Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Healthy Report for the Holidays

I had an appointment with my Gastrologist today and it went really well.  All my blood work has looked good the last few draws and I have not had any flare symptoms for quiet some time.  This is all wonderful news.  We will continue the treatment plan that we have right now, Remicade every eight weeks and 2000 mg of Pentasa everyday.  The best news of the appointment was that he does not need to see me for another six months and I do not need to have a colonoscopy in January.  I have had colonoscopies every January for the last 3-4 years.  It will be nice to not start the year off with Moviprep!

I have also had an appointment with my Rheumatologist.  She had upped my medication because I was still having some joint pain and swelling.  The dosage seems to have done the job and I would say that at this time between the 400mg of Plaquenil and the 25mg of Methotrexate the Lupus seems quiet.  I am feeling more myself then I have since January.  I still tire pretty easily but it is something that I can generally push through if I need to or nap off if I have the time.  After months of inactivity I am looking forward to joining a gym and slowly getting myself back into shape.  I will probably never be able to be the runner that I always wanted but I think that biking and the elliptical will help me reach my fitness goals. 

A few months back I had an eye appointment and they had found some discoloration on my eye that they thought might have been a result of my Plaquenil.  This last month I got more in depth testing done and it turns out that the scarring is not from my medication.  It most likely occurred sometime in my childhood and since it is not effecting my eye sight they are not concerned about it at this time.  They will continue to monitor it although he did not expect to see any changes over time. 

I feel grateful as we head into Christmas and the New Year for this healthy report.  This year has been especially difficult for our family with all my health issues.  When you have a chronic illness each day that you feel well is a gift and you learn to not take it for granted.  I feel that through the Lupus diagnosis I have learned so much about myself.  I had many ideas of what it meant to be a wife, mother and even a follower of Jesus.  God has taught me a lot and I believe that I can look back at this past year and truly feel James 1:2-4, "Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.  And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."  God used this time to do some great work in me.  I believe that I have become a better mother to my children by letting go of unrealistic ideas that I was clinging to.  Also, I feel more...I am not sure if I can explain it very well as I am not that eloquent but I will try.  Dan has always been my best friend ever since we met when I was 17 year old.  However, these last few years as we have had children, jobs getting cut back and then added (and back and forth you know the railroad life), suffered a miscarriage, and my numerous health issues, I feel that we are more than just a husband and wife.  God has really been with us this year and I am thankful that in these struggles that we have faced we did not fall apart but we came closer together.

I know that sometime in the future I will get ill again.  It is just apart of the life when you have a chronic illness (or if you are a complete fixer-upper and have two) but I am so thankful for today.  I feel a solid 90% and I will take that with a smile!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Emma Story - I am running away!

Yesterday, Emma comes running up to me with a very serious look on her face.  She says to me, "Mom, I am running away to go and live with Max and Dorothy."  (Max and Dorothy are our neighbors that live on the corner of our street.)  Now here is the part where I think that I am going to call Emma's bluff.  I say to her, "I am sorry that you are running away.  We will miss you."  Now, Emma just looks at me and then asks me for a suitcase.  I tell her that all the suitcases are pack away and she will just have to think of something else to use.  I go back to what I was doing and leave her to it.  This is usually about the time when Emma decides to give up the game.  However, today she did not give it up.  She was in her room for awhile and when she came out into the hallway she was pushing a Rubbermaid container with wheels on the bottom that had been filled with her babies and baby clothes.  She had dumped all the contents out of the container onto her bedroom floor and then proceeded to clear out all her dresser drawers and her hang up clothes.  She piled all those clothes in and then snapped on the lid.  She pushed that container to the top of the stairs and then put on her pink polka dot rain coat and her snow boots.  She carried that big container out the front door and began pushing it up the street to Max and Dorothy's house.  I wish that I had taken a picture of her pushing that container up the street all by herself. 

While Emma is doing all of this I am watching her out the front window.  Again, I am thinking that we will just call her bluff.  She will end up just coming home, right?  Nope.  She pushed that container all the way up to our neighbors house, up their front stairs and rang their doorbell.  Our sweet neighbor Dorothy answered the door and Emma said to her, "Dorothy, I am running away and coming to live with you."  Dorothy tells me later that she just thought that she would go with the flow and lets Emma in.  I see from across the street that Dorothy has let Emma in and I just have to laugh.  The whole time I am thinking that Emma will be the one to give in but no.  I put on my shoes and head over to Dorothy's.  When I get there Dorothy is barely keeping a straight face.  We chat a bit with Emma and Dorothy finally convinces Emma that I should take her clothes home but Emma is more then welcome to spend some quality time with Dorothy at their house.  Emma decides that this arrangement is fine and heads into the house with Dorothy and I chuckle as she walks away.  Dorothy graciously says to go ahead and go home and I can pick Emma up a little later. 

