Our Five Ring Circus: November 2009

Monday, November 30, 2009

Up and Running

We finished decorating the tree tonight. I felt horrible, because Dylan and Lexie have been asking to decorate it since we set it up on Friday night! So, after dinner, we made a point to finish it.

We put on Christmas music, and got to work!


The kids picked out the ornaments, Grant unwrapped them, and the kids brought them to me to hang on the tree. Our assembly line kept some order to the tree decorating process!

Lexie had to kiss several of the ornaments before we hung them on the tree.


...and take a break to snuggle with her daddy.


After a mini meltdown, because he wanted to put the star on the tree, Dylan got to make sure the star was "just right."


The kids are so happy that their tree is up! Tomorrow, the countdown to Christmas begins!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

'Tis The Season

This weekend, we've been preparing for Christmas.

Friday morning was lazy. We just hung around the house until the afternoon!


I didn't go shopping on Friday morning, but my mom and I went shopping in the afternoon, and I managed to get two of the Black Friday deals I was interested in. The store was actually much quieter than I expected. Less busy than a typical Friday, and all of the advertised deals were still available! That night, I rearranged furniture and set up the Christmas tree so we could start decorating it.

As soon as Lexie saw the tree, she insisted that I take her picture with it!


On Saturday, I pulled out all the boxes of Christmas decorations, and we started transforming the house. We had to quit early, to go to a Christmas parade that we go to every year. We met Grant's parents at the parade. It was our first cold day, and we were freezing!


Can you guess what the kids noticed?


Perhaps I should say who?


We waited for Santa to climb out of his chimney and light up the town.


The kids got to see Santa! As usual, Lexie was not at all interested in getting near him!


After the parade, we warmed up, and headed over to my best friend's house for a visit.

We attempted to finish decorating today, but it's still a work in progress! Grant's parents stopped by for a visit, followed by my sister, followed by Grant's brother and some of our friends to watch the Steelers game. All that I managed to do was put the lights on our tree and let the kids hang up the ornaments that they picked out for the year.


Some friends of ours are in town right now. The last time we saw them, was right after their baby was born. They came over to watch the Steelers game, and it was great seeing them, and their son, Jade. We met Jimi while doing a musical over 10 years ago, and even though we don't get to see him much, we're still friends.


I'm hoping to conquer the rest of the decorating tomorrow!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

A Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving this year turned out to be a great one! I am so thankful to be surrounded by so many loved ones. I felt very blessed today!


For some strange reason, I have ended up sick every Thanksgiving since 2003. In 2003, I had a cold. In 2004, I had just had a baby 4 days earlier and was in a lot of pain. In 2005, I was sick with a cold. In 2006, I had horrible morning sickness. In 2007 and 2008, I was sick with colds. To keep up with that awesome streak, I decided that I needed to have a cold this year, as well! Despite being sick, it was a good day!

I found myself thinking back to Thanksgiving 2004 today. That was our first Thanksgiving with Dylan. It's so hard to believe that it was 5 years ago, and that he went from that tiny newborn wearing a preemie outfit to this big boy! That year was the best Thanksgiving I've ever had.

My favorite Thanksgiving memory is from early that morning. It was our first night home with our first baby. Dylan had just woken up to eat. I picked up the newest love of my life, and took him into our living room. I stood at the window, feeding him, as I gazed out at the snow falling in the pre-dawn light. It was so quiet and beautiful and perfect. It was the first snowfall of the year, and I just felt so much love for my son, and incredibly blessed to be holding my perfect, healthy baby. I will remember that moment for as long as I live.

Okay...so back to the present! After our busy day yesterday, the kids slept in until after 10, so I got some much needed sleep. After watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Lexie and I headed to Walgreens to scoop up some of their Thanksgiving Day deals! We stopped to visit Cherokee on our way home, and gave him a few Thanksgiving treats.

We had a busy day of visiting family. Our first stop was at Grant's grandma's house for an early dinner.

Dylan loves to accessorize!

Lexie cuddled with PapPap.

She played with Uncle Eric.

I am so lucky to have these two.

After a yummy dinner and some catching up with relatives we only see on Holidays, we had to head out to get to our next stop in time.


We went to my sister's house for Thanksgiving dinner with some of my family members. I'm not quite sure how I found room for more food, but I managed! After dinner, the kids got to play with their cousins, Jack and Aubrey. Aubrey used to spend 5 days a week at my house, but moved a few hours away, so we don't get to see her very often. Dylan and Lexie are always so excited when she (and her mommy and daddy) comes home (as am I)!

