Thursday, August 31, 2006

Random thoughts on Whitney

Brandon's day at school yesterday was uneventful. Yippee! (I'm guessing no news from the teacher is good news, right?) And since he's been getting so much blogging attention lately, I thought I should write a random post of Whitney thoughts.

*She has a crush on her Pediatric Opthalmologist, Dr. Buckley. I think I wrote a little about that after our last visit. But the other day we were in Sam's Club. We were waiting in line to pay. She started looking at my arm and said, "What's wrong with your arm?" I didn't think anything was wrong with it, but she was looking really closely. Then she got a mischievous little smile on her face and said, "I'm Dr. Buckley!" And started laughing. It cracked me up.

*She is WAY into American flags right now. When we go on our walks in the morning, she points out all of the flags along the way, hanging on houses or mailboxes or on license plates, etc. I never noticed what a patriotic neighborhood we had. She points and excitedly says, "An American Flag!!"

*She loves to sing. She makes up songs throughout the day about whatever's on her mind: "I am feeding my baby. I am combing my hair. The moon is outside. I like bugs." All sung to a tune that she came up with herself and changes each time. And whenever we listen to a CD of kiddie songs in the car, she will play Name That Tune with herself and will try to say the name of the song (or the movie that it came from) as soon as the song starts. She's good at it. She recognizes some of the songs before I do.

*I bought her this raincoat on clearance at the end of spring. I think it is just the cutest thing ever! And, just our luck, it was raining most of the day yesterday and all day so far today, so she finally gets to wear it. She has gotten lots of compliments.

*She has the best skin. We call her our little Mejicana(I just realized I don't even know how to spell that word! Is it supposed to have an X? Anyway, the J sounds like an H. You know what I mean.) because she definitely got more of my mom's genes than I did.

*Her favorite thing to play with right now is play-doh. She will stay in the playroom for 30-45 minutes at a time happily making pancakes and snakes and "dinner". However, she makes huge messes and it's all over the carpet in there. I found ants crawling beneath their table the other day. Sick! Who knew ants could eat playdoh? So I vacuumed really well and sprayed and might get the playdoh off the shelf after they 're gone.

*She also has started learning how to put together puzzles and that's what we did for some of our rainy day time this morning. She's at that point where puzzles can still be frustrating because she just can't figure out why those two pieces won't go together! But she's getting there.

*It's funny to hear her vocabulary because she picks up a lot of things from Brandon that most 2-year-olds wouldn't say. My personal favorite is, "I swear!" I'll say something like, "Where did you get that sticker?" Whitney:"From the playroom." Me:"Really?" Whitney: "I swear!" Cracks me up. She also is still learning to say her R's and has a slight Southern accent, I think. So it sounds like this: "I sway-uh!"

*Right now our patching routine consists of 3 days on and 1 day off. I LOVE when it's her day off. She is so pretty and that patch is just so darn distracting. It's fun to see BOTH of her dark brown eyes. And it's fun for her to just be "normal" when we're out in public.

*We went to storytime at the library this morning. We tried that a couple of times at the beginning of the year and she was just too restless to sit through it. She was such a big girl today. She sat really well through most of the 30 minutes while they read books and she participated in all of the action songs. It was adorable to watch.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

I thought Day 2 was rough???

Well, things have continued to go wrong with kindergarten. Poor Brandon. I was envisioning such an easy transition, but I guess he really is a little 5 year old boy and not the grown-up young man that I sometimes think he is!

Yesterday as soon as school got out, I got a call from his teacher. You know this can't be good, right? She said that Brandon is having a really hard time listening to her. He is very loud and disruptive. She said, "He is a boy's boy and if there is a mischief to be found, Brandon will find it." She said lunch time is particularly difficult. They are supposed to sit in their seats at the cafeteria the whole time they eat. Brandon thinks that is ridiculous. He was very rowdy and I guess was getting the kids at his table to act up with him. So, she moved him to another table and he was good for a little while and then got that whole table acting wild. GREAT! My kid is the trouble maker! She also said that they were going to have an afternoon recess and she told Brandon that it was a treat recess and if he couldn't listen, he wouldn't get to play with the other children. And he said, "I didn't want to go outside and play anyway!" So he had to sit out. So, she just wanted to make me aware of what was going on and talk to him about it at home so that he knew it was unacceptable behavior.

When the bus pulled up, he came running to the house, all smiles. I gave him a big hug and asked him how his day went. "Good." What did you do? "We had music time. We sang songs, but didn't get to play any instruments. Our teacher is Ms. Grant." He told me a little more about his day. Were you a good listener for Ms. Bledsoe? "Yes!" That's not what she told me. Then we had a LONG conversation about what's acceptable behavior in kindergarten. He really doesn't like school right now. I think it's too long for him. And it's a hard transition to learn all the new rules at this school.

