Friday, April 27, 2007

Our Big Boy 4 Year Old

Bennett turned 4 last week, and I thought it would be a good reason to look back at all of his cute baby pictures and see how he has grown and changed.

This is Bennett's BIRTH day, 10 days late and 36 hours of labor later.

First birthday. Mmmmm Cake. We celebrated in Cayucos at Jeromy's parents house with family. The highlight was the rocking horse that Grandma Lee bought him. It was the furry kind that makes all the horse noises.

Bennett's second birthday. Same place with the same loved ones. He got a play kitchen from his Pop and Popgrandma, lots of tools, and a toy lawn mower.

Third birthday here in Washington. He started the day at the park with both of his grandmas and that evening he went to Chuck-E-Cheese for the first time. We had cake and ice cream with presents at my parent's house.

This year we did pretty much the traditional park in the morning followed by lunch at Alberto's, one of Bennett's favorites. He had beans, rice and tortilla chips with guacamole and salsa. He is so my son! After he had a much needed nap, we headed off to Toys-R-Us where he got to pick out what he wanted to buy from a gift card his auntie from GA sent him. Although that place was totally overwhelming for a 4 year old to pick out one or two things, he did very well. He bought a Home Depot toy chainsaw and a rescue vehicle set with 50 pieces (Fire trucks, ambulances, police cars, rescue crane- which is the reason he wanted the whole set, blockades and cones to set up. Lots of fun!) After that, we met Jeromy and my dad at Red Robin to have a birthday dinner requested by the birthday boy. He loves that place for all the commotion, the bottomless french fries, and the fact that the whole restaurant sings Happy Birthday to people. He ate it up. I forgot the camera in the car, and didn't get any pictures of that. After dinner we went to Chuck-E-Cheese to play and then back to my parent's house for presents, cake and ice cream. It was a late night, and we didn't get home until 10 pm. I will post pictures of all that fun in my next post.

Bennett and Rachel at the Playground of Dreams in Kennewick.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

We are no longer home owners!

I know that I mentioned last week that we had an offer on our house. Yes, we did, the second day on the market nonetheless! We countered and they accepted our offer with a contingency that they get 30 days to sell their house. That put our closing date at the end of June. We were a little bummed about having to wait two more months, but were happy with the offer. Our house remained an active listing and we still had people come to look at it. Someone else could put an offer on the house and then the first people would have to remove their contingency and buy it within 3 days or it would go to the next people. That is what we were hoping would happen to speed up the process. Actually, I started praying that the first offer people would be able to sell their house quickly and then we wouldn't need to keep showing the house anymore. Well, that is exactly what happened. They got three offers on their house in the first few days it was on the market. That might not sound like a big deal if you live in CA, but around here, houses are on the market for an average of 6 months before they sell. Our house is a little different because it is farm land and on the river, but their house was only on an acre and didn't have the river to make it more desireable. How awesome that God has made everything fall into place in such a timely manner. We are so thankful that HE is in control!

Now all we have to do in the next month is find somewhere new to live, pack up our house, have another garage sale (Ewww!), move all of our stuff, and unpack everything for the 4th time in 2 years. I am seriously getting tired of this and with every move we seem to have more stuff (hence the extra garage sale).

Please pray that God guides us to the right rental, for it to be safe and quiet and a good price. We are excited to see what God has for us next. This journey of life that He has us on is exciting, and we want to be obedient with every step we make.

(p.s. Thanks for your prayers for my health. I am feeling better so far today. Yay! Maybe it is because I know I have so much to do!)

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Bad Week Too?

What I originally thought was an isolated case of food poisoning has turned into something a little more extended unfortunately. I am still sick and had a pretty bad reoccurance yesterday. I have talked to the midwife, and she is only worried about me getting dehydrated. I am on a water diet with a little bit of dried cereal if I feel hungry until my stomache heals. I think I was trying to force myself to eat on Monday because of the baby which turned into a bad idea on Tuesday. She said not to worry about the baby getting enough nutrition. The baby will get everything she needs whether I am eating or not. The midwife also said that the 2nd trimester is the best time for this type of illness if you are going to get it. Nothing too major is going on with baby development that lack of nutrients will harm. Please pray that I will get better soon and for Jeromy as he is back to taking care of dinner/kids/cleanup when he gets home from work. Poor guy has done his share of house duties these last few months. Thank you in advance for your prayers!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Bad Weekend!

