Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Rest of the Visit

A few pics from Grandma Brenda, Aunt Sara, Lily, and Carter's visit can be seen herehere, and here, but the rest of the photos I took during and the stories from our week of fun are right here.

Sara celebrated her 32nd birthday on Mother's Day, so we held an early birthday party for her here. Let's be honest, we probably would have bought or baked a cake even if it hadn't been almost Sara's birthday; her special day just gave us a reason to add text to the top of the cake we'd have already been eating.
Not even close to 32 candles.
Hallie looks impressed with Sara's lung power.
What?! You don't sip individually packaged gas station wine while you nurse your baby?
The first night Grandma, Sara, and crew were in town, all eight of us ate dinner together. It was crazy. I have no idea what I consumed, or even if I consumed anything at all - it's entirely possible that I spent the entire meal refilling plates (Will), breaking up fights (Will and Hallie), picking up food off the floor (Hallie and Lily), and cleaning up spilled juice (Will, Hallie, Lily, and Tom. Just kidding - Will didn't spill his juice). From that point forward we fed the big kids earlier; fed Carter next, while the big kids bathed; and then enjoyed an adults-only dinner after all of the kids were asleep.
Most nights the big kids ate in their underwear.
Dinner was super exciting.
I have never met a baby who smiles as much or as sincerely as Carter does. He smiles when you smile at him. He smiles when you frown at him, like he thinks it's funny that anyone would ever want to frown in the first place. He smiles when you laugh, dance, or sing. He smiles at kids and grown-ups and strangers and stuffed animals and the wall (he'd probably really enjoy Grandpa Paul's soccer schedule), but he saves his biggest smiles for his mama. Oh, I love that boy.

We went on a few shopping adventures, including one to Old Navy, where Lily showed a preference for gray shorts for little boys. She likes to organize, and has in her head a clear plan of how things should look and go...a girl after my own heart.

And lastly, a photo of all of the girls at Hallie's Mothers/Fathers Day breakfast.

Come back soon!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Four in the Tub

Trying to capture a picture in which all four of these cousins smiled for the camera - or at the very least, LOOKED at the camera - proved nearly as difficult as taking the Mueller family Christmas picture a few months ago. We figured the bathtub was our best bet as far as location was concerned, simply because it provided a level of containment not found on the couch or front porch or in the backyard.
So close - we're only missing Will.
Photographer error (I take full responsibility) blurred the only shot in
which all four were looking at the camera and had their eyes open.
Oops, we lost Lily.
And now we've lost Carter.
This may be our best shot - the girls both look weird, but the boys look pretty good.
Lily's back with a cute smile, but we've lost Carter again.
When I was downloading these photos from my camera to my computer, I accidentally - seriously, I have absolutely no idea how it happened - I created this little slideshow of the many pictures I took of the kids in the bathtub.  I actually like it, since it's a pretty accurate portrayal of how quickly each child went from smiling to no longer interested in participating in a photo shoot.

We'll try again in a couple of months!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Katy Visits

A couple of weeks ago Tom's cousin Katy, who lives a few hours away and just outside Dallas, came to College Station for the weekend. We were lucky enough to get to spend a little time with her and a couple of her friends on Friday night when they graciously attended Will's tee-ball game. (I say graciously because tee-ball games aren't all that interesting or fun unless you're the parent - or maybe the grandma or grandpa - of one of the players.) Thankfully Will played really well and Hallie only misbehaved a little bit, which I hope made watching a bunch of other people's five- and six-year-old kids try to play baseball a little less painful for the three of them.
Will and Hallie (clutching their gifts from Uncle Joel and Aunt
Teresa, who are Katy's parents), along with Katy and Nathan.
Then Tom jumped in with a double "gig 'em". 
And then finally I joined the picture as well.  Tom made fun of me
because he said I was posing like I was in baseball "ready position".
Great to see you, Katy!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Allergy Update #6

It's been quite a while since Will's last allergy appointment, but the information gained at and decisions made as a result of that appointment were pretty much what we expected and I therefore forgot to document what we'd learned until today.

