Sunday, June 29, 2008

Keyboard Broken

This is Kate sister Bridget (hello!). She wanted me to let you all know that her keyboard is broken and she won't have a new one for a couple days. Unfortunately, we won't get any new posts, pictures, or videos until then.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Weekend days

Here are a few pictures from the other day....

Connor loves his broom....child labor...HECK YEAH!
Look at B's tummy! He's not such a little peanut anymore.

Friday, June 27, 2008

The GREAT outdoors

It was a typical day in the Danko house today. The boys woke up at 6 which is 2 hours early. Why you ask?? Because Mommy left their bedroom light on all 6 am was bright and sunshiney in their world! I don't know how in the world I did that! Oh well. We got up, got dressed, ate breakfast and headed to Kohls. After Kohls, we dropped by the office to pick up work for the weekend, I dropped the boys off at MDO, went grocery shopping at the commissary, hit the library, ran through Chick fil A for lunch and picked the boys up about 30 minutes early. They took an awesome afternoon nap, and after dinner we went outside to play on the deck.

I have some pictures I would like to post, but there's a problem with Blogger and it won't let me. In the meantime, enjoy this cute clip of the rug rats playing out on the deck tonight. While Brandon is standing next to the sand table...listen very carefully!!!

Thursday, June 26, 2008


Sorry that I have been super slacker on my blogging. We've been busy, and I haven't really been taking many pictures lately.

I ventured to the pool on Pope Air Force Base yesterday and met Theresa, her twins, and Missy (another dental wife) and her three kiddos. There's no way I'll ever be able to take the kids to the pool by myself until they are able to swim. A big thanks to Missy and Theresa for helping me out! We spent about an hour in the kiddie pool. Connor was much more comfortable sitting on the side and then he ended up in Theresa's lap. Brandon, on the other hand, is a fearless monkey. I'd set him up on the edge, and he'd scoot right into the water with a big splash. I'd stand him up on the side, he would walk to the chair, turn around and walk right back towards me and straight into the water. No fear I tell ya! I can enroll them in swim lessons as early as 18 months, but once again, I can't do it without Eric's help. So, I'm going to look into it and hopefully I can find a time either first thing in the morning or late late afternoon so Daddy can help us. No pictures though...I was too busy wrangling kids!

Brandon's walking is getting better and better. He can turn himself to whatever toy he wants, and he is trying to stand up without pulling himself up on something. Connor walked in early May, and Brandon is consistently 2 months I'm guessing next week will be B's trigger week for walking! Here's a little video. Keep your eye on Connor...this, once again, is a typical day in the Danko House!!!!

A BIG THANK YOU to Theresa for passing us so many toys! She hooked us up with the Learning Home, which the boys love, and lots of other cars, books, the rocket ship shape sorter, which the also love, and other musical type toys. It was like Christmas around here!!!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Artsy Fartsy

Today was a "stay at home and do nothing day." I came down with, what I assume is, a summer head cold yesterday and feel pretty yucky. Thankfully, we didn't have any plans today anyway! We got up, did breakfast, played, they napped while I worked on my "work work", ate lunch, went for a walk, took the old tire off the trailer to get it fixed, played with crayons, they napped, I worked on my "work work" again, the contractor came over and FINALLY fixed the paint problem, ate dinner, played, took a bath, and went to bed. I returned a few calls tonight, and after this post, I'm going to bed as well. I have a lot to do tomorrow while the boys are at MDO, and I need lots of rest to try and kick this cold. I did NO cleaning today!!! My house is officially clean, so I took the day off.

Here are the boys' first actual drawings! They made all of these marks. All I did was attempt to keep the crayons out of Brandon's mouth! I think he stole a few licks here and there! It's pretty cool to be able to scan these. I can make a CD of their crafts without having to actually keep them. These, of course, will go in their scrapbooks!

I've been saying that Connor is going to be a lefty, but he throws with his right. He definitely eats and draws with his left...hmmm.....