I was hoping to get caught up this week with all that happened last week, about a month of activity rolled into 7 days, but alas, I got food poisoning on Saturday. We visited some friends on Saturday morning as our house was being shown, and they were nice enough to take us out to lunch at one of the only restaurants in Benton City. We had never been there before, and I can honestly say, I will NEVER go there again. The food tasted fine, but I quickly started feeling sick after I finished eating. The only thing that I ate that no one else did was chili on my hamburger (bunless of course). By that evening, things were really bad, and I will spare you the violent details. Needless to say, I didn't eat anything all day yesterday, stayed on the couch, and felt pretty weak and wiped out. I don't know how much weight the ordeal caused me to lose, but I hardly look pregnant anymore. I hope the baby made it through everything okay. I was able to eat this morning, and besides feeling a little weak still, feel alot better. Man, one person shouldn't have to throw up as much as I have the last several months. It just isn't fair! I never really liked hamburgers before, and I REALLY don't like them now. I think it will be one of those things I associate with being sick and won't ever want again. I got sick after eating M&M's when I was 5 and didn't try them again until I was a teenager. Bye, Bye burgers!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

It's A Girl!!

I had my ultrasound today, and much to our surprise, we are having another girl. I don't know why it should seem a surprise because I am not one that feels like I really know what sex my baby is going to be. Some people say they can tell, but I don't really believe it. The most convincing person who thought we were going to have a boy is Jeromy's grandmother. She has been right with Bennett and Rachel. We didn't find out Rachel's gender, but Grandma Lee made her a pink blanket because she was sure it would be a girl, and she was right.

Here's our little girl's blog debut

It was nice seeing the baby and hearing that everything necessary, like the heart and brain, were formed perfectly and in the right places. I was thinking the baby was a boy because there has been some karate going on in my womb lately. Even at my last midwife appointment, on Tuesday, she had a hard time finding the heartbeat, but kept hearing kicks and punches, and I could feel the baby rolling around. It took her a good 10 minutes to find it.

Her two little feet. (Actually being my daughter, here are her two big feet!)

Oh yeah, there is only one baby in there (sorry Liz, you'll have to have the twins!) My due date is right on as well. September 15, so we will have to pray the baby is at least one day early or late, so my midwife will be in town. (She has her niece's wedding to go to 3 hours away on my due date!)

Jeromy asked the nurse how sure she was that it is a girl, and she says that she will only give about a 90% probability, but she is definitely 90% sure. She said, "It's a girl," within the first 5 seconds of looking at the baby. She was very cooperative and in a good position to tell. We also could see our little girl punching, kicking and rolling around while we were watching. I was sad for Bennett to not get a brother, but it seems like this little girl will give him a run for his money, and God knows what he is doing.

The other piece of good news is that we got an offer on our house this morning. Only one day on the market and we have already received an offer. I will post more on that later when I have more info, but yay, what a good day. Yesterday was Bennett's 4th birthday, so I have lots to post about that. Now, I just need some time and I will get it all on the computer. More soon, I promise.

Monday, April 16, 2007

When Will It All End!

What a weekend and what a week ahead! We had a huge garage sale on Saturday. Jeromy loaded a big trailer Friday night (by himself!) and we took it to my parents house in town where there would be more customers for the garage sale. We worked into the night getting everything ready, so we wouldn't have too much to do the next day. We fell into bed after 11 pm only to wake up at 6 am the next morning. That is NOT enough sleep for this pregnant mama! We got to my parent's house a little after 7 am and the minute we opened the garage door, people started showing up (even though our ad said open at 8 am). In the first hour, we sold probably 25-30% of our goods, especially the big furniture items. In the end, we made a ton of money, more than we had ever made at a garage sale before, but the amount of work that it was made us reconsider if garage sales are worth it. Maybe if we had it at our house it would have been less work, but they are still a pain!

