Sunday, March 22, 2015

What We've Been Up To This Week

After two weeks that had snow days and then a whole week off for spring break, this last week seemed to be such a long work week, but the kids and Tony and I did some fun things, so those were our bright spots.

I'll start with our weekend last weekend that included our St. Patty's Day celebration- just a little bit early. Saturday morning (last Saturday), the kids and I got up early and grabbed a quick smoothie for breakfast and then we bundled up and ran a 5K race with our friends. I was pleased that I finished the race- I hadn't run a 5K while pushing the kids before...ever. It was also great to have a running buddy to chat with while we ran. Around mile 1.5, Jack started yelling "Up! UP! I want up now!!!" So, I had to convince him to stay in the stroller- thankfully, there were people running with dogs, so we spent the last 1.5 miles looking for doggies and Jack stayed put.

After the race, the kids got to spend some time playing in the bounce house- their first time ever in a bounce house. Harper wasn't quite sure what to think between the bouncing floor and the other kids running around, but Jack jumped in and did not want to come out. In fact, every time I asked him to come out of the bounce house, he would run to the back corner where I couldn't get him. I finally had to get the girl working the bounce house to climb in and get him- I think Jack has found something that he digs.

Jack also has a new hobby- drumming. This boy has been drumming on the walls, the stairs, the laundry basket, and this is a picture Tony took of Jack on his new perch where he likes to drum. He's sitting on the grill cart of the play kitchen and banging on the kitchen with his feet in the shelves- maybe he's the next John Bonham? Who knows!

This week, thankfully, the sun came out for a few hours one day- the rain has been okay, but I'm ready for sun- so the kids and I went outside to play. We have some new neighbors next door who happened to be out, so while I talked to the neighbors, the kids spent their time digging in the mulch in the flowerbed. I was so happy to be out in the sun that I didn't even care- it was bath night anyway :)

This weekend we spent some quality time together as a family, and it has been really nice to have some down time with each other. Friday night we set out to have some Mexican food for dinner, but after trying three restaurants with long wait times, we needed up eating some rotisserie chicken, and the kids had a pretty good dinner- Jack really liked the corn.

Saturday morning Tony went up to our gym to take pictures of a competition, so the kids and I went to the grocery store and then we went to cheer on the last heat of the competition. Harper and Jack love to run around the gym, so they were happy when the weights were all cleaned up and people started heading out and they could have some fun. Jack was very excited about playing basketball with some of the big guys. More pictures of the gym to follow when Tony gets them all edited.

Our weekend was rounded out with a fun Sunday morning breakfast with friends that had us asking for a table for 8- 4 kids and 4 adults. We certainly had the biggest table in the place, but our kids were so great. In fact, a woman stopped by our table on the way out to tell us how well behaved she thought our kids were- what a great compliment for them.

After breakfast we ran some errands, one of which was picking up a few things at the grocery store. We stopped by a store that has kids carts, and we let Harper and Jack each get a cart- they were so excited to be able to walk around the grocery store. Both kids tried to put all sorts of strange things in the cart (chili mac anyone?), but we managed to get out of the store with only 2 things that weren't on the list originally (vanilla wafers and hot chocolate)- not too bad.

When we got home today, we played outside in the sunshine. We let the kids push their jeeps and walk around the whole block. Harper made the entire walk pushing her jeep- Jack rode for a while and then ran in front of Tony giving his jeep a good push once in a while.

After playing outside we made a birthday cake for Ms. Durinda's birthday this week- the kids were thrilled to get to help and throughly enjoyed getting to lick the beaters.

So, that's been our week. In addition to our outings, Tony and I have been craving up all week listening to the new things that the kids say. They are so funny! Abby was looking at a cat sitting on our porch (scat cat!) and Harper was trying to get around Abby to get a block; she said "cuse me, Abby" and then tapped her until Abby moved. Harper was also face timing my mom today while Harper "cooked" at her play kitchen. She made some soup that she wanted to my mom to try and told Nana "Open Wide!" while she held the spoon up to the phone- I love that smart girl!

Jack has been funny with his requests- "more tickle right now!" or  when I was chasing him and picked him up, he squealed "put me down right now!" and then followed with "more chasin'!"  This boy did have a super meltdown Saturday after a short nap. We tried to get him to get ready to go run errands, and Jack laid on the floor and screamed for 10-15 minutes. Both Tony and I talked to him and he would calm down for a little bit, but then would throw a tantrum again. Thankfully, he got himself together; after calming down and sitting in my lap for a little while, he was back to his smiley self. I hope he always keeps that big grin- I love that happy boy!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Home...part 2

Two years ago today I sat down and put together an entry entitled "home" that celebrated us brining Harper home from the hospital after a 74 day stay. I remember writing that leaving the NICU was bitter sweet because the hospital was the only home that Harper had ever known, and I honestly didn't know if Tony and I could handle two kids, especially one with feeding issues like Harper. Our biggest fear was getting this girl home only to have her return to the hospital because couldn't give our daughter everything that she needed to thrive.