Some of you may think your husband is the best, but mine is definitely a contender for that title. He sent me roses today!!!! Our 6th anniversary is 1 month from today and there's a good chance he'll be home by then. It would be nice to spend a holiday together for a change. Thanks honey! They didn't arrive until almost 7 tonight, but I got them nonetheless!!!!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Our "STAR"

I would like to give a great big CONGRATULATIONS shout out to Eric. He was awarded the Bronze Star for his service throughout his deployment. We think there are only 3 dentists, out of about 40-50 dentists, on Ft. Bragg that have received this award!!! Way to go babe! We are counting down the days until he comes home. We are guestimating about a month to go.

According to Wikipedia, here's the definition of the Bronze Star

The Bronze Star Medal is a United States Armed Forces individual military decoration which may be awarded for bravery, acts of merit, or meritorious service. When awarded for bravery, it is the fourth-highest combat award of the U.S. Armed Forces and the 9th highest military award (including both combat and non -combat awards) in the order of precedence of U.S. military decorations.

Sandbox Attempt #2

The sand box is a very messy activity! Tonight was really nice outside, so I decided we needed to be outside. We have a beautiful deck that is totally enclosed. There's a gate we can open to get to the yard. It's a nice way to be outside and not be around the fire ants or other messy grass and mud.

Here's a very pretty dragon fly that spent the evening with us!
Here they are eating, drinking, and playing!
I stripped them down to their bare baby bottoms and literally hosed them off. I don't think Brandon liked it too much, but that's how it is! If you look in this picture, you can see a little gecko by the base of the chair behind Brandon. We always have cute little creatures on our deck. I'm surprised the dragon fly and gecko were hanging out with us...we can get kinda loud!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Super Woman

Today, I felt like super woman. I accomplished more today than I have in WEEKS. Here's the run down...

630 - Up and at 'em. I stripped my bed sheets, mattress pad, and even bed skirt. This is hard to do with a king sized bed all by myself! Got those sheets in the washer

700 - Dressed myself, emptied the dishwasher, got milk cups ready, got the boys up.

730 - Loaded up and out the door for a 2 mile run. I haven't been able to get out to exercise at any other time due to the extreme early morning it is!

815 - Breakfast for the munchkins, strip their beds, transfer laundry to dryer and start another load

830 I ate, then we played with shapes, cars, and books. This time included lots of crying on Connor's part...I think he has some molars coming in!

915 - Early nap time for the boys due to constant them...not me!

930-1030 - I swapped out more laundry and then proceeded to groom the pups! I shaved them both, bathed them, clipped nails, administered monthly flea and heart worm meds, and cleaned all that mess up. This is the one and only task that I absolutely hate doing. I know I've complained about it many times before. When Eric is home in a few weeks, this will become his job!

1030 - Much needed shower for me

1100 - I worked on my actual work for about 30 minutes

1130 - swapped out more laundry, folded laundry, remade my bed, and started on lunch for the boys.

1200 - lunch time which consisted of grilled cheese, avocado, and kiwi for the boys and a weight watchers meal for me...yum!

1230 - We headed to Target for a little outing. Connor decided to "kiss" the concrete on our way to the car. He cried a lot, but no serious damage was done. He has a scrape on his head and a little on his hand. Brandon was already buckled in the car with it running and the air on, so I headed back inside to wash Connor's wound. Then I realized, I don't have any first aid things at the house. I washed it off, kissed it, and he was all better. I added all the basic first aid needs to my Target shopping list!

245 - Back home from Target. They had a snack of goldfish while I assembled my own first aid kit!

300 - Boys back down for a nap due to constant crying, yet again. They cry more now than they did as babies!!!

300-445 - I scrubbed the kitchen floor with bleach on my hands and knees, wiped down the dog feeders, high chairs, swapped out more laundry, folded more laundry, and took a 30 minute break for myself!

445 - Got dinner going. We had cracked peppercorn and garlic pork tenderloin, sauted squash and zucchini, and a piece of garlic toast. This was a delicious, healthy, well rounded dinner!!! I topped mine off with a sugar free raspberry dark chocolate pudding cup! THOSE THINGS ARE DELICIOUS!!!!

600 - More crying continued and I just couldn't take it. We packed up and went to our friend Pat's house and walked about 2 miles with her and her dog Betsy. The boys were angels!

