29 November 2012

Combating Morning Sickness (a.k.a. All-Day Sickness)

I'm officially at the half-way point today. 20 weeks down, 20 to go. Although it feels like I have about 50 weeks under my belt at this point.

To celebrate, I thought I'd share 20 of my "tips and tricks" to endure a deep and abiding stomach flu that lasts for three to four months straight. This is also known as morning sickness, or, in my case, all-day sickness.

I was willing to try pretty much anything when most days I didn't know if I could endure another hour. I even researched if it would be safe to be put into a coma while pregnant. But since that didn't prove to be a viable option, I had to resort to other ways of coping.

Nothing I tried was a magical solution. I mostly just had to suffer through it. And some days one thing took the egde off and the next day it didn't work at all. But even though I wanted to lie in the fetal position every second in between my frequent trips to the porcelain bowl, I still had two children to take care of and cart around to various places.

So, to all of my pregnant sisters out there who are lying in bed near a bowl or toilet, here are some tips and tricks that I've discovered over the years that may give you 5 minutes of relief until the next bout hits.


1. Doctor prescribed meds. Some women swear by these, but I didn't find anything to be a "cure." Zofran maybe made me throw up less, but I still felt like I was about to puke my guts out 24/7, which was sometimes worse. Phenergan made me so deliriously sleepy that I couldn't function, and Reglen gave me crazy side effects. At 10 weeks I started having contractions and intestinal cramping because my body completely rejected it.

2. Vitamin B6 and ½ Unisom tablet. Again, this combo didn't prove to do much for me, but I know it works miracles for others. But beware, it might make you sleepy.

3. Sobe Lifewater. Using the B-vitamin logic, I stocked up on Sobe drinks that contained vitamin B. Sometimes they were soothing and I liked drinking something other than plain water, but once I threw them up a few times they weren't ever really the same. I think I still have a few bottles left in our outside fridge.

4. Fountain soda and limeades. I'm not a natural soda drinker. But a fizzy fountain Sprite always helped a little. Even if my two year old is now addicted after sneaking so many sips of my drinks. I also got hooked on Sonic's limeades. There is a Sonic close to the boys' school that I frequented.

5. String cheese. In those moments where I had to grab to eat something immediately, I usually went for string cheese. I bought the nicer varieties - Sargento cheddar and jack to switch things up a bit. I could only live on pretzels and crackers for so long. I still grab string cheese in the evenings when the nausea hits and at this point it's usually (not always) enough to tide me over till bedtime.

6. Avoid things that will not feel good coming back up. I get into a different eating mentality when I'm pregnant. With everything I consume, I consider how bad the repercussions will be when the contents come back up. Salad and spicy food are the worst in my opinion. I once had someone tell me that every time she felt nauseous while she was pregnant, she ate an apple and it made her feel great. Obviously she hadn't thrown up apples 4 times in one day. Just sayin' - think before you eat.

7. While we're at it, avoid talking to anyone who was nauseous for one day and/or threw up once or twice during their pregnancies, and thinks they "know what you're going through." It just makes you want to punch them in the face.

8. Airplane barf bags. I've tried out a variety of barf receptacles, and airplane bags are the best. They fold up enough to put several in your purse, they are thick and hole-free, and they usually have a sealing flap to keep the contents contained until you can find a trash can. We have a good friend that travels a lot and he brought me a huge stack.

9. Plug your nose. I learned the best trick with this pregnancy. Since I get the most sick in the evenings, the up-chuck contents stay in my sinuses all night long and make it impossible to breathe. I wake up multiple times during those nights and have to re-wet the roof of my mouth because it feels like sandpaper. But I learned that if you plug your nose while you are throwing up, it helps the food bits not get stuck in your sinuses. Let me tell you, I'm really good at holding my hair with one hand and plugging my nose with the other.

10. Popsicles. Cold and soothing, even if they don't do much nutritionally.

11. Lemon drops. For about four weeks straight, I popped lemon drops almost constantly to help with the nausea. And then of course I got incredibly sick of that taste being in my mouth. I don't know if I'll ever be able to suck on a lemon drop again, but I swear it helped.

12. Ginger. Some people say ginger helps. Gingerale never did much for me, and if you've ever tasted raw candied ginger even when you're not pregnant - you might as well start running towards the bathroom.

