Friday, August 29, 2008

Here we go again...

Leland has another infection. I took her to the Doctor on Wednesday morning because she complained about a sore back, a headache, and that it hurt a little when she would pee. I did not want to wait for it to get any worse like last time. She finished her last round of antibiotics on Aug 1st, so it hasn't even been a month since her Urinary Tract Infection. She also says she is tired a lot. She gets plenty of sleep at night (9pm-6:30am) and still takes a 2 hour nap every day.

The initial urinalysis showed a slightly high white blood cell count so we started her on another round of antibiotics. We had to then take a sample to the hospital for more tests and to have her blood drawn. She was unbelievable when they drew her blood, I was amazed. She wanted to sit in the chair all by herself (not on my lap like the nurse suggested). When they put the needle in her arm she only let out a faint "Oh!". No tears, no screams, no crying, just wide eyes. I couldn't believe it.

The tests for anemia and mono have come back negative. There were signs of a bacterial infection. She will continue this round of antibiotics then there will be more tests. Poor girl. I just want to know what is causing this.

On a happier note...Leland went to her open house at her new preschool today. She was very excited. She knows 2 of the little girls in her class and her teacher is our neighbor. I'm very excited for her to start going. She is very excited about her purple backpack (Thanks Aunt Suz).

Each child has a color that is to mark their "spot" in the preschool room: their take home folder, the hook for their bag, their place mat for snack, and their mat to sit on during circle time. Leland is obsessed with pink and purple so we were a little worried that her color was blue and there were other girls that had pink and purple. Chuck did a good job about making a big deal about her having CAROLINA blue and that it is mommy's favorite color. Small catastrophe diverted - at least for one day.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

August Update

Things have finally started settling down for us. Chuck has started school and is trying to get into the groove of being in class and studying again. Most people say your 3rd year of law school is the easiest, but he has a lot of commitments. He is working in a legal clinic, editor for the ABA Student Lawyer magazine, president of Law Families (with me), VP of J Reuben Clark Society, Managing Editor of the Journal of Energy, Climate, and the Environment, driving for Traveller (the schools transit system), and his regular classes (plus a husband and father). I know he will do great.

A great thing is that he has no classes on Fridays this semester, so hopefully we can take some weekend trips. Most of our trips will hopefully be to look for jobs for next year. We are planning to go with him to his ABA meeting in Chicago in October. I am really excited. Our best friends Adam and Shana live there and we didn't get our summer visit with them like we have in the past.

Leland starts preschool next week. She is so excited she can't stand it. I didn't really want to mention it to her till it got a little closer but it slipped when I opened a packet of info from the school a few weeks ago. Every day since then she asks if she can go to preschool. It's pretty much every time we leave the house, she says "Are you taking me to preschool where I can go all by myself?" I have such an independent child. She wants to do everything by herself. We finally made a paper countdown chain to help her visualize how long till it starts. I had to do this for her birthday too.

She is full of questions and it is making me pull out my hair. Here's a sample of our conversation this morning at the gas station:
LJ : What's that? (pointing to the gas pump)
Me: the gas pump
LJ: What's a gas pump?
Me: It's what I use to put gas in the car
LJ: Why you put gas in the car?
Me: So we can drive the car.
LJ: Why do you want to drive the car?
Me: So we can go places like Wal-Mart (that's where we were headed)
LJ: Why do we go to Wal-Mart?

Seriously?!?! I thought I was going to loose my mind! I'm glad she's so inquisitive and wants to learn, but I just can't handle it some days.

Lucy is cute as ever. She can really get around great and is more steady on her feet. She loves to be chased and laughs so hard when you catch her. Leland loves to play hide-n-seek and Lucy is great at the seeking. It's like she has x-ray vision or something and always knows where to look. She hasn't really learned the art of hiding yet.

She has learned a few signs like eat and please. It's very cute. She is still a big eater but picky about what she eats. We are trying to break her of the binky. She is now only allowed to have it in her crib. Church is the only exception because we are there in the middle of nap time and usually trying to get her to fall asleep. She is also attached to blankets, she loves dragging them around. After our 10 day vacation with the same baby blanket she was attached to it. The first night we were home that blanket was in the wash. She threw every blanket I put in her crib out and cried herself to sleep. That blanket is now hidden in my closet for a few weeks.

