Monday, April 30, 2012

Totally Awesome Weekend

We had a “Totally Awesome” weekend!  Ulysses Jr. Civic  hosted our 2nd annual Family Fun Run-Walk (5k & 1 mile prediction run).  It was a big success with over 60 participants.  Plus we raised over $2,000.  All our proceeds will go back to the community.  The race was an 80’s theme and it was so much fun getting to dress up.  It wasn’t hard to find 80s clothes because the bright colors and color blocking is everywhere.  It’s coming back! 
Tyler's cousins and granny came out to support us.  I hardly recognized his cousins when they can walking up.  Obviously, they walked away with our "best 80's costume" award!

My sweet friend, Jill, and her boys came over after the race.  Jill is working on her MBA and as assignment she had to watch Erin Brockovich and relate it back to her studies.  So we watched the movie while the boys played in the playroom.  I didn’t mind helping her with her homework at all!  Her boys are 4 & 5.  Keeler thinks he is just as big and keeps up with them well.  Her oldest, Cameron, just learned to ride his bike without training wheels.  He brought his bike over to show us.  After the movie we went to the park.  The boys rode their bikes.  I was so proud that Keeler was able to ride the entire way and never complained.  I hate that I didn’t take my camera because they looked so cute on their little bikes and riding in a row with their helmets one.  We had so much fun together and managed to squeeze in two Sonic trips throughout the day.  Jill said it best, “we have the most fun doing nothing together!”
The last picture cracks me up, "not another picture mom!"

Funny little cowboy says:  It’s not a newsflash that Keeler gets up early every day.  But I guess we talk about in enough that Tyler and I had to laugh when he said this recently, “When I get up at six tomorrow, can I watch Carebears?”

On Sunday, we went to church.  It was communion Sunday and we had twelve young kids join the church.  It was so exciting to see these young people profess their faith.  After church, Tyler made his version of Japanese steakhouse (Ka-Baker's, Ha!) and then mowed the lawn while the little cowboys and I took a long nap.  I love a lazy Sunday!  After naps, Keeler and I baked cupcakes.  In the evening, our neighbors invited us over for dinner and we finished the weekend enjoying a nice rain that blessed our area with nearly half an inch of moisture.  


“A promise is a cloud; fulfillment is the rain.”- Arabian Proverb

Sunday, April 29, 2012

A Million Bajillion Pictures of Beckham


I know, right?  It’s been eons.  I never thought I’d be the blog that would show up on someone’s sidebar with the last update tagged as 3 Months Ago.  Seriously.  I blame it all on my camera lens.  Short after I wrote Yagoot for You…three months ago…my new camera lens cracked.  And it spent almost two months being “repaired” before the company decided to just replace it with one that was IN STOCK at the store.  Why they didn’t just do that in the first place is beyond me, but whatever.  If you’re familiar with a 1.4 lens, you know: once you go 1.4, you don’t go back.  All that to say, I rarely took picture for 6 + weeks. 

But.  Anyway. 

Look at this crab apple.  Isn’t he a hoot?!  I shot this picture to savor every last moment of the Terrible Threes, which are right on the way out the door.  He’ll be FOUR in less than two months.  I  die. 

 011   013

You won’t believe how much he’s grown in the past three months. If you thought he was a little man before, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. Let me introduce you to Mr. Personality. 

024 022 026

This was him today at our early Mother’s Day brunch with my family.  B and I both had to have private discussions with him about his behavior while we were at the restaurant.  One involved B showing him the “woodshed” where they keep the spanking machine.  Oh, yes we did.

Wait?  You need further proof that he really tests our patience so often that we threaten him with non-existent woodsheds spankings?  Please note that in the family portrait on the right, my dad is continuously mouthing Becks, look at the camera!  Becks, look at the camera!

036 048

Most of the time, he’s the sweetest little thing you ever did meet.  Enchanting you with stories of superheroes and charming you with that gap-tooth grin.

054  052  057

He’s also been a rather amazing model for me lately, trying things on for me for my teaching blog – which I have been keeping up with over the past three months. 

071  016  078

And, a little glimpse of what he’s going to look like as a young man someday.  Sigh.

076    079    078

There.  I think that was a million bajillion.  More life updates coming soon. 

And when I say soon, I don’t mean in three months.  Promise.