Here we are two years later, and I am happy to report that our spunky little girl is doing well, and today no longer marks a bitter sweet day, but it marks a day of victory- the day our family became complete- the day the five of us (Abby included) finally stood in one room together and all breathed the same air and we could hold each other and laugh and cry together. No more touch times, or nurses, or gowns and compulsive hand washing (the hand washing might have lingered for another few months), and we are eternally grateful that our little girl has done so well at home.

Everyone told us that one day the NICU would just be a memory, but when we were living the long days and sleepless nights, we never believed them. Now, on the other side of the experience, I realize that two years ago today we started putting that experience behind us and we've never looked back.

So, here's to you, my lovely Harper Marie, you have taught me so much about what it means to thrive - you push your daddy and I to see the world in a new way everyday, and we can't imagine our lives without you in it. Congratulations on your two year "graduation" anniversary!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Spring Break Adventure

This week I've been off work and enjoying the week with the kids- it's a nice chance to get a preview of what days will be like in the summer, and to get some things done around the house. We didn't take  a major vacation this year, but we did take a few short trips that were fun and the kids enjoyed. Here's what we've been up to:

Last weekend we drove down to visit Papa. The traffic on Friday was horrible, and it took us an hour to get through downtown, so we had to stop for dinner- not in our original plan, but the kids were good and enjoyed getting a break from all the driving.

When we did get to Papa's it was quick to bed, and then up Saturday to drive to College Station to visit Mimi's grave and have some lunch. The kids were very excited to have Mexican food for lunch- they love tortillas- and Jack was happy to pose in front of the animals outside the restaurant.

After lunch we drove to the cemetery to see Mimi. I was hoping the kids would be quiet and respectful as we walked to her gravesite, but being 2 years old and totally oblivious to any proper manners in matters such as these, the kids were squealing, laughing, and running all over- thankfully, we were the only ones in the whole place. I thought about shushing them and picking them up, and talking to them about being respectful...but then I thought that their Mimi would want them to see this place as a place that they can be themselves and laugh when they want to laugh, and squeal, and be kids- her kids. So, they had a good time visiting Mimi's grave- I hope that they will always see this place as a place of peace, not of sorrow.

Sunday the kids played at Papa's and then we headed home in the rain. The drive home was long- mostly because Jack screamed on and off for an hour and 1/2. The screaming got so bad that we had to pull over and talk to him. I think Jack was just ready to be out of the car, and when we got home, he acted like a different kid. Here's a shot of them playing at Papa's house- before the car ride meltdown.

Monday the kids, Abby, and I packed up and headed to Great Granny's house for the day. We also got to see Aunt Becky and Uncle Rex and have a nice lunch with everyone. The kids loved looking through Granny's toy closet and finding all sorts of old toys that I played with, and even some that Pop played with.

Harper's two favorite things, however, were Granny's kitchen stool (which she proudly navigated herself), and putting on all of Granny's costume jewelry. I think Harper and Granny had a good time together.

We also measured the kids on the doorframe- a tradition for all the grand kids in my family (and now the great- grand kids). Both H and J have grown almost an inch since December. I know that these little ones are growing, but it's so neat to see confirmation of this.

Monday night we spent the night at Nana and Pop's and hung out with them on Tuesday. Nana and Pop played with the kiddos while I cleaned out drawers in my old room, and the kids kept Nana and Pop on their toes. When I emerged from my drawers full of junk, the kids were excited to show me the fun they'd been having in the exercise room.

Harper also had fun helping Nana do some chores- like changing sheets on beds.

Tuesday night we headed home and had dinner with Tony and assumed our "normal routine". The kids and I spent the rest of the week running errands, playing, coloring, enjoying time outside (when it wasn't raining), and reading lots of books. Here are some pictures of the kids doing their day-to-day things.

We also got to visit Daddy at his office and have lunch with him- the kids really enjoyed that.

A couple of things I want to remember from this week:
-Harper used a piece of play toast as a fake cellphone- so funny because there's no way I would've picked toast to be a phone; I guess this generation will only know flat cellphones.
-Jack can sing his "ABC song"- all of it, all the way through and he finishes it with a big smile on his face
-Both kids are capable of having a conversation now and they have some great full sentences that took me by surprise.  For instance, Jack dropped a spoon at dinner and Tony said that I would pick it up when dinner was over (I was the only one who could reach it) to which Jack replied "Momma get it right now!"  He is getting to be bossy!  Harper, on the hand, has been more helpful that not this week. I was trying to clean up some water that Jack spilled and I asked Tony if he would bring me a towel, to which Harper replied "No Mommy, I'll get it!" and then she ran to grab the towel and bring it to me. I'm going to miss the days when this girl decides that she doesn't want to help me anymore.
- The kids are starting to show affection in different ways. When Jack got scared recently, he leaned over and put his arm around Tony- so sweet. Harper has also started saying "hold you, Mommy" (which I know is just a scam to get me to pick her up, but she is just so darn cute that I can't say "no"!)

So, that's been our spring break- nothing extravagant, but lots of wonderful family times and memories to share.