Wednesday, July 9, 2014

just call me AUNT Kristi

If you read my blog last summer, you remember when I announced that my brother, DJ, and his wife, Liz, were expecting a baby AND my sister, Kelsie, and her boyfriend, Josh, were expecting a baby....and only a month apart!

Well Spencer and Holden were born earlier this year, and they have brought so much joy to our family.  I'm going to try to sum up the past 4 1/2 months in pictures since they both were born.

February 19 we welcomed Miss Spencer McKenzie!
It was a long afternoon/night before she decided she was ready to make her debut, but when she was ready, boy was she ready!  Her mommy did so great!  Liz was so sweet to offer to let me be in the room when Spencer was born, but her doctor limited the people to DJ and our moms.  As soon as we were given the green light after she was born, we couldn't get down the hall fast enough to meet her.  It was such a sweet moment seeing her for the first time.  I was in love immediately.
 DJ gave Spencer her first bath.  I love this picture of him cuddling her as he brushed her hair for the first time.  So stinkin sweet.  I love watching him be a daddy.
 And this picture brings me to tears every time.  It's just the combination of Liz crying tears of joy as she stared at Spencer and DJ's hand moving in to comfort his wife who just became a mother before his very eyes.  Oh, and be sure to note the momma sized bow on top of Spencer's hat.  It's safe to say she's been in bows ever since!
 Precious baby girl.
 Check out Kelsie.  She would end up having her baby less than 3 weeks later!
 Here are some recent pictures of this doll baby...!  Check out that baby fat on her legs.  So so cute!!!
 It's our very own Snow White!

2 weeks and 3 days later...
March 8 we welcomed Mister Holden Finley!
Holden's mommy was in this hospital bed for a very long time before he arrived into our world.  Kelsie basically had to evict him from Hotel Mommy.  I was so so honored to be in the room when Holden was born, and I saw firsthand Kelsie go from my pregnant sister to super woman.  Seeing birth from this point of view was like nothing else in the entire world.  It was, hands down, one of most favorite experiences in my life.
 This is their first family photo.  How priceless is this picture?!  You were a rock star, Rose!
 He looked just like his mommy when he was born.
And here's Holden these days, in all of his nearly 20 pounds of glory!
 What a sweet, sweet boy!
 Rolls for days!
 Hey there, handsome!
 How stinkin' cute is he?!  I mean, really.

After writing this post all I want to do is go see both of my babies right now!  I miss them and need to kiss on their squishy faces pronto.  I know what I'm doing very very soon.  :)  I'm so excited to see what their futures hold, and I'm so grateful that I get to be a part of their lives.  Thank you D&L for Spencer and K&J for Holden.  The joy they've brought to our family and my heart can not be measured.  I love them to the moon and back.

Vegas trip

In December (remember, I'm backtracking a bit since I'm way behind on blogging and I want to document some things), after we were settled back into our U.S. home from Korea, I was dying for a little alone time with my hubby, away from home.  It had been a long time (years, people!) since we had gone on a trip together.  Sure, we could've just sent C & P to my mom's for a couple days and locked ourselves in our house.  But where's the fun in that?  I dropped hints about going to Vegas, or really anywhere besides home for that matter, for a few weeks before T told me to book it.  I kid you not--the hotel and airfare was booked within an hour of him saying okay to the trip.  Woo hoo!

This trip marked our third trip to Vegas together.  We saved up our money and went when we were 21.  We stayed at the MGM Grand on the first visit.  We weren't, and still aren't, big gamblers, but we did manage to come home with quite a bit of money won on the slot machines.  That, along with some amazing shows, made our Vegas trip so fun.

Then we went when I was pregnant with P 9 years later.  That time we stayed in a really awesome room at the Bellagio.  It was fun to get away for a couple days (it was the first time we had taken some time away from C who was 1 year old at that point), but it wasn't the same going to Vegas pregnant, for the obvious reasons.  I fell asleep in  I literally fell asleep on the front row of a risque show with not much else than feathers covering up the performers about 10 feet in front of me on the stage.  Hopefully they noticed I was 7 months pregnant (=exhausted 24/7) and not bored.

So we stayed at the New York New York on this third trip to Sin City.  The first morning we slept in until like 11:00.  I couldn't believe what time it was when we woke up, and I'm even more surprised that my body allowed me to sleep in that late!  Those hotel black-out curtains really did their job.  Not being big gamblers and having seen several shows on our previous visits, we knew we wanted to do something new.  We quickly decided that we could easily rent a car and drive to the Grand Canyon.  I mean, when it's just adults traveling, things are so much faster and easier!

