Thursday, June 28, 2012

My laptop died

I went to my hair appointment, came home and tried to turn it on. Nothing. It just went to sleep and never woke up. {Literally, I had it in sleep mode when I left.} So yeah, that's the reason behind the lack of posts lately. Once I decide on a new laptop and I get it up and running, I'll do a bunch of back-dated posts. I'm trying to stay on top of picture-taking each day so I'll have some good material to work with. :) Lucky for me, my old boss from Patch called this week and wants me to do some work from home. Just in time to help fund the new computer. Funny how things seem to work out, isn't it?

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Farm fun

We went out to the farm today so that Owen could come with, and also because it's supposed to be close to  100 degrees tomorrow. The kids were very good helpers, until we got to the end and had to pick the blueberries. They were DONE by then (we had picked black raspberries and plums before getting to the blueberry field via hayride). So mommy did the blueberry picking and we then had a picnic in the shade before playing in the huge sandbox for a few minutes and then heading home.

Monday, June 25, 2012

These boot were made for walkin'

Vivi has an obsession with shoes. We have this little white shoe rack in our foyer, and when I'm busy in the kitchen, she usually wanders over there and tries on a pair of shoes for fun. Then she comes waltzing into the kitchen to show off her coordinated outfit. Today, they just happened to match her shirt and she just happened to put them on the right feet. :)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Our big boy

I think I may have said before on this blog that I wouldn't talk about potty stuff anymore. But after thinking about it, I've decided that I must share a little more in case any of my friends ever run into this issue with their kids in their future potty-training adventures.

Yes, he potty-trained very quickly back in November or last year. And he did really well for a few months. But then he started regressing, and we found that he was holding his poops in again like he did when he was in daycare before Vivi was born. After doing a bunch of research, I discovered that Owen had a condition called encopresis

Yes, I am one of those parents who self-diagnosed their own child, via searching the interwebs for information. When my little boy was holding in his poops for days, and I could physically see him holding it and how uncomfortable he was, I was desperate to find out how to help him. We took him to a pediatric GI specialist after Owen landed in the ER from holding it at daycare, but all he did was tell us that our son would probably have to be on Miralax for the next year or so, until we got him through potty-training. Not exactly what I wanted to hear. It is a medication that is not approved for use in children, but still doctors prescribe it off-label when they see a child with chronic constipation or holding, since it helps pull water into the colon. 

Our pediatrician echoed his thoughts, but also added that we should try to eliminate as many processed foods as we could from his diet, and add more fruits, veggies, and water. Better, but still, not exactly the most helpful solution for the stressful situation we were experiencing. I was frustrated because the doctors didn't seem to be concerned about a toddler being on an adult medication long-term. I didn't want to do it.

So I didn't listen to them. We used the Miralax when we needed to, but I didn't feel comfortable giving it to him every day. I didn't want him to rely on it, and, more importantly - I was (and still am) concerned about long-term side effects. What if a study comes out in 20 years saying that it caused major damage to the kids who were on it during their childhood? I wouldn't be able to forgive myself. Plus, I kept thinking about when I was a kid, and when my mom and dad were kids. They didn't have MIRALAX back then. So I didn't think Owen needed to use it now. We needed to find a better (and safer) solution.

So I did my research. I found a Yahoo! group made up of parents (mostly moms, as we seem to usually be on the forefront of potty-training) whose kids were dealing with encopresis. To join, all I had to do was send an email request for membership to the group's owner. I was immediately admitted, and started reading the numerous threads of moms and dads discussing their progress with helping their children overcome encopresis. 

I met one mom who offered to send me two books that helped her tremendously, and I took her up on the offer. One was for him: It Hurts When I Poop: A book for children who are scared to use the potty by Howard Bennett, the other was for parents: Constipation, Withholding and Your Child by Anthony Cohn. The books came the following week and Owen asked to read the one for him every night for a week. It was the perfect book for him. It is the story of a little boy who holds his poops in so his parents have to take him to the doctor. The doctor explains to him, using a story of her own, how your body uses the food you eat and what is leftover is turned into poop, which we need to let out of our body so that our belly doesn't hurt. 

I think it really hit home with Owen. We also started using a suggestion I found via the encopresis forum - we had Owen do a 5-minute sit about 10-15 minutes after each meal. We made it clear that if "poop comes out, that's okay, if poop doesn't come out, that's okay too". I learned that because he had conditioned his body to hold the poops in for so long, he was going to have to re-learn how to feel the sensation that he needed to go poop. Having him do a 5-minute sit helped him to recognize the feeling again over time. 