I know he'll come around and will be doing fine by the end of the year. I'm just wondering how long it's going to take to get there. At the beginning of preschool last year, he had a rough time for the first MONTH and then he started to settle into the routine. I hope it doesn't take that long again!

On the plus side, I DID print out a little incentive calendar and it worked this morning. I told Brandon that he needs to get himself dressed, eat breakfast, brush his teeth, comb his hair, and pack his lunch without me having to push and prod. If he can do it for 10 days, we get to take the calendar to Chuck E. Cheese's for 10 free tokens. It was a miraculous turnaround this morning. He did every single one of those things without me asking and he made it out the door just in time for the bus. Phew.

His teacher just sent me an e-mail saying that he had apologized to her and was doing better today. Yeah! Maybe he won't be labeled as THE BAD KID right from the start.

Whitney and I have been enjoying our time together since school started. We've gone shopping, played princesses, read a lot of books, played with play-doh. What a fun life I have.

I've kind of hit a rut in my cooking routine. I have a list of about 12 meals that we eat every 3 weeks or so. I'm bored with some of them and have started looking for new recipes. I tried a couple over the last few days. One was burritos with black beans and rice. Everyone liked them. Yippee--a new one to add to the list. Last night I made Southwest Pasta with chickpeas, diced tomatoes, bell pepper, onion, chili powder, cumin, and corn. Top it with cheese. I thought it was great. Andrew thought it was ok. Whitney refused to eat it. I'm not sure if it will stay on the list or not. I want recipes that take 30 minutes or less to cook, are easy to make, and preferably don't have meat in them. Is that too much to ask? :) If you have any recipes that fit this description, please share. I got the burrito and pasta recipes from the internet, but I find that I have to sift through a lot of recipes that I would never eat to find ones that I like.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Kindergarten update

Well, Brandon made it through the whole day at school yesterday. I was sitting outside on the front porch reading a book when the bus pulled up. He came climbing down the stairs like such a big boy. He was smiling and happy and told me all about his day.

They had PE. It was really fun. They did a crab walk and a kangaroo hop and clapped their hands like firecrackers. They had centers and he got to go to the magnet center and the book center, but not the computer center, which he really wanted. They listened to music during rest time, which he thought was hilarious. When I asked him if he was making friends with the kids in class he said, "Yes!" What are their names? "I can't remember." So, anyway, it sounded like he had another good day.

This morning: "I hate kindergarten. I'm not going." You've got to be kidding me! Is this going to be a fight we'll have every morning? Because I am SO not looking forward to that! He said, "Kindergarten is too long and my teacher doesn't even let me talk when we're in class! You just have to sit there being quiet!" That's a lot to ask of any 5 year old, but especially Brandon. I told him that there are times when he does need to be quiet, just like in church. He didn't buy it. And then I pretty much just told him he just needed to go and he got dressed and helped me pack his lunch and barely made it out the door before the bus passed by our house. The bus stop is supposed to be down on the corner, two houses down, but the bus driver said she would just stop in front of our house each morning. That was nice of her.

Whitney and I went on a walk after Andrew and Brandon were gone. It was a nice morning. I was thinking about how I could motivate Brandon to want to go to school in the mornings without feeling like we're having a battle royale. I think I'm going to do some sort of reward chart. If he gets himself ready and out the door before the bus comes without any whining or complaining for X number of days in a row than he'll earn some great reward. Chuck E. Cheese let's you print reward calendars off their website. I'm thinking I'll use one of those and see what happens. I'll keep you posted!

Monday, August 28, 2006

Great weekend, rough 2nd day of school

We had such a fun weekend together. On Friday night, the movie CARS got to the dollar theaters, so we took both kids to see it. (Their third time, Andrew's first.) It was fun to sit through a movie all together as a family. That was a first. I commented to Andrew that if we're going to have more kids, we better not wait too much longer because we could get very comfortable in our non-baby stage of life. He wasn't convinced.

I had the best idea for Saturday morning. Usually we go on our dates on Saturday nights, but it was Standards night for the young men and women at church, so Andrew needed to go to that as well. So, I decided to get a babysitter in the morning. I wanted to rent a canoe and go out on a little lake near our home. Doesn't that sound like a fun idea? Well, we drove to the park where the lake is and the whole thing was closed to the public. It looked like someone might have rented to whole park for a party or something. Bummer! I guess I should've called beforehand, huh?