I walk back over to our house when I see our other neighbor Wes outside laughing at the whole scene.  He had watched Emma pushing her clothes up to Dorothy's house.  Emma had told Wes what she was doing and told him that if Dorothy and Max weren't home she was going to come and live with him and his wife Cheryl.  He is laughing the entire time he tells me this.  I walked back in the door Dawson immediately asks me if Emma is coming back.  I tell him that Emma just needed some time away so she is staying with Dorothy for a bit.  This really begins to bother Dawson and he starts tearing up about how much he will miss Emma.  Then, Aubrey, who seems to understand so much more then I think that she should begins yelling Emma's name and looking for her.  I assure the kids that Emma will be coming back she just needed some time for just herself.  This seems to mollify them for a bit.

About an hour later I head back over to Dorothy's to bring Emma home.  She has had a wonderful time with Dorothy making Christms cookies and balloon animals.  I asked Emma if she was ready to come home and help me take care of the boys and Aubrey.  She turns to me and says, "Yes, let's go home.  You really do need me to help take care of those boys and Aubrey!"

As I have reflected today I think that Emma was feeling like she just needed to be with some people that make her feel loved and special.  I think that being the middle child in our family and Emma being as ornery and clever as she is can be hard.  She is such an important part of our family though, even if she may not always feel it.  I am so grateful for wonderful neighbors who love our children and can make them feel special and important.

I have also learned another important lesson...there is no point in trying to call Emma's bluff!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Life with Timmy the Elf

We have continued to have fun with Timmy the Elf.  Here is what he has been doing this past week...

Day 9 - Timmy was holding baby Jesus and talking with the Shepherds.

Day 10 - Timmy was pretty tired after his trip to the North Pole so he snuggled down for a nap.

Day 11 - Timmy fought an epic battle against the dark side of the force.

Day 12 - Timmy sat by the fire with a good book.  Timmy loves Harry Potter too!

Day 13 - Timmy enjoyed a midnight snack.

Day 14 - Timmy hung out all day on our front door wreath welcoming everyone that came to the house.

Day 15 - Super Timmy to save the day!

Where will Timmy be tomorrow?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Timmy the Elf is here!

This year we have adopted the Elf on the Shelf tradition.  The kids and I have had a blast this first week with Timmy.  If you have never heard of Elf on the Shelf let me give you a brief explanation.  Santa has sent an Elf to our house and we have decided to adopted him.  The kids chose the name Timmy and each night while the kids are sleeping Timmy heads back to the North Pole to tell Santa all the wonderful (or not so wonderful) things that the kids have done that day.  When Timmy comes back he is in a different place in the house.  Each morning the first thing the kids do is run around the house trying to find Timmy.  The kids are not allowed to touch Timmy or his magic will disappear.  Dawson loves to remind anyone that comes within 5 feet of Timmy about this rule!  Here are some photos of what Timmy has been up to this week...

Here is our official adoption papers:)

Day 1 - Timmy sat on top of Emma's baby pictures that first morning with the adoption paper and a letter from Santa stuck on the wall below him.

Day 2 - Timmy was found on top of the Christmas tree with the lights on it.

Day 3 - Timmy was in the bathroom with a message from Santa written on the mirror.

Day 4 - Timmy decorated Dawson's window with red Christmas lights.

Day 5 - Timmy was pretty thirsty after his trip and so he had some milk.  He turned the milk green on accident though and to make up for the green milk he left Emma and Dawson new Christmas cups with fun straws.

Day 6 - Timmy was reading a book called Merry Christmas: Big Hungry Bear to some of the animals and dollies he has made friends with.

Day 7 - Timmy was fishing for marshmallows!

Day 8 - Timmy was so excited about all the new snow that he decided to have some fun of his own and make some snow angels too.

