Thursday, February 26, 2009

Passing of Uncle Brad

As we were loading the car for a ski trip to Big White, we received the heartbreaking phone call that Brian's Uncle Brad, his mom's brother, had suddenly died from a heart attack. It was a huge shock and a devastating blow to the family. Brian's immediate thoughts were of his mom and Grandpa. My heart is broken for my mother-in-law, since she is living my worst nightmare, of losing your only sibling and brother.

Brian decided to drive with us up to Canada, and then catch a flight from Kelowna to Omaha, NE for the funeral. Brian said the funeral was wonderful and some awesome stories were told about Uncle Brad. Uncle Brad was quite the comedian, so I can only imagine what the stories involved. We'll miss you Uncle Brad!

Sunday, February 22, 2009


What a difference a week makes. Wednesday, my brother found out that his cancer is back. For those not too familiar, I'll catch you up. This is his 3rd bout in 8 years. He was first diagnosed with a cardiac angiosarcoma (heart tumor) in 2001. With surgery and chemo he beat it. Then in 2006, he had another tumor, same thing, still in the heart. He had surgery and chemo again, beat it. Well this time he has only been off chemo a year and it is back. This time they don't think it is operable, for the science minded, the tumor is along the septum, extending through the mitral valve. So now he starts chemo next week. Everything is still very preliminary and we are all still in shock, but the best case scenario at this point is get the chemo to knock out the cancer and then get him on the transplant list and pray he gets a heart or perhaps do an artificial heart. Also, if a heart tumor sounds rare to you, it is, my brother's case is very isolated, insanely rare, and he is one of only a few known survivors. I think he should play the lottery, because his odds of winning the lottery are better than getting this type of cancer. We are believers in the power of prayer, so I ask that you please pray for him. Specifically for his health, but also his emotional well being. Having the cancer come back so soon is difficult physically, but also on his spirit. He is feeling bad for his family and how this effects their lives as well. He just needs to be lifted up, as do I. He is a christian and knows that God only gives him as much as he can handle, but frankly right now he feels that God has a bit too much faith in him.

I am still pretty numb, I go between feeling normal and then uncontrollable crying, so forgive me if you see me and I am a little off. My brother is one of the greatest people I know and it makes me sad to think of what he, Danielle, and his kids have endured in these past 8 years. On the topic of Danielle, my sister in law, she has dealt with more in her 31 years of life than anyone should have to in their lifetime. She is the strongest, most devoted wife and mom I know, and frankly she deserves a long spa getaway and not an unpaid job as nurse. But she wouldn't have it any other way, she cares for my brother with an unmatched level of selflessness.

On a lighter note, my kids sure know how to make me smile when smiling is the last thing I want to do. The night I found out, Anders slept 9 hours straight, a new record and has continued to sleep at least 8 hours solid per night. Shane has been better behaved, still mischievous, but we're dealing, and I type she has forced me to wear her hot pink sunglasses and tigger hat, and she has laid a towel on me and keeps pushing my head down and telling me to rest while she burps me. Gotta love the little mommy in her.

I am creating a blog for my brother to post updates and info about his cancer, hoping it can help others. I will post the link once I create it.

Here are some pictures of Alex from Christmas:
Alex with his daughter Lexi and Anders

Alex with our cousin Alexus

Best Article Ever

I am not even going to add my comments, Carolyn says it all.

Text from Dear Carolyn article "Why Don't Friends with Kids Have Time?"

"My best friend has a child. Her: Exhausted, busy, no time for self, no time for me, etc. Me (no kids): Wow. Sorry. What'd you do today? Her: Park, play group . . .
OK. I've done Internet searches; I've talked to parents. I don't get it. What do stay-at-home moms do all day? Please, no lists of library, grocery store, dry cleaners. . . . I do all those things, too, and I don't do them every day. I guess what I'm asking is: What is a typical day, and why don't moms have time for a call or e-mail?
I work and am away from home nine hours a day (plus a few late work events), and I manage to get it all done. I'm feeling like the kid is an excuse to relax and enjoy — not a bad thing at all — but if so, why won't my friend tell me the truth?
Is this a contest ("My life is so much harder than yours")? What's the deal? I've got friends with and without kids, and all us child-free folks get the same story and have the same questions."
— Tacoma, Wash.

