Friday, January 31, 2014

A Couple FIRSTS for the South Boys

This last week brought a couple FIRSTs for each of our boys & one of them is certainly worth noting while the other is just sad. We'll start with the sad one first & although its sad, we are 100% blessed.

Kaden's first, well that just happened to be an ear infection. I got a text from our day care provider on Tuesday around 4:30 stating that Kaden had been complaining about his ear, his left ear to be more precise. I had a flight out the next morning & figured that Justin could just take him to the walk-in clinic. WRONG. It couldn't wait but I wasn't 100% sure where to go. & when I don't know where to go, I pick up my phone & send out a message to my mommy co-workers & quicker than Google could return my search, I had 3 great locations & off we went.

Side note---I am not sure I would be able to do this mommy thing without my co-workers. & I don't mean to diminish any of the advice and relationships that I have with my other friends & even family for that matter but these girls, well they get to hear it all & always know the right thing to say. We all have kids that are the same age & going through the same things & knowing this, hashing these things out on a weekly or daily basis, keeps me a little more sane. Thanks girls--you all know who you are!

All it took was one tiny peek in his ear and the doctor was ready to confirm it was an ear infection. He was however, surprised that Kaden had never had an ear infection before. He said that 95% of children by the time they are 4 have had an ear infection--well we made it 4 years, 4 months and 28 days. 

Poor guys cheeks just got more red as the night went on but after some medicine and some ibuprofen he was feeling much better. & as you can see, it was pretty bad, so bad I let my big guy take his doggy lovey with him to see the doctor & that lovey isn't allowed out of the house unless he is staying the night someplace. 

& if you are ever needing an urgent care for your kids, Children's Mercy has an urgent care off of 135th and Metcalf-ish & Lamar-ish. They are staffed with pediatric doctors from 10 am to 10 pm & was exactly what this mom needed. 


Logan's FIRST, well it was a little more fun or at least it was for him. Not all people LOVE going to the dentist & Logan wasn't sure what lied ahead for him but again, anything Kaden can do, he can do better… (I just had a flashback of the GAP commercial)

Kaden has been going to Jenkins & LeBlanc for a little over a year now and we decided on Kaden's next appointment we would take Logan too. That was Tuesday & day 3 of potty training! Kaden jumped up but was complaining about his eyes (part of the head cold he is suffering from) so I wasn't sure how it would go for Logan. But with everything else, he surprised us.

He let the doctor count his teeth & even let the dental hygienist clean his teeth. & because he did such a great job, he got a balloon, a bag with a new toothbrush, toothpaste and floss sticks, two tokens to get a couple toys & ice cream. YES, I said ice cream! It was only 9:30 in the morning but they say its better than suckers so who am I to challenge their thinking.

Both boys got two thumbs up on their checkups! & Logan made it through the whole appointment & back to Brenda's without any accidents. That didn't last long as he did have a couple at Brenda's that day but for the rest of the week he has be batting 1000! & I won't lie, I have mixed feelings about this whole being potty trained thing--yes, we won't be buying diapers but my lil guy isn't so lil anymore. & now that he is out of diapers, will we ever want to go back...

Monday, January 27, 2014

P to the OTTY!

I am almost hesitant to even write about this because I am sure the moment I get it down on paper we will take two steps back but this blog is about capturing what is happening RIGHT now & this is what is happening…

Our Logie has gone TWO, that's right, TWO whole days going potty on the potty, not one accident & not one wet/dirty diaper. & this momma (daddy too) couldn't be prouder!

This time around though, it was a little bit of a different process. With Kaden, I read all the books and the blogs for the best tips--I pumped him full of liquids and we sat a timer and every 15 minutes I took him to potty but every 20-25 minutes he would go potty. After the first day we had 8 accidents, two on me and we were both in tears. My mom told me to stick with it so the next day, I told him that he was in charge. He had to tell me when he needed to go & he did. We had one accident on the way to the potty the very first time & that was it. He was pretty much potty trained.

& one would probably think that after a fairly easy time with Kaden that I would go right back to the same system. But we didn't. We tried. In fact we were going to do it over Christmas break but then both boys came down with a virus and those days came and went. For the next couple of weeks we would periodically ask him if he needed to go or before bath time we would put him on the potty to go and most of the time he did. But he also went in his diaper & he NEVER went number TWO in the potty. EVER. 

