Sunday, December 23, 2007

Buh bye, Bob-bob! KAAAA-FLUSH!

Those were the words I heard Sean say a couple of days ago as I was sitting at the computer. I opened the bathroom door and saw him standing over the potty, watching the water swirl down the drain. With a big grin of excitment, he frantically gestured to me- the sink, the potty, the sink... the potty. I looked at the sink and noticed Aidan's cup that holds his toothpaste and Spongebob Squarepants toothbrush was knocked over. Wait a second, there is no toothbrush.

"Sean? Where is Spongebob?"

Sean claps, points to the potty and repeats "Buh bye, Bob-bob!"


Fast foward two more days, add in the 5 year old is "practicing" wiping his own bottom, at the expensive of half a roll of paper per potty use. I thought the plunger days wouldn't hit until he was a teenager spending too much time at the Taco Hut.

We have seven people coming for Christmas brunch and the downstairs potty is Out of Order. Buh bye, Bob-bob.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Peppermint Patties & Lemon Cookies

I did some holiday baking this week, making gifts for the teachers, therapists, and Doug's office mates. These are recipes I got from friends a few years ago and are so yummy! I am glad I have adopted them!

Peppermint Patties

1 pound confectioner's sugar
3 tablespoons butter (softened)
2-3 teaspoons peppermint extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup evaporated milk
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons shortening

In a bowl, combine first four ingredients. Add milk & mix well. Roll into 1-inch balls and place on a waxed paper lined cookie sheet. Chill for 20 mins. Flatten with a glass to 1/4 inch thickness, then chill 30 more mins. In a microwave safe bowl, melt chocolate and shortening together. Dip patties (use 2 forks) in chocolate, then lay on clean wax paper to harden. I keep them on cookie sheets in the fridge to set up until ready to eat or give. A single batch yields about 30-35 patties.

Lemon Cookies

4 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cream of tartar
1tsp salt
1cp butter, softened
1cp sugar
1cp powdered sugar
2 eggs
1cp veg. oil
1tsp lemon extract
1tsp grated lemon peel

3 1/2cps powdered sugar
1/2cp fresh lemon juice
1/2cp coarsely chopped pistachio nuts

Cookies: In large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, and cream of tartar; set aside. In another large bowl, cream butter and sugars at medium speed. Add eggs, one at a time; beat until light and fluffy. Add oil, lemon extract, and lemon peel; beat until well-mixed. Gradually add dry ingredients to creamed mixture; beat until well-blended. Wrap and chill dough for several hours.

Icing: Combine powdered sugar and lemon juice to make a stiff paste. Set the bowl over a pan of hot water to warm the icing to a spreading consistency. Keep over low heat while frosting.

Preheat oven to 325F. Grease 2 large cookie sheets. Divide dough into thirds. Work one third at a time; keep remaining dough refrigerated. Roll a heaping tsp into a ball, place on cookie sheet, and flatten it into a 2 in. circle with bottom of a glass dipped in granulated sugar. Repeat with remaining dough. Bake 8-10 min. or until just lightly golden at edges. Let stand on cookie sheet 2-3min. before removing. Frost with icing and sprinkle with nuts. Makes about 7 dozen cookies.

And I took photos of the boys standing in front of our tree to print up and make into little gift tag/ornaments for the packages. What little cuties!

German Chocolate Advent Calendar

A few years ago, my mom, "aka Nana", started a Christmas tradition with her grandkids. She buys each of them a advent calendar filled with German chocolates. Every day, you push open a little door to reveal a small piece of chocolate with a different Christmas image impressed in it.

Aidan adores this tradition. This year he is doing a much better job of pacing himself and being patient enough to wait for the next day's chocolate. It's been a great motivator in the mornings to get him ready for school. He has to finish his breakfast & get dressed in a timely manner in order to get his chocolate to eat before school.

Since Sean is Mr. I Don't Eat Your Stinkin' Food, we gave his calendar to their cousin, Kenzie. Poor Sean! Missing out on a little goodie every day. Maybe we should make a calendar with little cups of yogurt in it.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Holiday traditions

Melissa at Banana Migraine is encouraging bloggers to share their holiday traditions this month. What a fun way to share the season! I am enjoying seeing everyone else's homes and families, so I am linking my Christmas posts to her. Hope you will follow the links, too.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

What a Week!

Warning: Photo Heavy & Wordy Blog Coming!

Ahhh, life in the Midwest, where the deer and the antelope roam. Where the weather can change in a blink of an eye. Where hospitality is abundant. Where Christmas is definitely in the air...

