Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sullivan Sunday

My nephew, Sullivan, had an MRI last week and it was ALL CLEAR!  It has been just over 6 months since the tumor was found and these results are absolutely wonderful news!

He begins round 4 (of 6) of chemo this Tuesday.  After an exceptionally challenging reaction to round 3, we are praying for things to go as smoothly as possible for the next three rounds.

It has been sad to not be able to see him as often as we used to. After Sullivan receives treatment, his counts drop very low, making him very susceptible to illnesses and too weak to fight them. We keep away during these times.  But even when we do get to see him, I always feel so hesitant to even give him a hug for fear of spreading something!  Tonight that makes me so sad.  He needs very big hugs! And I need to give him one...or many! I adore my nephew.

Read more about his progress at his Caring Bridge Site and pray, pray, pray for him to be healed!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Seabrook Island, SC

Last week, we flew with the boys to Seabrook Island, SC. It is outside Charleston.

We left on a Friday and didn't return until the next Sunday!  It was a long trip!  Overall, it was so wonderful for Brad and I to see our boys so happy. They were seriously so full of joy on this trip!  Everything seemed like the most fun they've ever had.  We loved getting to spend some quality time with some family members and were especially thrilled to get the little cousins together!

I'm not saying they were perfect little angels or anything. That's simply not possible for 18 month olds!
And let me be honest.  This was not a vacation as typically defined by the word.  We were exhausted most of the time.  The boys woke up insanely early, took random naps and were so busy running around and enjoying their freedom that it kept Brad and I (and everyone else) on our toes constantly! We anticipated most of that but it was all well worth it!  Brad even got two games of golf in so thanks for all the koala help from the ladies during those times!

They loved the beach.

Especially playing with their same age cousin, Ronan!
They learned some cool new tricks.

They were wild at the zero entry pool. They were a little too brave with running and face planting into the water over and over like it was the coolest thing ever!
They were demanding, and quite a sight at meal times!
We all loved the fresh air, especially while riding bikes and driving the jeep with the top down!

There was lots of exploring.

We survived the heat in Charleston.
There was lots of love for cousin Ronan by the end of the week!
And here are a couple of pictures to show that their parents were also on this vacation.
A side note of great news:  Neither child climbed out of his pack-n-play the whole week! We got to return the tents we bought! yay!

Friday, July 29, 2011

after vacation

My kids were seriously awesome on vacation.....for the most part.....

The childless family members vacationing with us may disagree but if you have an 18 month old, you know that noise is just part of it!

I'm ignoring the morning wake ups at 6 am (that's 5 am in Dallas and they usually sleep until 8:30 here!) and the last couple of days when Nolan became incredibly needy and cranky and mommy-obsessed (teething pain??? who knows). Having the toddlers in the beach house too long was the only truly stressful part for me....we rushed to get out and get them busy as soon as possible. The flight home was fine. They were so tired they slept most of both legs.

Finally to the point of this post:

The first few days home after vacation where tough! Give me two over-tired, confused, hungry toddlers, company at our house, a busy schedule of activities and let's throw in a little PMS while we're at it.  I reached the end of my rope!  Thank goodness Brad was working and was excited to see his kids at the end of the day! One evening, I went to break up a tug-o-war fight the boys were having over a freaking vacuum hose extension piece. On my way, I felt my blood pressure rising and the steam beginning to leave my ears. I stopped as I was almost there, looked at Brad and said, "I have to walk away right now."  I went inside, shed a small self-pity tear then shed another tear for being so weak when other loved ones are dealing with soooooooooo much more than two cranky babies.

All was resolved.....I mean...they fight over toys a lot. It was just that I had reached my limit.  Brad was awesome about it...seriously no big deal. He had a similar experience when they were infants and neither would stop crying and neither would go to sleep in the middle of the night when we were both sleep deprived.  I was rocking Carter and Brad was bouncing and soothing Nolan for some time. He suddenly placed Nolan in his crib, raised his hands and said, "I have to leave the room."  Every parent knows sometimes you just have to step aside and take a deep breath to refocus yourself and manage your frustration.

We took the boys to the pediatric urgent care that evening (they know us by name there).  I was partly hoping for some ear infections to explain their behaviors and my short rope. Nope....Nothing....they were both perfectly healthy.  I felt even weaker.  Yes, it could always be teething pain.  And Brad repeatedly reminded me of the fact that they just got home from a pretty big schedule changing week!

That night, they were down at 9:30.  They didn't wake up until 9:45 the next morning!!!  Amazing. Then they were up for a pleasant 2.5 hrs and slept again for over 3 hours.  We had a nice evening, nice dinner and routine bedtime, down by 8pm. 

Here's to hoping we are back in business!!!!  Back to our old entertaining, busy, pleasant, giggly, happy little selves.
Yes, I just raised my glass of mojito.  And I think I will say an AMEN as well!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

leashes in the airport

Here is my third and possibly final post about child leashes:
Read my first one here. 
Read my second one here.