& silly me, one weekend I decided to go ahead and put on big boy underwear and see what happened. Well, I was bent over a toilet washing poop out of his pants. Not a very pretty picture & why I didn't throw them away in the first place, I have no idea. Actually, I do, I could hear my mother saying something about "why would you throw them away, I had to wash yours out in the toilet. If I can do it, so can you." Or something like that…

And then Saturday something started to click for the little guy. He got excited about the PEZ candy he got if he went pee-pee on the potty & if he went poo, he got a SUCKER. & this kid will do anything for a sucker. So over the weekend we kept him in a diaper and just had him tell us when he needed to go. We would ask him periodically & make him try once in a while but for the most part he did awesome, especially yesterday. & then there was today, our sitter was sick so I stayed at home with the boys & I figured why not give a REAL go at it. He picked out his underwear and besides nap time, he didn't wear a diaper, & when we went out to dinner to celebrate. (Both times however, he was DRY, DRY, DRY) We had ZERO accidents & tomorrow this guy is being sent to daycare with only underwear, lets hope he continues his AWESOMENESS at Ms. Brenda's too.

Here's to hoping that our luck continues & that we can chalk this potty training up as the EASIEST one YET! Yes, I know we only have one other to compare it to.

& this post wouldn't be complete without mentioning Logan's biggest cheerleader, or supporter--Kaden.

He not only has been right by Logan's side telling him he can do it but after Logan has gone potty, he tells him how PROUD he is of him. Its moments like this that I wish I could just bottle up and save. The love that Kaden has for Logan is endless & something so very special. I honestly believe that Logan is having such an easy time with this whole potty training thing (once we really gave it a valiant effort) because of this kid. Logie is our "Me Too" & he wants to do everything that his big brother does so of course he wants to go on the BIG BOY potty too.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Wreck It

It was a much harder task than I anticipated when the grandmas started asking what to get the boys for Christmas. They have everything they need and could want so we tried to find things that they wouldn't out grow. Superhero sleeping bags. Superhero backpack/suitcases. & then Santa of course brought them scooters. So what could the grandmas get them…

I thought back to my childhood and some of the toys that I loved playing with. Actually my brother and I both did. We would spend hours setting up forts & houses in our dining room & then the army men & ninja turtles would come out to play. You see, it was much easier for me to play with my brother's toys than to try and get him to play with Barbies. I knew every Superhero, every Turtle and each of their weapons. I watched WWE & later WWF. I played Mario Kart, Golden Eye (loved Odd Job), I shot BB guns, & more nerf guns than I could count. ---I do believe this is another reason why I have boys & not girls. This mommy was 100% complete tomboy, and truthfully, probably still is!

But back to Christmas and the boys, I decided that they might like LINCOLN LOGS. They love legos so Lincoln Logs just takes it to a whole new level.

And I told you, the boys won't take off those helmets. Then again, construction can be a very tough job and certainly requires the use of hard hats.


I love how my boys will take two things that they like and bring them together. They loved building with the lincoln logs---or should I say they LOVED watching me build, although they did find me all the pieces.

But they are also big Wreck It Ralph fans. & what goes together better than buildings & Wreck It Ralph, nothing. Nope not even peanut butter & jelly goes better!

But they didn't just "wreck" the garages that I spent so much time building, the Superhero's and Toothless were there to save the day. Toothless swooped right in to save good ole' Turbo. 

& of course Me Too, aka Logan, had to have his chance at wrecking things too. & for the next 45 minutes, I would build them & they would knock them down.  

And it only lasted 45 minutes because before Justin and I knew it, the fevers came back and they were both asleep on the couch waiting for the tylenol to kick back in. But it wasn't the last time we would sit here on the dining room floor building houses, each and every day they have asked me to build them a house. & of course they have Wreck It Ralph and the hammer in hand ready to be the destructive boys they are. I am sure playing princess dress up is great but I think I might be a little bias to Superheroes, Lincoln Logs, and playing bad guys---speaking of bad guys, that is what Logan wants for his birthday party. A bad guys birthday party. & by george, that is what he shall have.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

A {Hartley} Christmas

Yes, I am going to try and wrap up our Christmas holiday with today's final post! & for this post we are headed down South, & by down "South" I really just mean SWMO, two hours south of where we live---a nice and quiet ride if you can plan it during a NAP but it wasn't nap time so instead Turbo provided us a very nice quiet ride.

This year the plan was to head down to my mom & dad's the day after Christmas & celebrate the first Hartley Christmas that evening after everyone else arrived. We got there just after noon & the boys were so very excited to see their Grandma Sara & Papa Tom. I was just happy to be "home" & to be home for more than just one day.

We unpacked the car, ate a little lunch & put the boys down for a nap. & that's when everyone else started arriving & the house was full. 

