Friday, July 31, 2009

Noah, Get Your Ark

If you live here in Knoxville, you know we've had a lot of rain this year. In fact the numbers given on the news the other night of rainy days vs. non-rainy days average out to rain in Knoxville every other day all year so far! That's a lot of rain!

Well, a couple of weeks ago, we had a day when we got a LOT of rain in a short amount of time. That usually means flooding. Now, I don't know if you've ever really noticed it, but our backyard has a large swell, which we affectionately refer to as "the ditch," that catches the floodwater in our backyard and directs it through the ditches in our neighbors' yards and into the creek that runs behind our fence. It's nothing for us to get some rain and have the ditch fill up with a foot or so of water. THIS day was different!

Here is our backyard when there is no rain:

I know, it's a pretty old picture, but you can see how the fence dips down to follow the dip in the yard.

Now, here is a picture from almost the same spot, after the big rainfall:

Notice how high the water comes up on our fence! It's over 3 ft! I measured it! That's taller then Jonathan!

And look at our poor neighbor's yard! She doesn't have a nifty ditch to hold all her water.

It looks like she has a houseboat! Luckily the floor level of her house is slightly higher than that outer corner, so her house didn't, and never has, flooded.
All that rain turned our leisurely flowing little creek into a rushing river. To give you a reference, here is a picture of the retaining wall we put in before the fence. Notice how much creek bank there is to the left of the retaining wall.

Then the rains came and it was good-bye creek bank! The water was probably less than an inch from topping the wall!

This is the worst I've ever seen it, and we've lived in this house for over 7 years. Jim says it was this bad once before, sometime during the babies' first fall. If it didn't directly involve the babies, I don't remember anything from that time. Jim remembers everything about everything! Either way, this kind of flooding doesn't happen often, thank goodness! But it certainly was impressive!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Thomas Update

For the inquiring minds who want to know (you know who you are!) here is an update on Thomas. As you may recall, he got hit with a plastic bat on July 3rd (read about it HERE) and it cut him just below the eyebrow.

Here he is on July 7 (writhing in continuous pain, as you can tell)

And here he is on July 13 when all of the tape finally came off

And here he is today, July 29

So he does have a scar and probably will for a good long time if not always, but it's not a terribly ugly one. If, like now, he is in desperate need of a haircut, you can't even see it! I'm sure it will fade with time, until it is hardly noticeable. If nothing else, he has a good story to tell!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Divorce and Multiples

If you follow Jon and Kate, you are probably aware of Kate's comment on a recent episode about the high divorce rate among parents of multiples. When I heard her mention it, it made me sense to me, although I had never heard that fact anywhere before. Since I'm nosey, I was curious and got online looking for the official statistics on divorce rates among parents of multiples BUT I COULDN'T FIND IT!

Not long after that, i received a link to a survey being conducted by MOST (Mothers of SuperTwins) on this very subject because they couldn't find out anything about it either. MOST is a pretty big organization and pretty widely regarded as a wealth of information on Multiples, and the could find no record of research on this particular divorce rate anywhere, so they are doing their own research. Currently, they admit, it is only informal, but the the survey is still open, so I encourage any of you readers out there who are parents of multiples to click the following link and go take their survey.

To take the survey, click HERE.

I'll have more to say about Jon and Kate in a future post.

Catching Up, as Usual!

5 events and 4 houseguests later and Hey! I'm back!
AND 20 days after the event, here is how we spent our 4th of July!
We colored on the front porch with our super-cool sidewalk chalk!

Then we ran around in the front yard for awhile. It was a nice change from running around in the back yard.

We watched for Daddy's truck to come around the corner and practiced running to Mom (aka away from the street) if we saw a car coming. It was very cute! I would point at the imaginary car coming down the road and shout, "Look! A car! A car!" and they would all come running to me. Priceless!

That afternoon we were introduced to sparklers. Zachary would have nothing to do with them, but the other three held theirs with various degrees of courage.




And lastly we posed for a great picture in front of the crowning beauty of my very neglected flowerbeds, my beautiful hydrangea bush!

Reagan, Jonathan, Zachary, Thomas
Happy Belated Independence Day!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Going to Church

We recently started bringing all four children into the worship service with us on Sunday mornings. For the longest time, we only brought two and left the other two in the nursery.

