"I went to the woods because I wanted to live deliberately. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life;
to put to rout all that was not life and not when I had come to die, discover that I had not lived." ~Henry David Thoreau

Friday, October 28, 2011

Pumpkin Carving 2011

12 pumpkins sit on our porch. The five biggest are now carved, and I think we'll stop there. We had a fun night carving pumpkins while watching game seven of the World Series. Sadly, our Texas Rangers didn't come through. All that aside, it was a good night. By the way, a drywall saw is the perfect thing to carve pumpkins with. Cuts like butter!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Chudda & Moo Check-Ups

Lauren and Devin had their annual check-ups last week. It's nice that their birthdays (like Ethan and Hailey's) fall three weeks apart, so we can double up on appointments like this. Both of them received the flu vaccine, and poor Devin got two more shots in his legs. Lauren is still tiny and petite for her age, which I'm sure she will love when she is an adult. Devin is more in the middle, and the doctor discovered that his ear tubes have fallen out! It's completely normal for them to fall out when they outgrow them, but I was hoping I would have found them because that's the kind of thing I like to save. Gross, I know. Both kids were given a perfect bill of health which always makes me grateful. Here are their stats:

Lauren at 4 years old:
Weight- 30.2 lbs = 10%
Height- 38.5 inches = 21%
BMI- 14.3 = 18%

Devin at 2 years old:
Weight- 26.6 lbs = 32%
Height- 34.5 inches = 61%
BMI- 15.7 = 24%

Monday, October 24, 2011

Garrett's Surgery

2011 will go down in history as the year of the surgeries. We have averaged every other month this year being in the hospital with someone going under the knife. On October 24th, it was little Garrett's turn.

The day after he was born, they took him to be circumcised. The ped brought him back only a few minutes later and said that they couldn't finish the job because they found him to have a condition called "Hypospadias". It's when in utero, the urethral opening doesn't fuse all the way and it leaves what seems to be TWO holes. This may not sound like a big deal, but apparently the ability to pee standing up is a huge thing for a guy. You don't want to be at the urinal in a public restroom and hit the guy standing next to you with a surprise. Sorry buddy, I shot you with a little something there.

They normally do surgery for the at about six months old...and no sooner. They often times need to the foreskin to repair the problem, this the reason they could not circumcise him at birth. Back in June we saw a pediatric urologist who came highly recommended from some friends of ours. Mike Taylor happens to be a urology resident at the U and his own son had this same condition. so we saw Patrick Cartwright and he was certain he could fix the problem when Garrett was six months old.

The day came, and like always, I was a nervous wreck at the thought of my baby being put under anesthesia. Actually, on this particular day I was more nervous about his surgery starting so late in the day and poor Baby G being sooooooo hungry! But he handled it like a champ. Dr. Anderton was his anesthesiologist and he was wonderful. He was an older guy who had grown children and he was so good to Garrett. When I saw him carry my little baby off through the big white doors, cradled in his arms, I was overcome with emotion, but more so grateful that he was in such good care.

An hour later, Dr. Cartwright came in to say everything went great. By this time it was 3:15 in the afternoon and I knew Garrett would be so hungry when he woke up. I was finally able to go see him in recovery and he was hysterical. The nurses couldn't pass him off to me fast enough because they could do nothing to console him. His poor face was beat red and tear stained. I sat down in the rocking chair to feed him and he was like a vulture, very ready to eat. He ate and ate and ate!!

When we got home he slept for most of the day and well into the night. But at midnight he woke up hungry and he then realized that his manhood had been tampered with and he was very angry!! He cried a lot during the night every time he wet his diaper, because it burned so much. We didn't get a lot of sleep those first two nights, but by day three he was doing much better. I feel we made the right decision in doing this surgery and I am very thankful for the doctors and staff at our wonderful hospital who take such a personal interest in each of our babies!

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Pumpkin Patch

The kids have been out of school for two days because of UEA. Today we took advantage of the gorgeous weather and the day off and headed out to the Pumpkin Patch. As we were pulling out of the driveway, Lauren asked "Is Dad meeting us there?" Nope, not this time. We sure missed him this trip!

