Thursday, February 27, 2014

Feeling Fishy

Anticipating Charlie's surgery and unsure of what the recovery might be like, we wanted to have a fun weekend!  Unfortunately, Charlie wasn't feeling his best - we guess teething and I was still having a lot of discomfort from the pleurisy.  

Here they are sporting their Frozen shirts with Elsa and Olaf that Lovie made them.  Even Charlie gets excited about Frozen!  Sissy is infatuated with it!

Sissy gave us the biggest scare in the penguin exhibit.  Aaron let her climb in the tunnel by herself and it was so crowded that we couldn't stand right at the exit.  He kept looking for her and finally I told him he should go in for her because it had been a long time.  When he didn't immediately come out with her, my mind started racing and wondering how long we could wait before alerting security that we needed to lock the place down until we found her.  While I was standing there, two security guards came up and asked me if I lost my little girl.  My heart started pounding as they described her and I told them yes that was my child, then they brought me to her.  She was very brave and gave them great details to find her mom.  She was also very upset that her dad let her go by herself and get separated from us!

All in all, it was a good day together and we had a fun time seeing the fish!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Lucy Turns 7!

In the midst of our snow days Lucy turned 7!  What better way for her to celebrate than having her people at home with her!
Sarah Graves treated her to a spoonful of peanut butter as a special treat!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Snow Fun!

The next morning we woke up to snow falling and all the ice had a nice covering.

We enjoyed our snow that morning and by that afternoon it had warmed up and mostly all melted off!      What a fabulous time we had as a family!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Our Brave Boy

Aaron and I got up early Wednesday morning to get ready for Charlie's surgery.  The surgery was scheduled for 8:30 and we were to be there at 6:30.  I didn't know what to expect really and felt my four years of experience as a mom were not very useful.  I packed toys and lots of pacis as well as a blanket, clothes, soppy cup and light snack for after.
It felt so early, but the surgery center waiting room was buzzing when we arrived.  Charlie was excited by the new toys!  He enjoyed playing while we waited a short while to go back to the preop area.  
Once back there he was given a gown and a bracelet was put on his ankle.  We hung out for a bit in our little room and met nurses, anesthesia, and finally our surgeon came by to briefly go over it all with us.  Charlie grew hungry and restless as we waited.  Eventually, he grabbed his diaper bag and figured out how to open the door and told us bye bye!
When they were ready, I carried Charlie as our nurse led the way to the OR.  I held him as they made sure all was set and laid him on the bed and held his hand as she put a mask on his face and his eyes quickly drifted shut.  He wasn't happy about being put down and his foot firmly planted on the nurse's chest trying to kick her out of the way!  Once he was sleeping, I left so they could all get started.  
We were moved to his postoperative room to wait.  Aaron was already there with a timer counting down the hour before they would bring an update.  Mobile devices kept us occupied while we waited and the hour went quickly.  Our nurse, Joy, brought us news that they were finishing up and Charlie did great.  Dr. Lourie came soon to let us know it went smoothly.  He removed the extra finger and straightened the curved one as planned.  Not long after, Charlie was wheeled in sleeping hard.  Seeing his precious face sleeping so peacefully gave us such relief.  He slept on for 30 minutes and the nurse felt we needed to wake him.  
He woke up and was immediately given to me to nurse.  He stayed camped out there for quite a while!  At some point, he became aware of the cast covering his entire arm and began to cry hard as he made efforts to pull it off.  I guess the surgeon was right about little ones getting the cast off if it wasn't all the way up!   The nurse was great and assured us all was normal as he fought everything.  Quickly we were set to go home and ready to be on our way.  
The rest of the afternoon was a mixture of peaceful nursing and dozing followed anger over his new situation.  The pain medicine kept him from hurting and we were grateful for that.  He kept his usual hearty appetite all day.  He especially enjoyed the lasagna and cauliflower that Lovie and Pops brought us for dinner!
I had been worried about his sleep at night, but he slept about like normal.  We stayed on schedule with his pain medicine to be sure he stayed comfortable and all was fine.  He seems quite adjusted to the cast now and gets around fine with it.  We go back for a two week postoperative appointment to check on the healing and will know more about how long the cast will be on.
We are so grateful to God for taking care of our sweet boy.

Snow Days!

To get two snows in one winter is so unusual and we made the most of it!  This one was much better coordinated and we were all together making it a lot more fun!
At first we were just getting ice and there wasn't anything to go out and play in.  We had a nice morning painting some Valentine pictures.

Charlie very much enjoyed his time painting!

