Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Pacifier Elf

Peter is officially two-and-a-half now, an age which I still maintain is about as rough as it gets. He is a whirling ball of energy and emotion, but his verbal skills are beginning to catch up. Recently, he's started to develop very real fears- of ants, worms, thunderstorms...and a few other odd things that I can't remember. He screams at the top of his lungs and his little body shakes, and it's really sad. He must have learned that his fears get him immediate attention though, because now he's "too scared" to go to bed...ever. I've sort of given up on enforcing nap time, even though he desperately needs one. And sadly bedtime doesn't make up for lost nap time sleep, as he sits in his bed and cries for what seems like forever, finding any excuse he can to avoid the inevitable.
Peter is very aware of others, and sensitive to their feelings. Benjamin knows he can take advantage of his kindness, and Peter usually lets him. The other day, Peter noticed a scab on my arm and told me that I needed a band-aid to fix it, or that we'd just have to get a new mommy. Ok, maybe he's not always sensitive to other's feelings. 
So I was refreshing myself on pacifier weaning tactics the other day, thinking it was about time we pulled the plug. I (re)learned that older children who regularly use a pacifier develop a gap between their top teeth and their bottom teeth, which I admittedly hadn't even noticed in Peter until just now. 
That was enough to convince me, so we started telling him about the "Pacifier Elf," who is one of Santa's lesser known helpers. After a few days, he was ready to leave all of his prized pacifiers outside his door for the night, in hopes that the Pacifier Elf would bring him something fun in return. Silly Pacifier Elf didn't take into account that there were violent tornados in the area that night (that coincidentally ripped up our airport), but he was on a mission, and didn't want to disappoint that trusting little boy. Peter loved his new Spongebob ball and Buzz Lightyear flashlight, and was even kind enough to share his spoils with Benjamin. 
He seems to be a sponge. I don't feel like I've been as diligent in teaching him his alphabet or numbers as I was with Benjamin, but it seems to have made no difference. He knows all of his letters and can identify the letters in words by the sounds they make. He also continues to be very musical, and can carry a really nice tune! He has days where he gets very inquisitive, and will ask "why?" over and over again. It can get frustrating at times, especially when I've explained something as thoroughly as I can. When he's finally ready to move on though, he'll say, "Ohhhh, I get it!" 
My Mom always used to say that it's a good thing two years olds are so cute, or there wouldn't be any left. In Peter's case, I couldn't agree more!

The Lawn

Last night during a quick reprieve from all this rain we've been having, Paul finally went out to mow the lawn. He didn't get too far though...
There were several tiny baby bunnies, and some of them were too petrified to move. So much for short grass!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

No Small Miracle

So last Sunday, Nora swallowed my earring. I was getting more and more worried each day when I didn't see it pass, so I finally took her in for an x-ray on Thursday- the same day that Paul gave her a blessing. I was expecting the worst. I was sure they were going to have to operate, that it had likely snagged somewhere in her intestines. I couldn't see a happy ending any way I looked at it. But the x-ray came up completely clean- no earring whatsoever. At first I didn't trust the radiologist, thinking he must have missed it, but had to later conclude that this was a miracle! There is no other explanation that makes sense to me, other than the Lord was completely aware of our needs and blessed us. It might have been small, but it wasn't small at all to me. I know He hears and answers our prayers.

Easter Festivities

Last week we joined some friends at Purina Farms for the Easter Celebration there. Nora loved petting all the baby animals, but all the bigger and noisier animals were too scary.
Nora meeting a nice bunny and her lady.

Nora meeting a duckling.

Peter enjoyed the animals too, but was mostly excited to play with the tractors at the corn tables.
Benjamin had a great time playing with his preschool lady friends. 
Winston, Ruby, Josie, Mary Joyce and Benjamin on the hay ride.

Of course we also did the usual festivities too. Coloring eggs,
hunting for eggs (indoors, since it was much too soggy outside!),
and making "Empty Tomb" cookies. We just started making them this year, but they were a tradition in Paul's home growing up. We also made a lamb roast with our Easter feast, and shared it with some friends and family. We had a wonderful Easter; I am so grateful that HE lives! 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


You guys are really sweet about my painting and "good" mothering skills. I certainly can't accept that kind of praise though....especially when Nora choked on, then swallowed my other hook-back earring on Sunday afternoon, and still, there's no sign of it's surfacing. We won't go into details here about how she even got said earring. I think we might need an x-ray if we don't see it soon. Wouldn't you be worried about the hook getting caught along the way down?!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

It's Hailing, It's Pouring

This was taken this evening just minutes before the tornado sirens started wailing. Golf ball sized hail. It's a crazy night! 