I have really enjoyed hearing the kids rush from their beds asking each other where Timmy is.  It cracks me up when they ask Timmy what in the world is he doing with the fishing pole or telling him how clean their teeth are.  I think that it has also been as much fun for me to think up new places for Timmy to be as it is for the kids to find him.  I look forward to continuing this new family tradition and hopefully passing the fun on to grandbabies too!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

My Top 10 Favorite Books I Read in 2011

I love to read.  I enjoy sewing, scrapbooking, crafting, baking but if I had to choose I would read before all of my other interests.  For me reading is an escape, a way to grow and a time for me to use my imagination (which doesn't get used enough now that I am an adult).  I generally read two types of books.  The first being along the lines of Fantasy/Adventure/Science Fiction.  I mean, I want good battling evil, dragons, elves and time travel!  I don't have much interest in love stories unless one of them is a vampire, werewolf or a dragon rider.  I also really don't want to read a book that is going to make me cry.  The exception to that is Harry Potter and you would have to be dead inside if you didn't at least get a little choked up when Dobby died.  The second type of books that I like to read I would call soul books.  The ones that you chew on for a bit after you are all done.  I enjoy reading something that challenges me to grow as a person.  Now I do read classics but the majority of the books I own fall into those first two categories that I mentioned. 

I have been sick a lot this year which has lead to a lot more book reading.  I think that this year I have read over 100 books.  (Thanks Goodreads for helping me keep track!)  Out of all the books/series that I have read this year here are my top 10 favorites...

10.  Stardust by Neil Gaiman

9.  The Outcasts by John Flanagan

8.  The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan (The Heroes of Olympus Series)

7.  Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyer, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas

6.  The Seven Relms Series by Cinda Williams Chima 

5.  Pathfinder by Orson Scott Card

4.  The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

3.  The Help by Kathryn Stockett

2.  Ranger Apprentice Series by John Flanagan

1.  Enders Game by Orson Scott Card

I am not really good at giving a synopsis about books so I won't attempt it here.  My hubby says I am extremely long winded and end up telling too much about the story. So, if you are interested in checking out these books you can look them up on Amazon and see more on what they are about.  They are all wonderful books that I want for my personal library so that I can read them over and over.  Yes, I am one of those people that reads books multiple times:)  Also, if you are a book lover I would encourage you to check out Goodreads.  It is fun to see what your favorite authors and friends are reading!

Finally, here is something that I found and just had to included because it is so true for me:)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Emma Story - A Song Sung in Time Out

I have included a video in this post for those that have not heard of the song that Emma sung in time out.  I am getting a little ahead of myself though.  Let's start from the beginning of this story. 

It all started at the lunch table.  We were having our leftovers from Thanksgiving.  Dawson and Emma were in a pretty silly mood and not really eating very well.  I was getting Aubrey's dinner ready and as I had my back turned I hear Dawson yell out, "Gross Emma!"  I turn around to see what is going on and Dawson proceeds to tell me that Emma had a mouth full of corn and she spit it all out at him.  Emma is staring at me with her guilty face and I tell her that she needs to go straight into time out.  With her head hanging she walks over and sits down in time out.  Dawson and I go back to our business when out of the blue I hear Emma beginning to sing.  As I listen to her I realize what she is singing.  It is a line from the movie Mulan that we rented from the library, "when will my reflection show who I am inside?"  Seriously. 

I had to quickly leave the kitchen because I was thisclose to laughing out loud and she can't hear me crack while she is supposed to be in trouble.  I am once again amazed at her ability to understand and then apply/identify those concepts to her own life.  Is she really only 4?!?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thankful Thursday

It is Thursday and I am sitting here, after lunch, thinking about what I am thankful for right at this moment.  I just wanted to share so here it is, in no particular order, all the things that I am thankful for on this Thursday.

1.  I am thankful for Dan.  He is my best friend and while I know that life is uncertain I am thankful for each moment that God allows me to spend with him.

2.  I am thankful for my adorable Aubrey.  Her pigtails and squeaky shoes bring a smile to my face and joy to my heart.  I can't imagine a life without her.

3.  I am thankful for being allowed to hear Emma sing along to one of my favorite songs today on the way to school.  It is called All the Miles by Sandra McCracken.  Something about her singing, "this is not make believe" just gave me chills.

4.  I am thankful for a son that is as concerned about the time as I am.  He is always ready and waiting as I am trying to usher everyone out the door.

