Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Ben's Birthday!!

So, the first few months of the year is a very busy time for our little family. Clint starts out on Jan. 4th with his b-day, then comes Curtis' and then Ben's follows on the 26th of February. (Mine follows just a couple of weeks later, and then we are done with our birthdays - Sad, but makes for a pretty fun beginning of the year!).

For Ben's two-year-old birthday, we were lucky enough to have Grandma Spencer (from Utah) & Uncle Kirk and Aunt Mandy (from Oklahoma) come for the festivities! It was SUCH a treat to have them here!

We started out the week with a couple of trips to some of our favorite play places. The "train park" out in Katy is a huge, wonderful contraption that the boys love! We spend hours there some days! Ben was a little dramatic on the slide this day! He likes to go up and down, over and over again...
One of our next stops was the mall for a very short, overly-priced ride on a little "locomotive" that excites the kids whenever it is cruising by. I think Ben and Curtis had a fun time - although they may have blinked and missed most of it.

For Ben's birthday cake, Grandma, Daddy, and I, spent hours decorating three different flavors of "bugs" from a cake pan with all the different molds - butterflys, bees, ladybugs, and dragonflys. The flavors were carrot cake, vanilla pound cake, and chocolate. It was fun to see how excited the boys were - I think it was for the highly candy-covered ones that Daddy made just with them in mind! Of course there were way too many, and so it was also fun to deliver a few plates to some of our friends.

We found out that Ben is quite fascinated with fire! He loved the candles and learned that it really is best to BLOW the fire out - not try to pinch it out with your little fingers!...He tried to grab the flame and eventually said: "Ouch!". But, he didn't cry...The expression on his face says it all...

The day after his birthday, we all went to the Houston Zoo. What a beautiful day! The sun was shining, the air was crisp, and we were all in a big truck!! (We just LOVE Kirk and Mandy's truck...It is a family group goal to have our own sometime soon!!).

Ben and Curtis are both on a goat kick these days...The petting zoo was fun for them to pick up on some goat behavior and grooming (They regularly pretend that they are goats. When they want food, they ask me to "feed the baby goats". They often refer to me as "Mommy goat" - I actually prefer this to "Mommy Elephant"...And, Grandma also earned the nickname "Grandma Goat" before the end of her visit - that means that she is "in"!).

On Sunday, we had a dinner with Uncle Bubba, Aunt Linda, and Keith! They spoiled the boys with a deluxe PlayDo set, some Fireman and Construction kits, some cool books, a dancing/singing frog and doggie, and an Aqua doodle kit! WOW! They always give the best gifts! The Playdo and doodle mat have been hours of fun almost every day since!

It was just such a great week with everyone!

We are so happy that we have Ben in our family! He seems to suprise us daily...We really don't know how Clint and I produced such a "firecracker" of a BOY!
He really is great at: getting dirty, finding trouble, teasing his big brother, making messes, yelling (Curtis is constantly reminding him that "we don't yell Ben."), and flashing heart-melting grins! Our home would be way too quiet without Ben around. And, we might just get to sit down for too long...

We love you Ben!...Now take a nap!! (Another of Curtis' favorite things to tell him to do when he grabs his head over for a hug and kiss in the shopping cart.)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Curtis turned 3!

I can't believe my baby is 3 years old already!! It seems like just yesterday that we found out we were FINALLY pregnant!...Now he is so fun and such a joy to our lives!

Some of the best parts about having Curtis around are: His very imaginative stories that he likes to tell, his recaps of fun stuff that we get to do together, he's a great help with Ben sometimes (plays with him, doesn't run off when he "gets to walk" alongside mom at the grocery store - we are hoping Ben also grows out of that run-away phase!), & he is very good at hugs and kisses!

For his big day (well, it was really spread out over the week), we were able to go to CiCi's Pizza together with Daddy, he received "Up" the movie, a great race car from Grandma Westaway, a little $ from Grandpa Wendel, a play jet, some bubbles, a play cash register, and a new pet fish! We were able to hang out with a few of his friends for some snacks and play-time, and we ate the horsey cake with them. (This was my first try at any type of fondant. It is marshmellow fondant over a dense chocolate cake with chocolate ganache in the middle - I think it turned out pretty yummy and super cute! The future of cool birthday cakes is bright!!). Curtis had such a great birthday that he still asks us each morning if it is his birthday again?! Too bad we can't have birthdays every day!

