Saturday, September 27, 2008

Another winner quote from my daughter ...

This morning at breakfast, Audrey asked us "How do you get money?"

We said "You have to work for it."

This started a little discussion about chores, her job chart, and earning quarters, etc.

It got quiet for a minute or two, and then Audrey said: "Well Mommy, how do you get money, because you don't work for anything."

I took a deep breath. Motherhood is such a thankless job sometimes. I hope she gets to be a stay at home mom someday ...

At this point, my great husband jumped in and said "Audrey, Mommy's job isn't very fair, because Mommy works very hard, and she doesn't get paid for it!"

Thank you Chad. And Audrey, some day you will understand ...

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A new look!

Hooray for free blog backgrounds at !!!

I finally figured out how to change my background and this website has so many great backgrounds. I can even change it for the seasons if I want to (and that is SO "me" to do ... yes I have fall decorations up... I'm a geek, I know) Even better, they tell you exactly how to do it, so a computer dummy like me can figure it out.

Hope you like the new look. I love polka dots, but I was getting sick of the old background.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


When Audrey was little, I remember wondering if she would EVER just run off and play with her friends rather than stand behind my leg or say "I want YOU to play with me!"

Today her friend came over after school. They ate lunch, then ran to Audrey's room, slammed the door in Carter's face, and proceeded to play quietly for the next hour. They came out to ask for chocolate milk, goldfish, and a Caillou show. I was happy to oblige. Afterward, they played games together for awhile, and then decided to play one of their favorites "Sicky" (basically, one person pretends to be sick and throwing up, and the other "takes care" of her. Don't know why that is so much fun, but they really seem to get into making throw up noises!!)

They play together so nicely (and even quietly!) that it really makes my afternoon easier. Maybe she should have a friend over every day! It's a joy to watch Audrey becoming more mature and truly enjoying real friendships.

Side effects?

Houston, I think we have a problem.

Yesterday I picked Audrey up from preschool, and her teacher told me that Audrey had been teary twice that day.


Audrey has gone to preschool for two years already, and she has only ever cried ONCE. On the very first day she ever went to school. So I was a little baffled by that. I asked Audrey about it, but she is not big on sharing feelings so I didn't get a whole lot out of her on the subject. She just seemed kind of embarrassed by my questions, so I left it alone. But I kept thinking ... what's the problem here? She has been a little whiny and weepy over the past few days ... what could be going on?

And then I remembered: she just started two new meds. I looked at the side effects for each of them, but neither described moodiness or emotional sensitivity as possible side effects.

Then I was talking to a neighbor later on, and she told me that her nephew had the SAME issues after taking the same medication. Hmmmm....

I started looking around online, and found many other reports of the same kind of side effects, especially in children. Many people also reported their children struggling with aggressiveness, night terrors, etc. - thankfully we have not experienced any of that!

Medications have always seemed to me to be such a mixed bag. On the one hand, I am grateful that we live in an age where our kids don't have to die of various diseases, and I'm thankful for the treatments we have for when our kids do fall ill. Yet, the side effects (and navigating the process of discovering them) can be so frustrating. I hate the idea of my child suffering with asthmatic symptoms, but I also hate the idea of her personality being altered. And I'm not sure which one I hate more. Probably, the personality change though.

So we'll stick it out for a while and see if her body (and personality) adjust to the new meds. If not, something's gotta give.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Break out the swiffer dust cloths ...

So last Wednesday, Chad and I took Audrey to a pediatric allergist. I am now so glad that we sprung (sprang? I should know this by now...) for the more expensive health insurance because we could just take her to a specialist without a referral.

I have suspected, oh, probably for a few years now, that Audrey has allergies. Every fall in particular she starts up with an itchy, runny nose, itchy eyes, and a nighttime cough. This year, the kicker was when she started complaining that she sometimes couldn't hear clearly from her one ear. After taking her to the pediatrician to rule out an ear infection, I still had no answers. The pediatrician was so stinking non-committal ...

Him: "No ear infection or anything, so she could just have congestion from a cold..."
Me: "Well, how do you know if it's a cold or allergies? This is ongoing and happens every year at this time."
Him: "Hmm, well, it's hard to tell."
Me: "Well, this has been going on for longer than a cold, and she has these same symptoms every fall."
Him: "I guess you could try some claritin and see if it helps."
Me: "I have been giving her claritin for months and it no longer seems to be helping." (I had already told him this earlier in the appointment, but I guess he didn't remember that from 5 minutes ago.)
Him: "You could also try giving her a little benadryl."
Me: "So she can be in a coma all day?" (okay, I didn't really make that smart alecky remark, I just wanted to...)

