Potty Training (guest post by Daniel, age 2)


   This has been a most exciting week at our house.  It all started Sunday, church day, when we found baskets of toys and candy just sitting on the kitchen table!!!  It had the most delicious food I have ever tasted in these little plastic eggs.  
  We all went to church, just like every Sunday.  I cried when Daddy dropped me off, but as soon as he couldn’t see me I started to play.  They have really cool toys in there.  After church I got to eat even more candy, and I was so excited!  That was the best day!
   I am a big boy now.  I really am because I can use the potty.  I am so happy Mommy lets me use the potty.  The bathroom is a really fun room.  I used to love to flush things, but I’m over that now.  Now the sink is my favorite.  I wash my hands all the time!  I would wash my hands every few minutes or so, if Mommy would just let me keep a kitchen chair pushed up to the sink.  But every time I push Daddy’s chair over to the kitchen sink, they come in and move it back!  Did you know that I can reach anything in the world, as long as I can stand in a chair!?  It’s fantastic.
   Today I even went whoo-whoo stinky in the bathroom, like a big boy.  Daddy said it’s supposed to all go in the toilet though.  I was so proud anyway.   
 Oh!  Mommy also showed me an amazing new toy!  Choo-choo trains that ride on tracks!  Some of them even have remote controls.  I love playing with them, and there are whole boxes full of train stuff.
   My brothers are lots of fun too.  I love my brothers.  Sometimes, in the morning, Joshua helps me come down the stairs, and we bump down together on our bottoms.  And sometimes Caleb takes my toys and won’t give them back, but Mommy always helps me, so I always tell on him.  
   Every day, after my brothers get home from school, Mommy takes us to the playground.  I love to play in the mulch at the playground.  I like to pile it on people’s shoes and knock down mounds that other people make.  Today was awesome because there were little girls, not much bigger than me, at the playground, and they were playing in the mulch too.  I followed them around and dug into some of their mounds, but sometimes they would get mad and throw mulch at me.  It was worth it, though, until I fell and got mulch all in my jacket, all in my shirt, and even in my mouth.  Mommy fixed it though.  I love Mommy.
  After a while, I get tired of the mulch and the slides, and then I go looking for the giant puddle, but lately the giant puddle is gone!!  It’s just dirt now, but it’s good dirt, with lots of sticks, so it’s still a good place to play.
  Thank you so much for all the fun birthday presents I got!  I have had so much fun playing with my Little People Zoo, my new red and yellow car, my lego farm, and everything else.  Thank you! 
 I have to go to bed now.  I love bedtime.  I sleep with a whole bunch of stuffed animals and my blanket, and Mommy always kisses me on each cheek before she closes the door.  If I ask her, she will even give me extra kisses, so I always ask her and show her which cheek to kiss.   Best of all, on nights when I’m having trouble sleeping, if I cry and yell real loud, Daddy will come in and sing songs to me until I fall asleep.  I love my mommy and daddy so much.  
by:  Daniel, age 2
Quote of the day:  
Joshua:  That’s not the kind of cheese I like.
Alan:   (holding the kind of cheese Joshua likes, only not shredded, the way Joshua eats it)  Yes, it is, see, watch, I’m going to show you.
Joshua:  *groan*  *shakes head*  I know that’s not the kind I like, though.
Alan:  You know everything, don’t you Joshua?
Joshua:  Yeah, I really do.
Alan:   Wow.  How do you know so much for such a young boy?
…..In the end, Alan actually did convince Joshua that the block cheese is the same as shredded, by shredding it in front of him.  I’ve done that before too, but he still wanted me to shred it.  Maybe this time the message got through.
Accomplishment of the Day:
Joshua is enjoying baseball practice so far.  He now has two friends on the team, so that goes a long way.  Tonight Alan let them run a race.  Joshua won, so he was pretty proud of that.
Good news of the day:  
I had my 3 hour fasting glucose test.  That was not fun.  You do not have to have a sugar problem for that test to make you feel awful, drinking that stuff on an empty stomach.  The good news is I passed the test.  I do not have gestational diabetes.
New goal:
Alan and I have made a new goal to get back to getting to bed at a decent hour, by 10 at the latest.  Lately, we’ve had so much trouble getting up early in the morning because of how late we stay up.  So I guess I should go to bed!

