Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

We spent New Years Eve with the Meesters and the Kampmans. Jamie and Aaron are 2nd cousins and their families have spent New Years Eve together since they were very young. It's their family tradition to eat Specken-Dicken for New Years. They invited us over to join in on their tradition. It was our first specken-dicken and it was YUMMY! Specken-Dicken is a German New Years Tradition that is thought to bring good luck. It is basically meat pancakes.

Jamie and Linde showing off the yummy food

Madison got to try some too

There 9 kids between our 3 was a full house! They all wore their pj's for the party.
Lilly, Emma, Chloe, and Sophia Meester, Lucas, Ben and Eli Kampman, and Hunter and Madison.

Such a fun tradition!


2010 is coming to end so I wanted to get a Hunter update in before I finish for this years blog book, which I am going to have printed into a hard back book again (3rd year in a row!).

Christmas break brought about my best opportunity to tackle the potty training! He has been very ready for a while now, but with our crazy fall travel schedule I just could not envision getting this thing done at any other time. I was NOT going to have a half potty trained kiddo for 6 months so I knew, once we did this, we were committing, which also meant we needed to find 3 days in a row that we could be home! A good friend of mine here in Jacksonville, who has 3 boys of her own, told me not to even bother with boys until 2 years 9 months if I wanted to do it quickly. I am so glad I listened to her! This was so much easier than I could have ever expected. It really took 2 maybe 3 days for me to trust him. He has only had 2 accidents in the process so that's not too shabby!
My big boy wearing underwear!
The absolute biggest and most annoying challenge was figuring out his schedule. I started off putting him in underwear right when he woke up in the morning and pushing the fluids all morning. He gets up between 7:45 and 8:00am. The first day of potty training he drank 24 ounces in the first hour of being awake. I put him on the potty every 30 minutes. By 11am he had a total of 32 ounces since he woke up and had STILL NOT PEED ON THE POTTY! 3 hours he had been awake and had downed 32 ounces of fluids without peeing so it was like he was a ticking time bomb. I made him sit on the pot from 11am until he finally peed at 1:00pm....2 HOURS he sat on that pot (he held his pee for 5 hours that morning OH MY WORD!!!). I know it sounds mean to make him sit there that long but he actually wasn't protesting it at all and we did watch a movie to pass the time, considering how much he had to drink I knew when he did go it would be ALOT so I was not letting him up until he peed! UNBELIEVABLE how much control this kid has.

The next biggest challenge was attempting this with a very mobile, very curious, 7 month old in the house. I started off training him on the regular potty but after seeing how many hours he was spending on the pot, without actually peeing, I quickly grew tired of sitting in there with him, trying to keep Madison entertained, in such a small space. I eventually brought the small portable potty to the living room, which is where the majority of our time was spent. Madison was so intrigued and wanted to see what he was doing at all times. All this did was drag the process out because Hunter played with her instead of focusing on the task at hand.

Here she is sticking her hand IN the pot

Hunter then fell over backwards and she used this opportunity to check out what was going on in there.
Eventually Hunter got the idea to grab some toys for Madison to play with and set them off to the side so she would play with the toys instead of with him. This was quite entertaining to watch because he was totally using a distraction technique that we have used on him MANY times over the past 2 years.
FINALLY he went on the potty. I made a huge deal and let him decorate and eat a Christmas cookie. I was going to do an M&M but this turned out to be such a huge production I felt he needed something that more appropriately suited the occasion. From that day on I pretty much stuck with the every 30 min rule but if he didn't go immediately I let him get up. He stayed true to his unbelievable ability to hold pee for 4+ hours and would go for the first time everyday around 11:00/11:30. Eventually he started telling me when he needed to go so I stopped putting him on every 30 minutes. He also eventually figured out that the more often he goes the more often he gets a treat so he stopped holding it for hours on end and now goes about as often as a NORMAL person would. So, we have moved to the M&M treat for now...sometimes he doesn't even ask for a treat. I must say this was WAY easier than I thought it would be but I guess that's what happens when they are truly ready! For now he goes all day being dry and he wears a pull-up for naps and bedtime.
Proudly decorating his cookie
By the 2nd or 3rd day he was telling me when he needed to go to the potty but he still wanted me to come watch and make a big deal about it. I was cooking dinner in the kitchen one night and he told me he needed to go. I knew the potty chair was right next to him in the living room but I couldn't see it from where I was standing so I told him to go ahead and start and I would be in there in a minute. He kept repeating mommy "I'm gonna go potty" over and over again. I was looking for a stopping point so I could go in there really quick but as I did I turned around to see he was still in the chair and not on the pot so I said "Hunter I said go ahead and start I am coming" he just kept repeating mommy "I'm gonna go potty" but remained in the chair. I finally began to get worried that he was just going to go in the chair instead of on the pot so I ran in to the living room and found this....and yes it was full of pee. That was a close one!

