Monday, August 20, 2012

Poppy Seed to Pumpkin

On June 23rd, we sat our two excited girls down to share the SURPRISE we had been telling them we were going to share since yesterday afternoon.  We re having a baby-coming sometime after Valentine's day!  From the moment we shared the news, Annabelle has declared the baby a girl-named her and will not tolerate accepting anything different.  Maggie was reluctant about the news but went back between excited and not interested in the slightest. 

We then gave them a poppy seed and told them that is how big our baby was right now.  We let them hold it in their hands and see how little it was.  We then glued it to a piece of paper to track our babies growth over the next few weeks.  It is amazing to me that something so little can be so very very loved already!

You will have to forgive the scars on Maggie's hand-which is larger than the baby, but she was healing from swim lessons:)

We have continued this tradition each week. 
 5 weeks
 6 weeks
 7 weeks
 8 weeks
 9 weeks
 10 weeks
 11 weeks
12 weeks

It is so delightful to share the fun of our baby with the girls.  The last time I went through a pregnancy, Annabelle would not even talk about the baby.  This time, they are shopping for the baby-playing with the baby in my tummy, and they both talk about the baby all the time.  I LOVE it so much and cant wait to see how much they enjoy the baby in the house.  I also cant believe how fast it is all going.  I am sure it will start to get harder, but for now I am enjoying everything and cant wait to meet our new daughter or son :)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

School Days

Annabelle is going back to school tomorrow. 

I cant believe the Christmas break is over so quickly and we are back to the routine of school.  For a little girl who thrives on routine, this will be very good for her, but for a mommy who likes my mornings with this cutie, I am sad!  I am also a little worried about Annabelle's return to school because her teacher found out she had Fallopian tube cancer (resulting in a complete hysterectomy) during the break.  When she was out for 2 days last semester, it really did a number on Annabelle and she was very clearly affected by the change, so I know it will be hard for her to go back and not have Mrs Moran there to make things the way they usually are.  I hate that this poor teacher is struggling with Cancer and my thoughts are of my daughter, but I guess that reveals my own issues.  Never the less, we are praying for Mrs Moran each morning and each evening that the Chemotherapy will kill all of those cells before they attach to any healthy organs.  She should be returning in about 8 weeks at the soonest so please keep her in your prayers.  She is such a sweet teacher and I am happy each time I see her face so I hope Annabelle and I both get to see her soon! 

Also-the above pictures is Annabelle's school picture from this year.  You can always tell a school picture by that familiar blue background and I CANT BELIEVE my daughter has one already! 
It is all happening way too fast :( 

Sunday, January 2, 2011

My favorite parts of Christmas

This weekend has been an amazing time of cleaning and organization and I feel so much better now that my house is out back together after all of the festivities of Christmas.  I LOVE our Christmas decorations and am always so excited to put them up and so sad when we have to pack them back up.  This year was no different, but I had time after cleaning the decorations to really clean and organize a few rooms in our house.  We are having two large toys coming over to our house soon from my parents so we had to make space for them and have been cleaning out toys to make room.  As I look at my living room minus the beautiful lights, I find myself returning to a few moments of Christmas that I really enjoyed!  The first one started the day we got the Christmas decorations out.  We did it while the girls were asleep so they woke up and saw all of the decorations out.  Annabelle was excited beyond words.  She remembered so many parts of last Christmas and was so happy to see Baby Jesus and all of her favorite ornaments on the tree.  She spent A LOT of time studying the tree and I think she could tell you where each and every ornament was. 
I also LOVED buying the girls a Little People Nativity Set.  I decided to give it to them early instead of as a gift and I am so glad I did.  When I first showed it to Annabelle, we read the story from the Bible and she acted out the parts with the people.  She "re-did" that so many times and it was awesome to hear her rehearse the story of Jesus.  When she talks about her memories of Christmas, she never mentions the gifts, but she is very ready to sing to Jesus again and see her nativity.  I love that!

The other thing I loved about the preparations of Christmas was the fun Nutcracker musical scene we have had for several years.  Each time I turned the lights on, both girls rushed over to lay on the floor and watch the scenes play through.  It was so precious!

We even got to go to a performance of the Nutcracker at the Library and both the girls loved watching the dancing.  The Nutcracker is a wonderful memory for me of my childhood Christmas celebrations and I love that I am able to share one of those memories with my cuties.

We had lots of places to go for our Holiday Celebrations, but some of the memories that I cherish are our Christmas Eve Eve celebrations with Italo's brother and family.  We went to their house and made a delicious meal of Gnocchi, salad and zucchini.  The kids were so excited for present time, but were very patient until we finished eating.  Maggie attached herself to both Anthony and Isabella and they were so generous to give of their toys and time to entertain both of the girls. 

