Monday, February 28, 2011

First Day...Last Day

Today is an exciting day for our family! Today is Andrew's first day at Sherry's house, Parker's first day with Andrew at Sherry's house, and my last day at home on family leave. I dropped both boys off (along with ALL of Andrew's gear....I made three trips into Sherry's house!) at 8:15 am this morning and didn't leave until around 8:45 am. It was hard to leave, especially because Andrew was already cooing and smiling at Sherry and Parker was deep in play mode with his friend Alexis. I doubt either one of them even noticed that I left! But, I gave them both a million hugs and kisses and I left them to play, explore, learn, and have fun TOGETHER with Sherry. I was driving home (yes, one last day at home to try and catch up on housework before I go back to work) my eyes teared up. I am not sad because I have to go back to work (I love both of my jobs- being Mom and being Brooke) and I'm definitely not sad to be leaving my boys with Sherry- Sherry is WONDERFUL and Parker loves her so much (and, I really think Andrew fell in love with her this morning when they were "talking" to each other). I am sad because from now on, I know that time is going to FLY by!! I've been home now for almost 15 weeks- I can't believe it! Where have the past 3 months gone?! And, now that "life as we know it" is going to return, only this time we have two kids, I know it's going to be a whirlwind of memories- just like the past 3.5 years have been with Parker.

So, after a couple minutes of feeling sorry for myself, I realized something...I remembered just how much I LOVE every new stage with these two boys!! I remembered how flexible my job is to allow me to spend as much time as possible with my family and how important family life is at the University. I remembered how excited I got when Parker learned to roll over, crawl, walk, say "momma", eat baby food, give kisses, etc. that I can't wait for Andrew to do!! And, I am looking forward to this fall when Parker will start preschool and how excited he is about this! So...although time is going to continue to get away from me....I wouldn't trade this time that I have in life for anything!

This is an exciting day in our is a last day and a first day, and it is the beginning of the rest of our lives! I love this new life!

Andrew getting ready for Sherry's house...

Sunday, February 27, 2011

New Kids on the...Farm!

About a year ago, Brandon and I were seriously thinking about moving from our "city" life to a home with some acreage...we wanted to do this because we absolutely love the "country" life. Well, also around one year ago, we were thinking about having a baby and I told Brandon that we needed to stick to one life changing decision at a time...and you all obviously know what we decided to go with! So, what helped us make this decision....we know of a place that is only around a 15 minute drive from our house, where we can live the "country" life, but we don't have to worry about the maintenance of acreage or animals or outbuildings, or any of the other part of the "country" life that we weren't 100% sold on devoting our lives to!

So...Where does every little boy (and grown up) have their very own pair of mud boots to tromp around the land in? Where do all of the Grandkids (and even some kids that aren't grandkids) get to spend four days every summer at summer camp? Where are there walking trails named after Parker, Cooper, Cameron, and soon to be Andrew? Where do we get our FRESH eggs every week (and sometimes even more often)? Where are there around a dozen chickens to feed, chase, and run from? Where do the dogs get to roam free and run until their legs can't go any further? Where does Brandon go snake hunting...often finding snakes to catch and show to the little boys (while I run indoors to keep a wall between me and that snake)? Where do we roast hotdogs in the summer time and the winter time?! Where is there a campsite just for us with our very own climbing tree? Where can the little boys spend hours chasing and tackling their grandpa? Where is there a hammock that often turns into a swing or a flipper of little boys? Where do you get to pick pears off of the pear tree and turn around and feed them to the goats that are eagerly awaiting a special treat from the boys? Where does Parker get to go and learn how to work hard and have fun? Well....while this list goes on and on...I better tell you (if you haven't already guessed) where this wonderful "country" side is!! It's at Grandma Robbie and Grandpa Mahlon's farm, of course!

While there are all of these fun things happening at the farm, there is one more exciting event that just happened at the farm! THREE of the five goats at the farm just had KIDS! And, these goats didn't just have one kid.....they had a total of SEVEN baby goats!!! The first to have their kids, had triplets! The very next day, we had to tromp out to "the farm" and see these sweet baby goats and they are the cutest little things!! As you can see from these pictures, Parker loves the farm and always wants to go out and see the animals.

