Monday, December 08, 2014

Intentional

We are trying to be very intentional with our time this Christmas season.  We want to take time and do some fun things with the kids.  It is so neat to watch them get caught up in the excitement of the season. 

Grandma Cheri took Calvin for a day at her house and he made cut out cookies.  He frosted a few there, but brought back a dozen or so for all of the kids to frost at our house.  They loved it.  Asher only frosted one because he realized how great it tasted and he couldn't get past eating the frosting. 








There is a place in town called Christmas Town and it has lots of different kid activities.  There is an upfront fee to get in, but once in everything except the food and gifts is free.  We went there on Saturday and the kids had a blast.  They got to sit on Santa and Mrs. Claus's lap.  When asked what they wanted for Christmas, Calvin wanted a frog that jumps and Mia wanted a fox.  I love that they haven't been consumed by the materialism of the holiday yet. 





There were several bouncy houses, most like your typical birthday bouncy house rental, but one huge one that was a snowman.  It was super windy at the entrance and Calvin just couldn't get the courage to go in by himself and the others weren't going in with him, so they settled on bouncing in the birthday style ones for awhile. 


There was a hayride to look at the lights and face painting, along with ice skating.  The kids loved the ice skating, although it wasn't truly ice skating as it was more wax than ice, but you could get going a bit with the skates. 


There were plenty of lights and overall the kids had a blast.  It was worth the time and effort to go out there.  At the end there was a huge slide that Daddy took them on.  They loved it. 



The kids would definitely go again.


Friday, December 05, 2014

Juggling

I feel like I am in a circus most days.  I am a juggler trying to keep all the balls in motion and it seems like the balls keep flying in during December.  If I look at the whole month, it makes me want to crawl into a hole and hibernate until summer.  Then I have to take a step back, breathe, and take it moment by moment.

The one thing I have learned being a mom is that moment by moment is doable.  The whole picture, not so much.  Take today for example.  I had to make the kids breakfast, get them dressed, do schoolwork with Mia, take Mia to vision therapy, make lunch, empty the dishwasher, load the dishwasher, wash the clothes, dry the clothes, fold the clothes, put away the clothes, exercise (myself), do Mia's daily medical stuff, get Asher down for a nap, make dinner, and so on and so on.  I could easily get overwhelmed just thinking about my day, but I take it in chunks.  First we work on breakfast, then we work on the next task.  And amazingly, God takes me through each moment graciously.

Asher didn't want to take a nap today and since he has a new found freedom of being able to climb out of his crib at will, it makes naptime and nighttime more difficult.  I know naps are important, I don't want cranky babies and yet I can't force the kid to sleep (although if I could, I would).  So, realizing the impending doom that it wasn't going to happen at the usual time, much to my dismay...I rearranged our schedule a bit and tried a little later.  Thankfully, by the grace of God...and this is where He is so gracious, Asher did go to sleep.  Thank you Lord!

It's just a constant juggle to me and I know that I would fall flat on my face if I didn't have my God walking right beside me.  If it was me, by myself, the game would be over.  But, somehow the Lord has taken me through 7 years of being a mother.  Looking back, it is only with His help, that I have managed to get here. 

What just boggles my mind the most, is that God loves me so much, that He wants to be part of my mundane, ordinary day.  And not just mine, but every single one of yours too.  He wants to help me with my juggling and walk beside me moment by moment, I just need to ask Him to be with me and He will.  And He does that for anyone.  Anyone who calls on His name.  Isn't that amazing!  I can't keep three balls up in the air without help and He juggles an infinite number with ease.  I'm so glad He's on my side.  I really couldn't imagine life without Him. 

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Thanksgiving

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving with family.  We celebrated with Brad's parents on the actual day and then with my mom and family on the day after.  We ate way too much turkey and pie...as always, right?  The kids really enjoyed all the festivities, they especially liked playing Thanksgiving BINGO (nothing fancy, just with Thanksgiving pictures instead of numbers) at Nana and Grampapa's.  Mia especially liked playing cards with my side of the family, it might be in her blood to play cards.  Just fun family games, no betting. 

We also ended up taking some family pictures, here are a few from our photo shoot. 






Monday, November 17, 2014

LA Check Ups

Mia and I were in LA last week for her annual echo on her heart.  It looks fabulous. It is hard to believe that 6 years ago we were getting ready for heart surgery over Thanksgiving week.  I remember that day vividly.  Waiting in the waiting room, getting updates and then a final positive report.