Our real estate agent is coming over tonight to have us sign paper work for her to list our house. We thought that it was going on the market on Thursday and hopefully that is still the plan. We are starting to feel ansy. We still need to move around some furniture (poor Jeromy!), shampoo the carpet, and do as much landscaping as we have time for. I feel like running away!

Tomorrow I have a midwife appointment, and I will have her make me an ultrasound appointment for maybe the end of the week or next week. Wednesday is Bennett's birthday and my mom has the day off work, so we are going to do something fun like the park or the children's museum. We are going to have dinner at Red Robin (Bennett's request) and then go to Chuck-E-Cheese for some rides and games. We will end the evening with presents and dessert at my parent's house. I decided not to make a gluten-free cake for him this year because it was really awful even though he liked it. Instead I have some gf cookies that are pretty good and I am going to frost some together, so it will be cake-like, and I can put candles in them. Bennett's favorite part is the soy ice cream, so he wouldn't care about the cake anyway. That's my boy!

Starting next week, the kids and I will be on a candida treatment plan for 30 days. No sugar, only 1 piece of fresh fruit a day, oral nystatin to kill the candida, acidophilus to replace the bad stuff with good bacteria. We also are supposed to take flax seed oil daily and be better about taking digestive enzymes after eating. We'll see how it all goes. The kids are going to be on sugar withdrawal. That will be the hardest part for sure!

All of that coupled with real estate agents and people looking at our house means it has to be clean and ready to leave at a moment's notice. That is going to be interesting! I am going to have to turn into nazi clean freak. No more leaving my clothes on the floor in my bedroom I guess, that and I have to make my bed every day. Pray for me!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Scheduling vs. Attachment Parenting

Okay, okay, I know that this is a highly controversial subject that people have very strong, emotional opinions about, and I probably shouldn't stir the pot. But because this is my blog, I can talk about whatever I want, so here it goes. (Disclaimer: I do not consider myself an expert in childrearing AT ALL as I have only gotten two out of infancy so far. These are my opinions only, and I do not think that other people who do things differently are WRONG because of their beliefs. I have many friends and loved ones that practice one or the other philosophies, and they each have successes and failures as we all do. These are my own personal musing, so don't get mad at me please if you are offended in any way!! Maybe this is a good way to start getting more comments on our blog, start writing about controversial subjects. Next topic on The Washington Markworts: Birth control and whether it is a sin to take the control from God. How is that one for a hornet's nest! Don't worry I will refrain from that topic until further notice!)

Well, the reason I am broaching this subject is because I just read On Becoming Baby Wise by Ezzo and Bucknam. (ooh, I just heard a collective groan from many of you) I have two children and have done things very differently with each of them. I have read that your first two children are like a pendulum. You swing way one way with the first and then way the other with the second. By the third, you stop somewhere in the middle. I am having my third now, but feel like I don't want something in the middle, but maybe a whole different pendulum. This is only in regards to infancy as I am happy with our childrearing once they get a little older.

Maybe I should explain what we (I guess more I, since I am the night waker/nurser/ daytime caregiver) have done with Bennett and Rachel. Bennett was the firstborn and with that, I couldn't imagine putting him down or being away from him or letting him cry too much or harming his psychological future in any way. Don't laugh, it's true and you know you felt at least a little like that with your first child! The earth revolved around Bennett and we are still trying to alter that to this day! I demand fed (nursed whenever he seemed hungry, sad, out of sorts, etc.), rocked/bounced/ cajoled to sleep for naps, layed down with him and nursed him to sleep at night, and brought him to bed with me to nurse him as he awoke constantly during the night, sometimes every hour or two. I quickly learned why "they" say to sleep when your baby is sleeping. It was the only rest I got! At about 5 months of age, I had had enough. I needed to sleep and was beginning to get very angry at my little sleep intruder and didn't want to do it anymore. I was frusterated, sleep deprived and running on empty. I will let him cry it out I thought. Well, by 5 months old, he already had figured out that all he needed to do was scream and his needs would be met. After a couple of nights of listening to screaming for 3 hours, I was back to square one. I read a book that told me that my child was just high-needs and required more nighttime parenting than most children. My child should be sleeping, so that no one has to parent at night , I thought. Thankfully, on his own, Bennett began sleeping by himeself, through the night, at around 8 months old, with one early morning feeding around 5 am. He then would sleep til about 8 am.

