Monday, March 31, 2008

Good Parenting Moment

On Friday, Christian got home early in the afternoon after a four-day trip to...somewhere. I forget. We decided to take the kids to a hands-on children's museum in Kalamazoo (and its free!). We have this recurring problem with the kids behavior in the car. Rachel likes to "talk," Hannah hates the noise, and fighting results. I'm tired of dealing with it. So today, we told Hannah that if her behavior didn't change, she wouldn't be able to go in the museum. I'd sit with her in the car, instead. Believe me, I wasn't thrilled with the idea and sincerely hoped that she would stop fighting. She didn't. I don't think she thought I'd really follow through. The thing is, since Christian is usually tougher than me, she pushes me farther. So today, I followed through. I sat with her for an hour in the car while she screamed, kicked, begged for hugs and potty, and then finally fell asleep. She stop crying for a second and say--"See, I'm calm now. Can I go in? Can't you give me another chance?" But she really had used up all her chances. I really wish it didn't have to be that way, but I was proud of myself for sticking to my promise. It reminded me of the story Christian tells of keeping his mother from seeing Niagra Falls because he was acting up and didn't think his mother wold follow through.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Silly Faces

Grumpy faces

A Full House

We really enjoy having company. Jonathan and DeAnn came with their four kids to spend Easter with us. It was an answer to Rachel's prayers--she prayed all week to have Karen and Uncle Jonathan to play with! We had a major snowstorm on Friday so their four-hr drive became an eight-hr ordeal! So sad. They arrived late Friday night, so the kids woke up and played all day. Its so fun to have the cousins get together. There are always minor breakdowns, but otherwise the kids play so nicely together. Megan and Natalie (6 & 8) play well with Hannah and Karen (3) and Nathan are great buddies. Rachel tries to play with both groups, but does best with the youngest. On Saturday, the girls drew books about Easter (Natalie wrote the stories), then put on a song and dance show. Rachel loved dancing to the loud music. Karen and Nathan have a knack for getting into trouble. Last time they were together, they spread DeAnn's make-up all over the spare bedroom closet. This time, they spread paper towels all over, put dents in our wall, poured green egg die on our kitchen floor, etc...Oh, and Karen took her diaper off and put it in Aaron's clothing basket. Because she was wearing a dress, we didn't find out for a while. Fun kids!

Trigger Happy

I have a camera! Christian said he thought my blog looked sad without pictures, so he bought me a camera. And I love it! I can take close up pictures of my kids in the yard behind ours, and I can take pictures of my kids in motion without them being blurry. We had a huge snowfall this weekend, and we have Jonathan and DeAnn and family here for Easter, so over the next few days I'll be posting lots of photos.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Ideas, anyone?

Rachel's birthday is in two weeks and we are planning on giving her a party with friends for the first time. Any suggestions for 4-yr-old appropriate party ideas? We intend on only having 4-5 kids and want to keep it simple and at home.

Monday, March 17, 2008

What's stubborn, deaf, and blue all over?

We had another date on Friday. The kids love our babysitters--two girls from our ward who know ASL better than we do (their mother has deaf parents and they have a deaf brother). We had a simple date--we had a gift certificate to Olive Garden (love free dinner!) and then ran errands together, just to hang out. Oh, and we picked out fabric to make quilts for our girls. We got a call at around 7:30; our babysitter was concerned about Rachel. Some of you might remember that when Rachel was a baby, she used to faint a lot. She would hold her breath until her face turned blue and she would pass out. We took her to doctors, trying to find something else wrong with her, but all her doctors said she was fine. She seemed to out grow the problem. I think the last time she did it was a year ago. Well, Friday night she got mad. She wanted to play in the neighbors yard and our sitter said no, so Rachel threw a fit. Avey, our sitter, said she passed out three times in a row, then fell asleep on Avey's lap. I felt awful that she had to deal with that. She kept apologizing and asking what she could do. I thought--I have to teach Rachel to calm down! After a rough night, Rachel was completely fine the next day. She just gets so tired, then mad, and I think fainting is a coping mechanism for when she just has too much too handle. I hope we haven't lost our babysitter.