8 - Late bath time, brush teeth, jammies, picking up the toy room, book and finally bed time! They don't quite understand the concept of putting toys away, but I can usually get them to put one or 2 away before they start tearing it all out again.

Now, I'm watching Jon and Kate plus 8 while I type this. I have 2 more loads of laundry to go and I still need to mop the hard wood.

I'm pooped! I also managed to read about 4 chapters in my book!

Here's a little video of what the boys got into after their nap..while I was making dinner. You can also hear Connor's baby talk...he babbles as he cute!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

This and That

We have definitely hit the toddler days. Connor cries A LOT now. I think it's mostly out of frustration between communication and not being able to figure things out that he wants to. They now fight over who gets to sit in the time out chair. They DON'T want to be in it when they are being punished, but fight over it when they aren't.

Brandon sat in it first, so Connor started to cry...
Brandon felt bad so he got out of the chair, pushed Connor over...
and gave him a hug! Thanks to my friend Michelle for the really cut hand-me-down shirts! The boys looked really cute in the chocolate brown and baby blue!

I'm trying to sell all of my Pampered Chef Professional cookware, so the oven drawer was empty. Connor felt the need to sit in it! Sitting in and on things is the newest craze at the Danko house.

What Happens When.... leave an apparently hungry dog in the house while you are outside setting up a garage sale?????

Jade totally devoured the top to this cup while I was outside! The boys were napping and I was outside setting up a garage sale. This is what she did. Needless to say, I gave her a snack!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Zesty Italian Turkey Tenderloin with Grilled Parmesan Crusted Brussel Sprouts

This dish turned out SO yummy! I think this is now one of my favorites...for a few reasons.

#1 Turkey Tenderloin contains less fat and calories than Pork Tenderloin. It may be less on calories, but it's really tasty

#2 It comes prepackaged...already seasoned...ready to grill. Also, they come 2 to a package, so I cook one right away and freeze the other.

#3 Grilling is a good way to cook if I'm not in the mood to do a lot of dishes

#4 Frozen brussel sprouts are always stocked in the Danko Freezer

#5 Anything grilled with a little EVOO, salt, pepper, and parmesan cheese tastes fantastic

All I did was nuke the brussels for 2 minutes in a little water to thaw them. I put them on the squewers, dashed them with salt and pepper, drizzled the EVOO over the top (I used a basting brush to get them covered thoroughly) and then topped them off with some parmesan. Once the tenderloin was halfway cooked, I place the scewers directly on the second shelf in the grill. I turned them once and they looked finished when the turkey was done. They tasted fantastic. The parmesan cheese gave them a crust that resembled fried food. Who doesn't LOVE fried food???? The boys chowed on the whole meal along with me and Bettina. The boys topped their meal off with some pears while Bettina and I each enjoy 1/2 cup of Breyers Fat Free Cappuccino Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream...HECK YEAH!

NOTE TO SELF: Holding the pot holders in the left hand while trying to turn the METAL scewers with the right hand leads to REALLY bad burns on the index finger and thumb. Blonde moment number...who am I kidding...I've lost count! Seriously, I do have 2 really bad burns on my finger and thumb, but it sure as heck isn't keeping me from blogging and bragging about this meal. I love trying new things as well as things that just come to me. I love recipe books, but discovering something on my own is invigorating!

Have a great night. Me and my burns are going to read a book for a few hours to unwind!

Brandon Walking

Here's a little video of B walking. He walks like a zombie...arms out! He cracks himself up when he falls down too! Funny kid

Sand Table

The weather has been so yucky, that I haven't been able to introduce the boys to the wide world of sand. We had some nasty rain last night, but it brought in a cooler overcast day! After breakfast, I took the boys outside. B ate sand...of course! He still loves to put everything in his mouth. Connor, on the other hand, touched the sand and then held his hand out to me. I guess he didn't like the texture. Once he notice the water on the other side, he played with that. He spent most of his time just running around the deck. Once we came back in, I showered them both off and Connor spent the next 20 minutes walking throughout the house...crying. I'm not sure why, but after 20 minutes of that I just put them down and haven't heard a peep out of them since. I have to go back out and hose down the deck. I'll continue to try the sand table with them, but without clothes on next time!

