Thursday, April 26, 2012

Preparing for Avery's 1st Birthday

Avery turns 1 on May 5th... tear.... I still have invitations to her "cookout" (because "party" sounded too official) on my console table by the front door. I've been in NO rush to plan this "gathering" or mail out the invitations because I'm in total denial. I say this as my 11 month old walks around the kitchen floor reorganizing my kitchen chairs while drinking a Capri Sun (I don't think I gave Parker a capri sun until he was 18 months.... oh 2nd child syndrome). She seems so tiny to me and at the same time mature beyond her years. There are moments I can't believe she's 1 and other times I feel like I should be planning her 2nd birthday party... those moments are when her 2 year old attitude erupts.... I just keep reassuring myself that means she'll conquer the "3's" at 2 and so forth so maybe she'll be well behaved before other kid's her age? A leader? Wise beyond her years? I can dream...

The theme for the party is "cute and girly".... because I'm not a theme kinda girl. I got some cupcake stuff, some polka dots, lots of pink, some candy.... and hamburgers. I have a vision. I'm 99% sure that 10% of my vision will ACTUALLY happen (darn you Pinterest) but in my mind, it's precious. My mental picture of the party also includes me being totally unstressed and well behaved toddlers playing outside on a 75 degree weather evening with sunshine and a slight breeze while mamas sip margaritas and dads grill and play with the aforementioned well behaved toddlers on the swing set and bounce house. I think I may need to readjust my expectations ever so slightly, no?! hehe

One thing I really wanted to do was a banner for the mantle with a picture from each month. During the kid's nap time (YES... NAP... both of them. Praise be to the Lord!), I went through 12 months of Avery photos. It's so fun to look back at the different phases and notice growth spurts and milestones my frazzled mommy brain has already forgotten.

Check out this cuteness!

Umm.... I could just eat her up! I suppose it's officially time to embrace Avery being 1... it's a new chapter in the Wise Family. Time to sell the baby gear and bring on the dolls and Disney Princesses. I'm ready (well not really but I'm working on getting there). I'm going to miss a lot about Avery being a baby but I think as long as some of my friends keep procreating and letting me snuggle a newborn here and there, I should get my baby fix in and be perfectly fine being the mom of 2 toddlers! :) Hpapy (almost) Birthday, Avery! Check back for her party post in 2ish weeks!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Midweek Confessions

It has been a frustrating few hours and then I realized it's "Midweek Confession Day" on E, myself and I so I figured lets air it all out over a LARGE slice of peanut butter pie and my keyboard.

1. Parker has regressed with potty training... and when I say regressed, I mean today he peed on himself 3 times at school and never once made a big deal out of it. He sat in his own pee at circle time until the teacher noticed he was wet. He didn't care at all. He came home in a friend's accident clothes since he already peed in his own. When he came home, he immediately peed on the couch and then again on the floor in my bedroom 20 minutes later. I was SO frustrated, I put him in a pull up and put him in bed for a nap. I just couldn't handle it. We've worked SO hard and now I feel mega frustrated and discouraged.

2. I don't recognize myself in the mirror. I'm tired. I don't do my hair as cute as I used to, my eye brows look like Octomom's (those things are SCARY), and I only shave my legs when I know I'm going to wear a dress. I can't remember the last shower I've taken without Avery on the floor. I LOVE my children but I need a "Taylor self improvement day." .... and a few extra hundred dollars to fall from the sky for new some new clothes that actually fit this post kids body of mine I'm still trying to figure out.

3. Avery turns 1 in less than 2 weeks. I'm in such denial that I haven't sent out all of the invitations.

4. I may let Parker only wear a shirt around the house right now to reduce the amount of laundry I have to do.

5. Avery is starting to have meltdowns that Parker didn't start having until 2. She's my BABY... my baby who is walking and eating big girl food and climbing.... and throwing her body on the ground and rolling when she doesn't get her way. SOOO.... my fiery, red headed, cinco de mayo baby toddler has a temper.... and it scares me. I thought Parker was going to be my difficult child.... I'm 100% sure I was WRONG.

6. Parker has been the sweetest snuggle bug at night and 1st thing in the morning. The day that Avery decided to stop being a baby, he started back. I have to admit, I don't mind it.

