Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Day 30 - The Last One

Today is the end of the month. November has just flown by and that's not what I wanted it to do. I really hope we can slow down December some and just enjoy the company of those we love.

Today, I am thankful for a few things. First, I am thankful that our friend, John, is ok. He and 13 others were injured today during a jump (out of an airplane for those of you not familiar with that term). They are all in for some rough days, I'm sure, but they're ok for the most part.

John is just the greatest guy and we love him and his family so much! I am not the most eloquent writer, and even less of one with things like this, so I'll just leave it at that.

I am also thankful today for my brother-in-law, Matt. He was promoted to CW4 today and it was a wonderful ceremony!!! I know the whole family is proud of him. In his wife, Paula's, words, "You're a kick ass pilot!" Congrats, Matt!!!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Healthy - Day 29

I am so thankful for a healthy family! The Stomach Bug of 2010 had affected every single person of our family, even little Aiden. However, I am happy to say that we haven't seen any symptoms of the bug since early last week when I had to take Aiden to the ER because he had thrown up so much. The picture above is of him in his gown while we waited there.

So, here's to hoping the rest of 2010 is illness-free and that 2011 is too!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Day 28 - iPhone Apps

Today I am thankful for the kid-friendly apps on my new(ish) iPhone. I can't even tell you how many times it has helped divert Colten's attention or helped beat the boredom that always goes with doctor appointments, grocery store trips and other places that parents dread taking their kids to.

A couple of the apps have no educational value whatsoever, but those are still fun and keeps the kids laughing. The apps I really like are the apps that teach something or review things the kids already know.

One more thing that I am thankful for is the Otter Box that protects my iPhone when the kids have their grubby, destructive little hands on it! I know that they are able to play and that my phone will still be relatively safe.

Day 27 - Visitors

Today will be short and sweet since it's after 1am and we are just going to bed after a few hours of X-Box Kinect.

I'm thankful for some visitors that just came in tonight. My Dad and Lois are here to see us and I know the next week will be fun.

Goodnight since it's already morning! :-)

Friday, November 26, 2010

Day 26 - The Day After

The day after Thanksgiving has its own traditions that go along with it. Going out at crazy hours to get the best deal, watching football all day, eating lots of yummy leftovers, decorating for the holidays. I'm sure that other families have other traditions, but these are just a few of the major ones.

I'm thankful for our family's traditions. The football games are on all day, leftovers are pulled out multiple times, and all the Christmas boxes are pulled down. Our house starts getting dressed for the holidays inside and out. Well, as long as we are actually home on this day. Some years we are in Arkansas or Missouri and in that case, we decorate as soon as we get home.

Brian wasn't able to start putting lights on the house because of rain, but I think he has plans to do it tomorrow. Well, at least until the Razorback game is on. :-) He usually gets them done as soon as he can. While we were looking at houses, one of the things he thought about for each house was what it would look like with lights on it. He's been planning and figuring out what he's going to do since moving in. He is a Clark Griswold at heart...he really is. However, he's also pretty money conscious, so the electric bill that would have to be paid after the holidays always keeps him in check. :-)

So, I'm thankful for having my family home today and going through the decorations with the boys. We put up one tree this evening and it was so fun to see them figure out the best place for each ornament. I can't wait until we get the live tree tomorrow so we can go through all the "family ornaments" since it's so much fun to remember who gave them to us and when we got them.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Day 25 - Day of Thanks

Today is the designated day to be thankful. I'm really glad that someone in the blogworld had decided to try and get people to write "thankful" posts for each day of this month because there is just too much to be thankful for and it needs to be spread out so we can really think about the big and little things that we may take for granted the rest of the year.

Today, we had Brian's brother and his family over for dinner. Paula, my sister-in-law, and I were each responsible for certain dishes on the menu. I think she had the harder dishes and for that I am thankful! :-) I don't think we would have been eating very well if the lists were swapped. For one, I don't have the recipe for the famous cornbread dressing. Not only did the dressing get made from scratch, the rolls were made from scratch as well. Yeah, it would have been Sister Schubert rolls if I were in charge of that! Of course, Sister Schubert is pretty awesome, so I don't think anyone would have complained. The homemade rolls were just better...they always are! I DID make the mac n cheese from scratch and not from the box. Are ya proud? I figured you would be! Anyway, I'm thankful for Paula and her awesome cooking abilities.

I also have to say that I'm very thankful that Aiden hadn't gotten sick since last night. I have never witnessed a 2 month old getting sick like that before and I hope I never have to again! He was in a great mood for most of the day and even tolerated some time to himself in the swing so that I could get my part of the meal fixed.

I'm thankful that the cousins get to see each other so much now that we are stationed at the same place again. I grew up with a lot of cousins around and I am so happy that my boys get to experience the wonderful relationship that cousins can have.

I'm thankful for Brian's help throughout the day. Actually, I think we all pitched in pretty well to get the food on the table and the kitchen cleaned up afterwards! Brian really is a wonderful husband though.

I'm also thankful for being able to talk to some of my family today since we didn't travel to see anyone. While it is really nice not to have to plan where to go and what time we have to be there, we really miss seeing those we love.

