Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Backyard Project

We needed to do a little project in the backyard involving lots of dirt and sod.  Justin and Travis were both really excited to help, and who am I to decline assistance?  Randy had extended our retaining wall and we needed to backfill it with dirt and then sod it.  I got the fun job of hauling the dirt because when it comes to outdoor work, I am the braun to Randy's brain.  At least I feel like I am getting a workout!

They truly kept up with me, and as I was slowing down and getting tired, Travis was still matching me shovel for shovel. 

Travis still loves his tractor and he loved getting to use it to move the dirt.  We might have overextended the plastic tongue as it started to bend if Travis wasn't weighing down the tractor!

And then after a hard day's work, you need to stop and have a snack.


And admire the finished product!

Now comes the hard part of keeping it alive!  It was one of our first real family projects and the boys stuck with it.  It didn't take too long to finish and they could help with every part of it.  They especially liked stomping the dirt!

Friday, May 24, 2013

A Big Birthday

So in the midst of everything, I had a big birthday.
Enough said.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Annual Cardiology Visit

Justin went for his cardiology appointment this month.   He hasn't been having any problems so I didn't have any concerns.  I had to take Alaina with me so that was the only thing that made it interesting.  The cardiologist was the last of Justin's doctors to meet Alaina so I was hoping it would go well.  We went to the same satellite facility as last year after I learned how easy it was to get it and out and while it was a little busier than last year, it still wasn't bad.  MUCH better than the main campus!

Justin is an old pro at getting his vitals signs taken.  Weight, height, and blood pressure don't phase him.  But this time they had to do an EKG and he did NOT like all the stickers on his chest.  So the nurse brought him a present.  She gave him a matchbox car which he thought was very cool, so he suffered silently while they finished the test.  But forget about taking the stickers off.  No way, no how.  I just waited for bathtime and used baby oil and that dislodged the remaining offenders.

The it was on to echo.  He knew he was getting to watch a movie because I let him pick out one to bring to the appointment.  That really helped.  He did fine and even Alaina did okay watching the movie.  At least because it was a smaller facility I could step out into the hall and not bother anyone else or be too far from Justin.  Very good arrangement.  I think the echo has to be the longest test Justin has to do regularly.  Even I get impatient for it to be over!  Maybe if I got to pick my movie...

Then we had to wait for the cardiologist.  Alaina was so good.  She crawled up and down the hallway and smiled at all the nurses.  She made lots of friends!  And Justin enjoyed his matchbox car.  It races really well down hospital hallways!

In the end, Justin's heart looks the same as last year.  No real changes.  Still high mild/low moderate regurgitation.  No need for meds or surgery.  We go back in another year for another echo and ekg.  All good!

Friday, May 17, 2013


I know, I know, bad blogger.  I have no excuses.  Please forgive me.  My goal is one blog a night to catch up.  It's going to take a while because there is a lot to report.  Thanks for your patience!
We did a lot of hanging out in Seattle.  I am not sure if I said before, but we went to Seattle to celebrate my sister's baby shower so that was our only big event.  The rest was just rest and play.  Mireille and her family had not met Alaina so everyone did some bonding.  And Alaina was used as a tester to see how Thatcher would do with a baby in preparation for his own little sister's arrival.  He did GREAT!  And he had lots of fun with the cousins.
They did some running.  Okay, LOTS of  running.  Their favorite was deck racing but they also used the tennis count in the back.  I love Thatcher's big time arm pumping going on here! 

Mireille is pushing Justin in a swing and holding Alaina.  Alaina did very well with her Auntie and my arm got a little break.  Aren't they cute!?

There is a nice little secret path through the little woods and we went on lots of missions exploring the area.  Very serious work!

Alaina showed off her new skill of stair climbing.  Scaled them right to the top.  Very proud of herself!

And what trip would be complete without a cousin picture? 

Or some famous Olympic Mountain ice cream?  Our evening ritual included Mr. Jim setting out the flavor array and being our server.  So good! 

Travis and Justin both agree, Olympic Mountain is pretty darm tasty.  Especially when Travis got his favorite flavor, Chocolate Oreo in a gallon and a half to take home with us!

And Justin liked getting not one, but two flavors!

We did take one little trip to the zoo where Travis tried to stalk a peacock and get a feather.  Fortunately for the peacock, he came home empty-handed.

The kids area was loads of fun.  Here's our three little chickadees.  Alaina rode strapped to my chest so no pictures of her.  It was pretty funny seeing all the other kids in their shorts and short sleeves and we were in our jackets.  Very thin blood down in Texas!

The playground was a lot of fun and this bucket spinning seat was a blast.  Just a little push and Travis spun long enough to beg to get off, stumble around, fall down, and ask to go again.  That's what Justin is doing, recovering for another go around!

And this is just one of those "Awww!" pictures:  Justin hugging Thatcher as they check out the tigers.

So the most notable part of the trip was the night.  We stayed with Mireille's in-laws and they have an amazing house.  Our room was huge so we all slept together.  This was the first trip with Justin's CPAP machine and I wasn't sure if I should take it or not.  I ended up taking it and I am glad I did.  My mom stayed with us and she has a Bipap machine so the low hum of them both made for some excellent white noise to aid in sleep.  And boy, did we need whatever help we could get!  Here were the sleeping arrangments:  My mom had the sofa bed, each boy had an air mattress, Alaina had a pack and play, and I alternated sleeping with the boys.  My sister, whose son is an early riser, foolishly bet me that Thatcher would wake up before my kids.  Silly girl!   Alaina had Thatcher beat by almost 2 hours!  And Justin and Travis came in not far behind.  So how early would that be?  Alaina: 3:45 am  Justin: 4 am  Travis: 4:20 am.  Oh yeah, was I exhausted!

