Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Pictures and a movie

Yep, I've been lagging here. I don't know if it's because I've had a little computer/camera burnout or if it's just hard to find the energy...but here I am, hoping to catch up.

So, here's our rundown of August-September.

As I mentioned before, my family came in (Mom, 2 sisters, 1 brother and 1 sister's boyfriend) town Labor Day weekend, partly for fun, partly because of the Hurricane Gustav Evacuation. We had a great time, and little did we know, it was a trial run. A couple of weeks later, they all returned for Hurricane Ike.

Also, as I mentioned, all of their homes were fine on Galveston Bay and in Nederland (somewhat miraculously!). The only family member who lost anything were my aunt and uncle, who lost their vacation home - a beach cabin on Crystal Beach. I do have friends who lost their homes and all that they own. I can't imagine how wearying it all must be...They just went thru Hurricane Rita 3 years ago, and now this. While many didn't have much damage to their homes, it doesn't mean they don't feel the effects. Some family stayed behind (much to my chagrin), and then dealt with over a week of no power, no grocery store, and it was hard to drive around (trees in the roads, etc). And even now, many of them get to delve into dealing with insurances (I think I'd rather pull my hair out while walking on hot coals), and helping others rebuild. To give you non-coastal folks an idea, this area hasn't seen hurricanes in at least a generation. I grew up there and I remember evacuating - once. And that hurricane didn't hit us. This hurricane blew 60+ mph winds (sustained!) for over 10 hours straight. The floods from storm surge that occurred in Orange and Bridge City following Ike still seem unfathomable to me, even though the areas are surrounded by water - because they just don't ever flood. And all this was 100 miles East of Galveston, where the eye of Ike made landfall.

Anyways, I'm praying for all you folks back home. I hope life returns to normal quickly....or that you decide to move to San Antonio ;)

So, we had about 10 days of guests, and lots of playing the Wii. It was fun! Here are some pictures:

The Lovebirds
[1 sister + boyfriend. Dan and Chuck have much in common, and he, along with Bubba, helped balance out all the estrogen in the house!]

Library Grounds
[Granny & Uncle Bubba]

Library Grounds
[Granny enjoyed her grandkids, obviously.]

Guitar Hero, Anyone?
[Chuck and Bubba enjoyed some Guitar Hero.]

Put your Wii motes up!
[I know, sloppy snapshot, but the boys were so cute playing Wii together.]

Gotcha, Aunt Meme
[I didn't get a picture of Meme this time. I think Charlie got this one with our point and shoot. Gotta love it! Aunt Meme, please forgive me for posting this picture...If you don't, I'll stick it on a billboard in NYC again. ha!]

Charlie said "Get on my back Granny. I'll carry you!"
[I love this picture. Charlie was telling Granny that he would give her a piggy back ride. LOL]

Aunt Randi Love
[Aunt Randi didn't get to see Chandler until he was about 6 weeks old...I think it's safe to say they've bonded now though!]

Chance loved this kitty!
[Chance enjoyed (and terrorized) Dan's kitty. I relished the cat, since we can't have those - Chuck's allergic (cough cough, "he says," cough cough).]

Visiting Jaxon
[Also, while the evacuees were here Chuck and I took the opportunity to see my friend Dalinda and her new baby Jaxon, and visit with our dear friend Rhonda.]

We also met up with some family and those friends (pictured above) at the zoo. The weather was glorious! I love the zoo, and it's even more special when loved ones come with us!

SA Zoo
[The boys + cousin Kaleb + Kaleb's grandma Jan.]

SA Zoo

SA Zoo
[Chuck's mom and Rhonda]

SA Zoo
[Dalinda and her teeny tiny baby boy. Oh how cute is he?!!]

SA Zoo
[Chuck's sister Melanie, pregnant with our niece Kaylee. I can't wait to meet her! We need more girls around!!]

SA Zoo
[Charlie has gotten much braver with the lorikeets!]

SA Zoo
[I wonder where he gets it from?]

Then, as I've mentioned, Chuck got meningitis. To follow up, he's feeling better, just still a bit tired. I'm told that's to be expected, even for another week or so. He's now in New Hampshire, working and hopefully enjoying some true autumn scenery.