My sister and my niece finished up dishes while my nephew and another sister snoozed! ;)


I didn't want to leave, but we had to in order to make it to our last stop, at Nannie's house. Luckily, my sister's house, our house, and Nannie's house are all close together! We had some dessert at Nannie's and got to visit some more relatives that we don't see often. Uncle Scott and Carol wound the kids up BIG TIME!


The kids ADORE their Uncle Scott.

It was getting late, and we had to get Lexie and Dylan home to bed! They weren't quite ready for that just yet!


But they gave in, after a long, busy, wonderful day.

I'm counting my blessings tonight. I have so much to be thankful for!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving Eve

Today, my parents, Lexie, Dylan, and I took a mini road trip to Hermitage, PA to see Santa's Christmasland at Kraynak's. My parents used to take me every year until I was 11, but I haven't been back since.


Santa's Christmasland is made up of many Christmas displays and themed Christmas trees, set up in a huge home and garden store.


The displays and trees were gorgeous. Dylan really seemed to enjoy them, but Lexie was afraid. I admit, my princess is a huge wimp!

My parents bought Dylan and Lexie a few ornaments on our way out, and then we headed to Daffin's, the World's Largest Candy Store. Yes, I live just a bit over an hour away from the World's Largest Candy Store, and I've never been there until today!


The chocolate was delicious, and the kids loved the chocolate display!


I'm so glad I got a chance to take my kids to Kraynak's!

Tonight, Grant's friend was in town, so he hung out with him while I did some early Black Friday shopping. I have been shopping at The Children's Place on the day before Thanksgiving for the past 4 years. All of their deals are already out on that day! ;) The kids and I picked out some Christmas shirts for Dylan, and then checked out the beautiful tree by the fountain.

We spent the evening at my sister's house with great company! We didn't leave until 10:30, and Dylan and Lexie fell asleep on the way home. We're ready for a great Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tuesday Tidbits

Tuesday Tidbits-remembering all the cute and funny things my kids say and do!

Dylan had to go to the dentist today. He was so excited, because he loves going to the dentist. This picture documents his love for dental checkups (Gotta love the hat hair and the Celtic cross he insists on wearing.):


I'm sure that will change.

Everything looked great! He has several loose teeth on the bottom. His tooth that was loose 6 months ago is still there, and has an adult tooth ready to pop out behind it. The dentist said that it would come through and knock the other tooth out if it doesn't fall out before then.

Lexie slipped and fell on pavement today. She didn't cut herself, but ended up with a red mark on her knee. She ran around all day saying, "Look at my marker!"

Dylan was looking through his favorite reptile picture book, and said that the Gila Monster looks like he's made of pixos.

Lexie's favorite books right now are Pinkalicious and Purplicious. We read them all. the. time. Last time we went riding, she insisted on using a purple saddle pad on Cherokee. When I put it on him, she said, "Cher-kee, you look purplicious!!!"

Dylan was in a really bad mood the other night. I asked him what was wrong, and he said, "I'm just a little bit of sick."

Dylan is not sick, but Lexie and I are sick. Yesterday, as I was strapping Lexie into her car seat, she held her hand to her forehead, and said, "I have a beaver."

Hopefully we both feel better for Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Happy 5th Birthday, Dylan!

Today, my baby boy turned 5!


He had a wonderful birthday!

I woke up at 8:53 on the dot, rolled over to find Dylan sleeping next to me, and wrapped my arms around my 4 year old for the last time. At 8:54, the time of his birth, I whispered "Happy Birthday" into his ear, and held him as tightly as I could. At 8:55, I let him go and rolled back over, now a mother to a 5 year old. It is absolutely amazing how quickly time flies when you have children.

I was emotional all day. Sometimes I am overwhelmed at just how much I love him. I wanted his birthday to be as perfect as it possibly could, and it was. He had an amazing day, and is so proud of the fact that he's now 5!


Happy 5th Birthday, Dylan! You are the love of my life! You may be 5, but you will ALWAYS be my baby boy. I'll love you, with all my heart, forever.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Growing Up Isn't Easy

Dylan has been a snit the past week. I have no idea what's going on, but I feel like he's entering his teenage years already. Really? Does it really start at (almost) 5?!?

Dylan has always been an incredibly sweet, well-behaved, polite boy. He gave me no problems, and never even had a tantrum until the month after he turned 3. To this day, he aims to please. He has such a sweet personality and is filled with more compassion that most adults I know.