After Maggie went to bed and the presents had been opened, the older kids baked Cupcakes and played until they were ready for icing!  The had such a great time decorating the cupcakes and they sang Happy Birthday to Jesus with the most excitement I have EVER heard.  It was awesome!!!!

We spent the night with the Frigolis and went home to rest up for our next party.  Christmas Eve we went to My Dad's house for some delicious gumbo and good company.  The girls had a little slumber party so we could play games and everyone came in to give them good night kisses.  It was so cute seeing them with each person.  Maggie was so eager to hug and kiss everyone!  She is such a sweetie!

That evening, after we played a round of a new game, we had to leave to spend the night at my mom's.  We set up for Christmas surprises and then we went to bed praying that the 2 late nights in a row would not make Annabelle as miserable as we were fearing.  She did not have a good day the next day but we pressed forward and survived the day.  I did REALLY enjoy Christmas morning with our Birthday party for Jesus and watching the girls play together with their Christmas surprises.  We wore Matching Christmas jammies again and I forgot how miserably hot there were.  But Annabelle seemed to get a kick out of it, so I think we will go for it one more year while their jammies fit and then we will relieve ourselves from the torture!
We were very excited to find out that my brother and his family came back into town sooner than we expected, so we enjoyed some extra time with them that morning.  The girls were so excited to see more cousins!

After Christmas day was over and we were able to get the kids in their own beds, they sunk in to the familiarity and were more than happy to go to sleep.  The next day, we spent the whole day together as a family just relaxing and opening our presents to each other.  Canadians (or maybe the English) have a tradition of the Boxing day the day after Christmas and that is the say they open their presents.  We think it is a good idea and think we will make it our tradition as well.  Maggie was SOOOO over presents, she was actually crying when we handed her a presents.  It took 3 days AFTER this for her to finally open her final few presents.  It is fun to see them with all of their new treasures and I am enjoying looking at all of the pictures my husband took with his, I mean my, new camera.  The girls even look at the camera when we set up the self timer because they love looking at the flashing light :)  BONUS
Next year...we will HAVE to do something different so we dont have a repeat of this crying over presents!  Poor girl.

But, they have lots of fun with their new toys and have been actually playing together throughout the New years weekend!  Such a blessing to see since it is so rare!

MERRY CHRISTMAS and Happy Birthday Jesus!!


Monday, October 25, 2010

First Day of School

For those who have fellow toddlers, you may know the song from Imagination Movers called-First Day of School.  That is the song that Daddy and Annabelle listened to-and Annabelle sang along to---on her way to her first day of school today.  He made a video, but it is REALLY hard to watch because he is was driving a stick shift while holding a video camera!  I am glad Daddy and Annabelle will get to have this special time together each morning while I let her little sister keep sleeping, but it was hard to kiss her goodbye this morning and say goodbye.  This week, our wonderful Aunt Jill is going to pick her up from school, but next week, she will start taking the school bus home.  I think it is kinda funny that Daddy takes her to school in a yellow car and she comes home in a yellow school bus :)  She thinks that is pretty cool! 

I heard nothing but good reports from everyone today and Annabelle was her normal silly self when I made it home so that is a good sign.  We dont see any of the quietness that we saw after her visit on Thursday.  I am sure it will get a little harder as the week progresses but so far so good!  She picked a good week to start though because two of her classmates of birthdays this week and there is a party on Friday for Halloween!  So fun :)  Thanks for all the prayers!  We prayed before she left this morning and she was smiling the whole time we were praying for her.  Such a sweet memory for me to send her off with covering from her heavenly father and physical protection from her wonderful Daddy! 

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Something Different...

Today I walked down a hallway of little lockers in an Elementary School.  The last time I did this was visiting my nieces and nephews at their schools.  Today was different because at the other end of those lockers was a classroom designed for MY DAUGHTER.  And on Monday, she will have a locker with her name on it, be given assignments, attendance taken, ride a school bus and all together be a BIG girl.  The days of deciding to take a day off of work to spend the day with her, staying in our PJs longer than we should on a work day or just enjoying story time together in the mornings has come to an end and now she will go to school. 

She has been in daycare since she was 3 months old, but this is different.  I know have parent teacher conferences scheduled, attendance rules and an elementary school with my daughter enrolled in it.  How did we get here so fast...I was supposed to have 2 more years before this happened!!!

I know it will be such a great opportunity for her and I know she needs some extra help getting ready for Kindergarten because of her difficulties, but this is not exactly what I was emotionally prepared for when I started this process.  She will be in an inclusion classroom designed for children with disabilities.  What that means is that all but 3 children in her classroom are "non-diagnosed" children and my daughter is diagnosed with a disability that requires "special ed".  So here we go...

