Saturday, January 29, 2011

Anna's favorite Blog

I am a blog stalker. I admit it. I follow blogs so that I don't have to look at them twenty times a day; instead I get alerted when you post. And I LOVE it when you post! My kids have noticed this, of course, and like looking at the pictures and videos with me. They especially love seeing their cousins.

But nobody, not even Anna's favorite cousins whom she loves so much, quite compares to her favorite blog to watch: Sara and Eric. I don't know what it is--the hours playing "Pinch Guy" with Eric? The babysitting time with them? Just how photogenic they are?--but they have captured Annalisa's attention and she is completely enamored! Every time she gets a chance, she climbs in my lap and says this:




Recently, Sara put up a big post of pictures just for Anna to look at. So sweet. :) We've looked at it many times, so I thought we would send this post back as a thank-you from Anna. Here she is enjoying all the pictures:



Friday, January 28, 2011

Trying to help my son

I've been trying my best to avoid and ignore this, or blame it on other issues, but I just can't any more.

Lee needs extra help in school. If I were to press a diagnosis, my guess would be something akin to ADD (not ADHD; he's not hyperactive). Lee just has a really hard time focusing on a task, especially when there's other things going on. Preschool has been very good for him, and he loves it. But he is sadly behind the other students in his class. I am trying not to compare him or rush him or judge him. He is still four years old after all! But, I am trying to get prepared for his future and figure out how to guide and teach him now, while I still can.

Lee's current preschool teacher and I have been talking about how to help him, and she is really good at keeping him in smaller groups whenever she can. That helps, but not as much as I wish it could. Ideally, Lee could spend the majority of his learning time one on one with a teacher. But in this world's public education system--not going to happen. I've considered homeschooling, but the social environment has been so good for him, that I can't go that route (yet). Lee's teacher even mentioned testing for special education, which might be able to get him into a more secluded program, or setting up an IEP (individual education plan). Those are definite possibilities.

If I had a lot of money, perhaps I could hire a tutor. But since I don't, the ultimate responsibility has--of course, just as it should--fallen back on me. I've been reading to Lee and letting him color when he wants and other "normal" things, but I need to take deeper measures now. Yesterday I invested some money and time and made a bunch of flash cards and materials that I can use with Lee during our practice time. We've now made a goal to practice/do "homework" for half an hour every day before any TV time.

The result so far--he was focused and calm through our whole practice time. We worked yesterday and today, and I did notice some good improvement on number recognition and tracing his own hand. He listened and followed instructions so well and I am very proud of him. He was able to do all the things his teacher set as "goals" already. Of course, that's with me, in the quiet of our own home, and not in his busy classroom. I have been taking notes each day so I can show them to Lee's teacher. So, I have high hopes that with a little extra attention and time, he'll be able to catch up and excel very soon. Good work, Lee!

(still, any ideas, suggestions, or even just encouragement would be welcome!)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

"...I got better..."

Lee was kind of mellow after school today. He actually laid down during rest time, then went down to visit daddy and fell asleep on the floor. Very unusual for Lee. Cody put him in his bed. When he woke up, he threw up all over his bed. :( So our poor kid is sick. I cleaned him up and gave him a nice long warm bath. Afterword, he said he was feeling better. I'm still keeping him close to a toilet and/or garbage can, but right now he is very happy. I took a little video of him convincing me that he was indeed better, because of all these things he can do:



You know... "She turned me into a newt! ...I got better..."

Yes, I came up with this myself!

I know this isn't much, but I haven't had much to blog about in a few days...

I figured out a cool trick. I love wearing sunglasses when I drive. If I take my sunglasses inside, however, I almost always lose them or break them. So I keep them in my car. But the problem comes in the winter when it is cold. I put on my sunglasses and they fog up, of course. So, what do I do now? Turn the defroster on high and set my cold sunglasses on them for about ten seconds. It doesn't take very long at all. The glasses warm up, de-fog, and then I can wear them and they won't fog up! And, added bonus, they stay warm for a few minutes, which feels nice on my eyes.

