Sunday, September 30, 2007

Weekend Fun!

This weekend was a great family weekend. We went to the library, and to Wal-Mart and swimming at the YMCA. We've watched movies, snuggled together and just generally spent some great time together. I love my family, and I love every opportunity that we get to spend time together as the four of us. I came home from work on Friday afternoon and Rob had cooked a yummy lunch of breakfast wraps. Leeann and I walked in (she was at preschool) to daddy cooking with a candle on the table and Leeann said something to the effect of, "Look mommy, we're going to have a date!" I love where we accidentally create such special moments that serve as wonderful memories for years to come. Our kids are a blessing and my husband is such a huge blessing. I love my family! It's only 5:00 and we still have 3 hours to hang out until the kiddos go to sleep, I love weekends like these!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Mine and Whoa...

Those are two other words that Titus has begun to use fairly frequently... I didn't want to leave them out!

I did have a conversation with Early Intervention this week and they are going to send a speech therapist out a couple of weeks from now, so we'll see what they say about Titus's lack of engish speaking skills!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Phantom Pregnancy

I feel pregnant. For the record, I am NOT pregnant... but I feel like I am. Don't go around starting any rumors because, well... that's never a good idea and at this point there is a 0% chance that it's true.

Anyway, for the last couple of days nothing has sounded, or smelled, good enough to eat. I've been super tired and on the days I didn't have to be at 7 like normal I've slept until 9 or 9:30, and only then because an outside force (the phone, the kids) woke me up.

I've had afternoons where I feel like I can't keep my eyes open, and though I woke up at 9 today I took a nap at 11:30 while I was snuggling on the couch with Titus. He's feeling a little under the weather, which makes him wonderful to snuggle with! I'm lethargic and absent-minded. I haven't felt nauseous and I don't feel like I'm coming down with a cold. I just feel--pregnant.

We don't have any more little bundles of joy in mind for our family, just in case you are wondering. God is God, and we are not... but those are our plans. The kids are finishing lunch which means it's almost their nap-time. Perhaps that means it's mine too? The only disappointment about not being pregnant is that I don't have a good excuse to sleep in late and take two naps in one day. Oh well!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Tim the Tool Man Titus

In large part, I'm using this blog in lieu of a baby book. I write funny stories, updates and milestones in the lives of my children... and you get to 'listen' in on our fun.

So, here's an update on Titus: He grunts... like Tim the tool man Taylor from Home Improvement. He simply speaks in manly grunts making plenty of noises and sounds to get his point across. He'll hold entire conversations without saying a single English word. He mimics sounds, uses inflections in his voice and points adamantly... but he doesn't actually talk. My friend Jessi (Hi Jess!) has a little girl named Halle that is a few weeks older than Titus. I started reading about Halle saying all sorts of words around a year old. Now she seems to be talking in full sentences and Titus-- Well... grunts!

I also started reading several months ago about my friend Becky's daughter (Hi Becky!) using all sorts of words, and holding real conversations also. She's three months younger than Titus!

I thought Leeann was a late talker because she didn't start using her first words until she was 18 months old. Between 18 and 20 months she was regularly picking up words.

Titus is nearing 22 months old! Today, I got a updated on my "21 month old, week 4". It gives articles and polls, milestones and concerns for the average baby at that age. One of the questions today was, "Should you be concerned if your child isn't speaking in sentences?" Ha... I'm concerned that my son doesn't speak english!"

It stated that by the time a child turns 2 the average child will know 50+ words. Titus regularly uses: mama, uh-oh and bye-bye. He used to say papa a lot and sometimes says dada. He's said one time each amen, Jesus (though I missed those), banana, Brenna, and kitty. Oh, and he occasionally says ball too. That makes approximately 11 words if you count those that he's only used once. Oh, and thank you. He says thank you quite frequently, but he says it like a ventriloquist. He doesn't actually open his mouth, but he 'says' in under his breath, like in his throat. It's quite strange!

I don't think there's any reason to be concerned because he responds to commands, he engages appropriately and he uses plenty of sounds. They say boys sometimes talk later; as do those with older siblings that do all of the talking for them.

