Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 Ends with a Bang!

I've spent the last 2 days (well, starting Friday morning at 130am and ending today) in the hospital with Andrew. He had an anaphylactic reaction to something he ate & passed out from it. The kids stayed with mom and never really knew about it. He came home none the worse for the stay except tired, nervous about foods, and with strict instructions to carry his Epi-Pen everywhere. I think I'm more tired than him since I stayed away for about 40 hours during the ordeal. Our fondest wish for 2012 is to stay healthy!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Merry Christmas!!!

The kids had a great Christmas and even learned the reason for the season in a couple different ways! Both kids pulled an angel from the St. Alph's angel tree that was similar in age and interest as them. Simon actually went shopping with me to pick out the gift and during the whole shopping trip never asked for a toy of his own! Rachel's first phone call on her new kitchen phone (their joint Christmas gift was a kitchen set) was to "the boy who had none" to wish him a Merry Christmas! Rachel learned sacrifice by giving Baby Jesus her pacifiers. Although Rachel is still missing her pacifiers she says "I love Baby Jesus" before laying down for bed. All in all I'm very happy with my kids' Christmas -- we didn't emphasis receiving gifts (none were from Santa) and we didn't give lots or lavish gifts. We hand picked a few things that really meant something. I think everyone was well pleased with our Christmas!

I hope everyone had a wonderful and blessed Christmas! I apologize for not sending more Christmas cards. I still have a stack awaiting addresses and notes beside my bed. If you haven't gotten one, there is still hope! ;-) I cannot express how grateful I am to all of you who, through thoughts, prayers, actions, or contribution, have helped our family make it through our struggles! Thank you and God bless!!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Child-generated Christmas cheer

I let the kids draw on some paper. Then I traced each of their hands and feet on that same paper. Next, I cut the tracings out as well as some decorations (faces, presents, random shapes). Using a glue-stick we built reindeer from each child's hands and one foot. The left-over foot was glued to a new piece of paper and decorated as a Christmas tree. The result is silly, but the kids had a blast!!!!

Friday, December 16, 2011

No picture available...

So I'll use a thousand words to describe last night's (and this morning's events).

First, Andrew and I returned from physical therapy around 6. The kids were over-joyed to see us, so they were their usual rambunctious selves. As a matter of fact, in his rush to greet us Simon sent Rachel crashing to the floor with a flying elbow. The kids sat down -- well, they were supposed to be sitting -- for chicken nuggets and fries. I was working on laundry and general house-stuff while Andrew was taking care of his own business. Simon kept tattling on Rachel. "She's on the table", "She's trying to get my food", "She's putting barbecue sauce all over", "She put her food in my apple juice", and other tattles met my ears, oh every thirty seconds or so... The sad thing was all his tattles were true! So, I didn't get much accomplished.

With my physical therapy requiring "homework", I've made an effort to include the children in my routine. This has two goals: one -- to keep them from clambering all over me while I do my stretches and two -- to get rid of some toddler/preschooler rambunctiousness. Sadly, neither of these goals are actually fully attained. However, my abdominal muscles do get an excellent workout as I tense for body blows and laugh uproariously at their imitations of me and their overall antics.

Fast-forward to bedtime (anywhere from 830-930 lately). Both of my children are in that long-lived phase of objecting to bedtime. They get one TV show prior to bed as their 30-45 minute warning. Throughout the show either Andrew or I remind them that as soon as their show ends, bedtime begins. As a consequence, Simon constantly states the entire time, "It's not over yet", while emphatically pleading for another show after the current one. Ir's hilarious actually because his demands begin almost as soon as the show does.

As typical 2 and 3 year olds, my two have excessive energy, especially in this colder and gloomy winter weather. We have tried to reduce their pent up energy by allowing Simon his training-wheeled bike in the house. E have also supplied Rachel with her own tricycle in the house. However, the rule is supposed to be that during their show (and for about an hour prior to bedtime, bikes are not to be ridden nor is wrestling, running, or other exciting horseplay allowed. These rules are intended to help them settle down for bed. Instead, Simon, in particular, flouts these rules and often incites Rachel (with very little effort) to do the same. So the semi-relaxing TV show turns into another constant haranguing.

