Thursday, July 31, 2008

Almost there...

Ellie's new room is almost complete. She has been sleeping in it for about a week and has been doing just fine. In fact, perhaps sleeping in a little later than she was in the old room. Originally we didn't want to buy another crib so Ellie had two options. She was either going to get the crib moved into her new room and the baby was going to get the Pack n' Play for a few months, or Ellie was going to go to a twin mattress on the floor, which I wasn't crazy about. Then Rob spotted cribs on clearance at my favorite store (Target) for 50% off! Woohoo! The cheaper of the two available also had a torn box with a small scratch on a piece of the crib. I brought this to the attention of the head cashier and negotiated another 10% off. When I put it together, it turns out the scratch was on a piece that will never be seen unless you crawl underneath the crib and look in the back right corner...bring a flashlight.

The flowers and wall colors perfectly match her bedding. However, her bedding was bought for a twin matress so it will be awhile before the whole room comes together. The only things left for us to complete in the meantime are the closet and a window valence. The closet used to be home to our vacuum and other random items and I'm having trouble finding a new suitable spot for these things. Luckily, Ellie's clothes are small and fit nicely in a plastic bin for now. The valence is purchased and just needs a curtain rod. As often as I'm at Target, this should be complete soon. With only 9 days left until Baby #3 joins the family, I'm getting into crunch time for small projects I want to accomplish.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

That's not standard?

Did you know that growing up, and well past adolescence (ok, I was probably in college when I figured it out), I thought that all houses had hot water piped to the outside. Before my parents put in the swimming pool, we had the flimsy sided pool just like everyone else in the neighborhood. Only, ours was different. Well, maybe the pool wasn't so different, but our water was magic. We could swim in it right away without having to wait for the sun to heat up the frigid outdoor hose water. I took this for granted many summer days. Turned out my dad, the plumber, had piped hot water to the outside so that our pool was the perfect temperature as soon as it was filled. We were spoiled.

As a mom myself now, I have had many days where I wish I had this feature. I would have to set the pool up outside around 8am and then perhaps around 11am it would be warm enough for the kids to get in a quick dip before lunch and naptime. This is no longer a problem.

That horizontal pipe was just installed by my dad this week. It comes directly off our hot water heater and with a little adjusting of the valves, voila! I have the perfect temperature water running to my outdoor spigot. And the kids have a pool ready to go whenever the mood strikes (me, not them).

We tested it out for the first time today. The sky was overcast and would have never warmed up our water but we they were swimming as soon as the pool was filled. Austin did a few jumps into the pool including a belly flop or two of sorts. Then he started sticking his head underwater. I had purchased a pair of goggles for him awhile ago to use at my parents pool, but Rob reminded me of them and we thought this would be a good time to try them out. The first few head dunks were still done with closed eyes but he eventually understood that having goggles on meant he didn't have to close his eyes anymore.

Ellie mostly enjoyed getting out of the pool...then back in...then get the point. I suppose it won't be long before she joins her brother in dunking her head under. Or, probably more likely, before they start trying to dunk each other under.

And all our kids can all grow up thinking everyone has a hot water option for their outside faucet.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

All Boy

As Austin gets older, he turns more and more into the stereotypical boy. Today we went to the park. A huge playground full of great equipment and what does Austin want to do? He played in a pile of dirt. First he was Simba Lion leaving footprints, then he used Lightning McQueen (who was in tow as usual) to drive around. Austin was absolutely filthy when we left. You know it's bad when you're own kid requests a bath.

He has also recently taken to saying "funny" words (that is subjective) over and over...and over. For example: butt. One favorite phrase in particular is "Ellie just fell flat on her butt!" followed by crazy laughter and then repeated no less than 15 times in case I didn't hear it the first dozen times. Now, Rob and I don't go around the house yelling "Butt! Ha ha ha!" so I started to wonder where this has come from. Well Grandpa Runchey...I'm looking at you! Austin finally spilled the beans and solved my mystery. "Ellie was walking to Grandpa Runchey and he said 'Ellie fell flat on her butt' and then he tickled her." Your secret is no longer safe. Of course, Grandpa Runchey isn't Austin's only influence. Even Ellie has joined in tormenting me. Today she walked to a table turned around and said "Booger!" Honest to God, clear as day, Ellie, for whatever reason said "Booger". Austin cracked up. "Ellie said booger! Ellie said booger!" And now booger has become a new favorite word.

