Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Keeping Busy

I know I haven't blogged Halloween yet, but I still haven't even gotten the pictures off the camera! I know, mom of the year here. But I thought I would do a little catch up on the kids.

They are busy busy and keep me on my toes. They are loving school and always catch me off guard by how much they know. Ella was creating "art" out of the computer zip cords and she told me she was an architect.

We have been spending a lot of time between doctors offices with Audrey. Right after we got back from our cruise we went to see Dr. Hart, Audrey's neurologist/sleep doctor. She went over all the sleep study results with us. Audrey does really well sleeping her first few hours and goes through all the stages of sleep regularly. After a couple hours though she wakes up continually and doesn't go into the deeper stages of sleep either at all or long enough. She also moves a lot in her sleep. She was diagnoised with Periodic Limb Movement Disorder. The high average is 4 limb movements an hour. Audrey had 7.4. It is like restless leg syndrome in adults but kids can't tell the doctor if they are having some of the itching/burning/etc that goes with RLS. The doctor said that it CAN turn into RLS but not necessarily. She may just outgrow it. Low ferratin levels can cause this which iron supplements may be able to help but they probably won't fix her symptoms so Dr. Hart prescribes Gabapentin. The first week we only gave her 1 ml. She was still a little sick and instead of waking up 2-3 times a night she was up 8-10 times. We were dying. The second week you up the dosage to 2ml. She has been pretty much sleeping through the night ever since. In two weeks she has gotten up 3 times. That was her average a night so I will take it! I feel like I have a new lease on life.

Ella has taken up a new hobby. She has started taking pictures. I actually really like most of the pictures she takes. Most of her shots have perspective, a subject and interesting angles. Very few of them are blurry and she isn't just snapping randomly. She really looks at the shot before taking them. Audrey tries too, but most of her shots are of her own fingers at this point. Here is some of her work. I pretty much have "given" her Tom's old digital camera. She can't open it or close it on her own though, so we are considering getting her a kids camera for Christmas.

Here's a few gems from the little ones lately. (You may have already seen them on Facebook)
Birkdale has been putting up their Christmas decorations and Ella has been getting excited and asking a lot about when Christmas is and what she wants.
Me: Ella, do you remember what Christmas is for? Ella: Getting presents. Me: No it is Jesus' birthday. Ella thinks a little then: Mom, how old is he going to be?
Audrey cannot say restaurant. She calls it a rest-ar-not. When Tom's family was here we went out to dinner and Audrey went around dancing and singing. "We're going to a rest-ar-not, we're going to a rest-ar-not".
Out of nowhere Ella came up to me and asked Mom what are you good at? Me: Well, um cleaning the house and being a good mom. Ella:AND you are good at making me lunch. Dad isn't so good at that. He gets distracted.
Audrey can't say love right. She lu-ths you. Tells you this a lot. She loves giving out hugs (rarely kisses though). On Sundays before she can leave Nursery she has to hug both her teachers and tell them she lu-ths them. She also frequently tells me, Tom, Ella and Miss Meagan that we are her BEST FWENDS.
On Saturday we got Ella a couple new dresses and there was one that she absolutely loves. She waited as patiently as she could all Saturday to be able to wear it on Sunday. It was the first thing she asked to do when she woke up was to get dressed in her new black dress. When she put it on she asked "Do you like my new dress? I am a beautiful princess" (as she was twirling and prancing) Me: yes you are. Ella: Do you know what I am missing? Me: No (but I was thinking she was going to say a crown, a necklace or her newest favorite- makeup) Ella: A prince.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


A few weeks ago Tom and I took our very first cruise. We LOVED it. I realize a cruise isn't for everyone. If you are claustrophobic or need to be busy all the time, this might not have been the cruise for you. They had lots of things to do like the pool, the water park area, casino if your into that sort of thing, dance clubs open at night, mini golf, ping pong, a track, and lots of things hosted by Carnival like karaoke, comedy acts, etc. We enjoyed just laying by the pool getting some sun, sleep and reading books. I soaked it all up. As many of you know we have a non-sleeper, so it was a chance for us to take a break and get as much sleep as I wanted. The gentle rolling of the ship but me to sleep several times a day. Our cruise left out of Charleston, SC. Tom's mom and sister Teri came out Thursday night to watch our kids. We got up early on Friday and drove down to Charleston. They got us checked in, through security and on the ship pretty quickly all things considered. Then it was onto the ship where we got lunch and toured the ship. We just hung out and chilled for most the first day. That night we met our dinner table. They sit you with random people and all our table mates were quite a bit older then us, but they were nice.

