Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Happy Birthday My Love

I thought these were some adorable pictures of Matt from when he was a child. circa 1984

Happy Birthday Hoff!!! We love you more than you know. I don't think I have ever met someone so giving, so humble, and so self sacrificial, or someone who loves me and my children so much. We are so thankful for your birth and life. I praise the Lord every day for you and ask that we may grow old together (and I mean old!) Thank you for all that you do for us. You are working so hard to take care of us, and then come home and give us all you've got. You will always do anything to make us happy. We love you BIG, BIG TIME!!

Hoff D., Micah, and Owen

Hard Job

One of the hardest things about being a parent of small children is that they can't tell you what is wrong. We have had a week of that. For Micah's third birthday, we told him that he would now have to go poopy on the potty. He has been potty trained for several months, but will only go poopy in a diaper. He has been very obedient about our new rule. He has not had one accident, and he has gone to sit on the potty almost every night. The problem is, he won't go. So, you can imagine he is a little grumpy, and I am sure his tummy hurts. We have added some Benefiber for kids to his drinks and tried a stool softener for children--still no poopy. Last night, after a very long, cranky day, he had a complete meltdown. This is not like Micah at all. He was out of control crying, and even unbuckled his seat belt because he said it was hurting. Matt and I pulled over and thought "what on earth is wrong with him?" Our only assumption was that his tummy hurt, so Matt got out a diaper and told him that he could go if he needed to. I am not joking, he did a 180. He was all of a sudden smiling, laughing, and excited to go meet Nana for dinner. He didn't go to the bathroom, so I am wondering if he just had so much anxiety about it. We decided last night to wait a little while on continuing with the potty training. Something I have learned from this: They are right when they say potty training is about so much more than discipline. There is skill involved and psychological issues (apparently Micah is terrified to make a poop on the pot). Sometimes, we just have to throw our time table out the window and listen to our children. My mom reminded me that he will not go to college in a diaper!
The other part to our hard week: another food allergy. So, Owen has been a bit cranky lately, waking up an hour or two earlier than normal in the morning, and has an extreme breakout of eczema on his arms and legs. I thought he was just getting a tooth, but couldn't figure the eczema out. I started being extra careful watching everything he ate for no dairy, soy, or eggs...still the rash (and getting worse). I was searching for an allergy cookbook for kids, when something caught my eye. One of the titles had the word corn in it. A light bulb went off. In an effort to make sure that Owen gets all the complete protein he needs, I have given him corn with his beans and peas. It just so happens that he loves it and had had a lot of it the past few days. Poor guy. They say that corn allergy looks like this: trouble sleeping, rash, and tummy aches. Yes, I think that must be it. I am looking into taking him to an allergist and possibly a pediatric nutritionist. I have felt in the past that I had this allergy and feeding him thing under control, but it is really getting beyond my expertise. The child is allergic to everything. I need some good ideas about what to feed him too (hopefully my new cookbook will help too.) By the way, everything is made from corn. Pretty much everything on the ingredient list that you aren't sure about has corn in it. Looks like he will be one child who doesn't get processed food. Any other fellow allergy sufferers out there? Any ideas about what to feed my child?

Sunday, June 22, 2008

My Herb Garden

I have been wanting herbs in my kitchen window sill for quite sometime. I tried to grow them from seeds (I wanted them to be organic, and I wanted the satisfaction of knowing that I tried.) Well, I tried and I failed. Apparently, it is rather difficult to get great plants from seeds in your home with no experience. So, I ordered some. They arrive a couple of weeks ago, and so far, so good. We are seeing lots of new growth and the ones I've tasted are delicious. Now, we just have a fruit fly problem! I have learned those little guys are quite annoying and hard to rid. I have done all the tricks I can find. Any suggestions?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Micah's Third Birthday

So, I got a little sidetracked with Micah's birthday and forgot to post the pictures and write about the actual day. Owen got a pretty bad virus that kept me busy during all my free time. He had a 104 fever for a few days and then a nasty rash for two days after that. I think it was something called the summer flu, but I don't really know. He is feeling better, and so all of us are too! Anyway, the fever didn't stop us from going to Micah's favorite dinner spot for his birthday--"rice and beans." It is a Mexican restaurant, and Micah loves to get tortillas and dip them in the cheese dip. They also brought him a dessert and sang to him "Feliz Cumpleanos" in Spanish. He loved it, and now asks us to sing to him in Spanish before he goes to bed.
Let me back up though. We woke that morning and brought Micah breakfast in bed- a bagel with 3 candles in it, and his warm milk. Micah loves milk first thing in the morning and he likes it very hot. I guess it serves as his coffee! He was so happy. We then went to church and came home for lunch and naps. After his nap, we gave him his presents from us- a train set, a clock puzzle, an abacus (thanks to Dylan) and an easel. He loved the clock; he is very into numbers right now. He counts by twos, threes, fives, tens, hundreds, etc. "Want to count all the way to ONE MILLION!" he says. He loves to watch the clock to see what time it is, and loves to watch the cd timer in the car while the music plays. Very interesting, but this is how he seems to learn. He will get fascinated by something, practically obsessed, until he feels like he has mastered it. Then, he will move on to something new. It fascinates me because he chooses what the next thing will be. He just started talking about numbers all the time a few weeks ago, pointing to them on street signs, on the clock, license plates, you name it. So, we taught him about them. Now, we hear him counting to himself all the time in multiple ways. He loves using his fingers for digits; we'll often catch him just sitting there counting his fingers in various ways. He is very curious to figure numbers out and really wants to do math. He will ask questions like, "what is two hundred fifty-one plus seventeen?" and wait for our answer. This was the pattern he had six months ago about letters, words, and reading. It is funny how we don't even have to try and teach him these things-- he is just interested in them.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Mommy Guilt

