Saturday, July 7, 2012

Truck Nirvana

Written by Craig

On Thursday June 21st through Tuesday June 26th we took a little trip back to Iowa. We drove to Davenport to my parents on Thursday evening and boys did great, they were very excited to see Grandma and Papa. Friday morning Papa took the boys and I for a Gator ride to Uncle Corey and Aunt Erin's house were they played in the dirt pile with their cousins Cole and Colin's trucks.

Then I took the boys for a tractor and backhoe ride. As you can see below they loved it. This is what they said when we got there: "Daddy, look, a forklift, oh, and an excavator, oh and a dump truck, oh look, I see a scraper, oh and a tracked tractor daddy, and oh, oh, look, a semi!!!!". They were in truck nirvana.

More to come on the trip as we headed out to Winterset IA for a family reunion with my mom's side of the family, the Faust family.

- Posted by Craig

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Getting Used to Things

We are (or more likely I am) getting more used to our new eating plan as time goes on. The boys have adjusted beautifully, it's me that craves the McDonald's and SUGAR! I am just thankful that I can sneak it here and there...just don't tell the boys that!!!

Some recent pics:

Making bread with Grandma.
Enjoying time with GrandMary.

A rare moment of brotherly love.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Our Life Now

There is a reason I have been unable to keep up with blogging, and it is this:


And I am exhausted. Even with two babies 11 1/2 months apart, even with the second one being extremely collicky and difficult for the first year of his life, even with two moves in our household all before anyone turned the age of three, I am just now really experiencing how hard parenting is.

I was feeling a little down recently because I thought life was supposed to get easier, not harder. And someone reminded me , "Well you do have a 2 & 3 year old!!!" Probably the hardest ages to deal with at the same time!

What makes it a little more difficult right now, is the fact that we have been dealing with Eli and issues that seem to be a little more than just typical two year old issues. My mother-in-law recognized them as behaviors she saw in Craig's oldest brother when he was that age. Tantrums and screaming fits, happy one minute then falling on the floor in a tantrum the next, battling everything from getting out of bed, to getting dressed, to eating breakfast, etc., waking in the night screaming and inconsolable, and contradictory behavior such as wanting something, but hitting it away over and over.

Grandma to the rescue! She introduced me to the Feingold Diet, which did wonders for them over 30 years ago! The Feingold Diet eliminates artificial colors, artificial flavors, preservatives, and salicylates found in a lot of common fruits and vegetables like tomatoes and berries. Dr. Feingold developed the diet in the 1970's after much research on the link between behaviors in children, specifically hyperactivity, and the foods they eat.

After taking away Eli's paci in February we found that his difficult behaviors were much more apparent, and getting worse. At first I thought it was just coping without paci, but I realized that those behaviors had just been masked by the paci all this time.

Almost two weeks ago we decided to take the plunge and become a Feingold family. I was so overwhelmed with the idea of preparing almost everything from scratch, from bread to ketchup. I called my MIL in tears and practically begged her to come and help me get started. She came without batting an eyelash two days later. We got started shopping at the health food store and then cooking up a storm, and within a few days, Eli's behavior started to change. I didn't know what to expect, but I surely did not expect immediate results! Amazing.

I can now say that Eli is a happy, cheerful, normal two year old again! We can communicate and "get through to him" now, such as encouraging him to "eat three more bites" so he can have a snack later. That never worked before, and now he eats the food on his plate! He understands consequences. I have witnessed firsthand what a difference food makes. What a difference the right food makes. It is incredible.

I no longer cook with sugar, I replace it with honey, and I prepare all of our meals from scratch. I love the fact that we are all eating healthier! The hardest part is not being able to drive through McDonald's anymore or pop in a frozen pizza. This initial stage of the diet we're in is very strict, but eventually I can bring back foods and monitor their effect on Eli. I plan on cutting out sugar as much as possible indefinitely, although I think ketchup is going to be one of the first things we try to bring back! There is just no good replacement for store-bought ketchup!

Changing your entire way of cooking and eating is not easy. In fact, it's a lot of work and sacrifice. But God is teaching me that not everything is supposed to be easy, as much as I want it to be. I'm seeing my precious little Eli smile, laugh, and giggle all the time now! And in those long hugs and cuddles I get, it's as if he is saying, "Thank you, Mama, for fighting for me!" That makes it all worth it.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A Big Month - Part 2: Eli's Broken Wrist

Well to add to the drama of February...a particularly cute, and feisty, little two year old decided to dive head first out of his crib one afternoon. As I had mentioned previously, we took away Eli's paci earlier in the month and we have been paying for it ever since! He has not wanted to go to bed and has been desperate to get out. I didn't realize just how desperate until that dreadful afternoon he took a nose dive.

Although he was crying and mad at naptime, I hugged him and walked away, and even before I got to the door I heard a big thump. Of course I knew exactly what happened before I turned around. He was laying flat on his back, probably more stunned than I was. I checked him all over and he seemed fine. He did say his arm hurt, but I laid him down again and he fell asleep fairly soon. In hindsight I feel so dumb that I didn't just bring him back downstairs to monitor him more closely over a period of time, but it's that ingrained don't-give-into-a-sleep-resistant-child mentality that kept me from doing it. Later that night it was more obvious to me that something was wrong. So I took Gage to the neighbor's house to play (which he couldn't have been more delighted about!) and drove Eli to the nearby Urgent Care. Wouldn't you know it, while there, Eli seemed perfectly fine. He wasn't fussy and grumpy and asking me to kiss his hand anymore. The doctor thought it was probably just a sprained wrist, since there were no obvious signs of bruising or swelling. I had to agree, so we left, untreated.

