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Moody little man

Friday, October 30, 2009
He's finally putting sentences together and playing pretend. He's bossing us around and giving us his opinions, even when they aren't asked for. He's a full-fledged two-year old, complete with defiance and tantrums. And, he's absolutely able to get anything he wants. Jake can easily convince me of just about anything with his adorable big eyes and funny facial expressions. Even when he couldn't talk much, you could understand everything he was thinking by just reading his face. Now, he just manipulates me with those adorable little expressions and sweet little voice. Even when he's mean... I am totally SNOWED.

I guess I'm not really snowed since I know what's happening, but it is terrible. I, obviously, don't make a difference between Jake and Bailey (at least not one that any parent wouldn't make between a 2-year old and a 4-year old based on one knowing more than the other). However, I do feel like a complete sucker most of the time. I do feel better when other people seem to get snowed too. Then, at least, I think maybe he just has that kind of personality. The funny thing is that he really is a hateful little bird. He wakes up every morning and I wonder if he's going to be happy or pissed off. It's about 50/50. Some mornings, he'll wake up and be ready to go... happy to do whatever is on the agenda, whether that's laying around the house in his pjs or getting dressed to go run around. He is just happy to go and even happier if we have a pop tart and orange juice. Other mornings, he wakes up mad. I can offer him pop tarts and orange juice, with a side of Spiderman on TV, and he just gets more angry. He usually wants to be held on these mornings and then proceeds to be mean to Morgan, by saying "No Morgan" or "No Kaden (Morgan's little brother who he plays with regularly)" or just completely ignoring her. He's even mean to Brad - often refusing to tell him goodbye or even taking a swing at him if he tries to give him a kiss on the head. He really is a little bear. He is a moody little thing. We just can't figure out if there's something causing it. I keep wondering if he's getting enough sleep or if he's getting too much on these days. I thought it was just the mornings that Morgan was coming over, which made me think he was just having a hard time with us leaving. But, that's not the case. He does it on the weekends sometimes and sometimes on the days I'm at home. On some mornings, he'll just sit and scream (like temper tantrum scream) because he asked for juice and I fixed him a juice but handed it to him instead of sitting it on the table that he wanted it on. Apparently mind-reading is something I should have. :) So, really... the personality is not there for him to be a manipulator. He should be sweet and persuasive, not hateful, moody, and expecting us to bow to him all the time. LOL... But, his uncle Colt has always been able to get what he wants. They have very similar personalities. Jake seems to recognize that... he idolizes Colt. Every time we say we're going to Ashland to see Mimi and Poppa, he'll say, "And Colt?" Maybe I should keep them away from each other... maybe he's getting lessons and I just didn't know. :) Either way, he is certainly the funniest little kid in the world. You never know what you're going to get with him... but I can almost always guarantee that you wait five minutes and it will change!

Daddy's Girl... for a few minutes

I couldn't help but think that it was the most adorable thing ever when Bailey announced to me that she wanted her daddy to take her on her field trip to the orchard. Her class would be visiting a local orchard for their fall trip and she was so excited. I was a little disappointed that she wasn't more eager for me to be there, but I was so excited for Brad that she had taken the initiative to want him there. It really worked out nicely for me, too. The field trip was on a Thursday, which would normally be good for me because I work from home on Thursday and could be more flexible. However, siblings weren't allowed to go, which would mean paying or finding a sitter to take care of him while I took Bailey. So, Bailey's endeavor to involve her daddy was perfect.

I'm not sure that Brad even realizes how special it is that she wanted him to go and that he went and had fun with her. One day, he will look back and remember it and wish she was still so eager to spend time with him, especially in front of her friends. :) My dad was always ready for anything we wanted to do and my favorite thing about him was that he was always happy to spend time with us. Most of the time, he was needed somewhere else, but when he was with us, he was with us. He knew when it was supposed to be Dad and Andrea time. Oh, don't get me wrong... I can remember SO many times when we were begging him to get off the phone, quit working, leave the office, or to not stop "just one more place." I often think of him when I'm working from home with the kids and I tell them, "Mommy has to make just one more call, so please be good and don't fight." How I remember being on the other end of that conversation and hating every second of it. :) But, when it was really important, Dad got it. He knew that it wouldn't always be that way... and he was right. Like all girls, I went through that "my dad embarasses the crap out of me and acts like a complete idiot" phase. And, he made sure I paid for it when I went through that phase. I guess he thought that if I was going to accuse him of being ridiculous, he might as well enjoy it. Obviously, I got over it and really think it's quite funny looking back at it.

I love to see how Bailey adores her daddy. He is so oblivious to it... which I might have just ruined. :) She tells me every time something messes up, even if it is unfixable, that her daddy will fix it. He can fix everything. Literally, I quote her... she says, "Daddy can fix everything." She thinks he hung the moon. And, he does for her, I guess. Tonight we carved our annual jack-o-lanterns. Daddy is the master at carving the coolest pumpkins. We have a Scooby Doo pumpkin and a crazy face pumpkin (which I did, thank you very much). No doubt, all I will hear about for weeks is how her daddy made her the Scooby Doo pumpkin. And what really cracks me up about her idolization of him, is that she doesn't say these things in front of him, just to me and/or others. It's like she knows it will go straight to his head. :)

I just hope it stays this way for a little while longer. I'm happy to miss out on the fun field trips and let Daddy have his time with her. I know that she'll turn into a teenager early... she does everythinge early. So, we'll take this as long as we can. (And since I'm being so understanding about her playing her daddy all the time, maybe he'll be so understanding about me letting Jake play me all the time.)

Catching Up

Well, I can't believe it's been over a month since the last post. I don't know why... I should know that's about how long it takes for me to feel guilty and get back on the computer. It's difficult for me to sit down and write for some reason. Most of it is because I'm so tired of being on the computer for 100 different things, mostly all work-related. Nonetheless, I regret waiting so long because it takes a few to get back into the swing of things when I take such a break!

The kids have been doing wonderfully. We have all been passing a cold around, which seems to be the norm for everyone right now, but thankfully it hasn't been anything more than a cold. (Knock on wood, right?!) Our routine has continued on... Bailey going to school on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and Jake staying with Morgan. They really are both enjoying every bit of it.

Bailey loves her friends and telling me all about everything she's learning. I'm so impressed by the knowledge she keeps picking up. She comes home talking about her letters, telling me what items she knows that start with the letter of the week, and telling me all about her "job" for the week. There always seems to be some fun activity that they do to learn about things. They have had fire safety week and I love to read week. They had a visit from the fire truck (Bailey was thrilled to see that they have a front and back door... so impressive) and they shared their favorite books in class today (their teachers read all of their books in class and Bailey claims that hers was the best). I am really impressed by Bailey's recent interest in numbers. I don't think this has been caused by school. She has always been more interested in numbers than letters and she has always asked lots of questions about numbers. Well, she is now learning to add and subtract (more from us at home than at school, I believe). I'm so proud of her (and hoping that she is going to be so good at math that she goes into something that will positively impact her budget more than my choices! LOL). I have also seen other changes in Bailey's learning. She is driving me nuts with the little schoolgirl, know-it-all attitude. It can be cute, at times, but it can also drive me insane. She has been threatening Jake when he doesn't do what she wants. She tells him, "I won't be your friend or big sister anymore." It makes me mad that she acts that way, but worries me more that she's being treated that way by one of her friends (or that she's treating them this way). So, we had a little talk about it tonight. I hope that changes soon. I'm sure there's plenty more of it to come, but I'm hopeful that she'll understand it can be hurtful to act that way. I guess it all comes with the territory. She is also killing me with rhyming. Everything she says, she follows up with rhyming words, even if they don't make sense. So, she'll say, "Hey Jakey bakey cakey. I'm hungry, shungry, dungry." Every sentence ends in rhymes. I had to tell her tonight that if she rhymed again, she was losing toys. I know I'll look back and laugh one day, but really... I am only going to be sane for a few more days at this rate. :)

Jake is also enjoying his little life. Today, alone, he was able to convince Morgan to take him to McDonald's for pancakes and sausage, and then to McDonald's for lunch. Normally, I would be worried about the amount of fast food, but considering that he really seems to eat less than a bird on most days, I'm thrilled that he has anything going down. I guess it's a phase he's going through - the no-eating phase - but it worries me. He is so little that he can fit in Mackenzie's little 5 month old son's diapers (he wears them sometimes at nap time if he's at Morgan's house and they don't have any of his). Now, I know that Braxton is a big 5-month old, but still... Jake is a skinny mini. And, it is no wonder. He literally could survive on drinks. He just doesn't seem to care about eating anymore. I remember Bailey going through a phase like this, so I'm hoping we're nearing the end of it. BUT... in the meantime, anything that he'll eat is better than nothing. :) He is also speaking more and more clearly. He loves to talk about Spiderman or Batman. He loves role playing... in any form. Yes, he's going to be that adult that interviews potential employees and makes them pretend to sell him something. Apparently, it's just that fun. :) He loves to tell me when Bailey is being bad, when he doesn't like things, and when he wants me to do something. I hear mommy all the time. Even if Jake is just sitting around playing, he'll yell, "Mommy" repeatedly. When I respond, he usually says, "Where are you?" Most of the time, I'm sitting right beside him... but he just wants to say it.

