Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Monday, December 10, 2012

Visit with Santa

Tonight we took Michael and Katie to see Santa at the mall.  When we arrived there, we realized that we had once again gone on "pet night".  Every Monday night in December until Christmas, you are allowed to bring your pet to the mall so that he or she can visit with Santa.  Some of these pets are dressed better than the kids there!  One good thing about going on pet night is that the pets don't take nearly as long to tell Santa what they want.  We were about the 8th or 9th customer in line but I think Michael and Katie were the first kids to see Santa that night.  We usually try to get there right when Santa gets back from dinner to minimize the wait.

This year was the first year that both kids were excited to see Santa.  They couldn't wait to tell him what they wanted.  Michael's list had 4 things and Katie asked for 3 things.  The picture wasn't the best but we are going more for the experience of seeing Santa. 

After we left, Katie said that she forgot to tell Santa that she would like some girl Legos too.  I asked Michael what he wanted to get Katie for Christmas later that night.  He told me girl Legos since Katie forgot to ask for those from Santa but he still wanted her to have them.  Wasn't that sweet?

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Gingerbread House

Katie brings home many pieces of artwork from school.  Yesterday she brought home a gingerbread house.  The "house" itself was a box covered in brown construction paper.  I thought that was an easy way to make the structure without having to bake a lot of gingerbread.  They used icing and candy to decorate the rest of the house.  That made it much less involved, which I think is key when dealing with 3 and 4 year olds.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Even More Decorating

After Christmas last year, my mom brought us some mini artificial trees and wreaths.  I kept them in a bag all year and took them out over the weekend.  Todd had the great idea of each kid decorating a tree to put in their room.  I went to the Dollar Store earlier this week and got some ornaments and garland that were just the right size for the tree.  I wrapped the trees with red bell garland to start.  Katie and Michael put the ornaments on the trees and picked out a place to put them in their rooms.  They turned out really cute!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

More Decorating

Michael brought home a Christmas tree poster to decorate to bring back to school this week.  This was a family project in which we all participated in.  His teacher wanted us to decorate the tree creatively.  I gathered several different things around the house to use on the tree.  I found stickers, cotton balls, marshmallows, foam decorations, and Christmas ribbon for wrapping presents.  Michael, Todd and Katie all colored the tree and base before putting the decorations on while I took some pictures.  We all had fun doing this together and the finished product looked pretty awesome!

Finished product

She finally smiles!

Friday, November 16, 2012


Anyone who knows Katie well knows that she does not like to have her hair pulled up and our of her face.  I am not sure why she likes to go for the unkempt look but I have been doing my best to make sure her hair at least gets brushed every day.  I already had to tell her that her school wouldn't let her in unless she wore her hair up out of her face.  It worked and I have kept up my end of the bargain by doing something with her hair every day.  As her bangs grow out more and more, it becomes much more manageable.

As I was doing her hair this morning, I asked her if she wanted a braid.  In the past, the answer has always been no but I figured I would give it another shot.  I told her what it would look like and she agreed because she wanted to wear more than one color elastic in her hair.  When I finished braiding it, I showed it to her in the mirror.  Katie's response, "I love this braid!".  Finally, a hairstyle that she approved of.

Here is a picture of her happily displaying her braid.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Eye Doctor Update

This morning Katie had her checkup with the ophthalmologist at Johns Hopkins.  It has been 4 months since her last visit.  Since there is no longer a pediatric ophthalmologist in Columbia, we have decided to have the doctor she saw this summer be her primary ophthalmologist.  Todd and I both feel strongly that this is going to provide the best care for her and it is worth having to make the trip up there to see someone who knows what to look for. 

Katie was examined by an associate doctor first and they did a simple vision test.  Katie wasn't very responsive in regards to identifying the pictures.  We were not sure if it was because she couldn't see them or just didn't feel like answering.  Either way, it was a little frustrating.  One of the pictures that came up on the screen was an old style phone like we had in our houses in the 70's and 80's.  She said that was a shirt.  We agreed with the doctor when he said that they may need to update their pictures a bit!

