Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha…
A few flurries and the whole city of Houston is going nuts. Yes, Houston is experiencing some mild snow, well it is more like flurries. It is lightly coming down and it not even sticking to the grass where I live. I went to MOPs (Mother’s of Pre-Schoolers) today and here was the announcement by the leader to a group of over 150 women, “We are going to end our MOPs meeting a little early today because schools are closing early. We also don’t want anyone driving on the roads as the weather gets bad. The snow is really coming down hard. So please be careful driving home and walking on the side walks.”
Yes, no joke they are closing schools early. Local school districts are closing anywhere from 1- 3 hours early. As I drove home from my MOPs meeting today (around 12pm), I passed a local middle school. The entire school was outside, scads of middle schoolers running across the school yard with their hands lifted and screaming in delight at the sight of flurries, oh opps, I mean snow. The sight had me laughing so hard that Cooper starting to mimic my laughter even though he had not idea what I was laughing about.
Having lived in Maryland, I just find Texans’ reaction to the light flurries/ snow to be comical. Marylanders would not even bat an eye at the type of weather we are having here. Having said all that, it is still nice to see a little white stuff coming down. Reminds me of home. I have really missed Maryland the past few months. But I believe that God has blessed me because I was able to see leaves changing colors over Thanksgiving- beautiful red, yellow, and orange leaves as we retreated to Chris’s family’s farm. Houston trees are even begining to show sings of fall. I took a walk with Cooper yesterday around my neighborhood and just soaked up the colors in the trees. Then today little white flakes, simple reminders that God really does love us. He takes delight in making us happy. I have felt very lonely here in Houston lately, but even though I may be far from home and what is familiar to me, God has not left me. He has given me comfort through his creation. The snow and the changing leaves are just signs from God that all is not lost, but there is hope here in Houston!
It seems that taking care of Cooper got pretty difficult from about 9-12 months. This is really mostly my fault. I lacked structure to our day. Other than I knew what time he was suppose to eat and sleep, the rest of the day was a free-for-all. I had all his toys in random boxes and bins on the floor in his playroom. He could basically grab any toy he wanted to play with at any point. The result from my lack of structure in his day and his toys laying around at his disposal- a clingy child who did not know how to self-play or entertain himself for long. He also lacked discipline because I was not trying to create boundaries and guidelines to his day.
When Cooper was a baby, I had done Babywise with him to train him to sleep through the night. He slept through the night, 7-8 hours stretch, from about 9 weeks old. He slowly increase his sleep. By the time he was 5 months old he was sleeping 10 hours at night and by 6 months old he was sleeping 12 hours at night. He had regular nap times and things ran smoothly. Thank you Babywise! Babywise is a book meant for parents of infants 0-5 months old. Then the next book in the series is Babywise II. I bought the book and read it, but decided that I really did not need to implement all the things that the book suggested. One of the recommendations was that you put your 5-15 months old in a pack n play daily for a short period of time with a few toys. This structured time was suppose to teach a child how to play on his own and to develop mental focus since there are not a lot of toys. However, I decided not to follow this recommendation, because Cooper hated to be in his play pen or pack n play. Man did I pay the price for this later!
So anyways, I found myself with a cranky, clingy, can’t play by himself, undisciplined child and it was about to be the end of me. I decided that perhaps I should revisit Babywise II (5-15 month olds) and buy the next couple of books in the series, Pre-Toddlerwise (12-18 months), and Toddlerwise (14 months through 3 years-old). I also stumbled into a group on www.babycenter.com for mom’s who are currently implementing the babywise and other wise programs with their children. Between the books and the group I joined on babycenter.com, I have learned so much about how to structure Cooper’s day and disciplining him. Cooper is doing such a better job playing independently, he minds Chris and I much better now, he does not cling to me as much, and he seems to be in a better mood and happier!
