Yes, it is!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday Shopping, Honesty, and Ben's First Christmas Parade

I have never gotten up at the crack of dawn to go shopping on Black Friday. In fact, I usually try to avoid going shopping on that day. But, Walmart had something advertised that I thought would make great Christmas presents for the grandparents. Since several people read this blog, I cannot tell you what it is, yet. Anyway, I saw the advertisement in yesterday's newspaper and I told Tim that I was going to Walmart to get those items as soon as the store opens. At this point, I was not really serious until Tim scoffed and said "Yeah, I don't believe it. What time should I set my alarm?" and then he laughed. Fine, I thought, I'll prove him wrong. How dare he doubt me? I AM NOT a morning person but I was going to prove that I could indeed get up at the crack of dawn to go shopping. I even set my own alarm at 4:00am. Well, I proved him wrong and I arrived at Walmart around 4:20am. I found my way to the item I was hoping to buy and waited along with several others until 5:00am. Thank God I was not there for a computer. I would not have fought that crowd for anything. I sort of tossed around the idea of getting Jackie a Leapster which they were also offering at an awesome price during those sale hours but since I could not be in two places at once, I decided to just stick with the item I originally came for. While I was waiting, I saw the wife of one of Tim's co-workers. She was there to get a Leapster for her son and she offered to grab one for me. Thankfully she was able to grab two of them out of the very few that were available. I could not believe the boorish behavior, though, of many of the customers as soon as the go ahead was given to start grabbing the sale items. I was actually a little scared that I would get trampled or even worse, have my items taken right out of my hands. But I made it out of there unscathed. After getting the Leapster from Lori and grabbing some bananas, I proceeded to check out and almost got my Leapster for free. The cashier cleared the security and scanned it but I noticed that it did not beep after she scanned it and put it in the bag. Before I paid, I asked her to check my receipt because I was certain that I had not been charged for the Leapster and sure enough, it was not charged. The cashier seemed stunned at my honesty. If I had walked out of there knowing that I was not charged for the Leapster, there is no way that I could live with my conscience although, I have to admit that for a fleeting moment the thought of a free Leapster was quite appealing. I wanted my conscience to be clear and I want to be able to watch Jackie enjoy without my guilty conscience. Maybe God will bless me for my honesty although I should say that I am blessed to even be able to get the Leapster for such a good price. Now I just need to find some cartridges on sale. After I left Walmart, I went to BabiesRUs to stock up on the diapers and wipes that were on sale. Then I headed home and went back to bed until the kids woke up. I think Tim was quite impressed that I could get up that early as a civilized person. I do not know if I will ever attempt Black Friday "crack of dawn" shopping again but it was kind of fun.
After the kids ate breakfast and I got them dressed, we headed to downtown Belleville for the Santa parade. It was a nice day for a Christmas parade and Ben and Jackie seemed to enjoy watching everything. Jackie especially enjoyed the candy and beads that were tossed to her. This was Ben's first Christmas parade and he even scored a couple of treats from the parade. An EMT driving an ambulance in the parade handed a bag of cookies out the window and said that it was for the baby. I thought it was so nice that he thought of the babies, too. And another parade participant handed Ben a cup which he enjoyed playing with.
It is hard to believe that Ben is almost a year old. Where did the time go? It passed by so quickly and Ben is changing so much. He walks a little bit but he is content to just crawl because he is so much quicker when he crawls. He is a climber, too. He has been climbing stairs for several months now and he recently mastered going down the stairs by himself. I think it has become a game now for him because he loves to just climb up the stairs and then go down and then up again over and over. He wears me out.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Verdict

Okay. The verdict of the turkey in the crockpot... it turned out great! Tim even says it is a "do again" recipe. The meat was really moist. I did have to bake it for less than a half hour in the oven just to brown it a little more. Ben loved it and everything else that was served. As you can see, he was definitely sated. Jackie enjoyed her meal, too.