Enter Rachel to the scene. She had a very fussy first week home due to some tummy distress, and I ended up sleeping with her on my chest so that I could jostle her back to sleep before she woke up. Once that issue came to an end, I knew that I had to try something different in regards to sleeping, and the earlier the better! I decided that after night feedings, I was just going to lay her in her crib and let her put herself back to sleep. No rocking, jostling, be-bobbing around in the middle of the night. (Don't awww poor baby, I didn't shoot a puppy or anything!) Protest she did, but only for 15-30 minutes. That was a far cry from 3+ hours. After a few days, she learned the new ropes and started putting herself to sleep for naps and nighttimes. She is more easy-going just naturally than Bennett, but I still think the fact that we started so early with her helped alot. She was sleeping 8-10 hours a night at a stretch by 3 months, and never woke up every hour to nurse.

Okay, where I differ from Babywise is that I still demand-fed Rachel ( I fed her when she showed signs of hunger regardless of how long it had been since her last feeding). For those of you that don't know, Babywise has a system called PDF. Parent Directed Feeding. Their philosophy is to get your baby on a 3-step program: feeding (starting every 3 hours and once they are sleeping 8-10 hours a night, stretch it to every 4 hours), awake time, and sleep. In that order. They say that most people go wrong because they flip-flop the last two. They say that this system alone will have 95% of babies sleeping through the night on their own at 10-12 weeks. I personally have never felt real comfortable with restricting food from my baby because of the clock. They do stress that you should feed your baby when they are hungry, not deprive the baby. The other area that I differ is that for awake time, they recommend crib-time, a bouncy chair, swing, play-pen or other apperatus to hold your baby. They are not baby-wearing advocates. I am not one that wears my baby all day long, but I don't know how I feel about my baby spending so much time in a play-pen either.

I have seen how scheduling a baby that has many other siblings works out very well. I have a friend with a large family, and she has to homeshcool the older ones during the day and can't stop every 5 seconds to figure out what's wrong with the baby. The baby knows the routine and is content because of that. She has the baby scheduled to the family's life and not the other way around. I do like that aspect and see how important it becomes when you have a wide age range and are trying to meet everyone's needs. I just don't think I am convinced with the feeding though. Rachel solely nursed until she was a year old. She ate pretty frequently during the day because she was growing and needed alot of sustinence. I think that I like Babywise with parent directed feedings based on the individual needs of the child. I don't want to be slave to a schedule. I want the schedule to work for me and the baby. I have not tried the awake time before sleep time either, so I am willing to give that a try because I already was putting Rachel to bed awake. She had just nursed first instead of having awake time. We'll see if it changes anything.

I am sure I will look back on all of this and laugh at my elementary parenting skills, but hey, I am still trying to figure it all out. Each new child is different and presents a new set of challenges and joys. I don't want to go back to the days of sleep-deprivation, but with a newborn, that is par for the course for a while. I do like knowing that I can direct the new baby into sleeping through the night much more easily if I start early. I am thankful that both of my children are now excellent sleepers and require no night-parenting in general. Thank you Lord!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

If an Elephant is Big, a Mouse is.......Grey.

Bennett and Rachel had their 4 and 2 year old check-ups last week. Beverlee came with us which was nice because I was able to take one child at a time into the room with me without trying to keep the other one occupied. Bennett went first and was really excited about it (obviously they aren't vaccinated or else they wouldn't like the dr.) Bennett loves my midwife appointments and helping pump the blood pressure collar and asking a million questions about things in the room.

