Our family is growing in many ways... Growing in numbers, knowledge, parenting skills, growing in love, in our faith, growing our culinary skills (if you can call it that), growing without gluten (some of us), growing green...........

Thursday, May 29, 2008


So this was actually from this LAST Saturday... Like I said, I'm more in the "lazy" phase these days... I get things done, it might just take a while!

Last Saturday, Ryan took his final CPA exam, and we decided to celebrate (as if he had already passed b/c we just know he DID! - we won't find out until the end of June for sure). Some friends gave us our "champagne" (sparkling cider - since I can't have the real deal) for my graduation, so we used it to toast that and the CPA exam. Camden and I found a red velvet cake for Ryan b/c that's his very favorite. And we had all of this BEFORE dinner. :) That's the best time, right? Ryan was pleasantly surprised when he got home to find the set up (we got home JUST before he did - I mean seconds!)

Here are a few pics from our little celebration.

The glasses are the ones we got for our wedding toast.

Camden was very excited that he could have a drink, too! He said, this tastes like spicy apple juice!

Throw in some ice cream...what could be better??

Daisy & Ryan - DONE WITH STUDYING!!!
(And JUST in time!)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Nesting Instinct???

I told Ryan the other day that this is how I feel. Doesn't seem that the "nesting instinct" is kicking in with me! Most days (esp last week!), I just want to lay around all day and be lazy - and, yeah, eat cake and ice cream. (Why not??) Yes, I have a big to-do list that is *slowly* getting done. But I would rather just sleep in and do nothing...

Many people say the nesting instinct is this instinct to prepare for the baby - get things cleaned up, get the rooms ready, etc, etc. I think my body is instead telling me to prepare in another way - do the things now that I won't be able to do when baby comes, such as sleep and relax. ;) That's my justification, at least!

Now, I don't just sit around and do nothing, but I certainly am not feeling that "nesting" thing kicking in.

My Child and His Conscience

I've been reading this book The Sociopath Next Door. So I've been paying more attention to how people act since I've started reading it.

This weekend was Memorial Day weekend, and we decided to cook out on Sunday. I heard the boys outside - something was obviously going on. When I went to the porch, they were watching this tiny little snake that was a few feet away. Ryan, not knowing if it was poisonous or not, dropped this concrete stepping stone on it. I felt terrible! It was such a tiny little thing, and I know that wouldn't kill it - just hurt it. It was on some pine needles that had been put around the tree, so there was plenty of cushion to keep it from being squashed. So, I say something. Camden proceeded to jump on top of the stone, hoping that would solve the problem. I was actually pretty sad for the snake! It most likely is not poisonous, and it wasn't in our way. It was staying in the bushes, and it had actually been under some other stone that Camden moved (one I've told him not to move many times...). And if you're going to kill something you think might hurt you - do it quickly so you don't cause pain, you know. That's how I am.

Once Camden took a moment to think about all of this, he got really upset. He told me he felt really bad that he might have hurt or even killed the snake. He was actually upset about this for the rest of the day. After we removed the stone, the snake was still for quite a long time, but he did move later on when we weren't watching. I felt bad, too, but I tried to reassure Camden that the snake must be ok since it left. But he still felt bad even at bedtime. I felt even worse for him because I hate to see him hurting like that and not being able to take it away. There's nothing like seeing your child hurt like that, regretting something he can't take back (even if it is a snake). I told him that I was so happy he had such a big heart, though.

So what was the point about mentioning the book at the beginning of this post? Well, like I said, I've been paying attention to how others act. So, with all of this going on, I couldn't help but be happy because it was very obvious that my child has a conscience and is definitely not a sociopath (I already knew this, but it's nice to be reminded - haha!). He had seen the cover one day and asked what "conscience" meant, which I explained to him. I even told him during all of this, Camden, see you have a conscience because you show that you care about this snake and are concerned you might have hurt it. So while I felt bad for the snake and terrible for how Camden felt about his part in it, there was definitely a silver lining to see my son care so much about this little creature and how his actions can affect other things.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

THAT time of the school year

It is near the end of school for Camden, which means...EOG Testing! (End-of-grade testing - for those of you without children in school) And with him being in third grade, this is a big year. Third grade is a benchmark grade - and the first time that testing actually counts for something.