13. Peppermint oil. I tried rubbing this on my feet and belly a few times. I'm not really one for oils but I guess the smell is supposed to be relieving.

14. Gummy vitamins. I cannot for the life of me get those horse prenatal vitamins down, so I go for the chewable gummy ones when I'm pregnant. I get the One-a-Day adult or women's multivitamins, which taste like fruit snacks. They basically have all of the same vitamins as prenatal pills.

15. Sea-sickness wristbands. I wore these religiously for a while thinking they might be helping. Of course it was still 90°+ at that point so they looked awesome with my short sleeves. In that same vein, motion sickness ear patches. I had a few leftover from our cruise, but they made my already heaving mouth so dry that I ripped them off after one day.

16. Mints. Spearmint gum, starlight mints, Altoids, anything that will distract you momentarily.

17. You are in charge. I learned with baby #3 that I could tell my doctor/midwive no. You know those mandatory first trimester blood draws? I said no. I'm pretty sure my blood type hasn't changed and I haven't contracted an STD since my last pregnancy. And the pap? Just say no. I was so nauseous that thinking of doing anything other than checking for the heartbeat at those first few appointments put me over the edge. So, I stuck up for myself. Apparently I can't avoid that 28 week gestational diabetes test though.

...and I just took an intermittent break to go throw up. I guess the half way point isn't looking that optimistic after all. Lately, it just springs on me. I know, TMI.

18. Take naps and go to bed early. This one was hard for me because I feel like naps are such a waste of time. Usually, I go go go all day long. But sleep was the one and only relief, so I tried to take advantage whenever I could (as much as was possible with two small children).

19. Have great friends and a great husband. It is important to accept offers to help when you really need it, as hard as that may be. I don't know what I would have done without friends who brought us meals and took our boys some afternoons. Or a husband who put up with my constant hormonal emotions and did the grocery shopping. And even stood over me with tissues and sanitizing wipes each time I lost it. It doesn't get much more glamorous than that.

20. Find distractions. Even though I wanted to curl up and not leave the house, doing nothing for three months straight would have made me go crazy. I never felt up to it, but I still went to book club and playgroups and church and other outings. The time passed so slowly that any distraction I could find to fill the time was worth the effort. As long as I had my airplane barf bags close at hand. I've felt so thankful for my job the last few months as well. Since I couldn't just sleep all day long, my design work kept my mind distracted even though my body felt terrible. Designing websites on my laptop while laying on the couch filled the time and helped me feel like I was still accomplishing something.

One more: Perspective. Without warning, pregnancy took over my life. And it should (well, if you're lucky, not the sickness part) for anyone who is growing a human being. Even though it seems like it will never end, I have two growing children that prove that it does indeed end. As hard as it is to endure, do the best you can to remember that it won't last forever. You'll have your body back again. You'll reestablish your normal routines and hobbies. You'll set new goals when you feel better. For now, give yourself a break and do what you need to do to survive, one day at a time. This too shall pass. I promise.


28 November 2012

Gobble Gobble

The boys both had feasts at school the day before Thanksgiving. It might as well have been Christmas already, they were so excited.
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We thought it looked nice enough outside on Thanksgiving to take a family walk in the canyon before the main event. Yeah, we were wrong. It was freezing. We made approximately one loop through a path, threw a few stones in the river, and chattered our way back to the car.
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Or at least that's what we tried to do. My dad left the remote clicker for his car in Arizona, and locking the doors from the inside set off the car alarm when we tried to re-enter. Not only did the alarm go off every time a door was open or shut, but the ignition was deactivated as well. We poured over manuals for about an hour to try to get the car to start without the alarm blaring in our ears, but we finally had to call in reinforcements. 

It's a good thing Troy stayed behind to watch football so he could come rescue us in the middle of the canyon. And I had spotty enough cell phone service that I could actually reach him. It must have really worn him out because when we finally made it back home to craft and cook, he promptly crashed. Remote in hand and all.
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After a filling feast, three football games, Punkin' Chunkin', and ordering a few Black Friday deals online, we felt like we sufficiently celebrated Turkey Day. 


27 November 2012

You Can't Eat This

Apparently the non-edible items I included at each Thanksgiving place setting were amusing but not appealing to our two year old.


26 November 2012

Thanksgiving Tablescape

My parents came into town for Thanksgiving, which meant that my dad prepared the feast and left me time for the more exciting task; the tablescape.