7. Sometimes in the car on the way to school, I listen to a morning talk show while the kids watch Curious George. I change it to a Children's Christian Praise CD when I pull in the car pool line.... unless the deaf teacher's aid gets Parker out of the car... then I don't... and I feel odd about that as I waive awkwardly.

Your turn!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Living Life Openly

This is one of those post that you write in your head, then blog, then retype and you're still not sure if you wrote it right. It's SO easy for me to share my life. I've always said that I'm an open book and while that may be true, I tend to share chapters like my hobbies, kids and home much more willingly than my faith or cancer diagnosis because the coordinating pictures are just much more fun. I LOVE talking about God with my girlfriends but I'm not as bold as I should be with strangers... probably because I'm too much of a people pleaser and tend to run from controversy just enough to still know the scoop but far enough away to not be in the center of it. Another chapter of my life (that feels more like a book in and of itself) is my diagnosis in 2007 of Hodgkin's Lymphoma, cancer of the lymph-node system.

I thought that I already shared my cancer story but I can't find it on my blog. I know I've shared bits and pieces but I thought I'd share today the road leading up to my diagnosis. One of the the most common questions I get is "How did you know you had cancer?" Obviously, my goal in answering this question is never to scare people but to encourage people to be advocates for their own health care and listen to their bodies.

Daniel and I were married on April 20, 2007 (4/20.... I know... everyone points that out to me but I didn't realize it until too many vendors were booked!... also.... FRIDAY is our 5 year anniversary! WOO HOO!). On our honeymoon, I started to not feel well. I blamed it on being stressed from the wedding and the Dominican water. When we came home from our honeymoon, I still wasn't feeling well. I blamed it on job stress. Then, I started to notice that I couldn't walk up the stairs to our apartment without feeling winded. I blamed it on a lack in exercising since the wedding... basically, for 2 months, I blamed my yuckiness on whatever I could think of.

The defining moments for me were at 2 weddings. At my friend Katie's wedding, I had NO energy to dance. I couldn't seem to get a full breath. By Jessica's wedding the next weekend I couldn't get out of bed. Jessica was my best friend growing up so I wasn't going to miss it! I literally had Daniel bathe me and I put on an ill fitting dress, my glasses and no make up. I was a vision but I was there. By the reception, I was running a fever. The next day, I went to the doctor and was diagnosed with pneumonia. After 3 days and continuing to get worse, I went back and was diagnosed with bronchitis, pneumonia and flu like symptoms. FINALLY, by the third visit, in tears, I begged the doctor to do something. She did a chest x-ray and determined that I needed a CT scan.

The next day we did a CT scan. I was expecting to hear I had scar tissue from an extremely bad case of pneumonia. The following day, I got a call at work that the doctor wanted to talk to me and do blood work. I left work immediately and went by myself. I remember what I was wearing... a black strapless a-line dress from the Gap that I wore to high school graduation with a pink cardigan over it and cute strappy high heels. The doctor told me she suspected I had lymphoma but needed to do a PET scan to confirm. I remember only being in the office for 20 minutes tops. I called my boss and asked for the day off. Obviously, she agreed. I got in my car and drove to my tiny apartment in tears singing "It is well with my soul." I didn't feel that way at the time. It wasn't well with my soul... it was very not well but I wanted it to be so I kept singing those words until I believed them. I sang "Walk by faith" by Jeremy Camp and "Praise you in this storm" by Casting Crowns over and over and over as my attitude anthems. My parents also kept me occupied with house projects like refinishing a table.

My PET scan confirmed Hodgkin's lymphoma. After the longest month of my life (with the exception of Parker being in the NICU for the month of March/April of 2009) filled with test EVERY day for something, port insertion surgery and moving out of our apartment and into our 1st house, I started chemo August 5th, 2007. After 12 chemo treatments and 7 months, I was finally cancer free. I have been cancer free now for 4 years and no longer dread my 6 month check ups because I have a faithful God who has completely healed me from that awful disease. I really look forward to next February 1st when I can say at the 5 year point that I am in full remission. Doesn't that just sound glorious!?!

We already claim victory in the name of Jesus over my cancer but continue to have routine CT scans not because I don't believe in my healing but 1. for insurance purposes  2. its the standard course of treatment that can essentially get my oncologist in trouble if we don't follow and she'd drop me as a patient and she's been awesome so I wouldn't want that. 3. I sleep better at night. I'm a human and and I believe I'm healed but I sure like a piece of paper confirming it.

