Wednesday, August 20, 2014


R and I had quite the adventure this last weekend….. we traveled all the way up to Casper, Wyoming! (I know, I know…. you're super jealous!)  We've had this trip planned for almost a year so that I could go visit my Grandmother and R could meet his Great-Grandmother. It ended up working out perfectly that my Dad and Mom were going to head up at the same time, and my sister and her family were taking their big family road trip and arranged to be passing through at the same time, so we got to see lots of family!

(Downtown Casper… I swear, this town is like stepping back into the 50's!)

I was actually born in Casper, but we moved to Reno when I was only about 6 weeks old. My sister and brother were obviously there until the were in there early teen years, and my dad lived most of his life there. My mom moved there after my brother and sister were born because the rest of her family had eventually ended up there….. the point is, at one point, I had a whole lot of family in Casper. Over the years everyone has pretty much spread out and moved on (It's a really small town, I don't blame them!) and my grandmother (My dad's mom) is pretty much the only one left. I have memories of visiting cousins and all my grandparents there when I was a kid, but I haven't been back since I was probably about ten. I also haven't seen my Grandmother since her and my Granddad came to my high school graduation, and unfortunately my granddad passed away fairly soon after that. 

I was glad to be able to go visit my Grandmother and introduce here to one of her great grandchildren, but unfortunately she ended up getting really, really sick right before I came and had just gotten out of the hospital and had moved into a rehabilitation/assisted facility until she was well enough to go home. It was too bad that we had to visit her that way, and I wish she would have been home so we could have really had a chance to talk and bond more, but I guess you take what you can get. The important thing is I got to see her and R got to meet her.

(R meeting his Great-Grandmother Sharon)

In between visiting Grandma (she was in different therapies for most of the day, so the visits were short) I spent a lot of time driving around Casper with my Dad and sister while they showed me the different sights. Even though I don't remember living there, there is definitely a sense of nostalgia. I wouldn't want to live in Casper now (did I mention how small it is?) but I can see how it was probably a pretty cool place to grow up back in the day. It is the definition of small town, and all the stories everyone told me revolved around kids having pretty much unlimited freedom as the ran around town, riding bike and playing baseball and getting into "kid" trouble. It's also pretty neat to go past all the different houses that various family member have lived in for basically the last hundred years.

(This was the house we lived in when I was born. It was my home for 6 weeks!)

(This is the house my Dad grew up in. That top window on the left? That was his bedroom)

(This was my grandparents on my mom's side house. I remember spending several Christmas's there as a kid, with all the cousins crammed into sleeping bags in the basement! This house also had a laundry shoot that went from the kitchen to the basement….. I'm pretty sure every cousin at one point slid down/got stuck in that shoot!)

We also spent some time "visiting" family members at the cemetery. Some people might find cemetery's creepy or morbid, but I've always kind of liked them. Yes, they are sad, but I also think they are so peaceful. I didn't get to go to either of my Grandfathers funerals, so it was nice for me to be able to visit there graves and "say goodbye". I also visited my uncle, who passed before I was born, and my great-grandparents. It really gave me a sense of peace and closure to be able to finally visit them.

(My Great-Grandparents, born in 1890!!! Also my Grandpa on my mom's side and my mom's brother, who passed away before I was born.)

(And my Grandpa Jim, my Grandmothers who I was visiting husband. This actually makes me really sad. He was a really cool guy and I know he would have loved to meet my boys. I've always been sad I could make it to his funeral and this really helped.)

OK, enough with the cemetery pictures. Again, sorry if that offends or creeps anyone out, but I found it very healing! So that was pretty much our trip. I spent a lot of time going through old pictures at my grandmas house which was very cool, and of course seeing all the family. We got back last night and are now just trying to get back into the swing of things here. It was nice to spend some time with just R, but I missed all my big boys and it's always so good to be home!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

L's first day of Pre-K

Today was a big day in our house, it was L's first day of Pre-K!!!

He's been in preschool, at a different school, since he was about three and a half, but it was only two half days a week. It was a great school and I really liked it, but truthfully it had more of a "daycare" atmosphere then a school atmosphere. It was really good for his socialization, and he did learn while he was there, but we felt like he had maxed out his potential there and it was time to step it up a notch.

The whole school thing has actually been a pretty big point of stress for me for the last 6 months or so. L's birthday is September 15th and he turns 5 this year, but the kindergarten cutoff in AZ is that you have to be 5 by September 1st, and in the public school there are no exceptions. So we went back and forth for 6 months debating the pros and cons of finding a Charter or Private school that would let him test into kindergarten. It certainly would have my life easier, in the short term, for him to test into kindergarten. It would free up more of my time to focus on L2's speech therapy and spend more one on one time with R, and from a financial standpoint it would certainly be wonderful not to have to pay the tuition for Pre-K. But my heart kept telling me that, in the long term, this wouldn't be the best choice for him or for our family. It would mean he would always be the youngest in his class, and for many years, probably the smallest. Boys mature a little slower (any woman knows that!), and while I think he is certainly smart enough to start Kinder, I worried that being the youngest would eventually catch up and be detrimental. I also thought a lot about the long term. (I drove S crazy with all of my "what-if" scenarios!) But starting kinder this year would mean he would graduate college at 17 and probably leave home before he was 18. It meant he would be the last one of his friends to get a drivers licence and that would mean he'd be at the mercy of his friends for rides…. I'd rather he be the first where I can be a little bit more in control of how and when and with who he uses a car!

