Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Potty Training Triumphs

Ok, so I, with the help of my amazing sister, have successfully managed to potty train my first born! Yeehaw! I am so excited, relieved and proud. It took roughly three days of what we call "potty training boot camp" and he had it down. We used no diapers, pull ups or padded underwear. It was big boy pants and lots of accidents, but we managed to get er' done! He caught on extremely quickly and was motivated by praise alone. He can be as stubborn as all get out so I did not anticipate this to be quite so easy. Although when I think back to Austins other big milestones like his big boy bed and paci break up, he has really adapted well to the big changes and this one has proven that!

Here are the boys, not the least bit phased by their big boy pants. The wrestling continues, come potty training or not!
We also tried to get Mason on board, hoping he would follow in his brothers footsteps. So far, to no avail. He will stay dry all night so I know he does have bladder control. More than anything, I think we are in a power struggle with my ever so stubborn second child. He will sit on the potty and do nothing only to get up and pee the moment he steps away. Although it would be easy to just give up and try again later, which I may still do, I am still trying to get him there. I still have hope that he will give up the struggle when he realizes that I won't. Only time will tell.
In any case, they both look beyond adorable in their big boy pants. I mean my little bean pole Austin cracks me up with his skinny legs and long torso like his Mama and Mason is an exact duplicate of his Dad with big thighs, short legs and no butt! I can't help but giggle when I look at them.
Needless to say we have been pretty housebound and bored so we decided to make our first cake, well cupcakes, together. Austin has been asking for some and since he has done so good with potty training I decided to treat him.
Check out my little bakers:

And of course, look who's licking the batter!
Enjoying the fruits of their labor:

Some side notes: Austin continues to excel in speech and talks more and more every day! His little voice and his intelligence amaze me. We did blood work today to check his anemia. My little vegetarian is iron deficient and we have been supplementing with vitamins to see if that helps. He was so strong and brave today. He sat in the chair with me and did not utter a peep until the actual stick and even then it was more of a whine than a cry. I realized how much he is growing up. Mason also, got blood work today in an attempt to see what he may be allergic to. Something is causing his entire body to flare up in full body, itchy rashes. We were told it was eczema which it may be, but two dermatologists and two allergists later we finally got someone to try and find the source instead of covering it up with steroids and creams that don't work anyway. I pray that we find an answer so that my little man might find some relief!
Both boys continue to be Mama's boys. I love how snugly and affectionate they are and I hope that continues. I will never get tired of the hugs and kisses.
Austin is almost a swimmer. He has so much more confidence in the water. He goes under, kicks and does such an awesome job at getting himself to the wall. I know our beach week will only add to this confidence.
Mason continues to be completely fearless. He goes under and jumps without a worry in the world. He knows someone will catch him and gal darn he is right.
I am 3 days away from being six months pregnant. This baby is the most active baby to date. S/he kicks and moves constantly and for that I am so grateful! I feel like I might make it after all. I am excited. I am dying to know whether it is a boy or girl. I am so ready to meet him or her. I am ready to be a Mama again and I love each and every (sometimes not so flattering but so worth it) change my body is going through right now. I will be sure to post a 6 month picture very soon!
I continue to give thanks for my family, for our health and for each other. While some days can be stressful, tiresome and chaotic I know that for every struggle we endure, we are blessed ten fold that. God has a plan and I trust in that.

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

It's Summer, Summer, Summer Time!!!

We began the sizzling summer with a bang, hanging with the Sommer gang!

With cake to boot, the boys were a hoot! (Don't ask about the 8, my sister and brother actually turned 14 but 8 was all we had, oops!)

There was arts, crafts and painting galore! Lots of messes that Ma Ma scored.

Lots of water to explore and heinies galore!

It's only the beginning of our fun in the sun with two little boys always on the run!

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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Time With My Boys

I realized this evening that loss never leaves those who have had to let go to soon. One of my biggest struggles when Tadem passed was my need for wanting people to remember him. I have since come to grips with the fact that I may be the only one to remember him the way I want him to be remembered and that is ok. I know my baby boy is in heaven and I know I will see him again one day and he will feel the love I have for him. As time goes on, the pain diminishes and love remains in its place. People move on as well and the shock of the loss eases, yet the many dates and anniversaries never leave the one who's loss it was. I pray tonight that a dear friend finds peace on a day that should have been her sons 24th birthday. I cannot even begin to imagine the depths she has been to and yet she always comes out on top. I know her son is in heaven so proud of her strength. I, myself, admire that in her. She was there for me when I didn't know up from down. She has been there, is still there and will always be there. She knows the struggle and yet never loses faith. Missy, you are a pillar of strength. May you find peace knowing your boy is in heaven running among the stars.
Tonight, I held my boys a little tighter (if that's possible). I prayed a little harder and am reminded that this life here on Earth is not eternal. That every moment is precious. Even in the midst of tantrum throwing, meltdown, chaos I know that ultimately I am blessed to be in that moment. I am blessed that my boys are here with me, safe and healthy. I can truly say that I cherish all of the moments with my boys. Each and every God given second!
We had a wonderful day at the zoo today with our friends Eileen and Jack. I was happy that we got out and had so much fun that we came home wilted and exhausted. That's when you know it was a day well spent. Austin loves the "aminals" and told me when I laid him down for a nap that "he had fun with Jack" I love that he can talk to me now and tell me how he feels.

