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Sunday, March 30, 2008

Posers

Have you ever the slang term "poser?"

Well, we were all posers in our own right this weekend. On Saturday, we took the kids to get their very first professional picture taken together. I had intended for Easter poses, but then decided against anything to dressed up and "Eastery." Oh yeah, and I ran out of time to get their pictures done before Easter so it didn't really matter. I just wanted my kids touching in the same photo.

Elaina was the first Poser. All morning long she asked if we could go to the picture place yet. Get it? My child posing like she was going to know what to do at the portrait studio. Like she liked going there. Poser. Their appointment time finally rolled around after their nap time and Elaina did pretty good. Mostly good. Ummm... not so bad. By the sheer stroke of luck, there were a few pics of her alone that were absolutely adorable.

Lincoln posed as a race horse trying to break stride at the finish line of a race. Eric had bounced Lincoln's spare t-shirt in his face to play peek-a-boo while at the same time, wiping his face of smiley baby slobber. When Lincoln was getting in photographer-approved-posing-position, Eric would swipe the shirt in front of his face and snag it away quickly with Lincoln revealing the most happy baby smile ever. Which only lasted for approximately 15.8 seconds before Lincoln tried to crawl to his Daddy for some more. Darn that slow photographer.

Final score of picture posers:
Elaina - good
Lincoln- justifyably good
together: potential winners of the most awkward smile photo contest

And the biggest poser of all, introducing; my husband. While I ordered the pictures, he browsed around the store in the neighboring furniture department. He reported to me in his most nonchalant way that some entertainment centers were on sale. Huh? Was he really looking at entertainment centers? For like a new tv or something? The same guy who sounds like a broken record saying, "There's nothing wrong with the one we have." Really? Poser.

Long story short, we bought an entertainment center. Although it is listed to hold a 50" television, under no uncertain terms will the console-dinosaur even be considered lifted into the newly purchased television nest. No. No. No. Even if it is 5o".

As for me. I'm only a poser as I write this post multiple days later and have pictures of the new PLASMA tv that did find a home! HeeHeeHee.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Happy Dance!

Every parent who has raised a child through the potty training stage can attest to knowing all about the potty song and dance hoopla that goes along with potty training. We've been doing this for almost a year now. Well, mostly on and off and mainly with ongoing encouragement. With Elaina we used bribes of chocolate, candy and stickers. The candy worked pretty well as she got a jelly bean or M&M for telling us and another for the actual tinkle. The sticker reward chart worked pretty well too and when she wet her pull up, a sticker was peeled from her chart while the tears ensued. Seriously you would have thought we were cutting skin from her toes. Thank God those usual bouts only lasted a couple minutes before she realized that mommy and daddy were moving on from her drama.

And so the learning process.

For the past few months Elaina had reached a plateau of sorts. She was wearing pull ups during the day and excited about the big girl status that went with the new Disney Princess patterns that displayed on her new butt covers. Yet she still had accidents. Like any kid, stopping what she was doing to go potty was not on her schedule.

As far as I was concerned, she needed to get over this hump. I know that she is smart enough to know when she has to potty and she was just riding out the pull up phase without consequence. (Because it wasn't her $13 for 48 pull ups!) I had enough. It was full fledged potty training boot camp all of last week for my darling daughter. Our sitter (who we L O V E ) was going to have only a few kids this past week ( because most of their parents are teachers on spring break) agreed to go full board on helping to get Elaina over her hump of potty training.

I arrived Monday morning with a bag filled with 5 extra pairs of pants, 7 pair of big-girl-panties and loads of encouragement that I had pumped into Elaina about what was expected of her. She had her share of accidents early on in the week, but by Thursday, she had a full dry day and has only had 2 accidents since. Hooray! So, we've moved on from the potty dance to the shouting-with-joy-'cause-I-only-have-one-kid-in-diapers-happy-dance!!! She's done it!!

