Parenting Story

Parenting Story

Friday, September 10, 2010

Everything that I want!

Randy and his family recently finished up my new car, a Chevy Malibu Max. It is a very cute and sporty looking car. I definitely feel safer driving it than the convertible with the kids. It is also so much easier to get the kids in and out of than the convertible. I do however miss how Reese called the convertible my "carvertible". One of the first days driving the car Reese announced from her seat that she loved my beautiful new car. Just last night while driving to the grocery store, Reese discovered a cup holder in the back of the fold down middle seat. She was so excited to find the cup holders and announced, "This car has cup holders, one for me and one for Aidan. This car has everything that I want!" So there you have it, give the girl some cup holders and a built in DVD player and she will love ya forever!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Sibling Rivalry

Last week when I picked Reese up from her grammy's, she shared with me that her friends Sam and Kylie had new babies. She then informed me that she did not have a baby, she had a big brother. I then asked her if she would like a baby brother or sister? She responded emphatically and without hesitation, "NO!"
I would love to have 1, if not 2 more children. Randy still needs some convincing, obviously Reese does too!


Tonight Aidan found some of Reese's bangle bracelets and put them on. He came over to me, hands up, displaying the bracelets and announced, "Cute!" He also has a fetish for her dress up shoes!

We recently bought Aidan some new tennis shoes for fall. He wore them for the first time on Monday and it was hilarious watching him take his first couple of steps. He just started walking this spring and has only worn sandals, so the feeling of shoes was totally new to him. Once he got used to them he did not want to take them off! Tonight we came in for dinner and I took his shoes off. After dinner he brought his shoes in to Randy and laid down on the floor so that he could put them on for him!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Imagination Library

This past spring while at the library I came upon some information on Dolly Parton's Imagination Library. Dolly Parton started the program because she wanted children in her home county to have access to age appropriate books that would foster in them a love of reading. The program was such a success, she asked others to help her make the program available to more children. It is now available in three countries! My children already loved reading, but I thought that the program would expose them to some books that we maybe would not have purchased ourselves and that they would enjoy receiving their own mail. I immediately filled out the application (there is no charge for the program, the local United Way funds the program in our community) and we anxiously awaited our first books. Within 2 weeks each of the kids had received the first book, "The Little Engine that Could". Every 4-6 weeks after that the kids have received a book appropriate for their age. Aidan usually receives board books while Reese gets longer paperback story books. Whenever we go to get the mail, Reese asks if she will be receiving a book that day. If she has received a book, she makes me open it so she can read it in the car on the way home from the post office. Here is a picture of the books we have received so far:

That is 16 new books since April! Our favorites so far have been, "Pouch" and "LLama, Llama Mad at Mama".The kids qualify for the program until they are 5 years of age. I'm not sure if the boks change year to year, or if Aidan will receive some of the same books that Reese has gotten. Even if he does, we could donate the duplicates to my sisters kids, who unfortunately do not have a program where they live. We love Dolly Parton's Imagination Library and wish that it could be available to each and every child! Make sure to check to see if the Imagination Library is available in your area.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Rough transition

I am having a hard time adjusting to being back to work full time. I feel that I am not doing a good job of being there for my kids and that I am also not doing the best job that I can at my job. I broke down crying tonight in front of the kids after a stressful bathtime experience. Reese sweetly asked me what hurt so she could kiss it to make it better! So sweet I only cried more! How do you explain to a 3 year old that sometimes you just need a good cry?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Reese gets the gimme's

Reese is at that age where she sees things on tv or in the store and says, "I want that!" We try not to watch too much tv and when we do, it is generally Nick Jr. or IPTV so that there are minimal commercial interruptions. Occassionally, though, we do watch other channels. Recently, while watching tv, a commercial for Pillow Pets came on. Now seriously what kid could resist a pillow that is also a pet! Reese was screaming at me, "Mommy! I want that!" and singing along. Thankfully, once the show comes back on, the wonderful Pillow Pet is forgotten.

A few times this summer when it has been rainy and we are sick of being stuck in the house, we have gone shopping and spent some time in the toy aisles at different stores. Reese generally points out things that she would like, but I tell her, "Not today," and she puts it back on the shelf without a fuss! We will continue to do this so that the kids are conditioned to leave without things and I can get ideas for Christmas and birthdays! The same thing happens once we reach the checkout. Reese will play with any toys in the aisle or look at the candy, but rarely asks for anything and has never thrown a fit when we say it is time to leave without said candy or toys!
You could say that we are really tough parents, as our children rarely ever go out to eat and get an actual kids meal with toys. We have found that it is often cheaper to split an adult meal between the two of them, rather than to order 2 kids meals just so that they can each have a toy.
This weekend marks the first time that I have caved and bought something that Reese wanted and, suprisingly, it was something I was going to buy anyway! We were near the produce and Reese got all excited that they had Princess Grapes. I notice a display of boxes covered in pictures of the Disney Princesses and find packages of grapes inside. I was planning to buy fruit anyway, so I gladly threw a package in.


While riding home from grammy's today, I gave the kids a few leftovers grapes to munch on from my lunch. Aidan kept saying, "Bubbles!" and Reese and I assumed he was talking about my shirt, which featured large blue circles. When we got home I got out some more grapes as Reese did not share very well with Aidan. I had already changed clothes and Aidan reached across the table where I had the grapes sitting and said, "Bubbles!"

