Monday, August 31, 2009

Party'n Hard

I took no pictures this weekend. There was no time between all the parties. Saturday we had Richard's work picnic in the early afternoon for lunch. Then we had a church picnic in the evening for dinner. Just enough time inbetween for naps! Hot dogs and hamburgers for lunch, hot dogs and hamburgers for dinner.

Sunday we had a big family dinner with the usual crowd (Richard's parents and brother with wife) plus Richard's brother, Dustin, and my sister Ruthie. Today we have some friends coming over for some playing and dinner and Family Home Evening. We are party animals!!!


...Now we're off to Naomi's last ballet class before school starts and she can't go anymore.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Getting My Craft On

Let's start with the least impressive craft: I made this race track for the kids out of two cereal boxes and some duct tape. It kept them busy for a good 20 minutes before Isaiah destroyed it.


I saw a really cute bag on a blog and later learned that it was actually a t-shirt-turned-bag and that it was really easy to do. Now I can't find the original blog that inspired me, but here's a site that explains how to do it (although it's pretty self-explanatory).
(Note my fancy new sewing sheers which my mother gave me for my birthday. This was their maiden voyage.)

Not a great picture of the final product, but Naomi loves it. This is an old t-shirt that I got at Disneyland when I went right after my mission, so it has sentimental value to me although it hasn't fit me since I had children. I think it'll make a great library-book bag.
And last but not least, I have had this project on my to-do list for a few months. This red topiary sits on my desk right next to the family room couch. When the family room couch was red, it looked great. But now that the couch is blue, it really needed a re-do.
So I pulled off all the red flowers expecting to find a foam-ball underneath. But instead I found this:
What the heck do I do with that? I wanted to put moss on the ball, but I can't put moss on THAT!
Here's where I started improvising and in the process made Asher really, really mad. I cut a hole in a ball and stuck it over the top. Then I hot-glued the moss to the ball.
Much better, eh? The shadows are kinda funky in this picture and make it look a little ratty. Really, it looks very nice. I'm very happy with it. Some day I'll spray paint the bottom part black or something, but for now I'm happy.

I've also been having fun re-arranging the basement now that Ruth has moved out and I can re-claim the space. I finally am getting my own desk and workspace down there! I can't wait to really get it all set up!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Frozen

I've been flashing back to the 1990's this week. Dial-up internet. My computer has become "ill" and takes literally 5 minutes to load each webpage - if it does at all. So blogging is pretty much out of the question (I'm using Richard's computer at the moment). Even email is pretty tough to get. We're in the midst of transferring some stuff off my computer onto an external hardrive to then put on Richard's computer, but even that is taking forever since my computer is slow even on it's best days.

Anyway, I am already back-logged on blogging! I need to show off my new desk that Richard gave me for my birthday. And last night we had a fun little family party for Ruthie's birthday.

In other news, Isiaiah said "help me" this morning. It just came out in between his usual grunts and "uh uh uh's". He couldn't repeat it afterward, and I'm not sure he even was aware that real words came out. The babysitter told me he said an entire sentence last week. People seem to think I should be happy about this development, but really it makes me want to cry. I guess it is good news that those words are there and his mouth can form them. But it just makes me so sad to think that he really is able to speak but just can't. No wonder he gets so frustrated with me so often. He talks to me all day long and if he's lucky I understand two words! My sister, Angela, says its like in fantasy books when somebody just got some new power but doesn't yet know how to use it to their advantage (picture Harry Potter freeing the snake) . I just can only hope and pray that whatever speech therapy Isaiah ends up in will be as helpful to him as Hogwarts was to Harry!

Did I really just compare Isaiah to Harry Potter?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Luray Caverns

Richard and I packed up the kids early this morning and headed about an hour and a half South West to the Shenandoah National Forest and Luray Caverns. We've heard about them and wanted to go the entire time we've lived here. And it was worth the buzz. It was very cool! These pictures don't do them any justice at all (you should go look at the pics on their website). The walk was a little long for Naomi and Asher and WAAAY too long for Isaiah. We should have brought the stroller for him since there were nice paved walkways throughout the cave. Isaiah and I actually booked it through the last 3/4 of the way because he was screaming. Screaming in a cave gets old really fast, ya know?