Lucy likes to put things inside things. For example it's fun for her to drop things in buckets, boxes, or trash cans. I'm not so fond of the trash can thing. One morning I found her PJs stuffed inside a blocks sorter toy. She has also discovered how to open our doors. They are not knobs but handles so it's really easy for her. Yesterday I found her standing at the front door that was wide open. The food pantry door is also a fun one for to get into. She likes to help herself to Cherrios or Rice Krispy cereal shaking the boxes upside down till some comes out. So far we haven't had any major disasters.

As for me (Ashley) I am staying busy with work and trying to entertain my girls. I am trying to be more productive and waste less time on the computer. I recently read an article in Real Simple magazine called "More Free Time" (I tried to find a link but couldn't). It motivated me to make daily to-do lists of only 3 things per day. I tend to waste time on the computer a lot so I have decided to only check my email and look at blogs at scheduled times of the day. It's hard to do, but I feel more productive.

I'm excited to have the few hours a day with just Lucy, while Leland is at preschool. The new school year brings lots of new friends to the area. It has been fun making new friends for me and my kids.

Congrats if you read this long post with no pictures. I like to write once a month as a journal. Posting this checked off one item on my to-do list today . Yay!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Camping Again

Last weekend we went camping again at Douthat State Park. We loved it so much last time we went we wanted to go again if we could camp on the lake. After a ton of research of other campgrounds in the area, I happened to check Douthat's reservation list and there must have been a cancellation because there was one open site for the weekend we wanted to go. My college roommate, Kristen, came down from Baltimore to camp with us. We had such a great time.

Camping right on the lake was fun. It was a gorgeous view and a fun place for the girls to play. We set up on Thursday night and just relaxed. Friday morning Chuck and Leland did a little fishing from the side of the lake. (They fished the whole weekend, but had no success.) While making breakfast it started to rain. We borrowed some rope from some neighbors and strung up a tarp so we weren't trapped inside our tents. Chuck spent the next few hours perfecting the tarp cover and did a great job. We luckily had extra tarps. We had some in our car that we wanted to return, but they came to great use.

After the rain, Kristen, Leland and I went for a short hike around the side of the lake. It was so nice and peaceful.

Since there was so much rain in the morning. There were tons of puddles to splash around in. Leland had fun with some kids from the other campsites.

Chuck then rented a small fishing boat for us to go on the lake. It is a very small lake that allows small motor boats, kayaks, canoes, and paddle boats. We had a nice time floating around and trying to fish. The girls really enjoyed being on the boat.

The horrible mother that I am caused the need for the band-aid across Lucy's forehead that you see in all the pictures. The campsites are loose gravel. Lucy was shaking her foot like she had rocks in her shoe or something. So I bent over to lift up her foot to help her get the rocks out. Being that she is not very steady on her feet I knocked her completely off balance. She fell head first into the gravel. It was so quick she didn't even have time to get her hands up to help break the fall. Her head smacked on the gravel rocks and gashed it open and gave her nice goose egg. It wasn't too bad, but still made me feel horrible.

When Chuck went to return the boat that we rented. Leland went with him. They were going to cruise around the lake for a bit, then I was supposed to pick them at the dock. Chuck had been gone maybe 5 minutes and I hear him yelling "Come get us NOW!" I see him in the middle of the lake and not sure what is going on. I jump in the car to go pick him up on the other side of the lake.

A bee was flying around them in the boat. Leland went to hide her face and in the process caught the bee and trapped it in between her face and hands. The bee stung her just below her eye. It could have been a lot worse. Luckily, for my peace of mind, but not for Leland, she was stung a week ago on the foot while at the park. So we knew she wouldn't have any major reaction, just the pain and swelling. The poor girl's face got all puffy and red. It was very sad. That night she went to bed at 6pm and slept till 6:30am. She was worn out.

We enjoyed the campfire in the evenings. Leland loved roasting marshmallows. The whole weekend she would sneak marshmallows into her mouth. She never really ate an actual s'more, but loved all 3 elements on their own: marshmallows, chocolate bars, and graham crackers.

Saturday we spent the afternoon at the beach area. A local radio station was sponsoring Back to School Party so there were lots of fun activities going on: free hot dogs, bounce houses, and games. If you look at the picture to the right of Chuck and Leland on the obstacle course you will notice Chuck about to lose balance and tumble down the slide. I thought he was going to flip right off, but somehow managed to stay on and not smother his daughter on the way down.

The girls enjoyed playing in the sand and water. Kristen and I rented a canoe and paddled around the lake. It was peaceful as long as we stayed away from the beach area that was packed full of people and really loud. Leland went out on the canoe with us. We found her a cattail along the shoreline for her to use as a paddle. After a while I noticed that she was being pretty quiet. I look back and she was dead asleep in the bottom of the canoe. I really wish I had my camera with me.

