Monday, September 27, 2010

The basics of life

I couldn't decide what to title this post. Busy life? Paring down? Prioritizing? All of the above would fit.
The past few weeks have been really busy and hard for me. I have been struggling with working part-time since February. Staying awake for 12 hour shifts two nights a week is tough, to say the least. I try to schedule myself for four nights off, so I have the chance to rest and feel like a normal person for a couple days. Many weeks I feel like I am barely keeping my head above water. Almost two weeks ago, we had a staff meeting for our NICU the morning after I had worked. Our managed completely suprised us by announcing we will all be required to work an extra 12 hour shift once every other week while our NICU is so busy and short-staffed. I had been awake for 27 hours already when she delivered this shocking news, so truthfully it did not go over well with me. I cried all the way home. I wished there was a way around it, but right now it seems impossible to make any changes.
This week I managed some creative bargaining and only had to work 6 hours extra, for which I was thankful. Our manager said she hoped this would be a temporary arrangement, and there is always the chance I wouldn't have to go in if we slow down, but I am not counting on it. I am scheduled for overtime through the end of the year.
Fall is such a busy time, birthdays, pumpkin patch visits, Halloween, Thanksgiving, preparing for Christmas, MOPS starting again... There are so many things I want to do, but as for most of us, that list is not always practical. So, if I don't blog as much or as in depth as usual in the coming months, you will know why. I am busy keeping up with laundry, cooking meals, taking my kids to the park on a beautiful day, planning birthday parties, etc...
Mercifully, the kids have been especially sweet lately. I will write more in depth on their birthdays, but want to share a few things that are going on now.
Rylan has been loving his class at the Little Gym. His teacher wants to work on his confidence, and responding with "Yes, I can" to new challenges. We were so excited when his good friend, Dain, joined also. Now Rylan has another guy and a good buddy in his class. For two weeks now, Rylan has been consistently staying dry at naptimes and at night. I am so proud of him and so thankful to not have to change sheets as often. His behavior lately has been also been especially good, better than it has in months. He is more compliant and remembering his manners when he wants something. Sometimes he will even run up and give me kisses and tell me he loves me for no particular reason, right out of the blue! That is good medicine for a tired mama. My OB once told me 4-year old boys are the sweetest and I am thinking she is right (even though we are not officially 4 for a few more weeks!)
Caroline is the cutest and sweetest almost 2-year old little stinker. I love her bouncy new haircut and it is so much easier to brush dried syrup out of short hair. She has been affectionate, too, and I nearly melt when she wraps her arms around my neck and tells me, "I love you, mama." Almost everything she says has "mama" tacked on the end and I don't get tired of her saying that word. She desperately wants to be a big girl and is excited about her new big girl bed coming soon. She also amazed us yesterday by peeing in the potty, twice! We had just let her sit on the potty for fun, and oila! results! I may get to start potty-training sooner than I planned. She was so proud of herself. In typical two-year old fashion, she is adorable one minute and exasperating the next. It is nearly torture shopping with her. As soon as I put her in the cart, she starts wailing and crying "all done" and trying her best to climb out of the cart. She derives great pleasure from running away from me when I call her, and trying to wiggle out of my arms when I am trying to carry her and a half dozen other things. Her other favorite pastime is figuring out Rylan's favorite toys, stealing them one by one and leading him on a merry screaming chase around me or the kitchen table. My patience for refereeing them wears thin quickly.
This past Sunday we skipped church, drove to Woodland park for donuts and more time at Mueller State park. It was nice to be together as a family and soak up some beautiful fall scenery. I am hoping to make it to the pumpkin patch this weekend. That is one of my favorite outings each year.
Bethany is moving to Colorado next week with her Great Dane puppy, Gatsby. She will be living with us until she finds a big-dog friendly home, and I am so excited to have my sister nearby. Wouldn't you like to be a fly on our wall with two pre-schoolers and an 80 lb. puppy galloping through the house?
Have a good week. I am off till Saturday night and plan to thoroughly enjoy that time!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Fall in Colorado-Mueller State Park

I can't believe we have lived in Colorado for over two years and never visited this beautiful state park! We weren't able to stay long this time, but will definitely be back. Only an hour away and full of beautiful golden aspens and mountain views.

Fall in Colorado is glorious. I think we hit the fall colors just before peak.

Picnicking before our hike.
Didn't realize at the time this bird was so focused on Caroline's granola bar.

Rylan was being such a sweetheart. He actually asked to take a picture with me, although this picture doesn't look like he was that willing!

A rare good picture of me and both kids.

I also love this picture of Charlton and the kids.

Caroline sitting on the logs, and....

lying in the grass.

Rylan making his fierce face next to this aspen which was split nearly in half.

So proud

My little girl is horse-crazy already!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Funny Rylan

I was soaking my feet in the tub while the kids took a bath tonight.
Rylan patted my leg.
"Oooh, mommy," he exclaimed, "I feel something pokey."
What? I thought. I just shaved my legs this morning. They are silky smooth.
"Mommy, you are a cactus!"

Today at the grocery, Rylan and I were having an in depth conversation about...the classification of living things.
"Mom, is an opossum an animal?"
"Yes, it is an animal, a mammal, actually. Did you know you are a mammal, too?"
"What! I'm not a 'possum!"

Big brother

Caroline really loves her big brother, and most of the time he is sweet and kind to her.

A few more haircut pictures

I just couldn't resist. She really doesn't look like my baby anymore.

That funny flip in her hair.

Snip, snip again...