We had brought our tennis gear along in case something like that happened. So, we went to a different park to play tennis instead. I already had the camera, so we tried to take some action shots before we started the game. It was fun. Andrew beat me, like usual, but it was close.

Watch out for that backhand!

Mine is much less foreboding. :)
I think I'll be lucky if that makes it over the net and in bounds.

Andrew spoke in church on Sunday, so most of his afternoon was spent working on his talk. The kids and I just hung out around the house while he was at Standard's night. Then we had some friends over to play games after we put the kids to bed. We often play 25 Words or Less with them, but decided to try Taboo this night. It took some time to catch on to the fact that you can use as many words as you want in Taboo as long as you don't say that specific words on the list. We found ourselves giving one or two words clues a lot.

Andrew did a great job on his talk on Sunday. He's an awesome public speaker. And church was not even as hectic as usual, so that was sweet.

Sunday evening, some friends invited over for dinner. That is always such a treat. Good food and good company. They are big Settlers of Cataan fans, so we played an abbreviated game before we left. I won! Yippee!

Last night before he went to bed, Brandon made the comment that he didn't want to ride the bus. He wanted me to pick him up from school. I was confused because he said he loved the bus when he got home on Friday. I asked him why. He said he just wanted me to. I told him that Whitney would be napping when he came home, so he should just ride the bus. (What a sympathetic mom!)

Then this morning at around 6:15, he came into my room and said, "Mom, I'm sick. I need medicine." What's wrong? "I have a fever." I felt his head and he felt fine. "My stomach hurts. I need some of that bubble gum medicine." I didn't know whether to believe him or not. I felt like he might've been making it up! So, I talked to him about how important it is to be in school every day. And how he'll have to make up the work that he misses. And how he won't get to sit around watching movies all day, he'll have to stay in his bed and rest or read books if he's really sick. He decided to get dressed for school. But then as he was sitting on the couch putting his socks on, he really looked sick! He wasn't acting like himself at all. So, I decided he really was telling the truth and told him he could stay home. He took some books and went to bed. About half an hour later, I found him in the playroom with Whitney. I said, "Oh, I guess you're ready to go to school, huh?" And he said, "Yep." How confusing!!! Was he really sick or not??? I still don't know. But I ended up taking him to school. And getting dirty looks from the office staff and his teacher's assistant, who probably both classify me as a big slacker mom now. He's been gone for 4 hours now and I haven't got any calls about him throwing up, so I'm assuming he's ok.

Just when I feel like I'm starting to get the parenting thing down, something like this happens. I had no idea what to do. I wanted to trust him, but wasn't sure. But after seeing how he looked completely fine when I walked him into school, I'll have a really hard time believing him next time this happens. Hopefully it will still end up being a good day for him.

Friday, August 25, 2006

The big day!

Ok, before I tell you about Brandon's first day of school today, I have to tell you about yesterday morning. On Wednesday evening, we got to go to the school and meet his teacher. Her name is Mrs. Bledsoe. She's from the UK originally and has a great accent. She seems really nice. She has been teaching for 12 years and this is her first year at his school. None of his friends from preschool or church or the neighborhood are in his class, but I think he's ok with that. So, on Wed we talked a lot about school and getting ready and what to do there, etc.

Well, on Thursday morning around 6:45 am, Brandon comes walking into our bedroom and said, "Mom, I already got dressed and ate my breakfast, but I can't find my lunchbox to pack my lunch. Do you know where it is?" It was SO cute. I was so impressed with his initiative and excitement. Too bad he was a day early! I had to break the news that school didn't start until Friday. When he found out we were going to the water park instead, he was ok with that.

OK, on to this morning. Brandon and Whitney wake up between 6:20 and 6:40 EVERY MORNING. All summer long, I think, "Maybe this will be the morning when they decide to sleep in." But it hasn't happened. Ever. That's ok. I've been trying to go to bed earlier at night so I'm not completely exhausted when they come trouncing in to my room at the break of dawn.

Well, JUST OUR was the day that both kids decided to sleep in. I woke with a start at 6:55 this morning! Oh my gosh! We only had 30 minutes to get both kids dressed and ready, feed them breakfast, pack B's lunch, and get out the door to his first day of school. We didn't quite make it and he was just a tad late, but so were a lot of other kids, so I didn't feel bad.

Brandon and Mrs. Bledsoe.
(Thanks to Dave, no more bathroom sign
right behind their heads!)

Our big kindergartner!!
Doesn't he look sharp?
He dressed himself and I was very impressed.

