Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Sunday Night Musings

Yes, here I am to blather about some nonsense; I suppose I need to clear my head of thought before heading to bed!

This weekend Julia and I were home alone as Adam had a gig Friday night and then drove up to WI to camp with his family. Sounds like they all had a good time! Our weekend here was a mixture of sheer laziness coupled with some bouts of actual hard work.

I posted yesterday that Julia said "baby" (and this word has not gone back into the vault... yay!). Today while we were playing outside, she pointed to and said, "ball!". She wanted very much to play with a ball right when I was planning to take her in for dinner. Sorry, my dear child! But how exciting... it was a two-new-word weekend! YAY!

Yesterday night... or last night, I suppose... I was really feeling... full. I started feeling really full right after dinner, so at first I figured that it was simply that I ate too much. And then, well, I realized, I didn't eat much of anything. I fed Julia and snacked a bit, but when I looked back on what I had eaten the whole day, I realized it was hardly anything. And then I realized it was that I had felt "full" all day. And I was short of breath. Suddenly I was freaking out wondering if maybe I was going to have a heart attack and die and leave Julia alone in the house buckled into her dinner chair until Adam found us upon his return today... but that feeling of anxiety passed when I went to bed last night and realized that...

... duh, I am 28 weeks pregnant. And, proof positive to recent comments made to me, yes, I am carrying this baby high (as I did with Julia). So... is it any wonder that I am feeling "full" all of a sudden and can never breathe? Duh, Erin, Baby Draeger is running out of room and is moving into your rib cage.

Whew. At least I figured that out and it settled me down. And of course, the feeling returned again today. Yay.

One of these days I might actually realize that yes, I am pregnant; yes, there is a baby in there and not an alien; and yes, sometime in the next 12 weeks we will have a new baby in the house.

Umm. 12 weeks? TWELVE WEEKS???

(I was 28 weeks pregnant yesterday, and there is a VERY VERY VERY minuscule chance that my doctor would allow me to go past 40 weeks considering I am having a planned C-section this time around.)

Wow. 12 weeks.

So, today that hit me kind of square in the head and I mentally made that list of all of the bazillion things I want to do in the next 12 weeks, but I didn't write it down on paper, because, well... THAT would have really freaked me out. Maybe tomorrow.

I also realized today that my beautiful and wonderful iron has been off in Appliance Repair Never Neverland Colorado for almost three weeks now and I better call tomorrow and find out what is going on and when it is coming back. I appreciate that Adam has allowed me to borrow his garage iron, but it's not really cutting it. It doesn't even have a light on it. Or buttons. Or auto shut-off. Gah.

Have I rambled on enough for you yet?

Today was a slightly off day with Julia, at least, until I strapped her in the car seat and hauled her all over hither and yon running errands. It has been rather warm (TOO HOT) this last week, and the poor kidlet has been trapped inside a number of seemingly "nice" days because I think it is too hot for us to be outside playing. Thursday I caved, but man, it took me all night to recover. So, yesterday when the temp hit 91 and the heat index was 98, I decided yet again it was too hot to play outside. Today Julia threw a fit (I think from being cooped up too much this week) and threw cereal on the floor, threw her cup at me, and cried and walked from room to room looking for "a-da" (because I am sure she thought her Daddy would rescue her from her cruel, air-conditioning-loving Mommy and take her outside!). The errands got her outside, and it WAS a really nice day, so I let her walk into and out of buildings (ah, but my child does love her independence!), and then when we came home, we played outside and played outside and played outside and played some more outside. She was outside A LOT today. YAY for Julia! YAY for mommy! I am really tired now. Ha!

Around 6 pm I called my friend Alecia to see if we could pop over... I knew she had two children that would amuse Julia for a bit and I really wanted to catch up with her as well... dual purpose! Hee! We went over there for about 1.5 hours, thoroughly tired Julia out, and left after Daddy showed up. Daddy even strolled Julia home for me and I drove his truck; yay!