I'm not sure what is next on the list of boy things to do, but the way he flies around the house leaping off furniture when he thinks we're not looking and scaling playground equipment (when there isn't a pile of dirt around) meant for kids twice his age...I wouldn't be surprised if a broken bone is around the corner. I hope I'm wrong. I saw this somewhere once and it seems appropriate:

Boy (noun): a noise with dirt on it

Monday, July 21, 2008

Jiminy Cricket!

I'm not sure what it would be called, but I won some sort of "Mom" award today. Right after nap time I glanced outside and saw that my neighbor had dropped off a basket of stuff on our front porch. It was some things I had tried to sell in her garage sale and a basket of clothes her daughter has outgrown (this little girl has pretty much outfitted Ellie since she was born). I grabbed everything and brought it inside and started going through the loot. Then I took a break to get the kids an afternoon snack. As I was pouring some milk I felt the telltale sign of a bug on my shoulder. I hesitantly took a peek and sure enough, out of my peripheral vision I saw something big and black on the back of shoulder. EWWW! I immediately swatted at it and did my "there's a bug on me" dance which Austin always gets a kick out of. Onto the floor dropped a cricket. It must have come inside with the porch stuff. So, I grabbed a paper towel ready to squish it when I remembered Austin's bug box he got for his birthday. I then put aside my great dislike for all 6 and 8 legged creatures, got his bug box (prayed the cricket wouldn't hop into a hiding place), and trapped the cricket in the box. Austin now has a pet cricket. He was allowed to look at it at the kitchen table during snack time (while I did some more praying that the box wouldn't fall off the table and set the cricket free) and then I told him the cricket would be much happier on the deck. Which is where it is currently residing. However the cricket will make a miraculous escape tonight after he goes to bed which will make me even happier.

If this isn't love I'm not sure what is. Never in a million years would I dream that I would spare the life of a bug for anyone, much less allow it to hang out on my kitchen table for awhile. Gross!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Rub a dub dub

Last Sunday my parents had spaghetti for the Sunday dinner. This is one of my kids' favorites. I really like it too but learned to like it less when Austin came along because of the mess that he created while eating. He eventually got the hang of a fork and it became a favorite again. Now enter Ellie. Following in her brother's footsteps, she can hide noddles in places you would never think and uses the sauce to finger paint her tray. You're probably thinking "Feed it to her with a fork" but Ellie is stubborn and won't allow that. She'll just grab the food off the fork before you can get to her mouth and then you're back where you started from only more frustrated because your one year old is too quick for you.

To make matters worse on Sunday (or better depending on how much you like Hostess cupcakes) the dessert was a Hostess cupcake. I had to shared with Ellie. Actually, I believe I devoured my own, and then ate half of Ellie's, but saying that I shared sounds better. The result was a horrible orange and brown mess of sticky noodles, sauce, and cupcake crumbs. My mom suggested we just put her right in the tub. After surveying the damage I knew she was right. She filled the sink and in she went. At first Ellie wasn't sure what to think of it, but then the splashing began and she thought it was pretty great. We had a courtesy drain and refill so that she was actually playing in clean water.

She would have played in that sink for a long time but due to the amount of water she was splashing around, we cut it short....right after I had another cupcake.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Cutie Patooties

It's time for an update. It's been due for awhile but I really can't think of anything to update y'all on. So, I will just take this moment to comment on how cute my kids are! It's my completely biased opinion of course.

Rob has been traveling since Monday morning so I was a bit worried about this week and how it would go. What a difference it makes in my day when I can count on Rob coming home by 6pm to give me some back-up. Austin has been especially trying for the last 2-3 weeks which hasn't helped matters.

However! Everything has been going great. In the last 3 days, Austin has only been in timeout maybe twice. That's a new record for him lately. He has helped me with cleaning up at the end of the day and so has Ellie. We sing a song while we tackle the mess and Austin sings along. Just today Ellie joined in. She is trying so hard to copy us lately. The words to the song are "Clean up clean up, everybody, everywhere, clean up clean up everybody do your share". Austin sings "Clean up, clean up a body help. Clean up clean up a body share". Ellie sings "Up......up.....up" to her own beat. But, she puts toys in the plastic box as she does it.