After Ben woke up from his nap, we headed out to see the Way of Lights at the Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows which is located on the west end of Belleville. I know that was a mouthful. The display of lights is absolutely stunning and the largest that I have ever seen. It is a drive through and with a few stops along the way including a petting zoo, camel rides, indoor activities for the kids, and more. Of course, you do not have to stop at anything, you can just drive right through. This event runs from the end of November through the beginning of January. We have made this a yearly event ever since Jackie was a year old.
On our way home from seeing the lights, Jackie announced that she had to go potty. So as we are hurrying home to take care of this task, we drove past our new Walmart and noticed the parking lot seemed to be full of cars. I thought for a moment that people were already lining up for the Friday door buster sales but then we noticed people walking in and out. I took Jackie inside to go potty and since we were there, we decided to do a little bit of shopping. On Thanksgiving. I wondered why Walmart was not crowded since they were opened but it turns out that it was an unadvertised day. But unfortunately, the door buster sale prices still do not take affect until Friday morning.
I hope everybody had a nice Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving Blessings 2008

Happy Thanksgiving! I just want to say that I am so thankful for the beautiful family that I never thought I would have. My 2 precious children are truly miracles to me and I am so grateful for them. I am also grateful for my friends who have never given up on me over these past many years. You all know who you are. I am also thankful for my own family. We may not have had the best of relationships but by the grace of God, I do love my family and I am thankful that my children have grandparents to know.
For our Thanksgiving meal today, I decided to try cooking a turkey breast in the crockpot. It smells good, so far. I'll let you all know how it turns out.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thanksgiving

First of all, I need to say "Happy Birthday" to my mother-in-law. Her birthday was last Saturday. She is visiting her sister in Texas right now and is going to be here in a couple of weeks during which we will celebrate her birthday. Happy Birthday, Ima!
Last Friday on our way to playgroup, we drove past a church that Tim and I had visited when we first moved here to Illinois. Jackie noticed the church and said "Mommy, a church." I acknowledged her and then shared with her how she visited that church when she was just a tiny baby inside Mommy's belly. Jackie: "I'm bigger now." It made me chuckle but it reminded that yes, she is growing up so quickly.
This past weekend, Jackie helped me put together a shoe box filled with gifts for the Samaritan's Purse Operation Shoe Box. We dropped them off at a local church on Sunday afternoon. That was the highlight of Jackie's day. We put together a box for a little girl and another one for a little boy. I am going to make this a tradition for our children as a way to teach them a way to reach out and give to less privileged people. As Jackie and Ben get older, I am excited about the opportunities that I can use to teach Jackie how to give to and care for others who are needy.
Today at school, Jackie's class celebrated Thanksgiving with a little Thanksgiving meal. The parents were invited to watch. So Ben and I went and many other parents were also there. It was so cute. Jackie was still helping to make the mashed potatoes (from real potatoes) when I arrived. While Jackie was eating with her class, Ben decided to make friends with a couple of other babies who came with their parents. One of the babies, Simon, is just 5 months old and was sitting in his carrier on the floor. Ben was so enamored by Simon to the point of climbing right into the carrier right on top of Simon. No harm was done to Simon and it was quite funny to see Ben climb right on in. Unfortunately, the battery in my camera died then. Ben is such a climber and any opportunity he sees to climb, he goes right to it.
Jackie had gymnastics tonight. I am just so proud of her and how far she has come in the year since I signed her up for gymnastics. One of Jackie's former assistant coaches saw me tonight and she even remarked how proud she is of Jackie. The primary coach, Tracy, was bragging about Jackie to her.
Tonight was bath night for the kids. Now Jackie knows the physical difference between boys and girls. I'm not quite sure how she learned but I am guessing that it is a combination of things, including having a baby brother, daycare, or school. I am somewhat surprised that she has not started asking questions but until she does, then I am laying low. For a moment tonight, though, I thought that time had come. As the bath water was running, Jackie got disrobed while I got Ben disrobed. While Jackie and Ben stood by the tub waiting for the water to stop running, I noticed Jackie reach down and she said something about a roller. It was then that I noticed that she had pulled slightly at Ben's, umm, private. Jackie was saying his roller is on. Roller?! I gently told Jackie that she should never pull at it but I had to chuckle because it was a new name to add to an ever growing list of names that men seem to have for that organ. Sorry Ben!
As Thanksgiving approaches, I want to say that I am so thankful for my 2 beautiful children and Tim. I never thought I would have more children after Jackie but I am so thankful for the shock and surprise of Ben. He is such a blessing. Both of my children are huge blessings and I just cannot imagine life without them. Yes, it is difficult at times as any mother knows but I love my children and would give my life for them.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Inspiration

Have some tissues ready.
http://spotlight.news.yahoo.com/v/10682338

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

"Daddy doesn't have hair"

I about rolled on the floor in laughter tonight while laying with Jackie at bedtime. In the last couple of weeks at school, Jackie has been learning nursery rhymes and tonight after reviewing some of those rhymes with her, I decided that I would try to teach her another simple little rhyme, the "Fuzzy Wuzzy Bear" rhyme. So I recited it to her and then I told her to repeat each phrase after me. Me: Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear", Jackie: "Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear", Me: "Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair", Jackie: "Fuzzy Wuzzy, Daddy doesn't have hair." Funny girl she is!