Anyway... that is my rambling for tonight! I'm off to bed to read for a bit... and of course some time this week I need to find a good Sepia picture.


Saturday, June 27, 2009


Sometimes when you have a child, she does something so incredibly cute that you need to stop and revel in it for a few minutes... and then, blog about it as quickly as you can! Hee!

Julia has known for months what a "baby" is... she points at pictures of babies, she has a number of "babies", and generally she loves babies. However, even though we call pictures and dolls and real babies, a "baby" or "babies", she has never said the word.

This morning we were cuddling and playing in my bed, and I decided I would try again to teach Julia that there was a baby in mommy's belly. Obviously the concept is a bit foreign for a 19-month-old, and even if she ever understands that there is a real baby in there, it won't be very real to her until that baby is in her house and using her things and whatnot... wow, what have we gotten ourselves into...?

At any rate, we were laying on the bed, and I pointed at my belly and said, "There's a baby in there." Julia would laugh and then proceed to slap my belly as hard as she could or poke it. We did this a few different times (and I tried each time to teach her to be gentle), and then I thought, well, I better ask her if she remembers what a "belly" is, because I don't want her confusing, "belly" with "baby". Sure, enough she slapped her own belly, then slapped mine again, and all was well.

During lunch, after Julia had finished, I figured I would catch up on my blog reading. I've been blogging a lot lately, and I've been a lot better at keeping up on my friends' blogs as well. Julia was standing near me, and I pulled up the blog of my friend from work, Bob. He recently posted that his son, Noah, turned 6 months old. He posted a picture of his son, Julia saw it, and said, "bayyyyyy-beeeeee." I squealed with glee that she had actually said "baby", and she proceeded to point at Noah and say "bayyyyyy-beeeeee" over and over again! It was so cute! I then pointed to some other pictures we had around the house of babies, and she kept saying "bayyyyyy-beeeeee" every time she saw a picture of a baby. How wonderful!

Then I asked her to go pick out one of her babies, and she headed towards her pile of dolls and stuffed animals... but she was waylaid by her sippy cup and brought that to me instead. Oh, well.

Thanks for your wonderful blog, Bob! And YAY, Julia says "baby" now!


Friday, June 26, 2009

Congrats: New Baby on the Way!

I have been anxious to post this, but I wanted to wait until I knew that it was common knowledge...

My sister-in-law Claire called earlier this week to announce that she and her husband, Dan, are expecting a baby in January 2010. YAY! Claire is Adam's sister. We are very excited for them! And how fun that there will be two little punkins just about 4 months apart from each other.

I also think it is great and fun for Julia to have close (in age) cousins... she is about 21 months younger than my niece, Hannah, and she will be 21 months older than her new brother/sister, and just a little over 2 years older than her new cousin. I hope that our kids will all be as close as they can be in the coming years! :)


Thursday, June 25, 2009

California Vacation: Heading Home

Sunday was our last day in California. The kids did NOT sleep in for us... they were up well before 7 am and we mostly lazed around while they ate breakfast and tried not to hurt each other too much. Packing began that morning as well, as we were going to head out around noon to get lunch and then hit the airport.

My suitcase was a little full. Julia thought it was tremendously funny that I was sitting on it (and it took numerous Sits to get it shut), and she thought she needed to help out a bit.




We had lunch at Soup Plantation (yum! how fun! a soup and salad buffet!) and then went to the airport. After a hard good bye with Katie, we checked in for our flight. Wanda and I were not able to sit together (sadness) this time around, but I was able to get a seat in front of her.

Julia slept pretty much the entire flight from Orange County to Denver. Yay! We entered a holding pattern outside of Denver, though, that would potentially make us late for our connecting flights. Thankfully... kind of... our flights were delayed, and while Wanda's left about 30 minutes after we landed (and we had plenty of time to get her there), our flight continued to creep later and later...