Below, Richard explains how stalactites form.
Keeping track of all 3 kids was tricky.


It was a fun Saturday. It was especially perfect since it was rainy outside.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Mom's Birthday

I had a lovely 31st birthday. We didn't do anything really special, but everything we did was a little bit special. And that was great! I felt very loved and appreciated all day long. Richard works from home on Wednesday's, so he was around to help out here and there with the kids. He let me run some errands with just Isaiah hanging on me instead of all three kids. And I took a long nap during "naptime" knowing that I could sleep as long as I wanted instead of as long as any child wanted me to. We had a yummy dinner and a delicious ice cream cake.

The kids gave me some very thoughtful gifts (with the help of a few hints). A salad spinner from Naomi and a Split Ring Opener (jewelry making tool) from the boys.


Thanks, everybody, for making my day special.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Apraxia

Yep. Apraxia. That's what the Speech Therapist says it seems like Isaiah has. She didn't actually diagnose him - it's apparently too early for that still - but that's what it looks like. A website I found says about Apraxia: "Your two-year-old says no words, makes some sounds, yet he understands everything you say." Yep. Right on. "Childhood Apraxia of Speech is a deficit in the ability to plan the motor movements for speech and is considered an oral motor planning disorder. Children with CAS have difficulties transmitting the speech message from their brain to their mouths." Basically, speech is just harder for him than for us. The Speech Therapist says this might just mean it's harder for him to learn to speak, or it might mean he'll never quite learn. In really bad cases, these kids never speak.

I don't really know how to feel about this. I am mostly optimistic. He's a smart boy - really, I think he's above average intelligence. So maybe with a few years of speech therapy he'll be fine. Or maybe (like Ang was telling me about somebody-er-other) he'll always talk a little funny but it'll just be kinda like he has an accent. Or maybe we all need to get serious about learning sign language because that's the only way he'll ever be able to really talk to us. Maybe I'll never hear Isaiah walk in the door and say "Hi, Mom! I'm home!"

You can see how quickly I go from "optimistic" to "dooms day".

I refuse to Google Apraxia anymore. It's not helping. For now I will wait for my Sept. 10 appointment when (I am now confident) they will tell me that Isaiah has been approved for State-funded speech therapy. And hopefully the actual therapy will start very soon thereafter. Maybe Isaiah will be basically starting school along with his big sister and brother.

There's a lot of maybes. Too many for a good nights sleep if I start thinking about them.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Diego Stays Dry

Asher made it all day today in his "Diego" underwear without a single accident!!! Woo-hoo! He was given a Harold the Helicopter (from Thomas the Tank Engine) toy as a reward this evening. He also got to put stars on a paper each time he peed and he got a chocolate every time he put his underwear back on by himself afterwards. I am so thrilled! And he is proud and happy, too.

I have been putting a diaper on him during his "naptime". And I'm sure part of his success today is related to the fact that he ... ahem... did #2 in his diaper during that time. But one step at a time, people! I am so happy about this, it's ridiculous. This is only the 4th day of potty-training (we skipped Saturday and Sunday and just put him in diapers). But, lest I seem too cocky, let me remind you that the boy is 3 1/2. It's high time he was independent in this way. He is clearly ready for this step!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Sweet Prayers

Heard from Naomi after a day when she had two different babysitters at two different times:

"Thank you for all the babysitters in the world."

Heard from Asher after he spent all day in the sandbox and was prompted by Mom to say "Thank you for the sandbox":

"Thank you for the sandbox that Daddy made me just for ME!"

Heard from Isaiah:

~nothing yet~

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Trouble X 4

The secret to happiness (yours and theirs) with a crowd of 4 kids under 3? Thomas the Tank Engine.
Thomas really is a very useful engine!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Doing My Best.. but failing.. but that's OK!

Richard bought me a sewing machine (for Christmas last year) which I finally took out of the box yesterday. I have a long history of avoiding sewing machines. But I decided that I'm a crafty person who can certainly triumph over a sewing machine and win that battle. I'll just look at it as a craft instead of as "sewing". For my first project I chose a tie for the boys using a super easy tutorial I found online.

