Friday, March 28, 2008

Gardening with Abby

I have decided to let Abby have her own little plot of land this year and grow her own garden. This garden can contain anything she wants: flowers, fruits, vegetables, rocks, sticks, etc. Today we planted some seeds inside. I was really trying for this to be a meaningful mother-daughter time. I had purposely waited until Luke was down for a nap so he wasn't crawling around our ankles, scavenging for dropped clumps of dirt.
As we were filling her little pots with soil, I asked her what she wanted to grow. She replied, "Oreos." That's a new one! I tried to explain to her that you can't grow oreos, but I'm not sure she gets it. Anyway, we ended up planting corn, green beans, tomatoes, cantaloupe, zinnias, liatris (flower), sunflower, and aluyssum (flower). After we watered them we placed them in a sunny window well. A few minutes later she came up to me and excitedly reported, "My plants has growed up already!" Of course, I jumped up to check on the enormous sprouts...not. Anyway, I explained that it's going to take a while for her plants to "grow up." We had several more false alarms this evening about her plants being enormous already.
Other humorous things that have happened with Abby... this morning she told me I was a puppy. Then she took it back and said, "You are a puppy with sharp teeth!" If that's the worst insult she can think of, I think we're doing pretty well. I have also been called a cow with sharp teeth and a horse with sharp teeth.
Luke loves to crawl to the top of our stairs and scare the living daylights out of all of us, so Abby has made it her mission to stop him. Sometimes that means grabbing him by his ankles and dragging him backwards to wherever I am. And, sometimes it means standing spread eagle at the top of the stairs to stop him from getting to the edge. She was in this position yesterday saying, "Don't do it Wukie. It would not be fun to fall down the stairs. You will get a big owie, a bleed. You might die." She is taking this whole stair thing very seriously, it's nice to have her on my side on this one. She's a great help.
Abby also loves to quote books that we read together. The other night she called me to her room and told me she was "frightened." Funny, a book we read together has a little mouse who called her grandfather to her room and told him she was frightened too...hmmm. She also says, "Dancing is dumb. If you don't come to my 'idol' I will be angry." She is quoting a George and Martha (two great chums who are also hippos and this particular story Martha is in a dance recital ("idol" and George has decided not to come because he thinks dancing is dumb. Martha, who angers easily, replies that, "If you don't come to my recital, I'll be angry.") story. I encourage you to look up George and Martha, they were written by James Marshall.
Yesterday on our way home from church, we were in two separate cars; Corey was in the van with the kids, and I was in the car by myself. We took differing routes, and UNBEKNOWNST to me, Corey was seeing who would win. We pulled up at a 4 way stop sign within a few seconds of each other, but I was clearly there first and therefore pulled in front of him. We pulled into the driveway approximately 30 seconds later. As soon as the van door opened, I heard Abby yelling about something. As I got closer to the van I could make out the words, "You need to stop at the stop sign mom! That's fordiculous (ridiculous)!" I wonder if her dad coached her, or perhaps she just heard him talking out loud to himself??
Well, there are many more Abby stories. Many are not appropriate for this blog (kind of embarrassing too), which is sad to say when your child is only 2 1/2. God help us in the years ahead!

Lukie Boy!!

A boy and his dad. Two cute guys!

Isn't he adorable?

A big boy and his mom.

Luke is in such a fun stage! He turned 10 months yesterday and is crawling well now. He had tubes placed in his ears 2 weeks ago, and he is greatly enjoying not being on oral antibiotics any longer! He had solid ear infections from January through March. We went for our 2 week follow up on Wednesday to Children's Mercy Hospital's ENT clinic where Luke had a hearing test. We found out that it looks like he may have some hearing loss not associated with chronic ear infections. We are really praying that it was a bad test, and next time he's tested in three months, his hearing will be perfect. They are going to follow him closely to see if this resolves or needs intervention. We would appreciate your prayers about this.
Luke is our smiley boy. He is very easy going, and rarely cries when hurt; probably out of necessity. Abigail is his big sister. Anyway, he really loves playing with Abby, and she loves playing with him, she can really make him laugh, which is music to my ears! He crawls everywhere and can easily pull up to a standing position, but is not trying to cruise around furniture yet or take any steps. He can sign, "more" and claps his hands, both of which he thinks are great tricks. Another great trick he can do is crawl into the bathroom and pull himself to a standing position on the toilet and then casually stand there, swishing his hand in the water, he also loves to eat toilet paper (so far it's been clean toilet paper, although I'm sure he'd take it any way he could get it)and clenches his fists so hard that he shakes and hollers when I pry the wad of toilet paper out of his mouth. It's fun to see his little personality showing through. Like I said, he's very laid back, but when he gets mad, he really gets mad! It's kind of funny to watch. I think we might have to work on that. I sure hope he's not like one of my wonderful brothers who, when he got mad, would go into his room and break precious things he had been given. We'll keep our eye on him!
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Abby's Attempt to Sabotage

