Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

This is one of the best Halloween weekends I can remember, ever.

Everything finally aligned correctly and we were able to make it to Neewollah, the celebration that Independence, KS, holds every year. We invaded Dan and Ginny's house (thank you again!) and set off for the Kiddie Parade. Brenden wanted to dress up as Luigi and Tim agreed to be Mario to match him. Karen bought Lauren her costume this year and I decided to match her for the parade, too. I had no idea what to expect when we arrived and I was amazed to see so many kids! We made it most of the way without any mishaps and then...clunk! Our wagon broke! Luckily we were able to salvage all the parts and Lauren barely budged. We don't have very good luck with wheels on our vehicles!

Mamma cat and her kitten, with Mario and Luigi.

That night we celebrated Dan's 80th birthday. It was such a nice dinner! Somehow I completely forgot to grab my camera during dinner so I don't have any pictures of the birthday boy. I think he enjoyed himself, and the all you can eat fried chicken. We had a great time toasting him with some funny Irish toasts and Brenden and Lauren both behaved beautifully on their very limited naps. We hope you had a very Happy Birthday, Dan!

The next morning was the grand parade and the weather could not have been more perfect. We saw several bands, lots of great floats, and Brenden had a blast grabbing as much candy as possible. Lauren was even able to get some candy, although we didn't let her eat it. Such mean parents, taking a sucker away from a 6 month old.

The police sirens were LOUD.

That night we made our way to the carnival. Brenden was ready to ride some rides! He surprised me by choosing the ferris wheel to ride first. The biggest must equal the best in his mind. Tim and I decided to ride along with him and we had a great time with a pretty view of Independence. Somehow I made it through without crying at all. (I'm insanely scared of heights, especially when they include seats that wobble. No...I don't fly well. Why do you ask?)

We did it!

After that Brenden rode all the rides he was able to over and over. We bought him an "all you can ride" wrist band and we definitely got our money's worth. When we asked him what his favorite ride of the night was he very enthusiastically said, "The motorcycles!" I think he rode it at least 10 times. When Tim laid him down to sleep that night he gave him a big hug and said, "I had fun!" You can't ask for more than that.


Lovin' it!

After a yummy breakfast on Sunday we headed back home for our neighborhood festivities. Anna and Chuck, our neighbors, make a big dinner every year and invite everyone they know, so we were able to enjoy some really yummy enchiladas and tostadas while the kids ran around having a great time.

At 6:30 pm it was time for the "parade", which is really more of a moseying down the block kind of thing. Afterwards, my mom and dad sat at our house and handed out candy with Lauren while Tim and I took Brenden trick or treating for real for the first time. He did great saying "trick or treat" and "thank you" at every house.

It's a-Mario! And a-Luigi!


The weekend was filled with lots of family, fun and, of course, candy. I would say it was as perfect as it could get.

To see more pictures from October, please click here.

6 Month Well Baby Check Up

I completely forgot to post Lauren's stats from her latest check up. I didn't expect to be surprised by anything, but I was!

Stats as of October 25th, 2010:

Length: 27 inches (90th percentile)

Weight: 17 lbs 6.5 oz (80th percentile)

Head Circumference: 18 inches (105th percentile!!!!)

Yes, her head size was so large that it went off the top of the chart and the nurse had to guess. Crazy! I swear, at least half an inch of it is hair. I'm not sure what to do with it now! She's a big girl, with lots of brains, but she's right on track.

That day she also said her first word..."dada". Since then she's been chatting up a storm. We love it!

She's growing up so fast!

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Big Brother Gene

I know I've written several times about how Brenden relates to Lauren. I crossed my fingers, knocked on wood, wished on stars, hoping that his newfound acceptance of his sister would stick. Either all of those things worked, or, more likely, he's a wonderful big brother who was just settling into his role. I had to get to know her, and he did, too.

It's becoming more and more obvious that he's going to be fabulous as a big brother. The other day I was rushing to get her a bottle while she cried in her carseat. We had just gotten home from grocery shopping and Brenden was running around, stretching his legs after having to sit for so long. While measuring the formula, she suddenly stopped crying, which every parent knows usually means something is wrong. I turned around to find Brenden poised to blow one of his noise makers for her. He stood there and honked at her for at least 5 minutes, both of them laughing their heads off.

From that day, he realized that he had a captive audience when it came to his sister. Not only can she not move very quickly (she can roll, but not crawl) but she is enamored with her brother. I'm pretty sure she thinks he's the coolest thing since sliced bread, or "cool beans" as their grandma Karen would say. :) Any funny face, or goofy noise, gets a huge smile or one of her cough/laughs. If she's fussy he will do his best to make her happy again, which isn't difficult. "Look mommy! She's happy now!" Yes, Brenden, she loves you so much!