It was time for the eye drops to dilate her eyes after that.  This is the worst part of the exam.  She was fine with it when she was younger but as she gets older, she does not like it at all.  I also don't think it helps that Michael freaked out last time and she watched it all.  They managed to get the drops in there and after taking Katie outside of the office, she finally calmed down.

The main doctor came to take us back to the exam room.  He did a further exam on Katie to have her identify letters on the screen to test her vision.  The main problem is with her left eye.  Her vision is that eye is significantly worse than the right eye.  Her lens is already dislocated in that eye as well.  Her corrected vision at her last appointment in her left eye was 20/100.  It was now 20/80.  She had a new glasses prescription since the last time as well. 

The doctor now wants to go back to patching the right eye.  He had hoped to avoid this by simply correcting her previous glasses prescription.  However, he only has us patching the right eye for 1 hour per day, instead of 3 hours.  It is not pleasurable but is actually much more manageable.  I have been using jelly beans as rewards for her to put the patch on and keep it on.  It's gone much better this time around although I find it's easier to get it done earlier in the day.

Katie will be seen again in 4 months for a recheck and to see if the patching has helped at all.  Michael will also go back for a recheck at the same time.  We feel very fortunate to be able to take the kids to Johns Hopkins and are thankful that Todd's insurance allows this.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Crazy Road Trip

Today we are heading out on a super quick road trip to Baltimore.  Katie has an appointment with the ophthalmologist at Johns Hopkins tomorrow morning.  So we will drive all day and arrive in the DC area right around rush hour....fun!  We will spend the night at a hotel close to the doctor's office, go to the appointment in the morning and then get back in the car to drive home.  Our total trip will be less than 36 hours, at least half of which will be spent in the car.  Luckily, my parents are coming to stay with Michael so he won't have to miss any school since he doesn't have an appointment this time.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween Fun

Halloween started with a parade and party at Katie's school in the morning.  It ended with Trick or Treating in the neighborhood with friends riding on the back of their Gator!  The kids were so excited to finally wear their costumes and get candy.  Due to the change in temperature here over the past few days, we had to make a few modifications to Michael's costume last minute.  He was the Hulk and was going to be wearing green paint on his arms and legs.  He ended up wearing a green long sleeve shirt under his Hulk shirt and his purple pants became shorts with green Duck Tape on the bottom of them.  I thought it looked pretty neat!

After Katie's parade, we headed back to her class.  They played musical chairs, hot pumpkin and a Jack O'Lantern bingo game.  They went outside and came back in to eat a Halloween snack.  Each kid got a big bag of treats sent home with them, which included Build a Spider.  This was a bag of green playdoh with black pipecleaners for legs and googly eyes.

The end of the night found everyone exhausted and full of candy.  I imagine that tomorrow morning is going to be kind of rough when Michael has to get up so early for school but Halloween only comes once a year.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Katie's Thoughts on School

Tonight I was in Katie's room before bed.  I was telling her that tomorrow was Wednesday and she would have school in the morning.  This is how the conversation went:

Me:  When you wake up in the morning, we will get dressed, eat breakfast and I will take you to school.

Katie:  I don't want to go to school tomorrow because I don't like it.

Me: I thought that you liked school.  Won't you miss your friends and Ms. Beth and Ms. Jane Ashley if you don't go?

Katie:  I will miss my friends but I don't like it because I have to wear my hair in a rubber band.

Me:  So the only reason you don't want to go is because of your hair?  If I left your hair down and didn't brush it, then you would want to go to school.

Katie:  Sure.

Me: Well, I am sorry but you have to wear your hair up to go to school so you can see what's going on there.  If you leave your hair down, it will be hard to see where you are going on the playground or where your friends are.

Katie:  I still don't want to go if I have to wear my hair up.

Me: We'll talk about it when you wake up in the morning.  Good night.

It made me laugh that something so simple was making her not want to go to school.  I do not make her wear her hair up on most other days but she is getting better about it because I think she realizes she can see.  However, it usually only lasts for part of the day before she pulls it out.  Let's hope she changes her mind in the morning!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Fun at the Fair

Yesterday we went to the SC State Fair with Todd's parents.  This was the first time that Katie and Michael have ever been to the fair and the first time in many years for the rest of us.  Todd and I used to go there for lunch when his office was located across the street from the fairgrounds.  It was a perfect day to go as the weather was sunny and in the low 70's. 