"Relax and enjoy. You're funny.
Or you're lying about having friends with kids.
Or you're taking them at their word that they actually have kids, because you haven't personally been in the same room with them.
Internet searches?
I keep wavering between giving you a straight answer and giving my forehead some keyboard. To claim you want to understand — while in the same breath implying that the only logical conclusions are that your mom friends are either lying or competing with you — is disingenuous indeed.
So, since it's validation you seem to want, the real answer is what you get. In list form. When you have young kids, your typical day is: constant attention, from getting them out of bed, fed, clean, dressed; to keeping them out of harm's way; to answering their coos, cries and questions; to having two arms and carrying one kid, one set of car keys and supplies for even the quickest trips, including the latest-to-be-declared-essential piece of molded plastic gear; to keeping them from unshelving books at the library; to enforcing rest times; to staying one step ahead of them lest they get too hungry, tired or bored, any one of which produces the kind of checkout-line screaming that gets the checkout line shaking its head.
It's needing 45 minutes to do what takes others 15.
It's constant vigilance, constant touch, constant use of your voice, constant relegation of your needs to the second tier.
It's constant scrutiny and second-guessing from family members and friends, well-meaning and otherwise. It's resisting the constant temptation to seek short-term relief at everyone's long-term expense.
It's doing all this while concurrently teaching virtually everything — language, manners, safety, resourcefulness, discipline, curiosity, creativity, empathy. Everything.
It's also a choice, yes. And a joy. But if you spent all day, every day, with this brand of joy — and then when you got your first 10 minutes to yourself, you wanted to be alone with your thoughts instead of calling a good friend — a good friend wouldn't judge you, complain about you to mutual friends or marvel at how much more productively she uses her time.
Either make a sincere effort to understand, or keep your snit to yourself."
-Carolyn Hax

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Anders is 5 months old

This is Anders watching a Praise Baby DVD for the first time. I didn't get it on camera but he was giggling and talking when it first came on. We'll have to try that one again, since it kept him happy for about 5 minutes.

Our bold endeavor for the day was to go up to the mall and look for a media component cabinet. We took advantage of the Drop and Play at the mall, for those not from here, it is this awesome invention where you can drop the kids off at a play center while you shop kid free. Though I have only used it a few times to drop the kids off, I secretly love having the option always there. They don't take babies, so we kept Anders with us, no problem he slept. No luck finding a cabinet, downside to living in a small city, the stores are not full size, so the department stores don't sell furniture. Oh well, thankfully we have the internet. So as not to make the entire trip a bust, I got coffee and we went to the Mexican restaurant so Brian could enjoy a beer. They had just placed the beer down in front of him when his cell phone rang. My gut told me what it was, the Drop and Play telling us to pick up the kids. Based on Shane's behavior lately, I kind of knew what to expect. Shane was hitting kids so he had to leave. Great...Shane was kicked out of Drop and Play. Despite being humiliated, we had to figure out another punishment, since he is grounded from just about everything already, not sure what else to take away. Turns out he was so devastated to have to leave that I think it will have a lasting impact. He loves playing there, so he was pretty upset when we explained that he wasn't allowed to play there for the rest of the day. And not to defend his actions, but I do believe there are 2 sides to every story. On the way home, Shane asked why the kid who spit on him was not asked to leave. Shane said he hit the kid and didn't want him to play in the house with him after he spit on him. Can't argue that logic, though we explained that he should have used his words and not hit the kid.

Though Shane can be pretty rough with the puppies, he likes to wrestle with them, Brian captured a moment of pure sweetness.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day, Rather Happy 10 Year Anniversary

We are not big Valentine's people. Brian and I subscribe to the theory that it is a Hallmark holiday. That said, with kids you have to embrace every holiday. Since we don't do presents and are not big fans of giving them candy, we are thankful for the parties and for my mom and Tina who gave the kids Valentine's presents.