Technically, the toddler nursery at our church is only for kids up to age 2, but they kindly let us continue to leave our kids there even after their second birthday...WAY after! However, as their third birthday began to draw closer, I knew we had to stop. It just wasn't fair to the toddlers who were of the right age for the nursery to be in there with my big 3-year-olds! No one ever said a thing to us about it, but my conscience just wouldn't let it continue.

So we bit the bullet and went to church with all four kids. The first Sunday, we stayed for the entire service, and it was awful! I'm sure it seemed much worse to me and Jim than it did to anyone around us. It's always worse to the parents, no matter how many kids you have! The worst part of all was that it ended badly. The memory we carried with us as we fled the building as soon as the service was over was that of four simultaneous meltdowns because they couldn't have the same toy that the little girl in front of us had. It was an unfortunate way to end the morning. The whole service wasn't as bad as that, but that was the lingering memory.

After that, my friend Betsy gave me the idea to back off a little and work our way up to staying the whole service, so the last two Sundays, we have only stayed through the end of the Lord's Supper. After the contribution, everyone stands up to sing, and we head for the door.

It's been a little better. The shortened time is easier for the kids to handle, and therefore easier on us too. It's just so hard to keep four 3-year-olds entertained and moderately quiet for any length of time, much less an entire church service. And at the end, Jim and I have spent most of it either shoving anything at them that we think will keep them happy and quiet or whispering angrily at them to hush. We're mad at them and irritated at each other. It's not a pleasant experience for us or for them, and that makes us sad because that isn't what a worship service should be about.

Potty Progress

I started potty training the boys almost three weeks ago. Here's how it's going...

I started out with all three boys in underwear, but it wasn't long before I moved Zachary into Pull-ups. He just has zero interest in the potty. He also doesn't care one bit if he has an accident. I would discover a pee puddle in the floor and ask everyone, "who had an accident?" All children would respond, "not me!" so I'd go around feeling for wet underpants and it was always Zachary! he just didn't care and he didn't want to sit on the potty when everyone else did, so I have moved him to the back burner and given my attention to Jonathan and Thomas. I continue to put Zachary in Pull-ups for ease of use on the rare occasions he does want to sit on the potty, but he has yet to do anything.

Jonathan and Thomas, on the other hand, are doing great! They caught on much faster than Reagan did back when I started her! I made potty pages for the boys just like I did for Reagan and used the same reward system. It wasn't long before they were almost always doing #1 in the potty. They would have whole days with no accidents, as long as they didn't poop all day.

Pooping has been our issue. Jonathan always did his in his pants, and Thomas just wouldn't do it at all, until maybe at night in his diaper, and then he'd lose his mind needing to be changed. But we're starting to turn the corner there too as both boys have pooped in the potty in the last two days.

Overall, I have to say Jonathan and Thomas have been much easier than Reagan, but that probably has a lot to do with age since the kids just turned three. (I started Reagan back in March) It also helps that Reagan is already using the potty and almost never has an accident anymore. The boys wanted to be "big like Reagan." So cute!

Still, my potty journey isn't over yet. I still have Zachary to tackle. I don't know what I'm going to do about him yet. I tried to entice him with the option of peeing outside on a tree, but he wasn't interested in that either. Jonathan thought it was fun though! (Thanks, Jennifer!) So the Zachary chapter has yet to be written. I don't want to push him too much and make it impossibly hard on both of us. He's a pretty stubborn kid! I just keep reminding myself that nobody starts kindergarten in diapers. At least, that's what everyone keeps telling me! I'll keep you posted!

Monday, July 6, 2009

A Question for the Readers

Recently I was glancing through an old Parenting magazine and came across the following information:

"More babies are born on Tuesdays than any other day."

Now it just so happens that my babies WERE born on a Tuesday! And I'm kind of thinking I was born on a Tuesday too, although I could be wrong about that.

So I'm curious, on what day of the week were you and/or your babies born?

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Wishing You a Happy and SAFE 4th!

And certainly wishing you a safer 4th than our 3rd was! Yesterday was a rough day for JonZReaTom! Well, more accurately, it was a rough night for half of JonZReaTom and their parents!