He's having a rough time. He still wants to be that sweet, perfect boy, but he's also testing his independence. He's starting to grow apart from me, and realizing he can do a lot of things without me.

It's hard on all of us. This past week, he has lashed out. He's been overly sensitive, has thrown a few tantrums, said mean things to us, stomped to his room and slammed the door...he's spent more time in time out this week than the past 2 months combined! He's really testing us and is so emotional!

I knew this was going to happen one day. I know it's the age, and the fact that he's in school and living his own life away from me for a few hours every week.

But it's so very hard. For me. And for him.

I had a great night with him tonight. We had one brief meltdown, but it was a good night.

This weekend is going to a whirlwind. Tomorrow will be his last day as a 4 year old, and I won't get much alone time with him due to his party, so I wanted to spend some time with him tonight.

We baked cut out cookies for his birthday at my parent's house. He wanted D's and 5's. I frosted, and he decorated, just as we always do. I glanced over at him several times and was struck by how grown up he was. He was in his own world, meticulously decorating each cookie, then holding it up for my inspection. After every cookie, he would flash me a big smile and his gorgeous blue eyes would light up. His brand new big boy winter hat (you know, the knit ones that look a bit like baseball caps) was on his head, and he just looked so big. So. Incredibly. Big. When did that happen?

On the way home, he talked about the awesome new light up shoes Papa bought him today (he finally convinced him to get rid of his favorite, near sole-less shoes!), and the Native American that taught his preschool class this morning. He went into such detail about his class that day...the entire classroom was set up like a Native American Village, and he told me that the animal skins that the Native Americans wore really stunk.

There were a few moments of silence, and he added, "I can't believe I met a real Indian today! She was so cool!"

As I carried him to his room for bedtime, I realized that his feet almost reached the ground. He's going to pass me up so quickly! How can he already be THIS tall?

Tonight, I held him in my arms as we read books before bedtime. He looked up at me, snuggled against my side, and began twirling my hair. I realized that I wanted to embrace this time I have with him, so I sat down the book, and promised him I would snuggle with him as he fell asleep.

His face lit up, and he curled up against me. I held him as tightly as I could, and right before he fell asleep, he told me, "You'll be my best friend forever."

I teared up, and told him, " I will love you forever."

I held him just a few minutes longer after he fell asleep, not wanting to let go of the moment.

Growing up isn't easy on any of us, but it happens...All I can do is love him with all my heart and pray that he always knows how much he is loved.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Top Ten Thursday

I've been following Top Ten Thursdays for a while, and decided to join in today. Head on over to here for more Top Ten Thursday fun!

10 Things I'd Rather Do Than Clean:

(Okay, I can think of about 100...maybe 1000 things I'd rather do than clean. As of 9:45 AM tomorrow morning, I'm going to go on a cleaning frenzy in preparation for Dylan's birthday party on Saturday. I always say that I'm going to stop the cleaning frenzy before birthday parties, because my house ends up dirtier than it was before I cleaned. Why even bother? *Sigh* Maybe I'll learn my lesson someday.)

So, here goes.

1. Sleep. Don't get enough of that.

2. Read. Not enough time for that.

3. Do crossword puzzles. Gotta feed my addiction.

4. Shop. I love me some shopping.

5. Hang out with my loved ones.

6. Sit on the couch and stare blankly. Sometimes I love to just turn my mind off for a bit.

7. Ride my horse. I don't get to do that nearly enough.

8. Snuggle my babies. They don't stay babies for long.

9. Blog. There's never enough time for all I want to write and all the blogs I want to read.

10. Give birth. Yeah. I hate cleaning THAT much.

(Honey, if you're reading, a house cleaner would be AWESOME.)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Walk Down Memory Lane

Wednesday's Walk Down Memory Lane

Come for a walk with me down Memory Lane!
And if you have a "Memory Lane" post, head on over to Scottsville to join in on the fun!

This picture of Grant and I is from a musical we were in. I have it framed, and hanging in our living room! ;) My cousin took it the night of the dress rehearsal. This was the last musical we did before we had Dylan. We had so much fun that we decided to do the show again when Dylan was 9 months old. That, technically, was our very last show. I'm not going to lie: I really miss performing in plays and musicals. It was my life for so long! It is just way too time consuming, and right now, my life as a mom consumes more time than I have! I have great memories from that show!