Road trippin' with my man...
We decided to head to the west rim of the Grand Canyon, because (1) it was the quickest drive (albeit it still took most of the day but it was the fastest round trip) and (2) we wanted to see the Skywalk.

The roads that led us to the west rim were sometimes only two lane back roads.  We had to stop for cattle crossing the road and even had to slow way down when we got caught in the dust kicked up by the car in front of us when we were on an unpaved road.

One word: Breathtaking.

You aren't allowed to take cameras out on the Skywalk, and they only allow so many people out there at a time.  The floor is made out of glass, so you can see straight through it to the bottom of the Grand Canyon.  Craziness.  I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little nervous about taking my first step on the glass, even though I knew it would hold everyone.  And T didn't help when he thought it would be funny to bounce.  Not funny, babe.  Not funny at all.  I am so glad we did this, though, because it was a really neat experience!

This rock formation is called the "sleeping dog".  Do you see it on top?

And here we have "Eagle Rock".  Pretty cool, right?!

We devoured some delicious food in Vegas!  One of my favorites this round of Vegas was the frozen hot chocolate from Serendipity 3 (in front of Caesars Palace).  OMG!  So ridiculously yummy!

We saw two shows while we were there.  One was "KA" by Cirque du Soleil at the MGM Grand, and grand it was!  We've seen two Cirque shows in the past in Vegas, "Mystere" and "O", and we both agree that "KA" was the best of the three.  It was really awesome!

The second show we caught was Jerry Seinfeld's stand-up routine in Caesars Palace.  What a treat that was to see him in person!

After a couple days and nights away from our babies, we were refreshed and couldn't wait to get our hands on C & P again.  We missed those boys terribly, but I'm so happy that we got away for just a couple days.  It was so nice to spend time with my hubby in Kristi mode and not Mommy mode.  We are so thankful we have my mom to watch over our babies, and we are even more thankful that our babies love going to their GrammE's house.

Trips as a family are priceless and full of amazing memories, but there's something to be said for taking couple vacations where we get to focus on each other and recharge...and sleep in, of course.  :)

Thursday, May 22, 2014

the joy of brothers

I know I just wrote a post about P potty training, but I just thought about this and have to share it too.  Sorry if you've had enough of the bathroom talk, but this is my life.  :)

Can anyone tell me why they want to tee tee the same time...even if one didn't have to go until they saw the other standing at the toilet?  Really.  Anyone??

It's the craziest thing.  If one sees the other going, they run in and drop pants quicker than I can say, "Wait your turn!"

This was a true phrase C recently said to me as he stood next to his brother at the porcelain throne.
"We're having a warrrrr!" as he aimed for P's tee tee with his own.
Oh. My. Gosh.

Someone help me.  Please.  If they're not careful, they're going to start getting containers of Clorox cleaning wipes in their stockings instead of candy.

potty training...round 2 (or is it 3?)

I tried to potty train P in January (he was 1 month shy of 3 years old), but he had other plans.

 This is his first time in underwear.  His face says it all.
 I even had him throw away his last diaper.
 I even tried putting Thomas the Train undies on him, thinking he'd love them because he loves Thomas.  Nope.  No way Jose.  Still wasn't having it.

I spent literally all day trying to get him to go tee tee in the toilet, but he would bawl his eyes out every time we'd get in the bathroom.  By 5:00 I decided that wasn't worth it and wasn't how it should go.  I felt very defeated that day.  I did everything I did when I potty trained C a year and a half earlier, but P just wasn't having it.  He simply wasn't ready.  I decided to take a break and try again, months later.

So 6 weeks later was Spring Break, and I thought this would be the perfect time to try potty training again.  It was so spur of the moment.  It popped in my head Sunday evening at dinner, and I told T that I was going to give it a shot again starting in the morning.  I cancelled everything we had scheduled for the next few days, so we could focus solely on getting this little boy to go tee tee in the toilet.  And guess what.  He did it!  That boy took to the toilet like a fish to water.  He was finally ready!  Woo hoo!

For the first couple weeks though, he did have some trouble realizing that it wasn't exactly acceptable for him to drop his pants anytime, anywhere.

If he was in the backyard playing and he didn't want to come in, he'd run to the back fence and go.  The only reason I'd know that's what he was doing was because I would see a bare bottom staring at me.

He got to be so fast at pulling his pants down that I was caught off guard by his exhibitionist ways at first...

Next to the park at the entrance to our neighborhood?  Check.

The front yard?  Check.  Twice.

The parking lot between cars when I turned for half a sec to grab his brother's hand?  Check.

The outlet mall next to the firetruck you put a quarter in to ride?  Half a check--I grabbed him just as he was looking down at it to aim.