Camden had a friend over this past weekend, and she asked him, "Are you afraid of the EOG's?" He looks at her like why would I be afraid? and replies, "No." Apparently she is, as I'm sure many are. They are taught this is the BIG TEST (well, testS). But Camden had no worries. They did pre-EOG sample tests so they would understand what to expect (at the beginning of the year to determine where the children were and just recently to prepare them for the actual EOG's), and he did just fine on those. OK, better than fine. He did great.

Day 1 of the EOG's was reading. Ummm...piece of cake for this kid. The only worries we had was he would rush through (which the teacher thought he did), so we remind him over and over to take his time, read everything carefully, go over all answers even if he's sure the first choice is correct - that sort of stuff. On the way home that day, I asked how it went. Oh so nonchalantly, Camden says, "It's just like any other test we take. Just a bit longer." So basically - no big deal. The next two days (today being the last day) covered math, and he thought the same way. He did go slower and take his time on these, but he still thought it was all really easy. (I reminded him that even if it is easy, he still needs to take it seriously, and I expect that he did.)

I'm actually looking forward to seeing his results! I get excited when it's time for his report card and testing results to come in. The only thing I ever worry about is his conduct...since he does seem to have a hard time being quiet at times. So yay for the first time taking the EOG's. I'm so grateful that this comes easily to him. He didn't get unnecessarily stressed out over anything but still tried his best.

Oh - and he thought he would get to go to bed a little later, too.... His teacher reminded them that they needed to go to bed earlier, such as by 8:30 (her example). Apparently I am in the minority of parents that put their children to bed earlier on a regular basis, as Camden's bedtime is between 7:30 and 7:45 (if he gets up well and is ready on time, it's the latter). I remind him that he will not be staying up LATE on a testing week and explain that some children do not get enough sleep and stay up later to begin with (or they might not need as much sleep as he does). And with that, he dropped it. He knows my reasoning - and knows I am right - and he doesn't bother to push it because of that. He wasn't arguing at all - just thought hey, the teacher says to go to bed at 8:30 this week... Ha. Ha.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Loving My Pregnant Belly!!!

Just for the record, in case you haven't noticed...I love having a preggo belly! Love it. :) Here's a recent pic of me and the belly (and Aiden!). I'm 27 weeks here.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Big Weekend! Daisy's MSW Hooding Ceremony & Mother's Day!

This weekend was a busy one with lots to celebrate! :) My mom and Gene came to visit from KY for my hooding ceremony. I am now officially a Master's of Social Work! It was great to spend time with them!!! Mom even brought stuff to make my favorite meal of all time (venison roast!). MMmmmm...it was worth it just for that! Haha! And then today was Mother's Day. They had to leave early this morning for the drive back home, but it was so nice to actually be able to see my mom on Mother's Day this year! Here are some pictures from the weekend...

I'm an MSW!!

Family pictures after the hooding

The pregnant graduate ;)

Happy Mother's Day!!!!!!!

Here are some more pictures.

To see them as an album, click on the slideshow,

and you will be taken to our online picasa website.

Friday, May 9, 2008

How About Some Positivity?