Also, Ellie has been getting more and more brave with her walking attempts. She is more willing to let go of the wall and take a few steps to a new spot on the wall. Today she walked from her toy chest to her crib which was about 9 steps. I made such a big deal of it that Austin wanted to join in. So, they had to take turns. First, Ellie would try walking to me. Then Austin would try walking to me. Amazingly Austin was able to make the journey every time. Then he'd yell "I want to do this again" as he ran back to the toy box. Then he'd turn around and "attempt" to walk to me again like a staggering drunk which is apparently how he views Ellie's attempts.

After about a half hour of walking Austin announced "What's that noise?" I said I wasn't sure (since I didn't hear anything) and he said "That's just my stomach bowling." (he means growling) so I suggested lunch and the suggestion was received with "Woohoo Baby!" (Austin) and "Baby!" (Ellie).

So, although perhaps not as much is getting done around the house without my backup coming home each night, the kids and I have all been enjoying each others company with minimal timeouts. Not bad.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

It's raining, it's pouring...

It's hailing, it's blowing! I'm a big storm wimp. I've mentioned it before and here I go again. This afternoon the kids and I ran some errands. On the way home it started raining. No big deal. In fact, Austin and I were excited because he just got a new Lightning McQueen umbrella from Grandma and the rain we were getting would be a perfect chance to use it (not hard, no lightning, still warm out). As soon as we got home we went over the rules: Stay on the deck, don't throw the umbrella off the deck, try to actually use the umbrella as it's intended, and when I say your done...your done. Once those were taken care of, off he went. He had a great time jumping in the little puddles and flying McQueen (who was on the handle) through the air. I, in the meantime, started to prepare lunch while Ellie sat at the window and watched her brother jealously.
Then the sirens started. Really? Sirens? At first I thought it was just the first Wednesday of the month and the county was testing them. Then I realized it was Thursday. But still, it didn't look that bad out. Nevertheless, I reeled in Austin and turned on the TV to find out more. Just a thunderstorm warning, no big deal. Still, the sirens had me perplexed so I took another glance outside. Yikes! The sky was green! A very eerie Grinch colored green and with it the wind was picking up.

Immediately my mind starts racing and I'm thinking back to the recent tornado that swept through Parkersburg, IA where a friend of mine lives and her house was completely leveled (while her two young kids and parents were inside..everyone is fine). I remember hearing that they only had about 3 minutes from the sirens to the tornado and I just wasted two doubting the sirens I was hearing. I grabbed the phone and the kids and headed to the basement. I was trying not to scare the kids so when Austin inquired on what we were doing in the basement, much less the section he's not allowed to play in, I said "We're going to have a picnic down here!" I then called both my sister and Rob to find out what the heck was going on. We have both a TV and a radio in our basement. The TV was set to "video" and I couldn't remember how to switch it back to antenna and I couldn't find the stereo remote which is the only way I know how to turn on Rob's old system. After a few minutes I did manage to get a CD playing (Dave Mathew's Band) and although that was nice it wasn't what I was looking for at the moment.

Finally my sister called back with the "all clear". I tried to round the kids up again to go upstairs for lunch but Austin wasn't going to budge without his picnic and Ellie was having way too much fun with the toys she found. I went up alone and came back with PB&J sandwiches, juice boxes, chips, and granola bars for everyone. We enjoyed our basement picnic and I found the stereo remote!

Aside from our deck furniture being slightly rearranged and our neighbors large gas grill being pushed across her deck, everything outside looks normal. In fact, now it's a beautiful sunny day out but my kids are still snoring.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Austin turns 3!!!

Happy Birthday Austin! We have had a very eventful day! It started with a trip to get donuts, then off to Target to pick up some last minute supplies for his birthday party with his friends. I decided fairly last minute that the kids he invited over could play "Pin the tire on McQueen". This involved drawing and coloring a large McQueen and some tires. I enlisted the help of my mom (and dad to entertain the kids). Between the two of us, we finally got it figured out and I'm quite proud of our drawing if I do say so myself. It took long enough so it's not going in the trash anytime soon.

