Wednesday, July 31, 2013

All Sorts of Fun!

We had a busy day Saturday before the wedding.  There was a bridal brunch, lunch with Grandaddy and MeMe, and a breakfast treat of Southern Made doughnuts!

Aaron and I both LOVE these doughnuts and have even thought about ditching our careers and opening a really GOOD doughnut shop in Atlanta.  I can envision us wearing the kids on our backs with little hair nets while we fry up and sell yummy doughnuts!  Of course, I would be so large I wouldn't be able to fit through the door from eating all these yummy doughnuts, but it's a fun daydream!

Gramma hosted a bridal brunch for Arden and her bridesmaids.  The theme was hats and it was fun to see the ladies wearing their broad brimmed hats!  

Aunt Barbara is always so sweet to play with Sarah Graves.  SG just eats it up, too!

Here's Gramma serving brunch in her hat!

Grandaddy took us to lunch at Ralph and Kackoo's so he could get Sarah Graves some hush puppies!  She loves them and asked for them specifically!

Charlie just loved his squeaky alligator that Grandaddy got him!

Sarah Graves got a slap bracelet and enjoyed putting it on Grandaddy and MeMe!

So much fun to see my kiddos so loved on by their family!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Shreveport Wedding Fun!

Aaron's sister, Arden, got married this weekend!  We went for the wedding and all the festivities with it!  We had the most darling flower girl and a baby boy who was just absolutely adorable!  

We flew in Friday with time to enjoy lunch at Cane's!

We made it to our hotel and were excited to have a true two room suite with a bathroom large enough to function as a third room for Charlie!  Good sleep for everybody is always a bonus!

Then, we headed to the rehearsal and the dinner that followed.  

Daddy's Birthday!

Last week we said happy birthday to Daddy!  We celebrated Wednesday night with a small party at home with Lovie and then we went out to dinner sans kiddos.  
SG loves birthdays and really wanted it to be a party, so I got some party hats, plates, and napkins to go with the cake that we baked for daddy!  She was pleased and the cake was so yummy!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Puzzle with Pops!

Lovie and Pops have officially moved and we are looking forward to more visits with them.  Saturday night they were still moving everything from their old house, but made a stop here to bring us some things and took time to visit.  SG thoroughly enjoyed doing a puzzle with Pops!  So glad to have the chance to see them more easily on the weekends and during the week, too!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Monday, July 22, 2013

Shots for Charlie

Aaron was out of town last week and I am just now recovering! My hat is off to the moms who work and care for kids on their own. Both kids missed daddy A LOT and had a hard time without him. He is back now and I am getting caught up.

Charlie got his 7 month old shots last week - prevnar and HIB. He was a champ and fussed just a little.  We are slowly but surely getting caught up.  We won't be caught up by his 12 month appointment, but we will get there!
I had a few other questions about little things.  It turns out my instinct was correct and eat rubbing is just a sign that he is tired and not because his ears hurt! He weighs 23 pounds now, but we didn't get all his stats since this was just for shots. I also asked the doctor about his spitting up after he nurses and he said he is a happy spitter since he isn't bothered by it and does it more as he gets older. Likely the muscle at his esophagus and stomach isn't strong enough to close off when he finishes eating. He said it should stop by the time he is 18 months. Good for us to know.  We'll keep the burp cloths handy for a bit longer.

Karate Kid!

SG started a martial arts class at school a few weeks ago.  They let new kids join the class for the summer, so it seemed like a good time to let her give this a try.  We are hoping to expose her to a variety of activities and let her pick something that she is passionate about.  So far she wants to do them all!
I was told by her teacher that at the end of class when the kids shake the teacher's hand and give a bow, Sarah Graves shakes his hand and gives a curtsy!  She lives up to her name, "princess"!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Lucy Girl