Thoughts

Jackie had a follow-up appointment today with the eye doctor at St. Louis Children's Hospital. Unfortunately, her vision in the left eye is slightly worsened again. While waiting for Jackie to be called back to the exam room, I was watching my little ones play with a couple of other children who were clearly special needs children. Having been through the Early Intervention program and still receiving services at school, Jackie is considered special needs although I personally do not consider her as so. Yes, she has needs that most "typical" children her age do not have but what I have been through with Jackie for these past few years is just a normal part of my life. However, for some reason I was very moved by the sight of so many sick and/or disabled children at the Children's hospital today. I have been at that hospital for so many appointments for Jackie and have come across many sick/disabled children there but today the sight of a mom pushing her baby in a stroller with the baby attached to an oxygen tank really moved me. Seeing that precious baby so dependent on his caregivers reminded me that I have it so easy with Jackie's disability. Even though Jackie has a mild disability, she is perfect to me and I thank God every day that she is healthy. Yes, she is a challenge at times and yes, she resists her treatments and fights the orthotics and the eye drops but she is a very able little girl who is not confined to a wheelchair or to an oxygen tank. She is also a very smart little girl who I believe will go far in life. Yes, it is possible that she may continue to require assistance at times during her school years but Jackie will succeed. She may have to work harder to attain whatever goal she sets for herself but I know she will succeed. Jackie may never recover 100% but she is a perfect little girl to me.

Sneaky child

I have a sneaky child already. I did not realize that 4 year olds can already be so sneaky. Tonight after coming home from gymnastics, Jackie wanted a piece of candy and I told her she had to wait until after dinner. While dinner was baking in the oven, I went upstairs to get something and when I came back downstairs, I noticed that it was very quiet and Jackie was nowhere to be seen. That is, until I looked down the hall and noticed a light streaming from under the bathroom door. I opened the door and there was Jackie standing there looking at me with the most priceless expression. I knew right away that she had some candy in her mouth. I told her to spit it out and when she did not do so, I went after it myself and tossed into the toilet. Meanwhile, I am trying my hardest to not laugh out loud, especially after seeing her expression after being caught red-handed. Now I just needed to figure out how she got the candy which I discovered immediately. Tim had apparently taken the candy jar down from the refrigerator and left it on the counter in reach of little hands. Poor Jackie, she did not cry but she looked forlornly down at that candy at the bottom of the toilet bowl. I found additional evidence of Jackie's sneakiness tonight as I was downloading pictures from my camera. It appears that Jackie got ahold of my camera again and just snapped away. Here is a sample of her photography skills.

Now Jackie is asking for a camera for Christmas and she says she wants a purple one. I had already purchased a blue one for her so I took it back to see if there is a purple camera available to no avail. Unfortunately, all of those particular cameras are sold out so I guess I will have to find a purple camera case. If anyone sees a purple camera case, please let me know as I have not seen one, yet. I can't wait to give Jackie her camera at Christmas so she will leave mine alone.
Jackie is also quite the drama queen. Jackie does not like to wear her orthotic and last week she told her teacher that her foot was hurting and she pointed to the area around her orthotic and started to act like she was crying. So Mrs. Wafer took it off. Well, Jackie has tried to pull that trick on me without success. I have had the physical therapist and the orthotist look at it before and it fits just right and there were no red areas on her foot or ankle. Jackie is supposed to wear her eyeglasses but she complains that her eye hurts. We'll see about the eye pain as Jackie has a follow-up opthalmology appointment tomorrow to check on the progress of her strabismus. Jackie has developed quite an array of aches and pains because she has also been complaining about her finger hurting. Of course, this usually happens when we ask her to do something like pick up her toys. What has happened to my neat little girl? She used to be so neat and tidy with her toys.
Jackie does love to "read" and I certainly hope she keeps it up. Tim has been allowing Jackie to "read" in bed after bedtime and she often falls asleep while reading.