Oh, and I was reading today that the binki sometimes interferes with a child's ability to speak. My child is very attached to his binki. We try not to give it to him during the day much, but he still seems to have it a lot (you know... like last night when we were at a friends house playing cards and we wanted him to calm down. The binki and blanky did just the trick! Or, when he's throwing a fit in childcare at the YMCA. Or, if he wakes up in a bad mood we'll let him keep it a while. Oh, and then there's the occasional binki for our sanity in the car. The list seems to go on and on...)

Anyway, I think I'm going to call early intervention this week to see if there's any reason to be concerned or to see if they can just give us some simple tools to help encourage him to speak more. I'm almost 100% sure that he's just fine, but I know that early intervention can be a huge asset if there is something to be concerned about.

So, there you go... an update on my Titus! I'm going to try to attach a picture soon of him with his binki and his blanky... because that's how he is most of the time! I don't usually blog those, but it would be fitting for this post :0)

Monday, September 17, 2007

Ridiculously Busy

I've written a dozen blog posts in my head as I'm flittering from here to there. I've even 'written' some really good, deep, meaningful ones. None of them have actually made it to the blog however because I'm in over my head with a little bit of everything!

I feel like I've been going and going for who-knows how long now! Last week I spent my 'spare-time' peeling wall-paper off of walls in some of our children's classrooms. This week I've spent my 'spare-time' prepping and painting along with some delightful volunteers.

On top of a plethora of paint, we officially joined the YMCA. We've gone 3-4 times a week for the last couple of weeks. It's GREAT, and I feel great, but at an hour a whack (plus shower time, and getting ready all over again...) it takes a bit of time out of my life that wasn't usually missing.

Oh, and this week I'm "teacher mommy", substituting at the preschool I used to work at (which happens to be at the church, and happens to be where Leeann goes to school... hence the teacher mommy).

Oh, and did I mention I'm launching a new Fall ministry which I feel desperately behind on... still lacking small group leaders for a program that starts next Wednesday? It kind of stresses me out, but I'm trusting that God already has in mind who He wants there... I just don't happen to know who those people are yet!

And I'm starting to mentor a high school girl this week, which I'm really excited about!

Oh, and a couple of ladies and myself have started a "Mom's on Track" accountability group. I'm trying really hard to be a great wife and a great mommy... so they're holding me accountable to some things that help keep me on track. This is necessary especially because I'm involved in so many different things, that I have to have my home life in order first and foremost. It's great stuff, but I've been working extra hard to keep my home in order in spite of all the craziness going on... which just takes that much more time and energy. Time and energy well spent however!

So, I have a list in mind about a mile long of things that I need to do... but just about NO time what-so-ever to breathe... let alone make progress. I'm just trying to stay afloat this week. Now I will exit my pitty-party, and get some sleep. It's probably best!

How do mom's do what they do? I'm simply amazed!

More Disney Pictures

I just realized that I still have more Disney pictures to blog...
Princess Minnie
Snow White 1 and Snow White 2
Dreams really do come true!
Leeann didn't know who Poccahontis was, but she knew she was a 'princess' and that made her special regardless!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Size Update

Leeann had a doctor's appointment yesterday about both kids got weighed:

Leeann is 39.5 lbs and Titus is 20 lbs 10 oz. and 30 inches tall. They both seem healthy and happy!

I hired a new babysitter

Yup, she's entertaining, educational, always available, always on time, and best of all... she's free!

Okay, that's a little misleading because she still has to have a safe responsible adult in the house with her and she lives inside of a square box... but still, she's GOOD!

This might sound silly to most of you... but it was an epiphany to me.

Let me back up: Rob and I decided to pull the plug on the t.v. a few months after we got Leeann. We didn't want her mimicking what she was seeing, and in general, we just wanted to protect our family time by not subjecting ourselves to hours in front of the screen each day.

We're not tyrannical. We're not freaks. We don't judge you for having t.v., it's just a choice we made for our family. We do rent and borrow lots of movies and the kiddos watch t.v. at other people's houses (though we do like to monitor what they are watching regardless.) But, I usually only put on a movie for my kiddos once or twice a week. And, for the last couple of months I'd turn Curious George on at 2:00 if we were home, if I remembered, and if the kid's weren't napping. (PBS is the only channel that comes in clear with our antenna).