We also printed out a new potty chart for him and every time he pooped on the potty, he got to put a sticker on his chart. He also got 3 chocolate chips for each poop. 

He takes a gummy children's multivitamin every morning, in addition to a Fiber Gummy twice a day. I've also added a probiotic yogurt drink in once a day. Sometimes I'll give him a Good Belly juice drink. I think these supplements really help his digestive system. And he loves taking them, so it's a win-win.

The entire month of June he went consistently every single day. Sometimes two times a day, and once we had a 3-poop day! We are so proud of him and are keeping our fingers crossed that the success continues. These last two weeks he's actually been going on his own and we don't have to initiate a 5-minute sit anymore. The funniest part about this whole experience is that after he produces a poop, he yells:

"Mommy, Mommy!! Come see what I made!!"

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Produce pickin'

Vivi is always so eager to help at the farm, but the fruit she picks ends up in her mouth before it ever hits the container she's holding to gather it.

She's still my good little helper. 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day!

We love you Daddy!!! We made you a jar of your favorite candy ~ Reese's Pieces...because we love you to pieces. :)

{thank you Pinterest}

We also got Daddy a round of golf with his buddies to enjoy one weekend this summer. Every dad needs quality time with his friends on the golf course. I think this is becoming an annual tradition thanks to us wives who find great golf deals online for our hubbies. (thanks to Claudia for finding this year's deal!) 

Sorting shapes

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Out on the town ~ Father's Day Weekend

We braved the crowds and took the kids to Chocolate World after a quick stop at the outlets {playground with Grandma for them, Gap for me}. Then, Grandma & Poppy treated us to dinner and ice cream tonight and it was so much fun! The kids were well behaved at the restaurant and they got free kiddie cones (in a dish to avoid the inevitable scoop on the pavement) while we each had single dips.

Happy Father's Day, Daddy! I hit the jackpot when God made you my Dad. :)

The weather was gorgeous ~ it was the perfect Father's Day weekend together and I felt very lucky to have been able to spend it with my dad. We'll see Ben tomorrow when we get back home since he's home from his trip.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Visiting with GiGi

GiGi came over tonight for dinner and stayed until the kids went to bed. They got to enjoy some chocolate animal crackers that Grandma bought for them. Perfect with a glass of milk.


There is a farm behind my parent's condo in Hershey, and the horses will come right up to the fence to say hello. The kids got a real kick out of it.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Tea party for one

As Ben and I were making dinner tonight, I caught Vivi in the middle of a tea party.

Blueberry pickin'

While Owen was at his summer camp today from 9am-2pm, Vivian and I drove out to the farm to get our share and to pick our bonus. This week the bonus was 2 pints of tart cherries, 1/2 pint of black raspberries and 1/2 pint of blueberries. We picked an additional pint of blueberries and I'm wishing we would have added one more to that since they were so awesome. It was my first time picking blueberries, and after trying them, I don't want to ever eat grocery store blueberries again ~ farm fresh ones are sooo much better!

We had a bit of a scare when we got home. I gave Vivi her lunch and as she was sitting in her highchair, I stepped out onto the deck to pick up two tomato plants which had been blown over. As I pulled the sliding door shut behind me, I heard the bar that locks it fall down and into place.

I was locked out.

I tried to open it for a minute, but it wasn't budging. I ran over to one neighbor, not home. Ran to another - not home either. I was starting to panic. Ran to another neighbor and the contractor who was working on their house answered the door since they weren't home. I asked him if I could borrow his phone and he said sure, he'd go get it. I asked him to meet me on the deck since I knew Vivi would be crying by then.

I was right. Poor baby was in tears. I calmed her down as I dialed Ben, knowing I probably wouldn't reach him since he's usually between offices in the afternoons. I left him a message and then also left a message on his cell. At this point I was thinking I'd have to wait for him to get the messages and come home to let us in.

Then I remembered that our neighbor directly across the street has our key. I didn't think she was home, since there was only one car in the driveway and I thought her girls were in summer camp this week. But I immediately ran over and rang the doorbell. I heard footsteps! Thank goodness their nanny was home with the kids. Got our key and ran into the house to console Vivi who was crying big tears by this point.

She had managed to finish her entire lunch though. That's my girl. :)

I thanked the contractor and we had just enough time to pick up Owen at 2pm. What an exhausting day it was.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Coffee can drum @ 18mo

Caught my little lady in the middle of a drum set this morning. Our happy baby girl is almost completely back, thank goodness. All four canines have pierced through the gums and now it's just a matter of them coming out all together. At least it seems as if the major pain she was in is over. {Fingers crossed.}

Weight ~ 25 lbs, 5 oz {50-75%}
Height ~ 32" {50-75%}

Had her 18-mo check-up a few days ago and she's doing great, other than we need to work more on her words. She only has about 3-4 verbal words. (mama, baa for sheep, and bye are the only ones I could think of that she says currently) and the doc says she should have 4-10 by now. I'm not too worried (and neither was the doctor at this point) because she knows a bunch of signs and Owen usually does a lot of talking for her, which is common with second kids.

