Parenting Story

Parenting Story

Sunday, May 31, 2009


This past weekend was our 5th wedding anniversary. Randy has always said that you should return to your honeymoon destination for your 5th anniversary, but I was not going to travel to Baltimore, MD and Dover, DE with 2 children. He was thinking we should go without them, but I won't leave them behind for even a full weekend yet! Rather than stay at home and just go out for a fancy dinner, we decided to return to Maquoketa and spend the night in the hotel where we had our reception and stayed on our wedding night. Staying at that hotel made me realize just how much things have changed in the past 5 years!

First of all, the hotel was brand new when we had our reception there and it was beautiful. Fast forward 5 years and the decor looks kind of dated and the furnishings were starting to show some wear and tear. This is not unlike Randy and I! As I looked back at pictures from our wedding day we really looked like kids! I never thought that 5 years would make such a difference, but we look so much more, um, mature.

On our wedding day we fought over trivial issues such as whether or not there were enough tables for all of the guests that we were expecting (for the record, I said there were enough, and I was right!) Now our arguments are much more serious regarding major life issues such as moving, the kids, jobs, and money.

The day of our wedding Randy and his father were still working to fix the car that we took on our honeymoon, a sporty red cavalier. The car that overheated several times on our trip to the east coast and cost us one day of our vacation (which we spent at a dealership where they worked on our car and tried to sell us something newer). Now we have a sporty red minivan! At least it works all the time!

At one point last night while we were playing with Reese and Aidan in the pool, Randy turned to me and said, "This isn't as romantic as I had imagined it to be!" I just laughed. I never expected it to be romantic, just relaxing and that it was. I didn't have to cook or clean for an entire evening. We got to just hang out with the kids, who were really well behaved for the night. And I even had a few alcoholic beverages! There will be plenty of time for romance, maybe for our 10 year anniversary!

Some things have changed for the better though. For example, we were so tired on our wedding day that we ended up falling asleep in the hot tub and going to bed without consumating our wedding. Somehow this time after putting the kids to bed we still had the energy!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Happy Anniversary????!

Our plan for celebrating our anniversary tonight was pretty low key. Randy was going to come home from work early so that we could run a few errands before meeting some friends and their kids at the park to catch up while the kids entertained themselves. Randy did come home a little early, but that is the only part of the evening that went according to plan. He asked if I cared if he went out for drinks with a co-worker and I just walked away from him and went to play with Reese. Eventually he figured out that I was mad and came to ask what was wrong. I explained to him that I was hurt that he wanted to spend the night with this guy and blow off our plans. He apologized and we packed the kids up to run errands. We went to a local car dealership to test drive a car because he is determined to get us a newer car. We test drove the car and then began a long process of trying to find a car that would fit into the price range we are willing to go with. After over an hour of entertaining both kids, it was time to get going to meet my friends at the park. I informed Randy and he got mad at me, saying that he couldn't just leave in the middle of this deal. I told him that I would take him to his car so that I could get going with the kids. He told the salesman he would be back and we went to get his car. We fought the whole way and for some reason he decided to go with me to the park. As we were running late, he was going to stop and get us something for dinner while I went ahead to the park. We arrived at the park and none of my friends were there yet, so I fed Aidan and watched Reese play. Randy arrived and we started eating. Reese was more interested in playing so we were watching her while we ate and I was holding Aidan. She climbed up on a jungle gym, which made me nervous, so I got up and walked over closer. As I was walking over she climbed up again and fell down about 5 feet. She immediately started crying and I tried to pick her up while .holding Aidan. I couldn't get her and was afraid she had broken something. Randy got there and picked her up. After a quick lookover she seemed ok, just a little scared. We immediately packed up the cars and headed home, fighting the whole way. On the way I passed a girlfriend and called to tell her we would not be there due to the accident (this was 40 minutes after we were to have met and nobody was there yet!) We went home and thoroughly checked her over and she seemed to be fine, just shaken. We got her to eat and walk around a little bit and she was back to herself before long. Since she was doing ok we decided to go out to get our groceries for the week. What a great way to celebrate our 5th Anniversary! I can wait a lot longer for the next milestone anniversary to come!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

More energy

Today was my third straight day in a row of getting on the treadmill for 30 minutes. Though my eating hasn't been perfect, I definitely feel like I have a lot more energy. I can only imagine how much energy I will have to play with my children as I lose the excess weight!

