Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Unexpected Blessings!

The last two weeks of our lives were filled with many unexpected emotions and trips due to the death of Aaron's Grandpa. In the midst of all the craziness we got to spend some time with my parents. These pictures show some of the memories that were created during our time together. 
Making oatmeal bread with Abi!

J really got excited about punching down the bread!

Feeding carrots to a very obnoxious ostrich!  

This baby camel and M are the same age! I am so glad M has not grown this much. He would have eaten us out of house and home! :-) 

This picture does not do this part of the zoo justice. There was a pen with a bunch of goats that had a slide to enter and a slide to exit. J was able to slide in and hang out with the goats and then slide out. He thought that was really cool! 
There is a walking area and then a wagon ride to take. When you get on the wagon they give you a big bucket of feed to give to the different animals. J sat on the bench the whole ride and refused to feed the animals so Grammie and I feed the animals for him. 

Not everyday you get to feed a zebra! 

Enjoying a few evening moments with Abi! 

Paper Boat Fun!

Today I decided to try making some paper boats to play with. I made two different styles thanks to how to videos online. :-) After using regular printer paper I realized that they would not hold up to water and of course we had to try the boats out. So I made another boat using wax paper hoping that would work.
J and M really enjoyed watching the boat float in the bathtub. Then I realized that we had some foam shapes that would make great cargo!

The cargo was a nice touch and didn't weigh the boat down too much. They even floated on top of the water without the boat. Before coming into the bathroom to float our boats I had warned J that is one of the paper boats got wet it would fall apart. See that boat sitting on the edge of the bathtub?

See the photo of J falling into the bathtub? Guess where that paper boat went?

Yep, you guessed it! J was trying to get some of the foam shapes out of the bathtub and fell in. He was in tears not only about the paper boat that fell in but about his shirt getting wet. We took the shirt off and made a new boat to replace the soggy one!

That pretty much ended our fun or at least until we realized that the wet foam shapes stuck to the edge of the bathtub. J really enjoyed jumping in the tub and playing. 

The remains of our boating fun! 

This is kind of a random tag along photo of what the house tends to look like after a night at home as a family. Nothing more fun than spending the evening in a giant "tent" in the living room. At one point Toby, Josiah, Aaron and Matthew we under this tent!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Foaming Kool-Aid Paint and Rotten Eggs!

There are lots and lots of ideas on the internet for activities to do with children. I came across a recipe for foaming finger paint and thought I would give it a try. This one I thought would be fun with a group of older kids so I tried it with a couple of junior high girls. The recipe called for tempera paint mixed with kool-aid. We tried six different colors/flavors of kool-aid to see what happened. 

The result was a really strange foaming (and sometimes stinky) concoction. The first one we mixed up was yellow paint with yellow lemonade kool-aid. Let's just say we almost had to vacate the room it smelled so bad. The recipe said to use only tempera paint because of the egg whites in the paint cause the foaming reaction. Ok, so what do rotten eggs smell like? Yeah, gross sulfur smelling gas is what this reaction produced! :-) The lemonade kool-aid was not enough to cover the gas released by this strange concoction. The paint we created was interesting and not all of it smelled terrible however I would not recommend this activity for little ones. The final product was not safe for accidental consumption (which is guaranteed with kids) and it stained like crazy. That was due in part to the tempera paint and the fact that kool-aid is mostly food coloring! Fun for the 20 minutes it lasted but probably not on the list to do again with crazy toddlers!    

Finished products! 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Saying Goodbye For Now

