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Monday, April 26, 2010

Extended Vacation...

and I'm not just talking about the remainder of the week in Florida we spent visting Eric's parents! Hello.... would someone care to actually BLOG over here!!! Jeez.

This final vacation post has taken FOREVER, but these pictures are truly priceless. On the first day we spent with my in-laws, the weather was the warmest (70'ish), the sun was shining and it was time to hit the beach. Even though there was a slight chill to the air and the water was freezing cold, it wasn't enough to deter any one of us from taking the plunge in the crisp, biting waves of the ocean. Fully clothed and the whole bit! Here's something: see the silhouette to the far left? Oh! Hey! That's me! I went on vacation and actually turned up in a photo! Just as we began to sink our toes in the sand, I joked to Eric that maybe he could take a few clicks on the other side of the camera, so as to get some pictures of me with the kids. (which I have very few of because The Hubs doesn't take pictures - and usually it's only the 4 of us) It was then that my very generous Mother-in-Law offered to take my camera for a whirl. And she wasn't stingy with the picture taking either - she got some amazing shots! In fact, she captured some of the most beautiful moments we shared with our kids. As for the days following, we finally caught up on some sleep, we went to the pool, shopped, went to a children's museum (to which I forgot my camera!) and enjoyed the laid back style of what vacation is all about. With the added bonus of a very doting grandma and grandpa to help entertain our kids!Even though our kids were mostly napless throughout our entire stay, not to mention Very late bedtimes, I was so proud (and impressed) to see that they were able to behave for the most part given all of the activity that came along the way. It actually made me think that vacation is getting easier already and more enjoyable with young kids. Last year, in comparison, was work. Good work, but definitely more involved when there was a 1 and 3 year old to look after. All in all, we had a wonderful winter vacation and LOVED spending time and making memories with our family. To my Grandma, Aunt Shirley, my Dad and my In-Laws: thank you for your hospitality, your never ending energy and all of the little things to make our vacation so enjoyable. It never would have been the same without you!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Clips:

Just stopping by to let you know that I haven't forgotten all about posting the second half of our vacation. (Because I know that y'all are on the edge of your seats, right?) It just seems that life and circumstances have gotten in our way. Besides, the pictures I have are too good not to share.

With that, I'm going to bring you up to speed on what exactly is making blogging so difficult at times.

For the past 2 days, Eric has been out of town and true to fashion, one of my kids ends up sick. This time was Elaina's turn. Eric hadn't even been gone for 24 hours when she begins to run a fever, chills, and vomiting. Needless to say, I have been home from work playing the role of Exclusive Caregiver to both kids on very little rest.

This morning as we were cuddled on the couch, Elaina had gotten sick in her "puke bowl" just as Lincoln was crawling over the sofa to investigate. He eyes up the bowl and declares, "Soup!" Not so much Kid. Ewww.

At dinner, Lincoln started on a roll of making noises to see which one Just Might Be the Funniest of All. He began to "Oink" which led Elaina to follow with "Oink, Oink!" <<-- with inflection. Soon I found that I was listening to an entire conversation between my Darlings which only consisted of the word "oink." They were cracking each other up.

While watching TV, I sat down on the floor to cuddle up with Lincoln and soon Elaina joins me on my lap. As I was hugging them together, Elaina noted that "we're a small family without our Daddy." She's right, I think we are all missing him.

Finally, Lincoln is not potty trained. He is not actively potty-training and furthermore, I don't know when he will ever express an interest in being potty trained. As I was changing his stink diaper tonight, we had a conversation all about where poopy goes and how big boys don't wear diapers and yadda-yadda-yadda... same as always. (He knows the answers!) My final question to him was, "Lincoln, when do you think you'll be a big boy and not wear diapers anymore?" His reply, "Good question Mom."

Just one more that is too sweet to not make note: A few days back Lincoln was having a Behavior Issue (read: crying like a banshee for no particular reason except he's 2) and I've learned some multi-step tactics to deal with his fits. This particular moment found me cradling him in my arms without saying any words and just letting him calm down and cry it out. Before long, he takes his thumb from his mouth as he began to wind down and in a tender voice says, "Mom? thanks." IlovehimIlovehimIlovehim.

So this is what parenting is all about isn't it?

Monday, March 22, 2010

Florida, 2010

If you didn't already know, I am in love with what has become our winter tradition of a trip to Florida. Not only for the much needed break from Ohio snow and ice, but because my grandma is there and she does her best to make her house our home for the time we stay with her. And like anyone and their grandma, I really can't get enough of her. Oh, and the sunshine, of course!