Finally, I am thankful for the prospect of being able to sleep in tomorrow. No, I am not Black Friday shopping. We don't really see anything that we want to get anyone that is worth the craziness and lack of sleep to get it. There are definitely things that I see that I would want, but we are supposed to be shopping for other people, not ourselves right now. SO, while all you nutso people are out freezing your butt off, waiting in line, and putting yourselves at risk of being trampled, I will be warm and snug in my bed....until at least 9am! :-)

{Yes, I realize I didn't make a post for the 23rd. I went to bed a little worried about our little boy who had started throwing up that night. I completely forgot to post something because of that. Oh well...at least I'm not quitting!}

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Day 24 - Health

Today wasn't exactly a healthy day for our family. Actually, the last week has been the complete opposite of healthy for us! However, today I am thankful for the health that we DO have. A stomach bug is nothing compared to what some families are dealing with right now and I was reminded of that today on the way home from the Pediatric ER.
Last night, Aiden came down with the stomach bug that we have all had. I was really hoping he wouldn't get it, but he did. There's not much else I could have done to prevent it, but I still feel bad that he's dealing with it.
This morning, I found that he had thrown up in the middle of the night at some point, then he threw up 3 more times before I could get the kids ready and out the door to get him to see a doctor. The military clinic on post was completely full so the advice nurse instructed me to take him to the ER because of his age.
5 hours, blood work, a catheter, an x-ray, and an hour of IV fluids later and we were walking out the door of the hospital with instructions to return if he got worse. On my way to Paula's house to get the older kids, the radio station that the radio was tuned to was raising money for research on pediatric tumors. It made me think of all the families out there that will be spending Thanksgiving in the hospital with their sick kids. The families that will still be there spending Christmas in the hospital as well.
So, while I do feel so very sorry for my sweet Aiden, I am thankful that it is only the stomach bug. I'm thankful that we won't be spending our holidays in the hospital worried about what is going to happen next. I have 3 wonderfully healthy kids (you know, when they're not sick with the stomach bug) and I thank God for that every night.

Monday, November 22, 2010

4 out of 5 - Day 22

Today, I am thankful that Brian is feeling better than he did this morning. He was victim #4 of the stomach bug that has been plaguing our house since last Wednesday.

I am still hoping that Aiden never catches it. I don't know if I can handle seeing a 2 month old throw up. I hope that since I am breastfeeding him, that he got the antibodies from me and won't end up sick. It seems to be working so far, but I'm still kind of holding my breath.

I am also thankful for my brother Jimmy. It's his birthday today. He's 21 years old today! He got married last month and he and his new wife, Eryn, are expecting their first baby in June. They are also looking forward to being a military family starting next August (when he goes to basic for the Navy and no, he has no idea why it's so far off from now). Lots of changes for them! Happy Birthday, Jimmy! Hope you had a great day!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Lunch and a Movie - Day 21

Today I am thankful for some girl time with a friend.

Brian had arranged for Heather to get me out of the house yesterday for the party he had planned. When the party was canceled because of the stomach bug, those plans were canceled as well.

Since I was feeling a lot better, Brian said I should call Heather up and see if she wanted to go today.

I still took Aiden with me, but it was just so nice to go out and have adult conversation. Lunch at Olive Garden and seeing the new Harry Potter movie was just a bonus.

I had a great time with a great friend and Brian had everything under control at home. I didn't even have to cook dinner! It's almost as if my birthday was two days this year instead of just one!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Birthday Plans - Day 20

Today, I am thankful for my husband, Brian. I am always thankful for him, but today I am even moreso. This week hasn't been the easiest. Austin was sick for 2 days, then Friday morning I woke up early (way too early) with the same stomach bug that he had. That afternoon, Colten woke up from his nap with the same bug.

Not only had Brian stayed home that day to help with Colten (actually take Colten out of the house so I could get some rest and some errands could be done), he also picked up the downstairs before I got up that morning so I wouldn't feel the need to do anything while feeling bad. I guess he didn't realize that I was feeling so bad that I didn't care one bit what the house looked like, but it was nice to see the kitchen cleaned and the living room floor picked up.

After Colten got sick, I was finally told that he also had big plans for my birthday. However, with Colten getting sick, those plans probably needed to be canceled. My wonderful husband had planned a surprise party for my 30th birthday. Friends had been invited, a plan to get me out of the house was already in the works, and North Carolina BBQ had been ordered as well.

I love that he planned all this and I know it would have been so much fun! One little bug messed up those plans, but today turned out pretty good anyway. I woke up feeling much better, in fact, I woke up starving. A trip to Waffle House for breakfast, a stroll through Wal-Mart toy department with the boys (for Christmas ideas, not a thing was bought), some NC BBQ that Brian went and got anyway, and an ice cream cake for dessert. A day with my family. What more could a girl want? Brian made sure that this day was special despite the canceled plans.