Thoughts on discipline:
Before I reread Babywise II and picked up Pre-Toddler Wise. My main form of discipline was telling him “no.” If that did not work, I usually would look him in the eyes and gentle squeeze his hand to get his attention (not to the point of pain). The gentle hand squeeze did come from babywise. If that form of correction did not work, we did time out in his mini-pack n play for 30 sec to a minute. That would usually do the trick. I will say, even with all of those strategies in place, my discipline was still not working effectively. The problem was with saying, “no” over and over again. After reading through Pre-Toddlerwise and Toddlerwise, they speak about first time obedience. I am not going to get into that topic to much, but I will say that if Cooper does not respond after the first no, and I give him time to comply, then he get a brief time out. This quick and easy discipline strategy has saved me and Chris from saying, no over and over. He will 70% of the time obey us with the first no. He knows that certain things are off limits in our house too, such as the tv buttons, the stairs, and outlet plugs. He is usually good about not touching them! This is saving me a lot of piece of mind so I don’t feel like I am running around disciplining him all day long.
Thoughts on Structure:
As I mentioned earlier in this post, the only part of my schedule that I had down was the time Cooper ate and slept, the rest was free and open to whatever happened. The lack of structure created many discipline problems because he was allowed to roam around the house too much, and touch too many things. Pre-toddler and Toddlerwise would call this- allowing your child too many freedoms. I also had way too many toys out which was over simulating and he was not able to concentrate and just play with one toy. After reading the three -wise books, I made some adjustments. The first was, get all the toys off the floor and into bins. I only allow Cooper to play with a select few toys at a time. I also rotate the toys he is allowed to play with so he does not easily get board with his toys. The next thing I did was structure his day better. To fill in the times between eating and sleeping, I created the following activities: independent playtime, outdoor playtime/ walks, blanket time, table time (which is done in his highchair), TV time, story time, structured play/ learning time, family play time, free play time, bath time, and time to run errands. I have been following this schedule for about a month now, maybe a little longer, and it is great! Keeps Cooper from getting board, keeps me from going nuts trying to entertain him all day long, and has taught Cooper how to self-play and respect boundaries.
The two actives I cannot live without:
Independent play time and blanket time have been a wonderful addition to our schedule and have helped Cooper learn to self-play, develop better mental focus, and respect boundaries and my authority. Cooper plays in his playard every morning for an hour, I select the toys he plays with and rotate them so he is not bored every day. For the first week he cried a lot during independent play time. The crying slowly decrease and I am happy to report that this is the first week where I can put him in the playard and he happily starts to play with his toys! I think he even looks forward to this time. Blanket time I have only been doing for two weeks, but I think it is great! Cooper is told stay on a blanket that is no bigger than 3×4 and I give him very few toys. He started with 10 minutes of play and now we are up to 20 minutes of play on the blanket. It only took 2 days of me picking him up and telling him to stay on the blanket for him to stay put. He cried for about a week, but now no more tears and just play! I went to a restaurant last week and sat him on the ground while I was paying the check. I told him to stay put and Cooper did not move for 5 minutes. It was a very crowded restaurant with lots of temptations to allure Cooper, but he was able to resist them and obey me. I owe this to blanket time.
I am glad I decided to crack down on discipline and structure his day! With twins on the way, I wanted to make sure that Cooper was a happy, compliant child. I did not want to chase Cooper around or having him cling to me throughout the day while I was busy with the twins at various points. I am able to get more done around the house such as laundry, cleaning, and kitchen stuff now because I do not have Cooper constantly clinging to my pant legs and wining or me running after him telling him “no” all the time! So thank you to the -wise series. You have saved my sanity and helped Cooper to be a happier child!
I have blogged about this before, but I hate to clean. I find it just a really hard thing to motivate and do. Right now I need to mop the tile floors, but I am dreading doing it. I already feel like I am a slave to my dishwasher and laundry machine, must I become a slave to the rest of the house too, haha! I know it is easier to clean if you stay on top of things, blah! What’s a girl to do?