I am still a little taken back by her latest milestone and that she's taken another step closer to becoming a big kid. I was planning on giving her plenty of time to work on dry nap times and bedtimes, but I think she's already handled that herself. She's been waking up dry at 6:00 in the morning telling us that she has to potty. Aaack! 6 in the morning, but sooo not complaining. Pretty soon, we'll phase out the overnight diaper entirely and Elaina will be the "big girl" we've been talking so much about. My big girl! It's really finally happened!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Earily Familiar

For the past few days Lincoln has been more cranky than usual, pulling at his ears and his eating habits have been noticeably different. Sounds like all of the familiar signs of an ear ache to me.

Not again.

I took Lincoln to see the doctor in hopes that I may have been wasting my time, but no. Lincoln is on his way to getting another ear infection. Our family doctor/ pediatrician is great. Elaina loves her and talks about Dr. Joni all of the time. Dr. Joni in turn, loves our kids (she sees them often enough it seems) and has a particular fondness for Lincoln who jokingly refers to as "Moosie" because he is as big as a moose and makes grunty-growly noises like a wild beast.



As Dr. Joni and I were in the midst of our conversation about Lincoln's prescription, she stopped on a dime, interrupting her own sentence and commented on how much Lincoln looks like Eric. She was struck by the resemblance and even the similarities between Elaina and Lincoln.

In the evening, we joined some friends at our favorite pizza place (as usual) and my friend Rebekah was in awe in how much Lincoln is looks like Eric. Wow! I know I have two handsome men in my life, but this confirms that Lincoln was just meant to be ours. Same with his big sis. Just another perfect example of a perfect miracle.

Too bad Lincoln seemed to get my misery and woe of ear infections. He's my kid too!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Like who?

Tonight Elaina stated to me that when she gets bigger she wants to play baseball. Just like Daddy. She told me that she wanted to be a "Stuper-star" just like Daddy too. While I can kinda see her point about Daddy being a Stuper-star, she came from left field with her wannabe aspirations. It's true that Eric played baseball in high school, but as far as either of us were concerned, Elaina has no knowledge of that.

So okay, Elaina, give it your best shot. You're sure to be a Superstar no matter what you choose. Leave the Stuper-star stuff to the guys.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

On my calendar

If you could see my wall calendar hanging in my kitchen you would know that it's jammed packed with colorful scribbled appointments and dates to remember. One such date that is highlighted and bold is March 24. It's not anyone's birthday that I know, it's not a holiday and it's unfortunately not another day off work. Hmmph. It is however, a day that will always be very special to Eric and myself. Exactly one year ago on a sunny, brisk Saturday afternoon, we met with Lincoln's birth mother. On March 24, we came to know a beautiful, intelligent young lady who ultimately confirmed her decision of choosing us to become her baby's family.


The day still seems so fresh and clear in my mind and I'll never forget my exact words to her, "Are you telling me that we're it? As in, we should start buying everything blue, picking out names and getting ready for our boy?" She offered an assured and confident "yes" with a smile on her face. It was that moment that feelings inside of me began to shift as I began to consider myself a mother of two. Just like I had always wanted and planned. We were about to become new parents of a baby boy. A BOY! For US!! I don't remember my feet even touching the ground that day.
Throughout our journey to becoming parents, there is so much I can say now, that I never thought my heart had the capacity to feel. I still cry and my heart still aches for our daughters, but God has a way of healing in such a way that I'm not bitter or angry. Even though I feel sadness, I remind myself that if it weren't for Ella and Ava, we would have never been blessed with Elaina and Lincoln. And since they are my whole world, I know this is and always was God's plan for us all. And isn't God good?

Monday, March 24, 2008

Who the Easter Bunny brought to town...

Family.
Fun-filled.
Joyous.

