Thursday, January 31, 2008

Don't Give Me Excuses, Give Me Results

Trying to figure out how to embed a YouTube video into my blog. We love Madagascar and it is becoming quite the cult film within our family. Lines like, "That's Shackalackin'" and "Don't Give Me Excuses, Give Me Results!" Which I'd love to put in a powerpoint presentation at work...


Monday, January 28, 2008

Potty Training

I always resigned to myself that since I have boys, they wouldn't want to be potty trained till they were 3. I know this sounds crazy, but the diaper changes aren't really that big of a deal, part of the routine, whatever. Too much going on right now and just easier to put it off and not deal.

I think Cory and Tyler are both ready. But I'm not sure I am! I don't know how to do this!

The story goes like this:

Cory tells me he's having pain while going potty in his diaper. He grabs at his diaper and cries and says, change my diaper. I ask if he wants to sit on the potty and he says yes. We sit, and sit, and sit. He doesn't go, but he wants to. So, I think something might be wrong. We collect some urine* and take it to the Doctor. Perfect, no UTI. Maybe he's ready to use the potty?

Now Tyler is very interested in this process and smiles and giggles and pees in the tub and says, look, I peed in the tub. So now every evening, the boys want to take their clothes off and their diapers and go potty. They've learned how to take off their pants and diapers on their own - not necessarily a good thing! Tyler has been successful several evenings in going pee in the potty. Yea, lots of joyous clapping and good boys!

And now the real hard part. Tyler has always protested naps. Now that he is in a big boy bed, he gets out of bed and creates all sorts of havoc in his room while he's supposed to be sleeping. I've come in to find him completely naked with clean diapers and wipes strewn all over the place. I quietly get him dressed and put him back in bed, but he's managed to be more persistent and patient than me, so has skipped naps the last several days.

Yesterday during nap we let Tyler cry for awhile. He wasn't stopping, so I opened the door to see what was going on. Oh. My. Gosh! Naked boy and Poop all over the place. He had taken off his diaper. Pooped. And then tried to clean himself off. Not good. No nap, plus the commotion got Cory up too. Ugh!

I'm not sure how to deal with this. Guess I need to find a way to keep the diaper on during nap, but doesn't that go away from the potty training idea where they need clothes that are easy to get off? Are they too young to really get it yet?

We bought 2 more potties at my mom's suggestion to put in their rooms, so at least they have a potty to use if they really need to while they're napping. I'm afraid that they may decide that it's more of a toy and tear it all apart, with everything inside, and scatter all over their room. That would be a mess!

So I guess we'll play it by ear. Continue to get them to use the potty as much as possible, but I'm definitely going to do something different at nap time. Maybe I'll have to lay down with Tyler till he goes to sleep...

* This is actually not too hard for a boy. The Dr. gave us a little bag with a hole in it and tape that sticks to him. We stuck it on and he filled the bag. The hard part was getting it off...

Friday, January 25, 2008

Morning Conversation

Tyler, "I have a truck on my pajamas."

Cory, "You have a truck on your pajamas."

Tyler, "You have a truck on your pajamas."

Cory, "No, I don't have a truck on my pajamas. I have a fox on my pajamas."

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Be Remarkable

A co-worker of mine, an intern, that is finishing up her semester at CSU, chatted with me briefly about her capstone course she's taking. The professor is inspiring and she's very excited about it. One thing she shared with me is that he talks about being remarkable, not perfect. Don't focus on the memorization, the tests, the studying. Figure out what you want to get out of it, and be remarkable.

Yea, be remarkable. I like it.

I Want to, I Will...

I read this post about whymommy going into surgery today to fight her inflammatory breast cancer. I can't stop thinking about her and I don't even know her. I haven't even really kept up with her blog, although I do recall reading some of it awhile ago. I love the internet and this blogging phenomenon. People's stories are so inspiring. And there are so many good writers out there! (me, not so much, sorry)

So, this is what I want...
I want to be a better friend
I want to be a better daughter
I want to be a better wife
I want to be a better mom
I want to be a better writer so I can write inspiring stories and meet more inspiring women
I want to be a better blogger and commenter
I want to delurk on more sites that I read so often, but don't have the nerve to comment

Who would have thought that the internet could do so much? Thank you internet, thank you friends, thank you.

