Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Dear God,

Thank you for the beautiful rainbow that stretched across our sky this morning. It was so fun to have Max run outside and look in awe and wonder. It was a great way to start my day!



Monday, August 30, 2010

After our stressful week we were so happy to leave for the lake house that I think we left skid marks in our driveway! We had a really great time.

We spent most of our time outdoors. It was windy, but that just kept the temperature at a really comfortable level so we're not complaining too much. Max got to fish a lot, which he was happy about.

Both kids were just wiped by nap time from being outdoors. Rory fell asleep while eating lunch on Saturday and would have again on Sunday had we not known to watch for the signs that time!

Grandma was not able to join us, but the kids sure had a fun time loving on their Bopa! (Something tells me he had just as much fun as they did.)

On our way home we stopped in Cumberland for their Rutabaga Festival and had Louie's brats and I got my favorite - a gyro! Here are the kids at Louie's Finer Meats.

Max and I both really wanted to go on a ride. Max was really intrigued by the dragons and he was big enough to ride with me so away we went. He did really great and we both giggled as we spinned it to go faster and faster!

Let's hope our carefree weekend leads to a less stressful week!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Don't you wish you had an awesome red, bejazzeled, Jonas Brother's bracelet to wear everyday?!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Sunday I was fortunate enough to get to spend time with both of my sisters as they came over to hang out with Dusty and I. OK, maybe they wanted to hang out with the kids too. Tara came over when the kids woke up from their naps and since it was a beautiful afternoon I decided I wanted to take Tara for a tractor ride. Yup, you read that right. I drove with Tara and the kids in the back. I'm such a great hostess!

The kids had fun riding around and Tara got a kick at how incredibly ridiculous the whole thing is. Andrea stopped over while we prepared dinner. We discussed getting some hay to put in it the trailer for Rory's 1st birthday party so that we could give "hay rides". I'm not sure how Dusty feels about that idea.

I'm guessing you are all curious as to how Max is doing, and I don't blame you, it's been a pretty stressful week over here. Max did not bite at daycare on Tuesday or Wednesday. Unfortunately he did bring his biting issue home on Tuesday and bit the neighbor girl. After the initial upset I realized that the incident was a blessing in disguise; now that Max has brought the problem home and it is no longer just a daycare issue, I get to take control!

So we bought Max a biting bracelet (it's a Red bedazzled thing - so pretty for my little boy - HA!) and I informed daycare what our plan will be. Yes, I like being in control. I also like that I get to focus on the individual (my son) as opposed to waiting to hear how the small group focus is going. Although that too appears to be working as he hasn't bit in the last 2 days which is a huge jump from the 10 times between Thursday, Friday and Monday. (Yes, I found out Monday about all those incidents when we should have been informed at the end of each day - so we had no idea things were so bad and so fast.) So we'll continue to work on the problem and hope that he will outgrow it soon. I know this cute little boy will figure it out!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I'm really sorry, I'm not greedy, I realize I already bother my family and friends once a year to raise money for MS as this is a cause that is near and dear to me for reasons that have been disclosed before. I have decided to continue to raise money for this cause while also starting a team to raise money for The National Ataxia Foundation.

Dusty and I have donated privately to this organization for many years as Ataxia is a disease that greatly affects his family. It is something I've always been passionate about and have even sent letters or emails on occasion asking others to donate.

This month I received an email from them letting me know that they have decided to start a first ever walk here in Minnesota. It's also a "virtual" walk for others around the world to join in. Needless to say, a family team had to be started, and since I have experience with fundraising and getting a team organized I decided to take the lead.

So, I will be raising money for MS in the spring, and raising money for Ataxia in the fall. That is just the way it is going to have to be. I've never once been upset if someone doesn't donate to me, I realize we all have our causes that are near and dear to us, but I'd love it if you could help me out! My goal is $50 this year, so even $5 will go far.

What do you say? Will you help me out? Click here to go to my page:

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

It has been an interesting 24 hours. We've had 7 conversations with either Max's teacher or the administrator at the daycare, Max was sent home for a "cool off" period, and we've got a whole new plan in place to start the rest of the week off with.

We ended up taking Max home at lunch time for the rest of the day to give him a cool off period, and the administrator and his teacher had a meeting to get a plan into place. Their plan isn't focused on Max, it is focused on the classroom, as it is now obvious his teacher has lost control of the room. While he is definitely the lead "biter" there are other children biting (he was also bit yesterday) and there are certain children that seem to be getting bit more as they seem to be instigating problems. (No, I'm not blaming these children, they shouldn't be getting bit, but it helps to know there are certain children involved for it makes it easier to focus on a solution.)

