Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Zoo

We went to the zoo today with our playgroup. It was Justin's first trip to the zoo. He did much better than Travis on his first trip to the zoo. Travis slept the entire time and we didn't get any pictures of him at all!

Justin rode in the double stroller, but he quickly tired of that so he convinced Mrs Euphrony to hold him.

And then he moved on to Miss Kelsey.

And then he convinced mommy to abandon the double stroller and just use the snugglie. That was a winner. He waved every limb and shouted gleefully at everyone. It's his way of being safe (with mommy) and free (to move at will) at the same time.

We started with the sea lion show,
and then we visited the giraffes, elephants,
and a few sundry primates. It apparently was napping day at the zoo, so most of the animals were asleep. Not very exciting, and Travis was ready to move on to the next animal quickly. Then the kids got hungry and after a few attempts at feeding while traveling, we stopped and let the kids run and eat. (Okay, eat and then run.) Justin did fabulously eating his food, given all the distractions. And he is getting better with his cup drinking. He still spills, and since I had to hold him to eat, I looked like I had a potty accident by the time he "finished" his water. But it helped clean off the outline of the sucker on the leg of my shorts (it was 80 degrees today!) from Travis.

On the way out we passed the zebras, and then we left. I asked Travis about the animals he had seen and he was excited to tell me about the elephants and lions, but after that the most exciting thing was the diggers and cement mixers we saw at the entrance before we even entered. Figures.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Cardiology Visit

We returned to the cardiologist today for another check up. It's been so long, I bet you forgot we even went to the doctor anymore didn't you??! The visit was great! The chest x-ray shows his heart looks just the same as before, normal sized. She only hears a minor murmur, nothing too worrisome. And she was very impressed with his scar. It's been almost 6 months (can you believe it?) and the scar is fading quickly. I slathered it with vitamin E oil every morning and night for a long time and apparently it worked! We are released for another 6 months, and in one year she will do another echo to see how the mitral valve is doing (the one with only one muscle).

Both boys did great considering it was Monday at the doctor's office. We took some pez candies for Travis to have after Justin saw the doctor and all morning he asked when he could have it. I told him if he asked one more time when he could eat it, I would eat one of the candies for each time he asked. That quieted him for a bit until he asked again and I said that now I was going to eat one of his candies. He got a shocked smile on his face and he asked just to HOLD the container until it was time to eat them. I said no (I'm not stupid!) but he said that he just wanted to give me my candy. Kind of took the sting out of the punishment, don't you think? Anyway, once we did give him the container, he ate them all in about 10 seconds flat. And then he wanted more. So that's what we heard about all the way home. Until we stopped at McDonald's and he got his Happy Meal with caramel dipping sauce which he proceeded to use to dip his chicken nuggets, and then lick empty. I think my son likes sweets...I think he takes after his mama...

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Big Game Hunter

Randy set the trap again while we were gone and he caught an armadillo. That is what we have been trying to catch, so yeah for him! I thought he would take a break, but he decided to set it again, and the first night he set it after freeing the armadillo, he caught ANOTHER armadillo! Travis LOVES IT! Seriously, I think he should hire out. That trap was one good purchase!

Sunday, February 15, 2009


I was in the shower and Travis asked Randy if he could vacuum with the big vacuum (as opposed to the dust buster). Randy said no, that it was too big for him. But then he added that when he got big enough for the big vacuum, mommy would probably be too old for the big vacuum and she would only be able to use the little vacuum.


Where Have We Been??

The short answer is Wisconsin. If you want the long answer, keep reading...

We headed up to the frigid Midwest last Sunday, after a fun surprise party for Mrs. TD on Saturday. Working for the airlines allows free flying privileges, but it requires travel where and when seats are available. So we left early Sunday and went to Newark and then on to Madison. It was Justin's very first flight, and also I realized, the first time he has left the city of Houston! Wow!

In Newark airport

We made the trek for two reasons. First, I was wanting to see my grandmother, who I haven't seen since Justin's birth. And second, my father is selling the house where we grew up and I needed to get some of the things that all kids leave at their parents' house until they are forced to do something with them. So, we combined the trip and headed to WI in February. Randy went to WI one Christmas and said that he has done the winter thing and he refuses to return during winter. So thankfully my mother offered to make the trip, and I am SO glad she did! I traveled with Travis often by myself. We had quite the system, but I knew I couldn't do that with Justin. Justin needed constant attention on the flight; he either slept or fussed the entire way. (It was about 50/50!) And Travis kept my mother busy too. My shirt looked like a kleenex by the time we made it to Madison. A very snotty, messy kleenex.