Ben is changing so quickly. He is still quite a momma's boy but he is finally starting to let a couple of others hold him for a short time. He has a second tooth coming in and his sort of toothy smile looks so cute. He really is a very smiley baby as long as somebody other than Mommy or Daddy doesn't try to hold him. And he is still insanely jealous when he sees somebody else in my lap or his daddy trying to be affectionate with me. I cannot believe that Ben will be a year old in less than a month. Oh, how I love my beautiful children. And I just love how my children love each other. Ben absolutely adores Jackie and when he has not seen her in awhile, his face lights up when he does see Jackie again. Jackie is such a great big sister to Ben.
Now for the realtor update. Ughhh, I'm done with her. I received an email with an updated list of the feedback from all the showings and it appears that we missed out on a sale at the beginning of October. The potential buyers wanted to close in December but we never received that feedback nor a phone call. I immediately called our realtor to inquire about it and she emailed the buyer's agent only to find out that the buyers already bought another house. Grrrr.
Well, I hope everybody in Florida is staying warm during your "freeze." It is getting quite cold here and I am pining for Florida right now.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Back flips, dumb realtors, & not sure

I am so proud of Jackie. Last night at gymnastics, she finally accomplished a back flip on the rings. I think she surprised herself. When she got back on her feet, she looked around at everybody looking sort of perplexed. She was so cute and I was so proud. Her coach was stunned. She kept trying to do it again but she just did not quite have enough strength in that left hand to do it again.
I am not quite sure our Realtor is all there. Tim and I are ready to just give her the boot and go on to somebody else who will really work. Today I received a mailing from our Realtor and when I opened it, I realized that it was just a copy of our listing which we have several copies of already. I looked all over it for a note or something when I finally found what I believe to be her intended message. The area showing the number of hits on our virtual tour was highlighted. I could care less how many people looked at our house online. We need a buyer, not a looker.
Tonight, I did the normal bedtime routine with Jackie after a short struggle with her because she wanted to continue to play with her Dora house. After I finally got Jackie into bed, I made my way to the bathroom where I found all Jackie's Dora figures plus some lined up in a row on my bathroom rug. I am not sure why. Maybe they were lined up for baths? Or possibly to have their teeth brushed? Who knows. My kid is just weird and very creative. And funny.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

updated posts

Make sure you read down as I posted my drafts from the past week.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Much needed break, yeah!

Tonight I went to my friend's daughter's basketball game at the junior high. I left the kids at home with Tim (gasp) for 3 1/2 hours. Wow, that is the first real break that I have taken from both kids at once since Ben was born. It felt very different to be without a child in my arms or around my legs but it was so nice to have that break. Before I left, I made sure that the kids were fed and that Tim knew where everybody's pajamas were. Then I snuck out and was headed on my way to Lisa's. Meredith's team won. Way to go Panthers!! I got home and walked into a war zone. The kitchen was a mess and the family room floor was littered with toys. I made my way upstairs to find Tim in our bedroom with the kids. Apparently, Ben gave Tim a difficult time that last hour but Jackie was a charm. Tim did a good job trying to juggle crying baby with a preschooler demanding that her daddy play puzzles and games. The crying must have gotten on Jackie's nerves because she told Tim "Daddy, put Ben downstairs." Funny girl. I took Ben and got him calmed down before putting him to bed. Then I made way downstairs to clean up the disaster areas. I am proud that I did not complain about the mess and was just thankful that Tim made it through the evening without a crisis (other than the crying). I very much enjoyed having an evening out without children albeit to a junior high basketball game. But I sure did miss my little ones and was happy to arrive home to see them before they went to bed.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Past week event


Jackie was well enough last Tuesday to go to gymnastics. I am so proud of her. She has come so far in just this last year since she started gymnastics. The little muscles in her legs are really starting to look like gymnast muscles. After the next 13 week session is done, Jackie will be moving up to the next level. Jackie still has some difficulty with some of the exercises, especially when it requires walking on tip toes, but she works so hard and does not let her disability hold her back. Jackie is unable to walk on tip toe on her left food due to the surgery she had on her heel cord a couple of years ago. The coaches are aware of Jackie's disability and although they do assist her when she has difficulty, they also expect her to work just as hard as, if not more than, the other students. Jackie will probably never be a world class gymnast but she will be world class to me. Jackie also continues to enjoy her dance class but I feel that she will be more committed to gymnastics as she gets older. She seems to really enjoy the gymnastics.
Jackie had woke up screaming again with another headache late Friday night. And she felt a little feverish so I gave her some pain reliever and laid with her awhile. By morning, she seemed perfectly fine.