I am so smart. :)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

ooooh....

Annalisa loves playing games on Daddy's phone. Whenever she loses, she does this (It's our favorite!):




For a smile

As I'm getting bigger and more tired, sometimes it is hard for me to laugh and smile with my kids. I'm working on it. These pictures sure help!



Thursday, January 20, 2011

A great day for playing outside


It is HARD to get outside during the winter around here. Especially this year, with me being pregnant and not really wanting to go outside. Between the cold, and then the yucky inversion pollution air that is unhealthy to breathe, we have hardly gone outside in the past...nearly 3 months. yikes! So earlier this week we had a few nice days. It was warmer, about forty degrees, and the air was clean. Daddy smoked a turkey, and we enjoyed our new fenced backyard. The kids loved a chance to run around and get a little dirty!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Anna's Animals

I've been far too serious and far too whiney recently on this blog. Time for some fun!





Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Nearly 32 weeks (a really boring post)

I'm going to apologize in advance for this post. I have a lot of thoughts in my head and need to get them down. So, it might be really boring, but that's okay; it's for me.

I am almost thirty-two weeks along with this pregnancy. The thumping in my ear is now louder than ever. I just got back from a doctor checkup and he looked in my ear, saying it was perfectly clear. The only explanation he had, and anyone else has come up with, is the increased blood volume during pregnancy. Last night I had to go to the bathroom at three in the morning, and of course I did a mental rundown of everything I had going on today, which made me think about the doctor appointment, and that made me wonder all the possibilities for this weird thumping. Then the horrible thought occurred to me that it could be a tumor in my head, pressing on a blood vessel. Then I spent the next hour and a half fretting, worrying, and crying about what would happen if I had cancer. Would I have to deliver the baby early to go through chemo? Who would take care of my children, and potty train Anna, and get Lee to school? Then the even worse thought came to me--what if I died? What if I couldn't hold my kids every day any more? What if I couldn't raise this baby and watch her learn to walk? What if I couldn't teach Annalisa any more songs? What if I missed my son's graduation from high school (or even Kindergarten)? What if... what if... what if... I had myself completely worked into a tizzy when my sobs finally woke Cody up (sorry again, sweetheart) and he actually laughed at my worries. He rubbed my back and promised me everything would be okay, and thumping in the ear is hardly something to worry about--especially during the third trimester of a pregnancy, when practically anything can happen to your body and the only explanation you'll get is "you're pregnant!" I kept repeating to myself "It'll be okay. It's nothing. It's not cancer. I'm not dying." until I finally fell back asleep around five in the morning. So, needless to say, it wasn't my favorite night, and the doctor's lack of knowledge wasn't the biggest comfort to me... I wish they would say "Oh, it's THIS." But, I will have to make do with vague explanations until it either gets worse or better. For now, I'm going to bank everything on the increased blood flow explanation, and try to get over this horrible feeling of dread and doubt.

MEANWHILE... I am trying to get ready for baby's arrival. Now that Cody's birthday has passed, my mental count-down has shrunk by one big event. I'm just down to my birthday, and then baby! Also, since I know the hardest time is going to be the last few weeks of pregnancy and not necessarily the first few weeks after birth, I am trying to prepare for that. I have been freezing meals whenever I get a chance. Right now in the freezer I have: Ham and funeral potatoes, 3 pans of lasagna (one chicken and spinach, two regular meat), shepherd's pie (the good kind), enchiladas, tortellini, and Japanese Curry. I also really want to get a big stash of breakfasts in there, like french toast and pancakes that can be toasted and eaten. I love french toast... mmmm.....

Anna is still working on potty training, and unfortunately, I feel like I'm holding her back. I am losing energy and strength fast, and it is so hard to keep up with her like is required for potty training. I think I might try some plastic pants, though. I've heard they really contain the mess... which is the #1 reason why I haven't done more on the potty training front. The mess. I simply can't get down and scrub carpet all day. Anyway.