We had such a fun weekend. It was a great end to our summer. Chuck started classes today, Leland starts pre-school Sept 4th. I hope this last year of law school flies by as quickly as our summer did.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

2 hour nap

Today I babysat for a friend who has a 5 month old little girl. Abbie dropped off her little girl Ella during my girls nap time. When I heard Leland starting to wake up I went into our room where she was sleeping. I was holding Ella.

Leland sat up and looked at me with big eyes and asks, "Is that my baby brother?"
Me: "No sweetie. This is our friend Ella who is just here to play."
Leland bursts into tears and says "I really want a baby brother. Why can't that baby be my baby brother?"

Seriously my girl wants another baby so bad, and it better be a boy.

I sure wish that whenever our next baby does come, he/she would appear during a 2 hour nap. No 9 months of pregnancy, no labor, and no long wait. Wouldn't that be nice?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Hotel del McBride

After Chuck returned from NYC we visited his sister in Cary, NC. Her neighborhood was like a little resort. They have an awesome pool with a kids area that you usually see at a water park. I think Chuck had just as much if not more fun than the kids did. He is such a big kid at heart.

There were slides and lots of places to shoot and pour water on yourself and others.

Tara who has a broken leg was such a trooper. She floated around the pool wrapped in plastic, taped up, and with floaties on her leg. What a cutie.

My sister Suzanne and Emily met us for the morning to swim. Emily is such a doll and as my sister says is a total diva.

In the clubhouse area there was an activity center for kids. They had a few kitchens, lots of doll houses, and other toys. Just outside the activity center was the playground. My girls loved it.

One night Mitzi, Darcy (our niece from Vegas who was visiting), and I went to an exercise class. It was a step class and Pilate's. I realized that I hate step. Just as I start to follow the instructor, she switches to something different. The Pilate's was much more my thing, even though formal exercise really isn't my thing at all. I was so sore the next day. I really should exercise more.

We ended our stay with the McBrides visiting the Cary Fire Station. Conner, Leland's cousin is really into fire trucks, so they have come before. I think most fire stations will let you visit. It was fun. The kids all took turns sitting in the driver's seat. I guess we have taught our kids the importance of seat belts, because that was the first thing they all wanted to do was put on the seat belt.

Thanks for the fun time McBrides.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I Love to See the Temple

When we lived in San Diego we would drive by the San Diego Temple often. Leland loved driving past it in the car and singing "I Love to See the Temple". Since we have moved to Virginia on several occasions Leland asks to see the temple. I usually will show her the picture hanging in her room and she says "No I want to SEE the temple, like in the car." Since we are more than 3 hours from the closest temple (Washington, DC), seeing the temple from the car just doesn't happen.
I was so excited to take the girls to the temple grounds in Raleigh while we were on vacation. Leland was very excited.

I envisioned taking gorgeous pictures of them on the grounds and videoing Leland singing "I Love to see the Temple" with the temple in the background. Well they just weren't being very cooperative, but I managed to get a few pictures.

My favorite is the one on the bottom left. The top left picture for some reason makes Leland look so old to me. My baby girl is growing up.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Our little Actress

Next to the Children's Museum that we went to with my mom in Rocky Mount was an Arts Center that had a children's area. There was a little stage with a curtain and an assortment of dress up clothes. Leland loved putting on little shows for us. She made me join her stage. Which as a mother I've learned that I must do things out of my comfort zone. Even though it was only my sister and mom watching, I was still a bit uncomfortable.

We took turns being the prince and princess.

Little Red Riding hood and the Big Bad Wolf.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Rocky Mount Children's Museum

We are having a fun time in NC. My sister and I met my mom in Rocky Mount to hang out with her. Suz found a Children's Museum that was about halfway between us. It was so much fun.

There was a section about the universe, germs and diseases, parts of the body, and an animal exhibit. There were a few real animals - the largest python I've ever seen, so big I wanted to throw up, a small alligator, and a touch tank with fish, horseshoe crabs, sting rays, and other sea life.

The stuffed animals must have had a sensor so that when you got close it would make the sound of that animal. Lucy would walk towards the alligator and when it would start to growl (?) she would just sit down. It was pretty amusing.

The highlight of the animal exhibit was the friendly stingray.

The first time this thing "waved" I screamed. I thought it was going to come right out of the tank.

At the parts of the body section there were models of several organs (stomach, brain, nose, eyes, etc.) I was showing them all to Leland. When we came to the nose I said, "This is what it looks like inside your nose." Leland says, "Oh that's where all the boogers are!"

