Sunday, January 31, 2010

Adult Coversation

Tim really doesn't like it when I say things like, "I'm so glad that I got to hang out with people my age and have a real, adult conversation." He takes it as a personal insult, like I'm saying the conversations I have with him aren't "adult" or that he never talks to me. I guess I should be more's really nice to have a conversation that isn't usually focused on bills or what a certain toddler did all day. (Although, to be truthful, we end up talking about Brenden with other people, too. Oops!)

Last night was an "adult conversation" night. My friend Susan invited us to dinner with her husband, Craig. Tim was really happy that I had made plans, although I'm not sure if it's because I actually made the plans or that it proved that I have at least one friend here. :) We ended up meeting at Fox and the Hound and we had a great time.

I think we may have freaked Craig out a little bit. Susan is due with their first baby near the end of May and we somehow started talking about where Brenden slept when he was first born and how it worked out best for us to have him in our room or between us in the bed since he was up so often to eat. Tim was talking about how at first they just poop, eat and sleep, which I'm sure Craig knew, and then how eventually Brenden started getting into a routine, eating more and sleeping for longer stretches of time. Craig was interested in knowing when that happened. "Oh, around 5 weeks it got a little better, and at 8 weeks he started sleeping for 6 or 7 hours at night," Tim said. Craig's face...priceless. "It takes that long?" he asked, with a hint of panic. I hated to say it, but I told him sometimes babies can take a lot longer than that to get into a good sleep routine.

Most of our time was spent chatting about other, non-baby things, and laughing a ton. Brenden behaved even better than I thought possible, although I'm not sure if it was because of all the TVs around the room or the fact that he was sitting next to Susan, who he adores. Seriously, I'm not sure what she did the day that she watched him, but for the longest time he called the baby "Susan" and if I happen to mention her name he gets really excited and talks about her all day. It's hilarious!

He also learned a new phrase, which is my favorite right now. We asked him what he would like to eat off the kid's menu and as soon as pizza was mentioned he got excited. "Pizza! Pizza! MY pizza!" Every time the waitress walked by with a tray of food he would ask if that was "his pizza." So when she brought us our dinner and sat down a cheese burger in front of him we were both surprised. Apparently she heard "cheese burger" when I said "cheese pizza". Uh oh! If he hadn't had his heart set on pizza he may have been alright, but no luck. He wanted his pizza! So he picked up the plate, handed it back to the waitress, and said, "no thank you." He has only said that phrase once before, that I'm aware of, and I was super proud that he used it correctly and didn't throw a fit. I clapped and gave him a high five, which I've found to be the best way to get him to repeat good behavior or a new skill.

We really should go out with them more, especially since the amount of time we'll be able to socialize is going to really decrease soon. Plus, Susan and Craig are lots of fun, and it's kind of funny to watch Craig's face when he learns a new baby fact. It's like playing "Horrify the Twilight Noob" which, if you've never heard of Cleolinda Jones then you'll have no idea what I'm talking about. She makes fun of the Twilight books, and it's HILARIOUS. Plus, there's a baby in those books, too. Better not let Craig read that birth story. He might think that's how ALL babies are born. EEK! :)

Friday, January 29, 2010

Things to Remember

There are several things I'd like to remember about this pregnancy. Some good...some not so great. You would think I'd want to focus only on the positive things, like finding out that I was right and that we were really going to have a little girl. But I have a good reason to remember the bad things, too...I want to be able to remind myself just what I was going through so that if I feel the need to go through this again, maybe I'll be able to talk myself out of it before I start bugging Tim.

So here you go, future me, the good and the bad. (at least what I can remember right now)


- telling everyone that we were going to have a baby, especially when we told Connie during dinner to celebrate her birthday. That was fun!

- the first awesome movements when I actually felt the baby kick my hand. How reassured I felt to know she was really in there and was doing well.

- knowing, just KNOWING, that she was a girl...and then being proved right.

- Brenden being able to say that there was a baby in a belly, and then learning her name. He always told us it was a girl. He was right, too.

- decorating her room. SO much fun.

- I'm sure holding her for the first time and dressing her up will be a "very good thing" once she's here. But remember future self, you can always dress up the dogs. HAHA!


- morning sickness...also known as "oh my gosh I feel like crap ALL DAY LONG" sickness. Couple that with exhaustion so bad that I couldn't lift my head and you have one unhappy pregnant lady.

- corpus luteum cysts...both times. Nerve wracking, painful, scary.

- pulled muscles and a baby that likes to kick in just the right spot. OUCH.

- the anxiety. I never worried this much with Brenden, and it's really messing me up in other areas of my life.

- heartburn so bad that it makes my head hurt and my back cramp.

