Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 Review

I have been trying to decide how to formulate a post and exactly what to write about. After going back and looking at past posts, I have noticed that it was just life as usual around our house. For that, I am thankful.
There have been fewer earth shattering events than in past years, but we've still dealt with our share of "stuff". However, with all the bad stuff that has been going on in this world in the last 12 months, we have emerged at this end of the year relatively unscathed. God has had His hand on our family and we are so thankful for that. We are also thankful for the friends and family that we have around us and how much they have impacted and helped our family, in good and bad.
Our family wishes you and yours a happy New Years and pray that you will be blessed as we are!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Chatty Piper


Each and every Sunday when we pick Piper up from her nursery class, the teachers comment on all the words that she knows. To us, it seems pretty normal as Caleb was really verbal at this age, but evidently she may be a bit chattier than the normal 17 month old. Here is a list, to the best of my ability to recollect, of all the words that Piper says:
Mama
Daddy
Caleb
Piper (she does recognize herself and says her name all the time!)
Mommaw
Poppaw
Puppy
Cow
Cat
Eat
Yes
No
Light
Yay
Whoa
Wee
Beep
Elmo (her fav!)
Pretty
Night Night
Please
Thank you
Bite
Out
Up
Ball
Button
Flower
Snowman
Tree (she has spent the past few months calling trees "doop", but has very recently started saying the real word when prompted)
Bow
Hi
Bye bye
Go
Mine (guess who she learned that one from?)
Book
Read
Bird
Purse
Uh oh
Bath
Potty
Poopy
Wet (notice a theme here? maybe it's time to potty train?)

She's even started stringing words together:
Don't cry (when holding her baby)
A __________ (fill in the blank, very often light)
Bite please
Yes please
All done (with the adorable hand motions that go with it)

Piper still does have her own language that she converses with others her age with, but those are the words that we understand. She tends to add to them daily, so I'm sure I'll have to update this list sometime soon!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

aaaaaaaand the saga continues (cue the Star Wars Theme here)...

Yes, ok, so I've lost my ever loving mind. If that title doesn't prove it, I don't really know what does.
This post is going to be about, what else, this stupid lymph node issue I've got going on here. Just warning you so you can click away if you don't want to read about it yet again.
Last week I went to the surgeon. This is the surgeon that my sweet PA, Carol, sent me to for a simple second opinion on the whole situation. This guy was everything a surgeon is, cocky and scalpel happy, but good. He did a full examination from the clavicle up to determine if there was anything else that seemed amiss and he couldn't find anything, including the offending lymph node. I had to point it out to him, literally putting my finger on it and him doing it as I moved mine. "Ah, yes, I see what you mean" is what he said. After some questions, he determined that I needed surgery. right. then. Well, then.
He also said that it was either a lymph node that is working hard or cancer. Lovely. Seeing as I have no other symptoms, confirmed by himself, I managed to get him to agree to wait another month. If this continues to improve, then we'll do nothing, but if nothing changes he wants to do surgery. I'm not too thrilled with that idea so I'm going to do a couple of things that may help: a detox and a lymphatic massage. Hopefully, these two things will shrink this thing even just a little more and I won't have to worry about this anymore...

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Sarah

Can I just say that I really like Sarah Palin.
I'm not one to discuss politics here on my blog and this certainly isn't anything like that, but after getting to know her (if you can call it that) via the media and reading, I just really like her. I think that, regardless of one's political persuasion, Sarah Palin is a woman that is fascinating and amazing.
Let's just look at what she has done and continues to do:
She was the governor of the largest state in the US. For a woman to achieve public office, I believe, is a minor (in some places, major) miracle. From my limited knowledge of her doings in Alaska, she did a pretty good job. I mean, the state is still there, isn't it?
She is a mother. Can I just say what a difficult job THAT is, in and of itself? And, to work on top of it? Granted, most of her kids were older (with the exception of her latest) and in school, but it still take a lot of time and heart to raise respectful, well adjusted, courteous kids these days!
She is not only a mother, but a mother of a child with special needs. Do you know the statistics of those who find out that they are carrying a child with Down's that abort? It's somewhere around 90-95%. She and her husband knew, going into this, that their child would most likely have this genetic anomaly and they chose to face the challenges head on.
She just tells it like it is. I really appreciate this about Sarah. This is a woman in the spotlight and is talked about in so many ways, but she just continues on with her life. She doesn't crumble and she doesn't feel the need to defend herself. She just goes on, knowing that she knows the truth and that it just doesn't matter what others think or say. I guess you could say that I appreciate this quality of hers the most because most of the world feels the need to defend themselves and make themselves look good for everyone else. I just find this quality refreshing.
Anyway, sorry for this random post, but I just had to get it out of my system. I'll be back later with some photos of the kids, what most of you read this blog for anyway, right?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thankful

On this Thanksgiving eve, I have been thinking of all the many things that I have to be thankful for. So, in true blog fashion (it seems I fall into this too much!) I have created a bulleted list of these things:

  • Caleb- While he has certainly given us a run for our money, I am thankful that he is who he is. Caleb is SO smart, so much so that often, throughout his short little life, he has scared the living daylights out of me by something that has come out of his mouth. He is also so sweet and, for the most part, is so loving toward his family. Caleb and my mom have a serious bond that is sweet to see and I love that they have a tie that nothing can break.
  • Piper- I love her spirit and determination. This girl has a serious drive that no one can deter. She sees what she wants and goes for it, but still always comes back to her mama. Piper is shy sometimes and I love that she looks to her dad, brother and I for comfort, instead of someone else. Piper is super helpful and loves to be in the middle of all the action. She is just so much fun!
  • Jes- I am thankful for a husband that provides and provides well for his family. While things are always perfect in our marriage, or even in our house, he's always here and always comes home. That's more than you can say for a lot of 32 year old men. I'm also so thankful that he works so hard so I can be at home with the kids. Because he works so hard, it allows me to be home and just have to work a bit in the evenings.
  • My things- Now, I know it's not really kosher to say that you are thankful for stuff, but I am thankful that I have enough "stuff" to provide a good life for my family. I'm thankful for my house, even though it sometimes feels like a shoebox, and sometimes things break and we have to fix them, but it's ours and I'm glad we have it.
  • My family- I am thankful that I have a family. There are some who do not, and I just can't imagine the despair that that might cause them, especially during a holiday where the tradition is to gather as one. Now, my family is far from perfect, in fact we are probably more on the end of super odd, but it works for us and it's normal for us. In the past few years we have learned to love each other for who we are, and respect each other, and for that I am thankful.
  • Time- I am thankful that I have lived another year. We are not promised any time, as we know that our days are numbered, and I am glad that I have been around yet another year to wipe noses and hineys, feed small children, drive countless miles, laugh, cry, cook meals, see milestones, discipline, and all the other small things that we all take for granted.

So, I guess I'm just thankful.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Fall Fun

We've been having quite a good time this fall so far. The weather has been a bit precarious with all the rain and such, but we've managed to squeeze in all our fall traditions so far this year.



We managed to make our yearly trip to the Dallas Arboretum, but this year it was just my mom and the kids and myself. Everyone else that usually goes with us chickened out, but we braved the mud (it has rained quite a lot here in the past month to month and a half) and had quite a fun time! This year, more than ever, it has been quite the challenge to get both of the kids to look at me to get a proper photo. Last year, Piper was an infant and she, mostly, stayed where I put her. Now, not so much as she can just stand up and take off wherever she pleases. Poor Caleb tries to be still and look at the camera as much as he can, but there's only so much a 4.5 year old can take before something shiny or fun attracts his eye!



Caleb finished up his soccer season on the 31st of October. I am working on crafting a full post about soccer, but just to sum it up we had a really crummy coach (lots of screaming, foot stomping and fit throwing and not a lot of coaching) and the boys just had no idea what to do. The last game of the season, all the boys were given a trophy. Caleb is super proud of his! The rest of the team is signing up to play on the same team in the Spring, but we are not going to do soccer again until Fall, if at all. We will certainly be looking for a new team/coach too!



Halloween this year was more fun than it has ever been! Caleb was Batman and Piper was Catgirl. They were just two superheroes waiting to save mankind!
This year, like last, we went to my parent's church's Fall Festival event. Normally, it is held at the church, but with Halloween being during the weekend they were able to schedule it to be held at Firewheel Mall in Garland. This is one of those super popular outdoor malls with a large courtyard. The games were spread out and there were so many kids and parents there! I know that it had to have been a great success! I know both of our munchkins had so much fun playing the games, collecting their candy and riding the ponies!



Each year, since Caleb was a baby, I have taken the kid(s) to The Big Orange Pumpkin Farm, just north of us in Celina. This year I decided to go with my MOPS group but due to incessant rain it was rescheduled 3 times. The last time that we scheduled the trip was just before they were to close down for the winter so it was a now or never type thing. I had seen on the news that Celina had been getting more rain than even we had and that most of the properties there had to bring the city in to pump out all the water that was collecting. The Big Orange Pumpkin Farm was no exception. I knew when we left that day that we would be covered in mud and boy was I right! We arrived to a flooded farm with a huge lake of rain water in the center of the property. We had to park far away and be shuttled in on the hayride to get around it. It wasn't exactly the traditional hayride, but it was a hayride nonetheless! We had a great time getting dirty, feeding the animals and picking out our pumpkins. Piper was fairly clean when we went to leave (she hung out in the VERY muddy stroller most of the time), but I just stripped Caleb's and my shoes off, rolled up our muddy pants and drove home.
We are gearing up for Thanksgiving around here, which also means one more thing for me: the end of the fall semester! I have an extra class this semester which translates into more grading and while I have enjoyed it, I will be glad for a break!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Health Update