The other day he was playing with his cousin Noah (5yo). Noah thought it would be fun to play "potty". Noah was the "potty" and Hunter was suppose to sit on him and go tee tee. To Noah's surprise Hunter actually sat and peed on him! Obviously he did not grasp that they were playing pretend!

Other than the most recent potty training adventures, Hunter has had a fun few months FULL of play dates with some of his best buds. He gets so excited when I tell him we are going to go play with Caden, Eli, Elijah or Justin. This boy LOVES to socialize. He also loves to get out of the house whether it's just in the front yard to ride bikes or getting to go run errands.

One of Hunter's best buddies, Caden, is actually moving away soon. The Considines have been some of our best friends here in Jacksonvillle. Nicole was the first friend I made on the team and it worked out so well that she also had a son so close in age to Hunter, they are 7 months apart. They have enjoyed numerous play dates over the last 2 years.

We will miss them so much
Another buddy Hunter loves hanging out with is Eli. He and Eli are only a few weeks apart in age and they play really well together. The Kampman's are also some really good friends of ours and were new to the team this year. They have 3 boys. They came to us after 8 years in Green Bay and what a blessing it has been for us! Linde will often come over for coffee in the mornings while the boys play together and Madison naps. I love our "play dates" :-)

Hunter and Eli riding bikes

One morning they came over and Linde and I got caught up in our coffee talk and noticed the boys were being a little too quiet. We went to investigate and found the boys had snuck off into our Master bedroom and decided to do a little decorating with the clothes. We came in the room to find them hard at work!
Hunter is really a lot of fun to have around. He has a pretty big personality, just like his dad :-). He loves attention and he loves to laugh. He has a very positive attitude and speaks with a lot of excitement in his voice most of the time. He loves to have something to do whether its a job or a fun outing, he really loves having something to look forward to.

He is really into arts and crafts, fast cars, monster trucks and helping me in the kitchen or really with anything I might be doing. He takes out the trash for me (rolls the bin to and from the street) and he is a big help with Madison too. He loves to go get her up from her naps. He runs in her room and gets in bed with her and gets right in her face and says "HEY MADISON!" which makes her laugh every time. When we are in the car he keeps me posted on what Madison is doing...if she is sleeping, awake, laughing, crying...he's giving me a play by play.

He's so sweet with her
Making Christmas cookies with mommy

He is really into tools right now too. He knows most of the tools by actual name which is quite impressive. He loves to work along side daddy when its time to fix something.
Jordan wants him to grow out his hair since he has never had it long. I'm not sure how long I can handle it because I like it much better shorter. I took him to get a small trim the other day just to clean it up a bit because it was looking shabby!
He and Madison both have had their fair share of colds this winter. Hunter hasn't missed a beat with any of them but he really had a tough time when he got a double ear infection last week. He was inconsolable for a few hours, which is so unlike him. Thankfully his pediatrician worked us in since he was running a high fever too. After the first dose of antibiotics he was back to acting normal again.

I love this picture because it just shows Hunter and Madison so perfectly. Hunter the entertainer, Madison the watcher. She is so amused by him and he Drinks.It.Up. He LOVES to make her laugh and he does it so easily. I just LOVE the dynamic they have together.
Hunter loves his daddy too. He and Jordan have a special relationship. He respects and obeys Jordan while at the same time absolutely has THE BEST time with him. Jordan likes to take Hunter along on special outings, usually just to run errands. But since Hunter is entertained by simply the thought of getting to go somewhere he thinks its awesome to get to tag along with daddy. I love seeing the two of them together. This is a fun little game they play, among many. Jordan puts him on the wall. It's a quick way to brighten up Hunter's mood. Before I snapped this picture Hunter was on his way to bed and was tired and didn't want to go to bed and he fell down and skinned his knee...of course this resulted in way over-reacting given the circumstances so Jordan grabbed him and stuck him on the wall. He immediately turned those tears into giggles. I love that about him.
He is still a snuggler even though he has way outgrown the snuggly baby stage. In the mornings, after we eat breakfast he always asks if we can snuggle. He will make a pallet on the floor with pillows and a blanket and lay next to me and ask me to scratch while we watch cartoons. I soak up every minute. He also uses it as part of his stall technique before bed at night. Hard to turn that one down too :-)
He says some really funny things sometimes and Jordan and I find ourselves laughing quite a bit at the things he says. For instance when he asks for a certain kind of food and I give it to him, if I don't give him the amount he was expecting he will say "no mommy, I want plenty."

I just love this little guy to pieces. It's hard to remember life before he was here and I wouldn't want to anyway. Having him around has made each day full of more meaning and purpose than I ever imagined possible. He is so special and sweet. I could not ask for a better life!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Baby Benton #2 is here!