When Your Head is Out of Sorts…..

Aren’t they funny?  I normally feel a bit more like Caleb in the picture, happy and energetic…..Over the last week, I have become a living representation of the face Joshua is making right there.  If only I could just go back to bed!

   I have often heard people say that pregnancy is more difficult on the body as you get older, but I never experienced it until lately.  Joshua was my overall hardest pregnancy, to include excessive vomiting in the first trimester as well as shockingly bad sciatica pain in the third trimester.  Yet, that was my youngest pregnancy!
   I was doing so great until the Spring Break from the Arctic!  That’s when “the wave” started and then what we’ll refer to as the great sugar and anemia crash of 2013…..this weekend.
   I’m still not put back together yet, ya’ll.  My ankles are still swollen when I wake up in the morning, I have had a headache for about 24 hours, and if I eat the least bit of sugary food I start to seriously crash.
   My house is ……kind of gross (especially the floors and the potty training bathrooms), and I VOW to have that fixed by the end of the week, even if I have to clean them sitting down!  
   Oh!  And the grass turned green this week (in spite of the still freezing temps), so I’m thinking the headache could be allergy related.  I am SO allergic to grass.  
   Yesterday Caleb and I were leaving his swim lessons, and my head got so swimmy and confused feeling, I just had to take us straight home, neglecting the other errands I was supposed to be running.
  Okay, so I’ve painted the picture for you, right?  I’m kind of at a low point.  Please excuse any odd behavior from me this month!
  But don’t worry.  All will be okay.  Here’s why:
  1.  I went to the commissary today.  I did my research on the internet and bought all pregnant diabetic friendly snacks and foods.  ALSO, I made it through the entire trip without having any weird “waves.”
  2. While at the commissary (love that place), I also bought Zyrtec–hoping that will nix the headache.  Don’t worry.  It’s already on my list of meds in my records, so I know I’m allowed to take it.
  3. I’ve started praying a lot about my conditions, since God can do more than I can. 
  4. I’ve been taking iron supplement, prenatal vitamin (which I had neglected in the past), folic acid supplement, and a vitamin C supplement.  According to what I’ve read, it could take a week for my body to use that iron to build up enough hemoglobin to get me feeling better again.
  5. The baby is fine.  He just took ALL  my iron, and that’s why I don’t have any.
  6. The baby has turned to the head-down position.  : )  I know b/c he has hiccups now, making me quite certain of the exact location of his head and upper body.  
  7. I may not even HAVE gestational diabetes, per say.  However, I definitely seem to be negatively impacted by sugary foods, so I’m improving my diet anyway.  Well, I’m trying to do so.  I’ve failed miserably so far, but the disappearance of Easter treats should definitely help!
  8. Oh, and Mom, don’t worry about Iron side effects.  I needed it so badly, I have had no side effects, and my fingernails are even starting to turn pink again.  (Anemia pales your skin out, very noticeable in the fingernails).  
  9. Lastly, I didn’t realize that I had almost taken beef completely out of our diet.  We rarely do pot roasts or steaks, and I had replaced ground beef with ground turkey.  I have changed all that now.  We have returned to ground beef, bought a pot roast, I’ve been eating beef about once a day the last few days!
For good, CORRECT information on anemia, here’s a link that I found helpful:
  The rest of our family is doing well.  Alan has seemed so much less stressed to me the last couple of days, which has been a great relief.  I know some of you were really praying for him, and we super appreciate it.  Alan’s amazing.  He’s not the kind that stresses because he has a paper due tomorrow because he turns all of his assignments in days in advance.  The one he’s working on now is due April 15.    You know what’s really great about that?  His anti-procrastination also makes me feel less stressed.  
  Tonight is Alan and Joshua’s first baseball practice–actually it’s a batting practice.  Joshua is in a “machine pitch” league this year.  I think Joshua will enjoy it once he adjusts, right now he just feels intimidated by it.  He still says that baseball is his sport, even though he never wants to practice….
  What Joshua likes to do is jump on the trampoline and DRAW……and draw and draw and draw.  Both sets of grandparents bought Joshua and Caleb drawing notebooks this Christmas, and we were all so thankful.  Joshua has pretty much drawn so much in all four notebooks, I’m not sure if there’s any paper left.  I’m constantly finding my finance notebook and my to-do list notebook covered in Mario and Bowser (Mario’s arch enemy) drawings.  
  Caleb is still doing well in school.  That kid is a really quick learner!  We’ve also been relieved that he has not been a behavior problem.  Going into it we weren’t quite sure how Caleb would do with school, but he really just loves it.  
  Caleb told Alan this week, “I wike to build stuff.  I’m going to be a builder when I grow up!”  That makes me smile b/c I remember how as a toddler he was always taking everything apart, and now he’s so good at putting things together.  Even train tracks.   He was a whiz at putting together those GeoTrax train tracks by the time he was 2 1/2.
  Daniel is calling me.  I put him down for nap, but I  believe he has probably pooped and wants me to come change his diaper.  He is SO well potty trained with #1, but he hasn’t attempted #2 on the potty yet, and I’ve been too scared of dealing with it to push the issue…..but I suppose it must be done….
  I’m off to clean up Dan!