Laughter.
Togetherness.
Smiles.
Memories.
Happiness.
Easter.
And so it was all of the above which made our Easter one of a kind. Even more special is that it served as Lincoln's first Easter. Judging by his special treats and toys brought by the Easter Bunny, I'd have to guess that he liked it.
For our fourth year family tradition, my family traveled to our house to celebrate the holiday weekend. I would be remiss if I didn't recollect the first year of our family starting this tradition stemming from when Ava was in the NICU. To this day, I'll never forget the flood of emotions that pulsed through my heart and my mind spending such a joyous, religious holiday heartsick over our beloved little angel. From that experience, I believe that my feelings toward Easter have been forever changed. Now, I hug my kids even tighter and longer. My heart wants to burst from my chest to hear their laughter. And their smiles make my whole world happy and right. But most of all, I want to fall to my knees and praise God beyond words for creating our beautiful children and making us a family. The Lord is good indeed.
So, as I wipe my tears... let me share some of our weekend where we stayed busy spoiling our kids and making memories.
My parents arrived on Friday as to get an early start jumping right into the weekend. Greg, Kate and Colin arrived strategically after nap time and I don't remember hearing silence in our house since. Colin was given the star treatment as he was welcomed at the back door by a very excited cousin who was bouncing up and down with anticipation. For only seeing each other a handful of times throughout the year, they are each others biggest fans. Colin was given free reign of Elaina's toys and just happened to choose the two most questionable ones in the house. A scooter and handcuffs, what else? Since I'm only joking, I'll say that he played really well and passed his toddler- scooter-driving test with flying colors. As for the handcuffs, eh, they didn't stick. We've already tried that on another certain toddler. Our Saturday evening dinner consisted of a trip to our favorite local pizza joint which we frequent (almost) weekly. I wanted to give my foodie brother and S-I-L a taste of quality small town dining and was thrilled when they awarded it an enthusiastic thumbs up. Stop on over to Kate's blog to see our dinner crew and see if you can guess who is the hungriest of all.
In my Dad's opinion, despite our two little lovables (and his only daughter!) a trip to our house wouldn't be complete without a trip to the ice cream place. Again, Kate has some great pics over at her blog since my mom and I stayed home with Lincoln to get a jump on some cooking and baking preparations for Easter dinner the next day. Somehow, we found it just a little bit easier to cook without 6 other bodies in the house. After some unusual sleeping arrangements to get everyone bedded down for the night, the Easter Bunny found his way into our house and left loads and loads of goodies all over. He even took a giant bite out of cake we had baked for dessert the following day. I never would have guessed that bunnies liked chocolate cake so much. Mmm... Also, when the kids woke they were both somehow blindsided to the very obvious and very full Easter baskets left outside of their doors. Elaina and Colin both received two loaded baskets of goodies to Lincoln's very special one. Lincoln didn't particularly mind that some surprises just happened to land in his room already.
Easter morning has found the whole family loaded into our upstairs hallway as the kids unload their baskets of goodies and load their mouths with sweet confections. It's just funny to me that our hallway receives such fanfare one time a year. After the best egg hunt on record for Elaina and Colin, both kids resumed their unofficial candy eating contest. Neither was declared the winner since both of them conceded to a mid-morning nap. Did you hear the Hallelujah like I did? I have to say that our dinner was a team effort of fabulous-ness. The food, the help and the company. Most unfortunate is that Elaina didn't join us since she had just woken from her nap and wasn't in the eating kind of mood. Most times, Eric and I would be more persitent in trying to coerce her, but on a non-typical day like this day, we were in no position of winning. I guess that was lucky for Colin who got first dibs on dessert. As for Lincoln's first Easter and our fourth annual family tradition, this holiday was as joyous and abundant as ever. Celebrating with our baby boy and the magic of the Easter bunny through the eyes of our children made it the best of all!
I hope yours was just as good!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

While you wait...

Since I can't even begin to tell you what a lovely Easter we celebrated this weekend, I'm not going to even try just yet. I'm a little tired, a little bit not feeling well and a lot overwhelmed with cutie-cute kid pictures to rummage through.

Instead, I'll leave you with these sweet faces to smile back to until I come across 27 hours in a day or some kind of concoction which provides unlimited energy, brainpower and wit all in one. Without killing me. Until then...
My little weirdos... Elaina is modeling her warmest footie jammies showcased by her purple satin tutu and outdoor bike helmet. My handsome Lincoln is donning his Pittsburgh Steelers jammies accented with a pink satin princess cone hat with purple streaming lace with accompanying Froot Loops glued to his bottom lip. It doesn't get much better than this. Me, I just need to work on learning a more natural un-stone like smile.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Raincheck

I'm going to have to believe that none of you have been on the edge of your seat eagerly awaiting my drill-sergeant method of single parent bedtime. If you were by chance, there just may be some underlying issues that you may want to address first. My apologies anyway.

