Friday, October 31, 2008

Pumpkin Pics

Being the procrastinator that I am I finally took the boys for pumpkins pics today only to find two rows of humongous pumpkins left. It made for some cute pics though. I have to laugh at the fact that last year they couldn't sit up well enough to get any good pics and this year they weren't still enough to get one. I am guessing that when there old enough to pose for a pic they will be at the stage where they are rolling their eyes so I will get past the idea of the perfect pumpkin picture and just enjoy the ones I get. Since when is "perfect" the goal anyways???

The boys are loving this whole Halloween/Harvest season. Wednesday night they got to ride horses for the first time at the Fall Festival at our church and they LOVED it. They pet them and everything. Alex laughed out loud at the horse which shocked both Daddy and me. I, of course had to put fear back in his little heart when I screamed as he put his hands near the horses mouth (is it even called a mouth?) and the horse opened up . Oops, sometimes I am SUCH a girl it even drives me crazy. Despite my best efforts though he wasn't scared, thank goodness. I actually forgot my camera in the hustle of trying to find warm winter gear (we weren't quite ready for it to be as cold as it was) but Mariah (thanks again) came through and took some that I will post those in the future. Happy Halloween!!!
***I should add that NO children were harmed in the taking of these pictures (despite Alli's expression). :) She just wasn't feelin' it this year.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A Playdate for the Boys

The boys had such a fun day Friday. I called Missy to see if Colin, Celia and Olivia could come over and play with the boys and after I twisted her arm ;) she had them here within the hour. I am not sure why 5 kids suddenly became easier than my dear 2 children but I promise they did. Alex was being especially clingy and I wasn't getting a thing done so I thought distraction would be great and truth be told I miss my nieces and nephews. When the boys are sick I don't see my sisters and their kids much, which is both necessary and a bummer all rolled into one. I had fun laughing at the funny things they had to say. The are truly open books :) Celia wanted to go for a walk with the wagon and Colin only wanted to go if he didn't have to walk. I told them that it would probably be too difficult to pull all of them in the wagon but Celia insisted it was possible and let me tell you when she is determined that something is going to happen IT DOES! She has that first born determination in her and for me being a second born I find myself admiring this quality in her so I figured I should let her give it a try. Needless to say, she did it and although I volunteered to pull several times she insisted upon continuing. Who am I to complain? I got to relax and just watch them all enjoy one another and I was able to snap a ridiculous amount of pictures too. Big surprise...I know!

I am my father's son!

I guess it had to rub off on at least one of the boys. Here is my sweet, Alex boy, swiffering. I am afraid that he is going to be the organized, obsessively clean, one. It was bound to happen and truthfully I am not really "afraid". I have actually found myself mentally beginning to look forward to chore charts and watching my list of "to do's" rapidly diminish. OK I may be dreaming a bit because the child is only 18 months old but on top of the swiffering he like things in order. If I put his fishies in the middle of his high chair tray he methodically moves them to the cup holder portion as to not disturb the clean tray in front of him. When he finishes with his sippy cup he carefully puts it on the arm of the couch which is where we always used to set their bottles when they finished. He loves putting his toys back into the toy bin and is completely fascinated with bins of every kind but that is usually because he wants to see if he fits in it which I am aware is unrelated to my theory. I must admit that I am not the one he has inherited this from as indicated by the title of this post. I, since being married, have come to appreciate the order of things but would still not consider myself at all compulsive in the organization department. Jared, on the other hand, is one of those people. He is pretty meticulous and I have come to love this about him because I will be the first to admit that I was a bit of a slob. I appreciated cleanliness but didn't mind a bit of disorder (o.k. maybe a lot of disorder). Who knows which, if any, of the boys will be Jared's "Mr. Clean" equivalent but I have to admit I am pulling for both of them. Can you imagine a house full of organized people who enjoy cleaning?? Well, with the exception of me, that is :) A girl can dream can't she???

Thursday, October 23, 2008

One and Half Years Old

I've had this post written for days but I was waiting for a day when the boys were cooperating with me for pictures. Unfortunately this is the best they "cooperated". I think these chair pics get more and more entertaining each month!

Jared told the boys Happy Birthday this morning (October 18th) and I was forced to remember that my little boys were truly 18 months old. My sister and I always kind of laughed (pre-kids) when parents would say their childrens ages in months for what seemed like forever but I now understand this. It just sound so much younger. I am going to be one of those moms in a couple of years that when asked how old the boys are will respond with 38 months. They'll graduate college and I will be trying to do the math so that I don't have to actually say that they are 21 years old. Seriously though, my babies are growing up fast and this is a bit about what they are up to.