As I get closer to the birth of this baby, I've been getting more and more nervous about having three kids. I really think it is because of my diminishing energy. I am worried I can't do three right NOW. But I have to remember that once this baby is out, I won't be pregnant any more. I'll feel a lot better! Well, other than being sore...

So that is that. I apologize again. If you actually read this post, thanks. I hope you all have a great week!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Just some cuteness

On Saturday morning (Jan 15) I became an aunt again! We love cousins! Congratulations, Matthew and Kristin, on the birth of your beautiful new daughter, Jayli. Here's Anna, catching her first glimpse at the photos online. Anna has been adoring babies of all kinds. She loves learning their names too. She knows Baby Noah, Baby Riley, Baby Ashlin, and now Baby Jayli! (of course, Anna is two... you can't expect her to pronounce it perfectly... So we may always call this one Baby Jelly. Or variations thereon.)



... and don't you love Cody's favorite showertime song, "In a little cafe on the other side of the border..." :)

Now, some pictures from Cody's birthday yesterday!
Holy tamole! Thirty candles is a lot!


We had a fun party with Raychel and Paul, Sara and Eric. I made a big dinner (lasagna of course) and then we played a game. We all answered 30 questions about Cody. If we got the question right, we got a candy bar. I had about 25 candy bars. When the candy bars were all gone, we got to take them from each other--but you had to ask the right person for the right candy bar, and we were all hiding our own. It was lots of fun!

Then we sang happy birthday, Cody blew out all thirty of his candles, ate some cake and ice cream, and then Cody and I battled the kids staying in bed until ten while we cleaned up. Silly little ones. Mostly silly Anna, who took a nap waaaay too late in the day. Still, a fun birthday!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Happy Birthday Cody!


Today my wonderful husband Cody is thirty. THIRTY! I am amazed at everything he has done in his lifetime so far. Stuff like...

Serving a full time, honorable mission for two years to Hiroshima, Japan
Being a wonderful and amazing brother, as all his family members will attest
Graduating from both high school and then college, at Utah State University
Becoming an Eagle Scout
Serving faithfully in the Church, in all his various callings
Working hard at multiple jobs to support himself and his family
Learning every day and never taking a moment for granted
And of course, Marrying me and becoming the best father on the planet! (not debatable)

Cody, I love you very much. I'm so proud of you and who you are. I thank Heaven every day for you! Happy Birthday, sweetheart.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

31 weeks

Pregnancy number 3, here at 31 weeks, just writing down some thoughts! (because I know I'll want to look over them someday.)

My ear is thumping louder now and constantly. I plan on asking my doctor about it. I'm trying not to freak out about it. I've asked everyone I know, and nobody knows exactly what could be causing it; though the closest and smartest thing I've heard so far is that increased blood flow and perhaps increased blood pressure could be the culprit. There are blood vessels in your middle/inner ear, and I could be hearing those. Another option is what the doctor at the Instacare told me, and that is a sinus blockage. But since the Sudafed didn't help, and I have yet to see any other symptoms there, I have stopped taking medications for now. I don't want to risk my baby's health on meds that aren't working. But for now, I am constantly looking for relief. I play music, run the humidifier, lie on my right side, bang my head with pillows, stuff my ear (gently) with cotton, and pray. Pray a lot. I'm not sure this is going to clear up during this pregnancy, which has me really annoyed. I still have about ten weeks to go--especially if history repeats itself and I go overdue.

Fortunately my pain and discomfort level has been lower. I attribute it to our new house. I have been through a really stressful ordeal already during this pregnancy. I'm just so grateful that it is over, that I feel more relaxed and stress-free now than I have in a really long time!

However, I've been sort of ignoring this pregnancy until this month. It's just with the move, and then the holidays, that I kept telling myself (and my kids), "okay, first, we're going to have Halloween. Then Thanksgiving. Then move into our new house. Then Christmas. Then Daddy's Birthday. Then Mommy's Birthday. And THEN the baby will come!" Well, now I'm just down to Daddy's Birthday and Mommy's Birthday. It was a little bit of an eye opener to come through all this work and all this stress, and realize I'm in the third trimester, two months away from childbirth, and two months away from THREE kids. While I'm ready to do it... I'm not ready! I'm not ready to tote three kids around the town! Okay. Panic over. I'm ready. Three is gonna be awesome. Right?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

4 year old's life plan

Lee has his life all figured out. He told me so.