Anyway, I literally have NEVER turned the t.v. on for my kid's in the morning. I just haven't thought about it... I don't know why. The other day however, I needed a shower and the kids needed to finish eating so I decided to turn the t.v. on for them and 'trust' them out in the dining room while I showered. They usually play in my bathroom while I shower.

The result? Mommy got ready in record timing and even got to eat breakfast before church! The kiddos and I all left the house in a less hurried mood than normal, and we got to church early. Yes, early! And, the shows they were watching were educational shows even... it's not like their brains are going to rot from a little PBS in the morning. Why, oh why did I not hire this babysitter sooner? She's AMAZING!

So, I told Rob that night that I no longer wanted to fear the t.v. There really are some great shows on PBS that are funny, educational and very entertaining for both of the kids. I still don't want the t.v. on all day, and I still don't want my kids watching it for hours at a time... but PBS is indeed my new favorite babysitter!

Monday, September 10, 2007

A day in the life of a working mom

Being a working mom has it's challenges, it's rewards and it's drawbacks.

Really, it's kind of a difficult life to balance on most days. Take today for example. I work 20 hours a week and we've worked it out where I do many of my hours in the office while Leeann is in preschool. Titus goes to a friend of mine's house and I get the bulk of my work done while sacrificing as little time away from my kids as possible. Today is one of those days I'm supposed to be in the office.

Rob takes Titus, or Titus and Leeann whenever possible, so Titus is only in childcare 6 hours per week (except Sunday mornings when they're in their Sunday School classes).

Anyway, back to today. I'm supposed to be in the office today, but Titus is running a fever. He's breaking 3 eye teeth and one molar, so I'm pretty sure it's due to teething, but I don't want to drop my child with a fever off at Eroica's house since she's got a 4 month old and a 2 year old. That's just not nice!

So, I got the kids ready this morning and took them to the coffee shop with me for a staff meeting. They ate breakfast and behaved quite well. Then I packed them up, took Leeann to school, went back to the coffee shop for the remainder of the staff meeting and now Titus and I are hanging out at home killing time until we have to pick Leeann up again.

Needless to say, quite unexpectedly, I'm not getting my time in the office today. That's okay, a working mom always has to have a Plan B right? So now, I'll have to squeeze what I needed to get done today into the remainder of my week. No problem?

Well, working from home proves to be difficult on most days. It takes me an hour to get done at home (with interruptions) what it would take me 15 minutes to do in the office. It's just one of those things, any mom can sympathize I'm sure!

In order to get into the office where I can be most productive I have to do one of the following:

1.) Bring my kids with me, but then the problems with interruptions are the same, and every one else in the office suffers :0)

2.) Arrange for child care which takes time to organize, get the kids ready, drop them off etc. It also costs me either time (to pay back the baby sitting by swapping kids) or money, by paying a babysitter.

3.) I can call Rob away from work to bail me out. But, let's face it, he has a job too, and that usually isn't an option because he's got work he needs to get done.

4.) I do my work while Rob's home (which already happens some anyway) but then that takes from family time... which we try to be protective of.

See the dilemma? So, as long as things work according to plan, I'm able to get most of my hours in and most of my job done with as little time, energy and money expended into the childcare efforts as possible. The problem is, things rarely work according to plan! And, if I had enough money to pay a babysitter for both kids while I worked... then, well, I wouldn't need to work!

I must say however, that I love my job. I wouldn't trade my job for anything! I don't regret the time that I spend working, because I feel like it makes me a better mom even though I spend more time away from my kids than a stay-at-home mom. See, I'm the kind of person that needs to know that I have an identity outside of my kids. I need to have a project, a passion, a hobby... something besides my kids that I get the opportunity to pour in to. Not at the expense of my kids, but alongside being a mom. I feel like I'm better able to focus on my kids, and on being a good mom, when I have some outside chaos in my life also. I get depressed on days that I'm home, doing nothing, wandering around aimlessly. So really, I feel like the kiddos get a better me when I'm not solely devoted to wiping noses and dishing out animal crackers. (I know this isn't the case for everyone, but it happens to be for me... props to all those stay-at-home mommies who can devote all of their time and attention to their kiddos without going insane... you deserve a million blue-ribbons!)