Monday, January 21, 2008

The Stock Show

We had the day off work today, Monday, MLK day. Ever since I can remember when I was a kid, I went to the National Western Stock Show with my 4-H group and then with family or friends. I have such fond memories of walking around seeing all the trade show exhibits, animals, cowboys, horse shows, etc. One of my dreams, other than owning a horse property, is to show my horse at the stock show. I'm hoping one day I can do that.

I've also been wanting to take the boys to the Stock Show ever since they were born. They've just been too little until now, at 27 months, I thought that this would be the year to start. Amber is still a little too young. She would have missed her morning nap and had to sit in her car seat the whole time. I didn't think she'd have that much fun, so we took her to daycare and headed down to Denver on a 13 degree, snowy day. I'm so glad we did.

We saw goats, llamas, pigs, and ducks at the petting zoo. We saw a bunch of tractors and I wasn't sure who had more fun sitting on them, Dad, or the boys. We saw a big (no, huge) longhorn bull that had rings in its nose and kids were sitting on to get their picture. We had a yummy barbecue lunch. And then we saw the horses.

It was a quick trip, but I hope a trip that inspires 4-H and FFA in our kids. Next year Amber will get to go. I can't wait.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Um, a Clarification, or an Addition

After re-reading my previous post, I felt that, wow, that sounds trite, selfish, etc. Even though I'm the only one reading my blog, my attempt at brevity made me sound um, selfish. Especially after I read one of my favorite bloggers' post about her real estate challenges. So, I need to add something to my below post to help frame things a bit more. Which was what I had intended to do since starting this blog in November last year.

The only way we've been able to pull off our 'investment' is becuase my parents, wonderful grandparents, have retired and moved into the existing house on our property. Not only that, they are helping us greatly financially by providing day care for our kids 3 days a week. And I agreed to go back to work full time instead of part time and I agreed to go back to work 2 months earlier than originally planned. And, we decided that we needed to diversify our retirement investments out of our company's stock. (Both Miles and I work at the same company) into a more varied portfolio. But now we're almost all into real estate, so hmmm, maybe not 100% sound.

But, it does fulfill my lifelong dream of living on my own horse property so that I can have a horse (or two?) on my own property.

So, there will be a lot more posts about the 'farm' and our process of building a new house this year. And know that I am grateful every day for us to be able to fulfill this dream.


One Step Closer

Last year was a crazy year. We closed on a 7 acre property with the intent to build a new house the day before Amber was born. I had to sign a power of attorney for Miles in case I wasn't going to be there for the signing. I think Amber wanted that property as much as I did. Visions of horses and 4-H and space and close to work and retirement and not working, etc.

We knew it would be a lot of work and we knew that it would take some time. The property is in the county, but borders the city. In order to build a house, we would have to sub-divide. In order to sub-divide, we would have to annex. This whole process could take months to a year. During the time we were working on our annexation, our land attorney pointed out that there was a glitch on the original sub-division that would prevent us from building our dream house. No big deal, but added several more months to our ordeal.

So yesterday, the city had the public hearing where our project was brought forth to the community. There were several neighbors that came to hear what our plans were and to ask a few questions. Turns out they were more interested to hear what the city had planned for this area. It is in a really hot growth area for the city and people don't want to see those horse properties go. I don't blame them and I'm hoping that our project will set a precedent and the development that happens on these few precious lots stays urban estate with horses. Time will tell.

In the meantime, we've passed our annexation hurdle and we're on to the sub-division. We have a lot of work to do and we have to find a builder, but it feels like we're now actually making some progress.

Maybe we'll be in our new house by Christmas. (maybe...)