Ok, I thought I could get on here and complain about how things are not really better, but some places on my back are still getting worse...or I could let that go for a bit and talk about some things I am grateful for. I think I'll opt for the grateful stuff, huh? :)

I was thinking this morning... I woke up all throughout the night and tend to really have a hard time sleeping when it's raining (are you wondering about the grateful or does this sound like complaining? I'm getting there...). I'm not scared of storms at all, but it was raining quite a bit and a little after 5am, there was some really loud thunder. I do happen to know that this would scare Camden if it woke him up. So, I thought I would wait a bit to see if he was woken by it...and then he comes running into the bedroom. I immediately pulled back the blanket and said, hop in! I have always tried to prevent him from being scared of storms - he gets this from his dad. I remind him, it's just noise - nothing will hurt you. But I can't help but enjoy that he is lying there with me and we're cuddling. :) And it led me to think about some other things that I am so grateful for with him. And some things that I am surprised to be able to still be grateful for.

When Camden started Kindergarten, I knew he might suddenly stop wanting to kiss and hug me in public. That's when a lot of kids do that - when they start school and are around other kids and might get embarrassed. Never happened. I kept waiting and expecting it (I still do!), appreciating every goodbye kiss he gave me in front of the school bus. Still hasn't happened. He'll be in 4th grade in the fall, and he still hugs and kisses me in public, holds my hand when we walk sometimes, tells me he loves me. I love every single second of it. He's not shy about it at all; he never gets embarrassed. I never push it, but I don't have to, either. We're very cuddly. He won't hesitate to cuddle up with me on the couch under a blanket while we both read or chat. I've been walking him home from school the past week since I've been out of grad school, and from time to time, he'll grab my hand and hold it for a little bit. :) When he lets go, I let him. But I can't help but be overjoyed that he wanted to hold my hand for a bit (and we're walking along a very busy street!).

Camden has this little blankie that means the world to him. My stepdad's mother, Grandma Strode, made it for him when he was born, and he sleeps with it every night. There are little bits of yarn tied at each corner throughout the blanket, and he would always play with them as he fell asleep. This past summer, we realized the edges were getting worn and he might need to retire the blanket soon. That would not do. We turned to Mammaw Melly who can sew and fix anything. They went to the store to find some fabric to put around the edges, and she was so impressed that he just marched in there with his blanket in tow, not thinking twice about what anybody might think about an 8-year-old boy carrying a "blankie" in public. Didn't even cross his mind! And he won't hesitate to take it with him for sleepovers, as well as a little stuffed animal to sleep with. I am so thankful that he is that secure with himself and doesn't think about what others will say. (He also made sure that the new fabric covered the edges but showed some of the original edging - how cute is that?)

Camden is also quite sensitive. He will cry and get his feelings hurt easily. True, sometimes this is frustrating. It took me a long time to get the kid to take a joke, and it meant really working at it with him. And he still has a hard time sometimes. (I'm sensitive, too, so he probably gets this one from me - but I'm also not one to feel sorry for people easily, so I have to watch it!) But the positive spin - he thinks about others, too. I'll hear him sometimes when he's playing outside with some other kids. Someone will stumble but not actually get hurt, and Camden will still say "Are you ok?" and really care. When we remind him to think about someone else's feelings, he can do that easily and understands others' hurt. It really helps him to think about how he can affect them b/c he knows how things affect him.

And this morning was just one more reminder. I kept thinking how wonderful that he is almost 9 and feels so safe with us that he can admit he is scared and can run to us and know we'll keep him safe and won't brush him off as being silly. He can come to me and cry if he is sad or hurt and knows I won't push him away.

And this is what I am MOST grateful for... When I tell him I love him, he can say "I know." That means the world to me. I wonder how many kids don't really know they are loved, and he has always been able to say this and know it. I say it all the time, but they aren't just words. I back them up. When I'm strict, he knows why. I explain the reasons. When he is in trouble, he knows why. He knows that he doesn't have to say I love you back (though he always does!!) but that he can say "I know" and that makes mommy just as happy, if not more. I am so incredibly grateful for that!! Him being able to know that makes me feel successful as his mommy. :)

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Why All The Back Pain - Now I Know!