They are both just growing up so fast. I can't keep up with everything they do that I love. They play well together on most days... they even found that they really enjoy a good car race with Jake's electronic cars. They'll get them started and let them go across the floor and their identical laughs just crack me up. I listened to them playing for about an hour yesterday and couldn't help but laugh at them. They were having so much fun and weren't fighting over the toys they were playing with. It was one of those precious moments that I would love to remember forever.

Battling my own addiction. :)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Well, I understand my son's addiction to Spiderman. I know it sounds crazy. I know. I really am wondering about my own mental capacity at this point, but I am addicted. Not to Spiderman, of course. I am addicted to the Twilight books. Now, for all of you who have known me since I was young, you are probably not surprised. I love to read. I LOVE to read. I just never get to. And there are multiple reasons for that. First and foremost, the kids make it difficult. I feel guilty when I'm reading and they are just running around. I don't know why. I guess I feel like they are neglected or something. Before, when they were smaller, it was harder because there just wasn't a way to find time or to relax for long periods of time without them needing things... a clean diaper, a bottle, a snack, attention, love, etc. Not that they don't need all of these things now (in different ways, of course). They just don't need them as frequently and I don't have to remember to do these things. They tell me what they need. And, what's the difference in my reading versus watching a movie or show (I do that frequently). Secondly, I become engrossed in a story, if it's worth anything to me. Engrossed meaning I can't think about much else. I am in another world, wondering what will happen next, rushing through whatever trivial errands or housework needs to be done, in a desparate hurry to get back to the story. That's typically why when I do read, it is in the form of someone's blog, a newspaper article, a magazine story, etc. It rarely turns into a novel, especially a fictonal novel, because I know that makes my imagination run wild. It's like I'm on some kind of drug that I can't come down from until I've finished the book.

So, I'm high right now... obviously not on any kind of drug. I am high because this saga is four books long. I started this whole thing on Saturday night (at about 9 p.m.). I stayed up until 4 a.m. that night reading. Got up on Sunday and finished it off. Thought about the second book all day on Sunday... contemplating a trip to buy it, but holding off, thinking it would go away for a while. Finally, on Monday evening, I gave in and bought the second one. I finished it off today and I've read everything I can get Google to bring up to tell me how the third book goes. I predict that I'm going to be driving to Walmart at some point tomorrow to buy the third AND fourth books. My brother has them in Ashland and is ready to loan them to me this weekend, but I just don't think I can wait that long. LOL. I guess Jake gets his addiction to a great story (heroes, bad guys, romance, twisted relationships, love triangles, all of it) from his mother.

Oh well... I guess it could be worse.

I Spiderman

Monday, September 21, 2009
Our son is addicted. I think he has an addictive personality or something. It seems like he just goes through these phases with movies. He used to watch the Grinch over and over... then he went through Meet the Robinsons, Peter Pan, Scooby Doo, etc. Right now? Spiderman... and not the animated versions, the real life movies. He's obsessed. He gets up in the morning and the first thing he wants is "Spiderman watch tv." Then, he proceeds to tell us that he's Spiderman. He growls at us aggressively, flexing all the muscles in his body in a near strain, and says, "I spideyman." Then, he typically proceeds to punch us... sometimes in the face when you aren't really paying attention. It's not the best phase he's gone through. lol... He would literally watch it all day if we would let him... carrying around his little Spiderman dolls, sometimes wearing his Spiderman costume that is two sizes too big. It's adorable to see how excited he gets about these movies... Bailey will be scared and Jake will be re-enacting it all. I guess that could be why Bailey is so scared! :) I guess it could be worse... he is at least going to Spiderman dolls instead of Barbies.

Soccer

Well, we were lucky with t-ball... we got on the winning team, only losing one game during the entire season and playoffs. We had a great crew of parents and players... a wonderful experience. Bailey began to enjoy it and really started to understand the concept by the end. We were fortunate.

Soccer is a little different. The parents are good, the kids are sweet, but the team, overall, is like watching the Bad News Bears... with one exception... the Bad News Bears at least cared about playing. They just weren't any good. :) Bailey's little team is quite hilarious to watch. It's kind of like watching a bunch of little kids with Attention Deficit Disorder. They see the ball and start to run for it, but then notice that they like the yellow shirts the other team is wearing and decide to stop and check it out. Bailey could be the biggest culprit. Our little social butterfly is very interested in making friends with her teammates and the other team's players... so much that there's no way she'd try to take the ball from them or even kick the ball, for that matter. She'll play great defense against us, but not against the kids. That, apparently, would be wrong. lol... So, we're working on it. It's a challenge, to say the least. But, it's also freaking adorable. She'll stand on the field and do nothing. Meanwhile, I'm yelling instructions to her. She'll hear me (after a few minutes of me yelling over and over at her) and then look at me and smile, giving me a thumbs up or blowing me a kiss. It's so adorable, I can't help but just crack up. Our game on Saturday was horrible. We didn't score a goal and the other team scored between 10 and 15 goals. lol. The coach's dad was sitting by me and we were laughing about it. He said, "Well, they don't seem to be mad that they are losing." I cracked up and said, "I don't think they even realize that they are losing." It's going to be a long couple of months! :)

School Update

The shift key that I use most often is stuck for some reason... probably because I'm on the computer too much, but nonetheless always behind on something. So, don't be surprised if I revert to just not using caps at all in this blog. You don't realize how much you use that shift key until it doesn't work. :)

Things here are becoming more routine with the school schedule and babysitter change. The kids are overwhelmingly happy with their environments, which only makes it that much easier to not feel guilty when I'm working or needing a little time for myself. I know they are happy. What a wonderful feeling. Jake is being spoiled to death by Morgan and Mickey. He's eaten out several times for lunch, whether it be McDonald's or Applebee's or even home-cooked meals by Morgan's grandmother... he's definitely getting the royal treatment. He gets to sleep in, although he isn't doing that as often as I had hoped, and he gets to watch whatever he wants to watch on tv, play with any toy he wants, and visit with his friends, Kaden, Konner, and Braxton on a regular basis. It's just amazing how nice it is to have a good sitter!

Bailey is also thriving... she comes home with new stories, new ideas, and having learned how to spell words regularly. She is learning the letter L this week, which means that we have to talk about every word since the beginning of time that starts with the letter L. She also learned about the Statue of Liberty last week (they are talking about patriotic symbols and America) and described her as being the blue-green lady with the princess crown who holds the light. :) Each week, the children recieve "jobs" for their classroom. Bailey really enjoys this responsibility. She was the weather girl one week, the light girl, the flag holder, and is now the caboose in the line on the way to the bathroom. I think the cutest description of her job came last week... she told me she gets to hold the flag and then demonstrated by holding her arm straight up above her head and waving it side to side as fast and hard as she could. I can envision her doing just that at her school. She's not big on nap time, but she's adjusting well... and even starting to remember some of her friends' names. Finally.

Sports fans...

Monday, September 7, 2009
And so life goes on... beyond the new school and babysitter situations, we have entered a new season for sports. I LOVE THE FALL. Football weather is here, so pull out the hoodies, get your cow bells out, and get ready for Friday nights. Or at least, that's how I feel about it. For one more year... my little brother, Colt, is in his senior year of high school and we are trying to get every ounce of high school football that we can while he's still playing. There's just something about watching someone you know play that makes it even that much better. And this year has already been a lot of fun. Colt's football team has been playing great and winning. You know, Bailey gets that competitive thing honest. Her daddy is bad, and on any given day (especially Friday), I could be worse. I love to win. LOVE IT. I even felt some of the old redneck coming out this last week. No worries... I kept it in check. And, I'm quite certain that most of the fans think I'm crazy because I yell like an idiot the whole time. But, at least my whole family is that way, so I'm not alone. For those of you who haven't watched high school football with me, visualize the little girl in the movie "Remember The Titans" and add about 20 years onto her age and you'll see what I mean. :) I just love it. And, I don't know what we're going to do when we don't have Colt to watch. I guess I'll have to adopt a little brother for a couple of years, until we get Jakey ready to put on the pads.