Where does the time go here? I keep telling myself that it hasn't been that long since I wrote here and then I click over and see it really has.
Well, anyway I should really update on the state of my health I addressed a few posts ago.
I went to the doctor this past Monday and she did a very thorough examination of the lymph nodes in my cervical (neck) region and found that the one that was swollen on the right is totally normal now. She also found that the lymph node on the right that was so big had shrunk around 2cm in a month. It seems that she estimated it to be 3cm a month ago and that it was now nearer to 1cm. Our next step was to go to see a surgeon to see if it needed to be removed, but she decided that we should wait another 2 weeks and revisit before we did that.
Overall, I felt better after leaving this appointment than I did the last. Also, I do feel better, mostly, as I was just not well for many weeks on end. We both agreed that with all the stuff going around right now and living with two small children, aka germ magnets, that I probably have been picking up small, but certainly noticeable and bothersome illnesses all that time.
If you are my friend on facebook then you have seen my status updates about Piper. If you are not, then here's the basic rundown on what has been going on with her. Last Thursday afternoon, Piper felt warm so I thought I would take her temperature. It was high, but literally 15 minutes later she was normal. Strange, I thought. I also thought I might have caught her at a weird time, however 1 hour later she was hot again.
Now, if you have not been around Piper, you would not know that she is very much a drama queen. She has a very big personality and is very much like her mother, so to say that she was grumpy is not that abnormal for her, especially late in the day. I went to work Thursday night thinking she was teething (the girl is 16 months old and only has 4 at this point!), however when I got home I discovered she was burning up but had no other symptoms.
Thus began the next few, miserable days where Piper ran fever consistently regardless of the medication she had on board or not. Yesterday, she did not have fever, but late in the afternoon she had a rash on her torso and upper back. I, of course, called doctor and come to find out, she had/has Roseola!
Who gets that anymore? I had it as a small child, but it never occurred to me that my kid/kids would get it. Anyway, the nurse told me that the cases in our area are up and that is seems to be yet another thing going around.
I just wanted to update all of y'all who were praying for us over the past few weeks and say thank you! I so appreciate all the love and prayers!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

This past weekend, Caleb, Piper and I were looking back through some old photos that are on the computer and came across these old videos of Caleb. They are too cute and made me wonder where my little boy went, so I thought I would share.

video

If you have read my blog for awhile now, then you will more than likely recognize this first one. This is Caleb dancing to a song from a Veggie Tales movie. He is not quite 2 here and is just as sweet as I remember him. It's been no secret Caleb's deep and abiding love for Larry and Bob, a love that still has not waned. We are still watching, talking about, singing the songs of Bob and Larry and all the other Veggie Tale characters. At the end of this video, if you listen very carefully, you will hear him say, "Yay, Wawry" translated yay, Larry. So cute.

video

I just happened to discover this one and had completely forgotten about it. This one brought tears to my eyes. I had forgotten...

I guess I was video happy this day as this one is the very same day, just after the dancing video. Here Caleb is counting to 20, a skill that he perfected long before this video was taken. I still have no idea how he learned this, as I did not teach him this, but he could totally do it and still look SO cute at the same time.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Goings On Round Here.

I figured that I should post something a little bit more positive that that last one. Most of y'all probably could care less, but it makes me a bit crazy to leave that there knowing that's the first thing that someone would read coming here.
So, with all that said, here's what's been going on in our lives in bulleted form (since I'm supposed to be typing notes for work tomorrow):
  • Piper has really been growing! She's walking really well and is talking up a blue streak. This past weekend, she said her first sentence. She had grabbed Caleb's cup off his table (it has no lid as he is a BIG boy now and doesn't think he EVER needs one) and walked across the room with it. Of course, it sloshed all over her and got her shirt and upper body wet. She looked at me, clear as day and said, "I'm wet" and pointed to her shirt. Later on in the day she told me she was poopy. She can also say her name now, although she can't say her r's yet, so it's just about as cute as it gets!
  • Jes was gone this past weekend on his very first weekend long motorcycle ride with what I like to call his motorcycle gang. It is really just a bunch of guys, much like himself, who enjoy riding sport bikes and don't do anything stupid like wheelies or stuff like that. They get all decked out in their safety gear and off they go. This weekend they took off to western Arkansas and were able to see some pretty nice scenery as the leaves are changing and have just a great time!
  • Yesterday was my birthday. I turned another year older. Enough already.
  • Caleb has really changed a lot in the last few months. It seems that when I look back at all the difficulties he has overcome, it just seems impossible that we are at this point in our lives. He is communicating well these days and seems to have gone over the hump with regards to his behavior. Now, don't get me wrong, he is still 4 and stilld doesn't like to share and still breaks down when his tired, hungry, etc, but he's getting better at moderating his emotions. We were in the pediatrician's office with Piper for a well check up and he was getting VERY frustrated that he couldn't complete a picture on the magna doodle as he wanted. The doctor took notice of this and stopped to watch to see how he would react (we have talked extensively about Caleb and he knows him well). Caleb looked at me, on the edge of losing it and I told him to just stop, and try again. He said this exact thing, "Oh, yeah. I forgot. I'll try again." and went back to trying and succeeded. The pediatrician took note.
  • Caleb has been playing soccer. That's another post for another day. Suffice it to say, we won't be doing this again.