Life here is returning to normal as well. The biggest news is that Chandler is now crawling. He kinda skipped the army crawl and perfected the all-fours. He's also 21 pounds now. I pulled out baby books the other day, and Chance was actually 4 pounds lighter at this age. Poor baby, I really hope he doesn't have a complex about his 95 percentile brothers, when he's just an average 50 percentile build. Anyhow, Chandler also, just like Charlie, decided to pull up to standing the day he figured out how to crawl. Chandler is actually 2-4 weeks behind where his brothers were developmentally, and you won't hear me complain about it. It all goes too fast anyway. I'd be delighted to have kids who wait until they're 12+ months old (which is more normal) to start walking...but it looks like Chandler will be there by about 9 months, just like Charlie and Chance.

Chance, by the way, has been sleeping thru the night like a charm lately. I'm so thankful the doctor showed us he has allergies. He even makes up excuses for his "candy medicine" (kids' claritin) that he gets everyday. He loves it.

Charlie has been doing well in school and is really enjoying it. We've debated about homeschooling, but seeing how much he's enjoying the social aspect of Pre-K (not to mention having a teacher teach him how important it is to obey the parentals!!!), makes me realize homeschool might not be a good fit for him. He's already coming home with papers where he's written his own name, and he's asking me how to read words all.day.long. It's so fun to see him grow. And to think, 6 months ago I was worried that he might be behind with letters and words. By the way...if you have a child, say 2+ years old, I highly recommend the LeapFrog Word Factory and Letter Factory DVDs. They're about $6 each at Costco, and now even Chance is recognizing letters and knows their sounds!

Also, I started a Youtube account, if you want to see our latest videos! www.youtube.com/thethiers.

Here's a teaser ;)

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Bedtime Stories

Tonight I read the boys the story of Daniel. As I finished Charlie said, "I heard a different story of Daniel, Mommy. When the Philistines were trying to break through..."

"Uh, do you mean David and the Philistines?"

"Yeah, David, and David stood there and waved his arms, and you know what? GOD opened the sea!!"

"I think you mean Moses, honey."

"Oh yeah, Moses! God and Moses opened the sea and the people walked thru it. Then they got tired. Then the Philistines (he means Egyptians) and their king were trying to break through, so they ran after the people. And then God just splashed the water back on top of them and their horses!!" He's so excited at this point.

Then he looks at me and calmly says, "I wish I could've been there with Moses and the people."

Me, too, Charlie. Me, too.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Sick, Sick, Sick

I've mentioned this before, but it's proving itself even more true...this is our sickness season.

We made it thru last fall, winter and spring without any sickness. This is remarkable for a house full of active little boys who frequent various playgrounds during flu season. (And, no, we didn't take the flu vaccine.) I'm so grateful for that healthy season, and I guess our time was coming. In July we had some 24 hour viruses that brought weakness and fever. In August we all took turns with the stomach bug. This month so far, Chance has had a sinus and ear infection; Chandler has had a fever virus, and it looks like he has another one now...and Chuck has viral meningitis.

If you are anything like me, that is probably a foreign word. I knew it was a serious sickness, but not sure what it meant. Here's what it's looked like:

Thursday we went to the zoo (blog post to come...eventually), and while there, Chuck said he was getting a headache. Once we got home, he started having fever. By evening he was feeling weak, so he took Tylenol PM and headed to bed, reasoning that he'd overdone it physically at the zoo. I was thinking it may have been the same virus Chandler had had earlier that week.

The next morning, he was still tired, so he slept until noon, then felt fine. This made it look even more like a 24 hour bug. For the next 24 hours he was completely well. But then the next night the fever and headache came back with a vengeance. He suffered through the night, and we headed to the hospital that morning, a bit concerned because the fever wouldn't break with ibuprofen or tylenol. Chuck already researched it and saw the possibility of meningitis. The big question was "is it viral or bacterial?" Viral, while untreatable, is definitely the lesser of the 2 evils. So the ER did the spinal tap and confirmed it's definitely meningitis, but we won't know for 24 hours for sure if it's only viral. Thus, he got to stay in the hospital overnight while they waited for results (and on antibiotics, just in case it was bacterial). We had so many people praying for us, it was very encouraging. Anyhow, by the next evening we had a confirmation that it was only viral and he could go home and finish enduring it. The medication he's on keeps the fever and headaches down, so overall he just feels tired.