Or... I guess we can learn soccer. I think Brad and I are going to have to take a class to learn all about it, because I think we might have a serious soccer player on our hands. We signed Bailey up for fall soccer and she is loving it. She's had three practices and is doing really well. Perhaps most impressive, she actually wants to practice in the yard with us. We don't have to beg her like we did with t-ball. She ASKS us! I've spent at least 6-7 hours this past week in the yard, kicking with her. It's been a lot of fun. Her first game is on the 12th, so we'll see how she does there. I didn't make it out to practice today, but Brad said she did well. She stole a ball from one of the better players on the team and also scored against one of the better players on the team. So, we might have found a sport that she's going to like and be good at. Fingers crossed that she has fun with it. That's really all we care about... that and winning. lol... :)

Here are some pics of her playing at the soccer field last week. And a couple of Jake playing at the playground during practice. Jake's pictures aren't that great... actually none of these are. I'm having a terrible time just trying to catch them, even mid-action!

Oh... I'm going to have to get a shot of his shoes. We bought him some black tennis shoes on the same day we got Bailey's cleats. Every time Bailey puts on her cleats, he has to wear his black shoes. Their his "football" shoes, as he calls them. SO CUTE. :)











School Days...

More than a month has passed since my last blog... yes, that surprised me! I truly didn't think it had been that long. Once again, I am playing catch up.

I have a daughter in preschool these days. We are going on week three of our first year at preschool at one of the local Christian schools. Bailey has attended (off and on) day care since she was 6 weeks old, so it's not THAT new. But, it is a new school, with many more people, a different perspective, a car line to get wait through, and a uniform dress code. It is different in many ways...

The first day was the one I dreaded most, thinking that she'd have a tough time with the new environment. Fortunately, we had attended an open house the Friday before, so she had met her teacher, made some friends, and become familiar with the classroom. We got up extra early that morning, as we were also beginning a new thing for Jake - he would be staying with a sitter in her home (my update on that will follow this). I had laid out Bailey's uniform outfit, complete with a homemade hairbow to match. She was excited, a little nervous, but geared up to try this new thing out. We got dressed, dropped off a very unhappy Jakey, and headed to Bailey's new school. Drop off was a little hectic, as it was the first day for preschool and only the second week for the rest of the school, who, we learned, were still figuring out the routine of dropping kids off, not parking in the wrong spot (i.e. the car line), and dealing with tearful goodbyes. I pulled into the closest spot I could find and we made our way to her classroom. I felt like I was going to school for the first time when we entered the building. I was probably much more nervous than she was. She was eager to see her new friends and to show off her new back pack and Scooby-Doo Mystery Machine lunchbox. Photos will come... I promise. We walked up to the classroom, found her coat hook outside the door, and hung up her backpack. As I was pulling out her snack, blanket, and lunch, I overheard Bailey's teacher saying to place the lunchboxes under the backpacks. Apparently, Bailey heard it, too. She quickly directed me that, and I quote, "My teacher said to put the lunchbox under the backpacks, Mom." She proceeded to take the lunchbox out of my hand, place it under the backpack, and quickly proceeded to grab her snack and head into the classroom. Clearly, she had no problems figuring out what needed to go where or how to handle it herself.

Some might think that this would bother me. Well, no it really does not. This was so nice to see and hear. Bailey was not one bit intimidated by the changes. She welcomed her new-found independence and the way the teachers encourage the students to handle things on their own. She even visited the restroom (that has about 10 stalls), went in and took care of her business completely by herself, without locking herself in or needing assistance with her clothes. She truly grew up overnight. And I could not have been more proud or more pleased. Yes, I hate it that she's not a baby anymore, but yes, I love it that she's become so confident in her own ability to handle things. The only drawback to this is that she is completely and utterly intolerable when it comes to "knowing" things. She knows EVERYTHING. We are all idiots in her mind... no one can do anything as well as her. She even asked my mom this weekend if I had been smart when I was little. My mom replied that I was very smart, etc. Bailey just looked at her and said, "Well... I'm smarter." :) Competitive? Never. And, she is even more eager to become more independent, too. One day last week, she asked me if I could just drop her off in the car line in the morning like the big kids do. She said that she knew where her class was, so she didn't really need me to walk her in. I just laughed and told her she had to wait until she was a little older (in Kindergarten, which she calls Flower Garden - too cute). She did not like my response. She said, "Well, I'm almost 5..."

It is so nice to have one that is so happy going to school... especially when the other one hates to be away from you. My little man has had a rough time of it lately. We've had him at a day care in Lexington for more than a year. He's never acted like he loves it or anything, but he's always tolerated it and even enjoyed it (when he didn't know we were looking). But, with potty training comes great responsibility, or so it would seem. lol... Apparently, taking a child to the bathroom instead of changing his diaper was a little difficult for Jake's teachers. After about three weeks of picking him up to find him in a diaper, after he had been completely potty trained and the teachers instructed not to put him in said diaper, I decided to pull him out of day care. It was a very frustrating decision. I loved having Jake in a day care environment. I feel like kids learn a lot (good and bad) from playing with other kids their age. I loved it that he was around other adults who would teach him games, songs, and other fun things that I have forgotten, never learned, or just don't ever think to teach him. However, I think it's even more important for the day care to take care of basic needs and that just didn't seem to be a priority.

So... I was in search of a babysitter. And I found a lady in our neighborhood who takes care of other children, including her own. We visited her a couple of times and Jake seemed to really enjoy it. So, on Bailey's first day, we took Jake to the new sitter. He cried a little, but I thought he was fine. He seems to struggle with separation, but always dries it up quickly. I called the sitter about five minutes after I dropped him off to make sure he was OK and she said he had stopped crying before we were out of the driveway. When I picked him up that evening, he was happy... ready to go home, but happy. Same report for the next day or two. This past week, however, I've got mixed reviews. This weekend, I asked Jake if his sitter was nice. He says, "No... not to Jakey." Tears welling up in my eyes, I could just feel my heart breaking. So, I started asking questions and he gives me mixed reviews (he's not that good of a speaker still, so I have to translate WHAT he's saying and then translate if what he's saying is TRUE or just him not wanting to be away from us.). I ask if she yells, and he says yes. I ask if she yells at him, and he says no... just at (child's name that I won't mention). Jake is a nervous little boy when it comes to people. He bites his fingernails all the time... even when he's not nervous, but especially when he's nervous. He wrings his hands when things get really loud, if he's confused, or if he's not sure about things. I could just see him sitting there, a nervous wreck, terrified to make a mistake. And... well, despite my own feeling that this could be a complete fabrication, I just prayed that I wouldn't have to take him back there.

And, you know... God is watching over me. Mackenzie and Mickey, our babysitting SAINTS from when Jake was an infant and Bailey was 2, have a sibling and daughter (respectively) named Morgan. She's in college and has taught at Bailey and Jake's day care for the past year or so. Lo and behold if I didn't talk to them and find out that Morgan is no longer at the day care, but looking for work. Sometimes the pieces all just come together. I talked to Morgan tonight and she can start on Wednesday. Do you know how relieved I am?

So, Jake will be pleased on Wednesday morning, when he gets up and stays in his PJs to watch Blue's Clues or Sid the Science Kid, eats his pop tart and orange juice, and stays with someone he knows and loves... other than us.

A photo of Bailey's first day of school (in her adorable uniform, I might add). And a photo of her with Jake... who was just dying to get in the photo. Notice the soldier-ish pose... I have no clue where that came from. My only guess is that they felt very official being up so early and dressed in new(er) clothes. lol...



Mind-Reading Anyone?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009
I recently read a blog that I just loved. This parent was, like me, trying to find a way to keep up with it all. She had lots of things she wanted to write about... to remember or just note, but never seemed to find the time to write in-depth about those things. So, she had one whole post about everything and nothing. I know some of you will probably just browse through this and ignore, which is fine. This one is for me more than it is for anyone else.

I love days when the kids don't get out of their pjs until after lunch has been served and only then because they have food all over them.

I love the way Jake runs into my arms when he gets scared of something and says, "Jakey sca-wed (scared)."

I love it that Bailey thinks Jesus and Santa Claus are very similar because they can see everything she's doing all the time and they know everything.

I hate the way Jake cries everyday when I leave him at day care, but love how he stops before I even get down the hall to drop off Bailey.

I love it when Jake asks for strawberries... "bewwies."

I love to see the kids' face when we hit a wave on the lake and the water splashes us... and they both yell for Brad to go faster and hit more waves (or "dapes" as Jake calls them).

I love and hate it when Jake gets in the lake and swims for two seconds, and then gets out because he wants his mommy, only to soak our towels and boat before getting right back in the water for Daddy.

I love it that Bailey will go up to every kid at the pool and introduce herself by saying, "Hi, I'm 4." Yes, we just need to know her age, not her name. But if you ask her name, it is "BaileyGraceOoten." One word... not three.

I hate waking the kids up on school days, but love how they roll over and immediately smile, stretch their arms out for a hug and kiss, and then ask for orange juice.

I hate it that Bailey gets her feelings hurt so easily, but love that she is sensitive to other people's feelings.