And it turned out pretty well! I'm proud! Sure, it's a super easy and somewhat silly pattern (the unfinished edges bugs me a little but are the only way this would work). So then I was ready to take it up a notch. On to a simple A-line skirt for Naomi!

Adorable, right? I did it! I made a skirt for my daughter! And it's the same fabric as the boy's ties. Isn't that just the cutest? Can't you just see the family pictures now?
I should be a children's clothing designer, don't you think? Look at this adorable flower I made for the skirt.

Too bad an A-line skirt isn't supposed to have points on the sides. Oh, and if only the skirt came even close to fitting Naomi. She can't even pull it up past her knees. But that's not the point! The point is, I made a skirt! Sure it's unwearable. But I still declare myself the victor in this battle. All crafts take a little getting used to to reach perfection.
... Maybe next time I'll actually use a pattern for the skirt...

Monday, August 10, 2009

Naomi's first lost tooth OR Naomi goes cannibal

Naomi is so excited to have lost her first tooth. She's been wiggling it for a couple of weeks now. It got really loose last night and I tried to pull it out (making me the cruelest Mom ever according to Naomi). But I didn't succeed last night, so the tooth came out by itself this morning in her banana. The only problem is that she ate it! She's very excited to get to go on her shopping trip with just Mom or Dad and pick something for herself as her gift from the Tooth Fairy. She's leaning toward art supplies at this point but "Princess stuff" is also being seriously pondered. (This shopping trip is only for the first tooth. After this it'll be quarters.)


see video

video

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Hymns

Let me just start by saying that I am NOT a singer. I have no talent and no skills in that area. I can't control my voice at all. But, I do enjoy singing the hymns in church on Sunday's. The hymnal we use at church has a preface that says:

"The hymns invite the Spirit of the Lord, create a feeling of reverence, unify us as members, and provide a way for us to offer praises to the Lord."

I am often struck by the loveliness of them. And by the direct, straight-to-the-heart lyrics that really do bring the Spirit to me immediately. Several Sunday's in a row now I've wanted to blog about a specific hymn or phrase from a hymn that meant a lot to me that Sunday.

Today, the hymn that struck me the most was Now Let Us Rejoice. In the third verse we sing,

"In faith we'll rely on the arm of Jehovah To guide thru these last days of trouble and gloom, And after the scourges and harvest are over, We'll rise with the just when the Savior doth come."

I think this hit me because lately I've been thinking a lot about relying on the Savior in faith. And about how I believe He'll guide me through my present gloom. It took a lot of faith for me to get pregnant last time. So now, after the miscarriage, it's going to take even more faith to do it again. And I sometimes wonder if I've got that much faith. In truth, I don't think I do yet. But I'm sure my Heavenly Father will help me because I'm sure He wants me to have more children. I really am sure of that. I don't know if we'll make it to the "8 or 10" children that we said was our plan originally. But I do know that these three I've got is not all. Probably not even close.

So, maybe this is TMI for some of you. But it's been a while since I did anything but relate the stories of our daily lives - so I guess you can put up with one post about the intimate feelings of my tender heart.

Beach Day

There was a lot of talk about going to the beach while my family was in town. But in the end, it was always too far away. When time with family is so limited and precious, who wants to spend 3 hours in the car on the way to the beach and another 3 on the way home? So we never went.

But Richard and I still really wanted to go. So yesterday, all our guests being gone, we went! We didn't head all the way to the Ocean (3 hours away). We settled for the Chesapeake Bay (just an hour and a half away).

The kids loved it! The waves were just enough to rock you a little, but not big enough to throw the kids around and scare them. We built sand castles, buried each other, had a picnic, and frolicked on the water's edge. It was lovely! Having Ruthie with us was fabulous because it meant there were as many kids as adults. That always makes it easier! Ruthie and Richard are all excited about having been stung by jelly fish (just brushed by jelly fish, really, otherwise I'm sure they wouldn't be quite so happy about it). Asher and I got a little sunburned but we're OK. We only stayed about 3 hours, but with little kids, that's about all we need. It was a great way to spend a Saturday.

