Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Rooming In

The boys have made a big step.


They are now sharing a room. Before Alex came along, Ajay had his bedroom, and he had his playroom. Then we converted the playroom into Alex's bedroom. The boys have been collecting so many toys, and a lot of them are shared toys, that Biju and I decided to load all of them into one room. Lemme tellya....I had to wade through a LOT of toys to get this job accomplished! I threw a few out that were broken and had planned on sending some to other children. I ended up keeping every just about every working toy because I kept thinking "well surely the boys play with that!" I did take out the more baby-ish toys and boxed them up to be passed along to some other little one. I brought in our old (my parent's old) microwave stand from the garage to help store some more of the bigger toys that didn't fit in the storage bin or toy box. It is all organized, for now. I do hope the boys can keep their playthings in the playroom, and in somewhat decent order.
Here is Ajay's room with the toys all emptied from the toy box and the storage bins. I thought dumping everything out would help me sort. It did, but as a warning to any parent wanting to undertake this sort of task - do it while the children are not around!! (yes, that is both boys hiding out inside the chest) What you can't see are the toys that completely covered Ajay's bed, too, and the rest of the room that wouldn't fit inside this shot.


The boys thought "it's bedtime" meant "it's bouncetime" and did their best to wear out the mattress. Alex eventually tumbled off the bed and broke his happy button.

Alex learned that bouncing in his own crib was much safer than bouncing on Buh-buh's bed!

I didn't get a pic of Alex's bedroom before the switch, but here it is after it was converted into the disaster area, I mean playroom.

And because I'm a goof and went off to my parents for Christmas leaving my camera behind, I only got a couple of snaps of Alex opening presents. He had slept through Sunday's belated Christmas celebration at my grandpa's house, so he got to open once we got back to town. When he finished tearing through his own, he thought it best to start ripping into my sister's family's gifts!

Mom sent me some photos last night, so I'll share those with you, too! Here was the view out my brother's back door on Christmas Day. You can see the ground poking through in some places, and other areas have snow drifts that could completely conceal a small child!
Ajay thought he'd give Papa a hand at clearing some of the snow. Mom had to work quick to get this shot, as his helpful mood didn't last too long (the snow drifts were screaming his name!).
And just cuz I thought it was a sweet moment, I'm throwing in, at no additional cost to you, a pic of the boys from this morning. Ajay was helping Alex put his socks on.

Friday, December 25, 2009

A white Christmas, indeed!

Now THIS is a white Christmas!

Biju and I debated whether we should brave the roads to head up to my parents. Keeping an eye on the continuously changing weather reports, we figured we had a small window of time to get loaded and out of the house in time to make it before the really nasty stuff hit. We were going to go, then changed our minds and I called my dad to let him know we were chickening out. He said the weather was clear up that way, and I knew our weather was clear for the time being. So we changed our minds again. We got the boys fed and dressed then flipped on some good ole PBS to keep them entertained while we loaded everything up. I asked our neighbor to keep a close eye on the house and gave her a key so she could get in and turn our faucets on every now and then. We surely don't want to have any pipes burst!

And so we drove. It had started icing a bit as we headed out and we had our window defrosters cranked up high to keep the ice clear. The ice mellowed out a bit as we travelled but then came on full force again a little later. The boys were happily watching The Incredibles on the DVD player (thank you, Honda!), I crocheted on Mom's gift while Biju kept his eyes on the road. The wind was very strong and I can tell you we did not get good gas mileage! We passed a number of cars pulled over to the side of the road scraping their windshields. I called family members, or they called me, to keep in contact and updated on our whereabouts and safety. Once we got about 45 minutes from home and were filling up gas (needed a full tank in case we slid off the road and needed to run the heater for awhile!) my dad gave us an alternate route to take home. He figured the other roads would be better to take. The roads got considerably worse and I don't think it mattered which path we took! We lost traction a couple of times but nothing drastic. It was nice to pull into my parents driveway, but that meant we had to get out into the blowing snow and ice! YUCK!

Our Christmas Eve celebration has always been held at my grandpa's house, but we knew early on that once we got to Mom and Dad's, that was that for the evening! My brothers and their families came in and we all made up a nice little dinner. The kids got to open a couple of presents, then it was bedtime. Matt and his crew drove their truck the quarter of a mile down to their place with Jeff and his crew following behind. The roads were definitely worse than what they were earlier in the day. Matt had to stick his truck into 4-wheel drive to get out of the driveway, I do believe.