Eventually, after eating dinner, Julia and I moseyed along to our gate, only to have to wait and wait and wait. Thankfully a saint of a family was there that fell in love with Julia, and their five year old (Ezra) kept Julia company and played with her until we were set to leave. We finally left at 9:30 pm (Mountain Standard Time). We arrived in Omaha a bit after 11:30 pm (Central Standard Time) and waited a bit for our luggage. It was so muggy in Omaha after experiencing the awesome California weather, and we sweated outside while waiting for the airport shuttle.

Sure enough, the same saint family was headed to the same long term lot as me, and the husband of the family was super sweet and helped me get my stuff on and off the shuttle, as the shuttle driver seemed to think I did not exist (HELLO. Pregnant woman with toddler and luggage. Ugh.). I should say that the shuttle driver I had on Wednesday was AWESOME and VERY helpful...! So, I was kind of miffed by this guy. However, the husband dude was awesome, and he even helped me get everything to my car as well...! YAY! I told him I should tip him and not the driver! (In case you are wondering, I didn't tip the driver...)

Then our long drive home began. Julia was asleep about five minutes into the drive, and I made it back to Pella in a little under three hours. (two quick stops... one for gas, one for coffee!) When we got home, it was 3:30 am, and I grabbed my carry-on and Julia and up to bed we went. Julia (thankfully!!!) never woke up once, and I found myself reading for a bit considering I was still working through the caffeine from the coffee.

I was glad to be home... but goodness, I do so miss my friends! It was a wonderful vacation and I am so very thankful to have met these gals, become good friends with them, and experience this wonderful vacation with them. Love you two!


California Vacation: Kidspace, Pasadena, and "Down Time"

On Saturday of our vacation (the 20th), we took the kidlets to Kidspace in Pasadena, CA. Kidspace is located very near the Rose Bowl... how neat is that?

Both kids were wanting a nap on the way to the museum... Julia was already ready for her nap when we left...


Since it had been misting / sprinkling / raining that morning, we were given the "Rainy Day" discount. The kids still had fun, though, checking out things. There was a raindrop tower, which Julia and I made it up about four raindrops before we BOTH determined we were up too high. Also, there was a lot of bugs there! The most fun was in the "toddler" room, though... a playroom for kids under 4, and you could let them run wild in there.

Julia enjoyed the slide that she could go down ALL MY HERSELF!


After the museum, we took the kidlets to Cheesecake Factory in Old Pasadena. It reminded me a lot of shopping in a "downtown" area of Brisbane when I was in Australia back in 2002 for work. It was neat; seeing stores right on the street... stores you would typically see in a mall.

The kids did really well at Cheesecake Factory, and we had an amazing server (yay for Crystal!). Julia enjoyed pizza that day. She also enjoyed playing with a napkin on her head...!



After lunch, we headed to Montclair to where Jared and Katie live. We hung out in their condo / apartment for the afternoon, letting the kids play with Will's toys. Jared made the kids a wonderful dinner (which, sadly, none of them ate very well... oh, well!), and the kids also watched Kung Fu Panda.

That night we put the all three kids to sleep at Jared and Katie's, and then Jared "watched" the kids for us while Katie, Wanda, and I went out for a drink and appetizers. Katie and Wanda had really large beers (and I had a Shirley Temple) at Heroes & Legends Bar & Grill in Claremont. We had a good time (despite the horrid service...!). It was simply wonderful to get out together and spend some kid-free time together. This was the first time since arriving on Wednesday that we didn't have at least two kids attached to us. So, we enjoyed the couple of hours we were together.


After drinks and such, we went back to Jared and Katie's and hung out for a bit. We headed back to the hotel (with the kidlets safe in their car seats) around midnight and got back around 1 am and hoped the kids would sleep in...!


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Galactic Greetings!