After we finished that up Rob called and was able to meet us for lunch. That was a nice surprise. Austin got a happy meal and the rest of us ate at Noodles and Company. When we got home from lunch it was outside to play in the pool. I filled it up at 8am so it would warm up in the sun throughout the morning. This is where things got dicey. We didn't have much troubles with the "Terrible Twos" but it has been quite clear this last week that we will be experiencing the "Terrible Threes". Yikes! Austin threw his cars (he now carries two Lightning McQueens everywhere he goes) out of the pool almost hitting Ellie twice and Mia once, and the fourth time of warning him not to throw his cars or he'd lose them, I finally took them away. I didn't want to have to do that, especially on his birthday but he also needs to learn to listen. He immediately started crying...hysterically. So, I gathered up my wet little bunch of kids and in the house we went. Austin is on the verge of hyperventilating at this point because he doesn't have his cars. Ellie is way overdo for a nap and I am soaking wet from carrying two wet kids into the house. Good times.

Luckily he woke up happy and was even happier to see a stack of presents for him. When Rob got home he opened them up (after his favorite spaghetti dinner).

At 6pm his friends showed up for his little party. I tried to have Austin practice "Pin the tire on McQueen" before they arrived so at least one kid would know what was going on and the others could follow suit, but he wasn't interested. He liked the idea of getting dizzy with a blindfold on, but when it came time to put the tire on McQueen he HAD to have his eyes open. One of our neighbors, Tom, tried to explain it to the kids with a demonstration of his own.

But, we only had one honest kid in the bunch. Mia kept her blindfold on.

After this we took the party outside to run off some energy and then back inside for cake and ice cream. We sang Happy Birthday to Austin, but when it came time to insert his name, he halted us mid-song and said "No, no! I'm just Buzz Lightyear right now". So, we had to alter the words a bit. With a little help from dad he got his candles blown out.
There was a lot more running around, mostly guarding his toys (sharing is not a skill set he believes in), and then the party was over. It's 9pm now and he is an hour past bedtime. I can hear him in his room playing with everything but I'll let it slide tonight being it's his birthday and all. Plus, I'm wiped out from today's activities and will probably be asleep long before him. With his 3 year old age came a new burst of energy I'm having trouble keeping up with these days!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Fantastic Long Weekend!

Usually the weekends fly by so fast. This weekend was longer with the 4th thrown in there and it really made a difference. Thursday night we had a bonfire with some neighbors and made s'mores. That is, until the mosquitoes got the best of us. I thought I made it without a bite, but I have since found 6 and they are driving me crazy. Friday we headed to my parents house and Rob and I did some swimming while Ellie and Austin napped. Then we did even more swimming after they woke up! Austin went from being a bit scared of the pool to a fish. It was great! Maybe it's because I grew up with a pool and loved (and still do) to swim, but it's very important to me that my kids are comfortable in the pool and also learn how to swim well. So when he all of the sudden flipped his switch from scared little guy to fish, I jumped at the chance to get him in the water as much as possible. He turned into Buzz Lightyear and would jump from the side yelling "To infinity and beyond!" and then I'd catch him in the water. Little by little I had him go more into the water before I caught him and pretty soon he was going all the way under (with minimal coughing...if only Buzz would learn to finish his chant before he actually reached the water).
Unfortunately, our practice session was cut short due to dinner. Fortunately the dinner was delicious. After dinner, Rob took over as swim coach and got even more accomplished with Austin. More jumps off the side, throwing him up in the air, and eventually Austin was even requesting to just go under.
(We had to pull up his pants after every jump or toss)
He technique of holding his breath was a little odd. Made him look like a very sick child. My sister took some great pictures. He'd suck in his cheeks (holding his breath) and then close his eyes along with his hand over them, his hair blended in with his scalp so it looks like he is bald, all paired with the fact that he is skinny as can be to begin wasn't a pretty sight.

We had Ellie in the water for a bit too. But, we're still trying to keep her out of the sun due to her laser treatment. I have learned in the last week that the kids and I spend way more time outside than I thought and keeping her face shielded from the sun is no easy task. She was doused in 50 SPF sunscreen and was wearing a hat but every once in awhile she still got in the sun. The hat is borrowed from a neighbor and a bit large. If we put the flap down to block the sun, then she pretty much can't see anything. But, she looked cute.