We are just living life and making big decisions that I'll post about as we go!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Post In Which I Freak the Heck Out

So, I guess it's been over a month since I've posted here, huh?!?
There have been some big things going on round these parts, most of which consume my every moment, leaving me without much to say, or the energy in which to say it, at the end of the day.
I'm sure that most of my regular readers are gone, but for those of you that are still with me, this post is all about me.
I need some prayers.
There. I said it.
I'm not normally one to ask for this, but I'm totally freaked about this.
About a month ago, I discovered a very swollen lymph node in my neck. I had just been sick and was just then getting over whatever the weird cold/allergy fusion type thing that seemed to be going around. I did not have a regular doctor, as it seems the only doctor that I had seen on a regular basis in the past 2 years was my ob/gyn. I suppose that's the case when you are trying to conceive, have become pregnant, and have recently delivered.
Anyway, I got an appointment in the office of Jes's doctor and had her check it out. She noticed it right off and found that there was another one swollen on the other side too, but not as bad. Then she said something to me that has haunted me since. She said, "Let's see you again in a month and if it hasn't gone down then we'll send you to a specialist. You'll probably have to have a biopsy."
Sweet heavens.
Guess what, I go back in 2 weeks and it still hasn't gone down.
Commence the hyperventilating.
I have since had a couple of near and honest to goodness panic attacks over this. My biggest issue is that I know more than the average person and my mind just goes there. I've been through every possible scenario on this and I've just about convinced myself that something is terribly wrong.
So, please pray that this thing just goes away. That's it. I don't want prayers for comfort, I just want it gone. Call me selfish, but there it is.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Post Where Caleb Makes Me Feel Like The Prettiest Mama On The Block

Setting: We were at the doctor

Caleb: Mama, I HAVE to draw a picture.

Me: Ok, dear, grab the Magna Doodle and go to town.

Caleb: I'm going to draw you.

Me: Hm, ok honey.

Caleb: draw draw draw. draw draw draw.
Mama, Look!

Me: Oh, honey that's great! (really it was!)

Caleb: Mama, it's you! It's the most beautiful ballerina in the WHOLE world!

Me: aww...

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

14 going on 15

I have been putting off writing this post because I, honestly, used to dread those monthly posts and because I just haven't really had time or interest in writing. I've sort of run out of things to say, but now that things are kind of settling down and we're getting into the fall activities you'll probably be hearing a lot from us.

So, Piper. She's grown alot in the past two months and is doing maturing a little too fast for our tastes.

First off is the explosion in her vocabulary. The short list of what she can now say (and more importantly, what we can actually understand) is as follows: mama, daddy, mommaw, poppaw, nana, cow, cat, puppy, baby, uh huh (like no), night night, bye bye, hi, banana, juice, please, bubba (brother), Elmo, phone, bow, whoa, duck. The list goes on and on. Seriously, sometimes she just says something and I look at her and wonder how in the world she learned that or when.

Piper is coloring, which is totally new territory to us. Caleb never did, and really still doesn't, have an interest in drawing or coloring, but put a crayon in Piper's hand and away she goes. I'm guessing that this is a girl thing, but she thinks it is so fun, if you can keep the crayon out of her mouth!

The biggest development of the past few months is that Piper is walking now. When I say walking, I mean toddling, but you know what I mean. She took her first steps a couple of weeks ago and we can hardly keep up with her. She still prefers crawling, but will stand up in the middle of a room without holding on to anything. With the advent of crawling she also developed the ever dreaded skill of climbing. The girl can climb anything! It's somewhat scary when I turn around and see her beautiful smiling face atop something that I thought for sure she couldn't get on.

One of Piper's most favorite activities is to take a container of some sort and try to determine if things can git into it. Just today, she was crawling around with an empty water bottle trying to shove various things into it. She also loves to put things into the bathtub, the diaperbag, my purse, etc. It's always a surprise to see what I'm toting around that day!

Piper still does have some residual issues from the trip home from Oregon. We spent 41 hours total in the car on that trip home (split between 2 VERY long days) and she still gets a little miffed about being in her carseat for more than a hour or so.

Our little girl is such a source of joy and fun for us and it just seems like yesterday that she was born. We are so thankful to have her in our lives!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Photo Shoot

If you are not a follower of mine on Facebook (which I know most of you are) then would not have seen these photos from a photo shoot we had done of the kiddos in July before we left for vacation. These are Caleb's 4 year old and Piper's 1 year old pictures. I can scarcely believe that I have a 4 AND 1 year old. We are truely blessed to have 2 happy, healthy and (mostly) well behaved children.






