Hard to see anything exciting... We went on the Buzz Lightyear ride at Disneyland, and for free you can email yourself the picture that is taken of you on the ride. Of course, the kidlets were too short so you can't see them very well, but this is a picture of Wanda and I with Xander and Julia on our laps. It was fun and you had a laser gun where you shot at targets to get points. Julia thought it was pretty fun but did not want to use the laser gun. Ha, I thought we did pretty well getting points, until I saw Katie and Jared's points/score and saw that we were on the lowest rung of points scorable. Hee, hee! Maybe more next time!


Galactic Greetings Space Ranger,

You have received an intergalactic transmission from a friend who has just completed a mission on the new Buzz Lightyear Astro Blaster interactive experience at Disneyland® Park in California.

To Infinity and Beyond!


© Disney

Monday, June 22, 2009

California Vacation: The Beach

On Saturday of our vacation, Katie directed us to Huntington Beach. When in California, one MUST visit the beach, right? I was very excited about this prospect, but mostly because I couldn't wait to see Julia interact with sand and the water!

When we first arrived at the beach, Julia wasn't took keen on the sand so I carried her to our spot. She had peed through her swim diaper and thoroughly wet herself and the carseat on the way to the beach, so besides not liking the sand right off, she was also a bit upset because she had been sitting in a pee-soaked carseat for some time.

And, who would have guessed how much STUFF one needs to take three kidlets to the beach?

All the same, we had a pretty good time! And, even though the sky was overcast most of the day, that didn't prevent us from from becoming crispy critters.

Swimsuit #1 (The Pee Suit): Oh, SO cute! Navy w/ Sea Horses... I LOVE this suit!

Ooh, sand! NOW I like it, mom!


I walked with her down to the water, and while she liked the LOOK of it, she was not took keen on the water actually TOUCHING her. So Julia and I walked close to the surf and then I picked her up and took her for a little bit just so she could experience the sight and smell of the ocean.

This is a picture of Julia (Katie's Super Cute Will is in the sand hole on the left) near the edge of the water.


The water seemed the enthrall her when it wasn't touching her.


On our way back to our blanket, I let Julia walk the way back because she was finally enjoying the sand. She would crawl in it for a few feet and then pick her arms / hands up and wipe them off, then start over again.


After the beach, we walked to/on the pier for a late lunch at Ruby's Diner.

Here is a picture of Katie with the three kids on the pier.


Julia fell asleep on the way to the diner and basically slept through lunch. However, Will and Xander were more than willing to provide us with a Cute Toddler Show.

Will with his Ruby's cup

Will and Xander together at the table

Double Paci-ing

After lunch, we left the beach and headed back to the hotel. At our hotel, there was an outdoor heated pool, so we thought we'd get the kids swimsuited again and take them for a dip in the pool. Though Julia cried for about five minutes in the pool, after I showed her how to splash, she had an absolute ball and splashed whoever would let her. Then I let her kick her legs while laying on her back, twirled her around and around, and helped her "swim". It was a glorious fun time!

Will gave Julia a hug (and then a tackle to the ground) as he and Katie were heading home for the night.


That night, Wanda and I went to an Albertson's and picked up some food for dinner, and the kid's shared Julia's lunch that we had bought at Ruby's but ended up bringing back with us to the hotel.


Sepia: Organ Player

This is a picture of me playing on the organ at my grandma's house in December 1980.

I like this picture because I see Julia in myself; especially when we are in profile.


California Vacation: The Happiest Place on Earth

The Happiest Place on Earth.

Wishes become memories. Adventures abound. Where families come to play. Discover new thrills. Share the magic.


On Thursday of our vacation (June 18), we woke up bright and early so that we could get an early start on the day at Disneyland. Julia and Xander enjoyed their first breakfast together.


Katie's aunt works at Disneyland, and she was able to get Wanda and I passes to Disneyland for free. So, we thought it would be an excellent time to take the kids to the park.

So, on Thursday morning Wanda and Xander, Katie and Jared (her husband) and Will (who is a couple of weeks older than Julia and Xander), and Julia and I packed into the minivan and headed to Disneyland.