Everything at the school went well. He seemed excited to get started and learn a new routine. No tears or kleenexes. And even though I was a little bummed like I wrote in my last blog, it wasn't an emotional sadness, ya know? It was more of, "Oh well. Now we're in a different phase of our lives."

He'll be riding the bus home this afternoon, so I'm excited to hear all about it.
OK, this is kind of a P.S. Brandon just got home. He looks so big! I think he grew while he was gone. He had a great day. He said his favorite part of the day was REST TIME. How funny. Since they have all day kindergarten, we were asked to send in a bath sized towel for them to take a rest during the afternoon. It's just 30 minutes, so I wasn't sure if he'd fall asleep or not. He said he didn't. He also talked a lot about playing out on the playground. "There are two playgrounds. But one of them has a lot of poisonous bushes around it. Well, I don't know if they're poisonous, but there were lots of bushes. And there were like 6 different places where you could go and climb. We played monsters and chased the girls. There were like 11 boys and 3 girls." He said that both of his teachers were really nice. He liked riding the bus home and made it here safely. Woo hoo!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Reality check

You know what I just realized???

This little munchkin is going to be starting school this week!!

Ok, of course I knew this day was coming. But how did it get here? I'm having such mixed feelings right now. All summer I have just been excited for him to start. I think he's well-prepared and I think he'll enjoy school. He is pretty good at making friends and is not at all shy. He's confident and intelligent and creative. I'm sure he'll do great.

What I forgot to think about is the changes that this will bring to our family. No more spur-of-the-moment trips in the middle of the week. [Not that we did this very often, but especially when Andrew travels for work, I love to get away!] No more playing at Chuck E. Cheese at 10 am when the place is empty. No more playgroups with Brandon's friends. No more mid-morning trips to the mall to play in the toy store and arcade.

Intead of those things, we'll have homework. and projects. and deadlines. and report cards.

And the summer went by SOOO FAST!

Of course I'll still be able to do the fun things with Whitney during the day and she does have a good set of friends, so we'll have a blast. But...the routine of our family will never be the same. We'll need to have Brandon ready to go by 7:15 every morning and make sure we're home by 3:15 every afternoon. (That one shouldn't be a problem since Whitney still takes daily afternoon naps.)

So, while I celebrate this milestone for Brandon's sake, I'll also mourn the loss of a carefree lifestyle that we've enjoyed for the past five years.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Ahhhhh....the beach

***DISCLAIMER**** When I first tried to post some pictures from this trip, it didn't work. I had to start over and now the alignment is all funky, but it's the best I could do today. :)

During one of the last days of our BIG road trip, I was on the phone with Andrew and he said, "Do you know what I just realized? I don't get a summer vacation!" And it was true. We had Tony and Cindy come to see us, and then the kids and I took off and next month his parents are coming to see us, but he never got to leave. That's not fun! So, we decided we would take one last little summer getaway as a family to the beach.We left on Friday. He took both Friday and Monday off of work. Yippee! It was a blast. We stayed in Wilmington. There are several different beaches right around there. Our favorites are Carolina Beach and Kure Beach, but they are about a 30 minute drive from Wilmington. The closest is called Wrightsville beach and it is only a 10-15 minute drive. So, on Friday we decided to go there. The weather was beautiful and the water was SO warm. It was heavenly! Whitney didn't get a nap, so she was a little on the cranky side, but not bad. She mostly wanted to play in the sand, but she did put her toes in the water a little bit, as long as mom or dad was right there holding her hand. I think she has a healthy fear of the waves.

Me and Whit. She's happy because I'm holding her.
Otherwise, she'd be running for the shore.

The kids always have a blast in the sand. Andrew will dig big holes for them that they can climb into. Whitney likes for us to make castles for her and then she sits on them or kicks them down and she thinks that is just hilarious. Here they are buried together:

They each got buried two or three times over the weekend.
They love it.
Brandon really took to the water this time. He's been a little hesitant in the past, but he just ran for the waves this weekend. He started off body surfing. He figured out how he could ride the waves into the shore. Andrew and I love to boogie board and usually just have to take turns while the other parent watches the kids. But, Brandon learned how to boogie board and we could go out with him this time. So fun! He would get mad if he kept missing the waves or if they weren't big enough. A couple of times he stormed off to the shore saying, "These waves stink!" He also wrecked a couple of times pretty bad and would go take a break in the sand and have a snack, but then he'd always end up back in the water.