Friday, August 21, 2009

Mobile


It happened around 6:30 tonight, August 21st, 2009: My Piper took her first unassisted steps. We have been watching her try and try for a few months now, but inspite of that it took me by surprise to see her just stand up in the middle of the floor and toddle right to me. It seems that she may have had some of the ability but has been holding out until the right moment and I am so glad that I was here to see it. This is a new exciting, yet somewhat terrifying chapter in our lives!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

An Update of Sorts

I'm not updating the blog because I have anything interesting, per se, but because I just can't stand to log on and see that picture of my grandparents with Caleb one more time at the top.
I've been working on a post/update on Piper and her development and will post that soon. It was such a relief to me when I didn't have to do those monthly updates anymore, but I have found myself missing them.
Since being back from our trip out west, Jes has been working some pretty ridiculous hours. While we were gone he got a phone call telling him that people were being let go, right and left. He was safe, but there were many people, whom he knew well, that were losing their jobs for one reason or another. It all pretty much came down to the fact that business has slowed due to the economy. However, since returning, he's had to work long hours day and night and even into the weekend. It seems to us that there may have been a rush to judgement in letting those people go (oh and did I mention the 5% pay cut for EVERYONE??). Yeah, fun times. Jes happens to be gone now on a road trip to Ruston, LA, but will be back this evening. Hopefully. We never know.
All of this week day craziness for Jes will HAVE to end on Monday as I go back to work. I've got a heavy load this fall semester with 4 class total. To put it in perspective, all full time instructors have to have 5, so I'm right at the cut off for associates. I did mention, joking of course, to the chair of my department that she should give me one more class and make me full time. She was completely serious when she told me that she would love to, but the money wasn't there. See, the economy has affected the colleges too, contrary to what the media says.
Caleb is doing well. We have started on some homeschooling things, since school is starting around here. The problem with it is that all the workbooks that I have are easy for him. One in particular is a 1st grade book and he's finished half of it in one day. The only reason he didn't finish all of it is because I made him stop. I have been hooked up with a group who is homeschooling this year and am going to meet with them and get some recommendations on some curriculum for him since I didn't get to go to the curriculum fair this year.
Piper, like I said, I will post about later all by herself, but she's just developing like she should. Talking up a storm and trying SO hard to walk. She's still a massive drama queen and we are certain that she's going to be a handful for as long as we have her. We are praying for her husband now, that he's a patient, kind, loving man who can put up with her! :)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Wanda Ward Davis





I have hesitated and put off blogging about my grandmother until I felt the time was right. While I'm never sure that I'll feel right about her death, what I do know is that I need to pay some sort of homage to the woman that she was so that all of you who never knew her could catch a glimpse of what a special woman she was.

My grandmother was a tiny woman who had more energy in her left pinkie toe than anyone that I have ever met, my son excluded. Maybe this is why she and Caleb bonded so well from the very beginning of his life. She was the first we called when we found out we were pregnant and she and Caleb had some sort of bond that I will never understand, this side of heaven. The morning my grandmother had her stroke, she could clearly articulate very few words, but the one that she could always say well was, "Caleb". She loved that boy and talked incessently of him. I could never pretend to think that I know what is going on in heaven, but I have to believe that she is still talking of him, even while she is in glory.

For many people, their grandparents are more of an extended family for them, I had the privilege to grow up less than 10 minutes from their house. In fact, it was my grandparent's house, the very one that my grandfather still resides in, that I was brought home to after my birth. I spent many a day/weekend/holiday evening/night at that house with my grandmother and grandfather that I feel like they are more second parents to me than anything else. I was given the distinct pleasure to have such an important relationship with both of them, particularly her. Now, before I drown here, I wanted to list somethings that I learned from my grandmother, in no particular order:

- never try to make candy on a rainy day.

- scars are to be proud of and she showed me hers all. the. time., because I asked. See, I was screwy from the beginning! :)

- cranberry juice and sprite can fix all things

- nothing is better than having a child play with your hair, even if she insists on getting the brush stuck every single time

- everything in your house should be for enjoying, not just for looking

- installing a lock on the bottom of your back door for children to play with for hours on end is a-ok

- sewing, and doing it well, is an art form

- it's not all about what you have, but who you have in your life

- pecan pie something that anyone can make, even yours truely, a person who can hardly bake store bought cookie dough

- it is ok if you have dishes in your sink and laundry in the hamper, just enjoy your kids because the time is fleeting

- you can be blessing to people, even if you are confined to a bed

- there is no better joy than giving joy to others.

I love my grandmother so much and am still having a really hard time believing that she is gone. It is still so very hard and strange to be in my grandparent's house and know she won't ever be there again, even though she hasn't been there for nearly 2 years. She was my friend and my confidant. I am a better person to have known her and I am blessed to have called her my grandmother.