I also had to throw in this sweet picture of Ben and Abby. It was at Abby's house that Ben got to stay when we were in the hospital with Curtis, and apparently, these two get along quite well...She is such a little cutie! I am thinking "arranged marriage"??!!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Happy 2010!

Well, it has been a long time...Of course, I am sorry for the time lapse that has occured since I last wrote. Everyday I think of things, and the boys do funny stuff that I could write about, but, by the end of the day, I am usually just content to feed my starving face and study with Clint in the hour of silence before we have to turn in (Clint is at MD Anderson hospital this month and leaves at 4am! So, we turn in early - We do feel super old and lame, but must do it to survive!).

The holidays were wonderful! We had Carol come out for a visit during Thanksgiving (sooo fun!) and Kirk and Mandy were able to come for another visit. Also, because of our wacky schedules for work and school (Clint was doing a graveyard trauma rotation) we were able to spend a little more time together. Christmas Eve we carried on the tradition of nachos with Rick & Linda, Kay and her boys, Greg and Mike, and Keith & Liz. Then the next night, we went over to Rick and Linda's to be with them all again for the best turkey I think I have ever had (Rick is a wonder with the meats! We are so lucky to get to eat his fabulous cooking and grilling. AND, he even helped us to make our own turkey a couple of days later with his recipe and special brining bucket!) Of course, there were also the traditional cakes, cookies, and fudge by Linda and Kay! We just love our Texas Christmas traditions!

It seems that the boys have grown in leaps and bounds these last few months. Curtis is now telling stories that he makes up, reciting the first two & 1/2 Articles of Faith, and perfecting the puppy-dog eyes and pathetic pleading that melts our hearts to give in to his requests. Ben is all about letters - They got a LeapFrog "Letter Factory" DVD for Christmas and Ben loves to point out letters everywhere and say their sounds now! He is really impressing us with his little brain, which suprises us because his hair is still so blonde! He is also very, very energetic, brave and focused on HIS OWN agenda. (I am trying to find a nice way to say that he is just an uncontrollable "live wire"!).

The other day was Daddy's birthday. When he got home, I was telling the boys that we should sing the "Happy Birthday" song to him when he walked in the door. I really didn't say more than that, but when he came in, Curtis just broke into the whole birthday song - all by himself! It was adorable! Then, he went even further - He picked up his new tricycle that he'd received from Uncle Bubba, Aunt Linda, and Aunt Kay for Christmas, carried it over to Daddy and said: "This is for you, for your birthday!" The rest of the night he wouldn't even let Ben near the tricycle that he'd given to Clint because it was "Daddy's". Pretty cute! He is now counting the days until his birthday.

Our latest excitement with our bouncy little boys was a trip and overnight stay to Texas Children's Hospital. NOT so fun...
On a routine trip to Kroger for groceries last Friday, Curtis and Ben seemed to be on crack! - They were extra energetic and unmanageble...Long-story-short, Curtis ended up falling out of the shopping cart onto the back of his head. It really was an aweful sound and scene! After about an hour of crying (both boys now) and some "zoning out", I was scared enough to find a place to take Ben and head to the ER with Curtis. By the time we made it to the hospital (Methodist Willowbrook), Curtis had calmed down and I was wishing I hadn't brought him. But, they did a CTscan and about two minutes later the Dr. came in and told me that he actually had fractured his skull and needed to go to Texas Children's to be admitted and observed. I was shocked!

I called in "sick" to work, notified Clint of what happened, asked him to meet us there, and then they transported us via ambulance downtown to Texas Children's (apparently there are only two hospitals in Houston that handle pediatrics - both downtown). We entered in through the ER, they took his vital signs, and then we were seated in the front Lobby for about two hours until they took us back to an ER room. Clint found us there and then an ER Dr. finally saw Curtis, looked at the CTscan images, and consulted neuro surgery (Yikes! There was a possibility of areas of bleeding!!). The neuro surgeon said that it probably wasn't much to be worried about, and they didn't expect to do any surgery or procedures, but we were admitted under them to be observed for seizures or vomiting until morning.

We finally made it to a room in the epilepsy unit around 9:30 pm and tried to find some food first thing (breakfast was long, long ago by this time!!). The cafeteria was the only thing open and is CRIMINAL - that is all I will say! - But, we were able to take Curtis with us in a little wagon and he enjoyed some chocolate milk while we ate our million $ sandwiches.

