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Our Fabulous Night

Friday, April 30, 2010
Well, I have been proven wrong... and I'm happy about it for the first time ever. :) My daughter is not overly-spoiled to the point that she can't appreciate the little and big things in life. She stood speechless after last night's concert.

Bailey had a fabulous time at the Taylor Swift concert. Honestly, I don't think she'll ever forget it. It was amazing. Spectacular. Fabulous. Wonderful. Incredible. I can't find enough words to describe how perfect it was.

We got there early to go and eat at the food court... nothing like Arby's before a concert. lol. At about 6:45, we made our way into the arena to find a t-shirt, get our cotton candy or popcorn (she hadn't decided just yet which one), a drink, make a bathroom stop, and make the way down the long set of stairs to our seats. We were on the floor... something I've only done once at a major concert. So, needless to say, I was pretty pumped about it, with the exception of walking all those stairs with my hands full and a five-year old girl in tow.

We got all of our stops in, after waiting in a very long line for a t-shirt. I was praying the whole time that they wouldn't run out of youth sizes before we got up there. Fortunately, we were able to get one. And, for everyone's information, Bailey bought the shirt with her birthday money... another thing I was impressed with and happy about. She didn't even seem to mind that we were using her money. She also offered to buy our dinner. :) Sweet, huh? I told her to save it for her shirt, of course. Don't worry... she's asked me twice already to make sure I don't forget to put the rest of her money back into her piggy bank. lol.

Anyway... we make our way down to the floor and find our seats. I'm pretty excited when I see that we aren't far from the stage... less excited when I see that the sound equipment and some other things are right in front of our seats, blocking our view. The two ladies beside of us were equally peeved. Bailey would have to stand in her seat to see anything and most likely, I would end up holding her. Not something that's easy to do when your five-year old weighs nearly 50 pounds. So, we were sitting there commiserating with our neighbors when the staff/security guard told us to pay more attention to what was on the other side of that "fence" in front of us. We looked... there was a small stage... perfect for Taylor and a guitar. We all freaked out like little five-year old girls... jumping up and down and dancing in circles. Yes, that was me. :)

Needless to say, when the concert began, we were on our feet right against that fence, waiting for her to come to us. I held Bailey, which was exhausting, but totally worth it to see her face. We used said fence to prop a lot of her weight for a big part of the evening. Imagine how excited she was when Taylor walked up on that stage in front of us... we could have reached out and grabbed her guitars... we were only about 10 feet from her for two songs. It was truly incredible. Before she went back to the main stage, she made her way around to touch hands, give hugs, etc. Bailey got to touch her hand and was given a guitar pick with Taylor's picture on it. I went as nuts as any little girl, but Bailey was awestruck. She was speechless... for the very first time in her life!

The concert went on to include paper hearts being shot out of a cannon which was right in front of us, covering us with the hearts. Bailey was adorable when she looked up and asked me how it was raining hearts. She picked up fistfuls of them and stuffed them in my purse to take home. And took other fistfuls and threw them in the air, dancing under them as they fell. She was amazed by the lighting and the loudness of it all. She truly enjoyed being able to scream as loud as she wanted without me telling her to quiet down. She marveled at the fire on the screens behind the stage, confirming with me that the fire was not real, but just looked it. And then... Taylor sang her final song. And water, as in sheets of water with the word NO imprinted in them, came down. Bailey couldn't believe it. She asked me how it could be real... then told me she knew it was real... Taylor was drenched.

When we left, I was high on life. Bailey was too. I asked her what her favorite part was and she said, "All of it... it was all awesome, mom." :) She was right... I couldn't pick one thing out of the concert that was the best... it was truly incredible. And I was so proud that my little girl realized how wonderful it was.

I have to say before closing this, that I would have on my "bucket list" to take Bailey to this concert. And it's definitely something I'm keeping on the list. We will go back to see her next time she comes here. She is amazing. And, you know, there is more to her than just the music and the lights. She was truly touched by the fans. I'm not sure if she is just a great actress or if she's genuine, but she seems to appreciate the screaming fans more than any other artist I've seen. She seems to get it that her fans are not all adults or teenagers, but five-year old girls with dreams and fantasies of fairytales. She seems to realize that touching her fans' hands, waving at them, hugging them, and all of that is what makes the concert go from good to great. And, I have to say that I hope Bailey sees her as a role model as she grows. This chic seems to get it that she doesn't need a man to make her who she is, but she still has hopes and dreams of finding real love with someone who respects her and treats her good. That's what I want Bailey to be like... independent and strong, but open to having her heart broken in hopes that she will find the one person that gives her a fairytale.