& this year my oldest nephew who is now driving, got to bring his adorable girlfriend. I am not sure she knew what she was in for & I hope we didn't scare her too badly but boy did my little guys love her. I can see why Bretters is so smitten.

Finally Papa Tom announced it was time to open presents & the boys jumped in excitement. They raced over to the tree & started passing out presents as though they knew who they belonged to. Once we made a few exchanges here and there, we were ready-for the madness-or were we. In the past, our family has been known to just dive in, everyone at one time, ripping each present open as fast as you could to see what was inside and then it was on to the next. When Justin spent his first Christmas with me he was amazed by the madness & then I saw why when I went to his, each person takes turns opening one gift at a time. Our way was fast and chaotic, his way was slow but refreshing--so we decided to incorporate a little of each into our family Christmas'. The kids all take turns opening up one gift at a time, youngest to oldest, not only does this teach patience but everyone else gets the opportunity to see the expressions on each kids' face as they open their gifts. Once the kids are finished, the adults dive in! Who says the kids have all the fun.

After all the wrapping paper was placed into trash bags, we loaded the kiddos up to see the lights---one of our family's holiday traditions. People come from all over the 4-states to see these lights, it tells of all the wonderful stories from the bible--the birth of Jesus, David and Goliath, Noah's Ark…

The boys weren't too excited about the lights last year but this year was a completely different story. They didn't take their eyes off of them. They pointed out Baby Jesus in the manger & Jonah & the Whale. We were hoping they were getting tired from all the festivities of the day but no such luck, we came home & the fun only got better. Check out the Hartley Leg Wrestling videos here.

Finally we all turned in around midnight. One Christmas down, two more to go. The next morning Daddy headed back to KC to be here for a few items arriving for the bar project & the dogs, & the boys & I decided we would stay and get spoiled by my mom and dad. And talk about spoiling, this little girl got her first sucker, but don't tell her mom and dad!

That evening we headed out to the Hartley Christmas at my aunt and uncle's, it was so nice to see the rest of the family. To see Papa Richard. To watch the boys' personalities come out. & of course we used the "if you want more presents you have to take a picture with me & Grandma Sara", totally okay with bribing.

I love this picture of my mom and I with my boys. 
After this evening, things started to go downhill, quickly. My sister and the boys left, Leah got to stay behind and have another day of "fun" with us. And I shouldn't say it all went downhill, we got to go to the Earl Christmas which was so wonderful. We got to see family, especially my Grandma Earl, that we haven't seen in months & some of them maybe even years. & this Christmas might go down as the Christmas Heard Round the "CITY". Let's just say, it doesn't matter how old you get, boys will be boys & they will always LOVE blowing things up. My boys were pretty impressed by the "BOOM" they heard & I am pretty sure I felt the floor below me moving.

On the way home I decided that I need to get some Children's allergy medicine for the boys, they were both having a few problems & we just wanted to kick what they had. I gave Logan a little bit & both kids drifted off to sleep. A few hours later, Logan woke up with a horrible fever. I gave him tylenol. Thirty minutes later I looked over at him and he was just staring at me. His cheeks were as red as a fire truck & his tiny heart was racing faster than my mom & I were both comfortable with. We decided a trip to the ER was needed. We were both scared. Logan just looked sad. Luckily, I was with my mom, she was able to drive & I was able to sit and hold Logan's hand & talk to him. We got there a little after 1 in the morning and luckily, it was empty. They checked him over, listened to his heart, checked his lungs & thankfully, he was okay. He just had the case of a very extensive fever. One that caused his heart rate to JUMP and accelerator quickly--both common in toddlers. We felt much more at ease but still worried about the little guy.

& for the next 5 days Logan fought the fever fight & eventually he kicked it but not before it turned into pink eye & giving it to Kaden. It was the strangest few days, as long as they had tylenol or mortin in their system, they were like regular boys but as soon as it wore off, they were back in our arms falling asleep. It was the roller coaster of all roller coasters--each time we would get our hopes up that this was the LAST time & each time, we were disappointed. Somehow, I managed not to get sick--but then again, Mommies aren't allowed to get sick…

We did venture out on Monday morning to see Frozen which Kaden LOVED and Logan only made it through half of the movie. After lunch & a little more playing we loaded up and to meet Daddy halfway to KC in Butler & although I hated having to say goodbye to mom & dad, I was glad to be home.

only five minutes into the ride...
It may have not been the Christmas we were all hoping for but honestly, getting to hold my babies and rock with them, wasn't all that bad. & while I rocked Logan, Kaden helped take Grandma Sara's Christmas decorations down & from that came one of my favorite pictures from the weekend.