Last week got away from me faster than a fart in a wind storm. (A favorite expression used by a former co-worker.) It's a good thing I'm choosing not to bore you with our bedtime routine because last Wednesday turned into a big disaster with Thursday bringing the tired-toddler-tantrum. Let's just suffice to say that Elaina and Lincoln both have very specific windows of opportunity for going to bed. It is crucial to their temperament and their mother's sanity to satisfy their timing and not let that all-important window close before the child is horizontal in bed. Eric's arrival home on Thursday night was impeccable.

Thursday into Friday found me cleaning the house, catching up on laundry and preparing for my family to visit over Easter weekend. Can you believe it; a snow covered Easter in March. I'm trying to wrap my mind around the fact that Spring is actually coming (so they say) and that we get another holiday so early in the year. Okay by me, minus the snow of course.

Did you know that this year is the earliest that Easter has ever been in over 200 years? And, did you know that none of us will be alive to experience an Easter so early in the year? Unless one of you plan on living another 200 years, that is. And if you do, who are you going to tell about it?

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Wake-Up Call

Okay, I really don't intend for this post to be all complainy but...

Eric headed out of town for work this evening and won't return until late Thursday. While I'm well aware that is only 2 full days (cumulative) of being a single parent, I tend to stress. When I am running the show single- handedly I like to balance our days and nights like clockwork. I like to ensure that everyone (except for me) (unfortunately) gets to bed on time so we don't have to deal with the a case of the grumpies in the morning. Right now, I have everyone's clothing laying out including diapers, socks and shoes (except for me.) I have breakfast fixings layed out including full sippy cups, bibs and breakfast options for the Picky One. My instant cappuccino is waiting next to my travel mug and my lunch is packed. Now, I just have to NOT turn off my alarm when it goes off at the tender hour of 6:00. I am so much not a morning person. My objective is to ready myself completely before the kids wake and then save the last hour for getting them dressed, fed, packed and out the door. That's my plan anyhow.

It's not very often that Eric has to be out of town during the week, but about every other month, it's a must. I know I shouldn't complain because I have it rather good. The problem is that Eric helps so much in the mornings that I have to challenge myself to be able to do it alone. So, the race is on. Stay tuned to hear more about my compulsive bedtime routine . I never said I wasn't riding the fence of OCD. I so much am.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Potty Police

Why can I remember to haul my camera along to the playground for kid pictures, or have it handy at the dinner table when Elaina decides to paint her face with chocolate pudding, but I didn't think to lay a finger on it this weekend when Grandma and Grandpa W. came to visit?
Why? Why? Why?

Eric's parents came for an overnight visit on Friday night until Saturday. Unfortunately, I had a previous commitment for Friday night for my first ever girls' Bunco Night. (Great fun, by the way!) Grandma and Grandpa were impressed how big Lincoln had gotten and how fast that little guy can crawl. And like usual, Grandma and Elaina baked cookies together. And, um, thanks for leaving them all with us. Yum! Elaina has the best grandmas: Grandma W. being the cookie-baking, finger-nail painting grandma and Grandma H. being cinnamon roll, chocolate milk grandma. Lucky for all of us and our sweet tooth!

We enjoyed lunch at a local restaurant before they had to move on to their next destination. Since there was plenty of day still left and the temperature was still mild, Elaina and I packed up and enjoyed a girls' day out. The abbreviated version that you do with a 2 year-old in 4 hours before bedtime, that is.