The Little Rabbit {BFIAR}

This week we 'rowed' The Little Rabbit by Judy Dunn.
This one was extra special to me because I remember it well from when I was a child!
I always loved the real life pictures it contained and the fact that it was about a little girl who had a pet of her own.
Oh, how I wanted my very own pet!
(Which I eventually got.)
So I knew Piper and Taitum would love it too.
Especially Piper.
The day that girl gets her first *real* pet will be an exciting day!

We did some color matching with this story.
This was a suggested activity from the Before Five In A Row manual.
I would point out various colors in the book and Pipe would dig through the crayon box and find the corresponding color.
This ended up being way more fun than it sounds.
It took several tries each time to find the perfect match.
And Piper was very exact about finding just the right color match!

In the story, the rabbit has babies.
This was the girls' favorite part of the whole story!
I figured this was a good time to use some mother and baby match cards I'd seen at 1+1+1=1!
I printed them off and grouped them on the floor into mothers, babies, and names.
The girls took turns picking a mother animal and finding her baby.
Piper would find the animal name by figuring out the beginning sound.
This also was a good chance to teach what the babies of various animals are called.

The Little Rabbit is unique in that all the illustrations are photographs!
Piper made up her own story this week and used her camera to take photos of the story.
She loved doing this!
I'll share her story on my next post!

We visited the seniors' home where my grandfather lives and my mom works.
This provided an opportunity for the girls to see a real rabbit - Peter, one of the pets who lives at the home.
They especially liked seeing how his nose wiggled just like the rabbit in the story!

One of our AAR lessons this week was the phonetic sound for V.
As a result, we happened upon volcanos!
The girls had no idea what a volcano was so we took some time to learn about them!
I showed them youtube videos of ones in Hawaii erupting since their grandparents are headed there next month.
Piper got a little upset thinking Nana and Boppa were going to get hurt by volcanos while away.
Poor girl!
It took some explaining to convince her that they will be just fine and she did end up calling them to warn them just in case they didn't know about volcanos!

She ended up changing her mind about volcanos once we made our own!
The girls were in awe of the little eruption they made and repeated it over and over and over!

After numerous eruptions, they spent some time messing around with baking soda, vinegar and pipets while I got supper ready!
This is seriously a great way to keep kids occupied for a LONG time!

Finally, on Saturday night I made lava cakes since we were having company over.
It was a delicioius finale to our foray into the world of volcanos!

That was most of our week!
Taitum also focused on the color yellow.
My plan is to spend a week on each color by doing simple activities with her.
She's is doing well with her colors but I want her to really get them down pat!

Next week is a busy week for us so instead of moving onto another BFIAR book we are going to continue to look at rabbits using the book Rabbits and Raindrops by Jim Arnosky.
It was recommended in the manual as a complimentary book to The Little Rabbit and was available at the library.
Also, we will be finishing up our All About Reading Pre-1 program!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Weekly Whoas!

Just a couple weekly highlights in pictures:
Keeler has been eating his weight in strawberries!
This week has been busy.  We’ve had two trips to the doctors.  I’ve been working with the Jr. Civic race committee getting all the loose ends tied up for this weekend’s family 5k race.  Tyler is in full swing at the ranch and as usual we have two busy little cowboys.  I have only managed to squeeze in two 5am workouts this week,  but hey that’s better than none.

We had a little scare with Keeler this week.  His granny was concerned because he was showing a few signs of sugar diabetes.  We wanted to make sure he was okay so we took him in and had him tested.  To our relief, he was fine and the doctor even mentioned that he could tell Keeler was a “deep thinker.” 
Keeler is entering into his last month of school.  It is so crazy to think that he has been going a full year.  School has been so good for him.  I was shocked this week when he brought home his art projects and how much his cutting and coloring skills have improved.  
Quick funny story:  I was praising Keeler over how well he was playing a matching games this week and then he looked at me and asked, “Did you finish all your work at work today mommy?”  I replied, not knowing where this was going, with “yes, I did.” Then he quickly said in a very excited tone, “Good job mommy!  I am so proud of you!” 

Our baby is a mess!  We love him but man he is a crazy baby, ha!  This baby LOVES to eat.  So much that this week I caught him with a moth, yes a moth, in his mouth.  He was so mad that I took it out.  At his granny’s this week she said that she had laid him in his little bouncer for a nap.  When she went back in the room a while later she found that he had somehow managed to worm out of the bouncer, move all the way across the room and was just playing with his toys.  She said he never made a peep. 
Best news of the week:  I want to shout it from the roof tops that the little baby cowboy has slept through the night all week in his big boy crib.  