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Fashion Dilemma

I have been searching high and low for a pair of nice girls dress shoes in chocolate brown for Reese to wear with her dress as a flower girl in my little brother's upcoming wedding. Since Randy was out of town tonight, I decided to take the kids to town and do some browsing for a pair of shoes. We went to the mall and looked through 4 different stores. I was unable to find anything at any of the stores, so we started walking back to our car. Reese started grumbling and yelled, "I'm so frustrated that I can't find a pair of shoes! Ugh!"

Monday, August 16, 2010

Toothbrush Fiend

Lately, if I don't keep the bathroom door closed, Aidan gets into the toothbrushes and runs around with them in his mouth. I am glad that he is so into keeping his mouth clean, I just do not want to be running to the ER because he fell and shoved a toothbrush through his skull!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Daytrip- Henry Villas Park Zoo

We have been planning a family trip to the Henry Villas Park Zoo in Madison, WI for the past two weeks and were all very excited. When Reese woke up on Sunday I asked her which animal she was most excited to see. Her response: "Grandma Potter!" I guess I should have been more specific!
Randy, the resident weatherman, was not so excited. He checked the weather forecast in Madison and found that there were supposed to be pretty severe storms throughout the day. Despite the forecast, we packed up the kids and car and headed for Dubuque to meet up with my family. When we arrived in Dubuque the skies were black and it was pouring down rain. We waited for a break in the rain and ran into the HyVee to meet up with the rest of my family. We discussed the weather, but decided to forge on with our plans. After they finished their breakfast, we took all the kids to the bathroom and loaded into our cars. When Brandon finally arrived, we lined up and headed our caravan out of town. We took the lead as we had GPS and could direct everyone else to the zoo. About 20 minutes into the trip we stopped to take another bathroom trip. Fearing that an 80 minute drive was going to take about 160 minutes, Randy became a little irritated. Fortunately, we made it the rest of the way without another stop.
When we arrived, everything looked pretty wet, like it had recently rained, but the skies were bright and blue! We unloaded all of the kids and had a picnic lunch outside the zoo. After taking our picnic baskets back to the cars, we finally headed in. It was a bit hectic when we first entered the zoo as we had to stop for another potty break and the kids were so excited to get going. Finally, we made our way to the gorilla and monkey display. Randy, the kids and I kind of took off in advance while everyone else fed babies and decided how to handle strollers, as they were not allowed into the building. Though I didn't get much time to chat with my family, because we were always ahead of them, it was easier spreading out than trying to keep our large group together (we had 7 adults and 9 kids under the age of 6 in our group).
After the monkeys, came the lions and a tiger. Randy took Aidan over to see the tiger, while we were looking around for the giraffes. He said that when they approached the surround, the tiger came up very close to the fence and stared at Aidan, while Aidan tried to get closer (thank goodness I wasn't there!). According to a sign inside the giraffes pen, they had been separated into different cages because they had been fighting. When we found them inside another building, 2 that looked like adults were in one cage, while a smaller one was in his own cage. All I could think was that animals must not be that much different from humans. The smaller giraffe had to have been the baby of the two giraffes in the other cage. My guess is that the baby giraffe was going through his terrible 2's or else was going through the equivalent of puberty!
After checking out the ostrich, emu and flamingos we came upon a treehouse play area where the kids played for about 45 minutes! They were all completely drenched with sweat and parched, so we took a break to get something to drink before continuing on. I took a quick look through the herpetarium, snakes and bats and bugs, and left in favor of looking at the fish, ducks, giant turtle and alligator. Next we looked at the buffalo, prairie dogs and llamas. There was a building that contained many tropical animals and an actual rainforest. Finally, we got to see the black bears, otters and capybara. Unfortunately the polar bear and penguins were in hiding, can't imagine why!
Upon reaching the point where we started, we took another bathroom break. The babies needed to eat again, so the older kids played in the park while the adults fed the babies. Finally we packed everyone back into their cars and started the caravan back home. Our kids were asleep before we even left the zoo grounds. Because we planned on driving while the kids were asleep and had longer to drive to get home, Randy led everyone back to the highway that would lead them back to Dubuque and then picked up speed. By the time we reached Dubuque, the kids were awake and we decided to stop for dinner. One really nice couple came up to us as they were leaving and told up what nice children we had and how well behaved they were. Though their good behaviour was probably attributed to sheer exhaustion, it was still nice to hear! We finished up our dinner and drove the rest of the way home.
The zoo was a perfect choice for our group because it was affordable. Though there is no charge for admission into the zoo, donations are greatly appreciated to help keep the zoo operating. The only costs for the day were our gas for the ride there and back and also for our picnic lunch. Also, all of the children in our group, 9 under the age of 6, were entertained for the four hours were spent at the zoo. It can be difficult to do things with this group because there are such different levels of ability (newborn, toddlers and school agers) and interests, but there really was something for everyone!
Though the day had been hectic at times, it was definitely worth it! We will be planning another trip back to the zoo next summer and hopefully every summer after that!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Busy Week