So we're going to do more books and more talking during the day, and more one-on-one time with just Vivi while Owen is at his summer camp on Thursdays. And if she doesn't show some improvement by August/Sept, then we're going to have an evaluation done by the county and a hearing test too. I have a feeling she's going to start talking a lot soon, since I've seen some strides even just since she's gotten past this recent teething pain.

At night when we rock and sing Twinkle, Twinkle before bed, she has started to try to sing it with me. It's neat to me how when I watch her mouth it reminds me exactly of the way Owen's looked back when he was 18 months old and the vocalizations he was making at that age.

I can't wait to hear her sweet little voice say stuff to me more often.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Mr. Knicknack with Neil from preschool

Owen started talking about his buddy Neil during the second half of his preschool year at Little Sprouts. Except, he couldn't exactly pronounce his name right, so it sounded like "Meal". I asked his teacher one day in February if there was a kid named "Meal" in his class, and she said no, but there was a "Neil" and she was certain that's who Owen was referring to.

We talked about Neil and how they loved playing together. Neil only went to the Mom's Morning Out program that Owen did on Wednesdays, but they would always play together on that day each week. His teacher said they had a "love/hate" relationship because they would play so well together, but sometimes could fight like puppies. I found it interesting that Owen gravitated towards a friend who is a whole year younger, but it's so cute that they talk about each other after school {Neil's mommy said that he talked about Owen just as Owen talked about Neil}.

So when we were at Mr. Knicknack last week, we were so excited when we bumped into Neil and his mommy and new baby brother Nathan! His mom and I decided to try to meet up there again this week and the weather was perfect today so we got to hang out and see the kids play together. We're going to try for another playdate next week too. Vivi even had fun trying to do what they were doing {pulling flowers out of the decorative pots ~ oops!}.

We've been working on his pronunciation of his buddy's name, and these days he says it the right way about 75% of the time. Luckily, it doesn't seem to bother Neil one bit. :)

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Dinner at Kel & Matt's

Kel and Matt invited us over for dinner tonight since they had a 3-pound pork loin from the farmer's market that they needed help eating. We jumped at the chance to hang out and enjoy each other's company and their fine culinary skills.

Ryan enjoyed two ears of corn while Kelly finished putting together the meal, and Kayla took a break from firing her water shooter to let me take her picture. Such cuties.

You had to watch out on the patio, or else this guy squirted you:

Even Vivi took a break from being miserable because of her teeth to enjoy the water festivities. 

Although she prefers her birthday suit these days to a swimsuit. Here she is with her hand in the chip bowl while going sans suit that I had brought. {Really, I did. She ran away from me kicking and flailing her arms when I tried to putting it on her. So I just let her be a baby, in the summer. Matt said I should put some clothes on her because his home isn't a nudist colony. I guess Vivi thought it should be.}

Owen took the water gun battle quite seriously. Here, he's trying to figure out where Kayla is, so he can plan his next water launch:

A huge thank you to Kel & Matt for hosting another fantastic spur-of-the-moment dinner party {our favorite kind}.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Happy Retirement Grandma Marshall!!!

Today was Grandma Marshall's retirement celebration picnic at the marina! We had so much fun meeting her colleagues and enjoying delicious grilled brats, hot dogs, burgers and amazing sockeye salmon on cedar planks!  For dessert, Aunt Hillary baked incredible cupcakes to celebrate Stephanie's birthday which she graciously allowed Owen to blow out her birthday candle. Such a beautiful afternoon to help send Grandma off into retirement with a smile. :)

We love you and are so proud of you!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Broadlands Live ~ take 2

The grandparents opted out of the concert, so we left them at home while we packed up some munchies and drinks to enjoy while listening to the music. This week we picked a perfect spot on the left side where we could see the big kids on the playground from the comfort of our picnic blanket. We randomly ended up sitting right in front of my friend who I met while recruiting at Patch! It was fun catching up with her and introducing her and her husband to the kids since she's heard me talk so much about them.