5.  I am thankful for my new book called Inheritance by Christopher Paolini.  Reading is one of my greatest joys and I love getting a new book.  Especially one that I have been waiting to come out for 2 years!!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Mommy's little helper

I just wanted to share this video of Aubrey.  I took it while she was helping me unload the dishwasher.  She is so adorable as she waddles back and forth from the dishwasher to the silverware drawer.  I also adore how each time she is done putting the silverware in the drawer she turns to me and waits for me to praise her for her hard work.  This will be great to show her someday when she is older and complains about unloading the dishes!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A book was dedicated to me

This week Dawson brought home a book that he made at school.  As he was eagerly showing it to me, he proudly announced that he had dedicated his book to me.  He was so excited to read it out loud to all of us.  He wrote and illustrated this book himself.  

If You Take Frankenstein to a Football Game by Dawson Westfall

"See Mom?  This is where I dedicated the book to you."

If you take Frankenstein to a football game

He will ask for a football.

And if you give him the football it will remind him of cotton candy.

It reminds him of a juice box.

He sees a player going on the field so he wants to too.

And when he's done he is sleepy so he dreams of football.

And when he wakes up he sees his football and chances are he wants to go to a football game.  The End.

I have put this book in his memory box.  I try and keep his fun projects and put it all in a container to save for him when he is older.  This one was especially enjoyable for me because I am such a bookworm. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween Fun 2011

The last two weeks have been crazy at the Westfall house.  It was filled with two Halloween parties, two birthday parties, two school Halloween parties, a school party prep night, Dan working a lot (but being able to be around for the fun stuff), pumpkin carving, doctor appointments, trick or treating and it was all in addition to our regular insanity.  I am pretty tired today.  It was a lot of on the go for me but I really enjoyed our family time together. 

Dan was able to go with us to a family Halloween party on Saturday.  We all dressed up and had fun celebrating with our friends.  The kids thought it was awesome that Dan and I were wearing costumes too!

We carved pumpkins like we do every year.  Somehow I ended up carving Emma's which of course she picks the more complicated design.  We enjoyed hanging out together though and the kids were excited about the finished product.

Emma digging in to get all the insides out.

 Dawson making his "gross" face.

 Emma and her kitty design.

 Our pumpkins all aglow on Halloween night.

The day of Halloween I made krautbugers for dinner.  It is one of our favorite "fall" meals.  Here is the recipe if you want to try it out yourself.  It is a little time consuming but completely worth the effort.  They also freeze wonderfully!


2 cups warm water (110 degrees F)
2/3 white sugar
1 1/2 TB active dry yeast
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1.5 lbs. ground beef
1 small white onion, diced
1 TB ground mustard (do not leave this out) 
1 small head of cabbage, shredded
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup butter (melted)

To make dough: In a large bowl, mix the sugar and yeast in warm water.  Allow yeast to proof until foamy (about 10 minutes).  Mix in salt and oil.  Mix in flour, one cup at a time until a soft dough has formed.  Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth.  Place in a well-oiled bowl and turn to coat.  Cover with a damp cloth and allow to rise in a warm area until doubled in size (approximately 1 hour).  On a lightly floured surface, punch down dough and knead for 2-3 minutes.  Divide dough into balls (about the size of a lime).

To make filling: In a large pot, brown ground beef and onion. Drain.  Stir in salt and pepper, ground mustard and shredded cabbage.  Continue cooking until cabbage is tender (approximately 7-10 minutes).  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Roll each bread piece out into a 5" square.  Place about a 1/3 cup of filling into each square.  Bring up sides and pinch together.  Place seam-side down on a greased baking sheet and allow to rise 10 minutes.  Bake krautburgers in preheated oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from oven and immediately brush kraut burgers with melted butter.


We had a great time getting ready for trick or treating.  Emma decided to be a witch and wanted me to paint her face green.  She was worried that people would think that she was a real witch with her green face.  She decided that they would know it was fake because she didn't have a broom.  Silly girl!

Dawson ended up going as a football player this year.  He didn't like having his face all painted like Emma did so instead of Darth Maul he went as a Bears football player.

 At the family Halloween party Aubrey dressed up as a mouse but it was a little big and poor girl could hardly see out of the hood.  So on trick or treat night we dressed her up as a little bumblebee.  This was Emma's costume when she was this age.  Aubrey was such a cute bee! 

After we walked around the neighborhood we checked out the stash that the kids scored (way more candy then they will ever be able to eat) and then snuggled down together to watch Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events.  I am so thankful for the time that we had together and all the memories that we are making.  God has truly blessed us.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

What Matters Most?