It is my last week of summer vacation and we are making the most of it and cramming as much in as we can! Even though Randy was out of town Tuesday and Wednesday, the kids and I went to the Mississippi Valley Fair with their grammy and grampy Winslow. We left Tuesday around 4. After arriving at the fairgrounds, the kids and I took a walk around to check out the animal barns and rides. We returned to the car around 6pm, with 2 hours to go until the start of the concert. The kids were really good entertaining themselves with some toys that I had brought and just climbing around the van. Once we finally got to the concert, they continued to entertain themselves well by playing with toys, running around and playing with some kids nearby, dancing and chasing bubbles. When the concert ended around 10pm we headed out the gates. The kids were being pretty good considering how late it was, but we all decided it would be best to head home in order to be rested up for the next night. There was a huge thunderstorm during the night that woke Reese and I up for about an hour and then Reese was up at 6am. We kept busy all morning and all laid down for naps after lunch. After a short nap, we packed up and headed back to grammy and grampy's to follow them to the fair. We got there a little bit earlier and therefore had more time to waste. Again the kids and I walked through the animal barns and rides. We stopped and took in a puppet show and also went through the petting zoo. An hour and a half later we returned to our car to eat a little dinner. Again the kids played in and around the car for about 2 hours before we headed into the concert. Though the kids played well during the concert, by the end Reese was tired and whining that she wanted to go home. When we got to the car she was so delirious that she said knock, knock jokes and laughed histerically the whole way home! She stayed up until daddy got home around 11pm so that she could say goodnight.
Reese slept in pretty late the following morning and we spent some time outside that morning. After lunch, the kids took their usual naps. When daddy got home from work, we began preparing to go to the fair. Thankfully, we went out the latest we had all week, it was well past 6 before we even parked. We walked around the barns looking at the pigs and before we knew it, it was time for the concert to begin. We decided to get a little closer to the stage and settled in a sandy are to the right of the stage. It was great because the kids were entertained by playing in the sand throughout the whole concert. I was a little upset when Reese laid down and started making sand angels, but thankfully we got her cleaned up without too much trouble. Soon after the crowds had cleared out of the stands at the end of the concert, we headed back to our car. Though we had waited awhile, traffic was still pretty bad and it took us awhile to get home.
Friday we planned on taking the kids to Randy's grandparents while we attended the concert alone. We dropped the kids off around 5pm and almost didn't know how to act at the fair without 2 children in tow. After a coupld of beverages, I got my favorite fair treat, fried pickles. Though I was looking forward to enjoying my treat by myself, I did end up sharing! After the concert we hung around in the farmers tent for awhile. Finally, we went to Village Inn for something to eat before going home and collapsing into bed.
I was up by 6:30, why can I not sleep in when I actually have the opportunity to do so? I waited and finally went to pick up the kids around 8am. I couldn't believe it when I walked into the house and both kids were still sleeping! About 20 minutes later they started stirring and got up. We packed up all of their stuff and thanked Gene and Shirley before heading home. After lunch and naps, we went into town to do some tax free shopping. We got enough summer clothes for both of the kids to wear to Jamaica and Florida this upcoming spring. We also finished off most of their needs for fall, including new shoes. After dinner at Red Robin, we went to Sam's for our groceries. The kids played outside while we put away groceries at home. Then we took baths and got ready for bed. After such a busy couple of days, I could sleep for days, but we are going to spend Sunday at the zoo! Oh well! I can sleep when I am dead, I am loving making all of these memories with my kids!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Goodbye Mommy Missile

A little over three years ago when Randy drug me to every dealership in the state looking at minivans I was more than annoyed! I had a car that was working just fine and that I thought was sporty and cute. Though it was a bit difficult to get the carseat in and out, I absolutely did not want to have a minivan. After looking at several dealerships one weekend, en route to Des Moines to visit friends and show off our new bundle of joy, we ended up at a Chrysler dealership and I decided to test drive a sporty looking, racing red mini van. We strapped Reese's carseat in and away we went! It was not as bad to drive as I had imagined, I was used to driving cars and thought that a van would feel so much larger and more awkward. Another factor in our decision was the fact that Reese, who had cried during every previous stop at a dealership, was quiet as a churchmouse during our car ride. Finally, the salesman pointed out that all of the seats folded down into the floor "making it easy for picking up and hauling large loads, say of furniture, without the necessity of a truck, or even needing to tell my husband." Those were the exact words of the salesman. At that, I had to have it! Randy and the salesman worked out a deal and about 3 hours later, we were driving away in our new (to us) minivan. Up until then I had made it perfectly clear to everyone in both of our families that I did not want a minivan, so of course I caught some flack upon showing off the new vehicle to members of our family, especially those who dubbed my new car the "mommy missile". I had to totally eat my words because I loved the new van! We began to reap the benefits immediately on our ride home from Des Moines. I could sit in the back by Reese to pump and then feed her without feeling on display to passing motorists. When I was finished feeding her and she slept, I could move easily to the front seat to talk with Randy. If it was raining, I could crouch in the van and get Reese into her seat without having to stand outside and get all wet. I did also use the van to pick up several pieces of furniture for our house including a large table and chairs, buffet and 2 patio sets. Finally, when going on trips with my family, we were able to consolidate several families into our van and take less vehicles, that is until we all had multiple children!
We bought the van just before I returned to work from my maternity leave. About 1 year later we were expecting our second child. After the birth of our second child I quit working to be a stay at home mom. We rarely used the van after that time because I did not go anywhere except doctors appointments, but if we could I planned appointments around times when we could use Randy's vehicle and go together. After over a year we had put less than 5,000 miles on the van and were still making the same payment. We decided that it would be smarter to cut out the payment and find something with a little better gas mileage that would be cheaper for us. After putting the van for sale, Randy found a cavalier convertible similiar to one that he had in high school. I was not excited about it because I did not think that a convertible top would be very safe if I were to ever be in an accident with the kids. I didn't relay my concerns to Randy and he ended up buying the convertible. After driving it to Dubuque to visit my mom I became irrate. The car shook like crazy at highway speed, died if you let it idle to long (like at lights or intersections) and leaked terribly through the back window. I was especially upset because I had been offered and accepted a job with the schools and because my mother- in-law watches the kids for us, we would be making more money. I felt that in giving up my ability to stay at home with the kids full time, I should be able to drive something a little bit nicer. I didn't relay this appropriately to Randy and the van ended up selling, making me even angrier. Finally, this past weekend, I took Randy's car with the kids because of rain and he was stuck with my convertible. He called me after his experience and apologized profusely for the selling of my car and leaving me with such a piece! and promised that we would go out and get something that I felt more comfortable in. Now that I am stuck with the decision of what to get next, I don't know what to do. I would love to have a minivan back because of all of the space, because I would love to have at least one more child and have plans to do some furniture refinishing next summer. He wants me to get something like an SUV or truck that would pull our boat and trailer. Whatever we end up with, it will definitely be the result of lots of discussion and compromise, so we do not end up with the same situation we just came out of.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Shopping with children- Mission Impossible