I'm the kind of person that believes that a centerpiece, plate chargers, cloth napkins, individual placecards, a table runner and accents of burlap here and there somehow make the meal taste better. I love the details.
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I was delighted with the woodsy items I found/made to add to the decor this year.
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The menu:
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My mom and I whipped up these little silverware holders tied with twine while the turkey was a cookin'.
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We had a delicious feast surrounded by family (and might I say a pretty ambiance) and counted our many blessings. 


22 November 2012

21 November 2012

It's a...

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It was confirmed for a second time today.

It’s no secret that I was aching for a baby girl this time around. I have dreamed of having my own daughter since I was a little girl myself. Everyone that I know recognizes how deep that desire goes for me.

I’ve debated over and over about posting something so deep and personal. But I like to keep it real. I don’t ever want to put on the pretense that we have a picture perfect life. And it’s getting harder to hide my emotions behind happy pictures. It just all seems fake when I’ve cried and cried and cried myself to dehydration.

I have always wanted the opportunity to have a girl. And it’s not just about the bows and dresses and dance classes (although I’m dying for those too). I don’t just want a girl, I want a daughter. There is a special bond that comes with mothers and daughters that isn’t the same with sons. I want to know that at least one child will want to talk with me when she gets older or come see me when she's grown and be my shopping and crafting partner and family get-together co-planner.

This is an ultra sensitive topic, because I’m very aware of those that are unable to have children or have lost children and must think I’m so selfish and ungrateful for the blessings I’ve received. There are so many who would give anything just to have a baby - and a healthy one at that - let alone worry about whether it's a boy or a girl.

So let me clarify that I am grateful, incredibly grateful. I would not swap out any of my boys for a girl. But I can’t deny that not a day goes by that I don’t long and yearn for a daughter.

When the ultrasound tech announced that it was a third boy (which was unnecessary since I can identify boy parts in my sleep), I didn’t cry at first. I mean it’s not this sweet, innocent new spirit’s fault. And I will love him just as much as I absolutely adore our other two boys.

But what sent me into hysterics was the realization that I’m probably never going to have a girl.

I daydreamed about how the ultrasound would go a thousand times in my head. I imagined the tears of joy that would stream out when the ultrasound tech revealed, “It’s a girl!” I literally sensed the overwhelming emotions I would feel as I replayed the scenario over and over in my mind. And how it would be the happiest day of my life. I even had the “gender reveal” all planned out.

Each time I’ve learned that my boys are boys, it has gotten more painful for me. And it has nothing to do with them. With Blake, I was excited to give Troy his boy. And in the back of my mind, I thought, “Okay, well the next one will be a girl.” With Nash, I cried a little. Two boys under our belt with no girl on the horizon was scary. But, I was still happy that Blake would have a brother and best friend, and I knew we weren’t done having babies yet, so I was okay with it. And obviously I can’t imagine my life without the sweet boys who fill me with so much joy.

But I was terrified to have a third child. And now that the boy factor is confirmed, the light seems very dim, even impossible, for the possibility of ever having a girl. I feel like I’ve lost my last shot.

I’ve actually known for about a month and have been trying the best I can to deal with the reality. I’ve told very few people because it’s just as awkward for others to respond as it is for me to relive the news over and over.

Two of my best friends came with me to the initial ultrasound. They have been my absolute rock throughout all of this. Not only have they brought us meals and taken care of me physically, but they sobbed right along with me at the ultrasound. And they continue to cry with me whenever I need support.

Every day of facing the reality is hard. What started out as mostly physical suffering has now taken full emotional effect on me. And reliving the ultrasound for a second time today was just as emotional as the first time. For some foolish reason I still had a glimmer of hope within me that a girl would be revealed.

Little things set me off each day that are mostly selfish; folding baskets of laundry and realizing I’ll soon be adding more boy jeans and hand-me-downs to those baskets instead of girl clothes, knowing that I won’t get to have the baby shower I’ve dreamed of after hosting so many for others, walking through any children’s clothing store and bypassing the “off-limits” side that I’ve wanted to shop in for years, wondering what to do with my bin of girl paraphernalia that I’ve saved over the years, and wanting to remove every single baby girl nursery idea that I’ve pinned and collected.

