Thursday, July 31, 2014

Oreo Challenge

Since the breakfast taco challenge was such a success, and the fact that my beloved was annoyed by my lack of 'official' brackets, we took on the Hoy House 2014 Oreo Challenge this summer with honest to goodness brackets.  I bought all the single-stuff Oreo flavors that I could find at Target and the kids picked the brackets.  Each match, we ate two flavors and voted for our favorite. The cookie with the majority went on to the next round.

When I posted this initially on Facebook, there were a lot of predictions for mint, original, Reese's, and even golden.  Watermelon was much maligned, with many commenting 'yuck' and with a friend saying even her high school daughter's boyfriend wouldn't eat them-- and he likes everything! 

Surprisingly, some of our individual favorites didn't fare well in the head to head match ups.  I usually love lemon, but it wasn't lemony enough for me.  The original had lack luster stuffing, but I believe won points because of the nostalgia factor.  The Reese's was good, but the golden birthday cake was REALLY good. 

In the end, coming out of nowhere was a true Cinderella story-- WATERMELON for the win!  It was a fun after dinner treat for a couple of weeks. Now, I am Oreo-ed out. 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Just Paranoid

Since Matthew got up off the couch yesterday at 4pm, he has been 100% totally Matthew.  We couldn't be happier to have just been paranoid. 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Hopefully Paranoid Mom

Just as I posted that life feels 'normal', Matthew reminded me that I should not become too complacent. 

This past Saturday, Matthew got into a bottle of fiber chews and helped himself to some. A few hours after that, they worked their way through his system.  Ah, not fun, but not a big deal.

Then yesterday, he had some digestive issues again. I figured it was just a follow up to Saturday. 

Then today, he's been very unMatthew like. I attributed it to possible dehydration given the issues of the past few days. He hasn't a fever or other symptoms.

But when Matthew remained unMatthew like, I started to get worried-- this feels a lot like what happened April 2013 when he had the bowel obstruction. 

His bowels have slowed lately, but I've attributed that to the potty training. Now, I am paranoid. What if this is all related and something more sinister?

So, off to the pediatrician.  Mattie seemed right as rain while we are there, with no unusual bowel sounds or symptoms. Thankfully, the doctor didn't act like I was a paranoid mom.  She wrote us a script for an abdominal X-ray to use if he doesn't improve within the next day. As Darren said "...after last April's surgery and 12 day hospital stay, we've earned the right to be a little paranoid when it comes to Matt's digestive tract." Glad the doctor agreed.

I really hope I am just being paranoid mom.

--Evening Update:  After he laid on the couch for all but an hour between the hours of 8am and 4pm, Matthew hopped up and was his usual self late afternoon and into the evening.  No better indication as to why he felt better as to why he felt poorly.  I am fine with it being a mystery (and me just being paranoid) if he continues to be Matthew like, and hopefully he will be!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Normal or Normalized

Lately, I have noticed that life feels very 'normal'.  The kids play and fight.  We take road trips.  Darren and I get a babysitter for date night.  Housework gets done.  Darren works on the '66.  We go to the library, out to eat, the park, and the pool.  Just every day, normal stuff. 

I look around at other families with 3 kids and see similar lives-- mostly.  It makes me wonder if our life is 'normal' or have I just 'normalized' it.  Have the unusual bits-- like s-l-o-w-l-y potty training a 4 year old and going to 3 therapies a week-- just become so a part of our lives that we don't recognize the difference?  I think maybe it is like Matthew's sweet 4 fingered hands, as now I see kids Matthew's age with thumbs and it looks odd to me.  My mind normalized his unique little hands.

Either way-- normal or normalized-- it is a nice state to be in. It is a stark comparison to the way life felt just a few years ago.  Now, I no longer look around and wonder if we are in the Twilight Zone.  I guess it feels just like it should. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Reality Is So Messy

When I was pregnant with Alyssa, I imagined that life with this new baby would be filled with sweet cuddles and peaceful walks.  Sure, there were those things... but reality was much messier.  In reality, some of those walks weren't so peaceful.  They were often necessitated by a screaming infant in need of a nap, and the only way she'd sleep was when she was moving, pushed along by a sleep deprived parent. Often the longest cuddles would be when she was sick, when the risk of being thrown up upon was pretty great.  Real life is so much messier than my imagination.

Same holds true for summer time.  I imagine conducting science experiments, having long talks about new topics, joyfully playing games, and quiet time spent reading.  Again, sure, there are those things, but reality is much messier than my imagination.  In between these fantastic moments are meltdowns, arguments, someone getting hurt or pouting (or all of the above).  Reality is so messy.

So, here are some of the great moments, but in between these there were some pretty messy ones too.

