Category Archives: Kids / Parenting

Adventures at church…

Ok, let me first start by saying that I am a “believer” but not much of a church person. I have my faith and I have my relationship with God, but I have that in my own home…not a building that is supposed to be “His home”.
I have nothing against those that are church-goers…to each their own…it just isn’t my thing.  I think it is my inner rebel…I don’t like people telling me how to pray or what I should believe…again, that is just me so please don’t take offense.

So it is Lent and my mom and dad like to go to Wednesday night church during Lent so the kids and I attend with them.  It is good exposure for the kids and it is quality time with my family.  Plus we have dinner at the church which is good socially and let’s face it…one less night I have to cook! 🙂

Last night I corralled the kids as soon as I got home from work and got their supplies (diapers, formula, baby cereal, a spoon, extra outfits, blanket, spit rag, sippy cups, “toys” for distraction in church, etc.) together and coats on and everybody loaded into the van and seat-belts on….breath….and headed over to my parents’ house.  I unload the kids and with the help of my brother get everybody and everything in the house.  Liam, the 4-month old, is hungry and wants to eat so I make his bottle and cereal and feed him.  Mom informs me that dad has to work late and will not be able to join us…so it is just me and mom and the 4 rugrats.  I don’t like those odds… 🙂

After we fed Liam we loaded everybody up and off to church we went.  With hands full, mom and I unloaded the kids and headed into the church.  First stop, hang up the coats (less “stuff” to carry around!).  As I am hanging up our coats, my mom is unloading Liam from his carseat because he is fussing.  Logan, the oldest, announces that he has to go to the bathroom so he heads towards the bathroom door which is right next to where we are standing.  Of course, Austin then has to go too because his big brother is and then Lexie, not wanting to be left out, chimes in as well.  So I tell them wait just a minute so I can finish hanging up the coats and I will take you in to the bathroom.  I turn to finish hanging up the last coat and when I turn back around Austin is kicking off his boots and pulling down his pants in the middle of the foyer area!  He is now naked from the waist down in the middle of church…yep that is my kid that is naked in church!  The mom part of me is telling him “Austin what are you doing?!  Wait until you get into the bathroom before you take off your pants!”   My mom and the grandma part of her is laughing hysterically at the whole thing.  Yes, it is very funny and I will laugh about it for years to come, but I couldn’t let him think that I thought it was funny or he would be naked everywhere just trying to be funny!!  So I run over to him and scoop him and his clothing up off the floor and head into the bathroom before anybody else can see him “streaking” in “God’s house”. 

Fast forward toward the end of dinner and the start of church.  We get the kids and stuff into one of the pews at the back of the church and just sit down and Liam starts to cry.  Now it is not just any cry…it is the “I am in pain, my tummy hurts, and I am over-tired” screaming kind of cry.  So I take him back out to the foyer area and get him to calm down and go to sleep.  I head back in to the church and mom takes him from me and snuggles him for a bit.  We get about 5-10 minutes into the service and he wakes up screaming again.  I take him back out into the foyer and try to calm him down with no luck at all…in fact I think he is screaming louder!  He is being so loud in fact that the usher closes the doors to the church so as not to disturb the service going on…embarrassing!  So I take him further back in the church where the nursery is located and by then Lexie is realizing mommy is gone and wants to find me and proceeds to walk out of the church!  So I got her and took her and Liam to the nursery where Lexie played happily and Liam screamed.  I finally got him to calm down enough that he was just fussing slightly off and on when Lexie announces “My poopy mommy!”…awesome.  So I leave her in the nursery…yes by herself…I know, “bad mommy”…and took the now quiet Liam into the church to get the diaper bag.  I headed back to the nursery and laid Liam on the floor so I could change Lexie’s diaper.  And so begins another round of screaming.  So I change Lexie, get cleaned up and pick Liam back up.  Still screaming.  I tried sitting, rocking, walking, bouncing, shhhh-ing, talking, singing, etc.,etc., etc.  Still screaming.  So this continued through the entire service and then I see my mom (with no kiddos) walking toward the nursery and asks me if that is Liam screaming…yep it is!  So she goes to get the boys and our stuff so we can head home.  The service is now over and people are leaving. 

Fast forward again to the car ride back to mom’s house to drop her off before heading home.  Mom and I are talking and she says that if she had known that Liam was crying that whole time that we would have left earlier.  I told her I thought about that, but didn’t want to walk into the church with a loud screaming child to try to come get her and the boys.  She said “If only we had some kind of a signal…”  My reply….”Caw-caw!”  We both started laughing!  We now will always have a “Caw-caw” signal associated with church and my little rugrats. 