- feeling stretched to the limit, so much so that it feels like I'm going to burst.

- crying, night after night, because I am SO tired of being pregnant.

- back cramps that keep me up all night.

- having to waddle because she sits so low and it huuuuuurts.

- not being able to sleep on my back or my stomach. Very annoying.

- labor...'nuff said. Yes, I know I haven't been through it with this one yet, but I still remember how awful it was.

There you go, future self. This isn't an all inclusive list; I'm sure there is a lot I forgot, both good and bad. But if you ever feel the "baby fever" try to remember telling everyone that one of each was perfect and OH MY GOSH I'M SO DONE. You only have two hands. :)

Ice, Ice Baby

THE ICE-POCOLYPSE IS COMING!!!! It will be a repeat of the Ice Storm of 2007 where everyone was without power for weeks and Walmart was out of everything, even the stuff you would never buy, but now that it's not on the shelf, it's a huge deal that it's not there. At least that's what they were saying this past Wednesday...

Today is Friday and let me tell you, this ice storm was a big let down. It rained a lot yesterday, and if it had been colder we would have had problems. But since it was 60 degrees on Wednesday and it took until late Thursday night to get below freezing all that rain amounted to a whole lot of nothing. Yes, we got some ice. Yes, there is some snow. But was WAY overhyped.

I know a lot of people were flipping out. I know that the state of Oklahoma made sure they weren't caught with their pants around their ankles when it came to having enough emergency crews to fix the power lines. (They had something like, 200 extra crews from other states come in, just in case.) I did go to Reasors for more milk and bread, but that was something I needed to do anyway. Tim made sure our gas cans were full, the generator was ready (thanks again for that, Mike!) and that we had some wood for the fire place "just in case". I wouldn't call that very well prepared, but we would survive.

So now it's Friday afternoon, Tim made it to work, and it's snowing, but not heavily. Tim worked from home for a few hours this morning so he's planning on coming home early. Me? I'm staying inside. No need to freeze my pregnant booty off.

Thursday afternoon...this was the only ice accumulation at that point.

The tree in our far, still standing.

Monday, January 25, 2010


Our anniversary may have been on the 24th, but we celebrated the 23rd. I still can't believe it's been 5 years! Mike and Connie were nice enough to take Brenden for the night, which I'm sure they really hated. (Sarcasm!) Of course, he was in such a sweet mood when they came to pick him up that it was hard to watch him leave. He even came back and blew me kisses through the glass door. Eventually I tore myself away from waving goodbye and we got ready to leave.

We caught a noon showing of Avatar, which is a really good, so very pretty, but VERY long, movie. It wasn't life changing, like I've heard some people describe it, but I liked it. Tim said he'd see it again, but I think once was enough for me. Somehow I made it through the whole movie without having to get up, but Tim had to leave at least 4 times to visit the bathroom. The infamous Kelly bladder strikes again!

After a stop at New Balance to let Tim spend his gift card, (he got some pretty nice shoes) we headed over to the Melting Pot for dinner. We both love that place and I'm really excited that we get to go back for my birthday in March! The cheese, the salads, the entrée, the CHOCOLATE...all so very good. Just having some time to be together, to be able to relax and enjoy our meal instead of worrying if Brenden is eating, or if he's throwing something, was so nice.


It looked a lot better BEFORE we devoured it.

What was left of the chocolate. We had the s'more...SO YUMMY!

Being 28 weeks pregnant (yay for only 12 weeks to go!) I'm not really one for going out at night so we were home at a very reasonable hour. I will never complain about being able to relax and veg out on the couch and that is exactly what we did. It obviously wasn't what you would call an exciting end to the evening, but it was perfect for us. So much is going to change in the next few months and it was wonderful to have some time to just be with each other.

Next year we'll have TWO pinch me.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

5 years. 5 YEARS!

It has been 5 years since Tim and I signed those papers. Five years since we called our families and freaked them out. Five years filled with a deployment, a real wedding, a first pregnancy, new jobs, a car that has more problems then it's worth, a 2 year old, the pain of renting/selling a house, a second pregnancy, and so much more.

Engaged! Jan. 7th, 2005

Life is never perfect, but we are darn lucky that we have had many more ups than downs. I know how lucky I am that I have Tim in my life, that he understands me (most of the time), that he compliments me better than I ever thought was possible. So in honor of my husband of 5 years (5 years!?!), here is a list of 5 things that make him so wonderful. Obviously there are way more than 5, but I don't think you want me to list them ALL. :)

Back from Iraq...March 5th, 2006

1. He's the best daddy...EVER. Seriously, this guy deserves an award. He can play with Brenden for hours and if he gets tired of it, I never notice. He's the official "bather of the child" and makes every bathtime fun. Whatever Brenden needs, he makes sure he has. He's always willing to get up with Brenden in the middle of the night, no matter what time he has to get up or how little sleep he'll end up getting. The two times I've ever seen him almost cry, in the 6 years I've known him, were for his little boy. No wonder Brenden loves his daddy so much.