I know I've mentioned this before, but I love that they have cameras in the classrooms! The administrator was able to go back and look at all the issues from yesterday and was able to confirm that Max was not just running across the room and biting a child for the heck of it, as we were described that morning, but that there was an issue that did occur before his biting incident happened.

At this point I'm still a little shell shocked as we had no idea the problem had escalated, and so fast, but I'm happy that we are now having an open conversation as we try to sort out all the "what-ifs" that are involved. In the last 3 weeks Max has gone from a classroom of 5 children and 1 adult to a classroom of 16 children and two adults. He has moved 3 different classrooms also during those 3 weeks as they did a remodel and restructuring of the rooms to accommodate additional children. His room size should shrink down at the start of school (Sept. 1) but it sounds like a good majority of the children that are involved in these incidents were all in the same boat and were bounced around in the last month, so hopefully their focus on the room will help out a lot.

To wrap up this post, I'd like to focus on something good. My goddaughter, Lyla, turned 2 last week and we celebrated her big milestone with a party of course! Here she is getting help from Mom and Dad and blowing out her birthday candle. Isn't she adorable?!

In the last 24 hours my world has been rocked and my trust has been shaken but I can honestly say that it has already made me a better Mom and a stronger advocate for my children. So while this situation sucks and I'd like it to be over with, I'm grateful that I can grow from the situation. It also helps to have so many friends and family reach out and offer their support and advice; along with a few laughs! Thank you!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Jean posted this video of Max and her boys running and falling all over each other from when they visited us from Atlanta. It was too funny not to share. (Grandma is helping Rory play the piano in the background.)

Friday evening when Dusty picked up the kids the teacher that was in Max's room mentioned that they had materials for Max's biting but that she isn't the regular teacher and doesn't know where they are so we'll have to get them on Monday. Dusty was even more confused because there were no "incident reports" in his bin which is what we get whenever Max bites - so he didn't even bite that day.

So today when I dropped the kids off I talked to Max's teacher and asked for the paperwork and if she could explain to me what exactly is going on because we didn't get any good information. Now I realize it is Monday morning and no one is functioning at 100% but seriously? I was so disappointed in that conversation. She didn't even have a plan as to what they will be doing! Apparently the owner gave her the materials to pass on to me (general information - obviously they don't know me and all the research I've already done) and they wanted to inform me that since there has been 6 incidents they now need to work on the issue.

Oh? And also? The kids are old enough for them to start telling the parents which kids were involved in an incident if parents are complaining. Now I don't know if there are parents complaining, I mean that wasn't at all explained well, but I honestly don't care about that part as I'd also be complaining if Max was getting bit a lot. I don't like that it was mentioned because I don't know if it was supposed to be information to make me feel bad, if it was a threat, or just because she wanted me to know. I mean, we've been trying to get them to work on his biting since he was just over a year old - two other classrooms ago - so it isn't like I'm not aware there is an issue!

The worst part of this all is that the last time Max bit according to our paperwork, was last Tuesday. So that means it took them a week to even get any paperwork to me and on top of that they don't even have a firm plan in place to help curb Max's biting issue. I'd understand if they were like, "We're going to try this and if it doesn't work we're going to try that" but instead I got, "Well this teacher suggested this and I don't know, maybe."

Yes, I've already sent an email to the administrator asking for a parent teacher conference; we need to discuss the issue and work out a legitimate plan to use both at home and daycare. Also, please don't think I'm trying to blame them for Max's issue because I'm not. I'm aware of it. I'm happy that daycare has finally stated there is a problem and will work with us to try to curb this. I'm just frustrated at how unorganized it has been for them to try something as this isn't a new issue and I can't imagine he is the first child to bite in the 6 years they've been open.

I feel I should also explain this to protect Max from sounding like a real bully. He bites on average 1-2 times a week, so he isn't using his teeth every time he gets frustrated. His teacher also pointed out that when he bites they usually become aware of the incident because both children are crying - Max usually is crying harder then the child that was bit. So he knows what he is doing is wrong and we both believe that he just loses control and then becomes aware of it after the fact. So I honestly believe that once we have a plan in place it will help him for those times he loses his cool. I just wish they would have had that plan in place before letting us know they were finally going to do something.

The joys of parenting!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Rory has recently discovered how much fun playing with her food can be! Every day, I pick her up from daycare she is in a new outfit as they've had to change her after lunch. Every evening, we have to put her in the tub to wash up because she is covered in food!