This week I have been chewing over this little tidbit that was said to me at our Mops (Mothers of preschoolers) meeting.  We watched a video by Julie Barnhill.  She was speaking on her book One Tough Mother.  There were numerous points through out her talk that applied to me.  However, the one that stuck with me about mothering was this... In the light of eternity, what matter most?  I have been dwelling on that line ever since. 

In the light of eternity does how clean my house really matter?  In the light of eternity does having my children involved in lots of activities matter?  In the light of eternity does it matter if I serve frozen pizza twice in a week? (yes, that really happened this week)  Obviously, the answer is no.  No, those things do not matter in the light of eternity.  Why am I so hung up on such trivial stuff?  Why have I convinced myself that part of being a good mother is that I have a clean house, that my kids "should" be extra ordinary at everything that they do, that when people see me they see a perfect Suzy-homemaker?  These are all lies.  Lies that I have presented to others, convinced myself of and demanded my family to live up to. 

So here it is.  The real truth.  My house is never clean.  I try and try but it will never look clean.  It is one of those houses that always looks "lived" in.  Here is a small sampling of photo proof that I took on a regular Wednesday afternoon.

 The girl's bedroom.

 My bedroom - washed the linens but haven't had time to remake the bed

 Laundry - oh so much laundry that has piled up

Gobs of shoes by the front door and coats on the floor even though there is a hook near by.

One thing that I have felt convicted on this week is that I do not often enough delight in my ordinary children.  I feel this need that they "should" be special, outstanding, better then the rest...  You get the idea.  I think that outwardly I am pretty good at appearing not too competitive with other moms.  On the inside, however, I worry/obsess if someones child is doing something that mine is not yet or maybe will never do.  This needs to stop.  My children are a wonderful blessing from God.  I want to delight in the fact that they are regular kids and, really, we lead a very regular life.  Nothing glamorous or exciting and that is okay.  Actually it is perfect really.

Then there is finally the perfect Suzy-homemaker farce.  Oh man, as much as I have tried to be I am just not.  I will be real with you and tell you that today I was tired and not feeling well.  I was not nice to Dan pretty much all day.  We had leftovers for lunch (pizza) and I made the kids waffles for dinner.  To try and make myself feel better about it I made sure to serve strawberries with their lunch to offset the fact that they had pizza for Friday night dinner and Saturday lunch.  Strawberries are healthy.  It helps counter act too much pizza!  Right?!?

As I thought about all these things this week I decided to adopted a few REAL mothering goals for myself.  These are the things that really matter to me.  First, I want my children to grow up to be kind, loving individuals with a heart for the Lord.  The state of my house does not factor into that goal.  Second, I want my house to be something that my children want to come back to.  I don't want them to leave at 18 and never what to come back.  I want them to feel safe, loved and God's presence when the come back home.  In the light of eternity those are the things that truly matter to me.  The rest is just not worth the worry.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Lupie Lady Update

In the last few weeks I have had a Rheumatologist appointment and an eye doctor appointment that I wanted to update on.  At my Rheumatologist appointment I talked with my doctor about my joints acting up as my Remicade began to wear off.  There were a good 3-4 weeks out of the 8 week treatment schedule that my joints would start acting up.  I would begin to have swelling and pain in my hands and feet.  It was nothing compared to before but I felt like it was still interfering with my day to day life.  She suggested that I up my chemo drug to 20mg.  I had expected this and so it wasn't a huge surprise to me.  A few weeks have gone by and I am happy to report that it seems to be an effective dosage for me.  It has really helped as my Remicade has begun to wear off.  My body is still getting used to the new dosage though.  I am more fatigued but I think that the next month or so I should be more used to it and will not be so tired all the time. 

I had my eye doctor appointment today.  It has been years since I have been in and I needed to get a check up because a medication that I take, Plaquenil, can affect your eyes.  In rare cases it can cause damage to your retina.  It is recommended to see your eye doctor once a year to monitor your eyes.  Today at my appointment my doctor noticed some spots near my retina that were some cause for concern.  Those spots right now are not affecting my eye sight but he wants to do a few more indepth tests to see for sure what is going on.  I will be going back in two weeks for those tests and at that time we will know more.  The doctor plans on being in contact with my Rheumatologist through the whole process.  

I really feel grateful this afternoon for the care that I have received with each doctor I go to.  I know that there are plenty of people out there that have a hard time finding the right doctor that fits their needs.  God has seemed to really provide for me in this area. 