Tomorrow, while not my birthday, I will still get to go out to lunch and a movie with a friend. Brian is staying home with 2 of the kids while I bring the little one with me (he hasn't had a lot of time on the bottle and I really don't want to leave Brian with a baby who won't eat). I look forward to the afternoon out and being able to have some adult time with another girl! :-)

So, thank you, Brian. For everything you have done this weekend (and every other day as well!). You are an awesome husband!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Over - Day 19

I'm keeping this short since I don't feel all that great. I am thankful that this day will be over soon. My day started at 3 am when I started getting sick. Apparently, Austin passed his wonderful stomach bug onto me.

Oh, but wait. It gets better. Colten woke up from his nap getting sick in his bed. Nasty!

So I'm glad I am going to bed and am hopeful that tomorrow will be better. Goodnight!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Getting Better on Day 18

Today, I am thankful that Austin is feeling better. He went to bed last night not feeling so hot. He got sick again right before going to bed and ended up sleeping with me in my bed while Brian slept in the guest room.

We don't normally let our kids sleep in our bed. It's too small and no one ends up getting much sleep. However, Austin sleeps in a bunkbed and it's hard for him to get down to get sick in the bathroom. I didn't want to get up in the middle of the night to clean up another mess in the bed like the last time he had a stomach bug. Since sharing a room with Colten, Austin seems to not like sleeping in a room alone. Brian and I thought that this sleeping arrangement was just a lot easier than fighting with Austin over where he was sleeping.

Anyway, this morning, Austin seemed much better. He didn't look as sick, his fever was down and he said his stomach didn't feel as bad. He even asked for some toast for breakfast. I knew it was feeling a lot better when a friend of mine brought over some cupcakes and cheesecake and he asked for one of the cupcakes. :-) Over the course of the day, he started to milk it for all it's worth though. He'd ask me to take his dishes to the sick for him in a pitiful whine like he was starting to feel bad again. When I would ask him if he was feeling any better, he would say, "well.....just a tiny bit," in a way that I KNEW he didn't want to own up to feeling better and not get anymore special treatment. They learn way too early!

Tomorrow, it's back to school for Austin. He can't miss much more since he's already on 8 days missed now. I'm just glad that he'd pretty much done with the stomach bug and I'm praying no one else gets it. Especially me!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Day 17 - Check, check, check

Today, I am thankful for actually getting a few things done on my to-do list. Yep, it's a small victory day for the blog, but with a sick Kindergartener, a {crazy} toddler and a {needy} 2 month old in the house, I'm looking at the bright side of things!
Austin came into our room sometime last night because he had alien dreams again. Just a bit later he was in the bathroom getting sick. Fortunately for me, Brian took care of it both times he had to get up. I had already gotten up to take our umbrella down from the patio table (we were getting a storm with some pretty gusty winds) and then got up again at 4:30 to feed Aiden. I don't think any of us got good sleep.
So, at home he stayed and my plan to get some things accomplished today was over. However, I did get some of my checklist done. Basically, all of my phone calls were taken care of and I actually saved us $25 a month by doing a couple of the calls. Once Brian got home, I also got the boys room picked up since I couldn't take it any longer. I wasn't going to make the sick boy clean his room today, and it took me all of 5 minutes to get it done. I need to go through a few more toys, but that will definitely have to wait until he's back in school.
Austin is out of school again tomorrow since he's now running a fever and has gotten sick a couple more times. Why he gets the stomach bug and not just the run of the mill cold, I have no clue. I'm just hoping he wakes up feeling better tomorrow so that he can go back to school on Friday.

Day 16

So, I'm cheating a bit and writing this the next morning because I ended up falling asleep and not posting. I knew what I wanted to write about though...does that counteract the late post? I think so.
Today, I am thankful for a clean kitchen. I'm thankful for my kitchen being cleaned by my wonderful husband! Even the couple of dishes that had to be handwashed are clean and sitting in the dish rack drying. Sure, he could have dried them, but we don't do that in our house unless the dish rack is completely full. :-) We figure why do the work if it will get done just fine by leaving them out overnight?
It always look so nice to have counters that are not full of dishes and clutter. Brian even went through some of the papers, mail, magazines, etc that was on the counter. What's even better is that in the morning, things go much smoother when the kitchen is clean. Sort of like when you come home from vacation and the house is already cleaned because you did the work before you left.
So, I'm thankful and appreciative of the work that Brian did and that it's one less thing I have to do in the morning!
(especially since Austin is home this morning after getting sick overnight)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Middle Son

Today I am thankful for our adorable middle son, Colten. At not quite two years old, he is in a stage that either has you pulling your hair out or laughing at the latest stunt he has done.

This kid is the most rough and rumble that a boy can be. He has been know to headbutt his older brother and bring him to tears while Colten just laughs. He has no clue that it hurts and just thinks it's another way to wrestle.

He just absolutely loves his brothers though. It melts my heart when he runs to hug Austin after school or when he kisses Aiden on the head. He loves to kiss and hug and will stop whatever he is doing sometimes to come over and show his love for you.

