We had a fabulous family reunion at our house yesterday.  While it was a rush to prepare our home for that many people, it was nice to have it here because “here” is Christian-proofed.  Brian and I were able to visit with everyone.  Lovely!  😀

Unfortunately, piles of gluten also visited our house yesterday.  Usually, gluten is not that big of a deal as Christian will avoid most gluten-laced foods.  Ironically, Christian was attracted to some store bought, nothing fancy gluten-stuffed chocolate chip cookies.  Sigh.  I don’t understand why those were the draw (especially since he has been on a full-forced cookie strike since our “cookie company” went out of business), but he had (at least) two of them (from what we saw). 

The cookies were not big, but made a big impact.  Sleep is horrible — both falling asleep and staying asleep.  The aggression is back — mostly because I will not let him surf “youtube” for production companies after 8pm at night and I won’t let him downstairs.  And I’m just beat.  I want to sleep (not possible when you have a child literally bouncing off of walls (and doors)). 

Sigh.

I wonder how long this will take to pass…

[sigh]  This week is the start of a major change in routine…

We are back from vacation — leaving Olivia bored (since she had so many people to talk to and play with for the last week) and Christian wanting to swim and go for boat rides.  This is the closest that I can offer —

Summer school is over.  Christian has been requesting “school” for the last couple of days and waiting for the bus to show up.  I love that he loves school that much.  🙂 I’m bummed that it doesn’t start again until September.  😦

Therapy schedules have shifted, which is actually good because some of them moved into the morning to make up for time that he was at school, but the shift still throws everyone off a bit.  (And Christian’s having a hard time adjusting to Olivia interferring helping with therapy.

And we are having a family reunion at our house this Sunday.  Awesome that it will be here and we will be in a Christian-proofed 😉 environment.  Just not looking forward to all of the cleaning that lays ahead.  It probably won’t be so bad once I get started.  That “getting started” is the hard part for me.  However, it will be helpful to have Olivia staying with my parents from Friday afternoon ’til Sunday at party time to play with her Arizona cousin.  I found out that she is my big mess maker.  If I can start cleaning after she goes on Friday, it should stay relatively clean until Sunday.  Whew…

Sigh.  Where to start?!?  It’s been awhile since I sat down to write and ponder what’s been going on in our lives, so, I guess, this post will be a bit of a hodgepodge as these last couple of weeks have just rushed on by…