Brian and I are also forced to acknowledge the day as something special since we met on Valentine's Day, 10 years ago today to be exact. For those who don't know, we sat next to each other on a plane from San Diego to Houston. I guess since it was Valentine's Day and neither of us talked about significant others, we figured it was fate. So that is hogwash, it wasn't fate and we both admit that neither of us were convinced we'd met our soulmate on that flight, but God intervened and kept us together despite our best efforts to not work out. So 10 "long years" later, as Brian likes to say, here we are. So Brian, not Happy Valentine's Day, but Happy 1st Day we met anniversary. I love you.

Here are pictures of the kids eating the puppies' birthday cupcakes.

Myann eating her Valentine cookie. Note she tattooed her hands with the stamps from Grandma - thanks Mom!!!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Friday - oh what a day!!!

So much to tell about today. First, it is our puppies first birthday.
Happy Birthday Maddox and Katie! We love you!!
Here is a picture taken when we first brought them home, they have now doubled in size and then some.

As for the rest of the day, I should have known better, it is Friday the 13th.

The day started well enough with fairly cooperative children as we loaded up everything to go to our Valentine's Ball with some of our friends. Our friends did a great job with the party and the kids had fun running wild. The kids were quite adorable all dressed up and I was thrilled to have another reason for mine to wear their Christmas outfits.

My pretty girl - I had to beg her to wear the dress, she wanted pants.

Shane while he was dancing

Myann and Anders

Of course the only pictures of Shane and Myann were of them fighting. This was as Shane pulled out a handful of her hair.

Myann not putting up with him.

And this picture is a perfect example of why I have a hard time discipling her, could you discipline this adorable child.

When we got home, my klutzy daughter walked in the door and immediately fell down, she got back up and walked straight into the wall. Myann literally shook it off and turned back and saw me and said, "I crashed". At this point I was laughing hysterically, and she laughed too. It makes me sad that she lacks coordination and balance like I do, though I think she is far worse. We will be putting her in ballet very soon and hoping it can help her.

After a quick afternoon of changing clothes and naps, we packed up and headed downtown to meet friends for dinner and see Disney Live. Brian stayed home with Anders and I bravely took Myann and Shane. We met at Red Robin, of course where else would you go with a bunch of kids. RR gradually got more crowded by the time we were packing up to leave and mine were running crazy, I could only keep them sitting still next to each other for so long. Point to make, Myann did not eat and drank two glasses of milk. Myann went into a coughing fit, so I knew I had to get her out into the fresh air and see if it would help. Yea, it helped alright, moments out the door and I heard the tell all gurgle and knew she was going to blow, I turned her head away from me and towards the ground and she spewed. Thank God we moms act fast, so both of our clothes were saved, well almost. Soon after, the big eruption came, and sadly Myann got her shoes and jacket. The sidewalk outside RR was not pleasant, and I was quite embarrassed to leave it like that, but what was I to do. Thankfully, I had the support of friends, who helped me to laugh at the whole situation. Since I was sure she was not sick and just over did it, we continued over to see Disney Live, sans the puked on items. Both kids had fun singing and dancing. By the time it was over, I was ready to be home. What a day!!!

Of course they had to get light up souvenirs.

And of course they had to have cotton candy (even after puking)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Another day with Shane

This could be a long post, but because Shane was not entirely to blame, I will keep it brief. Shane woke me up this morning to tell me that he took some cough medicine. Of course I leapt out of bed and asked him to show me. My utmost concern was Brian had just gotten a prescription of codeine cough medicine and I knew we had left it out on the kitchen counter. It was pushed back, so "most" kids would leave it alone, but to Shane, items on the counter are an easy target. Brian also had several other prescriptions filled, but they were left out too. I know, stupid of us, but really, my nightly lockdown is so time consuming, that I just miss things. Well Shane showed me what he took. Fortunately he had gotten out a little bit of kids cough medicine. He pried the lid off with his teeth, or so he told me. He could not get the codeine lid off, thank you God. My other huge scare was the massive knife Shane had pulled out of the drawer, sitting there next to the medicine. He used the knife to destroy the lid on Brian's pill bottle. Thankfully, he did not take any pills, he said they smelled funny, so he didn't take any. Again, thank you God not just for not taking pills, but for not cutting his hand off trying to open the bottle. Then I saw 2 kids stools double stacked next to the laundry room door where the puppies sleep. We lock that door because Shane was climbing into the puppy kennels in the morning and we keep medicine and cleaning supplies in that room. Well the stools were stacked because Shane was trying to get to a nail in the wall, as you read in Brian's post, he was going to use the nail to get the lock open. Seriously, this is my life. We don't know what to do now short of locking him in his room with a potty. I think using the potty in his room with emotionally scar him, but Brian said it is better than him doing harm to himself. So the best solution is that I wake up before him. That is just cruel for me because sometimes Shane gets up at 6 am and somedays 7:30 am and until Anders is sleeping through the night, I really need to sleep in as late as I can. So we are considering a door alarm, there has to be such a thing, because then the alarm will wake me and I will know he is up. So I need to conclude this blog because I must go lock every cabinet, put up any sharp pointy objects, lock every room, bike lock the fridge, and pray. Prayers of praise and petition will be done tonight.

