envious that she wasn't potty trained.

I feel like I'm in a tough spot here. I can push Brooke to use the potty, even though she's adamantly opposed to it right now. Or, I could wait until she's ready and risk buying her diapers until she's 4, which I'm NOT willing to do. I want to encourage her enough so that she's excited but not so much that she's totally turned off to the idea.

Does anyone have any thoughts on this???? Remember, I'm a newbie in the world of potty training!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

4-Month Check-Up

Adrienne had her well baby visit today and everything went great! She weighs exactly 15 pounds and is 25.5 inches long. Brooke, at 4 months, weighed slightly more at 15 pounds, 6 ounces and she was an inch longer. It's so much fun to compare the two girls for some reason!

As expected, Adrienne had to have two shots:-( Surprisingly, she only fussed for a couple of seconds with those. The roto-virus vaccine, which is given orally, was the worst for her. She hates medicine and she was gurgling and gagging on it. While it was pitiful for her, it was almost comical to watch because she was just livid about having to taste the stuff. Brooke would drink medicine if you let her but not Adrienne!

When Adrienne had her shots at 2 months of age, she took it pretty hard... She spent the whole day being grumpy and miserable. Well, today has proven to be the same thing. She screamed for about an hour straight this afternoon and has rotated between sleeping and fussing. I hope that my normal Adrienne returns in the morning. One can hope, right?

It was so cute because Brooke was in the doctor's office with us and we kept telling her that the doctor would give her a lollipop if she behaved for Adrienne's appointment. He's so good with the kids and he is always giving them lollipops! Anyways, he was looking over Adrienne and Brooke was just staring at him with this enormous smile on her face. In his thick Indian accent, the doctor asked Brooke if she would like her lollipop and she gave him this face like, "I thought you were never going to ask." Lol! It was priceless. I wish I had had our camera or something! No, it doesn't take much to make Brooke happy!

Alrighty, I've got some work to do around the house. I just wanted to rave about my healthy little girls! :-)