T Rex Family

T Rex Family

Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween 2011

This kids were quite excited and had a very fun weekend ending with Halloween and trick-or-treating.

For comparison, you can click here to review our Halloween weekend 2010.

This year, T Rex hosted a Halloween party for friends and family. It started out being just a few of his friends. He only sent out 4 invitations. However, he just kept inviting people. Before we knew it, we had over 50 people on the guest list. Luckily, all of them could not make it. Actually, I was not even sure who was going to show up. The other day at the grocery store, the worker at the children's playland stopped us while we were shopping to let us know she could not attend the party. (I did not know he had even invited her.) In the end, his party was a huge success.

I will not be posting photos as I did not obtain permissions from everyone in attendance. However, you can imagine 11 kids ages 9 months to 4 years, running around in costumes (bumble bees, butterfly, dragon, tiger, wizard, princess, Minnie Mouse, witch, Show White, and skeleton), playing with toys, doing crafts, playing pin the nose on the pumpkin, and breaking a pinata. (Bebe Sister still enjoyed the pinata despite getting the plastic bat right in her face.) I'd say a very successful party. 

Oh, at Bebe Sister's request, I finished this Halloween kitty as part of our party decorations. Below it is our pumpkin for pin the nose on the pumpkin. T Rex originally wanted a pumpkin with 10 teeth. Alas, my pumpkin carving skills are not what they used to be. Plus, the skin to this pumpkin was at least 3 inches thick. T Rex was a good sport and did not mind. When he woke up the morning of the party and saw the pumpkin he exclaimed, "I LOVE it!"

Then a much needed break until Halloween night. We did watch Charlie Brown and the Great Pumpkin with T Rex - he definitely enjoyed it, probably more so this year than last. In fact, tonight he was quite concerned that his sister not get any rocks in her candy sack.

Last year, Bebe Sister could barely sit unassisted. She was not really mobile. This year, she trick-or-treated on her own. It was wonderful. She just followed her brother and if anyone said anything to her she would say, "treat?" It was fairly chilly outside so I had the kids layered extensively under their costumes. It seems to always instantly get cold here on Halloween. This year was no different.

After only visiting a few houses in the neighborhood, we went home to greet the kids who were visiting our house. I am certain in a year or two they will insist on visiting the entire block but for now, 5 houses is sufficient. Especially since one child does not like candy and the other likes it a bit too much. However, prepare yourself for this...(insert drum roll) T Rex will actually now eat a little bit of candy - skittles, taffy, and gummy bears. Earth shattering news, I know. Bebe Sister, on the other end, she almost ate one of my dice tonight thinking it was candy. That girl will eat anything resembling food and most of the time she likes it. (Amazing that she is still only 22 lbs.)

Alas, all the fun had to come to an end. The kids hung up their magical hats, staff, and wand before heading to dreamland. Such a fun time. How fortunate and blessed we feel to enjoy these moments with our children. They just make life more, well, everything.

One other thing, Happy Nevada Day! (My home state - we always had the day off of school.) If you want to see more of the kids in their costumes, I'll be posting more photos on their personal blogs.

And as always, thanks for sharing in our family adventures and fun.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Halloween Projects...

I posted the Halloween projects I've done. Now it's time to show one the kids did.

T Rex is especially excited about his Halloween party coming up on Saturday. The un-haunted, Halloween house is one of the decorations. What started out as a simple, intimate party where only a few invitations went out has turned into quite the social event. He just kept inviting people. A library book "Mouse's Halloween Party" really made an impression.

For this project, I actually took a box, taped it, and covered it with chocolate frosting. This way nothing would collapse while they were decorating. Worked like a charm. Bebe Sister especially liked tasting the goods before placing them on the house. T Rex sternly declined as he does not like chocolate. Neighbor M was kind enough to give us the stuff for our project (thank you, M).

The kids did a great job. Here is the finished project...

