Saturday, November 19, 2016

She keeps us laughing!

K: Dear God, thank you for kitty cats. They're my favorite. *sigh* And I wish I WAS a cat. So thanks for that. Amen.

K: The wise men didn't have anything back then. Except their rocks. Their ugly, boring rocks.

K, looking at a dollar bill: There's Sam the Statue (referring to the Sam Houston statue on I-45).
Me: Actually, that's George Washington, the first President of the United States.
K: So did you vote for him?

K: Do you speak animal?
Me: What?
K: You know, do you speak dog?
Me: Do YOU speak dog?
K: Sometimes.

K, playing with a balloon: Wow! Holy honk!

K: Ugh, I can't yodel. I give up. I just give up.

K: I'm kind of delicate. Kind of.

Dave: Hey, you got your soccer uniform. You're #2!
K (disgusted): 2 is for poop.

K: Happy birthday, Mommy! You look taller.

K: What's 100 + 100? 
Me: 200.
K: What's 200 + 200?
Me: 400.
K: What's 400 + 400?
Me: 800. How long is this going to go on?
K (without hesitation): About 20 minutes.

K: Dear God... I don't know if today is your birthday, but if it is, Happy Birthday! I only know that today is Mia's birthday.

K (in the bathroom): I can't go!!! WHY IS GOD NOT HELPING ME?!?!?

K: Why do you always have to do your medicine (insulin)?
Dave: That's just how God made me.
K: Oh my goodness, Daddy!!! God made me special, too! We are BOTH SPECIAL!!!!! Sorry, Mommy, but I have a little arm and Daddy has his medicine... Party in the house!!!!

Me: You've been to the school nurse three times this week. Do you like going to the nurse?
K: Yes.
Me: You really need to be in the classroom as much as possible.
K: Well... I can't promise that.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Fall Festival 2016

We had fun dressing up this year. We attended two church Fall Festivals and the weather was absolutely perfect!

Here is Gretl from The Sound of Music. By the way, Gretl costumes do not exist, so we had to go with something that Gretl might have worn. Notice her sore finger that "got caught in Frederick's teeth!"

Inspired by a pair of striped overalls Ryan already had, I decided to make him a train conductor... and because I didn't want to carry him around all night, turning his stroller into a train made perfect sense. Remember my fascination with building things out of boxes? It's been too long!

Ryan wasn't in a cooperative mood and wouldn't sit in his stroller like a big boy or wear his hat. Oh well, still cute.

This train is far from perfect, but knowing it was only going to be used for a few hours, I made my peace with that. It was really easy and didn't take much time at all. I used 2 1/2 boxes, spray paint, a tiny bit of Gorilla glue, string, and electrical tape (for the window and stripes).

I needed the train to fold up and fit in my car, so the top and bottom are two separate pieces. 

The top part of the train attaches to the bottom with string. The sides of the train also tie to the stroller. This made it super quick and easy to assemble/de-assemble. 

For the smoke stack, I just wrapped black paper around a container of bread crumbs and stuck a red plastic bowl on top. Done! So fun to make.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Ryan at 6 months

And the Best Little Brother award goes to Ryan! He has such a sweet temperament. Having a 5 yr old sister means getting dragged all over the place for big sis: dance recital, pre-k graduation, Meet the Teacher, first day of kindergarten, soccer, etc. And he handles it like a champ, rarely fussing and always taking in the new surroundings with a smile. It’s no wonder the second child is typically more of a “go with the flow” type. They really don’t have a choice! I know he will become more opinionated as he gets older but I’m glad he’s content for now.

6 months… let’s see. Even though he now has two teeth, he still chews on his feet any time they are within reach. He sucks his thumb (just like he did at every one of my ultrasounds) when he’s tired and won’t take a pacifier. He loves to nap and still sleeps all night. Singing to him (especially Old McDonald or The Hokey Pokey) will ALWAYS make him smile, and Katelyn can make him laugh like no other.

The first time he tried baby food was pretty funny. Our timing was off-- he was clearly not in the mood to eat. After a nap, he did great and has liked every food we've tried so far.

He doesn’t particularly like to be rocked and isn’t much of a cuddler (*tear*), but when he’s in the mood he saves his cuddles for Daddy instead of me (that seems fair since I gave birth and all). He always prefers to stand (with help) and be up high… and if you call him a big boy, he proudly grins from ear to ear. He is crazy close to crawling but seems to think climbing or a bear crawl is the way to get there:

I missed Katelyn's first crawl because I was working so I'm determined to see Ryan's. He's really active and manages to get where he needs to go, though, so who knows when it will happen!

