Diapers for Haiti

Friends of ours moved to Haiti a year and half ago to be parents at an orphanage. As if that weren’t challenging enough, in January the devastating earthquake took place that has left millions without basic needs. Our friends, Nick and Gwenn, serve tirelessly each day not only taking care of their large family but also working to meet the needs of many in their community who are still living in tent camps nearby.

One specific need is diapers for all the babies living in these tent camps. There is no running water, no washing machines, no Wal-Mart to buy diapers, but there is lots of mud and disease. It absolutely breaks my heart for these parents and their babies who don’t even have diapers to protect their little ones.

On October 15 there will be a Diapers for Haiti fundraiser and all diapers/money collected will go directly to Nick and Gwenn to be used towards providing diapers for these families in the tent camp. The fundraiser will be held on Friday, October 15 from 9am-9pm during The 2nd Look Boutique Consignment sale at New Horizon’s Fellowship in Apex, NC. You can bring a pack of diapers in exchange for 2 raffle tickets or raffle tickets can be purchased at the door for $5 each. We will be raffling off a HD Flip Camcorder!

If you don’t live nearby or can’t make it to the sale on the 15th but you would still like to participate, then please email me and you can purchase raffle tickets directly through me by using Paypal.

I don’t think there is anything else I can say that would give a better explanation than these pictures…

Be Still My Heart

I was running around frantic this morning trying to get teeth brushed, faces washed, and hair combed (a girl has to look her best for Bible study). I went looking for the girls and I found them like this. They had climbed on the bench in Kaelyn’s room all by themselves and they were reading the book out loud together. I thought my heart might literally burst completely open at that moment. I LOVE my girls and I LOVE that they are best friends.

What We Did Today (2)

Asked Kaelyn to pose and this was what she came up with:

Evie helped everyone with their shoes (while she was sporting her All Stars):

Got all these groceries (including the organic milk) for $21!

What We Did Today

Kaelyn practiced being a princess (the socks are part of the outfit obviously)…

Evie practiced being a hippie…

And it appears that Mommy needs to practice dressing her children in complete outfits.

Things I’ve Noticed

(1) If people write words on a sign and hold the sign up and play some nice music it usually makes a nice marketing campaign. For example, this video for moms.

(2) If you put any kind of food on a skewer it is immediately much more fun to eat. Like chocolate covered marshmellows…

(photo credit to Dandelions Cottage)

(3) It is very likely at a young age that you will pull a large dresser or chest of drawers on top of yourself by trying to climb up the drawers. Matt and I both did this to ourselves as little kids and today Kaelyn had her rite of passage as she tried to climb her chest of drawers to reach her jewelry box on top. It was quite the scary experience but thankfully she was not hurt at all!

(4) My children are adorable. ๐Ÿ™‚

My Three-Year-Old, Kaelyn

Our Three-Year-Old

It’s hard to believe you’ve been a part of our lives for three years now. Even though I can’t remember life without you, it still doesn’t seem too long ago that I was pushing your cart around the maternity ward. Last year, you were just getting to know your new sister, Evie (“Nice hair, baby Evie”). Now you girls play together all the time like you’ve been friends forever.

You’ve become such a good big sister for Evie. Like tonight when I was eating some jelly bread and Evie kept grunting and pointing at it and you told me Evie wanted my bread and I told you that I’d already given her a piece and you lectured me on sharing so I gave her another piece. It doesn’t seem like long ago you’d always be knocking her over or tackling her, but now you’ve become such a sensitive big sister, always listening for her “stop” grunts to know when she wants you to leave her alone.

You’re becoming such an amazing little lady. I love all the conversations we have these days and seeing what new thing you’re going to learn next week. You never cease to amaze us with your love of reading books and how you memorize everything we read to you. This year has seen you switch from board books to bigger girl books like “Little Miss” and the Bernstein Bears. Goodbye, “Hello Moon”, hello “Little Miss Sunshine”.

And, your imagination has really matured this year. You’re always assigning everyone one roles in your worlds. Like the Dora one where you’re Dora, Evie is Boots, Mommy is Diego, and Daddy is Swiper (Oh, man!). Or, the animal one where tonight we had Kaelyn pig (chosen b/c you had a pink towel after your bath), Daddy cow, Mommy crocodile (you always specify, a “nice” crocodile), and Evie sheep (who was Evie cow until she made a “baa” noise at which time you promptly switched her role).