Over the next few days we were noticing that Eli was holding his left arm close to his body and wasn't using it at all. He would wince and cry out when I dressed him or put his coat on. By Friday I felt pretty sure that it was more than just a sprained wrist. So back to the urgent Care we went and I asked for x-rays. Sure enough, a buckle fracture to his left distal radius. Immediately I felt like the worst mother in the world! How could I have not insisted on x-rays the first time?? How did it take me 3 days to bring him back?? Every single memory of his sad little face, holding up his hand for me to kiss, was like a dagger to my chest.

We left with a splint, to be casted in a doctor's office a few days later after the weekend. Dr. Kotis, the orthopedic surgeon, said that Eli was his best patient ever...even including all the adults! Yes, my outgoing little spit-fire sure knows how to charm people! :) He did amazing, and is still doing amazing. I am so proud of him! Only two more weeks now to put up with the ever growing dirty and smelly little cast!

And you know what, I think the cast has distracted him from missing his beloved paci. His sleep is getting back to normal - hallelujah!

Friday, February 24, 2012

A Big Month

February has been a big month for us! The trip to Puerto Rico, the boys' first trips to the dentist...

I took them each one at a time, and was really dreading each time. I had no idea how they would react. Gage's was the first trip, and wasn't I surprised when my "big little boy" ("I'm not a big boy Mama, I'm a little boy") was right at home in the dentist chair!

He knew just what to do with the air-sucking thing, and he even smiled and giggled! I was SO proud of him! The awesome pediatric staff was wonderful and helped a lot I am sure.

Eli's trip was on Valentine's Day and he amazed me too! I did have to hold him so I didn't get any pictures, but there was no screaming, no tears, and lots of cooperation. He did clamp his lips shut a few times (which didn't surprise me at all) but overall he was a trooper!

While we were there the dentist talked to him about his beloved paci. She told him that "paci's are for babies, and you're not a baby anymore...", which actually caused a lump to form in my throat as I pondered that fact. But it was a very good talk, and perfect timing then to tell him later that "The dr. said no more paci..."

So away it went as soon as we got home. And 10 days later it is still gone. (We were down to just 1 after all the others had disappeared and I refused to buy more. Where do they all disappear to anyway??)

We have been paying for it these last 10 days honestly, even though he has hardly said a word about it. He has had a terrible time getting to sleep; it reminds us of the old days of letting him cry himself to sleep as a baby to teach self-soothing. It dawned on me that that is exactly what he needs to do, learn to self-soothe again without paci. And it breaks my heart for him! But it is slowly getting better and I know he will be completely over it soon.

It is definitely a relief to now know the answer to: How are we going to get rid of that paci??!!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Puerto Rico!

Taking a business trip to Puerto Rico hardly seems like "work"... at least for me, the lucky wife who got to tag along! When Craig told me about his upcoming meetings in San Juan, I jumped at the chance to go along! Thanks to my mom, and Grandma and Grandpa E, it was possible! My mom stayed with the boys for the first 2 1/2 days, then Craig's parents took over the last 3 days. This was my first trip away from the boys that I truly relaxed and didn't worry about them. It helped that they are 2 and 3 now, I think. And the gorgeous views didn't hurt either.

We arrived a few days before Craig's meetings. One of those days we took a tour of the coast and rain forest.
Along the way we stopped at a local artist's gallery, and then a little hut across the road where a local woman was selling her goods.

I love the bright colors!

One day while lazing by the beach, I looked over and saw this:

How startling! After that we saw iguanas and lizards of various sizes everywhere! (Thankfully none in our hotel room...)

On our last day in San Juan, Craig had the morning off from work stuff and together we toured a nearby historical fort.

My honey and me. My favorite co-adventurer. I am spoiled.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Winter Picnic

I think we can all agree that this has been an amazing winter! I mean, to be able to have a picnic on February 1?!Incredible! I couldn't even get a very good picture because the sun was so bright!

They really would much rather prefer the snow though - crazy kids!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

For the Love of Curious George!

We could not let a birthday (two birthdays!) go by without a PARTY! Of course, Curious George it had to be!

I figured it would be a good time to have it when all of Craig's family was here, including all the cousins, over the holidays.

Checking out the decorations.I found a clever idea on Pinterest to make a yellow cup and plate look like a yellow hat!

I had the kids rotate through four different Curious George activities:
Making pictures with monkey stickers.Gluing together monkey faces.Doing some matching activities.And this one cracks me up...I put Uncle Kevin in charge of reading Curious George books. Looks like he had a captive audience!

We turned the kitchen into Chef Pisghetti's Restaurant.The kids made their own pizzas!No big cake this year, just monkey cupcakes.
And presents!
It was a lot of fun! Big thanks to everyone, especially Aunt Erin, Grandma, and Daddy, for all their help! :)

Friday, January 6, 2012

Birthday Time!

We celebrated two birthdays this holiday season!

Eli turned TWO on December 16th!
Chocolate chip pancakes for supper!

Gage enjoyed helping Eli open his presents!

Cake! (Daddy was in charge of the candles...He made a number "2" plus some...)
Gage turned THREE on January 4th!
Enjoying some new trucks. Eli of course thought they were his...Gage was a good sport too!
Pancakes for breakfast, mini pizzas for lunch, and mac & cheese for supper...and cake for dessert!
I am a big one on birthdays! Something I so gratefully learned from my mom, who made our birthdays very special growing up.

As much as I'd like to spoil them with lots of gifts, we go pretty simple on the birthday gifts, but BIG on the LOVE! We decorate the kitchen, make special meals, do fun things together. It is my JOY and DELIGHT to shower my boys with lots of LOVE on their birthdays!

Inwardly, I celebrate them as my "birth days" too. January 4, 2009 and December 16, 2009 will always be two of the best days of my life!