The kids just make these kinds of things oodles more fun than they otherwise would be. Stay tuned...I am sure there will be more about this party. Goodness knows I need the fun - school has been crazy hence the ticker on the sidebar counting down until graduation. I've also started listening to review CDs for my certification exam next summer. I have them playing in the car and the kids like to try to guess the answers to the questions or alternatively, T Rex will ask me questions like, "Mama, what do you want for dinner? A - Mac n Cheese, B- Carrots, C- Breakfast, or D - all of the above." Maybe they can take the exam, too.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sunday Drive...

With the beautiful, yet limited autumn days we've been experiencing we decided it was the perfect time to take Lightning McQueen for a spin down the street. This time, however, Bebe Sister wanted in on the action. Her brother was kind enough to assist. It was a bit of a leap of faith for us parents letting him have charge of the controls with her riding but they did great. When he grew tired and she wanted more, I stepped in a helped. I guess there are a few perks to my size.

I love that last photo - I'm thinking header for November. 

Keeping it short - back to back clinic days starting tomorrow, girls' night on Tuesday (Sarah will also be joining me - our first girls' night), and the kids' Halloween party. However, I do have another fun post planned this week. The kids and I made an unhaunted, haunted house. 

(P.S. Bebe Sister's helmet is not on properly but I was a bit relaxed about it since she was no longer on the trike. Usually T Rex does not wear a helmet in the car. Try finding a helmet that fits a child with a head in the 5th percentile.)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Eye Exams...

This week the kids had their ophthalmology appointments. T Rex went in for a follow-up. Due to his amblyopia and strabismus, he sees the pediatric ophthalmologist every 3-5 months. They keep very close watch on him. Bebe Sister is at risk for the same disorder due to the nature of genetics so she needed to have an initial screening between 18 and 24 months. She just turned 21 months so the timing was perfect. We decided it would be best to deal with two grumpy kids at one appointment than separately.

Actually we were preparing for the worst since T Rex was the same age during his first ophthalmology appointment and it was disastrous. We were all in tears after it was done. I would have been mortified if we would have had to do patching at that point. However, now we are doing patching with him for 1-2 hours per day. This has been part of the routine for at least a year and with the homemade patch I have for him, he doesn't mind too much. The best news - his vision is now 20/20 in both eyes. His right eye is still dominant but his left (weak) eye is fully functioning and the brain is recognizing it. He still does not have depth perception, but we're getting there. The doctor commended him on his progress and good work - patching is tough. It makes his weak eye work hard, he sometimes complains of headaches, and I know the patch can be uncomfortable as well as a bit embarrassing to wear. However, we are all so proud him and  his progress.

Bebe Sister watched her brother during the exam. Because she has dark eyes and not blue like her brother (another one of those weird gene things - where did his blue eyes come from?), she had to have two separate drops for dilating rather than one type. She barely flinched while the drops were put in. She never complained once except to say she needed to use the restroom. She happily watched her brother during his exam and when it was her turn she jumped up and climbed onto the chair. She was perfect for the doctor - not a peep. Dr. KW was able to get a thorough look inside her eyes. The verdict - she is 100%. No refractory problems, no crossing, nothing. We do need to continue to monitor her with annual exams but at this point, she is good to go. I think she was disappointed to not get glasses like her brother but she did perk up when she was given special sunglasses due to the pupil dilation that would remain for up to 24 hours.

Initially, I think both kids were a little nervous for their exams (see first photo). However, by the end, they were all giggles. 

We celebrated by visiting the fish tank at another medical office in the same building (where T Rex goes for his allergy/asthma appointments) and then lunch with Nana. 

My mom accompanied me to the appointment as T Rex Dad has a deployment at work this week and has been working long hours. I was really expecting the worst for this appointment but was more than pleasantly surprised by the outcome and the ease of the exams. All those prayers we said paid off!

School update: I survived midterms last week and T Rex Dad and the kids survived my high stress. I even managed to turn in a paper during that week, too. This week I saw a patient that looked a lot like Abraham Lincoln - bonus points for the person who can guess what kind of disorder one might have that would make him resemble my favorite President. A homemade treat/craft if you are correct and did not have to look it up.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Pumpkin Patch 2011

Waiting to load up and wearing their hats.
Once again, we went back to the V Family Farm, courtesy of Good Neighbors D & M. There we had some farm fun and pumpkin picking. This is a special farm for raising tractors. So you can probably guess what the kids did. 