Last Friday, the boys and I woke up ambitious to decorate for Christmas. School was closed for a teacher work day, so we stayed home and set up our holiday displays. Aidan was extremely helpful with the decorations this year. Sean was not so interested, but we did talk him into hanging a few candy canes. By noon, our home was transformed into a house eagerly awaiting the holidays!

Grandma came over on Saturday afternoon to watch the boys while Doug and I did some Christmas shopping. It was so nice to tackle that task without the kiddos! Thanks, Grandma!

On Sunday, Aidan and I put together a Gingerbread House. He had been asking to make one for weeks, so he was super excited to finally make one. It was my first attempt and it was fun to do with Aidan. Sean was more interested in playing with Woody than helping us. Maybe next year he will want to help more. I actually talked Doug into taking a few pics of us, so once again you are graced with me in my Sunday bumming clothes.

Now for the interesting part of the week! On Monday, dire warnings of an ice storm hit the news. People anticipating the worst started calling in closings and cancellations for the next day. Usually I tend to think that people over-react and do not pay much attention to warnings. I have lived in KS so long I know that anything goes when it comes to weather predictions and the only thing you can be sure of is that you can't predict much. However, I minimally prepared for bad weather by catching up on laundry, dishes and made a big warm dinner for us (Corned beef and cabbage, yum!)

For once, they were right. We got hit bad. Our house lost power around 3 am Tuesday and it did not get restored until 6 pm Thursday. We woke up Tuesday morning thinking that it wouldn't be out for long. We called Doug's office & they had power so we all got dressed and went there to spend the day. Doug's parents live in a loft above the office, so they invited us to spend the night with them. We ended up staying there 2 nights and 3 days. The newspaper on Wednesday said that 11,000 people in our city were without power and it would take up to 10 days to get power restored to everyone. By Friday they got the number down to 5,600.

Schools were closed until Friday, so the boys and I spent our days hanging out in the office or loft with little give-everyone-a-break outings to do more shopping, check out the glittering diamond trees in the park, and a visit to the Historical Museum to see the Gingerbread House display and play in the children's room.

The boys really enjoyed spending so much time with their grandparents. Even though we only live a 12 blocks from each other, the boys do not get to spend much time with them due to their busy schedules. It was like an impromptu family vacation! Thank you so much for the wonderful hospitality, great meals and company.

We got settled back home on Friday, only to hear now a snow storm was due to hit that night and Saturday, expecting 7-10 inches of snow. *Sigh* We had planned on a visit from my parents this weekend. They were coming to spend the night with the boys while Doug and I attended an overnight office Christmas party.

Saturday morning we woke up to 6" of snow and light flurries. My parents and I decided it was best if they didn't travel to see us. We asked Doug's cousin to babysit during the dinner party that night. Luckily she was available and the boys had a good time with her, her husband and their son. We had a nice time at the dinner party, then picked up two sleeping angels to take back to the hotel with us for the night.

After we got home today, Aidan and Doug had fun making snowballs, snow angels, and sledding in the backyard. Sean is not so crazy about the snow. He is not in the least bit interested in touching it, so I couldn't convince to go outside with me to take some snow pics.

*Yawn* It's late Sunday night and we have a new week ahead of us. It's the last week of school before Christmas break and I hope they get to attend every day. I have a little more shopping to do, presents to wrap and maybe do some baking this week. The school party is on Friday, so I need to put together goody gifts for the teachers.

Here's to a mellow-er week ahead!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Worth the Hassle

As I have written about before, Sean is only willing to eat baby food. He has a very specific list of what he is willing to eat. The only cereal he eats is Del Monte's Rice with Bananas and Apples. Unfortunately, our neighborhood grocery store and Target quit selling this cereal. Now we are forced to make a trip to WalMart to buy his breakfast every week. Doug and I detest going to WalMart, especially Super WalMarts. They are so crowded, big and annoying to shop at. It's as far from our house as you can be and still be in the same town as us. We make the trip with full knowledge that it will be a hassle.

This past Sunday, the four of us loaded up in the car, wearing our Sunday slumming around the house wardrobe. We arrived at 11 am and as soon as we walked in the door, Aidan insisted he was starving for a Subway lunch. Sigh. So Doug and Aidan sat at Subway and I put Sean in the cart to race back to baby food.

On the way there, I saw a mother and her daughter chatting to friends in the aisle. I did a double take because I noticed the daughter, a young adult, had Down syndrome! Aside from when we take Sean and Aidan to school, we rarely see others in town with Down syndrome. Of course, like any mom with a kid with Ds, I whipped around the aisle to stroll back by for another look, hoping to catch their eye and smile, say hello, flash off Sean. Darn, they didn't notice us.