You’re still our little cautious Kaelyn. When we go to the pool, you rarely venture beyond the step in the 1-foot section, content just to play with your one toy there for a while. You love just giving us a plastic toy or stuffed animal and having it just converse with your toy (who knew dinosaurs ate at Chick-Fil-A so much).

Some of the other things you’ve enjoyed this past year include: dinosaurs (we watched The Land Before Time for the first time recently and they opened a new dinosaur walke exhibit at the Durham museum), bugs and critters (whether it be rolly polly bugs or crabs and fish at the beach, you love picking up little critters), and a nature pile (collecting all kinds of miscellaneous sticks and rocks to keep in our backyard).

In addition to all your three-year-old friends, you’ve also started playing a lot more with some of the older girls on the street like Rainee and Morgan. They come over all the time looking for you and Evie.

Another big thing this year has been potty training, which Mommy’s worked so diligently at since last December. You’re almost there, sweetie. And I’m sure after you start pre-school next week that you’ll have that knocked off your checklist pretty quickly.

We love you so much, Kaelyn Rose!

Here are some of our favorite Kaelyn-isms from the past year:

  • Mommy: “Where did you get your blue eyes?”
    Kaelyn: “I got them at Target!”
  • “I want to play Candyland and celebrate Jesus!”
  • One time you randomly started singing, “I’ll spin you right round, baby, right round.”
  • Whenever the two-minute warning for getting out of the bath was done, I’d say “Two minutes are up” to which you’d reply “No, two minutes are down”.
  • Mommy: “I should make you a smoothis tomorrow.”
    Kaelyn: “Well, you could make me one today.”
  • “Nemo is my favorite orange friend.”
  • “Mommy, shouts Kaelyn.” (This likely marks the first time you refer to yourself in the third person)
  • When Daddy picks you up after running: “Daddy, you’re worn out. You’re getting your worn out on me. Can Papa hold me? He’s not worn out”.
  • There was a phase when anytime we’d ask you if you liked something, you’d always say, “No, I like Nemo and ladybugs.”
  • Daddy: “I can’t chase you anymore, I’m out of gas.”
    Kaelyn: “I have a gas pump. I’ll fill you up so you can chase me some more.”
  • When asked what mommies and daddies are supposed to do: “Obey Kaelyn and get high stuff down for Kaelyn.”
  • To Mommy: “Evie is growing up to be big like me, and I’m growing up to be a Mommy like you.”
  • Riding her little bus around the house: “My GPS says to run right at this road.” (as she proceeds to turn right at the kitchen table)
  • Upon shutting a door and yourself stuck in a bedroom: “Mommy, this is horrible!”.
  • Kaelyn told Daddy that her dentist office had a TV on the ceiling, then: “It was funny. It’s funny like how Red Robin has a TV on the floor.”
  • Daddy: “What do you want for your birthday?”
    Kaelyn (in one giant breath): “I want a puppy and he’s going to come in a box and he’s going to push the lid off the box and I’m going to hug him and I’m going to name him Bilbert!”
  • Kaelyn: “I hear a train.”
    Daddy: “Maybe it’s Thomas”.
    Kaelyn: “No.”
    Daddy: “Maybe it’s Gordon or Percy.”
    Kaelyn: “NO, it’s not a train that has eyes.
  • Kaelyn is holding her shark while on the potty.
    Mommy: “Does the shark have to go potty?”
    Kaelyn (in her shark voice): “No, I’m a shark and I don’t have a bottom.”
  • Our GPS got a little confused. Half an hour later out of the blue, Kaelyn says, “That crazy thing is going to run us into the trees.”
  • Kaelyn got some chips and chili and immediately tried to avoid the chili, saying, “I’m looking for a chip that is dry and clean and fresh, like a baby.”
  • Kaelyn: “Where is that music coming from?”
    Mommy: “The iPod.”
    Kaelyn: “Do you put it on your eye and listen to music?”
  • “Evie, you drive a hard bargain” (yet, Evie only say a couple of words…it’s all in the body language, I guess)
  • Out of the blue on using her regular cup instead of a sippy cup: “I don’t do so well when I drink water or orange juice out of this cup, I usually spill it out”. Our little introspective girl.
  • Daddy asked Kaelyn where something was that she lost in a firm voice. She grabbed my hand and said, “No, be the good daddy”.