As much as I loved Caroline's new ponytails, I decided to break out the scissors today. Her hair was looking pretty stringy at the ends and was constantly getting sticky food in it. She is not fond of me brushing or fixing it, so until she is ready to be more cooperative, I am going to make life easier on both of us.
I was debating about taking her up to Great Clips, but decided to try cutting it myself. I put her in her booster seat with a bowl of cheerios and amazingly she hardly noticed what I was doing. She didn't like my water spray bottle, but sat pretty still for the scissors part. I am very happy with the results although I kept the scissors handy for neatening up any stray ends!
I never noticed it with the first haircut, but I think she has a cowlick in almost the same place I do. Her hair wants to flip out in a certain spot, just like mine.

Caroline helps me with the combing part.

Side view.

Precious girl.

Slumber party

Caroline and Rylan quite possibly have the best daddy in the world. Their mother certainly wouldn't let them do anything that could disturb sleep like...

a slumber party! So, while mommy was at work, Charlton let the kids camp out in Rylan's room. This was as close to a "big girl" bed as Caroline has gotten.
She looks so grown-up! Sleeping in her own bed didn't last long.
Finally asleep around 9:00 when Caroline got her wish to sleep in "Bubba's bed."

Love those little toes peeping out.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

"Caroline wants a big girl bed" video

Little gym

This summer in Kentucky, Rylan visited his cousin's Little Gym class on "Bring a friend day". Yes, it totally worked, because he had a great time and it got us thinking about signing him up for a class in Colorado. I had also been thinking a lot about preschool for Rylan this fall. I wanted him to learn how to follow another adult's instructions, lengthen his attention span for an activity, and build more confidence with his peers in social situations. I am not in a hurry to push academics, so a gym class seemed a good fit. This was his second week, and my first week to take him. The theme was "Robot Riot", which couldn't have been more perfect for my robot-loving boy. He pretends to me a robot most of the time we are in public. (It works great in the grocery, because my "helper robot" will grab things off the shelves for me.)
I don't think Rylan stopped smiling the entire hour-long class, and I loved seeing his joy in running, climbing, jumping, swinging, and flipping. He got distracted by all the cool equipment and had to be re-directed back to the group several times, but overall seemed to be following directions well. I think this class is going to be a really great thing for him.

Sorry the pictures aren't great, I had to shoot them through the glass.

There are 4 other girls in Rylan's gymnastics class. Maybe we'll have some boys sign up later. There would probably be more boys in the sports class, but unfortunately it is held right in the middle of naptime.

Rylan trying to walk like a robot on the balance beam. He told me his teacher, Miss Evelyn is really nice, which is also encouraging, because he hasn't ever told me he likes his teachers.

When's my turn? Caroline is fascinated with watching the other kids. We have two extra classes that I am planning to use for her and I think she will love it, too.

Somebody wants a big girl bed

Caroline loves Rylan's bed. When he lies down for his afternoon nap, she hurries to crawl in next to him. "I wanna go Bubba's bed," she begged last night while Rylan was still in the bath.
I am busy searching craigslist because as my girl says, "I wanna 'biggurl' bed, Mama."

Mail's here!

Look what I found in our mailbox! Actually, he climbs in there almost every day we go to get our mail, but I finally took my camera with me yesterday. It would be so much fun to surprise our mailman, but I don't know how we could pull off that trick!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Dentist, take 2

Rylan had his appointment to repair his cavities today. He couldn't eat after midnight, so the lack of breakfast was pretty upsetting to him. I purposely scheduled our appointment as early as possible to make that less of an issue, and thankfully Charlton was able to watch Caroline so I could focus just on making things smoother for Rylan. I was nervous about the whole ordeal and guilty that I couldn't have prevented him from getting a cavity in the first place.
The oral sedation made Rylan pretty loopy and I enjoyed being able to cuddle him while we were waiting for it to take full effect. He was giggly and kept saying "hi" and "thank you for working on me" over and over again to the hygienists. They came out to give me an update and said he was so sweet they were going to keep him. The next update was longer in coming and they told me he had gotten mad and was "done" before it was time. Haha! That sounded more like the real Rylan. Evidently kiddos can have pretty wide mood swings on the medication. Overall, he did very well and I was so proud of him. Charlton had surprise toys from Wal-Mart and I fixed his breakfast request, pancakes.
I did well too, and didn't even get teary until we were home and he was down for his nap. I almost lost it when the secretary asked if I was okay while waiting. It was hard to see my little guy have to go through such a procedure, but everyone at the dentist's office was really great with him. Wheww, I am so glad that is over.

Happy news

I can't believe I keep forgetting to post some great news. My sister Bethany is moving to Colorado! She fell in love with our state on her first visit last August, but wasn't able to get a job as a new nurse graduate. After 8 months of experience, the story was totally different. She made an appointment to chat with the ICU nurse manager at my hospital and was immediately offered a position.
I am a bit jealous that she scored a day nurse position, but beyond excited to have my sister and friend so close. We are expecting her to arrive in early October. She will be living with us until she is a able to find a good, dog-friendly place for her and her Great Dane, Gatsby, to live.
See you again soon, Bethany! We can't wait for you to become a Colorado girl.

Fox Run park

I got a few cute pictures of the kids at one of our favorite parks last Friday. We played on the playground, fed cheerios to the goldfish in the ponds, and the kids cooled off splashing in the creek to their heart's content.

Caroline pats Rylan on the head, I think telling him to "hurry up and let me have a turn."

Sliding can be serious sometimes.

Smiling eyes.

Apple pie time!

Our tree exploded with beautiful blossoms in May.

The first of the apples. We had a bumper crop this year, enough for the birds, squirrels, and us! The last two years there weren't any leftovers for us.

It was a lot of work slicing and peeling all those apples. Some still looked a little green. I was worried about how the pie would turn out.

30 minutes later. Mmmm! The pie turned out delicious, if I do say so myself. Not a bit tart.
Charlton loved it so much, he was on a ladder shaking the tree a few days later. There will be a pie #2 for Labor Day.