Monday, January 14, 2008

The Trip to ND

I know it's now mid-January, but I've been wanting to recount the debacle that was our trip to ND for Christmas. The day after Christmas, precisely. I should have had an hour by hour update of the whole thing while it was unfolding, but I'll try to describe it in as few words as possible now. But let me first say how proud I was of the boys. They were, for the most part, perfectly behaved and utterly amazing! Let me also say that we paid a LOT of money for our seats. We bought tickets for the boys. We decided to go anyway because we really want the boys to know their paternal grandparents as much as possible. We are not sure how much longer we will get to see them.

Airport - BIG airport (DIA) with 2 two-year olds and a baby. Our flight was scheduled to leave at 12:40PM, so we planned to get to the airport by 10:30AM, plenty of time to get through the airport with good weather and no flight delays (contrasted to the year before when there was 3 feet of snow on the ground). We were flying a very small airline, so knew there would be no line at the ticket counter where we were checking 8 pieces of luggage. We parked at an outlying parking lot and took the shuttle with our 8 pieces (oh wait, make that 6 pieces) of check-in and 4 carry-ons. (The boys each had their own backpacks with some toys, water bottles (empty, of course until we got past security), and their DeeDees). We get all our stuff off the shuttle bus, make our way to the ticket counter, when all of a sudden (deer in headlights look), I realized that we had forgotten the boys CAR SEATS!!! We only have a car on the other end and a small airport that we know won't have car seats for rent. These boys are 2 - they need their car seats! So, we drop off all our stuff and Miles heads back to the car (30 mins. of shuttle riding) to get the car seats.

Meanwhile the boys, Amber and I all hang out in a big corner and make the most of it. This is one of those times I was smiling and so happy that the boys understood their boundaries - they must stay on the carpeted area. They were great!

Miles gets back about 25 minutes later (he hit the shuttle's perfectly) with the 2 car seats. Now we have 8 pieces of luggage to check. We make it through security after filling about 10 buckets of stuff, from all of our shoes, to the Baby Bjorn (which I never used) to Amber's infant seat to backpacks, etc. etc.

We walked to concourse A (in Denver you can walk over a walkway to get to A gates, or you can take the train, we opted for the walk). Once at our gate, we checked in to get our seat assignments. Sorry Thorlands, we have no seats for you and this is our last flight out for the day. No other airline goes to Williston, ND. Oh, and by the way, all your bags AND CAR SEATS are on the plane that just left to Williston. You are stuck here with no clothes, no extra infant formula, no diapers and you must STAY THE NIGHT in DENVER! What!!! ok, after the shock wore off and we realized what was happening to us, we were able to let the airline hand us our fate. One night at the Double Tree, 4 dinner coupons and 4 vouchers for $300 each off our next flight. Oh, and a guarantee on the first flight out the next day.

We gather our belongings, 3 kids with no naps and head back up to the shuttle stop area for our ride to the hotel. A little lighter since all we have are our carry-ons. Once checked in, Miles had to leave and make a one mile walk to the nearest Wal-Mart to get formula and diapers while I try to get them to take a quick nap. Ha, yea right. No naps for this weary crew. So when Miles gets back we have some play time with our McDonald's Bionacles and then head down to dinner.

Dinner was probably the worst part of it all. The boys were loud, messy, squirmy, typical 2 year olds. It seemed like an eternity before our food arrived. Once the food came, they were pretty well behaved and sat down to eat. Interesting that the airline gave us $10 each for dinner, but the cheapest thing on the menu was spaghetti for $14. After we finished eating, the kids had enough, so I headed up to the room with them and Miles stayed behind to pay.

Not much to do in a hotel room with 3 kids, no clothes (or swimming suits), so we decided since no one had any naps that we would try to get everyone to bed early. We got Amber ready and then put her down in her crib. We then all went into the bathroom to get the boys a bath. We thought this would be a good way to pass some time. After baths, everyone hopped into bed. Amber woke up, would not go back to sleep, so I brought her into bed with me. Cory and Tyler were not going to sleep in the bed with Daddy, so I brought Cory into bed with me as well. I never sleep well with the kids in bed with me - I'm so afraid of hurting the baby, or of someone falling off. But, we did manage to get some sleep.