Some parts of the experience were nice: Clint was able to stay with us the whole night (Janet took care of Ben when I raced off to the ER, and then Laura graciously boarded Ben for us during most of our time away!), we slept a little bit, had cable on the TV, and some nice one-on-one time with our oldest little boy. We pretended like it was a second honeymoon - in a hotel with cable, in the big city,...but, with our kid.... Yeah, OK, not really a honeymoon at all, but an adventure!

Anyway, we were released the next morning. Curtis has not had any need for medicine and doesn't show signs of lasting effects (although I think he has a healthier fear of shopping carts and ambulances now!). Ben has apparently overcome his abandoment issues already. And, thanks to our wonderful friends and good medical technology, hopefully Curtis will retain all of his brain cells. We do feel really lucky to have our boys and health for everyone most of the time!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


I was reading in "Parenting Magazine" this morning about how novel everything is to kids and how they can be fascinated with the most basic things that we may take for granted. Well, that reminded me of another cute thing that Curtis did recently:

My brother Kirk just got married two weekends ago. (I am still so grateful to him for forcing us to take another little vacation!) Clint took three days off of clinicals and we decided to leave at 5am on the Wednesday that we left so that the boys would be too sleepy for a few hours to give us too much grief on the 10 hour drive to Oklahoma. We packed the car and got everything ready to head out the door before we woke them up. It was hard to pluck the little angels from their slumbers (of course, they are sweet while they are far far away in dreamland!), but they were suprisingly cheerful and eager to be on an adventure.

As we ran in and out to get the last little things that we'd forgotten, Curtis stood by the car and waited his turn to be put into his seat. All of a sudden, as if he thought they were always just make-believe, he pointed at the sky and said: "Stars!" We put him in his carseat and for about the first 15 minutes of the drive he was looking out of the window, saying over and over again: "Stars!"......."Stars!"......It was so cute the way he said it, like he couldn't believe his eyes. Clint and I realized that he is usually in bed before it is dark and gets up after the sun does.

There is still so much for him to discover, and I am happy that I get to witness it with him....well, maybe most of the time...hopefully.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Our Little Summer Vacation and The Story of the "Legumectomy"

So, I been a total slacker, I know...But, we have been up to some fun things this summer:
We were able to go to SanAntonio with the Gilgen family for some Sea World the first day and the next morning, a set of brand new tires on our Forester (Mark helped us realize they were about two seconds away from blowing out)...Dairy Queen was on the must-do list next, and then we headed to Austin to play at Zylker Park. The natural springs there were pretty slimey and gross, but still an experience we won't soon forget (Clint actually slipped on the moss and went all the way under, while holding Curtis! Needless to say, that was the last of Curtis's time in the water that day!)...But, the best day of our little vacation was the day at Lake Travis with the Gilgens. The boys had a blast playing in the mud, swimming in the murkey water, and playing in the sunshine (Ben took a little nap...Curtis ran away a few times - his favorite thing to do!). It was sooo nice just hanging out in the sand. Mark and Laura even volunteered to watch the boys while Clint and I swam out to a distant island in the lake. Getting away, pushing your muscles that you hardly ever use, and being with your sweetheart (even for just 15 minutes) can really help fill your bucket when you are stressed, tired, and hot....Thanks Gilgens for a wonderful trip! (And some great pictures!)

Now, a story that Curtis will hear about for the rest of his life:
See those little, tiny nostrils? >>>>>>>>>>
Curtis has always had ity bity nostrils. I still can't fit the smallest infant suction bulb in them when he is stuffy and could benefit from some snot sucking...Well, about the last week of June, Grandma and Grandpa were still staying with us (thankfully). Curtis was playing in the kitchen while I was cooking something. He found a bean that had escaped from the ones that him and Grandma had been sorting and playing with earlier in the week. I saw him find it and then hold it up to his nose as if he was smelling it. He said "I found a bean! I can stick beans in my nose." (One of the dinosaur books that we have has them sticking beans in their noses)...And I said: "Yeah. Don't stick it in your nose Curtis". Well, then he was off playing somewhere else...I didn't see him put it up his nose, but I never found it again either.
So, that evening the boys were more cranky than usual. I decided that it might be fun to take them swimming for a bit (because I had to take advantage of having Grandma there to help while I could still!). We only lasted at the pool for about 15 minutes. Curtis was so grouchy and continued to cry and throw fits for the rest of the evening...He woke up crying a couple of times throughout the night as well. By morning and another cry fest during our morning walk, I was convinced that he had another earache. I didn't want to take him to the doctor yet, but I was toying with starting the antibiotic drops that we were given when he got the tubes placed in his ear for any future infections...
A little later that morning, as I was changing his diaper, I noticed that he had a big-looking booger in his nostril. I'm sure, as most mothers do, I couldn't help but try to pluck it out...Well, it was not soft and squishy as I had expected, and when I pinched his nose, that side was harder than the other...It was the bean!...I shouted for Grandma to help me hold Curtis while I tried to get it out (I had memories of when Kirk stuck a bean up his nose - how often does this happen? Seriously!? - and I didn't want to have to go to ER like we did with Kirk...So, I was a little worried...) It wasn't obvious that there was really anything foreign in there and Clint's parents didn't really believe that there was a bean up there (I also had to call in Grandpa to hold his head while Grandma was at the legs and I could go at him with the hemastat tweezers!) Well, after a lot of screaming, pinching and maneuvering...out popped a big white bean! WOW! I was worried it would tear his little nostrils. It had swollen with all the swimming and time...Poor kid! Boy did we really lay in on him about not sticking things up his nose...And, I still think he remembers to this day....I am grateful that I had the mother's intuition (and probably a lot of divine inspiration) to know that it was a bean indeed, and to go after it with avengance. Could you imagine if it had remained for longer and started to sprout or something? Yikes! Crazy kid!