When your midwife calls on a Saturday it’s not a good sign. That Easter I was pregnant

Happy Easter!
 I just spent an hour on my Easter post……and then suddenly everything completely disappeared…..

So instead I will just stick to the highlights, as I am now in a pretty bad mood….

–Thursday night I came down with a head cold and fever (like my 4th cold this winter), but I powered through and we had a really good time at the Farm Park on Friday.

–By Saturday, I was so unusually exhausted and miserable, I just crashed.  I literally did not move from my chair until 11am.  Poor Alan had to take care of his regular responsibilities, while also helping me with mine.  As if he’s not stressed enough already.  I came in and out of sleep the entire day, and I seemed to have no power over it.  I wanted to be productive, but my body just couldn’t follow through.

–After sleeping all day and accomplishing nothing, I finally got up around 4pm, cleaned the kitchen, played with Caleb and Daniel, and did some laundry.

Then my midwife called.

Now you know it’s not good news when your midwife calls you at home on a Saturday.  She said that my glucose level was too high, so I have to do the 3-hour fasting glucose test this week.  IF I fail it as well, I will be considered “gestational diabetes,” follow a special diet, and have to do finger sticks daily (like multiple times daily).
Also, I am anemic, and I have to take an Iron supplement three times a day, as well as a Vitamin C supplement to help my body absorb the iron.
I’m at least glad to know about the anemia.  I thought it odd that I’d gotten this far into the pregnancy without anyone commenting on my iron levels.  I’m hoping once I pick up the prescribed iron on Monday that my energy will come back.
After sleeping the entire day of Saturday, I was still able to sleep all night long last night, and didn’t really want to get out of the bed this morning.  That’s just crazy!

Our Easter is quite informal this year…..the only outfit I planned in advance was Daniel’s.  I had planned a ham dinner for the family on Sunday, but since I spent Saturday sleeping that didn’t happen.  The shame:  everyone had leftover pizza for Easter lunch, and I had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and yogurt.
The boys wore shirts to church this morning that barely even qualify as “Sunday dress,” and right now I could wolf down a box of macaroni and cheese without batting an eye, but I won’t.

In an hour we are going to an Easter dinner with our Sunday school class, so that’s good.  I have a sweet potato casserole baking in the oven that I’m not supposed to eat, if I do have the gest. diabetes.
You know what though?  The boys still have had a great Easter.  They have no idea that nothing was as I would have planned it!  And they were so cute this morning, showing Daniel his Easter basket.  Joshua was more excited about helping Daniel with his basket than he was with his own, and I had to hold Caleb off an hour from waking up all his brothers so they could see their baskets.
I’m thankful my children are blissfully unaware of the golden Baptist standard of Easter that most of us are accustomed to!!  Ha!