2. He found Dave Ramsey, figured out how to make it work for our family, and drug me, kicking and screaming, into a better financial situation than I could have ever dreamed was possible. Our lives aren't ruled by credit cards and car payments, and that is totally his hard work. Less stress for the pregnant lady? Yes, please!

First Christmas together.

All smiles!

3. He spoils me in many ways that I don't even realize and totally take for granted. Every morning I wake up to coffee in the coffee pot, and my mug in the fridge, already filled with creamer. He does the budget every 2 weeks and very rarely asks for my help because he knows how much I truly hate doing the budget. I also hate hanging up clothes, which he does without complaining. The list goes on and on.

Our first, and only (so far), dining out. Dec. 2nd, 2004

BEER! April 28th, 2006

4. He makes me laugh and actually finds me funny. Why is finding me funny such a big deal? When I was little I was awkward, shy and loud...a strange combination. I had a friend explain to me that the things that I thought were so hilarious were SO not funny to anyone else and I have been self conscious about it ever since. I told myself that the guy I married would HAVE to think I was funny, at least some of the time. And somehow...I found him.

Halloween 2006

Showing off our sexy kevlars. June 3rd, 2004

5. He understands me, listens to me, consoles me, and supports matter what. And that means more to me than he could ever know.

Go Pokes! May 1st, 2004

Tim, thank you for 5 wonderful years. I love you more than you'll ever know and more than words could ever express.

I love you!!!!

Friday, January 22, 2010

A Nice Friday Surprise

And I don't mean that with any kind of sarcasm. It really was a VERY nice surprise.

Our car stinks. It's had all sorts of problems. (and that's 3 separate links) The latest was over Christmas when the "check engine" light came on right before our long trip to Colorado. Perfect timing there, car! A recap: Turns out a catalytic converter was bad, which we learned after almost $100 to Ford for a complete check. They wanted over $2000 to fix it, but the guy was nice and told us to check out a muffler shop. Then, while in Colorado, we had to have it checked again because it was making some awful clunking noise. Midas told us a piece of the catalytic converter was rattling around in our muffler, now. Their estimate, over $1700. Sigh...this was not looking good.

We came home and Tim took the car to some other shop, who said the part alone would be at least $1400 and that all 3 of the catalytic converters were bad. We felt a bit lied to there and if I've learned anything at all it's to listen to our guts. So we waited another week and Tim called around to different shops until he found someone who sounded reasonable, which means that he didn't tell us over the phone that it would cost an arm and a leg. This is the guy that made our Friday.

Tim, after waking up late (sorry about your alarm, honey!), made it to the muffler shop around 8 am. He called me at 8:45 am to let me know the guy would be done at 9:15 am. Not done looking at the car...done FIXING it. I thought I had heard him wrong since I was half asleep. (Brenden has been sleeping until 8:45-9 am...Thank You, Brenden!) Nope, he assured me I had heard him correctly. Then the best news - it was going to be WAY less than half of what everyone else had quoted us. Only one converter was bad so he cut out the bad part, put in a new one, took the clunky piece out of the muffler (which was fine) and turned off the "check engine" light. For under $500. I'm still amazed.

So if you ever need someone to fix your muffler or brakes or need an alignment please check these people out:

Ralston's Muffler Shop
708 S. 9th St.
Broken Arrow, OK 74012

And thank you Tim for researching so well and being willing to take our car to several different places. Our car and our checking account thank you as well!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

That Only Took 3 Hours

This past weekend Tim had a list...a list of things that needed to get done. Some were more important than others. "Take down Christmas lights." "Wash car." "Get Lauren's furniture." The most important was definitely "fixing the kitchen sink faucet."

Before Christmas we noticed there was a little leak on the underside of the faucet. It wasn't a big deal, it only leaked when we had the faucet turned on, so it was just something we needed to deal with sometime soon. After Christmas the little leak was not so little. Every time we turned on the faucet it just got worse. The tiny trickle of water turned into 4 separate sprays that would flood our counter with water. Tim tried using a tupperware dish to stop the spray, which I then replaced with a plastic cup, but neither really helped stop the flow.