I convinced my family this week that they should come to Davenport to see me and do a little shopping. They left Dubuque around 9:30 am, so we met at the mall at about 11. When I arrived my sister was feeding her youngest, 6 month old Landon, so we sat down in the food court and visited while he ate. Soon after he was done eating, all of the girls needed a potty break. While we took a potty break, my brother arrived at the mall. When everyone had finished their potty break, we walked down to JCPenney. On the way, Elliot noticed that there was a US Cellular and decided to trade in his cell battery. We walked down and back while waiting for him. We then continued to JCPenney. My sister found a few dresses for her daughter Isabelle and they tried them on. By the time they finished trying on the dresses it was past 12 and the kids were getting hungry for lunch. We walked back to the cars and loaded up to go to Steak and Shake. After about 20 minute wait, we were seated. We didn't leave there until 1:30! We then returned to the mall to drop my brother off at his car so he could go home. We unloaded the kids and went back into the mall. A few of us took potty breaks on the way into the mall. By the time we made it to our next destination several more had to go potty and Landon was hungry again. Courtney made a bottle while I shopped. Then mom fed Landon while Courtney and I both shopped. The kids got restless, so I took them down a dead hallway and let them run races up and down the hallway so Courtney could shop in peace. By the time Courtney came out (empty handed) the girls had to go to the bathroom again. The bathroom was full and 2 of them had accidents in their pants before a stall opened up! We cleaned up and headed to the other end of the mall for Whitey's ice cream, but the line was too long, so we decided to just leave and find ice cream elsewhere. We got back in the car and drove to Whitey's, got the kids back out and ordered our ice cream. Aidan, my son, fell while waiting for our order and bit his lip. We finally got our orders and sat down to eat and the kids fought over sharing their milkshakes. When everyone was finished we decided to go to Kohl's. Another trip to the bathroom and then we made a trip around the store. Afterward we walked down to Gordman's. Mom watched the kids while Courtney and I looked and tried on a few things. We left the store with nothing after retrieving kids from the bathroom. By this time the kids were over tired and crabby, so we said our goodbyes, parted ways and headed home. The final outcome of our shopping trip looked something like this:
Bathroom breaks: 27
Diaper Changes: 4
Feedings: 2
Purchases: 0
Afternoon spent with family: Priceless!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Little Fish

Reese in her life jacket at the beach.

My in-laws have the perfect antidote for hot summer days, an above ground pool. Whenever we can we spend a few hours in the afternoon swimming to beat the heat. Usually Reese is swimming with her life jacket and a floaty around her waist while I swim with Aidan and Debbie swims with Jack. This works out pretty well because all the kids can be in the water at once and we don't have to worry about anyone drowning. Today for some reason Reese decided that she would climb down the ladder and try to swim on her own, i.e. no flotation devices. Debbie had just gotten out with Jack, and I was doing laps in the pool so Aidan could drive his car on the pools edge. All of a sudden Debbie screamed and jumped into the pool. I turned and saw Reese treading water with her head tilted back as far as she could so as not to get her head underwater. I jumped over and picked her up by the bathing suit soon after she went under. I calmly told her that she needed to inform somebody whenever she wanted to go for a swim without any assistance so that we could watch her and help if needed. Then everybody congratulated her on her attempt and how well she did. Fortunately she was not hurt and she is not completely afraid of the water. I think it gave her just enough respect that it could be dangerous and she needs to make sure that somebody is watching her.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Pleasing Words

The other day while riding in the car, I had this conversation with Reese:

Reese: Mommy, I need to use my pleasing words, like this: "Grandma Potter can I please play with your pianio? (not a typo, that is how she says piano).

Me: That is very good honey! Who told you to call them your "pleasing words."

Reese: I did.

I so love this girl!

Princess toots-a-lot and Sir stinky feet

We picked the kids names because they have special meanings to us, but sadly they rarely get used. They rarely get used because we have so many nicknames for them.
Besides the normal nicknames (sweetie, honey, missy/mister) these are the nicknames that are unique to our children.
Reese has been dubbed Princess toots-a-lot because she does just that: toots A LOT! She and Randy wrestle regularly and whenever he picks her up or gently pushes on her belly, she lets one fly. She also lets them fly while eating, playing and sleeping. She is an equal opportunity tooter! Someday she may be embarassed by this nickname, but for now she thinks it is hilarious! We also call her Reeser Piecer, Reesey, and Reesey Pie. Recently, Reese has started talking about herself in the third person and calling herself one of her nicknames. For example, "Mommy, that would be perfect for Reesey Pie!"
Aidan has only recently become Sir stinky feet. He only started walking in May, so we never really kept shoes on him until recently. Though he usually wears sandals, there is obviously not enough air flow to keep his tootsies dry. The instant you take off his shoes, you are overcome with the smell of sweaty feet. The other day while at the doctor with Aidan, I was asked to show the rash that had developed on Aidan's foot. Upon taking off his shoes the doctor immediately exclaimed, "Those are some stinky feet!" Aidan is also known as Duder, Jeebs and AJ.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Wish it were me