I guess it was long anyway. And to make matters worse, Shane has an appointment with an allergy doctor tomorrow and their one request is that you not give antihistamines 3 days before the appt, because it will interfere with the testing. So now I have to admit my parental failings to a doctor to explain why Shane has had an antihistamine in the cough medicine. Cheers to a better tomorrow and to good friends who let you vent (Jamie, Jen, and Amber), thank you for listening to me today and offering me encouragement.

Anders rolled over

He did it, finally. Anders rolled on 2/10/09. Ok, so I say finally with a lack of enthusiasm because I don't really want him to roll over. I prefer him immobile, I know life will become that much more complicated once he is on the move. However, I know that because he is almost 5 months old, he should be rolling over. Sadly, I did not even get to see him roll. I put him on a blanket on the floor on his tummy and walked into the kitchen to heat up dinner. About 2 minutes later I came back and he was on his back, no longer on the blanket. Like any hopeful mom, I ran for the camera and then put him back on his belly. I took some cute pictures of him, but of course he would not roll over again. After that I was afraid to walk away, because I thought he would roll again when I was not looking. He didn't, nor did he roll today when I put him on his tummy.

Anders trying to roll

Picture from last week of Myann - all attitude. I took this knowing that in 12 years I will have an identical photo. Start praying for us now.

Anders again, just because he is too cute.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Shane wins again

I believe Kari has posted about us turning our house into Fort Knox. We have a bike lock on the fridge at night, locks on the pantry, and we spent close to $200 changing our door knobs to lock him out of everywhere. We put a lock on the laundry room, our room, the basement door and even a reverse lock on his door. Certain nights he refuses to stay in his room so we lock the door until we go to bed. Super Nanny probably wouldn't approve of the lock on his door and would call it lazy parenting, but screw her as I don't believe she has a kid of her own, let alone three. Well this morning Shane woke up early and we have a rule that he has to stay in his room until 7AM. I asked him to go back to his room and as I(Dad) started to walk out he said if you lock my door dad I will open it with my nail. I immediately turned around and said give me the nail Shane. Now we had considered clothes hangers as a possibility, but we made sure he only has plastic in his room. Plus we figured if he got his hands on a metal one it would be difficult for him to bend it straight enough, so we lived in ignorant bliss. So after I asked for the nail he crawled under his bed and produced a small nail which at one time held a small hat rack to his wall. He told me, but I need the nail dad so I can open the doors. I have to run as I'm about to Google retinal scanners for our doors.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Skiing with Shane