Tough Parts of Parenting

Wednesday, April 28, 2010
One of the hardest parts about parenting for me is being objective. I remember before I had kids... there were just things that I knew I would do or not do. It was simple to me... black and white... easy. Funny how that all changes with your child's very first breath of life. Not only do you find the most love in the world, you have a whole new set of mistakes just ready to be made.

I know that when I look at my children, they are happy. They are mostly good and always loving. They aren't perfect. They can be complete brats. They can ignore simple commands out of choice and make decisions that they know are poor choices just to get attention.

So, why worry? I don't know. Maybe because Brad and I were raised a little differently than our two kids are being raised. We both were raised with a little less than most, learning to appreciate and value the things we had because we didn't have everything. We both saw our parents work hard and struggle and not always make enough for everything. We also both saw that our parents worked hard and gave us everything we needed and most of the things that we wanted, even when it meant they had to sacrifice their own wants and needs. It's a real catch-22 for us in figuring out how to balance the way we raise them. We want to give them every experience... we want them to have the things that make them happy. I would even venture to say that we want them to have any experience we did have or didn't have. At the same time, we want the kids to appreciate these things. We want them to get that same thrill that we both got over small things in life or the awe and excitement over the big things in life. So, how do we balance it? We work on it. In a lot of ways, I think it would be good for us to take away some of the luxuries our kids are used to... make them realize how easy they have it. And, at some point, I'm sure that we will do just that... when we see that the kids really don't appreciate the wonderful things they receive. Right now, we see them get excited about things and see them awestruck at the wonders of the world. There are other glimpses though... I am just hoping that we don't see them getting stronger or taking over their little lives. We shall see...

Tomorrow night just might be a test for Bailey. I'm often concerned that she might not realize how wonderful her life is... she is increasingly demanding and high-maintenance. She and I have tickets to the Taylor Swift concert. She seems really excited, but a little confused about what we will be doing. I'm hopeful that once she sees it, she will be amazed. My fingers are crossed...

And, if she doesn't enjoy it the way I hope she will, it will be the last one she goes to until she is much older. :) And, I will have a heck of a good time anyway! :)

Swimming sans Mommy

Tuesday, April 27, 2010
The big boy is growing up even more... he is now swimming on his own. I can't really believe it. We started swimming lessons two months ago. He was scared of the water and didn't even really trust me to take him into the pool. On Wednesday of last week, I decided it was high time for him to let me let go. He can swim and swim well, but he was not ever going to let me let go. So, I just gave him an extra big push to the side of the pool and let him swim his way there. The look on his face when he realized he had done it on his own was priceless.

So, this Monday, I was eager to see how he would do. It's funny what a little push in the right direction can do for a kid... a little bit of extra confidence and he's telling me to let him go and not touch him. He even went under several times and jumped off the side without me catching him. Of course, we didn't leave Spiderman out of the equation. Jake pretended to shoot webs at me in the pool and use those webs to swim across the pool. Hilarious, but effective.

His instructor was as impressed as I was at his ability. We have often talked about how well he does, if only he would just garner up the confidence to do it on his own and go to a "big boy" class without mommy. By the end of the day on Monday, his instructor and I were discussing putting him in the same class as Bailey (which is actually skipping the beginner class and going to the advanced beginner class). If he'll swim on his back tomorrow, we might just do that. Imagine my world getting easier... two less swimming lessons to make it out to each week! WOO HOO!

That's another milestone reached and just in the nick of time. We're about to enter the time of year in which we spend lots of time in the water, either the pool or the lake. Thankfully, he'll be ready for it and we won't spend the first month easing him into the water.

Training Day 3

Tonight was the end of my first week of training... or day 3 of my training. Basically, it's the last day before I move up to the next step in the training. I was not really in the mood to go out and train, especially since we had just gone out to eat at the Outback with Brad's mom and the kids for Brad's birthday. However, tomorrow is a busy day and we have a t-ball game tomorrow evening, so I figured I had better get my run in while I could.

The start was rough. I was out of breath after the first minute of running and I could feel the food I ate at Outback putting more pressure on my chest. Yep... bad idea to run after going out to eat. But, I managed to push through it. After the first three segments of running, I felt good. It was kind of cold tonight and it felt great. By the fifth (of the planned eight) running segments, I was ready to push myself. Since I am going to be moving up to the next level in a day or two, why not go ahead and test myself to see how hard it would be? Well, I'm probably going to regret it tomorrow, but I ran 90 second segments (instead of 60 second) the rest of the time and I ran an extra segment, too. And, it felt great. I was hot and sweaty. And, when I got home, I felt like I had entered an oven. But, it felt great. If only it would be 50 degrees in July. :)

And, I do have to say that this blog is helping me. I know it's probably not incredibly interesting for anyone but me to track each little portion of my training, but it is making me feel like I need to stick with it. Plus, it helps to have the support system of everyone encouraging me. Thank you guys... for tolerating me. :)