Today she got to play in the classroom while Italo and I attended a meeting to discuss her goals.  She was SOOOO excited to go to her new school and almost bounced down the hallway into the classroom.  She walked into the room and when we came back it was a different story.  She left with the weight of the world in her head and was VERY quiet on the way home.  I was emotionally overwhelmed so I am sure she was as well.  Watching her for about 30 mins in the classroom confirmed that we were doing the right thing with this new path, but it was heartbreaking to see her with the other kids.  I can not wait to see how much she changes in this environment because it will be so great for her, but when you almost think she was getting better on her own and then get smacked in the face with the reality that she is not and still has a long way to go, it is hard.  It is hard to see your daughter hurting,  It is hard not to be able to help her.  It is hard not to have the answers. 

I know that God has all of this under control and I know that He will provide comfort to me and Annabelle through this process, but it is really hard right now!  We would sure appreciate your prayers for us over the next few weeks as we transition to our new normal.  And look out for a big girl getting off a school bus on Monday with a backpack as big as her :)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Parenting is like being a Referee

Parenting is a really tough thing to do. I have been thinking a lot about what it can be associated with, and I determined that it reminds me a lot as being a referee in a soccer game.

See, the main objective of the referee in soccer, is not to ensure the flow of the game, or the enforcement of the rules of the game. The main objective of the referee is to ensure the well being of the players on the field – and that takes precedence over anything else.

In the same way, as a parent, the main objective is to ensure the safety and wellbeing of my children (and any other that they may be playing with at the time). There is, of course, the enforcement of the rules as well. Rules are established to ensure the order. In our house, we have defined some rules as guidelines to follow. Such as Maggie will be asked to return a toy to Annabelle if she takes one of Annabelle’s special toys. This is kind of like a foul be called on the field. Toy is returned and playtime carries on – no big deal. Other times a yellow or red card may be used. If one of the kids hits or pushes the other intentionally, then a Time Out may be enforced followed with an apology, a hug, and a kiss.

Of course, there is more to parenting than being a referee to them, such as actually playing with them and having all kinds of crazy laughs together. But at the core – there are a few primary goals. Their safety and wellbeing is always at top of my list.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The never ending saga.....

I have always loved cars. Even from a young age, the attaction to these four wheeled machines was just there. The love manifested itself with the purchase of Matchbox cars. Soon, I started to realize that some things are just built better than others. I loved my Matchbox car collection that was built in England; but when the plant was moved to China, the quality of the toy just flat out dropped! I still have a little collection left, and suprisingly, I the cars that I didn't manage to totally distroy are still kept in a car case hidden inside my desk at work. We have a new china cabinet at home, I may just take over a shelf to put them on display again... :-)

Anyways - that was a totaly off the topic paragraph to say I have been working on my real car again. Amy's car is 3 months away from needing an inspection. The check engine light would turn on and off on it's own last year, and I snuck it to the shop while the light was off. It was a lucky moment that delayed the need to really correct the problem for another year. :-)

This year, the light is not going off - it is a pretty solid yellow light that never seems to have an off day. In reading the codes, I get P0141 and P0400. The P0400 code is related to the EGR system. When I took the tube out a while back, this is what I saw:

I cleaned it out pretty good and put it all back together. I think the light went off for a moment once, but that was it. Not nearly long enough to get a new inspection sticker.

Last week I thought I'd see if I could correct it by clearing all the passages into the valve covers. There is one tiny hole on each cover that can be clogged with sludge. I thought I'd see if I could remove the vacuum hoses, and clear them out. I guess I should have known that rubber hoses on a 10 year old car would have become brittle to some extent. Some were impossible to move, and ended up being busted. I ended up going to AutoZone and purchasing some new generic hoses to replace the busted ones. When I put them all back together, I noticed that some of the other hoses I thought were fine were starting to crack. I kind of gave up hope of it correcting the issue, but I did clear out the two tiny little holes on the valve covers.

Yesterday, I went to go get the tires rotated and balanced. Nothing like waking up early Saturday morning to go get tires rotated if you ask me... Yes, I really don't like doing this. If I could, I'd buy the equipment needed to do all the balancing of tires in my own garage. Anyways - I learned that the tires are no good. Steal belt is starting to show through on some of the tires. Looks like I'll need to get some new ones by December if I really want this car to pass inspection. I have a new tire I want in sight by the way - but just need to wait a little before I can get it.

Today, for some reason I felt a little more inspired to correct the other issue. I went ahead and tackled the P0141 issue - which is a bad oxygen sensor. I went to AutoZone and purchased the needed replacements. I jacked up the car, pulled the old ones out and put the new ones in (it really was that simple). I think it will clear the code after a few start/stop cycles - but we will see.

I also went ahead and ordered all new rubber hoses needed to the EGR valve system as well, so hopefully it is just a vacuum leak that is keeping that pretty yellow dash light on, and a few good replacement parts will correct the problem.