It was a very busy week: Monday I spent packing and organizing what to move since the movers were coming that night. Oh yes, NIGHT! Between 8 and 10 pm. I cannot believe that is when they wanted to come, but at least I got it all done that day.

It was a very difficult day. I suppose it has to be hard no matter how old you are when you say good-bye to the house in which you spend most of your formative years. We grew up in a two-flat near the UW-Madison. Saturdays during football season we could hear the roar of the crowds at Camp Randall, and we often made friends with the college students who lived on the floor below us and we still keep in touch with one of those friends. We had a swimming pool in the backyard and we had many family gatherings during the summer around and in the pool. My parents divorced recently and no family has lived in the house for several years. It has fallen in massive disrepair. The pool hasn't been uncovered during the summers, the top floor where we lived was filled with items left behind, and a thick layer of dust covers everything. My mom wanted me to take Travis to see the place where I grew up, but it's not that place anymore. It's the shell, but there is nothing of our family left. Now, that is truly the case. The garage is empty, the cellar is bare, and the memories are fading. That chapter in my life is officially closed.

When the truck door closed and I drove away that night, huge tears rolled down my cheeks. I struggled to understand why. It's been so long since we were that family, and even longer since we lived there, but the ties were still there. It's only a house, and my home is here now, with my husband and children. Remembering that helped the tears dry a bit, but I still mourned.

The rest of the time was spent visiting family. Most of my extended family, including my grandmother, live in WI so we made the rounds. Here is my cousin Jeff's children. No one is looking at the camera, but I love Justin's pose!

And then we spent the day with my grandmother. I LOVE visiting her because I love her and I love every bit of wisdom she has to share. She is one of the wisest, most godly women I know. It's also hard because every time I have to say good-bye I know it may be the last time I see her this side of heaven. I pray each time that I could have just one more visit, but I know there will be a time when the answer is no.

Whenever we visit, we stop by the Brandon meat market and the Rippin Good Cookie Factory. This was the first time I took Travis to the cookie factory, where they sell extra cookies at a discount. The very best part is the samples. They have a box of every type of cookie open for tasting. And not little pieces, the WHOLE COOKIE! Travis was like a kid in a cookie store, well, okay, he WAS a kid in a cookie store! He probably had at least part of a dozen cookies. He ran here and there and asked if he could have one of this and that. And he loved that I said yes. After a while, I think it was more just to hold them in his hand, knowing he could eat one if he wanted. We ate mint cookies, oatmeal cookies, marshmallow cookies, fudge striped cookies, carousel cookies, sandwich cookies, and a few more. He didn't eat much dinner that night....

I forgot to take the camera to the cookie store, but here's his chocolaty grin after we returned.

Then we visited with Nana Sharon and Daddy Jack. They babysat for me when I was a baby, and they also have taken in several hundred newborn babies as foster parents. They are like family, and they love me and my kids a whole bunch. It's great to see them.

And the last family stop was at my cousin Kim's. My aunt and uncle were there, and my cousin Kurt too. I am so glad that we were able to see them all in one stop, since it was our last night. Kayla is their oldest daughter, who is in the wheelchair. Travis was fascinated with all of the medical equipment in her room, and he asked all kinds of questions. When we left he said that he missed Kayla and that he wanted to go back and play with her. He wanted to know when she could run and chase him. I told him not until heaven and he said that he was excited about that and he really wanted to play with Kayla in heaven. It was very touching. And we saw Kurt and his wife, Mary, who is expecting a baby in July! They don't know what they are having, but Travis said the baby is pink, so who knows?

Here's a few other pictures from WI:

We have been giving Justin these veggie sticks to practice chewing and he hasn't really wanted to hold them very much, so this was the first time he really wanted to hold one. I tried to get the picture, and he let go, so instead it looks like we let our baby smoke!

And Travis wanted to hold Justin for a picture. He has a thing about bellies!

And this is Justin in his "jacket". My mom bought this reindeer outfit for him to wear, so we had to try it on at least. It even says, "I love mommy!"

We were ready to come home. The boys didn't sleep very well. Travis kept seeing things that made him scared, so he came into my bed sometime every night, and each night it was earlier and earlier. And Justin woke up a lot too. So the last night, by about 3 am, Travis was in my bed and I was on the couch holding Justin who was sleeping fitfully on my chest. I, of course, didn't sleep any after that.