We got there a little after 1:00.  As soon as we entered the fairgrounds, the kids were ready to go on rides.  The first one Katie went on was the carousel, which Michael does not like.  I had to ride with her as she didn't want to go on alone and it's not my favorite ride either.  Both kids also went on the roller coaster with Todd and Grandmama.  Katie was NOT a fan of that ride and told me when she got off that she did not want to go on the roller skate again!

Some of the kids' favorite rides were the motorcycle, the racecars and the giant slide.  We got to the slide at the right time of day.  There was no line and the kids were able to go on it multiple times in a row before a line formed.  Neither of them wanted to ride the ferris wheel and Michael reconsidered going on a few rides that he said no to when we walked by the first time.

They rode several different rides and then we got something to eat.  We decided on hot dogs and fries.  Later we got strawberry lemonade, cotton candy and cookies.  As we headed home, the kids got candy apples to eat at home the next day.  They both chose the original red with sprinkles. 

We also looked at the animals inside at the fair.  We didn't pet any but did get to see the winners for several different categories, including the rabbits.  Katie and Michael both loved the pony ride but this was no surprise since Katie did it at the zoo a few weeks ago and Michael rode one a few times last year.  There was also an elephant that you could pay to ride but we did not do that.

Everyone was exhausted when we finally headed home after 8:00.  The kids did really well and the only meltdown occurred when we were getting ready to leave.  Katie didn't want to hear that she had to wait until the next day to eat her apple!  We got into the van and asked her if she wanted to go back to the fair again.  She was so tired that she said she never wanted to go back.  Considering all the fun she had, I think it was just the lack of sleep talking.

All in all it was a wonderful day!  We all enjoyed ourselves so much and will look forward to going back again next year.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Dental Decision

Today I received a call from the dentist that we got a second opinion from.  Everything has been cleared by Johns Hopkins, the ENT and the pediatrician for Michael to get his cavities filled in the office using nitrous oxide and novacaine.  Of course, it is still going to have to be done in several visits due to the extensive work that has to be completed.

The first appointment is scheduled for next Wednesday, the 17th.  I am hoping and praying that everything goes smoothly because I know how upset Michael can get when it involves any type of pain.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Flu Shot Fiasco

Last year, I took both kids in to get the flu shot separately.  This was due to the fact that Michael got really upset the previous year and I didn't want him to scare Katie again.  Today both kids had off from school for Columbus Day so I decided to be brave and take them together to get the flu shot. 

I am not quite sure why I thought this would be a good idea but they needed to get it.  I told them we had to go to the doctor but didn't say why as I knew Michael would get upset.  Sure enough, we pulled up at the office and the first thing he said asked was, "Am I getting a shot today?".  I told him yes and then he wouldn't even get out of the car.

Michael did come inside after a few minutes.  The kids and I waited in the well visit room for their names to be called.  Thankfully, we were called back fairly quickly.  I was worried about a long wait so this was a good sign to me.  We got into the exam room and the nurse came in to give the shots.  It was at this point that Michael just started crying and screaming that he wasn't getting a shot.  I tried to get Katie to go first but she wasn't willing to do that.  I wonder why......

It took the nurse and I holding Michael down to get him the shot.  Then he was talking about how his leg was broken and that someone was going to have to carry him out of the office.  I told Katie it was her turn.  She walked up to the table and climbed up to get her shot.  She actually was trying to see what the nurse was going to do.  She was extremely calm considering what was still going on with Michael.  The nurse gave her the shot and she cried.  I told her to look at her sparkly silver bandaid.  She did and the tears stopped.  She was fine.  Michael was still crying about his leg. 

It's amazing to me that Katie was able to get the shot with little crying, especially after the way that Michael was acting.  In that respect, she definitely takes after her father.  When it comes to small, everyday pain, Michael clearly has inherited a low pain threshold from me!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Walk for Life 2012

This past Saturday I did the Walk for Life for breast cancer with my sorority alumnae group.  It was a 5K through the downtown area.  The weather was absolutely perfect for the walk this year.  It was a cold morning last year but the temperatures were in the high 60's/low 70's.  At one point during the walk, you could look ahead down the street and see the sheer number of people participating in the walk.