On a non-medical note, I am beginning to adjust to the life of saying no and not feeling like I need to do everything for everyone all the time.  It has been a hard adjustment for me and I still often feel guilty that I am not "doing" more or when I have to say no about something.  However, I firmly believe that I am making the right choices for myself and my family.  I am thankful for the energy that I have to take care of my family.  You would be surprised (or maybe not) at how much energy it takes to raise three kiddos.  God seems to give me just enough to make it through the tough days and some days I even have extra for myself.  On those days I have extra I have spent time pursuing my new hobby, sewing!  These last weeks I have been meditating on this verse and I feel as though our life is a living testament to this promise in Philippians 4:19, "And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. "  God has provided for Dan and I through out all my health issues and I want to be sure to give all of my praise to Him.  It is a comfort to know that I am in His hands and even though times can get rough He will always provide. 

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Girl talk with Emma

Yesterday, Emma and I went outside and jumped on the trampoline together.   I generally do not get on the trampoline often because it hurts my joints to jump but I have been feeling better since the upped my chemo medicine and Emma told me that she wanted to spend time together.  We had fun playing games and jumping around.  We finally laid down on the trampoline to rest.  Keeping up with Emma on a trampoline is no small feat.  This mommy needed a little rest before we went again.  As we laid on the trampoline looking up at the sky and the big tree branches I started asking Emma questions about her life.  I asked her about school, her friends, soccer, all the things that I could think of that are important to her.  We eventually laid there in silence for a bit after I ran out of questions and then Emma turned to me and said, "I love that we could come out here and have some girl talk together Mommy."

It hit me.  How often I do talk to Emma like this?  I will be honest that the answer is hardly ever.   She is pretty much an open book so I feel like I already know everything about how she is feeling.  This moment showed me though that she wants to be asked, even at 4 years old, just like I liked to be asked about what is going on in my world.  It was a precious moment between us and I am thankful for it.  Emma is a beautiful blessing to our family.  Thank you God for giving me such a funny, joyful daughter.   I look forward to many more years of girl talks together!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Aubrey is Finally Walking!

My baby girl is finally walking (at almost 15 months just like her brother and sister).  While I have been so excited about her reaching this big milestone I am also a little sad.  She is the last baby to crawl around this house.  These past fifteen months have seemed to fly by.  I have savoured every minute of my little baby Aubrey.  It is a joy being mommy to my sweet girl and it is a little bittersweet as we move from the baby stage onto this toddler stage.

Here is a video of Aubrey walking.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Let the sick season begin...

It has begun.  The virus season has hit the Westfall house.  It started last week with Emma waking up in the night vomiting everywhere.  She recovered quickly and thankfully was out only for 24 hours.  I was hoping that would be it for awhile but it was not to be. 

This morning Dawson told me that he wasn't feeling well.  He said that he had been coughing all night.  He hadn't been, our room is close by and I didn't hear a peep.  So off to school he went.  When I picked him up from school this afternoon he immediately told me that he wasn't feeling very well.  I thought maybe he is having some allergies and that is why he isn't feeling well.  We loaded up in the van and got about three blocks when I heard a cough and then the sound that no mom wants to hear, especially while inside of a car.  Dawson threw up all over his backpack and the floor of the van.  By the time I was able to pull over he was, of course, done.  I will not get into the details but it was horrific my friends.  I rolled down the windows and finished the remainder of the drive home.  Ten minutes later I pulled in our drive way and got Dawson settled in the house.  I sent Emma to the backyard so that she would stay out of my hair.  She thought that it was awesome that Dawson got sick in the van and kept trying to "help".  Once Aubrey was in her high chair with some snacks I set to cleaning out the van.  SO GROSS.  I got it done and sprayed Lysol everywhere in the van.  Thankfully Dan had some plastic gloves in the garage.  With me being so immune repressed I have to be careful when the kids get sick. 