It should have been easy to take the faucet out, reattach the hoses, and move on with our day. Not so much! Before we left to buy a new one, Tim spent at least 15 minutes trying to figure out how to get the old one out. He eventually gave up and planned on asking someone at the hardware store for some help. I have no idea what they told him but it obviously helped because he figured it out pretty quickly once we got back.

Helping dad with the hoses.

Again, we thought the worst part was behind us. Again, we were wrong. Most wives would hang out with their husband, talk to them, give them support. Yeah...I learned a long time ago to just leave Tim alone. When we first moved in together he almost threw a hammer through a wall because he was so frustrated with a curtain rod. So when I figured out that the sink was not going back together the way it should I parked myself on the couch and stayed out of his way.

I lost track of how many times he had to revisit the hardware store. I know one time he went for new couplings. And I know another time he went for new hoses. I think he left the house for something else but there was no way I was going to ask him to explain. I do know that he took the sink apart at least 6 times and started over because I heard him yelling from the garage that he was tired of repeating the steps. I also deduced that things were not fitting together well because I heard the words "can't get this on tight enough!" and "it's still leaking!" (I think this was before he got new hoses.)

Need this screwdriver?

How long did he spend on the silly sink faucet? Well...Brenden took a nap, got up, ate lunch, and watched a movie with me while Tim labored away in the kitchen. Eventually he wandered in to where we were and announced that he was done. Three hours, at least 4 trips to the hardware store, several angry words and a lot of caulk later and we have a functioning faucet again.

IT'S DONE!!! (and the kitchen was immediately cleaned)

And if the sink ever leaks again we're calling a professional.

Way Back Wednesday

Not the normal Wordless Wednesday...but this one is fun, too. :) Last year at this time we were...

...figuring out the fork.

And darn proud of his mess!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Hey Jealousy

The garage door opens and we can hear it from the couch. No matter what we're doing, a little expectant face looks up at me and says, "Daddy?" All other thoughts are lost after that. He wiggle-runs to the kitchen, screaming "Daddy! DADDY!!" as Tim walks in the door. He clings to Tim's legs and then jabbers at him about his day. And me? I'm forgotten.

For a long time this bothered me...a LOT. It still bothers me on certain days, especially if it's been a long day full of arguments about what a 2 year old will or won't eat, or a nap time that didn't go especially well. I'm here, everyday, making sure that Brenden makes it from point A to point B, happy and healthy. Yet, I don't get that amazing welcome...ever. I think the only time I did get that was when we were gone for 4 days on our trip to Chicago and believe me, I appreciated that one time!

Tim is so much better at playing with Brenden at night than I am playing with him during the day. Of course, I have to remind myself that he gets home at roughly 5:30 pm and Brenden's bedtime routine starts at 7:30 pm, so that's only 2 hours of playing compared to the 9 hours I get to fill during the day. I need a break sometimes and I don't think Brenden learning to play on his own is a bad thing.

The sheer joy on Brenden's face when he sees his daddy and the way that they play together has caused me many moments of jealousy, especially on those days where I just want to cry into a pillow out of sheer frustration. But I've come to a realization lately...Tim has things to be jealous of, too, although I hope he doesn't feel it like I have.

I'm the one that got to know Brenden the best, before everyone else. I knew what would help him asleep, what it meant when he would rub his head against the back of the carseat. (he was tired) I was the Brenden "expert" when I know that Tim would have loved to know exactly what was going on. I was there when he rolled over for the first time, when he said his first word, when he did so many cute and funny things. I'm the one that gets the first hug in the morning, the first giggle, and toddler kisses whenever I want. I get to snuggle with him on the couch when he feels like snuggling. I'm the interpreter, the one everyone looks to when Brenden rambles on.

How could I possibly be mad at him for getting that wonderful welcome home when I know he misses out on so much? How could I fault my son for being so happy to see his daddy when I'm just as happy to see Tim as he is? That doesn't mean I won't have the occasional twinge of jealousy as he gets those big old hugs and kisses, but having some perspective has helped. I know exactly how I'll handle it giving my amazing husband and wonderful little boy some big old hugs and kisses of my own, once they settle down of course.

Daddy Love

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Overheard...just now

(I walk in from getting the diaper bag out of the car, which has my camera in it.)

Brenden: "Daddy's tooting!"

Me: "Cooking? Tooting?"

Brenden: "Tooting."

I look to Tim for clarification.

Tim: "Tooting."

Me: "Nice. Did daddy say excuse me?"

Brenden: "Yes. Excuse me."

Me: "Well, good."

Tim: "Daddy's going to go potty."

Brenden: "Okay! Bye! See you tomorrow!"

