Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Back into the Fray

Today starts the first day back to teaching for me! I have been off for the past 2.5 weeks and loving every minute of it, when we weren't cooped up in the house all day because of the rain! Today and tomorrow I am subbing for another instructor friend of mine, so I'm at the school all day. I friend of ours' daughter, Lindsey, is watching Caleb for us at the house today and tomorrow mornings and then she'll just be there in the afternoons for a couple of hours. While my job is not very strenuous, summers are not my favorite semesters due to the population of people I sometimes get in my classes. This first summer session ends the 3rd of July and the second picks up on the 9th when I will be teaching from 6pm to 11pm until the 9th of August. I haven't quite figured out how I'm going to do that as I turn into a pumpkin around 10pm... It should be interesting!!!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

The Best a Girl Can Get

Yesterday was a miserable day. We were cooped up in the house because it was raining and Jes was working all day. By the time the day came to an end Caleb and I were looking at each other like, "do we really have to do this all over again tomorrow?". Today, Sunday, Jes had to go back to work and the day started poorly with the threat of major rain and the thought of toting a 2 year old into a church with no awnings. I was also having major angst over the wardrobe selection and finally chose something I wasn't too happy with. Caleb hadn't really looked at me all morning because I finally wrangled him by letting him watch Dora the Explorer. Just as we were to leave he turned around and looked at me and said, "pretty" a word he just learned the meaning of and uses for his pictures all the time. I asked him what was pretty and he ran up and pointed to ME! The best compliment from my best guy! It made my day and I wanted to share. Hope all of you had a great day with your family and didn't get too terribly wet!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Let the Games Begin...

For as long as I can remember my mom would tell me stories about her life pre-Shannon. I, just like any little girl, loved these stories and stored them in my file cabinet like brain. One of the things that she always told me that her biggest fear of raising a child is potty training. I always played that off as first child syndrome, but now I know that is a very founded fear, one that I should have had from the get-go.
We are at an impasse in our house. Caleb is SOOOOOOOOOOO excited about having a potty and even knows to strip out of the bottom half of his clothes to sit on it. However, he doesn't do anything but sit on the potty and smile at me with a smile that says he knows he's up to something but there is no way he's sharing. Another issue is that Caleb does not want to wear diapers anymore. He's not peeing or pooping in the potty so he can't go into underwear and there is NO WAY I'm spending all that money for him to potty in pull ups until we get the concept of doing it in the potty too. What do I do now??? So much for being excited...

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Caleb's Big Day

For the past three or four months, I have tried to make it a habit to ask Caleb a few times per day if he needed to go potty. Until yesterday, he would look at me with a look on his face that said, "What in the world are you talking about? No, I don't need to go potty, I just did that!", but he would always sweetly answer, "no". Last night he said, "yes" so I promptly took him to the potty and held him on it for about 10 minutes. I have heard of this window that I should be looking for that signals readiness. I don't know if this is a window or just a hole in the wall, but I'm going to jump on what I can. Anyway, today we bought this:

Fun in the Sun and an Animal House

This past Sunday our church, the satellite campus, went to a member's country house. I say country, but it was really just the northern less developed end of McKinney. They have lots of land and horses and a pond and we had lots of fun!

The church brought in a bunch of bounce houses for the kids and Caleb found his new favorite activity! We literally had to coax him out with a juice box!

Here are Daddy and Caleb after a fun jump! After dinner and Blue Bell, our campus pastor baptized some people in the pool. It was very moving and great evening for all of us!

On Wednesday, our friend Kathryn had her birthday party at an awesome place in McKinney called Animal House. Basically, it was a huge room filled with slides and climbing things, and all types of bounce houses! Caleb ran around so much that he was soaking wet from sweat, and it didn't slow him down one bit!

Here's Caleb checking out the toddler area. He quickly realized that he could go on some of the other things and stayed out of here for most of the party.

The best bounce house combined Caleb's favorite things, places to jump and a slide! Here his is after one of his many trips down the slide!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Graduation Day

Today our sweet baby boy Caleb graduated from his first year at First Learning at First Baptist McKinney. I know it's not like moving from preschool to kindergarten or the dreaded graduation from high school or college, but for us, this was a huge milestone. Just thinking back over the past year, Caleb has learned to walk, talk, feed himself well, cut many teeth, fully entered the "terrible twos" and is still just as in love with mama, daddy, mawmaw, pawpaw, nana, papa, etc as we are with him. While all the people around us are announcing their pregnancies or awaiting their new arrivals and reveling in that glow, we are basking in the pride that we have in our sweet boy and all the things he has accomplished against the odds. We are so proud of him and just wanted to share with all of you!