The sky was completely clear...maybe a little TOO clear (if there is such a thing). Made for a lot of squinty eyes. The temp was right below 70, and after pushing the carts around everyone was complaining of thirst. It never occured to me to bring water, but I made a mental note to bring it next time! Devin kept running away as usual, and Lauren was being quite the pill. I suppose she was acting just like any four year old princess should. We had a very fun time and we now have thirteen pumpkins on our porch! Not all from this trip, but I think five of them are. We love Halloween!

Parental Revenge

My parents sent Devin a birthday package and after taking the presents out, the remainder of the box was stuffed with packing peanuts. Stupid me left the open box in the front room. This is what happened in ten minutes while I nursed the baby upstairs. This junk has serious static cling and is now covering every surface in the area. I had to bathe the kids twice to only get most of it off. Let me tell you it does not come out of hair! Thank goodness for the shop vac. I sweat they sent his presents packed in peanuts as some sort of twisted revenge!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Girl Scout Investiture

Two years ago, when Hailey was three and a half, I started thinking about Girl Scouts. I remembered back to my days as a Scout and I have so many wonderful memories of that time in my life. I began looking into local troops and I found none. Absolutely none, at least not for very young girls. I knew Hailey would be elidgible to start Girl Scouts when she entered kindergarten, and I started finding out how to form a troop from the ground up. Little did I know at the time what would come of that small idea from way back then.

I am very fortunate that my friend and neighbor, Anabel, was very eager to help me with the endeavor. She had no experience with Girl Scouts, but she was interested and wanted that opportunity for her daughter. So was very willing to volunteer as my co-leader and I am so grateful for her! We originally set out to have maybe seven or eight girls in our troop, and we have ended up with fifteen! We actually had to start turning people away at a certain point because our troop was filled to the brim.

We have been meeting regularly since the school year began and what a fun adventure this has been. Tonight we had our first official program where the girls got "invested" into Girl Scouts and made a pledge with the Girl Scout Promise. We had a wonderful turnout from the girls' friends and families, and I am very thankful to Cody and the other parents who helped tonight. We couldn't have done it without them! We tried to make tonight very personal for each girl, and we displayed pictures of each of them in full uniform with a bio about them. We also had several troop group shots displayed as well.

I hope Hailey has a good time in Girl Scouts. From what she says and how she acts, I think she is having a blast. I think that EVERY girl should have this opprotunity available to her, and I hope that when Lauren enters kindergarten in two years that another mom will have stepped up and started a troop for girls her age. She wants so badly to be in our troop, so I call her an "honorary Scout" and let her sit in on the activities. I have a feeling that Anabel and I have started something. Maybe we're trailblazers and have started a Girl Scout movement within our community! I would love to see several more troops form in the next few years!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Lessons in Prayer

To say that Devin's energy level gives us a run for our money is a huge understatement. He is into everything and anything and I'm always worried he is going to get hurt...or worse. Today he did something that would have caused a major challenge for our family, but the Lord showed His goodness and taught us a lesson in the meantime.

To make a very long story short, Devin lost our last and only set of keys to the van. This is a huge deal because it would cost a ton of money to get a new set made from scratch. Everything involved in doing that was way beyond our budget right now and it would be a financial mess. Might sound trivial to some people...after all they are just keys. But Cody and I have already lost the other two sets and this one remaining set we guard with our lives. So of course Baby Badness stole them and hid them somewhere.

When I discovered what he had done, I panicked. And then panic turned to fear and I started crying- a lot. I tried to get him to show me where they were, but he thought it was a game. Reasoning with a barely two year old who doesn't talk a whole lot is like chasing a drunk cat. This went on for over and hour and I tore this house apart looking. What I feared most was facing Cody, who already thinks I'm spacey about keeping track of my things. He would be furious and think it was my fault; I was sure of it. (Now looking back, I doubt he would have reacted that way when he saw how upset I was.)