Well, last week was Christian’s spring break.  It was a struggle.  From a former-teacher’s standpoint, I understand the NEED for a spring break.  From Christian’s standpoint, I wish there was NEVER a break from school.  Our routine get SO messed up that it’s hard to get anything done.  It’s hard for Christian to stay dressed.  It’s hard to keep the peace between siblings.  It’s hard to keep my patience and sanity.  It’s hard to find something to do that pleases both kids.  It’s hard to keep up with the toileting issues that always rear their ugly heads anytime a major routine change happens, such as a LONG break from school.  Sigh.  We did manage to move a few of Christian’s therapy shifts earlier to help eat up some of the length of his days.  The kids and I went to visit my parents 45-minutes away and made animals at Build-A-Bear Workshop for their early birthday gifts from Grandma and Grandpa.  Christian was a little overwhelmed with all of the choices at the store, so I started making executive decisions for him, which turned out fine in the end.  (Especially when we got home and I realized that he wasn’t playing with his animal because I had put jammies on it.  Come on, Mama, animals don’t wear jammies!  I took them off the dog and then Christian LOVED his puppy!! 🙂 )  Liv got really shy there.  She refused to interact with the ladies in the store, but she knew what she wanted and found a Hello Kitty and dressed it in Hello Kitty jammies.  Yeah, she LOVED it!  🙂  Liv then stayed at Grandma & Grandpa’s overnight.  Her first night EVER away from us.  She did great!  She did so well in fact that she didn’t want to come home the next day.  😉  Who can blame her???  She had TWO WHOLE people’s undivided attention!  She certainly doesn’t get that around here.  Liv is looking forward to the next time that she gets to do that!  🙂  Oh, and the weather last week was BEAUTIFUL!  I couldn’t have ordered better weather.  It was warm.  It was sunny.  We were able to spend time outside.  🙂  (I just had to keep an eye on my little nudist.  He’d run out there with his clothes on and a minute later he’d be running laps in the yard TOTALLY in the buff, losing his clothes somewhere under the slide all while the neighbors were outside eating their supper.  Sigh.)  Christian started refusing to use his words towards the end of the week making it extremely hard to communicate effectively.  One of Brian’s grandmas broke her leg and ended up needing surgery.  (It went OK.  She is still recovering at the hospital.)  We had an Easter egg hunt with the kids in our living room on Saturday (since we were going to be gone most of the day on Sunday).  They had a blast.  Then we celebrated Liv’s Golden Easter Birthday here on Saturday, too.  She was excited!  🙂  Gifts, pizza, some soda, cake, playing with Neighbor Girl…Liv was a happy girl.  On Sunday, we rushed out the door after Brian was done milking to get to church.  We got there a few minutes late and didn’t get to sit in our usual spot.  Sigh.  Christian did OK, but struggled after 20 minutes.  And as pretty as Easter lilies are, they make me nauseated and headachy as I am very allergic to them.  We ended up leaving the service as communion started as wrestling Christian was getting harder and he was starting to “wet-noodle.”  We wanted to get out before he started his angry screams with hitting.  So, back on the road to my parents for the day.  I brought C’s jammies as I figured was better to have him wearing the jammies than streaking around all day in his underwear (or less).  I was happy that I thought of that before we left the house.  Liv enjoyed playing with her cousins, and celebrating Easter, and being the “Birthday Princess Flower Girl” for the day.  I enjoyed seeing my family and chatting a bit.  And it was nice to have some extra help in the backyard when everyone went out.  I stood on one end of the yard while the other end was guarded by other family members.  Thank you!  We only lost C once when he stealthily snuck through the house without making a sound.  Thankfully I found him hiding in the back of one of the cars in the garage inside of running down the street!  😉  After awhile, C wanted to snuggle with me in the dark, quiet basement, so I obliged.  We fell asleep just before supper, so when Brian woke me we decided to just let Christian sleep since he was tired enough to be napping and couldn’t eat anything that the rest of us were having for supper anyway.  Well, perhaps that was a mistake on my part.  I woke him a 1/2-hour later and then couldn’t get him to settle down once we got back home.  One day I’ll learn my lesson.  😉  I was a little nervous on Monday morning about getting back INTO our routine.  C wrestled me a bit getting into his clothes, but as soon as we pulled into the parking lot at school, he giggled.  He smiled.  He did his happy dance and then ran and galloped while “happy singing” all the way up to the school doors!  Amazing!  He was SO happy to be back!  🙂  (And I couldn’t have been happier for him, either.)  Therapy went well on Monday afternoon.  All back to routine!  🙂  Liv spent most of the day playing-up her Diva attitude while I attempted to pick-up the house and run errands.  Then she and Neighbor Girl played a LOT, which is wonderful, but they were also fighting and Neighbor Girl asks a LOT of questions.  More than Olivia does.  I didn’t know that was humanly possible.  And C went back to having accidents in the basement after his therapist left.  I was a bit frazzled.  (OK, that’s an understatment.)  I was ready to have everyone turn in for the night, so I could have some quiet solitude.  I basked in it before bed.  It was lovely. 🙂  Unfortunately, 1:30 rolled around with a wetting accident in one room, so I immediately started laundry.  2:30 started vomiting in the other, which continued for the next few hours.  5:30 came with a cry about the couch being peed on and then the vomiting started again.  Then I started not to feel so well.  Some of that just stemmed from major sleep-deprivation and having dealt with the middle of the night pukes.  I happily accepted Brian’s offer of taking Olivia to the store with him while he was home over his break.  Yes, I would rest with Christian.  And we did.  For 15 minutes.  Then I heard THAT sound.  Then I was covered in THAT stuff.  Eww…that didn’t help me feel any better.  😦  Poor C.  As I was getting myself out of my icky clothes, my phone rings.  C’s senior therapists.  Yes, we will cancel therapy today.  Thankfully, she was nice enough to come and stay with C for a couple of hours while ran to the store to buy additional carpet cleaning supplies.  I had used a week’s worth in 12 hours!  Oh, and she brought me Starbucks! 🙂  Thank you, AZ!  That really made my day!  🙂  Liv and Brian headed out to a Brewer game with some of his family after milking, which was fine with me.  I really just wanted to rest.  (And so did C.)  And that’s what we did.  I kept Christian home yesterday, too.  He just wasn’t himself yet.  I’m glad I made that decision even though that meant that I had to miss meeting up with a friend.  😦  (SM, I hope we can make it work out sometime soon!)  Liv was bored, but such is life some days, right?!?  But, today…Today Christian was back to his normal Christian-self.  He fought me getting dressed, (I mean, REALLY fought me!) but we finally managed to get out the door, and into the car, and then the kids fought ALL the way to school, BUT as soon as we pulled into the parking lot Christian was happy! 🙂  SO HAPPY!  🙂  And I was glad, as I wasn’t sure how it would go, but he dragged me up to the school building.  Happy screaming.  Happy running.  Happy jumping.  Sigh [of relief!]  I’m so excited that he was happy to be back!  🙂  And now, I should get back to my Liv, who has been hanging on my arm for the last 20-minutes…  😉