Ajay woke up at 6:30. He didn't see his pile of the goods from Santa, so broke into tears saying "I didn't get what I wanted!" After seeing that he had, indeed, gotten Hungry, Hungry Hippos and Candy Land, he was a much happier camper! Biju ambled in with Alex on his hip around 7:15am. The kids played a few hours while Mom did some last minute wrapping. It was then time for the rest of us to head to my brother's place for a yummy breakfast of biscuits and gravy. Breakfast was followed by more present-opening. And we all know how much fun that is! We were able to keep the pandemonium to a minimum as we followed the "youngest to oldest" route. Then Dad, Matt and Jeff headed back up to get the tractor to feed some hay to the cows. They were gone a few hours! They had gone up to town and were actually able to break through to the highway. Amazing! They just got back, and said that Mom's van isn't going to make it back up to the house. I guess we'll have to make a couple trips with the truck to get back to Nana and Papa's place. Who knows when we'll be able to get out. Most of the roads are impassable. But hey, at least we have (in no particular order) food, water, family, games and the Internet!!

I hope you and all of your loved ones are staying warm and safe!!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Our Christmas Greeting to You!

I'm not sending Christmas Cards out this year, so I wanted to give everyone an online greeting, instead!


YYYYYYYY
May you feel the presence of God throughout this holiday season.
May you be filled with Love now and throughout the upcoming year.
May you have the patience to deal with your adversities and
be thankful for the gifts you've been given.
May you have a very
MERRY CHRISTMAS
and enjoy a
HAPPY and SAFE
NEW YEAR!!
YYYYYYYY

Friday, December 18, 2009

Welcome, Audrey Caroline!

Audrey Caroline made her much awaited debut today. Mama Shelly and Baby are doing well.


(Ajay took this picture!)


Shell went into the hospital this morning at 6am to get the induction started. She was due on Christmas Eve, but being a diabetic, the docs wanted to induce earlier to be sure Baby came before the placenta stopped doing its job! I'm sure she can tell a better version of the story, so I'll just sum it up here. She got the pitocin and epidurals going early this AM, she pushed for about a half hour around 1pm, I think, but Audrey was comfy inside. Doc said to wait a bit longer to see if the contractions would help move her down a little. That must've done the trick!


Audrey Caroline

December 18, 2009

2:12pm

8lbs 7oz

19 3/4 inches



Kyleigh stayed with us for the day while Paige was at school. Here are the kiddos ready to head over to the hospital for their first look at Audrey. Ajay is holding the little gift box with Audrey's birthday present.





Alex wasted no time getting comfy in the delivery room.


Papa Jim was holding the little bundle when we arrived. Here is Ajay along with Kyleigh looking at "My baby sisser!"



The nurse needed to check her vitals...



Uncle Biju got to hold the babe for a few minutes.



Here is Audrey with her mama and both sets of grandparents.

Here are the little mitts I crocheted up for our little winter baby:

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Muffins with Mom

Alex and I just got home from having a special treat at Ajay's school this morning. We dropped Ajay off at his classroom, as usual, then headed into a classroom next door where they were holding a Muffins with Mom event. We picked up a couple of muffins and some juice and settled in amongst the many other moms that attended the "function." We all got to introduce ourselves and announce who our child(ren) was/were and which class s/he was in. Up next was a slide show of the school children going about their days, set to some Bach. We were dismissed and Alex and I joined the 4 other women going into the Pre-K room. Ajay immediately started coming towards me and I had to shoo him back to his spot on the carpet. It was fun listening to the kids sing "Who let the M out? M..M..M. Who let the N out? N...N..N." A couple more songs, a lesson about Q, then learning labs. Ajay was in the first group called to play with shaving cream. Alex wanted to get his mitts in, too, so Ms. Mc. got him his own tray and squirt of the squishy stuff. When the timer went off, Ajay and his classmates walked down the hall with their hands in the air towards the bathrooms. Alex did the same. Once back, we watched Ajay and some of his friends string lettered plastic blocks onto thick strings. Alex tried, and almost got one all on his own. Afterwards it was time to head home. Alex wanted to stay, and Ajay wanted us to stay. It really was fun :)
And now it is time to get our shoes and coats back on and go pick up Ajay!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Brrrr