I feel broken. Like I’m just not capable of making baby girls (even though technically it's my husband's fault :). I cry because I am so disappointed and then I cry because I feel guilty for being disappointed. I’m sad that this arrival isn’t going to be exciting for any of the grandparents because they already have a plethora of grandsons. I feel heartbroken for Blake, who desperately wants a baby sister. How do I explain to him that this was meant to be and it will be wonderful when I can barely accept that reality myself?

I know that everything happens for a reason and this boy is meant to come to our family, yada yada yada, but that doesn’t ease the void I feel for my missing girl.

In some ways, I am grieving the loss of my girl, even though she never really existed. It was hard for me to be excited about the pregnancy from the beginning because I’ve been so so sick every hour of every day for four months straight. But the only thing that got me though the hardest times was the hope of my little girl and that all of the pain and suffering would somehow be worth it.

Now it feels like the girl that I imagined and dreamed about my entire life is gone. I really thought she was coming this time. It had to be a girl, right? I was so much sicker, the baby was “timed” to be a girl, and I had a handful of other personal experiences that confirmed my prediction. I was 120% certain. I barely entertained the possibility of the baby being a boy. And now I’m falling especially hard because I’m mourning the loss of someone I never had to begin with.

People seem very curious if we will try again.

The answer is we don’t know. Going for a fourth and having another boy terrifies me. And that does not mean we don’t love the boys we have. We love them with a fierceness that only parents can understand. And we do not wish any of them were a girl.

Technically, we haven’t scheduled any irreversible procedures. Troy and I both just thought this was the end of our child-bearing era. Three children felt right. After this one, womb closed. Out of business. Finis. But now there are some question marks.

We've felt judgment for not jumping on board and immediately planning for the next one. No one understands the depth of how hard pregnancy is for me (and my entire family), and how each time it has gotten profoundly worse. To the point of barely functioning. Physically, I really don’t know if I can ever do it again. And making the decision to have a fourth child now, when I’m at my worst, is unfair and impossible. I still have a long way to go with this pregnancy.

Though I know everyone I talk to means well, most of the time, I don’t want to be comforted. I don’t want to hear “You make such beautiful boys” (I’ve never questioned that), “Think of all the daughters-in-law you will have someday!” (Not the same at all), “But you’ll have grand daughters” (Can I dress them everyday and French braid their hair and enroll them in dance?), “You’ll completely forget what it was like being sick and be able to have another one” (I do NOT forget. I remember vividly how sick I was with Nash, and I don’t think the memories from this one will ever fade). I don’t want to hear about other ultrasound experiences where the mom “just knew” what she was having and she was right. I “knew” too. Being told that my intuition was wrong is hard to swallow. And I really don't want to hear about those instances where the ultrasound revealing a boy ended up being wrong.

I’m sure that at our third son’s birth I won’t feel anything vaguely resembling disappointment. Just because I wasn’t instantly thrilled about this boy doesn’t mean that I don’t want him or I’ll love him any less. And so far, he looks healthy, and a healthy baby is a miracle in and of itself. He is our son and I know I will love everything about him. We have the means to support him. He will have two older brothers to look up to. We know we are blessed beyond measure. And on the bright side, we’ll have a lot less PMS in our household.

I also don’t think I’ll ever stop longing for a daughter. No matter how much I love my sons, no matter how wonderful they are, no matter how grateful I am for happy, healthy children, no matter that I would not swap them for all the daughters in the world, or even one, it won't take away the wanting of a baby girl.

Though I’m feeling sadness over a broken dream, I know that grieving is the only way to reach acceptance. There is no shortcut, no way around. And when I eventually make my way to acceptance, it will be a good, good place to be.


19 November 2012

Trained

There should be local support groups for potty training parents. We should all sit in circles and tell everyone why our potty trainee is the most stubborn and un-cooperative little learner ever. And then when you hear the next story, hopefully it will cheer you up and give you hope. You know, that your child isn't the only one running around the house for months on end with bare buns and still wears pull-ups to school.

However, I no longer need to attend this type of support group. Because we finally have reason to celebrate in our home. Blake, just two weeks shy of turning five, is potty trained. Completely.

Hallelujah!!