I was unaware that the simple matter of going potty was going to take all night. Thanks for informing me, Brenden. :)

Soccer and a Moment of Kindness

Last summer we had Brenden in both soccer and swimming. Fall was dedicated to swimming because I was back and forth to Bartlesville so much at the dance studio and soccer didn't really fit into that schedule. In December I decided that Brenden was just getting too heavy for me to be able to carry him around in the pool. Even though he may be lighter in water, all the kicks to my belly were hurting and I think I'm getting enough of those from the inside thankyouverymuch. So now we're back in soccer and I'm really happy Brenden has good way to burn off some energy.

I tried to hype up soccer all day and I guess I did an okay job because as we pulled into the parking lot Brenden went nuts. "Soccer! SOCCER!!! I'M READY!!! Get out of the car!" He bounced all the way into the building and happily ran right over to where the balls were and went crazy with his soccer ball kicking self. I waddled just a bit slower and made poor Tim chase after him the whole time. I have a feeling that Tim will have to go solo at some point since the last class is only a month before Lauren is due. I can't see myself, 8 months pregnant, running around like that.

There is actually a little boy in the class that was in our class last summer so that made it a more comfortable for us. His mom explained that the first few classes would be exactly like what we did last summer and then they would change up. I think that's smart since it's been a while and Brenden really needs to remember how to listen before we get to anything else more complicated. He understands Red Light/Green Light, but he just wants to GO! Of course there are the kids that really don't want to be there and scream the whole time, which reminds me to be grateful that Brenden is so happy to participate, even if he's not following all the directions exactly.

Funniest moment: the coach rolling Brenden the ball, asking him his name, which he told him, and then his favorite cartoon character. I wish I could type what Brenden said but it was almost 15 seconds of blabbering that no one understood. I just sat there for a moment and eventually said, "Let's just go with Mickey Mouse." It was funny.

No pictures this time. I was trying to keep up with him, plus it would just be pictures of the same stuff. I may even take a video or two of him running like a crazy man after his dad trying to steal the ball away. Seriously, the kid LOVES to run and I guess running is more fun if you're screaming your head off.

So the moment of kindness: Last night Tim and I were watching one of the worst basketball games ever (seriously Oklahoma State...pathetic) when he turned to me and said, "Oh yeah. I forgot to tell you someone bought my lunch." Of course I had no idea what he was talking about so I made him explain. On Sunday, while he was doing his one weekend a month Reserve duty, he went to lunch with the enlisted guys. The Army pays for lunch for the enlisted soldiers at a certain place, the name of which I can't remember, so Tim was standing in line by himself to pay. As he got to the register the man in front of him grabbed his ticket and paid for his lunch. I've heard of this happening to people, and I know it was more common in Colorado Springs where there are at least 5 separate military bases, but it's not something you hear of often in Oklahoma. It made me smile and I know Tim appreciated it.

It makes me proud to be an Oklahoman. Kind of like this. :) It may be tongue in cheek but it made me happy.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Osaka's (A Sort of Dining Review)

There is a brand new hibachi place that just opened near our house named Osaka's. Tim's dad has been watching it for weeks, waiting for it to open so we could make a reservation. As soon as we saw cars in the parking lot we called him and we finally found a Saturday when we were able to meet up and try it out.

If you ever decide to eat there I recommend making your reservation for about 30 minutes before you really plan on sitting down. It's not like a normal restaurant where you walk in at 6:30 and have a're just on the top of the list. It wasn't an awful wait and I'm sure they are crazy because they are new, but Brenden got a little anxious in the tiny area in front of the door. Thank goodness for emergency crackers in the diaper bag!

Eventually we sat down and it was apparent that our waiter was either pressed for time because they were short staffed or he was just overwhelmed by what was expected of him. You know those nice, hot towels you usually get at these places? Yeah...we watched the other tables get them. I'm not sure if anyone in the place got the tea that the menu said was included with our meal but I missed it. I love that tea. And after sitting at the table for 30 minutes waiting to either see a chef or our drinks I could tell Tim's dad was getting annoyed. Brenden was, too! He wanted his rice and he wanted it soon!

Finally we were served our salad and miso soup. Much to my surprise, Brenden LOVED the soup. I thought for sure he would take one sip and spit it out, but he begged for his own bowl. I don't think it's Connie's favorite part of the meal so she shared most of her's with him. After every sip he would say "Mmmm!" or "So good!" We may have to incorporate miso soup into his diet!

When our chef did show up he was worth the wait. We got Brenden a bowl of the steamed rice (they were out of it so they actually just gave him plain rice with pepper or something, not sure how that is different...he didn't care) but the chef kept slipping Brenden little pieces of veggies, which he loved. The chef even tried to give him shrimp but we had to say no thank you. I have no idea if Brenden is allergic to seafood, like Tim is to cod, but I didn't think a busy restaurant was the place to try it.