Monday, May 21, 2007

7 Weird Things...

Recently I have been tagged by another mom to post the 7 most strange things about myself that others would not know. I'm not the best at thinking on the fly, but here goes...

1. I hate lipstick
To some of my very southern, proper friends and family, this is the worst thing ever! I just
can't stand wearing lipstick mainly because of how absurd I feel I look. It's almost like I'm a
big version of a little girl me who was caught playing in my mom's makeup. Chapstick, I can
do, but you will rarely catch me in lipstick unless it is a job interview, funeral, wedding, or on
the rare occasion, church.
2. I was named after a very obscure song from the 70's about a dog
From what I have heard, this particular song was about a depressed dog... Strange topic for
a song, but without it I would have been another Amanda in the sea of many that is my
3. I absolutely cannot sleep on a pillow case that is more than a few days old
Well, I guess this could be a 2-fold weird thing. I seem to be quite the drooler in my sleep,
something I never thought I would actually admit on a public forum like this. Subsequently,
I change my pillow case at least 2 to 3 times in a 7 day period. I keep a stash of pillow cases
handy, many of which have Disney characters on them from sets of sheets from years gone
by. This is a constant source of entertainment for Jes!
4. I hate feet, including my husband's.
I'm not sure that this is weird but Jes says it totally is. Feet are just not my thing. I'm not
even thrilled with my own.
5. I record all my favorite TV shows on the DVR just to avoid commercials.
I'm not talking about just not liking commercials, but I actually HATE them! Jes gets so
upset with me when we are just vegging and watching TV because if I have control of the
remote, I will flip to find a show, any show, that is in session just to have something to watch
other than the commercials. Most times I end up missing parts of the show I want to watch
because I was busy flipping, hence the need for the DVR. Thank goodness for those!
6. When I was small, I wanted my hair to be as long as Crystal Gayle's.
If you don't know who Crystal Gayle is, take this time to google her. She was quite the
songstress in her day and her hair was to the floor. I thought that would be so cool. I only
got about as far as the top of my bottom before I could stand it. I guess I just love having
my hair cut too much! Maybe someday...
7. I always do the same things in my morning/evening routine in the same order, everytime.
I think this is more of a self preservation thing than anything. If I get distracted or thrown
off for some reason, I forget major things. One time I forgot to rinse the conditioner out of
my hair and didn't realize it until I was dressed and ready to dry it. Another time I left the
house in two different shoes because I was interrupted during the all important 'deciding
which shoe goes better' part of my morning. More recently, I went the whole day without
realizing that I had put mascara on one eye and not the other. It wasn't until I was in the
middle of teaching a class that I realized it. Like I said, self preservation!

So there they are, the 7 things you may have not known about me and wouldn't have until this list! I look forward to seeing your own on your blogs!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Happy Birthday PawPaw!

Last Sunday was my dad's birthday. Since it fell on Mother's Day, yet again, my mom decided to move it to Saturday. After much debate over whether it was really his birthday or Mother's Day that got moved, we all got together and had a fun party!

Normally I wouldn't put the cake on our blog, but I have to tell you this was the best chocolate cake I have ever had, and I'm not usually a fan! It came from a place in Addison called Delicious Cakes, and it really lives up to its name!

Here's my dad, PawPaw, with Caleb and Dixie (my sister Michelle's little girl) on their porch swing! My parents have the best backyard and we spent most of the party out there.

We decided that a picture of all the grandkids was in order, so here they all are. From left to right, Dixie (Michelle's girl), Madison and Tristen (Damon and Christi's girls), Matt (Michelle's boy) and Caleb on Matt's lap!

My mom and dad posed for a picture op, but in true form, things got quite silly. I thought this picture was cute. Even after 25 plus years, they still love each other. It's really sweet and very encouraging for the rest of us!