Tomorrow is my routine CT scan and while I know God is still victorious over my cancer, I covet your prayers for continued healing. A woman who I don't even know was recently given a verse to share with me from a book of the Bible I didn't even know existed. Am I the only person who's never heard of Nahum?

"Whatever they plot against the LORD
   he will bring to an end;
   trouble will not come a second time." ~Nahum 1:9

I take a lot of comfort in this verse as a confirmation that my cancer is gone. It's a chapter in my life book that is many pages behind but that shapes all subsequent chapters. Thank you for your continued prayers and please know, I really am an open book and welcome questions and comments even about subjects like this that seem too touchy. My cancer is a part of my life that I embrace and harbor no ill feelings towards because I KNOW in my heart that I serve a God even bigger than cancer. :) Praise God from whom ALL blessings flow!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Baby Makenna

This is a wee bit late BUT we had the most precious guest on Easter weekend. Baby Makenna (and her parents but they are way less cute and cuddly) came to stay with us. I'd like to say I got lots of baby snuggles BUT a little red headed spit fire was NOT enjoying sharing her mommy and Mr. Parker wanted the baby all to himself! I was SHOCKED! He asked to hold the baby and just chilled on the couch with her while watching a movie. If she fussed, he'd put her paci in and the second someone took her away he wanted her back. I usually wake up to "hi mommy!" but on Saturday I woke up to "Where's baby kenna?" Tabitha, Makenna's mom, and I have determined they are destined to be married so here are some photos for the wedding slide show:

I could just eat them up! Makenna is coming back in May for Avery's birthday and I'm hoping to get in some more baby snuggle time when Avery's napping or in bed if Parker will hand her over!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Family Easter Picture

If you've read the blog for a while, you know that a good family picture is something I have wanted FOREVER! Parker and the hubs hate taking pictures, Avery is only sometimes looking and I have a crooked smile that I try to remember to correct before the picture is taken but sometimes forget. So basically, we have not one single AWESOME family picture. We try EVERY holiday or time where we're all dressed decent and have someone to take it. Don't get me wrong... we HAVE family pictures just not a 16x20 canvas blow up worthy one. One day I'm sure I'll cherish these real life moments more that a perfectly posed one, right? Until I get to that point. gosh darn it... we'll still try for that illusive family photo! 

Without further adieu... I present you the Wise Family Easter 2012 picture:
Parker cracks me UP in this photo! First off, those LOVELY glasses were an Easter basket gift from my mother who thought they were funny. Unfortunately, he wore them ALL DAY LONG and thus are in every Easter photo. No. his pants are NOT too short but they look ridiculous in this photo. Avery had already removed her bow and pretty shoes (tear) and has spent the last month with at least one finger in her mouth. Daniel looks happy knowing we're taking another non 16x20 canvas blow up for the living room shot and I look pregnant (no rumors! I'm very much NOT!). Another photo for the "we take horrible family photos archive!" Oh memories!

We did get a few sweet shots on Easter before my camera died but I thought you might get a kick out of the family photo.

Avery diving into her Easter basket (and part of Parker's leg/rear end. Whoops! We're potty training, bottomless)

Risky Business

On the hunt for some eggs

I should carry this photo in my purse as an answer to "where did she get her red hair?" ... which I get asked at LEAST once a day, no kidding. I LOVE that red hair and my daddy who gave it to her!

Not the best picture of Avie but my sister sure is BEAUTIFUL!

Finally a picture of Avery's sweet face without her finger in her mouth!

So while this wasn't our most photogenic holiday, a bit to my dismay... it was a wonderfully lovely day celebrating our risen Savior with our sweet family.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Kiss my...

I couldn't resist a classic candid bath shot...

Easter boat ride

I had this vision of colorful Easter pictures of the kids in their Sunday best but after a wonderful church service we went to lunch and opted for a very fabulously untraditional easter meal of Mexican food. It was delish! Parker's white pants really enjoyed the salsa and Averys smocked bunnies enjoyed their cheese quesadillas as well. Oh well! Maybe next year!

After lunch we took a wonderfully relaxing boat ride. The "nana Easter bunny" gave Parker these fabulously jersey shore sunglasses. I suppose they're better than the pink giraffe ones he usually wears but my heart would be so happy if he would wear his horn rimmed shades. Oh well. At least they aren't toy story ones. You know I'd just die and never post pictures if he wore character ones!

