Wednesday, September 29, 2010

No Training Wheels!!

Elias made a huge step in development this afternoon at Gigi and Bobpop's house. He is officially riding his bike without training wheels! The begging began about two months ago to get out the wrench and take off the safety net. We raised the wheels around June and then again in August. He has been practicing riding down the sidewalk without either training wheel "making noise" for the past month. Finally today my dad decided it was time and off he went! He didn't struggle and was zooming up and down the hill for about 20 minutes.

video

We kept warming Elias to SLOW DOWN and not ride like a kamikaze. He didn't listen and the result wasn't pretty. Rounding a corner, he clipped a patch of grass and spun out. I heard his skin scrape across the sidewalk from my parent's front porch. Once I reached him he was crying and bloody. Carson walked his bike back to the house for him and I carried the soon to be band-aid boy.

Once he was bandaged up and had sufficient hug time, he was back on the bike and zooming down the hill again. Lesson NOT learned but boys will be boys and Elias is ALL boy!


Sunday, September 05, 2010

National Museum of the United States Air Force


Al's parents were up for Labor Day weekend and instead of sitting around the house and twiddling our thumbs, we decided to pack up the cars and head off on an adventure. The National Air Force Museum was within driving distance and as an added bonus is free so it won first prize on our trip list. We all had an amazing time learning out the history of our U.S. Air Force. The boys couldn't believe how big the planes were and even were able to experience a flight simulator. There was a model airplane air show on the base during our visit and those plane were fantastic! Carson and Elias loved when the models flipped and zoomed past our heads just like real fighter jets. Ohio also blessed us with the perfect early fall day for our excursion.

Great family. Perfect weather. Free admission. History. Learning. Who could ask for more?!




Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Give me a K!



Elias began kindergarten this morning after a long week of waiting. Every morning during the past seven days, Elias woke up, ran to our bedroom,and asked if it was his turn to go to school yet. The official day finally arrived and he couldn't have been more excited. After deliberating over three different outfits he settled on a pair of jean shorts and a green polo shirt. Since green is his favorite color Elias decided it would be easier for his teacher to remember if he wore it the first day.



Breakfast consisted of mango juice and wild blueberry oatmeal in addition to his usual gummy vitamins. With his hair properly moused and his teeth brushed we headed out to the front porch to take the obligatory first day of school pictures. After countless cheesy grins and a few squabbles between the boys it was time for Carson's driver to pick him up and Elias and I to walk to school. We stopped two doors down to pick up one of his good buddies who we are fortunate enough to have in his class.





The two boys enjoyed walking to their first day of "big kid school" together and walked hand in hand into the elementary school by themselves. I thought I would be sad to see our teeny baby growing up and heading off to kindergarten but Elias is enthralled with school and incredibly ready for the year ahead. I can't wait to see the explosion of learning that will take place in the next nine months. Kindergarten is so much fun!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

We're going to the

ZOO, zoo, zoo! Today was a gorgeous late August day in Ohio. The sky was perfectly blue and it was only in the mid 80s. Al and I both were off from work so we packed up the boys and headed to the zoo. It seemed like most of our neighbors decided it was a great day for visiting animals too. The zoo was packed!


Carson and Elias wanted to head straight to the aquarium to see the manatees, stingrays, and sharks. They even were able to touch a few various sea animals with the help of zoo staff.




Next up was the reptile house. The boys both pet a snake right off the back. We carefully observed all of the pythons, vipers, rattlesnakes, and gila monsters before heading back out into the sun.



The primate area was calling our name so we walked down the path to the sounds of monkeys and gibbons. One of the large silver back gorillas was putting on a show. We were able to watch a few of the baby monkeys and see two red river hogs. Elias thought it was awesome that the monkeys had a playground with monkey bars! That is until he saw there was monkey poo all over the slide. Then he kept calling them dirty little monkeys.


Carson was tired at this point so we headed towards the car. Thankfully our zoo membership allows us to pop in for a few animals here and there and not worry about wasting money on a short trip. Until next time animals!!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

First day of second grade!

Today was the first day of second grade for Carson. He was very excited this morning and couldn't wait to get dressed, eat, and head out the door. Last night he carefully picked out his outfit and draped it over his desk chair. This morning he was starving and ate two strawberry waffles and two servings of apple cinnamon oatmeal washed down with a large glass of milk. Our obligatory first day of school pictures took place after face washing and teeth brushing. Elias had to peek his head in a couple of them too. I will have more information about his new school, IEP, and wonderful staff in our new district. Let's keep our fingers crossed for a fabulous school year ahead.