A crazy, hectic night…but good memories and laughter will be associated with it. 
So today I am one tired mama as it was a long and exhausting night with a fussy baby, but a happy mama just the same!

Enjoy the rest of your week all and enjoy those “fun” and challenging parenting moments!

A special moment…

Last Friday evening my family and I were blessed greatly to witness and share in a very special moment between my youngest son Liam and my paternal grandfather.

Now to understand this moment a little better, I am going to share a little back-story information with you first.
In mid-December of 2011, my grandfather was in a car accident which broke his neck and landed him in the hospital with a trach and on a ventilator.  He has been in the hospital and/or long-term care ever since with limited mobility/function in his arms and he is still on the ventilator.
Last Tuesday he was transitioned from traditional medical care to hospice care.  After being in this situation for over a year, his body is beginning to shut down and he has decided that fighting so hard is becoming increasingly difficult.  Sadly, the plan now is to just keep him comfortable and let nature take its course.

So, my parents, brother, sister, husband, our youngest son Liam and I all went to my grandfather’s long-term care facility Friday night for a visit and to essentially say “good-bye” to him.  My grandmother (his wife) is currently in the same long-term care facility with health problems of her own.  She was excited to see us all and joined us in my grandfather’s room for our visit along with one of my uncle’s and aunt who were there eating dinner with my grandmother.

Liam was sleeping in his carseat when we arrived and about 10 minutes in to our visit began to awake and stir.  So I removed him from the carseat and took him over to my grandfather’s bedside to introduce him to his newest great-grandchild.  My grandfather’s face lit up and he even had the slightest hint of a smile on his face!  He reached up and grabbed Liam’s little hand and the two of them sat and stared smiling back and forth at each other for several minutes.  It was like they were in their own little world.  Neither could speak, but they communicated with each other just fine.  I may be mistaken, but I think I even saw a tear form in my grandfather’s eye. 

I saw one man coming toward the end of his time here on earth reflecting on all that he has accomplished and another little man just beginning his journey with endless opportunities and possiblities ahead of him.  And then it dawned on me…one of my grandfather’s accomplishments was my son, his newest great grandchild…for from my grandfather and grandmother came my father and from my father and mother came me and from my husband and me came this sweet baby.  Without my grandfather none of it would have been possible.

To me personally, that moment was a painful yet beautiful reminder that with every end comes a new beginning.
So the next time you are grieving an end…remember to also celebrate the new beginnings, whatever they may be.

To my grandfather:
I love you and will miss you.  You have taught me incredible determination and perseverance watching you fight through this journey for the last 13 months.  I promise you will live on through the memories, stories and pictures I share with my children about you.

First Sleepover…

We hosted our first sleepover this weekend!  It was a momentous occasion because with 4 kids, I am sure that this is the first of many, many sleepovers to come!

Our first sleepover guest was my son Logan’s bestest friend in the whole world, Claire!  Logan and Claire are both turning 5 this spring/summer and have been best friends since they were born.  The kids were ecstatic for the night…so much so that my second-born Austin woke up at 6:45am Friday morning asking if Claire was “here yet”.  To them, waiting all day seemed like forever!

But the time finally arrived and Claire came through the door and they were off!  With hardly a word to anybody, the kids were off playing happily as soon as she arrived.  A great start!  Claire’s 2 younger brothers accompanied their mom to drop Claire off at our house and their second-born (2.5 years old) was very upset that he wasn’t staying with us as well.  However he also didn’t want mommy to leave him so we knew it wouldn’t work to have him stay.  So after a tearful good-bye from him, and hardly any good-by from Claire, her mom and 2 brothers headed out leaving her behind for her first sleepover as well.

The kids played Power Rangers and Pirates and then watched a Strawberry Shortcake movie.  Then it was time for dinner…pizza of course!  After dinner the 4 kids (my 3 oldest and Claire) enjoyed playing a rousing game of Sorry Sliders  before we settled down to watch a few kids shows to wind down before bed.

Around 10pm we laid out the kids’ sleeping bags in the living room and I took my place on the couch for a night of indoor “camping”!  My husband Todd and our newest little guy Liam stayed upstairs in our bedroom while I stayed down with the rest of the rugrats.  My little princess Lexie had a hard time trying to sleep with others around to talk to so she ended up back in her crib in her room where she is most comfortable.