What does it mean to lose a loved one? This is a question that has been answered a number of times in my life and I question that everyone will answer at some point in life.  In the last 72 hours I have learned a lot about what it means to lose a loved. I have caught a glimpse of what that entails from the perspective of a surviving spouse, child, grandchild and great grandchild. With each of those roles comes a specific set of loses and a specific type of grief even in the midst of sharing the same loss.
Watching a loved one slowly die is a process of letting go and crossing items off a list. This may sound crass or strange but as I was preparing to get a few groceries for A's Grandma I realized how the simple task of making a shopping list with was one step in saying goodbye to her husband. Just a day or two before she was preparing a list that included simple things like body wash and food items for her husband. On Friday she realized that he was done eating and washing so those items were no longer needed. It was absolutely heartbreaking to watch as she methodically thought through her new reality. It is this simple interaction that reminded me that my days are filled with caring for those I love and yet at any moment that could change and I would be left with just memories. Death of a spouse is a deep loss that is extremely complex. For Grandma it means losing her identity of homemaking wife.
Saying goodbye takes a set of emotions when you are a child, grandchild or great grand child. Seeing death through the eyes of a two year old has been eye opening. J was able to sit next to Grandpa and chat with him about what was important like the brown bear on his shirt and the broken dump truck toy. We don't know what Grandpa understood but I do know that he appreciated his company as the pictures below show. For a few brief moments Grandpa and his great grandson were able to enjoy one of life's most awesome treasures: physical touch!
The journey of grief is not over for those around me. For many including Grandma, this journey has only begun and will become more difficult in the days and weeks to come. I wonder if Grandpa would agree if I said that one of the greatest gifts for a dying person is the presence of family and loved ones. Grandpa was surrounded by his family as he breathed his last and I pray that when it is my time to say, "Goodbye for now" that I will be surrounded by those who I have loved deeply and by those who will grieve in ways too numerous to count.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

He Slept Through the Night!

I know this little guy looks cute and all but don't let him fool you. Up until this week he had not given his mother more than 6 hours of sleep at a time. Whew! Trying to keep up with two boys and a crazy fur child (aka our dog) without a solid night of sleep can be super draining. 

So, despite teething and running a fever this little guy has given two nights in a row of at least 8 hours of sleep!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Last night he slept 10 hours straight! Yeah!!!!!

I am hoping that this is not due to his sickness but to the fact that he is now sleeping in a crib instead of a bassinet. I began to wonder if he was waking up because he was uncomfortable in the bassinet. I will have to come back to this topic in a few days and document how this sleeping through the night thing is going! For right now I am one happy Mama! 

Have Patience!

Every parent loves when illness hits their families! Ok, or not! J was down from Thursday to Sunday and M got the same thing Tuesday and it is Wednesday. Along with being trapped in your house comes cranky kids and mothers. J has been especially grumpy today. He has multiple punishments even though we are doing fun activities like watching Mighty Machines (his all time favorite show) and playing with bubbles in the front yard (oh, he did spill almost a whole new container).

The main struggle I am having is that he wants everything his way. Or he wants what I have. This morning he wanted the plate that I had my toast on. He didn't want another plate just like it, he wanted my plate. Oh, then he wanted a piece of my toast. He wants my chair, toast, lunch, bubble wand. Anything that is mine he wants. ARG!!!!! I am guessing this normal behavior for a two year old but boy oh boy is about to drive me nuts! This afternoon he went to naptime without any lunch because he was just all over the place. He would request one thing and then another and then another and eventually he just got up from the table to play which in our house means you are done. So the next step in our day is naptime and so I helped him into his bed.

Do anyone else's kids exhibit this type of behavior or is mine the only one? Any parenting insights would be greatly appreciated! 

Friday, September 12, 2014

A Week of Firsts for J and M

This week marked a number of firsts for M. His first tooth broke through on the bottom right side. Let's just say that he is much more high maintenance then his brother. It would be super nice if he would just get all of his teeth at once so we can get the runny nose and fussiness over with but I am guessing I won't get my wish. Another first is he pulled himself from sitting to standing position. M is one determined little dude! He desperately wants to go and do whatever his brother does. I would not be surprised if M is crawling in the next couple of weeks and walking by eight or nine months.  

I put M in J's crib and they had a great time talking to George and Charlie! 

J was actually thrilled to share his bed! He thought this was fun!

We bought a watermelon at Costco and I needed to cut it up. I decided to J help me since he seems to enjoy helping me in the kitchen. I gave him a table knife and he went to town. I put a container for him to fill and one for me. He didn't get the concept of cutting the melon and saving it for later. He nicely cut his piece and ate the whole thing. I ended up filling up both containers with only half of the huge watermelon. We ended up giving the other half to our neighbor. This ended up with a shower for J and lots of laughter!

This is turning into a super long post but I could not leave these photos out. I had this brilliant but not so brilliant idea to make a pan of jello for J to play in. This was extremely messy and red was probably not the best color choice but J was extremely thrilled and M had a great time eating and watching him. The funniest part is that J never knew he could eat the Jello so he played almost an hour without once taking a bite. Overall it was a fun activity with a super cheap box of jello.