It is also my second day without a real pepsi! And I was drinking at least 2 cans a day! Since I don't like diet pepsi, I have found that diet sunkist orange and diet rootbeer can satisfy my craving for a pop. Now if only I could find a piece of fruit or a serving of vegetables as satisfying as ice cream before bed!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Cute expressions

Recently Reese's vocabulary has exploded! She is talking a lot! Some of it is still blabbering and undecipherable, but she also uses full sentences to ask for things. The following are a few of the things that she says that are just too cute:

Ki Ki- Reese has had blankies since she was a baby. If she is upset, hurt, sleeping or anything else she has to have her ki ki. I don't know where this expression came from other than that she shortened it from blankie to ki ki.

Fruit fruit- Almost every night since Reese was able to eat real food, she and I have shared a grapefruit. She gets really excited and tries to help me peel it because she just cannot wait to eat it. Again she must have shortened this one to just the last sylable.

Morning buddy- Every morning when Aidan wakes up, I go into his room and exclaim, "Good morning buddy!". It is just too cute when Reese follows me in and repeats those words. I hope that it is a sign that they will be good friends!

Mess- Somewhere Reese has picked up her mother's obsession with cleanliness. Recently she spilled some juice and ran into the kitchen to grab a towel to clean it up. Until she had sufficiently wiped it up she repeated, "uh oh, mess!"

Flower (sniff, sniff)- Whenever Reese sees a flower she says flower and makes a noise like she is smelling it, she does this whether it is real or in a book, carpet or wherever!


On a couple of tv shows that I have seen, someone comes in and throws away all of the food in the house that is not diet approved. Being the frugal person that I am, I decided that I should just eat that food and then start my diet after I can go shopping and start fresh with good diet foods. Randy was not buying that excuse when he got up late one night to find me snacking and watching tv! I have no willpower with all of this stuff in the house while my husband has been able to completely cut out everything with sugar after his recent diagnosis of diabetes. Maybe it is because I do not feel the health risk in the same sense that he does (though looking at us you would definitely pick me as the less healthy one!) I am going to have to step it up soon here though or he is going to surpass me and find a much more desirable mate!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Water fun!

At the end of the season last year we bought this inflatable frog pool. You can hook the hose up to it so that it sprays water into the pool like a sprinkler. The other day I decided that it was warm enough to try it out for the first time. I pulled it out of the box and started huffing and puffing! Almost 90 minutes later it was as inflated as it was going to get! Reese had been playing outside while I did this and occassionally came up to me to pound on the frog, which didn't make things go any faster! We went inside and put on our swimsuits and she was really excited. Once appropriately dressed, I plug the hose into it and turned on the water. She tentatively walked up to it and got sprayed a little. She immediately ran away and stood there saying "I no like it!" I turned off the water and she approached again. Not enough water had collected to play in it, so I unhooked the hose and filled the pool with a little water. Splashing in the inch of water kept her busy for about 10 minutes, just long enough for me to snap a picture or two! At least now it is blown up and will be easier to use in the future.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Motivation to live healthier

Randy and I were both pretty nervous going into the doctor today. I expected to hear that he had diabetes, but was nervous that it may be something else. He got called right back and they weighed him and checked his blood pressure, both were down from the last time he was in, so his medication is working. Then the doctor came in to explain his blood test results. He said that a normal persons' blood sugar is between 170-220. When they tested his blood, his blood sugar was 770, that's almost 4 times the normal reading! No wonder he was not feeling well! Though I was expecting diabetes, I was not expecting for it to be that bad. They immediately showed him how to take an insulin shot. They are going to try to lower his sugar slow enough so as not to shock his system, but quickly enough so that he is feeling better sooner. Though he will probably be on medicine the rest of his life, at least there is a treatment! We then went to the lab and they gave him a test machine and showed him how to use it. He will have to go back to the doctor once a week for the next 2 months and meet with a dietician to learn how to use his diet to better control his blood sugar.