Sissy asked to make some cookies in her easy bake oven.  We found a recipe online that turned out very tasty!

Finally, we decided there was enough ice built up to try sledding on it!  Turns out it was very fun, but a little wet!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Prayers, please.

We need many prayers for Charlie tomorrow as he goes for his hand surgery.  I pray that he does well with the procedure, his surgeon is able to make good choices to give him the best outcome, and that we are able to keep him comfortable afterward.  The post surgery part is what makes me the most worried.  He will have a full arm cast and I know that will make him quite unhappy.  I also worry about his pain and us being sure that he isn't in a lot of pain in the days that follow.
We feel quite certain this is the best thing we could decide to do for him, but are just a little nervous about it.  I feel certain though that God is looking after my sweet boy and will take good care of him. I woke last night with the stomach flu and felt awful all day long today.  I have worried that I won't be recovered in order to go with Charlie in the morning, but his evening my fever broke and I ate some cereal for dinner.  Thanks be to God for that!  Not that I can do anything more for him than what Aaron will do, but I feel like it might give him some comfort to have both of us with him.

Letter Month Forty-Eight

Dear Sarah Graves,
My goodness, four years have passed already.  It feels like just yesterday I was writing your first letter to you and I have to say that I am still so in awe and so in love with you that I can’t believe it. 
You have a very loving heart.  That is never more evident than when you are with your brother.  You squeal with delight to see him get up in the morning and you want to hug him as soon as you come in from school.  You speak kind words to him and encourage him so sweetly.  You are a kind big sister,   You find it frustrating, but never act out in anger to him.  I feel like that is very mature for a little girl.  
even now that he has gotten older and sometimes does unkind things to you like pull your hair and mess up your toys.
Your thoughts revolve a lot around yourself and your needs as I would expect them to at this age, but you are starting to see the world from others’ perspectives.  You are beginning to understand that sometimes I am tired or need you to help out and I think that shows huge shifts in your maturity. 
You are in love with princesses and ballet right now.  We often find you dressed up in a princess costume, sporting a tiara, wearing your tap shoes, and performing your favorite song.  You have very definite favorites when it comes to music.  Your top ones are “Hey Soul Sister” by Train, “Roar” by Katy Perry, and “Let It Go” from the movie Frozen.   You know the words, you dance, and you have moves to these songs. You may not be able to read yet, but you can find these songs on your iPad.  It is so much fun to crank it up and watch you enjoy yourself! 
You are working hard at learning to write and understand letters.  You recognize most all of the letters, you know what sound they make, and you can write some of them.  You are struggling to write your letters in the proper direction, but we hope that your interest in it will lead you to figure it all out.  You very proudly count to twenty and seem to understand quantities and recognize numbers of objects.  Your vocabulary is pretty large and grows daily.  You love to read books and this provides many opportunities to explain what new words mean.  You don’t hesitate to ask what something like delighted or fled means when we are reading.  I love that quality in you and hope it serves you well. 
You are very honest and at times very blunt.  I think part of that is being a little girl and part of it is who you are.  It often means that you say things we find funny, but we also know that you will have to soften your tone to avoid hurting other people.  You get very embarrassed, so it is sometimes a challenge to give you feedback that doesn’t make you feel bad.  When you get embarrassed, you tend to shut down and don’t want anything to do with whomever or whatever we were doing.  This makes being your mom a challenging job. 
This past year brought a lot of big emotions for you.  I have been working on ways to help you work through bad feelings, feel connected, and have limits.  One of the best things I have found is playfulness.  Doing things like pretending to be a bus driver on our way to school or drive the sleepy train to bed get lots of giggles going and seem to make those little tasks better for you.  You even bring me your ticket to punch so that you can get on board the sleepy train! 
Leaving you at school has often been a challenge, but we switched you to Ms. Sharon and Mr. Jason’s class in Preschool 4 and you seem to be doing quite well.  You enjoy being with your friends, Emmeline, Annabelle, London, and Jazzlyn.  You have lots of friends in class and seem to get along well with everyone, but these are the girls you speak of most often.  You are also friendly with the other parents because they all adore you and speak highly of you!  Giving you a hand kiss also helps you each day.  A hand kiss is a kiss on the palm of your hand that you grab hold of tight to have during the day when you need it.  One of these in each hand seems to be the little bit extra you need when it is time to say goodbye.  We also enjoy a lunch date just the two of us when I can get away.  It is a fun time with you and you seem to really appreciate the time together.  
You love taking tap and ballet and you also enjoy being in PlaybBall and Music Together.  Green has been your favorite color for quite a while, but pink seems to be taking over the favorite spot now.  Your favorite TV shows are Sofia the First, Doc McStuffins, and Imagination Movers, but you are a TV junkie and will watch as much as we let you.  You really love your baby dolls and Kate is still a favorite, but you have also gotten into princess dolls and have recently acquired several of them that you adore.  Your favorite foods seem to fluctuate, but lately pasta, crispy bacon, and waffles are some of your top picks.  You love all things dessert and are willing to try most sweets! 
I really enjoy doing things with you and having the chance to see your imagination in action.  Watching you take care of your babies or play with your brother is a beautiful reflection of how we have treated you.  Seeing your kind and loving heart is very affirming that we have done something right.  I am very much looking forward to watching you grow and learn more.  I forever feel lucky to be your momma.