So, CONGRATULATIONS Mom and Mahlon on raising the "goaties" that had the new kids on the farm! We are excited to watch them grow and to have even more animals on the farm!!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

ABC Puzzle

Ok, so I finally figured out how to get the videos off of my iPhone- I even did it without help from Brandon!! So, here's one of my favorites. This is Parker doing one of his ABC puzzles, with help from me and Andrew. This was on one of those SNOWY days, so I was trying to make this puzzle last as long as possible! I think it gets cut off in the end because I got a phone call and I wasn't sure how to keep recording while I had an incoming call...I'm still learning!! I hope you enjoy hearing my Parker sing his ABC's over and over and over...I've watched this a few times and I love Parker's expressions as well as Andrew's little singing voice in the background! (Just don't judge my singing....this is a learning moment, not a time to show our singing talent!)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Three Month Birthday!

Andrew is three months old today!! Time is going by so fast, but we love each new stage of both of the boy's lives...each new stage quickly becomes my new favorite! This is true for both of them because I'm realizing that not all babies grow, learn, or develop at the same rate and what may have happened when Parker was a baby, is usually the opposite of what Andrew does!!

There is something else that is true for both boys though- Both Parker and Andrew bring so much joy to our world and we absolutely love being a family!! Tonight, as I was remembering that it was Andrew's 3 month birthday...all of my stinky boys were taking baths and after they got out and put on their PJ's, they all ended up in our bed watching a cartoon (while they were in the bath tub is when I remembered that today is the 20th of the month, meaning it is Andrew's 3 month birthday). I just stood there in amazement at how happy they all are and how happy they all make me!! These are some of my most favorite moments, where we're not rushed to get to bed and stressed from the day, or hurrying on to the next "event" in the schedule, but when I can just stand there and look at my family and smile at how Parker is snuggled up to Andrew, at how Brandon talks in a really high baby voice to make Andrew smile, at how Bella acts like Parker is annoying, but actually she wants to be as close to him as possible, and I just let these moments sink into my memory so that I will never forget them! Happy 3 month birthday, Andrew (and happy 41 month birthday to Parker)!! I love you boys!

The Amazing Apple TV

It's been about a year now....since we cancelled our Dish Network. We did this hoping that it would cut back on our TV watching and cut out the "background noise" of always having something going on the TV. And, since I've been home for the past 3 months, I've had quite a few people ask me if I'm missing the Dish or wishing we had cable, and to be honest, I don't miss it at all! Here's why: We have an HD antennae. This means that we get all of the local stations in high quality HD on both of our HDTV's. I know this doesn't seem like it would be sufficient for a family with kids- to only have the local stations....and, I think you're right! We ALSO have an Apple TV. Now, I've only met a handful of people that know what an Apple TV is or what it is capable of, so that's why I'm writing this post to the blog. I feel like I need to explain how the Riffel TV world works.

Again, the HD antennae gives us all of the local stations in HD- ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, 38 The Spot, Qubo, etc. So, we can watch those anytime in "real time."

But, here's what the amazing Apple TV can do (Brandon may correct me if I miss something!):

First let me clarify: the Apple TV is not actually a TV. It is a tiny (and I mean tiny) box that is a miniature computer for your TV. Here is the first amazing thing the Apple TV can do: With the Apple TV, we can put ALL of our DVD's on it- so, we don't have to switch out DVD's every time Parker (and Andrew) want to watch a different movie. They are all on the Apple TV, which means we just simply scroll through the "Movies" section on our TV screen to find the movie they want to watch and hit play! We don't even have a DVE player in the house anymore!

The second amazing thing the Apple TV does is it allows us to RECORD television off of the local stations we get through our HD, we don't have to watch our shows in real time (who has time to watch shows when they are actually on?! That would be crazy!). In this way, the Apple TV does what our DVR did with our Dish Network. So, I'll never miss a Grey's Anatomy, The Bachelor, Oprah, or any of the other shows that I love to watch, but never have time to watch when they are actually on.