I had to make some returns and I was longing to use my 30% savings coupon at Kohl's. We ended up going to several stores and she even tinkled while stopping at the stores for a potty break. [Just an intermission in this story; Elaina had a dry pull-up all weekend long and even woke up dry on Saturday. WOW!] I was so impressed and happy with my big girl, until.... We were taking a potty stop at our last store and she went first and then it was my turn. Usually I play "Simon Says" with her while I go about my business so that she doesn't get distracted and want to touch everything-germ-infested in the bathroom. Good idea, right? Eye contact, keeping her hands to herself, etc. This particular time, the distraction of the lock on the door was more than she could take and she opened the door while I was still sitting and she ran down the hall! Brat! And there I sit, yelling from my throne, door flung wide open and crazy child about to get in trouble on the loose. Thankfully, the location of the ladies room is somewhat remote and a key is necessary to access the 2 restrooms so there wasn't an audience at this point. At the time though, I didn't know which direction she went and if she made it back into the busy store. Alone. However, the employee offices and break room were in this corridor which is where I found the little girl who about to get spanked. When I happened upon her, she was smiling like she had won a sack race. And without a word, I snatched her up back into the restroom which my purse and coats were left and swatted her hiney, washed our hands, put on her coat and hauled her past our loaded cart and the toys I promised her she could play with and out the car. Yes, she was in trouble. With Elaina, just not speaking to her for a short period of time following an incident hurts her feelings the most because of the uncertainty of what is next and provides a minute for me to calm down. Once she was secured in her car seat and her tears were still flooding from her face, I told her exactly why her behavior was unacceptable and she offered a sorrowful apology. We kissed and made up and I sprung for a happy meal which can right any wrong when you're two.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Snow Party

This is how it all started...

All ready for the first sled ride with Daddy.
Check out that snow flying in the air!
Coming back after one brave stint on the big hill.
Note, that isn't Daddy behind her. Apparently he got left in the snow drift.

The wiped out sled crew opted for a much more tame evening of vegging out to Noggin on our antique television.
This is Baby Cole. Baby Cole is only 9 months younger than Elaina, but will probably remain "Baby Cole" throughout high school. Or until they are married.
Don't I love 24 hour Noggin? YES!!
Yes Lincoln, you can pay your sister back some day for doing this to you. (Except I think you looked really cu-ute!)
And if this isn't a happy crew tucked in their house.
This group was pretty content too.

I guess if you have to be stranded inside, it's best to have friends with four wheel drive to join you for a come-as-you-are party. This was one day I didn't mind being snowed in.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Burning a Hole

Remember back in October when I took a leap of faith and signed up to be a Tastefully Simple consultant? Well, I just wanted to report that it’s doing pretty well.

The best thing about being a home-party consultant is that I’m able to create my own schedule, it’s relatively hassle and problem free and I’m directly responsible for my own job satisfaction. Also, there is unlimited money making opportunity; it’s all about the effort I care to put forward.

I consider this little part time job exactly that. Part time. I have the flexibility to work around my schedule and my priorities. There won’t come a time when my family is put out because Mommy is too busy with a second job. Actually I consider this my third job. My family is my obvious and top priority with my full time job in second place.

I guess the whole point of this is that I was checking out my TS checking account last night and actually seeing profit. Real money that I’ve earned on the side that I never had before. While I haven’t exactly decided what I plan to do with my mad-money, I do know that I feel proud to have earned it and that it is a direct result of me being willing to try something new and take a plunge into something completely out of my comfort level.

So now I get to decide if I want to go all nutsy on frivolous, little indulgences or if I should continue to save for let’s say a weekend getaway or vacation.

What would you do with an amount of money between $500 and $1000? Spend? Save? Indulge? Hmmm....

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Some Party

So have you heard about the blizzard of a snow storm that dumped all over Ohio in the past 72 hours? It’s here. And it’s there. The snow, people, is everywhere.

The weather and road conditions worsened in such a short amount of time that our county office building even closed it’s doors and sent employees home 3 hours early. Closing government offices is nearly as unheard of as what I’m going to call an almost-blizzard in March. But there we had it.

On Saturday afternoon, we received a phone call from our neighbors down the street inviting us to come sledding down their massive side yard hill. Since Eric was already planning on taking Elaina on a sled ride after her nap, we all decided to bundle up and join in the sled fest already in progress.