Went back to get the baby food, only found 4 jars of it on the shelf. Double sigh. This means we will have to come back in less than a week to re-stock. Darn you, WalMart!

Cruised back by the mom and daughter, tried to get Sean to stop gnawing on the shopping cart handle so that he could give them a big hello. Nope, they didn't notice us again.

Paid up and went in to Subway. I heard the overhead announce that Santa was in the seasonal dept and asked Aidan if he'd like to say hi to Santa. He quickly packed his food and his mouth and cleaned up.

Head waaaaaaaaay back to Seasonal Dept and see that Santa is sitting on a throne made of 24 pack Pepsi cans and has a giant 7Up Christmas tree behind him. We asked Aidan to go say hi, and he buried himself in my back. Santa held out a piece of candy and said, "Hi Aidan, want to come talk to me?"

Aidan the Chocolate Addict slowly inched his way up there. Santa asked him a few things about how he was and asked "what would you like for Christmas?"

Aidan replied "I already sent you a letter, Santa!" As in, "don't you read your mail?"

Santa chuckled and said, "Yes! I got your letter, but I'd like to make sure I got it right. Can you tell me again?"

Aidan told him he wants the Webkinz Police Dog, even though he got one for his birthday already. He wants to give it to Kenzie. He also wants a big Hot Wheels racetrack.

Santa asked if Sean would like to say hello and Sean climbed back into my womb. The photographer said, you can all go up there and take a family pic together.

oh dear.

So we did.....

How's that for Fugliest Family Photo of the Year? shudder!

We finally convinced the boys to leave and headed out. We saw another mom shopping with her 8-ish year old son with Down syndrome on the way out the door! What the Heck! Talk about timing! Guess it was worth the hassle after all.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Aidan's Weaning Celebration

I debated on whether or not to blog about this, it's something that not everyone that knows me knows about. Then I decided that it is an important event in my son's life, one that we are happy to celebrate with him and I should share it.

The night before Aidan's fifth birthday, he and I shared the end of a very special relationship. We talked about his upcoming birthday and how special it is to be five years old. I told him that when you are five, you are old enough to go on special playdates with your cousins without needing mommy or daddy there. You are old enough to start Kindergarten in the Fall. You are old enough to sit in a booster seat and use the seatbelt. You can have sleepovers at grandma and nana's house. You can go bowling. You can swim in the pool with your floaty and go down the waterslide. Your baby teeth will get loose and fall out, so that you can grow grown-up teeth. And you are also old enough to not need mommy's milk anymore.

Aidan and I have been following a long path of child led weaning. Before he was born, I knew I wanted to breastfeed him. My mom always called me her "breastfed baby", the only one of her three children she nursed for awhile. My sister, Tanya, had nursed both of her sons for a little over a year each and my mother-in-law had nursed her sons about a year, too. I felt confident that Aidan would nurse "at least a year." At the first La Leche League meeting I went to, I saw the group leader nurse her then 18 month old daughter and was surprised to see a walking, talking toddler nursing. It was the first time I had the idea that weaning didn't have to occur at age one.

Once Aidan was born and we began our nursing journey, I quickly realized that it was easier to think day-by-day about how his life would evolve instead of year by year. When we had difficulties in the beginning, I cried to Doug, "This isn't fair! It isn't supposed to be this hard! I give up, go buy some formula!" He'd rub my shoulders, hug me, try to calm Aidan and I down, then I'd try again to nurse. We made it through the early hurdles, we made it through teething & sleepless all night nurse-a-thons, we adapted when I had to take a job away from Aidan and send him to daycare at nine months of age. For every rough patch, there were long stretches where I loved every minute of watching my son grow thanks to my milk. Where he looked into my eyes and showed me how much he loved the warm, taste and comfort at my breast. For all the times he fell while learning to walk or had his feelings hurt and was unhappy, nursing was the magic bandaid that soothed his soul.

When we found ourselves unexpectedly pregnant with Sean, I thought my milk will dry up and Aidan will wean. He didn't. Instead, we took a sippy cup of water to bed and he'd alternate between the breast and the cup to drift to sleep. So many times during that pregnancy I thought, "I can't take it anymore! It's giving me the heebie-jeebies! It hurts." We would try to settle him down without nursing, but he just couldn't, he needed to nurse, he needed that comfort. Day-by-day we got through it.