Today, we went to Wal-Mart and he was so good. He tried on a coat since he outgrew last years size and you'd have thought it was a toy the way he was smiling. As we passed a display of hats and mittens, he saw a Lightening McQueen hat. I showed him the Buzz hat, but there was something about the McQueen hat that caught his attention. I think you already know that Mommy couldn't resist and we came home with that hat. :-). He needed it anyway since it definitely covers his ears. If he likes it enough to wear it when it's cold, then that's enough for me!

So, today I am thankful for Colten and the time I get to spend at home with him (and Aiden, of course). He brings so much joy and laughter to this family and we thank God everyday for Colten Tyler.

Major Steele

I'm going to brag about my husband today. He recently was promoted to Major and I really wanted to post these pictures sooner, but then he left for {almost} 2 weeks and I never had time to upload them all and post them. I'm doing it now, though, because I am so proud of him!

Brian had his promotion at the Iron Mike statue that's near where he works. We had a reception afterwards for people to come and have drinks and some food.

Here's COL Gamble talking about how Brian is such an awesome Officer. :-)IMG_4646
While the orders are being read. Apparently, my kids don't know what "attention" means. Yes, we let Colten run free during this ceremony. Doing that meant that we didn't have to worry about a screaming child...which is worse than a kid who's walking around aimlessly.
Brian really wanted Austin to be there so that he can help "pin him." The old BDUs used to have your rank pinned on, but the new ACUs have velcro, but "velcro him" sounds weird, doesn't it? Austin was really proud to do it and he did so well! Here he is taking off the old CPT rank. MAJ Land gave Austin a rank from his personal stash to give to Brian.
They had him throw it down on the ground and here he is putting on the new MAJ rank. He even hit his Daddy just like he was supposed to. (side story, when Brian told him that he could hit him, Austin said, "I can't do THAT!!!" If only he remembered the no hitting rules all the time!)
I did the honors of pinning the beret. I won't even say how long it took me to get the old rank off...let's just say it felt like it took forever!
The brand new Major.
And I had to throw in this picture of COL Gamble holding Aiden. So cute.
Again, I am so proud of my husband and all that he has done for our military! He's a wonderful husband, father, son, brother, grandson, nephew, uncle, friend, AND now MAJOR of the US Army.
We love you, Brian!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Day 14 - All Night

{Day 14}
Today I am thankful for a FULL night of sleep! I actually felt human waking up this morning. Aiden went to sleep around 10pm, I woke him up to feed him at 11 and then he slept until 6:30 this morning. It really makes a difference when I'm not up feeding him at 2, 3, or 4am.

So, tonight, please sleep all night again. Ok, sweet boy? I thank you in advance.

PS. I'm also thankful for the ability to write this on bed on my phone so that it could be done and then I can roll over and go to sleep! You know, just in case Aiden doesn't feel the need to sleep as much tonight. :-)
Edited to add: Thanks to Jill for letting me know how to post to my blog from my phone.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Medication - Day 13

Tonight, I am thankful for Trileptal, Austin's medication. Brian and Austin are spending the night at Matt and Paula's house and I know Austin is up later tonight than normal. Without this medication, we would be VERY nervous about a seizure happening and he probably wouldn't have been allowed to sleep over there. The seizures seem to happen late at night as he's falling asleep and since the first two have happened, we have tried to keep him on an earlier schedule as far as bedtimes go. We've had a few nights where his medication has been tested and thankfully, no seizures. Brian and I still worry, but we trust his medication enough to not let the worry get in the way completely. We really want him to be a kid and have sleep overs and stay up late every now and then.
Our biggest problem with his medication is a side effect that is fairly common with seizure meds...moodiness. The kid is having a hard time with this side affect and it seems to only be getting worse. He can lose it at the smallest things right now and I feel like we are getting a glimpse of the teenage years. Yes, that's how moody he's been. Today, he bawled over having to put on socks before going outside. Yes, lost it over socks. He gets a pretty bad attitude at times as well. It doesn't ever seem to matter about time of day or well rested vs. tired. Of course, it does get worse if he's tired, but we have problems even when he's well rested.
The good thing is that he's only acting like this at home and is holding it together at school. If it comes to the point where he can't hold it together at school, we'll start looking into changing things up. We don't want him to start getting into trouble at school and then hate school because he's always getting into trouble.
It's also good that his seizures have stayed away at a very low dosage. We are hoping that things even out and that Trileptal is the only medication we have to try out. Even with the moodiness, I am SO thankful to have something that is working. If for anything, so he can be a normal kid and not have to worry about what might happen if he stays up a couple of hours too late. Well, other than being a little more tired the next morning!

2 Months Young

Oh Aiden...you are two months old now. Well, you are a few days older, but I am just now getting around to taking and posting your photos. You and your brothers just keep me so busy!