This year's trip was different from any other for a lot of reasons. This was our first trip down since my grandpa's passing, God love him. I haven't blogged about it previously, but my grandpa was an amazing man and a pillar in our family. I'm even more grateful than ever for our Florida vacations in the past in that he was able to meet both of our kids and even though they may be too young to remember him, they'll be able to see his pictures with them and know that they were such an important part of his life.

Another hardship that our family had to face was the untimely passing of my Aunt Sandie who also lived in Florida and my grandma's oldest daughter. Her death happened only a week prior to our already scheduled visit. For this, my dad and my Aunt Shirley remained with my grandma for the duration of our time there as well. In the deepest sadness, we found joy. Being together as a family, supporting one another and sharing laughter and memories brought us all a step closer to healing.

Without dwelling on our sadness, we made the most of our trip, filling our days with fun and togetherness.
Do you want to know what I absolutely love about this picture?
It reminds of me of last year when my grandpa played music for us. Lincoln was surely captivated.
And about that little Lincoln of mine, did I mention that he came down with croup the week before we left? He seemed to be better just prior to our trip and then we arrived in Florida. And the coughing began. Croup again, which his prescription medicine couldn't even touch. Croup which caused him to be unable to breathe without coughing for a whole 2 minute stretch. Croup which landed us in the Urgent Care for an antibiotic. As an added bonus, he picked up the start of an ear infection somewhere along the way. My little Trooper!
Speaking of added bonus: despite the unfortunate circumstances, it was really nice having my dad assuming his Grandpa role while we were there.
Never mind the windblown hair and the unprepared smiles, this picture was taken just before we boarded a 2 hour boat ride for a Family Fun cruise which my grandma arranged.
It was easily the highlight of our time there for all of us. They had exotic animals for the kids to touch. (yes, that would be an alligator that my son is petting!)
They had face painting which made for toddler sized pirates and unicorn fairy girls! (I hope they don't expect me to do this at home!)
And best of all, they had a dance contest which Elaina entered, and WON!! I seriously thought my heart may have sprung a leak as it was about to burst with pride! Even though the winner was chosen by audience applause, and we did happen to have 6 very loud and very proud family members cheering our girl on, many of the other guests applauded Elaina and easily made her the winner. OH, was she ever cute!!!
As the winner, she received a goody bag full of candy, a gift certificate for the cruise line, a super large milkshake of her choice AND she got to steer the boat with the captain! My four year-old, commanding the ship! Her mother beaming!
With this, treasured memories were made, sorrows were laid aside and we look forward to many more great trips to be with my grandma. And after all of this, can you believe that this is only a part of our Florida trip this year??? This year, we added a second leg to our tour. Stay tuned!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

SO much.

Have you ever had those kind of days in which you find yourself already at work, dressed for your work day and 2 hours into sitting at your desk, you decide to look down to make sure that your shoes match? And that your clothes coordinate.

Come on... I can't be the only one! Okay, maybe so.

There has been so much going on here lately that I hardly know where to begin to try an catch up. Maybe you can guess where this is going... YES! Bullet-point recap!! Sweet!

[edited to add: okay, so I can't find actual bullet points on here soooo... looks like hyphens will do!]

- One week ago today, we came home from a week long visit to various family members in Florida. The first half of our trip was spent with my grandmother while the latter was with my in-laws. For 7 straight days, our days were full, our kids were napless wonders and we were all spoiled rotten. A great vacation indeed! I will do my best to follow with pictures and a separate vacation post soon.

- Over vacation, that little Lincoln of mine became an explosion of energy, eagerness and enthusiasm. Maybe it was the favorable climate, maybe it was break from our routine or maybe it's because he's come upon a burst of maturing. Whatever it is, he is ever-complex and I look forward to telling you all about him in a future post.

- The saying is true: sometimes you have to take the good with the bad. This winter has found us safe, happy, mostly healthy and continually blessed. For this I am thankful. One who didn't bear the wintertime and (geriatric) life in general was our dog, Keegan. Keegan was laid to rest the week prior to our vacation. I'm pretty sure that a follow up post about him is necessary as well.

- In other random ramblings: I registered Elaina for Kindergarten. My truck (we bought new) hit the 100,000 mile mark at (almost) 7 years old. I ordered the most expensive vacuum cleaner of my life - a Dyson - which I am so anxious to fall in love with. The kids and I are leaving Eric behind this weekend to spend a night at my brother's house; our fun-line-up will blow my little kiddies minds! I can't wait! With a much needed break from our snow-filled state, our weather has finally hit a breaking point and I've already begun my psychotic- decrapification from my house - A.K.A.: Spring cleaning meets crack. We've gotten new furniture for Lincoln's bedroom and a full sized bed is being made. Within a few short months, I hope to have his bedroom transformed into a big-boy room. The most obvious reminder that my last baby is growing up and won't want to sleep in a crib until he's 7. Where does the time go???