This Blog’s For You (Charissa)

So my friend Charissa called me out last night on how I haven’t blogged in a long time. She’s right. ๐Ÿ™‚ Matt just left to take the girls to the pet store (a free, yet entertaining way to spend some time on a hot afternoon), and I had a random thought pop in my head. So here you go, Charissa, this blog is for you. ๐Ÿ™‚

So once when Kaelyn was a little baby (maybe around 4 or 5 months) she started screaming crying. It wasn’t like her…it was a something hurts cry. It was about 3:30 in the afternoon and she cried for probably an hour. I called the doctor to see if we could go in before they closed. My thoughts were that I just didn’t want something to be wrong and then we have to wait it out all night until they reopened the next day.

The doctor graciously agreed to see us before closing. We went in, and, of course, within 2 seconds of walking in the doctor’s office she calmed down. He checked her all over and gave her a clean bill of health. He smiled politely and handed me my paper to take to the check-out desk. On the top of the paper in the box labeled “Diagnosis” he had written “Fussiness.”

Oy, did I feel like the biggest goof!

Shanghai Travels

So, I just got back from a business trip to Shanghai, China…my first time to Asia. It was a lot different than my previous international travels (Ecuador and Spain). The first thing that hits you is the sheer number of people. The roads are crazy…bikes and scooters everywhere. If you use your horn you can pretty much do anything (like turn right in front of a bus). Pretty much every on an elevator exceeds the capacity. You’d better learn to push a bit on the subway and buses or else you’ll miss your stop.

Me and Yao...Chillin'

The parts of Shanghai where we were felt very safe. I guess they’ve pretty much modernized the city in the past 20 years or so and it does have a feel comparable to big cities in the US. Their metro system is great. The language barrier is hard when you don’t have someone along to interpret. After a week, I was glad to be back to some place where I could ask simple questions without needing to do makeshift hand signals.

Gumby's long lost brother, the Expo mascot

The food was great (and pretty cheap). I love American Chinese food and obviously it’s different over there, but it’s the same basic idea (once you get over the fish and shrimp being served with heads still on). It’s great when you have someone who’s Chinese that can just order a bunch of stuff for your table. The most exotic thing I ate was jellyfish (eh…weird texture and not particularly a great flavor) and the only thing I remember not eating was the duck feet (it actually didn’t look bad, but, still, it’s duck feet).

Yuyuan Market

One thing I didn’t think of was I should have learned to use chopsticks before I went because, yea, I was that American that had to ask for a fork at every meal. They have a lot of good beef, pork, and duck dishes in addition to the veggies. Surprisingly, it’s not like every meal just comes with rice (like American Chinese). You get it if you ask for it, but it’s not like they just bring it out like we bring out bread. For sweets, I found these little egg-based pastries they had pretty scrumptious. When you didn’t have someone Chinese with you, ordering was hard. You had to get a picture menu and then make an educated guess what kind of meat it was for a lot of dishes.

Obama Mart

So, what did I do there besides work? When I got there, I met up with the people I was supposed to see before I even got to my hotel room and pretty much went straight to the World Expo. They have a bunch of pavilions for various countries. You’d just wait in line for potentially hours to get into one. It wasn’t that bad because we went in the evening, but it was still pretty crowded. I guess sometimes folks spend the entire day there just to see 2-3 pavilions for the entire day (another interesting side note is that a lot of stuff closes at 10pm over there and doing stuff during the day seems more popular than doing stuff at night). Honestly, I didn’t really find anything there worth the wait, but I guess it’s part of the experience.

At the Pearl Tower

It was nice to have a fellow co-worker and his wife to tag along with in the evenings. On Tuesday, we went to the electronics market. I wasn’t brave enough to buy any electronics, but the Food Republic (a big food court) was pretty nice. On Wednesday, we went out to eat with our hosts (and then stayed up at the hotel to watch that exciting US soccer match against Algeria). On Thursday, we went to The People’s Square and walked around there for a while. They had like a nine story mall there, but it was mostly Western-like stuff at Western-like prices. On Friday, I did my souvenir shopping at the Yuyuan Market. That was pretty cool because you can bargain for a bunch of trinkets for the kids and I went a little “back alley” to get Leigh Ann a “Prada” purse. We also went to see the Pearl Tower and all the stuff around it (didn’t go up since the visibility was poor). Saturday morning, we set out to find the 1933, a former slaughterhouse now supposed to be a architectural piece of work, but that metro ride took us a bit further out of the city and no one seemed to have a clue where it was, so we gave up on that little jaunt.

Lots of bikes

The flight back was fine and it was great to see all my girls again.

One Year!