That evening we also tried to help Ruthie get over her Texas-home-sickness by taking her out to our favorite BBQ place - Famous Dave's. Apparently the brisket wasn't quite as good as Texas, but it'll pass for now.

It was a lovely Saturday spent with people I love - which is always a recipe for happiness!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Empty House

Well, after having the house packed with people for two weeks, it feels pretty good to have it back to ourselves. We loved having so much family around, don't get me wrong. But it's always good to be back on a regular schedule. And now that we're past that, it's time to kick it into high gear with potty-training and getting ready for school.

Of course, we have a here-for-the-foreseeable-future house guest still - my little sister, Ruth, will be staying here until she finds a job and then an apartment. But that's not really any kind of inconvenience. Especially since she babysits for free! Richard and I are going out tonight to see the latest Transformers movie at the IMAX theatre.

Alex The Babysitter came over today so I took advantage of the "tax free holiday" here in Virginia and did some school shopping. I also hit the fabric store and bought fabric to make my little boys ties. I found a looks-pretty-easy tutorial online to show me how. More about that later when I actually do it!

**************
I don't think I blogged about our kayaking trip. It was so, so, so much fun! Last Saturday morning we drove into DC to a boat dock in Georgetown and rented kayaks. Richard and I got a double kayak and Naomi sat in the very front at my feet. (The boys stayed home with Alex The Babysitter) We paddled around under some bridges and around an island for about two hours. It was beautiful. It was also much easier than I thought it was going to be. I thought I'd get a pretty good workout and really feel it afterwards, but I didn't! Of course, I didn't really paddle the entire time, but Richard says he didn't really feel it either. We are dying to go try it again with just he and I in our own, single kayaks. It was seriously a blast! Everybody should try it!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Voila vs wa-la

So, my sister, Angela, has a degree in English. She's a professional Resume Writer. Her blog should be turned into a parenting book. She's intelligent and down-to-earth. She's wonderful. She's my source for parenting advice and my main source of parenting venting.

She recently brought to my attention (in a nice way) the fact that there is a word used in the English language - Voila. To be used at the end of some great feat or accomplishment. But I don't use the word "voila" on my blog. Instead, I use the word "wa-la" - which is not actually a word in the English language.

But I'm here to say that I say "wa-la". When I'm speaking I don't say "voila!" I say, "wa-la!". Sometimes I even say "Wa-laaa!" So, when I say wa-la, I mean wa-la, not voila. That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.

Just trying to keep it real, peeps. I try to keep this blog as real as possible. And really, I say wa-la! Real word or not.

DC Day

The bigger family reunion which was this past weekend is over now. We're back to just my family (I mean, my parents, siblings, etc instead of cousins too). The big reunion was mostly in DC. I only actually went into DC with the kids one day though. It's just so much work. Finding a parking spot, taking the Metro, walking forever, listening to the whining about walking forever, keeping track of 3 little people in a crowded museum, getting lost, etc. It's fun, but it's a lot of work.

The one day that we spent in DC we went up to the top of the Washington Monument and did The Natural History Museum. We were with the big crowd at the Wash. Mon. but we were only with my Dad at Natural History.

Here's a nice collection of pics from that day along with some fun cousin-love pics.

This is my kid-o's in the Butterfly exhibit at Natural History.
Naomi with her cousin Haley. They are such great friends!


Here's my parents with Asher, Isaiah and cousin Logan and Mr. Lincoln in the background.

Isaiah with cousin Logan
Waiting to get on the elevator to go up the Washington Monument - Naomi, me, Asher, Isaiah and cousin Levi

Riding the Metro into DC - sister Ruth, BIL Mark, cousin Levi, cousin Roscoe, sister Angela, cousin Jesse in the stroller

Lounging on the floor watching cartoons - Asher, Isaiah, Naomi and cousin Levi

I'll add more pics later once we collect all the pictures off everyone's cameras. There's still plenty of people around here, but we're winding down (and running out of energy).