I love that her cardiologist tells us every time that we should just think of Mia as having a normal heart.  She's doing that well, which is so awesome!  Praise God! 

We've had quite a journey over the past few years and we are so grateful for God's healing power in her little life.  She is quite the testimony to our God.  We are just so grateful for how far He has taken her.  Thank you to all who continue to pray and have faithfully prayed for her! 

Tomorrow we are off to LA again for an annual visit with the orthopaedist.  Mia has some mild scoliosis that they continue to monitor, along with her hips.  Her ball and sockets have never completely come into a tight position because of her muscle weakness.  But all of these things are minor and we just continue to watch them with annual check ups. 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Pumpkins, part 2!

We finished the pumpkins tonight.  The kids and I braved Walmart to get some candles.  Note to self, don't go to Walmart the day before or the day of a holiday...it was a nightmare.  But we got back home safe and the kids were so excited to see their pumpkins lit. 






Calvin's pumpkin is on the far left, a traditional jack o' lantern face.  Mia's is in the middle...any guesses?  Of course, a fox for the fox lover.  And Asher's is on the right...what they call a silly face.  Daddy gets the credit, he carved 90% of the pumpkins, the kids just told him what they wanted.  I did a few minor details on the fox face.  Aren't they fun!


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Pumpkins!

Last week we went to the pumpkin patch as a family.  We had a great time picking out pumpkins and enjoying the pumpkin patch.  And then tonight we finally carved our pumpkins.  Asher and Calvin thought the insides of the pumpkin were gross, and Mia felt like it was stringy and slimy, but she jumped into cleaning out her pumpkin whole heartedly.  She was a real trooper.  I will try to get some pictures of the finished project up, but we didn't get a chance tonight. 







Sunday, October 12, 2014

Happy 7th Birthday Mia!



Happy Happy Birthday SweetPea!

Mommy and Daddy can't believe that you are 7 today!  My how time has flown by these past seven years.  I still can vividly remember the day you were born.  Being so anxious to finally meet you and hearing that first cry after you were born.  1:03 pm.  5 pounds 4 ounces.  So petite and tiny, you know you still are petite and tiny, but you have the biggest heart that a little girl can have.  You are always sharing and always helping others with a smile on your face. 

This year you grew another 2 inches!  Either that or your pants got shorter.  You also gained some weight this year, you are now hovering around 36 pounds.  That elusive 40 pounds is just around the corner...

You graduated out of physical therapy this year and now only have a couple of other therapies.  You continue to ride horses at MARE and this year you've been riding the horse Lady quite a bit. 

On top of all of that, you now do school at home!  And you love it.  You are a great learner and it's so neat watching you learn daily new skills.  You are adding and subtracting, telling time, writing sentences and your favorite subject is science.  Right now you are learning all about trees and the different seasons. 

Calvin also likes to do school with you at home.  He is your best friend.  This year we put your beds in the same room and you two love it.  In fact, you keep asking us for bunk beds.  One of these days we will do that and we might even put Asher in there with you all too! 

Asher is mostly your little bother, but you are learning that he is just a toddler and he has a lot of learning to do.  I've watched you give him a lot more grace these days and show him more love.  He is going to be so lucky to have such a nice big sister like you!

We love you sweetpea!  God has blessed us with a beautiful little girl.  We look forward to what God has for your year 7!

All our love,
Mommy and Daddy, Calvin & Asher

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Birthdays and Unicorns!

Mia finally settled on her birthday party theme a week or so ago--unicorns!  So, we had some friends over and got to celebrate her turning 7 (a day early...but who is counting?).  The party goers arrived and everyone donned their own unicorn horn.











There was even a spotting of a double horn unicorn, a very rare occurrence!





Some adults even joined in the festivities...


There was some fun unicorn crafting that happened...


And some just plain silliness...


After some unicorn food...think carrots, apples, crackers, cheese and meat...there was a unicorn cake!


After all that excitement, the unicorns went in search of bugs, they needed more protein?  Maybe to balance out the sweet?  Thankfully there was an expert bug catcher in the group and he was practicing "catch and release" to the bugs delight.



It was a great party.  We had so much fun with our friends, thank you for sharing Mia's 7th birthday with her!


