Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Swimming Lessons

We've been passing the time these past two weeks with swimming lessons. Last year was an absolute disaster for Mckenna...she cried or screamed almost every day and ended up having essentially private lessons with one very patient teacher. I decided to return to the same pool since they had put up with Mckenna's irrational fear of the deep end. It's amazing what a difference a year has made! Mckenna still fears the deep end but has hesitantly ventured into those waters with minimal protest. Her biggest accomplishment has been the diving board! For a kid petrified of "not being able to touch" I was so proud of her for not only jumping in with a noodle but being brave enough to try jumping onto the floating noodle. I'll confess that her new Barbie in a bathing suit was sitting pool side...bribery to motivate her to jump.

Baileigh remains my fearless fish and is willing to try just about anything in the water. She is very excited that our new neighborhood in VA has a pool and a swim team for kids over the age of five! Brooke isn't thrilled that she doesn't get to swim...but class lessons are for ages 3 and up so she'll have to wait until next summer. We pass our time with snacks, coloring and the playground.
Every time I look at this picture I'm startled with how tall and thin Mckenna has become...she has totally lost any baby look. In comparison to her big sister it's hard to see her getting bigger ...but there is no denying she is growing up! She says her goggles don't hurt...but geesh...this looks painful!
Baileigh's favorite part of class, getting to jump off the diving board in the last five minutes.
Video of Mckenna's first time off the diving board. I was so afraid she was going to get cold feet and not go through with it...then I would have to hear her begging me all weekend for the Barbie doll. Thankfully, despite some tears and resistance, she was successful and I was able to give her the reward. I'm actually a little embarrassed to post this video because I didn't even realize that I was verbalizing my thoughts! I'm trying to encourage her from the poolside...as you'll hear...if it was necessary I was fully supportive of her teacher giving her a gentle nudge (aka push) in the pool. Thankfully we didn't have to resort to forcing her to jump.

video
She got out and gave me a thumbs up and said, "that was easy mom!"

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Sleep Over

Last week my friend was in NYC with her girls visiting from Oklahoma. We were honored that they took a day out of their schedule to come visit us in NJ. We didn't do a lot...but it was enough to wear the girls out regardless.

It's amazing how cute they are when they are all asleep!


Passing the Time

This is one way Brooke entertains herself in the bathroom. Whatever works!
video

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Homecoming

Despite all the signs being there for the past few weeks...I was still surprised and overcome with sadness to read of the death of Leslie. I never had the privilege of knowing this fellow Taylor alumni, but after being told of the blog that was created in her honor I began to follow her journey.

I was so anxious to see God perform a miracle in her life. It's so hard for my little brain to comprehend why he would decide to do anything outside of healing her body and restoring her so she could resume her roles as wife and mother to her two year old son. I will wrestle with the "why" question in my mind but in my heart I will cling to the fact that God doesn't have plan B's and that this wasn't outside of his will and that he indeed has a plan bigger and better then my comprehension...and it includes Leslie's complete healing in Heaven and not on earth.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Some Answers

First of all, thanks for all the words of encouragement and enthusiasm! I think you set a new comment record for my blog.

I've received a ton of emails and calls with questions so let's get started.

*No, this is not a joke.

*No, this wasn't a surprise.

*I've always wanted four kids.

*I'm due late March...somewhere around the 27th.

*When the baby is born Bailiegh will be 7 and 4 months, Mckenna will be 5 in a half and Brooke will turn 3 just a few weeks prior to the due date.

*I'm not wanting another because Brooke is getting big and I'm missing the baby stage...in fact, I don't really miss it at all and the thought of the first year is a little hard digest to right now. However, I can see them older and that makes one more pregnancy and the baby stage worth it...apparently I'm only seeing the good years in my mind and not the stage when we'll have teenagers.

*I'm feeling fine...occasionally like I ate too much Mexican, but otherwise, fine. Perhaps a little tired, cranky and ornery...but admittedly I think I was that way prior to the pregnancy.

*The girls will be excited but that this point they don't know...we figure they have enough on their plate and we're trying to wait until we move and get settled.

*We're not having one more to "try for a boy".

*We're not going to find out the sex of the baby...this is Brad's fault.

*We're not planning on having any more children after this. I said I wouldn't have kids after turning 35 or after 2010...this one will come a month before my 35th birthday and will be our fourth between 2001-2009! This makes the planner in me very happy!