Lucy has had a bad time of it lately.  A while back, our not so nice neighbor left us a letter telling us how Lucy barks all day and really bothers her.  She wanted us to do something before she called animal control - again.  We wanted to avoid any possibility of Lucy being taken from us, so we took aggressive action and got a shock collar.  
We were surprised when it seemed to work.  Lucy could bark a little to alert us to something, but was triggered out of her cycle of endless barking at every squirrel, leaf, or car passing by.  Our neighbor didn't complain again, so all seemed well.
Friday I noticed a foul smell from Lucy's direction and I figured she needed a bath.  Saturday, Sarah Graves and I pointed it out to Aaron.  He couldn't smell it, but agreed a bath would be good.  On Sunday, both kids were napping AT THE SAME TIME so it was a good time to show Lucy some love. Aaron took off her collars and noted the smell might be in that area.  I put her in the shower and quickly realized her neck had a large sore.  I was scared to death that bathing might hurt her, so it was a very quick bath.  Aaron agreed he was concerned and left to take her to the emergency vet.
The vet felt she had an allergic reaction to the metal on the collar being against her skin and that formed sores that absessed.  Lucy was taken in for surgery to remove the dead tissue.  When she came home that night, it was far worse than I expected.  She has a drain and lots of staples across her neck. She was crying and completely out of sorts.  She had no appetite and no desire to take the two antibiotics and pain medication prescribed.   Aaron and I felt awful for her and terrible that it got so bad without us realizing.  She never had fever, ate and drank as usual, and she played like normal. 
She and I have found a system for getting her to take the medicine and she seems okay.  She might be bummed for the medicine to end and along with it her peanut butter on a spoon and hand fed treats routine!  
Her energy is good, but the area is going to take a long time to heal.  I will take her tomorrow to have her vet check her out.  Hoping all gets better for Lucy soon.  
We feel like awful parents, but are doing our best to make it better.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Breakfast Treat

We were up early and ready really early, so we headed to Chick-Fil-A for breakfast.  She ate quick, so we had time to play.  We climbed together on the play structure, pretended to be on an airplane trip to China, and colored.  It was so much fun to be with her!

A Better Momma - Staylistening

I have been taking a wonderful class through Hand in Hand Parenting, Building Emotional Understanding.  The class is done over the phone once a week and the materials are provided online as video segments and reading materials.  It is a great way to do a class for a busy momma!  There are five of us from all over in the class.  We have Singapore, Australia, Boston, L.A., Wyoming, and me in Atlanta.
I have been gathering some wonderful insights that help me to recognize some things about Sarah Graves' behavior and a bit about Charlie, too.  The class is focused on teaching three tools, Staylistening, Limits, and Playlistening.  At the core of it all is maintaining connection with your child.  I like that their tools pair nicely with the things I have read and liked from people like Alfie Kohn and Hiam Guinott.
One thing that I have been able to recognize is that Sarah Graves has been the most challenging during times when she likely felt very disconnected.  Times when I went away for business, was really sick, or cut off from her a lot for other activities are rare, but likely created disconnect and a lot of big feelings.  Once I recognized this pattern, I started to see the value of my connection to her.
I have written before about how the staylistening technique of remaining close, giving her room to express her big emotions, and remaining calm myself really helped me to reframe the crying that she does.  She was already expressing her feelings, but now I am better able to be with her and remain patient while she does it.  It is amazing to see the shift in her once she has gotten her big feelings out and suddenly seems to come out of it a new kid, bright and happy, ready to engage with the world around her.
One afternoon she woke up early from her nap just screaming in her bed.  I went to her to comfort her thinking she had a bad dream.  She didn't want me to touch her so I sat in a chair in her room and occasionally said gentle things about what a difficult time she was having, but basically let her scream and writhe around.  After about 20 minutes of this she sat up, looked at me, and said, "I peed and my bed is wet."  Her pull-up had leaked and she was upset about a wet bed and likely had some other frustrations along with it.  I got her into dry clothes and tucked her into my bed where she happily rested for another hour and a half before she emerged bright and ready to go do some shopping.  She never spoke of it again and seemed quite at peace.
I have noticed that when she has a chance to get the big feelings out fully, we don't seem to go through the crying jags as often.  I, like most parents, had been doing my best to stop the crying by pacifying her, thinking I was doing the right thing.  She would begin to cry that I gave her water, so I would quickly get milk to make her happy.  Many times it would make her happy for the moment and something else would be wrong.  She was never getting the big feelings out, so the pressure was always there and just continued to build over time until she couldn't hold it back and exploded in a meltdown of epic proportions.
Staylistening has been somewhat helpful for Charlie.  He is prone to a lot of heavy crying at bedtime, even when we are with him.  His head gets all sweaty, he closes his eyes tight, and just howls like he is wounded.  My solution had been to quickly nurse him or give him the pacifier.  When these didn't work, I was scared and felt panicked.  Now, I am able to see that he has frustrations and upsets that build up and he needs to get them out.  When given the chance to have a good cry, he releases some stress and is able to really relax and nurse before going to sleep.  I wouldn't say it is perfect by any means, but I now feel like I can understand the crying and be there for him.
I view staylistening as my defensive maneuver.  When my offense is good, I don't have to play defense as often and life is easier.