After two very long years since our initial efforts, Blake finally figured out that undies are much cooler than soggy pull-ups. 
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Humor me, while I rewind and list all of the methods we have exhausted over the last two years:
  • Two elaborate potty training kick-off parties with treats and drinks, potty training DVDs and books, streamers, balloons, and rewards (see here).
  • Talking about potty training in advance like it is the best thing since sliced bread and highlighting the start date on the calendar for Blake to see.
  • Modeling potty use with a boy doll in underwear.
  • Having Blake pick out his own fun underwear with all his favorite characters.
  • Using numerous versions of sticker charts.
  • Every reward in the book. Treats, little toy prizes, pennies in a piggy bank, wrapped surprises, special outings with mom or dad, train rides, movies, you name it. Nothing motivated this kid (I wrote all about that dark cloud in our lives back here).
  • Though I don't like to admit it; lectures, time-outs, yelling, door slamming, threats, and loss of certain privileges (it's been two years people).
  • Natural consequences - i.e. having him cleaning out his own dirty underwear.
  • Letting him run around the house with no bottoms. (Surprisingly, this was our most successful tactic. He never once had an accident when he was bare bunned.)
  • Having him wear a timer around his neck that beeped every hour to remind him to go.
  • Reading my own handful of books related to the subject and about a hundred online articles.
  • Taking a few months off when the pressure got to be so much that we turned into the worst versions of parents and Blake started lying to us on a constant basis.
  • Letting him have accidents at school in hopes that he would be embarrrased in front of his friends and have the desire to put some effort into the task.
  • Talking to his pediatrician and countless other parents who were just as stumped as I was.
  • Throwing away every diaper in the house and going cold turkey for about a month (which led to hourly accidents, even through the night).
  • Helping Blake feel more "in control" of other aspects of his life in case it was all a big power struggle.
  • Reminding him to go every hour vs. backing off and telling him that he could choose to go whenever he wanted (neither worked).
After Blake had been four for a few months and there was no hope of success on the horizon, we decided it was time to consult an expert. And from February until October of this year, this is what finally made the difference:
  • We started seeing a fabulous Occupational Therapist. Through a lot of various testing methods, we determined that Blake has some sensory awareness issues. Our OT didn't feel comfortable diagnosing him with Sensory Integration Disorder because he didn't fit all of the criteria across the board. But, we recognized that there were definitely some sensory issues that were contributing to the difficult time he was having with potty training.
  • We started out with a lot of body awareness exercises at first, both at the OT office and at home, to help Blake become more aware of his body.
  • I made story boards with pictures describing any new potty training process we were going to start implementing. We read the story boards every single day.
  • We started out really small - wearing underwear for one hour every day after lunch. We wanted to let him feel success after so many months of struggling. He was always rewarded with a small prize, regardless of whether he stayed dry or not. It was more about the act of wearing the underwear.
  • After a few months, we gradually increased the time to a few hours. He was successful at staying dry some days, and other days he wasn't. And this was all still at home.
  • Then, school started. I knew that with how sensitive Blake is to new situations, he wouldn't be able to handle a new classroom, teacher, classmates and wearing underwear to school when he still hadn't mastered the task at home.
  • I talked to his teacher and presented my plan of letting him wear pull-ups in September, but once October rolled around, it was underwear city. She was so kind to agree to that plan.
  • We made a huge deal out of the plan at home. On Blake's calendar that he follows in his room, we drew a boy with a pull-up in September, and a boy with underwear in October. We gradually increased the time that Blake wore underwear at home in anticipation of the upcoming month. He started to get a little more consistent in remembering to go.
  • We held true to the plan and had him wear underwear to school the first Monday in October. I didn't send any spare undies because I didn't want him to learn that he could just change if he had an accident. I held my breath that entire first day, but he made it though, dry.
  • And he has made it every single day since then. He has been begging for a Playdough factory for years so I told him if he could make it through every school day in October without an accident, he could get the factory.
I have never been happier to reward him.
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In the end, it came down to his own sensory awareness and maturity. I think all of things we did this year contributed to his success, but he really just had to be "ready." Even though it took until he was just shy of turning five.

And what have I learned from it all?

The most challenging problems in parenting are sometimes only solved by giving it time. Sometimes a lot of time. 

Oh, and I'm not potty training Nash until he's seven.


13 November 2012

This is What 14 Inches of Snow Looks Like

The snow dumped on us this weekend, for three days straight. It just would not stop.

It came swiftly after a week of playing outside every day in sunny 70's.