Friday, March 14, 2008

The Sound of Music

People frequently ask me how much Rachel can hear, and the only answer I have is, we don't know. However, she is making some great advancements. For example, she loves to wear her implant and has even kept it on at night a few times this week. She tries to imitate the words we say, although she usually isn't even close. We are working with her on getting her to copy beats-per-word (a.k.a. syllables). Hannah really hates the sounds Rachel makes when she is excited and trying really hard to talk, but we just can't tell Rachel to be quiet--every noise she makes (except during church!) is a good noise. The coolest thing is that Rachel is telling me when she hears music. We have a digital piano that the kids love to play with. If Hannah or Nathan turns it on, Rachel will tell me if she hears it. During church, she'll notice the hymns and try to sing along. When she tries to copy music, her sounds are long and drawn out, similar to singing. Its really exciting to me to see her paying attention!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Broken Camera pictures

I was able to retrieve a few pictures from the camera. They aren't the best, but they'll help give an idea of what we're up to. Check out Rachel's bangs! She's very proud of herself.

And Aaron is loving the solid foods. The only thing we've had a problem with is green beans-- after eating them, he went nearly a week without a messy diaper, and our sweet babysitter was there to clean up (another reason to love date night :). Aaron is also sitting up quite nicely--and he's cute.

After we first moved in , I made a cardboard house for the kids to play with out of the empty boxes. Christian and I kept saying we needed to throw it away--it was in the living room and kept getting in our way, but the kids always played with it. This week, the kids wanted to re-design their house, and the end result was, well, the end of the house. The wanted me to keep cutting until there was nothing left!

And then there is our other project--painting the formerly purple living room. It started out small enough-- two walls needed primer. We chose a color, then realized that although only two walls were purple, the whole room needed to be painted. Then-- we didn't like the color (too green--we thought it was brown-ish). So , we picked a new color and repainted just one coat, hoping to not have to do more. Then we realized that we needed to do the hallway, as well. So we did one coat, and stopped. So--we're still not done, we still have a lot to do, and we don't want to do it. I do like the new look so much better--except for the blue painter's tape! Wish we could finally finish...
And while most of the snow is gone now, here's a picture of our backyard on one of the windy, snowy days.

Update on Aaron

We're still working on getting Aaron to sleep through the night. Last night, between feeding Aaron and helping Rachel, I woke up 5 times! I started re-reading this book (with a really corny title), "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child." It was first recommended to me when Hannah was a baby and I read most of it, but it bothered me that the author seemed to blame most sleep problems on the parents. Now, three kids later, I am realizing that I didn't remember the book correctly. I think it is a "must read" for parents. I'm finding lots of advice to help with Aaron, as well as Rachel (who never really naps, no matter how tired she is). So far, I think the biggest problem with Aaron, who is a basically good sleeper, is that his daytime naps aren't regular due to our crazy schedule. I'm working on getting a bus for Rachel so that we spend less time every day in the car. I think if I get him on a better schedule during the day, that will help him sleep better at night. Then I'll stop feeding him at night. Otherwise, he's such a happy boy!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Date Night

I love date night. I love babysitters. And I love chocolate, book stores, and a really good sandwich (for dinner). So, all in all I had a pretty good night! Christian and I have typically had a hard time finding babysitters. There are some youth in our ward now who have a deaf younger brother and can sign far better than I can. The kids loving having the girls come babysit, and I love it that I can get a break and feel comfortable that they can handle Rachel. Christian and I love going to to read in Barnes and Noble (or any other large, well stocked bookstore). We just like to read, and I can always find fun things to look through, not to mention a few moments of peace. Then there was the fabulous chocolate frozen custard shake we split on the way home... wonderful. Yeah for always having someone to spend Saturday night with!