Alex, you are standing unassisted and are so proud of this fact. You say "Yay" and clap for Eli when he says his version of the "a,b,c's". You are so polite saying please and thank you. You love to watch Elmo and tend to hand us the remote or point it toward the TV on a pretty regular basis. You climb into EVERYTHING you can fit into and several things that you cannot but you try anyways. You still love to hold every binky including one in your mouth while you sleep. They are definitely your security blankets. You give the best hugs and need lots of them in the morning. You still love to "cock-a-doodle-doo" and "chug a chug a choo choo" when you hear the train outside. Last week you called Eli "yi-yi" which was too cute. You love for Daddy to throw you in the air and spin you around (the higher and faster the better). You weigh 21 lbs. 3 oz. and are 31 inches long. Every inch of you is full of energy except in the mornings :) I love you!

Eli, you are such a verbal little boy. You waved at our neighbor through the window last week and said his name which we have never "rehearsed" with you. You also tend to call me Becky and when I corrected you recently by telling you "my name is Mommy" you repeated in your almost perfect english "my name is Mommy". It was pretty cute. You are also starting to throw numbers in when we count and you are singing your A, B, C's more clearly everyday. My new favorite song that you sing is "Oh! How I love Jesus". You and Alex definitely love the "OH!" part best but you are quick to follow up with the rest of the words. You are a snuggle bug and lay your head on everybody's shoulder which quickly melts their hearts. Yes, I think we have a heartbreaker in you! Your other favorite song is "la, la, la, la, Elmo's World". You weigh 25lbs. 3 oz and are also 31 inches long. You refuse to let your brother catch up to you in weight. You actually stopped all bottle last week and I thought you were SO attached to it but I quickly realized that your attachment is to the milk inside the bottle so it went very smoothly.

I love you boys and continue to feel blessed that I get to share this time in your life with you when you are constantly changing and growing. I won't lie and say there aren't challenging days when bed time doesn't come fast enough because you are fighting over yet another toy, but Daddy and I are so thankful for you Alex and Eli, fights and all!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

All in a Day's Work

They are laughing so hard here because they are playing the game where they kick Mommy while swinging and she over-reacts in pain. Sweet, Right??

They had their first experience with crunchy leaves and at first they didn't want me to put them down but once I showed them how they could crunch them up in their hand they were thrilled and didn't want to go back inside.

I just finished talking to Jared about how this "job" called motherhood is the greatest privilege and blessing and at the same time it is THE most challenging job I have had in my life. The boys have ear infections, something respiratory(ish) and just in case that was too mundane they are also teething. Yahoo for us! It made for a long day but it made for such a fun day too. I had to laugh as I looked at my pics from the day and the adventures that made it what it was. Only in this gig could I have such a wide array of challenges, heartaches and triumphs and for each one I am thankful! :)

These pictures had to be added. We tried on our costumes for Grandma today and Eli crawled off to play in his room. I went in to find this. He played in his costume for at least a half an hour. So funny, this one.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Our 2nd Annual NICU Reunion

Dr. Clark (neonatologist) and Jared with the boys

Eli wasn't "feeling" the nostalgia like Mommy was.

Jared exiting the NICU and Me and the Boys next to the NICU graduate sign!

Exiting the NICU with Alex and Eli is always a liberating feeling.

Me and My Puppy

Oops! Did I mention it was a Halloween themed party?

We attended the NICU reunion today. We had such a great time. The boys were more into it this year and loved watching the Magician which kind of surprised me. They also had a life size Elmo dancing and I thought the boys would LOVE that and although they didn't dislike him we are definitely not ready for Sesame Street Live or anything. I was happy to learn this fact for free :) We saw our Neonatologists and NICU nurses which is always so nice. The main thing that I love about visiting the NICU is just the appreciation you feel not only for the people who helped your children but for your children themselves. I am amazed all over again that these 2 lb. creatures turned into little boys with double chins and pot bellies who are all over the place. We always get a little overwhelmed by our emotions while entering and exiting the boy's first home, as we like to call it.

Among others one of the cool things we experienced was that we ran into a Mom who Jared had talked to a couple of days after Alex and Eli's birth. Sandy (one of the nurses) called Jared out of the NICU and introduced him to this woman who had her then one year old with her who was a 27 weeker also. It was so nice to be able to tell her that we were those people she talked to and encouraged and that these were our now 18 month old boys who were doing so well. It was just one of those experiences we like to call a "God thing" (although in reality all things are). He had our paths cross for a reason and we talked and discovered that she too had developed HELLP syndrome. It is just always an encouragement to talk to others who have had similar experiences. Her 3 year old son is doing wonderfully also. The whole day was a success!

