Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A Year of Change

As this past year ends and the new one begins, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on all the changes that we experienced this last year.

For instance, this is the first year of my marriage that I have gone an entire year NOT pregnant! That, ladies and gentlemen, is a miracle. Ok, so it also probably has something to do with my having a tubal ligation done at the same time as my last c-section, but either way, it's been a nice change.

My husband has been home for most of the last 6 months! That's been a big change.

And we've moved from Texas back to Florida, where everything we knew had changed as well! The city is growing. And our church's dynamics changed -- more younger couples and many of them new parents!

Kairi has gone from a toddler to a very vocal 2 1/2 year old.

Alex has gone from being a tiny newborn to a full-fledged walking toddler! (Now, if we could just get him to talk on a regular basis.)

My marriage has changed as well. For the better I believe. We are taking the time to put each other first and spend time together just the two of us.

I have read a few books this year! That's a change from the last.

There are seriously so many other changes that I can't even begin to list them all. And overall, I think that they have been for the better. This year hasn't been easy, but it's been worth it. So as I enter the next year, I'm going to cling to the promise that God has been reminding me of this entire year "Just trust me. I'm taking care of you." I'm going to remember the good that's been done in my family. And I'm going to enjoy having a figurative fresh start to rededicate my energies towards taking care of my family and myself.

Kairi Cuteness

A couple of cute Kairi stories for the morning.

1. We have been getting up way too early this week. Combine that with Alex still not sleeping through the night, and I feel like I'm dieing. To help myself survive, after I dole out bananas, cereals bars, and cups of (Silk)Milk I turn on Noggin, shut all the other doors in house to limit the kids to the living room area, and then curl up on the couch and doze. Kairi will frequently shout to Alex through my morning nap "SSSHHHHH! MOMMY SEEPIN'!"

This morning it happened a little differently, though. I sat down on the couch trying to decide if I could make it through the day without a nap when Kairi shouts "Ready Mommy? Ready?!? Lay down!" As soon as I was laying down she pulled Brother's newest piano over next to the couch and began to sing while playing it "Go to sleep Mommy, Go to sleep Mommy, Go to sleep Mommy, Close your eyes Mommy, Go to sleep!".

Ten minutes later she woke me up to sing me back to sleep again. And again. And again.

2. Yesterday during Alex's morning naptime (which I'm afraid is about to cease), Kairi started looking for him. Of course hearing his name shouted through the house woke him up. I went in to cuddle him for a moment and lay him back down. He was more than willing to go back to sleep. UNTIL Kairi burst into the room, grabbed his brand new toy truck, and ran out of the room saying "Come on Fruffer! Let's share da tuck! VRooom! Share da tuck! VRooooooom vroooom vrooooom! Hurry Fruffer hurry! Share da tuck with me!"

Yeah, Alex didn't go back to sleep.

She's cuter than should be allowed. :) Even when she's not helping at all, she's adorable.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Despite my eyeshadow being all over her face.....

Isn't this a beautiful picture?


Pictures and Videos

Some I tried to post before and couldn't. Some are from yesterday. And there may be one or two random ones thrown in there. :)

Help! I'm stuck:



The Christmas Presents -- Daddy manned the camera while Mommy helped with presents!

Merry Christmas!

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

Jingle Bells!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Yesterday ...

Yesterday was my 3rd anniversary. I had fully intended to write a sweet post about how much I love my husband and our life together. And that post will come -- eventually. But instead I spent the day cleaning up puke and diarrhea. The whole family had it.

Today we're all physically spent. Tired and dehydrated and achy, but our stomachs are calm. So today I'll spend the day sterilizing everything and running the errands I had intended to run yesterday, so that tomorrow still comes off without too many problems. I just have to gather the energy to get it all done. Wish me luck!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Our Christmas Tree

***Blogger is not cooperating.***

There were supposed to be Christmas tree pictures here, but as blogger isn't letting me upload them, and since photobucket takes forever to upload pictures as well, I'm going to call it a night. They'll get added whenever I find the time.

In the meantime....CHRIS IS HOME! YAY!!! So go enjoy time w/ your loved ones as I'll be spending the evening with mine.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

He'll be back in 5 days....

