Monday, June 30, 2008

Calling a truce

Since my last post, I have felt badly about Eric and myself always being the heavy, trying to make Elaina eat. Sunday came along and I was off to a baby shower followed by some errands. Basically, this meant that Eric was in charge of both mealtimes by himself. I felt guilty, but it also felt good to have the mealtime break from nagging that I so desperately needed.

Just past dinnertime, I called home to check in and let Eric know I was on my way home. He let me know that Elaina refused to eat lunch and also refused dinner. Hmmm. Sooo, did he not feed her anything I wondered. And since he was in charge and I was away, I can't argue with his method and discretion. I later learned that she ate a mini box of raisins. Oh. I guess he was testing the theory of "She'll eat when she's hungry."

Along about 1:30 in the morning I begin to hear Elaina gasping and crying from down the hall. She had thrown up in her bed. She didn't present any sign of a fever, but continued to get sick consistently and dry heave for the next 4 hours. With me by her side. Finally some soda crackers settled her stomach and she was able to sleep. Eric got Lincoln off to the babysitters house (since I had planned on trying to get some sleep myself) and Elaina woke around noon just as fresh as a daisy. I don't know what her deal was last night, but I'm glad that it's over and behind us.

As for the food battle, that's enough. I'm done. I'm through. I quit. This is not to say that we won't continue to encourage and bribe her to try new foods, but when it's all said and done, she's going to win out and eat whatever junk she needs to fill her tummy. I now know where that old saying that I detest got us ("eat when she's hungry") and I'm not having it.

Amazingly enough, the dinnertime battle began to escalate tonight and with some stroke of magic, luck, karma and the sheer grace of God, Elaina ATE! I know! SHE ATE!! Tears of joy nearly filled my eyes when she ate a whole 1/4 of a Hillshire Farms Cheddarwurst sausage. Really, of all things! Her reward was a cookie and pudding, just like she had requested instead of eating. She ended up liking it, (she said) and I even took her picture eating her new choice entree and labeled leftovers with her name on them to try again tomorrow. It's very important to duplicate for her so she doesn't forget.
So there you have it, miracles really do come true and we may just be onto a good healthy start for something new. Oh, who am I kidding? I'm just on cloud 9 because my child ate something new. See how desperate I am?

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Size 9, Now available

I don't really think it's ever been a secret how much I adore my precious baby girl. I swoon over her sweet smile, sparkling eyes and infectious giggles. My heart melts over her manners, her friendliness and her general sense of joy and pure spirit. With that said, I am about to expose our worst battle and the cause of my stress each and every day. Elaina not eating.

It may seem like a insignificant topic to most, especially those who have never dealt with the most picky of eaters. And really, it goes deeper than her just not eating. Just for advanced notice, I'll be mentioning some of her bathroom habits here as well.

The root of all of my stress is that for the past year, Elaina will only want to eat one food item for about 90 days and then burn out on that specific food altogether. And then what? Uh, that's when I ask myself what the heck comes next? I don't know and she certainly doesn't know. Her list of burnout foods include scrambled eggs, chicken nuggets, meat (of any kind) and grilled cheese. For the longest time, she would plead to eat these for these for lunch and dinner and now, she can barely tolerate them. And then, it's up to me to coax, con and beg her to try something new that will serve as her standard favorite for the next 90 days. Unlike any other sane person who will look forward to trying something new and tasty beyond the same old, same old.

At one point, when my frustration peeked, I told her that when she turned 3 she would be eating what we eat with no exceptions made. Well. We saw how well that went. With my parents here to celebrate and help to reinforce, Elaina's birthday happened early this year and thus, she is already 3. It will just take 2 weeks longer for her to turn 4 next year.