Lee: "Mom, first, I'm going to fly in a rocket. Then I'm going to be a dentist. Then I'm going to be a dad."

Me: "That's awesome, Lee! Are you going to finish preschool first?"

Lee: "Yeah. And then I will go on my mission to the very top of that mountain there!"

Me: "Do you want to go to college, Lee?"

Lee: "No, I'm not going to college. I'm just going to Utah State School."

Me: "Who are you going to marry, Lee?"

Lee: "Um... I can't tell you. It's a secret. I'm tricking you!"

Me: "Okay. Sounds good. How many kids are you going to have?"

Lee: "Um, Fourteen."

Monday, January 10, 2011

Quick post...

I'm using Cody's work computer to give you a quick update. Why not our laptop or home desktop? because... ugh... once again the internet is having issues. This has been a royal mess. We're on our third internet provider, second router, and millionth headache. Cody has work, and fortunately his work computers are working (yes, if you're counting, we have FOUR computers in our house, for two adults), so I'm down here using one computer just to submit some prescription refills, check my email, and the like. The like includes blogging.

So, briefly. We got the van back on Friday afternoon. It looks great! Except they had to repaint the side of the van, which means the funky/awesome racing stripe thingies that make the van look surprisingly "clothed," as well as add character, had to be removed from the driver's side. So now it only has one side with the stripes. It looks lopsided, and half naked to me. But they've ordered new ones, and since they're custom stripes, it won't be an exact match, so they'll redo both sides when the decals come in. But the dent is gone, and while it was in the shop, they detailed the van! shampooing carpet! cleaning air vents! Scrubbing down the dashboard! Wonderfulness! I was really impressed. I'm glad we took it in and got it done. And I'm really glad it wasn't on my dime!

I'm sick. :( It's very, very odd. My right ear is thumping. Every day it has been getting louder. I thought at first there was something thumping in the house. I walked all over the place and kept asking Cody, "Can't you hear that?" Finally I checked my pulse and realized I was hearing my heartbeat and the blood rushing through my ear. Weird. Yesterday it was hurting too, so I went into the Instacare, pretty sure I had an ear infection. But the doctor said my ear was totally clear, and recommended two medications I can't have because I'm pregnant... finally settling on plain old Sudafed. Which isn't doing a darned thing. *sigh.* I hope it clears up soon. Doc suspects something in my head is plugged up, but since I have no other signs of infection, he can't prescribe antibiotics. So I either get worse, and finally get some medication, or I get better. Until then, Would someone PLEASE tell the drummers in my brain to turn down the volume?!?

Cody's birthday is coming up! Next Sunday, the sixteenth, he turns thirty. Yes, 3-0. I'd love any awesome party ideas!

...and, that's pretty much it. I need to go make Anna some lunch. That is if the incessant beating will quiet down enough for me to think straight. And then I can run errands and pick up Lee. And plan a birthday party. And maybe catch a nap? nah...

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Potty training update

Told you I'd check in!

Yesterday didn't go quite as smoothly as I had hoped, but I think Anna still made good progress. Toward the end of the day she tired of our games and wanted to play with her cousins.

Now, my plan is to continue doing rehearsals several times a day, spend as much time in panties as possible, and of course--lay on the praise for successes. I am still hopeful she will figure it out very quickly. It's partially a matter of breaking a 2 year habit of going whenever/wherever.

Go Go Anna! You can do it! (Go Go Lisa, you can survive it!)