Saturday we hung around the house in the morning and had a babysitter for the night. Rob and I enjoyed a nice dinner out by ourselves. Three hours and $15 later, we came home to a quiet house (kids asleep) and a clean family room. Not a bad deal, we thought.
Today we wasted away the morning at my parents pool...again. Austin was very excited to get back in the pool and performed all his new tricks. Hurray! Ellie enjoyed it a bit too but not as much as Austin, and again, we wanted to keep that pesky sun off her face so she went inside to play after about 45 minutes. My mom said she walked around the whole house (using walls). There is no place she can't get to if she puts her mind to it. Still just taking about 4 steps on her own before falling into a crawl. Soon enough!

All that packed into one weekend! I didn't even see one firework...but I will be hearing them throughout the neighborhood for the next month or more. Hope everyone had a great 4th!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Hide and Seek

Hide and seek is a popular game for us these days. Only, it would be more aptly named "Mom you count" in our house. The kids and I play it on a daily basis. Sometimes several times throughout the day. It goes a bit like this:

Austin: " Mom, you count!"

Me: "1...2...3.." (up to 10) "Ready or not here I come"

At this point Austin is in one of three places. Behind the blue chair, behind the tan chair, or underneath a table in our kitchen. I then pretend I can't find him and Ellie and I search high and low and after we give up Austin pops his head up and says "Boo!" and then "Mom, you count!" as he ducks back down into the exact same spot he was hiding before. This goes on for approximately 20 games before I can't do one game more and suggest something else. Yesterday the hiding spot was the table, and yesterday Ellie played along.

Austin at least had the idea to turn his back to me so that I couldn't actually see his face but Ellie didn't care. She just thought it was fun to be under the table. After I couldn't "find" them Austin would say "Boo! Ha ha, here I am" and then Ellie would parrot "Boo!". Yesterday we played about 50 games in a row because I was reading an interesting magazine article during my searching time. The first 25 games were played in English. Then Austin suggested I count in Spanish. Once he even popped his out to announce where he was and said "Hola!" Ellie stuck with "Boo!"

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Ellie's Nose Job

Ellie had her second visit to the plastic surgeon on Monday. Her first visit, a consult, was a couple weeks ago. Maybe not a nose job in the traditional sense, but it was decided that laser treatment on her nose was the best option. I'll back up a bit. Shortly after Ellie was born a small freckle appeared on her nose. It quickly grew into a small dot. Her pediatrician examined it and told us it was a hemangioma. These things show up shortly after birth, grow during the first year, then stay stationary for a few years, then slowly fade away. The best case scenario is that they are completely gone by age 7-9. Rob and I haven't really given it much thought since there is nothing we can do about it. Until recently. Right before her one year appointment I noticed that it had gotten a lot darker, almost purple and then a small scab formed on it. During her one year appointment her pediatrician said it most likely ulcerated and once that happens it is more likely to happen again and worse. She set us up to meet with the plastic surgeon. The only thing Rob and I knew was that if someone was going to treat our daughter's face with a laser, it was going to be the best plastic surgeon we could find. We were surprised then during our first visit with this Dr. when she suggested we do Ellie's first treatment right then and there. Not that we weren't comfortable with her after our chat, but to us it was a big deal and to her it was a 3 minute procedure. We ended up waiting after all. Nothing to do with her credentials and all to do with the fact that I hadn't had Ellie's 1st year pictures taken yet and it was possible that after this treatment she could have a bruise around her nose for 7 to 10 days. All the Dr.'s and nurses there were mom's so they understood my predicament and we rescheduled for Monday.

I was far more worried than anyone else, Ellie included. The whole process took about 5 minutes total. Rob and I weren't in the room with her but we didn't hear any blood curdling screams either so we think she did all right. Once Ellie was brought back to us, and more importantly her sippy cup, she was good as new. There wasn't much of a difference right away but I think about 5 hours later I noticed a small change and Rob agreed. It is definitely lighter in color. Here's some comparison pictures:

The above picture was taken last December when I was trying to get a shot of her two new teeth.
This one was taken tonight. Neither shot is incredibly flattering for Ellie but I think you can kind of tell through the photos that the color is lighter. The doctor told us she could tell by the way the laser was absorbed that it went really well and that the hemangioma was still in growth phase. She is happy we started treatment when we did and we'll go back in another four weeks for another session. In 2-4 sessions we will have hopefully met our goals of stopping it from ulcerating again, and also minimizing the appearance of it to almost nothing. Something I bet Ellie will appreciate more in 15 years. I will take a more flattering picture of her then!