Saturday, January 28, 2012

Opening up here. . .

Before I get on with the photos, I feel like I need to be honest about the week that I've had.  The photos will make it appear as though everything was happy and normal.  It wasn't.  I was an emotional mess this week.  I had my first real battle with anxiety.  It was awful.  And scary.  It started with me having difficulty sleeping for a few nights (as a result of obsessive over-thinking that I couldn't seem to turn off).  I started to become anxious that I couldn't sleep and then anxious because I was anxious.  Soon I felt anxious all of the time and I couldn't stop it.  Then on Monday afternoon while driving the kids to a doctor appointment, the anxiety rose to panic.  On the outside, I held it together, but it took all the strength I had to get through that appointment.  Things got even worse that evening and I had a panic attack.  Even when I could appear physically calm, that panic stayed with me for the next few days.  I became afraid to leave the house because I associated being out with more panic.  Then I would panic because I was afraid of becoming agoraphobic.  It sounds a little dramatic, but this moved in me pretty fast.  I've had several talks with friends and family who have shared similar experiences and I am learning some coping mechanisms.   I am also on a new journey toward battling some faulty thinking patterns that may have triggered some of this.  I am hopeful for how I am going to grow through all of this, but I know I have a lot of work to do.  Thankfully, I feel more and more normal with each day that passes.  And I can leave the house.  Victory! 

Besides all of my inner turmoil, here's what else we've been up to this week:

Bella's 'Helping Hand'.   
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Bella is on her way toward earning her first Girl Scout badge.  She made three 'Helping Hands' and placed them around the house after she did something helpful on her own initiative.  On this particular Sunday morning, she made our bed.
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Here are Graydon and Bella at their doctor appointments.  Graydon didn't want to wear his gown.  This is the appointment where I was pretty much freaking out inside.  I took some photos of the kids with my cell phone.  Partly because they looked so cute and partly because doing so helped redirect my focus.   
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Bella is now 45.5 inches tall and weighs 46 lbs. 4 oz.  She's right in the middle for her percentiles.  Graydon is 37 inches tall (23rd percentile) and 29 lbs. 4 oz. (35th percentile).   No shots this time!

Curtis is really into shoes these days.  Or boots.  Or slippers.  Or anything that he can put on his feet.  I even caught him trying to put a doll shoe on one day.  Silly Curtis. 
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Getting all set up for a movie night.  Their choice:  'The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything'
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Crafting in the afternoon.  Paints, crayons, construction paper, sequins, ribbons, lace, etc.  I pretty much dug out whatever random craft supplies I had and let the kids have at it.   
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Graydon and Curtis wanted to help out in the kitchen on Friday so I had them put the layer of potatoes into our dish.  For those with our Brockhaus Family Cookbook, we made Grandpa Jim's Whiffenpoof.  Yum!
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And look who can drink out of a regular cup!  He's really getting good at it now.
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I am prayerfully looking forward to much more peace this week.  Hope the same for all of you too!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Finally got our snow!

Before I get to the snow, I've got some other photos to share.

And I'm just going to say it off the bat that after three weeks, I'm bagging the Project Life already. I'll probably still be taking photos most days anyway, but I'm finding that the format doesn't really work for me and it actually complicates the way I've been accustomed to blogging. So, back to things as normal.

Here we have Graydon showing off his sensitive side as he cares for one of Bella's babies.
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Bella rescued her gingerbread house on its way to the garbage and brought it to the safety of her room only to have Curtis find it and turn it into his late morning snack.
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The boys and I did some baking on Tuesday morning. I had some leftover Hershey kisses from Christmas, so we made some Peanut Butter Kiss cookies.
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The recipe is simple:
1 cup of sugar (you can opt to divide this - which is what I did - into 1/3 c. white sugar, 1/3 c. brown sugar, and 1/3 c. confectioner's sugar)
1 cup of peanut butter
1 egg

Bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees.  It's a great recipe to make with kids!
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Yummy! We ate them up so fast and now I want more.
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Wednesday was a big day for Graydon. He got a big boy bed!!! I'm kind of embarrassed to admit that we waited so long. But the crib was working out so well. It was time though.
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He's had four nights in it now and is doing great! Hasn't gotten out once yet. (Of course, I haven't been putting him down for a nap because I want him to be super tired at bedtime. Seems to be working).
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Bella carved our names into the computer desk. Good thing it was already in a scuffed up condition!
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Here is Graydon attempting to get chips out of the pantry. The quirkiness of this old house (old staircase turned into a pantry) definitely worked is his favor that day.
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My little Daisy! It's cookie-selling time. She's so excited. This was the first thing she asked about when joining Girl Scouts.
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Peeked into the living while the kids were watching Pink Panther and saw this.  Why use the couch when there's a perfectly good laundry bin.
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After Girl Scouts on Friday evening, Bella and I headed out for a girl's night. While we were at Target, Bella picked out a gift (Valentines for them to color) for Graydon and Curtis in the dollar section. On Saturday morning, she gave the boys the gift in this bag that she prepared.
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And FINALLY. . . our snow!