Friday, January 7, 2011

Potty Training in a Day

Today is the "Big Day" for Annalisa! This is my journal of her potty training, so if you're not interested, go ahead and skip. I'm trying a method I learned about on this website: http://www.pottytrainingconcepts.com/A-How-to-Potty-Train-One-Day.html

Now, there are some issues I have with this site. The biggest? They seem to be out to make a lot of money. They suggest buying firstly the pamphlet itself, and then a special wetting doll with its own little potty, and a matching potty for the kid, and a "Potty Party Kit," and pull-ups, and underwear, and all kinds of stuff. I, however, read right over that and have decided to do it myself, with what I have, and not spend a fortune on potty training in one day.

What I'm using:
-Anna's favorite stuffed animal, Bonnie Bear, along with a little cup of water.
-Anna's favorite drink, juice.
-Anna's favorite cup, which happens to be a sippy cup.
-The underwear we already owned.
-The regular toilet instead of a kid potty. (I'm not a big fan of kid potties, because I feel like you have to re-train them to use the regular toilet. No sense doing double work!)

Pre-potty training readiness checklist:
-Child has some kind of bowel control: "pushes out" BM, stays dry in the diaper for a few hours at a time.
-Has motor control enough to pull underwear and pants up and down
-Has a desire for parental approval (indicated by "look, mommy!" or "will you do this with me daddy?")
-Can communicate needs

Here's my method:
1) Last night Anna helped me put a diaper on Bonnie when I changed Anna's diaper for bed. This could have been done several days in advance, though. Then, Anna took Bonnie to bed with her. Several times, I said, "See, Bonnie is doing this just like Anna. Bonnie is just like Anna."

2) This morning, we got dressed wearing a diaper, ate breakfast just like normal, but Bonnie got to come to the breakfast table. Everything Anna did, Bonnie did too. So right now, Bonnie is wearing a shirt. I might note that I picked clothes for today that were very easy to potty train in. Anna happens to be wearing a slightly longer shirt, panties, and her favorite purple tutu. Because the panties are coming on and off all day, the shirt is nice to cover her little bum.
3) After breakfast, I prepped Lee for what was going to happen. Then, it was time to focus on Anna. Anna gets to keep her sippy cup of juice all day today, and is encouraged to drink. Bonnie gets drinks too.
4) Anna helped Bonnie take off her diaper and put on panties. Bonnie then got the opportunity to go potty. With the help of my little cup of water, a few dribbles made it into the toilet, which was followed by great cheers, hugs, and loves from Anna and mommy. Anna got the opportunity to go as well. Nothing came out, which is fine. She still got cheers and loves.
5) After a minute or two, it was time to do rehearsals. Here's a demonstration of a rehearsal:

(Don't you love the "Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!" coming from both Lee and Cody? Did I mention you should pick a low-stress day without a lot going on to do potty training?)
Anyway. We did about ten rehearsals in a row, and the one above was one of them. We went to different rooms in the house, pretending to play. Then, I'd encourage Anna to run to the potty, and she would get praise.
6) I let Anna go now for a few minutes, and she played.
7) Bonnie had an accident on the floor. :( (a little water on the carpet, a little water on Bonnie's panties.) I encouraged Anna to come see what had happened; to touch the wetness and to help Bonnie clean it up. Lee was rather disgusted. Then Bonnie did 3 rehearsals, and on the last one, a little water went in the potty and was followed by much celebration.
8) Anna got another opportunity to go. This time, she did her business! (Number two, I might add!) This was followed by a huge party, including calling whoever she wanted. Treats could be involved as well.
9) Now that we've had success, I'm letting her play and behave normally, but I'm asking her about every twenty minutes if she would like to go. About every hour, we do another two or three rehearsals. The juice is still plentiful.
10) If, and when, Anna has an accident, it will be followed by another ten rehearsals. I know it sounds like a lot. But they go fast, and it's really important to handle accidents appropriately. If you're too soft on the kid, they think it's okay. If you're too hard on the kid, they can be hurt by it. So, silly, fun, but a LOT of rehearsing. And of course, every success is a major deal.