Hailey Noel was born yesterday, December 29th at 1:28pm. She weighed 7 pounds 15 ounces and was 20 inches long.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Hemangioma update

We braved the 34 degree Florida temperatures this morning to take Madison to the Cardiologist for her hemangioma checkup.

They did their usual rundown of tests, which all came back perfect as usual since she doesn't have a heart condition. Dr. English was more than impressed with how well the Propranolol treated her hemangioma. He said we could begin weaning her off the meds this week so that she is completely off by the time she turns 8 months next Monday. We are to cut her dose in half for the first few days but still give it every 8 hours and then cut it down to every 12 hours for a few days and then discontinue completely.

This isn't the best picture but it shows whats left of her hemangioma. Practically nothing!

and remember this is where we started! WOW

We are so thrilled with how quickly and easily this issue was resolved. Dr. English does not think it will return after discontinuing the meds. It is completely flat and flesh colored now but turns pink when she is cold or mad. She has a bit of extra skin from where it stretched that eyelid out and for right now it only slightly effects how well she can open that eye. Dr. English thinks that it will decrease and go into the fold as she grows so that its relative size is much smaller than it is currently and should not be seen or be a problem in the future. We are just so thankful it did not effect her vision. Praise God!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Redskins game

Because of the loss against the Colts last weekend this Redskins game was a huge game for the Jags. We needed to win this game or our final game in Houston and the Colts needed to lose one of their last two games in order for us to win the division, make it to the playoffs, and have home field advantage. Jordan's family came up at the last minute for Christmas and to see the last regular season home game.
I had a hard time getting Hunter to cooperate for pictures this particular morning so most of these pictures only have Madison in them.

This one turned out pretty well Hunter is looking AND smiling!
Jordan played a really good game

Unfortunately we lost. What a bummer! That sets up next weeks game at Houston to be our last chance at the playoffs.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

The Monday before Christmas the Smiley's had everyone over to their house for a party. We were suppose to be celebrating the Indy game, which was the day before, but since we lost we just enjoyed each others company in honor of the Christmas season. We had a great turnout. We were bummed the Jaguars didn't throw their annual Christmas party so this was suppose to be in it's place.

Christmas Eve we had our Traditional Christmas Eve Cheese Soup and Sausage Balls and opened Christmas PJ's and then went over to the Kampman's for cookies and cider and a visit from Santa! (aka Eugene Monroe). The kids were so excited to get to see Santa and open a present he brought them.

Look at all the boys in this group! Poor Madison is totally out numbered.
Lucas, Ben and Eli Kampman, Jonah, Elijah, Micah and Annah McCown, Justin Garrard, Caden Considine, Bella Miller, Gregg Jr. and Caden Jones and Hunter and Madison

Hunter kept a healthy distance for most of the night but had no problem going right up to Santa to get his present.

At the end of the night we sang happy birthday to Jesus
Jordan's family came in to town for the weekend and for the game on Sunday. Hunter was SOOOO excited to see them and play with them.

Hunter 2.5 and Madison 7 months
Sweet Madison's first Christmas

This Christmas was so fun to watch Hunter open presents and see him get excited about everything. He wanted to play with each toy the moment he opened it.

Madison got her first American Girl Doll for Christmas "itty bitty"
She rotated between giving the doll kisses and biting her face but either way she was really intrigued.
Dwayne was excited about his new iPad
Madison was worn out by this point and tried to just take a nap on Vivi. I moved her upstairs where she slept most of the morning.
Hunter loved his remote control car

Madison snugged Vivi and her baby doll

The living room looked like it was hit by a bomb!
Hunter LOVED his lego truck
Beekah excited to open her Keurig while James opened his google TV

I actually pulled off a total surprise on Jordan this year with a Mac Book Pro. He thought for sure it was a gun (which it has been every year for the last 5), so I was excited I was able to surprise him. He is usually quite the detective.
Jordan bought me a gorgeous ring! Which was a total surprise. He has unbelievable taste!
Hunter's main gift was a new Tricycle, which I actually bought in front of him last month. I did not realize at the time that Hunter was way past the age of being able to buy his gifts in front of him. He asked about his "new tricycle that's in the back of the car" every single day for at least 2 weeks" TOTAL FAIL on my part. So Christmas morning, after all the gifts had been opened, I called him over for one more gift. My favorite part was he ran around the corner, saw his tricycle, and said "oh there it is, I found my tricycle!"

We have had such a wonderful Christmas day celebrating with Jordan's family. We missed being with my family but were able to ship our gifts home to them in time for Christmas and then we skyped with them this morning. Jordan has had the whole day off until he has to be at the hotel at 7pm tonight for his game tomorrow. We have just lounged around the house all day and will be having roast, carrots, potatoes and chocolate pie for dinner. YUM!