Thursday, August 25, 2011

Mickey Mouse

Mickey is a very loved mouse in our house. Liam absolutely can't get enough of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on Disney. When he wakes up in the morning he comes straight to my room, snuggles in between Jared and I and turns on the tv for his cartoon. He sits there with his arms behind his head and legs outstretched. He is so darn cute.

So the other day I decided to buy him a stuffed Mickey. He was so surprised and loved it.


Checking him out. Mickey now has his own corner in Liam's crib. He likes his 'pets' in specific places.

Also, guess who is potty training????

The only kiddo I have left in diapers - woot woot!!! He has started this all on his own and so I'm optimistically hoping for December to be down to pull ups at night. Liam won't speak to tell us he has to go he just pats himself and points to the bathroom - whatever works right!

And here is our very first tomato from our tiny 1 plant garden.......
We have a few more and hope they will ripen soon. We planted a little late so we will have to wait and see what we get. Eli is very proud as you can see of what 'his' tomato plant produced. Way to go Eli!!!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Dollywood


Liam's first time on River Rampage - he got drenched but loved every minute of it! Doesn't he look so small!

We wanted to do one last fun summer trip for the boys before school starts this Thursday. We took a day trip to Dollywood. We got there a little after the park opened and it was not very crowded at all. We walked on almost every ride and if we had to wait it wasn't longer than a few minutes. Last time we were there in May Adley was just shy of being able to ride all the big rides. We learned about a place where they will measure you and give you an armband that has the appropriate color that corresponds with your height category. This way you are measured once and simply just have to show your armband to get on the ride. Adley was thrilled that he was tall enough this time to ride any ride in the park. Eli and Liam also got moved up to the next category. Thank goodness for Eli because this kid has been dying to ride more rides. He and Adley are not afraid of anything.
Adley ended up riding all the big rides with either Jared or myself. It was nice to have a buddy to ride the big rides with while one of us stayed with the other kids. Aidan isn't one to ride anything that might be the littlest bit scary. Hopefully in time he will learn they are a lot of fun. So Adley tackled Tennessee Tornado (3 loops), Mystery Mine (vertical lift and drop & corkscrew), Thunderhead (this roller coaster is hard for me to ride) and Barnstormer (he did twice, once with me, once with Jared - this ride is a kind of swing ride that you go 81 ft in the air - insane really!) He's a real trooper. Here are the little guys getting wet while we waited for Jared & Adley.

Eli rode 2 new rides for him and got to go on Adventure Mountain for the first time. This is a ropes course. He is usually stuck waiting on the big boys playing on the 'baby' ropes course as he calls it. Well Jared took the boys up and then 5 min later he brought Eli down hysterically crying because they wouldn't let him on it. What? he had an orange bracelet, he was measured, why won't they let him on....turns out they measured him again at their station for some crazy reason and he was barely too short. This of course made me very mad. What was the point of the dang bracelet and Eli had been looking forward to this ALL day! I asked to speak to whoever was in charge. They apologized and said they had to abide by the safety regulations. I said 'don't tell me sorry, tell my 4yr sorry. He's been looking forward to this all day, he has a bracelet!' Eli of course didn't understand and frankly I didn't either. So I told them all the other new rides he had been on. We even walked back down to one with one of the ropes guides and measured him there, sure enough he was tall enough. We went back to Adventure Mountain and they agreed to let him on - FINALLY!!!! They did have someone come and inspect their measuring station. It was accurate, however the ground that it was on sloped down, just enough that it affected Eli's height. They did also inspect the other ride and the official measuring station for accuracy. All in all Eli was happy and that was what mattered to me. I knew he was tall enough and would be safe to go on it. He loved every minute and felt like such a big boy! Aidan really surprised me and took harder obstacles than he ever has before and Adley even tried a few new ones.
Eli with Jared on the balance beam

Aidan on ropes and Adley a net. Plus the water shoots up from under them. They both got soaked.

Another water play station
I think Liam would stay here all day if I let him, picking up the discs, going to the top and watching them float down.

All in all a very fun day!!! Meet the teacher is today and school starts tomorrow!!!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Landscaping

We have been landscaping our house a lot lately. It doesn't look like a lot but my body will tell you differently. It definitely FEELS like a lot. We have spent many evenings working in the yard as a family and although hard, has been a lot of fun to work together. Our first project was outlining the beds and then putting down landscape cloth.
We also got a load of gravel to put next to the concrete pad by Jared's workshop and some river rock for near the garage side door.

Eli waiting on the gravel
Next up we had to redirect the water coming off the embankment in the back. We dug a trench added a french drain and tied that back into the gutter drains. It seems to be working. Thank goodness!
Then we got a load of big river rock that we placed to the right of the house where the water naturally flows during a rainstorm. It looks great.

The boys put their many dump trucks to work hauling loads of rock.

We took a break yesterday and went to Dollywood. It was a great day! No crowds, good weather and best of all Adley, Eli and Liam all got moved up to the next category of rides because they were tall enough this time. Adley can now ride anything in the park. More on that later.

Yesterday we got a load of mulch and today we moved it to all the beds and used some of the leftover river rock we had as well. The boys again helped out a lot. Eli is by far my hardest worker. He is always outside with us ready to work. Liam tags along if he's not napping. The big boys are starting to come out more, I think because they know it scores them brownie points for later. Whatever works right?!
They got very dirty today with the mulch. I think it will take a few baths for Eli to be completely clean. His feet were terrible.
Our helpers!
Finally done today!