Letter Month Seventeen

Dear Charlie,
The months are passing so quickly and you are growing so fast.  You are a full on toddler now and you sure are keeping us hopping! 
You are interested in everything and constantly getting into things that are not meant for you.  You can reach the top of the table and even climb into chairs now and have full access to all sorts of things.  Drinks and plates get pulled to the floor along with papers, books, and all sorts of other items not meant to be left out.  You don't seem to be as fascinated with the item as you are with the act of pulling it down!

You are talking so much now.  You attempt to repeat the names of objects we show you and you are able to tell us most of your needs.  You put two words together some and have occasionally made a phrase.  Mostly, you say one word to tell us you what you want.  We know you listen and understand a lot because you know to say, "bye bye" when you hear a phone conversation coming to a close!  You still call your paci a baby, but you say it slightly different than when you refer to a doll or actual baby.  It sounds more like "beh bee" when you ask for the paci.  You have finally embraced signing when you want to eat and drink.  The sign you give for water is definitely your own interpretation, but it definitely gets the job done! 
You are still a robust eater.  You aren't as big a fan of veggies as you are fruits, but you readily eat steamed broccoli and roasted cauliflower, so we are happy.  You love all kinds of fruits: pears, bananas, apples, oranges, cuties, kiwis, grapes, strawberries, watermelon, and cantaloupe.  You still enjoy your meat and have found a love for breakfast sausage.  Feeding yourself with a fork is a new skill you are mastering.  You may not do it perfectly, but you certainly enjoy trying!  You also enjoy feeding yourself your yogurt.  This is quite an adventure, but you are very proud of yourself for doing it. You still enjoy your time to nurse.  You often request the chance to nurse the moment you see me.  We consistently nurse in the morning and at bed time and work it in at your request other times.  When you ask me and we are out somewhere, I frequently tell you that we will once we get home and you are so funny the way you look me in the eye and do the sign again (as if I didn't understand it at first), then proceed to look directly at my chest.  Sometimes when you really want to, you even go so far to try to access it yourself!  You are something else! 
You are learning lots of new things every day.  You can make many animal sounds, including: the duck says, "quack"; the mouse says, "eek"; the cat says, "meow"; and the bear says, "grrrrr".  You have also mastered pointing to eyes, nose, mouth, ears, and bellybutton.  You also follow simple commands very well.  You can help put clean laundry from the washer into the dryer and also take it out of the dryer and put it in the basket.  You can help pick up toys too, but sometimes you don't choose to!
You have developed a pretty good nap routine where you sleep for an hour and a half or two hour in the morning and again in the afternoon.  Around 7 or 7:30 you are ready for bed and usually go to sleep after reading several books and nursing a while.  You wake most nights around 2:30 or 3 and by 4 o'clock you are usually in our bed for a time to nurse.  Your routine seems to be that after nursing you get rowdy and daddy brings you back to your own bed.  With a little help, you fall asleep again in your bed.  Occasionally, we get lucky and you sleep all night on your own.  We pray those nights become the routine!  We love you a lot and enjoy being with you, but no one is excited to get up at 3 in the morning!
You are a charming kid and everywhere we go people comment on you.  You are friendly and bright and eager to show off what you know!  You are so sweet and loving.  The way that you lay your head on my shoulder and gently pat my arm is the sweetest.  We know that we are lucky to have you as our baby boy.  We hope that you feel just how much we all love you!


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Washing the Dishes

Sarah Graves loves to wash dishes.  It reminds me of being a little girl and washing dishes at my Aunt Beck's with Maw Maw Graves.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Snow Fun!

We really enjoyed our adventures with the snow!  The kids and I had a great morning at home playing outside in the snow, then coming in to warm up and play around before taking naps.

We were so excited for Aaron to get home after his overnight stay with Jeanne'  We hd a great time that afternoon playing in the snow and showing him our "sled"!