I won't lie, we don't go home often enough & the boys don't see their Grandma Sara & Papa Tom enough but when we do, we at least make the most of our time. & the boys are always so sad to leave.

Monday, January 13, 2014

A New LIFE Resolution

I will be the first to admit that I am the world's WORST when it comes to New Year's resolutions. I usually make it about a month, maybe two--at one time I gave soda up for 7 months until we went on a cruise and the water was horrible! So if I am so terrible at New Year's resolutions, why in the world do I think I can keep a LIFE resolution? Well, I am keeping this one because I don't want my boys to ever forget our time together.

From this day forward, I promise to be in MORE pictures with my boys. To hand off my camera & have someone else capture us. To turn my iPhone around & take those horrible "SELFIES" that I despise so much---but is it a "selfie" if there is more than one person in the picture?!?

A girlfriend and I had a great heart to heart over this last work trip. I confessed to her that I have this horrible fear of leaving my boys without a mom. I am constantly thinking about what ifs, what if this plane, what if this bus, what if this car, what if cancer--I don't dwell long on them because I know there is a master plan and I have no control over it but I would be lying if I don't think about it. Often. My maternal grandmother died when my mom was 9, I know my mother has a lot of memories of her time with her mom but the pictures of them together are minimal. And growing up, my mom was ALWAYS the one taking the pictures so we really have very few pictures of the two of us & although there is still time to change that & we will, we won't be able to recreate images from my childhood. While my mom was in town this weekend, she almost insisted that I do this, I know how much she wishes she had those images too. So even though I don't know how much time I have with my boys, could be 50 years, could be 5 years (I only pray that it isn't because that wouldn't be near enough time with these two smiling faces) I am going to do my best in capturing us as a family, all of us. More pictures with Mom, more pictures with Dad, more pictures of Mom and Dad together and lots of family pictures.


On a similar but different New LIFE resolution note, I am going to start writing to my boys on birthdays and other special occasions. Not here on the blog, a REAL, TRUE handwritten letter, summing up each year of their lives and what my hopes and dreams are for them. I will neatly stash them away and at a significant date in their life, I will give the letters to them. Maybe it will be an 18th birthday, maybe their wedding day when I am no longer the WOMAN in their lives or maybe when they become a father for the first time. I may not know exactly what day that will be but the fact is that I want them to know exactly how much they have changed my life--for the better. & hopefully it will be something that they will cherish and hold close to the heart, maybe even share with their children some day. & a big thank you goes to another co-worker and his wife for this idea, they started this with their little boy & it made me tear up just reading about it & I knew at that point it was something I wanted to start with my boys.


Last but not least, we all know I love taking pictures of my boys. More importantly of our every day life & my phone has been my go to camera for quite some time now but that is going to change too. In late November I made the decision to step away from Oliver Beckett Photography for the time being & now that I am starting to have a little more time, I am finding that I am picking up my REAL camera and capturing our life again. I was going to try and do a picture a day but that might be a little hard since my full time job requires periodic travel & sometimes I don't get home until after dark so instead, I figured I would save a few of my favorites and do miscellaneous posts here and there, nothing but the pictures and a few words. It will go something like this...

The only thing better than baby feet…Superhero feet. 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Don't Let It Be So

With each of my boys there are those special moments that are just OURS! With Kaden it comes at bedtime where even after I have tucked him in, I sneak in for one last kiss good night. He is so sweet and loving & ALWAYS asks for me to come back in and check on him before I go to bed--which I am more than happy to do. He tells me that he loves me & to "have a good rest" & that he will see me in the morning. I give it about another hour or so and sneak back to kiss my sleeping boy good night, shut off a few lights and tuck him back into bed--the kid loves to sleep with only underwear on & with no blankets.

Another one of my favorite moments with Kaden is picking him up for pre-school. He will be lined up ready for dismissal & will be peaking up on his tiptoes looking for me. Once he spots me, I get the biggest wave he can give & then he is off, running full speed ahead into my arms. Its one of the favorite hugs that I get & I never get tired of him telling me how much he loves me & missed me. 

& then there is Logan. Logie. 

I love our mornings together. He will sit next to me on my bathroom counter while I get dressed. He will sing me songs & ask silly questions. There isn't a morning that I don't have a smile on my face when he is right beside me. 

But my most FAVORITEST moments with Logan come at 6:00 in the morning, or shortly thereafter. Its about this time that we hear the first "MOOOMMMM." coming from down the hall. 