This visit was right up his alley. The dr. let him look in her ear and eyes before she did his. He thought that was super cool. The most interesting part of the visit was her assessment of his mental capacities for his age. The questions were for 4-6 year olds, so she said not to worry if he couldn't do them all. My favorite one was the mouse being grey. She gave him examples of opposites and explained it all to him, but he insisted that mice are grey. Well, he is right, isn't he? She asked him this series of questions like, "What is a ceiling? What is concrete? What is a hedge." He doesn't know what a hedge is and was wondering why she was asking him such weird questions. He started getting the hang of it a little, but I think it was a too abstract for his analytical mind. He had to jump forward and backward, jump in place, stand on one foot, walk on his tiptoes and heels. It was quite entertaining.

She asked if he could catch a ball, and I had to say that he really can't, but he can smack the heck out of it with his baseball bat. We haven't worked too much on his sporting skills. He can hammer a nail into wood without smashing his finger most of the time and is really good with a phillips screwdriver. He builds reall neat objects with his blocks and building sets. He can write the letters A, E, F, H, I, L, O, P, Q, T, and X. He wrote an R once, but it was an accident. He recognizes all his numbers. I can ask him what time it is, and he will say, "It is eight, four, seven." He told me the other day at the store that we could buy and item because it only cost one, three, five. It is pretty funny. He has memorized Psalm 23, the Lord's Prayer, Luke 2:10-12 (Christ's birth), numerous Proverbs, and can sing I'll Fly Away and the Doxology. I love my little guy. He amazes me every day with how much he knows, and how eager he is to learn.

This really wasn't going to be a post bragging about Bennett, but I guess it turned into that. Hee, Hee.

Rachel's turn in the examination room didn't leave anything to brag about. She wouldn't speak to the dr. or cooperate in any way. I had to hold her head so the Dr. could look in her ears, and the dr. had to pry her mouth open to look at her throat. Not so fun. She cried when the stethoscope touched her, when she was measured and weighed. Her weight put her in the 75th percentile and her height put her a half an inch above the 100th percentile line. Wow, she is going to be tall. She was 2 inches taller than Bennett at birth, but I always attributed that to not being a vegetarian like I was while pregnant with Bennett. The power of protein I'll tell ya. She was over nine pounds, so maybe I need to lay off quite so much of it this time. Oh, for the record, Bennett was in the 75th percentle for his height and weight. Perfectly proportionate the dr. said.

I think it had been at least 2 years since Bennett's last dr. visit and a pretty long time for Rachel too. We don't go unless someone is really sick, and I don't think I can handle whatever's wrong. My kids are thankfully healthy aside from the occasional cold or flu, and I am not one that takes them to the dr. for those types of things. It is nice to be reassured that everything is normal and good though. Thank you Blue Cross Insurance!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Tri-Cities Children's Museum

One of the fun things we did while Beverlee was here (and our men were on the road) was take the kids to the children's museum. We had never been there before and didn't quite know what to expect from a small town type of museum. The kids had an absolute blast. It was the perfect size for them. Just big enough that they were completely entertained for over 2 hours, but small enough that I could keep my eye on them without having to keep them together doing the same things the whole time. It was separated into different activities. They had a room sponsored by Lowe's that had wood blocks, tools, and construction equipment. That was Bennett's favorite thing by far! They had another room sponsored by a local kitchen design company which was a miniature kitchen with real wood cabinets and nice countertops. It was way nicer than my kitchen! That was Rachel's favorite room! They had a stage with dress-up clothes decorated in a castle theme with princesses and knights. So cute! There was a tree-fort and a ship with a slide and wooden vehicles to ride in and a big train to conduct. There was a section for smaller toddlers with toys and books and little play equipment with a train table. I was very impressed. It will definitely be somewhere we go back to.

Bennett collecting money for our train fare. Check out the camera next to him. He got his very own digital camera from Pop and Popgrandma for his birthday. He was so excited and still wants to take pictures of everything! He is getting better at it. Most of his first ones were of the ceiling and floor although he still usually cuts off people's heads.

My favorite little boy!

Rachel beginning the slide ride of her life. It was so fast that she shot 3 feet from the end of it onto a soft mat luckily.

Bennett didn't get catapulted but wanted to!

Bennett in the treehouse

Rachel said she was "wash hands, soap."

Driving the fire engine.

She loved playing on this computer as she is not allowed to touch the ones at home! (Bennett was with grandma, so I got mostly pictures of Rachel because she was with me.)