(I'm not proofing this post, so if it is somewhat disjointed and rambling, it is what it is. These were my thoughts just days after her death and I would like to just record them for posterity.)

















Monday, July 13, 2009

Our Great Exit

No, I have not completely abandoned our blog, we have just been so wrapped up in all things summer. My priorities just haven't included blogging lately, but I fully intend on getting back into the swing of things.
Here's what we have been up to:
Jes- He's been working really hard and some serious hours lately as business has been up. Anytime we think to complain about all the hours, we just remember all of our friends who don't have a job and are thankful again.
Shannon- I have just finished up a couple of classes for the college in the short 5 week term that is summer one. Normally, these classes would not have been so tiring but the hours were from 6pm to 11pm. By the time I got home from work it was after 11 and I was so wound up that it would take me an hour or better to calm down. This schedule just about did me in since the kiddos tend to awake around 6am every morning. It was all I could do to just make it, but make it I did.
Caleb- He finished up his swim lessons a little while ago and he went to a week of VBS at our church. He had a great time and learned a bunch, especially the music, which he still sings on a regular basis. Now I just have to find a way to get my hands on the CD of the music from that week!
Piper- Our little girl is just on the move more than ever. She has crawling down to an art and moves so fast that sometime I find myself running to catch up with her. Piper has also started standing independently for a few seconds at a time the past few days. We feel like she'll be walking in the next few months and then we're really in for it! Piper is really just the sweetest little girl, but has started developing quite the attitude lately.
Tomorrow we leave for our very first vacation with the kids. We are headed to California for a family reunion and then on the Oregon to visit Jes's parents. It will be such a fun time as we are making stops along the way at Disneyland and the redwood forest and such. The kids will have a great time and so will we! I'll try to update with pictures as we go!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Month 12, aka Her First Birthday

So. Here we are. THE day. My Piper, my last baby, turns 1. It's just so hard to believe that a year has passed since we were up and getting ready to head to the hospital for the c-section so we could see our Piper. This day, a year ago, is much different than today, but boy are we glad we walked through it.


Remember this? This was taken when my boy was just 3 (he seems so little here) and we were packing up to go home. Caleb loves his sister and they have, over the last year, reached a very comfortable point in their relationship. If Piper is grumpy and fussy, she will stop as soon as Caleb comes to her. All he has to do is talk to her and she smiles her sweet smile.
Caleb is also the one person who ilicits the most giggles from Piper. It seems that anything he does, she finds funny and amusing. It is very sweet to hear the laughs coming from the other room.


We have been told many, many times that Piper is just a sweet, happy, easy baby and nothing could be more true. This past week, Piper had her first experience at VBS and I was told, not only by her teachers, but also other teachers who happened to just see her that she was the only baby not crying or fussing about anything. She is just so content, well until she is hungry, but really who isn't upset when they are hungry. Piper loves to be on the go and while returning home is a joy for her, being out in public and looking at everything is her true joy. We have learned that we have to leave the house everyday so that Piper can get her fill. It seems that I have given birth to two kids who like to be out and about alot. No complaints here!


Piper started crawling last month, but she really perfected her skill this past one. During month 11, she would crawl on her hands and knees, but would revert back to her army crawl when she wanted to get somewhere fast. During the last 30 days, however, she has since decided that all 4 is the way to go and can go fast now. Sometimes, faster than I would like... I spend most of my days chasing her around, pulling things out of her mouth. Piper has the ability to spot the most minute speck on the floor and will promptly try to eat it. I know she'll stop doing this at some point, but until then we will battle over this little "habit" of hers!
Piper is also so close to walking. She will pull up on everything and will let go at times. She will stand there for just a second and then promptly falls on her backside. It's very cute, but she gets a little frustrated at times!

I can already tell that Piper is going to be my craftsy girl, thank goodness. I couldn't, and still can't, get Caleb to participate in crafts or art projects to save my life, so I was hoping that Piper would be the one. She seems to have taken an interest in coloring and drawing a lot younger than seems normal, well at least normal in our house. Here is a picture (of course) of Piper drawing for the first time.

This past Saturday, we had Piper's birthday party. This was nothing like Caleb's first birthday party, in that we just had a small, low key affair at my parent's house with just family. It really was so much fun and I would do it again this way, should I have the opportunity. A dear friend of mine made the tutu for Piper and she had to wear it. It's just precious, isn't it?




As you can see, we had so much fun with Piper and she had so much fun eating cake (well, icing really). Here she is just as the sugar rush started. I would almost (ALMOST!) like to give her more cake just to see this silly face again. However, the crash afterward is just not worth it!
Piper has always been very curious, but this past month she has earnestly started pointing at everything, wanting to know names of nearly every object she sees, whether she's seen it before or not. We are happy to oblige!