Since my parents' visit, we have been giving Elaina incentives for her to eat and try something new. The bottom line is that she had to eat to earn a birthday present. Because that is what 3 year old's do. Seriously, it took the child 3 days to earn her birthday cake. 4 days to earn her first reward present for going poop on the potty without struggling. (TMI details ahead.) 5 days to earn her first present for trying a new food. (Good God, she tried chicken noodle soup and it didn't kill her!) 9 days to earn her 2nd present for eating chicken nuggets. (Can you believe she's still alive?) So here we are, 10 days out and she still has 3 more presents to earn by trying something new. Do we feel accomplished? I'd say NOT.

Now, just so you don't think that we're a couple of nut jobs all caught up in fighting the never ending battle of a picky eater, let me tell you how much more involved the issue really is.
***Warning: TMI bathroom talk ahead***
When Elaina chooses to eat her standard diet of mostly carbs, with minimal nutrition value, she gets a little backed up. *Ahem. * And the problem with that is when she feels the urge to go, she struggles to hold it back and gets herself even more clogged. Basically, she doesn't want to relieve herself because she knows it's going to hurt and it is going to hurt her because she'll end up holding it for days. And there, if she would eat right and get her plumbing working more efficiently, she wouldn't have this problem in the first place. And her mother wouldn't want to bang her own head against the wall.

The stressful part for me is when we're sitting at the dinner table, trying to enjoy a nice meal, Elaina always ruins it for all of us. She has become a pro of lame excuses. Her current roll call of reasons not to eat include:
** my (tummy) (foot) (finger) hurts
** I'm (tired) (scared) (cold) (on a break) <<--- (a break? she's 3!)
** I don't like this food
** Something's stinky
** I'm not older yet
** I want some (cheese) (cereal) (fishies) <<---(goldfish crackers)
** I don't want (to sit in this seat) (this plate)

I kid you not, she can present each of these at will, for each and every meal. Every day. See that wall? BANG HEAD.

So there you have it. My stress. Worse than that, I don't know a solution. I know, I KNOW, plenty of people say, "She'll eat when she's hungry." But dear God, they're not the ones who have to face the battle in the meantime and listen to the excuses and the whining and the begging for something with zero nutrition and full clogging ability. And they're not the ones who have 3 precious evening hours in the work week to spend with their beloved children and have one of those hours ruined by the whiney table guest and feel like she's not only ruined our meal, but taken away our time from Lincoln who so loves to eat.

Hey look, I thought I was almost done but dear Lord, look! I still have more to gripe about!

When dealing with Elaina's age group and a rather sensitive subject matter concerning food issues, I realize that I am also walking a fine line. By no means do I want food to become a control issue, while at the same time, it can't be viewed as a reward or a punishment. We're currently laying the groundwork for shaping her eating habits and learning about discipline. I don't want to overlap the two, setting the stage for eating disorders in the future. And yes, I do worry that far ahead. And no, you can't tell me otherwise. Don't even try. However, we do want to establish a consequence of not eating. More than just telling her that her belly is going to hurt because she didn't eat. We send her to time out when she decides to play at the table by using her food to smear into the table, beginning to play with her clothes or chair and when she is just down right defiant. And there, an hour has just disappeared from my evening and the poor attitude is sure to follow. I hate that.

If you can believe this, I think I finally got enough of this off of my chest. I have been so worn out this week. I like to think that there's room for improvement and that it will get better, but until then, what do I do? Other than "She'll eat when she's hungry," (because you know I don't want to hear that) does anyone else have anything more to offer? Can I send her to any one's house for eating boot-camp and you send me home an eater? Am I terrible parent for letting all of this get to me to the extent that it does? I feel like I'm sinking on a cruise ship during the midnight buffet. And no one is eating their way out!!

So, go ahead and walk in my size 9 shoes for just one day. I need a break.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Because I didn't forget my camera

I'm finally documenting proof that we existed last week...

There's nothing like a "3" year old helping to install windows.
Oh, this is just because I think this guy is handsome. With 2 big brown dogs here, it's hard not to get a dog tail in the way most of the time.