Besides one incident around 1:30am of a little one getting lost on the way to the bathroom (no accidents, just a few tears from being scared and confused), the night went great!  We made pancakes for breakfast and then played with play-doh until Claire’s mom came to pick her up.  The most difficult part of the sleepover was Claire having to go home…none of the 4 kiddos wanted that at all!

I would say that it was a success and the boys are excited to go over to Claire’s house to have a sleepover there with her and her brothers!  In fact, they wanted to do it right away Saturday night…gotta love a timeline of a kid’s mind!

Deep breath moments…

We all have them.  Moments or days or, heck even weeks, where we feel stressed and overwhelmed and need to stop to take a deep breath or two…or ten.  The truth is that while those breaths do help, they don’t really do the trick.  So what do you do so you don’t blow your lid and make things worse?

First use the deep breaths to get you through the immediate situation and then as soon as you are able to, remove yourself from it.
The sooner you can get a moment to yourself, the better!

Next, do what you can to calm yourself down.  Now what you do here depends on you and what works best for you.  For some, thinking through the situation or talking it through helps.  For others, the more you think about it, the more upset you can become so a better action may be distraction!  Do something that will help take your mind away from the situation for a moment.  Read a chapter in a book, write a blog, check your facebook, go for a run or a walk, play a game…you get the idea!  Do something that you enjoy to get those endorphins released.

Finally, when you are feeling more calm and relaxed, think through the situation again and attempt to resolve whatever is left of it so it doesn’t continue or happen again.

I know this is always easier said than done, but it doesn’t hurt to try!

Now, back to mommy duty…my deep breath moment is over. 😉

Peter Pan and Tinkerbell Birthday Party

Well, I haven’t blogged since Friday and it seems like forever ago!

The weekend was a busy one for us…we held a combined birthday party for our son Austin (3) and our daughter Lexie (2). They wanted a Peter Pan/Tinkerbell party. Sounds easy enough, except for the fact that there isn’t anything Peter Pan out there anywhere! You can find a lot of Tinkerbell decorations and lots of Jake and the Pirates stuff, but nothing with Peter Pan on it. So we improvised! Below are some pictures of what we did to help all you parents out there that may need some ideas for your little one!

We used a green tablecloth and green napkins for Peter Pan and incorporated pink in for TinkerBell.  I found some cute TinkerBell table decorations at Target and then printed a couple of pictures of Peter Pan to tape on to them.  I had some leftover pirate-themed and Jake and the Pirate decorations from my oldest son’s party last year so we used some of those things as well.

IMG_2083

We made up little gift bags for the kids to take home with them.  The boys were given pirate coin bags with pirate booty (coins) in them and a fun pirate compass.  The girls had princess bags with pretty star wands and TinkerBell stamp rings.  All of the goody bags also included 4 pixie sticks (“pixie dust”).  I found a package of pirate treasure maps at Hobby Lobby as well…unfortunately I forgot to hand those out so will have to deliver those later to the kiddos!  🙂

          IMG_2095    IMG_2096

We placed 2 tv trays up to place gifts on for each child.  On those trays I printed off pictures of Peter Pan and TinkerBell and added green and white streamers for a little flare!  This helped our guests know where to place the gifts and helped keep things separate for Austin and Lexie so they still felt special on an individual level instead of just combining everything.

IMG_2189

We hung Happy Birthday Banners all over the house and had pictures of TinkerBell, Peter Pan and even some of Jake and the Pirates and Captain Hook (with Peter Pan) scattered throughout.  We also added a few balloons as well.

IMG_2104    IMG_2099

As a final touch, we let the kids dress up to match the theme!  Austin was Peter Pan for Halloween and was very excited to wear his costume again!!  Lexie is a self-proclaimed “princess” so she of course wanted to dress up in her very pretty princess dress and tiara.  She hasn’t quite figured out the difference between fairies and princesses…to her they are one and the same so we ran with it! 🙂

IMG_2085

Our oldest son Logan got in on the fun as well and dressed up as a pirate!

It was a great day with family and friends and the kids had a great time!  All in all…a success!!  Austin even said…”this is the best birthday ever!”  That is all this mom needed to hear!  Thanks to all that attended and helped make the day so special!