So here's a picture of us kiddos. On the bench are Michelle and I. Mitchell is holding up the left side of the tree and Damon is on the right.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


I took Caleb to the ENT this morning, so I thought an update was in order for everyone. First off, let me tell you that I was so scared to take him in today. This is not an area of the body that I am quite so comfortable with in regards to disease. Heart and lungs I know, ears, not so much. So the asthma and aspiration is a far less traumatic diagnosis than anything I think this doctor will tell me.
Caleb had a hearing test first. They redid the test where they take measurements of the movement of the eardrum, and he failed that on both sides again. Then we did tests in a booth where an audiologist tested his perception and reaction to sounds. He did very well on these and responded appropriately to voices and speech. He was not interested in responding to just tones (beeps and such) so there was not much stock put on that part of the test.
Next, we saw the actual ENT, Dr. Chamblee. She was a very nice woman who understood my hesitance in all this and explained everything to me in detail. She did a very thorough evaluation on Caleb's ears and said that he has fliud behind both eardrums. She said instead of it looking like a liquid, though, it appeared to be quite thick. Dr. Chamblee said that indicated that the fluid had been present for 2-4 months. Then she said the dreaded word, tubes. She told me that she most often puts tubes in children's ears who have this type of fluid, but that she wanted to try a round of antibiotics first before we leapt into surgery. So, this afternoon I will go fill a prescription of Augmentin, a fairly strong antibiotic, he'll take it for a week and we go back in a month. We'll see where we need to go from there.
All in all, I feel better about the experience after it was over. I feel like we were lead to the right doctor at the right time who will give Caleb the appropriate treatment. Now let's just hope our insurance company feels that way too!

Where you lead, I will follow

Ok, so I'm in mourning. As of last night, my favorite TV show, Gilmore Girls, is no more. I just watched the finale, as I use my DVR like a fiend and I have never cried more over anything televised in my life (except maybe war or funerals). I feel silly even admitting it, but this show has meant so much to me as it is similar to experiences and conversations of my mom and I. The relationship that Lorelai and Rory have is much like the one that I have with my mom with all the funny banter, inside jokes, and even the fights. Reliving the experiences of growing up, graduations, college, moving away, etc, has been a fun walk down memory lane for me! The other connection I have with the show is the opening song. When Caleb was a baby and would cry, I would play this song for him and he would quiet. Even now, if he hears it, he stops what he was doing to watch or listen. Anyway, like I said, I'm in mourning over a television show. How silly!!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


I just wanted to give all of you, our beloved friends and family, a quick update on Caleb. I have recently realized that I haven't done the stats thing for Caleb lately and have just been posting info about the goings on in our home.
At last check, Caleb weighed right at 33 pounds and was 3 feet tall. He has been talking more and more and is catching on to words and they just seem to fall out at random times. He is speaking in sentences, short ones, but I was a little concerned about this one! He also knows his numbers up to 10 (his favorite activity right now is to identify any and all numbers wherever we go!) and his letters up to O and R. I'm not sure where P and Q went, but he's got R and loves to point it out on signs that we would rather not our son notice, like the big flashing BAR signs in restaraunts or on the side of the road! He has also learned a total of two Spanish words in the past two days. He says azul, blue, and abre, open (if you know Spanish, please disregard the spelling...). I credit the Spanish to Dora, a constant companion in our house!
Motor skills wise, Caleb is still a little behind his friends, as best I can tell, but is catching up. He has perfected the art of jumping this past week. Now, he still bends almost down to the floor to get some air, but if he keeps this up he may actually match his dad's 3 foot vertical jump!
Tomorrow we go see the ENT in town to reevaluate his hearing. I had his teachers at Mother's Day Out try a couple of crude tests to see if he can hear them and they said that they don't see any problems. Let's just hope that the audiologist and ENT see it that way too. If you see this in time, pray that Caleb will hear perfectly and the word tubes will not come up!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Homeschool Fair

Today a good family friend of my mom's took me to the annual homeschool curriculum fair in Arlington, Texas. We decided a long time back that we wanted to homeschool our kiddos for many reasons. First is the dreaded TAKS test. For our readers who are not Texas residents, the TAKS test is the standardized test that all the kids have to currently take. Not only does it determine whether they graduate or not, when they take it in high school, but the teacher's jobs are partially determined on the student and school's performance. So, out of job preservation the teachers teach the test, thus leaving out needed information for higher level thinking that the kids might need. Recently they decided to do away with the TAKS, but are replacing it with end of course exams. However, if history proves to be correct, we will be right back in the same boat as we are now. We also want to homeschool, currently Caleb, because there are things in the system that don't work for all kids, so to give him the best chance at succeeding, this is our choice. We have the ability, opportunity and resources, so we're going for it.
Anyway, we went to the fair today and boy was I overwhelmed! I think I found a curriculum that I am going to purchase for Caleb and start on in September. We already have a jump on things as he is just barely two and knows his letters through O and numbers through 10. We're going to try our best to keep up his momentum! Pray for us as we start this new phase in our lives. We have great support from family and friends, but this is going to be a lifestyle and a fun journey that we are starting!