I had no idea that it was supposed to snow. But early that morning, Bella announced it to everyone! Andy had a busy day ahead of him, so we pretty much got dressed, ate breakfast, and headed out.
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Bella finally got to use her new snowboard.
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And she's pretty good at it.
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With only a few wipeouts.  (Can't say the same for myself.) 
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Graydon really enjoyed the sled (or "boat" as he called it).
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And Curtis was there too. He went on the sled a little, but mostly just wanted to watch.
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Lastly, Bella finished her cat project that she (and I) worked on. This was a Christmas gift from Gaga and Papa. It is now proudly displayed on a shelf in her room.
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Sunday, January 15, 2012

Project Life: Week 2

Sunday, January 8
Experimenting with a flashlight and slow shutter speed on my camera. I think this might be much more fun on the 4th of July with some sparklers.
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Monday, January 9
Curtis had his 18 month check-up today. He now weighs 24 lbs. 7 oz. (29th percentile), is 33.5 inches tall (80th percentile) and has a head circumference of 20 in. (99th percentile). He received two shots: DPT and Polio. And guess what? He didn't cry AT ALL when he got the shots. Such a tough guy.
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Tuesday, January 10
I sorted through our crayon containers and took out all of the broken pieces. Then we made new crayons in our old muffin tins.
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Wednesday, January 11
We played outside all afternoon, taking advantage of the mild winter we've been having.
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Thursday, January 12
Bella came home from school with this: her birthday poster. Each child drew a picture of themselves and on their birthday, the teacher has all of the other kids tell her something nice about the birthday kid and then writes it on the stars. Bella loved asking me what "so-and-so" said about her.
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Jasmin: "She's my friend."
James: "She's nice."
Gabrielle: "She's really nice."
Michael: "She's a nice friend."
Grace: "She's beautiful."
Lauren: "She's funny."
Stephanie: "She's pretty."
Timmy: "I like her shoes."
Cassidy: "I like her name."
Trevor: "She's funny to me."
Gianni: "I like her clothes."
Mady: "She's pretty."
Harrison: "She's nice and friendly and I always play with her."
Andrew: "I like her pink shoes."
K.C.: "She plays with me."
Ella: "She's nice."
Rylee: "I like her clothes."
Kyle: "I like her shoes."
Gaby: "She's very nice."
Shayne: "She's nice."
Mrs. McGann: "I love how sweet and considerate Bella is with all of her classmates."

I think it's funny that all three shoe comments came from boys!

Friday, January 13
This is a place where I often find Curtis. He gets up without a problem and then sometimes forgets how to get down.
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Saturday, January 14
Saturday morning fort building. This keeps them busy for quite some time.
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Monday, January 09, 2012

Project Life: Week 1

I'm jumping on the Project Life bandwagon.  The premise is simple: take a photo everyday - all year long.  There's more info about it here.  Some folks end up making a big scrapbook of all their photos.  I'm not sure if I'm going to commit to that.  For now, I just plan on posting them to the ol' blog.

Here is my first week of Project Life:

Sunday, January 1 - After being awake until just before midnight on New Year's Eve, Graydon didn't make it much past 6:30pm on January 1st.
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Monday, January 2 - Cousins on the steps at Grandma & Grandpa's house. Just prior to this photo, we heard lots of thumping and giggling coming from upstairs. Pretty sure they were having a dance party with Auntie Kristen.
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Tuesday, January 3 - A lively game of Taboo! Dad really got into it!
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Wednesday, January 4 - We spent all day on the road traveling back to New Jersey. Everyone was happy to get out of the car and relax in the hotel.
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Thursday, January 5 - We finished our road trip, unpacked our bags, started laundry, put kids to bed, and finally relaxed on the couch with our choices of beverages and a new episode of Grey's Anatomy.
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Friday, January 6 - Bella's first day back to school after nearly two weeks of being away.
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Saturday, January 7 - Christmas decorations came down today and the kids loved dancing in all of the extra space.
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Saturday, January 07, 2012

Wisconsin!!!

Our journeys in Wisconsin were cut a little short now that Bella is in school. But we still got in some quality family time, which is always a joy for us. 

I've got tons of photos and I'm going to let them tell most of the story of our visit.

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Grady-Boy turned three!  We had a few birthday celebrations for him - starting with this joint party at PaPa and GaGa's house. 

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After a few days in Verona, we made our way to Kenosha. It was officially Graydon's birthday that day, so we met up for dinner at Red Robin to celebrate. After that, we had a little New Year's Eve party at my parents' house. Curtis went to bed early, but Graydon and Bella were up for some fun. Graydon just about made it to midnight, but fell asleep at 11:55pm.
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 I found this photo booth activity online and thought it would be fun to do with our family.  The kids liked it the best, but even the adults got a little silly with it.
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We are back, unpacked, grocery shopped, Christmas decoration downed (I know that's not a word), and happy to be in our own beds again.  But we still miss everyone and can't wait until our next time together!