Brenden's absolute favorite thing was the FIRE. We had seen a ton of the tables enjoying the pyrotechnic displays so he was ready when the guy brought out the matches. He was so excited that he was shaking, which is usually reserved for things like ice cream or playing a new game on the Wii. He also really enjoyed the onion volcano, which we had hyped up for awhile. "Fire! Fire!" he kept squealing. It cracked us up! Although I may need to worry about a small fascination with fire later on.

We all enjoyed a great dinner. Tim, Mike and I all had steak and shrimp and Connie had steak and chicken, with Brenden sharing steak and chicken from our plates. I'm not sure if he would have eaten the meat if the chef hadn't slipped him a few pieces first,but after that he couldn't get enough. I told that guy we were dragging him to our house to serve our son every meal since it seems like he'd eat anything that the chef put on his plate. He even dipped his steak and chicken in the soy sauce because the chef gave him some.

One of the best moments was right before we were about to leave. The other side of the table was filled with a group of young adults who, thankfully, thought Brenden was a pretty cool kid. (We're convinced he's a cool kid...but that's not always how other people see him, especially since they were all unmarried and didn't have kiddos of their own.) Like any other hibachi restaurant, the chefs are usually talented and have a few jokes up their sleeves. (butter fly = throwing butter in the air onto a dish...stuff like that) One of the things they do at this place is fling a shrimp tail at the table behind them. Tim had warned everyone at our table that we should all watch out for flying shrimp since the guy across from us was cutting them up. Not 30 seconds later a shrimp tail went flying through the air...right into the beer of the guy next to Tim. Obviously this was an excellent shot and we all cheered, and then we realized that the owner of the beer was in the bathroom at the time so he had no idea it was now shrimp flavored. When he returned his friends made a couple of snide remarks to get him to drink up and when he finally realized what was going on he thought it was hilarious. The poor chef looked nervous! Not sure how much they are paid but I'm sure having to pay for a customer's beer just looks bad.

Most of us finished off the night with chocolate ice cream, Tim opted for mango, which just made Brenden's entire day. He really did super duper well at the table. He was well behaved, had a great time watching the chef work, and flirted like crazy with the 2 girls across the table from him. We all left stuffed and happy, even with the things we had to do without.

My rating...3.5 stars out of 5. We'll definitely be back, but we'll definitely be making our reservation a little differently.

Colorado Christmas and New Years 2009

After a very interesting Christmas Eve Eve and a very snowy Christmas we were ready for our vacation to Colorado. I was right, 5 a.m. showed up way too early for me, but we got up and packed the car with everything we needed, including Brenden, and headed out around 6 a.m. I'm really good at sleeping in the car so I only saw the snowy roads in Tulsa. I think the fastest Tim was able to go for about an hour and a half was 30 m.p.h. When I finally woke up we were already to Wichita, KS. The snowy roads were so much better and we were actually doing the speed limit. From there on it was smooth sailing.

Brenden was a shocker. Not only did he amuse himself very well in the back of the car, but he only had one major meltdown and that was when we were roughly 30 minutes from Karen and Rick's house. Not only were we relieved to be out of the car, but we were all super excited to see grandma Karen, grandpa Rick, and great grandpa Ralph, who we hadn't seen since Brenden was 6 weeks old.

The first order of business was food, which is when we realized what a big difference sitting at the table makes. Ham, potatoes, rolls, veggies, sweet potato casserole...we had the works. Then it was present time! Brenden was spoiled silly, of course. A tent, an electric race car track, clothes, a matchbox car garage, Mickey Mouse bowling pins...he was set for the week. Lauren was spoiled, too and got a ton of adorable clothes, including these super cute ballet socks. Tim and I weren't left out. I can't remember everything we got but I do remember Tim laughing because he received even more underwear. He's set for at least a year. HA!

He was VERY excited to see his Lightning McQueen plate and cup again.

Opening his tent!

Gonna get you!

We thought sleep would be a problem for Brenden. Being in a new place, in a different bed with different temperatures throws me off so I thought for sure he'd be a mess. I was only half right. Every night he went down easier than he does at home. No crying, no getting out of bed to bang on the door, no whining. I think he was probably only awake for 5 minutes before passing out exactly how we laid him down. Nap time...that was a different story. We didn't have one easy nap time the entire time we were there. He screamed, he cried, he opened the door and snuck into grandpa Ralph's bedroom. It always took him at least an hour and a half to fall asleep, which is ridiculous. It really threw our schedules off.