We came home and napped the late afternoon away! It was pure ecstasy!
This evening Daddy put together their "first" scooters. I know with my husband being the crazy man that he is that these scooters are only the beginning! The boys thought they were awfully cool so I had to share. Once they get the hang of it, I know they will be blowing through the house like mad men. For now I am relishing the fact that they are just practicing!

And ignoring the fact that for the money I spent on two scooters, the boxes held their entertainment far longer!

Lastly, I FINALLY got my 21 week belly shot! I feel much bigger than I am. Everyone says I have "popped." What do you think?

We have an appointment on Friday, wish us luck and I will be sure to update you.
Good night for now and be sure to hold your loved ones extra close. Even in the midst of madness, remember that life offers us no guarantees, so find its beauty every day!

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Thursday, June 4, 2009

School's Out For Summer!

Today was Austins last day of preschool for Summer. I say that lightly because he will be going to Summer camp at the same place. We are doing this to keep him adjusted to leaving his Ma Ma. You see, it was only about 2 months ago that I was able to drop him off without full blown kicking, screaming, flailing himself on the floor in the middle of the hallway, dead weight, so no one could even remotely pick him up without breaking their backs. The kid knows what he's doing! I was not about to start this fiasco all over again in the fall, sooo.. .high ho high ho, it's off to camp Austin goes! He can go as many days per week from 7:30 to 5:30 that we so desire. He has yet to ever stay past 11:45 so I am not sure what we will do as far as camp hours go. We may try Monday, Wednesday and Friday and see how it goes. We have no choice but to pay for the whole week so I figure we may as well get an extra day out of it, no...

So, annnyyywayyy, I love my tangents. Today was the last day of preschool (part time, fyi), which by the way has helped him beyond measure as far as socialization and "cutting the cord"( as Dave would say) from his Mommy. I recommend it to anyone on the fence. The class had a party and I got to go and if you haven't been around Austin lately, you should know the kid loves a party. Hmmm...wonder where he got that from? It was precious. He got his diploma and had one last go round with his favorite and first friends: Jake, Lanie, Lucas and Dylan.

Of course, we cannot leave out his best friend: Jack. Austin will tell you at any given time that hands down, Jack is the coolest!

They will be in camp together this Summer and for that I am grateful. It was a small class of six kids and that is one of the main reasons we picked this school. Teacher to student ratio is awesome!
His teachers, Miss Barbara and Miss Brenda, were exceptional! Miss Brenda, really seemed to understand that Austin is a tad sensitive and highly attached to his Mom. She worked with him and used a patience I thought was pretty darn admirable given that he wasn't her child. Austin sensed this patience about her and practically ran straight to her every time we got to class. She personally gave him extra time and attention after we lost Tadem and sent home a lovely note for me as well. It meant a lot because it was not easy for me to drop my boy off kicking and screaming.

In any case, it was a fun party. One last hurrah and an acute reminder that time flies by. That before our very eyes, our babies are growing up and learning how to make it in the world. It's bittersweet and I definitely felt weepy these last two days as we prepare to end one phase and begin another. I couldn't be more proud of the adjustments Austin has made this past school year. He has truly turned into a big boy and it just blows my mind! This fall Mason joins the forces and I have no doubt the West boys will leave their mark.


Then we have moments like these, that remind me of the endless work I am in for, raising two (possibly 3) boys!

Yes, they climbed up on the stool and got into the toothpaste. They have this complete obsession with toothpaste! And yes, it looks like I left them alone in my bathroom for hours, when in fact I just went pee. I mean can a girl get 20 seconds to go potty. Mmm hmm...that's Mason teetering on my stool, hanging on by his chubbly little fingers with Austin behind him, checking himself out in the mirror. If you look close you can even see my pregnant self in the mirror. What a lovely family pic!