Our school library is open for limited hours during the summer.  We have loved riding our bikes up to the school, seeing some of our friends, and checking out books!

Alyssa and Jackson made their lunches the other day in the Easy Bake Oven.

One of our favorite summer finds is our neighborhood ice cream shop.  We love the ice cream, the bring one/leave one library, and all the toys to play with there! Matthew played for quite sometime with the Jenga blocks and the truck.

Look at Jackson's face and you'll see a bit of the messy reality! Last week we learned how CDs were made.  This week we are learning about mummies. 

Yippee for the great moments, boo for the messy ones.  Yes, I'm counting: 35 more days till school starts! 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Potty Training- Take 2

With Alyssa and Jackson, we used the 1-day potty party method with success.  Knowing that worked before, we tried that with Matthew last October-- but were extremely unsuccessful.  After our failed attempt at potty training, we took a long hiatus and regrouped.

Recently, Matthew has shown some interest in the potty and some recognition that he understands he's wet (he even brought me a diaper to change him) and his attention span is a bit longer, so I'm hopeful now is the time.  Not really surprising, as with most everything, we need a different approach with Matthew. Instead of all or nothing training, we've decided this time to take it slow with multiple step approach.

Starting this past Monday, we put him in pull ups (like diapers, but pull on and off like undies) and have him go periodically.  We bought a 'potty watch' that plays a little song every 30, 60, or 90 minutes and so far, so good.  Hopefully this first step will get him used to going on the potty.  It is less stressful (not worrying about our furniture getting wet!), but almost equally exhausting as our first attempt.  I'm encouraged so far.

In the future:  The second step is that we are going to build potty training into his school goals in the Fall.  That reinforcement will help.  The third step is the move toward big boy undies.  And the fourth will be total transition.  Not a fast process, but rarely anything is with Matthew.  We will be happy with success, however it comes!

Matthew wearing his potty watch.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Femur Head Fracture Update

Today, Jackson had a follow up with his orthopaedic surgeon.  Jackson hasn't had any pain, his leg seems completely healed, and he's back to full strength. We ran into his PT while we were waiting for the results of his Xrays, and my assessment to him was that "today is probably the last sentence in this chapter." 

I was wrong.  I should be used to that...being Matthew's mom... but it is always humbling to be taken off guard in a doctor's office!

A cyst has formed on Jackson's femur head, near the break.  This is of concern because it makes the bone weaker and more prone to future breaks.  Ugh.  The good news is that in 1/4 cases, these type of cysts go away without treatment.  The not-so-good news is that in 3/4 cases, they stay the same or get bigger.  At this time, we are waiting and watching.  If it stays the same or gets smaller, we will continue to wait and watch.  If it gets bigger, the surgeon recommends a process called "curettage and bone grafting" (more detail on this type of cyst and process can be found here). 

So, the femur head fracture story continues.  We are really praying that Jackson is in the 1/4 group!! 

We always forget to wear shorts sans zippers to these appointments but Jackson loves the disposable shorts they give him to wear for the Xrays.  He pulled them up to his armpits. 

Friday, July 11, 2014

Summer Road Trip Adventure

We just returned home from our summer road trip adventure on Wednesday, and I haven't yet recovered, but wanted to share some of the amazing highlights.

We drove 4360 miles over 24 days with 5 big destinations.  There were a few rocky moments, where it seemed completely ridiculous, but it was well worth it to see the people we love and have lots of fun! 

Destination 1:  Indianapolis
We love spending time with Aunt Debra and Uncle Evan. 
We put sand in the car early and often on the trip!
Destination 2: Sesame Place in Pennsylvania 

It seemed a bit crazy to take the 3 kids by myself, but couldn't resist visiting the Sesame Street theme park.  The kids did fantastic and we had tons of fun!

On Sesame Street!
Destination 3:  Cape Cod

I love to watch our 3 kids fall right into rhythm with their 3 friends. We feel so fortunate to have remained close to this fantastic family despite the distance and it is well worth the drive to spend days playing on the beach and evenings catching up!

The youngests

The middles
We wished we could have heard what they were talking about!

The eldests
Destination 4:  Sister Lakes, Michigan

Love spending the time with family (including Darren!) and hanging at the lake.  So fun!

Destination 5: Chicago

Quick trip to visit family, spend a few hours with Legos, and partake in some of our favorite Chicago eats.

Not a great photo, but kids were excited to take a picture with Harry Potter, since we had just listened to the audiobook.

Now, to finish unpacking and ready for the rest of the summer.  Only 45 more days until school starts again!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Happy 7th Birthday, Jackson!

So, if you were 7 and you got a little birthday money and mom to drive you to the toy store, what would you spend your money on?

Happy 7th birthday to Jack-Jack!