Brandon, king of the boogie board

We spent all of Friday afternoon and most of the day Saturday just playing on the beach. It was wonderful and exhausting. The kids would pretty much crash as soon as we got back to the hotel room. The place we stayed was kind of scary. We are cheap. We were students for so long that I could always use the excuse that we were poor, but now I can admit that really, we're just cheap. We got our room with Priceline, which I've used often and am usually very pleased with. This place was kind of a dump. And we got one king bed for all four of us. That was kind of interesting. We brought Whitney's port-a-crib, which she is probably too big for now. And then Brandon slept with us in the king bed. It actually ended up working out fine, but was a little on the crowded side.

We went to church on Sunday. I bet the Wilmington wards love their attendance in the summer. They told me they had about 6 rows of visitors in sacrament meeting. Most of the visitors just stayed for that first hour, but a couple of us stayed for all of the meetings. I was so excited to actually go to class with Andrew and not have any responsibility! It was wonderful.

We packed a picnic lunch and went to a pretty park after church. Then we took a little walk on the beach and took some pictures. They turned out pretty good considering I put the camera on auto-timer and had to run get in position before the time ran out.

All four of us smiling and looking at the camera--not bad!

On Monday we went to the Cape Fear Museum. It is marketed and a science and history museum, so I wasn't sure how much would be geared toward children, but it was great. The kids loved it. Andrew and I had a lot of fun there, too.

After that we started heading home. I was SO grateful to have this weekend with just our little family. I think we needed it. Especially Andrew. Work and church have been so stressful lately. It was wonderful to not have to answer any phone calls or resolve any problems. (At least not anything bigger than where to eat or how to help Whitney stop whining.)

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Random tidbits

Nothing really big has happened lately, so I've taken a couple days of from blogging. I still don't really have anything big or exciting to say, so this is just a random collection of thoughts.

Brandon and Whitney usually play really well together. When Whitney was first born, Brandon was REALLY gentle and careful around her all the time. It was so cute. Then when she started walking, he got a little rough with her sometimes. Now I find that she gets rough with him more often than the reverse. I find myself telling her not to hit, bite, or pull his hair fairly regularly. The other day I overheard this conversation:
Whitney: "Brandon, do you want to play princess with me?"
Brandon: "Sure. Do you want to be Belle or Cinderella?"
That was a shocker. Usually if they are playing well together it's because they're having lightsaber duels, playing with playdoh, or coloring. I don't think I've EVER heard B agree to play princesses before. And I haven't heard it since, either. Maybe it was a fluke.

Whitney on the lion

Brandon on the wolf

We went to the zoo this week with some friends. We had a really good time. The weather was overcast, so it was pretty comfortable to be outside. It was still really muggy, though, so we all sweat a lot. The zoo here is almost TOO big. I feel like I want to see it all, but it's just about impossible to fit into one day, especially with little kids. My favorite things were the sea lions, puffins(have you ever seen them swim underwater? They look so cool!), and the baboons. Whitney's favorite part was the giraffe. I think that's because it's the last animal we saw. Brandon's favorite parts were riding this awesome carousel and the baboons. He's convinced they have pink buckets on their bums to go to the bathroom. They both also LOVED the bus (shuttle) that took us to the parking lot at the end. It's funny how excited they get over something that might seem so mundane to me.

One of the funnest parts of the day around our house is when Andrew gets home from work. It was kind of sad when Brandon was really little because he was quite the mama's boy and he would really get excited when his dad got home. I felt bad for Andrew. Well, the kids make up for that now. You should hear them squeal with excitement and run to the front door when he gets here. It is so cute. Brandon usually asks him to go outside and play baseball, volleyball, or frisbee. Whitney usually asks him to read her a book or to do a circus trick like the one pictured above. Isn't that impressive? Maybe there could be a future career here....or maybe not.

Brandon had his 5 year old check-up at his doctor's office today. Everything went well. He got his immunizations last year before he started preschool, so he didn't have to get shots. He was SO relieved to hear that. But they did have to do a finger stick to test his blood. He was very reluctant, but they use a good distraction technique where they had me holding a basket of stickers and the nurse told him to choose three that he liked while she gave him a "little boo-boo" on his finger. He asked if it would hurt and I told him, "Probably for just a second." He was eagerly looking through the basket and when he got pricked he said, "That didn't hurt." He is 44 1/2 inches tall and 44 1/2 pounds. Isn't that funny? Whitney is almost exactly like that too--she's about 35 pounds and 35 inches. Anyway, he's in the 75th percentile for both height and weight. He's a big, well-proportioned boy.

At church, our ward is putting together a roadshow, a little musical comedy play. It looks like both Brandon and I are going to be in it. It is cute and fun and only about 10 minutes long. We have practice twice a week every week for the next two months. Wow, that's a big commitment for a 10 minute production! It should be a fun experience. And for anyone who's interested, the performance will be on Saturday, October 21st at 6 pm.