Thursday, October 09, 2014

Pumpkins - 1000th Post!

This is the 1000th post on this blog, crazy!  Things have slowed down quite a bit since when we first started blogging with Mia and everything that was happening.  But we still try to keep it up and I love that all the kids can look back on a record of their life...it is like a big, baby book to me. 

Today we went to visit our favorite pumpkin patch.  We were meeting up with some other MOPS mommies.  The kids had a great time and just loved all the pumpkins.  It is such a fun place!




Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Teeth, Eyes and Bears...oh my!

We've had a pretty hectic week that won't end until after Mia's birthday party this coming Saturday.  Last week the kids visited the dentist and did great.  This is the first time EVER that Mia has done a check up with no tears, she's becoming such a big girl.  I was so proud of her.  AND she let them take one x-ray of her front teeth.  She has such a tiny mouth that taking a full set of x-rays would be difficult, but we are starting small and working our way towards that.  As she is losing her baby teeth, there is some concern with her adult teeth coming into her tiny mouth as there is not a lot of extra space.  Something will have to give and I'm not sure what that will look like, but at the moment, it is a wait and see. 

Calvin has a much bigger mouth and he got his first full set of x-rays done.  All 3 kids did great and no cavities, so that makes me a happy mama. 

Yesterday all 3 kids had a visit to the eye doctor, in addition to our bear friend Cubbie.  Calvin does Cubbies, the earliest Awana program and throughout the year, the kids get to take Cubbie home with them for a week.  Cubbie is supposed to do everything with them and then you take pictures and write a little note to share with the class when you return him.  Calvin has been enjoying Cubbie, but not super attached...rather Asher is very attached to Cubbie.  Of course, his favorite stuffed animals are bears, so it makes sense...those are his babies.  So, I hope there won't be too much trauma in returning Cubbie at the end of the week. 

Calvin and Asher both had super eye exams and their vision is great.  Which is great news.  We had stopped officially doing vision therapy for Mia's lazy left eye, and unfortunately, her eye isn't doing much work right now.  So, her vision in her left eye dropped a bit and we are now in the process of starting up vision therapy again to work on regaining that vision...it really is just a matter of her actively using her left eye.  And she's been choosing to not use it because it is weaker.  Her eye doctor thought that we could get back to where we are fairly quickly, but it was telling to me that we might be doing vision therapy indefinitely.  Which is ok. 

Homeschooling is going great.  I love it, the kids love it and we have flexibility to do these therapies that we need to get done, for us it's a win win. 

We are so excited that the weather is cooling down and the kids are looking forward to fun fall time activities.  We are grateful for each day we get with our little troop.

Friday, September 26, 2014

LA

It has been awhile since we've had to visit LA.  Sometimes I think back to those first few years when we were driving to LA all the time, I don't know how I did it.  I guess you just do it because that is what you have to do.  We now only go to LA a couple of times a year for doctor visits.  It is so nice.  Nana stayed home with the boys and so it was an outing with just my girl.  We were visiting her urologist and having a few tests run.  This may sound so cliche, but there are really only two ways to look at a glass, half empty or half full.  I am going to always choose to look at this with Mia half full.  I need only skim back a few years on this blog and re read what God has done in her life to know how amazing He is and what He has done for her.  He has clearly taken her so far, I have no doubt that He will continue to provide for her in amazing ways.  There has been concern about her bladder size and function, to put it simply, she has an overactive bladder.  All of her parts are working like they should, they just work in overtime with her.  If you think about that, it is so minor in the whole scheme of things...I can think of half a dozen things off the top of my head that are major.  This is not one of them.  Her urologist didn't know if she would always have an overactive bladder or if that would change as she got older, he didn't rule out the possibility that it might change for the better.  He did say that we could try a new treatment to work with that, if we wanted, but at this point it isn't necessary.  The treatment would use botox to relax her bladder so it wasn't so active.  It's not crucial right now, so we are going to kind of wait and see.  But what I think was the best news of the day was that there was concern about higher pressure in her bladder...and she had NONE, yay!  And she's always had some low grade reflux, which he couldn't see at all this time, which is a huge praise!  Overall, it was a great visit.  Thank you Lord for watching over our baby with all the details of her life! 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Fall...oh where art thou?

It's always like this in September for us...there will be hints of cooling down with the weather and then back to the high heat we go.  Usually it doesn't officially turn fall until October, but I was hoping that if I willed it, it would happen earlier.  It's not happening. 