Monday, August 09, 2010

Four eyes

Today's eye doctor appointment added another small complexity to our lives. Carson is getting glasses just in time for the start of second grade. With a father who is nearly blind without assistance and a mother who has a killer astigmatism, Carson didn't stand a chance. We must have tried on a thousand pairs of frames this afternoon. After much debate (and a little whining), he decided on a nice, navy blue pair. The finished product should arrive in about 10 days and training on how to care for glasses begins. Carson only has to wear them at school and while watching television so hopefully recess/play/sport accidents won't be an issue.

Here's a sneak peek of our new little bookworm

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Book review coming soon!

Stay tuned for my review of The Preemie Primer by Dr. Jennifer Gunter. I am just about finished devouring all of the preemie goodness that fills its' pages and can't wait to add another terrific reference for our preemie community. While you are patiently waiting for my input, feel free to stop by www.preemieprimer.com to see what all of the buzz is about.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Crawling out from under my rock

Happy July everyone! I know the past three months have been sparse on posts to say the least but I really do have good reasons for not being on the computer. Life is wonderfully busy and our family is enjoying our limited time together without technology in the way. So far this summer has been jammed packed with meetings, appointments, deadlines, work, school, fun, and moving. We officially closed on our house Friday June 4th and began painting and moving in that weekend. Al and I couldn't have made a better choice for our home. We love everything about it and can't imagine being anywhere else. Carson and Elias are bouncing between their rooms, the basement, and the yard at whirlwind speed. It is great to see them spread their wings and truly enjoy their own space for the first time in their lives.

Carson is spending the summer as a peer model in an autistic private school. He goes every weekday except Tuesdays from 9-4 and have transformed into a responsible,calm, level headed child. We have seen a dramatic change in his personality since leaving his old school and we are hopeful for a successful school year in our new district. It seems like every week he grows taller and gets smarter. He is already in size 3 shoes for goodness sakes! He has rediscovered The Boxcar Children chapter books and we frequently find him in his room reading at his desk or on his bed. Unfortunately that is about the only time his bed gets used because since our move, he refuses to sleep in it and instead chooses to sleep on the floor under one of his windows. We are at a loss on how to remedy this sleeping situation but for now he is happy on the floor and getting sleep so we aren't pushing it. Carson is extremely caring and we have finally (knock on wood) found a schedule and medication regimen that allows him to love his life and be successful. It is amazing to see what a difference the past year has brought.

Elias is a ball of energy in constant motion with continuous talking. He is spreading his wings and testing limits as expected for a five year old. We took a giant leap of faith in May and removed his feeding tube to see how his growth would be without supplemental calories. He is proud of his MIC-Key-less stomach and shows off his new scar to all of his friends. So far eating and growth have been on the low end and he has lost some weight. We are choosing to monitor growth and utilize a positive feeding program all summer and reevaluate in the fall. He still aspirates but has managed to stay clear of pneumonia for most of the year. Elias made it through the winter without a single inpatient stay for the first time in his life. His blue snake AFOs are getting a little small but we won't be getting new braces for 6 months or so. Elias will start kindergarten in the fall and tested with amazing results this spring in all areas except attention span and functional feeding skills. He is adding, subtracting, spelling, and reading simple books. We've come a long way in five years and the future looks promising!

Al is soaring with his new career and couldn't be happier. He's learning the joys of home ownership. I bought him a grill for father's day and he is becoming one heck of a grill master. We have enjoyed having friends and family over for cookouts at the new house.

I'm running around like a chicken with my head cut off. School is fantastic and I know it was the right time to continue my education and get my NNP. Clinical hours started full time this summer and I am learning the NNP role at a delivery hospital. My preceptors are excellent and have both been NNPs for over 20 years. I'm learning my skills and how to juggle being the one giving the orders as opposed to the staff RN. Work has been difficult this summer with a few unexpected tragedies and changes but I'm excited to enter my new role on our unit next summer. Al surprised me with a new porch swing for our 8th anniversary and we spend our free nights swinging and listening to the sounds of our new neighborhood. I couldn't ask to be more blessed.