I happily throw the covers back & head in after him. I reach down to him & he says "mommy, your room." I pick him up, he places his head on my shoulder and I carry him back to bed with Justin and I.  

As soon his little head hits the pillow he snuggles right up to me. & I don't mean he just rests his head on my chest, he nuzzles right up next to me, where his cheek is touching my cheek. Once our cheeks are touching, his lovie goes straight to his mouth & the most adorable sucking noise occurs as he drifts back off to dreamland. For the next 45 minutes or so my life is pretty perfect. 

My husband is pretty sure I am going to have Logan sleeping with us until he is in junior high but you know what? If he wants to snuggle with me when he is in junior high, I will take it because I know the time will come when snuggling with your mom isn't the coolest thing for my boys to do & I will be bribing for hugs. So today, tomorrow & the next day & for as long as he will allow me, I will choose to bring him in with me for a little snuggle time. For us to be cheek to cheek and for him to drift off to sleep in my arms. 

& just like with everything else in life--when you find a routine you are thrown a curveball. & of course, that came today, the day of my first trip of 2014 he decides to throw me for a loop. Kaden, Justin and I were already up getting an early start to the morning to have Kaden to pre-school on time and all of the sudden we hear little footsteps. Logan didn't ask for me. He didn't wait for me to come to his room to get him out of bed. For the first time, he climbed down off of his bed on his own & walked in with the biggest grin on his face to tell us good morning. I am praying that this is the first & the LAST day that this happens. I for one am not ready to give up our snuggle time. He's my baby, he can't grow up--not yet. 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Christmas Morning--Did He Come??

I was hoping to be able to post about the boys waking up on Christmas morning before now but the boys have been sick since Saturday & if they haven't been curled up on Justin or I's lap then we have been trying to get the house back in order for when life returns to some sort of normalcy.

Today has been a little better--after a long fever spell, Logan now has pink eye and has successfully passed his sickness to his brother but neither have had a fever since 5 am so we are keeping our fingers crossed it has exited our house once and for all.

But back to Christmas morning…

The boys went down fairly easily on Tuesday evening because they knew the faster they fell asleep the faster a certain someone could make his appearance.

And an appearance he made. The boys woke up about 7 o'clock & were so anxious to go downstairs but Justin and I were able to hold them off for a little while longer while we got changed and got the kids in their robes that our Elf, Fishlegs, had given them the day before. Kaden looked just like Kevin from Home Alone walking down the stairs that morning & not far behind Logan was doing his best to keep up.

They were smiling from ear to ear when they saw what Santa had left for them. I do believe we heard "this is AWESOME mom & dad." followed by a little tiny voice "awesome." 

They boys both received new scooters and new bike helmets to be used outside as soon as the weather warms up. & lucky for them we have a pretty good space inside for them to try the new toys out. 

Logan got the Y Flicker J2 Junior Scooter. This particular scooter allows him to just WIGGLE and the scooter will do the rest of the work. He can also use it as a normal scooter but he will be able to go a little faster by just wiggling back and forth. & after Kaden realized that Logan's worked with just a little WIGGLE, he started wiggling on his too. We were sure he was going to be disappointed that his didn't do the same but thankfully it did or they both would have been fighting over Logan's little red scooter. & even though in no time at all, Kaden became a master at his scooter & I am pretty sure we will need to stock up on bandaids and cold packs come springtime. 

& you see those helmets--safety is not an accident around this house--they would NOT take them off while they opened the rest of their presents. Kaden's highlights were Doc McStuffins' "heartbeat checker",  his new Spiderman rolling backpack (for our trip to St. Maarten) & the Spiderman sleeping bag--went a little crazy at PBK. Logan's highlights, a broom & dustpan, Batman rolling backpack & Batman sleeping bag.

But the most unlikely hit was what was tucked deep inside their stockings--no it wasn't the How To Train Your Dragon characters or the super cool spinning toothbrushes, no it was underwear & socks. Don't get me wrong, the underwear are pretty cute and the socks are days of the weeks socks but seriously boys...

& I know, I should have WAY more pictures than what I have from Christmas morning but I really tried to put the camera down (which I did, used my phone) & enjoy Christmas morning with my boys. It goes along with this new being more present, enjoying our boys & our little family more. It was truly a wonderful morning at the South house & the boys haven't slept a night or taken a nap for that matter without their new sleeping bags. & those helmets, well they have finally taken them off & are only wearing them about 80% of the time.

More Christmas recaps still to come.