We have had such fun with Piper this past year and I really could never imagine how much joy she has brought to our lives. It was a difficult adjustment that was at times unbearably hard and unspeakably joyful all at the same time. However, we would do it again in a moment's notice. God knew exactly what he was doing by giving us Piper, a sweet, silly, pretty, prissy (at times), laid-back, baby girl who has completed our family and us.



Happy birthday baby girl! Your Mama and Daddy love you more that you (and we) could ever imagine. We can't wait to see all the exciting things that you will accomplish and fun we will have over the next years.

Monday, June 22, 2009

My Grandmother

So, I haven't posted about my grandmother in a good long time. It seems that the past few weeks have gone from bad to worse with regards to her health.
If you're not familiar with her history, here's the long and short of it. In September of 2007 she had a massive stroke where she ruptured a vessel on the right side of her brain, leaving her paralyzed on her left. We were told, that day, to call in our clergy and start making arrangements. She was not supposed to make it even to the end of the day. Defying all the odds, she completed a stay in the ICU and recovered more than we every expected to.
Shortly after, my grandmother was moved to an assisted living facility that we thought was top notch. We have since learned that no place is as good as they advertise themselves to be. In May of this year, my grandmother fell out of her wheelchair (fault of the facility for not having her strapped in and unattended) and broke her hip. Since her health is so poor, she was not a candidate for surgery and has had to live in constant severe pain ever since. Hospice was called in to help manage her pain medication, but we were warned that it (the meds) could lead to Congestive Heart Failure. And, it has. She has veen in and out of the hospital over and over again since then.
On Thursday of last week, my grandmother vomited and aspirated. She is now in the hospital with aspiration pneumonia, CHF, a blood clot from a PICC line, a massive UTI, all while in severe pain still. She is barely opening her eyes and is not communicating much, except to ask for someone to please help her and stop the pain. It's really a bad situation. We are all so tired of seeing her suffer and just tired. This stroke, the beginning of everything, has robbed her of her life and has trapped her inside a body that is slowly failing her. We are just praying that she'll be pain free and at peace. It's difficult beyond belief to watch a beloved family member suffer like this.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Where We've Been...

We've been quite busy around these parts with summer stuff and fun. Truth be told, I really haven't had much time nor the motivation. Here are a few pictures of the kids (what all of you really come here to see anyway) to hold everyone over until I get back in the swing of things.


Caleb and Piper are still the best of friends, playing together at every moment, even meal time.


Caleb also just started swim lessons with our friend, Ms. Jen. He is really doing quite well, putting his face in the water at his first lesson and has a killer kick. He loves going and if it weren't for VBS the week after next we might have a serious issue with not having somewhere to go in the morning like we have been.

Piper's taken up a new hobby now too: drawing. Here's her crafting her very first picture.
And this is Caleb's interpretation of me. I'm not too keen on the hair, but love the figure! :)


Here's Piper in her big floppy hat. We had a nice conversation about how good Southern girls wear their hats in the sun to protect their milky white skin, all in the effort to try to get her to keep it on so she doesn't get sunburned. It worked. For about 5 minutes.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Month 11

This month, Piper officially reached the 11 month mark. It seems that every month when I go to write these monthly update, in my mind she hasn't changed much, but as I go back and read about her the month before it becomes very clear that she's learning more everyday!

In my last monthly post, I talked a lot about Piper's hair. You will just have to excuse that, but I was SO excited about having some hair to work with and it just seems to keep coming. Neither one of our children has Jes's hair, very, very thick and very, very dark. Mine is quite fine, but there's lots of it and a medium color. Caleb is this way and Piper is turning out to be this way too. As you can see she's had more come in and I can now just stick a bow in and it will stay!
As always, Piper is still just the happiest baby ever! The nursery workers at church and MOPS always marvel at how easily she transitions into her classrooms, when most of her peers are crying. I know that my time is coming, but if she is anything like her brother, it will be short lived. Thankfully, Piper is just a laid back and easy going as her sibling.
Some of the biggest news in our household are those two little white things that you see in Piper's mouth. In my 10 month update, I mentioned that her first tooth had finally broken through, but at that point it was only one and we couldn't yet see it. Well, now she's got both of her front central incisors and she loves them, exercising them on anything that gets near them. She has already used them on yummy snacks, but also various fingers and, more recently, my nose. They work fine, friends.

In health news, Piper has had this chronic cough that I have been trying to convince her doctors is related to allergies. It seemed completely plausible to both myself and Jes that she would inherit our allergies, especially with her birth happening right before some of the worst pollen counts that our area has seen in recent years. However, each and every doctor kept telling me that she was just too young to have allergies, to which I always replied, "bull". This past month I finally conviced the kids' pulmonologist to give us a trial run of an allergy nose spray for Piper, before we had to go through a bunch of expensive imaging of her airways. Well, the verdict? It worked. No more cough, no more snot, no more sneezing. Seems I was right. Again. Doctors: LISTEN TO THE MOTHERS! Ok, enough.
Piper has also learned to clap and wave bye bye this month as well. If there is clapping going on, she will clap, but will also do it if you say, "yay, Piper" to her. She smiles the biggest smile and will clap! When she waves, she does so with both hands facing toward her. It's just about the cutest thing I've seen!