My mom picked up this little scooter bike for Lincoln and all he wants to do is push it around and make it go. He gets irritated if we put him on the seat.
Our first family trip to this little gem of a park close to home.
Elaina loved all fo the rides and felt so proud that she was able to ride almost all of them by herself.
Lincoln, on the other hand, nearly climbed out of my arms to ride the airplane ride like his big sis. It hurt me to have to make him stay, but 13 months isn't quite age-appropriate to be flying through the air just yet.
Elaina rode the carousel with my mom and according to Grandma's ringing ears, she squealed and shrieked with enjoyment for the duration. Look! Evidence that someone can operate the camera other than myself! Not a very photogenic picture, but heh, I exist!
And those were some of the great moments of last week. There's still so much that I need to get down, but the newly 3 year old child has been wearing me thin this week and I end up exhausted every night once we manage through dinnertime. It's not been easy, but progress is being made on the eating front. There's plenty more to come, I just need to stay awake to share it all.

Monday, June 23, 2008

*Sigh* sigh.

Here I am. Back in the saddle of wife and mother, minus my live- in help. I can't even begin to tell you how nice it was to have my parents stay for the week to watch our kids, help around the house and spend our so-called free time with. No, this week I'm back to being responsible for having dinner made each night, completing the whole process of laundry from start to finish because the clothes refuse to fold themselves and sacrificing time with my husband because he is back to being his usual solo work crew to complete things in and around the house. Last week was something of pure luxury. Busy luxury, but wonderful.

This week leaves me with trying to figure out how to recap everything we did last week and how I can manage to squeeze just one more hour out of each day so I can blog. And if one hour isn't possible, how about some kind of recording chip implanted into my brain so that as my day progresses and I think out all of these great stories I want to freeze in time, my recorder will already have my blog half written for me. Just thinking of the beauty of that gives me goosebumps. Just think of all of the pointless ramblings I could share with you then!

Since none of the aforementioned have yet come into fruition, it's just me here and my shot to highlight some breaking news of last week. Here's something: we celebrated Elaina's pseudo 3rd birthday last week. Yes, June 19 isn't particularly the same as her actual July 2 real birthday, but we had enough valid excuses to convince ourselves that it was the right thing to do. Topping our list, most importantly was that Grandma and Grandpa were here to share her special day and celebrate with us. When July 2 rolls around, it will just be the 4 of us. We've decided to end the traveling-of-the-birthdays to relatives houses. Also, another great motivation of our early birthday was that we had struck a deal with Elaina that when she turned 3 she would begin to eat what she called people food. Contrary, of course, to the non-people sort of food we had been feeding her? I digress. Anyhow, age 3 was to begin the new magic age of her beginning to try new foods with the ultimate incentive of her being allowed to get her ears pierced like her friend at the baby sitter's house. How's that going, you may ask? It Sucks. Elaina and her issues with food and eating is a long overdue post that will bore your socks off but must be written for posterity and to let Elaina know when she becomes a distinguished professional one day, these are the early days of her strong-willed persistence. That's what we'll call it anyhow. Stinker.

In other randomness of last week, my Dad and Eric installed 7 new windows in our house and completed installation of tons and tons of cabinets out in the garage. Suffice to say, the storage space he has in the garage cabinets put most newly built kitchens to shame. My current kitchen storage now seems the equivalent of cardboard boxes with nails. I've been informed that a drastic remodel is in our future. Take that my old-worn- out- wooden-kitchen-compartments!

So, I'm still wrapping my mind around the fact that my mom and dad have returned to their quiet, peaceful abode. Their stay was pretty much what I had looked forward to as my vacation. Not only because they offered so much help, and not because I shortened some of work week, but because they were here and it was special and out of the ordinary. It was nice to be greeted by my happy children and my parents as I walked through the door. Having my parents here to see and be a part of our day to day routine was interesting as they could get a feel for what kind of mother they helped me to become and see firsthand, parallels in our parenting styles. And let me not fail to mention the beauty of having dinner cooked for me, laundry done, my bed made, (complete with shams) and a willing shopping partner on the side.

