Thursday, October 12, 2017

Center Grove Orchard 2017

On Sunday we headed North for our annual trip to Center Grove Orchard. Center Grove is a little bit south of Ames so we headed there first for some lunch.  It ended up being a little warm but Grady had so much fun at Center Grove this year.  We started off by feeding the goats, riding mini tractors, and then playing in the corn pool.  We grabbed an apple cider slushie and then headed to jump on the pillow, go down the slide and then off to jump on the tractor ride to head to the next area.

Once you jump on the tractor ride it takes you to the corn maze, apple picking, combine slide, train, and little tractors rides. We spent some time there letting Grady play on the combine slide and then took the train.  Once we got back we then jumped on another tractor ride to go to the pumpkin patch.  Grady did a great job picking out his pumpkin and had so much.

We had a great time again this year at Center Grove and it will be a place we continue to go to annually.  Grady says his favorite part was picking out the pumpkins, Jesse said his was getting bit by all the gnats, mine was seeing how much fun Grady had (and I used my big camera so that was a highlight for me!)

Have a great week!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

October...The Dreaded Month

I have been dreading this month since June 21st...when we found out that we lost our son, Mason.  It's been quite the transition the last few months.  I took six weeks off from work to grieve the loss of Mason and to just decompress.  I was so excited to add another boy to our family and Grady was excited to be a big brother.  The death of Mason has been a hard concept for Grady to understand and he just doesn't get why it happened, and neither do we.  It's very difficult to explain to him and there are times when he cries and asks weekly when we can have another baby. 

There were quite a few people that I knew that were pregnant the same time I was with due dates weeks apart from mine.  As we step into October it's hard for me to see these women still pregnant. I'm so happy for them but it's just a reminder that we lost Mason.  My heart aches knowing that when my due date rolls around at the end of the month I don't get to go to the hospital and bring a precious boy home.  I had bought some really cute Disney outfits for Mason to wear for Halloween with Grady. 

Mason's stone should be set this month as well.  I haven't been to the cemetery since we laid him to rest.  I'm not sure why...I like to go there to visit my mom and grandparents it usually gives me a sense of peace but I tend to find excuses not to go right now. Hopefully that will change once the stone is set. 

Monday, September 25, 2017

Rheumatoid Arthritis and Motherhood

Many of you may know that I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis at the ripe old age of 20.  I started showing symptoms my freshman of college but nothing really stuck.  I dint' have symptoms all the time just random flare ups; would be given prednisone for a few days and everything would be back to normal. I was finally officially diagnosed in February of the sophomore year.  I knew then that I would have a lifetime battle with RA but never really understood how it would affect my life.  Fast forward 10+ years and it is very evident that RA is my daily struggle.

Yesterday was a very rough day for me.  I woke up very sore but got ready to head to church.  While at church I found it hard to even stand; so once Grady got done with Sunday school I went back to bed for a while.  It hurt my heart to hear my toddler say, 'mommy, I'm sorry about your arthritis'.

I feel terrible some days when I can't pick him up or play with him on the floor or when I have to ask someone for help getting him out of his car seat because I don't have enough strength to push the button to get him unbuckled.  It's hard for me to ask for help especially when I should be able to do these things by myself. I remember when he was a baby and I had to call my parents to help change his diaper because I was having a flare up and Jesse wasn't home.  It's a frustrating disease and I wish there was a cure.

When people hear that I have rheumatoid arthritis they just assume that you are sore when it's cold out; that you just have a few aches and pains; that is far from what RA is.  I deal with taking medicine daily to help me even walk.  Some days it's hard for me to even move my fingers; hard to do everyday tasks such as brushing my teeth and hair.  One of the hardest parts about RA is the constant fatigue.  It's more than being tired.  You feel like you can't get enough sleep and your body hurts and just wants to rest.  My arthritis has changed from just affecting my large joints (usually would have a flare up in a large joint and after a few days of prednisone it would go away) to now it has taken residence in my smaller joints (fingers, toes, feet, rotator cuff). You can see on the daily how swollen my fingers are and I now have a few nodules.

I knew after losing Mason I would get my big RA flare up.  I've had a few since we lost him but haven't had the big one yet...I'm wondering when it will happen.  Stress plays a HUGE role in flares and I try not to stress but the last two years have been tough.  I know weight plays a huge role in my RA and I'm trying hard to lose some but taking prednisone daily doesn't help with that but I'm trying.
I just hope that my RA will soon calm down so I can be the mother I want to be to my son.  I want to be able to play catch with him, play basketball, and get on the floor and play legos with him.  I want to be the mom that he active one!

Monday, September 18, 2017

My Toddler Experiencing/Processing Death

Grady has experienced too much loss in his short four years of life.  The last two years he has lost my mom, his baby brother Mason, and our family dog Bear.  Grady has experienced another sort of loss, that I won't get into, but he has basically lost four people in his life within the last two years.  That is a lot for a toddler to take in.