Anyway, we finally decided that we would test him in, but leave the option open for him to just do Kinder twice. It seemed like the best compromise, but I still wasn't totally comfortable. Thankfully, the decision ended up being made for us when the charter school we choose decided not to test any kids into the Kinder program this year. Pre-Kindergarten it was!!!

Today was the first day, and I'm feeling really good about our decision. He will be going five days a week, although only for a half day. He eats lunch there and then comes home at 12:30. I think it's the perfect way to ease in to full day Kinder next year! The school has a Montessori feel, and I feel very good about the academic structure and that he will be learning what he needs to for next year!

He's been excited about starting for weeks and this past weekend we went and got him a brand new lunchbox, and on Monday we had meet the teacher night! He was a little bit shy when I dropped him off this morning, but he makes friends so easily I know he will warm up and be fine within a week or so! 

I can't believe my little boy is officially starting his school career. Like, this is it. Pre-K this year, next year Kinder and before you know it he'll be in high school. I'm so proud of the little man he is becoming, but it's a little bittersweet. Although it will be nice to have a little more freedom during the day (and even more so when L2 starts his preschool, hopefully in September) I'm going to miss being with him all day, everyday. It's also been a little surreal to be doing all those "school mom" things: packing lunches, signing up for the PTA and marking our calendar for school actives!

So, yes, I missed him today, and I was excited to go pick him up. But the best part was seeing how happy he was and listening to him tell me about all the fun things he did! And, of course, what would the first day of school be without mommy taking my boys our for a little treat?

Hope all you other Mama's had good first days of school too!!!!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

9 months!

9 months! Our little guy has now been on the outside for as long as he was "on the inside". I seriously fall more and more in love with him everyday. I love all my children equally and differently, if that makes sense. They all have little things that make may heart swoon, and they also all have little things that drive me up the wall! But there is something about this third baby… he just has me wrapped around his finger. Maybe it's the thought that he might be my last, but I find myself really soaking in every moment of his babyhood.

He is still not walking, but he is super close and he really wants to be! He pulls up and cruises on everything and he will let go and hold his balance and you can see him thinking about taking a step! He's also mastered the super fast crawl and if you take your eyes off him for even a second he will be getting into something that he's not suppose to!

He's also recently discovered the stairs. We have a baby gate, but with two other kids and dogs it does happen that it doesn't get latched, and several times I have looked around for R only to discover him halfway up! He seems to be under the impression that we are hiding something from him upstairs and he tried to escape up there to explore any chance he gets!

We are still exclusively breast feeding, although I have notice that my milk has started to regulate itself a little bit.  I was overproducing quite a bit, and was pumping close to 20 additional oz a day, on top of his regular breast feeding. It's always a pain to have to pump, but it was nice because I have a pretty huge freezer stash built up for emergencies. However, in the past week or so I've noticed that I'm not needing to pump as much and that when I do pump I"m only getting about 10 oz a day. At first it really freaked me out that I was losing my milk supply (I even took a pregnancy test… it was negative!) but then I realized that he's 9 months and my body is just regulating! He's nursing about 5 times a day still, but he's very efficient and we can usually nurse both sides in about ten minutes. He has a jar of baby foot at lunch and another one at dinner and we are giving him little pieces of our food at each meal.

Sleep is going OK. We had a bit of a wonder week/growth spurt about a week ago, and that was rough. I felt like we had a newborn again. R was waking up about 4 or 5 times every night and he was not going back down as easily as he normally does. I'm still not ready to move him onto his room, but I have been trying to curb our co-sleeping a little. Normally the first time he wakes up I automatically bring him in, but I've been trying to put him back to sleep in the pack and play and not bring him in until at least 3. It's been hard, but I know we need to start moving in that direction. I do love our co-sleeping though and I know I'm going to miss it when he leaves our room completely. He still nurses about one time during the night, and more this past week with the growth spurt, and he's also been starting to wake up earlier. The other kids usually don't wake up until about 7 or 7:30 so when he's up between 5:30 and 6:30 it's feels pretty early!

He's still loving playing with his bothers and we love watching his relationship with them grow! He's pretty attached to all of us, but me the most these days. He will cry if I walk out of the room and he hates it if we have to put him in his crib, even for a minute. We all adore him and he's probably a little bit spoiled!!!

Happy 9 months R!!!