The third (and this is something that I just learned how to do) amazing thing the Apple TV allows us to do is to purchase movies and TV shows through iTunes!! This is amazing because it gives us the opportunity to buy TV shows that are not on the local stations that we get through our HD antennae. For example, the other day, Parker was at his friend Julian's house and they were watching a show that was on the Disney Channel, called Jake and the Neverland Pirates. Well, Parker thought that was the coolest show. So, I started to explore on the Apple TV and I found it! And, that show just happened to be FREE to download through iTunes. Now we have that show on the Apple TV and Parker can watch it anytime, for as long as we own the Apple TV! I also ended up purchasing a couple Little Einstein shows that Parker really liked and some shows off of Nickelodeon....all of those shows were $1.99 per episode.

Another fun thing about this (that we just put into place), is that any of these shows can be transferred to another Apple device. Here's what we did- we (by "we" I mean Brandon) put a few of our movies onto Brandon's iPhone and purchased a cord (for about $30) so that we can connect Brandon's phone to the DVD player in the car! This will eliminate the need to have all of Parker's favorite DVD's in the car...we can simply put a few of them on one of our iPhones (or you can put it on an iPod, iPad, etc.) and then scroll through and find the one he wants to watch and it will play! AMAZING!

If you can't tell, I am so happy with our choice to drop our Dish Network and go with the Apple TV! We actually have 3 Apple TV's (one for each of our television's and one for the projector in the play room) and we couldn't live without it at this point! It allows us to watch what we want to watch and it makes us really think about what we are watching and if it's really worth our time to have the TV on.

I know what you're all wondering - "How much does an Apple TV cost? It's probably really expensive (especially because it's make by Apple)!" Well...the newest Apple TV's are only $99 at Best Buy and the Apple Store. With our Dish Network we were spending almost $100 a month on that, so we are definitely saving some moo-laa by making this switch!! The best part is that we aren't missing out on anything- because he have the newest movies and TV shows right at our fingertips to purchase at any time! Plus, we always know that anything we can't watch on TV, we can watch a few of the KU games that have been on ESPN.

So, for those of you that have asked if we miss having cable or the Dish, we DO NOT miss it and haven't missed it yet- around a year into the switch! I guess it doesn't hurt that I have a super smart husband around to make sure we have the newest technology available. I have to give him all of the credit for having this amazing Apple TV in our home. :) Now...for those of you with questions, I will give you Brandon's e-mail address!!

Thursday, February 17, 2011


Oh how I loved today! The weather was PERFECT and although I started the day a little sad because I knew Brandon had to work late, I ended my day playing outside until dinner time and hanging out with my Mom, Parker, and Andrew!

Parker had a friend spend the day with us and it is AMAZING how much they entertain each other! Andrew and I would go and check on them in the play room and find them giggling with delight as the dinosaur roared at the snorkel they played in Parker's ball pit and said things like, "that is AWESOME," and, "that is so COOL!" Our little Parker Man is becoming a big Parker Man and I love how he interacts with his "buddies" and how he has so much fun with his friends!

Because the weather was so beautiful today, all of us had to get outside and enjoy it! I love our neighborhood- on our block alone we have 8 little boys (plus 3 more in the next block over) between the ages of 0 and 9. On days like today our neighborhood is FILLED with boys riding their bikes, scooters, shooting hoops, kicking the soccer ball, drawing with chalk, frisbees are flying, and a cul-de-sack right around the corner, where there are no houses- perfect for a few games of "red light/green light", "red rover", "freeze tag" (although none of us really knew the rules), and "what time is it Mr. Fox?"!! All of the boys fell down, skinned their knees, giggled, and soaked up the sun...I think Parker even got a little sweaty!

Andrew even got to go on his first walk around the neighborhood and never fell asleep- he was soaking up all of the fun, just like the older boys! His friend Logan was the same- sitting in his stroller in awe of the boys running and laughing!

Needless to say, we were all pooped out when we came inside. We ate dinner, took baths, and everyone was in bed by the time dad got home! What a fun day we had! So much fun that I forgot to take pictures!