They wanted to come down our snow covered slide together!

Just hanging around the house.

Doing a little reading together.

Charlie couldn't decide what he thought of the snow.

Sissy was busy baking up some snow cake!

She also learned how to make a snow angel.  

The afternoon gave us a nice time to play outside with daddy.  We used a metal cake pan as our sled and our steep driveway made a fun hill!

We also used our trash can a little more for Charlie to try sledding.

We really enjoyed ourselves and the bit of snow we had.  It made me miss all those winter vacations we took skiing when I was a kid.  

Thursday, February 6, 2014

SnowJam 2014

Three years ago we had a significant snow and ice storm that interrupted our daily life.  Unlike that storm where the snow started at night, this one started during the day.  We hadn't given the weather a lot of thought.  To be honest, I was just trying to keep my head up after the previous day's ER visit and bronchitis diagnosis, so I didn't really know much about the weather.  I elected to stay home that day still not feeling well and kept SG with me.  Aaron went into the office and dropped Charlie off as usual.  
Around lunch time Sarah Graves and I noted that it was snowing and went out to catch snowflakes.  I didn't expect the snow to stick since it had been fairly warm in the days prior.  I even put out a couple of pans to try to catch some snow on the patio fearing that it would have stopped during her nap and there wouldn't be any for her to get her hands into.  Turns out, that wasn't necessary at all!  When she woke up, the snow was still coming down and she was thrilled to go out in it.  I was wishing that I felt better, but knew snow like this doesn't happen often here and she had to go out in it.  We checked out our yard, then walked around our neighborhood observing older kids sledding in the street as adults talked about the whereabouts of other neighbors and the conditions of the roads.  Everyone had a nice community feel about them as we marveled at the snow coming down.  We didn't have a sled, but it looked like so much fun that we had to try.  I had the idea to sit her in the recycle bin and use that as our sled.  It was somewhat successful and gave her the thrill that she was looking for!

Toward the later afternoon, Aaron called to say he was leaving the office and would be home after while.  The snow was coming down pretty hard and it seemed reasonable to get ahead of the traffic and be home before it really got slick.  This was all good thinking, just a few hours too late.  After being on the road for hours, Aaron grew worried the traffic wasn't moving and he might not get home for quite some time.  He called Jeanne' to see if she was home and up for a house guest.  She was and he set his sights on making it to her house.  Nearly eight hours after he left the office, he made it there.  Charlie was still at Lovie and Pops' house and we weren't sure if they could make it out to bring him home.  He would have been safe there, but I worried he wouldn't understand and would be confused as to where his family was.  Lovie and Pops kindly drove him home and happily he joined me and Sissy here.  Lovie and Pops' car got stuck on our street and despite numerous attempts they could not make it up the hill.  They opted to leave the car behind and have a quiet walk home as they observed the many abandoned cars and stranded drivers on their way.  

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Party Fun!

Sarah Graves seemed to truly enjoy her party.  We had a group of kids there and they all got along really well.

The kids made crowns as one of their first activities and this was a big hit for them.

Sissy made Charlie his crown and I think he was quite proud of it!

Charlie's buddy, Cooper, was sporting his too.

The grandmothers and Ms. Janan enjoyed the party as a time to visit.

She was so excited to play pin the crown on Aurora.  She loves pin the tail on the donkey and really looked forward to this game in her party.

Her friends thought it was fun too!

Thanks to Pops we had the bounce house set up for them to jump in for a while.  Fortunately, we did this before the cake!

Bouncing is definitely fun when you are under four feet tall!

The cake was a big hit!

Here's the whole gang in front of the princess scene.  She was so excited to be with her friends!

When she wasn't coordinating the craft table, Aunt Nay and Charlie had fun together!

We set up a play list of music for the party and of course her favorite song, "Let It Go" was part of the mix.  When that song came on, she stood on the fireplace and belted it out like she was performing in Vegas!  

The piƱata was fun for the kids, but they all seemed a bit unsure of what to do with the landslide of candy that finally came out.  

Charlie let Ms. Janan have a quick cuddle.  

We finished up with opening presents and she was a very polite princess as she opened each gift and thanked the giver.  She was super excited to get Anna to go with her Elsa doll that Gramma gave her.  

We owe a ton of thanks to the Maw Maws and Lovie and Pops for helping us get ready for the party.  The Maw Maws watched the kiddos while we set up and Lovie and Pops took care of the cake.  After the party I was feeling pretty sick and really appreciate them all helping us clean up and get everything home.