Oh and those curls? Yeah, she has recently discovered how much fun it is to play with her hair while she eats leading to scenes like this:

My baby girl was supposed to be the easy one, Max had paved my way into motherhood and taught me all the tricks of the trade, or so I'd hoped. Rory is teaching me things Max can't teach. Max gets the most emotional, and cries the hardest, when he is scared or really hurt. Rory lets out the most heart wrenching cry when you hurt her feelings, because emotions are far more important to my little girl then they are to my little man. She also has learned how to do that horrible shriek, the one that sounds like she has just been greeted by the grim reaper. She uses it ALL THE TIME, especially when her brother will attempt to scream right along with her. And seriously? It is an impressive scream! We keep trying to ignore it in hopes she'll stop before giving some random person a heart attack from the panic it induces! Of course, the more we ignore it the more she does it to attract our attention. She has us figured out pretty well already!

These are just some of the things my baby girl is teaching me. My baby girl that is 11 months old today! This will be her last month picture as she will be 1 year old in a month. Yes, it is an emotional time for me, especially since we believe this will be our last child. I'm sure I'll have more on that when her birthday draws nearer. Happy 11 month birthday baby girl! You make us so, so proud!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

My mom had given me little mother/child charms with each of my kids' birthstones after they were born. I had always wanted to make a family necklace that was unique instead of just hanging the charms on a chain. After numerous drawings and a couple meetings with our family jeweler I finally received my necklace!

The heart has both mine and Dusty's birthstones with a diamond in between that I see as a symbol of our relationship. From the heart hangs the charms my mom had given to me with Max on top and Rory underneath. It is so incredibly pretty and the chain is dainty looking yet strong enough to handle tugs from Max or Rory.

You want one too now, don't you?!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

While the children were at the lake with my mom and grandma, Dusty and I were home celebrating Denise and Jordy's wedding! We had a great time with friends and family; with lots of good food, good drinks, and great stories to be told.

Best day of their lives!

I am biased, but one of the best couples around!

My goddaughter was just radiant in gold! (Randy doesn't look to shabby either...)

All us ladies, waiting for our delicious food.

I also had the privilege of snapping a bunch of pictures of Katie, Andrew and Lyla outside in hopes they are able to use one for their holiday picture. Instead of showing off my handiwork and possibly spoiling their photo surprise, I'll show off the photos of Lyla pitching a fit because she wanted to be back inside where the party was! hehe

Oh to be young (ha!) and able to have my wedding again. Thankfully, there are many more siblings we can marry off between our families and have more parties to come! Who's next in line?!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Thanks to my husband we have quite the bounty this year. Look at my triple decker BLT sandwich with a veggie salad side!

Or get jealous of my beautiful hydrangea bouquet I brought to work, picked right out of my backyard!

Great pictures to start a Monday with!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Rory is featured on BCatThread.com's blog! Check it out:
I have some funny stories to share for Friday, 3 of which will have pictures, one will not for obvious reasons when you get there. (Isn't that such a great lead-in?)

The other day, Rory was playing with her food and kept attempting to put her food on her foot instead of in her mouth. Dusty found this hilarious and demanded I get the camera. Sure enough, as I'm pulling it out of the case she actually does balance a piece of food on her foot, take her hand away, look at it, then grab it and put it in her mouth! I, on the other hand, scrambled to get a picture of the food and was only fast enough to get a picture of her taking it off her foot. So you'll just have to imagine the rest of the action while looking at this!

Max came home yesterday from daycare with some interesting face paint. I don't know the story behind it, since Dusty picked up Max and didn't ask, but I was super excited to see that he had purple of all colors! Maybe this means he will share this as his favorite color with his Mama?

At dinner, Max kept insisting he was all done after just a couple bites. In order to emphasize this he kept attempting to take his bib off. Well the bib is a bit small for him and he couldn't get it over his head. He did, however, manage to get it stuck on his forehead. It was so funny because it was slowly moving back down and pushing his skin into his eyes and Max thought this was hilarious because Mama and Daddy were laughing. Of course I got a picture!

Lastly, and the funniest story even without a picture, Dusty and I are not in agreement on what to call baby powder. I have always referred to it as butt powder. Dusty also called it this and it wasn't a big deal. Max has grown to love putting his butt powder on at night as we let him hold the container and shake it (with our help). But then Dusty suddenly decided to start calling it nut powder. You'd have to ask him why, I still don't agree. He of course thinks it is funny when he can get Max to say "nut powder" instead of "butt powder" although it doesn't usually happen unless encouraged by his father and only at bedtime when we actually put it on. Well the other week, I'm sitting in the bathroom with Max waiting for him to go big boy potty and he suddenly lifts up his privates and points right at his testicles and says "Nuts" "Nuts Mama!"