Good golly it is cold out there! I've been bundling the boys up every morning for our trips to school. I crocheted Alex a pair of woolen mittens. I don't think the wool feels nice on his hands, as he often balks at putting them on. The other night I tried to put some wool pants I had crocheted on him, and he absolutely would not let me. He was fine with a different pair of pajama pants, though. So I guess the wool pair of pants I'm almost done crocheting might not get any use :(

I keep thinking I want to make my blog more Christmas-like, but I've been pretty busy lately. I've been focusing on Norwex, and all this week I'm devoting my spare time to crocheting. Maybe in January when things slow down a little, I'll figure out how to make some changes to the blog. Even though the blog may not be decked out for Christmas, I've tried to make the house look like the approriate season! The boys helped me decorate with the non-breakable things during the day, and when Biju got home from work, we all put up the rest of the "pretties."

The boys making some time for artwork

Here are the boys all bundled up to brave the cold



And for an extra treat, a video of Alex singing this morning. I wanted to get him singing all by himself, and to get him counting, but as soon as I turned the video on, he clammed up.


video

Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving Week

For Thanksgiving, we loaded up the van and headed to my parents. But it wasn't just for the one day. No, no. When we do things, we do them big! My parents were coming through town the weekend before Thanksgiving, so we asked if they would mind taking the boys with them. They agreed, and Saturday we kissed the boys "see ya later" as they rode off in my parents new van. This new van, luckily, has a dvd player, so the boys got in some Wiggle time. With an afternoon/evening free, Biju and I tried to use our time wisely. We grabbed lunch at BK, hit WalMart, came back to unload everything and check on movie times, then headed for dinner. We tried Ted's Montana Grill where we each had our first buffalo burger. Then it was on to the "cheap" movie place ($2.50 per ticket) where we saw The Invention of Lying. It was cute, but we were a little surprised to see so many young people in the theatre. It is NOT a movie I would take anyone under 13 to (or maybe even under 21, but thats me being a prude). Nothing horrible, just topics that need to be handled maturely.

Early Sunday, we headed up to the farm. I got to kiss the boys hello then kiss them "see you later" as I quickly left again with my mom, sister-in-law and niece. We drove the half hour to my aunt's house so I could present a Norwex party. I always love doing Norwex parties!
The rest of the week went smoothly. The boys were meant to live on a farm, I swear. We hardly saw Ajay as he was always outside playing. He didn't care too much if he was by himself or with the cousins. He did help Papa (I think everyday) with chores. I've mentioned before how my heart stops every time he gets on the tractor, but he just loves it and I know my dad is always extra cautious when he has little riders along. The chickens decided to stop laying, so he was unable to bring any eggs in.
On Wednesday, we suckered my sister-in-law, Brandi, into watching Ajay and Alex while Biju and I went to play "adult games" - which is what we call the games at the casino. Thank you, Brandi!! We got back Wed. evening and I made up some ground turkey curry. I think Dad liked it - he had 3 bowls of it!
Thursday morning we hit the oven running. The kitchen was full of the women folk getting things ready. The rest of the family started arriving around 3 and we got the main food table set up, with a dessert table not far away. We all stuffed ourselves silly, as is tradition. My aunt brought a new game for us all to try out. Its called Wits and Wagers and boy did we have fun! Biju and I ended up winning 3 of the 4 games (and in that 4th game, we lost miserably). While the big kids and adults were playing W&W, the littler ones (Alex, 21mo, Logan, 15mo, Ajay, 4, Thomas, 7) found Mom's basket of "Tupperware" (you know, those old plastic cottage cheese and sour cream bowls that you use as Tupperware?) and kept themselves busy by rolling (or throwing) them around the floor to each other.
Soon it was time for me to get my guys ready for bed. Biju played "7 1/2" with the others (a favorite game at our gatherings) while I slipped the boys into their jammies. Alex went down easily, but Ajay wanted to play with his cousins a bit longer.
Friday morning we got everything packed up and headed back home. It's always nice to visit the family and it's always nice coming back home and sleeping in your own bed. Gracie missed us and wanted cuddles once we got home. Nemo didn't look excited to see us, though (can you tell if a fish is excited?).
Here are some snaps that were taken on Thanksgiving (Mom had to e-mail them to me from her camera, as I had forgotten mine).
Here is Alex, clinging to Mommy. He had just awoken from his nap. When he went to sleep, all was normal. He woke up to find Nana and Papa's house filled with people and noise!