Sadly, my General Manager for the past three years has recently resigned.  This man is such a character and I loved working for him.  We are throwing him a going away party today.  Yesterday, I knew that I wanted to give him something but didn't know exactly what.  I started talking to coworkers and since he is such a character, we all had many funny stories & quotes to share.  So I decided to make him a Farewell Plaque including all of these that he could take with him.  I simply designed it in Publisher as an 8x10 and then went to The Dollar Store and picked up a $5 frame with a wide black mat.      
Have a great weekend!


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Star!

She sure is!

(1 of 3 - the other 2 refused to wear a bib! Haha!)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

I Need 7 Hands

"I'm too sexy for my cape!"

Jacob was really well behaved at my two week check up so, as promised (honestly, is it even possible to parent without bribery?), I took him to McDonald's afterward. Yes. I already know-- I'm a horrible parent for feeding my kid McDonalds. He will probably grow a third nipple from eating the pink mcnugget glue.

Anyway, this was Ryan's first trip to McDonald's- now THAT'S something to write in the baby book! Jacob finished his nuggets and apple slices and so I turned him loose to play in the fecal infested, toe-fungus covered playland. I'm so winning a parenting award today!

Enjoying the relative quiet, I pulled out the steak and blue cheese spinach salad that I had smuggled in my diaper bag from the hospital cafeteria (it's a sad day when you prefer hospital food to McDonalds) and was FINALLY getting the chance to eat. I was starving. The steak on my salad was still warm. And the vinaigrette dressing was oozing deliciously from under the pile of spinach. I was just about to dig in when Ryan began to fuss for his own food. I tried rocking his carseat with my foot. Fail. I tried plugging in his pacifier. Fail. Ryan's crying was starting to draw people's attention to us and, particularly, my suspiciously unsanctioned salad. So I put down my fork, and set myself up to feed Ryan (can I just say that I LOVE my Bebe au lait nursing cover? It's magical. I only flashed the one old guy in the corner).

We were finally getting situated. Ryan had only drippled half an ounce of milk down my shirt when all of a sudden Jacob comes running out of the playland, screaming from across the room, "MOMMY, I HAVE TO POOP!! I HAVE TO POOP NOW!" He was doing his poop-holding dance and everything. So much for being discrete. Oh and perfect timing, kid!

I put Ryan down, which triggered more screaming. I awkwardly disassembled all my nursing stuff, packed up the diaper bag, got Jacob to put his shoes on and we made a bee-line for the bathroom, with me looking back longingly at my delicous salad. Thankfully we went into the Women's bathroom this time... and we just barely made it.

As I was helping Jacob wipe his butt (this is by far, the most disgusting parental chore EVER), fussy Ryan let out a huge, wet toot. It was so loud that it startled him. He about jolted out of his carseat which made him cry even louder. The smell of buttered popcorn filled the air and I knew, I JUST KNEW, he had a blow-out. So with one hand, I wiped Jacob's bottom. With my other hand, I grabbed a burp cloth and tried my best to contain the Ryan poo situation. In the middle of doing this, Ryan's pacifier fell out of my pocket and landed on the bathroom floor. DIS-GUSTING. I debated whether to try to clean it later or just throw it away. Either way, my parenting crutch is gone for the day and I have to actually pay attention to my baby.

After both kids were cleaned up (an eternity later), we headed back to our table. After managing the Bodily Function Disasters, I had almost totally lost my appetite. The steak on my salad was cold. The spinach looked soggy from the dressing. But it didn't really matter because I still had to feed Ryan anyway.

20 minutes later (and zero flashings later!), Ryan is fed and is snoozing in his carseat. Not one to waste a $6 salad, I turn to the plate of cold steak and soggy spinach and shovel it mechanically into my mouth. Yay....not. I'm just about to give Jacob the dreaded Five-Minute-Warning when I see him dragging a troop of children out of the playland. What on earth are they doing?

"Come here!" Jacob exclaims to his six new friends who are waddlig behind him like ducklings. "I want to SHOW YOU SOMETHING," he says as he throws his hands in the air. I watch with amusement as he leads his friends over to us. Then he pulls back the cover on Ryan's carseat and points to Ryan's now-sleeping face. "Look!" He exclaims. "This is our baby! He likes to spit up!" How's that for an introduction?