Mom and Dad, is it too soon to plan your next visit? Anyone?

Friday, June 20, 2008

When Grammy Babysat for the Week

Editor's Note: I seem to have been disillusioned that with my parents here for the week to watch our kids and help around the house, we would be lounging around, watching movies, eating well while still having time for evening blogging. Maybe I was drunk when this thought crossed my mind because seriously, it's already Friday and I haven't made time to blog, I haven't watched anything on TV, but at least we're eating well. At least everyone but the girl whose name begins with "E" and ends with "Laina." But that's a long story and I'll save that for a special post- day. Since I can hardly recap our week of busy, I've left my Mom in charge of yet another duty around the house, just to get the whole feel of how we spend our days. Here's what Grandma had to say about her week here.

Laura's babysitter is on vacation for the week. Could we come and take care of the kids for just this week? Of course!!! I raised two kids. This should be a snap. NOT!!!!! I forgot that it has been thirty years since Laura was Elaina's age, I forgot that a routine makes that day go easier ( and I didn't know the routine.) Most importantly I forgot that God doesn't make 60 year old mothers because they are just too tired for the job. So with Pop-pop for reinforcements and our big brown chocolate lab for moral support, we arrived on Sunday night to a shower of hugs and kisses from the two sweet grandchildren that we had been dying to see. Over supper, Laura tried to fill us in on how the day should go and what to do. While I paid close attention, I still kept thinking that this would be easy. So when Laura dashed off with Lincoln to the hospital and Eric headed to off work, we had breakfast with our one grandchild, made the beds and folded the laundry. Laura was home in time to pass off Lincoln and take Elaina off for a nap (Laura woke up just in time to grab a fast bite and head off to her appointment.) With two grandparents and only one grandchild awake at a time, we patted ourselves on the backs as we picked up toys and fixed supper. This was going to be a breeze.

But today's breeze can turn into tomorrow's tornado. Right after breakfast on Tuesday morning, Pop-pop decided that I really didn't need any help in the house and headed out to the garage to get some work done for Eric. Elaina was ready to play outside and Lincoln went too. About fifty-five trips up and down the driveway bent over to help Lincoln steer his little bike, I decided that we all needed to watch Noggin until nap time. ( I was hoping that I would be able to enjoy a little nap too.) When you have the kids around you all the time, you learn the trick of getting them both off to sleep at the same time. Too bad I don't know this trick. I wasn't able to get Elaina settled for a nap at the same time that Lincoln slept. In fact Lincoln woke up just as I was heading down the stairs after getting Elaina off to sleep. With his tubes in his ears, Lincoln was feeling good. Good for a thirteen month old means able to destroy a room in less time than it took me to type this sentence. But with an eye on the clock and Pop-pop watching the grandkids, I managed to get supper ready, the dishes all washed and most of the toys picked up in time to greet Laura and Eric at the door. Day three went by the same as day two but with less help from Pop-pop and "more energetic" grandchildren. Strangely men have a different parenting style than women. Women are proactive and men are reactive. Women go around childproofing and keeping children away from trouble. Men figure the kids will be smart enough not to hurt themselves or else they will learn what will make them hurt. The end result was that everything got done and but both Pop-pop and I could hardly wait for bedtime (ours not the grandkids.) We were beat but we were making it work.

Thursday arrived with a screaming Lincoln who didn't want to eat and just couldn't get happy because he was cutting two molars on the same day. Just to make things more interesting, Elaina chose that day to not eat or sleep. And of course, the grandparents who have always lived in a one story house were trying to function in a two story house where everything we wanted was upstairs when we were downstairs and everything else was downstairs when we were upstairs. (Did I mention that I have arthritis in my knees?) I was never so glad to see Laura and Eric come through the door. So Friday is here and we have all survived. I still love my grandchildren and my daughter and son-in-law but if the van doesn't work on Sunday when it's time for me to go home, I'll walk.