Here is the food table. See what I mean about too much food? After we had all eaten, Dad came back through and told us all we needed to come back in and eat some more. Yeah right!!
We had some of the usual suspects - turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, nadava, deviled eggs, cranberry sauce (not pictured), green beans, corn casserole, rolls, sage dressing, sweet potatoes (mashed this year!), etc. - and some new items - some sort of squash casserole (it was sweet, and tastey) and Dad made up a couple of tenderloins on the grill.

Here is the view of the dessert table!! Brownies, German Chocolate Cake, Amish Cinnamon Bread, Sugar Cookies (Brandi and the kids [Alex, Ajay, Brandon, 14, Jenna, 11] made these on Wednesday - if you look closely you can see a couple of "handprint" cut-out cookies!), Cranberry-Lemon cookies, Crustless Pumpkin Pie, Pumpkin Roll, Pumpkin IceBox Pie (made by me, recipe found in Martha Stewart's Everyday Food Magazine), Cherry Pie, Pumpkin-Cheesecake (a layer of pumpkin, a layer of cheesecake), Blackberry Pie, Pecan Pie.

And here we are getting ready to play Wits and Wagers. There are cards with questions. Each person (or teams of two, like we played) guesses what the answer is and writes it down on a card. The cards are then arranged on a piece of felt that gives ways winners get paid - 2 to 1, 3 to 1, etc. Then each person/team wages on which answer they think is correct. Really so much fun!

All in all, we were all very thankful for good food and a great time with the family!!

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Patient

Surgery went fine and Biju is home recovering.

We had planned on my parents coming into town last night to care for the boys this morning, but they had an emergency come up (as happens from time to time when you live on a farm and care for animals!). We called upon our trusty friends, the Rouses, to watch the boys. We dropped them off at 7:30am and Angie gave us a heads up that the road we were going to take to the Surgery Center was closed and Mapquested a different route for us. We got to the center at 8am and got checked in. (the previous part was written on Friday after the surgery, the rest is going to be written today, Sunday)

After the nurse called Biju back to get ready, I started working on a crochet project and listening to The Soloist, a book on MP3. The nurse came to get me around 9:30 to tell me he was set up and just waiting for the doctor to get done with his previous surgery. I went in and visited with him for awhile then went back out into the waiting room. I packed my stuff up and went out to the van to call Angie and check on the boys, then called my mom to talk for a bit. I had forgotten my phone, so I was using Biju's cell phone. I walked across the parking lot to grab a sandwich from Wendy's dollar menu, then headed back into the waiting room. I was able to make quite a bit of progress on my crochet project before Dr. L came out to tell me they were done. This was a little after 11am (so surgery probably only lasted about 45 minutes, I'm guessing). Dr. L showed me pictures of Biju's knee before surgery, then afterwards. He also went over some previous damage that had been done to Biju's knee about 8 years ago when he broke it (playing Badminton). About a half hour or so after speaking with the doc, the nurse came to tell me Biju was waking up. I went in to visit with him. He was still a bit groggy from the anesthesia but was coherent. I gave him some water and the nurse came to talk with us. After awhile, Biju was "with it" enough to get up to leave. The nurse went over his medications and how to care for the wound, then taught me how to work the Ice Man. The Ice Man is basically a little cooler that holds ice and water, and has a tube running to a little plastic pad. The pad goes over the area to be iced, and the ice water is continuously pumped in a cycle to keep the pad cold.

We left the center around 1 and headed to the store to buy some soup. The anesthesia wasn't playing nice with Biju's tummy so we were advised to keep food light for awhile. He got sick while I was in the store (thankfully the Center had sent home a bag for containment!). We zipped through the pharmacy drive through so they could start filling his medication, then got home. Angie pulled in the drive about one minute after we did. She took a sleeping Alex straight to his crib then pulled the car seats out of her van to move them back to ours. I got Biju set up in bed with some soup and crackers, and got his Ice Man hooked up. Once Biju had about half of his soup, he was ready to sleep. Ajay and I then headed out to pick up the medication and a handful of movies for the weekend.