Another Important Birthday

Monday, April 26, 2010
Saturday was Brad's birthday. And, since I wrote about each of the kids on their birthday and since my best friend had to write the nicest, most wonderful things about her hubby on his birthday, I'm feeling the pressure to do something nice about Brad. :)

Most of you know that Brad and I met when we were in high school, in 1998. He moved to my high school during our senior year and I immediately decided that I was not going to like him (at all). Of course, that was because I was totally attracted to him and dating someone else. And, I thought he was the arrogant, cocky football/basketball star that would come in and play me, break my heart, and run off with some other girl. lol. So, I wasn't about to fall for him. I avoided getting to know him in our first period English class on the first day of school. I sat in the front row, he sat in the back. Typical. It was Advanced Placement, so I have to admit that I was kind of impressed that he was even in the class, but I figured that he had just been lucky and they had put him in the class because of scheduling or something. On to second period... Advanced Placement Calculus... in walks Brad Ooten and plops himself down in the seat right behind me. Again... I'm impressed. He's athletic (quarterback at his old school - sigh), good-looking, and smart. I'm doomed.

Over the course of the next six months, I found that we were so much alike (and so opposite) in SO many ways. We had a good time together. He made me laugh and helped me understand some of our calculus problems that I didn't always get. :) He had a great smile, could play the best defense of any high school basketball player I had ever seen, and he was sweet. He wasn't arrogant at all. In fact, I can remember one of the reasons that I fell for him was because he didn't treat the less popular girls any differently than the popular girls that were all swooning over him. He was faithful to his girlfriend at the time - yes, I will admit that I found that attractive, as much as it makes me mad that I am sure people are attracted to Brad for the very same reason now. :) We loved the same movies, shared the same viewpoints on most things, and had the same goals in life. We even would say the same thing at the same time... a lot. Random things that just made us realize that we were supposed to be together. For instance, his stepdad had been coming to the tobacco store that I worked at for months and months. I always had his Skoal ready for him when he came through the drive through. I had his schedule down to know when he would come through, just because. I don't know why. I didn't even know he was Brad's stepdad. He just was one of the customers that I really liked (probably because he had teeth and/or didn't have strong body odor, unlike most of the other customers we had - lol). Imagine my surprise when he walks out on the football field with Brad on Senior Night. I thought I would die of shock. And, what's funnier is that Rick (Brad's stepdad) brought Brad's best friend from West Virginia through the drive through at the shop to "see the prettiest girl in Louisa." All of this happening before either of us had put all the connections together. God was just telling us to be together... I'm sure of it, especially now. There was nothing I could do to resist him... He was just "the one."

Things haven't changed that much since then... he still has to help me with math. Most of the time, it's simple math more than complicated calculus. :) He makes me laugh, even when he makes me furious. We enjoy hanging out, love the same movies and shows, love to talk about politics and religion (mainly because we both have similar stances on things), and we most definitely still have the same goals in life. And, I still think he's incredibly adorable. I remember watching him play ball when we were in school and watching the little ways he would move his hands, shift his weight on his feet, or move his arms to stretch. I can recognize him across a crowded field a mile away - some habits just don't change. His smile still melts my heart and his sense of humor, while it can drive me crazy, most of the time is what keeps me sane. We're opposite in so many ways, but we complement each other.

I know this isn't nearly as good as what Cilla wrote about Bret, Brad, but know that I feel so blessed to have had your love for all these years. I know we want to kill each other sometimes (like when you come in and yell at me for wearing "your" socks, even though you still have socks to wear and I'm the one that washes them... ah-hem...), but it's nice to know that when times get tough, after we try to kill each other, you're still there with open arms. :) Happy birthday... sorry it was spent running all over Lexington with the kids and their schedules.

Oh... and thanks for finally being the same age as me again. :) Now, I don't have to hear about how I'm the cougar married to the young man (by all of what, five months?!).

Love you...

Training Day 2

So, yesterday (Sunday) was my second day of training. I think it's funny that I call it training, but I don't know what else to call it. It makes me feel like I'm getting ready for a boxing match. My dad and brother have been "training" their whole lives and that typically involves them working out, sparring, running, etc. to get ready for a fight. So... training, but not fighting. lol.

Anywho... I had planned to run on Saturday, but it was way too busy and ended up storming all afternoon. We spent Saturday morning (bright and early) at the soccer field with Jake. Then, we went directly to the t-ball field for Bailey's game, had a pizza party with her team after the game, went straight from there to Gattitown for Austin's birthday party (you know, Bailey's future husband), and finally got home at about 4, right after the thunderstorms started. So, our day was exhausting. Even if it hadn't rained, I don't think I would have had the energy to go and run. Not to mention that it was Brad's birthday... :) I'll post more about that later.