Jacob was just so proud to show Ryan off. My heart completely melted onto the floor. Some of the kids seemed interested (the girls mostly) while the others shot him a look as if to say, "you interrupted Hot Lava Monster for a boring sleeping BABY?!" (the boys mostly).
"Goo" Ryan said. Then Jacob reached over and patted his head.

And THAT magical sibling moment was worth all the spit-up, accidental flashings, poo, and spoiled $6 salads in the entire world!

P.S.: We set up our tri-pod and took our first family photos!

First Pet(s)

Do you remember your first pet?
And just how excited you were about it?
There is something special about being given the responsibility of looking after a creature and having it live in your house!
My girls love animals and pretty much every other creature you can think of (except for maybe giant snails...hehehe...).
So when I informed them they were going to get their very own pet pets this last Saturday, they were ecstatic.

Especially Pipey who probably has more maternal instincts than I do!
So what woud their very first pets be?

Praying mantids!

I know.
Not exactly conventional.
Nonetheless, the girls were over the moon!
They have yet to hatch and have taken up residence in our bathroom awaiting their birth day.
Oh the anticipation.
The things I do in the name of education.
I can't even watch the youtube video of them hatching without wanting to throw up.
True story.
But they are exceptionally cool.
(And I hear they eat spiders so they can't be all bad, right?)

We've already had some issues though.
I'm preparing Piper beforehand by warning her that they will likely eat each other when they hatch.
It's how they're made, what they do.
But this girl cries when I kill the ants that invade my kitchen every spring.
She's sweetly sensitive about these things.
She's quite adamant about the fact that brothers and sisters should not each other.
Even if they are carnivorous insects.
This could end in disaster.
At least Tait, I'm sure, will find it absolutely rivetting!

Well, I'm off to see if a plethora of bugs have hatched in my bathroom yet!

But a word to the wise -
if your kid is as sensitive as my Piper, don't show them the praying mantis and goldfish video...

Monday, April 23, 2012

My pathetic posting...or lack thereof.

Well, it's been almost a month since I've posted, so I guess it's about time to spill the beans again.  I think I've been avoiding my blog posts because I hate being a negative "debbie downer." But I don't like to be fake, either.  I just think I'm at the stage (if there are really even stages) where I'm a little frustrated.  Ok, so I'm angry.  And I really don't like that I'm angry.  I just find myself thinking about things a lot more now.  I find myself saying "it's not fair" a little more (which isn't really like me).  I think at first I tried so hard to just shut everyone and everything out... and not even think about things because thinking about everything that just happened made me so incredibly sad beyond comprehension.  And I just didn't know how to express my emotions or sadness.  Actually, I still don't know how.  But I know that if I don't try, I'm going to explode.  

I'm at the point now where it's so hard to see little boys that would be around Tripp's age, with dark hair and dark eyes, hugging on their Momma's leg in church...  It's hard to think that at the age of 3, Tripp would have been talking up a storm, probably giving me hell because he would have been so spoiled rotten.  I want that so bad.  
It's hard to do anything without picturing Tripp there with me.  And longing for him to be there with me. 
I don't even know what he would have looked like at age 3... because EB took that from him and from me.  For the last year of his life, I didn't get to see his pretty brown eyes. 
It pretty exhausting holding things in.  And it's exhausting pretending like I'm fine. 
How in the world could anyone be fine after losing the only person they wanted to live for.   

That's why I finally broke down and found a counselor.  I had my first session with her last Wednesday and I have my second session tomorrow morning.  I'm hoping that if anything, it will at least allow me to let out my tears and emotions.  Because I certainly don't do that enough.   
The first session was mainly about us meeting each other and then me summarizing the past 3 years for her.  So pretty much.. me crying and talking, and her just listening... it went well.  I think she will be a blessing to me.  
The main thing that stuck out to me that she said in our first session is that I am putting up a "Me and Tripp" wall.  She said that by me not sharing my feelings (my TRUE feelings) with the people closest to me, that I am putting up this wall that doesn't let anyone else in.  And that's not good.  The people who are there for me everyday want to help- they want me to open up.  And I'm not letting them in.    
That is going to be something that I will have to practice... because I'm terrible at letting people in.  Somehow, it's easy for me to sit behind a computer screen and let you know what I'm feeling, but it's another thing for me to be able to open up face to face.  I'm just so used to having to "hold things in" that I'm clueless when it comes to "letting it out."  But I think it's one thing to share my feelings with the people closest to me (my family, Stephen, close friends) but I feel like I shouldn't be real all the time... or should I?  Would it help me or not?  Who knows... Like when I see someone and they ask me how I am, and my instincts say "I'm good... how are you?"  Then I think to myself... "of course I'm not good... I'm terrible, I just lost my whole heart... how could I be good?" I guess I just don't feel like it's fair to people for me to be honest about how I really feel.  People ask that to be respectful and kind, really not knowing what to say.  I hate to just "lay it all out" on them.  But then on the other hand, I feel like its unfair to me to have to pretend like I'm okay when other people still have their kids and their life continues, but my child is gone and I feel like the world should just stop.  
Is any of this making sense?  I will stop rambling... 

