A Gem of a Husband!

Last week my fantastic husband surprised me by telling me he scheduled a two night winter escape for me. It wasn't a total surprise. We had kicked around the idea of getting away together, to our favorite spot, but we tabled it. Money, busy schedules, money, what to do with the kids, and money.

But my dear, sweet, thoughtful husband who is so deliberate about caring for me decided what I really needed was time to myself. (I love that he understands my introversion and doesn't think I am a freak.) And moreover, he sent me to a place I have long dreamed of staying. The Grove Park Inn Resort and Spa in Asheville, NC. James and I have made it a habit of dropping by the Grove Park Inn every time we are in this area. We hang out in their Grand Hall, have a drink and watch the sunset over the mountains while rocking on their fabulous back terrace.

Then we head out to more affordable accommodations.

So, James, in all his kindness, decided I needed a break from this. . .

and needed to enjoy a little bit of this. . .

As if staying at this amazing mountainside resort (ALONE) weren't enough, James scheduled spa treatments for me in their nationally ranked spa. It was divine! Their spa experience is unlike anything I have ever taken part in. From start to finish I was pampered and the amenities available pre and post treatment were just as relaxing as the treatments themselves.

In addition to spa treatments, sunsets, and good old fashioned solitude, I enjoyed wandering in and out of some of my favorite antique shops and adding some new spots to my list. I also got to visit with some old friends that live in the area. What a treat!

And now, I sit here, in an Asheville coffee shop, waiting for 5 o'clock to roll around. That's when I will head to Windy Gap and meet up with my four guys. We have all been invited to attend the Young Life camp this weekend and stay in one of their family cabins as a guest of the camp director. This will be such fun for the boys.

Time away is good. It is necessary. It refreshes and renews. It offers perspective. And at the same time it always makes me long to be home, with my family. I'm so grateful to have a husband who understands all that. I cannot wait to step back into the chaos with them this afternoon!!

Oral Hygiene

Even Batman must brush his teeth.

Progress Report

First of all, how do you like that outfit? It's a t-shirt over a footed sleeper. See, we are having to get creative with our little streaker. He simply will not keep his clothes on once placed in his crib. Last week after we put him down for a nap, he stripped every thread of clothing from his body and tossed them around the room. Including his diaper. Which means that he slept naked. Which means that we had a real mess on our hands - well, on Wil's body, his sheets, quilt, crib, and yes, even the wall - when he woke. I'll spare you the rest.

You're welcome.

Those of you that have kids with special needs might understand what I am about to say. While soaking Wil in the tub, stripping his bed, loading laundry, wiping down his crib and walls, I was quietly smiling. We didn't simply have a stinky mess on our hands. We had a new skill. Wil is undressing himself! This means that his fine and gross motor skills are improving. His coordination is improving. His balance is improving. This means that he is on his way to becoming a little more independent.

Up to this point we have been changing his clothes, without his assistance. Partly because we seem to always be in hurry for fear that one of the other two will destroy something while we are with Wil and partly because it's just become habit, it's easier. But after the nap incident and learning that he has been working on this skill at school we realized that we should be giving Wil this responsibility at home. Every time we change clothes. Tonight, while getting Wil ready for bed, James asked him to take his shirt off. And he promptly did so. We cheered and hollered and he looked at us like we were crazy.

Wil's progress is obvious. Mine is that I am willing to give a little extra time, and risk a mess, in order to allow Wil to do more for himself. I am paying attention to the small things, like undressing or using a spoon or giving him more time at the table, and delighting in those moments rather than feeling stressed by them. Well, I am me. The stress is still there, but I am trying! Maybe by the time they are all grown I will have lightened up a little. Maybe.

And on the medical front. . . after months of sickness and three rounds of antibiotics we are off to the ENT. Chances are good that Wil is going to need his adenoids removed. If that will clear him up then I am all for it! That will be a cake walk compared to heart surgery!!

night, night

Snow Day

The chatter started over the weekend. The local meteorologists were throwing around the "s" word. Boy do they ever talk up the possibility of snow! Living in the midlands of SC must be pretty boring for a meteorologist. We seem to be right on that line where the cold fronts that bring "severe" weather just miss us or, at the most, give us only a taste. But when it is in the forecast as a possibility their excitement and hopefulness can be felt through the tv. By Monday they were telling us we may get 1-3 inches. Very exciting stuff! That's when the schools started closing. Now, it has been really cold lately. So cold that the fountain at the entrance of our neighborhood has looked like this for days now.

But we haven't had any precipitation. So this was our big moment. The temperatures were right and precipitation was headed our way. The school districts around town were not taking any chances. What with Columbia's lack of equipment for snow plowing, combined with the fact that we are notoriously bad drivers. It's true. Not to mention that with Tuesday being Inauguration Day most classes would be sitting in front of the television anyway.

The cancellations were not in vain. We got our snow. The meteorologists were giddy. The kids got to experience some of the powdery stuff. And we all got to watch the Inauguration while enjoying the beauty of the snow drifting across our windows.

My friends North and West of me will laugh at the following photos. Go ahead, I can take it.

These were taken shortly after we woke on Tuesday. We got to enjoy the flurries until early afternoon. We'll take what we can get!

I love Jesus, but

A friend posted this on Facebook and I just want to do my part in making sure everyone sees this clip. Hysterical, worth the 7 minutes!

On a cold winters day

It's cold here. I know, it's cold everywhere. And the majority of the country has been experiencing highs that are much colder than our lows. Still, we are cold. Single digit temps are cold enough for this Southern Girl.

While I personally love the cold weather it's tough on the little guys. They have been a sickly crew for the better part of Fall and Winter so when the day time temps drop into the 30's and it's windy out, they stay in. And when they stay in all day? Well, that is when their "troublemaking" gifts really shine. This is compounded by a long weekend, no school yesterday or Monday. So structuring their time, while always a good idea, is especially important when I can't open the back door and let them run wild.