Well I did not get to my declutter checklist today, which is why we will always have clutter, but it was for good reason. We woke up to fresh snow and it was Toyota ski free day, so who can turn down free skiing on fresh powder. Not this girl!!! So Brian left me his Toyota truck and he suffered through a day in the minivan. I had already anticipated skiing, even with Shane's cough, so I asked Tina to come watch Myann and Anders. Don't even get me started on their no advance reservations for kids private lessons. Not sure the reason, but I tried to explain that a 3 yr old would not understand why he couldn't ski once we got to the mountain and were dressed and ready to go. Fortunately, when we arrived at Mt. Spokane, they still had instructors available. It would not have been pretty if I had to teach Shane myself, since skiing backwards is not something I do intentionally. Shane's instructor was Kara, cute as could be and great with Shane. As much as I wanted to stay and watch, I knew that I needed to walk away and Kara even advised that it was best I walk away. So off I went to ski by myself. Mind you, I took pictures from afar and if I passed them on the lift I admired and did more photographing. Now I know how the paparazzi feel. After watching them practice at the base for 10 minutes, I saw Kara take Shane on to the lift. He was super excited since he had been asking to ride the chair since we got there. He fell getting off, don't we all at one point or another, got back up and off he went. I then left the area to do some runs out of sight range so I could see his improvement by the end of the lesson. As I skied off, I heard Kara say, "Shane, you just want to eat all the snow." That is so my child, I literally have to drag Shane off the ground sometimes because he eats the snow, dirt and all. We are working on teaching Shane the difference between fresh snow and dirty snow, but unless it is black snow, Shane thinks it is edible.

While on my own, I did my first jump, not intentional, I was busy chatting with the kid next to me and forgot to get off the lift when we reached the top. By the time I realized I was back off the ground and jumped off, 2 feet from the air, but I landed on my feet and didn't fall. After that I was feeling pretty skilled and went on to have a great time skiing. I caught up with Shane on his last run down Ego Flats (the easy green) and he was doing it, with Kara's help of course, but he could stay up for a bit before falling over. Turns out his snow eating proved helpful. Kara said as long as he ate the snow he relaxed and didn't go too wide and would follow her lead of making "small pizzas". So every time he fell she told him to grab a handful of snow. Apparently Shane had a good day, because when it was over he told me he wanted to practice again tomorrow at our house. Too bad our snow has almost all melted.

Mommy and Shane at the end of his lesson

On Anders news, he has slept 7-8 hours almost every night this week. I am lovin life. I had an awesome workout with my trainer Thursday. I told him that I felt really good because I had 6 hours of straight sleep the night before and had coffee, so I was feeling great. He said he would need coffee too if he had only had 6 hours sleep. I told him he missed the point, I felt good because I had 6 hours sleep, the coffee was just bonus. Oh, the naivety of a man without children.

Myann continues to be my love bug, tonight she insisted she eat dinner while sitting in my lap. Then she had to eat my salad. I realized too late that I was feeding her with my fork - I am sure to get her cough now. But, if a cough is the price I have to pay for extra Myann snuggling, I'll pay it.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Picture Day!

Today was a good day, yesterday was a bit rough. Both kids woke up coughing Wednesday morning, so I thought I should keep them home from school. Do you know how hard it is to imagine a whole day with all 3 kids, when you had emotionally prepared yourself for only one? It actually was not too bad of a day considering. But, I had to reschedule Anders' photo session for today. It worked out for the best because I had Tina's help and decided to get pictures with all 3 kids. Shane and Myann were not usually cooperative at the same time, but the pictures turned out decent. Anders, however, was absolutely adorable. I LOVE having a big ol' michelin baby.

Is it any wonder why I am addicted to babies?

Mommy and Anders - finally some pictures of me with my kiddos

Also, Brian and I are trying to declutter our house. For those who know me, this is HUGE, HUGE, HUGE!!! It will take a while, but I am optimistic that this will be a lifelong transformation. I have inherited some wonderful qualities from my Dad, but one not so great one has been my need to hoard and lack of organization skills, compounded with my procrastination tendencies. Scary combination and I would be a prime candidate for Clean Sweep, but I refuse to throw away as much as they would expect. As I look around my living room, I only have 3 neat piles in eyesight. For me that is good. Tomorrow I plan to do away with the piles. Then tackle the boxes, and oh the basement full of plastic bins, screaming for organization.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Myann is all better and Shane and his infomercials

Well Myann slept until 11 am today. When she woke up, fever was gone and she was in a great mood. Woohoo!!! Gotta love when illnesses pass quickly.

Anders slept 8.5 hours last night, Double Woohoo!!! Now if only I could go to bed before midnight.