I was recently reminded of a concept that is very important to Chris and I. Our marriage comes before our children. We both believe it is important that we model affection and love for our children. We want them to grow up knowing what a healthy marriage looks like so that they are are more likely to have one themselves. Part of modeling that for our children, is to make time for each other, to spend time talking and truly enjoy each others company. We never wanted to stop "dating". Despite being married, our courtship doesn't end. We need to make time for each other, time without children so that we can talk and laugh without worrying about being interrupted or summoned to another room because a child is screaming in their bed.

Here's the problem with that. How do you find time to be alone when you have two children two and under, and you live 1400 miles away from most of your family? You rely on your "new family" -- your church. If you know me at all, you know that I hate asking for favors, and I've had to do it all too often in my life. So if I can avoid it, I do. And I continue to avoid it until I feel like I'm at a breaking point and have no other choice. I'm not saying that this is a good trait -- it just is the way I am. And unfortunately, I have had to face this situation way too many times recently. Add that to the fact that I know exactly what my kids are like every single day -- I would rather not inflict that on an unsuspecting friend. So I have been extremely hesitant to ask someone to watch the kids in order for Chris and I to go out together. Because of these traits, until last week Chris and I had gone out twice alone since I was about 7 months pregnant with Alex. A reminder, he's 13 1/2 months old now.

When I was 7 1/2 months pregnant, Chris and I went to dinner and a movie while the Macon's watched Kairi. They were always very good about volunteering to care for her, despite the fact that she probably screamed the entire time. She was a fussy baby. Any change in her routine bothered her. And nights were the worst. So I was very grateful for the breaks. Especially being that pregnant. One night after Alex was born, my grandmother stayed home with Kairi while the two three of us went to a movie. Alex slept through the movie, but he did come with us. Chris then deployed. He came back in June.

Fast forward to October 2-- a year after our last date, Jenny stayed at home with the kids while Chris and I went to dinner and a book store. It was a good night. And we really enjoyed it. But it didn't take any stress off our relationship. Two months later I can recognize that we really didn't know how to talk to each other any more. It was as stressfull as a first date! I know that I was as jittery as I was on our "first date".

Last week we had no choice, we HAD to have a babysitter for 4 days in a row. One of those days we didn't spend alone as we had Alex, but the other 3 days we had plenty of time together. The first night we didn't do a ton of talking, but by the second and third nights things were great.

I have thoroughly enjoyed talking and spending time with my friend again. It's not that he was ever NOT my friend. But when the world revolves around your children, it's hard to not allow your marriage, your friendship, to fall through the cracks. Even when you plan for it to not, you have to make a conscious decision to talk, to spend time together, to get away. Chris and I are going to be doing this more least once a month.

Yesterday I dropped him off at the airport to fly out to see his parents. I'm fairly accustomed to him being gone for anywhere from a couple of days to a few weeks at a time. But this time it's different. Maybe it's because I know he's in a spot where he can communicate with me. More likely, it's because we enjoyed our time together so very much. I just wasn't ready to give it up quite this soon! I'm anxious for him to be back home. I miss him. He'll be home Monday, and I can't wait!

Tuesday night, before he left, he gave me my anniversary/Christmas present because he was afraid that it was too big and I would need it adjusted. It's not so I don't. Here's what he gave me. (And before you see it, know that he got it on an AMAZING sale, and used a Sears gift card that Heroes at Home gave us to buy it.)

Pictures enlarge when you click them.

It's a sterling silver 1 ct diamond bracelet! Didn't he do well!?!

Monday, December 15, 2008

A few more pictures and a short update

Alex and Lauryn playing together -- They adore each other!

Miss Lauryn!

That's it picture-wise for now.

This week has flown by! Thank you for all your prayers, thoughts, and phone calls about Alex. After his surgery he was a little grumpy but is now completely fine. It's nice to see him respond to my voice and to know that he can hear me! Now we just need to work on the responding when you're being spoken to thing. He's good at ignoring me.

Thursday night was so much fun! Chris won an IPod Shuffle and the kids had a blast with Kate, Heath, and Carter. We have such good friends here! Chris and I really did need our time together. It was great to be able to complete a conversation without being interrupted by a screaming child, or a child crawling on top of one of us, or one child hurting the other. We really do need more of those evenings to how much we love each other. :) The party itself wasn't a ton of fun, but spending time with Chris was, and that made it worth it.