So, I ran on Sunday. The weather was perfect at about noon, so I figured I better get the run in before it started to rain again. I started out feeling great. I felt like I could breathe easier and run a little longer than I had been. However, I stuck to the plan. By the end of the run, I felt pretty tired. Glad I didn't push myself to do more early on. :) I would have died before I made it home. Day two is done. Just one more before I move up to the next level. Hoping I can do it... :)

Oh... and thank you to everyone who has been SO supportive and sent me encouraging messages and inspirational stories to read. It helps me stay motivated. I have a feeling that about halfway through this program, I'll have to go back through and re-read everything you all have sent me so that I can keep up the energy to do this! :)


Friday, April 23, 2010
I can't help but be excited about my new challenge. The training plan I am using recommends easing into things, so I'm doing that and not running until tomorrow or Sunday (it only suggests running 3 days a week until I get further along in the program). So, I am holding off on training today. However, I have to say that I have felt the urge to go run again all day. I am just so excited. I felt so much better than I expected to today - only minor soreness in my ankles and a little in my thighs. So, I feel like I'm ready to go again. I hope I can keep up this energy and interest.

On a sidenote, when I told my parents about my plans, they were both so supportive. My mom was a little surprised and asked what was bringing this on, but she was really excited for me. Dad was also really pumped... saying he'd be at my race to cheer me on. lol. :)

Training Day 1

So, today was the first day of my training. I was eager to get started. I am working on a schedule I found online that helps me ease into this. Please remember that I have not ran at all in years. Very many years...

So, now I am working my way up to actually running a good portion of the time that I'm out there. Today, my schedule was to walk for 5 minutes to warm up, then to run for 60 seconds and walk for 90 seconds. I did this for 20 minutes. It wasn't too bad. I actually was surprised that I made it as well as I did. I would have predicted that I would have died about halfway through the program. :) Surprisingly, I actually did make it through the full 20 minutes. I only felt like I was going to have to completely stop once, after running up a hill.

I have to say it felt great. Part of it was nice because I had a mp3 player blaring in my ears, no kids complaining or needing anything, just me and the music. But, the best part was feeling like I could actually pull this off and make it. My legs are tired tonight and my ankle is sore - I predict a new pair of shoes will be in my future very soon. I know tomorrow will be worse and Brad has already given me the words of encouragement... "Get through the first week... it will be the worst." First day = good day. I can do this. I really think I can do this.

Working on being crazy...

Thursday, April 22, 2010
So this blog post is going to be interesting. I think it’s going to be one for the record books. Hopefully, I don’t get phone calls from friends concerned about my sanity or suggesting that I talk to someone. Lol. Nothing is wrong with me that hasn’t always been wrong with me. I’ve always been slightly crazy… and truly only about three people who will read this will relate to what I’m saying and understand that I’m not really crazy or even semi-insane, because that would mean they are crazy or semi-insane too. :) You know who you are, so I’m not pointing fingers.

For weeks, I’ve been toiling with ideas. Crazy things that I would like to do or have done and would like to do again…all legal, nothing bad. :) I keep thinking about my “bucket list” for lack of a better term. Not that I’m worried I’m dying, so please don’t be concerned about my health. I just feel like life is so short. Maybe I’m thinking about it more because I’m going to hit the 30 mark this year. Or maybe it’s because my children are growing up so fast and needing less of me, and more of me, all at the same time. It could be movies that I watch or shows that I see that make me realize that there’s so much to life and so much that I want to do and know that I never have figured out. I don’t know. But, it has been on my mind.

So, I considered a lot of things. After watching Julie & Julia, I considered trying something new every single day and blogging about that. Brad quickly pointed out how hard it is for me to sit down and blog about the kids, much less something new everyday. He also was quick to point out that several of the items on my list are things that will take more than one day. So, I thought about making a list and blogging about the things I do as I accomplish them. That way, when I am old and gray or dead, my kids could look back and see that I was more than just the person who picked up their clothes, made their food, yelled at them for tracking dirt all over the house, pushed them on the swings, blah, blah, blah. :) Part of it is all about me leaving a legacy to them that says, “Wow, my mom was more than just my maid or the nagging voice in my head… she actually did some really cool things.” Part of the problem with me publishing a list is that it is always changing and I don’t want to make a list and accomplish none of it and then be even more mad at myself for not doing the things I wanted to do. Whew… this is hard to explain without sounding crazy. Glad you guys all love me.