Right now, you are usually a pretty serious kid.
But when you want to smile,
You really smile! Which, always makes Mommy and Daddy smile.
It's sort of contagious like that, isn't it?
At 2 months, you are obviously smiling. This makes us happy since now you are interacting with us. You also are fine with tummy time now, but only if you're in a good mood. You have fallen asleep twice during tummy time and those have been great naps. Mommy is just too scared to let you sleep on your tummy any other time.
You have moved up into 3-6 month clothes. Some of this is because you were trying to push your feet through your 0-3 month sleepers and the onsies definitely didn't fit you anymore and some of it is because cloth diapers are just a tad bulkier than disposables and you need the extra room.
You still love to be swaddled and warm. However, you aren't as affected by the cold as you were before. You don't scream through your baths anymore and I can have you in a sleeper without a blanket for a little bit before you want to be wrapped up again. I'm very thankful for the big swaddling blankets that we received before you were born. They are getting used all the time!
You don't seem to have any interest in rolling over...thank goodness! When you are on the floor during tummy time, you do scoot a bit, but I am hopeful that you will not be as mobile as soon as your bigger brother, Colten, was. Maybe you'll give Mommy a little bit of a break?
You are still happiest in someone's arms. However, you will sit in your swing for a bit and even fall asleep in it sometimes. We are needing to change the batteries for it though, so sometimes it won't swing you for long. You also like sitting in your bouncer/rocker for a bit. There are toys hanging over the seat and you are starting to hit at them. Good thing Colten has bent the toy bar so that you can reach them! :-)
It's so much fun to watch you grow...but please don't grow up too fast!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Quality Time - Day 12

{Day 12}
Today I am thankful for quality time. Brian was able to go and have lunch with Austin at his school. We definitely wanted him to do this before the deployment and today just seemed like a great day to do it. I'm glad they were able to have that quality time together without the interruption of little brothers or mom. Brian was telling me all about eating with Austin and two other boys who are Austin's friends. It's pretty funny to hear about the conversations about girls chasing them, pulling their pins (a discipline thing their teacher does) and all the things boys talk about.
On a side note, it was really funny this morning at how embarrassed Austin was about not having his lunch with him. I told him that we didn't have enough time to pack his lunch and that Iwould do it after he got on the bus and then I'd bring it to school for him. He kept saying that I couldn't do that and that it was different when he had forgotten it. He also kept offering to help me make his lunch so that I'd have enough time. He was really worried that he wasn't going to be bringing his lunch with him. Apparently, as it got closer to lunchtime, he got even more worried that I hadn't dropped off his lunch yet. I'm sure he was pretty stressed and then seeing his Daddy made it all worth it.
Today, I also got to have quality time with Brian, even with the two littles tagging along. :-) We went out to Toys R Us to get some ideas for Christmas for the boys. It was nice to walk around the store with him and see him really put thought into gifts for his kids. I'm glad he's getting to do it this year, since he might not next year.
As we were pulling through the gate to get onto post, the gate guard actually said that he loved seeing the quality time...especially with the deployments gearing up again. I don't know how he knew, or if he just took a guess, but this is precious time we are on here. I'm sure I've said it before, but every second counts at this point. Quality time is always huge, but when you know you won't see a loved one for a year, it's even more important!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Military - Day 11

{Day 11}
{I'm postdating this for yesterday since I was spending a little time with my very own veteran who came home early from Virginia. I did start writing it last night as he put our children to bed, but didn't finish the very end until this morning.}
Today being Veteran's Day, I am thankful for the members of our military, past and present. Being part of a military family, I see the sacrifice of our military members first hand. I see them leaving their families for days, weeks, months and sometimes even years at a time. Our own family will be starting our 3rd year long deployment in January sometime.
While the deployments are hard (to say the least) on all of us, I am so proud of my husband, my brother-in-law, my father-in-law and the rest of our military, both past and present. In Brian's words, "I do it because I have to, I do it because I want to and I do it because I was born to." He doesn't like leaving his family, but he knows this is what he was meant to do.
I also want to thank the family members of those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice. My heart breaks for those who have had to see the dreaded "green suiters" come up the sidewalk to their house. Those Gold Star Families are in my heart and prayers, especially on days like today.
So, while today is Veterans Day and it's a special day to thank all those who serve and have served in the past, please don't forget them on the other 364 days of the year. Their job doesn't stop...even today.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Surprise on Day 10

{Day 10}
Today I am thankful for the surprise that Brian had in store for us! He got to come home today instead of on Friday!
The class Brian was in is supposed to be a 2 week course, however, there just happens to be a holiday weekend during the 2nd week and they were supposed to go to class on Wednesday to take the test, then be off on Thursday, then go in on Friday to pick up their certificates and take a class survey. This is all fine and dandy for those who are living at Fort Lee (the majority of the class). However, for Brian, that means he is stuck in Virginia for 2 extra days just to go to class for, at most, 15 minutes. Not cool in my eyes, but I understood the reasoning once Brian explained it to me.
I had to go to Wal-Mart after Austin got home from school to pick up some things. We were pulling into the driveway when Brian called. I talked to him for a minute or two and then asked if I could call him back after I get the kids and bags in the house. He said to give the phone to Austin instead and as Austin was talking to him, in pulls Brian!
Apparently, they weren't for sure that they were going to be able to release them early, but it did work out that they were able to in the end. Brian thought it would be fun to surprise us and we just loved it!
Now, Brian being Brian, that wasn't the only surprise he had in store. Oh no...he had gone and bought something as well. I guess the promotion to Major gives him this impression that we have a lot more money now or something since he has been on a bit of a spending spree lately!
So, he walks in and puts a box on the table that contained a new xBox (since ours/his keeps shutting off in the middle of playing) and Kinect. Yep, he couldn't help it. It just sounded too cool and he just had to have it.
I do have to admit that it's pretty cool. He and Austin were playing with it before bedtime and after we put the kids to bed, I got to play around with it a bit as well. It's really cool and just amazing how it works.
New toy or not, I'm just glad to have my husband back for the weekend. No, he's not going anywhere after the weekend, but he might as well be! He'll be starting back on long hours next week since his unit is still helping with training. I am just thankful that it's only another week and that at least he'll be here in the evenings to chat with and spend time with. I missed my husband!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