Grrrr! Also, please note Baby Crandall's head, Corey drew brown hair on it with one of Abby's markers. Abby loved it, until she vomited on Baby Doll last week. Abby cried and said, "Baby stink so bad." We had to throw her in the wash. All of her hair came off. She pointed at Baby's head today and said, "Look, it still has little bit of hair." Sure enogh, there was a small patch of hair remaining from it's terrifying time in the washing machine. Corey was pretty proud of his work and is seriously considering going into the babydoll crafting business. I can just see him sitting in a shop, delicately and lovingly painting hair, eyebrows, and eyelashes on porcelain dolls. I think it's right up his alley!

This was supposed to be a cute brother-sister shot, until big sister put him in a headlock and made him cry. She thinks it's great though!

I thought this was so cute. I was trying to take a picture of Abby driving her two babies around. The one on the left (Baby Doll Crandall) is lying peacefully in his/her bed, although he is at a treacherous angle. The one on the right (Aunt Elsie/Sophia--Aunt Elsie is my Aunt, who Abby loves, and Sophia is our 70+ neighbor who speaks mostly Spanish to Abby and has Alzheimer's. Abby calls this baby either Aunt Elsie or Sophia and refers to her as her granddaughter.) is riding in her purse along with her sippy cup. In the bottom of the purse is Abby's entire collection of crayons, which, undoubtedly she had to take with her so her little brother wouldn't find them and get into them. Nothing annoys Abby more than when "Wukie" gets into her toys, "No, Wukie buddy, that's MINE!"
Anyway, as you can see, she's not cooperating for this picture.

And, she's smiling for this one, but thinks it's hilarious that she has her eyes closed.
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Abby's Haircut

Abby's long hair, just prior to her haircut...

And her adorable haircut. Editor's note: We are having difficulty getting Abigail to look at the camera and smile, she thinks it's hilarious either not to look, or to look and smile with her eyes closed. I will post some pictures of her doing her best to ruin our pictures in the next post, be watching!

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Easter Weekend

Right after Church on Easter, Luke was sleeping.

Here we are, man, I'll be glad when I can smile without saying, "CHEESE!"

Corey and the little girl version of Corey on his back.

Me and my buddy...still buddies after almost 5 years of marriage.
Here are some pictures of us from Easter weekend. Sunday also happened to be Corey's 27th birthday. We had a great weekend celebrating our Savior's resurrection and Corey's birthday with my parents and we had a fun birthday/Easter dinner with both sets of parents on Sunday.
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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

46 thats right ... 46

46 ... the number of times I put Abby back in her bed within 30 minutes. Abby has had a difficult time staying in bed and it was getting pretty ridiculous. So, Miriam and I tried a different approach. Miriam read somewhere that a couple had a similar problem and solved it by not talking to the child, or conceding to any demands, but just putting the child back in bed over and over and over and over again.
2 weeks ago, on Friday night we decided to try this. We would alternate taking her back to bed. It quickly became apparent that the alternating approach wasn't going to work. It took like 20 seconds (long enough to pick Abby up, carry her up the stairs, and put her back in bed) for me to accomplish my turn BUT it took Miriam like 10 minutes. We finally got Abby to bed after Miriam lay with her for a little bit. We decided that I would be the one to take her back to bed every time the following night.
What ensued the following Saturday night was an adventurous 30 minutes for me and quite a hard time for Miriam. I had to put Abby back to bed 46 times in 30 minutes. Abby was in a state like I had never seen her. She yelled, screamed, kicked, threw, scratched, and ran for 30 solid minutes.
My approach was quite simple ... don't talk with her (she knows what to do), don't concede to any of her demands (throwing a fit to get what she wants isn't a kind of behavior we want to teach), be as gentle as possible, and NEVER LOSE MY TEMPER ... stay cool.