Which brings me to the next thing. I feel like God is leading me… that He’s always been leading me… to hunger or thirst for more. I have always thirsted for more information and education, and always, ALWAYS, felt an incredible desire to help other people. I’ve prayed for him to show me what he wants me to do. And, even then, I feel even more compelled to try new things and live life more adventurously. So, could this be what He is trying to tell me to do? I have no idea. I do have a lot of things on my "list" that involve serving the public (i.e. like working for Habitat for Humanity, etc. - not politics). :)

Then, I started thinking more… again, very dangerous. I started thinking that maybe if I publish this list or some variation of a list, or even just verbalized a few things that I want to accomplish over the next few months or year, maybe I’d be more likely to do it because I wouldn’t want to let you guys down. I know that you guys aren’t really sitting there dying to know if I can do everything I want to do in my life. Truly, I’m not that egotistical to think that you guys are that engrossed with my life. Lol. BUT… maybe by doing something drastic and having someone to hold me accountable, I would actually DO the things I say I’m going to. SCARY. Lol. Cilla – I know you hear me on this one, I know… what the heck am I thinking? I feel like I should be saying something like, “Talk me down, man.”

Anyway… drastic has been my forte in a lot of things… risk-taking isn’t usually something I freak out about (within reason)… Change is something I LOVE completely. If I could change something in my house everyday, I would. If I could move every year, I would. If I could change jobs every year, I would (and have, with the exception of one job). Lol.

So… I’m building up to something here, right?

Well, I haven’t committed to listing a bunch of things. As a matter of fact, I’ve decided that I’m only going to take baby steps (which makes me even more nervous than just blurting everything out, closing my eyes, and hoping for the best). I am going to start with one thing.

Drum roll, please…

I’m going to train for a 5K. :) I know many of you are rolling your eyes and just downright cracking up. Why? Because I hate to run. Loath it entirely (for you parents who have watched the Jim Carrey Grinch movie, imagine that line in the movie… if your son is addicted to it like mine is, you know exactly what I’m talking about.)! I do hate to run. But, I hate being out of shape more. I hate it that when I listed my crazy schedule in my blog a week or so ago, I listed all of the support I give to my family to be in athletics (even my three-year old), but did not have one athletic thing going on in my life. I hate feeling like a has-been… used to be athletic, but had kids and decided to be flabby instead. :) Of course, I started out saying I wanted to train for a triathlon instead of just running. Dream big or go home, right?! Brad encouraged me to take baby steps. He knows me so well… there’s no way that I’d be able to hack it if I just started out with a huge goal like that. My plan is to run in the Bluegrass State Games in July. Pray for me peeps… I need it. :)

And, I’m actually thinking about making it a family thing with Bailey. She can run in the BG State Games, too, if she wants. So, if she’s up for it, I might take her to run with me some. If she can do it, I might just get her into it now, too. :)

So, this isn’t the end of this craziness, I’m sure. It’s probably only the beginning of lots of blogs relating to my insanity. Life with the Ootens might just get a tad more interesting… I might just decide to do more than run a 5K. I might even get braver and post more things that I want to do. I might… just might… start a whole new adventure here. But, in case I make a mistake, I will err in caution and just move forward with baby steps… here’s to me training.

Lots of catching up

So, over the past few weeks, I've been starting posts and not finishing them. Tonight, I'm catching up. So, forgive me for the hundreds of posts today. :)

And, I'm finally adding photos to a Flickr account. Since I'm trying to save space and make the photos smaller, it's taking longer than I anticipated. Story of my life, right?! So, anyway, here is the link to the Flickr page. Please, feel free to look through and enjoy photos. :)


Terrible Threes.

Terrible twos? WHAT? Ever since Jake turned 3, he's been a tyrant. Total living tyrant... bossy, demanding, and just down right hard to live with. Well, I might be exaggerating and describing him only from today and yesterday, but really. He's killing me. I can't stand hearing him talk back and I'm really sick of hearing him say to me, "I said no." When I've clearly told him to do something. Plus, there's spitting. Spitting. It's disgusting. If he doesn't get his way, he's just spitting on stuff. What? When did this happen and who taught him this? I can't stand it. So, there's my rant about my perfect little son. lol. The timeout chair has been used very frequently, and if today is any indicator, it might become a permanently scheduled occurrence... like every 5 minutes. lol. :)

Party time

Sunday, April 18, 2010
And, don't worry... I haven't forgotten to post about the most important thing this weekend. Jake's birthday party. It was wonderful... stress-free, fun, happy, all the good stuff. Pictures coming. :)

Play ball...