Friday, August 11, 2006

First haircut

Well, after 2 years and 4 months I finally broke down and gave Whitney her first haircut. (If you can call it that.) I regularly cut both Brandon's and Andrew's hair and think I do just fine. But girl hair is so different! If I made a big mistake on one of the boys' hair, it would grow out in a week or two. But, a big mistake on Whitney's hair could take a LONG time to fix. So, I've been paranoid about doing it. I feel like she's reached a stage where bangs would look cute on her. But, sometimes I see little girls who have bangs half way to the back of their head and I don't want that look. I decided yesterday to just cut a few and this was the result:

(She asked me to draw a kangaroo on her patch yesterday. Wow--that was a challenge. You know I did a pretty bad job when I have to draw a label on it so people know what it is!)

By the middle of the day yesterday, she still had lots of flyaways falling out of her ponytail, so I decided today to cut a few more and this is how it turned out:

What do you think? Is it too much? I think it looks cute, but I'd love to hear what other people think. The other downside to this is I'll have to keep trimming them pretty frequently to keep them out of her face. I guess the high-maintenance side of having a girl is finally here. :)

I've been busy with church stuff this week. Every fall, the children at church are in charge of one sacrament meeting. Part of my responsibility is to write the "script" for what the kids will say. It's a 40 minute presentation, about 20 of that will be music, which has already been selected. So, I have to try to sum up everything we've taught them this year into a 20 minute package. I don't feel really stressed over it, but I don't really know where to start, either. I have copies of the presentations from the last two years and read through them yesterday. That helped give me a couple of ideas. Now I just need to start putting things down on paper. Wish me luck!

I went running twice this week. It feels so good to start exercising again. I was supposed to go for the third time this morning, but got to bed late last night and didn't make it. Bummer. Once you get out of a habit, it is so hard to get back into it!

I woke up at about 3 am this morning and Brandon was in bed with us, right in between Andrew and me. I told him he needed to go back to his bed and he didn't want to go, so I picked him up and put him there. He came walking back into my room a couple of minutes later and said, in the most pathetic voice, "Mom, I just have a question. What should I do if I'm scared?" It was so sad to see my tough little guy in such a vulnerable state! I told him we could say a prayer together and he thought that sounded good. So, we went out to the front room, kneeled by the couch and said a prayer. When it was over, I asked him if it helped and he said it did. I was relieved. He said he didn't want to go back to his bed, so I told him he could sleep on the couch if he wanted and I went back to bed. He came back in 5 minutes later and said, "Mom, can we say another prayer?" So we did. I told him if he still felt scared after this one, he could say a personal prayer. (What a loving mom!) He spent the rest of the night out on the couch. I feel bad for him that he's scared! What a terrible feeling. But, he won't tell me what he's scared of, so I don't really know what to do to help him. Hopefully this will be a short-lived phase.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

They're growing up!

My kids are so much fun. They make me laugh, smile, and think. Sometimes they make me angry, too, but for the most part they are good kids. They are both growing up so much! When I was gone to Charlotte, Andrew braided Whitney's hair. I had never even tried it on her. How funny is that? It looked SOOO cute, so it's my new favorite way to comb her hair. He did one big braid in the back and I tried that yesterday, but all the front little wispy hairs were all coming out by the lunchtime, so I switched to two braids on the sides like this:

Doesn't she look cute and grown up?

I told you how excited she was to see Dr. Buckley, right? Well, the funniest part was as soon as we left the office and were walking toward the front desk she said to me, "Dr. Buckley was wearing brown." Isn't that hilarious? I didn't know she even noticed what people wear unless it has Dora or a princess on it.

Brandon is too smart for me sometimes. We were reading the scriptures together last night before bed. We are reading the Book of Mormon, in 1 Nephi where it talks a lot about Nephi's brothers murmuring. So, after we were done reading our page we talked about why we shouldn't murmur. He said, "You and dad murmur, but I never murmur." (Which, by the way is SO untrue--he does murmur quite a bit!) I said, "When do I murmur?" And he said, "When you were out weeding the garden and you found out that Whitney was in the bathroom trying to wash her hands, you murmured." Wow. He was right! I had asked Whitney to stay outside with us, but she had gone inside, locked herself in the bathroom, and made a huge mess with the soap all over the sink and countertop. I was not pleased. And apparently it made quite an impression on Brandon!