Here we are on the first day at sea. We had one full day at sea and we enjoyed the pool and lounge chairs as much as possible.

Our first dinner on the ship.

Our first stop was Freeport, Bahamas. I know several people that said they didn't' really like Freeport, but we LOVED it. We decided that since we were saving a ton of money by going on a cruise then we would pay to do fun excursions. We signed up for a history tour of Freeport. We had the coolest tour guide ever. His name was Chad. He started out by telling us we were part of his family for the day. He really treated us that way and with only 4 couples and Chad we got to know each other really well. We started at the lighthouse where he told us that when the British took over the Bahamas in the 1700's they moved all the doors to the lighthouses up high. The locals were used to going into the lighthouses and turning out the lights so that boats would shipwreck on the islands and they would be able to take their goods. (I mean the Bahamas WERE peopled by Pirates, those who had been shipwrecked, and slaves who had either escaped or been freed at that point in history...with more liberated slaves to come later on.)

Not the best photographer, but you got us both in the picture :) And this is a Catholic Church that was built to look like it is falling apart. We also learned that the Bahama islands are not volcanic in nature like Hawaii, but instead are made of coral that all fossilized and made the islands. Pretty cool.

We also went to a couple areas that had inlets and underwater caves. We aren't scuba divers though so we didn't get to go in the caves. There is one area of the island where fishermen sell their catch every day and there are huge conch shells lining the whole area. Chad took us to an area of the island that had caves where the locals used to hide out when hurricanes would come before they had cement buildings. They would plant fruit and nut trees near the entrance of the cave to have food while they were evacuated. We passed several churches on the way and at each of them we would stop to wave at members of Chad's family. We ended at a private beach where we snorkeled for a couple hours and then had lunch together.

It may be hard to tell but the water was super clear and we snorkeled past the barrier, and all around the coral so it was a couple of miles of swimming. I am not the strongest swimmer but we had swim belts on which made it tons easier. I normally hyperventilate this first bit my head is under water but Tom held on to my hand and I got over it pretty quickly and was able to really enjoy the experience. This was probably the easiest time I had snorkeling, although I loved the colors and variety of fish in Hawaii more. This was way better then snorkeling in Mexico though!
Our newest family member- Chad. He is hopefully starting his own tour company soon, but in the mean time if you are heading to Freeport, we will tell you what tour we took so you can find him. He is absolutely the BEST.

When we got back to the boat, we had to hurry and get ready for dinner. The first day on the boat a host came around explaining they were doing a new program call Chef's Table where you had an 11 course dinner provided by the Executive Chef. We went ahead and signed up. There were only 6 couples that could go each night. We got to take a tour of the kitchens, help make a dessert, then got served the most amazing dinner. I felt like I was a judge on Top Chef. We had about 5 different wait staff, plus the Executive Chef was in there with us the whole time explaining what we were eating and how he made it. We also got entertained by the ship's magician. It was such a fun experience and something we would definitely do again.

Our next destination was Nassau, Bahamas. We chose to go to a private beach rather then the Atlantis. It is really just a casino with activities. I have seen enough of those in my life that I didn't think there was much the Atlantis could do to top that. And it was very expensive to do any of the activities there. Instead we went to a gorgeous blue lagoon. They had an area with dolphins that you could swim with, you could help train the sea lions, they had an area in the lagoon where you could go on jump on inflatable water toys like a big water trampoline, slide into the lagoon, etc. We also just sat and relaxed here too. The sea lion was our favorite though.

After the blue lagoon we walked around Nassau. It reminded me quite a bit of New Orleans with how the buildings are built.
The last day was another sea day. It was super windy. Can you tell by how crazy Tom's hair is standing up? That was all from the wind. We had a great last dinner with our wonderful wait staff. We are already thinking about where we would like to cruise next. We loved coming home to our amazing kids, refreshed and ready to go back to interrupted sleep.