It is that time of year... spring. The time of year that my allergies kick in, so I am living in a semi-foggy state. All the same, one of my favorite times of the year. It is time to get out of the house and play some ball. And this year, we are not only fully-engrossed in t-ball with Bailey, we are playing three-year old kick start soccer with Jake. Talk about hectic... We are now parents of children involved in three sports... soccer, t-ball, and swimming. And, to beat it all, Brad is assistant coach in t-ball and head coach for soccer. Yes, you read that right, head coach for three-year old soccer. Yes, he has a wish to have a stroke before he's thirty. He'd have to, right? He and our friend Paul are managing (or attempting to manage) ten three-year olds while they teach them soccer skills. Funny that neither of them has ever played soccer. :)

Anyway... our schedule is filling up with all these things. And, we love it. Saturday morning, we were at the soccer field at a bright and early 9:45 for Jake's soccer practice (they don't really play games, just learn skills at this point). I was dreading to see how he was going to do. I had to miss the first practice the week before to take Bailey to her t-ball game that was at the same time. Apparently, Jake was horrible at his first practice. Brad had to run after him a couple of times, after he attempted to run to the parking lot. Yes... we have THAT child. :) Yet, this week was much different. He still came off the field a few times and had to be physically moved to line up a couple of times, but he did spend most of the time on the field, actually kicking his soccer ball. He and his friend, Joseph, are on the same team and also enjoyed a few moments of tackling each other and wrestling on the ground, while the rest of the team played freeze tag with the coaches (Jake and Joseph's dads). :) Funny how that works out sometimes!

Bailey is also enjoying t-ball this year. I was a little concerned at the beginning of the season that we were going to have to play her in the in-field because our team is pretty young, but after putting her in the second base position and allowing her to get hit by a ball because she was busy digging in the dirt, I think the coaches (and everyone else) realized it was a good idea for her to play outfield again. lol. She gets bored with the outfield, but understands that until she's really ready to watch the ball the ENTIRE game, she is going to have to stay out there. She asked me why she didn't get to play in the in-field and I explained to her that she had to work really hard to watch the ball and throw it to first if it came to her. She responded with, "Well... maybe I'll just stay in the outfield a little while longer." That's my girl. lol. She is hitting really well and has increased her speed this year, which is good. And, she knows how to run the bases, which helps. So, maybe a softball future is in the cards... we'll see. :) As long as she's having fun, right? And, she is. The whole team is. They have these chants that they yell in the dugout. I think I could hear them in my sleep because they really are that loud. But, that's what they love... being loud (and obnoxious). :)

Checking Up with the Docs...

Thursday, April 15, 2010
A few days ago we had a day filled with doctor's visits. It was a good day for confirmations. No more fears about going to the dentist or doctor for the kids' check-ups to find out that we are totally slacking in some area of their lives.

We started the day at Bailey's swimming lessons at 9 a.m. Then, we proceeded to the dentist office at 10, where Bailey and Jake did wonderfully well, sitting still and getting their teeth counted, cleaned, and flossed. I was completely impressed with Jake, who seemed terrified at the thought of sitting in the chair where his sister had been. However, a little coaxing and talking about Spiderman's bravery, and he was in the chair and ready to go. Amazing how Spiderman influences our lives. :) Then, off to lunch with Daddy at 11:30.

By 1 p.m., we were pulling in the parking lot of the doctor's office for our annual check-ups. Thankfully, both kids are doing great. The doctor was impressed with their behavior (my threats worked!) and they both did well with all of their exams. Bailey CAN hear, which means no more lying when I tell her to do something and she replies that she couldn't hear me. :) Of course, we had to have SOME drama. Bailey cried for like 15 minutes over the little prick of her finger for the blood test. Jake, on the other hand, took it like a man and only whimpered and puckered. He did, however, become highly upset that they put a band-aid on him and immediately demanded that we take it off. Both kids are growing... Bailey is 48 pounds and 3 feet 8 inches tall. That puts her in the 90th percentile of girls for her age. I was a little concerned that she might have a weight problem, but the doctor said not to worry about it. She's growing and her blood levels are all fine, so there is no need to worry. Still... a little less fat and sugar in her diet won't hurt (this is my commentary, not the doctor's). No worries, I'm not a psycho mom that is worried about her weight, but I want to make sure she grows up healthy. Jake, much like always, is the opposite of his sister. He's 29 pounds and 3 feet and a half inch tall. He is about the 15th percentile for both height and weight, whereas he used to be in the 90th or so for both. We just can't help but laugh at the cycles our kids go through. Bailey was a skinny-mini tot as a baby and now she's a solid big kid. At one point, we thought Jake was actually going to catch up with Bailey before he turned two. Well, he decided to stop gaining all that weight and only grow in height. lol. So.... that is that.