Here mom...have some sand
Weeeee...walking on the deck.
Stripped down and ready to head back inside

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

B's Speech Eval

Brandon had his speech therapy evaluation today. They treated him like a 14 month old, which is his adjusted age. He has to be at least 30% delayed in 1 area or 25% in 2 or more areas. Here's how he tested...

Gross Motor - crawling, walking, run, hop, jump, climb stairs, etc
15 months

Fine Motor - learning to reach, grasp, and manipulate crayons, blocks, puzzles, etc
17 months (I have to say, I was shocked at how much he could do. He's a closet genius)

Cognitive - applying the ability to think and reason
16 months

Language - understanding verbal and gestural communication. Speaking, using words, (gestures) to express thoughts.
13 months which is a 7% delay

Self Help - feeding, dressing, toileting
15 months

Social/Emotional - relating to other and expressing emotions
16 months

Here are the evaluators comments...

Brandon was very alert. He demonstrated appropriate eye contact and curiosity about the environment. Brandon was observed to follow simple directions and use effective problem solving strategies. He was socially interactive with facial expressions, gestures and 1 & 2 syllable vocalizations. Brandon was noted to be demonstrating skills within normal limits in all areas tested at this time. Keep up the good work! Continue to monitor language development and call our agency if progress is not achieved or concerns arise.

Overall, I was very impressed with my little man. I think he's a super smart kid that needs to be stimulated in very different ways than Connor. He pointed to the dog when she asked him to, he totally aced the shapes puzzle she had, he picked these small little tubes (slightly bigger than a toothpick) out of a bottle the size of a prescription bottle and handed them to her when she asked him to. He followed direction very well and was focused the entire time. I needed to see him accomplish those things. As a mother, I worry about him because his speech is delayed, but overall, he's a smart kid! He tested at his adjusted age in every category other than speech, and tested above his actual age on his fine motor skills. Way to go little man!

If I see any further delay or have other concerns, I can call the agency without needing a referral from anyone. I'll be sure to keep their number handy, but I don't think I'll be needing it!

They were eating grilled chicken and grilled squash, zucchini, and onion last night for dinner. B had a onion stuck to his chin (you can see if in the picture above) and kept trying to find it...funny kid!

Lovin' the toy box!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Guessing Results

Sorry...forgot to post the results....

Connor was on the left and Brandon was on the right. Y'all are getting better at guessing!

Raspberry Lemon Custard Cake

Ok! It's summertime and time to make desserts with fresh fruit in them! I pulled this recipe out of a Woman's Day magazine and thought I'd give it a try. I only made 1/2 batch since I only had 4 custard cups. I think they would have turned out better if I had made a full batch...note to self. They were still very yummy and relatively easy. I had everything in my cabinet except for the raspberry extract. I love recipes like that!


1/2 pint raspberries
4 large egg whites
3 large egg yolks
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 Tbsp all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp raspberry extract
1 tsp lemon zest
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 cup milk
Confectioner's sugar for dusting

1. Fill a roasting pan with 1/2 inch of hot tap water; place in center of oven. Heat over to 350 degrees F. You'll need eight 6 oz custard cups; place 4 or 5 raspberries on bottom of each.

2. Beat egg whites in a medium bowl with mixer on medium speed until foamy. Beat in 2 Tbsp of the sugar until stiff, shiny peaks form when beaters are lifted.

3. With same beaters (no need to wash), beat yolks and remaining sugar in a large bowl until mixture in light; beat in flour, extract, lemon zest and juice. Gradually beat in milk. Using a wire whisk, gently fold egg whites into yolk mixture just until combined. Divide batter among prepared cups (cups should be filled to the top). Place cups in hot water in roasting pan.

4. Bake until puddings are puffed and golden brown on top, about 24 minutes. Serve puddings warm or at room temperature, with confectioners' sugar and remaining berries.