The first 2 times of putting her back in bed weren't so bad but it quickly took a nosedive. Abby was screaming and yelling uncontrollably. Some of her frequent phrases were

  • "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOooooooooooooooooooooo DDDAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaddddddddy!"
  • " I want my mommy!"
  • "Stop it!"
  • "No daddy, no daddy, no daddy" repeat 100 times
  • "moooommmmmmmmmmmmy"
  • "Can you lie with me?"
  • "I don't like daddy"
I was scratched, kicked, and the target of a thrown sippy cup (3 times). Sometimes I didn't even make it out of the room before she tried running past me. Other times she would wait 15 seconds before coming out (screaming the whole time). She tried to run away, slam our bedroom door on me, and then hide. Other times she just stood there pleading with me while writhing around on the floor. Each and every time I calmly picked her up and took her back to her bed. I said a total of less than 10 -14 words to her the whole time. Finally after one stand off in the bathroom, she said, "I'm ready to go to bed daddy" and that was the end of it.

When I came back downstairs, Miriam was visibly a little shaken by the whole deal as she could hear everything and Abby was screaming for her often. I was able to stay calm and gentle the whole time because I knew this was a battle of wills. This was Abby testing me (it's just built into kids). She wanted her way ... she wanted to stay up ... she made excuse after excuse to avoid going to sleep ... and she wanted to know what I was going to do about it. Would I let her control the situation and give in to her rantings? Absolutely not. And honestly, the whole thing was pretty easy for me. I really feel blessed that I was able to recognize this for the battle of wills that it was. I didn't feel that bad because I knew Abby had to learn that bed time meant bed time and that her temper tantrum wasn't going to get her what she wanted. I told Miriam that I could have done that for another 6 hours because I knew I had to outlast her ... I had to win this battle of wills so Abby knew the boundaries. I made an internal vow right then that if I could recognize that a battle of wills with one of kids was going on, that I would not lose ... period.
And after our little battle of the wills, for two weeks, Abby has been going to bed with no issues. It worked!
And if she tries that tactic again ... I'll be ready .. calm and patient but absolutely resolute and firm.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Apparently I am not smart enough

to use a mac. I obtained a used powerbook G4 from Sarah for a very, very good price (thanks Sarah). I wanted to try it out and see if Miriam would like it for a main computer for her. I recently fired up Chess on the mac and FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!!! Does a guy have to be Bobby Fischer to beat the computer or am I just that bad? I thought I was a decent chess player but apparently I suck as much as my vacuum does (and that my friends is A LOT). The computer smokes me. I have lost like 40 games straight (and if it wasn't for the undo option, I would have lost more by now) and it is extremely frustrating. I will beat you mac chess master. Your time is coming.
Or maybe I should just stick to the PC as I am not sophisticated enough to be on mac.

Wisdom Teeth Wars: Percocet strikes back

So, my exceptionally good wisdom teeth extraction recovery has been marred by the very thing that was supposed to be helping me ... percocet (oxycodone). Now the bad thing about this whole story is that I know my body isn't a big fan of the prescription pain meds. I can be on them for a little while but I've learned I would rather deal with a little more pain than deal with the affects of the pain med. I get really nauseous, light headed and very tired. I should have stuck to my game plan ... instead ...

Monday was supposed to be the worst day and it wasn't. It was day 3 (or 4 depending on how you count) and things were continuing to go really well (no pain, no swelling, no discoloration). Monday night and into Tuesday morning, I noticed I was light headed and every time I got up I felt nauseous. So I basically slept all day Tuesday and had to have my parents come up on Tuesday night to help out with the kids (thanks mom and dad). I was bum all day. Tuesday morning was my last percocet and my transition to ibuprofen relieved my crummy feeling. Wednesday I was back in action.

Abby is to bedtime as oil is to water

Why must it be so? When I look forward to the time when the kids go to bed (to hang out with Miriam, do miscellaneous tasks, and so on) Abby's fight with sleep gets pretty old. And let me tell you, if someone was keeping score, sleep is looking pretty beat up right about now. It is like a 2 hour process to get the kids in bed. It can be even more of a challenge when doing it alone (like tonight, Miriam is working). I could go through all the gory details but I have moved to a happy place and don't want to revisit bedtime if I don't have to.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

The pull - Day 3

Miriam worked today from 11a-11p. I had the kids by myself just for the last part of Church and for a little bit once I got home. My mom came over (later joined by my dad) to help out with the kids. It is a good thing too. I am not in pain and am not swollen but I sure am tired. I took a long nap today (napping usually isn't my thing) and took another nap in the evening. In between naps, I took Abby to the playground and that wore me out a little bit. Mom and dad were a huge help today. Actually dad is still here and is staying until Miriam gets home, which should be in about 15 minutes.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