Speaking of time, where do you suppose I am going to find the time to sit down to write all of these follow up stories? Has anyone discovered a way of making time stand still? Oh, and not have to get tired. <-- very important!

Monday, February 08, 2010

Puppy Love, or at least I hope...

With Valentine's Day soon approaching, for tonight's topic I'm going to write about Elaina and her "boyfriend." While my intention is to use the term "boyfriend" loosely, Elaina has a very different idea.

I still remember the day; it was summer time and lovely weather. We were outside enjoying the day, talking to neighbors and watching the cars go by. Elaina was about 18 months old and was holding onto my hand as she walked the landscaped brick wall which frames our driveway. With each step, she became more brave, more daring and less likely to look down at her feet as she scurried forward. And just like that, she lost her footing and scraped the side of her ankle against the brick. Being the protective Mother Bear that I am (and a first time mom) I pulled her close to comfort her as she buried her face into my chest. As she laid against me, I could only hear a slight whimper and hardly any tears came from her eyes even though her ankle was scraped red with blood. I saw her look up, resting her eyes on "Sammy" and realized that she didn't want to cry in front of him.

Just then, I began to wonder if Elaina was holding back her feelings to show Sammy that she wasn't a baby. Odd reaction for a child who wasn't even two years old and hadn't ever seen that kind of behavior before.

In the two years that have come to pass, she often talks about wanting to marry Sammy. She has asked that when she and Lincoln outgrow their baby toys, if we can send them to Sammy's house for Their kids to play with. During a recent conversation with Eric and myself on what she wants to be when she grows up, her answer was "a doctor, a teacher, a veterinarian and the lady who puts your tray up on the airplane." My reply was that it seemed as though she would be awfully busy with her careers that I wondered how she would ever have time to see her mom and dad. "Don't worry Momma, I'll still live right here, next door, with Sammy. And you can come over any time you want. And I'll even make you dinner." "I'm going to marry Sammy you know."

Concerning, no?

But it even goes further, she'll often talk about when she grows up, when she and Sammy will be married, what color her dress will be and they'll live next door and even what she will be naming her kids. (RosaBella, Maggie Flowers and Junior are a few that I can recall) She doesn't stop. She reminds us of her future plans at least a couple times a month, sometimes multiple times in the same week. I try not to react, but only to listen when she begins her fairytale life story with Sammy, but HOLY SMOKES KID, you're 4 years old! Where does she come up with this imagination? These ideas? Dora doesn't have a boyfriend. TinkerBell isn't interested in getting married. My child has her children named!

Did I mention that fact that Sammy is our next door neighbor? Who is also our friend. Who is also approximately 3 weeks older than Eric. He is well aware of Elaina's "love" for him and he is VERY much appropriate toward her and brushes her off as if he were a kind uncle reacting to her attention.

Yes Elaina, when you are 25, your Sammy will be Golden Buckeye card carrying member and looking towards retirement. Every young girls' dream right?

The only upside to all of our musings is that any time Sam lets me down for any reason, I remind him that he will not be my favorite son-in-law for long.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Refresher

Remember these little Munchkins?

(Yes, Mom, I know you're so excited to finally see pictures up!)

These are the same two who have been growing like crazy and occupying all of our time. Not like I mind, of course, but GEEZ, slow down!

In the early part of the fall, Elaina learned to ride a 2- wheel bicycle all by herself. After weeks of the training wheels barely touching the ground on her bike, she felt that she was ready to take a spin sans extra wheels. With only a few slight steady, starts from her dad, she was off like a flash and didn't turn back.
As for this little guy, he is pure speed on his scooter. He rides his 2 wheel scooter like it's his job! The first few weeks of the winter season were tough on Lincoln. With each passing day, the weather grew colder and he became more bitter about not being able to go outside to ride his scooter. It was pure torture for us to hurry him inside from the cold weather only to leave his scooter alone, without a rider for days on end. Eric has caved a few times, bundling the kids up and taking them out on clear days and letting them enjoy some time to zip around the driveway for a short while. Even if the weather was in the low 40's. And this girl... oh yeah! This big girl started Pre-K at school! Elaina goes 3 half days during the week and absolutely loves being in school. Her enthusiasm hasn't wavered in the months since school began. In my telephone conference with her teacher last week, she reported that Elaina is one of her brightest students in the class (of 10) and very social and friendly. The teachers have been impressed with her language skills and memory. Pre-K has been an excellent experience for Elaina, but it leaves this 4 year-old beat by the end of the school day. Oh, the hectic life of a preschooler!