Many of you probably already know that I have been a little concerned about Jake's speech development and some of his OCD tendencies. Jake shows lots of emotion toward the people he knows and loves, he makes eye contact, plays with others most of the time, etc. However, he has a very difficult time in new situations (we often have to coach him through things), he is obsessed with Spiderman and Batman and not much else, his speech is somewhat delayed, and he seems to live in his own world at times with no interest in meeting new kids. He'll play with people he's used to, but that's typically where he draws the line. So many of our friends and relatives have told me that this is normal for a child his age and that we are being silly to note it. Yet, I didn't want to ignore anything. I can remember my youngest brother being very similar to Jake in personality and progress, especially as it relates to being social. He never really liked other kids or most people and really had no interest in getting to know them. So... we have hoped that he's just like Colt. And, the good news is that the doctor seemed to think I was overreacting. She did not make me feel like I was crazy, but did reassure me that she thinks he's developing normally, that he is probably a little more shy than most kids or maybe even not interested in other kids because he doesn't know how to approach them. His obsession with Batman and Spiderman and killing bad guys is very common. And, she thought his speech was fine. She said he was a lazier speaker than some kids his age, but that she didn't think it would have an impact long-term and to continue just working with him on enunciating. She also said she thought a lot of that was because I compared him to Bailey and because Bailey often speaks for him, solicited or not. So... a very big sigh of relief. I honestly thought she was going to suggest that we have him evaluated and entered into some kind of speech therapy, so I am very relieved. And, even more relieved to hear that everything else is OK. She did laugh and say that his OCD tendencies might need to be checked later, but that most likely they were just things that he was never going to change, regardless of what anyone said or did. She does want us to watch his social skills as he plays in soccer and swimming lessons for the next few months. If he doesn't improve, she wants us to get him evaluated. With that being said, I've already noticed on several attempts of asking Jake to make friends and helping him say hello that he's making progress. So, here's to hoping that the doctor is right.

Stay-at-home mom... chauffeur, cook, housekeeper, baker, seamstress...

Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Before I was a stay-at-home mom...

I envisioned days of a completely clutter-free, clean house, with meals organized ahead of time and a calendar that both made sense and was easy to keep.

I imagined sitting down with a good book every once in a while to read while the kids enjoyed playing outside or inside, depending on the weather.

I dreamed of going to the grocery store with a list and coming home, having not forgotten anything on said list and not needing to make a return trip for at least a week.

I thought it would be easier to schedule lunch dates and play time with friends.

Now that I am a stay-at-home mom...

I wish that my house would stay clean for at least an hour. Just one hour... not even a whole day. :)

I wish that I could remember what day of the week it was and which person has to be where and when. Just to keep up with t-ball, swimming, soccer, church, preschool, birthday parties, Brad's softball/basketball schedule, and my need for at least some semblance of a life, I have to have a calendar... just like the one I used when I worked. Seriously?! :)

Read? A book? What?

Grocery trips = at least twice a week, but most of the time I forget something and have to go again. lol.

Lunch with friends? Getting around to it... constantly getting around to it. If they'll ever still have me by the time I "get around to it." :)

However, I am NOT in any way complaining. I honestly could not ask for a better life (maybe just a little better organizational skills)... I get to watch my kiddos grow up, enjoy the little things, like a long walk, a push on the swings, or stories about princesses that kiss frogs or heroes that kill bad guys, and I get to spend my weekends enjoying my time with my hubby instead of playing catch up on the cleaning and laundry. Complaining? Absolutely not... just thinking about how naive I was. :)

So... to the lady who asked me if it was nice just laying around the house instead of working... :) Well... glad she doesn't read my posts, because I might just have to give her an earful!

And... our Big Birthday Boy!

Thursday, April 8, 2010
It seems like I keep putting it "on my to-do list" to post pictures from Bailey's birthday. And, I've yet to do it. And... it is now Jake's birthday! Tomorrow (Friday) is the day that my baby boy turns three. So, I suppose you should expect to see pictures of his birthday by Christmas. :) Teasing... my plan is to create a Flickr account this week so that I can just link you to the pictures that relate to my posts. That seems to make more sense, I think, and will likely make it easier for me to just post them all instead of spending minutes (or hours) going through them to pick the "right" ones. Cilla - I will never understand how you can pick and choose when your photos are SOOOO good. lol.

So... about my big boy.

In similar fashion to my post about Bailey's birthday, I can tell you what I was doing three years ago right now (remember that it's nearly midnight on April 8th as I write this). Most of you probably think that I was sleeping soundly, since I knew that I was being induced the next morning (at like 6 a.m.). However, I was not asleep. I was probably in the bed by now, but I remember being so nervous about having my second child that it was in the wee hours of the morning before I actually rested. I knew what to expect in the ways of labor and the lack of food for an entire day. I also knew that I couldn't wait to meet my little man. I had dreamed of having a little boy for years... before I even met Brad. Then, when I did meet Brad, I wanted to have a little boy even more. I dreamed of having a little boy with long eyelashes around his big round eyes, an adorable smile, and skinny mini legs that were as fast as lightning. I wanted a sweet little boy who adored his mommy, but loved all things boy - dirt, sports, guns, etc. But on this night three years ago, I was worried... anxious. I was used to pink things and girl toys, ribbons and bows, Dora and princesses. I was used to adoring one little girl who had completely stolen my heart and I was terrified that I could never love another child as much as I did her. I knew it was ridiculous, but it scared me to think that I would have this perfect little boy and I would look into his eyes and feel nothing.