I hate it that she is already worrying about death and our mortality. I hate it when she cries because she's scared that we're going to die or that she's going to die. How do you tell a kid that you aren't going to ever die and then risk something happening and let her think you lied to her? Praying about that one...

I'm terrified of my own mortality.

I'm terrified of mammograms.

I love it that, despite their fighting, my kids truly love each other. Every time I pick them up at day care, whoever I get first asks me where their sibling is. It doesn't matter that they know the answer...

I officially hate the ABC song. I will never like it... ever. Or Fruit Salad or Big Red Boat.

I love my parents for always letting me be me. I have to remember to do that for my kids and not criticize them too much.

I love it that my husband lets me sleep on the days I work from home, especially if the kids aren't up. And I really love it that he still makes sure to kiss me before he leaves for the day, even if I'm telling him to leave me alone.

I hate it when my phone dies and the charger isn't in the car. Brad - seriously by me another charger if you're going to steal mine.

I hate it that my baby brother is a senior in high school. That makes me old. That means he's grown up. That means that I have to help get him set up for college soon. That means my parents will be empty-nesters.

I love it that I might be able to convince my parents to move this way once Colt is out of school.

I love it that Jake is so much like his daddy and his uncle Colt... even though I worry that I might want to strangle him at some point in his adolescent life.

I hate stupid movies. I really hate stupid movies with no plot. I really, really hate to go through a movie that really seems to be going good and then it ends really badly.

I love the Drive-In theater, the dollar theater, Sonic hot dogs and onion rings, fantasy football, and flip-flops (even if they are apparently a faux-pax if you aren't a the beach).

I hate meetings that last more than 45 minutes. After I hit that mark, I don't care what we are talking about... which usually ends up leaving me with more work because I just agree to do whatever so that we can leave.

I miss things like blackberry-picking, crawdad-hunting, and reading an entire book in one day (all while sweating without body odor).

I miss spitting contests with my brother. Oh yes, girls, we would spit off the bridge near our house for long periods of time. And I won the farthest distance quite often. Attractive... I know. :)

I wish that we could catch one freaking fish at Herrington Lake. I'm threatening to bring a bb gun next time. They flop up on the water all around us but won't bite! ARGH. And these things are HUGE.

I miss having a car that will stay clean longer than an hour.

I love my daddy for always being that dad that would do anything to make me happy. I'm talking about Shoney's for breakfast before school, two-hour trips on Friday nights to watch high school football games when we didn't have a family member on the team to go and watch, and long talks about religion, politics, and everything else. No opinion I had was wrong... even when I was wrong.

I love it that my mom is my best friend and that we talk everyday about everything and nothing. I hope I'm as good as she is.

I love it that my mom survived breast cancer. I hate it that she went through it, but love it that she realizes how strong she really is.

I hate it when my parents say their kids are the only good things thay have ever done. Clearly, they don't see what I see... that makes me sad. Proud that they are proud of us... sad that they don't see how wonderful they are to so many others.

I hope my best friend Cilla's work flow plan works. I really hope she and Bret don't kill each other before it does. LOL... I'm kidding on that one, but figure that you guys are probably the only ones still reading at this point!

I hope I never see another cucumber again. lol.

I hope that Cilla and Bret get everything they want in life and more. Having a child does not define you one way or another. You are both amazing people and friends... I thank God for you guys every day.

I hope that Cory is happy... truly happy... and that Angela can tolerate him. :) I wish that we spent more time together. I miss him.

I love my friend Cheryl's blog. I love it that I can feel like I know what's going on in her life, even if we only talk and see each other a couple of times each year.

I hate it that everyone in Masterson Station has a house for sale. :)

I hate it that I'll totally freak out if we sell our house and have to move.

I hate cleaning.

I hate it that I never visit my grandparents as often as I want to. I feel like I lost my grandmother yesterday and it's been almost a year.

I love Spiderman for making my son pee on the potty.

I can't believe I've been out of high school for 10 years. I can't believe that I met Brad nearly 11 years ago. I can't believe that he has tolerated me this long...

:)

I have so much to be thankful for... I'm counting my blessings and thanking God for it all. Sorry it was a marathon... but now you know what it would be like if there was a cord hooked to my brain, reading my thoughts. lol...

Monnie's... nope... Mommy's Boy

I guess it is official... my little baby boy is growing up. Potty-training was just the beginning for Jake. Apparently, once you can go in the potty, you have to stop using your pet names for your mother. I am no longer Monnie. I would love to be Monnie. Instead, I'm just regular Mommy. And I love the way he says it with his sweet little voice, but I miss Monnie. I've wondered if his speech is just getting better, but I've asked him several times to call me Monnie and he just grins that sneaky little grin, shakes his head no, and tells me, "No... you Mom-MY!" I guess it's all part of becoming a big boy... no diapers = no baby names for mom.

At least I still have his sweet little affectionate man before he falls to sleep. Brad says he has me snowed, and he probably does (just like Bailey has Brad snowed). Each night, when I lay down with him to go to sleep, he gives me at least a dozen hugs and kisses and tells me repeatedly that he loves me. When he's feeling particularly happy, he'll rub my face, play with my hair, or just snuggle really close and squeeze me tight. We were all cuddling in the bed just before lights out a few nights ago and Brad was watching as Jake went through this little routine. I could see that Brad was just laughing his butt off at how much I was enjoying this attention from Jake. So, I told Jake to tell Brad he should take notes. Of course, Jake followed with, "Daddy, take notes." He then proceeded to tell me he loved me and cuddle up with me. Brad just cracked up. He made sure to point out how much I'm getting snowed by this kid. lol... Yes, the tables have turned, daddy. You have your daddy's little girl... but I have the momma's boy. And I will most certainly take it as long as I can! :)

Boo Boos

Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Slightly behind... that's how I feel on most days in just about everything. That's just the life of a mom, or so I'm told. It should come as no surprise to anyone (including me) that I had inadvertently forgotten to schedule Bailey's 4-year old shots in the spring. So, I scheduled them a couple of weeks ago and we were off to get her up to date. I warned her that it would pinch and sting a little, but didn't want to scare her. I told her that she was so tough and big that I was sure she'd be just fine. I think she was curious to see how it would be. She asked me about it for a few days before we went, telling me each time that she wouldn't cry because she was so tough. I knew it wouldn't be that way and I did indeed feel guilty for not being more forthcoming about how not-fun this was going to be. She wanted to know and, well, she found out.

The day rolls around that we are scheduled to visit the health department. We play in the waiting room, enjoying our time with the new toys, which are clearly the reason that Bailey was eager to actually come to the "doctor" office in the first place. The nurse calls us back and I see the nervousness start to creep in on Bailey. I'm sure she detected that I was a little nervous, too. I did have both of them with me with no stroller and had spent most of my time in the waiting room contemplating an exit strategy that didn't involve me carrying my purse (the ultimate mom bag that it is) and both children out the door. Bailey sat bravely in my lap, with Jake sitting on the chair beside of us, as the nurse demonstrated how I should hold her legs and arms so that she wouldn't move. Bailey wanted me to cover her eyes too, so it was tricky. And Jake was all about seeing what was happening, so he was leaning in on us as well. There were three shots - two in one leg and one in the other. The first shot was the big one and hurt pretty badly, or so I hear. She cried pretty hard and I had to hold her down tightly as the nurse rushed through the other two. Bailey was sobbing and telling me over and over how badly it hurt. She was sure to remind me that I said it wouldn't hurt that bad. Yes, guilt set in again. As she asked me to kiss her boo-boos and make them all better, I sat awestruck at how she still looks to me as the one person that can soothe her wounds. I know it couldn't help her to actually feel better, but yet she still wants that affection and still thinks it will make things all better. If only that would last forever. I know one day I'll look back at that particular moment in time and wish thta I could kiss whatever little heartache or injury she has and make it all better. Until then, I'm perfectly content being the one to heal those little wounds... even if they happen a lot. :)

Jake also cried over the shots... as hard as Bailey did. Of course, that was after he got in a couple of hits on me for letting that mean nurse hurt his sister. Oh yes, it has begun. He is defending his sister already. After shot number two, I felt Jake's little fist on my arm and felt him try to pull me away from Bailey. As bad as it was that he resorted to hitting me, it was also that cute. Imagine how it will be when they are teenagers. Bailey will get in trouble and Jake will be ultra pissed at her for doing whatever she did. But, he'll defend her after he lets her have it. My big-hearted little man. Bailey, of course, had to be carried out, and Jake walked like a big boy, holding my hand. McDonald's was in the cards and all was well after some affection, fries, Coke, and chicken nuggets.

Advancing on...