This picture of Lincoln pretty much says it all. He's so cute and SO mischievous!!! This boy is stealth! The 2's have hit Lincoln in just about every stereotypical fashion. He has begun hitting, yelling, pushing, kicking and having a hard time learning to share. Yep... our boy is 2. VERY, VERY 2. But seriously, when he flashes that Sweetheart Smile... OH, how I melt! God I love this little StinkerBoy!
Four is fun age for a girl. Elaina continues to be into all things Girly. The more girly, the better. The best part is, she wants to do as much stuff with her mommy as she does her daddy. This is the same girl who demands to wear a dress every day no matter what the day holds. In the same moment, she is also the child asking her dad when he's going to take her hunting and when they can go camping together. She loves everything sparkly and glittery, yet she asked to see the groundhog her dad shot - just to see what a dead groundhog looks like. Not grossed out or anything. Just - "Oh." "Daddy could we go get Slurpees?"
And this My Friends, is what my blog is all about.

Because everyone needs a starting point...

Even if it's to restart a project for the 4th or even 5th time.

The good news; I'm energized. I'm refreshed. I want to renew my blog! (and get my Lovely, Well-Meaning Family off my back over Blog Guilt!)

I'm not going to spend a moment longer dwelling on why I have taken such a long hiatus from blogging other than to say that it's a blog worth saving!

My fresh approach: tidbits.

Yep. Tidbits of our lives. As they happen. I'm not the best writer, nor am I the most witty, but my kids and some of our daily occurrences are well worth noting and a blog is just the spot for all of that. Of course it always has been, but I'm considering this my written permission slip for "quantity performance" over "quality." It's a recession People; it's time for cutting back!

Join me in a toast: "Long Live THE BLOG!!"

Cheers!!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Dropping by...

So it's become pretty clear to me that blogging is most definitely taking a back seat in our lives these days. I don't even feel the need to make excuses any more, let alone, empty promises. Now, if someone were to offer a couple extra hours in my day or help me find a way to never tire, well then, bring it on!

Since it's been a month since my last entry, I'm happy to report that Elaina's "bad spell" ended just as abruptly and swiftly as it started. Our sweet, little darling is back to normal. While I'm on the topic of Elaina, one more thing that has changed is that our baby has started school in a Pre-K program. She has wanted to go to school for the past year and a half so this is like her dream come true. I'm more than pleased that she loves school and along with that, I'm very glad that it's only 3 days a week. We've come to realize that on the days she has school, she is worn out. I mean, BEAT! When I arrive home, I've often been finding her laying on the sofa, zombified in front of the TV, too tired to even acknowledge me. When we make plans for Friday evening (another school day) she does everything in her power to stay awake, alert and pretend to not be tired even though her eyes become all starey when she idles for longer than 2 minutes. The good thing is that she loves school and we've gotten good reports from her teachers.

With all of the talk about Elaina, how about that little brother of hers? My little Lincoln Man! OhMyGoodness! That little guy has begun talking up a storm! I thought it would never happen! He was certainly taking his time in the language arts department. Along about August, he began putting words together and expressing that he was actually getting something out of the words he's been using and hearing. Every single day, he picks up more words, shows more personality and even a sense of humor. Up until this point, he's always been a little reserved to the more-serious side and quick to react when things don't go as planned for his little self. This is still the case, but the reassuring part is that by and by, some of his quick-to-react fits are gradually improving with the help of him learning to communicate. We're all happy about that!

And since I'm spilling all the beans about my kids' behavior, let's talk about Lincoln and hitting. Oh, that child is SO 2! His "thing" has become hitting. Swatting rather, since he just swings his little arm from side to side until he hits what he's been aiming for in his path. This, I cannot stand. It seems that every single day he is hitting someone; even if he's generally happy-ish, he makes it a point to give someone a whack, quite possibly just to see their reaction. I don't know how to explain that. With a variety of tactics in place, we're getting through each day with fewer and fewer instances, but hitting still seems to rank pretty high on cool-things-to-do-to-upset-your-family.

Other than that, life here is pretty good. Our days are busy, our children are loved and we're all very blessed to have happiness each day. With every hurdle I face throughout the day, I continuously remind myself, "Work hard, play hard." And that's exactly what we've been doing!