2 Months - Day 9

Today I am thankful for Aiden. He turned two months old today! Sometimes it seems like just yesterday and other times it seems like he's just always been apart of our family.

Aiden is just a bit more of a needy baby than the other two were. Either that, or my memory has failed me, which could be more of a possibility! He tends to be happiest wrapped tight in a blanket in your arms. He'll sleep for a bit in his swing or sometimes in his rocker/bouncer, but he sleeps the best (during the day anyway) in Mommy's arms. This isn't the case at night, thank goodness! At night, I can put him in his crib and he'll sleep 4-5 hours for the first stretch, sometimes longer. It helps that his crib is pushed up to our bed and is more of a sidecar type sleeping area, but it's still his own space and he's happy in there.

Aiden is wearing 3-6 month clothes...I have officially put up the 0-3 month stuff. When he wears them, he's in a size 1 disposable diaper. He is usually in cloth though and those I have adjusted just a tiny bit as he's grown a bit.

Our big two month old is definitely more alert now and is smiling a bit and making sounds. He's not very talkative, but he will when he wants and that's just fine with me! Aiden is getting more and more used to tummy time, but hasn't rolled over or anything yet (thank goodness!). He's got very good neck strength and is starting to bat at toys that hang over his his rocker/bouncer chair. Oh, and he's attached to a pacifier instead of his thumb. So far. There are times when he is trying to look for his thumb and sometimes when he actually gets it in his mouth. We'll see what he ends up doing as he gets older.

Aiden had his 2 month appointment today. I don't have exact measurements right now since the doctor we saw didn't have the best personality and we had a rough time in the office. I was just happy to get out of there! I'll see if I can get some unofficial measurements tomorrow and post them. He is about 11 pounds, so that shows how much he's grown!!

I'll have to post his 2 month comparison picture tomorrow when I'm not falling asleep at the computer! :-)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Day 8 - Time

Today I am thankful for 2 more months. It's 2 more months that we have with Brian. It doesn't seem like a lot, but we get to have the holidays with him this year and that's pretty big in my eyes.

What has brought on this thankfulness? Why would I be thankful for this today? I went to a "Deployment Fair" that was put on by our Battalion. Basically, it's an open house for Soldiers and their spouses to fill out contact info paperwork and visit with the different agencies that provide services for them during the deployment (and during other times as well).

The military has really learned that families do better when they are prepared. When there is literature on all aspects of a deployment, families can prepare for all kinds of expected and unexpected situations that may arise when their servicemember is deployed. There are things for preparing the kids, financial stuff, emergency stuff, and even reunion. It's important to know where to go, who to talk to and what to do when things happen and these deployment fairs are a great way to find that information out.

This will be our 3rd year long deployment. While a lot of information is the same, some has changed and there are programs that are out there to help make the deployment as smooth as possible. Families also do better when these programs are taken advantage of. Things like family activities and free childcare help keep families going through the deployment and lessens the worry that a Soldier may have about leaving their family.

While it was important I check this information out again, it really brought the reality of Brian leaving again to the forefront. I could sit here and sulk about there only being 2 months left. However, it's 2 months that I get to make the most of. 2 more months of spending time as a family (you know, when he gets back home this weekend) and 2 more months preparing our children for the inevitable. It will probably go by way too fast, but we'll fill these 2 months with fun and family time.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Me Time - Day 7

{Day 7}
I love my kids. I really, really do. But there are sometimes when I just need to get away and be me instead of just Mommy.
Today I got the chance to go out with two friends to a craft fair. Now, it wasn't totally kid-free since I took Aiden with me, but it was as close as it's going to get for a while. Plus, he slept the entire ride down there, the entire time in the fair AND pretty much the entire ride home. Can't get any better than that!
I just have to say that craft fairs like the one today totally inspire me to go out and do all kinds of projects...yeah, with all that spare time I have. :-) I walk from booth to booth thinking to myself, "I could totally do that myself for WAY cheaper." Then I never do. Must be why that person is making the money and I'm the one shopping.
Today, I got just a few things; mostly food items as gifts and a bottle of wine for our family during the holidays. It was nice to just wander around without being begged for toys or telling a certain boy to sit back down despite him being tightly buckled into the cart just 5 seconds ago. Seriously, the only "mom" things I did was nurse Aiden before we left and change a diaper. We drove back home, chatting about things women chat about and then it was back to reality as we pulled into the neighborhood.
So today, I am thankful for stress free shopping and some girl time with friends.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Relaxing - Day 6