Those were the questions I received most. To elaborate a little...Brad has said since we were dating that he saw us having four girls. I laughed and said whatever. Eleven years later and three girls later I started to wonder. I confess that after the birth of Brooke I struggled briefly with the fact that it was girl number three. I thought long and hard about a fourth...the last thing I wanted to do was try for a boy and feel disappointed at the miracle and gift of another baby girl. I look at our three amazing girls and sometimes feel like one is missing since I've been hearing for 10 years about how we'll have four girls. I don't know if its out of sheer curiosity or competitiveness or simply the fact that I like even numbers versus odd...but I'm ready to add one more girl to our gang so we can divide up equally when it comes time to ride roller coasters!

I'm not denying the fact that if we were in control of selecting the gender of this baby we would probably opt for boy in order to experience what it would be like to have a son...but that would mean 7 years of saved hand-me-downs going to waste and 3 sisters very resentful of their baby brother always getting his own room! If God surprises us with a boy we'll cross that bridge willingly, but at the same time a fourth girl justifies our upcoming bunk bed purchase and rounds out our group nicely!

We'll all have to wait until we meet this baby to learn if it is a boy or a girl...I would gladly learn of the sex at the ultrasound but my very traditional husband likes to wait until the birth. We've only found out the sex with Mckenna and Brad complained throughout the remainder of the pregnancy...not knowing isn't as bad as living with his constant soap box about how God didn't intend for us to know the sex prior to delivery blah, blah, blah, on and on and on! I confess it is a little more climatic and exciting...but it absolutely kills the part of me that wants to get organized. I'll have enough things to do in this new house in the next year that will probably fulfill any needs to decorate or nest without worrying about the nursery until the baby arrives.

Saturday, July 19, 2008


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Adventure Aquarium

On Monday I went to the Adventure Aquarium with my friend and her girls. We bought a season pass last summer and it expires at the end of the month so we wanted to squeeze in one more trip.

This hippo was standing on this exact rock the last time I was at the aquarium 9 months ago!
The aquarium has a lot of exhibits you can touch...sharks, jelly fish, rays, star fish etc. Brooke and Lila...Lila warned Brooke not to get too close or she would fall in! The penguins and seals are located in an outside exhibit. We sat through a seal show in the afternoon...it was pretty hot outside so it felt good to go back inside the cold aquarium!
This jaw is apparently prehistoric and very similar in size to the fictional jaws...at least I hope he is fictional since I swim at the Jersey shore!
Part of our annual pass included tickets to one of the two 4-D rides. We've never bothered taking the time for the ride but since this was our last visit we took advantage of our 6 free tickets that came with our season pass. We opted for the Sponge Bob "ride" despite our dislike of the little yellow man because we thought the other ride may be a little scary for the kids. I say "ride" because you sat in a movie theater and watched a 20 minute IMax type film in 3-D...the fourth dimension comes in the fact that your chair moved and vibrated with the movie as well as the fact that there were hoses that shot out air or mist depending on the movie. The kids all thought it was a little scary (only 5 minutes of it was animated Sponge Bob) and Brooke begged to leave.
Waiting on the movie...not scared, yet!

After our day we enjoyed some ice cream and the Philly sky line before heading home. Baileigh and her buddy, Emma.
The gang enjoying their sugar buzz before the drive home.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

New Look

My friend, who is an amazing photographer took pictures of the girls for me. She let me use a few for my header...so I had to give the blog an entirely new look to match her beautiful photos.

I want to make the disclaimer on her behalf that the photos on the header are now a little blurry after all my tweaking and adjusting in attempts to make my header work. Her original photos were crystal clear and hopefully I'll eventually figure out how to get my header perfect.

Check out her website and if you are in the NJ area book her now! She is great with kids (she has 3 of her own...so I guess it comes natural!) and does an amazing job capturing them in their element.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

I hope PETA isn't watching!

I appreciate the fact that Baileigh doesn't mind bugs, worms, frogs etc. In fact, I think she enjoys playing with them a little more then she probably should.

The 2008 frog summer Olympics...
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If you watch the second video carefully you'll see that one of the frogs (they are both sitting on her board) falls off her boogie-board and is then run over by Baileigh...I was praying we would find him in one piece!
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Thursday, July 10, 2008

Potty Training Progress

Considering this is only day 4 of potty training Brooke I supposed I should be pleased...however I'm ready for her to be completely done!