Cooper is having his first birthday party this weekend. He turns one on Sept 22. We are just having family and some close friends. Nothing big. I have decided I was going to make Cooper’s birthday cake, a monkey cake. I am not sure how it will turn out, but I will make sure to post pictures once the cake is done. I am going to bake it this evening. We have company coming in tonight and tomorrow so I have to also finish cleaning the house. I HATE to clean. When we am rich one day (haha), I am going to hire a cleaning staff to clean my house every other week 😉 (Keep dreaming, right!?!) We bought some decorations, a birthday banner, and some cups and plates. I know that Cooper will have no idea that it is his birthday, but I am so excited to celebrate this huge milestone with my family. I will post pictures of his party this weekend!
Have a good weekend everyone!
I have been having a lot of trouble sleeping lately. I decided to try and figure out what the heck was causing all this sleep trouble. I know that I suffer from low blood sugar. I need to eat pretty frequently throughout the day, but I don’t always do a good job of it. When my blood sugar drops during the day, I get tired and kind of crabby. As soon as I eat, I usually feel better.
Well, my sleep has been less than desirable lately. I have tried going to bed early, going to bed late, drinking herbal tea before bed, taking a bath, reading a book before bed, etc, etc, etc… I usually end up waking up several times throughout the night and once 5am hits, I seem to be wide awake. So annoying. I feel sluggish all day. I need to get some better rest. Well, this article that I found suggests eating a snack before bed- one that is high in protein. I think I might try eating Turkey before bed. I will let you know how it goes.
A quick disclaimer: this is Chris writing this post.
Working from home has its pros and cons. Not being with your co-workers – and having minimal interaction with others – can get kind of boring after awhile. Today was different however. Today working from home did have interaction – and a slightly adventurous twist.
I’m sitting in the office working away on the computer when I hear a “bam” somewhere in the house. A second later, another “bam”. I look out the window to see three middle school kids throwing things at my house! What the heck! I ran to the door and half slipped my flip-flops on as they started running off. I tore off after them.
Now a couple of things are going through my head. Why in the world did these little punks choose my house to throw things at? Did it cause any damage? How fast can they run? I should be faster, right? But I’m wearing flip-flops. Can I run fast enough in flip-flops? What am I going to do if I catch them? Should I tackle one of them if I have to?
But then I had a would be embarrassing moment had anyone else been watching. As I ran up to the sidewalk I tripped on my flip-flops and my body started getting in front of my feet. I tried to pull out of it but failed. Scraaaape. I put my hands out to break my fall and realized later that I scraped a good piece of flesh off the palm of my hand. I also scraped my hip, knee, and foot but not so bad. But I didn’t have time to focus on that. I had 3 misfits to run down. And now that I had the internal pride-squelcher of tripping on the sidewalk I had to get them. So I pop up and keep running.
I chased them down the sidewalk and around some trees. They’re about 50 ft in front of me but I’m closing in. I’m kind of surprised that I’m catching them, but then, how fast should middle school kids be? But at the same time, I’m starting to feel a little winded. I’m not exactly the workout king or anything so a full-out sprint for any prolonged duration wasn’t going to be easy. But I got a break.
One of the three kids tripped on some roots and uneven ground and fell down. I caught up to him and grabbed his arm. His two friends were a few steps ahead but decided to come back and not abandon him – a noble move.
From that point on they were some of the most respectful kids I have ever met. I briefly scolded them for throwing things at my house and then asked them questions like their names, why they were throwing things, etc. It turns out that they were just throwing water balloons (not as bad). Why? Because they were bored. They thought the girl that used to live here still lived here, and they were getting her back for toilet papering one of their houses. I made them give me their names and phone numbers. I called each of their parents but only got ahold of one (I left messages with the others). I explained what happened to the one kid’s dad and asked him if he wanted to come pick them up. The kids were explaining to me that they didn’t intend to cause any damage and that one of them didn’t even throw any balloons at my house. That didn’t matter to me. Their dad came to get them, apologized, and just had that I’m-not-a-happy-dad attitude.
So I won! Don’t think you can throw things at my house and get away with it. I’ll hunt you down. And then I’ll think I’m really cool because I got some middle school kids in trouble.