Evie’s birthday is still a couple of days away, but I thought it was close enough to go ahead and wish her happy birthday here on the blog! This year has been very busy and gone by so fast – I can’t believe my little baby is a year already (sniff, sniff).

We had Evie’s 1st birthday party (ladybug theme) this past Sunday and I think she throughly enjoyed it (especially the cake smashing part). Here’s proof:

At one year Evie is saying these words:
uh-oh, ball, book, bird, baby, bye bye, Kaelyn (“Kay”), mama, dada, papa

She also does the baby sign for “milk.”

Crawling is still her main form of transportation, but her walking has really taken off the past couple of weeks. She’s been taking one or two steps for a while now, but lately she has gotten more into walking across the room. I think it’s only a matter of days before she is walking full time.

She LOVES her big sister, playing outside (particularly the water table and sandbox), and being in the pool. She is amazing at being able to entertain herself. (Maybe it’s a 2nd child ability??) She especially loves whenever she has a few minutes of playtime alone in the playroom without big sister coming in to take her toys away. ๐Ÿ™‚

I have to watch her because she has gotten into the habit of climbing on things and then standing up on top, for example: Kaelyn’s little rocking chair and the kiddie table. She also loves climbing the stairs.

Lately she is really starting to exert herself more and will be sure (with very loud noises and points) to let you know what she wants. If she doesn’t get what she wants she throws a little baby temper tantrum. She has already had to sit in time out several times. ๐Ÿ™‚

Speaking of pointing, I love it when that little tiny pointer finger starts pointing at stuff. It’s usually pointing to whatever she wants, but also she will point up in the sky at the sound of an airplane and things like that. It’s just such a sweet little finger.

She loves music and will dance whenever she hears any. She has the funniest facial expressions and the biggest grin that will just make your heart melt. One of my favorite faces is when she grins from ear to ear and scrunches up her little nose and squints her big, brown eyes (sigh).

Evie Wren, Mommy loves you more than you can ever know! I love your determination, your charm, your curiosity, and your sunshiny personality. You have already brought so much joy to me, daddy, and Kaelyn. We are so blessed to have you! Happy Birthday sweet one!

February Fun

Enjoying a pleasant February afternoon in North Carolina with a walk to the neighborhood playground (and it was Evie’s first wagon ride)…

A Few of My Favorite Things

One of Kaelyn’s favorite things to play right now is pretending with her toy flies. Here pictured is what she has named Baby Fly, Mama Fly, and Grandma Fly. They enjoy doing many things together. Among their favorite is jumping on a pretend trampoline. Kaelyn informed me this morning that “we need to buy a daddy fly.”

One of Evie’s favorite things to play right now is chase the ball. She particularly loves this little Dora ball that goes with Kaelyn’s baseball bat set. Evie will chase it all around the house like she is a little puppy dog. In fact, the other day Kaelyn was running through the house trying to get Evie to crawl after her saying, “come on doggie.”

And a couple more pictures just for fun….

Why You Shouldn’t Hide in Mouse Holes

Pretty much as long as Kaelyn’s been walking, one of her favorite games is “Daddy chases me repeatedly from the living room to the family room and back”. The latest instantiation is Kaelyn is a mouse and I’m a squirrel (if I happen to carry Evie with me, she becomes Evie Bunny…for inquiring minds, Leigh Ann becomes a Croc-craisin which we have no idea what that is).

So, the other day I decided to up the ante so to speak by maneuvering our couch cushions such that they became a mouse hole, complete with a blanket as a door. She’d run to her mouse hole, get inside, and I would hide, then she’d start running out of the mouse hole and I’d jump out and get her.

Great fun for all involved. In fact, Leigh Ann decided she wanted to join in, so when we were in the other room, she snuck into the mouse hole and shut the blanket-door. When Kaelyn game back, she started trying to get in the mouse hole, but couldn’t since something seemed to be blocking it. All of a sudden, Leigh Ann popped her head out. Kaelyn just threw her arms back and had a look of sheer terror for a second before the fell straight backwards and landed flat on her back, crying hysterically. All she could say through her tears was how she wanted Mommy to run away and she didn’t calm down until Leigh Ann went upstairs.

Some other Kaelyn-isms that you may have seen on Facebook:

  • One morning, right when Kaelyn woke up she told me, “My tummy growled…it said it wanted blueberries!”.
  • On Sunday, I caught her randomly singing, “I’ll spin you right round, baby, right round” a couple of times. Hearing your 2-year-old singing 80s lyrics is kind of surreal.
  • “I’m going to play Candyland and celebrate Jesus.”
  • “Jesus is going to help Baby Evie walk.”

