Thursday, December 27, 2012

No More Carpet in the Dining Room!

When we moved into this house, I knew right away that the carpet in the dining room had to go!  Why would anyone want carpet in their dining room?  Especially a family that has messy children.  It's just absolutely impossible to keep clean and I was sick of sopping up spilled milk, scrubbing out grape jelly and vacuuming up ground in dinner crumbs all the time.

Well, four years wish came true!!  Our yucky dining room carpet was replaced with easy to clean, durable, good-looking laminate floors.  And I get to thank my wonderful husband for this transformation.

In some ways, it's great to have a handy husband who can tackle and successfully accomplish any house project we have.  It saves money, it gets done well and he enjoys doing new projects.  The bad side is that my husband works full time, is in grad school, has a family to spend time with and already has a to-do-list a mile long. So....elective house projects don't get done very quickly.

Also, did I mention that my husband is a perfectionist?  Well, he is.  And did I mention that when I have proposed contracting out a project or two that I get a look which suggests I just stripped away all of his manhood?  Men are silly.  So, I've learned to just accept the fact that I must wait to get my dream projects done and continue to give occasional frequent reminders of the projects that need done.

It's usually worth the wait though and this was no exception.  Paul not only tore up the nasty dining room carpet, he also got rid of the less-than-pretty tile that was in the kitchen.  This was a lot more time consuming than planned as that tile was stuck down pretty darn good.  But, now I have nice flooring in my kitchen and dining room and I couldn't be happier!

Dining Room - Before

Dining Room - During Renovation

Dining Room - After

Kitchen - Before (YUCK!)

Kitchen - During Renovation

Kitchen - After

And since Paul is finished with this project, I naturally have encouraged him to start his next project which I think I am almost as excited about.  A UTILITY SINK which Paul is going to install in our basement laundry room. You may wonder why this is so exciting.  All I will say is that I have a two-year-old son who is exclusively tube-fed with the smelliest/grossest formula known to man kind and I have failed to find a diaper that can successfully contain the effects of said formula.  Enough said?  Yeah...I'm pretty excited to have a dedicated place to clean out the yuckiness. The joys of motherhood, huh?

Anyway, I love my husband and his handiness.  I also love that he puts up with a wife who always has a never ending to-do list for him and he doesn't complain about it.  I'm one lucky girl!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Favorite Christmas Photos

The Ladd Family.  And LOOK, even Serina is in the picture.  Gotta love FaceTime!

The Dorn Family
John, Alexa, Callie and I.  This is Callie's 19th Christmas with us!!!

Mommy & Alexa

Alexa with her Great-Grandpa Gene

Alexa looking at Where's Waldo with her Great-Uncle John

Daddy & Parker

I love this photo of Paul smiling at Parker!

Smiling for the camera

Posing in the Radio Flyer

Say Cheese!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The New Birthday Tradition

For a special activity on Alexa's birthday, we took her and her cousins, Foster and Loghen, to CoCo Keys Water Park in Omaha.  

We took Alexa last year on her birthday and she had been asking to go back to the "far away inside pool" again when she turned four.  I got a deal on-line so we decided to make an afternoon of it.

I think the kids all had a great time.  Paul and I did too...that is until I went down the big, enclosed, windy water slides two times in a row.  I felt lightheaded and thought for sure I was going to lose my cookies.   I'm such a wimp now that I'm OLD and wish I didn't get motion sickness so easily.  I decided at that point to take it easy and spent the next 20 minutes or so in the "spa" while watching Foster and Loghen go down the slides time and again.

Alexa loves the water and loves the pool.  She could spend all day jumping into the pool, swimming back to the edge, climbing out, and doing it all over again. Just watching her do this over and over wears me out!  

I'm pretty sure this is going to be a regular birthday tradition as Alexa has already asked to go back when she turns five...and when she turns eleven.  

I'm so grateful Alexa has such wonderful cousins that she gets to spend time with.  She talks about them all the time and loves them to pieces!  


Saturday, December 8, 2012

Parker Can Sit Up All by Himself

Parker may not do everything in the easiest way, but he finds a way that works for him and runs with it.  We are very proud that Parker can sit up all by himself!!  What a big boy!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

I Truly Have So Much To Be Thankful For

Two years ago today, Parker was admitted to Children's Hospital in Omaha for the first time.  He was taking a turn for the worse and the hospital here in town wasn't equipped to handle the care he needed.  I remember the trip to Omaha in the ambulance very vividly.  My heart was pounding in my chest, I felt like I couldn't breathe, I was shaking, I was utterly exhausted, I didn't want to take my eyes off Parker for one moment and I had never experienced fear like that in my life.  I was so very scared that my sweet little boy wasn't going to make it and that's more than any parent wants to have to think about.