First, I want to thank our hosts - Mr. and Mrs. V -  for opening their home to all of us and being so generous. Secondly, a huge thank you to our Good Neighbors for planting and tending the pumpkins. There were so many amazing ones to choose from - no surprise we came home with five! Plus, all the food was delicious. You guys are too good to us. Thank you.

We had just a spectacular time. If you recall, we had an incredible time last year, too. Of course, Bebe Sister was not really mobile and T Rex was terrified of the tractors. However, this year, we were all more participatory making the experience that much better.

Here are the highlights. I will also post individual photos on the kids' blogs, too, so visit them here and here, if you'd like to see more including T Rex's tractor ride.

Fair warning, lots and lots of photos...

Before we left, at T Rex's insisting, I managed to finished his beloved Daniella the Striped Tigress' costume - a non-scary witch costume was the request (note the broom she is holding, I certainly could not forget that, at least according to T Rex I could not). This to go along with Daniel Stripe-less Tiger's pumpkin costume. My hand is numb from all the crocheting I've been doing. Yes, they made the trip. Buzz Lightyear went last year but this year it was the meows.

Picking pumpkins was first on the agenda. T Rex insisted Bebe Sister get a green one. This is the one he chose for her. She approved and allowed him to cut the stem for her.

We also saw some fun bugs while we were there. Here is the first - a lady bug resting on Bebe Sister's pumpkin.

Then just some fun family photos in the patch. The kids were quite distracted looking at all the amazing pumpkins.

This one is my favorite photos of the day. These were our chosen pumpkins.

Then onto some of the tractor riding fun. Both kids were a little apprehensive about getting on the little gator truck but once Bebe Sister took a ride, T Rex was interesting in giving it a try. Then all the kids piled into the back and offered their support and encouragement and he was fine. It was cute to see the kids asking him if he was alright and telling him he was doing a good job. Then T Rex drove the big tractor with some help from Mr. V. He said it was "a bit scary" but he was brave and made the loop.

On our gator ride we spied a super cool bug. We went back to check it out. We were all impressed how it resembled a leaf and also at its surprisingly large size.

After a delicious lunch, the kids settled in for some rock collecting after which it was time for naps before the kids turned into pumpkins.

Thank you again to our planners and hosts. We certainly appreciate it and will forever treasure these memories.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Halloween Projects...

I've been working on a few projects here and there for Halloween. Since this holiday can be a bit scary for little kids, and especially my sensitive T Rex, I've been crafting kid-friendly things. Here are photos of what I've accomplished thus far. I still have a couple more to finish up before Christmas crafting begins. 

School is going well. I still feel like there is so much to learn. Some days at the clinic I think, "Gosh, I can do this, I know what I'm doing." Other days I look at an EKG strip of cardiac rhythms and think, "Wow - this is way over my head, I'll never get this down." At least mid-terms are just about done. One of my tests is open book. This one I am still working on. Those always end up being the hardest because the professors ask really tough, in-depth questions. I guess sometimes I'd rather study in advance and have a closed book exam with slightly easier questions. Alas, it's all part of the learning experience.

We head to the pumpkin patch this weekend. Our good neighbors planted pumpkins at Neighbor M's folks' farm so we'll be heading there for a morning of fun. The kids are really excited and are all ready to wear their fall hats - pumpkin hat for Bebe Sister and candy corn hat for T Rex. Both patterns were free patterns I found online with a few modifications by me.


I also crafted a Halloween wreath for our entry way. I was originally just going to be black tulle with an orange ribbon but when I saw the little "boo" ghost ribbon at the store, I came up with this. T Rex helped me make the ghosts. We made several more to hang outside as well as in the house. 

T Rex also insisted that his beloved Daniel the Stripe-less Tiger have a costume this year. T Rex said, "Daniel would like to be a pumpkin and Daniella would like to be a happy witch." Daniella's costume is not yet made so I'll post photos of it when I'm done, but here is Daniel's. 

Then I saw these adorable pumpkins online and just had to recreate them. I used the hat pattern with some modifications to make them. I am pleased with the end result. I hope to make another big one and another little one so we have a pumpkin family similar to our own family. That $2.50 for orange yarn went a long way.