Oh!  By the way, I took birthday money sent by DaddyO, Nonna, as well as Great-Grandmama and Great Grandaddy, and bought Daniel a Cozy Coupe!  Happiest baby ever!  THANK YOU!  It hasn’t been outside yet since it’s cold, and Dan’s nose has run all winter, but he rides it around the living room and kitchen.  He loves it!


so adorable, and I believe this outfit was even worn by Alan!


Happy Easter, ya’ll!

Fun Things to do in Fairfax County: Frying Pan Farm Park

frying pan farm park

Frying Pan Farm Park


Today Alan took the day off work, and we all visited a local Farm Park.  Everyone had a good time, in spite of the ever-present chill.  They had farm animals, a blacksmith shop, a wagon ride, a carousel, and a playground.
We felt like Caleb was really channeling his DaddyO in this fleece vest.
The Blacksmith Shop:  This is the very first time that all three boys actually listened to the demonstration given by the volunteer blacksmith.  We are crossing into new parenting territory with these oldest two growing up so fast!
   I think one of these two pictures of the brothers on the fence should definitely be framed!
27 weeks!
Joshua took a bunch of these pictures of Caleb while we were waiting on the wagon ride to start.  I think he did a really good job.
Dan’s first carousel ride
Daddy, being silly

Dan squeezed in a little playtime with his new Little People Zoo from Grandaddy and Nana.  He likes it a lot.  Thank you!  Joshua even helped me put it together!


…..and those were the highlights of our Spring Break.  Not too shabby, I thought.  I do hope April will bring us more warmth.  As you can see, my jacket is getting to be a bit small for me…….

The Power in the Things We Say

 The power of words is an amazing thing, don’t you think?  Words have the power to build people up or squash a person like a bug.  Words can unite countries or begin wars.  Words make friends and enemies.  We remember certain things people say to us for years and years after we’ve forgotten everything else.

As you might imagine, this is something I deal with frequently, in my current condition.  Now, I will grant you that I realize I am an interesting sight to behold, though I often forget until it is pointed out to me by a stranger or acquaintance.  I’m a sight anyway, with my flaming red hair, walking around with three little boys, but add a giant pregnant belly onto that, and it is an open invitation for…….words.


   Some of it is quite humorous, and I am admittedly laughing in my head at some of the comments, but then there are others.  There are others that serve only to remind me that to the common observer I look like a whale, and why do I look so big?
   Why does it bother me, though?  Most of these comments come from well meaning people, who simply are amazed at how big my belly is and want to talk to me about it.  There’s really nothing wrong with that.  

  With that said, I think the women here have been nicer to me than any women I have ever known.  My friends in my neighborhood and at church have all been so kind and supportive.  I can’t tell you how much it has meant to me.  I have never experienced so much niceness when it comes to remarks about my pregnancy!

 So words also have a wonderful power that I need to use more often!  They have the power to encourage, inspire, and build up.

 “I don’t think anyone ever committed a mean act because too many people had been nice to them.  Indeed the opposite is usually the case.”

  I need to take notes to MYSELF from all of this.  Let this be a lesson to me how important it is to say kind things to others.  I need to make that my goal for this year:  to notice the good things about others and thank them for it!  Words really can make or break your day, even if it is a silly thing.

 The fact is we all hate having our feelings hurt.  Yet, I cannot say to the man on the street who says I must be having twins that that hurts my feelings.  Wait.  Maybe I could.  It would be awfully funny to see their face when I said it……hmmm..  

What do I say to such remarks!?  I wish I knew.  I’m a delayed reactor as it is, but when I hear such things I’m always so surprised that I simply say nothing and smile.  Of course, I always think of dozens of things to say later on…..not really nice things though….

 Here, for your reading enjoyment, are comments I have received about the way I look, just this week:

 1.) lady at bounce place, where I took the kids:

“How far along are you?”