Friday, October 17, 2008

You know you need out when...

You know you need out when you notice a character's nail polish on Sesame Street and wonder where you could find it b/c you really love that color. You find yourself singing with great conviction (after the boys are in bed) "Murray had a little lamb". This is not a typo and those who watch the new "hip" Sesame Street know that this is a rap that opens a little skit about Murray and his little lamb and their trips to different schools. Yep it was official Mommy needed out. Jared and I always make an effort to get out together but one of us or more has been sick for quite some time and I realized that I hadn't been without my kids, even to run an errand, in over a month which was for Jared's birthday. YIKES! So I planned a girls night out that involved food, games and lots of laughs. I seriously have the funniest sisters and friends. It was so great and I thoroughly appreciate the fact that Jared worked a long day and then took care of the boys. I don't know what I would do without him. I didn't write a b-day post for him and for that I feel a little guilty so I thought I would throw a little love his way for Sweetest Day (tommorow, I know)! I love you babe and am blessed that you are the devoted man that you are.
All my love, Becky

Monday, October 13, 2008

Little Li-Li's Update

We had our neurosurgery appointment today and I am SO pleased to say that it went really well. This (other than the lung issues, which are par for the preemie course) is our last major health hurdle in this preemie world. We are not discharged yet but won't that be a blessed day? The chief of neurosurgery indicates that he doesn't want to see Eli again until he is 2 and he believes that the fluid issue will be resolved by then, meaning NO SHUNT!!!! I am just so thrilled with this appointment. I headed home from the appointment totally light hearted and feeling great. Alex fell asleep (which usually happens if we are in the car for more than 10 minutes) and I sang along to some Jack Johnson in celebration. I looked back at Eli and he was bobbing his head and humming along with Mommy. It was definitely a moment when I stopped and thanked God for this gift. It is always a humbling experience to go to these appointments because you are in a waiting room with other families whose children have severe disabilities. You almost feel guilty that your children are running around and terrorizing the office because theirs are not and they never have. I know that God gives grace to those who need it in a way that I cannot comprehend but it is, again, truly humbling.

As I mentioned I did let the boys out of their stroller to play. I have never done this in a Dr.'s office, much less in a Dr.'s office when I have them by myself but it wasn't a busy waiting room and I figured it would be a new experience for them. Let's just say I was sweating like I had run a marathon (not that I would actually know what that feels like but just imagine with me). The boys did really well. I was impressed when another child came and tried to play with the toy Alex had because he didn't do his pterodactyl impression or hit anyone. I was starting to feel pretty cocky about my boys and their sweetness until...dum, dum, dum, dum,....they called Eli's name. He wasn't exactly thrilled to be put back into his stroller/prison after tasting sweet freedom. It resulted in a minor "flipper" impersonation and then we were on our way. All in all a good experience. I also like the fact that I feel like I got a decent workout.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Great Weekend!

This has truly been a good weekend. I always dread weekends when Jared works but I then quickly remind myself that part of me being able to stay home involves him working. Isn't it crazy how it works that way? :) Anyways, on Friday I met Kim (Jared's sister) at her house and we let the boys torture, I mean "play with", Dusty their sweet dog and then headed for the park to let them swing. It is absolutely gorgeous right now in Michigan and we thoroughly enjoyed being outside. We then headed to pick Amanda up from school and then all had lunch together, including Andrew, before the boys had to have their nap (which lasted more than 3 hours, Hallelujah!). It was nice to get out and I don't have to worry about kid germs too much because Andrew and Amanda are older and don't put toys in their mouths :)

Yesterday, we went to Colin and Celia's soccer game which was great because AGAIN it was a gorgeous day and we were able to get some fresh air. Although I am careful with the boys I have a theory that outdoor air and other kids is safer than indoor air and kids and their toys, etc. I hope that this theory holds true. It was fun because 1/2 of our church's kids play in this league and we got to all hang out for a bit. Callie (my friend's daughter) and Collin (my nephew) went head to head more than a few times and I must say Collin does have some competition but he did great, as did Callie! I believe when I left that they were the only scorers for each of their teams. The boys had a great time and AGAIN a 3 hour nap followed.