Our first outing was supposed to be to a big indoor fun place, much like where we had Tim's holiday party. It wasn't our first choice, we had actually wanted to go to the Denver Children's Museum or the Wildlife Experience, but both of those were closed on Mondays. We drove all the way over to check it out only to find that it was ALSO closed on Mondays during the winter. Frustrating! Luckily someone suggested Chuck E Cheese and, after calling to check that they were open, we headed that way. We had a great time playing all the games. Brenden especially liked air hockey, which he played with everyone, including a little girl that looked very lost. There were a few of those kids wandering around, many of whom looked to be under the age of 3. SCARY.

I think grandpa let him win.

After Chuck E Cheese we headed to Magianno's, which I loooove. Brenden was ready to eat, in the "I'm going to scream at you until you feed me" way, so when we found out there was almost an hour wait we decided to head elsewhere. Somehow I found some crackers in my purse to make Brenden happy while we drove to Carinos. After a big family style dinner we were ready to go home. It was a long and slightly frustrating night at times but we had a great time.

Most of our excursions for the rest of the week ended up not happening. Brenden's random napping habits kept us at home more than once. We did spend a day in Colorado Springs visiting with my friends. We had lunch with Anne-Marie, visited with Leigh and Rachel (due with Luke in March...congrats Rachel!), and had dinner with Michelle at my favorite place, Jason's Deli. We also drove by our old house and wow...they did a ton of work in the yard! It looks great and I hope they are enjoying it as much as we did. Much of the rest of the time was spent playing with Brenden's new toys or teaching Karen and Rick how to play the Wii, which was a GREAT time. We spent one night playing our new Raving Rabbits game, which was hilarious.

His other favorite thing...the slot machine! "Look! I got 4 blue ones!" (and a sweet shirt!)

We had a few bumps in the road that had nothing to do with Brenden's sleeping habits. On our way back from Colorado Springs we noticed a rattling noise that made us nervous. The next morning Tim woke up early to take the car to Midas only to find that someone took advantage of our unlocked doors (bad habit, Tim!) and had gone through all of our stuff. The only thing we could see that was missing was the converter we used to charge our phone in the car. I'm glad the computer was inside! We also found out that the car was ok, that a piece of the catalytic converter that we already knew was broken had made it's way into the muffler and was banging around.

Sometime during the week Brenden came down with an awful case of diaper rash. We did our best to get rid of it before our long trip back to Oklahoma but we weren't successful. I think it was the insane amounts of oatmeal that he kept demanding in combination with his allergies to dogs, which is just something that we deal with every day. The lack of humidity didn't help his skin, or mine for that matter.

We loaded up the car and left by 5 a.m. and both Brenden and I slept for awhile. Somehow we made it all the way to Hays, KS, our halfway point, in 4 1/2 hours with no stops. That is unheard of. We thought Brenden would enjoy the McDonald's play area so we headed in and poor Tim found the worst diaper combined with diaper rash that you could imagine. It was in his shoes! Not only did he have to change all his clothes but he had to listen to him scream for 15 minutes. I'm sure everyone thought he was being beaten. It was awful for me to listen to so I can't imagine what Tim felt like. A stop at Walgreen's for some Desitin made life easier for all of us and the rest of the trip was uneventful. Brenden actually fell asleep while we were still in Kansas and didn't wake up until we were about 5 minutes from the house. Seriously...he's the best travelling toddler EVER.

We sure do miss everyone out there already, but I know we'll see most of them soon when Lauren arrives. Karen is planning a nice long visit and I hope she knows I'm going to take full advantage of her help! Lots of meatloaf, Karen!

Monday, January 4, 2010

One Small Change

It's amazing to me that one small change can make such a huge difference. Just like putting up a thick sheet in Brenden's window made it dark enough for him to sleep soundly both at night and at nap time, eating at the dinner table has changed our dinner time from something full of frustration to something I actually enjoy.

We first noticed it when we went to grandma and grandpa Smith's out in Colorado for Christmas. After sitting in the car for over 12 hours we thought for sure Brenden would be a complete mess and not eat a thing. To our HUGE surprise he not only ate broccoli and potatoes but devoured all the ham that grandma put in front of him. Meat has been a big sore spot for us. I even took to calling Brenden our "vegetarian" for awhile, he was that against eating meat. For a long time he was against eating anything at all, which is when we started buying Pediasure to make sure that he was getting some kind of nutrients.

He ate at the table the entire time we were there. We may have had a few disagreements about what he should be eating, he wanted to eat oatmeal all the time but we thought his diet should be more diverse, but he definitely ate a lot better.

I wasn't crazy enough to think that this good luck could last. He's been through phases before when he ate and didn't eat, slept and didn't sleep. So imagine my surprise when we got home from the long road trip back and he asked to eat at the table. He actually pointed to the table and said he was ready to eat. So sit down we did and he ate his pizza with no complaints.

