Monday, March 17, 2014

Who wants a gold star?

Ethan has been doing so well with everything. Forgive the bragging but he's so smart, and he loves school so much. He's sweet and takes good care of his little brothers, when he's not trying to take their toys. One of the major problems we're trying to figure out with him is food. He will not eat! He's never been a good eater, and considering this has been going on for like four years it's hard to accept the "it's just a phase" response. Like a lot of little kids he doesn't like to try new foods, but Ethan takes it to another level. Trying to get him to eat dinner usually turns into an epic battle of wills in which no one wins. We try not to make a big deal about it, we ignore it but then we demand, we bargain, we threaten, we try and trick him and he counters by screaming like a banshee and throwing a tantrum worthy of Paris Hilton, or just not eating. It's gotten to the point that his teachers have sent a note home worried he'll make himself sick because he doesn't eat much at school either. I've started packing his lunch with things I know he'll eat so that's helping with school, but not at home. I don't want him eating the same things over and over, and he needs vegetables! While I'm open to suggestions, Derek and I have decided to try something classic. Elementary school classic to be exact (I've always thought this but teachers are geniuses). We've decided to make a star chart. I'm not going to get into the psychological debate about child development, discipline and reward blah blah blah. This might work and it might not. He's not a carved egg, he'll be OK.

We're mainly trying to encourage him to eat, vegetables more than anything else (he gets two stars for eating veggies and one for everything else), but we didn't want to focus purely on that so we added some other goals we want him to reach. He has to earn a certain number of stars for the week and if he meets his goal he gets to pick a treasure from the treasure box! Who doesn't love a treasure box? It just has little dollar store toys but when we sat down with him and explained everything he was over the moon about it. It's been a couple of weeks and so far he's earned one toy, so there's still some work to do, but there's also some progress. He even tried green beans the other day!

I love this box! I totally stole it from my dad
This experiment got me thinking about what goals I want to accomplish. Lately it seems hard to get much done; my current excuse is because Sammy's not sleeping through the night anymore. So, how do I get motivated? Hmmm... Derek and I were talking and we've decided to make star charts for ourselves. Why not right? We each have different things we want to work on and knowing my habitual 'all or nothing' mentality Derek helped me set reasonable goals. If we meet our goals for the week we earn a $5 credit. Last week was our first and neither one of us met our goals. I was afraid I would be put off of the idea but today I'm even a bit more motivated to earn my gold stars than before, so I guess it's working. I kind of feel like a little kid trying to earn an allowance but I'm pretty OK with that if it helps me improve. Now, if you'll excuse me I have some gold stars to earn. Bye y'all!

Oh, and here's a random family picture:

Saturday Morning anyone?
The End.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Long Time No Read

I have to be honest with myself. I'm a frustrating person to get a hold of. I love my family. I love my friends. I’m interested in their lives and I care about what’s happening with them. Facebook and Blogger help make me feel connected with them even from such a great distance. I forget that they would feel the same way about my life. I’m not very good at keeping in touch, everyone knows this, and while the computer is no replacement for personal contact I’m not good at keeping up with it either. Sorry y’all. While I’m not going to take it to the other extreme and post about everything in my life I’m finally realizing how important it is to open the window into my life and welcome in those I love.

So, in the spirit of improvement welcome to a long awaited blog update! So much has happened! We are now a family of five. Whoa! I'm still not used to thinking of myself as a mother of three boys. When did that happen? Oh wait, that's probably what you're asking. Well, let's see...

We spent about a year in California. It's amazing we were able to stay there for so long, and there's no way we could have done it without a ton of help and support, but it finally came to a point when leaving was our best option. We met some great people, and even though we had a rather hard go of it there, it wasn't all bad. Logen was born, we were able to see Alexis and Micheal, we were able to see the ocean, visit the mall where 'Back To The Future' was filmed (that was a big one for Derek),we visited the zoo and Griffith Observatory, Ashlyn and Eric came to visit, my mom came to visit, Derek was able to spend time at Universal Studios and we were finally together again as a family after being separated from Derek. I think Derek discussed his side of things in more detail in a previous post.