For all you Weight Watcher Junkies out there, these are only 3 points! I didn't even substitute with splenda, egg beaters or anything else "artificial" They are pretty good and worth the 3 points! I did use skim milk, but I'm not sure what kind of milk the recipe calls for. I'm not sure how they figured the fat and calories!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Pirate Babies...ARRRGG!

Today is a super busy day for us! We started the morning with a trip to the Annual NICU Reunion at the hospital. This year, the theme was pirates! The boys actually wore these hats for a few minutes!

I'm glad we got there right when it started because it got SUPER busy! We munched on some cucumbers, turkey ham and cheese roll ups, and I had a bbq samich!

Our friends the Hartman's showed up soon after we did. After we all munched a little, we put the kids up on the stage. It took my kids a few minutes to warm up, but once Brandon did...he didn't stop moving.

Here's Reese saying HI to his buddy Brandon

Here he is saying HI to his other buddy Connor


Connor hiding behind the balloon...if you look carefully, you can see him smiling through the balloon.

We saw some of our favorite nurses and had a pretty good time. We left around 11 because it was getting very busy and we're under a heat advisory today. I wanted to get the boys home before noon to keep them nice and cool. They're taking a nap and I'm going to clean up the house until lunch time. I have a wedding to go to at 4 and my friend Pat is going to watch them for me. They will be napping during that time...thankfully! I'll come back to pick them up to take them to the reception with me. Gotta jet!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

15 hours later

Well, this trip didn't go as well as the trip last week. Unfortunately, I had a little car trouble and spent 3 and a half hours at a Ford Dealership in good ol Wytheville, VA today. I thought my alignment was off when I hit West Virginia, but it got worse and worse. By the time I hit Virginia, I couldn't control the steering wheel anymore and the car was swerving all over the road. I called our service tech here in Fayetteville and she told me to get off the road and either call AAA or get to a Ford Dealership. THANK GOODNESS FOR MY GPS SYSTEM!!! That thing saved me today! It has point of interest on it, so I clicked auto and searched for the nearest dealership which happened to be 3 miles from where I was. They hooked me up with 2 new tires, since one was very close to blowing up, and fixed the alignment. These service guys were awesome to me! They were very nice and accommodating. I was prepared to get a hotel and spend the night just in case they had to order parts. The head of the service department even grabbed the 2 wet diapers I had in my hand and threw them away for me. WHOA! The boys were total angels as usual! I think God gave me good travelers because we will be traveling for the rest of our lives while in the military. I fed them lunch and then we played in the car showroom. They walked all around, I took them on rides in a desk chair, and spent a lot of my time keeping their grubby hands off the brand new Z06 corvette...shew! We made it home, the car is unloaded (but not put away), the boys are in bed and I'm going to brush my teeth and crash! I've been up since 4 am and 15 hours on the road has totally worn me out! Oh yeah...SMACK me if I EVER want to purchase another Ford. We have 3 and they are in the shop all the time! It'll be a few years before we buy a new car, but seriously...don't let us buy another Ford!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Going home

It's weird to say that 'I'm going home' and home is Fayetteville! Kentucky has been my home for so long, but we've been in NC for 4 years now...I guess home is in NC :(

We had some nasty storms here tonight that put us in the basement for about 40 minutes. They went just a little south east of us. When I say a little...I mean it missed us by a mile or so! The boys were sleeping right through it, but I had to wake them up when the tornato watch actually hit our county and specifically a neighborhood down the street from us. All is good though, and the boys loved playing in the basement!

After the storm I fed the boys dinner and then we all played. Connor has gotten back into the habit of screaming. When I say scream, I mean ear drum piercing high pitched screaming. I'm used to it, but my fellow Target shoppers today were not! I've started the warning system with them and then time out. Poor Connor visited time out four times tonight! At my parent's house, time out is strapped into the old high chair, facing the washer, with the laundry room door shut. The first time he went in there, he thought it was fun. After the second and the third...the fourth wasn't so much fun anymore. Brandon sat outside the laundry room door every time I put Connor in time out. Connor was crying on the other side and Brandon was making noises back at him. After the fourth time, I think Connor started to make the connection. Lord have mercy on me...the toddler days have arrived! I need to decide where the time out chair will be in my own house. For now, it has to be something I can strap them into. Any ideas???? It can't be something I already their high chairs, cribs, or pack n plays. I don't want them to associate those with a bad thing like time out. I've been looking for a time out chair, but I haven't found one that will work for me. Sigh Thank goodness Eric will be home soon to help with these upcoming tough times.