Christian LOVES his "Kipper" from Build-A-Bear now that the jammies are off! 🙂

Liv with her "Hello Kitty." Yep, that's what she named it! 😉

Our third Christmas celebration landed on Christmas morning.  Very early Christmas morning.  Like 4AM.  We decided to have it before Brian went in for milking, so that I wasn’t having to fend off little hands all morning. (Although, I don’t think that would have been a problem for Christian.)

Yeah, the kids weren’t overly thrilled to be woken from sleep so early, but once I told Olivia, a number of times, that Santa had come, she came racing out to the living room overflowing with excitement.  Christian, however, just laid on Brian’s lap. Very upset about being awake and the opening of gifts.  Eventually, he got up and ran downstairs, so we opened his gifts for him then they were OK.  (If we only knew that would have been an issue ahead of time, we could have saved much time on the wrapping of gifts. 😉 )

Another enjoyable Christmas celebration.  With the glorious reminder of it being Jesus’ birthday. 🙂

We survived enjoyed our second Christmas celebration on Christmas Eve evening at the farm.  Since we were unable to attend church easily (around the milking schedule), Brian led the family in a simple, yet lovely devotion focusing on God’s love for us and our need for a Savior.  Brian’s idea was to have a candle lit after each section of scripture.  Christian’s idea was to blow out a candle after each section of scripture.  (At least it was a semi-informal setting, so the family didn’t get too thrown off by the movie rearranging taking place in the middle of the devotion that I had to redirect him to so that he wouldn’t obsess about said candles. 😉 )

After dinner, we settled in to the “front room” to open gifts.  Christian was not too happy about being there, though, he preferred being in the adjoining dining room, so we brought his gifts to him there.  However, Christian had developed a “fear” of opening presents, so we had to open them for him (usually when he wasn’t looking) and then he could enjoy what was inside.  (I figure for his birthday we can have everyone bring his gifts in reusable grocery bags.  He LOVES to go through the bags when I get home from the store and then we’re “green,” too.  😉 )

Anyway, lovely time with everyone at the farm.  🙂  (And I was so glad that we didn’t have too far to travel to get back home. I can handle the one-minute car ride. 😉 )

On Sunday, we survived had a lovely Christmas with my family.  It was SO nice to have the whole family together (we missed my brother-in-law, NK, though) as we haven’t been all together in over a 1-1/2 years and there have been 3 more babies added to the family just this year.  It was a fairly relaxing day, especially after Christian received a Leapfrog Text N Learn and could instant message Scout, the virtual puppy, all about Nick Jr., associate producers, and Columbia TriStar Pictures.  🙂  Olivia received lots of dress-up clothes, so was busy trying those on for the rest of the day in-between playing with all of her cousins.  It was a really pleasant day with good food, lots of babies, and a chance to catch up with family (and a little caffeine 😉 ).

Eager anticipation.  I couldn’t wait!  My sister (who I hadn’t seen in 1-1/2 years), my niece (who has really grown), and my godson (who I had never met) along with my dad (who I hadn’t seen in awhile) stopped in to visit yesterday afternoon.  My sis and her family live in Arizona.  (Unfortunately, my brother-in-law couldn’t come with, but this time of year is a little hard for pastors to step away from their congregations.) 

Olivia had been waiting as patiently as possible (for a 3-year-old) to see her cousin (who is 4).  Their personalities are a little different, so it took a little while for the girls to warm up to each other, but they seemed to have a lot of fun dragging Grandpa into the ball pit and playing doctor on him.  (They would both like to be doctors (among other things) when they grow up. 🙂 )  It was wonderful to meet my godson.  He’s a happy little man, too cute!  And lovely to visit with my sis.  I’ve missed just sitting and sharing a cup of coffee with her.  It was just fabulous to have them here!  I don’t think that we’ll be able to see them again until Sunday (when my family is celebrating Christmas), but it was SO GREAT that they could stop in.  I loved it!  (And Olivia had loads of fun playing with “Funny Grandpa” and her cousin.)  🙂