We were able to stay with Derek's parents again until we could figure out a direction. It's so frustrating not knowing what's best to do for your family. Derek was applying for job after job with nothing materializing and still we had no direction. After almost two months Derek and I decided that coming to North Carolina would be the most promising move. Thankfully, my family was OK with that so we made the very long drive. I was terrified to make such a long trip with a toddler, an infant and a cat couped up together in a car for so long but amazingly enough the it went pretty smoothly. Don't get me wrong, it was a long, long trip, but it was OK and we made it to NC in time for Christmas and my brother Chris and his cute wife Kari's wedding!

The Whole Family!

Kari and Chris
Around New Year we found out that I was pregnant again. Unexpected. We were excited because we love our boys and we wanted another one, just not right then.  I had no idea how we were going to figure this out, but again with help and divine guidance everything has been possible (that's the most accurate word I could come up with). So, here we are. We've been here a little over a year. We're staying with my parents, who have been so supportive, and while we're not settled we are making the best of our situation. Derek's working with OfficeMax while completing a CompTIA Network Security Tech w/ Linux program (I just say computers) at Miller-Mott College here in town. He should finish up in July and we're really hoping this opens up a lot more opportunities for employment. That would be sweet! Ethan is in Pre-K and he loves every bit of it. He's learning so much too! Sometimes I'm amazed at how much he's grown since he started. Logen will be two in May, crazy! He's having a blast playing with Derek and I as much as possible, especially when Ethan's at school, and he's reached his get into everything possible while laughing maniacally then run away stage. And both boys adore their little brother Sammy. They love to make him laugh and he saves his biggest smiles for them. Sammy's six month old now and doing so well, he's playing, laughing, starting to try new food and sleeping through the night (Yes!). We were able to get bunk-beds so now all the boys are in the same room, and it's working, cue heavenly choir. It's crazy and crowded having us all in such a small space but we're getting along pretty well, and thankfully we seem to have as much time having fun as throwing tantrums, so it evens out.

Picture break!




Sammy at six months
Logen, Ethan and Sammy Christmas 2013

As for me, this has been the hardest few years of my life but I can still say that I am happy. That's amazing to me.I'm happy to be so close to family, I've found some new TV shows that I love, I'm baking up a gluten-free hurricane whenever possible (not all chocolate by the way), got a new hairstyle, tried Zumba and loved it and learned how to use Windows 8.  There are a lot of personal things that I'm trying to figure out and it's going to take me a while to do it. One of the biggest issues I need to conquer is my health. While not having anything physically bad to deal with I do need to get control of my weight. Thankfully, all of my boys are healthy and the pregnancies didn't have any complications but I was labeled high risk and developed gestational diabetes during Sammy's. I'm gluten intolerant and not nearly active enough. So, my main focus is getting down to a healthy weight, getting regular exercise and taking better care of myself in general. Bring it on! I do love being a mom and I think I'm getting the hang of it. I learn as much from 'Super Why' and 'Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood' as the boys do and I'm not ashamed to admit that I get a lot of parenting lessons from them. It makes me smile when Ethan and Logen sing the songs to themselves while they play. On a distantly related note, morning dance parties are always great fun too!

I can't forget Polly! We've had Polly since she was a little bitty kitten. Wow, that was almost seven years ago now. She's moved all around the country with us, and has had to adjust to new places, new animals and sharing our space with three little boys. She's been wonderful through it all, and while she can be grumpy she's really good with the boys. We're trying to adopt a stray cat as well so we'll see how she does with that. In the situation we're in I wouldn't normally think about adopting another cat but I saw this one and fell in love. I hope it all works out.

Whew, if you're still reading, Congratulations! You're done! You made it! That was a lot of exposition and I'm really out of practice so thanks for hanging in there. I'm going to make a sure effort to post more regularly so stop by again soon!