Spring- please come soon! I can't wait for all of the beautiful days that are right around the corner!!

(Oh- and did I mention that ALL of the snow is gone!:))

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy "Balentines" Day

We hope you and your families have fun today celebrating your love for each other! Our day is filled with love- starting with some snuggles early this morning and peanut butter toast made into hearts and ending the day with Parker's favorite dinner from Wendy's and more snuggles! Brandon, Andrew, and I are going on a lunch date at Maria's in Ottawa, then I'll go get some special Valentines Day balloons, and go pick Parker up from Sherry's (he had to go this morning to give all of his friends their Valentine cards), and then Aunt Dani is coming over to see her special "Balentine".

I had some special Valentines Day gifts for Parker and Andrew that I hid in our closet (behind some shoe boxes). Well...Parker is too sneaky! On Saturday we were up there and he was helping me with the laundry...I thought I was blocking the Valentines, but Parker saw them and ran around me and said, "Mom, what are those!?" So, I had to give them to the boys early!! I need to hide them better next time! :) Even though the Valentine surprises were given early, it was fun to see how excited Parker got about his new books and hershey kisses!

Anyways...I hope everyone has a special day today!!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Our Date Night!

Last weekend Brandon and I decided that we'd go out this weekend to celebrate Valentines Day together- you see...with sleep deprivation, our busy lifestyle, two kiddos, etc....we've had our ups and downs as a couple in the past couple of months, and although we always kiss and make up, we couldn't wait to have some time together on a date! So, my mom said she would come over and watch Parker and Andrew and we would spend the day going to a movie and out to dinner. Well...a couple days before our fun date, my mom threw us a curve ball and told us that she would be more than happy to keep the boys all night...either at our house or hers. So, after thinking about it for a few hours, we decided that this was exactly what we needed- an entire night alone to sleep! We booked a room at aLoft in Leawood and told mom that we would LOVE IT if she spent the night at our house on Saturday night!!

Anyways....we had the most PERFECT date day and night! We went to see "Just Go With It" and thought it was a great date movie! We shopped a little and got to eat one of our favorite dinners- Sushi- something you don't get to eat when you have a 3 year old with you! It was absolutely perfect- we drank wine, ate lobster spring rolls, rainbow rolls, California Rolls, and we had a delicious ice cream desert. Yummo! Then we went to our room and we were both asleep by 9:30 pm! We slept all night and slept in until about 7:30 am. :) Yes, that is sleeping in for us!

This little getaway was just what we needed to feel refreshed as parents and as a couple. It was the perfect date night for our first Valentines Day being the parents of two kiddos. Now, we can't wait to celebrate our love for our family tomorrow with both boys!

Thank you, Mom and Mahlon, for hanging out with Parker and Andrew while we got to go on our date night!

Enjoying our Sushi dinner!!

YUMMO! Dessert!

More Mommy bling! I absolutely love these necklaces- I have one in a Sapphire for Parker and one in Amber now for Andrew! I can't wait to wear it!! Thank you, Brandon, for the most perfect gift!!!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

BIG Boy!

You're probably thinking that I'm going to post another story about how big Parker're wrong! My 11 (almost 12) week old Andrew is so BIG! He is growing so fast and changing so much that it is scary! Andrew weighs in at 14 pounds (in comparison...our 8 month old neighbor is 16 pounds)! This is a new thing for us...yes, Parker was big when he was born, but he slimmed up really fast...Andrew has rolls. I'm not talking about little baby rolls, but he has rolls everywhere- in his thighs, in his stomach, and even in his chubby little wrists!

Everyday there is something new about Andrew in his appearance and his personality- here are some examples:

Eyelashes: Andrew has the most amazing eyelashes....Parker does too, but the amazing thing about Andrew is that he was born with absolutely no eyelashes! All of a sudden they were just there!

Reddish Hair: In the sunlight (which we haven't seen much of lately...just snow!), Andrew's hair has a tint of red in it. Wouldn't it be so much fun to have a little redhead mixed in with all of the blondies in our family?! So cute!