As a parent we often wish that we could take on our children's pains rather than have them suffer through it. I have never wanted that more than this past week. This Hand, Foot and Mouth disease has made my sweet little boy into a screaming, crying, head spinning little monster. This morning he was standing in his crib smiling and waiting for me to get him. I took him downstairs and handed him his juice like I do every morning and he went ballistic. Kicking, crying, screaming and throwing his body around. I tried to soothe him, but he only got worse. I left him alone on the floor throwing his tantrum and he continued for a good ten minutes. I put him back to bed and the screaming intensified. Ten minutes later I brought him back downstairs and tried to soothe him again, no deal. I held him down and gave him some motrin, which he does not like. Finally, I left him to throw his fit while I went to make the beds. He followed me into the bedroom and hung onto my pants begging to be picked up. I finished making the bed and picked him up and he threw such a violent fit I almost dropped him. This video is about 15 minutes into his tantrum this morning. Beware this video may make you want to cry :(
About 20 minutes later he was still throwing a fit, which you can see in this video.
Finally, after about 45 minutes he calmed down enough that he would sit in my lap and I could feed him some yogurt. The yogurt helped to cool the sores in his mouth. Then he was satisfied to move to his own seat and finish eating his breakfast.
From the screams and behavior he has exhibited over the last few days, I can only imagine the amount of pain he is in. I usually do not like to give the kids medicine, even motrin, but I will be continuing the motrin every 6 hours religiously to prevent another morning like this one!

Monday, July 19, 2010

On the Mend

Aidan on Saturday. His face just looks so pained and it is totally unusual for him to sit still like this for any amount of time.

After almost 4 days of some very unusual behavior and symptoms I decided to take Aidan to the doctor. On Thursday he had a slight fever and was drooling a lot, so I gave him some tylenol thinking that he was teething. The next day he seemed fine until we went out for dinner. He was very clingy during the meal and was uninterested in anything to eat or drink. I gave him tylenol again and looked around in his mouth trying to feel for a new tooth coming in. Saturday morning he was an absolute monster. He took a drink out of his juice and screamed bloody murder. I thought that his new tooth could be sensitive to hot or cold, but the juice he drank from was room temperature and should not have caused that kind of reaction. He barely ate or drank all day and continued to be very clingy. Looking in his mouth again, I noticed that his tongue was kind of whitish. I thought that maybe he had thrush, which is like a yeast infection of the mouth. Being late on Saturday the clinics were all closed and did not feel like we needed to take him to the emergency room as tylenol seemed to be helping the pain. We kept him on tylenol all day Sunday too and he seemed about the same, not eating or drinking much and screaming in pain when he did. I also noticed three little red bumps on his foot.
Thankfully when I called the doctor this morning, they were able to get us an appointment to see the doctor. The doctor checked his ears and everything looked fine. He then checked his throat and found a blister on the side of his tongue. He then asked if I had seen any rashes anywhere on his body. When I reported the bumps on his feet, he immediately checked them out and it confirmed the Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease. Though there is no medication, he said that we should continue the tylenol regimen since that seemed to be alleviating some of the symptoms. The virus usually passes in 3-4 days, so he should be on the mend. Hopefully, I will have my healthy boy back soon!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

As an infant, Reese absolutely refused pacifiers. I am partially to blame because in some of the literature I read, it said not to give breastfed infants pacifiers because it could cause nipple confustion. Eventually I decided that using a pacifier would not be confusing and attempted to get her to use a pacifier. We bought every brand, size and style available when she was an infant trying to get her to take a bink, but she would just spit them out. My mother found that she would keep one in if you tapped the front of the pacifier while it was in Reese's mouth, but the point of a pacifier is that the child can use it to calm themselves so that kind of defeated the purpose. One thing that Reese would do though is to stick her thumb in her mouth and suck if she was upset, tired or hungry. It calmed her down whereas sticking a pacifier in her mouth only upset her more. It was easy whereas keeping track of pacifiers would be a lot more difficult. Though several memebers of our families were totally against it and told me that I should wrap her hands up and force her to take the pacifier, I couldn't do it. They warned that it would be hard to take away from her, that it would ruin her teeth and countless other things, but I didn't care. I still don't care. Reese still speaks and speaks clearly, it has done no more damage and doesn't look uglier than her black tooth (which she got in a fall), I see no disadvantages or truly harmful effects. I have worried that cosmetically she has changed the shape of her nose by flattening the cartilage at the end of her nose. She kind of hooks her hand around her nose to help hold it up and in place and in the process flattens her nose. What do you think? Can you see a difference in these two pictures?