The doctor explained that it's an infection that surrounds the spine and goes up into the brain. The outer lining of the brain is inflamed (thus the killer headaches). Stress, dehydration, etc can make it much worse in severity. He said that bacterial, on the other hand, usually occurs in people who already have suppressed immunity (folks with AIDS, cancer, etc), and they usually don't survive bacterial meningitis (gulp). Anyhow, the doctor said he's to take it easy for the next couple of weeks and he'll be fine.

Then the doctor says, "So no chores for the next 6 months." And he winks at Chuck. Uh huh...

On the way home from the hospital, Chuck tries to take that joke and run with it.

"You know the doctor said no chores for the next 6 months, right? Are you going to be ok with that?" (big goofy grin on his face. Nice try, Bucko!)

"Uh, you know that I can't survive without your help for the next 6 months."

Chuck: "But God wouldn't give you more than you could handle, right?!"


Me: "Oh yeah...then why did He give me you?" *ba-bum Chi*

At least his humor is still intact. ;)

So, we're at home, and grateful for all the help we've received... Big Daddy and Nana watched the big boys over the weekend, my dear friends, the Jacksons watched Chandler for the day while we went to the hospital, and now Chuck's parents have been here serving us and really lifting our spirits. There's something so calming about a clean house - at least for me (thanks Yvonne!!). We are so blessed.

This really seems like nothing compared to the anguish and frustration some our friends are going through in the wake of Hurricane Ike. I still can't imagine how traumatic it's all been for some folks back in my hometown. We're praying for you all.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A Day without a Smile

As I walked Chandler out from Ladies' Bible Study to the car Tuesday morning, I noticed not only what great weather we were having, but also how beautiful the church grounds were. So I hesitated as I was about to put him in the carseat. After all, the big boys were at home, this was my chance. Why not have a little photo shoot with this big 6 month old?!

So I grab my camera, and set him down on the grass. At first all he wanted to do was touch and look at the grass.

Spontaneous Shoot 1

Then I realized I could get low enough to get the cars out of the background. This is when it really got fun.

Spontaneous Shoot 2

My only hitch to this otherwise perfect opportunity: I could not get Chandler to stop making this face.

Spontaneous Shoot 5

Some ladies walked up behind me and managed to get an attempted smile:

Spontaneous Shoot 4

He even didn't want them to leave. But he just couldn't smile:

Spontaneous Shoot 3

I did manage this:

Spontaneous Shoot 6

and this drooly cheesy-ness:

Spontaneous Shoot 8


So I headed over to the restaurant where Chuck was eating. As soon as we got into the restaurant, Chandler got fussy. This is, again, out of character for Mr. Happy-All-The-Time. So I skip out on lunch and take him home. Then it hit me: he was making poopie! That's why all the faces. And by the restaurant he was ready to be changed.

Duh. You'd think this was my first kid or something.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Rick Warren Video

So, if you get 20 minutes and want a very mentally stimulating video... Check this out. It's Rick Warren, author of "Purpose Driven Life" telling about how the best-seller has changed his life. His perspective is unique, that's for sure. What are your thoughts on his philosophy?

Follow Up Photos

So, to follow up the week of firsts...here are pictures.

First Day of Pre K
[Charlie first day of school. I love the nervous smile. ;)]

First day in the bigger carseat
[The same day is when I moved Chandler into the big boy carseat...]

No eye popping needed
[Although I didn't catch a pic of him rolling his eyes, my middle child at least needs a representation here, ha!]

Chandler's 1st Sitting Up Bath
[Chandler also gets to sit up during bath time now, which means that his brothers can join him. Can't you just feel the joy?]

Crawling Practice
[And here's the position I see him in all the time - practice, practice, practice!]

Sleepy boy
And a little update on Chance: he stopped sleeping thru the night a few months back. I thought it was because he was jealous of Chandler or something. He usually said he was scared. But then I took him to the doctor, who said it's more likely allergies. That also explains the almost-constant runny nose! So he's on medication now, and hopefully he'll be back to sleeping the whole night through soon. Poor guy, I had been giving him treats for the nights he didn't get up. I had never thought it might be a physical reason!

Happy Birthday Chuck
And Happy Birthday Chuck!! Due to our family evacuating here from Ike, we had babysitters and got to go out for lunch and dinner! And we're so thankful that there doesn't seem to be much damage to their homes, although they'll be here awhile until the power is restored... Thank You, Lord.