Sleeping: Just in the past week, Andrew has extended his first round of sleep to almost 7 hours! This has been so refreshing for Brandon and I and we are super excited about it! Technically, this is considered "sleeping through the night", and we love it, but we are looking forward to the night when he sleeps for 10 or 12 hours straight! :)

SMILES!! There is something about a baby smiling at you that makes your heart melt and Andrew is full of smiles and coos that make me grin from ear to ear! He is the best baby and is always happy (unless he's hungry) and will lay on his play gym and talk and smile at me...not wanting to be held...and he kicks with delight with every story and smile he gives me!

Love: Andrew is starting to show who his favorites are in the house. And, while Brandon started out as Andrew's favorite, he has quickly become a Momma's boy. Only Mom knows how to soothes his cries and, although Brandon tries all the time, usually I get to comfort my baby boy when he is sad.

Playing: At first, I was worried about how our evening schedule would pan out with a little (big) boy and a baby boy. For the first couple of months, it seemed like the evenings were so crazy....trying to get dinner ready and eaten, spend time with Parker and Andrew, take baths, continue a bedtime routine for Parker, and get Andrew into a bedtime routine...but, now the boys actually play together. Well, kind of! I can be upstairs making dinner and Parker will entertain Andrew! It is amazing how these two boys get along and how sweet they are to each other. The evenings have gotten much easier because Andrew is learning how to interact and play with Parker!!

Andrew will be 12 weeks on Saturday- almost 3 months old and I can't believe it! I am torn in my feelings though- part of me can't imagine our lives before Andrew and part of me can't believe it's already been 12 weeks!! So, here's an update on my BIG bundle of joy and all of the joy he is bringing to our lives! There are many more milestones to come and I can't wait to share them all with you!

Wrist rolls!! So cute!

Telling me a fun story!

"I really, really love...

Aunt Dani!" Now...Parker loves all the ladies in his life, but there's one that holds a particularly special place in his heart and he told me all about it the other night. Every summer when daycare closes (for anywhere from 4 to 8 weeks), Aunt Dani steps in and "plays" with Parker (and last summer she even got to play with one of Parker's best buddies, Anthony) all summer long. From taking walks to the playground and hunting for alligators, to the swimming pool, to driving to Lawrence to eat gross cookies with Grandpa Mike, and watching hours of Mickey's Christmas (even though it's the middle of July) Aunt Dani has made every summer of Parker's life memorable and fun! This being said, Parker absolutely loves his Aunt Dani. And, during this season of love, Parker and I were talking about all of the special people in our lives and Parker immediately thought of his special Aunt Dani.

Parker and I were talking about sending "Balentines" to all of his cousins, his grandparents, and all of his aunts and uncles. Parker then said, "I am going to sent one to Aunt Dani because I really, really love her!" Every time Parker says something like this (it's usually about Aunt Dani), I call her and tell her exactly what he said before I forget what it was! So, I called Aunt Dani and he is in the background saying, "Yep, I love my Aunt Dani." Then....the other night (after trying to get Parker to make "Balentines" all evening with no luck), he was in the bathtub and he said, "Mom, I need to send Aunt Dani her surprise." I looked at him funny and he said, "I need to send her some hearts because I love her for Balentines Day." He then told me that he doesn't make good hearts and so I told him he could send her one of the machines he made. He was okay with that, but he wants to make sure she gets the girl machine!

I know that Aunt Dani loves him so much and she makes Parker feel so special every time they are together. Parker is so lucky to have Aunt Dani in his life (along with all of his other aunts and uncles) and the time they've spent together is something special that they will always share with each other- no one else!

So...for all of you ladies out there that know how much Parker loves them...other aunts, grandmas, cousins, Sherry, Bella, and yes, even his swim teacher, Laurie, Parker loves all of you and may even send you a Balentine machine, but his Aunt Dani is his favorite girl this Balentines Day! :)

Making "Balentines"

With Valentines Day right around the corner, I thought it would be fun to make our Valentine's Day cards this year. Parker loves all arts and crafts and I just bought him his own pair of scissors. One of his favorite things to do is cut paper....he likes to cut paper into the smallest possible pieces...which isn't always fun to clean up, but it keeps his attention for hours, so we let him do it! I thought this year he would have fun making cards for his friends at Sherry's house and for his cousins, aunts and uncles, and grandparents. We started out good- I cut out some hearts for him and he was gluing and glittering his paper...when all of a sudden he said, "Mom, mine is a machine...." and he went on to explain to me what his machine did and how it worked. He then created another machine, and another machine, and another machine. He then told me, "Mom, I would rather make machines than Balentines. I am not very good at making hearts, but I am good at making machines." Who could argue with that?!