The upstairs portion of the museum had mazes, foam pads to crawl on, a pony to ride, and lots of different toys. I usually don't put money in rides, but this one was only 10 cents. Leland loved the cowboy hat that she got to wear while riding the horse. This horse gave them a wild and crazy ride. I actually took Lucy off before it was over because I thought she was going to get whiplash.

We had such a great time. Thanks for meeting us Mom!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Queen Adventures

Chuck headed to NYC earlier in the week for a few days for the ABA national convention. After I dropped him off at the airport I headed down to NC to visit family.

For the first few days I stayed with my sister Suzanne. It was so fun to watch her daughter Emily (22mos) and my girls play. They are so hilarious chasing each other through out the house, playing peek-a-boo, and just playing. It's fun to watch cousins who haven't seen each other in a while just go right back to constant friends like they see each other every day.

We decided to test and see if we could fit all 3 carseats in the back of her car. They barely fit and it was so nice to not have to take 2 cars everywhere. The first few times we drove with all 3 girls in the back, Leland would start to yell the same phrase over and over. My sister and I could not figure out what she was saying. It sounded like "Queen of Bitches." I obviously was concerned because everytime she would yell it she would laugh and flail her arms around and kick her legs. She thought it was the most exciting thing to yell. My sister and I were trying not to show her how hilarious it was because I thought she knew she was saying something inappropriate.

Finally we figured out she was saying Queen Adventures. I guess something about all 3 girls being so snug in car was adventurous to Leland.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Feels like Home

Yesterday I had the opportunity to attend a wedding reception of the little sister of some good friends of mine from growing up. The reception was at the church building that I attended every Sunday for the first 18 years of my life. Some of the people that I was able to see were close friends while I was a teenager and had not seen in several years. Obviously most of my childhood friends were not there, but their parents were. It was so nice to visit with them.

The 2 older sisters of the bride are younger than me. While growing up others would often think that they were my little sisters because we all look alike. I am the youngest child so I loved the idea of having little sisters. We often would tell strangers that we were sisters.

As I was driving back to my sister-in-laws house I became a little emotional. I was thinking that it was the first time in a while that I felt like I went "home". There is something special about the home that you grow up in. Consider yourself lucky if you lived in the same home for the majority of your childhood and your parents still live in that home once they are empty-nester's.

When I was 20 years old and away at college my parents got divorced and sold my childhood home. Now when I come "home" it's to visit their home, not my home and I am just a visitor/intruder. So I do not have the "being at home" feeling when I return to NC. It's a difficult feeling for me to explain. I think no matter how old you are it's nice to have the comfort and relaxation that home gives. It's the feeling after a really long vacation to be able to curl up on your own couch or sleep in your own bed.

Chuck and I have lived in 6 apartment/houses in our 4 years of marriage. I hope this rate does not continue. I'm ready to have a house to live in and stay in for a really long time.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Camping Fun - Part 2 of 2

Saturday morning we had the intention of renting a small fishing boat to go out on the lake for an hour, but the weather had other plans for us. We enjoyed a nice breakfast and got everything cleaned up just before the rain started. For the record, the Weather Channel predicted only 30% chance of isolated T-storms from 4am-7am, it was now 9am and it was the craziest thunderstorm. The longest and loudest thunder I think I've ever heard in my life, lightning, and a down pour of rain. The 4 of us spent an hour inside our 10x15 tent. After about 30 minutes Chuck thought a few hours had passed. We sang songs, wrestled, and were monsters. Not exactly how we planned to spend our Sat morning, but great quality family time that made some memories.

Some of our extended family spent the weekend camping at a family reunion in Arizona. I guess we were there in spirit - camping and sporting our Bodell T-shirts.

When the rain cleared out we took the girls to the Discovery Center for some info and crafts about turtles. We then went fishing and playing in the river. Leland LOVES to go fishing even though she's only gone a few times. We didn't catch anything, but still enjoyed ourselves. Lucy loved playing in the rocks and on the edge of the water. She was soaking wet and covered in mud by the end.

Remember to click on the picture to make it larger. I absolutely love these pictures.

We had to leave at lunchtime on Saturday to make it to a Ward picnic. That was fun too, even though we were 2 hours late and completely exhausted. The fact that we didn't even take pictures shows how tired we were. The picnic was at a man's farm with 150+ acres. There were 4 wheelers, homemade slip-n-slide, and swimming in the river. Leland and Chuck went in the river while Lucy and I hung out on the bank. It was a gorgeous piece of property.