Now how in the heck did he correlate nut powder to pointing at his nuts?! And is that what we're going to call them, nuts?! I stifled my laugh while also reeling in my shock, calmly reassured him that yes, those were his nuts and then walked out of the bathroom and explained to Dusty that Max now knows what his nuts are. We both erupted into giggles. We are so mature!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

So it's Thursday and we're on to my final post about last weekend. No wonder I am still feeling exhausted! (Although all the heat and humidity probably doesn't help.)

Sunday morning, we got up, ate our breakfast, and then loaded up and headed out to the Washington County Fair! I was so excited to take the kids to see all the animals, eat all the fried food, and even attempt a few rides. Then I attempted to take a picture. Instead I saw an error telling me that I did not have a memory card. NO!!!!!! I honestly thought about crying for a moment there. I ended up having to use my camera phone instead.

Here's Rory's hand as she had just touched the cow's wet nose, causing the cow to step back!

Daddy and Max pretending to go for a ride.

Obviously my camera phone does not take as nice of pictures as my camera does so I was really disappointed. Then Ashley called and said she was going to meet us and that she'd bring her camera! I was so happy I actually jumped a bit while talking to her. (We've already established I'm weird, right?) Look at the much higher quality in these photos!

Max was very proud of his balloon and did a great job of hanging on to it, until we saw the ponies, and then it magically floated up into the air!

Rory got extremely hot and her head became drenched in sweat. We made her natural curls poof out for fun and Ashley fed her a freezy to help keep her cool. Ashley saves the day again!

Daddy took the kids in to pet the baby calf. It slept the whole time that Max and Rory tugged and pulled on it!

Dusty and I were able to take the kids down the big slide; not only once, but twice! We had a blast and the kids seemed to enjoy it too as Max was trying to go back for a third ride. It was noon though and after being at the fair for a few hours, and having the heat and humidity really crank up that last hour, we knew it was time to go.

After the fair we headed to Grammy and Dido's to celebrate Ed's birthday with the family. I didn't get much for pictures as I was busy either helping or entertaining small children, but I was able to get a picture of Oliver and Rory's feet next to each other. He is three months younger yet his feet are larger then Rory's! (Also, note her adorable paint job by yours truly!)

If you can't tell by all my posts, we really did have a great weekend with our families! Better yet? The kids are headed up to the lake this weekend with Grandma and GG! Dusty and I? We'll be in bed - sleeping!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Back to last weekend, on Saturday Dusty and I went out to dinner with a group of people to celebrate Randy's birthday. (Thank you Anna for coming over and watching the kids!) We went to Osaka's in Roseville and had a really great time.

We had a round of Sake waterfalls starting with the birthday boy,

there were lots of fires for our enjoyment,

and Randy had to wear a silly mask while they played a Happy Birthday song.

It was really hot but everyone had a good time and the food was great! We snuck in a couple more drinks at a nearby microbrewery and then called it a night. It's nice to get away for an evening, even if it is only for a few hours!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Because yesterday was so awesome, we're going to skip our weekend recap today and instead look at cute pictures from yesterday. Yes, I realize this throws my whole order off but being the author of this blog with no editor, I get to do as I like. (Power is wonderful!)

First off, I was so incredibly excited to see a package in the mail when I got home from my cousin Brooke at BCatThreads.com. That means the dress had arrived! What dress you ask? The super awesome purple dress I ordered for Rory's 1st birthday pictures! Check out how adorable she looks. I can't wait until our professional shots next month, she is going to shine.

Then after dinner (yes, the dress was removed and put somewhere safe) Dusty and Max got busy making the bird houses we brought home from the county fair, and let me tell you, that was a sight to see. Dusty did let Max attempt to hammer the nails by himself but then they ended up having Dusty hammer while Max held on to the hammer. It was really funny!

Since Max and Dusty did all the building, Rory and I painted! We only painted one of the houses as that was a big enough mess for me to call it quits after one, but I had fun helping Rory finger paint and trying to prevent her from eating the paint or pulling on the newspaper below. She's got a little while before she truly understands the whole painting concept!

After our baths the kids snuggled up with Daddy and watched Ernie and the gang sing "Do De Duckie with Ernie" (Which I'm linking to because it's Max's favorite and I think you'll like it!) while Mom cleaned up. Thankfully I was able to get this picture, it's definitely one of my new favorites!