So, all of Parker's friends and family will not be getting hearts this year, but they will be getting some very detailed drawings of machines. This is fine with me- there's a lot of love put into making those machines!

Parker is excited to start our craft night!

Cutting with his new scissors- look at how good he is at holding scissors...

One of Parker's machines. Pretty good!

I love you Mom!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Turning Point

Sometime in the past week, my new life with two kids clicked. Maybe it was when Andrew started sleeping longer during the night, maybe it was having 3 snow days with the boys and getting more comfortable with EVERYONE in the house together without being able to leave, or maybe it was watching Parker and Andrew snuggle and smile at each other. And, while I know that all of these facts had something to do with it, I know that it was something more, something that a friend helped me realize. You see...I've been operating in "old mom" mode...the mom that had one child and had one child that was the center of the Universe. Everyday I would feel this sense of "mommy guilt" that would creep into my head (and my heart) every time I was with one of the boys. If I sent Parker to daycare and spent the day alone with Andrew, I felt like I was taking something away from Parker...if I let Andrew "play" in his crib while Parker and I read a book or played a game, I felt like I wasn't "bonding" with Andrew enough. It's an awful feeling, and mixed with the emotions of a new mom, it was seriously stressing me out.

So, I decided that I needed someone to help me with this. I have a few friends who have recently had their 2nd child and have kids Parker's age. And, there is one friend in particular, that always seems to tell it like it is and have her head in the right place. So, I sent her a message and asked for anything....advice, comfort, her own feelings, etc. What I got in return was EXACTLY what I needed to help me turn my thinking in the right direction and move into my "new mom" mode with two kids. Here are some of her words to me:

"I can relate to exactly how you're feeling and what you're going through! I, too, struggle with mommy guilt day in and day out. Sometimes I will lay in bed just trying to remember a full ten minutes of quality time I spent with Older Child during that day. And then if I can't think of it, I feel miserable and tell myself that I'll do better the next day. Truth is, it'll be the very next night and I'll be wondering the same thing!!!
I think what I've learned is that Older Child is better off being a little neglected.... our world has spun around her for the last three years and it's good for her to see that life is about other people too. When I don't rush to help her every second she calls, it forces her to think out things on her own and give her self a little independence. And for Younger Child, I think that as long as I'm giving her lots of love and cuddle time, it's not going to matter in the end if I'm not pulling out the classical music for her to listen to or spending hours a day doing tummy time.
I wish that I could give you a hug and tell you that things are going to be just fine. I always am amazed at the things you and Brandon post about the boys. Parker is SOOOOOO smart and little Andrew already is as tough as they come!!! You ARE doing a great job with both of them!!!!!
Just remember to give yourself a little credit for all the time and things you DO do with them. And I promise, in a couple months you'll look back and wonder why you ever worried about it!"

Her words have worked wonders for me and I am learning to let go of the things I'm NOT doing with each of the boys and focus on all of the things I am able to do with them and make those moments as great as they can be! These two boys are BOTH the center of the universe and now that I have the two kid mentality, it is much easier for me to teach Parker about his new life with a brother. It's so much fun for me to see them together and know that they are going to grow up as brothers and deep down I know that they will never know about my "mommy guilt" and that in a few months, I will look back on how I feel and think it was silly.

In our crazy lives, it's often hard to see these small moments that mean so much to our everyday life. I am so thankful that I asked my friend for advice and for her response. I am so happy with what I've learned from the past 11 weeks with my boys! What a roller coaster ride it has been...and with this new turning point, I am happy to say that, although I don't love real roller coasters, this ride that I'm on with these boys sure is fun!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Spelling Bee!