Anyhow, he didn't seem too concerned about finding a solution to Audrey's ongoing problem (and this was not her regular pediatrician, by the way, just the one that is always available when you need a sick appointment!) So I finally got some advice and a doctor recommendation from a friend whose child has allergies, and although we had to wait a month for the appointment, it was totally worth it. They did testing and we found out EXACTLY what she is allergic to. The good news is: She is NOT allergic to Diesel. The bad news is: she is very allergic to dust mites, which pretty much pervade our home, I'm sure. They are in carpet, stuffed animals, pillows, curtains, mattresses, sofas, basically any upholstered item. The doctor also said that they love to hang out in clutter. Unfortunately, so does my daughter! Her room is full of collections of every kind and has an abundance of stuffed animals and pillows that she gets tearful about having to part with. I am not quite sure how to handle all of it, so I think we will make some gradual changes. Oh, and I suppose I will have to be a little more diligent about dusting and vacuuming ... ugh.

The other news, which was actually more surprising to us, is that she has asthma. Apparently asthma and allergies are very closely related to each other, although I'm not sure how. (Guess I'll be checking some books out of the library on this topic.)

We came home with a couple prescriptions, one an allergy nasal spray, the other an inhaler (which includes one scary looking mask). After dropping over $100 at Target getting them filled (don't get me started on the pharmaceutical industry, I'll save that rant for another time!), we proceeded to spend a few very unhappy evenings attempting to get Audrey to cooperate with taking her meds. She was terrified by the mask, even though she had used it at the doctor's office while we were there. We ultimately had to use what we call in the psychology field "exposure therapy" ... you know, where you force someone to confront the thing they are afraid of, which results in them no longer being fearful ... somehow easier to do when it isn't your screaming 5 year old, however. Anyhow, after two tough nights she now takes her inhaler with NO trouble at all, so I guess it was worth all the holding her down and forcing her to do it. Yuck. Hope we don't have to do that again.

If anyone out there has any experience with asthma and/or allergies, and any words of wisdom, I'd love to hear your input. This is all new to me!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Cutie Pie

I could just eat him up.
'Nuff said.


This is what our basement looks like right now ...

Do you think it'll be done by Christmas?? (AND, we have overnight guests coming in October, and this is where guests usually stay ... uh-oh ...)

Chad's working hard on it, but when you work full-time, take on church responsibilities, have 2 little kids who need lots of attention, and a wife who needs at least a wee bit of attention, is just slow going.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Fun in the Sun ... well, mostly sun, and a little rain

We had a great time this past weekend in Ocean City. We stayed at a condo that was only a block from the beach and boardwalk, and I think one of my favorite things was just sitting on the big porch and looking out over the water (also had a great view of the back of a hotel too, but I just kind of blocked that out :) ) The best part of a trip like this is just watching the kids' excitement as they experienced new things.

Off to the beach we go!

Audrey builds a sandcastle with Pop-Pop

Finished product.

Carter LOVED the water. I'll say it again for emphasis: CARTER LOVED THE WATER! We spent lots of time making sure he didn't drown, cuz he sure wasn't scared of it at all.

Flying a kite on the beach (this is the day it rained in case you didn't notice all the gray clouds)

Nothing like the view of the boardwalk from up in a surrey

All of us in the surrey (minus my brother Andy who hadn't arrived yet)

We had Audrey's "family" birthday party at the shore. As I've said before, Audrey is very particular about certain things. And this is the cake she "ordered" - confetti cake on the inside, with blue frosting and a yellow star on top.

Who knew that crayons could be so exciting?

The kids also loved the rides. This was Carter's first "real" experience on rides; he's been on the carousel before, but this time he got to go on a lot more. He was thrilled, as was Audrey, who now has someone to ride with!

Riding the hot air balloons. Audrey even tried out some new rides this year including the log flume and the swings. It's curious to me that she will ride some pretty wild rides (like the kiddie coaster) but is afraid to climb some of the playground equipment. Guess these things don't always make sense.

The whole family

When we got home, Audrey got busy playing with her new toys in her room. Next thing I know, I found this sign on her door. The kids had to share a room during our trip, so perhaps Audrey was ready for some alone time in her own space? I think she was just tired of him "messing up" her stuff...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Hello Ocean City, NJ!

Tomorrow morning we are leaving for Ocean City, New Jersey. I'm in the midst of packing, cleaning, cooking, etc. . . I am already tired from getting ready to go, so I hope this little vacation is relaxing! But I am so excited for the kids. The shore is so much fun for them - with the sand, water, boardwalk, and rides they will have a great time.

We'll be gone until Sunday so I won't be blogging until we're back. Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Audrey's Final First Day of Preschool :)

Yes, by the time Audrey begins kindergarten, she will have spent a whopping three years in preschool. That's what happens around here when you are born in September. Oh well, she will be REALLY ready for kindergarten.

The good news about being born in early September is that you get to bring cupcakes and celebrate your birthday on the first day of school. What better way to make friends?

Monday, September 8, 2008

A few party pictures

My neighbor Karen took a few pictures from the party that turned out so well I just had to post them.