It had the makings of a great evening! We went to Michelle and Judah's house for dinner and planned on shooting off some fireworks after it got dark. All the kids could run about and play and we could visit and enjoy Judah's return from China. All went well for awhile. We played. We ate dinner. The kids had all left the table to play, while the adults enjoyed some whine-free conversation, when suddenly Michelle screams as someone hits the floor HARD. From where we were sitting, neither Jim nor I could see who had just fallen from the stairs, but as soon as the crying started, we knew it was Jonathan. Jim rushed to pick him up and headed for the backyard because that's what Jim instinctively does with a hurt child.

Crying child=need for fresh air

I followed him out and we calmed Jonathan down a little and examined his head. He had a bruising scrape on his forehead right along his hairline. I went inside knowing Michelle kept child-friendly ice packs in the freezer for just such occasions as this and she reported seeing him fall from the stairs, apparently having tripped or missed a step about three steps from the bottom. He stuck his hands out to brace himself from the fall, so that should have helped it from being as serious as it could have been.

Naturally he didn't like the ice pack and soon was ready to return to playing with the other kids who had by now all spilled out into the backyard. After forcing him to answer lots of questions and follow fingers around to check his eyesight, we decided he was probably okay and let him go play, but WE KEPT AN EYE ON HIM in case he suddenly started acting strange. Just in case, we decided we would also wake him up a few times during the night. Better safe than sorry!

All returned to normal. Jim and Judah headed to the front of the house to retrieve the fireworks, and Michelle went inside to finish cleaning off the table. I was out back with all the kids. Although it's a little vague in my memory, I believe I was talking to Reagan, telling her for the millionth time what had happened to Jonathan, when I heard Thomas start crying. I looked toward him and he was headed in my direction with his hands up over his face. I assumed he had tripped and fallen and headed to comfort him.

Then he took his hands away from his face and revealed a bloody mess! I ran and scooped him up, then hurried back to the house, knowing all the while that I was leaving the rest of the kids unattended in the backyard. What else could I do? I headed for the kitchen (it's the best sink downstairs and you can see the backyard from the window) and called to Michelle. She set right to work applying pressure and trying to clean him up while I comforted and watched the window.

He hadn't just tripped and hit his head on the ground. He had been hit accidentally with a plastic ball bat! David was practicing and just didn't see him. Poor Thomas! It bled like crazy all over both of us, but the cut itself wasn't too bad, just badly placed. He had a nice straight cut just below his left eyebrow. We're certainly thankful it wasn't any lower! But the proximity to the eye combined with his wriggly age meant (according to Michelle's dr whom she immediately and thankfully called) that he wouldn't get stitches. The dr said an ER visit would result in steri-strips and liquid bandage, all of which Michelle had at her house. So, for better or worse, we decided to attend to the would at Michelle's house, rather than taking him to the ER.

He did pretty well during the doctoring, considering. Michelle is really good at explaining what she's about to do in a way that isn't scary to a child. The bandaging may not be as pretty as what he would have gotten at the ER, but the end result should be pretty much the same. We gave him a sucker for being such a good brave boy, and it wasn't long before he was out running around in the yard with the rest of the kids.

By then it was beginning to get dark, so I settled in on the deck with Abby and Reagan who claimed they were "scared" of the fireworks and spent the rest of the night telling Reagan why there was blood all over my shirt.

Both boys seemed fine the rest of the night. We came home and put them all to bed WAY past their bedtime! We woke Jonathan up when we went to bed and made him tell us his full name. He didn't appreciate that one bit. Around 3 AM we woke up Jonathan and Thomas and made them tell us their names. I woke J up again around 5.

They have both been fine all day. We'll continue to keep an eye on them and particularly on Thomas' wound.

My sincerest hopes that your holiday is happy and injury free! God bless America! Happy 4th!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Talking with Threes

I can't really title these posts about cute and funny things the kids say as "Talking with Toddlers" anymore. The title just no longer fits them! Sigh.

Anyway, here's a cute conversation I had with Reagan in the car on the way to Jasper last weekend for the birthday party.

We were coming through Chattanooga when Reagan suddenly exclaimed, "Look! I see blue!"

She was excitedly pointing out the front window where you could see blue mountains in the distance. "Those are mountains, " I told her.

"I see mountains! How can I climb those mountains?"

Smile. "I don't know, honey." I was about to launch into an explanation of how maybe someday we could climb the mountains, blah, blah, blah, when I was interrupted by Reagan's proud resolution to the mountain-climbing problem.

"I will use a ladder!"