Here are Wanda and me with Xander and Julia in front of the huge C-A-L-I-F-O-R-N-I-A sign posted at the entrance.


It was a beautiful sun-shiny day and we arrived at the park fairly early. I was unaware as to what was there to do with small kids, so I was pretty amazed by the number of attractions on which we could take them... and we didn't even hardly dig into what could be done!

There were a few times that Julia wanted OUT and wanted to walk... but she did well otherwise in the stroller.


Some of the things we did...

The Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters Adventure
The Enchanted Tiki Room
Haunted Mansion
Jungle Cruise
Pirates of the Caribbean
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh

We also tooled around in Toon Town a bit, ate at Cafe Orleans, and the kidlets even caught a nap (all at the same time, no less!).


Here are the three of us (me, Katie, and Wanda) in front of the Disneyland Castle. Jared took this picture.


We all three bought the kids the Mickey Mouse Ear hats / caps. Each of them has their name embroidered on the back.

At Toon Town, we walked through part of Mickey Mouse's house... here is Julia with Jared, Katie's husband. She took a real liking to him over the weekend and let him carry her, walked with him, and pretty much tried to woo him. Hee.


Julia also got a shot at driving the big car in Toon Town.


Jared was amazing with all of the kids... well, amazing in general. Kids seem to take a real liking to him and it was amazing how well Julia adapted to being around "new" people the whole weekend. As my friend Wanda said tonight, he is the best baby wrangler in the world. He is also quite a talented artist...! I am looking forward to saving up some money to buy one of his pieces.

All of us were pretty much exhausted by late afternoon and enjoyed a bit of shopping. I bought Julia a Baby Cinderella, a cute Minnie Mouse shirt (which I am sure you will see a picture of in the near future, accompanying the ears), and some Princess Dolls. I must love my kidlet... these are the ONLY "souvenirs" managed to buy the entire weekend... I didn't even buy myself a post card!

We ate dinner at Jack in the Box (my first experience) and then headed back to the hotel and crashed. Julia and Xander both went down pretty well that night; we put them in their Pack 'N Play's in the room and sat in the hallway outside the room until they fell asleep. Of course, that gave Wanda and I some much needed/desired chat time. :)

It was a wonderful fun day, and I can't wait to post more pictures that Katie took... I am pretty sure she has some wonderful fun shots from the day as well!


California Vacation: Heading West

Last week / weekend, Julia and I left on a trip (Adam did as well, but his was separate) and flew to California.

How the trip came about may be hard to grasp, but here's the short version. I met a group of ladies back in March 2007 when we were newly pregnant on an online chat board. After a number of months together, we broke away from the chat board and started our own board. We have "been together" for 2+ years now. Earlier this year, two of the gals (Wanda and Katie) and I started talking about possibly going on vacation together. Since Wanda lives in Illinois and Katie lives in California, it seemed perfectly logical for Wanda and I to fly out to California. I mean, who wants to visit the Midwest in the summer anyway?

So, we began planning our trip earlier this spring, and finally it took flight this last week.

I posted Wednesday morning about Julia's clingyness; well, once we were in the car, she was good to go. We drove to Omaha to fly out, and it only took one stop for lunch and three plays of They Might Be Giants "Here Come the 123's" to get there.

We parked in long-term parking and our shuttle driver was a big help... especially when I realized I had forgotten my cell phone and he whipped the shuttle bus around and took us back to our car.

Our flight to Denver was fairly uneventful; Julia did well on the plane for the most part, and threw a tiny fit at the end which was basically her I-want-to-go-to-sleep-and-I-haven't-done-so-on-your-lap-in-over-a-year-and-I-don't-know-how-to-get-comfortable fit, and sure enough, she fell asleep about 10 minutes before we landed. She was a bit dazed and confused when we reached Denver, but she quickly snapped out of it when we met our friends Wanda and her son Xander in the bathroom (completely unintentional but it worked out great!).