I had had enough cold just from going in and out of the houses that Lincoln and I stayed inside and sipped on tea and played with toys. You can guess who enjoyed which activity. Eric and Elaina had made only one trip down the hill before Elaina announced that she’d had enough. Soon enough, the whole sledding crew had rendered themselves from their inner tubes and sleds to come inside. Somewhere between stripping off snow suits and assessing their age by the number of sore body parts, the guys decided to come to our house for a pool party. To shoot pool, that is. So we had a party. With 5 minutes notice.

With 9 adults and 5 kids all still a little grungy from sweating while sledding and this hostess still not showered from my earlier plan of not having any plans, we were about as casual and kicked back as ever. That’s the beauty of friendship right there. With only one pizza shop in town (not closed due to the weather) everyone was content with ordering pizza and grazing on the fine assortment of anything-edible-I-could-pull-from-my-cupboards.

The guys played pool, the girls talked about girl-stuff and the kids played and chased and did kid things. This was one of the greatest and most memorable neighborhood parties we’ve ever had. Being snowed in wasn’t so bad after all. I wonder what the forecast will bring us next weekend?

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Because you haven't missed anything...

That’s exactly how it’s been. Nothing noteworthy has been going on in our home for over a week. See, you haven’t missed much.

I have to admit that a vacation from blogging is necessary from time. It’s not that I don’t like to blog and it’s not like I don’t like reading the occasional comments from all of you, it’s just that this past week has slipped by and I haven’t been able to squeeze in a single hour more into my day to blog. Darn it, anyway.

So, let’s say that if I would have forfeited sleep to talk to you all. Here’s a sampling of what I might have been sharing with you.

Lincoln: Has the cutest five-tooth smile you’d ever want to see. Two pearly whites gleam at the top, while three littles rest on the bottom. All of last weekend, he suffered yet another bout of croup and congestion and barely an appetite as a result. I thought my heart might crumble into tiny pieces as it hurt to hear his barking seal cough and crackling wheezing sound with each breath. With a round of antibiotics and much rest, the Mighty Lincoln is back to being my full time charmer. He’s pulling himself up onto anything that is the least bit stationery and crawls around everywhere. Oh, and he’s actually beginning to drink from a sippy cup without acting like he’s going to gag up a lung or look like he’s choking. My baby boy is really growing up.

Elaina: Although she’s never had croup, she did present with a random fever for a few days in a row. The strange part is that it wasn’t persistent and she didn’t really have any other symptoms. I don’t even know that she felt bad. Weird. But okay. Other than that, I’ve seen glimpses of her behavior which are mirror images of me in her attitude and her strong will. Good God. That will make for a posting of it's own.

Me: Oh, why oh, why do germs love me so? In caring for Lincoln and going to work in what-should-be- a dilapidated building in which mold and a pinch of heat flow through the vents, I am sick. What a surprise. I’m allergic to the mold and topped with Lincoln’s germs, my immune system crashed in a mess of a sinus infection. In fact, one night, my temperature was just under 103 F and this Momma went to bed before 10:00 without even considering blogging or cleaning up the day. For my OCD-self, that is rare.

Eric: I love my consistently healthy husband. No germs, no sickness or ailments to report with my stellar fella. In fact, my husband who is hardly romantic, surprised me with a new little sized camera that is more portable than our other and also records video and sound. I love them both!

And I ask myself what can be better than a surprise little camera that I’ve been lusting for; having an at-home husband on Wednesday nights. Earth-shattering news hit when Eric announced (with his arm bent in a strong hold behind his back) that he has conceded to Wednesday night bowling night for next season. Risking sounding like a nagging wife, you first have to know that Eric also has a Tuesday night commitment to the fire department for their weekly meeting and bowling season is forever long in 32 consecutive weeks. Like anyone else, there’s also the sporadic little pop-up events that consume my husband’s so-called free-time. I can’t wait to have an additional night with him throughout the week. This is such good news, you don’t even know!

If you’ve read this far, are you really thinking that you’re glad I didn’t report every snot, cough and fever that has consumed our world in the past week? Yeah, I thought so too.