Dawson is now laying watching Power Rangers but is so upset that he will be missing school tomorrow and can't go on his play date with his best buddy Ethan after school.  Emma is upset because Dan is gone and I don't have anyone to stay with Dawson so she is missing her soccer game.  I think that we will be watching movies this evening and then after the kids go to bed I will be scrubbing down the house.  Hopefully we can keep the sick from spreading!  I found this Baby Blues cartoon strip and it cracked me up.  I just had to share because I can't say that I haven't thought about trying it;)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Aubrey and Emma 1 / Mommy 0

Tonight Aubrey, between the hours of 4:30 -6:30 pm, did the following things:

1.  got into the chocolate chips (which were in a closed Tupperware container)
2.  got into the Doritos (which had a chip clip on it)
3.  squeezed out a juice box that Emma left out onto the kitchen floor
4.  dumped half of a large bottle of soft soap (it has a screw top lid) onto the bathroom floor
5.  tried to eat a red crayon

Tonight Emma, between the hours of 4:30-6:30 pm, did the following things:

1.  dumped all her crayons onto the living room floor and then cried for 15 minutes when I told her to clean them up
2.  made a huge mess of her room not 15 minutes after I had just finished cleaning it up
3.  yelled at me that her room could be as messy as she wanted it to be and there was nothing I could do about it
* she quickly learned that there was something that I actually could do about it
4.  took all the couch cushions off and made a big mess in the living room. 
5.  yelled at me after I told her to clean her living room mess that I should just send her to bed

And...that is just what I did.  Two girls got ready for bed and were in their beds for the night by 7pm. 

I miss Dan when he is gone.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Emma's beautiful moment

There are times as a parent that you just stop and swell with love for your children and this was one of those times.  Emma came home from church on Sunday just bursting to tell us her memory verse that they have been working on.  As she was saying the verse to me I thought to myself how beautiful this moment was.  It made me think about God and what joy He must have at her enthusiasm in remembering His word. 

I will be honest, when I read God's word I do not have the same sense of excitement as my sweet Emma.  The times when I am just bursting to tell others about God's word are way to few and far between.  I truly believe that as the years go by God will use Emma and her enthusiastic, joyful nature to speak His words to others.  I look forward to seeing her grow in her relationship with the Lord and I am thankful that He has begun using her already by speaking to me. 

Here is the video of her...

Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."  Matthew 19:14

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Dawson and too many activities?

This week we had a choice to make.  Dawson had brought home a flier about Boy Scouts.  He seemed very interested and excited about joining.  I mean the man said they would be able to shoot BB guns!  Who wouldn't want to join?  As Dan and I talked about it we kept going back and forth.  We both felt like it was something he would really enjoy and probably excel at.  However, there would be a time commitment not only for Dawson but for myself.  I felt like since I was not involved in anything else I would probably be able to make that commitment.  When we sat down to talk to Dawson about it though I was a little surprised at his response.

We talked about the different activities that he would do while at Boy Scouts.  I explained about the meetings and then examples of what he would have to do to work on getting badges/pins.  I have a friend who spent some time talking to me about Boy Scouts.  Her son has been apart of it for a couple of years and really enjoys it.  As we were talking I can see that Dawson's face was getting nervous and worried.  The sign up meeting was that night and he started getting teary as we were talking.  He decided that he didn't want to join this year. 

As I talked to him more about why he didn't want to join I think that I began to understand once again how much he is like me.  Dawson is at school from 9 am and then gets home by about 4 pm.  He has homework (not a whole lot) that he works on each night.  He plays until dinner at 6pm and then we start doing our bedtime routine by 7pm so that he is in bed by 8pm.  It is stressful and overwhelming for Dawson to have a lot on his plate.  Even having to go to activities that aren't his own (like Emma's soccer games and practices) can get to him. 

It seems like Dawson will be similar to me and probably not be able to participate in lots of activities at the same time.  Too many things overwhelm him and it only ends in tears.  It is interesting to me that too many for Dawson I know will not be too many for Emma.  They are just different personalities and we (Dan and myself) will need to remember that.  School, Wednesday night church and maybe one sport during the whole school year I think will be plenty for Dawson.  I want him to enjoy the activities that he is involved in.  I don't want him as 6 years old to feel stress about school, church etc.  I am sure that when Emma and Aubrey come along we will have to assess what it too much for them and most likely it will be very different.  That is what parenting is all about though right?  Doing what is best for each child.  Maybe as Dawson gets older he will be able to slowly add to his plate but there is no need to rush it now. 

Dawson and Emma having fun on the trampoline after school.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Emma sayings part 2

Emma has said the following to me this past week or so and I needed to make sure that I wrote them down so that when she has her own son or daughter that ends up being just like her...well, I'll be able to show her this.

Emma (after being sent to bed early for being naughty): Mom, why are you nicer to Aubrey then you are to me?
Me:  Emma, you are going to bed early as a consequence to your actions.  Someday when you have a little girl and when she disobeys you will have to give her consequences too.
Emma: Yeah, someday I will have to give her a big spanking just like the one I am working on right now.