In the movie “Annie”, the little girl Annie has a famous line to exclaim her dismay. She said, “leaping lizards.” Well I think I have a new phrase to show my dismay and horror, “flying cockroaches.”
So last night around 2:30am, I hear a noise. We had the ceiling fan on and I though it was a plastic bag on the floor that was blowing around. I get up and move the plastic bag, but I still hear the noise. Then I listen harder and I realize that it is coming near our window. I think it must be bugs that are flying up against the window and making a light tapping sound. I turn the blinds open and see a huge black thing in the dark and quickly shut the blinds again. I exclaim to Chris, “I think there is a HUGE bug in our window.” Chris tells me it is probably stuck between the screen and the window pane. Well I turn on the light and then open the blinds again to inspect. OH MY GOODNESS…it was a huge cockroach and it fell to the floor and then proceeded to FLY! AHHHHHH…..I started to scream, “It’s flying, Kill it, Kill it, It’s flying, I cannot believe it’s flying.” It lands behind my huge chest of drawers. AHHHH….I am totally undone at this point. Chris, half asleep gets up and is trying to locate the cockroach. Finally, about 5 minutes later he found it and killed it with his shoe, my hero! Even though the cockroach was dead, I was very unsettled. I had thoughts of flying cockroaches landing on me in the middle of the night or of me stepping on one if I had to get up and use the bathroom. We had just had an exterminator come out to the house about 4 weeks ago to kill these creatures, but apparently he did not get them all. I insisted that Chris call the exterminator to come back out and do his magic again. Hopefully the second round of extermination will work. I had the hardest time falling back to sleep. I think I finally dozed off around 4:30 and literly a few minutes later, Cooper woke up crying. I was tired and hoping he would fall back to sleep. In my dismay, I said to myself, “Flying Cockroaches! Can this get any worse?”
Okay, So I knew it would be hot in Houston when I moved here. Maryland can have some pretty brutally hot and humid days in late July and August so I just kept telling myself that summer in Houston would be a lot like July/ August in Baltimore. I was wrong! I have lived here for a month now and I have not seen a drop of rain and we have been experiencing record braking temperatures. Today the temperature was 103 and the current temperature outside at 11pm is 86 (at night)! It is hard to want to go out during the day because it is so hot. I hate to drag Cooper along with me because I am afraid he is going to sweat to death. So I guess summer in Houston is a lot like winter in Baltimore, you just stay inside. I must admit, I like the idea of not having a heavy winter here! I guess a heavy summer is not so bad, but just not for my warm blooded family members like my dad, sister, and Cooper.
For my friends and family in Maryland, I hear you were having some cold rainy weather. I would be happy to share some of the heat and drought with you all 😉 I hope the weather starts to warm up and the sun comes out soon so that you can all head outside or to the beach and enjoy yourselves. At least the weather will not be so hot that you feel like you have to hide inside.
Sorry that this post is coming several weeks after our move, but we have been non-stop since we arrived in Texas. We finally got Internet and phone service at the beginning of this week. So hopefully, you will start to have more posts from me now.
I am still in shock that we have actually moved from Maryland and that I am living in Texas. The weekend we moved seemed like a whirlwind and I am not even sure how we were able to get everything packed up and in boxes in time to move out the Tuesday after Memorial Day weekend. Our friend Nathan is probably the only reason we were able to have the truck packed and ready to head out on May 26th. Nathan and Chris moved everything from our condo onto the truck, which was parked around the corner and a good distance from our condo. We had a moving truck that we had to pack on our own, so if it had not been for Nate, not sure if we could have done it. Thanks Nate! I should also mention that my sister Lizzy, Mike, Jill, Chris’ boss Doug, our neighbors Angie and Terry, and Jayme were also a huge help in getting this move accomplished. I should have taken a picture of the truck- 12 cubic feet packed wall-to-wall and ceiling-to-ceiling. Who would have thought that an 1100 square foot condo could hold so much stuff? During our packing and loading of the truck Cooper started to cut his third tooth (left top center tooth). He was extra fussy and a little irritable, but thanks to my sister and Jill for entertaining him, I was able to get all the packing done! Thankfully, Cooper’s tooth broke through the skin the day before we moved so we did not have a fussy baby for our long drive from Maryland to Texas.