Monday, June 16, 2008

The New and Improved

4:30 a.m.
Dear God! That's what time I peeled myself out of bed this morning.

5:30 a.m.
Yawn.... Stretch... this is what time I had to pluck my little Baby Sweet from his snuggly, warm crib.

6:00 a.m.
This is the time we arrived at the hospital for Lincoln's ear tube procedure.

7:30 a.m.
Actual time that Lincoln's procedure was to begin.

Number of times that I found myself grateful that (#1) they air the Disney channel in the individual patient rooms, (#2) thankful that Lincoln finds great comfort in his blanket and his thumb and (#3) happy that Lincoln will finally be relieved of the pain and discomfort of having fluid in his ears and constant ear aches.

I'm happy to report that Lincoln's ear tube procedure was a great success. I felt especially comfortable with the doctor performing the procedure since I had chosen him myself and as an added bonus, our neighbor/ friend just happened to be scheduled for a rare morning shift and was the surgical assistant in the actual operating room. She saw Lincoln's name on the surgery schedule and was eager to take care of her little, baby buddy. His procedure literally took all of 5 minutes and the doctor was out to talk with me so quickly when it was over, I had a hard time believing that he even had time to begin. The doctor and our friend Kim both commented on how excellent Lincoln did and how flawless the tubes went in. Our time in the recovery room was even quite short as Lincoln gulped down a sugar-water bottle and acted fine almost immediately. My tough little guy did great and was even smiling like his old, happy self within the hour. God I love that boy!

Another great part of our day was having my mom and dad at home caring for Elaina while I was with Lincoln and Eric was at work. Elaina coaxed me into a nap with her (read: I ran her upstairs as soon as nap time approached) and we woke to find my bed made with pillow shams and all in perfect order, a full basket at the bottom of the stairs of carefully folded laundry and the smell of lunch being prepared for me. Helloooo! Pinch me now Please! I could sooo get used to this. And since I was already scheduled off work for the whole day, I had made an appointment with my dentist to get a crown put on my tooth. So there. My perfect day of getting my baby fixed up and being treated like a queen quickly hit the wall when the dentist was drilling in my head for an entire hour. I guess even karma has to restore balance from time to time. Lucky for me, my mom is doing her best to still tip the scale of spoiling. That's what I'm talkin' about! If they're not careful, I'll be forced to disable their van and sell their house and belongings and they'll just have to stay here. Ha! Let's see what kind of karma that brings on.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Dad-dio Loungin' on the Patio

Happy Father's Day Daddy!This weekend was lovely, beautiful and gorgeous. Really, all of that rolled into one single, solitary weekend. Oh, and the bonus was celebrating Father's day for Eric and my Dad on Sunday. Eric enjoyed a day of no commitments, no nagging wife and freedom to spend the day as he chose. So, do you want to know what kind of day my husband finds enjoyable? That would be sleeping in, groundhog hunting and hanging out with his kids. What a day!

My parents would be arriving later in the evening and thus beginning their week long stay taking care of our kids while our usual babysitter is vacationing. We've all been looking forward to their visit and they've been eagerly awaiting taking on the challenging role of full-time grandparents/ caregivers for the week.
It seems as though our kids look happiest in the pool!
Anyway, to my dear husband and my babies' daddy; I don't say it nearly enough and sometimes don't even show it, but I do think that you are an awesome dad and your love for our kids is beyond compare. I've seen you change and grow in affection and commitment and admire your effort to work with me as my partner in parenting and as my husband. You've supported me as we've learned together and shared an immeasurable amount of love for our little family of four. Many times I find myself just dreaming about our future together and feel the excitement of so many great experiences I am looking forward to sharing. Not a day goes by that my heart doesn't feel complete with you, Elaina and Lincoln to share my love with. I couldn't have found a better partner to share my life, children, and future with. I love you today and always. Happy Father's Day!
And to my wonderful Dad, I'm so glad you're here to spend the week with us! Thank you for all of the times you've made sacrifices for our family and for your years of hard work to make our lives comfortable. I appreciate you throughout the year and would love to share much more of our daily lives and your grandchildren... if only you lived closer. Hmmm!! Happy Father's Day Dad!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Auto pilot