So, any guesses as to what musical we were performing in? I'll give a hint: It was the only "bad girl" role I've had in all my years of musical theater!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Prematurity Awareness Day-Dylan's Story

Today is Prematurity Awareness Day. I made sure to hug my boy today and thank God for him!

This topic has been weighing heavily on my mind lately. I had preterm labor problems with both pregnancies. I've been thinking so much about my pregnancy with Dylan lately...I think it's due to the fact that he's turning 5 in 5 short days! (Say what?!?)

So in honor of Prematurity Awareness Day, and an upcoming birthday, this is going to be all about my preemie.


Dylan tried to enter the world at 30 weeks.

I don't remember much from that time. It was just so overwhelming. I had been having Braxton Hicks contractions for weeks. One day, I just didn't feel right. The contractions were reaching around to my back, and were coming frequently. I called my OB, and was told to head into the hospital to get checked. I thought I would be sent home.

What I didn't count on was getting needle after needle shoved into my arm. I didn't count on having to stay. I didn't expect all the information the doctor was throwing at me about having a 30-weeker. The doctors finally got the contractions under control, and I was sent home on bed rest.

The culprit of my preterm labor was most likely stress. I had a rough pregnancy. I was very sick, and lost a lot of weight. My parents home was destroyed due to the aftermath of a hurricane. They lost everything. The house I grew up in was gone. The pets I grew up with had to go to new homes. Grant and I were in the process of trying to buy our first house. My sisters and I were fighting.

The day I came home from the hospital, I found out that our beloved dog was very, very sick, and only had weeks to live. I was beyond devastated. She died in my arms, a week later. A few days after that, we moved into our new home. It was definitely a very rough time in my life.

I was on bed rest for weeks. I was constantly being monitored. The contractions never stopped. It was a constant guessing game as to when the baby was going to arrive. The longer the baby stayed put, the better, but the longer I went, the sadder I got. The house was so quiet without my dog, and I couldn't do anything but lay around.

At my 35 week checkup, the doctor informed me that I was showing all signs that the baby would be here very soon. He told me that at this point, they wouldn't be able to stop the labor because I had progressed so far already.

Less than 48 hours later, I ended up in the hospital. I was told to expect a 4-5 lb baby, at most, and that there could possibly be a NICU stay. The past few weeks were so difficult that I couldn't wait for the baby to come, but at this point I was terrified about the health of my baby.

It was a long labor. Mostly uneventful, other than breaking the epidural needle (I have a back of steel...happened again with Lexie!) and throwing up all over my mom. I pushed for hours, though. Finally, the OB told me I couldn't push much longer. I could either get a C-Section or attempt to push just 3 times with the vacuum. I chose the vacuum.

As I started pushing those last 3 times, I glanced over and realized that there were a ton of people in the room. The nurse gently told me that they had a team lined up to take me to the ER, and the rest of the staff were from the NICU. The first two pushes failed, and the OB warned me that this was my last shot. I overheard her tell the surgical team to get ready, and I was so mad, that I gave that push my all.

And out came my baby! All I remember is hearing "It's a BOY!" And seeing his beautiful face. He was here, and he looked perfect!


Dylan was immediately whisked away and examined, before I could even touch him. About 20 minutes later, he was handed back to me with a clean bill of health!

Dylan was much bigger than expected. When I arrived at Labor & Delivery the nurse didn't even realize I was pregnant. My belly was just so tiny! Somehow, I managed to pop out a 7 lb, 2 oz* baby at a mere 35 1/2 weeks! The nurses and doctors were in shock.

*Just for the record, he was going to be huge if he made it full term. His baby sister was born at 38 weeks, and weighed a whopping 9 lbs, 1 oz! I grow them big! (She's not even the largest baby born into my family! There are many more that were bigger than her.) I didn't have a big belly with Lexie, either. My OB is constantly asking where I hid my babies. *

Dylan did not have to stay in the NICU. We did end up staying in the hospital for 4 days. I had a 4th degree tear. (I'm going to leave it at that....OUCH!) Dylan had some trouble regulating his body temperature, and he did drop down to 6 lbs.

Finally, we both were allowed to go home. The only issues Dylan had was slow weight gain (he's still a very skinny kid) and the fact that he projectile vomited after every bottle. He took minimal amounts of formula at each feeding for the longest time. His pediatrician said that his digestive tract was very immature. On the other hand, he was healthy. He hit all of his milestones early. He has no lasting effects from being born preterm.

Almost 5 years later, I still thank God every day for my little blessing. Things could have been much worse, so I know how lucky we were. He is our little miracle!