On Tuesday, May 26th we turned our keys over to the new owner at 9am. We woke up at 6am and started to frantically clean and throw the last few items in boxes. Chris was actually finishing up his shower when the new owner showed up… shew! So I did one last walk through of the condo. I walked through every room and memories just started to flood my mind. When I finally made it to Cooper’s bedroom, a well of emotions just erupted and I began to cry. Memories of rocking him and feeding in the middle of the night made me sad to leave the condo.
The Road Trip
We got a late start by normal standards, but we were right on Foley time. We did not leave Columbia until 2pm and we drove to Atlanta and arrived at 2:30 in the morning. Cooper did surprisingly well! Jayme went along on the road trip and without her I don’t think we could have make it to Atlanta in that short amount of time. She was great playing with Cooper, handing him toys, and getting the portable DVD player set-up with different Baby Einstein Videos. Oh my Gosh, what would we have done without Baby Einstein? Truly they were our saving grace. Cooper looked like he was hypnotized when we would put them on and we did not hear a peep out of him. I will never leave home without the portable DVD player and Baby Einstein again if going on a road trip longer than an hour or so. Cooper had fallen asleep in the car, but woke up around 12:30am right outside Atlanta. He was crying and I think he was kind of scared. So we popped in a Baby Einstein DVD and problem solved. Yes, so my 8 month-old was awake from 12:30 until 1:30am watching TV…crazy yes….but it saved our sanity! The second day we met for breakfast with Chris’s youth pastor from high school and then left around 11am and did not arrive until 12:30am. Cooper did pretty well but needed a little more attention on the second day. I think the drive was starting to get to him and the lack of “true” sleep was starting to wear on him. But surprisingly enough, he did well and we made it to Houston, Texas in two days and 27 hours later. WOW!
We stayed with Chris’ parents for almost 2 weeks. Jayme stayed for a few more days after we arrived in Houston. We were so busy! We painted Cooper’s bedroom and bathroom and our bedroom and bathroom before we moved in. We did this so the paint fumes would be gone before we were actually living in the house. So this delayed our actually move into our home for a while. Thankfully, Chris’ parents were so great to us and had us stay with them until we could move in. My in-laws have been nothing but generous to us by opening their home to us, giving us their time and labor by helping moving, painting, taking care of Cooper, and cooking for us. They have also helped us out by giving us a few big furniture items like a kitchen table, piano, and shelves, and other things that I will not list. During these two weeks we celebrated my father-in-law’s birthday downtown with dinner and a comedy theater and my brother-in-law and sister-in-law came into town to celebrate. We also went into the city on two other occasions to show Jayme the town. Then the following weekend we headed off to Dallas for my brother-in-law’s surprise birthday party. So needless to say, the first two weeks we were here were non-stop!
Finally, We’re Home!
We moved into our home on June 8. We slept in our living room the first night because we had not set our bed up and Cooper slept in his pack ‘n play until just a few days ago. But I am happy to report, that both of our bedrooms are finally functional and we have our bed and crib assembled! Cooper has been sleeping rather well in his new room. We painted it the same color so it really does not look much different than his room in Maryland. Cooper cut his fourth tooth last week, which made his naps a little off and his mood a little less than desirable, but he seems to be doing much better now. We still have a ton of boxes everywhere, but I try and tackle a little bit at time. We still have a ton to paint, but I am in no rush to paint the rest of the house. I want to make sure that whatever colors I decide to paint, that I will like them because I am not going to repaint!