So the second night I tried another option.  Alaina needed a little more separation for the rest of us so she moved into her own secret little room.  See where the jackets are hanging?

Voila!   Perfect solution.  Alaina slept SO much better and by the last night I got to sleep until almost 6 am.  Did I mention how much better we all slept?

We had so much fun relaxing and visiting with family.  It's terribly sad that they have to live so far away, but the little visits make it a little easier.  We are hoping for a more extended visit this Christmas with the rest of the family too.  And then there will be 2 more baby girls to enjoy!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

11 Months

My little girl is almost a year old!  And she is developing a personality for sure.  I took her 11-month birthday crown picture but I like this smile better so this is the one you get.  This is her "cheese face".  I think she learned it from her brother.  Whenever I get the camera out, she makes this face!
I found Alaina and Travis playing with legos and when I went to take the picture,

she turned around and gave me this grin!

She likes to be the center of everything, much to Justin's frustration.  "No Lana!" is his favorite phrase for her.  She just flashes him the grin.

Other fun developments:
  • She is standing unsupported but she won't take a step.  She can cruise everywhere she can hold on to something, even little boys legs or heads.  Whatever is closest.  Poor Justin!
  • She can say "mama" and "dada" and her new favorite "uh-oh!"
  • She can go up stairs very quickly.  And she thinks it's funny if you go up after her and try to catch her.  It makes her go even faster.  She hasn't mastered down just yet...
  • Alaina's favorite way to sit is just like her brother's (check out the picture of the two of them playing with legos).  She is a master "w-sitter".  I try to move her leg around front and she just keeps in moving back around to the back.  You see how successful I have been at discouraging Travis from the position.
  • She is eating all kinds of yummy table food.  She likes the soups and casseroles I have mashed and pureed for her.  Apparently not oatmeal though.  She spit it all out.  I guess she is waiting for me to add brown sugar.
  • She slept through the night last night, although this is the exception rather than the rule.  Justin still wakes up so it's not like one or two more wakings really make a big difference.  That's what I keep telling myself anyway...
  • The boys both love her to pieces.  Justin loves telling her she is "so big" and working on getting her arms up high.  He is such a good teacher!  And Travis can make her smile and kick her legs all around with glee.  She adores them both right back.
  • She is exploring the lower portion of her vocal range which has caused quite a few very un-ladylike noises to erupt from the back in her throat.  One might even call them growls.  She thinks it's funny and laughs.
  • She likes playing peek-a-boo with her bib while she's eating.  It was cute the first couple of time, but when her bib gets filled with bits of food that subsequently get dumped on her head, not so cute.  She pretty much needs a bath after every meal.  I found food plastered to her scalp this afternoon.  Kind of gross.
  • She has seven teeth and lots of hair (one might even call it long).  She won't let me put anything in her hair to keep it back, but she spends all day pushing it out of her face.  With her food-covered hands especially.  See what I mean about the bath?
  • She is very attached to her lovey we affectionately call Bear.  (Because it kind of looks like, well, a bear.  We're very creative at our house.)  It goes with Justin's Bee.  She is a thumb-sucker too.  We're already saving for orthodontic care.
  • She is still in her mommy phase.  Desperately, passionately, completely, over-the-top a mommy's girl.  We're coming up on 5 months of only mommy soothing and comforting.  I am going back to work next month.  We could use a few prayers on this one.
I think that's all that's new around here.  Our last big first birthday is coming up quickly!  I had better start planning that soon...

Sweet Rest

When Justin was about two years old he started waking up from his nap before he was truly finished sleeping.  I would sit with him in our recliner and rock.  For a while I got frustrated that I was having to sit and hold him, and why couldn't he just sleep by himself, and I had lots of other things I needed to be doing.  But then I realized that this was the perfect chance for ME to get some much needed rest too.  And I learned that if I pretended to be asleep, Justin would lay his head on my shoulder.  He would pop up a few times and look at me and if I was still "asleep", he would sleep too!  That way he would finish up his nap while I sometimes even got a little nap myself.

And oh, what wonderful sleep!  Justin is such a cuddly, snugly sleeper!  I love sleeping with him.  His sweet little gurgling sounds and thumb-sucking smacks melt my heart.  When I do red-eye trips I look forward to getting to nap with him from start to finish.  He thinks it's a special treat for him, but really it's the other way around.  He cuddles right up to me and gets his head stuck right in the crook of my neck and I think there is no way I could possibly get comfortable enough to fall asleep, and then I get lulled into blissful peace by the rise and fall of whatever body part is within my line of sight and his body heat relaxes me.  I can fall asleep in no time flat!

And the best part?  It still works!  He sometimes wakes up before he's done sleeping and if by some miracle Alaina is asleep too, I can get him back to sleep with some rocking and pretend sleep.  Only now, it's not pretending at all!  I settle down for my own two winks and hope that he gets back to sleep before Alaina stirs.  I love it when the stars align and I get some sweet rest in the middle of the day.  A few Justin cuddles give me the burst of energy to make it through the rest of the day.  Yesterday, I even made it through an half-hour walk pushing two kids in the double stroller while Travis rode his bike.  Sweet rest rocks!