This is such a great cause and seems to affect so many people that I know, as well as friends and family of others that I know. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Dental Update

Today I took Michael to get a second opinion with another dentist regarding the multiple cavities that he has.  We were not pleased with the options that were presented to us by Michael's regular dentist and decided to seek another opinion.  I was able to go back with him while the hygienist examined him.  She also took some x-rays to further examine the teeth.  The original x-ray was a panoramic and not as clear.  Michael was a great patient and let her get the x-rays needed.

The dentist came in to talk with me and check Michael's teeth as well as the x-rays.  After looking things over, she said that she wanted to consult with Michael's cardiologist, ENT and pediatrician.  Since Michael takes a daily medication for his heart, she was not sure what his restrictions would be.  She wanted to check with all of his physicians to make sure that they were all on the same page as far as treatment goes.

So now we are waiting to hear back from the dentist to see what the treatment plan is going to be.  We are hoping that the cavities can be filled in several visits using nitrous oxide.  Hopefully this will be resolved in a few weeks and we can get his teeth fixed.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


Tonight was Michael's first pack meeting as a Cub Scout.  He and Todd have already attended 2 den meetings, which was only their small group of Tiger Cubs.  The pack meeting is made up of all of the dens in the pack. 

Last week, Michael's den worked on their first badge, the Bobcat badge.  His den only had 2 other boys in it (2 more joined tonight).  Both of them earned the badge at the den meeting last week.  Michael completed all but 2 requirements for the badge.  The den leader told Todd that Michael could still get the badge at the pack meeting tonight if he could finish the last 2.  Michael worked hard on learning the Law of the Pack as well as the Cub Scout promise over the past week.  Since Michael completed these tonight, he also received his badge at the pack meeting.  They all got to go up in front of everyone to receive the badges.

After the meeting, Todd took Michael out to get a milkshake as a special treat for working hard to complete the badge.  Michael was so excited and proudly displayed his badge when he got home.  We were proud of him for accomplishing this and look forward to what comes next.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Alone Time

Todd had a 2 day work conference in Orlando this past weekend.  I was lucky enough to be able to go with him to Orlando while my parents watched Katie and Michael.  This was our first trip away from the kids alone since Michael was born.  It felt a bit strange to be somewhere with Todd but without the kids.  It was nice to have some relaxing alone time.  Unfortunately, Todd spent most of the day in the conference but we got to spend time together at night.  We even had a nice and entertaining dinner at a Japanese steakhouse on Monday night.  I spent my days reading in the room or by the pool at a neighboring hotel (the pool at our hotel was undergoing renovations).  I have to admit that by the end of the second day alone, I was ready to head back.  I don't want another 6.5 years to go by before Todd and I get away together again!

Monday, September 10, 2012

New Dance School

Katie's first dance lesson of the new school year was this afternoon.  I tried to sign her up for class on Tuesday after lunch since she doesn't go to school that day but the class was already full.  I decided to sign her up for Monday afternoon at 4:00 because I figured that it wouldn't get over too late and interfere with dinner.  The only bad part about that time is that Michael has to come too but I figure Katie has been to so many of his things that it's only fair.

This year Katie's class is a tap and ballet combo for 3 and 4 year olds, which is the same as last year.  She is taking class at the Dance Dept this year.  She was not old enough to attend there last year.  She was so excited for the first day of class and has been talking about it for the past few weeks.  We got her new ballet and tap shoes at the end of last week.  Katie walked around the house all afternoon with the ballet slippers on.

The class is 45 minutes long and takes place behind closed doors.  They have a few classes per year that they open up for the parents to watch and there is a recital at the end of the year.  As soon as Katie came out of the first class, she started talking about what they did.  She let me know that they did tap first and then ballet.  They also danced to some music that she really liked.

Before class

Worn out after class
I really enjoy watching her excitement for dance.  Considering that she is not the most girly girl, I wondered how dance would go.  She really seems to have fun and that is all that matters!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Go Cocks!!