Friday, May 22, 2009

We have faith that Curtis will love Ben someday...

I sure hope that someday my boys are friends...

Clint told me a cute story about this today: Last night when they were saying the bedtime prayers, Clint was having Curtis repeat after him what to say -
Clint: "Thankful for Mommy"
Curtis: "Thankful for Mommy"
Clint: "Thankful for Daddy"
Curtis: "Thankful for Daddy"
Clint: "Thankful for Ben"
Curtis: "Thankful for Daddy"
Clint: "Thankful for Grandma and Grandpa"
Curtis: "Thankful for Dappa and Damma"
Clint: "Thankful for Ben"
Curtis: "Thankful for Hippopatomas"!

Whenever Clint would try to be thankful for Ben, Curtis would refuse to repeat it. Pretty stubborn for a two-year old!

Anyway, today we ended up taking Ben into the doctor because he was not breathing very well. Turns out that he has croup AND Bronchotitis (possibly RSV!). We had a pretty busy morning! But, as I was struggling with a screaming Ben, trying to keep his mouth and nose covered with the nebulizer mask to get his breathing treatment done, I glanced over at Curtis who was watching from a short distance and I think I noticed a hint of real concern in his face...He was even a little kind to Ben after that and said: "Ben is sick" several times too....There may be hope yet!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

I can't wait for all the future adventures with my little guys!

So, I said that I wasn't going to complain on this blog....So, I haven't written for a while - it has been a tough couple of weeks...But, something cute happened the other day:

It was our friend Julie's birthday, so we were all going to meet for lunch. I thought it would be good to go to the mall and let the boys play in their little play area for a while, to get the wiggles out, while we waited for our lunch date...Well, it was fun for about 10 minutes! Then, Curtis decided that it was pretty exciting to run out of the play area and down the mall as far as he could get before Mom awkwardly caught up to him, running as fast as she could in her flip flops. After about the third time, two time-out sessions in my arms, and really fighting the urge to just beat his little butt (I couldn't do that in front of all those other parents!), I just decided to strap them back into the stroller and mall walk for the next 45 minutes (Poor Ben gets the shaft when Curtis messes up the play time!).

I had never walked all around the Katy Mills Mall - I really don't like to shop, especially with munchkins - so, it was interesting to see all the stores it had to offer. After a few minutes we came upon the "Rainforest Cafe". This was pretty cool for the boys to look around! They had a bunch of bright animal-themed trinkets to buy in their giftshop, and around the restaurant there were fake monkeys and an alligator that moved up and down and made scarey sounds, and a really big, life-like elephant. Boy did we have fun watching that guy! Ben and Curtis were so quiet and just awe-struck as they watched the elephant flap his ears, move his head and trunk and blink his eyes - with all the appropriate sounds, of course - it was pretty cool! We watched for about fifteen minutes and then I thought that we should start heading back to the car to get to our lunch meeting. After a few more moments of silence (the boys usually weren't that quiet!), I asked Curtis if he had liked that elephant...More silence...Then, Curtis just said: "Find a cow, Mommy!"

Wow- What a job and what a responsibility! To think that he was so pleased and sure that I could now deliver a fun cow to show him. He was ready for our next adventure already!

I hope that I can keep encountering exciting, new discoveries for my boys and exposing them to things that spark their interests!....Now I am in search of a cow somewhere to show my boys!