Then, I made a prototype cat. Bebe Sister LOVES "meows". A bit obsessed. In fact, she kind of speaks her own cat language meowing when she wants things and me-oowing when she is sad. She loves the book "Jenny's Birthday Book" - a story about Jenny Linsky and her cat club. It's a charming series of books. We found the book at the library. I think we'll get the series of books for Bebe Sister for Christmas or birthday and I'll put a Jenny Cat with them. 

Here is the prototype model. It's made with super-thin quilters cotton so the polyfil has a tendency to come through it. Thus, the real one will be made from suede cloth or something similar. However, if the real one gets as much love as this one, it will be a highly successful project. Again, the pattern was found online. Actually, it was a pattern for a monkey but I just changed up a few things and then we had a cat. 

I just love crafting for the kids. It just adds to the reward of being their mother.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Raising Engineers...

T Rex Dad is notorious for repairing our broken household electronics. Of late, his cell phone needed some repair. We both have old cell phones. How old? Recently, I was with the kids and a friend and T Rex was doing something charming. I had forgotten my camera which is rare because I take it everywhere. My friend suggested I take a photo with my phone. I pulled out the phone and tried to figure out how to take a photo. I never could. Later I realized, it has no camera. 

Well, T Rex Dad would not give up on his broken phone, and by compiling parts from a couple of old phones he pulled a "new" one together. It's working perfectly. The kids insisted on getting in on the action, too. I think this is how engineers are born.

Here are some photos.

School update - Midterms start tomorrow. I spent much of the weekend preparing. Send me good wishes this week. T Rex asthma update - significant improvement. He went on a run last night - it's been a while since he wanted to do that. I'll try to post photos of my Halloween crafts soon - all very kid friendly. Even one of T Rex's beloved stuffed animals has a costume.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Early October Happenings...

October is already here and we're a week into it. Time seems to be going by at an incredibly fast rate. School has me quite occupied. All of us actually. We're doing alright though. A little entertainment deprived but hanging in there.

This past week I had eight lectures to watch for school in addition to about 20 hours at the clinics. It was an interesting week at the clinics. Definitely learning a lot. Ever meet someone with an artificial heart valve? It clicked so loud I could hear it the moment I walked into the room. That night I came home and told the family about it. T Rex wanted to listen to my heart. I could see on his face he actually hear heart sounds so I inquired as to what he heard. His response, "Goats". If I heard goats inside someone's chest, they'd be headed to the cardiologist ASAP.

Speaking of specialists...Having T Rex listen to my heart and lungs was also to prepare him for a visit to the allergy/asthma office. His asthma has been particularly bad. His coughing has been causing small blood vessel ruptures on his neck. For now he's on quite the regimen of drugs to get things under control - Pulmicort inhaled steroids, Singulair, and albuterol. We're waiting on the azithromycin antibiotics to see if the other less systemic acting drugs improve things. There is some concern he could possibly have an atypical pneumonia that's exacerbating things. He actually seems fine aside from bursting into coughing fits while playing on the jungle gym or waking all of us at 4:00 am. I'm fairly confident this new regimen can be decreased when his symptoms are under control. 

I have been trying to sneak in a few crafting projects here and there. Very little time to do so. Actually, those many lectures are times when I can sometimes crochet. Generally, though, I try to focus on the more complicated disease processes. Don't get me wrong, I take my studies very seriously. Once someone asked me if the many, many chapters I had to read that week were necessary or if I could skim over or even skip some of them. Honestly, I did not know how to reply to such a question. I could only reply, "Yes, they are all necessary. When you go to a health care professional, would it be acceptable to you if they told you they did not know what was wrong with you because they may have skimmed over that week's reading?" What I'm learning is utterly important. With that being said, maintaining my sanity is also important, too. Crocheting has a calming effect on me and school is heating up the stress level as mid-terms start Monday. So when the opportunity presents itself, I try to multitask.

I have a few projects in the works but here's a small preview. 

More to come. In the mean time, I guess I better get back to work as it's late, the kids are sleeping, and that's when most of my studying is accomplished.