With 2 young children we both really need to take better care of ourselves or risk not being around to see them grow. Though I am not glad that Randy has such a serious illness, I think that it was just the kick in the pants we both needed to make some serious lifestyle changes. I have had a weight problem since I was a child and could definitely stand to lose some weight. Hopefully learning to cook better for Randy will also help me to lose some weight. We are both committed to using the treadmill that we bought in January as part of our New Year's resolution to be more active and healthier and have used only a couple of times! Though it will take a lot of time and dedication, I hope that by this time next year we will both be well on our way to a healthier lifestyle!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Health Scare

Randy has had gastrointestinal problems since I met him. The very first time I cooked him dinner I fried the hamburger for the spagetti. This put him in the bathroom for the remainder of the night (his mom boils hamburger, something I had never heard of but learned to do!) In the past year he has gotten glasses and started taking medications for high blood pressure and gout. In the past week he has started drinking constantly and urinating more frequently so he called his doctor and went in for a blood test. Today they called him back and only said that they need to see him tomorrow! They have tested him for diabetes before and determined that he was pre-diabetic. I am certain that they will tell us that he is now diabetic. Whether or not that is the case, we are both going on a serious diet. A family friend recently died in a car accident. He was 32 with an 11 week old baby, that is the same age as Aidan! I can't imagine losing Randy in a tragic accident like that, we definitely will not lose him to a preventable disease.

Thankless job

Last night Randy called his mom to tell her the good news about Reese using the potty all by herself. I happened to overhear him telling her the story and it went something like this: "So we put the potty away for a little..., we helped her to get on the potty...", we, we, we!!!!!! I'm sorry but he wasn't there until after she had peed and all he did was get her some candy as a reward. Not to mention that I'm the one that has done all of the work over the past 6 months on gettting her to this point! I'm sure his mom knows that it was me who did everything, but it kind of peeved me off listening to him tell the story as if he had had any part in our success!

This reminded me of our very first checkup with Reese after she was born. The doctor asked us how many times she ate and about how much she was eating. Randy immediately piped in with the answer, while I tried to count them up in my sleep-deprived head. How could he answer this when I was breastfeeding and he was staying on the road 5 nights a week. The doctor then asked how much we were changing wet and poopy diapers. Again Randy chimed right in with an answer, though he had never changed a single diaper. I can count on one hand how many diapers he has changed in the past 2 years! He is the first one to eat at family functions or when we go out to eat, while I cut up food or feed the kids. He has never given a bath or dressed the kids. On the other hand, I lean on him to do a lot of the punishing since I can be a pushover and Reese definitely knows it. He also spends a lot of his time that he could be doing things with the kids to work and provide for us. The other day somebody asked if it is easier to be the mom or the dad. I responded that they both have there advantages and rewards and I would still have to agree.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Reese way back in October when we started potty training.

Finally after months of working on it, Reese went potty on the big girl potty! This has been a long and very frustrating journey and we are finally reaping the rewards! When Reese was about 16 months old she started pulling at her diaper after she had wet or saying poopy after she had had a bowel movement. She would also stay dry all night. These are signs that she was ready to potty train so we pulled the potty out of the box and tried to get her to use it. I thought that we would have enough time to get her to learn to go before Aidan was born, though I worried that she would regress after he was born. We started by putting her on the potty first thing in the morning when she woke up. I would give her a bowl of cereal and turn on cartoons or give her a book to read, and she actually went a few times right away. Unfortunately, she wasn't fully trained before Aidan was born. In the first two weeks after his birth, we didn't even pull the potty out or suggest that she use it. By the end of that 2 weeks I was feeling more up to the challenge and we went at it full bore. I set her on the potty first thing in the morning, before nap and before bed. She would happily sit for 20-30 minutes at a time, but would wait to pee until she got up and I put a diaper back on. After going through about 30 diapers one day, I decided to try real underwear.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Thanks babes!