Next morning we got up, headed down to Starbucks to get coffee and a danish, and quickly got our stuff ready for the shuttle ride to the airport. Oh, and now it is snowing. Hard. We get to the airport and check-in and the ticket agent says, 'We don't have seats confirmed for you'. What!? ok, I'm about to lose it. I told them they had better get us on that flight. We have 2 toddlers and a baby and have been trying to leave for 24 hours now! You don't have seats?! Well, you better find them, quick! I don't care what you have to do to get them.

I'm not sure what happened, but that lady was on the phone with the people down at the gate and they miraculously found us 4 seats. Ugh. Meanwhile, the boys had pulled out all of the brochures from a little stand selling their frequent flyer program.

We went through the security hassle again (10 buckets of stuff) and this time took the train to our gate. We got to the gate and realized how hard it really is snowing and were told that they weren't sure when/if this flight was actually going to take off. I walked Amber around in the stroller to try to get her to sleep while Miles chased the boys up and down the concourse. Luckily everyone had pretty good senses of humor and we got a lot of winks, smiles and sympathetic looks from other travellers that were also waiting for flights to leave. We sat in the airport for 3 extra hours and finally were told that we could board the plane. Hooray, progress!

We got on the plane, taxied down the runway, got de-iced and off we went. The flight itself was uneventful. Boys were pretty good and Amber slept a little bit. Once we got to Williston we had a wonderful welcoming committee by Miles sister, niece and nephew. His sister let us borrow her mini-van for the 45 minute drive down to his parent's house in his tiny home town in Western North Dakota.

As we started on our drive down, the traveling had taken its toll on everyone. Tyler and Amber fell asleep and Cory sat there with his fingers in his mouth saying, "go home", "go home". Tears welled up in my eyes because I knew how he felt and knew that we were going on to even newer and stranger things.

Once we got there, everyone perked up and had a wonderful time. It was a great trip and everyone did very well. There wasn't much napping, but they slept ok and had fun with everyone while we were there. I'm glad we got the chance to see everyone and hope we're able to do it again. We've got discounted tickets after all.

Friday, January 11, 2008

A Lefty?

I've been noticing lately that Cory uses his left hand to eat. I really haven't paid much attention to this in the past and I'm not sure when kids establish their dominate hand, but I find it interesting. I'm not even sure if he uses his left hand for drawing or for other things, but I'm going to start paying more attention.

I remember growing up that being a lefty was not a good thing. At least that's what I was told. That they had to have special scissors to cut things and they couldn't fit into society as well. I know that is a bunch of cr**, but I wonder if there truly is discimination out there based on which hand we use?

Anyway, I think lefty's are more right brained, right? More creative than analytical. I know he is very bright and has a huge vocabulary that started very early. He amazes me at the sentences he can put together, like "Can I have some of mommy's bagel with peanut butter on it?"

What a doll. I can't describe how much I love each of these kids. They melt my heart.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Sleep Update

We haven't gotten that much sleep this week, but each night seems to get better. I keep thinking about all the blogs I've read where moms and dads talk about sleep and the lack of it with babies and toddlers in the house. I'm certainly not alone in this! There are some really good posts about sleep from other bloggers. Mimi, The New Girl, Bub and Pie, and another one I just can't find right now.

Tyler now doesn't complain about the fox in his room, thank goodness, but he still won't go to sleep without one of us laying down with him. When he was in his crib, I usually let him cry for a bit and then he would eventually fall asleep. How I loved the hour or so after everyone was in bed. I could actually have some alone time to do whatever I wanted! Now this laying down with Tyler stuff cuts into that time and I don't like it!