 Me:  (inwardly dreading her response to my answer)  6 1/2 months.

Lady:  *eyes widen*  Oh!

Me:  ….smiling politely

Lady:    You just look further along than that.

Me:  smiling politely

Lady:  *beginning to realize she may have hurt my feelings, I guess*  “Oh, well, you’re just so tiny that it really sticks out on you.”

(actually that helps)


#2.) I was taking a nap when Joshua rushed into my room to wake me up b/c someone was at the door.  I troop downstairs, still half asleep, and discover two packages and a man standing on the doorstep.  

 I figured he must be the mail or UPS delivery man, and I went to work scooping up the packages, not really paying him much attention, until I began to realize he wasn’t leaving.

He said, “So how far along are you?  I don’t mean to be rude.  It’s just that your legs are so skinny, I figured you must be…”

Now I hadn’t really looked at him until he said this b/c I was still in my drowsy state and wasn’t thinking about him, only the boxes (Dan’s birthday present from my parents), so I looked up at him and almost laughed at this unusual comment.

“6 1/2 months”  I said.  Hey, at least this salesman knew how to be nice!

He started to give a spill about roofing, so I interrupted him and let him know we’re just the renters here.

“Oh,” he said, “well, then I guess your landlords probably take care of that sort of thing.  So is this your second baby?”

…..Now what you don’t know is that I was wearing very minimal make-up, straightened hair, blue jeans, and a long sleeve t-shirt.  I looked way too young to have to say what I had to say in response to that question…

 I hesitated a minute, b/c for some reason I sometimes find this to be an embarrassing answer….

 “Actually, it’s my fourth, ” I said and chuckled because sure enough his mouth did unintentionally drop open…

 If only Alan could have been around.  He loves shocking people so much, and I really should just embrace it too.  Why start trying to fit in now?


3.) This one was today, from my chiropractor, who really knows better:

I walked in for treatment, and he said, “Let me guess, it’s twins and one is a girl!” 

 Now I go there every two weeks, so he knows good and well that I don’t like it when people comment on how huge I am–because I’ve told him that– and I am certainly not having a girl, which he knows that too.  

 My best guess is that he thought he was funny.   Sometimes I’m not sure I understand some people’s definition of funny!


4.)  Also today:  

  Caleb:  That baby is ready to come out.  He’s coming out any day.

 You know what’s funny?  Those little boys can say whatever they want about my belly, and it doesn’t bother me at all.  

 I tell them all the time, “Look how huge my belly is,” so really they are okay.  Perhaps I should teach them to be sure to never say that about anyone else’s belly though…..

And now I know that I’m not exactly known for being April the Sweet Darling, so I’m going to work on this myself!  I do not want to bring people down, but bring people up with my words!  

 Words can make someone’s day, especially sincere ones, and I need to be better about complimenting the good in people!



In other news:  I saw my midwife today.  Believe it or not, my belly measured one week behind.  (Take that, pregnancy bullies.)   I took yet another glucose test, hopefully my final.  (They always think I have the gestational diabetes b/c I keep giving birth to massive babies.)  

 At my next appointment (April 24), I get to schedule my c-section, and I will even know which doctor will be performing it.  Roll Tide!


blood pressure:  120/69

weight gain:  total 22 pounds, but only 5 lbs since my visit 4 weeks ago, which is insanely good for me, in the third trimester!  I’ve usually gained about 30 pounds by now.

baby’s heart rate:  in the 150s  (normal)

fundal height (uterine measurement):  26 weeks  

 The midwife said that could just be the way the baby is lying.  This has always been a much greater predictor for me though, than ultrasond estimates.  

 The ultrasound tech always thinks my baby is average sized, but the doc always starts shaking their head around 32 weeks, and saying, “You’re measuring a few weeks ahead…” and sure enough, a baby with “macrosomia”     (large body for gestational age) pops out.  

 I think pregnancy is so weird and interesting!  

Hope you all have an interesting but happy Easter weekend, and may no one spoil your day with unkind words!      




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