Over the course of the past 12 weeks I have not taken the time to tell my husband how much I appreciate everything he does for our family. We discussed my quitting work even before Reese was born. At the time it was not really an option. The subject came up again when we got pregnant with Aidan. This time it really did not make sense for me to return to work to basically pay the daycare costs, so we decided that I would stay home. This Friday would have been my first day back to work after maternity leave, but because my husband has worked so hard, I am officially a stay at home mom. He is up at 6am every morning and doesn't usually get home until 6pm at night. Being at home doesn't necessarily mean that work stops though. He is checking emails, putting together proposals, taking phone calls, and writing reports throughout the night and on weekends as well. After all of this work, he still worries whether or not he will be able to provide for us financially, as he is only rewarded if he makes the sale. Though he wishes that we could take lots of vacations and buy the latest and greatest in electronics and recreational equipment, he is forgoing those dreams so that I can fulfill my dream of staying home with our children. I feel very lucky to have a husband who is willing to make such a sacrifice for his family. Thank you and I love you!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The boy way?!

My sister is the mother of two beautiful little girls and really wants to have a little boy. I also desperately wanted a boy when we were trying to get pregnant last. I looked up on the internet to see if there was anything I could do to increase my odds of having a boy. Apparently if the egg is fertilized at the end of your fertile period it is more likely to be a boy. Don't ask me it was something to do with lazy swimmers! Anyway, we used this method and after 6 months (took a little while to get the timing just right, not too late but right at the end) we were finally pregnant. Imagine my suprise at 20 weeks when we found out that we were actually having a boy and it had worked! Anyway, I was explaining this whole process to my sister and she actually asked me when I knew I was fertile!? Are you kidding me, she has 2 kids already and she doesn't know how her cycle works! I guess my job at a family planning clinic gave me a little bit more knowledge on my monthly cycle than the average bear, but still! Are you kidding me! So I proceeded to explain to her in detail her monthly cycle.
It is really sad that there is not more of an informational standard in teaching people about reproduction. I think that it is horrible that we have an abstinence only approach in most schools. If they do discuss sex, it is only to show awful pictures of sexually transmitted diseases to enforce the abstinence only position. The saying goes that with a little boy, the parents only have 1 penis to worry about and with a little girl, you have every penis to worry about! As the mother of a little girl, I know that I will be teaching her everything that I can so that she can have all of the information necessary to make the right choice for her. I don't want her to be having random sex, but if she does, I at least want her to be protected. The same goes for my little boy, I don't think that he should be treated any differently because of his gender, he could suffer any of the same consequences as a girl. I don't believe that the information itself makes the child want to go out and experiment, I think it is not having the information that causes them to seek out the information for themselves.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


Last night I realized just how lucky I am to have had babies that understood the difference between day and night at a very early age. Both of my babies were sleeping through the night by the time that they were just two weeks of age! According to most people that I have talked to this is very rare, especially for breast fed babies! Last night marked the first time in 10 weeks that I have been up for a late night feeding. Aidan woke up crying at 3am. Though his crying startled me awake, it was nice to have some time with him all to myself in the quiet of the middle of the night. I actually kind of feel cheated that I didn't get more of that time with them, especially since I was up anyway checking to make sure that they were still breathing!