Saturday, April 16, 2011


I finished Nora's portrait, at least for now. I'm pleased with how it turned out. It was so fun to work with my oils again! Someday, I'd really like to have my own studio.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Nine Months

Another month has flown by. No teeth yet, but she mouths everything. She understands enough to spit things out when I tell her to, which is good!
Nora also knows what to do with a comb and a headband, and nuzzles in for more when you kiss her cheeks. She plays peek-a-boo with us, and has a generally cheerful disposition. She also loves to read books with us, especially feely ones. Her hair has gotten long enough where I would probably cut it  if she were a boy. She has wavy wisps around her ears now that are very cute. She makes the funniest sounds with her mouth. One is a seething sound through her closed gums and another is a loud click she makes with her tongue hanging out. She has a breathy little laugh and loves being entertained by her brothers. She is very much a mama's girl, but also loves Paul's silly antics. I know last month I wondered if she'd be walking soon, but I seriously doubt she will. She doesn't like it when we try to walk with her holding onto her hands, and will sit dow then try to get picked up. She just seems to get more and more fun!
*Nine month stats: 17 lbs. 13 oz. (33% weight), 27 1/2" (43% height), 17 3/8" (55% head circumference). 

Monday, April 11, 2011


It's done!  Tubes in, adenoids out, and all is well.  Benjamin was a champ about it too.  Paul took him in while I stayed home with Peter and Nora, and he said Benjamin was very mature about the whole thing.  Benjamin was telling me afterwards about the wagon he got to ride in, the mask he got to wear, and the funny red balloon that went up and down right before he fell asleep. :)  I had stocked up on soft things for him to eat when he got home, assuming he'd be down for the rest of the day, but he requested McDonald's straight out of surgery.  I thought that was an odd choice, but we all went. We even let him play in the play place there for a few minutes.
I felt a thrill this afternoon when I whispered from across the room and he responded. Hooray!  My boy is back!

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Remedying the Problem

Overheard at lunch today:

Peter: Do you have a bird in your ear, Ben?
Benjamin: What did you say?
P: Do you have a bird in your ear?  Do you have a bird in your ear, Ben?
B: I can't hear you!
P: Do you have a bird in your ear?
B: No. I have fluid in my ear.

Yes, my friends, we have a serious problem around here.  Benjamin's hearing is so bad these days that it's like he's covering both his ears with his hands, or like he's underwater.  Actually this problem has been going on since the Fall.  The first time I took Benjamin in to the doctor to get his ears checked, they told me his hearing was fine but that there was conductive hearing loss, or fluid behind the eardrum.  They told me it's normal for fluid to stay in the ears for weeks and not to worry about it unless they got infected (which they never did).  Anyways, we're finally getting the issue resolved on Monday and getting tubes put in and the adenoids out.

I can't wait for my bright boy to hear again.  It will be so nice when he doesn't have to put his ear next to my mouth or ask "what?" for the umpteenth time.  I think I might even be a better mom, not having to repeat myself or yell all the time.  Poor kid.  He's had it rough!

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Kentucky Fun

This past weekend we loaded the kids up in the car for a six hour drive to Morehead, Kentucky. It was sort of in the middle of nowhere, but it was a great meeting spot for us Missouri folk and our Indiana and Virginia-dwelling families. It's been a year and a half since we've seen Paul's brother Brigham and family. The boys took no time getting reacquainted...

Little Gloria got to meet everyone for the first time, and charmed everyone! She is sure growing up fast!
On Saturday morning, we headed out to the nearby lake and dam where the kids threw rocks.

The wind was sort of unbearable though, so the outdoor fun didn't last long.
Yes, Peter is wearing Benjamin's sweatshirt over his coat...

Because it was so cold, we found other ways to occupy the kids inside the big A-frame we were all staying in, including this closet which we converted into the Lego room. Andrew, Will, Henry, and Benjamin would disappear for hours in there.

We mistakenly assumed that this cabin would have internet, so we could watch General Conference. But it didn't, and now we're playing catch-up. We did have a few movies for the kids to watch on the laptop, which was nice for all that indoor time.
Here's Henry, Benjamin, Andrew, Brigham and Will. Paul's cousin Adrea is in the picture above.

"Epic Hugs"

The day we left was beautiful, so we spent the morning on the playground.

I love that our kids are all friends! As we were parting ways, Andrew told Benjamin that when he was a teenager and had a cell phone, he would call him.

And here's a picture of all the siblings that were together (we were just missing Josh and Mike), plus three of the four 2010 babies: Porter, Gloria and Nora.

We love our family!