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W Day

Not W as in George "dubbya" Bush day ... although I like the guy. It is W as in Wisdom teeth day. Yesterday, Friday the 29th at 10:30 AM, I had 4 wisdom teeth removed (3 were impacted). Miriam drove me to the oral surgeon's office (my Dad watched the kids ... thanks dad) and I was in a good mood. I figured being grumpy about getting my teeth cut out wasn't going to help anything so I thought I would just make the best of it. And apparently the staff there isn't used to people being in a good mood because I got some surprised looks at my jovial attitude. I had anesthesia and apparently, I was a little goofy coming to. I don't remember much and Miriam may do a posting later that relates some of my good nature.

Some of the things I do remember: I thought they cut my tongue out; I was smiling like an idiot; I told the nurse I didn't need the wheel chair (apparently I lost that argument); As I was being wheeled out I saw a Latino man sitting on a bench to whom I said in a somewhat slurred voice, "Whuz up my brutha?" When we got in the car, Miriam said, "Why did you say that to that guy, do you even know him?" I replied, "He's a fellow dental patient ... we gotta stick together."

Upon arriving home at about 1:00 PM, I was becoming more aware of my surroundings ... particularly the fact that my tongue felt like a ... well ... I am not quite sure how to describe it. It was completely numb. Miriam tried to get me to take some ibuprofen but I couldn't swallow that darn pill. My tongue just wouldn't work. I was drooling half the water I was trying to drink and I told Miriam that I felt fine enough and I didn't want to jack with trying to take anything but water (already 2 failed pill attemtps).

Miriam had to take Luke to the doctor at 1:30 PM and so my Grandma Mary stayed to help with Abby while I napped. I drool-bled a little on the towel I was laying on but felt OK when Miriam woke me up about 5 PM. I really felt good. The only thing was that my tongue was still numb and so was some of my mouth. I tried to eat some rice pudding stuff but that wasn't happening with the numbness.

It was a nice afternoon and I wasn't feeling bad so we took a walk down to the elementary school and Abby played for about an hour. We then stopped by our friends Jeff and Terra's house and hung out for another hour. By this time my tongue was starting to feel more like a tongue than a blob of gauze and by the time we got home I had some apple sauce and was a very happy man.

I took my percocet (pain med) at about 9 PM and went to bed. Abby woke up at about 4:30 AM and surprisingly I was feeling up to the task of taking her downstairs and feeding her. My mouth didn't hurt but I got Abby some food, got whipped by the computer in chess (I am like 0-30 against the computer ... and I thought I was a decent player). I put Abby to bed and just stayed up the rest of the morning catching up on some stuff.

To make a much longer story very short. It is now 11:05 PM on Saturday night and I am still feeling good with no swelling or bruising. That could all change tomorrow, but so far things have been good (thank God). I was up and about almost all day (mopping, cleaning, taking care of kids, the usual). Getting pretty tired though so ...

Enjoy the video below Miriam took after we got home from the surgeon. I was still a little out of it and Abby helps me to remember an anatomy lesson.

Visiting Kristian and Amanda in Minnesota

This Crandall family packed up and headed to Minnesota on Feb 15th through the 18th to visit Kristian and Amanda Robert and kids. We met Kristian and Amanda at Truman State University. Amanda was Miriam's roommate for their last 2 years and they lived one house away from me.

We had a great time with them. The kids had a great time together and the adults had an even better time. Kristian and I are gamer buddies. We get together and tear up some video games. We like to play co-op games and after smoking Call of Duty 3 we moved on to Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon 2. That game is sweet ... difficult but sweet! It is a blast playing with Kristian. I have a bad habit of moving forward a little too soon and getting shot but we make great partners.

(This is Miriam) Amanda and I had a blast together! We had so much fun just catching up and seeing each other in our roles as mom and wife. We haven't been able to spend much time together since we became moms, so it was fun to be able to encourage each other and compare notes. It's hard for me to live so far away from many of my close friends, but it is wonderful to be able to spend time with them again, and this was definitely one of those wonderful times!

Kristian and I took Gabriel (2 years 5 months) and Abby to an indoor play area that was tons o' fun! The play place was like 3 stories of steps, ladders, slides, and all sorts of pads, spinners, and nets. The kids had a great time.
View the slide show of pictures below.