This reminds me of a woman that I met at the doctor's office at my 6 week postpartum check up. She was sitting in a chair straight across from me and asked how old my baby was. I told her he was 6 weeks and she responded that hers was about the same age. She then asked if I was getting any sleep and if I had any suggestions on getting the baby to sleep more. It was then that I took in her total appearance, she had a scarf wrapped around her hair, no make up on, was dressed in a sweatsuit and looked like she was holding her eyes open with toothpicks. I couldn't tell her the truth, so I told her that I had an older daughter at home and that it gets better as they get older!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Terrible Twos

Today we had schedule a session to have both of the kids pictures taken as well as a new family photo. As my Mother's Day present Randy was going to allow me to spend whatever I wanted on pictures and not complain. Well, wouldn't you know that things couldn't go as perfectly as planned! Reese was up at 6 this morning and running around the house like a crazy person as I tried to get everybody washed up, ironed, dressed and pack the diaper bag with toys, treats, diapers and 10 changes of clothes. I fed her some of my cereal so as not to end up with banana in her hair and having to take a bath this morning. I showered and dressed and dressed Aidan. Finally at the last minute I chased her around the house pulling her clothes on to get her dressed for pictures. She always thinks that it is a game and that we are chasing her for fun! Not so much!
We get in the car and arrive at the photo place 20 minutes early. Their appointment is not there yet, but they decide to wait a few more minutes to make sure before they get us started. Five minutes later, we start with Aidan's pictures because Reese is busy playing with the toys, perfect! We get his individual shots with the 1st background done and decide to bring Reese in and take some shots together. Well she didn't want to stand by her brother, she wanted to play with the props. We finally got her to sit and take a few good pictures, then it was her turn. We thought she had picked one of the chairs out for pictures, but really just wanted to move all of the chairs in the place into the photo studio. The photographer snapped a few quick shots and then we tried to quickly move into a family pose. Reese immediately started crying when we tried to make her sit down by daddy. We tried moving her to sit by me and that didn't happen either. We bribed her with candy, spanked her bottom and tried to make her laugh with props. Now she was throwing a hissy fit on the floor. We left the room and gave her a talking to and took a five minute break. She had settled down, but as soon as we tried it again, you guessed it, hissy fit! Then Aidan started screaming for his feeding. Randy took Reese to the car, while I fed Aidan and picked out and purchased the photos holding back my tears. The poor photographer reassured me that this happens all of the time, but it didn't help.
Today just reminded me that I know my children's schedules and need to stick to that over whatever works for anyone else. I knew Randy would be pissy if we went over the weekend and they were busy, so I thought weekday would be best. He said this day before this time would work for him, so I called and scheduled it, thinking that it would be close to the time that she usually starts to get cranky and tired! Well it was and as a result, I didn't get the pictures I wanted (at least it saved Randy some money!) We will definitely be scheduling her upcoming birthday party for a time that best suits her schedule. If nobody comes because of that, then that is their loss. It is not worth it to me to have a party that everyone can attend, if she is tired and not behaving her best.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mother's Day

On Mother's Day, my husband wanted to treat me to dinner out at the restaurant of my choosing. Aidan had just eaten, so we rushed out the door and planned on going to a buffet, since we could sit right down and eat so we could make it back home before he wanted to eat again! He honestly eats every 2 hours or so when he is awake, but I can handle that as long as he continues sleeping through the night. When we got there people were lined up out the door, so we got back in the truck and drove to IHOP, the next closest restaurant and there wasn't anybody else there. We sat down and ordered. Reese was happy to walk around playing in our section of the restaurant until our food came. Just as we got our check, Aidan woke up and started screaming. We immediately picked up and headed home.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

While at the play place at the mall today, Reese was trying to push a little girl out of the helicopter so that she could have it all to herself. Instinctively I yelled, "No, no Reese!" Immediately, the little girl that she had been pushing repeated what I said. Her grandmother then scolded her that they don't say that word. At first I was embarassed like I had done something wrong, but afterward I was pissed! Since when is saying no to a child something to be embarrassed about! It's not like I was screaming real expletives at her and I wasn't beating her (for the record I do believe in spanking). What does one do if their child is doing something that they don't want them to, could possibly hurt another child, and they are 10 feet away? I guess I should have gone up to Reese and calmly explained to her what she was doing wrong and why it was wrong (btw, I usually do this after yelling at her to stop and possibly putting her on timeout). Call me a bad mom if you want, but I feel that is the most effective way to get her attention at the moment. I bet that if I hadn't yelled at Reese and she successfully pushed the girl out of the helicopter that the grandmother still would have been mad!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Nap time