It was a fun evening with the kids but Daddy and I were really excited once they went to bed; we were exhausted! Thankfully it should be pretty relaxed week.

Monday, August 9, 2010

The last few days have been crazy. Instead of trying to cram it all into one blog post I'm going to space it out. (Plus, I have many pictures on Ashley's camera since I used her's after forgetting my SD Card...but more on that later.)

Friday evening Dusty, the kids and I all headed over to my parent's place to hang out. The kids were excited to see Bopa and Grandma while I was excitedly waiting to see my second cousin Jean and her boys! You may remember me linking to her before, but she lives in Atlanta and her and I have become close thanks to all the blogging we both do about our families! (You can find her at TypicalSuburbanFamily.com.)

She was in town for a little over a week, spending most of her time in central Wisconsin with her mom but she made her way back to the cities Friday to hang out with friends until her flight back home on Monday. So we planned to see each other Friday evening. Things didn't go quite as planned as traffic was terrible for Jean's drive, but we all finally met up and had a fun time catching up while the boys ran in circles in the family room with Rory crawling right through them!

They were even pooped enough by the end of the evening to sit still for a photo op!

Aren't the kids just adorable? (Left to Right: Max (2), Rory (10 mos), Ryan (3.5), and Owen (2 this week)) Maybe we'll make a trip to Atlanta to see them sometime!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Two funny pictures to share today. Last night we had cousin Lyla and her family over for dinner. The kids all took a bath together and this is how Max and Lyla greeted us when they got out - in froggy towels!

This morning Rory was busy eating her food and then we hear that familiar grunting sound. Max is quick to report, "Rory poo poo!" We look over to see that not only was Rory making her "poo poo" but that she was pushing and grunting so hard that her eyes started to water!

And this my friends, is why I sometimes leave the house crying. How do you not laugh so hard you cry when you live such a luxurious life like this?!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

It is so interesting to see what a difference there is between Max and Rory's sleep habits. We did sleep training with both of them, and it worked great both times as they each go to sleep with little to no fuss every night. Of course we've tweaked it as necessary but it works so I'm happy!

Once Max was sleep trained, he was relatively easy to put down at night. We got our routine down, and once it was over we'd lay him in bed and he'd just lay there and go to sleep. Sometimes he takes books or toys to bed but he sets them next to his head and we're pretty sure he just lays there until he falls asleep. Usually the most noise we hear from him is when he's banging his feet against his mattress. We know he does this both awake and asleep so we never know for sure which state he is in, but it's relatively quiet and we let him do what he has to do.

If he wakes up in the middle of the night he usually will cry or whimper and he'll continue that until he falls back asleep. It never lasts more then a couple minutes and if it does we'll go to him then as we know something is wrong. Otherwise we are usually peacefully back to sleep shortly after he woke us up.

Rory is still on sleep training mode in the effect that she's under one and hasn't been weened off the bottle so we'll have to work out a new routine in a few months. When the bottle is finished at night Rory will squirm and cry as you carry her to the crib. Once you lay her down she will roll to her side and be quiet and still. It's as if she is mad at you for not getting her to her crib fast enough! A few minutes after we leave we will hear her "talking". She will do this anywhere from a couple minutes to over a half an hour. But like Max, it works for her so we let her "talk" herself to sleep.

The problem is that if Rory wakes up in the middle of the night, she has to "talk" herself back to sleep, and she usually does this for quite a long time as she is a much lighter sleeper then Max is and tends to become fully awake. Being that we have the baby monitor, we are stuck listening to her one way conversations until she falls back asleep. (She does cry when something is wrong so we at least know the difference between an issue or just waking up as opposed to Max's sleep habits.)

Last night was especially horrendous as she has developed a cough, thanks to her cold wrapping up, and woke herself up numerous times all night long. I spent a good part of the evening/morning guessing as to what she could possibly be saying to herself in the middle of the night. I can only hope that it was something along the lines of "Gosh I love my mommy so much, I'm going to let her sleep lots and lots this weekend!"

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Maya stopped over last night for 5 minutes and I was finally able to get a couple pictures of her and the kids!

Like I said she loves to lick Rory!

And there was some wrestling...

Also, Randy would dangle the kids in front of Maya and she would jump at them. So not a safe game to play but both kids and the puppy loved it so I sat back and held my breath quietly.

It's so nice having Maya nearby as we can get in our puppy cuddles without having to take on the responsibility of dog ownership. Doggie babysitters works just fine for me!