On our way to our Seabrook Island, SC vacation, we had a layover in Atlanta. We decided that would be a good time to let the boys walk lots to get their energy out after being forced to sit still for nearly 2.5 hours on the first leg.  We found a less crowded area, had snack time in the stroller, changed some diapers then strapped on the leashes. Brad pushed the stroller which now held our diaper bag and rolly suitcase. I held the leashes/boys. 
They were ready to go!

We only needed to walk about 3 gates down but that was one rough walk! Nolan pulls too hard (he's the runner of the two) then feels the tug and falls down. Carter pulls hard in the wrong direction and gets very mad when he can't go!  (He's the loud one of the two).

Yes, people stared.

I, once again, found myself saying things like, "Oh I don't know about these leash things." or "This is tough!"  Out I'm apologizing to everyone or something.

The airport is a bustling place as you know but the area we were in wasn't all that busy.   I didn't think we were holding people up or anything.  But I guess when each kid goes a different way, we can span near 9 feet across the way! 

It was a quick walk and after repeatedly telling the boys, "follow dada! go get dada!" with little or no results, I grabbed their hands with the leashes dangling and we made it to our gate. Off came the leashes. They were shoved into our carry on and were not pulled back out until we unpacked after our trip.  We never took a picture either.....and I knew I'd be blogging about it.

I'm not going to use them for a while. Maybe the leash is actually easier for one child.  Maybe they'll be easier when the boys are a little older?  Maybe I haven't used them in the correct setting yet.  I'll try again. I'll even take the leashes with me when I go solo with the boys to certain locations. But my review is finished.   I don't like my experiences with the child leashes!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

bow tied toddler

I'm in LOVE with the adorable bow ties on Etsy.  Especially the ones by Divine Domestication and Buttered Toast.

They run anywhere from $10 to $25 and probably higher...I just didn't go that far in my search. =)

Today, I went to Hobby Lobby in pursuit of some sweet bow tie fabrics and $11 later, came home with some great finds and all the supplies needed to make my own bow ties.

Last night during my bow tie search (I looked other places besides Etsy) I came across a blog that explains how to make the bow ties. It seemed so simple. You can check out the instruction blog here. This lady made bow ties for little boys in a wedding featured by Martha Stewart!

Here is my first attempt.  The photo was taken before I added the neck strap.  I felt like the fabric was close to the look of the fabric on the instruction blog AND it totally matched the shirts I just bought at Children's Place for only $2.50! Please forgive my old iphone photo quality.

I finished it late this afternoon.  Once Brad got home from work, we completed our usual evening routine and just as we sat down for some TV time, he decided he needed to go hit some golf balls at the driving range. So off I went to the play room (that's where my sewing machine is set up).  I made a second attempt, also using the same instruction blog. This time I used her alternate technique and make a few changes so I could make a completely reversible bow tie!
It still isn't as flawless as I wish but that's why we say "handmade" right? And that's what happens when you don't TRULY know how to use your sewing machine and all its features.

I am really happy with my first two attempts, I must say......obviously since I'm blogging about them.

I also still have lots more fabric from my $11 spent! Hopefully each tie will be better than the last and perhaps I'll find the actual bow tie kit (the metal pieces that allow you to adjust the length and clip it easier). I just used a basic pinch clip.  Mine are still adjustable because you can clip it however tight you want.

How long did it take? I have no idea really but maybe 2 hours for the first and 1.5 for the second?  Hopefully I'll get faster. Hello Christmas presents!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

solo weekend!

Brad and I have stayed at a hotel, one night. Only time away from the boys since they were born!  Well, when I got wind of a bachelorette weekend where 8 of my long time, Paris, Kentucky girl friends would all be getting together, I simply couldn't miss it! As the date approached I started to get a little knot in the pit of my stomach. I would seriously miss the boys. Brad was totally up for the challenge of being solo with them but I have become so attached to my kiddos that I was pretty sad to leave them.  Luckily, I get some airport anxiety which takes over any and all other emotions I might be feeling at the time.  I gave a million kisses and didn't want to get out of the car to check in for my flight, but overall, I think the departure went well.

I flew into Charlotte on a Thursday night, late, rented a car and drove to my Sister-in-law's house.  I crashed for the night and got to spend a little QT in the morning with my neice and nephew.  Here's some cupcake joy with Landon.
Around 2pm, I hopped into my HHR rental and headed for Winston-Salem. I know!  Who doesn't want to bachelorette there!  Just a hair below Vegas.  Well, with this group of girls, we can make anywhere Vegas. And our friend Katie had just relocated there and we were excited to visit her new home base!
We snacked, enjoyed a few beverages, caught up on life and once the last of the girls arrived, we were back to our old true friends can quickly do despite some of us living in different states! It was refreshing to spend time with these girls!  We had an amazing meal, all sitting at the dinner table like the grown ups we are now! (not sure how we got to be 30 so dang fast!)
The next morning, we had a surprise baby shower for Lauren!  She had no idea and was thrilled!
Later, we relaxed and prepped for the big night! and had some of the cutest decorations ever thanks to Julia!