Reflux is almost completely gone now, except for his uncanny timing to puke on or near Tia Christy (sorry!). He babbles all the time and if you say mama, dada, or Katelyn, he grins and kicks his legs in excitement. Love, LOVE this sweet boy.

Friday, August 26, 2016

She keeps us laughing!

K: Well, look at Ryan wearing black and white stripes! Like he's in a little jail.

(After a VERY rough night behavior-wise, I wearily put K to bed. She looked at me and sweetly said, "Mommy, why are you so pretty? You just get prettier every day!" (Arrrrrghhhhh!!!)

K (whispering loudly during the sermon at church): Is God a hundred?

K (who takes flossing very seriously): God said, "Can you please floss your teeth for me?"

Me: How do you remember all the Shopkins' names? There are so many!
K (under her breath): It's because I'm magic.

K (watching Olympic diving on tv): OH! I would like to do that.

K: I'm tired of holding Ryan. He smells funny.

K (after going potty): Ok, what's our next activity?

K: I want to be everything when I grow up... except an astronaut. Yikes, I do NOT want to be an astronaut!

K: What's your favorite type of meat? Turkey? Ham? Spam?
Me: Ew, I don't think Spam counts... what's YOUR favorite? 
K: Bunny tails.

K: Do you have a thing to put my quarters in?
Me: Like what?
K: A camcorder?

K, while riding the Gator out on Joey's land: Oh no, we're almost out of petrol.

K (very matter of fact): Mommy, you're pretty and I love you, but you're crazy.

K, after a long talk about being good sports whether we win or lose, and then beating me in a matching game: (gives me a hug) Thanks for trying, Mommy.

K, eating a snow cone: WOW. I could eat this for days. Seriously, it's really that good.

K (very serious): Mommy, I need to tell you something. A fly went into a toilet and I flushed it.

K: There are 50 gods!
Me: No, one God.
K: How can one God watch over all of us at the same time? 
Me: Because He's God, He's all powerful... where are you getting 50?
K: There are 50 states!

K: Don't get anything out of my backpack today except my lunchbox. NOTHING ELSE.
Me: ... 
Found inside her take home folder: "Katelyn is a very bright girl. Very friendly! Please talk to her about paying attention during the lesson."

Me: Did a lot of kids at Kindergarten ask about your little arm?
K: Yes, A LOT. (with a twinkle in her eye) Some of them I answered, some of them I didn't.


K, out of the blue and suddenly very emotional: I don't want a pretend arm!!
Me: You mean a prosthetic? No one said you have to have one... No one even thinks you need one!
K: It's just... I LIKE my little arm, and I can do everything with it, so I don't want anything pretend!!!!!
Me: You never have to have anything on your little arm that you don't want. It's just an option that some people like but it's completely your choice.
K: I want my little arm forever, just the way it is.

Friday, July 8, 2016

5th Birthday Blessings

5 years old… I hope it’s your best birthday yet, sweet girl. 4 was a big year for you. You learned so much in preschool this year. You’ve gotten so good at writing your letters and words. You love counting and numbers and I suspect you’re going to be good at math. And your ability to draw objects from memory amazes me. When you announce you’re going to draw a bird, you just draw a bird and it really LOOKS like a bird, and that’s that. I love that you simply put crayon to paper without hesitation or intimidation. And then there’s your love of music, which takes you into your own little world. Daddy and I smile so big when we hear you belt out “The Hills are Alive”—vibrato and everything—while you take a bath. You really can sing, kid. May you always, always have confidence in your creative abilities!

And your people. Oh, you love your people. I think the highlight of your week is Sunday morning at church, just before the service starts. You eagerly ask me to help you find people you know and then you run to them with open arms. You are so comfortable with adults and you have a lot of wonderful ones investing in you-- and I am so grateful. You love your friends and teachers and your day just isn’t complete without hugs from ALL of them. Always straightforward with your words, you boldly tell your friends about God and Jesus and Heaven. You even led your class in prayer, all on your own. In a world that seems to be especially dark lately, you shine light. Daddy and I are so proud.