The weekend has been fairly uneventful. The Ice Man goes through quite a bit of ice, but not nearly as much as we were told (we were told the cooler would need refilled every 2 hours, and we're finding it to be more like 6-8 hours). Biju's stomach is back to normal, no more nausea, so he's able to eat his normal diet.

Alex and I are sick again. More colds. Alex even has a slight fever. He was at 100.8 when he woke up. I'm wondering where the maid has gone, because the house is starting to look a little unkempt!
Here is Biju set up in bed after we got home from surgery. The boys, of course, were quite curious about what was on Daddy's leg.
Here is a close-up of the Ice Man. The cooler, the a/c adapter, the tube with a thermostat, and you can see where the tube attatches to the pad, which is under the bandages. We were told to be sure we disconnect the power before we disconnected the tube from the pad - otherwise water would spurt out! The boys are still interested in the cooler and often get reprimanded for climbing on top of it.
Biju's first physical therapy appointment is tomorrow. We'll see what type of exercises they'll want him to do from home. They will also change his bandage for the first time, and teach him how to wrap it back up. He should be back to work on Wed, then he'll be off all next week for Thanksgiving break. He should get some nice recouperation time in - we just need to be sure he gets those exercises in, too!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Knee Surgery

About a month back, Biju was playing racquetball and injured his knee. He's had x-rays and an MRI and the decision has been made that he will need surgery to mend his meniscus and a couple of ligaments. If he were to opt not to have the surgery, he could hobble around okay for awhile, then he would likely get arthritis in his knee by age 50. Then by age 60, he would probably need a knee replacement, with a second replacement at age 70 (and again at 80).
He had to swing by the doctor's office to have a chest x-ray (to be sure there was no fluid in his lungs) and have some blood drawn. His chest looks clear and we're still waiting to hear the restults of the blood tests. As long as they come back fine, the surgery will be on Friday this week. We need to be there by 7:30am, with the surgery (under general anesthetic) beginning around 8:30am. I'm hoping our neighbor will be able to take care of the boys and get Ajay to and from school. Biju thinks we'll be home by 1pm. He'll have his first physical therapy session on the following Monday and probably go back to work either Tuesday or Wednesday. In preparation for his being down for awhile, we're trying to get things done around the house - raking/bagging leaves, painting a few things around the outside of the house, and we'll be doing some big cooking. He loves his Indian food, and there are only a couple of dishes that I can do well.
I was sick last week (I think it was a cold first that slipped into the 24 hour flu - not H1N1 - then went back to a regular cold) and am still being annoyed by a sinus infection, but I'm glad that I should be feeling 100% by the time surgery comes around. The boys also had a bit of the sickies before I got it. Alex is still battling the same sinus infection I have, but Ajay barely even noticed his stuffy nose. Biju had a scratchy throat, some sneezes and sniffles, but I think he's doing better, too.
Please keep Biju and the surgeon in your prayers as we come upon this surgery!
Here are a few pics of the boys "helping" as we're getting things done around the house...

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Autumn!

Autumn is beautiful. It is my favorite season, and while we got smacked in the face with a cold spell, Autumn has redeemed itself. We are really enjoying some fabulous weather. We're trying to cram in some outside time before Old Man Winter arrives and we have to deal with frost nipped fingers, toes and noses.

Autumn is a time for.......

.....playing with your cousin, when school is out for the day.

.....wearing Brother's underwear on your head.


....taking a taste of the bubble water you're playing with.

.....pretending to sleep with your brother and laughing uproariously about nonsense.

.....eating snacks outside.




....finishing baby blankets....


....and finally giving them to the baby that was born back in July.

.....getting in some good fresh air.


.....just having a good ole time.


.....acting cheesy for the camera.

....eating the soil from the garden.

....gazing up at the coulds in the sky.

.....acting serious.



....acting silly.

.....dressing up for Halloween - Captain Sweet-Tooth and Airman Alex.



.......procrastinating washing off a painted eye-patch.

.....showing off a dinosaur tattoo.

....showing off all the loot from Halloween.

.....going out for a wagon ride.