For the most part she wears underwear around the house and pull-ups when we go out and an overnight diaper at bedtime (until we run out of them). Today she has been accident free, but wearing a pull up all day because for whatever reason she doesn't want the underwear today (they were her favorite yesterday! Go figure). We went to Target she peed in the potty (if you have little girl you totally need to get the fold up potty seats for stores, makes it so easy!), and then afterwards she peed in the potty in the car and stayed dry the entire time we were out. She has been in the same pull up today and it is still dry!

Prior to today we've been about 50/50. She is going on the potty seven or eight times a day but also have about as many accidents around the house...I'm so glad we have hardwoods throughout! She has even had one poop on the potty which surprised both of us! We're now trying to fight off constipation with her diet since she isn't a big fan of pooping on the potty. My biggest challenge is her sisters schedule! This was much easier with Baileigh when I could cater to her during the process since Mckenna was only 8 months old and didn't have too much of a social life at that point.

The other obstacles is how darn stubborn the kid can be. She will pee when she wants, where she wants. Sometimes she would prefer to go upstairs and pee. Other days pull-ups are not allowed and only panties, next day completely opposite! I should have totalled the numbers spent in the bathroom looking at books and coloring and playing with stickers. Unfortunately for all the hours that Brooke has accumulated doing those things I've also accumulated about as many hours because she wants mommy to sit down, too! Oh well, it will be worth it to be out of diapers soon! Knock on wood!

An Update

This week has been a little insane. Brad left early Wednesday morning to start this new chapter of his career. His title has already been changed a few times...but essentially he is the Chief of Tanker Readiness at the Pentagon. I think that means he has a nice title and sits in a cubicle with outdated office furniture and makes rubberband balls. Well, maybe a little more then that, eventually.

He'll come home on the weekends but in the meantime we're getting used to his absence which has been harder then normal considering he has been around the past two weeks 24/7 and we've all become accustom to having him here. I was really missing him yesterday as I cut and edged our 1.5 acres with our small push mower. This isn't a fast process anyway but takes 3x as long when having to stop to help fasten a bike helmet, get a bandaid, take a potty break, open bubbles, find the sidewalk chalk, etc while trying to keep visual on 3 children, two dogs and all the neighborhood kids.

The house drama continues...one step forward, two steps back. If I blogged about the details it would be pages...let's just say that yesterday there were over 30 emails between me, our realtor, the sellers agent and the lender. Of course everything went crazy on Brad's first day out our touch and I felt like I was standing in front of a firehouse trying to answer questions and make decisions. Hopefully we'll close on August 8th...just as everything was coming together we realized that the process had taken so long (since Memorial Day!) that we had to change the dates on the contract had expired. That means another addendum and more signatures from all parties involved which isn't fast with two banks involved, two realtors, buyers, and divorcing sellers living in different locations.

We're closing much later then we had anticipated but thankful we can continue to rent this house until we're ready. Since we made our offer the homeowners have moved out and the house is now vacant. Hopefully in another week we're going to start renting the house from the owners until we close. This will give Brad somewhere to stay other then a hotel and allow us to start painting, cleaning, getting cable and phone hooked up, etc. before we actually become the owners.

On the one hand it feels like a quiet summer as we occupy our time with VBS and swim lessons, yet knowing what next month holds and all the things I should probably be doing around the house to get organized makes it feel like living in the middle of a tornado!

Monday, July 07, 2008

Big Girl Bed

We figured since we were in a period of major life transitions why not make another one and switch Brooke to a twin bed. After her nap today we took apart her crib. We have definitely got our money out of this crib since we purchased it in the fall of 2001.
Brooke was very proud of her big girl bed and we were optimistic that bedtime would go smoothly.
At bedtime Brooke told Brad, "you leave, nobody". She was quiet for the next hour and then started calling me to tell me that her diaper was wet. We spent several hours on the potty today...1 successful visit and about 3 wet pairs of undies...but several 3 hour periods of staying dry. Not a great first day but not bad. The best thing is that she is fairly cooperative about sitting on the potty.
It's amazing how much older she looks sleeping in a bed and not her converted crib. She is pretty happy to be in "Penna's ole bed!" (Mckenna's old bed).

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Here We Go Again!

I hope the third time is a charm...third child to potty train begins this week!

I had planned on conquering this once we moved to VA, but since our move has been pushed back to mid August I decided to see what we could accomplish in the next few weeks. Brooke is telling me when she is wet and has actually been waking up at night yelling "I WET". She also has been taking off her diaper and looking in her closet for a new one when she wants a dry diaper. I took all those things as signs that she is ready. She'll be 28 months old tomorrow and it would be really nice to have her out of diapers by this fall!