After Sean was born, Aidan went from nursing three times a day to nursing as often as he could. I needed to pump breastmilk for Sean until he was strong enough to nurse, and Aidan nursed one side while I pumped the other. My supply was enormous to feed two babies on demand day and night. Sean was four months old when he started nursing well and the boys would hold hands or pat each other's head while tandem nursing. Every so often, I would think "I can't believe I am doing this. I never would of imagined sharing this experience with my sons."

I put together a photobook called Aidan's Nursing Journey when he was around 3. It has photos of us nursing and talks about how one day he will be ready to wean and we will have a weaning party. Aidan couldn't grasp the word weaning, so we call it the "All Done Milkies Party." He liked the idea of a party, he would tell us he wanted it to have cake, balloons, his friends and family. We said we'd go to a special favorite place, and that place has changed over the years. We'd ask him when he thought he'd be all done with milkies, the age would change also. When he was 3, he said "when I am 6." When he was 4, he said "when I am 8."

Last Spring, Doug and I were blessed to find out that I was expecting again. A baby due right around Christmas. We were so excited to have another child. I noticed that my milk supply slowed down immediately and it was difficult to nurse. We didn't tell the boys that a baby was growing, but Aidan seemed to sense the change and night weaned himself right away. Sean also cut down in the amount he nursed. Unfortunately, I miscarried in May. Gradually, I felt back to normal, but the boys maintained the limited amount of nursing.

On the morning of his fifth birthday, Aidan woke up and asked to nurse. I asked him if he remembered what we talked about the night before, about how it might be time for him to be all done with milkies. He smiled and said "Oh yeah! I'm five today! It's my birthday!" He bounced off the bed to wake everyone else up. Since then, he has occasionally asked to nurse, but I have reminded him that it's okay to be done. He isn't having as much difficulty falling asleep as I thought he would and he isn't clinging to me more than usual.

I asked him if he was ready to have his All Done Milkies Party and he said yes. We decided to invite Uncle Curt and Cousin Mackenzie to join us at the indoor water park this Saturday. It was a cold, rainy November day, but a very warm, happy celebration.

Congratulations, Aidan! We are so proud of you for making this big step!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Walking and Talking

Inspired by Michelle's interviews with Ciarra at DownBlogger, I decided I should try to get a bit of video of Sean's building vocabulary. He has several words and signs that he uses, but it isn't always easy to get him to perform on demand, as any parent knows! Here is take three of Sean's chat with Mom. Hope you enjoy it!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Snowman, Snowman, Snowman

We had a nice long holiday and are ready to catch up again. We spent a couple days with my family, enjoyed a visit from my big sister, Ann, and her daughter, Kari. Unfortunately I realized on the drive to my mom's that I had forgotten to pack our camera! Kari took some photos, and let Aidan take several as well, so hopefully I will get some shots of everyone together. We had lots of yummy Thanksgiving feasting and hit the stores for Black Friday shopping. Aidan and Sean had so much fun playing with their cousins. We only get to see Ann and Kari once a year, so he had a hard time remembering who they are. After spending a couple of hours making Playdough snowmen, snow forts and snowballs; I think they will have a clear memory of Kari! We came home in time to visit with Doug's family that drove down from KC. It started snowing as we pulled into town, so we had perfect timing for once. Grandma Janice hosted some great meals in the loft and the kids had fun chasing each other around the office building. Saturday afternoon, Aidan and cousin Mackenzie scrapped what little snow we got into a snowman! They did a great job making it, but the sun was their enemy so it didn't last long at all. Aidan woke up feeling crummy today, so we skipped school and stretched out the holiday one more day. He seems to be back to himself now, so it's back to school tomorrow. I know he won't admit it, but I am sure he misses seeing his teachers and friends. Hope everyone else had a great vacation, too. Speaking of school, here's a little clip from the school concert that fits this post!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

This isn't just a turkey,
As anyone can see.
I made it with my hand,
Which is part of me.
It comes with lots of love
Especially to say
I hope you have a very happy
Thanksgiving Day.

Sean, Aidan, Doug and Deborah

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Remembering the Mountain Lady

Yesterday was a day of fun with my family, but it was also a day of remembrance for me. On November 17, 2002, just two days after Aidan's birth, my paternal grandmother, Eleanor, passed away. I found out about her passing the day I left the hospital and brought my son home. I called my aunt to tell her of Aidan's birth and planned on calling my grandmother next if she wasn't at my aunt's having Sunday dinner. It broke my heart to hear that I was too late, my beloved grandmother had just died. I knew that her health hadn't been very good, but it still came as a shock. I had always hoped that I'd get out to visit her one more time.