I'm not sure how is it processing it all but I think some days/weeks it really takes a toll on him.  This last week has been rather tough.  We try to openly talk to him about everything.  We believe that my mom, Mason, and Bear are all in heaven and that we will see them again some day.  We try to reiterate this to Grady but I know that it isn't something that he fully understands.  It helps that he goes to a Christian school and we have been attending church every Sunday, so he gets the concept of heaven. This last week he has been very sad about the loss of our family dog, Bear.  We lost him in July (close to a month after losing his baby brother Mason).  My dad and I had to take Grady with us to the vet because no one else was home to watch Grady.  So he was there and basically watched Bear die.  I feel terrible that he has to experience that and I'm just at a loss for words on what to say to him.  Last night he came home and found a picture of Bear and immediately started crying.  I asked him if he wanted me to take the pictures down and he said 'No' that he wanted more pictures of Bear throughout the house.  Death and grieving is so hard for me to deal with as an adult and I can't imagine what he little mind is going through.  I don't want him to be scarred for life with all of this loss.

Have any of you dealt with this with your toddler or do you have any suggestions?  I hate to see my child hurting and sad and I really honestly just don't know what else I can do.

Friday, August 25, 2017

First Day of 3 Day Preschool

Wednesday was Grady's first day of three day preschool.  I was very anxious the night before about him starting school again; I'm not sure why he did great last year.  So I didn't sleep that well but in the morning I went in and he jumped right up and went into the bathroom to brush his teeth.  He was very cooperative about getting ready and getting breakfast...I think he was excited for school.

We took some photos outside and then he wanted to take some with Bandit, Beeba, and Uncle Scooter so he rode his bike down and we took some more pictures.  We headed over to school and he walked into his classroom, got a little shy, but went to sit down at his desk and started playing with some toys.  Jesse and I both gave him hugs and kisses and we were on our way...complete opposite from last year.  Jesse was proud of us for not crying at all...LOL.

Dad and I headed over around 11:20 am to pick him up from school, he came running out with a big smile on his face and said he had a great day.  I told him he could pick where he wanted to have lunch so he chose Subway.  We ate and then headed to daycare for the rest of the day.  I hope the rest of the school year goes this smoothly!

I hope all the kiddos out there had a great first day...I LOVED seeing all the pictures on Facebook and Instagram! Have a great weekend!!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Grady - 4 Year Check Up

Last week Grady had his four year checkup.  I always have mixed feelings about these checkups.  I'm always anxious to see where he is at on the growth chart but it just means another year has gone by and that makes me sad.  This year I made my dad go with us because I knew Grady would be getting shots.  I didn't discuss this with Grady at all because I didn't want him to be sad/scared so he didn't know until he was laying down on the table and they poked him in both legs.  He cried a little and then I cried because he was crying...we were a hot mess!  The Dr. checked him over and while he is still pretty small for his age (still only about 12% for height and weight) she has no concerns...she thinks he will eventually catch up.

Grady continues to be his ornery self!  We've moved out of the threenager stage (thank GOD!); last year was a tough year.  Grady is very opinionated, very busy and active, and also has such a kind heart.  He continues to LOVE tractors and trucks, riding his four-wheeler, and getting a little screen time watching youtube kids when he gets the chance.  His favorite food is besketti (spaghetti) and fruit (any kind).  He tries our patience almost daily and he acts just like his Uncle Scooter did when he was four.  He has become such a dare devil and has no fear (which scares his mommy).  Seeing him with other babies (at daycare) breaks my heart.  I hope that we are able to give him a sibling some day because he will be the BEST big brother ever.  He and Bandit (my dad's new pup) get along great and are new partners in crime.  Grady will run the backyard with him for hours and they also play in the little pool together too.  This crazy kid NEVER sits still and LOVES to be outside.  This last weekend I wasn't feeling well and Jesse was doing some painting inside so Grady had to stay inside and he wasn't happy.  After I rested for a while I ended up taking him outside and he was in heaven...I'm not sure what we are going to do this winter! Grady has really taken a liking to listening to the radio.  His favorite song is, 'Ain't My Fault' by Brothers Osborne; when we listen to it, it has to be on repeat!!  He LOVES to be praised when he does a good job and gets easily embarrassed if he gets in trouble. Disciplining him has always been hard because timeouts just don't do much and taking away toys he doesn't really care about.  The two things that have been working for discipline is taking away the iPad and his bike.  Overall, he is a great kid and I'm so lucky to have him as my son.  He tests me but also has a heart of gold and has helped me grieve the losses we have endured the last two years.  I'm thankful God let me be his mommy.  I love you to the moon sweet boy!!

Friday, August 18, 2017

New Pup...Bandit Boy Hohneke

We lost Bear on July 19th around 5:30 pm.  Dad and I moped around all day Thursday and Thursday night he decided he couldn't go another night without an aussie in the house.  Of course, wait lists around the area were full and prices were outrageous. So I did some more research throughout the night and go a hold of a guy in southern Missouri.  They had one pup left, named Tom, he was about 13 weeks old and a real great dog.  I asked if we could drive down and get him the next day.

Dad and I headed to Missouri, 5 hours, and picked up good old Tom.  Dad decided to change his name to Bandit so I call him, Bandit Boy Hohneke.  He has fit right into our crazy busy family and is getting along great with June Lee!  Bandit and Grady have a great relationship and Grady adores him! He will run in my dad's backyard with him and play with him and just love on him.  Dad recently started taking him to classes and is having a great time teaching him.  He went to the vet last week and is up past 30 lbs...the vet said he is going to be a big boy!! No one will ever replace our sweet Bear but we sure do love Bandit!

WARNING: picture overload below!!

first time meeting and best friends already!

drop the corn cob Bandit!!

after not seeing each other for 4 days!

after I gave him a bath...he wasn't very happy with me!

Grady got in trouble so Bandit came to rescue him!

time to wake up Grady!!