And on the way home, I called Randy and he said that the movers were on their way over that night (again, in the dark!) to drop off our things. So by the time we got home, everything was here! Quite the surprise! Whew, I am glad the week is over!

Monday, February 2, 2009

More Plumbing Issues

So our plumbing woes continued through the weekend and into Monday when I flooded the back hall, twice. Randy put 25 feet of snake in and got nothing so we had to call in the pros. They put in 60 feet and got us cleared out. I am SO glad! Plus, I have the cleanest back hall EVER! Just try to find dirt under my washing machine!

Big T is Three!

Are all mothers as sappy as I am when it comes to their children's birthdays?

Anyway, today Travis turned three. I did not celebrate the hour of his birth as sleep is precious and there was no way I was setting my alarm to get Travis up at 12:37 am when he was born. I guess it's good he's a boy and he will probably never care that much. Here is my very favorite picture from Travis' birth:

I just love how he is looking up at me. He still looks at me all goofy. And he loves to snuggle. I could share the glorious story of his birth, but really it was just a lot of pain followed by total amnesia. He was born at the same birth center as Justin. It was great, although I do not recommend back labor to anyone.

We went to the doctor today and Travis is up to 3 feet tall and weighs in at 30 pounds. Pretty easy to remember! He did NOT like seeing the doctor, but he was fine by the time we finished. He got a sucker after all!

In his honor, here are some things I love about Travis:

  • His willingness to try new things

  • His excitement in the morning for the new day

  • That he loves to snuggle. He woke up to go potty a few minutes before time to get up, and he said, "Let's snuggle, mommy! Let's snuggle!" And he loves snuggling with Justin, sometimes to be confused with smothering.

  • How much he LOVES his brother. They both have rocking horses and Travis loves to ride with Justin, each on their own horse. When Justin has had enough, and I take him off his horse, Travis says, "Awww, but I weally want to ride with Justin...."

  • How polite he is. Or tries to be. He usually says excuse me, but he doesn't always wait to be excused.

  • How friendly he is. He OFTEN asks strangers what their names are, and then offers his name and that he is three. He even invited a woman at Wal-mart to have lunch with us a few weeks ago. Thankfully she was busy...

  • His total lack of concern with fashion. Maybe it's a boy thing, but I am glad that he doesn't much care what he wears.

  • His inquisitive nature. Yes, he's that age and all, but he really does want to know. And I will tell him as far as my knowledge allows.

  • His singing. He sings all day, because I do I suppose. But he sings all Bible songs, and he does it at random times, in random places, for random audiences. I think that is one of my very favorite things.

  • His compliance. Really I do not have to worry about him getting into trouble when I take a shower or leave the room. He hasn't colored on the walls with permanent marker, or broken anything beyond repair. Yet.

  • His creativity

  • His energy. He is three after all...

  • That he wants to play with me and looks up to me and be with me all the time. I don't even want to be with me that much!

  • His outgoing nature. He's a big ham!
Forest Gump sure had it right, you never know what you're going to get. Isn't that great?!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Birthday Bash

So yesterday we had Travis' big three year birthday bash. His birthday is tomorrow, but we went ahead and planned an early celebration. We have been hyping it ALL week and he was nearly bursting with excitement and anticipation. We practiced duck, duck, goose, we picked out a cake, and ordered balloons. And he received a Lightning McQueen light-up shirt as a present earlier in the week, so it was the perfect birthday attire.

Really, the pictures don't tell the real story because about 20 minutes before the party as I am making the salad for dinner, the water softener started to regenerate and water started filling the sink at an alarming rate so I had to abandon my salad and start bailing water. I bailed until Randy and the various guests who had started arriving figured out how to make it stop. Of course, making it stop didn't fix the underlying problem, only the urgent flooding. So the guys headed off to buy a snake and drain declogger as we started playing games. I am so grateful for handy men! We weren't certain what water we could use and what we couldn't, but we knew at least the kitchen sink was off limits. So we washed hands with baby wipes and started the kids eating. We did get things settled enough to enjoy the party, and Randy is working on the sink some more. We're still not cleared, but there's hope!

Travis had a great time and received some wonderful gifts.

A guitar

A Leap Pad computer

And one of the best parts for Travis is ALWAYS the cake. Chocolate, of course!

I like to think of an event as a success if the purpose is fulfilled. Did we celebrate Travis' birthday? We did, and as a bonus he got presents and played games and ate yummy cake. And mom and dad had some adult conversation and a pleasant evening too. Yeah! It's ALL GOOD!