New pictures and posts to come next week. I am going to try to post at least once a week since this is not only a blog but documentation of our boys growing up.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day

In all of the chaos of school, moving, growing boys, and life in general I thought I would take a minute to post an important reminder. *thanks to AD for the words*

Memorial Day

Most of us will spend the weekend grilling burgers and visiting with relatives, or lounging on a beach somewhere, or watching a baseball game in an opulent stadium, overpriced beer and hot dog in hand. And most of us will have forgotten the meaning of the day.

So when you partake in your Memorial Day festivities this weekend, try to remember a few things.

When the smoke from the grill blows into your eyes, try to imagine the terror of the young pilot as the smoke fills the cockpit of his F4 Wildcat, spiraling into the sea off Guadalcanal.

When you sample those pork ribs, remember the Iowa farm boy whose life blood stained the surf at Normandy.

When you eat a bite of potato salad, think of an Idaho preacher’s kid who died with a prayer on his lips, asking God to forgive him for the enemy soldiers’ lives he had taken.

While you enjoy the warm summer sun on your face, take a moment to think of the frozen bodies of American soldiers strapped to jeeps and tanks at the Chosin Reservoir.

When you welcome your niece’s new boyfriend to the table, remember the black kid from Mississippi who died right beside his white buddies in Vietnam, though he wasn’t even allowed to eat in the same restaurants back home.

When you scold your misbehaving grandchild, think of the little boy whose only knowledge of his father will come from stories told by family, because Daddy died on a dusty street in Fallujah while he was still in the womb.

When you fetch your wife another glass of tea, think of a young wife living in base housing at Fort Benning, as she hears the news that her husband died at Ia Drang.

When you invite Grandpa to say grace before the meal, think of young men cut down by a hail of fire from a Maxim at Belleau Wood.

When you reflect with pride on your daughter’s recent graduation, think of a young woman cartwheeling into the sea in her F14 Tomcat after a failed carrier landing.

When you look with distaste at the tattoos on her new boyfriend, think instead of the former gang kid from Detroit who found a way up and out of poverty in the Army, only to die from an IED blast in Baghdad. And remind yourself that what matters is how he treats your daughter, not the ink on his arms.

Whilst you enjoy your beer and bratwurst, remember the 19 -year-old Army private who died in a training accident in Grafenwohr in 1960, one of many young men who knew they’d be little more than a speed bump should the Russians ever come pouring through the Fulda Gap. Yet still, they served.

When you sit at the table, think of a Navy Captain, a husband and father, who died at his Pentagon desk on September 11. His death was no less honorable.

If you’re traveling today, think of the passengers of United Flight 93, for in a field outside Shanksville they became the first soldiers in our war on terror.

When your boys fight, as boys will do, remember the boys on both sides who died at Gettysburg.

If a loved one can’t make it to the gathering today, think of Mrs. Bixby and her five sons.

While your kids play in the pool this afternoon, think of other kids not much older, trapped below decks as the Arizona went under at Pearl Harbor.

If you have bemoaned the layoffs of friends and co-workers in the recent economic crisis, think of the Navy SEAL who lost every single one of his teammates on a rainy night in Kunar Province, Afghanistan.

When you take a shower tonight, think of young men reeking of machine oil and sweat, desperately trying, and failing, to surface their wounded submarine somewhere in the Pacific in 1943.

**********

I tell you of these things not to spoil your appetite or your day, but to remind you that the things we enjoy in our lives are made all the sweeter when you consider what made them possible.

Remind yourself also that your sacrifice is infinitely easier. All you need do is sacrifice a moment of your time every few years to pull a lever. The way to honor a dead soldier is not simply to fly a flag on Memorial Day. Vote to preserve the freedoms they died defending. Elect leaders worthy of those rough young men and women who stand ready to do violence on your behalf.

And stop by your local Veteran’s Cemetery and put out some flowers on the grave of your choice. It need not even be the grave of someone you know.

Bring your children along, and explain to them why. It’s important

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Builder Boys



Saturday mornings our local Lowes has amazing workshops scheduled for children to learn how to build and garden. The classes and materials are free and all you have to do is sign up on-line. This morning the workshop was building bird feeders. The boys strapped on their aprons and goggles and got to work.




The hammering throughout Lowes was loud and constant as C and E banged nails into wood pieces as the directions demonstrated. Carson was a great helper to Elias and surprisingly they both had fairly decent hammering skills. I braved getting my fingers mashed several times to hold pieces in place while Elias whacked away. Thankfully there were no incidents and I will still be able to work this afternoon in the NICU.