Indoor Camping

Sarah Graves loves the idea of making a tent, but we have a hard time building something sturdy enough for her and Charlie and big enough for everyone and everything she desires to go in it.  So, I had the idea to set up the real tent in the basement to make for fun indoor play during our long, rainy weekend.  It was a hit!

We brought out the sleeping bags and lantern to make it like real camping!

Quickly every toy in the basement was brought in the tent and even Charlie enjoyed being in it!

Aunt Nay came over for some tent fun, too!

She hasn't worked up the courage to take a nap in the tent and we aren't up for the whole family trying to co-sleep in it!  Maybe one day we will be ready for real camping!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Cars and Kids

Aaron and I both took the Friday after July 4th off.  We had plans of going to the zoo and hoped the forecast was correct and the low chance of rain would make it possible for us to be outside.  We woke to lots more rain and decided that wouldn't work.  We headed out to mail a package and look for Charlie new shoes.  
SG was very excited to help mail a package!
The shoe store for Charlie was closed and I was a little bored as we headed home with both kids asleep in the backseat.  Aaron suggested we stop at a car dealership and I look at some cars.  We stopped at Hyundai and Kia and then I was into it.   We have been planning for me to get a new car this summer, but hadn't necessarily planned to this weekend.  My Volvo was 13 years old and the inside was definitely showing its age.  

Sarah Graves liked looking at the convertible and wanted us to get one.  She didn't seem bothered by the lack of a backseat for her and Charlie!
We went to the Mini dealership and I drove what I thought was my dream car, the Countryman.  I didn't like the way it drove at all, so we moved on from that one.  We headed to Mazda and looked at the Mazda5, which I've heard described as a mini mini-van.  It had a lot of what we were looking for and I liked the way it drove.  We headed home that evening with two very tired kids.  

Saturday we headed back out after gymnastics and his Toyota, Scion, Fiat, and Subaru.  I drove the Fiat 500L and really liked the way it drove, but some features simply aren't available on it and because it is so new you can't order one right now and their inventory is limited.  We headed back to Mazda to look at the Mazda5 again and thought we might want it.  
We did the negotiation and drove it home late Saturday night.  The kids were so very well behaved.  Sarah Graves played in the cars and pretended while we did the negotiating and paperwork.  Charlie was held most of the time and did pretty well.   

I was a little sad to get rid of my S40.  It had been such a good car and never gave me a problem.  I felt bad to trade it in, but it felt like it was time.  On the way home from the dealership Sarah Graves kept telling us she missed the old car!

The new car seats 6, has sliding doors like a van on either side, and it had all my must haves for a new car.  I have really been enjoying driving it and SG thinks it's a cool car!

The color is meteor gray and is a dark gray with a bit of blue in it.  

Monday, July 8, 2013

July 4th Holiday

 When we thought about July 4th, we envisioned grilling hotdogs, an afternoon at the pool, and going to watch fireworks.  Then, we saw the weather forecast and thought we ought to have a different plan.  I has rained here for the past 5 days straight and we have thought we ought to find Noah and get our ticket for the ark!

The flags were a big hit with them!

Yes, our picnic blanket is in fact a splat mat for arts and crafts.  When SG has a pretend picnic or beach trip, she uses this as the blanket.  So, it was only normal to grab it for our picnic in the basement!  We had our picnic while Charlie was napping, which was probably good since we learned on subsequent picnics that he takes real offense to being on the floor with all sorts of things in arm's reach and not being able to have them!

We opted for an indoor picnic complete with homemade cupcakes that SG helped bake, iced herself, and decorated them!  You have never seen the kind of care that she put into getting the sprinkles on the cupcake.  We had pink sprinkles for July 4th!  She had a great time doing it and that's what counts!

All in all, it was a relaxed day spent with my favorite people!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Independence Day!

Charlie is excited to celebrate his first July 4th!

Happy 4th!

Yesterday we celebrated the 4th of July with a parade at SG's school!  Lovie and Charlie came to see the festivities and it was precious.  The classes each made things and dressed similar for the event.  SG's teacher made the girls tops and tie dyed shirts for the boys!  They were precious!

This is SG with her teacher, Ms. Anne

Preschool 3 and 4 share a suite and a lead teacher, so they joined forces to build a float and make decorations.  The float depicted a picnic complete with a beach area and grill!

I know that I am biased, but I don't think she could have been any cuter!  She was so proud to sit on the float and wave!  Future Mardi Gras princess here!

She was so excited for the event and she really enjoyed herself!