Although I truly believe that Reese's thumbsucking would go away as she ages, I did decide that at 3 years of age it would be time to just make Reese aware of when she is sucking her thumb, because it is just so natural for her to have it in her mouth. Hopefully by making her aware of when she is sucking her thumb, she will find something else to do if she is bored or seeking comfort. I have been asking her to stop and take her thumb out of her mouth for about 2 months now. Sometimes she pulls her thumb right out, other times she refuses and then I try to redirect her attention and get the thumb out of her mouth. We ordered, "The Berenstain Bears and the Bad Habit", where sister bear has a habit of nail biting. We read it nightly and substitute nail biting for thumbsucking. She loves the story and looks forward to it nightly. We also implemented a chart system where we give Reese stickers randomly throughout the day when she is not sucking her thumb and take stickers away when we catch her randomly putting her thumb in her mouth. This has been very effective as she hates to have her stickers taken away. Once she fills the chart with stickers we plan to take her to get a special toy for her accomplishment. All in all things have been going pretty well. Today she brought her hand up and dropped it down before she could get her thumb in her mouth. Hopefully making her aware of the habit now will relieve her from teasing when she starts school next year.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Sick and tired

Poor Aidan has had a fever and not been feeling well for the past 24-36 hours. He has been extra clingy and not his usual happy-go-lucky self. Thinking that he was feeling better and had broken the fever, we attempted to go out to dinner and get groceries tonight. As soon as we were seated in our booth, Aidan started to whimper. He grabbed for a rice krispy treat, so I opened it for him. He just played with it and then whined for something else. I pulled out a toy and he threw it. I grabbed some ice for him, thinking that his teeth were bothering him, but he threw that as well. I tried several other things to get him to quiet down and sit still and finally ended up pulling him into my lap and rocking him. He was pretty content like that until our food came. I tried to put him back in his chair to eat, but he was not having it. I sat him back down in my lap before he could get too upset and disrupt everyone around us. I ate one handed while he played with the food on my plate. After Randy finished eating, I handed Aidan over so that I could eat my meal. Aidan got more and more agitated, so I shovelled my food in and then grabbed him back from Randy. He calmed down some, but I was still worried about him being disruptive to others around us. I took him outside while Randy and Reese paid the bill and boxed up our leftovers. Aidan brightened up and actually got down to walk around a little while we were outside.
We packed back into the car and drove to HyVee to get some pop. Randy ran in so that we would not have to take Aidan in and out multiple times. We had not gone grocery shopping for almost 3 weeks, so it was a necessity that we get groceries, or we would have just gone home with our sick child. While Randy was gone, Reese revealed that she had to go to the bathroom. I asked her to wait until daddy was back and we went to the next store. When Randy returned without pop because they did not have any good sales, we decided to go to Target. I took the kids to the bathroom while Randy checked out the pop. Just as we were exiting the bathroom he was exiting the checkout. We got back into the car and went down the street to Sam's. Unfortunately we could not make it very quickly through the store because they had remodeled and we did not know where everything was. We got our groceries pretty quickly by spreading out and each taking 1/2 of the list. Soon we were back in the car and headed home.
While driving Reese asked me if she should sing Aidan a "Stop crying song". I said sure and she strung together this adorable little song:
"I am here
Mommy is here
she will be here forever"
He ended up falling asleep and Reese continued to sing. Then out of nowhere Reese leaned over to his carseat and yelled, "tickle, tickle!" while tickling his toes. He woke up momentarily crying, but went right back to sleep. Once we got home he woke up again. I took him into the house and gave him some motrin and we snuggled on the couch until it was time for bed. Fortunately he went right to sleep. Usually the kids are very good sleepers, hopefully he will get a good nights sleep tonight and feel better in the morning.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Sprinkler Fun

Some pics of the kids cooling off in the sprinkler yesterday:

Aidan was very tentative at first, just putting his hands into the water stream. After a few minutes he was sticking his face into the stream and drinking the water!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Jam Packed 4th

We had a very busy 4th, as I'm sure most people did. Our weekened was jumpstarted early Friday with a family lunch outing and grocery shopping. Later that afternoon we took the boat out for a few hours with Aunt Steffane. We came in by 6 so that we could clean up and prepare for a bigger outing the next day.
We spent the day Saturday boating and playing in the water. We went out rather early, about 9 am, so as to avoid the crowds at the dock trying to put their boats into the water. We had planned on coming in around 2 pm or as soon as the kids started getting crabby. They were so good that it was around 3 before we actually came in. I washed the kids up and put them to bed at my in-laws so that we could swim a little at their pool while the kids napped.

On Sunday we went out for breakfast with Great Grandma and Grandpa Winslow like usual. Afterward we stopped back at Grammy and Grampys to visit with Great Grandma and Grandpa Freeman. Soon after we made the hour long trek to Dubuque for my families 4th of July/ Family Reunion. My mom and her sisters put together a mini olympics for the kids and the adults had horseshoe tournaments after lunch. I don't know who had more fun, the kids or the adults!

The kids were so worn out from the days events that they fell asleep early. I figured I could wake Reese up to go to the fireworks, but as I talked to her trying to get her to wake up, her eyes just rolled back in her head. I was a little disappointed, but Randy reminded me that there would be more fireworks for us to attend before the end of summer.
Monday we were so worn out and the weather was kind of dismal, so we ventured out to lunch with Randy's family and rented a few movies for the afternoon. It was nice to be able to just relax after such a busy and fun filled weekend.

My little daredevil

It is amazing how much more comfortable and experienced Reese has gotten with her bike in just the past few weeks. When she first got it she needed help getting on the bike and once on would need a push to get rolling. Now she hops right on all by herself and can even get herself over bumps in the concrete. It is great to be able to sit back and watch without having to assist her every few minutes. But with her confidence she has also become a bit of a daredevil. The other day she rammed into the porch swing and sent the reflector flying. Today she sang a little song and even did the hand motions while riding her bike! This one is funny!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Favorite part of the day

Tonight while Reese was eating dinner, our conversation went something like this:

Me: "Reese what was your favorite part about today?"
Reese: "Digging in the sand with the kids."
Me: "Oh that was a good one. My favorite part was floating down the river with you and Aidan and grammy."
Reese: "Me too. What was Aidan's favorite part?"
Me: "I bet it was eating cheetos because everytime I looked at him he seemed to be eating them."