Your biggest moment of age 4? Hands down, becoming a big sister, your dream come true. You were devastated when we told you it was a boy, but eventually you came around. I’ve learned that if there’s one thing you need, it’s time. You need time to analyze, time to process, time to be ok with new experiences and surroundings. You simply don’t accept things at face value or give in to those around you until you are ready—that’s a trait that can serve you well in life, by the way. It’s good that my pregnancy with Ryan lasted 9 months, because that’s how long you needed to prepare. You truly love your brother and are a great big sister, always adoring him and trying to make him smile. I know not getting all the attention anymore is hard, and I don’t blame you for being jealous at times. Daddy and I are doing our best to carve out special moments with you because you are so important to us. Hang in there, love. As I tell you often, growing up is hard work but we’re all in this together. You, me, Daddy, Ryan—we’re all on the same team.

Speaking of teams… could you be any more competitive? EVERYTHING is a contest to you. Early in your 4th year we realized you weren’t exactly a gracious loser but we’ve worked hard on that and you’ve come a long way. You, Daddy, and I are always up for a game of catch and as simple as it is, throwing a ball is one of my favorite things we do together. I’m anxious to see where your competitive spirit and strong determination take you.

We love you, Kate. We love who you are and who you are becoming and every single day—good or bad—is a treasured part of this blessed adventure with you. Happy 5th birthday!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Ryan at 3 months

A lot changes in 3 months! For starters, he's finally growing into all that hair he was born with...

No need to sugarcoat it… those first 5-6 weeks were ROUGH. Very little sleep for any of us and, thanks to reflux, he literally cried ALL. THE. TIME. His little body was so uncomfortable and reflux meds just weren’t working yet. Just when I thought we would all lose our sanity and/or go deaf, our little boy learned how to smile. And it’s really hard to stay frustrated when he’s THAT cute… even though his biggest smiles are often followed by an avalanche of spit up.

Ryan’s first 3 months of life have been sponsored by white noise: the kitchen vent, the white noise app on our phones, and radio static. Without fail, white noise can calm him down immediately, a la Jesus calming the storm. This discovery was magical for us and has been the key to our sanity and sleep (funny how the two are related...). For over a month his bassinet stayed in the kitchen and he slept with the vent on. We were seriously afraid we would burn out the vent motor, so once he fell asleep I would turn on the white noise app on my phone and place my phone in a metal pan to amplify the sound. When he transitioned to his crib upstairs, Dave found a radio "station" that was nothing but static. The goal here is SLEEP and I'm on board with whatever gets us there. 

Reflux is still with us, but meds are helping now. Ryan has turned into a great sleeper, which I’m both grateful for and perplexed by… I’ve HEARD that babies can be good sleepers at this age, but I didn’t think that was a real thing. Katelyn wasn’t a horrible sleeper, but she never appreciated sleep the way Ryan does. I remember having to do a lot of sleep training with her and wondering why people kept asking me if she was sleeping through the night. With Ryan, I get it now and see that sleeping babies do exist (and my heart goes out to all the parents who aren’t there yet!). I realize teething and other growing pains are just around the corner and I expect his sleep to regress… but I’ll take it for now!

If I had to pick one word to describe Ryan at this stage? Aware. He is very, very aware of his surroundings. His facial expressions change with every sound or inflection in someone’s voice. I wish I knew what he was thinking. And he is fascinated by his big sister! He follows her with his eyes—which has to be exhausting because she’s always on the move—and loves sitting next to her like a big boy. It’s really sweet to watch the sibling bond develop.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

She keeps us laughing!

(Overhead from the other room)
K: Well, these are just hard to juggle.
Me: What are?
K: These apples.
Me: ... !

K: What's a vegetarian?
Me: Someone who doesn't eat meat.
K: YES! I want to be a vegetarian. I do NOT LIKE meat.

Dave: Katelyn, you're being too loud. Turn it down a notch.
K: Oh, so I guess I'm an iPad now!

Me: WOW, you have a lot of hand sanitizer.
K (delighted): I know, look how shiny my hands are!!!

(Dave and I talking about all the presidential candidates)
K: Who is Bernie Sandwich?

K (randomly): I want to birth a baby.

K: Wow, look how the cookies are growing and getting fatter in the oven! Ha, just like your tummy, Mommy!

Me: Go put on some shoes so we can go to Yogurtland.
K: Ok, I'm going to wear fancy shoes. Hope this is a fancy place!

K: Mommy... there are strange sounds coming out of Ryan.

K: Don't watch what I'm about to do. It's a little bit dangerous. 
Me: Then maybe you shouldn't do it.
K: Oh, it will be fine. But I need you to close your eyes, ok?