Once the show is over, they brush their teeth together (pajamas, vitamins, and lotions/massages are taken care of during the show) are tucked into bed. Both sit on Rachel's bed while we say our prayers. They each give intentions for various people. I like to think these spontaneous mentions of somewhat random relatives, friends, or vague acquaintances are a manifestation of the Holy Spirit speaking through the mouths of babes. More than once they have prayed for an individual I later find was in need of specific prayer at that time. Then I sing them a song -- typically Joyful Joyful (Beethoven's Odd to Joy), Hail Mary, Immaculate Mary, Holy God We Praise Thy Name, or currently an Advent song. Occasionally a nursery rhyme is requested as well. Then Simon goes to his room to "read" before falling asleep. Rachel is tucked into bed with a vast array of comforts: two "huggies" (loveys), at least one doll (lately she's on a Rapunzel kick), her Leap Frog musical puppy, at least one blanket, her pillow, and her birdie soother. some nights this arrangement is just this simple, but other nights one or both strenuously object and/or demand one of us (typically Andrew is requested) lay with them. However, we have refrained from that for the most part.

Now is when my night can begin. I start and hopefully finish any chores for the day. I take a quick (or not-so-quick) shower. Occasionally, my time is still divided between enforcing bedtime or soothing the kids' qualms about bed. Once all is quiet we can finally do some relaxing and/or try to go to sleep ourselves. if sleep is forthcoming, it seems that it never fails before on child is crying and demanding a drink or just comfort. We oblige and pray for sleep for the household.

Sometime in the night/early morning hours, usually anywhere from 2-4 am, Rachel will decide it's time to wake-up. She'll enter our room, turn on the light, hand Andrew his glasses, and demand a drink @ cartoons. He, in his spoiling nature, will actually comply. I, on the other hand play opossum or direct her back to bed with a sip of water. This process can repeat itself indefinitely. Lately, out of exhaustion, I've begun inviting Rachel into bed with us.

On the this night, both kids came to our room for comfort at one point it another. So when I awoke for work the feeling of being a sardine was immediately apparent. On the outside left was Andrew, snoring gently. Next to him was Rachel, sprawled out like she owned the bed, also snoring gently. Then I was squeezed between her and Simon, who had his rump in my face. Simon was also snoring (as perhaps i had been prior to waking).

Rachel, Simon, and I are all hot natured, although the kids wear more pjs than me (since they always seem to lose their covers in the night), so the blankets were down covering Andrew and me to our knees. our bed, though queen-sized, was definitely not designed for two adults AND two children of the sleeping habits we have. Not one of us is a quiet or restful sleeper. The kids typically move from heads on pillows to feet on pillows and everything in-between during the night.
When sleeping with us they tend to take up 3/4 of the bed, while Andrew and I scrounge for the remainder. I'm sure we were a sight!! Luckily, my exit from the bed was unnoticed and I got off to work with none of them the wiser. However, it was definitely a struggle to leave the cozy confines of that bed.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Get back to work!!

Well, my 6 week recovery period is over... I'm so anxious about my first day back at work that I feel like I'm going to hurl... I was awake (still/again) at 430 this morning since I couldn't sleep. :-/ it doesn't help that my arms and abdomen are still sore enough that Nor does it help that my abdomen still swells when I wear real pants -- pants cause some pain too. I'm going to be continuing physical therapy twice a week too. I'm hoping and praying for the best, but kind of expecting the worst. However, the sunrise is beautiful with the glorious colors reflecting on the clouds. Even the frost is beautiful once I melted it off my Jeep. This is a day the Lord has made; I will do my best to rejoice in the small things and be glad to be alive!

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Smiling already at 2 weeks

Smiling already at 2 weeks
Rachel has been smiling as a response to other people since day one.

And two shall become one...

And two shall become one...
In 2006, Andrew & I became one before God and family! Shortly thereafter we became 3 with the birth of Simon in 2008... Then 4 with the addition of Rachel in 2009!

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