He is really into scientific stuff. He loves reading books about dinosaurs and sharks. He asks lots of good questions and remembers the things we learn. One of the fun things about leaving on vacation two days after his birthday was that he got all excited about his presents again when we got home. This volcano was one that we didn't have time to use before we left, so he was all excited about it.

Love the safety goggles!

It came with a plaster and sand mixture that you could put all around the outside to make it look authentic. It was pretty messy and when Brandon found out you had to use your hands to do it, he decided he didn't really need the realistic look--he just wanted to blow it up. It made a pretty cool eruption. As soon as it was done he said, "Let's do it again!" Maybe later...
much later.

He also loves to go on bug hunts with his dad for big boy time. Again, he loves those safety goggles. One night since we've been home, they caught the cutest little frog. Brandon named him Croaky. They made a little home for him and decided to keep him as a pet. They kept him for about five days. I felt so bad for him because I was sure he was going to die, so they finally let him go.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The patching continues

Darn! I keep hoping we'll show up at Duke and Whitney's eyes will be magically "all better," but this is a much slower process than I hoped.

Whitney was very excited to go to the doctor today. I wish I would've taken a picture of her. She looked SO cute today. I moved my camera to a new storage spot in the house and I don't think it's working. I need to move it back because I keep forgetting to take pictures! Anyway, you'll have to take my word for it. She loves Dr. Buckley, her Pediatric Opthalmologist. (I've been spelling that for about a year now, and I'm still not sure if that's right.) As soon as they called her name to come back, she started jumping up and down and saying, "I get to see Dr. Buckley!" It was so cute. Of course, she had to see two other people before she got to see him. And when her big moment to see him finally did come, she acted shy. Silly girl.

Well, her vision test went ok. For children her age, who are old enough to talk, but don't know the alphabet, they use black and white figures like a birthday cake, a pony, a Christmas tree, a telephone, etc, to test their eyes. They start off really big and progressively get smaller. Normally she is very cooperative and loves to tell you what she sees on the screen, but she was not really into it this time. We had to really coax her to get her to say anything at the beginning. The woman who was doing the test was really patient and good at what she does. She promised Whitney that she would "do the chicken" if Whitney could tell us what she saw. When Whitney named the object, we would both cheer and the woman would walk around like a chicken. It was so funny. (If only she knew the history of the "whole chicken!")

Her vision has improved since our last visit, in June. At that time she was 20/70 in her right eye and 20/30 in her left. This time she tested 20/50 in her right eye and 20/25 in her left. Dr. Buckley prescribed 6 more weeks of patching. (I was SO ready to be done, but here we go again.) He hopes by that time she'll be 20/40 or 20/30, which I guess is the goal. I hope so too! On the bright side, at least the patching is still working to improve her vision. I'm grateful for that.

Poor Andrew had plant meetings at work this morning. So, he left before 6 am this morning. Then he went with us up to Duke. When we got home, he went straight to Stake Welfare meeting or something like that and he still isn't home yet. (It's 9:40 pm our time.) He is going to be SO beat! Good thing I bought some ice cream on the way home. I'm sure he'll need some comfort food.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Weekend Madness

What a weekend. I need another day just to recover!

Saturday was my annual scrapbooking convention. For the last 5 years, I've gone to one every year. It is so fun. I take classes and learn new techniques and get motivated to scrapbook more at home. I went with a friend from church this year. I had pretty good classes, not the best I've ever had. They also have a ton of booths where you can buy every scrapbooking gadget you can imagine. I normally can spend quite a bit. But I haven't been scrapbooking much this summer and feel like my supplies are already overstocked. So, I think I ended up spending less than $10. Wow--pretty impressive.

North Carolina uses the first weekend of every August as "Tax Free" weekend. It is supposed to be for people to buy all their school supplies and save a little bit of money. But, it applies to a lot of other things besides paper and pencils. So, my friend and I decided to take advantage of it and stopped at a HUGE mall outside of Charlotte. I made up for all the money that I DIDN'T spend at the convention by spending a ton at the mall! They have a big Old Navy, a Gap outlet, and a Children's Place outlet. So I got a lot of clothes for the kids really cheap. This mall is so big that we've been there 5 or 6 times, but there were still parts of it where I'd never been. And to my delight, one of the stores that I didn't even know was in there was a SKECHERS outlet. That is probably my favorite brand of shoes. And they were having a buy one, get one 50% off sale. I was in heaven. I got two CUTE pairs of sandals on clearance.

