First off, Sam never went to San Angelo. At the last minute, someone else was sent in his place. God works again! I'm tellin' ya, God wants us here.:)
Also, Sam's back is still yuck. He has an appointment at the spine clinic on Friday. Hopefully, we'll know more then. We went and got him a back support brace the other day after considering my mom's advice and it has been helping a lot! Thanks, Mom!
Work is going well, steady. Sam's "other job" as site pastor is challenging, but really rewarding and God is teaching him so much as well as doing much through him. That's really exciting to see!
Braden has been using "gross" for expressing displeasure at things. He has also gotten to the stage of not wanting to help out with non-fun activities, such as cleaning up the floors, picking up toys and the like. So it goes something like this:
Me: Braden, I need you to pick up all the toys in the living room and take them to your room.
Braden: Aw, GROSS! I don't want to have to pick up all these toys!
Me: Well, who should have to pick them up? Me? Did I make this mess?
Me: Well, who should have to clean it up?
Me: Yep! Why do you think that is?
Braden: Because I made the mess?
Me: Absolutely! Now, get going.
Braden: But, Mom (in a very whiney tone)! If I had to pick all of this up, all my energy would be gone!
Me: Well, you obviously have enough energy to play with all these toys and to do the things you want to do. You only run out of energy when I tell you to do things you don't want to do.
Braden: But, my arms are too tired! -alternate reply: But, my back is hurting!
Me: Your arms/back are/is just fine. Now go pick up. The longer you stand there and whine about it, the longer it is going to take you.
Braden: I'm thirsty! Can I go get a drink?
Me: Sure. Make it quick and get back in here and clean this up!
Usually, by the end of this exchange we have to discuss his attitude and what is going on in his heart, but there is headway being made! God is so good and His ways are perfect!
In other Braden news, Sam and I are talking about getting him into soccer when the season starts back up. His friend across the street plays and I think it would be fun for him to play on the same team and also GREAT exercise for him. He seriously goes non-stop from the time he wakes up in the morning until his head hits the pillow at night. I don't understand why I can't take some of his energy for myself. I'm the one that needs it! ;p
He is still doing a great job with school. We are having a great time doing all the projects from my father's world and learning a lot about science and history and reading in the process. So fun! He's still reviewing his HOP books and he gets better all the time. He's even literally putting 2 and 2 together and doing addition and subtraction. Most of the time, he does it unprompted. Aren't kids amazing?!
Now, then, Zekes is my little bulldozer. I think he needs to be in hockey or something. He really doesn't know his own strength. Right now, we are working on his pronunciation. He doesn't really say the beginning and ending consonants, so I'm starting to do with him the same thing I did with Braden. I'm having him repeat words after me and my mom suggested sitting in front of a mirror with him and over-pronouncing words and having him repeat them to me. I'm seeing improvement already. I was concerned he might have hearing issues because he's had so many ear infections, but I don't think that is the case. I am going to take him in to the doctor for a check up and have his ears checked out anyway, cuz it won't hurt.:)
The older Zekey gets the more snuggly he gets. He is definitely in need of specific mommy and daddy time on a regular basis, so we go on mommy and daddy dates with him. The change in attitude afterwards is really amazing. A complete 180. Plus, it gives whoever is home with Braden and Ailey a different dynamic to experience. Fun!
My mom expressed a desire to hang out with Zekes alone too at some point this summer. I think he would just eat that up! I love that my kids love playing together, but I also love it when they get one-on-one time with the people who love them!
We are still potty training though every day, its still hit or miss. He is in pull-ups instead of diapers which has enabled him to pull his britches up and down himself to go on the potty, but he still gets to involved in playing outside to come inside to go potty most of the time. Ah, it'll happen. We also talk about how whatever character on his pullups doesn't want to get peed upon. Its quite an interesting discussion.:)
Okay, Ailey aka Ler-loo. She is getting into lots of stuff! She has an affinity with the kitchen trash can which I just don't understand. Ew, yuck! She also likes to climb up the chairs and sit on top of the dining table and "talk" at us. She's nearly walking like a pro now. She is able to do turns and keep going. Oh, yes, she loves to dance. She has been grooving for lots of months now, but it has morphed from her sitting on her bottom and kind of wiggling around to her standing up and half-squatting up and down really fast and then prancing around, stomping her feet really fast. So, stinkin' cute!
I'm still nursing her about three times a day. I just cut out her first nap-time one, so now we have the morning evening and before bed-time ones. I'm aiming for the morning one to be the last to go. We're getting there.:)
She's also started throwing little temper tantrums and she grunts and gets hissy if you have something, like icecream, and she wants some/more. Very interesting progression so far. She's still super sweet tempered and cuddly and just a whole lot of cuteness. Oh, yes, and she is now saying, "Daddy" and "Puppy".
Me? Well, I can't remember if I already said this, but I'm the children's pastor for our campus and I am really loving it. It has it challenging moments, don't get me wrong, but its so neat to see the kids getting to know God. I LOVE that. Plus, we get to do games and crafts and you know that's right up my alley!
I still go on baking sprees, but I've curbed my Amish Bread baking a bit. I'm not going to make quite so much of it and I'm only go to make it every now and then. Every ten days is a bit much. I put the starter in the fridge, which will curb its need to feed and I'll just do half from now on, I think.
I did make granola bars yesterday and let me tell you, I'm SOLD! I don't ever want to buy store bought again! Here are some pics:
I began with two different recipes that looked good and then just basically made up my own recipe. The interesting thing will be to see if I can duplicate it the next time around because I didn't measure anything.:) There is butter, salt, honey, puffed rice, quick rolled oats, graham cracker crumbs, mini chocolate chips, white chocolate chips and vanilla...mmmmmm.....
Also, I'm intending to make my own nutrigrain bars soon. It doesn't look any more time consuming than making my own poptarts and it'll be much easier on the pocket book. :) I'll have to let you know how that turns out.
This past Saturday, we went to the Celebrate Killeen Festival. The boys got to play on a plethora of bouncies. I took Ailey into one of the less crowded ones and she had a good time bouncing and going down one of the slides with me. Then, they got to get their faces painted, make pet rocks and get some fun balloons made into helicopters. They had such a good time! Here is our picture collection from that event:
I would've like to get a picture from the other side because this bouncy was really tall and the other side had something akin to a vertical climbing wall. It took a little while, but Zekey did it!
Being pretty patient....
Braden called this his super rocket power mask. He left it on the whole day and we went to SamsClub and later to Wal-mart.
Zekes just wanted a puppy:)
I thought I would also include some of the drawings Braden has been doing lately. These were inspired by a book names, "If I Built a Car" :