Well, as you know from reading my prior posts, that was indeed very ridiculous. My little dream of a son came into this world at 4:25 on April 9 and made everything in our family complete. That's not to say it wasn't rough for the first few hours. Jake didn't make the easiest entrance into the world. He decided, much like he does now, that he was going to do things his way. He wasn't going to be forced and he wasn't going to move to make it easier for anyone. So, he kept his arm where it was most comfortable (and based on the way he slept for many months as an infant, probably in the same position he had kept his arm for several weeks in the womb)... positioned closely around his neck - his hand reaching almost completely over his shoulder to his back. So, naturally, as he was born, he was choking himself. Fortunately, it only caused a few minor "glitches" in delivery, but they wanted to monitor him closely to make sure he was OK. So, my desire to hold my son for more than a couple of seconds just had to wait. It was nearly midnight before I actually held him for more than a moment. Needless to say, I knew I loved him the first time I held him. However, between the hours of say 5 p.m. and 11 p.m. that evening, I was worrying that the bond with my son might not be the same as that with my daughter. I wasn't getting to nurture him the way I had her and I was scared.

Then... my mom, mother-in-law, and hubby, decided that it was due time for me to get my boy in the room and they put their foot down. They had told me hours before that it would only be a few more minutes and I was very frustrated. All was fine with the world when I held him and looked at his little face. Bailey was thrilled to be a big sister and seeing them together melted my heart. As we prepared to go to sleep that night, I placed him in his little bed beside mine and watched him. I knew I loved him as much as I had ever loved Bailey and I knew I had been crazy for being so silly. That night, he began to cry and I simply placed him on my chest and talked to him for a moment. He was content and went back to sleep. I realized that the bond wasn't from getting to hold him first or feed him first, but from nurturing him the whole 9+ months I had carried him.

Much like his sister, Jake's personality came out immediately. He was quieter, more relaxed. He enjoyed eating and sleeping, like most babies, but something about the way he did both of these things was notable (perhaps it was significant that he drank a 4 ounce bottle the first time he was given it or that he slept like 6 hours at night from the very beginning). For some reason, everyone knew that he really enjoyed sleeping and eating... more than most babies. As he grew, we could see that he was going to be the complete opposite of his sister. He excelled at large motor skills - walking at about 10 months, climbing on top of things before he hit the year mark. Speech was and is still developing. By now, Bailey was telling us full stories and even jokes. Jake tells us things, but most of the time, only his immediate family members can translate the stories he tells if they involve much detail. He is shy and acts insecure around new people and situations, whereas Bailey never meets a stranger. He takes a few minutes to warm up to people and he likes to observe before joining in on things and Bailey forces herself on people. Once he "figures" everything out and knows what's going on, he jumps in and has a great time. Unfortunately, I think that comes from me (but I'm hoping Brad is telling the truth when he says he remembers feeling insecure like that too!).

Jake most certainly loves his sister, despite their differences. Every time we go to pick Bailey up at preschool, or to drop her off in the morning, he hugs and kisses her, and tells her he loves her. If we are leaving her, he tells me he misses her when we get in the car. If we are picking her up, he asks about her day and then proceeds to tell her about Spiderman or Batman or whatever his chosen obsession has been for the day. Despite their completely different personalities, they really seem to understand and love each other. They baby each other, too, kissing each other's boo boos, or helping each other when they don't feel well. They push each other on the swings (sometimes), they play tag in the yard, and they really love to cuddle up in our recliner together with a blanket, popcorn, and orange juice to watch a good movie. It's so fascinating to watch them grow and to see that they truly do love each other. Yes, they do fight. Quite a bit, actually, but even then, they love each other. I will be disciplining Jake for hurting Bailey and she will be whispering to him to say he's sorry so that he won't lose his toys. This, coming after she's screamed like he has torn her head off. And it works the other way, too. If I start to get onto Bailey about something, Jake will step up and defend her. He's even gone so far as to try to physically make me leave the room (saying, "Mommy... just go" and pointing to the other room). :) WHAT? Who does that?

Ah... all part of growing up, I guess. A five-year old and a three-year old... I have to say these are awesome years. No bottles, diapers, or bags filled with extra clothes. They incredible fun and active. And, perhaps the best part, they also sleep past 7 on the weekends. FINALLY. :) Happy birthday to my perfect little boy.