After finishing their bird feeders they each received directions on how to properly feed birds in the neighborhood including which seed was best for each bird species. The best part was showing off their feeders with proud smiles as we walked out of the store. They told everyone we passed how they just built the feeders "all by themselves". Lowes also gives the children a patch to sew onto their aprons after completing each workshop. I can't wait to sew them on!



Monday, April 12, 2010

First Time!

Al and I placed an offer on a house this afternoon and the buyers accepted this evening! We will be first time home owners if everything goes as planned by the beginning of June. After eight years of apartment/condo living I can honestly say that the idea of living in our own home with a yard and bedrooms for the kids is incredibly exciting. Our realtor is amazing and we can't wait to experience all of the ups and downs of the home buying process over the next 6-7 weeks.

In an interesting twist of fate, the house we eventually chose is in the neighboorhood I grew up in. It is the only property we looked at in this area and the last house we viewed. Once we walked in, the house immediately felt like home and we couldn't ignore it. C and E love the back yard and the finished basement. They are already planning our garden and the cookouts we'll have with their friends. I love watching their faces light up when they are planning their own rooms.

An added bonus on top of everything else is the $8,000 tax credit we qualify for. When we started searching for houses (again), we truly did not consider the tax credit because we thought it would be awhile before finding "the one". Surprise! We found our home and are in contract within the established time frame and should close with plenty of time for the deadline. Now we have to pass the inspection, finalize our mortgage, and pack all of our things. The only problem I'm having is controlling my desire to buy all kinds of new things for the house!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Chicken Fun


On a whim we took the boys out for lunch at Chic-fil-A. We do not usually eat at this restaurant but the boys begged us as we drove by so we stopped. They gobbled up the chicken and fruit salad and pleaded with Al to go play on the playground. After having two preemies the thought of germs on community restaurant playgrounds sends chills up our backs. Thankfully the boys are finally at a point where we aren't worried about lung-related hospitalizations from every little virus out there. That little voice inside your head that has developed through extreme prematurity parents still yells out, "NO!" when the occasion arises. Change is hard. :)




C and E had a blast chasing each other through the tunnels and climbing up the ladders. The playground was empty except for the screams of the boys and my camera snapping pictures. Al has learned to live with my constant photo documentation during normal, everyday activities. They are growing up so fast that I don't want to miss any of it!

Friday, April 09, 2010

Toothless

No, I'm not talking about the new found gaps in Carson's smile. We decided to take the boys to see How to Train Your Dragon this afternoon. C and E have been wanting to see it and Al had some time off of work so off we went. The movie theater was happy because we splurged and bought both boys a movie kid pack to enjoy during the movie. The theater was pretty full for a matinee showing but we were able to score perfect seats. Heading to the movies with the boys has certainly become easier over the years and now we are actually able to enjoy the show instead of referee and tend to constant needs/wants.




The movie was fun and both boys now want a pet dragon named Toothless. They came home and immediately began telling our dog Macy all about the new friend she was going to have and how she shouldn't be afraid because dragons are really nice. I would recommend seeing this movie if you have adventurous kiddos like ours. It was not too long and the storyline kept the boys entertained. Too bad we won't be getting a pet dragon named Toothless anytime soon!

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Tigger-ific!



This morning the boys and I had the pleasure of joining one of my good friends from work and her two children for a play date. Amanda and I choose to take the four rascals to a local "bounce house" since it was a rainy, grey day. We are two smart mommies! Whoever came up with the idea of an indoor gym filled with bouncy houses and mazes was a genius. It was only a total of $10 for the kids to bounce and run all of their energy out for the entire morning. I can't think of another way to spend ten dollars that would have been more beneficial to my afternoon studying and mental health. Oh, and the kids had a blast too!





After all of the bouncing had finished and the kids started complaining about their legs being tired, we headed off to grab some lunch. With four kids under the age of seven, our dining experience needed to be fast and accepting of noise. They agreed on Wendy's and off we went. Amanda and I could tell the kids were fading fast but they gobbled up their food and had an impromptu art session at the table. While the kids created works of art, Amanda and I were able to chat and relax a bit. We noticed yawns and some bickering back and forth so our play date was over and we said goodbye until the next time. I hauled the boys to the car and buckled them into their booster seats only to pull away and see this in my rear view mirror.




What a play date indeed.