Do any of you ever get that little feeling in the back of your mind that you are doing it all wrong. I often analyze these feelings because it is good to consider "Am I doing something wrong or are these irrational thoughts." Really I am just kind of rambling in this post, but lately I get this feeling that I am not teaching Owen enough: couldn't Micah pick out the red cheerio from the green one by now, and point to all his body parts, etc. Yes, probably, but I also had lots of undivided attention to give to him. Now, I have two to watch, twice as many meals to make and bodies to clothe. Then I think, am I doing a good job teaching the boys to love each other, am I losing my patience too much, should I be enforcing stricter rules about not dawdling (my biggest pet peeve with Micah right now) or not screaming (Owen's new act of defiance), or am I being too strict about it. Should I make an effort to stay home more even though, by 11:00, I am about to go nuts. The truth is there is no rule book of exactly how to raise children detail by detail. Believe me, I have done my fair share of reading to try to find it. There is no scale of "what can your child do" to validate you as a parent because that is not where we get our value and self worth. I know that learning things is important, but I also know that Owen is learning much about life that Micah couldn't at his age because he was the only one. Owen learns to play more independently and learns how to interact with another child. I also know that more than numbers, letters, and colors, I want my boys to learn about the Lord and how loving and trusting Him plays out in our day to day lives. I know that being here all day caring for them and praying for them and learning about who they are so that I can help shape their character by showing them how to use their strengths and downplay their weaknesses is so much more important than checking off a to do list. I fall short of the mark everyday. I say things I shouldn't, I lose my cool. But I know that His grace is sufficient for me, I know that I must rely on His strength, not mine. I know that I have to push away my anxiety about being the perfect parent, so that I can be a better parent.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Micah's Favorite Gift

Seriously, this may have been Micah's favorite birthday gift: a card that played "You are My Sunshine" when he opened it. Nana brought it for him, and we let him open it on Friday before the party. He would smile so big and shut it quickly, then reopen it. It was fun to watch him get so happy about it because sometimes Micah can be unenthusiastic about things, (not because he doesn't like them, he just doesn't usually get overly excited.) My mom stayed with us for a few days, and we had a really good time. The boys love their Nana. Micah keeps talking about what we will do when Nana comes back home!

Monday, June 09, 2008

Micah's Party

We went out on a limb this year and decided to do a real birthday party with other children. I say go out on a limb because in the past, Micah has not loved lots of attention on him or big crowds of people. We were thinking that he had come out of his shell a little and so decided to go for it. We picked a pool party because Micah loves the pool; and we thought, with all the babies, it might be less chaotic to keep it outside. I will say that I think the party was a hit because Micah LOVED it. He talked all night about all the friends singing to him. He had a smile on his face most of the time and loved swimming with Dada. Grandparents, great grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and several friends joined us for pizza, fruit, salad, veggies, and juice boxes. I am posting several pictures, because it was so hard to choose. By the end of the party, Micah really wanted some dry clothes on. I guess we weren't fast enough because all of a sudden he was wandering around in his birthday suit!

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Happy Birthday Micah

Micah, we could have never guessed how much we would love you. It is a love that no words can describe. You have shaped our lives and made us more complete. We can't imagine life without you. I was looking back on all your pictures today to find some for this post, and I was moved to tears. We are so proud to call you our son. You have such passion, yet are so gentle. Lately, you are developing a sense of humor that can always make us laugh. The Lord has used you to mold us in so many ways. He has humbled us in that we often feel helpless to raise you in a way that will please Him, yet He has been so gracious to give you His Spirit at such a young age. He is working in your heart, and we are so grateful. We pray his continued blessing on you. We are so excited to watch our precious firstborn grow into a man of God.

"He has shown thee, O man, what is good and what the Lord requires of thee. But to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God."
Micah 6:8

Friday, June 06, 2008

The Waterhose

Owen and I made it out before Micah and Matt the other day, so Owen got to actually hold the hose for the first time. He loved it!