I grew up with a wonderful close relationship with my Grandma El, whom the grandkids called the Mountain Lady. She lived in a golden ochre colored chalet in Allenspark Colorado, with a nice patch of mountains surrounding her home. I spent as much time as I could every summer there, hiking, talking, reading, growing and learning about myself, my family and my values in life. The Mountain Lady was a tough broad, as some liked to say. She wasn't the needlepoint, cookie baking grandma with photos of grandkids on the wall. She was the woman who created her own strength, encouraged independence, read National Geographic, Time and Newsweek, believed in enjoying all things in moderation. She loved to travel and felt it was the most important education a person could give themselves. She was a devote Catholic and had met the pope. She loved art, was an artist herself, and a tough critic.

So much of who I am and what I believe in came through my time with her. I dreamed of the days my children could spend with us in the chalet. How I would walk with them to the Mountain Lady's private picnic spot and cook hot dogs over the coals. I wanted to see her see me as a mother. I wanted her to be proud of my children, like she was proud of me.

It's been five years, and I still think of her every week, several times a week. Whether its while cooking a dish she taught me to make, reading a book I think she'd like, putting away dishes in the china cabinet she left to me, or seeing a beautiful sight in nature. I do feel her still in my life. Love does last forever.

I miss you Mountain Lady, but I know you are with me and in peace.

Webkinz Birthday Bash

Aidan had his party with friends yesterday and it was so much fun! We decided to do a Webkinz theme, so I could steal game ideas from the website. We invited 4 friends, but only 2 were able to come, his two girlfirends! His friend Madeline also brought her sister Emerie along to play with Sean, so he had some fun too.

The first thing we did was give each guest their goody bag gift, a LilWebkinz dog. Then Aidan opened his gift from me, the german shephard police dog he has been wanting for months. He was jumping up and down when he saw it!

We played Gem Hunt next. I made 4 "mines" filled with black shred, gems and rocks. Sean loved the shred part the most. The kids found lots of gems in each bag, then we stuck them on to strips of sparkle paper to make Webkinz Crowns of Wonder with their names on it. Actually, the parents did most of that project as the kids were too busy playing with the HotWheels track that Doug gave Aidan for his birthday.

We had lunch, then cake. I think you can see that the cake was a hit!

Aidan opened his gifts, then we played Spin the Wheel of Wow and the kids won more prizes. They especially loved the silly teeth Uncle Curt gave Aidan and the punch ball balloons!

What a fun way to celebrate a great little boy!

Friday, November 16, 2007

31 for 21 Swap Mail

I got a great package in the mail today from Margaret today for the 31 for 21 gift swap. She said she had her girls pick out things for the boys and me and I think they did a terrific job! I'm looking forward to making up that yummy cake and the boys couldn't wait to dive into new tins of playdo. Sean adores playing with playdo, but unfortunately he also adores eating it, so we go through a lot in this house! Thank you, Margaret, for all the lovely things!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Celllllebrate Good Times, Come On!

It's the night before Aidan's birthday and I am reminiscing about his birth and how shockingly fast the years have flown by.

I can't believe it has been five years since he was born! I can so clearly remember laying in bed the night before, rubbing my belly and telling him to hang tight! My due date was November 17 and I wanted Aidan to wait until November 16th or later to be born, because we had a huge event scheduled for the evening on the 15th at work. Doug and I had been working long days to get things ready at work so that I could take some time off after the birth. I needed one more day of working, and I went to bed telling Aidan "We are almost done, sweetie! One more day then we will be ready for you!"

Of course, he decided to wake me up at 6 am with contractions! Doug and I got out of bed, got showered and dressed and went in to work to try to get as much done as we could. I finally called my mom at 9 to ask her to take me to labor & delivery. Labor progressed at a steady pace and Aidan was born at 3:50 pm. Our big event at work started at 5 pm, run by a great group of friends and family in our absence. After his arrival, it became clear that from that day forward being a mother was my priority in life.

I've learned so much about myself and relished watching my firstborn grow into the wonderful little boy he is today. He is just as beautiful and breathtaking to me today as he was five years ago. As much as he is able to push me and test me, he is equally able to fill me with such love and pride. I have such a fierce love for my son, Aidan Riley, the fiery Scorpio. My mini-me, my little soul mate.

Happy Birthday, Aidan. I look forward to celebrating your birth all week!

Yahoo! It's time to go to Nana's House!

Rocking out with my cousins, Adam and Seth.

Birthday bash at the bowling alley. Aidan scored a sweet 49!

Awesome! A V-Smile from Nana and Papa. Sean is crazy about the Toy Story game from Aunt Tanya.

Making a wish for more birthday fun!