Friday, July 2, 2010

Big Helpers

I don't know what it is about my kids, but whenever I get out the vaccum cleaner or swiffer, or try to load or unload the dishwasher they are standing right there clamoring to help out. I only wish that this desire to help out will last until I can really utilize it!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Growing boy

This morning when I went to get Aidan out of bed, he was standing up in his crib waiting for me. I said "good morning" and he responded "juuuuice". I'm not gonna lie, it kind of hurt that my little guy was more concerned about getting something to drink than seeing me!

Aidan's vocabulary is growing day by day. Today during breakfast he pointed out towards the river and said, "boat". Sure enough there was a boat right where he pointed. He also says "cool" and "toot". Tonight Aidan was chasing me around the house with an old camera and saying "Chee" (cheese). I have been trying to work with him on learning the parts of his face (eyes, ears, nose and mouth). Tonight he kept saying "eye" but I don't think he has any idea yet where they are on his face.

My poor little guy has some teeth coming in and like usual, has very runny stools. For the past several days I have had to change his sheets first thing because his diaper leaked out overnight. That also means a quick bath to rinse him off as well. Tonight the poor guy was playing so good, when I noticed that he was sitting in a puddle of his own urine and diarrhea. I don't know how he could have anything left in him! On top of that he has continued to have a very good attitude, not being overly whiny or clingy.

Booty Shaker

Tonight Reese and Randy were wrestling while I cleaned up the dinner dishes. At one point he was grabbing for Aidan and Reese rolled off the bed to the floor, hitting her hip on the way. She came crying to me and I kissed her owie. She then went back to Randy and exclaimed, "You broke my booty shaker and I can't shake my booty anymore!"

Reesisms- SSC Edition

I love that at Star Spangled Celebration you are able to walk up near the stage to see the performers up close and take pictures. I wanted to take Reese up with me to see the stage up close, but she did not want to go at first. I decided to carry her with me and she loved it! As soon as we got back to our seats she was immediately upset that she could not longer see the performers. She walked with me to see every performer after that!

Later in the evening the light shows on the stage were much more visible. At one point during Wynona Judd's performance the lights were blue. Reese looked at me and asked me, "Mommy can you change the colors to pink and purple? I would really like that!"

In between concerts, they often blared music over the speakers and it would be difficult to make out what Reese was saying. I asked her several times what she was saying and she would respond, "I'm just singing mommy!" I think she is going to be a little performer someday!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Naked babies

Since the upstairs is usually pretty hot, I just let the kids sleep in their diapers. The other night Reese came up to me touching her naked tummy and said what sounded like, "I'm making babies!" I was caught off guard and said "What?" thinking to myself, who taught her this! She repeated again and again it sounded like, "I'm making babies!" I was mortified thinking who could have taught her this or what did she see! Finally, it dawned on me that she was saying "I'm a naked baby!" I asked her if that was what she said and I was so relieved when she said, "Yes!"

Backwards Crazy Coupe

Randy's aunt Linda brought us a crazy coupe car and the kids just love it! They fight over who gets to ride in it, so usually one of them is in the car and the other is in the swing. There is a problem with the car being stuck in reverse whenever Aidan is in it though! He can back that thang up like crazy and even do doughnuts in reverse, but unless he is pushing the car from behind, he cannot get it to go forward. Today he finally realized that he could stand up in the car and push it forward by walking and pushing on the steering wheel with his belly! It is so cute!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Girls (and Aidan) Weekend!

For as long as I can remember, my mom and her sisters have gotten together for girls weekends. This usually involved Christmas shopping when we were younger because it was the only time they could go shopping without us along. As the kids have aged, my mom and her sisters have started having more and more girls weekends. About seven years ago, they planned a girls weekend at a Country concert in Richland Center, WI and invited all of the daughters to come along. It is a great weekend of spending time with my cousins and aunts, listening to great country music and enjoying the simple life of camping.

This past weekend was our 7th Annual Girls weekend at Star Spangled Celebration. Though we had our share of ups (wonderful concerts, good conversations and lots of laughs), we did have a few downs (moving campsites, severe thunderstorms, sleeping in our cars, and obnoxious neighbors).

We left early Wednesday morning in order to get our camp all set up and ready a day in advance. Upon arriving at the campgrounds, we were informed that we would be unable to set up camp as it was in a flood plain and they were under flash flood warnings. Fortunately they had a secondary campsite at the local high school, unfortunately that meant setting up camp twice and not having the usual amenities (like running water). We set up just our tents and sleeping bags then went into town for lunch. After returning to the camp, my sister and I decided to take the kids to the pool to cool down. We spent the evening talking while the kids played.

Before settling in for the night, we roasted a few marshmallows for smores around the campfire.

My kids were up bright and early at 6am on Thursday. We got some breakfast and then played around the camp until about 9am. The kids started getting restless so we headed into town to do a little shopping and then take the kids to the park. We returned in time to make lunch and then tore down camp to set up at the real campgrounds. When we finally had everything moved and set back up, we took the kids to the pool to cool off before eatinga quick dinner and heading to the concerts for the evening. First up was Bucky Covington, one of the top ten finalist from American Idol.

Wynona Judd was the headline act for the evening. I really enjoyed some of her songs which I remember from childhood.

The next morning we were up early again. After breakfast and playing around the campsite for awhile, we drove into town to pick up some more ice. We returned in time for a yummy lunch of chicken breasts and potatoes. It was my sister's birthday, so we suprised her with t-shirts for everyone in the group that said "Courtney's Birthday!"