I went for my first physical therapy appt today. Glad I'm going now that I know the problems (yes, problemSSSS), but it does (as I was warned) hurt more after the visit. Apparently my pelvic bones on the left side are out of whack. And on the right side, my ribs are kind of out of whack, causing my muscles to go into them a different way than on the left. Hence, all the back pain I have been experiencing. So, I have been sent home with one of those maternity belts to wear - it will help push my pelvic bones in together more (and is billed to insurance so we didn't have to pay for it, a nice bonus). I have a list of exercises to do to help my upper back pain and some other things. And I am to go back once a week for now (unless it gets worse and I need more, which hopefully will not happen!). This lady did all sorts of pushes and pulls on my legs and back. She seemed to really know what she was doing and always hit the right spot when she asked - does that feel any different? is that tender?

And now I know that I need to be icing the spots - not using heat. Whoops. I can never remember which to do when!

So here's to hoping the pain decreases over the next couple months with the help of PT instead of increasing as this baby grows - pushing more on my ribs and adding more pressure to my pelvic bones. Now I am going to go ice my back, since it already hurts from sitting here just to write all of this... :(

*A friend recently told me "pregnancy agrees with me" after seeing me the other day. She meant that I looked great for being pregnant - all belly, glowing, etc. (Not sure if I completely agree with all of that, but I'll take the compliments!) ;) Now, what I really think but don't say is - it's more that pregnancy appears to agree with me - at least on the outside. It seems to be terrible to the inside of my body, though! I have dealt with the hyperemesis gravidarum (and still am in the mornings, still taking the anti-nausea meds), concerns of placenta previa and being limited to what I can do physically because of that, and now these various back problems that are really, really painful (I don't complain much except on here and to my family - b/c what good does that do??). So, while I might look like pregnancy agrees with me, I tend to disagree. :( I keep thinking to myself - I love being pregnant, but pregnancy does not love me back... Not really fair. And the good news (ha!) - all of these tend to worsen with each pregnancy. Oh Yay.

Ok - to the ice now!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

And the winner is.............

Surprise! It's "G" - None of the Above.

Hmmmmmm... Why? Well, the winner based on votes was Baby Boy Blue. And that was the one we WOULD HAVE gone with. The problem? Ok, so when I make decisions on things like this that we are going to purchase, things that need to be good quality to last and things we must like because they'll be around for a while, etc, etc - I do my research. Research on crib bedding, you ask? Yes, even that. I want to see what others have to say about it. It was hard to find reviews on this set b/c it's new at Babies R Us, but I did find some. Some were negative and exactly what we were worried about - poor quality. This set has the most items out of any of the rest and costs (by far) the least. So we were worried about quality from the beginning. The other set we liked (Spelling Bee) had no reviews anywhere. AND both sets are ONLY available online, so we can't see or touch them to know more for ourselves (before buying and paying for shipping...)

So, we found some accessories we liked with the Baby Boy Blue - if we got that. And we went to BRU to look at them. There we got to see THAT set. Not what I would pick from online maybe - but in person.... The biggest factor - I couldn't keep my hands off of it. The bumper, blanket, and some accessories are INCREDIBLY soft! And the blanket that comes with the set is one you'll actually USE - not one of those comforters that is really only good for hanging on the wall. Ryan liked the set. Camden liked it. It wasn't expensive, has great reviews, even the guy working recommended it (and there were many more pricey ones he could have tried to recommend but didn't). We went home planning on changing our theme to this one. Ryan was pretty happy as HIS goal was to go home with our minds made, and I suppose he got that. (And hopefully I can stick to this decision and simply not look at any others or start to second guess!!!)

Here it is... Pop Star
It's actually a little darker in person than this - a great light blue (one could even call it UNC blue...) and chocolate brown. And many other pieces from other sets will match wonderfully, too!

So - whaddya think? Now that you've voted for A,B,C,D,E, and F - and we chose G.... ;)

After realizing how soft this set was and how I just couldn't keep my hands off it, I joked to Ryan - I wonder which I'll touch more, the baby or the bedding??? Haha! (It really is that soft! But I'm sure the baby will get more attention.)