I am a total bah-humbug when it comes to snow. Blake played outside three times per day because he was so excited while I sat warmly inside and waved at him through the window. 

But, on day four, when the snow stopped falling and stayed still, I finally agreed to get on all my snow gear and join the boys.

Troy had a day off work in honor of Veteran's Day, so we got out the sleds and trudged through the blanket of white.
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Nash wasn't so sure about the winter wonderland.
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How can you blame him when the snow came up to his knees?
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He slid down the hill on a tube a handful of times and then went inside.
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But Blake is a die hard. He would have stayed out in the cold all day if we let him. Troy wants to take him skiing this year. I'm still a little on the fence on that one.
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No snow day would be complete without a little icicle tasting.
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Maybe, just maybe, we've had our fill of snow and can now hibernate until spring.
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08 November 2012

Snapshot 2012

At the beginning of each school year, I write a "verbal snapshot" of what's going on in our lives (2011 and 2010).

I didn't quite get it done at the beginning of school this year, but I still want to compile our snapshot in words (and a few pictures) before 2012 is history.

I write a lot on here about events and thoughts, but I want to remember the little things that are happening in our lives right now. I know that all too soon they will fade and become fuzzy in my mind if I don't capture them. So, future self (and children), here you go:

Blake still gives me a hug and kiss at school every time I drop him off. A full smack on the lips in front of all his friends.

He tells me every single detail about preschool. Each day, I am informed what the "centers" were, what they ate for snack, who did and didn't earn a sticker, and what songs they sang. I love that he shares all of these details with me. Not every child is as open.

He likes to tell everyone that I have a baby in my tummy. We were recently at Costco getting gas and he told the attendant what he dressed up as for Halloween, what his brother was, and that I had a baby in my tummy. He is not afraid of having conversations with adults and I hope he stays that way.

Blake's favorite TV show is "How It's Made" on the Science Channel. It shows how common everyday items are manufactured. He gets super animated watching all the machines and parts work together, and makes sure I am watching about 16 times during any given episode.

He is fascinated with the way things work. Lately, I keep finding the back lids of our toilets on the counter because he takes them off to watch the parts work together during a flush.

He is still a machine building maniac. He really doesn't play in any other way than by hooking all of his toys together, turning them upside down to make ramps and switches, and creating functional machines.

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This may look like a pile of junk in the basement, but it's actually "a jump house with wind makers, vacuums, slides, ball shoots, ramps, and generators."
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We gave him a circuit kit last year for Christmas, and almost returned it because we thought the parts and electricity flow were a little too advanced for his age. I'm glad we kept it around because the kit has turned out to be his favorite toy. He rigs up working lights and fans and whistles.
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When Blake isn't building machines (which is rarely), he builds completely symmetrical structures out of various materials. Maybe this is normal for his age, but it still blows my mind that he pays such close attention to color and size and detail.
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Lately, he has been really interested in math as well. I love when I find things like this laying around the house:
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Blake makes his own breakfast before I wake up every single day. It usually consists of yogurt, dry cereal and a glass of milk.

He can also make a mean peanut butter and jelly sandwich from start to finish. We're still working on the clean-up part (and the whole being pictured in your undies ordeal).
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Blake's daily chore is to unload the silverware from the dishwasher.

He loved to watch American Idol last spring. All of their advertising paid off, because every time we are driving behind a Ford vehicle, Blake exclaims, "Look! That car says American Idol!"

Blake thrives on following the calendar that we update with his schedule in his room. He does not like it when we deviate from the plan.
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Blake has officially made the transition to "quiet time" instead of nap time. He really hasn't napped all year unless he is sick. Nash, however, still naps every single afternoon.

When we ask Nash how old he is, he always holds up his thumb and pointer finger and states, "Two!" He never holds up the "correct" two fingers. If you ask me, he figured out the easier way.
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Nash goes to an early three's preschool class a couple of mornings a week. I was hesitant to let him start so young, but he was so ready to join his brother at school. He is thriving with a little extra activity, and I'm glad that it means he spends less time watching movies while I am sick. It has also made the logistics of scheduling my own appointments much more doable since we have no nearby family support.
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Nash has a very well developed vocabulary. Most people are surprised at how much he talks and how clear his words are. He has a little lisp when he says his s's and I kind of love it.