There was a time, not very long ago that I was all anxious and stressed about Eric being out of town for a length of time and me acting as Commander-in-Chief of the household.

Oh, how things have changed. This marks Day 4 of Eric being out of town and Day 4 of me getting by just fine with the kids. In the past, my main concern for being anxious was Lincoln's poor sleep habits and the random bouts of hour-scream-fits that are hard to handle at 2 a.m. Another concern of mine was trying to get myself in and out of the shower and ready for work before the kids got up. Specifically, Lincoln. Elaina can handle herself unsupervised as she lay in bed, watching cartoons, but Lincoln does better off tucked in the safety of his crib.

It's already Thursday and this week has been relatively good. I've even surprised myself. My kids are getting older and things just seem to be settling in place for the most part around our house. Although I've missed Eric being around, I've gained a new sense of accomplishment that I can really do this whole solo-parent stint. It's really amazing to me that with each passing day, we continue to establish and collect teensy, little pieces of our roles within our family and we grow together. I, for one, love seeing all of our pieces fit.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Cheap Rent

Check out our ugly, little, triplet neighbors.

Yeah, I know that some people think, "Awe! Lookie the sweet, widdle baby birdies!"

Me, "Oooh, when are these no-feathered, little beaklets going to leave the nest?"

And you may have thought I had a heart. Heh.
They'll probably stay forever. They have a sweet little neighbor girl who talks to them and waves to them every single day.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Buh-Buh-Buh-Buh Baddd...

Brace yourself. This post is nothing more than recapping Elaina's bad day. And by bad day, I mean she was BAD.

First off, Eric has been out of town for the week since Monday and I've been a little anxious but hopeful about how my week alone would pan out. I know that other mom's single- parent every day, but I'm just used to having my husband there when I need him.
When I arrived at the babysitter's house, Nancy looked at me with a look of despair and said, "Oh Laura, I hope I did the right thing. There was an incident today." Oh boy.
She went on to tell me that Elaina had a complete and utter meltdown/tantrum when her other little friend was using the cup that she wanted. Nancy had decided not to give into Elaina and told her that she was not able to have Kayla's cup. Apparently, Elaina threw herself on the floor, kicked, screamed and even resorted to scratching at her own arms in her fit of rage. Nancy held her tight and reassured her until they reached an agreement that Elaina would be using a green cup instead. Oh boy.

Nancy's primary concern was her trying to scratch her own arms and hated to put her through all of that because she said "no" over a stinkin' cup. I reassured Nancy that she absolutely should have stood her ground and not let Elaina get her way and I've seen her so mad that she's even tried to pull at her own hair. That's been scary for me to see too. The minute she starts this, I grab her arms VERY firmly and tell her "don't you dare pull my daughters' hair." Like she's some kind of split personality psychopath , torturing my baby. Whatever. She stops and just cries.

Nancy relayed this incident while Elaina was not present. When she came back in, I could tell that she was clearly avoiding me so I pulled her close and hugged her and told her how glad I was to see her, just like every other day and then asked if there was an accident at Nanna's. I didn't so much want to punish her again, only wanted to acknowledge to Elaina that I knew what had happened and have her apologize.
So, there I am, thinking our incident was over and we were ready to leave. Just then, Elaina decided to hide behind a chair, stand-off style and told me she wanted to stay. Nothing I did or said made her want to budge for the better part of 5 minutes before I strapped Lincoln in the car and made a separate trip to carry her out kicking and screaming. Apparently, I lost my "good" Elaina, because in the almost 3 years that I've been taking her there, we've never had a circumstance escalate even close to this type of behavior.