Friday night was great as well! We thoroughly enjoyed spending time with friends. Chris was part of a quartet that performed and we have not stopped hearing compliments on his voice. Again, it was great to get to spend time sans children where we could complete thoughts -- not to mention have entire conversations! Kathy stayed with the kids at our house and has no idea how much we appreciate her having volunteered to do so!

Saturday night Kathy must really have been looking for torture because she volunteered to keep our kids that night as well. We went to a "A World of Christmas" at Creekside Christian Church. It was such a great experience. They had 3 life size areas set up that looked like a village from Germany, Ghana, and Mexico and at each place they talked about Christmas in that country. Afterwards they had a musical/drama in which a friend of Chris' from work was singing. It was really good! I was very impressed with how well they did. The story focused around a boy that had lost both of his parents. It got Chris and I talking on the way home. Something we had discussed but not set in stone before was what would happen to our children if something were to happen to us, or to happen to one of us while the other couldn't immediately be there. (Like I end up in the hospital or worse while Chris is overseas.) We finally made a plan. The biggest part of that plan is that we have asked Micah to be they're godfather. We're going to draw up legal documents that give him full parental rights should something happen to both of us or to one of us while the other is unavailable. We completely trust his judgement to make good decisions for our children and to make sure that they are brought up in a Christian home -- whether that means that he be the person that cares for them, or simply places them in someone else's home until he feels that he can care for them, we know that he would make the best judgement call. And he wouldn't care about offending someone in our family when it came to putting the needs of our kids above all else. It was so hard to pick someone, because there are soooo many people in our family that I know would open up their homes to our kids. And we are going to talk to Micah more in depth later about the decision and who else we would want considered if he felt that he couldn't keep them himself. But if definitely feels good to know that we have a plan in place and are going to make it as well-documented and legal as possible so that there are no "Oh dear, what do we do now?" if that situation ever occured. Just as a side-note, we're also asking a couple here in Jax to take care of them should anything happen until Micah could arrive and make arrangements for the kids. They will also have (limited) custodial rights to care for the little ones. They will help Micah make the decision as they know our children so well as they live here and see them every week.

Yesterday the kids had fun at the Children's Christmas Party at church! Kairi spent most of the day coloring her Christmas card for the elderly at Avante Nursing Home (where our church ministers) and didn't even notice Santa. We were a little nervous about the party since Santa was going to be there since we aren't "doing" Santa. (The kids will still recieve presents, they just will always know that they're from us. But don't worry, I won't allow them to ruin your child's Santa fun.) But since Alex is too young for it to matter and Kairi had no clue that Santa was even in the room, it wasn't a problem! Instead, after he left I took my kids aside and gave them presents from Chris and I. We all really enjoyed ourselves. But I left my camera there, so until I get it back, you'll have to go without new pictures!

I hope you all have a great day today!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Surgery Update and Pictures

I'm going back to the previous post tomorrow and am captioning those pictures.

Alex's surgery was today and he did great! His right ear drum was crusted over with blood and mucous, and his left ear with just mucous. The doctor got all of it off, and said that that should clear up his hearing! YAY!

He did fairly well with the entire procceedure. He was grumpy and clingy today as he was recovering from the anesthsia, but by the time he went to bed he was in a good mood. :D

Come on, Mommy. Let's go. I wanna get out of this place. NOW.

Ooo...This floor is slick. I can do the splits. See?!? (He went much farther than I could imagine being comfortable before he stopped and ran off giggling.)

Too many nurses keep running by my room. I'd rather stay close to blankie and Daddy.

Dr. Wohl scared me by trying to make me laugh before surgery. Daddy tried to calm me down, but just barely succeeded.

Coloring always takes my mind off doctors' offices!

The nurse carried me back to the OR.

When he's feeling better tomorrow, I'll snap some smiling pictures!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Pictures -- Round 1

I have lots of pictures to upload. I'm sure you're thinking it's about since there are no pictures on my whole front page.... BUT I've been busy. And I'm still too busy to sort through them all for you. So here's the first glimpse of the day. I'm sure I'll be back a few times throughout the day/night to share some more.

Alex on all fours -- a rare sight these days

Kairi's pretty smile

This was last year's Christmas dress! See how much she's grown!!!

Yes, that would be lipstick on her face.