He climbs in and out of his crib with ease, but we're not quite ready to make the transition to a big boy bed yet. I never worry about him being in danger the way he strategically hoists himself above the crib bar and carefully makes his way down to the floor. Thankfully, he doesn't leave his room when he flops in and out (yet).

Nash's favorite books are Maisy books. He adores that little mouse and his panda and all of their adventures.

He still loves his nie-night more than life itself. Recently, out of the blue, our family friend from Michigan that gave him the original gift sent us a brand new lovey, embroidered the same and everything. Now, Nash loves both of his nie-nights. He calls them his "new nie-night" and his "broken nie-night." We keep asking him if we can throw away the old beaten up one but there's no way he'll ever let that thing out of his sight. I am so glad to have a back-up though, for those nights when we search the house from top to bottom and can't find the original anywhere, or if he ever loses it at a place like Disneyland again (more about that here and here).
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I'm not sure how this one got in here - except to say how much I'm going to miss Nash being my baby once the new little one arrives. I adore Nash. He is a genuinely happy guy and a ray of light in our home.
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Whenever one of us leaves the house, the boys stand at the front window and wave ferociously as we back out of the driveway.

Blake and Nash have entered the world of wrestling. And Nash does a pretty good job at holding his own.

They are definitely frenemies. They argue about as much as the play together.

Many nights after dinner and scriptures, the boys instigate a game of tag where they run around the loop from our kitchen to our living room endlessly. It never gets old to have their dad chase them.

Whenever the boys are sick, they insist on toast with a little bit of butter, sugar, and cinnamon. It's a special commodity that I only make when they have colds (which ends up being about every two weeks).

I gave up cutting the boys' hair myself. It just wasn't worth the fight that always ended in sobbing tears. My friend in the neighborhood that has a salon at her house thankfully took over the job (and mess).

We haven't had any huge home repairs this year (knock on wood). All of the repairs have been willed over to our aging vehicles.

Soccer ended this week and I'm happy that we are going to have our Saturdays back again. I don't think I realized how much of a commitment eight consecutive Saturday mornings would be. A little foreshadowing for the future.

We met our goal of visiting 30 parks this summer. We may have gone a little into the warm fall months to meet our quota, but all together we made it parks in Michigan, Arizona, Utah and California.
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Troy paces when he talks on the phone. It is impossible for him to remain stationary. He also paces when football games get really intense.

Every few weeks, he gets together with the guys for "fight night." This consists of watching Mixed Martial Arts, and includes a lot of blood and yelling. One of these days they want to go to Vegas to watch it live.

He often takes the boys with him to the gym. Blake started a collection on his closet door with the numbered stickers that they put on the kids' backs at the play center.
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Troy also loves to take them out for breakfast on Saturday mornings. Breakfast is his favorite meal of the day and I do not share that in sentiment. I'd be content to live on peanut butter toast for the rest of my life.

Troy was asked to serve as the president for the men's organization at church at the beginning of the summer. He has meetings all day Sunday and home visits one weeknight each week. We see him a little less, but we are grateful for the work he's doing.

I have been the secretary for the Primary (children's) organization at church for almost two years now and I have to say it is my absolute favorite responsibility.

I haven't cooked a lot in general over the last several months, but it is the running joke in our family that I never remember to fix side dishes. When I plan for meals, I just never consider what in the world we're going to have on the side.

My go-to Pandora stations are A Fine Frenzy and Joshua Radin.

I have had the same wallet since my Junior year of High School. And it still doesn't look worn at all.

I love my web design job. Sometimes the orders get overwhelming, especially when I'm not feeling well, but I love that I get to do something I enjoy so much from home. It does so much for me to go beyond being "just a mom" and use creativity and interact with clients.

I believe that when I did our first snapshot two years ago, I reported how anti-Mac we were. Well, the "we" has turned to "he," because I am now completely hooked on all things Apple. I saved up for a Macbook Pro and it has made my designing life so much easier. And I loved switching over to an iPhone. Now I just have to get Troy on board.

Much to my chagrin, and even though I feel the most sick in the evenings, I'm not miraculously turned into a go-to-bed-early girl. It is so hard for me to make myself turn off at night after the kiddos are in bed.

Book club is still one of my favorite nights each month. I love those girls and and our late-into-the-night conversations.

I'm sure there are a million more little things that I'd like to remember but I better end here. 2012 has treated us well.