Shane is very into commercials and infomercials, so I should probably sensor his tv watching a bit more. This is a common conversation...Shane says, "Mom, look, you need that. It would make cooking easier for you." Or "Mom, if you buy it today you will get 2 and $5 off and free shipping. You should get that mom." He absorbs every word. And we are working on his wants, because he "wants" everything. Everything he sees he says that he wants it for his birthday. So I am trying to teach him to really think about what he wants and needs, it's a battle, but I'm hopeful.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Snuggles for me

Well I had lots of snuggle time today from Myann. Unknown to me, she was getting sick. We had some friends come over to play this morning and instead of playing, she just wanting to sit wit me or lay her head on my shoulder. I thought she was just tired from no nap the day before. However, after a good nap, she woke up warm with a fever. Then the real snuggling began, she wanted to lay on me continuously. Then when I got up to fix dinner, she came up to me and said I need snuggles. Who can say no to that. It was precious, so more snuggles for her. That was until Ander's cry reached a higher level and I had to tend to his appetite. Hopefully she didn't make any of our friends sick.

Quick post on Shane

This one is probably you had to be there moment to appreciate it, but I had to write it down for my own memory.

On Saturday night Shane started his nightly habit of sneaking out of his room after we put him to bed. Our new tool in breaking this habit is we put a potty chair in his room and lock his door as nothing else has worked to date. He is not a fan of the locking in the room and having to use the potty chair which he calls the 'baby potty', but hopefully it will be effective in breaking this habit. Before we go to bed we quitely unlock his door so he can use the restroom when he wakes and he's not trapped in his room in case of an emergency, bad dream, etc.

Recently when he wakes up he will go into the play room and turn the TV on to watch cartoons. Kari told him she was proud of him last week for doing this and letting her sleep. The problem is Anders now sleeps in the play room, but it has not been an issue as Anders is usually nursing in bed before Shane wakes up. Well Sunday morning Anders slept like a rock star and Shane went in to watch cartoons and woke him up. Kari told him she was not happy with him for waking him up and he responded, "You're not proud of me mom?" She instantly realized her mistake and felt terrible for the mixed message. A few minutes later Kari left for the gym, I had Anders downstairs, while Shane watched cartoons upstairs. I went to change Anders and as I walked by the stairs I heard Shane say, "I'm never coming downstairs puppies, I'm staying up here all day!!" The puppies stood wagging their tales looking up at Shane sitting on the stairs with his arms folded and wearing a scowl. I put Anders down and went and got Shane a bag of cereal and a drink and walked up to meet him sitting on the stairs. When he saw me he turned completely around on the stairs to avoid making eye contact. I sat down by him and asked why he was mad at mommy and daddy. He said, "Because you and mommy hate me. Not like my family in Texas and Georgia who love me." Of course I explained how we always love him and would somebody who hates him bring him cereal and a drink? He explained he was miffed about being locked in his room the night before and that mommy said she wasn't proud of him this morning. We talked through it for awhile and ended it with he was still not coming downstairs and me reitierating well we still love him no matter what. About 10 minutes later Shane came walking in the living room and said, "Dad, I'm only coming down because Anders is downstairs. He loves me and needs me. I wish you'd take him upstairs so I could stay up there all day." He then went over and played with Anders until finally warming up to his dad. His thought process of even saving face just amazes me as he's still three months away from turning four.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Super Bowl Sledding

Since life is never as easy anymore as watching a football game and hanging out, this is how we planned the Super Bowl. Our wonderful friends, the Frenches, invited us out to their lake house to take the kids sledding. With the hopes of wearing them out, so they would be calm enough that we could enjoy watching the game in peace. Sledding was fun, Myann kept asking to do it again even though the expression on her face was not of joy. Shane loved it, as he does with every other high adrenalin activity, this kid has no fear. After sledding, the men got their food and headed to the "man house" for peaceful game watching while the womenfolk tended to the kids. Whatever, it was great to hang out with Pam and Sandra, and given the fact that there were 8 kids, 7 of which were 3 years old and younger, I think it went quite well. A few bumps here and cries there, but for the most part us 3 ladies had a few moments of peace every now and then. Thank you Sandra for the pictures.

Sandra was kind enough (rather strong enough) to hold Anders for a minute, with Bree on her back, while I helped Myann back up the hill

Myann did not like walking back up the hill