{Day 6}
Today I am thankful for relaxing Saturdays like today. It was rainy and dreary and just a perfect day to stay inside and just hang out. That's exactly what I did today. I got a few things done here and there, but nothing major. The kids had fun and I tried to not even worry about the hours that the TV was on today. I think we needed it though. Nothing on the agenda, nothing to rush to.
Brian did get out of the house today. We needed dog food (Abby and Koa, happily, had cat food for dinner and breakfast since we were out) and biscuits (since we were going to have breakfast for dinner tonight). Brian came into the room I was working in (trying to get the 0-3 month clothes packed up...sniff, sniff) and said he was going to Food Lion and asked if I needed anything else. As he was walking out of the room, he added that he was also going to visit the Verizon and AT&T stores.
We are terrible reception at our house and in the area surrounding our house. I drop calls right and left and sometimes can't even get enough signal to make a call. It's the reason we have to have a home phone and long distance to go with that phone service. We've been contemplating switching from Verizon to AT&T for some time now, but I guess Brian thought it was time to do more than contemplate.
We had decided not to do anything today. He called to let me know what he had found out from both companies. I said something about maybe getting them as our Christmas gifts to each other and doing it in December. He responded with something along the lines of "why not today?" I assumed he had already done it, but he was out in his car, just waiting for the green light. He came home with two iPhones tonight...and all the accessories that are needed for them.
Merry Christmas to us...in November!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Togetherness - Day 5

{Day 5}
Today I am thankful that Brian was able to drive back from Virginia a little earlier than he originally thought. We were able to have family movie night tonight instead of tomorrow night, complete with Toy Story 3 and pizza. The boys were surprised when he walked in the door before dinner since I had told them that it would probably be after they were supposed to be in bed that he would be home.

I won't lie. The last week has been a challenge, but not too terribly bad. I think the one thing I am gonna have to readjust for the long deployment is the time that I get to bed. I won't be able to function for too long, going to bed at midnight or later and then getting up to feed Aiden and then again to get Austin ready for school. Even if I don't have to feed Aiden, it's still not enough sleep for me to be the best mom I can be. I get cranky when I don't get sleep and that's not a good thing to be when there's 3 kids hanging on you. :-)

This weekend is just going to be a weekend for us to relax and be together. We have no plans for Saturday, but I am going to get out with just Aiden and two friends and go to a craft fair. I feel I deserve a little me time. Plus, it will give Brian some time with Austin while I am gone and while Colten is down for his nap.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Staying Warm

{Day 4}
There are some days when the littlest things brighten your day. Today, after my last appointment at the off-post OB that I saw for Aiden, I went to Old Navy. I was looking for a fleece jacket for Colten since he needs something a little warmer than the jacket that he has, but I didn't want something too bulky for his carseat. They didn't have their performance fleece jackets in yet (hello...it's November, why not???), but all the outerwear they did have was on sale.
I found this wool blend coat and just loved it. I like that it looks really nice but is still functional with the hood. It's not too bulky like the coat I have, so I'll be warm, but still be able to move and have my diaper bag on my shoulder without it falling off. Very important stuff, you know!

I also splurged and got a red scarf to go with it. I had a couple of scarves at home, but they're looking a little worn and there's just something about a really great, long, red scarf.
So, today I am thankful for finding a great coat and actually buying it for myself! I know, nothing profound or special, but something that brightened my day and there are just days when you need that!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Eating on Day 3

{Day 3}
Today I am thankful for dinner with a friend. I don't think people realize the importance of adult interaction for a stay at home mom. Having two children crying, whining, needing diaper changes, making messes as soon as you get done cleaning up the previous mess, wanting to eat all.the.time and basically pulling you in all directions is just a blast all day long, but adults need other adults. Even if it's just to talk about our kids!
Laura invited us to dinner tonight and I always jump at the chance to go over there. Laura is an excellent cook and an even better baker. I told Brian that I probably shouldn't eat over there too often because she always has dessert and between that and her yummy dinner, I am eating WAY too many calories.
Between our two families, we have 5 kids all under the age of 5. Things can get pretty loud over there, but the conversation we get to have in between correcting the kids or getting them something to drink or play with is a welcome respite to the "kid-talk" I listen to the rest of the time.
So, thanks Laura for the dinner tonight. More important, thanks for being my friend.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Family of Steele - Day 2