Two appointments back, Will's skin test for peanuts appeared less severe than it had three appointments back. So when we went in for this appointment, the doc tested him again and found that the less severe reaction had been a fluke - Will's prick site swelled to something like 20mm by 30mm (that's HUGE for an allergic reaction on the skin). Long story short...Will is still severely allergic to peanuts, and because he's still so severely allergic at his current age, there is a less than 5% chance he'll outgrow this allergy. Boo, but it's what we expected.

For the next five to 10 years, Will will only visit the allergist for check-ups every two years, if he experiences a severe allergic reaction, or if new treatments for which Will is eligible become available. I know Will will never outgrow or be cured of this allergy, but I hope and pray that at some point research will produce a treatment that has the power to lessen the severity of peanut allergies. We'll be first in line when trials are offered.

On the plus side, Will is now smart and capable enough to self-administer both his Epi-pen and his inhaler, which means that next year, when he's in first grade, our allergist will sign off on Will self-carrying both medicines in his own backpack. It's a small victory, but one that gives me a bit more peace of mind.

In other allergy-related news and also on the plus side, Hallie Claire is NOT allergic to peanuts! We discovered Will was allergic to peanuts when Hallie was just three-months-old, so until a couple of weeks ago, Hallie had literally never eaten a nut of any kind.

A few months back, Will's allergist endorsed going ahead and giving Hallie peanuts, but I just hadn't gotten around to doing it because she eats so many of her meals right next to Will. Then at her four-year-old check-up, her pediatrician also endorsed giving her peanuts, and actually pushed me to do so sooner rather than later; apparently we'd reached the point at which prolonging exposure could make the situation worse (as in her body would reject the peanuts simply because they were new, and not because she was allergic to them).

So on a Friday morning, while Will was at school, Hallie and I whipped up a batch of peanut butter cookies. (I hated every minute of the baking process - I was so paranoid about contaminating my kitchen.) She loved the batter, which was a good sign - kids tend to dislike the flavor of foods to which they're allergic - and loved the cookies even more.
Getting ready to take her first bite.  I was hyperventilating.
Chowing down.  I nearly threw up.
Clutching the Epi-pen.
That evening, another little sister at Will's baseball game shared her cheese and peanut butter cracker sandwiches with Hallie and Hallie gobbled them up like she hadn't eaten in weeks. And then last week she ate a few bites of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

So I think we're in the clear with Hallie and peanuts. Now the challenge is fitting them into her diet when she's not at school (her preschool is peanut-free) and not around Will...

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Tee-Ball ex-Travaganza, Spring 2013

We're more than halfway through the spring tee-ball season, and as challenging as this season has been so far (Tom's coaching, Will's playing, I'm "managing" the bench when the boys are up to bat and "managing" Hallie when the boys are in the field), it's also been just fantastic. You can read a little more about how Tom "ended up" coaching here.

The season kicked off a few weeks ago with Opening Ceremonies, which translated to two hours of Tom and Aaron wrangling 11 five- and six-year old little boys by themselves while the rest of the parents and sibling huddled together in a stand against the bone-chilling and humid wind. (The Opening Ceremonies weren't quite as fun as last year due to a venue change.)
Heading out on the field for pictures.
An HOUR later, they finally took the picture.
Meanwhile, children huddled in the Chariot.
Oh, look! It's Hallie and Kendra!
After the actual "ceremony", the coaches and players were released from the field and we spent an hour waiting in line for and eating hotdogs and playing in the bounce houses.
Logan, waiting patiently.
Will, waiting patiently.
Thinking about whether or not she wanted to go down the huge slide.
She did.
And so did he.
After four L...O...N...G weeks of practices we finally began playing games (the season is set up so that teams practice twice a week for four weeks, and then play games twice a week for seven weeks).  And since this is our family blog and I feel like I can brag a little here, I'm going to give it to you straight: Will is awesome.  He works hard, listens to his coaches, follows instructions, demonstrates good sportsmanship, and is a really, really good six-year-old baseball player.  (Despite the fact that the kids are playing tee-ball, Will and a few of the other boys hit off the coach's pitches instead of off the tee, which makes it more like real baseball.) Watching him play - and watching Tom coach - makes me incredibly proud.
Let's go Mariners!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Mommy Made-Over