Saturday afternoon, our house was scheduled for a 2-hour block for a showing. The kids and I ended up at McDonald's with my friend and one of her kids to eat lunch. Lisa brought a bag of leotards for Jackie that Lisa's daughter had outgrown. Jackie was so excited about those leotards and walked around showing them to me and Tim every chance she got. There was also a swimsuit included and Jackie nearly begged us to take her swimming. She just wanted to wear her "new" swimsuit even though she has a couple of brand new ones in her closet waiting for her to wear next Summer. This afternoon, Jackie was still excited about those leotards and swimsuit and continued to show them to us. She even told a friend a church about her "new" leotards. She is just so excited about them for some reason. We had to keep reminding her that it was too cold to go swimming and that she will have to wait until next Summer. She cannot wait to grow into those leotards and the swimsuit.
Jackie loves books and she loves to "read" them. Her routine every night is a small Bible devotional followed by a story. Then it's prayers and her favorite songs. Then her daddy allows her to "read" on her own for a little bit before lights out and sometimes she falls asleep before time for lights out as evidenced below.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Birthday Party at School


Jackie's class celebrated her birthday with her today. I took cupcakes and cookies. Jackie's teacher, Mrs. Wafer, has this cute birthday hat that the students get to wear when it is their birthday. Then Jackie enjoyed opening a couple of small gifts from her teacher. After coming home from school, I asked Jackie what she wanted for lunch to which she promptly replied, "I don't want lunch." What?!! Something must be wrong. She just wanted to lay on the couch and watch her Toddler Tunes DVD. Okay, so I set it up for her to watch while went upstairs to put Ben down for a nap. Within a couple of minutes, Jackie was upstairs saying that she wanted to take a nap. Something is seriously wrong here because Jackie does NOT do naps. So, I laid her down with a blanket to cover her. Sure enough, something was wrong because a couple of hours later, Jackie woke up screaming that her head hurt and she also felt very feverish. So I took her into the bathroom where she vomited. Then she just collapsed onto the bathroom rug. I felt so helpless because it was so apparent that Jackie did not feel well. I gave her some pain reliever and within a couple of hours, Jackie started to act a little more like herself. Thankfully, she does not have school tomorrow so that will give her time to get over whatever she has.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Jackie's Birthday




Jackie had a great birthday. And she had fun at Chuck E. Cheese's. This was Jackie's day and even though we cannot stand the crazy environment of that place, we tolerated it for today. Next time we go for Jackie's birthday will the day that her birthday lands on a weekday. That place is too crazy on the weekends. But Jackie had fun and that's all that counts. We came home and got the kids ready for bed then Jackie sat in my lap until she fell asleep. I loved that moment. I could not help but reflect back on that morning when she was born and she was so tiny. I never knew such love until she was placed in my arms. Tonight when I looked down at her sleeping in my arms, it almost brought tears to my eyes just thinking of the trials Jackie has already experienced in her short life so far. But she has come so far and is progressing very well. I am so proud of her. She does not let her mild disability stop her from trying to keep up with her peers, especially in her gymnastics class. Gymnastics has helped her to build up not only her physical strength on her left side but also her confidence. Tim came and put Jackie in her bed and she was still asleep but with a smile on her face. So precious.

This has been an exciting week for Jackie. She has been receiving cards and presents all week for her birthday. Then yesterday at school, her class was taken over to the middle school where the children collected candy. Then they went back to their classroom where they had a party. I surprised Jackie by picking her up from school. I usually pick her up only on Wednesdays because Jackie has physical therapy right after school. When she came home on Thursday, the first thing she said to me when she got off the bus was "you were supposed to pick me up". She was so upset with me because she really thought that I was going to pick her up from school. Friday evening, we went to the church for a little while where there were games to play and collect candy. Then we came home and put the Jackie and Ben in their costumes and I took them for a walk in the wagon around the neighborhood. I was going to take Jackie to just a handful of neighbor's homes but it was such a nice evening to walk that we ended up going around half the neighborhood. And many of the neighbors enjoyed seeing my little Bumblebee with my little Ladybug. Unfortunately, Jackie fell onto her face at one house when she tripped on the sidewalk. Another mom saw what happened and offered to hold the wagon where Ben was while I ran to Jackie. Then another mom warned the other kids to stay away from Jackie's candy and proceeded to pick it all up and put it back into Jackie's bucket. That was so sweet and it really warmed my heart that these moms cared so much for not only Jackie but her "precious" goods. Jackie really banged her forehead up and she cried hard for several minutes. When I told her that I was going to take her back home, she stopped crying and said "no, I need to get more candy." Funny girl, she has quite the sweet tooth and she was not going to let anything get in the way of that goal even though she is allowed just 1 or 2 pieces of candy per day. Somebody has to look out for those pearly whites.

Happy Birthday Jackie!!!

Today is Jackie's 4th birthday. So far, we took her to the zoo in St. Louis and then came home and ate some cake and she opened her presents. We will be going to Chuck E Cheese's for pizza and some games.