While Aidan slept, we again took the kids to the pool. We left the pool just in time to eat a quick dinner and still make it to the concerts as the opening act "Charissa and the Auburn Sky Band" was finishing up. Next up was Heidi Newfield.

Neal McCoy was up next. Though I have seen him at this venue before he is such a great performer that I was really excited to see him again. You can tell from this picture that he is very high energy and very entertaining.

By the end of Neal McCoy's concert, the clouds had started to roll in and the concert organizers said that storms were coming, but they would do their best to let the show go on. I decided that I would skip Phil Vassar, the headline act, and get the kids back to the campsite. I got them dressed and ready for bed and a security person at the grounds approached me and warned me that there would be lots of ground lightning with the storms and they may relocate us to shelter. I decided to buckle the kids into their carseats where they fell asleep while I packed up everything that we didn't want to get drenched. As soon as the concerts were over, my sister and her daughter joined me to sleep in the car. It was not a very comfortable night's sleep, but it was better than worrying about our safety in the tent.

We awoke in the car around 5 am and as it had stopped raining, decided to move back to the tent, where we slept until about 8. We had breakfast and then my mom helped me to take the kids to the showers to get them cleaned up. Soon after we left to take them to drop them off with Randy. We had planned on eating lunch together, but the kids fell asleep, so we moved all of their stuff over to his car and went our separate ways. Fortunately, we made it back to the campsite for a delicious meal of porkchops and potatoes. After cleaning up lunch, we took my niece to the park until the concerts started. We saw:
Josh Thompson

Patty Loveless

Jimmy Wayne

and Daryl Worley.

Last, but not least, was the concert I was waiting for all weekend: Diercks Bentley!

I felt a drop on my arm and thought that he had maybe sweat on me, but soon realized that it was sprinkling. Thankfully, they fit the whole concert in as planned without weather interruption. We packed up our chairs and headed back towards camp. We started a fire and even had a few smores before the downpour started. After packing away anything that wasn't covered, we settled into our sleeping bags for the night.
Around 8 am the next morning, it was still sprinkling, so we decided to just go ahead and pack up in the rain. About an hour later, we had everything packed into the cars and were finally headed home!
All in all we had a really fun and relaxing weekend, but I was so glad to be back home!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Two wheeled bike

Reese really wanted a two wheeled bike for her birthday after trying one out at Toys R Us a few weeks before her actual birthday. She was not able to ride the bike in the store, so we told her to practice on her tricycle at home and maybe she could get a two wheeled bike for her birthday. Though she was still not able to pedal her tricycle, we went ahead and bought a bike for her birthday. She was so excited and couldn't wait to jump on it. We had to kind of guide her and help her to push down on the pedals with her feet the first day. Now, barely 2 weeks later, she flies around the deck riding her bike all by herself. That is unless her flip flop gets stuck on the pedal and she tips the bike completely over, or she forgets to steer and runs into furniture on the deck! She already has inherited my driving skills!

Split Personality

You would never believe it unless you saw it, but my sweet little Aidan has a massive temper about him. This past Saturday he woke up at 6:30 am crying. I went upstairs to get him out of bed and tried to snuggle with him on the couch. He continued to cry, so I set him on the floor with toys. Still crying, I tried to get him some juice. At this point he was still crying and had woken up Reese. She was whining and crying at having been woken up too early, so I settled back into the couch trying to cuddle with both of them and get them to calm down. Aidan screamed and pulled Reese's hair, so I set him back down. At this he walked over to our living room window and whacked his head into the glass! The kid was seriously pissed and in pain from teething! He fell to the floor and just screamed, so I picked him up and put him back to bed where he slept for over 3 hours. When he woke up he was like a totally different kid!

His tantrums are not only reserved for when he is teething though. The kid is likely to throw himself on the floor, kick, pound his head and cry if he does not get what he wants. I try to set him in a place where he can not hurt himself and ignore the tantrum, but he seems to be increasing the force with which he pounds his head and frequency of his fits. I am afraid that he is going to really hurt himself one of these times. I have on occassion, picked him up and restrained him and simply told him "no" when I think that he is getting overly aggressive. I remember Reese going through a stage like this, but it was nowhere near this dramatic!

Finally, he throws a funny little tantrum when Reese takes a toy away from him, where he puts his head on the floor and "bulldozes" forward. It is so cute and unique to him, that my mom told me I need to get it on videotape before he outgrows it, which will hopefully be soon!

Happy Father's Day!

The following are just a few of my favorite pictures of you with the kids! They show some of the more tender moments that you share with the kids being in the moments and not posing.

Thank you to my husband for being such a wonderful husband and father! I do not say this often enough, but I really appreciate all that you do for me and the kids! Your dedication and hardwork have allowed me to have my dream of staying at home with the kids. You keep me from being "just a mom" and forgetting about my interests and hobbies outside of the kids by encouraging me to go out on date nights and supporting my creative and decorating endeavors.
I know that the kids definitely think of you as the more fun "parent". They love climbing and jumping all over you and having you throw them around. Although they know you are fun they also respect you for your continuity in disciplining them. They appreciate the tough love and boundaries that you give them. Finally, thank you for all of the wonderful learning and growing experiences you give them and us as a family. I did not experience nearly as much as these kids have been exposed to in their short lives, from vacationing in Indiana and Florida, to boating and swimming to going to concerts and shows. Our kids are going to be so well rounded because of all of the opportunities you provide.

Thanks for being a great dad! Love your family!