It was during that hospitalization that Parker got his trach and g-button put in among a pretty long list of other surgical procedures.  I remember how scary the trach seemed at the time, how much there was to learn, and how many things it seemed could go wrong.  During that hospital stay, we added a much longer list of Doctor's to Parker's file, found out an even longer list of new diagnoses and learned more about medical equipment than I ever thought possible.  I also discovered that a person really can survive on hardly any sleep.

Through all the hard stuff that we experienced in November of 2010, I also felt the awesome presence of God and knew that with Him we were going to make it through this. I found a strength I never knew I had, I grew up a lot, I appreciated our families more than ever and I was so incredibly grateful for the outpouring of support we received and prayers being said for us. Paul and I grew closer, I vowed to be a better Mommy to Alexa, I was amazed and in awe of how strong and wonderful Parker was and my perspectives and priorities changed for the better.

So this Thanksgiving I can say how truly grateful I am.  I am thankful for how my experiences have changed me for the better and made me the person I am today.  I am also very thankful for modern medicine, state-of-the-art healthcare facilities, medical technology, great physicians, caring nurses, other medical professionals and staff, medical supplies, and health insurance!  Without those things my little family may not be where it is today and Parker wouldn't have been able to come so far and be doing so well.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Bowling With A Four-Year-Old

(Hey, my defense regarding our scores is that Alexa had the bumpers and I didn't.  Although, obviously I needed them too).

Our bowling adventure was a lot of least for the first game.  I'd highly recommend it for all parents to experience.  It's absolutely hilarious and so much fun to watch your child try to throw a ball that seems to weigh half as much as them!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Alexa Turns FOUR

On Monday, November 5th my little girl turned FOUR! 

She was a very lucky little girl this year because she got three parties...and three cakes.  We got together with my side of the family, Paul's side of the family, and she had her very first BIG party with her friends as well.

She has been looking forward to her birthday for months now.  Many of the other kids in her preschool class have been having big birthday parties when they turn four so Alexa thought she should too.  She decided she wanted to go to an "inside park" for her party so about 6 weeks ago I began planning.

We decided on a private party at Ager Play Center.  Alexa chose Tangled as her theme this year.  We picked out the invites and decorations at the party store and I ordered personalized cupcake toppers from ETSY.  I then apparently lost my mind and decided it would be a good idea to make 48 cupcakes with purple frosting and sprinkles MYSELF.  I have since decided that I will never  do that again - I will return to my trusty Hy-Vee Bakery for any and all future (large) birthday cakes!

24 kids celebrated with Alexa for her birthday and for the most the party went very well.  Alexa had a lot of fun and I think the other kids did too!

Between the gifts she got from her party, her grandparents, great-grandparents, and other family members I think we could open a toy store.  Of course, Alexa is having a great time with all of her new things but she has agreed to pick out some of her older toys and donate them to other children in need. 

I do believe even though Alexa got a lot of fun stuff do play with her favorite part of her birthday was getting to spend time with so many people she loves.  She gets very excited when she's the center of attention and loves that so many people care about her!

I really can't believe Alexa is four.  Before I know it she'll be 14!  I need to slow down and appreciate this stage of her life and the BIG personality she has.  

She is so independent and wants to do everything herself.  Her favorite color right now is orange.  She is doing a very good job of writing all of her letters and can spell some words completely on her own (zoo, Mom, Dad, and Alexa).   She's incredibly smart and always amazes me at the things she knows and what she can do.  

She loves swimming lessons and doing craft projects or drawing, coloring, or painting.  She continues to be more of a tom-boy than a girly-girl but is getting a little more interested in dressing up and playing with dolls.  She's an incredible big sister to Parker and is almost always willing to share with him and play with him.  When he is sad, she will sing a song to him which cheers him right up.  

She's full of questions and needs a constant reminder to use her "inside voice".  She gets excited easily and loves to go on "dates" with Mom and Dad.  She wants a dog or cat but Daddy says no.  Meal times continue to be tricky because Alexa is a VERY picky eater.  Her favorite foods are macaroni and cheese, pancakes, and sub sandwiches.  Her favorite restaurant is Culver's because she loves that she gets a scoop of ice cream with her kids meal.  

She knows just how to push our buttons and is a fairly good manipulator for her young age.  She is our opposite girl.  She will always pick the opposite of what you are trying to encourage her to pick and everything has to be on her own terms.  

We love her to pieces and are so very grateful to have her in our lives!   

Happy 4th Birthday Alexa!!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Pumpkins and Costumes

We had a lot of fun painting and carving pumpkins this year.

Parker even got in on the action.

Alexa took it very seriously.  It cracks me up that she sticks her tongue out when she's concentrating because Paul does the exact same thing!

What a little artist!

Daddy got to pull out all the yucky stuff.

Alexa thought Mommy and Daddy did a pretty good job carving the pumpkins.

For Halloween, Alexa was Dorothy and Parker was a monkey.

Personally, I think she was the cutest Dorothy ever.

And my little monkey was such a good sport in his costume!

Dorothy's dog, ToTo, even came for a visit and got in a few of the pictures.

It was a great Halloween!