The back
Next month we will plant our shrubs and trees and over seed the grass. Hopefully by spring next year our yard will be finished!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Liam

Man do I love this little boy! He is full of squeals, smiles, slobbers, hugs, crumbs and dirt. He is at such a fun age. Liam says a lot through the faces he makes because he is quite stubborn and shy and still not wanting to talk much. He says a hand full of words, shakes his head yes and no and is starting to make different sounds. He is making progress so I am not too worried anymore. And if you haven't heard or noticed....no more pacifier....Yay! Liam is growing up so fast but is still my most snugly baby. He loves to rock in the chair before nap and bed and when he gets up in the morning he often times runs to my room to crawl in bed with me for more snuggles. I just love it! Up next, to turn his crib into a toddler bed....then all signs of 'babyness' will be gone, ah so sad!

Liam learned how to climb anything recently, kind of scary! This was a search for his paci back in March. The boy would do anything for that darn pacifier, but surprisingly it was pretty easy to get rid of. We are very lucky he didn't get hurt in any of climbing adventures.
Liam loves Mickey, I'm mean really really loves Mickey! This is what he does most mornings while eating his cereal from a baggie. He does not like to be disturbed and pretty much ignores everyone around him.
He also loves to open/close the garage door. Now our car is synched with the garage door but we have to bring the other one so Liam can do it. He gets it off the counter when we leave, hops in the car, makes a few noises to go along with pressing the button and closes the door. Then when we get home he opens it, gets out and closes it from inside the house, then places it back on the counter.

The kids love the call him 'mail' because that is what his name is spelled backwards. The boys always ask people what is their backwards name. We have a Nadia, Yelda, Ile and Mail!

And the above watermelon picture. This is where Liam spends most of his time eating, especially watermelon and popsicles. Otherwise I spend half of my day wiping up sticky messes from the floor. He loves watermelon and I am a big fan of the slow melt popsicles. You must let your kids try them!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Bone Marrow Donation

Recently I was contacted by the Bone Marrow Registry stating that I was a match for a patient. This caught me off guard as I signed up with the registry in 1998, while living in Arizona and in college. I think I went to give blood one day and they asked if I wanted to be on the list, I said yes, they took a swab of my mouth and that was it, very simple. After the first call to see if I was willing to move forward, which I agreed to, they set up a call for a health history review. That is now completed and tomorrow I go to get my blood drawn to run more tests to see how good of a match I am for the patient. The only information that I will ever know about the patient until a year after transplant is that he is a 63 yr old male with myelodysplastic syndrome. If I am a good match the donation could take place in the next 2 months. I am of course nervous of the process and have tried to research it the best that I can. There are 2 donation methods - harvesting bone marrow from my hip under light anesthesia or a peripheral donation after taking a certain medication for 5 days that draws the stem cells out of my bone marrow. The donation may need to be done in California or possibly somewhere on the east coast. The reason I bring this up is that I don't know anyone that has ever gone through this process, do you? If so do you mind filling me in on their experience, positive or negative, complications, side effects, etc. I am totally willing to help out. I know circumstances where some people have never gotten a match and have died. I want to help but I want to be informed the best that I can. So please comment if you have any info. Thanks!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Easter & misc

Yes, I know it's June and I'm posting about Easter - ridiculously behind, but I'm going to do it anyway. I was lucky enough to be on-call on Easter and spend the time with family. I love the food and watching the kids hunt for eggs. I remember even when I was in college and came home for Easter my parents would still hide eggs for us...some with candy inside and some with $ inside. That will probably be a tradition I uphold in the future. I also like Easter because of the message it sends and the reminder it gives us all.

Aidan does not like getting his picture taken.

I love the look on Liam's face

When Aidan turned 8 he started his journey in scouts. We did a cake contest for the Blue & Gold banquet. His cake won. I thought he an Jared did a fantastic job. I didn't help one bit in the making of the cake. It was all the boys.


Friday, June 24, 2011

Eli's Preschool/Discovery Place

Eli finished his first year of preschool in May. They have this big program for the 4yr old kids and the 3yr old class gets to participate as well. Eli loves school. He asks me everyday if he gets to go to school tomorrow. He only goes 2 times a week. I hope his love for school doesn't wear off like it has for Aidan. I think it's because Aidan is bored. I wish his teacher could see that and challenge him more. Maybe in 3rd grade it will be different. Did I just say 3rd grade - time sure does fly and I'm certainly not getting any younger. Anyway, back to Eli. He did a great job in his program. He yawned a lot, poor kid we were at Dollywood the day before and didn't get home until late. But he did flash a few good smiles...

Eli with Miss Linda - he loves her and we do too!

Eli being silly at a store on Main Street.

Also while my parents were here we went to Discovery Place in Charlotte. It was so much fun. We also saw the IMAX while there called "Born to be Wild". Aside from the place being so environmentally friendly and organic (it was $5 for a dang organic PB&J - there wasn't much in the way of selection for the average family), it was a fun place to visit.
Liam at the water station
I love this picture of Adley because he is in the air!
The kids spent majority of their time at this machine that you control yourself by spinning wheels. It transports nerd-like pebbles from one side to the other. We spent so much time here we missed a whole section of the place that we didn't even know about.

Liam in the air chair. I think this picture looks like something out of Star Wars.
Adley's tower
Playing games with Grandma & Grandpa Bird while me and Jared went on a much needed date night.
Me & my mom