The Gamecocks played today.  We went to a friend's house to watch the game and eat lunch.  The kids all had fun playing together.  The men mostly watched the game while the women mostly talked about anything but football.  It was nice to hang out with friends and have good food and conversation!  The kids were even dressed in their Gamecocks apparel.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Bathroom Progress

It's the end of the second week of work on the bathroom remodel.  The work is going to be stopping until the tile that we ordered comes in because we want to have it with us when we pick out the new paint color for the walls.  The tile should be here in about a week or so and then work will resume again.  We are also waiting for our new cabinet to be delivered.

The bathroom door stays closed now because I can't stand to look in there.  Home projects tend to stress me out.  I do enjoy seeing the progress as it happens but I am always relieved once it's complete.  Todd gets very involved in the progress and takes pictures after every work day.  It's really coming along quite nicely. 

The new linen closet is done except for shelving and painting.  It even has the new door on.  The new shower (former bathtub) is ready for tile.   The master closet is ready for a new floor and organizer.  We still have at least 3-4 more weeks until the project is done because we haven't even ordered our countertops yet.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Katie's First School Artwork

During her first week of school, Katie told me that she put paint on her hands and put them on a piece of paper.  She also told me that it was messy but her teacher, Ms. Beth, helped her to clean her hands when it was done. 

When I picked her up from school today, her teacher gave me the artwork with her handprints on it.  Katie was so proud of it and told me all about how they made it.  We went to lunch with Todd and she happily showed it to him as well.  He read the poem on the paper to her while she listened intently.  It was so cute.

I can't wait to see what else she brings home from school (and I really want to find a better way to store and sort the artwork too).

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

First Den Meeting

Tonight Michael went to his first Cub Scout den meeting with Todd.  The whole family attended the meet and greet dinner last Monday, which is when we signed Michael up for the Cub Scouts.  This year, he will be a Tiger Cub.  The boys will attend 2 den meetings per month, as well as one pack meeting.  There will also often be a visit to somewhere to help earn badges by learning about different things.

The den started working on their first badge tonight at the meeting.  Michael already knows the motto, handshake and salute.  It's pretty cute to watch him learn these new things.  It's also a great bonding experience for Michael and Todd.  I love watching them go to have this special time together and I hope that they both enjoy it!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Beach Weekend

We celebrated Labor Day weekend at the same place we did last year: at the beach with friends and family.  We headed to my parents' house in North Carolina on Friday night and spent some time with them.  The kids were so excited to go on a trip for the weekend.  On Saturday afternoon, we headed to South Carolina to visit with some close friends and their kids.

The weekend was full of time spent at the pool, beach and eating some good food.  We went to the beach and used the pool both days we were there.  The kids also got to play at a local playground.  We all rode there on our friend's golf cart, which the kids loved! 

Katie and Michael both enjoyed the beach this time around.  They actually got in the ocean without major prompting.  Both kids let Todd take them out a little bit further than they normally would have.  Katie kept running out of the water up to our stuff and wiping off her hands on the towel.  It was pretty funny.  Katie and her friend Macayla also collected seashells to bring home.  Michael loved jumping over the little waves by the shore and wasn't scared at all.

The only bad thing about the weekend was that we had to leave on Monday because there was school and work on Tuesday.  We are going to do our best to spend more time at the beach next summer.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Bathroom Blues

We had our master bathroom shower redone about 3 or 4 years ago as it was leaking.  Not only did we change from a fiberglass to a tile shower but we also had the vinyl floor replaced with tile.  A few weeks ago, we noticed that the ceiling was wet over the kitchen, which is also where the bathroom is.  We immediately stopped using the shower and started using our hall bathroom.  4 people in that bathroom is not the most ideal situation.  Todd started getting estimates from contractors to have the shower fixed.  The general consensus was that the shower would have to be gutted and rebuilt.  This made us so upset since it was not that long ago that we had it fixed the last time.

The contractor that we chose proposed a plan where we would take out our garden tub and put in a large shower and turn the existing small shower into a linen closet.  Todd and I both like the idea because we need a bigger shower as well as most storage space.  Todd also discussed pulling up the floor in the master closet and getting a new organizer in there.  The bathroom will be gutted and it will be like starting from scratch.  Let's hope everything goes smoothly this time!

 Here a few pictures from the first week of progress.

Old shower

Old shower floor

New shower area and smooth ceiling!

New linen closet

The shower seat