The only problem (and remains) is that he refuses to poo poo on the toilet.  He still runs and hides.  Unfortunately for him, I know his m-o: run and hide behind the couch or run, slam his bedroom door, and squat next to the bed.  Unfortunately for me, he's super hard headed and I can't break him of it.

This boy has had some doozies for #2.  One time the boys were playing in the sprinkler on the driveway, and C said to me, "Mommy, there's poop over there," as he pointed to something brown on the driveway.  I replied, "No, that's just a rock."  I decided to take a closer look, and sure enough, that was a ball of poop.  And it wasn't the lone survivor in that mine field of little boy feet trampling all over the driveway as they jumped through the sprinkler.  I was shocked to see that neither of them had stepped on one yet.  You know how someone looks when they walk their dog and they stop, squat down, and with their hand in a plastic bag, pick up the dog's poop?  That was me.  But we don't have a dog.

Another time, I saw him walking funny across the living room.  That's a universal sign, people.  If your kid looks like they just got off a horse and there's not a horse in sight, you know they just took care of business behind a couch.  I scooped him up as fast as I could jump over four Spider-Man figures, a sippy cup, and a train track and ran to the bathroom with him in my arms.  "Yes!  I got him in the bathroom without any of this falling out of his underwear in the living room," I thought to myself as I was cleaning him in the bathroom.  I spoke too soon.  No sooner did I step foot out of the bathroom, I saw a trail...yes, literally a trail...of poo poo balls on the path I had run from the living room.  It was just like someone who would leave cookies on the ground to keep from getting lost in the woods, except this wasn't a delicious snack.  It was like a crime scene that spanned the length of 3 rooms.  And to top it all off, just when I thought I had picked up all of his DNA, I kicked something that went flying across the room.  I'm sure you can guess what it was.  Well the bright side was that it was hard and stuck together, I guess.

And here's another for ya.  P's speech teacher brought him out to me in the waiting room and told me she thought he needed to poo poo.
HER: "He said, 'Go poo poo' .  Does that mean he needs to go?"
ME: "Yes, it probably does.  But he won't go here."
HER: "Why?  Because it's not his toilet at home?"
ME: "No.  Because it's a toilet.  And he refuses to actually do that on the toilet at all."
At this point, he ran away and was shimmying his way under a chair.  I grabbed his feet and pulled his little body out before he could get all the way under the chair.  It was too late though.  He had already taken care of business.  As I thought about taking him in the bathroom to change him and then sending him back in with her to finish his session, I noticed that his butt started growing.  The bulge in the back of his pants was literally getting bigger and bigger.  I called it a day then and there, and we quickly said our goodbyes as his teacher, the receptionist, and the other moms in the waiting room were rolling in laughter.

Look, I am so thankful that he does it in his underwear and doesn't strip before squatting in my house somewhere, but I'm over cleaning that stuff out of his underwear.  I know from experience that this whole poop issue could take a while to resolve, but I'm still hoping it will on the sooner rather than later side.

So please pray for us.  For me.  For P to start doing his business on the toilet before school starts back in August.  Otherwise, I think I'm gonna be stocking up on gallon size baggies for his teacher.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Spring in Texas

If you're from Texas, you know it's not odd to pull off the side of the road and plop your kids down in a field with the simple instructions, "Smile!" as they're immersed in wildflowers.  Taking pictures in the Bluebonnets (our state flower) is an annual tradition around these parts, and because I missed it last year being in Korea, I was adamant about getting out a roadside somewhere in the do just that.

As we drove home, we found a field with Bluebonnets AND Indian Paintbrushes, so we had to do a u-turn and frolic there as well.  :)

Thank you, Lord, for these gorgeous wildflowers and these handsome super heroes of mine!

family & fajitas

Family & fajitas...Now that's a good mix if you ask me.

We got a wild hair to invite family over for lunch on Sunday at the last minute, and we were so happy they were available!  Who am I kidding?  Free fajitas and our company for a couple hours, I'd hop on that too!  ;)

There was a lot of baby lovin, a few naps snuck in, loud boys, and lots of laughter.  That's my kind of Sunday afternoon.

 Holden is getting to be a chunky monkey, just how we like them!
 Love this little priss!
 Barrett & Connar Spider-Man
 "Smile Parker.  Put your teeth together."
 sister sister.
 I must've pulled out three board games and even more puzzles for them to play with...

This is just a priceless video of C reading to Barrett and P.  I love that P joins right in singing and how both C and P turn every now and then to look at Barrett to make sure he's following along.  They even stop briefly sometimes to give Barrett a chance to say the word (since it's repetitive, they figure he should know the words at a certain point)....too funny...think they've had someone read like that to them??  :) I love (1) catching them reading, and (2) when I see them read the way I've modeled for them.  :)


I love my family.  :)