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Caleb's Play Date

We decided this year to not throw Caleb a big birthday party since he was getting this expensive swingset. We did, however pick a day to invite some of his friends over to play as sort of a birthday play date. That day was yesterday, Saturday. We had a great time and below are some of the pictures from our fun afternoon!

This is Kathryn, one of Caleb's friends and playmates. She is just a tad older than he, but they play together great. We go to Kathryn's house to see her and her brother Carson and we hang out with mom Kim and dad Craig all the time.

Here are Caleb and Kathryn riding the hanging see saw. The two of them were hilarious because they couldn't quite get the hang of swinging themselves without flinging themselves backwards and bumping heads each time.

Logan and 2 of his sisters, Samantha and Madison, and his brother, Hudson, came over too. They live just across the way from us and Caleb always has a great time playing with and following Logan around!

Here's Caleb and his life-long (literally) friend KJ. Courtney, KJ's mom, kept Caleb when he was just a baby when I went back to work. These two boys have been together ever since! They routinely ask for the other, so we have to make a point to get them together so they can play! I didn't get a picture of it, but Caleb and KJ were hugging and kissing for quite a while when KJ and his mom got to our house! They were so happy to see each other again! :)

Having fun running around the backyard! That's Kathryn hanging from the swing. She's very girly, but tough too! We all marveled at how she could do things like this, yet her dress and shoes were perfectly clean and pretty!
After playing for awhile, we all came inside for Capri Sun (a huge hit with the kids and grown-ups!), Sesame Street cupcakes, and goldfish!
Caleb and his Capri Sun.
Cute little KJ!

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Butterfly Exhibit

Yesterday, Friday, I met a friend of mine at a local mall and we took our kiddos to the annual butterfly exhibit put on by the local Kiwanis group. We had a great time and the pictures were cute, so I thought I would post them!

At the exhibit, they gave each paying person a piece of cantaloupe to attract the butterflies. We immediatly attracted one and Caleb loved looking at it!

There were also lots of pretty flowers in the area with the butterflies. I guess the butterflies appreciated the variety of food! Who wants cantaloupe all the time? :)

Here's Caleb pointing out the butterfly. This was shortly before this particular butterfly flew right at Caleb and he freaked out! After that, he was a little skittish around them.

We got a butterfly to land on my shirt, the compromise between us, as Caleb was not willing to let another one get this near him. We had a great time and will try to make it an annual event for us!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Our Fun Weekend

Ok, ok I know that it is Thursday and I'm just posting about our weekend, but I have a good excuse. This is the first of 2 final weeks that the college I teach at has. If you thought that it was stressful as a student, try having 30 of everything to grade, record and calculate per class, and on a deadline! I have been really blessed to be one of the more requested professors at the college, but this is the time of year that you will find me at my dining room table late at night surrounded by tall stacks of papers just trying to get through them all. I have to say, I still love it! Who knew?
So anyway, back to our fun weekend.

On Saturday, my friend Jennifer and I drove to Marshall for our friend Mandy's baby shower. Here we are, Mandy in the middle and Jennifer on the right. We had a great time and Mandy got lots of great stuff for her new daughter, Hannah!

On Sunday afternoon, we took Caleb to his 2 year NICU reunion. It was so much fun and Caleb got to run and play at their childcare center, which was so nice!

Caleb loved this steering wheel on the playground equipment. We had a hard time getting him away from it so others could play too!

We pushed Caleb in the tire swings too. He wasn't as impressed with it as we thought he would be. I think he likes his swing at home better!

We all took a train ride too. We had a great time and we all crammed into the little car. Caleb was not happy to get off, but he had so much fun while we were on!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Pray For Caleb

Hello all! I usually don't post things that we need prayer for on this blog, but this one is really troubling us. I took Caleb to his 2 year appointment with his pediatrician a month ago where they did a hearing test and he failed. We brought him back on Monday for a retest where he failed again. We have been referred to an ENT for more extensive testing and any possible treatment options. For some reason this new medical development bothers us more than any other since his birth.
Caleb has never exhibited any signs that he cannot hear nor has he ever had any issue with his ears, infections, etc. I would really like Caleb to not have to undergo another surgery if we can avoid it. I'm just really afraid of what I am hearing from other parents and what the ENT will say.
Just pray for peace of mind for us and for whatever to be wrong with the test to not be a problem with Caleb's actual ears. If it is God's will that there is an issue that it is easily (and inexpensively) resolved. Thank you for all your prayers and support of our family! We love each of you!