Mom, you need to cut my hair in the morning.  This is just not working for me right now.

Emma has just said a naughty word right in front of Dan and I.  This is the conversation that followed.
Dan:  Emma, we do not say that word.  It is a naughty word and we don't talk like that.
Emma: Okay.
Heather: Emma, come here please.
Emma (interrupting before I can finish it):  Mom!  Dad already handled it.
Long pause while I collect myself

Emma is downstairs putting her soccer clothes in the laundry.  I am in the kitchen when I hear her crying. I meet her at the stair and this is what she says to me.

Me: Emma are you okay?  What happened?
Emma (still crying, takes a deep breath and then says):  It all began while I was downstairs...(insert long drawn out story how she pinched her finger) ...and that is what happened to my poor, poor finger.

So much mischief from such a cutie.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Starting 31 off with a bang

Wow, it is Monday and I am happily exhausted from this weekend.  We kicked off my 31st birthday with a bang!  Friday began with the kids sleeping in.  I know, the greatest gift for a mom ever:)  When I woke up at 7:45am we had to rush around a bit to get everyone fed, dressed and out the door to take Dawson to school.  Once we had dropped him off I headed to Walmart to get our groceries.  The cupboard were getting pretty bare around here.  Emma came with me to help me shop.  She was great but had to look at EVERYTHING.  Sometimes though I wish that I could slow down more and be excited about all the little things like she is.  We made it home and between unloading the groceries, lunch, a small nap and a shower the afternoon flew by and it was time to pick up Dawson from school.  Our babysitter for the evening came about 5 pm and then Dan and I were off to my birthday date night.  Yay!

Here is Dan and I ready for a night out.

I picked The Cheesecake Factory for dinner.  It was awesome as always.  Dan laughed at me because I took a picture of my drink.  It was so yummy and pretty though I just needed a picture.  My delish sangria:)

Here is a picture of me branching out and trying something new.  Usually I stick with what I know and love, the plain cheesecake.  I decided it was time for me to live it up and I got the Reese's Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake Cheesecake extravaganza.  It was amazing!

After dinner Dan and I left for the concert.  We were going to see our favorite singer/songwriters Derek Webb and Sandra McCracken.  It was a home show so when we arrived at the venue it was an actually house.  The concert was being played in the basement of the house! 

Here is a picture of the basement and how close we were to the front "stage".

 Dan and I waiting for the concert to start.  We were both pretty excited.  It seemed so surreal that our favorite artists were so close to us.

 This is Sandra McCracken playing her guitar.  She even played one of my favorite songs of hers called Awake My Soul.

They played and talk for two hours.  It was fun to listen to them share a little about how they came to write certain songs and I enjoyed watching them interact with each other.  They took a few requests and wrapped everything up around 10pm.  Dan and I left and kept commenting the whole way home how awesome the evening was.  We had gone on one of our very first dates together to see Caedmon's Call at in Bartlesville Oklahoma 10+ years.  It was great to see Derek Webb again so many years later with Dan.

On Saturday we were up and around relaxing in the morning.  Emma had her very first soccer game in the afternoon.  She was excited almost beyond words.  Emma did a great job running after the ball.  It was pretty funny because at each kick off she would take off running after the ball and yelling this Braveheart like battle cry.  It was awesome!

Emma and her soccer pose:)

 Emma listening to her coach on what she is supposed to be doing and being reminded where her goal is!

That evening we had my birthday party with the kids.  We had a yummy steak dinner and opened presents.  The kids were so excited to have me open the gifts that they had picked out for me.  Emma picked out some pretty lotions and Dawson picked out for me a Harry Potter Lego set.  As I was opening it he jumped up and down in excitement.  I wish that we would have had it on video.  My brother and sister in law came a little later in the evening and we all had cake together.

I made a Battlestar Galactica cake.  This is the eye of Jupiter for all you BG geeks out there:)

On Sunday we spent the day hanging out with my brother Bryan and my sister in law Emily.  It is so much fun to have them come and visit.  Bryan spent a couple of hours playing on the trampoline with the kiddos.  It is one of my favorite things to watch my brother hang out with my kids.  Dawson just adores him.  On Sunday evening we had some friends over for a Fantasy Football draft.  We had a fun time drafting our teams for the new season.  We ended a little late but all the kids played so well and it was a great ending to the weekend.  Over all thirty-one has started out well.  What a memorable weekend we were able to have together.