Today I attended church and as I say on here often it was wonderful. I cannot say enough about the fellowship I have there but most importantly I cherish the time that I was able to completely focus on God. The boys stayed home and played with Daddy and then they had grilled cheese and tomato soup for lunch. This facts seems meaningless but it was their first time. Still meaningless, yeah, OK, but it is my blog and I was excited :) They also replaced their bottles with ..... sippy cups! Which is the true triumph. I tried it in the morning and they could not have cared less so I figured let's just do this and we tried it at night with the same success. I guess this means we are done with bottles. I am guessing I could have done it sooner but oh well I am glad it went so smoothly because that was not expected. Now, if the weaning from the binky could go as well I would be thrilled. The boys continue to do this growing up thing on me and don't seem to care whether or not I am o.k. with it. :)

*The first pic is of Aunt Kim with her Eli. Kim would go feed, rock, sing to Eli when Alex came home from the NICU b/c I was unable to go up during the day. I was so grateful to know that someone was holding him for me when I wasn't able to.

**The second pic is Kim's daughter Amanda with Alex. I am sure she would appreciate me saying that this was her school's spirit week and that she typically dresses differently. :) But doesn't she look cute?

Friday, October 10, 2008

Flashback Friday

Alex (Dec. 07/8 months old and Now/almost 18 months old)

Eli (Same month/Same age/completely different child :))
We tried on winter hats last week. This one didn't quite fasten under Eli's chin and allow him to breathe (minor detail, I know) but I am on a mission to find his (that was Alex's) from last year because I think it is bigger. When did my babies get so big??? They are such big boys that I forget sometimes that I have to watch their little hands while we are shopping. It is a regular occurrence right now that we don't realize how long their reach has become. Last night, for instance, we were at our pharmacy which is a little family owned place and I heard a crash. I look at my sweet, Eli boy only to discover that he had pulled a rack of candy over. I quickly crouched down and began to pick up several boxes of candy. Unfortunately, it was not regular old boxed candy it was silly, little, cutesy candy that comes in various sized tubes. Thankfully the employees took over and refused to let me continue to pick up each candy toy and put them in the proper box. The boys just watched us from the stroller as these funny adults "played" with the candy. You gotta love toddlers.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Thank You!

This "thank you" thing is going a bit far. I love that my boys have begun to say this and I am finding it funny to see how they are using this phrase. A couple of days ago in the bathtub, for instance, Alex ripped the tub plugger thing (I'm tired, and yes, I do know there is a real word for that thing. I just don't know what it is right now.) out of Eli's hand and kindly said "thank you" as if this somehow cancelled his grabby behavior. As you may have read in a previous post this is similar to what I do when one of them steals a toy from the other. Tonight, Eli heard the beep, beep, beep of the microwave signaling that his nightime bottle is ready. This would normally throw him into a mini-crying-frenzy because the putting in the vitamin/putting on the lid process is never fast enough for him but tonight he pulled up to the counter and just kept repeating "thank you, thank you, thank you". I guess he thought maybe Mommy would speed things up a bit if he was polite. I hope that they will always use their manners but I am not sure they have grasped yet that it isn't a magic word that gets them anything that they want :)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

What's next?

I think I heard communication between the boys tonight. I was changing Alex when I heard him say "hey, Eli" or something like it and as I was processing what he was saying Eli peaked his head around the corner and said "yeah?". They carry on forever in their rooms after their nap and I wonder what they are saying and laughing at but this was the first time they "dumbed it down" for Mommy. Yesterday they also gave each other a big kiss. We hold them up to each other and say "kiss your bubby" but they usually put their faces up to one another. This was an actual smack on the lips. It was SO precious! I love that I get to be around for this stuff. I truly live a blessed life. I look forward to every day just to see what is next. What could these boys possible throw at me (literally and figuratively)? Here are some of their recent big boy accomplishments. Alex is actually whistling in this picture. Eli and Alex, both push their trucks, cars and buses around. It just looks so grown up doesn't it???

Yay, For ME!

Alex has begun to stand for quite a while. I think he is so close to taking steps unassisted. We are so thrilled. The cutest part is that he thoroughly enjoys clapping for himself when he successfully stands. Eli usually chimes in and claps also. Here are some pics of our proud little boy.

The Apple Orchard

Jared and I LOVE fall! We love fall traditions. We just Absolutely. LOVE. fall. I guess I have made that clear enough. We always watch "You've Got Mail" (for whatever reason this is a "fall" movie for us), go to the apple orchard/pumpkin patch, enjoy the changing colors of the leaves, drink hot apple cider, and the newly added salted caramel hot chocolates (thank you Starbucks) the list goes on. We even love raking the leaves together. All this to say that we took the boys to the apple orchard yesterday. This was their 2nd time going but the first year that they actually enjoyed it. Last year we picked a very windy, busy, weekend day. This year the weather was mild, sunny, and it was pretty
much a perfect visit.