Tuesday, July 28, 2009
We are making progress with the potty-training! Jake is now going nearly all the time on the potty, wearing diapers only at night and in the car. I truly cannot believe it. It's like a light just came on and he decided that he would do it. Now, I do have to remind him about every 30 minutes if he hasn't gone, but still, he goes to the potty and actually goes. It's funny how kids just make their own decisions about things sometimes. Bailey did the same thing. We had tried and tried to get her trained before Jake was born. She just wasn't interested. Then, one day that summer, she just decided she would do it. And that was that. We still have to teach him to stand up to go, but I think that will come easily. He's really excited about his Spiderman underwear, which seems to make all the difference. Maybe with a little encouragement about standing like Spiderman, it will all come together! :)

While Bailey doesn't have the same type of progress to make, she has been very busy. This week has been incredibly busy for her, as she has gone to Bible School every evening. She really seems to be enjoying it. I'm not sure what all they do, since she doesn't really ever tell me (she's always forgetting). However, she's very excited about going back. The teachers say she is doing well and that they have been talking about Jesus and playing camping games. She is most definitely our social butterfly, entering the classroom and introducing herself to each child there. I'm so proud of her confidence. I know it's not easy for her because I can see her insecurity, but she goes right in and makes herself accessible to the other kids. It's really good for her to handle new environments so easily, especially right now. We are working on getting her into a local christian school for preschool and, assuming she gets in, she will be starting a new class at the end of August. I think she's going to really enjoy it. She keeps asking me if she is starting "Flower Garden." That's what she calls Kindergarden. I love it that she still says these adorable things. Too cute.

We have really enjoyed a wonderful summer. We've spent a lot of time outdoors, fishing, swimming, and boating. We've had fun at music events in the park, walks through our neighborhood, and a few trips to eastern Kentucky. We've actually watched several movies via the drive-in theater and dollar theaters. Brad and I even had a date night last week, when Brad's mom kept the kids for us for a couple of days. Don't worry, we didn't just pawn them off for a date. They went swimming, to a movie, shopping for toys, visiting their cousin's house in West Virginia, and eating out at McDonald's (a couple of times). They had a mini-vacation in about two days that would equate just about any other normal child's entire summer. We have been very spoiled. And, yes, our checkbook feels it. BUT... it has been worth it. For all of you moms out there looking for a date night: If you like comedies, even a little bit, you should definitely go and watch The Hangover. That's the movie Brad and I went to watch last week. I'm not big into comedies at all. I like them about 1/8th of the time. This was probably the funniest movie I have ever seen. Definitely a must-see on my list. :)

OK... That's it for tonight!

Fun Times...

Saturday, July 11, 2009
I know I'm getting worse about this! Maybe it's just the summer time. I'll blame that! All is well in the Ooten household. We're making big progress with Bailey and swimming... she will now go under water and can actually swim on her own in the big pool! She is just swimming in short distances and doesn't really love going under, but she's doing wonderfully. I'm guessing that it's time to get her in those swimming lessons that I've been hesitant about.

Jake is also making progress (or so he thinks, anyway)... in other areas. I have been attempting some potty training to guage if he's ready. We've done this off and on several times, as he shows interest in the potty, but doesn't really ever go on the potty. So, I put big boy underwear on him on Wednesday. He looked adorable. He peed almost immediately. Then, about 5 minutes after changing into a second set, he peed again. Five minutes after that mess... yes, again. I don't think he ever quite finished what he started initially, as it was all in small puddles. On the fourth set of underwear (his least favorite pair), I made a phone call to work. I thought it would be good timing since I was sure he was done for a little bit. While on the phone, I see a naked two-year old streaking past me with a wild grin on his face. After about 20 minutes on the phone (and yes, he was still naked), I look over to see him standing on the ottoman doing some kind of dance. I go over to find that he has laid out about three different bowls from Bailey's kitchen and is standing on the ottaman, peeing into them. Yes, he understands how his body works, but apparently going on the potty is not nearly as fun as torturing your sister by peeing on (or into) her toys. Ah... the joys of motherhood. I, of course, was still on the phone and trying to hold back my laughter and frustration and still sound somewhat professional. I yanked him down from the couch and cleaned up the mess before Bailey could see what happened. Oh how she would have shrieked! And followed that with an immediate gagging sound. :)

Yes... life sure is interesting with a two-year old boy...

So, some of the pictures that I promised a while back. Yes, we did finally find a cord at home that would work with my camera. I've just taken a couple of weeks to actually post them. :) And, there are quite a few... so I hope you enjoy...






















Relaxed... finally...

Monday, June 29, 2009
As excited as I get to read my friends' blogs and see their pictures of their kids, you would think that I'd blog a lot. You'd think that I would keep up with my end of the bargain and share all of the little details of what's going on in our lives and pictures of the kids enjoying the summer. I'm using the excuse that we've been so busy enjoying life that I haven't had time to write about it. Of course, part of that is true, but the biggest part of it is that I just have been in a slump where I don't want to sit down and write any more than I have to for work!

So, lots of time has passed and I'm sure I'm going to miss lots of details about what's been going on. I'm not promising anything, but I'm going to try to blog a few times this week to get somewhat caught up. You know me though...

We had our vacation last week... and it was wonderful. No beach trip this year, unfortunately. However, we were really happy to just relax. You see, the past three or four months has been extremely busy between t-ball practices and games (usually somewhere between 3 and 4 nights per week), fixing up the house (we recently listed it for sale - I'll post a link below), and working on work. We did a lot of work on the house in the past two months, including replacing our carpet with hardwood in the downstairs living room, tiling two bathrooms and the foyer, painting two bathrooms and the office, painting trim, and painting our deck. It has been one project after another. Then, Bailey's ball team was great and went all the way to the championship in the t-ball tournament, which meant that we played the most games of any team in the t-ball league. And, we practiced as much as we could too. It all paid off when they won the championship. They were adorable with their trophies and dance moves at the closing ceremonies, but I'll tell more about that later. Needless to say, it's been hectic... and we were in desparate need of a break.

So, Bailey's championship game was on Father's Day (June 21st), we listed our house for sale on the following Tuesday (June 23rd), and we had our vacation from the 22nd through the 26th. All of our hectic schedules and projects ended at the perfect time and really left us with a great week. We traveled to the Cincinnati Zoo and King's Island for a couple of days during our vacation. The kids had a blast (so did we). I can't even tell you how cute it was to see them get so excited about seeing Scooby-Doo, Dora, Diego, Sponge Bob SquarePants, and the Fairly Odd Parents' fairies. Their faces would light up and they'd take off in a dead sprint to get to them. Jake even kissed each of them. He was so impressed. They really enjoyed the rides - Jake loved the small version of the Whip (which I think was something to do with Swiper the Fox from Dora). He would hold his little arms up and laugh so hard when it whipped him around the curve. Brad took Bailey on the Fairly Odd Parents Roller Coaster (which I think used to be the Beastie, but I'm not sure). She LOVED it. Brad said it was so cute when they were riding to the top of the hill on the coaster. They put their hands up in the air and were laughing and having fun. Then, when they started coming down the hill, he could feel her little hands reaching for his face, just trying to find something to hang on to. He held her hand the way down. When she walked off the ride, she looked at me and said, "That was SO awesome." Thrill-seeker in training.

I have a ton of pictures from King's Island and the Zoo, but Bailey thought it would be a good idea to bite the end of our USB cord for the camera one day and now it won't work. So, I'm in search of a cord that will fit. Hopefully, I'll be able to post them later.

The rest of the week was equally as great. We spent it on the boat at the lake and then spending time with our family and friends over the weekend. It was wonderful. We have tans!!! Finally!!! The weather was so hot, but it was perfect for boating and swimming. And the best part of the entire week... I cooked breakfast twice! That was all... the rest of the week we ate out or fixed sandwiches or had someone else cooking for us (thanks Bret & Cilla!).

Oh... and here is a link to our house for sale. Please send anyone looking for a place our way!
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
As much as I love to blog, I feel like I never have time to do it. And then, when I do, I exhaust myself by writing for an hour or more. SO... tonight, you'll get short little stories and a bunch of pictures.

First, an update on t-ball. Bailey would say that our team is rockin' out da house. She'd probably add on an "Oh baby-oh" at the end of that statement too. Yes, she adds her own little flair to everything. Our team lost its first game, but not one game since. And, I'm probably putting a big jinx on them by even bragging, but they've really been a good little team. Bailey has been contributing to those wins by hitting really well. She has now scored 4 runs total for the year, 3 of which happened over this past weekend. We were so thrilled for her. She really was excited about it. At first, she seemed really surprised, but by the end of the weekend, I heard her tell my mom, "I score runs now... it's just what I do." Yes, she is so full of it, we can barely contain ourselves! And, she's not the only one. Jake is now saying just about everything we tell him to say and most of what Bailey says. So, tonight I tell the kids that it's time to get out of the bath. They (naturally) ignore me. I then ask who wants to get out first. Bailey says nobody. Jake repeats in a loud yell - NO BODY! Over and over... and over. I think he wanted me to understand that when Bailey said it, he agreed. And so it goes. He's trying to say the alphabet, making it through most of the song without too many mishaps. And, he loves Blue's Clues. He even saw a UK license plate that had a blue paw print and UK on it the other day and started yelling, "Blue's Clues!"