Just the other day she started getting upset and when I went to look for her pacifier
I realized that it was still in her crib. "Uh oh. Your pacifier never made it out of your crib. We'll need to get it." Suddenly, Brenden came streaking out of his playroom where I was sure he was oblivous to us. "I'll get it!" And he did!

He surprises me with things like that all the time. My favorite time was when Lauren was inconsolable because it was past her naptime and she decided she needed a bottle. I strapped her down to her changing table and begged Brenden to keep her entertained while I got her something to eat. By the time I got back she was quiet. Again, this is usually a really bad thing! I hurried in to find her staring at her brother, completely fine and totally content. "Brenden, what did you do to calm her down??" I asked. He looked at me like I was crazy. "Mommy, I'm rocking her." And he was! He was barely moving the changing table. Smarty pants!

These moments confirm to me that having a second child was absolutely one of the best things we could have done for him. I know that Tim turned out great as an only child, but I'm glad that my kids will have each other to lean on, at least once they grow up and get past the "I hate my sibling" stage. I'm happy that they will have someone to be there to remember the fun times. It's only been 6 months and I already have so many great memories of the two of them together. I can't wait to see what's in store for the future.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Getting To Know You

The list of things that I didn't know, and still don't know, about parenting is ridiculously long. At least once a day, if not more often, I'll think, "Wow. I had no idea that would happen." One of the craziest things, at least to me, came along with naming our kids. Both of them were named before they were born, although we picked out Lauren's a lot earlier. Both of them were called by their name before we had even seen them, which I believed would make their name "stick" more easily. I was wrong.

I'm not sure if this is something that every parent feels, but when my kids were born it was hard for me to call them by their names. It just felt wrong! Like I was calling a stranger the wrong name. Most people would probably say "You obviously gave them the wrong name, then!" I don't think that's it at all. To me, this is a new person who I've never met before. When I meet new people I often find myself second guessing how I'm saying their name, or if I'm even calling them the right name. That feeling extended to my children, which surprised me.

I thought that when my children were born I would know them. I would look at them and automatically feel a connection like I've known them all my life. For me, it wasn't like that at all. I loved them both completely, with all of my heart, but they were still a completely new person in my life, just like Tim was at one time. I didn't know what would make them happy, what would make them laugh. I didn't know if they liked being held when they ate (Brenden) or laying flat on their back while they had their bottle (Lauren). I had to get to know them, just like I have had to get to know everyone in my life.

I just realized the other day that Lauren knows her name. She's probably known it for a long time but I wasn't noticing how she responded. At the same time, I realized that it no longer felt strange to call her Lauren. It felt like she had finally grown into her name, but that's not really true. She was always meant to be Lauren, just like Brenden was always meant to be Brenden. I just know them now.

I know that Brenden likes to play peek-a-boo before he falls asleep. That when he says "Harry Potter's at Walmart" I'm supposed to say "Nooooo" and then we'll both giggle our heads off. (Don't ask. I don't know how it started.) I know that Lauren wakes up happy. If she starts fussing and she's been awake for about an hour, she's tired. If she starts fussing and it's been less than an hour than she probably just wants to stand up in her exersaucer. (Miss Independent!) I know what makes her giggle. I know her.

It's amazing to feel this way. It made me feel like I'm a good mom when I realized that she hadn't cried in a few days. Of course, part of that is the fact that she's a great little kiddo, but part of it is the fact that I know what she needs long before she gets to screaming.

Getting to know my kids has been one of the most difficult and most rewarding things I've ever done. And now that I know them, I wouldn't change a thing about either of them.

He was always meant to be our Brenden...

...and she was always meant to be our Lauren.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Congratulations Justin and Meredith!

My little brother is married!!! I still cannot type that without thinking, "What!? He's just a little kid!" He's also 2 years older than I was when I got married, so I guess I need to adjust my brain.

The cutest ring bearers ever!

The wedding was held at the Tulsa Zoo and the weather could not have been more perfect. The sky even turned purple, one of the wedding colors, during their vows. It was a beautiful day.

Thank you, Karen, for the new family picture!

Karen and Rick were able to make the long trip from Colorado and we are so happy they were here! I'm not sure what Tim and I would have done without them. Brenden and Lauren had a blast with them!

Congratulations Justin and Meredith!

Friday, October 15, 2010

6 Months - In Pictures

One Week

Two Weeks

One Month

Two Months

Three Months

Four Months

Five Months

Six Months

6 months old!

I remember thinking "Lauren will be 6 months old at my brother's wedding" when they first set the date, which is tomorrow. It felt like it was so far away! And now, we're here. I cannot believe we've made it half a year. EEK!