After today, we keep up a few rehearsals a day, and keep the successes with high praise. Accidents are still dealt with the same way. Eventually, everything becomes habit, and we're done! Now, I need to take Bonnie and go have another potty adventure. I'll let you know how the end result goes!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

I miss my van. :(

Our van is in the repair shop. On October 20, three days before we moved out of our old house, someone backed into the van while it was parked on the street, leaving a fairly good sized dent in the driver's door. Since the damage was only aesthetic, I've been putting it off getting fixed until after the move. There's lots of things we needed a van for!

Fortunately, the lady who backed into the van was upfront and honest about it. Her insurance has been really easy to work with (State Farm) and is covering everything. They even offered us a rental car, but we turned it down since we have two vehicles and I didn't want to worry about a rental. But it is still a nuisance to have to take it in, be down a vehicle this week, and have to buckle in the kids into the back seat of the Civic.

So, whine whine. I miss my van. That is all.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Awesome Lee

There are moments I congratulate myself (ever so slightly) on my parenting. This is one of them.

About a week before Christmas break, Lee came home from preschool and told me that one of the students in his class, who we will call "M," had been mean to him--hit him and pushed him over. Lee mentioned it over and over again, which let me know it really had happened and wasn't just the musings of a four year old. I was really quite concerned for Lee, and realized this was probably our first experience with any sort of bullying, and the way we handled this would set a precedence for our parenting...well, forever. So Lee and I had a serious discussion on how we handle kids who aren't so nice: how we never are mean back, but ask them nicely to stop (Lee practiced over and over again "Please don't do that! That hurts me!"), and if they don't stop, you go find an adult like mommy or your teacher and tell them what happened. Lee was totally prepped the next day when he went to school.

Sure enough, he came home and said M was mean again, but that he hadn't been mean back. He repeated his rehearsed line, "Please don't do that! That hurts me!" He told his teacher. And then a few days later, we were done for Christmas.

I hardly thought about M at all, other than to pray for Lee to find good friends and to be a good example to everyone in his class. I mentioned this to our Head Start Advocate, and she said that other parents had brought up similar complaints about M. I hoped his home life was stable and that he would have happy experiences that would help him overcome these more violent tendencies. I knew that any further complaints against M would only aggravate the situation, so I let it be. Lee is a tough kid, and the teachers were aware of the situation... there's nothing more I could do.

Today was Lee's first day back at school. I really didn't even think about M until after I had left Lee. When I went to pick up Lee, though, he collected his things, including a piece of paper with a few random letters drawn on it. Since Lee isn't that good at drawing letters yet, I asked him who had drawn the letters. To my utter shock, he said that M had, and that M was now his "best friend because he's so nice for me!" I asked Lee more about what happened, and from what I can piece together from a four year old's memory plus limited vocabulary, Lee has been trying hard to be friends with M, despite the meanness in the past. Today, they got along well; at least well enough for M to make Lee a card.

Can I just say how proud I am of my son? At four years old, he has mastered the art of loving others unconditionally. I hope it is a trait he can foster and care for and never lose. I let him know how great he is, and he just beamed. For today, I count my mothering efforts a success. And more importantly, I tribute this to Lee and his sweet, caring heart. I am very grateful for my boy!

New Year's Resolutions

Resolutions are tricky things. If you want to be successful at maintaining them, you really have to follow some rules. 1) make them specific. 2) give yourself a deadline. 3) have someone to report to. 4) make them attainable.

That said, here are my resolutions for this year.
1) Have a baby. But more than that--survive the transition to three children, try to keep all three relatively healthy, and stay sane through it all. My hope for the transition is the end of this year to feel somewhat "normal" again. That gives me about 9-10 months after baby is born.
2) Get Annalisa potty trained. We're working on it, and I'm starting the big push today. She's wearing panties, getting potty treats, focusing on this new aspect of her life, and hopefully she'll be successful. Right now we're both very excited about it. I think it's going to happen!
3) Weather the storms that will surely come, and find joy in every day.

Anyway. I hope there's lots of good in store for 2011. We wish you all a very happy New Year!