In honor of Mother's Day, the kindergarteners at Rock Prairie Elementary School invited their moms to attend a morning of pampering. Pampering could include any combination of a manicure, pedicure, massage, hair style, and make-up application, all performed by...them.

When I arrived at school, Will greeted me, led me to my seat, and offered me a bottle of water. Then he presented me with a "menu" of services and a lovely homemade flower pen with which to fill out my menu. I of course selected all of the available options - after all, if I'm going to get made over by a six-year-old, I'm going to go all in.

Will started with my pedicure, for which he selected a sparkly, orange polish (from my Hunger Games polish line, a detail that was not lost on Will), and then moved on to painting one hand's fingernails hot pink and one hand's fingernails clear.

Next up was my 12-second massage, which felt kind of like little lizards were running up and down my back, and a quick hair brush and style (headband in the front, clip in the back).

And then Will moved on to make-up. Oh, the make-up. The purple and pink and blue and black make-up. Will had clearly been preparing for and eagerly waiting to attack my face with brilliant colors and teeny, tiny brushes.

After our makeovers were finished, we moms had to walk a huge circle through the cafeteria so that all of the kids could admire the "work" of their fellow classmates.  A LOT of kindergarteners stared at me. A LOT of other moms stared at me too.

We finished up the morning with a dance party, which made very little sense to me (do dance parties usually follow make-overs?) but was a hit with the kids.

I left my fingernails and toenails alone for a week, but as soon as Tom saw and took a photo of my beautiful make-up (he stayed home with Hallie that morning so I wouldn't have to figure out how to entertain her while Will made me over), I scrubbed my face clean.  And then I felt awful when I picked up Will at the end of the day and he immediately asked what had happened to my make-up.  Perhaps I'll let him make me over again, though this time it'll be in the evening, when I have nowhere left to go that day.

I'm not sure we could have created a sweeter boy.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Taking the Week Off

Welcome to Will and Hallie's page, and thanks for stopping by! My mom is visiting for a few days, so I'm taking the week off from updating this blog. I'll be back with lots of great Will and Hallie stories and photos the week of May 13th!


Thursday, May 2, 2013


It took Will MONTHS to learn this trick:

I filmed this video a little over a year ago, when Will was five, and in the months since then he's gotten much better at hurling himself around the bars on the playground. Now I'm helping him learn how to do pull-ups, as well as how to swing back and forth while hanging from his knees and then kick his legs off to land standing and without his hands ever touching the ground.

Hallie's of course been around during these "lessons", and this week it became apparent that she's been watching and listening.

Last week she just walked right up to the bar and started flipping herself around it.  (While wearing a bee-utiful princess dress, sparkly sandals, and as you can see, no shorts to cover her underwear.  My bad.)

Then last weekend, she walked up to the same bar and did three pull-ups. Three pull-ups. And then three more pull-ups. And then three more pull-ups. Tom can do three pull-ups, but that's about it. Will can barely do one pull-up, and that's after working really hard on his upper body strength all year. I can barely do one pull-up, and I'm physically stronger now than I've ever been in my entire life. But Hallie? Hallie can do three sets of three pull-ups. (Granted, she weighs 28 pounds soaking wet, but still.)

I didn't get a picture because I was so shocked, and because after a few sets of pull-ups she decided they were "totally boring" and walked away.