When I was working and Reese was in daycare I did not realize how important nap time was. On the weekends when I actually got to spend time with her I looked at it as an inconvenience to have to go home or try to lay her down for a nap wherever we happened to be. I also saw it as a waste of the very little time that I got to see her. Now that I am home with her all day I realize how necessary that time is for the both of us. Last week she was sleeping about three hours a day! It was the best! I almost didn't know what to do with myself for those three hours! But there was plenty of laundry, cleaning and work to do around the house. I actually began to think that if I could get her to sleep for 5 hours I could maybe even catch up on my scrapbooking or maybe read a book!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Bath time as punishment?

Reeses' wild hair to match her wild pants!
Ever since she was a baby, my daughter has loved bathtime until it comes time to actually clean up and wash her hair. She will sit in the tub and play until she is absolutely pruny, but as soon as you try to wash her hair, she cries, screams, thrashes and just throws a fit. I don't remember ever getting soap in her eyes or any other traumatic bathtime event that would have made her react this way. I know that she loves the water because she has been swimming ever since she was just a few weeks old. She will even go underwater in the pool without hesitation. I have tried everything from singing funny bathtime songs, bathing with her, transitioning to showers instead of baths, but nothing seems to work. I am getting to the point where I would rather shave her head than have to fight through one more bath. If anyone has any suggestions, I would greatly appreciate any ideas. I am hoping that once she allows me to wash her hair, it will lead to allowing me to brush and pull her hair back! I would love to doll her up, but most of the time she ends up running around with a disheveled looking mop, hair in her face and food all stuck in her hair!

Can we put down some roots already?!

In May my husband and I will have been married for five years. In that time we have lived in 4 houses in 3 different towns! Right before we got married we bought an acreage in the country and planned to build a house on it. As we couldn't get financing right out of college, we had to hold off on building until we had been at our new jobs for a few weeks. Luckily, the man we had bought the acreage from had a rental house, that he was nice enough to rent to us for $100 a month. Great deal, right? Let me just tell you that you get what you pay for! It was a really cool old farmhouse, but we ended up blocking off three rooms of the house and living in those because the rest of the house was so scary and dilapidated. In the 3 months that we lived there we caught at least 20 mice, and it was summertime! Can't imagine if it would have been wintertime! Thank God we were fresh out of college and had very little furniture because almost everything we moved in there, we left because we were afraid to bring varmints with us.

After the 3 months we moved into our brand new ranch house! With money from our wedding we slowly bought new furniture for the house. After about a year, we realized that we were in over our heads and put the house up for sale. The listing was about to run out and we were at a point that we thought we could actually keep it, so I started painting and personalizing the house. A week later, we had an offer on the house because the buyer really liked the color I had picked for the dining room! I was devastated!

Fortunately, we found a house in the neighboring town that I absolutely loved. We moved into the house on our 1 year anniversary! You know that your bond is strong as a couple when you spend your 1st anniversary yelling at each other about where to put the furniture instead of out for a romantic evening. One of our new neighbors even pulled out a lawn chair and sat at the end of her driveway taking it all in (suprised she didn't have popcorn and all the fixings for the show we were putting on!)

Once again, I had just about gotten the house exactly the way I wanted it, when Randy accepted a new job. We could live anywhere in the midwest, so we decided to move home to be by family since he would be on the road a lot and we were expecting. We moved in with my mom in Dubuque and started working and waited for our house to sell. We found a house and moved in the middle of January. We lived in this 4 bedroom house for 3 months with only a bed on the floor until our old house finally sold and we could move all of our furniture back.

Fast forward 2 years and we currently have our house for sale! The plan is to build our dream house on a lot that we have purchased and to live there the rest of our days! Well, at least that is my plan. In my husband's opinion nothing is permanent and can be sold! I can't believe that we have been married for 5 years and together for 8! There must not be a market for me because I'm sure my husband would not refuse any acceptable offers!