Okay... back to keeping it short. We are very lucky to have a wonderful grandparent on our team that does photography. I'm not sure if it's a hobby or a job, but he does wonderful photos for us and lets us have full access to them to order prints. I'm including some here:













Of course, I love all of these photos (and more), but I have to say that my BFF Cilla is the greatest photographer ever. We did our pictures in the spring at a local orchard and she gave us a sneak peek recently. I'm not posting them all here... mainly because it would take me a while, but if you want to see them all, you can check it out on my myspace or facebook page!

Here ya go!



















Mothers...

Sunday, May 10, 2009
It was a great Mother's Day. I woke up to two little perfect babies saying, "Happy Mother's Day," with beautiful sweet smiles. I looked at them both and knew they really meant it when they hugged and kissed me, telling me they love me. Funny how a day that was probably really invented by Hallmark or some other money-hungry industry looking for a spring holiday can really make a day more special (yes, Bret, that was for you). I hope every Mother's Day can include my babies telling me they love me. Bailey, Mom, and I made our way to get pedicures today (my gift to Mom and my kids' gift to me). It was fun to watch Bailey's face light up as they scrubbed her little feet and painted her toes. Yes, we know what a mistake we are making by starting this early, but that's beside the point. It was a relaxing experience... very nice. We weren't able to spend time with my mother-in-law today because the floods in West Virginia kept her from making it home. I was disappointed that we couldn't see her... I hate the thought of her not seeing her son on Mother's Day. But, I'm glad that it was out of our control and not for a lack of trying on either side! We missed you, Kathy!

Anyway, it was a good day. But, that's really not what I want to write about. I have some special people that I want to write about and appreciate. Hold on, this will probably be a long blog. Get your coffee cup filled up.

First, I have to say that I have an amazing husband. He and I don't always see eye to eye on everything. He's less romantic than I would have him be on most occasions, he takes his time to do things (and sometimes my time too!), and I have to prod him along on a lot of things, often making me feel like I'm nothing more than a nag (or a mom) to him. :) However, I have to remember the good things that I often overlook in my haste to get things done, get to point B, or just to do the next thing. I rarely have to worry that Brad is going to tell me no about most things. He might procrastinate, but he generally goes along for the ride on whatever I want to do. He'll be tired and ready to relax (like on Saturday evening) and I'll decide I want to drive to Ashland to see my family a day early... or that I want to go and get ice cream... or that I just want to go for a walk. Sometimes I can tell that he's not really that interested, but he still goes. I sometimes forget that he only does this to make me happy. He works hard for us at the office, but I'm always waiting on home for him to get home and help me with the next project. Most recently, he's tiled our bathroom, is in the process of tiling another bathroom, and will very soon be replacing our worn out carpet in our living room with hardwood. I know how hard it is to go to work everyday and then come home to only do more work. But, I don't often say that. What's more? He's even a more amazing father. He lacks some ability to discipline (but I guess I make up for some of that) and my kids totally recognize it. We have nightly struggles on who Daddy will help get to sleep, who he'll help get dressed after bath time, and the list goes on. He's the fun guy... the one who is greeted like a God when he comes home, only to be wrestled to the floor and pummeled with hugs and kisses. I know it can't be easy to be everything to someone... especially without appreciation. I love you, babe. And I thank you for making my Mother's Day so special.

Now, on to the mothers that I want to recognize.

I could literally write a book about my own mom (and have sometimes considered it as a possibility for future income!). I have never met a woman in my life that is strong as my mother and I suspect that I never will. She has done things that she would never consider amazing or strong. She'd never even acknowledge that she's been through THAT much. But she has... and she wears a smile on her face everyday. More important to me, though, is the type of mom that she has always been. She was eighteen years old when I was born. A kid... recently out of high school with no job or plan for the future. A kid with a baby. I think about what I would have done at 18with a newborn baby. How I would have felt that my life was over and probably would have stuck my head in the sand and let everything fall apart around me. She didn't though. She toughed it out with me and we grew up together. Or at least that's what we joke about. Of course, Dad was there too! :)

I grew up with more love than any child could know. My parents worked hard for every dime they made and they always made sure I had everything I needed or wanted. Even when times were tough, they made everything special. And the material things were great when we had them, but the times that were toughest financially are the ones that will forever stick in my mind... for all the right reasons. They taught us that love was more important than anything, that we could do anything we put our mind to and that we always had each other, no matter what. I can remember always having this confident feeling that the world was OK if I had my family. And, I still feel that same confidence now... my family is just a tad bigger now. :)

I think today was a special Mother's Day for me because I spent most of it with my mom. There's just something about spending time with her that can make me happy. We didn't do anything that exciting (except the pedicure), but it was nice. We laughed about our own flaws and the crazy things we both do... talked about our jobs, the kiddos, and all kinds of things in the world. I'm sure people wonder why I love spending time with my mom so much. I can honestly say that I don't know many others that enjoy hanging out with their moms like I do. It has to be because of our friendship. She truly is my best friend... the one person in the world that can connect with me without words and know exactly what's on my mind. I guess that just happens after 28 years of growing up together. (Sorry, Cilla, you know that your my very best friend that's not blood-related.) I can be me, all of me, with my mom. And most of the time, if I have something on my mind, she's two steps ahead of me. She knows what's coming before it happens... and I don't think I'm that transparent! She's always been that mom... connected with each of the three of us in the same way. She can almost always tell me when one of my brothers is having an issue way before they mention it... or sometimes before they even know it. Yet, she knows to be patient and let us deal with things on our own. Independence with the knowledge of having her full support, even when you're wrong. If only I can give that to my kids... if only I'd be able to read my babies that well that I would know what they need before they even know what's wrong. She's passed along a lot of things through genetics - the need for promptness, speediness, and order. I hope that there's a special gene for that part... and pray to God I got it!

I often wonder what I would do without her being honest with me. How would I make the right decisions, how would I figure out what to do with my own kids without her, how would I remember that recipe... I pray every night that I don't ever have to deal with a time without her help and advice; without her friendship and love. Life is good when you've got a great family at home... and that much better when you have a mom to share it all with.

I'm more lucky than most women though. I not only have the most wonderful mother and friend in my own mom, I have a wonderful mother-in-law that I love and cherish. She raised a pretty good man (or two, if you know her other son, Ryan). I think I've made Brad's head big enough for the night, so I'll just say that she did a great job there. Yes, I will acknowledge publicly that you should have made him work a little harder when you had him at home, Kathy, but I couldn't ask for a better husband or father for my kids. And, no, I don't think that was just fate. Kathy taught Brad so much that I could go on and on. By far my favorite thing that she passed on to him though is his respect and appreciation of others. One of the things that first attracted me to Brad was that he was not snobby at all. He came into our school as the new kid and could have disregarded about half of our class without missing a beat and could have been the most popular guy in a month. Yet, he was nice and treated everyone with so much respect. He never made anyone feel like they were beneath him. A boy that age doesn't just do that on his own... someone had shown him that you don't treat people differently because you think you're better.

That's not what I love most about Kathy, though. We, as people, might not always understand why we have the quirks we do... God knows that I like things a certain way. I have issues with my dishtowel laying in a certain spot or with towels being folded a certain way. It makes no sense to me why I have these issues; I know it's ridiculous. Yet, they still remain. But, I know someone else with the same kind of issues and we aren't related through blood. When I feel like I have OCD issues, I know that Kathy can make me feel like I'm normal because she'll understand. You see, our quirks might be different, but we have them and we understand each other's needs. As a matter of fact, I sometimes think that Brad can live with me because he understands me from living with his own mom. We really are more alike than not. And our biggest issue that we might have is that we might have the same quirk, but with a different style! :)

I can remember the first few times that I stayed at Brad's house when we were dating. Kathy and I ended up sitting up until late in the morning (usually 3 or 4), long after Brad and Rick would have gone to bed. We loved to talk about everything and nothing... just enjoying each other's company. And we still love to talk... it's just now we talk about something entirely different. Not only do we still love the same man... we now love the same two babies. And I could not look the whole world over and find a better grandmother for my kids. She reminds me so much of my own Grandma Dale that it's almost scary. She takes the time to enjoy every moment with them and they completely take advantage of her for it. She knows she's getting manipulated and just keeps on going. I love to tell her that "I told her so" when she's exhausted with sweat and sticky with candy, but I love it that she spoils them so much (even if they are complete hellions for two days afterward!). She has made my life so much better in so many ways. She is a wonderful friend that I can call any time, a mother that loves her own son more than life itself, and a grandmother that would do anything for her grandkids. And, she's a heck of a lot of fun... she can make anyone laugh, if for no other reason than she has the funniest laugh in the world. She loves to tell jokes, even inappropriate ones, and especially knock-knock jokes, which she knows that I hate, but loves to tell me anyway! And, you know, she's been through her side of hell, too. I can say that if strength in women is genetic, Bailey is going to be the toughest woman in the world. Between my mom and Kathy, they could take on the world... and win.