Once in the car, I turned off her favorite kids music CD and ignored her. Silence for the whole four minutes home. I unpacked the car, tucked Lincoln safely in the living room in front of the TV and finally made my way out to speak to Elaina. Only briefly. I've learned that shouting and threats don't scare my daughter nearly as much as blatantly ignoring her. She has fear for the unknown more than she fears my words. Once inside, she knew she wasn't quite out of trouble and was crying and still carrying on. She was made to sit on the bottom step of the staircase for a time-out until she could quit crying. After nearly 5 minutes, she settled enough for us to talk and she identified her bad behavior and I helped her to recognize that her behavior will not be acceptable. I didn't have to tear into her like I felt on the verge of doing and I didn't even need to raise my voice. I impressed myself that I held my temper too and that the whole evening wasn't lost on dealing with an out of control toddler teetering on the edge of a beating all night long. We did it. I don't have any idea what sparked the demon in my baby girl today, but I also saw how we were able to get through it. I think we both learned a lesson today.
After an exhausting day like today, it looked as though Elaina needed just a little more comforting from her friends. And her books. And her shoes and just about everything that wasn't nailed down.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Celebrating Finals

I wish I could have stolen all of ten more minutes each day last week to jot down some of the cutie things that my kids did, but instead, my days flew quickly and sleep won out. One quick little memorable was on Thursday when we went to an outdoor ice cream stand for dinner and dessert. Elaina made friends with another little girl and proceeded to introduce her family to her. Amazingly grown up, she said "This is my Daddy, Eric and my Mommy, Laura and this is my baby brother, Lincoln. He's our baby. What's your name?" Seriously, this girl of mine can make my heart want to explode sometimes! She was sooo cute.
On Friday afternoon, my department from work closed up shop a few hours early to hold our annual "Summer Staff Meeting" at a co-workers house. The best part about this "meeting" is that it is more or less 5 minutes of work related topics followed by a potluck meal of sorts in which our family was invited. Eric brought the kids and Keegan and jam packed full truck to the party, err, meeting and we visited for awhile before getting on the road to Eric's parents house.
After a few hours of driving, we arrived, anxious to visit and get settled in. But only a short time later, the sky began to look dark and ominous and the wind began to pick up. All across the news they were warning to seek shelter in basements and interior rooms to be safe from the impending tornadoes which were headed our way. Just when we decided upon the hallway as our safest refuge, the storm seem to blow over, the sirens began to lessen their howl and the wind didn't seem so angry.
On Saturday, my mom popped over to provide shuttle service to my mother-in-law, Elaina and myself to go treasure hunting. Since it was Elaina's first time to enjoy a girls' day out garage saling, we told her that we were searching for treasures like pirates. We all came back with some treasures and had a relaxing, enjoyable girls-only afternoon.
In the late afternoon we headed to our nephew's high school graduation party which was essentially the whole point of our trip to visit. Elaina made a new friend and got filthy dirty playing in the sandbox, on the swingset, on the trampoline and in the bounce house. Talk about a way to wear out a kid. I had to make the child take breaks to get her to drink some water and I already surrendered myself to allowing her cake for dinner since there was no way I was about to win the power struggle to make her eat at this party.
Lincoln on the other hand, enjoys eating very much. In fact on his way up to the buffet table as he went exploring, he got a bit wobbly on his feet and the uneven ground and took a header right onto the same little bruise he got a week ago while chasing his sister through the kitchen. Poor Lincoln baby. A shiny, new knot began to form almost immediately as his mother's heart was breaking from his injury and his tears. Right now, I've begun cutting strips of bubble wrap to cover his little noggin for our next outing. My poor little guy has had a challenging time when it comes to hard surfaces versus his head. Sunday was our final stop and our very last graduation party we planned to attend. This was the party celebrating my cousin Tommy's high school graduation. It was a pleasure to see my younger cousins there with their spouses and kids. Since Tommy is one of seven kids in his family, there's always something new with one of them at any given moment. On this same day, his older sister, Abby had just given birth to her sweet daughter, Allison. And as a bonus surprise, my cousin Susie, also an older sister of the graduate, had flown in from Arizona. It was awesome to get to hear briefly about what each of them has been doing, but it kinda stunk because I could have literally talked with each cousin for hours, but had to interrupt every conversation to track down my kids. I joked that in 4-6 years, all of the kids will be a great age to be more independent and entertain themselves without getting into trouble and the big cousins (us) can sit back and finally enjoy our conversations. And when I talk about the kids being older, it will be great because there are literally about a dozen little cousins within the same age group.