Monday night was rough. Amber wasn't feeling well, so for the first time in her entire 6 month life, she cried a lot of the night. I couldn't seem to console her. So, since Tyler needed someone to lay down with him, Miles kept him occupied and I did what I could for Amber. She finally went to sleep at midnight. Woke up at 3, I gave her a bottle and then she proceeded to cry. (She usually goes right back to sleep if I give her a bottle in the night.) I gave her some Motrin in case she was teething or that her stuffy nose was causing an ear ache or some other ache. But she still cried. I eventually turned off the monitor and fell asleep. I'm not sure how long she cried. I don't like that either!

Tuesday morning at least was a little later than usual. Tyler came into our room to get us up about 6:30. Amber and Cory still slept. And Cory - bless that little guy. He is our sleeper. He never complains, he goes right to bed and lays there quietly until he falls asleep. He wakes up late and sometimes I even have to get him up so that we can get dressed and eat before I have to leave. I feel bad that I don't talk about him as much because he is such a great sleeper! I've got other topics for him, though!

Amber slept much better the last few nights. I think she was just coming down with a cold and was uncomfortable Monday night. She's back to her normal routine of waking up only once a night. Once she gets feeling better, I plan to start weaning her off that middle of the night feeding, but for now, once a night is doable.

So, back to Tyler. How do I get him to stay in his bed? I've tried not saying anything to him and just keep putting him back in his bed. I'm not sure how long it would go on, but he just keeps getting up. I tried threatening putting him back in his crib (which is still set up in his room), and then following through. But, he just climbs right out of his crib now. I've tried laying on the floor next to his bed with the intent of getting a little further away each night, but he still complains and will come down and sleep on the floor with me. The only thing that seems to work right now is laying down with him.

Our next steps: We're going to try putting the gate up at his door, hopefully he won't try to climb over it or pull it down. If that doesn't work, we are planning to turn the lock around on his door and lock him in. Does this sound horrible?

Anyway, we've got to get through this because I want my one hour back!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Daddy Missed the Fox

In September when Miles' family came down to visit and meet baby Amber, the boys saw a fox running through the neighborhood. These fox live with us in our neighborhood. They roam around at night and find whatever they can to eat, I suppose. We have our fierce guard dogs, so the fox don't come into our yard, but they roam through others. They make their dens in the drainage pipes behind Sam's club and along the irrigation ditches that cris-cross through our neighborhoods. They stick to themselves, mostly, and we only catch glimpses of them in the evenings.

That particular evening, we were in the front yard with the boys. Miles was capturing pictures of the sunset. The boys suddenly exclaimed, 'It's a fox!' Diane and I looked and sure enough, a fox went running through a neighbors yard and disappeared into their back yard probably towards the ditch that runs back there. Miles missed it and the boys thought it was fun to tease Daddy about missing the fox. Ever since then one of them would say 'Daddy missed the fox!' Especially when Cory wears his pajamas with a fox on them.

The discussion about the fox was always in fun and in jest. We have a lot of animals (real, stuffed and plastic) around our house and are all animal lovers. Never in my wildest imagination would I think that this fox would be a scary thing.

Ever since we returned from our trip to ND for Christmas, Tyler has had a difficult time going to sleep. He will fuss and hyperventilate and cry and hang on to me for dear life. He says, 'there's a fox mommy!' I'm not quite sure what to do about this. Is the fox scaring him? I don't want to deny that it's there - what I've read is that they have wonderful imaginations and it just may be there for him. So, I asked him where. He pointed to a piece of furniture in his room, so I took it out. He'll eventually go to sleep if we're there with him, but he is truly afraid of something.

Part of me wonders if he's using this as a tactic that will bring out his desired reaction from me. One night I brought him into bed with us and he slept there. One night Miles took the mattress out of his crib and he slept on the floor all night. After that night, we thought maybe he'd do better with his big boy bed. So, we took the top bunk off the bed in Cory's room and moved his bed into his room. He still complained about the fox. And in fact, the piece of furniture that I had moved out of his room, I put in Cory's room. As we were getting ready for bed, Tyler pointed at the table in Cory's room and said, 'that's a fox, mommy!'