This past month, we were invited to my mom's new company's picnic. The weather was fabulous, the food was even better and the company was the best. Piper really likes being outdoors, which is perfectly fine with us, as we don't like being cooped up in the house so much either. It will get easier when she can walk, but for now her ride is the stroller,

or her doting Daddy.



So, I don't think that I have mentioned in the past about Piper's deep and abiding hatred for dolls. This began at a very, very early age when my mom and I gave her a basic doll and she began attacking it. Piper would scream, yell, bite, hit, poke, throw, and get so mad at the doll that we would have to take it away from her and physically restrain her to calm her down. She has not only done this with us, but also at church and at MOPS and everyone has commented on this. I have tried to introduce this doll in the picture to her little by little and now she plays with it more than she attacks it. Hopefully, by this time next month she won't be so aggressive toward the poor defenseless doll, but it sure is funny and a good giggle for her Mama!




This past month Piper has finally mastered the art of crawling. She will get on all fours and crawl when she is trying to get somewhere, but will revert back to the army crawl when she's in a real hurry. Here she has discovered another use for her ExerSaucer, climbing underneath it over and over. Thank you Graco for a dual use toy!
I took Piper for her first swim this month as well. We are so blessed to have a community pool in our subdivision and it's just down the street so we can well! As you can tell she feel so pretty in her new swimsuit. I hope that when she's my age she feels this good in one too!
I invited 2 of my best mom friends to come to the pool with us and both kiddos were SO excited! Between the 3 of us, we had 5 kids, totally manageable, and so much fun!
I went out and bought Piper this new float for her to ride in in the pool. I really wanted to have a float that had a shade attached to it and found this adorable turtle one at WalMart! If you look you can see that her hands are sitting in a little pool built into the front of the float. This is meant to hold a little bit of water for the kiddo to splash around in while floating. Well, our little girl decided to put her face in the water too. I predict that she'll be an easy one to teach to swim!


Swimming was so much fun, but wore Piper out so much! This is a picture of her passed out in her stroller. What I didn't get a photo of was her asleep in the float as she glided along on the water. It was so relaxing for her that we'll be sure to get back to the pool soon!


I had to get a picture of her pruney little feet... So cute!



Another huge thing that Piper is doing in our house is sleeping in her own bed! Now, she's never been like her brother, sleeping in our bed, but really just craves her own space, sleeping in a Pack 'n Play next to our bed. We decided to try her in her crib early in May, expecting a fight, as we had with her brother. However, Piper proved us wrong and has slept all night long ever since! Praise the Lord!


Lastly, Piper is officially pulling up on everything and is cruising around all the furniture. Now that she's able to get up and reach things that are higher than the floor, we are constantly chasing her around trying to get whatever she has grabbed and absconded with from her. Most often it's a piece of paper, a cell phone, or a remote that she doesn't want to give up. Sometimes I just let her have whatever it is she's after, because, really, who can resist that face?!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Conversations with Caleb- a double edition

Setting: sitting in the stall at Sonic drinking our Happy Hour drinks while I give Piper a bottle.

Caleb: Mama, Mama, Mama, Mama, Mama (evidently I don't answer quick enough)

Me: Yes, Caleb

Caleb: Can you get my Nemo ball?

Me: Caleb, I can't reach it. You'll have to wait until we get home (it's in the far back corner of my SUV, no way I can get it).

Caleb: Oh, come on now. You know you can do it! (said with a huge smile on his face!)

Who knew I had such a motivator on my hands!
------------------------------------------------------------
Setting: in the car on our way to some event. Hm, there seems to be some sort of pattern here. We are ALWAYS in the car, it seems!

Caleb: I have brown eyes.

Me: Yes you do. What color are Daddy's eyes?

Caleb: Brown, just like mine.

Me: Yep, that's right. What color are mine and Piper's eyes?

Caleb: Angel. You have angel eyes, just like Piper.

Awwwww. (I know he's meaning hazel, but it's still sweet even if it's not on purpose!)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Conversations with Piper

Piper: Dee, doot, boop, beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee (think high pitched squeal)

Me: ...

Piper: Dat? (pointing to shoe)

Me: Shoe.

Piper: Dat?

Me: Shoe.

Piper: Dat?

Me: Shoe.

etc. etc.

Evidently, the 4 year old in our house isn't the only one with all the questions.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!


Just over 5 years ago, this little boy made me a Mama.

He brought so much joy and laughter to our lives that I never thought I could ever love another child...


...nearly as much as I loved him.




Then we went and made him a big brother,


and got this little love bug, whom I can hardly imagine my life without.

Boy, am I grateful for these two! Happy Mother's Day to all of you!