If I don't? Things like this happen. . .

Where is that woman? I wonder if I can get all these down before she comes back to the kitchen?

Because my house is enough of a disaster I have aimed to keep the boys somewhat busy.

Let the coloring begin.

Luke is the master of the sunny, cheerful picture. I have a collection of them waiting for frames.

Wil and Timothy are masters at dumping the crayons out of their box. It is evidently hysterical and worth the effort to pick up their own mess because they never miss an opportunity to watch them tumble.

Working on puzzles and reading books can only be experienced in small doses with these two who seem to need a high degree of gross motor activity. So we weave the above between the activity below,

because pulling off cushions and removing clothes remain Wil and Timothy's most favorite activity of all.

Luke has a science experiment going. A celery stalk in a glass of red water. After several days the celery will turn red. This is also an experiment in patience for Luke, who checks on it every half hour or so.

And me? I'm doing a lot of this.

random thoughts from Luke

"You know what I really don't like about life?" "Night time. You can't talk. There is nothing to play with. You just have to lie there. In the dark. Doing nothing and saying nothing. It's boring."

"I think Miss. Sherah (a college student attending our church) is named Sherah because she is good at sharing."

"Dormant is my favorite word because it feels good on my tongue. And in my mouth. Dormant, dormant, dormant, dormant. Try it. Don't you think so?"

after I put butter in the wrong batter mix while baking together. . . "Seeing you do that reminds me that adults can make really big mistakes too."

"It will only take a momentary signal to finish this." "Timothy needs a momentary signal before his bath." "Wil, would you like a momentary signal before we go outside?" "I'm coming in one momentary signal." Luke, what is a 'momentary signal' and where did you learn that phrase? "I made it up. It's a good one I can use to say a lot of things."

"Sometimes I feel like someone is watching me. I don't know where they are though."

"I just cannot help all this burping that is going on. God must really want me to be a good burper."

"I don't like the quiet game."


Timothy has taken to removing his soiled diapers (and thus his clothing), leaving them where removed, and bringing me a fresh diaper while repeating "duh, duh, duh" until I acknowledge the diaper in hand, and his nakedness.

Time to toilet train, right?

It would seem so, except Timothy will have absolutely nothing to do with the toilet.

So, we have a little dilemma on our hands. :)

Paying Attention

I have no major resolutions for 2009. I typically am not one to make resolutions, though I do see the new year as a good time to reassess, make changes, improvements, set goals, etc. But a resolution is so, I don't know, formal and legal and full of expectation. I don't need that kind of pressure!

I do have things I am going to aim toward this year. Maybe it's all semantics, I dunno. But it makes me feel better to aim toward something rather than resolve to do it. Maybe I'm just a wuss and want an easy way out. Nonetheless, no resolutions here.

However, I am going to aim to pay more attention to things in my life. Since having kids I feel like I move from one task to another, one illness to another, one event to another, one load of laundry to another, one doctor appointment to another, without paying attention. Attention to what, you wonder? So many things.

I'll start with me. I have very, very regular migraines and it is time I start really paying attention to my triggers. I thought I knew what they were but something has changed because I have had near constant migraines over the last few years. I have learned to function with them for the most part but every few weeks I have one that knocks me back. Makes me physically sick to the point I can't function. Makes me cry in pain wondering if I actually have a tumor the size of a grapefruit growing in my head - because that is the only reason for such pain! (all tests reveal I only suffer from mom-brain) I have tried all sorts of medication. Most don't work but I do have one that works occasionally. That's just not good enough with three boys to run after all day.

So, I am going to aim to 1) pay attention to my triggers, 2) eat better. There is no doubt in my mind that some of my migraines are triggered by low blood sugar. I get the kids fed but then fail to put food in my own body. Until later, that is, when I am too tired to fix myself something healthy and resort to snacking, 3) exercise more regularly. This is something I had begun the last couple months of 08 but realize is important in keeping my stress levels down. Stress is a huge trigger, as any migraineur will tell you, and 4) get enough sleep each night. Fatigue is one of my biggest triggers. So this is a must. Not only for migraine prevention but for the sanity of my family. A fatigued mom is not a patient mom. I am also very sensitive to changes in barometric pressure and hormone shifts so I know there is no escaping migraines but hopefully I can get a better handle on things and at least decrease the frequency.

I am going to try and pay attention to a few other things as well. I will tell you about some of those later. Right now I am going to get ready for bed!

On a completely unrelated, and random, note... after spending some time on a dance floor Saturday night Luke has declared himself a FANTASTIC dancer. I just thought you should know. Here he is cutting the rug with our friend Lauren and me.

2009, what?

Is it 2009 already?

There was no New Year's Eve revelry here. No horns or hats or champagne. After some take out pizza with friends and their kids I felt a migraine coming on so I was in bed by 9.30, leaving James to ring in the new year alone. Didn't bother him. He spent his time preparing for a wedding he is officiating Saturday night. It was fitting for me to end 2008 with a migraine. After all, I spent much of December with one (actually I have spent much of the year with one!) which is why I have been neglecting the ole' blog lately.

I'll get back into the rhythm of things soon. It's a new year after all. One of my favorite times of the year - I love the whole "out with the old, in with the new" attitude.

So, I'll be back soon. Until then, here's what went on around here at Christmas.

We baked - cookies, buckeyes, and other Christmas goodies. And we made a much anticipated ginger bread house.

We played. We toppled. We laughed on our Rody's.

We went to the Zoo and took a spin on the Carousel.

And we created.

I hope you, too, enjoyed Christmas, your family, and your friends!

Happy New Year!

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