Again, I was skeptical. This couldn't possibly last more than once. But why not try it again, right? So for dinner last night we sat down at the table. We even pulled out his highchair, which we haven't used in over a year because he flat out refused to sit in it to eat, but we don't have a booster so we thought it would work. Tim made an awesome dinner of ham, stuffing and veggies and before Tim and I had a chance to sit down Brenden was already digging into his stuffing. He ate bites of everything, even asked for seconds and thirds of the stuffing. I almost cried I was so happy.

I know a week of eating decently and then actually eating really well twice at home isn't much of a stretch of time. But to see a light at the end of this "picky toddler" stage of eating is encouraging. For the past few months it's been more than a struggle, it's been a battle of the wills. Brenden usually lost, but not without several timeouts and lots of screaming. (I was screaming in my head, at least.)

Fingers crossed that I didn't just jinx us. Usually when Brenden does something that makes us happy, like sleeping late or not throwing as many tantrums, and then I blog about it he will immediately change that habit. Please universe, don't curse me!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day

After an eventful Christmas Eve Eve we were ready to enjoy some good old family time with the Kellys. Somehow Tim and I were able to roll out of bed at a decent time, although I'm sure he felt like I did, which was like a truck had run me over.

We finally had a chance to sit down with Mike and Connie to open presents. Brenden definitely got the concept of presents this year, which we were made aware of during our own family Christmas the previous weekend, but we were happy to notice he also likes handing out gifts. Of course we were all spoiled rotten, Brenden was especially happy about his new train, and we were ready to see the rest of the family. Dan and Ginny made it right before the sleet started and Grace and Jim were close behind them. Gail, Jennifer, Jaime and Cassie were a little later so they had to drive through some of the blowing snow.


Brenden and I took a very nice nap before the gift giving began again. The funniest moment was when Brenden tore into a box of clothes, which Tim and I were super happy about, but Brenden was not. He flung the shirts and pants up into the air and then overturned the box while looking at us all, as if to say, "Where are the toys?!" So very, very funny.

Lightning McQueen slippers!

We had planned to spend that night with Mike and Connie and then leave the next morning to meet with my family for Christmas lunch at our house. Unfortunately the snow on top of ice, along with the fact that Tulsa only employs 20 trucks to clear the roads, meant that we were unable to go anywhere. It was a very low key Christmas Day filled with lots of television watching, naps, and reading for me. I actually finished one of my new Jodi Picoult books, Change of Heart, which was a great read.

The wall of snow outside Mike and Connie's front door. BRRR!

The next day we decided to brave the snow and ice to get home and possibly leave for Colorado, which was the original plan. Not only were the roads terrible, but the "check engine" light came on after only a few miles of driving. I thought for sure every Ford dealership would be closed but we found one right near our house that got us in rather quickly. They ran a diagnostic on our car and informed us that the catalytic converter was the problem and that it would cost almost $2000 to fix it. AHHH! Thankfully it wasn't something that needed fixing right away and the guy even told us that we would be fine to drive it to Colorado and then check into cheaper options. Thank goodness for honest mechanics!

"I am not impressed with the reading material."

Driving would have to wait until the next day so my mom and brother made the trip down to see us and open gifts with us. It wasn't the Christmas we were planning but it was great to see them. Brenden was done opening gifts after the 2nd present because that box contained a hand held game. We tried to get him to open a few other things but we could only hold his attention for a few seconds. We did eventually distract him with a play guitar, which happens to be the loudest toy EVER.

Showing grandma where the puzzle pieces go.

Helping Uncle Justin open his gift.

Tim's favorite picture...ever.

After pulling a tiny prank on my brother involving a dvd that he really wanted, and pouted about when he thought he didn't get, my mom and brother headed home. It wasn't 15 minutes later when my brother called to inform us that he was stuck against a snowbank on a bridge and really needed some help. Tim and my mom headed his way and, with the help of another gentleman that was nice enough to brave the cold, they dislodged his car. (By the way, Justin, you still owe us a snow shovel.) :)

Brenden and I did get a chance to enjoy the snow while Tim was gone, although we didn't stay out long. It was COLD. Plus he wasn't a fan of falling down, which he did a lot since the snow was so deep. I think he still had a good time.

After repacking the suitcases and the car we were ready to test the roads to Colorado the next morning. 5 a.m. was going to come very early but we had high hopes and our fingers crossed that the car wouldn't break down and Brenden would travel well. Did we have more car troubles? Did Brenden travel well? You'll just have to wait and see. :)

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