Lauren and Hailey were home, but Hailey had been in bed all day with a high fever. I tried to get Lauren to help me look, but she wasn't much more help than Devin. Ethan came home from school and instead of my cheerful greeting, I was in tears and told him what had happened. Lauren realized how serious is was when I said "If I can't find the van keys, you can't go to school anymore to see Sam!" (The story of the infamous Sam needs an entry of it's own.) Lauren started to cry and she began to really help me look. But still, the keys were nowhere. Not in a toy box, a laundry basket, a trashcan, a toilet...none of Devin's typical hiding places.

Finally I decided we needed to pray. I gathered Ethan and Hailey by me and I said a very fervent prayer. Yes, I prayed over lost keys with all my heart. I prayed that either we would find them on our own or that Devin would lead us to where they were. Lauren and I were both crying pretty hard and Ethan was just worried because I was so upset.

Almost immediately upon ending the prayer, I had a feeling to get up and go back into our bedroom. Both Garrett and Hailey were sleeping in there and I hated to disturb them, so I told Lauren to wait out in the hall while I checked one more time. I went in and looked one more time on the closet floor and surrounding area and was about to leave the room when I had a feeling to look inside the playpen where Garrett was sleeping. I had already looked in there, but since he was sleeping I didn't look closely. Then I saw something shiny catch my eye.

There they were.

The keys, I'm guessing, had been dropped over the side and slid down between the pad and the playpen wall. Not visible unless you looked closely, which I had not done before. I came back out into the hall and quietly shut the door behind me. I had a huge smile on my face and jingled them and Lauren started screaming with joy. "Now you can take me to school tomorrow!!"

Again we gathered on the couch to say a prayer of gratitude to Heavenly Father. Lauren insisted on saying it and her prayers touch me like no other. Such sweetness, such sincerity. Yes, even over something as trivial as lost keys. When she finished, Ethan asked if he could say a prayer too because he was so happy. Gosh, my heart melted into a big puddle.

I have been terrible about saying my personal prayers lately, but this was a great reminder that my Father in Heaven is aware of me and my every need. He knows me and whatever is important to me, is important to Him as well. I'm grateful that my children were able to be part of this and see first hand how Heavenly Father answers prayers, even about simple things. I am very thankful for this experience today and I hope to not soon forget it.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Half Birthday and Solids

Six months? SIX MONTHS?! Where have these last six months gone? I am baffled that the first half our our last baby's first year is over. Did you catch all that? On General Conference Sunday I was sitting there feeding my precious guy and it occured to me that exactly six months before on General Conference weekend in April, my water broke and Garrett was born in the wee hours on Sunday morning. And here I sat, nursing my smiley and oh so delicious boy who is growing further and further away from being my tiny baby who loves to snuggle with me.

Two momentous occasions took place. First being, the ceremonial half birthday cupcake. Yes it's kind of silly, but we have celebrated each of our babies' first half birthdays. At that age they don't know what to think of the hulabaloo. The flame of the candle holds their interest for a few seconds and then they start to look around. No grabbing for the cake or anything like it. Just wonder. And we always give them a tiny taste of the treat set before them. This time it was a Hostess chocolate cupcake and he tasted a very small piece of icing. Nope, not a fan...yet. He made a horrible grimace and tried to spit ot back out.

And with the half birthday comes the first solid food. Garrett's appetite is very ready for more than just milk, but he still greatly prefers milk to anything else. And he greatly prefers mommy's skin in his mouth to anything else. I must say that it fills me with pride when my babies want me and only me. I love that I am the only one who can make them happy and give them what they need. He had mushed up fresh banana as his first meal, but in reality that meal consisted of only a few spoonfuls of the stuff. He seemed to like it okay, but wasn't sure what to do with it once it hit his tongue. Mighty strange texture compared to what normally goes in there. But we'll keep trying. He's got a lifetime ahead of him to eat real food, so for now we are in no rush to get him there...yet.