She was angry that I made her hold still for a picture.

Yup, still angry.

Kairi and Carter! See how much they adore each other!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Mystery Solved

Kairi's hair almost always looks greasy in the back. I could wash her hair 3 times a day and it'd still be greasy.

Anytime I sit down at the computer desk, Kairi runs over to me asking for "hands" also known as lotion on her hands. I have watched her rub it into her hands several times, but it's been a while since I've insisted on watching her. Today I turned around just in time to find her rubbing her "hands" into her hair instead of her skin!

Mystery solved. And just so you know, that lotion is HARD to get out of hair, but very conditioning.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Things my daugther said today:

I hewo Mommy! *Began running in circles.* I wescue! Wescue! Wescue!

Mommy! I tired. Sleep? YAY!

I a kigah! ROOOAAARRR! Kigah! Kigah eat Mommy! ROAAR! YUMMMMM!

Ribbit! Ribbit! Kairi a petty frog.

Yay! Eat cheese! Mouse eat cheese! Mommy!!!!!!! I a mouse!

Wiggle in you chair Mommy! Wiggle wiggle! Dance dance! Mommy! You not dancin'! DANCE!

*In the most serious of voices* Mommy. Awix nasty. He nose nasty. He mouth nasty. Mommy, his body nasty. Wash he. Now. (His nose was running, he was drooling, and he was covered in the food he was eating at supper.)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Kissing BooBoos

I remember when I was little thinking that those children around me that needed their booboos kissed on a regular basis were stupid. I couldn't understand how kissing booboos helped. A "booboo" (which I remember thinking that just the word was strange) either needed medicine or wasn't bad enough to whine about. Kissing it certainly was NOT going to help. And my mother never catered to the idea that she could kiss it and make it magically better. Instead, I remember countless lectures on the number of germs in a human mouth, hearing about how dogs and cats have cleaner mouths than people (I think that this was to discourage kissing, btw), and hearing how kissing a "booboo" would really only make it worse not better.

I also remember as I grew believing that I would NEVER kiss a booboo. The idea was preposterous. And then I had Kairi.

My daughter is a drama queen. There's no two ways about it. She will lightly tap her hand against the door and then cry as if it was broken. This being the same child that has given herself a knot on her forehead from dancing on the hearth, but not blinked. It all completely depends on how much attention she is already receiving. Recently (just over a month or so ago)someone told her that she had a booboo on her hand. I have no idea who, although I'm fairly certain it was someone at church, and I really don't care who it was that said it either. What I do care about, though is the OBSESSION with booboos. I already mentioned her noticing my "booboos" on my stomach. She also notices booboos on Brother, on Daddy, on toys, on dolls, on random strangers in Publix that have birthmarks on their face.... She notices them.

If the booboo happens to belong to her, though, she has a meltdown. Within moments tears are pouring, her chest is heaving with sobs, and she is shoving said booboo in my face. It could be the same booboo that she showed me 10 minutes ago, doesn't matter as long as it's a booboo, she's in a panic. The ONLY thing that calms this girl down is to hold whatever appendage has been hurt and then to kiss it. That calms the tears and sobs. Ask her if she's ok, and between sobs "Yes, I fine" will escape her lips. And she will hug you, and then walk away letting the sobs slowly die out on their own. You can prevent said meltdown if the very instant she notices the booboo, you grab her and kiss it and tell her it's all better, but if you're late in noticing, beware.

Today after preventing several meltdowns in a row (4 which concerned the same booboo), I got to thinking about the things I do differently now than I ever thought I would. I love kissing booboos and making them better. Even if I do think the entire time about the number of germs in my mouth (ThankyouverymuchMama). And there's other things I love to do that I never thought I would. I never thought I'd enjoy formula feeding, but I did with Kairi. And then after her I never thought I'd enjoy breastfeeding, but I loved it with Alex. I never thought I'd be passionate about the kinds of cleaners in my house, but I am and I really do enjoy finding new alternatives to keeping my house clean. I never thought I would enjoy sewing and crafts, but I do. I never thought I'd cosleep with a child, but I wouldn't have traded a single night I got to sleep with Alex for the world. I have so many "I never thoughts" that I'm proud that I at least allowed myself a chance to try them.

Especially because I will forever treasure this time when kissing booboos truly makes it all better.