All in all, we had a great no-stress weekend with the best part being getting to see all of my family on both sides (with the exception of my favorite bro and SIL:-)) and sharing new experiences and cousins with my kids.

Grand applause to the hard working graduates of 2008!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Sleep Tight

Last Night:

As I checked on Elaina after she fell asleep, this is what I encountered:

The window seat lay empty.Doll babies have gone missing from their baby beds with only one dolly shoe left behind.Glowy the teddy bear, Dolly the baby doll and Lilly the Leapfrog are all resting on their pillows.
Pink Bear, Bunny and Baby Deer have kicked off their covers. Baby Angel never sleeps.My Baby Angel is resting peacefully after tucking all of her baby dolls into bed making sure everyone was covered up, with their heads on pillows.Sleep tight my Babydoll.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

They call it a revolution

I am so in love with our no commitment weekend deal we have going on here. It seems like after this weekend, our summer is snowballed into weekend something-or-others and not a lot of wiggle room for nothingness.

Eric spent the early part of the day fishing and catching more than his share of sunburn on his neck. The kids and I lazed around the house playing in our jammies and waiting until after naptime and the temperature to drop before going out. One funny thing that Elaina commented on this morning was our paper boy's careless method of delivering our morning paper to our doorstep. He sometimes fails to put it in a bag on rainy days (even if delivered IN the rain) and sometimes just forgets to hassle with that pesky little rubber band that holds each of the 128 sheets of paper and sale ads intact. Funny how he would forget that. Anyhow, we heard the roar of his pick up truck from outside and saw him pulling from the driveway. Immediately, Elaina wanted to go downstairs and see if that paperboy remembered the "band." On our way downstairs, she said, " If the paper boy doesn't have the band on it, we write him a bad letter. If he does have the band on it, we write him a funny letter and one to grandma and one to Nana and yadda-yadda-yadda." Okay, seriously, the child's memory floors me. It was about 3 months ago that we had our first incident with the paper boy not banding our paper together. Needless to say, I was collecting the Sunday paper from all over the backyard. (Did I mention that it was all over?) At that time, I commented in Elaina's presence about that darned paper boy not doing a very good job. She remembered this and wanted to check on him right away. Amazing.
Once Eric got home, I convinced him, with the help of our smiling, clingy children, that he should come along to the local grocery store with us since we were just about to leave before he walked in. As we were preparing to leave, Elaina was working on a project that she called her "compiano." I believe that would be a cross between a computer and a piano? She had pulled off every sheet of a narrow notebook pad of paper and laid them out very systematically across the floor. Thus creating the world's first compiano! What it's function was? We'll never know.
Part of my bribe to get Eric to come along to the store was a stop at the playground to surprise the kids. We pass this particular playground all of the time, but since we have our own park within walking distance, we rarely sway to any more options. I knew it was going to be the kids' new favorite the minute we pulled in. It has so much variety and not overly mature for our kids' ages. It looks like I may have volunteers to come along to the store with me more often.