OK... two more women and I'm going to bed.

I already alluded to this woman... she's my Granny Dale. And she's one of the most influential women in my life. We (as a family) spent several years of my childhood living with my grandparents and it was truly a wonderful experience. Imagine having the most wonderful grandmother in the world with all of her attention focused on you... constantly. Basically, that's how my life was with Granny Dale. She could make the most simple afternoon a complete adventure. From having our little parties in the basement, complete with Kool-Aid and peanut butter and marshmallow on crackers, to picking blackberries on the hillside, Granny Dale could find pleasure and enjoyment in the simple things in life. She taught me to stop and appreciate nature. She showed me that God made all things beautiful and for a purpose. She taught me to play a myriad of songs on the piano and always found a way to make me feel more guilty than anything in the world for saying something hurtful to my brothers. I sometimes hear her voice when I'm feeling guilty for thinking or saying something wrong... they should probably make a bracelet with WWDD on it. You know, What Would Dale Do? :) I'll admit that she wasn't always perfect. I'll never forget the day that I saw her temper flare as my grandfather told her that she should soak her paintbrush in gasoline. She argued with him for a minute and when he kept ignoring her, she stood up and yelled, "Well, fiddlesticks, Leonard." If I had a drink of pop in my mouth, I would have snorted it everywhere... Cory and I couldn't stop laughing for days. She truly was and still is a wonderful grandmother.

Which really brings me to the toughest one I have to write. As you all know, I lost my Granny Charlene in August of last year. It was a really tough time and losing her has been hard for all of us. So, today, it was on my mind that my mom was going through her first Mother's Day without her own mom. We didn't talk about it. It's one of those things that you know is there, but you just don't talk about it. Honestly, thinking about her is what actually made me think that I needed to sit down and do a blog about my own mom... and then about Kathy... and Granny Dale. So, it's only natural that I write about her.

When I was a child, Granny Charlene was the strict grandma. Her house was perfect and her hands were old, even when she was young, from years of cleaning and working in the sewing factory. She was always old to me... far older than my Granny Dale who was actually the elder of the two, but far more fun. Granny Charlene had her own way about everything. She was less affectionate, but yet she found her way to baby us. She loved to cater to us with food and nice things. We always had wonderful clothes when we were with her. Our shoes were always spotless and she made us feel like that was the most wonderful thing in the world. And, you know, it really did kind of sink in. I love to look at my kids and see them all clean and dressed nicely with clean shoes. And I can see them having that same feeling of pride that we had with her. Now, I can admit, this sounds very Mary Poppins-ish without the singing and fun. Again, she had her own way. What I remember the most is the feeling of security and love. My grandparents did a lot of living off the land and enjoying the outdoors. They were always cleaning vegetables, making fresh pies from apples out of their own yard, or encouraging us to eat grapes off the vine. Everything I can remember about their house as a child was that we could live there without a phone or TV or any other thing in the world and we could live forever. I can remember watching my granny's hands as she would string green beans or roll out a pie shell. I can still see her little houseshoes and can still feel the softness of her cheeks. I want two things for my house that I don't have now - a porch swing and a big jug of water (you know, the Igloo kind that has a spout on the bottom - most people probably can remember them from football practices). The front porch always had an Igloo jug of icy cold water for hot summer days. The porch swing is where we spent most of our time at Granny's, eating popsicles and scheming up our next big plan. I miss those things, but I can also say that those are my childhood memories. I laugh about our relationship and how it grew as I got older. I can really laugh about some of our conversations about Brad and Papaw and how I could swear sometimes that Brad and I were turning into Papaw and Granny. I began to understand a lot more about her as we grew. And, yes, she was a far reach from Granny Dale and more opposite than anyone can be from her own daughter. Yet, she is the driving force in my mind when I look at the baseboards and realize that I really need to wash them off. She is the person I think of every single time I eat peanut butter fudge, turn on my electric mixer, or smell an apple pie. She enjoyed the special things in life - a drive through the country, a crossword puzzle, a picture of her grandkids. And, while she wasn't the fun granny that Granny Dale was, she had her own way and she most definitely gave me the best thing in the world... my mom.

Procrastination = me blogging!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009
I'm currently procrastinating working. I have so much to do for work that I really can't decide which is a priority. It's all a priority at this point. So, I'm just sitting here blogging instead. Make sense?! :)

I'm trying to think about what I haven't really blogged about most recently and I suppose there are a few things, so I'll just go all over the place. Sorry for not being the most organized with this today. I usually try to make it all relate, but well, as you can tell, I'm just wanting to get things off my mind... and put off working. :)

We had check ups for the kids a couple of weeks ago. Brad had to work, so I loaded the kids up and took them by myself. It's not really that big of a deal to take them these days. They both really like going to the doctor's office; they enjoy having someone brag on them and really enjoy getting to see the doctor pull out all of her tools to check them out. Of course, this means that we have to reenact our visit for several weeks following our appointment. Anyway, because the kids have birthdays so closely together, we schedule the check ups together. It makes life much easier. On this visit, we had to have blood tests. Two nurses, one for each child, pricked Bailey and Jake's fingers to get blood. Both sat very still and were tough throughout the process. As soon as the nurses were finished, both puckered up and cried on me... acting like I had let the nurses chop off their arms. They eventually calmed down, but both of them told me repeatedly how terrible it was that I had let the nurses do this. After calming them, the doctor came into the room for the full check. I thought I would fall over when she said, "Well, Mrs. Ooten, whatever you are feeding this babies, you just keep feeding it to them... their bloodwork looks as good, if not better, than any of the patients their age... so what concerns do you have?" After lifting my jaw off the floor, I laughed and said, "Well, my first concern was that they don't eat many fruits or vegetables and I'm worried about their diet, but I will just shut up." I couldn't believe it! Honestly, if you have ever been around my kids, you probably have seen them with suckers, candy, or french fries. They drink more orange juice than any kids I know... they refuse most any healthy foods (except for strawberries and grapes, and occasionally Jake will eat corn or green beans, but never Bailey). It really just shocked me to death. I really worry about what they eat and don't eat. But, I guess all that worrying isn't doing me much good...

Our surprises didn't end there...
Bailey's stats: 40 pounds and 41.5 inches tall... 90th percentile in both height and weight
Jake's stats: 26.5 pounds and 34.5 inches tall... 50th percentile in height and weight
My childrens' roles have reversed... Jake was always in the 90th percentile and Bailey always in the 50th... but not this time. Of course, I asked the doctor if I should be concerned and she said they both looked great and that I shouldn't worry about either of them. They are both healthy and happy.

Maybe I should have asked the doctor about my kids' obsessions with watching the same shows and movies over and over. Bailey is finally growing tired of watching things over and over, just as Jake is entering this phase. Bailey has had a long and deep affection for Scooby-Doo, Tom and Jerry, and Little Bear. We have watched some of these shows so many times that she actually says the lines of the movies as they progress. Even Jake mutters through the lines. And I've always hated watching these over and over (although I have to say it is 100% better than the Wiggles or Barney). Jake is now entering this phase, but with a deep affection for movies... specifically, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Monsters, Inc., a little Scooby-Doo, and Meet the Robinsons. With the Grinch, he has watched it so many times that he actually mimicks the facial expressions, along with the lines and grunts, and evil laughs. It's hilarious. As a matter of fact, now that I think about it, I need to video it. I thought I would fall over laughing at him last night, as we lay in his floor watching this movie (AGAIN). Brad and I have a theory on why he loves this movie so much. We've determined that he's made a connection with the Grinch because of school. Jake is the known anti-social at school. I can't remember if I've blogged about his disinterest in playing with kids his own age (also talked to the doctor about this who reassured me that it is quite normal for him to go through this). Jake loves playing with older kids, is very good to little babies, but typically acts like kids his own age are beneath him. For instance, if I say to Jake, "This morning, we are going to day care and you'll get to play with your friends." He looks at me with the most hateful look he can muster and says, "No friends." He reinforces this by shaking his head and pointing his finger at me. When the kids try to play with him (most of the time), he picks up his toys and moves away, as if to say, "Get your own toys and leave me be." The Grinch doesn't really like the kids in his class either... maybe that's why Jake seems to be so attached to him. And, you know, I think he really feels sorry for the Grinch in the movie. He gets a sad little face when the people of Whoville are mean to him. I truly think he gets it. So funny...