K: I don't like Alvin and the Chipmunks. Chipmunks are real, but chipmunks that talk with clothes on-- WEIRD!!!

Me: Please don't walk in front of the stroller. I'm afraid I'll run over you.
K: No you won't, that's just nonsense!

K: How did God make us?
Me: He made us out of dirt and breathed life into us!
K: Do I have dirt in me??

Me: I thought I told you not to ask Nana to buy you anything.
K: I know, but I forgot. Anyway, that ship has passed.

and one of my favorite pictures, just because

Monday, April 25, 2016

Hand Camp

Katelyn is now old enough to go to Scottish Rite's Hand Camp. We've been looking forward to this for several years! This is an annual family camp for kids with an upper limb difference(s), and it is awesome! There were break out session for parents and activities to do together as a family. Ryan was too young to go with us, but Dave, Katelyn, and I had a great time. 

Katelyn's little arm certainly doesn't define her or us as a family-- and honestly, most of the time I forget about it because she adapts so well and doesn't have complications-- but this weekend was a fun chance to connect with other families and exchange stories and tips and tricks. Lots of advice for riding a bike and going to kindergarten from parents who have been there. And it was fun to watch Katelyn make friends and just enjoy being a kid at camp.

Many of the camp counselors have limb differences and attended camp as a child. They held little "how to" sessions for things like painting your own nails, putting hair into a ponytail, tying your shoes, playing guitar, etc. Of course Katelyn went straight for painting nails! 

It was the most adorable thing to see an adult with a limb difference teach a group of girls with limb differences how to paint their own nails! One rule: the child had to paint her own nails. No help from moms! Katelyn was so excited and proud and can't wait to practice doing her own nails more.

Arts and crafts

Making mini lasagnas in cooking

Hula hoop!

Making a (salt dough) fossil

One thing I've noticed about Scottish Rite is that it really is a community. Patients, parents, nurses, volunteers-- you get to know each other and it really does seem like a sort of family. We have some extra connections through Dave volunteering weekly at Scottish Rite, but there's just a bond that I suspect will deepen year after year of attending camp. It's such a wonderful organization!

Monday, April 4, 2016

Welcome, Ryan!

Well, we made it through the crazy month of March. We closed on our first home, moved, and had a baby in a span of 10 days. For anyone who is looking to add some crazy to their life, I don't recommend this BUT it can be done--with help, of course!! We couldn't have pulled any of this off without the help of our wonderful family and friends. We are so grateful to everyone (especially Mom, Christy, Nana, and Joey's crew of movers) who packed, cleaned, painted, moved, unpacked, helped with Katelyn and Ryan, brought us meals, and helped with all the new house details. Whew. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Two days after moving into the new house, baby Ryan joined our family! Thankfully he cooperated and stayed on schedule for induction on March 7. After a hectic few weeks and being on my feet way more than I should have been (even though I tried not to be!!), my body was ready to have this baby! Things progressed much faster than expected... I had plans to watch Netflix and color in my adult coloring books during labor, but that didn't happen. Start to finish in just four hours. Labor was much more painful than it was with Katelyn and the pain meds made me extremely nauseous afterwards, but things went so fast and for that I am grateful.

Seriously, that hair! I did not expect my baby to be born with sideburns.

When my family and Dave's mom came in to meet Ryan, Dad said a prayer and for some reason I just lost it. Everything was just so perfect. Katelyn saw me crying and said she felt like crying, too.

One proud daddy and all three of my loves

Katelyn was very particular (shocking) about holding Ryan. She was not ready to hold him in the hospital, which made me think she had some sort of scenario already planned out in her mind. Sure enough, after we got home from the hospital, she asked if she and Ryan could go upstairs and watch The Sound of Music. I agreed and as soon as we sat on her bed, she held out her arms and announced she was ready to hold him. Funny girl.

Meeting cousins Annabelle and Zoe. These girls have been so excited about Ryan's arrival!

Meeting cousin Bentley, born 8 weeks before Ryan

with Grandmom

with Grandad

with Nana

and with Papa

Our first time to go to church as a family was Easter Sunday. Perfect! Ryan stayed with us and was content during the service but I had to take him out when the preaching began because he woke up and I could tell things were about to go south. Even while I was pregnant, Ryan would kick like crazy every time he heard Pastor Brent's voice. Maybe they will be buddies someday!