I didn't get any pictures of Owen, but if you look closely at the one Kayla is in, you can see his orange tee shirt behind her left shoulder. He was on "repeat" all night: climb up the ladder, slide down the fireman's pole. He'd do it ten times {or more!} and then run up the hill to ask us if we saw him. So cute and such a wonderful activity for wearing out your preschooler before bed! :)

The Playseum in Bethesda

This morning we took the kids to the Playseum in Bethesda for something new and different. It's a children's new and used bookstore which has been converted into a bunch of different rooms for the kids to explore and play in. There was an "Eastern Shore" room with a sand box and crabs on the wall, connected via tunnel to a fire engine room that had fire jackets and hats and a mini fire truck, and a beauty salon where girls can get their nails done or make lip balm, and also a pet shop and grocery store to go shopping.

Owen and Vivian had a ball, but unfortunately I wasn't able to get many pictures because I forgot to charge my camera before we left the house. I did get this one cute shot of Grandma & Vivi before we went in though:

After the museum, we ate lunch at a Cosi in downtown Bethesda and then walked around to check out the shops. We were drawn into a toy store and Grandma picked out a board game for the kids and two tracing travel games which we'll take on our beach trip in August.

Then it was over to Rockville to visit with a good friend of ours and his two grandsons. It was so fun to see the kids interact, especially Vivi trying to hold her own with the three boys throwing the football and tennis balls around. Dave's younger son JP who is three weeks younger than Vivi, went over and gave her a kiss on the cheek at one point ~ completely un-prompted. It was so cute! Such a fun afternoon and the kids took great naps on the way home to top it off.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Yay! Grandma & Poppy are here a day early!

Looking forward to spending the next couple of days with them before they head up to Hershey for the summer.

Great Country Farms

We joined the CSA at Great Country Farms this summer so that we'd have fresh fruits and veggies all season and the kids could enjoy hanging out there once or twice a week since there is so much to do. Each week we get a bonus item to pick ourselves: this week it was a 1/2 pint of black raspberries and a pint of cherries.

We had a great time and then got the best news ~ Grandma and Poppy were coming to visit a day early! We're so excited to see them tonight. 

Now, I gotta go clean. {ha!}

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

I told you we live here

This morning we packed a picnic and headed over to Trailside for a quick bite and some much needed distraction play for Miss Viv.

After naps, and an outfit change for Vivian, we decided to head over to the playground by the pool since the weather was so beautiful. Kelly and the kids were over at Trailside, so we headed over to meet them. Three playgrounds in one day is a record for us. It worked to distract her from the pain of her new teeth, so it was worth all the running around.

Popsicles for breakfast

Miss Vivian's mouth is still trying to get those darn teeth to pop out, and because of this, she's still not her usual happy self. In an effort to try to get her to stop screaming/crying cheer her up, I pulled out the homemade popsicles I made for her yesterday. {Way to think ahead, huh?}


At breakfast. The kids were thrilled. I mean, who has popsicles for breakfast? 

 When you're teething, anything goes.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Sad baby girl

There have been quite a few of these shed in this house over this past week. Poor Vivian has been going through a growth spurt, and on top of that, has four {possibly more, but she won't let me near her mouth to check} teeth erupting. She won't eat much, and has been just plain miserable when not distracted.

So we've been trying to get out of the house several times a day to keep her busy so that she doesn't think about how much her mouth hurts. Hopefully this will be over soon, but her teeth are very slow to come in, so I'm afraid we're in for at least another week or two. :(

Surprise for Mommy

Ben went out of town today for a quick 2-day business trip. He left at 6am this morning, and I was slightly awake when I said goodbye to him. I fell back asleep and didn't wake up until Owen came into my room and started talking to me.

"Mommy! I made you a surprise with the dishes, utensils and food!"

Though only half awake, I immediately thought, "Oh dear God. I hope he means his dishes, utensils and food."

Thankfully, he did use the play stuff and not the real stuff. This is what I found when I came downstairs for my surprise.

This kid of ours. He just loves lining things up.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Mr. Knicknack

This morning we drove out to Reston Town Center to see Mr. Knicknack sing for the kiddos. They loved it, and I had fun catching up with an old classmate from high school who I bumped into. Owen's friend Neil from preschool was also there with his mommy and little brother, and we set up a playdate with them for next week since the two of them are good buddies, despite being a year apart. Fun stuff!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Play-doh on the deck

Brought out the play-doh for the kids this afternoon. It was Vivian's first time, and I thought that the fact that she had her paci in her mouth would deter her from sampling the squishy substance. But, alas, I was wrong. She took a bite and then immediately spit it out. Yuck. Now she knows.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Chibis Indoor Playground

It was overcast today, we we decided to head over to Chibis Indoor Playground for some fun and running around.

{pic taken on my phone}
The kids had a great time and then took wonderfully long naps that afternoon {love my Mommy-time - it helps me re-charge my batteries}.