Mia started riding again at MARE last week.  She has transitioned out of the hippotherapy riding class and into a basic riding class with another girl her age.  They both like pink, they are destined for friendship.  She had a great time riding last week and we are looking forward to our ride today.  Because of the change in classes, we now ride on Wednesdays instead of Tuesdays and that is still throwing my schedule for a loop...when you've done something for so many years on one particular day, it's strange to change it up.  The boys did well hanging out on the bleachers and playing games on my phone last week...we were just trying to keep cool in the shade.  Today it will be hot again also. 

Now that we've been homeschooling for awhile and Mia's been working with her new OT who has some background in vision therapy also, we've noticed a little bit more what exactly her vision struggles are.  It's hard to explain it, but her vision is shifted a bit, probably because both eyes aren't truly focusing on the task at hand.  If you ask her to cut on a straight line, she cuts a relatively straight line about a cm to the left of the line.  When she's doing her math work in particular, they have a lot of lines to write the answers on and I notice how her answers are never completely on the line, always in the middle, even though I think that she thinks she is writing it on the line.  So, we have some activities to work on that at home and she has a new eye appt coming up and I hope to address some of those concerns then. 

We love homeschooling, it's working really great for us and it gives me more flexibility to schedule in some of her physical needs throughout the day.  Asher has made great progress in not eating crayons anymore, so he will now happily scribble on paper if the others are busy writing or doing another activity.  It's great. 

Friday, September 05, 2014

Plugging Along

The kids and I are getting into a really nice routine with homeschooling.  It's going so well and I think everyone is loving it.  Mia tells me that her favorite subject is science.  We are doing a first grade pre-packaged curriculum with everything included.  That's nice because I don't have to hunt up activities or stuff to work on.  So far, we've covered stages of life, our habitat, and now we are moving into plants.  I'm a learner too, so I really enjoy re-learning all of this stuff.  Calvin loves to participate with quite a bit of it and he is very sharp.  Aside from the writing, he is doing pretty good with first grade tasks.  And of course there is lots of free time to play, I love just listening to them play together.  They are getting much better at interacting with each other, it's fun to watch.  Asher wants to do everything to, which can be sometimes frustrating for him, but we try to include him as much as possible.  His vocabulary is getting much better, he now says, "Halvin and Mia" for Calvin and Mia.  He will now string two words together, like Ba-oon Pop and then motion to the balloon that in our living room that is still inflated from Calvin's birthday!  I guess 2 weeks isn't that long, but it just seems like a lifetime ago to me.

We are looking forward to the weather cooling down a bit and figuring out some creative outings, since we can do that with our kiddos. 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Happy 4th Birthday Calvin!







Sweet boy of ours,

Mommy and Daddy love you very much!  Today you are 4 years old!  It seems like just yesterday we were taking a squawky baby home from the hospital.  We didn't know what it would be like having a Calvin, but we were so excited to find out!

You have had a great year!  You've grown inches and are now as tall as Mia was when she was 5.  You will surpass her, just not for a little bit longer.

By the grace of God, you finally potty-trained this year!  Woohoo!  It wasn't easy because you were motivated by nothing...but one day it happened and it is fastly fading what it was like before underwear.

You have a love for learning just like your sister.  You can already read and counting is a breeze.  You love practicing writing and can scribble a pretty good Calvin.  Your drawings are starting to improve and we can tell what is on your picture most of the time.  ;)

You still love frogs, but now we've expanded into a love for sharks, whales, eels, snakes, bugs of all kinds, and germs.  Yes, you really want rabies and heartworms...in the plush form.

Your favorite food is peanut butter and jelly.  You ask for it at breakfast, lunch and dinner.  You still do not like vegetables, but will tolerate an occasional carrot.  We make you eat 3 bites of veggies before you get dessert and you usually get it done.  I'm not sure you will like it when we up it to 4.

You have an innocent, childlike faith, which is so sweet.  Your favorite Bible story is Jonah and the Whale.  The other day we were talking about how when you disobey God, there is a consequence and you replied, "Jonah's consequence was going in the whale."

We love you sweet boy, we love watching you grow and learn about life.  We thank God that He gave us you!