What you can see is Mason and my counter covered in toothpaste and Austin apparently "bringing sexy back" caressing his own hair in the mirror. (Maybe we should cut back on how much we tell him how gorgeous he is.) The picture of Austin is blurry and that is due to the fact that somewhere between finding them like this, running to get my camera and prepping to take the pictures even I managed to get toothpaste on the lens of my camera. What you can't see is the toothpaste covering, and I do mean covering, the mirrors and floor. Gal darn, toothpaste is sticky! Who knew, I mean it turns to bubbles when you put it on your teeth, but try to wipe it off a mirror and it's like wiping a newborns heiny after their first BM.
Then, the other day Dave goes to get the boys out of their room at an all to early hour and finds Austin standing on his dresser. I freaked out and told Dave we must get rid of the dresser and everything in their room. They can sleep on nap mats like I used to in kindergarten, after all that is safest! "It's not worth it!" I said in a wavering voice (more like screaming because the face my husband was giving me did not sit well) So I thought about a plan for some time and who would have thought my brainiac self would have ever invented a baby proofing gadget like THIS:

Feel free to gank it and use it in your own home. It may be ghetto fab, but guess what? It works. He cannot use the drawers to climb on the dresser. Nevermind that the dresser is useless, given that I am not unraveling ALL of that mess to get into it, but at least they still have a piece of furniture left in their room that I feel won't cause bodily harm at this time. Although I have no doubt they will find something else to screw with.

Finally, there's my nudist, who cannot keep a diaper on for annnyyythhingg! We have tried the zip up jammies, button up jammies, backwards jammies, you name it and we have done it. So now, we have resorted to THIS:

Yep, duct tape. Works like a friggin charm! I think I have just found my "mother invention" that I always say I am going to come up with and make millions. Diapers that already come prepped and ready with a strip of duct tape on them. Then I don't have to remember after forgetting, just before the last nights diaper change. Only to have to put Austin down, go find a pair of scissors, cut a piece of tape off, to then chase him around once more to tape the diaper and put on his jammies.

Oh' except I don't have time to invent anything so someone feel free to steal my idea because at this point the pre made diapers are more important than the millions. Did I just say that... =)
Wow, BOYS! I am tired just writing all of this. Imagine being me; having to invent, clean, chase and rig all that I have just written about. Whew! Time for a happy nap!

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Monday, June 1, 2009

Memories Amidst The Chaos

I apologize for not having written sooner. It seems harder and harder to write as the days pass on. I want to, but I also want to keep up with the boys, our home and with my own health. I have been suffering from migraines this trimester. In fact, I can feel one creeping up as we speak and I just had one that lasted nearly 3 days this past week. They are awful and painful but more than anything I hate that I can't be with my children when they come. I hate the toll they take on my body and I worry for the baby in my belly. So far, though, the baby seems to be doing great! I can feel him or her moving a lot now and for that I am ever so grateful. I am looking forward to the next glimpse I am blessed to have of him or her. A little reassurance that all the growth and development is going well. My belly has apparently popped! Everyone I encounter has been telling me this lately and boy do I love to hear it. I love my belly. I love to feel the baby kick. I love to know that I am pregnant at almost 21 weeks! I am so excited for this baby. I haven't yet allowed myself to prepare in any way. I look, I glance, I peek, I dream of pink and blue. Maybe in a couple more months I will start to get a thing or two. In any case, I think I am due for a belly shot. I will get one of those up very soon!
As for the rest of our clan, well... we have been busy! We spent this past weekend at a lake house that we rented with some friends. It was a jumbled mix of chaos, calm, fun and exhaustion. What I do know is when the boys were rested, they had an absolute BLAST! I love to see them outside playing and splashing.

Nap times could get a little hairy for the boys because they are on such a strict schedule at home that when we take them off of the schedule, lets just say they don't do so well... The exhaustion really hits them like a ton of bricks and then we wind up with tantrums that result in kicking, screaming, rolling around on the floor and even some head butting the walls. That part is hard for me because they only want me and yet they don't really want me. So, I sort of have to sit by and make sure they don't hurt themselves until they literally pass out from how tired they are because I can't leave the room and yet I can't touch them either. It wears on me because I am so tired myself, but eventually they sleep and wake up ready to go back outside.
Even as the sun disappeared, we continued to play outside in the sand. The joy I get from seeing them so happy is overwhelming.

Mason loved to eat the sand and Austin was fascinated with the moon. He just gazed up at it like he had never seen it before. I think the sky is so vivid and uncityfied (I totally know that isn't a word) that it appears more beautiful than it does here where we live.

Until, eventually we passed out in bed at night. Mason in my arms and Austin in a big boy bed with Auntie "Sha Sha." I can definetly say that I am so excited to go to the lake when they are older and can handle the lack of schedule better. It has the potential to be insanely relaxing and yet super fun for the kids. I know my husband is in love with it there and I can foresee us spending a lot of time there.
In closing, I wanted to leave you with this...

Memories admist the chaos! Love that!

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