Jumping on the Potty Train

Many months ago Kaelyn seemed interested in the potty. I bought all the potty gear and let her go when she wanted. I never really “trained” or pushed the issue. Honestly I think *I* was not ready. I was just too busy either being pregnant or taking care of a newborn to also think about taking her to the potty every few minutes or cleaning up accidents.

Then we hit another phase when Kaelyn lost all interest in the potty. She would scream “NO – DIAPER, DIAPER!” if I suggested the idea of wearing panties. I didn’t stress about it. We have no deadline, so I figured I would just wait until she was ready to start working on it again. There was no sense in stressing us both out.

Then this past weekend she seemed interested to go on the potty. I had been thinking that I would try working on it again right after the New Year, but since she showed interest I just went with it. That was Sunday and now she’s on her 4th day of wearing panties (except for sleep times)! Yippy!

She has had a few accidents, but really I think she is doing very well. At this point she still doesn’t usually tell me when she has to go – it’s more of me putting her on the potty every hour or so and getting her to go. But, over these past few days I think she has learned to control it and will hold it until I put her on the potty to go. She hasn’t had any pee pee accidents the past two days, only one poop accident each day.

Last weekend when we were talking about using the potty she told me she was “scared to have an accident.” I think that’s why she wanted to wear diapers because she knew she might have an accident in panties. I don’t know if she just didn’t like the feeling or if it embarrassed her, but clearly she didn’t want to have accidents. She even comments on one time a while back when one of her little friends was here and she had an accident in our play room. She clearly remembered that and didn’t like the thoughts of having one herself.

I started a little reward chart to help encourage her even more. I bought Thomas the Train stickers (which she LOVES) and then I found this train potty chart online. The chart is hanging on the bathroom door and every time she goes potty she gets a sticker to add to the chart (1 sticker for pee pee and 2 stickers for poo). When she reaches the end of the track she gets a sucker.

This morning she completed her first track and she was over joyed to get the sucker that she worked so hard for!

I think there has definitely been improvement everyday and I am looking forward to when this is more a natural part of her day. I have stressed about this in my mind for a long time, but she is doing a great job. Also I should mention that Evie is such a supportive little sister – she is always very content to play with toys while I spend a lot of time taking Kaelyn back and forth to the potty. I am so proud of both my girls!

Here is Kaelyn’s first potty chart which she worked so hard on completing:

Here is the new chart we started today with the new sucker she is working towards:

Wednesday Wonders

(1) I am wondering where the past 6 months has gone?? Evie will be celebrating her HALF BIRTHDAY on Friday. Wow – I just can’t believe it. I probably sound like a broken record by now, but the time is just seriously flying by.

(2) I am wondering how such a tiny little thing like Evie can crawl all around the floor going after her sister and all the toys?? I am anxious to see how much she weighs at her 6-month check-up next week, but judging by my home scales she’s right around 14 pounds. 3-6 months clothes are still mostly baggy on her, but size doesn’t matter for her…this girl is definitely on the move!!

(3) I am wondering how I got so blessed by my sweet, sweet girls? Kaelyn is so caring and compassionate. On Monday she asked me over and over if we could make cupcakes so that we could share them with our friends. Monday night I bought the items we needed and on Tuesday we bakes cupcakes together. In a few minutes one of her friends is stopping by to eat cupcakes with us. ๐Ÿ™‚ Also, anytime baby Evie is in the floor Kaelyn will take the initiative by herself to bring Evie some toys to play with. And Kaelyn always shares her toys with her. She has such a loving and sensitive spirit!

Yesterday Kaelyn heard Evie just as she was waking from a nap. Kaelyn ran into Evie’s room and started playing peek-a-boo with her. I walked in to the sounds of massive giggling coming from both of them. How fun!

Evie so far has a very content and charming personality. She loves to love on people. She’s very good at keeping herself entertained as long as she has some toys to grab onto. She almost never fusses.

Both of my girls are so, so sweet! ๐Ÿ™‚

(4) I am wondering how I caught myself that hard-working, intelligent man of mine?! He found out today that he got a promotion at work. I am so proud of his accomplishments in his career. And all that on top of him being the most wonderful father to our girls!!

(5) Finally, I am wondering how to use that new camera of ours?! My brother gave me a crash course on all the buttons and such, but I still have a long way to go and lots of practice to figure it all out. Hopefully I’ll be able to share some cool pictures in the near future.