I love this picture of Audrey listening to everyone singing "Happy Birthday"

And for once, a picture of Audrey with yours truly. You would think that I don't exist given that I rarely end up in any pictures ... but I'm too busy taking the photos!

One of my favorite memories of this party? After it was over, I took Audrey to the bathroom and while I was waiting for her to wash her hands she said, "Mommy, I wish Carter was here." (We had left him home with a babysitter.) It just melted my heart.

On Audrey's "real" birthday (Sunday), we took her over near my parents' house to ride the Perkasie Carousel. Rides are only 35 cents each (!) and last for about 5 minutes! Although you better hold on tight because this carousel goes FAST!

After the carousel ride, we went with Mom-Mom & Pop-Pop to Friendly's (one of Audrey's favorites) for dinner and ice cream. The wait staff came to our table to sing "Happy Birthday" and after they left, Audrey asked with amazement: "How did they know it was my birthday??" :)

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Happy 5th Birthday Audrey!

Hard to believe our firstborn is 5. We love her completely and are so glad and grateful that God gave her to us.

Turning 1 ...

Turning 2 ...

Turning 3 ...

Turning 4 ... (and holding up 4 fingers!)

Turning 5!

Yesterday she partied with 12 of her closest buddies at Zwahlen's ice cream shop. They dipped pretzels in chocolate & sprinkles, played bingo, learned how ice cream was made, tasted samples, played "pin the cherry on the sundae", and made their own ice cream sundaes. This is the first party we have had "out" and it was worth every penny. A good time was had by all ...

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Fall is in the air ...

Okay, fall is not really in the air yet, it's still 90 degrees ... and Audrey hasn't started school yet ... and we are headed to the beach in a week for our end of summer getaway ... but I'm already getting excited!

I can't get enough of fall. I've been longing for it since mid-summer! (And secretly also starting to dream about Christmas ... I know, I'm bizarre that way.) Anyway here are my FAVORITE things about fall. Sorry, but this might be a long list...

1. Getting out the jeans and sweaters and jackets and having a whole new wardrobe to choose from

2. Crisp morning air, but still warm enough to be outside without frostbite!

3. Beautiful, glorious colors. How do you southerners stand it without fall colors? The trees are incredible in the fall, especially in Pennsylvania (Trivia, for those of you not born or raised here in PA: Do you know how Pennsylvania got its name? "Penn" - from William Penn, original founder/owner of the land; and "sylvania" means "woods".) Thus, the awesome trees.

4. Going apple picking (and eating), which is becoming an annual tradition for us. See last year's fun (and how little Carter was ...) here.

5. Pumpkin bread, pie, snack cake, candles, etc.

6. School is in session

7. Our small group meets once a week again. I love those people!

8. My "fall" Yankee Candles that smell like something yummy is baking

9. Leaves ... jumping in them, hearing them crunch under our feet, and did I mention the beautiful colors?

10. Earlier bedtimes for the kids (which also means earlier getting-up times, but oh well)

11. My favorite shows finally have new episodes (Do I hear an "amen" to new Lost episodes??)

12. Carving pumpkins

13. Getting out the "fall" decorations. Yes, I have a whole box of "fall" stuff ... and today I bought a little more ...

14. Trick or treating and handing out candy to all the kids who come by our house (lately there have been an inordinate amount of princesses and super heroes ...)

15. Can't think of anymore right now, but I'm sure I'll think of more later!

Memories of last fall....

Hard to remember Carter being this little (and this stationary!)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Labor Day

We had a pretty low-key Labor Day. We decided to take the kids to the Elmwood Park Zoo to look at the animals, have a picnic, and play on the playground there. Afterward we came home, put Carter down for a nap, and Audrey and I went out back to the pool while Chad did some more work on our basement renovation project. The evening was topped off with Audrey and friends playing outside until it got dark. Most of the kids started school today, but Audrey's school starts next week so we get another week of "summer."

These are some pictures from the zoo:

Audrey near the bison pelt (is that what you call it?)

Chad and Carter checking out the prairie dogs. Moments after this picture was taken Carter took a spill and hit his face on a concrete step. It hasn't been a good week for him injury-wise. He also fell down our stairs the other day. :( Really he just runs so fast that his momentum gets going and those little feet just can't keep up!

Getting ready to eat lunch. You can kind of see the shadow of his shiner beginning to form ...

A trip to Elmwood Park Zoo wouldn't be complete without a picture in the butterfly thingie, at least not for Audrey!

Carter eating his dinner and showing off his facial injuries ... he's a tough little guy though!

And here is some of the progress on our psychedelic 70's basement. Drywall is going up over the crazy wall, and we're starting to prime the paneling so we can paint! Chad has big dreams for this room, complete with projection TV and surround sound. For now we'll both be happy with no more woodgrain paneling!! HOO-RAY for home improvement!