Deis Y Seis Carnival
And lastly, I caught a couple of pics of the boys at a carnival with Big Daddy and Nana yesterday. They're spending the weekend with them... I know they're having a blast.

Deis Y Seis Carnival

A Much Needed Laugh

For those of you who've stayed glued to the tube, and have experienced the roller coaster of concern as Ike strikes Texas... I found this video on The Weather Channel's archives from a previous hurricane. At least the newscasters make it somewhat entertaining...

Sunday, September 7, 2008

A Week of Firsts

There has been a lot of growth under our roof this week.

snap shot

Chandler cut a tooth and is grabbing things, and kinda inch-worming his way around a room.

Charlie hit the big milestone - he went down the 2 story slide at the Gym Swimming pool! I am amazed. He did it 3 times, swimming on his own, without a life jacket, from the end of the slide to the ladder. Did I mention the water is WAY over his head?! So proud! ;)

He also started Pre-K and loves it. And I'm adjusting, haha!

Chance hit a milestone too: he rolled his eyes at me! Ha! That 2 year old defiance is in full swing. I feel like I'm losing my baby. Poor guy, gotta outgrow being a Momma's boy somehow.

Also, to recap last (Labor Day) weekend:

Granny, Bubba, and Aunt Meme came up from SE Texas to visit, as planned. The next day, Aunt Randi and her boyfriend also joined us because they were evacuating as Hurricane Gustav headed their way. While we're thankful it didn't hit they're area, I'm also thankful it sent them over to our house, ha! ;) We did manage some pictures (for once!! Thanks Chuck!!) while Granny had all her kids and grandkids in one place.

The Portraits
[The Whole Gang.]

The Portraits
[My 2 maternal sisters and only brother.]

The Portraits
[Yay for a decent family photo!!]

The Portraits
[And finally, my favorite, ha! Love you, Bubba ;)]

Now we'll see if Hurricane Ike sends'em our way again. They're probably going to be so sick of Interstate 10 when hurricane season is over, ha! But I love the visits...

P.S. To follow up from my last blog, Charlie seems to be resilient from the incident of Mom scaring him. I had told him I would throw the mask away so he would know I wouldn't use it again, but he said he wanted it. So I put it on the counter, and the next morning he told me he was going to throw it away. I was so proud of him. THANK YOU ALL for the sweet and encouraging comments. I do hope it's an object lesson that sticks with him, but not so much the memory of Mom scaring him to tears. He did try to milk it for some extra sympathy the next day, but aside from that, he's fine. ;)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Psst! Picasa Users...

Picasa just released a new version with a few more fun features. But I won't tell you what they are, I'll let it be a surprise. http://picasa.google.com/intl/en/ And if you take photos, and don't have picasa...you probably should try it. You'll love it!

Over My Head

More and more I am realizing why God called me to motherhood: to humble me greatly. And I'm sure I needed it. I now possess a distinct awareness that I have no idea what I'm doing - I'm truly over my head. Tonight would be a good case-in-point.

Charlie has adopted a habit of terrorizing Chance. Chance has always been a little on the "scared" side, but Charlie thinks it's very entertaining to scare that boy beyond the limits. For months, I have disciplined Charlie repeatedly for scaring Chance to the point of tears and screaming in sheer terror. Finally, tonight as he did it yet again, I decided to give him a taste of his own medicine (if you're thinking "uh oh" you're probably right on...).

It's a scary Charlie!

Remember the scary mask that Big Daddy found in the Guadalupe? The picture above has Charlie wearing it (which he used a few times to scare the Bejesus out of Chance). So, this time, I donned the mask, and crept up the stairs to where Charlie was playing. What I expected was a startled scream, then for him to laugh because he'd know it was me. What I got was screaming, followed by crying and shaking.

I immediately removed the mask, assuring him it was just me, and held him. I cried with him, completely regretting scaring him so bad.

We talked at length about how this is how Chance feels. How it's his job to make Chance feel safe and protected...just like it's my job to make him feel safe and protected. I obviously promised not to scare him again. And he promised not to scare Chance anymore.

But did I do the right thing? I don't think so. I asked Chuck about it, and he said he doesn't know if it was right, but at this point it seemed like nothing else would get thru to Charlie. But if Charlie ends up in therapy someday...he can just forward the bills to me.

How 'bout you? Got anything to confess? It's good for the soul. Although I really wish I wouldn't have done it in the first place...