This past month has brought her first double ear infection, her first round of antibiotics, and the end of her Zantac for her reflux. She's eating cereal, fruits and vegetables like a pro and can hold her bottle...when she feels like it. She's finally able to eat whole puffs, which she loves, as well as drink juice. (Which is mostly water with a few drops of juice to make it sweeter.) She's even fed herself a puff on her own! Yay for pinching skills! (Watch out Brenden!)


This past month she's sat in a highchair at a restaurant twice and gnawed on tiny pieces of bread from my plate. She's started rolling from her belly to her back, and combined that to roll herself under our coffee table. And forget sleeping on her side; she's a full time tummy sleeper now. We were nervous about it at first, but we got over it.

She can sit on her own and crawling seems to be coming soon, if only she could pull her feet up under her. I'm not in any hurry for this to happen! I thought she would take off crawling after Brenden the first time, but now I'm not so sure. She's become obsessed with our cats and has fallen over from the sitting position several times trying to reach for them.


We've caught a few consonant sounds, like "ma", "ba", and "da" but nothing definite. She still enjoys squealing when she's excited and laughs up a storm. Her favorite toy is a yellow, squishy block that quacks when you push on the duck. We finally figured out she was quacking back at it, which I'm afraid is her first word. Not "mama" or "dada"..."quack"! Lucky us! :)

Every day brings something new and I'm really enjoying it. I'm glad that I'm remembering to pause and take in her baby moments since I don't plan on doing this again. Like I told Tim, our kids have been relatively easy. If we had another one we would be dooming ourselves to having a demon.

Lauren, you make our family whole and I am so glad that I get to be here to watch every little milestone. We Love You! Happy 6 month birthday!

6 months old!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

A daughter may outgrow your lap, but she will never outgrow your heart. ~Author Unknown

Saturday, October 9, 2010


A few things kept the kegerator from being installed until today.

1. Tim has been working crazy late hours. The other night he didn't get home until 2:30 am. That doesn't leave a lot of time for sleeping, let alone putting together a kegerator.

2. Tim wanted to make sure he had a cold keg available as soon as it was assembled. After much thought, he finally ordered a keg of Boulevard, which was delivered yesterday. He never gave it a chance to get warm. He made a very good choice of beer.

3. We wanted to wait until Mike was able to come over to help Tim, even if it was just to read the instructions and make sure the pressure was correct. We're so glad he could be here!

And now, we have a fully functioning kegerator and it's awesome!

Working hard.

First beer!

Just a little foamy. :)

Mike enjoying their hard work.

So good!

All done!

Cheers! (He had lemonade.)

Friday, October 8, 2010

Finding the Balance

Like many parents, we use timeouts to discipline Brenden and it has worked very well for us. It's something we plan on using with Lauren as well, when she's much older and can understand actions and consequences. I thought timeouts would be easy, and they are, but I didn't realize it wasn't just sending him to his mat and making him sit for a predetermined amount of time.

One of the first changes we made was asking him to tell us why he was sent to timeout. Most of the time he's able to tell me and I think it really reinforces which behaviors are unacceptable. We also made sure to turn off or pause the television and walk away from him. Any kind of distraction seems to take away from the punishment and we want to make sure that every timeout counts.

Not long before his birthday he started screaming. Not the I'm-so-excited screaming we were used to. It was a very angry, scream in our faces kind of thing. I couldn't figure out where it was coming from. He doesn't go to daycare or preschool (we're working on that) and the kids in our neighborhood didn't do that in front of him. I had to look closer to home. I had to look at Tim and myself.

I didn't realize just how much we were yelling at him. I don't think we were being scary, we were just yelling every time he was in trouble and he learned that when you're angry, you yell. I'm obviously the most at fault since I spend the most time with him. I felt awful! Tim and I sat down and decided the best way to handle it was to change our behavior first. I'm a firm believer that how I speak to Brenden is how he will respond to me. If I'm calm, he is usually calm.

The amount of screaming in our house decreased dramatically. He didn't stop completely, and I never expected him to, but it was a very nice change. The only problem was that the timeouts didn't seem to be stopping his bad behavior anymore. He also wasn't listening very well at all. At first I was attributing it to simply being 3 years old. Eventually, I decided that was only part of it.

For Brenden, we had to find the right balance between using our "you need to stop right now" voice and our calm voices. If he needs to listen, and we've asked for a certain behavior or action several times, a more stern voice will definitely get his attention. I'm not sure if this would have worked as well if we hadn't calmed down considerably before. I think he understands now that there are times when he absolutely has to listen, like when he's playing out front or walking through a parking lot.

I know this balance will shift several times as he grows older. I just hope we can keep up!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Siblings - the definition that comprises love, strife, competition and forever friends.
Byron Pulsife
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