{Day 2}

Today was a day off of school for Austin. I didn't realize that until Monday night when I went to check the lunch menu to figure out if he wanted to bring or buy his lunch. "Great," I thought, "now I get to bring 3 kids to the doctor office. That sounds like a ton of fun." I'm sure you can hear the sarcasm, right?
Cue in Paula.
Paula is my sister-in-law. Brian's brother's wife. More than that, she's a sister and friend given to me by marriage. I may have grown up with just one sister, but I get to spend the adult portion of my life with two.
Anyway, Paula steps right in and says that she'll take Austin for me while I take Colten to the doctor. She had another girl coming over for some FRG stuff (Family Readiness Group - an Army thing) and she had a little boy he could play with. She said she would even change the time of her meeting and meet me somewhere to pick him up (we live a little further apart than last time we were stationed together). I didn't want her to change her plans, but definitely took her up on her offer to keep him and dropped him off at her house. It was a win-win for me and Austin...I had one less stressor at the doctor's and he got to play with a friend.
While I'm thankful for Paula's kindness in this instance, I'm thankful for the relationship that we have. I'm also thankful for Matt and the kids as well. It's awesome to be near them again and have family close by. When Austin had his first seizure, they were ready to do whatever they needed to do for us. When he had his 2nd seizure, Matt drove the 40 minutes to our house in the middle of the night to stay with Colten so I could go to the hospital. They've watched Colten when we needed and even kept our dogs for a weekend. I know that family is typically known to be helpful, but that doesn't take away the need to let them know you are appreciative.

Monday, November 1, 2010

30 Days of Thanks - Day 1

I had totally forgotten about this...until my friend Jill started it on her blog. If I remember correctly, I actually did all 30 posts last year, but some were done a couple of a days at a time because of Disney World. I don't consider that cheating, do you?

At first, when I saw that Jill was doing this, I thought, "Nope, no way. Not gonna do it this year." There are days right now when it's a little harder to find the positives in the day. There are days when I don't even want to find the positives...I'm too tired. However, it's because of that attitude that I need to do this project. So, here it is. Another year, another month of thanks and hoping that it lifts my spirits and maybe someone else's too.

{Day 1}
Monday was November 1, so I was thinking about that day and what went on. A little hard since I can barely remember what I did yesterday, let alone the day before that! However, I do remember talking to my sister. So, I'll start this by saying that I'm thankful for Amanda and her daughter, Emma.
Amanda is starting on a hard road of single parenthood. I know there are days when it scares her and she worries and wonders what the future holds as far as how she's going to balance Emma and work and the household stuff, etc. She doesn't talk about it much, but I know it's there. I know she's worried about money (there never really is enough no matter how much you bring in each week) and so many other things in life.
All those things blur and fade into the background when Amanda looks at Emma. Instead of the worry, you see the joy and love she has for her daughter. It's all still there, but she knows that Emma is worth it. Emma will, and has, changed Amanda. She's a mom now...an awesome mom who will do whatever she can for her child.


Looking back, I saw that Amanda was what I was thankful for on the last day of this project last year. So funny!

It's Time...

for another Austin update.
Austin's follow-up appointment with his neurologist (saying that is weird) was on Thursday. Since his first visit, they put him on Trileptal. Trileptal is an anti-convulsant and he is on a really low dose as of now (we'll have to increase it a bit when he gains another 2-3 pounds).
Austin had an MRI and we were supposed to talk about that at his appointment. His medication had been put to the test at the beginning of October, with a late night flight and 2 more late nights when we travelled back to Missouri for my brother's wedding.
At the appointment, they seemed happy that his seizures weren't happening with the low dose that he's on. However, they seemed surprised by the increase in moodiness and behavior changes that he seems to be exhibiting (since it's also a mood stabilizer that can be used to treat Bi-Polar Disorder). From what I've read on the internet, there's quite a few parents who deal with the same thing. Every anti-convulsant medication have side effects and some of the worse than others. This one seems like the best of them, so unless this behavior starts to interfere with our family or they see it a lot in school, we'll just stick with this medicine and deal with the behaviors like any other parents deal with them! :-)
The MRI results were not what we wanted to hear. It's not extreme. It's not awful. His brain is actually very healthy. There are just these rare spots on one side of his brain that they think is what is causing his epilepsy. While he could still grow out of the seizures, these spots make it more unlikely since it seems like it could be a physical cause instead of just a developmental one. Only time will tell and for now, the plan is just to keep him on the Trileptal for 1-2 years before we discuss anything else (however, I was told not to try and push it at 1 year since he does have the spots).
While the behavior is frustrating at times, we can handle it. We are glad that it's not bleeding into his school day and causing problems for him there. Austin continues to be a bright boy who loves his friends, family and sometimes school. :-)
Austin's next appointment is in 3 months.

Halloween Wrap-Up

Halloween was so much fun for the kids...well, at least for the older two! Aiden didn't really care much and fell asleep at some point in the night.
Our boys were dressed up as:
a Cardinals baseball player
Iron Man
and our little pumpkin
I didn't get many picture of Austin trick or treating. He was way too quick and was running here and there with his friends (and their parents who could keep up since they weren't pulling a wagon or pushing a stroller). They were usually running away from a house as Colten was walking up to it.
Here's Aiden going along for the ride.
This is how Colten got around ... we knew he'd tire pretty quickly if he walked all night.
One of the first houses.
One of the scariest houses they went to. There was one house we didn't let them go to. People, chain saws are for cutting down trees and for adult haunted houses...not scaring little kids while they trick or treat!
Standing in front of the house that DID produce tears as a guy jumped out from behind the coffin and scared one of the kids. This was the before picture.
Halloween was a blast and they got way too much candy. I'm pretty sure we'll have some well into the Spring if I don't throw it away before then!