I'll be driving all day on be thinking of us and praying for another uneventful trip...even if we have hit the toddlers times!

P.S. B is walking! He'll take about 5 or 6 steps at a time and is learning to catch his balance pretty well.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

One Year Ago Today

One year ago today, Eric deployed. One year is a very long time to be alone with babies and for Eric to be without his family. Here's an idea of what he's missed...

8500 miles traveled...roughly! 3 trips to KY, 1 to Indianapolis, 1 to Illinois, 1 to Minnesota, 1 to Maryland, and 1 to Florida

4380 dirty diapers...WHOA!!!! I'm scared to do the math on that to see how much I've spent on diapers!

2920 feedings...that's a lot of food and formula!

960 bottles washed

310 miles walked in the stroller. This is probably a little low, but I didn't take the number of miles walked while shopping and doing other errands

300 bathtimes

240 square feet added to the house while he was FUN!

27 doctor's appointments. I think this is a little low, but it's a rough estimate

12 trips to the park

4 - the number of days I would classify as "horrible" since he left. They consisted of either super sick kids, loss of patience, or just plain sad days

2 for each baby (he was home on R&R for my birthday and for his!)

2 wedding anniversaries - he MIGHT be home for our 6th anniversary on July 19th, but I'm not counting on it. If he is home...this will be 1 wedding anniversary

2 boo-boos that were more than just a bump or bruise

1 trip to the dentist for a chipped tooth

1 Thanksgiving- their first

1 Christmas-their first

1 Easter

1 year of the boys being daddy-less and me being husband-less

1 whole year of missing everything...from the good times to the bad

Fortunately, the boys are young enough that they won't remember him being gone. I will, but it hasn't been a totally negative experience. People have pity on me a lot, but I don't need the pity. All I need is support, which I've gotten from my family and all of my matter where they live!

Take a minute and think of Eric today. A big thanks to him for selflessly serving his country and what he believes in. A big thanks to our families and their support. A big thanks to diet mt dew for giving me the energy needed to survive. A big thanks to my friends (mainly my sisters) for listening to me complain when I needed to and not judging me for it! Finally, a big thanks to Cookout (a restaurant) for preparing delicious milk shakes for me when I have been really stressed out.

Let's hope for a safe return...and a QUICK one at that! We're in the home stretch and I can't wait for him to get back. I'm "so over" this deployment!...but I mean that in a positive way!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Hangin' Out in Flo-Town

Here are a few pictures from our KY trip....

My parents have a HUGE deck on the back of the house and the boys were all over it on Friday after we got in town.
Here's a few pictures of my nephew Benjamin! He's 9 months younger than the boys

He was SO passed out on this baby sweet!
Mom and Dad's air conditioning went KAPUT!! That's why the kids are in just diapers in a lot of these pictures.

Ann uses this wrap with Benjamin a lot. She wanted to try a few different positions out on the boys...

My blog readers ask for a picture of ME a here ya go! A bunch of us went to the Reds game and mom stayed home with the boys. We got home around 9 and the boys were still awake and ready to see me!

On Sunday, we took the kids to the Florence Mall to play in the indoor play area. Brandon is totally fearless! I'm going to have to keep my eyes on him!

On Sunday, we had a little cookout. Brandon was flirting BIG TIME with Bridget's friend Jen. He was laughing so hard at her and mimicking whatever she was doing. Connor was mimicking too and making a lot of us cry with laughter.

Here's Connor! He looks like an old man after his BIG dinner! They ate a cheeseburger, 1/2 avocado, about 6 brussel sprouts, milk, and Brandon ate some grilled onions on top of that. Connor started playing with his brussels, but left most of them on his belly...what a goof!

Here are some family shots! My parents with all four grandsons

Here's the same shot with the three girls added. What a nice 3 generation photo!