An internal battle with technology…

Technology confuses me…and I am referring to confusion in the terms of the internal battle of emotions I have regarding technology…not just the fact that I am not tech-smart, which I am not! 🙂

I love technology and it excites me to see the many possibilities it offers. The health and fitness apps that are out there and the information available to people at the touch of a button is amazing!  I love that I can access my health insurance information online and see all of my claims right away!  I love that I can access mine and my children’s health and immunization records online and that I can schedule an appointment without having to call the office!  My husband even deposited a check via taking a picture with his phone last week…AWESOME!
However, it scares me at the same time in the way that it has taken over the world.  Are we getting to the point that technology will do most everything for us?  Ever see the movie Wall-E??  I can see that happening…people sitting in chairs that move around making it so we never have to even stand up.  To a wellness coordinator, that is SCARY!  Lack of physical activity is one of the leading causes of health issues today…even more so than tobacco!

toon-1116

So, my random ramblings of the day…
Enjoy technology.  Utilize the many wonderful aspects of these amazing tools we have access to.
However, don’t become dependent on it.  Make it a point to have face-to-face conversations with people each day.  Have a phone conversation with somebody…not just texting!  And most importantly be sure to remain active and remember to get up and move as much as you can!
As my 5 year old would sing…”my like to move it, move it!”
Sing that song (you know the one…you may have seen King Julian singing it on Madagascar…Check it out on YouTube if you haven’t seen it.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wrBFG6xJF_U) and dance around!
Is it in your head yet? 
No??  Then watch the video…I will wait.
Now is it in your head?  Good!

Now Move it, Move it!!

It makes me giggle a little picturing you all sitting at your computer reading this and singing that song in your head (or out loud) and dancing in your chair!  You know I am doing it!  Teehee! 😀

Hello, my name is…

Well it is 2013 and I am finally starting to get caught up with technology and the rest of the world! 
I thought I would give this blog thing a try.

So, first things first, I should probably introduce myself.
Hello, my name is Lori Thomas. 
Like many others, I wear a plethera of ‘hats’ in life.  I am a daughter, a grand-daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother, a friend, a corporate Wellness Coordinator, a confidant, etc., etc., etc.

The largest (or most important) ‘hats’ that I wear are being a wife and mother.
I am married to Todd, an amazing man who is patient beyond reason, kind-hearted, and loves me and our children.  I don’t tell him often enough how much I adore him and how much he means to me.  He is an amazing father and an incredible husband.  We have four (yes four) beautiful children.  Now I know that every mother says that their children are beautiful, but mine really are…and yes I am being facetious so don’t get offended already!  LOL! 🙂
Our oldest boy, Logan, will turn 5 years old this March.  Yes you read that correctly…our OLDEST of four children is turning 5 this year.  So let me take this tangent quickly to answer a few questions:
1.  Yes, we are a little crazy.
2.  Yes, we are VERY busy and have our hands full!
3.  Yes, we know how this happens.
4.  No, we are not having any more children and Yes, I am sure because I had the doctor make sure of it!  🙂

Ok, back to the introductions…
As I was saying, Logan will turn 5 this March.
Austin just turned 3 in December.
Alexis (Lexie) turns 2 this Wednesday.
And Liam will be 12 weeks old this Thursday.
My children are my life so you will hear about them frequently.  If you are not interested in hearing about children…it was nice meeting you and very nice chatting with you.  But this is not the blog for you! 🙂

Another major ‘hat’ that I wear is my professional one.  As I stated earlier, I am a corporate Wellness Coordinator.  Now to explain what that is exactly.  I coordinate all of the internal (designed for the employees of the company) wellness programming (health fairs, incentive programs, presentations, team challenges, onsite wellness center, etc.) for a local corporation.  I don’t know the ‘rules’ yet of blogging so I am not sure if it is ok for me to say where I work at this time.  I am very proud of my company and I LOVE what I do so if I am allowed to say, you will likely hear about my job and my company quite often as well.  Again, if that doesn’t sound appealing, it was nice meeting you…now scram! 🙂

Ok, so now that the boring parts are out of the way…on to the blogging!
I plan to use this site to post my random thoughts and experiences, things I learn, mistakes I make, successes I have and successes I help others achieve.  My goal is to reach out and use my life experiences to help others in any way I can.  If I make a fool and learn from it, I hope to help others learn from it too without having to go through the making a fool part themselves!  My entire career is about helping other people set and accomplish goals in their lives and it is such a passion of mine that I want to do that in any capacity I can…even outside of work.  Wellness is not just physical activity and nutrition, but really every aspect of your life.
I will share parenting observances, fun kid-friendly ideas, and sometimes just fun “feel-good” moments from my children.

I hope you choose to follow my blog and that you enjoy me and my random ramblings and life experiences!
I want all to live well and I am the “mama” of these 4 crazy, beautiful beings thus the creation of “livewellmama”!

Enjoy and be sure to make today an incredible day!! 🙂