Brad had been sending me picture texts of the boys.  They looked so happy in every picture and I could tell he was keeping them very busy! 
They were having a fun day with dada! but they didn't look like they missed me at all. =(

So back to W-S, the girls were headed for a fun night downtown!

A little bar hopping, all the while getting lots of attention for our bright shirts.  We do a shirt theme for each bachelorette.  This one comes from none other than Mr. T.  "Enough of the Jibba Jabba.  We gettin' married, foo!"  The perfect shirt for the soon to be Mrs. B.

Night night to the little ones back at home!  They are even brushing their teeth!

We had an awesome girls weekend with every one of us there! It was sad to leave but the wedding is right around the corner!

Sunday morning we all hopped in our cars and headed out. I drove back to Charlotte, and got a whole afternoon to spend with my neice and nephew again!  Here I am with Delaney after a nice swim!
And the boys?

More play......may have been the most fun they've had with all that playing!!!!

Monday morning, I headed to the airport, slept on the flight, and made it home.  As I walked through the terminal on my way out, I started getting teary eyed.  I simply couldn't wait any longer to see my family!  As healthy as it was for me to get out and have some girl time, and as awesome of a time that it was, I still started sobbing as I got closer to our car. 

Brad got out to get my bags, I got in the back and pulled sleeping Nolan out of his car seat and held him and sobbed over his shoulder. Seriously? Brad was like, what is going on? Are you okay?  Carter was just staring at me. Okay, so I strapped Nolan in and went to the other side and did the same to poor Carter.

Next a kiss for my awesome husband.  I was so thankful he handled home base for so long without missing a beat! .......even though we are just about equal with all the golf he's been playing lately! =)

I'm not sure the boys really missed me all that much. But then again, they don't really understand time.  For all they know, I just ran to the grocery store and came right back. =)

Saturday, July 2, 2011

i'm a gb

gb = Guest Blogger

Multiples and More accepted the post I wrote all the way back in December 2010 about breastfeeding.  It is featured on their blog site today!  I'm so excited because I seriously LOVE blogging!

Friday, July 1, 2011

what does a lion say? rooaaaarrrr!

The Dallas Zoo is a pretty good one, I think.

My 17 month old boys really enjoyed it. We were there from 9:30 to 12:00. When Brad got home from work, he asked, "Did they actually look at animals and stuff and watch things?" They did! I took them alone and if you are interested in reading about the child leashes I used, you can go to that post.

Anyway, here are a few tips:

Things I did wrong:
1) dressed them in socks and sneakers. I imagined they'd be walking more. Crocs would have been perfect then they could do a little puddle splashing at the children's zoo.
2) didn't bring swim diapers or change of clothes. These weren't needed, but with the heat, I wish they could have played in the water!
3) wore flip flops.  I did a LOT of walking and the balls of my feet were feeling it. I should have worn sneakers.
4) didn't use bug spray.  We got just a couple of bug bites. Not bad but I had the bug spray in the van, just didn't think we'd need it!
5) took too many pics of the backs of the boys' heads!  I'll let that one slide though since it was tough enough just to take pictures!  And I can describe their faces the entire time...."whoa....what is that thing?"
6) didn't take any pictures with me in them.  I promise I was at the zoo with them. Maybe we should've stopped in the photo booths for a few group shots or asked a stranger to take a quick one.

Things I did right:
1) used my AAA membership to get my $12 ticket down to $9.  My kids were free. Parking was $7.
2) soaked their hats in the water feature at the children's zoo.  The boys were happy to wear those hats the rest of the time. I think it kept them a little cooler than without and I wouldn't be surprised if the temperature was already near 100 by the time we left.
3) packed a water and cracker pack for each of us.
4) brought the sunblock with us into the zoo.  We reapplied several times.
5) didn't purchase any of the overpriced souvenirs or snacks.
6) shamelessly made lots of animal sounds in front of strangers.

So it's a tie!

They loved the mole rats behind the glass.

The giant rabbits

Petting the goats

Watching the huge goldfish swim

They were fascinated by the monkey swinging from branch to branch and some actually made the monkey sounds we've been working on at home!

They saw lots of birds

a tiger

a lion family

elephants being fed and bathed

and giraffes!  This was my favorite!  They were amazing as was the setting. It is always so striking to see these giants!
We really were this close as we watched others feed the giraffes!
We saw lots more but that's it for animal pics!

The boys also enjoyed some stone alligators and elephants!
The boys passed out as soon a we pulled out of the parking lot. But it was lunch time. After a 20 minute drive, we pulled into chick fil a. We ate up and shared an ice cream cone for dessert.

Then I let the boys play. I didn't want them to think the 20 minutes in the car was their only nap. They needed to get the last bit of energy out so they could have a nice long nap.  I was surprised they climbed up so high on their own. They were proud!
Yes, I had to climb up to get them.