The boys thoroughly enjoyed the petting farm. Alex, who was hesitant to pet anything the last time we took him to a petting farm, got up close to all of the animals. It was shocking. I swear he is full of surprises. They had an ostrich that made me nervous (something about the creepy long neck and the big googly eyes) and the boys were not phased. We enjoyed cider and donuts and bought some pumpkins. I had to corral the boys while Jared purchased these things which was pretty interesting. People have always said to me "wait until they can move and they go 2 different directions". Well this was the moment when I felt that most heavily. I did, however, manage to get them into a gazebo and then block the entrance and exit. See, you just have to be resourceful, people! All in all it was a perfect, fall excursion and I look forward to more. I cannot wait for my sister's annual Halloween Party!

So I am curious....what is your favorite fall tradition? I'm always up for something new to add to our list.

When does this end???

This picture beautifully portrays how we are all feeling lately. I think in our household we've confused summer with flu season so I was hoping that as we closed in on actual flu season we would start to feel better but that is not the case. Despite being sick on and off since July the boys have decided to carry it over into fall. Jared was sick all of last week as were the boys and then I finally got it on Saturday. We are doing breathing treatments around the clock and giving medicines while half asleep due to Alex's crazy outbursts at night. These are not the "usual" outbursts. They've been lasting hours. I am pretty sure he would just like Mommy to rock him to sleep every night and never put him down. I draw the line here though so we have had to let him CIO (cry it out) in between snuggles which has been torture. Last night was our first time sleeping through the night in about a week which of course felt like a month. We weren't even up with them this much at night when they were infants. We tend to thank the NICU, who kindly put our boys on a schedule, for this blessing. They have always been good sleepers so this has been quite an adjustment. As always, I cannot complain about these minor illnesses when I am well aware of the blessing that each of my children's health and development are. I am so thankful for these crazy boys.

Despite how they feel the boys are doing new things constantly and I am hoping to catch up on some posting so that I can have it all documented. We will see whether or not I can pull it off :) Wish me luck!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Flashback Friday 9/07

Almost 5 months old

Ahhh, back when they didn't know how to use their limbs for evil (well, not purposely anyways).

Thursday, October 2, 2008


I utter these words more times a day than I care to recall. The ironic part is that I am pretty sure that my 17 month old sons don't have a clue what it means that is unless they think it means to pull harder and screech more loudly and maybe Mommy will choose you as the blessed one who gets to keep the toy based on your sheer determination and brute strength. They truly are not capable of the whole "last shall be first" mentality and who could blame them. I, on more days than I care to admit, don't get it either. But needless to say, again, this sharing issue fills my days. I have to admit that I understand their frustration. They lay down a toy for .01 seconds and it is no longer theirs for an undisclosed amount of time. I get so tired of wondering "who had it first?" that I often take whatever it is and put it away (so that they can find another toy to go to war over). Recently, I had to laugh at myself when I realized that I yanked a toy from Alex's hand in frustration and said "do NOT grab things out of your brother's hands!" Yeah, kind of like I just did when I grabbed it from you. I since have said "____, please give me the toy back, _____ was playing with it." Amazingly enough it has been working most of the time. Sometimes it isn't entirely effective but once I pry each, individual, chubby, little, finger from the stolen item I say thank you and it is still better than my aforementioned grabbing method. The verse that comes to mind is "Soft speech crushes strong opposition". I found this a couple of months ago when I realized that I didn't want to be a screechy, naggy, Mommy and that my sometimes shrill voice got on my own nerves. It also applied because toddlers are definitely the strongest opposition I have ever had to face.

*I have to add that Alex has begun to say "thank you" which is so sweet and adorable. Maybe there is hope yet :)

Things we refuse to share:

Don't try and come between a boy and his steed! Is a zebra even called a steed? and seriously Fisher Price who rides zebras? I always find myself saying "Go Eli, Ride 'Em Cowboy" and realizing umm...nope, it is still a zebra. (I am kidding, I get the whole imagination thing. I mean it's wearing tennis shoes). Anyways, Eli is extremely possessive of this thing!

The Little People School Bus! I am well aware of the fact that this seems to be a peaceful toy, however, don't be fooled. This causes some serious conflict in our house. I bought a fire engine at the same time but trust me it is inferior. I wish there was some way of knowing these things in advance but you can only live and learn in this crazy parenting world.