We've been in the house since Monday morning....with a 3 year old and a 10 week old, this can get kind of crazy! Andrew doesn't know the difference, but Parker, he starts to run out of "fun" and "new" things to do pretty quick! We've played a lot of games on the iPad and DS, we've watched countless movies, played all of his games, played with his new Play-Doh, made some crafts, and we even ventured out to the front yard yesterday (for about 10 minutes) to see how deep the snow drifts were! Parker's favorite TV show right now is Word World on PBS- it's a great show for kids of all ages, but Parker is at the age where he actually understands what they are trying to teach him on the show. It's a show about spelling and phonics....and we've seen every least 10 times each! Throughout the past few days, I've been hearing Parker walking around the house sounding out words. He walks past the bathroom and sounds out "towel", "T-T-Towel", "T", and he'll be in his room and see his books and say "Book", "B-B-B- Book", "B". He is doing this with every word he can think of and yesterday when we were making lunch, he was playing with his magnets on the refrigerator and was putting letters together- of course they were gobbledygook, and he wasn't really spelling anything, but he was putting letters together- "RWTR"- and I would hear him say, "R-R-R-ewter." He was reading his made-up words!

So, I stopped what I was doing and went over to the fridge. He asked me, "Mom, what does this spell?" Of course the word he had created did not spell any word I had ever seen before, so I told him to look at the word I was making and to sound it out. I spelled SUN. Parker looked at it and said, "S-S-S," and I encouraged him, he continued, "UUUNNN." He looked at me with the biggest smile and said, "S-S-U-U-N." I asked him, "what word is that?!" He screamed out, "SUN!" Then he laughed and squealed! We tried another one....I took the "S" off of SUN and put an "F" on it. I asked him to sound it out and he did it again with an even bigger smile! Then we tried the word "BED." He got it on the first try! Brandon was in the living room and Parker yelled, "Dad, Dad, I did it, I know what it says!" So excited!!!

Now....I'm not telling you that Parker is a genius (although, I think he is), but I am so impressed with how well he is picking up on sounds and letters and how he knows to put the sounds together to make a word! This also doesn't mean that he can read...well, maybe it does! Ha ha! He is a smart little guy and I am amazed at how much he learns everyday!

So, Parker won the Spelling Bee yesterday and was so happy with himself because he knew he was getting it!

Thank you, Word World....and thank you to the Snow Day for giving us this time indoors to slow things down and do some activities that we normally wouldn't do!!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Hi Ho, Hi Ho...

It's back to work I go, but not for another MONTH! Putting this into words is kind of bittersweet- I have truly treasured this extended time I've had off from work to spend with my family. This was especially nice with Andrew's short stay in the NICU and it has given me time alone to bond with Andrew as well as time to introduce Parker to his new life as a big brother. I am so thankful for the University for letting me have this extended, paid time off (a total of 15 weeks)!! It means more to me than anything!!

I can't wait for the next month and I know the time will fly by - March 1st will be here before I know it...but, I am also looking forward to our family starting our lifelong routine, where Brandon and I go to work everyday and the boys go to daycare...because I know this is our reality and I love it! I kind of feel like March 1st is the beginning of the rest of our life, where we will be in our real life! I absolutely love my family, I love my job at the University, I treasure our daycare provider (who is like family to us), and I love it that I can count on the fact that Andrew, just like Parker, will love Sherry and make new "buddies" at her house.

So, while I love this time at home and I wouldn't trade it for the world, I am excited for the next chapter of our life...there is so much to come in this next year and I am so excited for what the future holds for us. Next year at this time, our family will be so different- Andrew will be walking (What!? It happens so fast!), Parker will have gone to his first year of preschool (Can he really be that old?!), and we will have survived our first year of having two kids! Crazy!

I know it's all going to happen so fast, so this next month is my time to relax and have hours of fun and snuggles with my boys, and I feel like it's my time to catch up on being a mom! For the next month, you can find me with these monkeys- day and night! (Grandma's- you're more than welcome to take them for a day...if you want to monkey around!)