We didn't get home until 10:30 or 11 pm. Andrew had a fun day with the kids at the Children's Museum and our mall here. He's such a great husband to give me free days like this. When I got home, he told me that our Primary President's husband had called and she was in the hospital. He wanted me to know that she probably wouldn't be in church the next day. It was her week to do the Sharing Time lesson, so I figured I would need to take over. I had already decided what I was going to do for my turn next week, so I just figured I would do it a week early and everything would be fine. I didn't realize how hectic it would turn out to be.

Here was my day on Sunday: I went to change Whitney's diaper when she woke up and found that there were TWO diapers left in the house. In my 5 years of parenting, I have never let us run out of diapers! What a time for a first--the Sabbath--when we don't go to the store! Then I needed to print some pictures of animals off the internet for my Noah's Ark game that I prepared for sharing time. I spent about 10 minutes finding just the right clip art. When I went to print it off, it wouldn't work. Aaarrrggghhh! My patience was beginning to run thin. I grabbed some children's magazines, dressed myself and the kids, and ran out to the door, hoping I would find some pics of animals in there. On the way out to the car, my shoe broke. Hello! That never happens. The strap with the buckle on it completely snapped off. I'm glad it happened before church so that I wasn't stuck with one shoe the whole morning, but still...why today??? I changed shoes and we were on our way. I hurriedly got things set up at the church for my Sharing Time lesson, missing the first ten minutes of sacrament meeting. Bummer. My friend who usually helps me with the kids during church was late, too, and wasn't able to save a seat for all of us, so I was on my own with the kids for the most reverent hour of the week. They did pretty well. After sacrament meeting, I hurried down to the Primary room to put the final touches on my lesson and realized that out of the nine teachers that we normally have for Primary, SEVEN of them were gone. Oh, great. Two of them had arranged for substitutes, none of the others had. I ran around trying to get people to teach at the last minute. (I'm so thankful for willing volunteers.) Oh, and to top it all off--we had a visitor from the Stake Primary Presidency there to observe. Unbelievable. I was SO ready for a Sunday afternoon nap by the time we got home.

I talked with my Primary President in the evening and she was at home. The doctors think she had extreme heat exhaustion. I was glad to hear it was nothing more serious.

Tomorrow is Whitney's appointment up at Duke. I'm SOOOO hoping that we're done patching. I'll keep you posted on how it goes.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Girls Camp Speaker

We've been home for a week now. It's good to be back. I can't say that we're back into a routine quite yet. Before I left, I was asked to speak at Girls Camp on three different days this week. So, a lot of my time since I got back has been spent on preparing that talk, driving 50 minutes to camp, giving the talk, agonizing over what went wrong, making changes to the talk, etc. Phew. It has been exhausting. My first session was with the 14-15 year old girls. It went ok, but not as well as I hoped. The second session was with the 12-13 year old girls and it was even worse. I was beginning to doubt my abilities as a teacher and public speaker. Am I really that boring? Did I have NO inspiration when I prepared this talk? Today I taught the 16-17 year old girls. The third time was a charm. I felt like it went really well. The girls were much more interactive and things just seemed to flow more smoothly. I was thankful that it ended on a good note.

And I was really thankful to have three good friends who watched my kids each morning for 3 1/2 hours. What a huge blessing. And my kids were sad each time when I came to pick them up because they wanted to stay and play more. Now that's the sign of a good babysitter. (Or maybe I really AM that boring!)

It has also been fun to catch up with some of our friends that we really missed while we were gone. On Tuesday, we met two of them at the water park and played for a couple of hours. That place is always fun, but it's even funner with friends.

Andrew is off to the same Girls Camp tonight to bring them a pizza dinner and give a Family Home Evening lesson to them. So, the kids and I have decided that we'll have movie night. We're watching Aladdin. Should be fun.

Oh, and I never really posted about the last two days of the road trip. They were pretty good. We ended up driving through St. Louis, which I didn't realize we were going to do. We HAD to stop at the arch since we'd never been there. The kids and I took a "tram" up to the top. It was a fun experience. It's kind of claustrophibic once you're up there--not a lot of room to move around. But it was cool to see Busch stadium out of the windows.

Here's Brandon, 630 feet up!

Me and a hard-to-photograph Whitney

We stayed the last night in Louisville, KY with Andrew's Aunt Stephanie and Uncle Alex and their kids. It was fun to visit with them, even though it was short.

The very last day of driving was when I finally got tired of being in the car. Whitney was still a really good girl. My mom and I still got along. (Phew!) But I had no patience with Brandon and he was done being in the car, too. We were both VERY excited to get home and see Andrew and sleep in our own beds. His first question when he saw how close we were to home, "Mom, can I go outside and play baseball in the backyard?" I thought that was so cute. I guess that's what he missed the most.