Miss Avery and my dad enjoyed relaxing and napping in the shade while those of us with the ability to tan were like lizards on a rock in the front if the boat. We found a few ducks for Parker so the day was a success. Every day with a duck seems to be Parker's best day :)

Here are a few iPhone boat pics of the afternoon. I think my favorite is kelly and Parker's rendition of jersey shore. Haha

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Zury is 3!

Last Friday we celebrated our dear friend Zury's 3rd birthday! It was a precious cow girl party and her super mom, Amber, went way over the top with a real pony, awesome food, beautiful decorations and a stick pony as a favor. Who doesn't love a stick pony!?!

Parker was in a funk and refused to ride or get within 40 feet of the pony but he sure enjoyed swinging and playing on the play gym. SO much so that if anyone was in the baby swing, he'd whine until it was his turn again. Despite his less than stellar attitude, we still had a wonderful time!  Once Parker discovered the stick pony and how fun it was to jump off the hay, he was good to go. I was so pleased to get some good pictures of Parker smiling. If you're a frequent blog reader, you know good pictures of my picture hating Parker are hard to come by!

I took 200 photos of the party but here are my favorites of my kids:
This may be my favorite photo of Avery and I ever. I edited it on my computer and cropped out the man but then my computer went to heaven and now I'm using Daniel's work computer. Shh! Don't tell him!


The hubs was pretty excited that he wont have to buy her a pony any time soon.

Most precious face, ever! Yes, my dear... cake pops ARE THAT GOOD!

How cute is that face with the stick pony!

Hurling himself off the hay.

Love the hair and the face!

Happy Birthday, Zury!!!

Potty training

We've taken the plunge... The messy, no fun, plunge into potty training! Mr. Parker is absolutely not ready and could care less but we've got a busy summer of camp, vacation and lots of lake hours ahead of us that does not need to include diapers so I'm forcing him rather unwillingly to pee in the darn potty.

At first I followed the advice of my pediatrician which was basically the show him the potty and leave him alone method. If he has an accident, make him clean it up and do his own laundry. The idea is that he would see its quicker to pee in the potty than it is to clean it up off the floor. The problem with this method is I like my house, my flooring and furniture. That and.... He could care less to sit in his own pee. Delightful. Method 1= failure and frustration

So method 2. He woke up dry so in a daze I ran him to the toilet. He peed 3 feet into the air, not a drop landed in the toilet and Avery was soaking wet with urine. Poor thing got a bath at 8am. Let's just say princess has had 3 baths today thanks to a really erratically peeing Parker. I put him on the toilet every 15 minutes. Holy cow is that exhausting. It frustrated us both. So method 2= not a total failure but just not for us.

At 5pm, I started method 3. The potty was moved to the kitchen so he could play in the kitchen and den and have easy access the toilet. I turned on toy story and stayed in eyes view. When he started to dance on his toes, I told him to go to the potty and he did! 3 times! He even pooped! Granted, he was totally going to poop on my kitchen floor until I moved him to the potty but regardless, we made it! I'm learning his cues and I think we may have a good method that works for us. We started with him wearing underwear but he was having a hard time pulling them down do now he's going bottomless. He's also welcome to pee off the patio. I need to teach him to pee outside for convenience with our active, outside lifestyle so I figure what's the harm in letting him pee off the patio?

He got rewarded this morning with the allusive Mario that has been beckoning to him from above the fridge. I got the funniest picture of him trying to climb the fridge to get it. Have I mentioned Parker's new Mario brothers obsession? So random! We don't even own that game!

We've been rewarding him with stickers, m&ms and small toys. He got Mario for the 1st time he peed and luigi for his 1st poop. He gets a sticker for each pee and gets to pick out an egg. I put candy in Easter eggs and put them in a basket. That reward seems to work best for us.

Miss Avery is now walking and has been a bit challenging to keep out of Parker's potty so I've sanitized that darn potty 12 times today.

Overall, I was frustrated and tired by noon. We powered through it and at about 5, it seemed to have clicked. He was excited by the end of the day at his accomplishment. We have company this weekend and plans on Easter so while it's not ideal to not be able to sit at home and only focus on potty training for the next 2 days, we're still going to stick to it with hopes of being pee potty trained by the time he goes back to school from spring break. Fingers crossed!