I'm hoping this is just a phase, but I don't want to create any habits that we've tried so hard not to create. One of them is the kids sleeping in our bed. We've been pretty strict about that and I really think we all sleep better because of it.

It really breaks my heart, though, to hear him terrified in his room alone. I can't just let him cry it out. So, last night Miles went in and fell asleep with him. It was late. Then, this morning, he woke up early (5 AM) and was very upset. He calmed down, but he was very hard to handle this morning. I could tell that he was very tired. We had to get them all ready for daycare, so it was a hectic morning.

I'm just not sure what to do. I want to comfort him, I want him to feel safe, but I want him to sleep in his own room. I guess my approach to this one will be to continue to comfort him, help him get to sleep each night and hope that this is just a phase.

Boy, I'm tired today.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

6 Months

Amber had her 6 month appointment this week. She is doing great and I can't believe how fast she's growing.

Height: 27 1/2 inches (95%)
Weight: 18 lbs. 9 oz. (90%)
Head: 17 1/4" (80%)

At the boy's 6 month appointment (4/21/06):

Height: 28" (85%)
Weight: 18 lbs. 10.5 oz. (70%)
Head: 18" (90%)

Height: 26 3/4" (60%)
Weight: 17 lbs. 9 oz. (50%)
Head: 17 1/2" (60%)

So far Amber has tracked right in between them. It will be interesting to watch as they grow.

Amber also had her immunizations the Dr. recommends at her 6 month appointment and also got her flu shot. I've recently read a bunch of statistics from people that say getting vaccinations are very bad for your children's health. I know my children have not had any adverse reactions to any of their vaccinations except for a minor fever from the flu vaccine. We just have the technology and information to prevent very deadly diseases. So I guess the question is what is the likelihood of your child getting sick from a disease that is preventable vs. the likelihood of your child getting sick from the vaccinations. A good topic to learn more about for sure. I still need to do some research, but have decided at this point that I think we have a social responsibility to immunize our children.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

New Year's Resolutions

Yes, I'm actually going to write a post about my 2008 New Year Resolutions. After all, this is a journal for me that I hope to be able to refer to as the kids get older so that I can look back at these years and be able to remember when things happened.

I also have never really officially made new year resolutions. I've always had them in the back of my mind, but never written them down or had a goal to actually meet them. They're usually the same every year anyway. So, this year, I'm going to write them down and then on December 31, I'll see if (or when) I actually achieved them.
  1. Get in shape - use that new spin bike I got from Miles for Christmas
  2. Be nicer to Miles (I need to help care for our marriage)
  3. Cook more variety / healthy dinners
  4. Get and keep the house organized (this is going to come in handy when we actually have to put our house on the market!)

A few things that I'd like to do this year, but won't actually be changing my habits are:

  1. Keep my journal (blog) current and fresh
  2. Box up toys to give to a charity
  3. Box up maternity clothes to give to a charity
  4. Box up kids clothes to give to charity
  5. Complete the kids' 1 year memory books (I'm woefully behind!)
  6. Complete are city process and make all the decisions about the new house

Happy 2008!!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year

We had a wonderful break and are now, I think, ready for a new year. We still have lots of stuff to clean up after the holidays, but I'm feeling pretty well. I've got lots of blog material, that's for sure, I just don't know where to start:
  1. New Years Resolutions
  2. Best Christmas Ever
  3. Backhoes!!
  4. Sledding
  5. Eating soup
  6. Travel Nightmare
  7. Backpacks
  8. Kids being wonderfully cooperative in the airport
  9. No sippy lids!
  10. Naptime nightmares
  11. Sleep nightmares
  12. Sleep triumphs
  13. The sock
  14. How much we've changed in just a week

I'm sure I'm missing some of the best ones that I've thought of over the last week, but that's a good start.

Oh and Happy New Year - 2008 will be a year to remember, I'm sure.