We hit Target today and picked up some supplies. I thought if Brooke helped it would build the excitement. We got a new potty so I could keep the old one in the back of the Suburban (I highly recommend this when potty training!). We also picked out some stickers, pull-ups for bedtime, m&m's and jelly beans for rewards, flushable wipes and thick undies...I let her pick out one pack of character undies for the future.

I had planned on starting the process tomorrow but she was pretty enthusiastic after our shopping trip so we started after her nap today. I put her in underwear around 4:30 and she stayed dry until 7:30. She was a little hesitant about the big girl undies at first, but after making the transition she was pretty proud!
She spent the better part of 6:30-7:30 running around naked. I spent a lot of the afternoon sitting on the potty, too...reading books to her and trying to encourage her to go potty with mommy. I forgot what this is like! The other girls have VBS this week so I think the remainder of my days will consist of sitting on the potty and reading books!

I think she went pee-pee on the potty tonight...according to Baileigh, Brooke was playing in Baileigh's room and started to go pee-pee. Baileigh said they ran to the bathroom and Brooke got on the potty and went a little more. It was enough that we all did a song and dance and she got an m&m...considering the hour plus that she sat on the potty tonight I was glad to give her at least one piece of candy as a reward.
While we're making big changes I think we're going to put her in a twin bed tomorrow night. She loves to lay in her sisters twin bed and she throws a fit when it is time to get in her crib which has already been converted to a toddler bed...she wants to sleep in a big girl bed so badly! We had planned on making the switch in VA as well, but we're thinking that getting her used to it in a familiar environment in the next month may make her first few nights in her new bedroom in VA a little less difficult.

4th of July!

We celebrated the actual 4th of July in a low key manner. We hung out around the house during the day and met up with our friend's parent's house to use their pool. Afterwards we went back to their house to cookout and finish the nights with smores.
Brooke never ate an actual smore, she just ate about a dozen marshmallows.
Later that night the girls entertained themselves with every Barbie toy our friends own. It looked like a Barbie exploded, but they were all happy!

3rd of July!

On the 3rd of July our town puts on an impressive fireworks show...considering the size of the town! We were counting and we have actually attending this event 4 times since 2002...that is a lot of repetition for a military family!

We start off the evening at friends house with a cookout and then walk to the fireworks show later that night.
The girls liked the glow sticks that Daddy surprised them with...look at each girl pretending to look at the camera for me but they are too distracted by their new toys!
Awaiting the fireworks with our friends.

Brooke was okay as long as Daddy kept her ears covered the entire time.
After the fireworks we returned to our friends house for dessert. I think the kids love the fact that they get to stay up late and eat cupcakes at 10:30 is almost as exciting as the fireworks!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Ocean City

We spent today on the beach at Ocean City along with four other families from our group of church friends. The water was freezing but the kids didn't seem to mind!
Baileigh was so excited to get the chance to boogie-board again...she has been talking about it all spring!
Daddy is on vacation for a few weeks and its been a lot of fun to have him around for all our outings! I especially enjoyed today since he played on the beach with the girls the entire time while I sat and socialized with my girlfriends!
Brad's fort he built for the kids. Several times today we had to defend the fort from other kids trying to conquer our territory...they weren't very intimidated when they just saw a few little girls, but they seemed to run off when Brad appeared...or Katie!
Despite the cold tempertures, Mckenna got in on the boogie-board action...last year she wasn't brave enough.
Mckenna was buried head (kneck) to toe...compliments of her friends, Emma and Lila.
Right around Brooke's nap time she got a second wind and was really wound up. She spent thirty minutes jumping into the hole that Brad built earlier in the day. She would jump, splash, laugh and get up and do it again...over and over. No wonder she fell asleep within seconds of getting in the car!
Baileigh and her friend, Allison...I like to call them ebony and ivory since Allison is so dark and tan, especially next to Baileigh's white blond hair and fair skin!

Thankfully we have access to an outdoor shower at my friend's house...Brooke definitely needed to be stripped down and rinsed before she got in the car.

We had a great day, however, I was horrified at bath time tonight when I realized how sun burnt Baileigh's legs were...I sprayed her well this morning but I never reapplied and with her fare skin she got really red on the top of her legs. We gave her a cool bath and smothered Aloe on her and gave her some Motrin. Mckenna's back is a little sun burnt too, but not bad. Brooke...my child with a completely different complexion...not a red spot on her body, just nice and tan!