Not to mention, I have the coolest job in the world! I get to lead and influence adults who are making an eternal difference in the lives of so many kids! Which, if you think about it, does directly affect my kids also! If I won the lottery today, I think I'd still choose to keep my job. It would be easier, because then paying for child care wouldn't be so difficult... but I really don't think I'd quit. Maybe then, I'd just volunteer, but I certainly wouldn't quit. And I'd hire a maid!

Regardless, this is the stage of life we're in. As a family, we chose for me to work part-time to help make ends meet. We knew that choice would have consequences both good and bad, and it's what we've chosen for our family. I admit though, sometimes it's difficult... especially during busy seasons of ministry (Yeah, keep that in mind, since Rob and I work at the same place our busy seasons usually over-lap!). It's difficult, but still a huge blessing. I'm glad God is providing for us by giving me a job that I love. I love my life! God stretches me and strengthens me daily.

He's been teaching me a lot by this juggling act of being a Children's Ministry Director, a Pastor's wife, a mom, a woman of God, a friend, a cook, a maid (what I wouldn't pay to have one of those around!), a chauffeur, an owie-fixer, a problem solver, and so much more...

With that, I'm going to go spend some special time with Titus since it's just he and I right now... that doesn't happen very often. I should probably take advantage of it!

Friday, September 07, 2007

Reason #6 Not to Mop Your Kitchen Floor

I was mopping my kitchen floor like a good wife and the kiddos were obediently staying off the slippery surface, playing nicely with each other...

...until, like a classic movie clip Curious George (i.e. Titus) came running across the kitchen floor slipping on a banana peel (i.e. a freshly mopped floor) and fell backward just as I was screaming, "No, Titus, doooooon't!". It was hard not to laugh once I realized he was fine. I bet he won't come into the kitchen when I'm mopping anytime soon. Then again, I'm not likely to mop again anytime soon and his memory seems to rival Dory off Finding Nemo.

In other such Titus Monkey news, I found him on my freshly dusted kitchen table today... undoubtedly helping?

He also learned how to undo the buckle in the Costco shopping cart and thoroughly enjoys standing up in it.

He climbed to the top of Eroica's play set, up a straight up wooden ladder the other day, and he was appearing to attempt to decend down a climbing wall... until I loudy yelled at him in a panic!

Oh, and he was caught trying to climb up Rob's bookshelves at work today in attempts to get some toys. Good thing they're bolted to the wall eh?

Oh, and I caught him climbing up the baby gate too... uh-oh! Not the baby gate!

Also, he came proudly running into the living room today displaying Leeann's disposable camera's that had been tucked away on the kitchen counter. He can reach the counter, climb effortlessly on furniture, and he fears nothing. Anyone want to contribute in advance to his first E.R. bill... it's gotta be coming soon!

And just in case your wondering, I don't actually have 5 other reasons not to mop the kitchen floor, though I'm sure I could come up with some!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

"Honey, Sweetheart"

Tonight Rob and I are watching Sarah. She's 2 and cute as a button. Let's be honest though, Rob's locked up in the bedroom working on school work, and I'm in the kiddo's room working on my laptop. I was working, now I'm blogging, but I digress! Sarah, Leeann and Titus are entertaining each other rather well, making my babysitting job more of a "make sure they don't hurt themselves or anyone else" kind of job. I'm okay with that!

Sarah and Leeann are playing with their baby dolls and calling each other "honey" and "sweetheart". They are trying to convince me to sing to their baby so it will sleep, and they are bossing each other around. "Honey, make sure you put the books right here...", "Honey, sit down." etc.

Titus, on the other hand, is rolling his John Deere Tractor through the doll house, climbing on the little chair, making an abundance of noise and throwing toys.

Girls will be girls and boys will be boys eh?