OK... this is getting long and I really, really do need to work. I guess I've put it off as long as I can. I promise I'll get some new photos up soon... we have a photographer that comes to our t-ball games and takes photos. They posted some really good ones today... I just need to take the time to go through them!

Random stories...

Sunday, April 26, 2009
My little ones have enjoyed a weekend with the grandparents and we have so enjoyed working on the house and yard without them. Don't get me wrong, we both have missed them terribly. We have gone around imitating them all day, saying what we think they'd be saying to us as we cleaned out the garage, worked in the yard, and hung up the shutters that have been down for the past three years. We miss them, but we were really happy to have some time to get work done and to get a chance to hang out again.

I have some really funny stories to tell you about, but before I blog anything else, I have to make sure to brag on my little ball player. :) It might be one of the only chances I get to brag, so let me have a moment! lol...

Before I took the kids to my mom's yesterday, Bailey had a big day at t-ball. She won the game ball. We were so proud and thrilled for her! Her team was playing another very good team and the score wasa tied up when the game would normally have ended. Bailey had already batted once and had unfortunately struck out. She was very disappointed, coming to me afterward and saying very sadly, "Mommy... I lost." She held her little head so low and I felt like I was going to cry! I told her it was OK and that she'd get a big hit next time... just to keep swinging hard. So, when the last inning was coming to a close and it appeared we would continue playing, my heart raced. Bailey would have to bat again and I couldn't bear the thought that she would strike out again, both for her confidence and because I was worried she'd cause the team to lose. Now, don't think I'm terrible for being concerned about that. I wouldn't mind if we lost, even if it was Bailey's fault. I just wouldn't want the other kids to be ticked off at her or to dislike her because of it. And kids do that... especially 6-year old competitive little boys. So... it was important that she get a hit. As the third batter up, I was praying that the other two in front of her would be on base so she wouldn't be the third out if she struck out. Fortunately, they both made it on base. So, Bailey gets up, a runner on first and a runner on second, and no outs. Not nearly as much pressure. She swings, fouls a time or two, and then hits! She ran to first, but was thrown out. That was OK though. The kid on second base made it to third, and the next batter got a hit, knocking the run in. Now, you and I both know that Bailey's hit could or could not have caused any thing to end up differently. But, the coaches still gave her and the player that scored a game ball... and she was so thrilled. Here's to hoping that it will give her a little more confidence when she gets up there again...

Now, I just have to tell you this funny story. Brad and I went out to eat tonight for dinner. We were both exhausted from working, so I was a little slap happy, but seriously, this might have been one of the funniest things ever. We were sitting at our table in Red Lobster and an old man and two older women were sitting at the table next to us. We had just ordered and were talking. Brad was saying how he would be an old hateful man when he gets old. Random, I know, but we were just laughing and I was saying that he couldn't do that, even if he wanted to. Well, about a minute later, the old man beside of us hiked his leg up and ripped the longest and loudest fart that I have ever heard in public. It was disgusting. I was trying so hard not to laugh. I kept looking at Brad and he was trying not to laugh. Finally, I picked up a menu and started pretending to read it because I was laughing so hard (quietly of course) that tears were streaming down my face. I could not stop! It was terrible. Finally, he and the two women got up to leave. I had found enough composure to carry on a conversation without laughing. But then, I heard the women ask a server where the restrooms were. When the server responded to find out if they wanted the mensroom or womensroom and they said men's, I thought I would lose it! As soon as they were out of sight, I busted out with laughter and could not stop most of the meal. I know our server thought I was crazy or drunk, because every time he came around, I was laughing like a little kid! Brad even made a comment about the old man hiking up his leg when I was taking a drink of pop and I laughed so hard that it came out my nose. I had pop all over me. It was hilarious. I was so thrilled that the kids weren't with us. Bailey would have yelled that the guy had farted and was nasty if she had been there. She probably would also have thrown up every where, so thank God she wasn't there. Jake would probably have been mortified too. He probably would have turned around and asked the man if he pooped!!!!

Speaking of Jakey man... he is doing so much better speaking. I should have known that as soon as I blogged about him not speaking that he'd make a liar of me. He's starting to say more and more. Maybe he heard me say that I was going to take him to a specialist in July if he wasn't talking more. His favorite thing to say now is "Why not?" Every time I tell him no about anything, he'll say, "Why not?" When I respond, I often say, "Because." Well, he turned it around on me last week. I asked him to do something and he said no. So, I said, "Why not?" He looked at me and said, "Because." I thought I'd crack up. Bad thing that Jake is doing... he does not like his food to be shared. Bailey ate one of his cheetos a few days ago and he cried as if she had eaten his finger. And the remaining cheetos were no longer edible. Apparently they were contaminated. And such was the same when I ate one of his fries in the car yesterday. They are his and his alone. If someone eats one, then all of them must be banished (at least until he's been able to cry for 15 minutes). ARGH. OCD without a doubt.

OK... enough of my random stories for the night... going to bed.

Second Guessing.. .

Friday, April 17, 2009
We have it made when it comes to technology. It's not like it's really inconvenient to get online and access everything, especially when you have a laptop and wireless internet. However, I catch myself wishing that I could just blog my thoughts without typing. What is wrong with this world?! When I have become that lazy or that busy, there is something just wrong with the world.

I've written a half dozen blogs in my mind recently, but one that keeps resurfacing in my mind is one that I wanted to write a couple of weeks ago. Parenting isn't easy. Duh... no one said it was, right? I expected it to be tough... to be constantly feeling like I'm overwhelmed or to be staying up at midnight to finish up some housework or some work for work, or even to just have a few minutes to myself. I think I expected almost all of the tough things about parenting, even most of the tough decisions. I knew there would come days that I wouldn't know what exactly to do, but I felt like I could figure it out and I'd know if I was right or wrong. I've always been very comfortable with the decisions I make. It might take me a while to make a decision, but I once I make that decision, I can stick with it and justify it without concern (special thanks to Cilla for always helping me to justify it ALL).

Well... that's the part of parenting that I think I did not expect. The doubt. The lingering concern in the back of my mind that says, "Am I screwing this up?" Bailey and Jake are happy and healthy. They can be rambunctious and mean sometimes, like most kids, but they are sweet and loveable. They know right from wrong, even if they don't always adhere to it, and they really don't have problems at day care or with any of our friends and family. We feel good about how we can take them everywhere and know that MOST of the time, we can trust them to behave. But, there are those moments that make you wonder if you should be doing something differently. I think what started this whole thought process was two-fold - Bailey playing t-ball and Jake talking more, but not as much as we would like.

As I've blogged (most briefly), Bailey is growing to enjoy t-ball more and more. She's still not sold on it when we first get to the field and I still have to convince her to go onto the field to practice. I'll correct that... I have to bribe her and threaten her to get her out on the field. Brad has convinced her that she'll get ice cream after every game and practice that she stays on the field for the entire time. When that doesn't work, I threaten to take away the dollhouse. One or the other typically works. But, I feel like crap when I'm doing this. The entire time, I'm wondering if I'm forcing her to do something she cares nothing about. Then, she gets on the field, has a blast, and I think that I'm doing the right thing. It blows my mind how I can go from thinking that I shouldn't bring her back to thinking that she's having so much fun and improving with each practice all in less than an hour. I know that she needs a little push to do more. I was her 24 years ago... not wanting to take gymnastics because I was intimidated by the other kids or the teachers or because I was just as content hanging out with my mom. Thank God that mom made me do things or I would have NEVER had ANY fun. I still missed out on a lot all the way through life because I wouldn't push myself to go and have fun. Heck, I still do it! I want to push her because I don't want her to miss anything. It goes by so fast. BUT... I also hate pushing her. ARGH!!

I hate the second-guessing... and it's already starting with Jake! He's two and he talks some. Not much, but some. He's been talking more and more in the past couple of weeks, but I wonder if I've focused too much attention on work or on making him happy by giving him everything without making him talk or if I've just ignored it because he's my baby. He's not a big reader, so we don't force it on him. Maybe I need to. Or do I need to talk about possibly doing speech therapy like some people suggest? The doctor says he's fine, that we can talk to a speech therapist if we want, but that she thinks he's fine (and is used to Bailey talking too much for him to get a word in). She suggested getting his hearing checked since I worry that he doesn't enunciate. So, I guess we'll try that. It can all just be so worrysome. Instincts tell me that he's fine... slightly stubborn, a little lazy, and very much enjoying being the baby. BUT... do I go on instincts and risk screwing up?! ARGH.

Again, the second-guessing. It's SO frustrating. But, it most certainly is part of parenting. I'm glad I'm not alone (yes, misery loves company!). I know every parent has gone through this... and most of my friends have been saying the same things. So... I guess we'll just be dealing with this for a few more years (or the rest of our lives). :)