Monday, April 9, 2007

Fun with Pop and Pop

What to call 2 sets of grandparents quickly became a question after Bennett was born. We should have known that he would work it out himself, which he did. Jeromy's parents became Pop and Popgrandma and my parents, Patty-cake-grandma and Grandpa. We assumed that Rachel would catch on and this would just be their names for all future children. Before we visited CA in November, Rachel was beginning to be able to call my parents grandpa and grandma. When we got home she would no longer say grandma to my mom and she called my mom and dad both Pop. As she has gotten older and has started speaking better we continually say, "Rachel, say grandma." She always turns her head and says, "No." She just stubbornly refuses. When Jeromy's parents got here, I didn't know what she would call anyone and thought she would just be confused. She wasn't. She called them both POP! Beverlee, Jeromy's mom, worked with Rachel all week trying to get her to say, grandma. She was pretty successful. You can't get her to say it if you ask her, but sometimes she will call Beverlee or my mom grandma if she isn't paying attention or says it when she wants something.

This is the first part of Beverlee and Mark's visit. They brought birthday gifts for the kids since they won't be here to celebrate Bennett's in a couple of weeks or Rachel's in June. The kids like presents!

This was Bennett's gift, but luckily the package contained 2 Supersoakers because it was Rachel's favorite gift as well.

Bennett ready to go out in the dark to shoot his BIG GUN!

Rachel wearing Popgrandma's slippers. The girl LOVES shoes! And she's even color coordinated!

Grandma reading a bedtime story. Our house is a Curious George house. They rarely want to read anything else!

Beverlee set up an obstacle course for the kids. She teaches special ed for 3-5 year olds, so she is so much fun for our pre-school age kids. They are so bummed when she goes home because she knows the funnest games, activites and songs, and I am totally boring compared to her! Somebody has to do the laundry!

Rachel coming through the tent. She loved the obstacle course because it involved jumping, and she is our jumping bean. She is always hopping, trotting or jumping to wherever she is going.

We did lots of things last week, so I will post more about our fun next time.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Road Trip: WA to MN and back in less than 3 days

As you may have read in a recent post, my parents are here for the week. They have been looking at buying a new camping trailer for a while and thought they would pick it up this summer. Well long story short one was available and seeing as they were already going to be in WA my dad decided to take advantage of this opportunity and head east and pick it up. I decided to take vacation and go to help. The following adventure ensued.

My parents left CA Friday afternoon and drove all night and arrived at our house Saturday morning. Saturday we worked around the house and my mom took a test online. We relaxed a bit and turned in for the night.

Sunday my dad and I loaded up and left around 8:40am while Samantha, the kids and my mom went to church. Here are some pictures of our road trip:

Picture from a rest stop on 395 (they had free coffee, very nice!)

We got gas in Spokane.

I thought this sign was interesting. "Buy the bagfull" (not sure if that is a typo or an intentional play on words). Gotta love a bag of hamburgers!

There was a little snow on the pass near Cour de' Lane:

Once we were on the other side of the pass we did see some rain, but is was pretty smooth driving.

We drove all night and only saw one accident.

Here's my dad still looking fresh. You can tell this is early in the trip.

I thought Bubba would like this picture.

We arrived at the manufacturer's facility around 9:30am Monday morning. Here is my dad checking out his new trailer:

We had to wait about an hour for them to put the hitch on the truck and Wayne gave us a tour of the facility while we waited (the IT grad in me felt right at home).

Back on the road

Everything was going good, until it started to really snow. We had to stop in Beach ND for the night. It was just too scary to drive.

We ate dinner and crashed for the night. Ah 8 hours of sleep. So nice. We got hit with 3 inches of snow while we slept and the roads were even worse when we got up, but they were working on them and they improved the farther west we went.

If you look close you can see a tanker truck that has wrecked.

The rest of the trip was rather uneventful. It was interesting driving from snow to beautiful green back into snow again.

We arived home around midnight Tuesday night. It was so good to drive in the driveway and see our home. It was especially great to sleep in my own bed and see Samantha and the kids this morning. Home... there's no place like it!