I miss Maryland and all my friends! I am not much of a phone person and I enjoyed spending time with my friends. I definitely think that my love language is quality time. I miss my bible study girls and all the babies! I looked forward to getting together with all the girls every week. I also miss the rest of my friends and just hanging out. I miss having a great next-door neighbor (Angie) to run over and talk to or go for a stroller walk! Hopefully in time I will meet some good friends here. Our street has a ton of young children all under the age of five. I am hoping that when the weather cools off a little (it has been blasted hot here – high 90’s every day and humid) that they will come back outside and play in the court again! The parents are usually outside with their kids pushing them around on their little cars and just socializing with the other adults on our street. Our neighbors seems nice and are very friendly, so I am hoping that in time I can form some good relationships with some of the other mom’s living on our street! Still no church home either, Chris and I just started our church search and I am hoping that God will lead us to a good church where our family can worship, learn, grow, and fellowship!
Working from home
Chris is still working for APL remotely. Now that we have Internet at home he is working from home. I enjoy the company even if we are not interacting much while he is home. Chris has enjoyed working from home too. He does not have to waste time in the car and he gets to see more of Cooper this way. Temporarily, Chris is set up on a card table in our office amongst all the moving boxes and clutter until we get a desk. We have our doorway Johnny Jumper set up right in the office. I took a picture of Cooper playing while Chris was working. Hope you enjoy the picture!
I absolutely love my bible study girls. I wish I could take them with me to Texas. Each of them is so unique and bring such a wonderful quality to our group. What I love most about these girls is that I feel free to be me around them. I can vent about Cooper’s lack of sleep, laugh about something rather silly, cry about motherhood or about friend and family who need Christ, or just be a plain dork (which I do rather well). These girls have poured out love for me as Chris, Cooper, and I are getting ready to move in about two weeks. They have had a girls dinner out one week, a huge going away party with all my extended friends, and a bible study farewell dinner with our spouses last night. The love I feel from these girls makes me so grateful to God for allowing me to be apart of these women’s lives. How I love all of them so much. I pray that they know how much I have appreciated each and every one of them!
Here is what I have learned from each of these women:
Jo- to be more flexible with life. Every day presents a new challenge and we just need to accept that with each day comes some variation. I have also learned to be open and honest with needing help and asking for it. She has encouraged me to reach out to my friends when I need more help. I have also seen how Godly a woman she is and she inspires me to lean on God for my every need. She is a wonderful mother and wife and I pray that her example would help me to grow as both a mother and wife!
Angie- to be content in all situations. Angie has had a lot of difficult situations this past year between moving to a state and knowing no one, raising a newborn, health issues in her family, and buying a new home. Despite all these difficult situations, she has not complained at all. She has share her heart with me and her sadness, but never once complained. She is a woman who really trusts in God. Shes loves her son and husband so much and it is evident in her actions!
Tricia- a Godly woman. She is a person who truly loves the Lord! She has such great insights to share when we are studying the bible. She is a woman of prayer and really has a Christ like love. She has really convicted me to spend more time with God in prayer and reading his word daily. My relationship with God has grown so much because of the example she has set for me. She is a wonderful mom and wife with a true servants heart!
Janel- a praying wife. She is a woman who prayers for her husband and family all the time! Instead of sitting back and saying, oh well life sucks for my family, she gets down on her knees and prays. She also asks for her friends to join her in prayer. I have seen God do wonderful things in her family because of her prayer and petitions to God. She is also a person with a servants heart. She is always helping other people who need help, whether that is babysitting for a friend, driving a friend to the doctors, coming over to a friends house who is crying and needs support, or just bring a meal to a friend. Janel is a trust worthy friend and I am going to miss her! Although Janel is not a mother yet, I have no doubt that she will be a fantastic mom when her time comes!
Andrea- rely on your friends. Andrea just had her first child this year. As a first time mom, she has been great about asking for help from her friends. I was not so good at asking for help. She has taught me the value of community and depending on your friends for help, support, encouragement, and prayer. I hope that when I move to Texas that I can reach out to other woman as Andrea has reached out to me and her other friends. She is also a very Godly woman who has total trust in God’s plan for her life. She has inspired me to have more trust in God. She has also encouraged our bible study to pray more often and because of that we have seen God answer some awesome prayers! She too is a wonderful mother and wife!