Love always and forever,
Mommy and Daddy, Mia and Asher

Monday, August 18, 2014

First Grade




This year we took the plunge and decided to homeschool.  It had been tugging at my heart for awhile and after weighing all the pros and cons of public, private, homeschool...we landed in the homeschool camp.  Just to get our feet wet and see if homeschooling would really mesh between Mia and myself, we started in June as a sort of trial period.  We figured if we sank horribly, we would just go with the plan to enroll Mia in a regular 1st grade classroom with an aide to assist her when necessary.

This summer went great and so we are jumping in completely to this challenge.  There were so many different reasons to do this, one of the biggest motivators was to address Mia's shortcomings.  She is so bright, academically she is further along than a first grader already, so in that sense, school would not be extremely challenging to her.  Yet, physically, she is a bit behind.  In some ways, Calvin at 4, is more advanced than she is at 6, physically.  We wanted to tailor her learning to her needs.  Homeschooling lets us do that.  We get to work on some of her struggles, while still challenging her academically.

One of her biggest struggles will be writing.  Her fine motor skills are behind and there is a disconnect between knowing how to write something correctly and physically making your hand do that for you.  I've seen little bits of improvement over the summer, and many of our activities are very purposeful in that area.  She gets the one on one attention she needs and the time to practice.  Of course, she is rather stubborn and will fight me in writing, but we are working on the concept that we can't do everything perfect and we all have to practice and redo things in life...that is life.

It works great with Calvin and Asher here.  Sometimes Calvin joins in with the lesson (and Asher too) and sometimes the boys just go play on their own.  We aren't doing anything formal with Calvin at this point, but letting him be a part of as much as he wants.  Calvin and Mia work very well together, so this is another great thing.  They really are best friends.

Everyone's big concerns are that socially, she won't get to play with her peers enough, but we've already had other homeschooling moms and their kids come over for play dates and I think we won't be short in any of those.  She does Sunday school and Awana on Sundays and she will be part of a grade level specific bible class on Wednesdays when I am at Bible study myself.

So, we are just going to go with it.  We are going to trust God as He continues to provide for us and for our children.  We are excited to see what God has for us this year!


Saturday, August 16, 2014

Whales, Sharks & Eels...oh my!

We celebrated Calvin's 4th birthday a little bit early this weekend.  He invited a few of his friends over and we had a great time!  There was a bounce house, which was a huge hit and kept the kids fairly occupied.  I've noticed he has a hard time settling on one special want, he sees different things and will change his mind constantly about what he wants.  So, settling on a birthday cake was extremely difficult!  We went from a germ cake, to a ghost cake, to a mario kart cake, to an eel cake.  I was happy when we settled on the eel cake because I felt like that was doable.  I used two bundt pans and chopped the pieces and rearranged.  He was very happy with his eel cake. 







He told me he wanted a chocolate cake and he wanted his eel to be brown.  I was so excited because Calvin has a hard time with artificial coloring, we steer clear of it as much as possible.  When he has artificial colors, he tends to have an inability to listen by the end of the evening.  Brown, I can do brown.  He told me he wanted a "spotted american eel", where does this kid learn this stuff?  (From our visit to the aquarium of course, someone must have mentioned it to him...he has such a good memory!)  So the chocolate chips came in handy for the spots. 









One of Calvin's gifts was a germ plush, Mange.  I don't know exactly how he stumbled upon germ plushes, but he is obsessed with them.  For awhile he was begging me, "mom, I want rabies, I want heartworm, I want toxioplasmosis."  Which sounded really funny coming from my 3 year old's mouth, I would have been really confused if I didn't know he wanted plushes!  He has learned to search on google for whatever animal he really wants with plush attached to the end...he can then look at pictures and ask me how many dollars a particular animal is.  The other day, Brad and I were looking at our mini ipad (the one he uses to browse) and there were so many different tabs open and his spelling was too cute.  Bllfrog Plush, Big Wale Plush, Eele Plush, Jerm Plush.  Google is so smart, it quickly adjusted each of those for what he was looking for. 



Look at this girl and her missing teeth!  Love this smile!

To end the party, every kid got to take home their very own snake...I mean, eel...that's what we are calling them.  They were a huge hit.  Calvin really enjoyed his party, he loved all his friends that came and for the rest of the day he tried out every gift he got that I let him.  He loved everything.  Our sweet boy, he is a blessing from God and we are grateful for him.  Thanks everyone for helping us celebrate today!

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