Today I spent 3 hours with some pretty amazing people at Amite Marble and Granite.  I'm not sure if I've mentioned this before, but it just so happened (actually I believe God planned this all along) that Tripp's amazingly wonderful pharmacist, Trea, also has a pretty amazing father who owns a marble and granite shop and makes headstones for a living (coincidence?... I think not).  
So, after thinking really hard for 3 months about how I could create the perfect monument to honor my baby, I finally got to design what I wanted with the most kind, patient and amazing people. 
That has to be one of the hardest things on the planet... to have to pick out a headstone for your child.  No one should ever, ever have to pick out a headstone for their child.  
But I know that you will all love what I have decided on.  And I don't think I could have picked something better than I did.  We only have the rough draft drawn up, and it will probably take about 4-6 months to complete, but I am pleased so far with what I have chosen.  
I can't wait to share it will all of you. 
It just might involve someone's favorite furry red friend...  

May 13th is Mother's Day. 
May 14th will be Tripp's 3rd birthday and it will also make 4 months that he has been with Jesus. 
Needless to say, it will be a really hard week/weekend for me.  
SO, mom and I decided that we are going to take a trip to Albuquerque to visit my sister and her husband (they are stationed there for 6 months before they move to Georgia) for the week.  Our tickets are booked from Friday the 11th to Wednesday the 16th.  Part of me feels so guilty for leaving this house at this time, but the other part knows that being here and being around kids, going to family parties and being around Tripp's things will be so hard for me.  It will be hard no matter where I am... so we decided that Mother's Day weekend would be a good time to take the trip.  

I had initially wanted to do something big to honor Tripp on his 3rd birthday- a big party with whomever wanted to be a part of his special day, attempting to also raise more money for EB in Tripp's name.  
But now I'm leaning towards something different.  I don't think I'm up to a big party where I have to put on my happy face and pretend like my heart isn't broken.  
So I decided that the only thing I want to ask is for anyone who wants to honor Tripp on what would have been his 3rd birthday- is for a donation in his name to The Butterfly Fund.  Mrs. Laurie Sterner and the Butterfly Fund are very special to me.  They play such a huge role in helping with the very personal needs of families affected by EB.  And I think that it is extremely important that we help in keeping her fund going strong.  And of course, I believe finding a cure and funding research is important as well, but I also believe that while we are working on a cure, keeping these poor families going is something that is just as important.  It's impossible to do without help and support.  And Mrs. Laurie and the Butterfly Fund were a huge support to us for the 2 years and 8 months that Tripp was here- and they continue to be a support to me to this day.  
So, if anyone has the desire to do something in my baby boy's honor and also in honor of anyone who has lost their life to EB, or anyone who is still fighting hard against EB- that is the only thing I ask. 
You all have always been so amazing and I appreciate it more than I could ever tell you.   

All I'm doing is trying my hardest to stay as busy as I possibly can.  Which I know is not always the best thing, but it's the only thing I know how to do right now.  I'm sorry for not keeping up the blog like I should.  I guess I just feel like I'm repeating myself and I feel like a broken record.  
If anyone has any great ideas on things I could do to keep up my blog better or things I could post about that you guys would be interesting in knowing/seeing (about Tripp or EB, of course:), please feel free to throw ideas at me.  Maybe it will help me with my grieving process as well (stupid grieving process... no one should ever have to grieve for their child).  
And I'll try to do better with taking down my "Me and Tripp" wall and letting you guys back in. 
Just let me know when you're tired of my "debbie downer" posts...
Thank you all, again and always, for the unbelievable amount of support.  
Thank you to everyone who has sent cards, emails, gifts, and letters of encouragement. 
It means SO much to me. 
I am so blessed.