(Xander is two days younger than Julia.)

This was the first time Wanda and I had actually met each other in person, so it was a good time and lots of hugging ensued. Since we had a long layover, we decided we'd feed the kidlets in the food court. After dinner, we strolled down to our departing gate and let the kids run a bit, since the second flight was supposed to be 2.5 hours long.



We arrived in Orange County after a longish flight (on which the kids did relatively well, and Wanda and I chatted it up a bit). The flight included witnessing a preteen girl vomit in the aisle right before landing, which caused us to wait a bit before deboarding, since she was only a few rows in front of us.

Katie from California, who is quite wonderful, met us at the airport. Another round of hugs ensued, and after finding the luggage, we headed out. I waited with the kids while Wanda picked up the rental car and Katie went and got her car, which contained the car seats we were borrowing for the weekend.


This is a picture of the kids maybe looking not so enthralled at the time. This was the beginning of Julia showing off her possessive behavior as well.

Both kids fell asleep in the van on the way to our hotel, and Julia pretty much didn't wake up until we tried to get everyone to bed. It was a hard first night of bedding everyone down, and we ended up having the kids sleep with us the first night, but it was a good first day all the same.


In this picture, I had brought Julia in from the van and laid her on the bed while we unpacked and settled in. The noise and lights didn't bother her one bit. She balled up and stayed asleep.

More to come...!


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

My Kid Knows

Last night Julia and I helped Adam pack for his trip to Oakland, CA.  And, for the last few days, Julia has been watching me pack our suitcase for our trip to Anaheim (and surrounding area), CA.
This morning, when Julia woke up, before she let me pick her up out of her crib, she handed me EVERY blanket and stuffed animal in her crib.  Normally one blanket comes out of bed with us in the morning, but not ALL of them.
It was as if she was saying, "No way, no how, are you leaving me here."
I don't think she quite gets that she is actually COMING ALONG, but she knows SOMETHING is going on.  She knows I am leaving, and that alone has set off a storm this morning.  She has been super clingy, freaks out if I set her down on the floor for 10 seconds, and generally will not let me leave her sight without a whimper, scream, and a whole lot of tears.  Hopefully she'll get it when we are in the car together on our way to the airport, or it could be a LONG day.
We are off to run a few errands before we leave, and we'll be gone until Sunday night.  I know I will be back next week with all sorts of pictures and posts.  Until then, have a great weekend!
California, here we come! 

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Sepia: Cat Girl

Apparently liking cats is inherited...

(Erin w/ kitten ~ 1981)

I've decided to start something "new" on my blog that I've seen similarly done on other blogs. Each week I want to post a photo... something that speaks to me... and most likly it will be a photo from my younger years. I've chosen to call this series "Sepia", since sepia is so often associated with "old time photos".

If you have a name that you think would be better for these weekly postings, let me know... I'm game for ideas! Otherwise, enjoy! I'm looking forward to digging through photos from my past and posting them here to share with you all.


Hunting 1980

My dad told me this last week how my Grandpa Schroeder took him hunting from the early days of my dad and mom being together... today I found picture proof! In this picture, my dad, Uncle Corey, Grandpa, and some random person but looks like could be related. The people are far away in this picture, but it is still reminiscent of early hunting days and I felt compelled to share.

Dedicated to Grandpa

I was going through my cedar chest today so we could move it, and I came across a few old pictures... first picture: September 1978 (3 weeks old) with Grandpa & Grandma Schroeder... second picture: July 1980 with Grandpa Schroeder... third picture: College Graduation, May 2001, with Grandpa & Grandma Schroeder.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Weather Blessings

I typically do not put a lot of stock in 10-day forecasts, however, I was mildly giddy tonight (okay, maybe a tad more than "mildly") when I saw the highs for Anaheim, California, for the time period we are traveling there next week. And really, it is not simply the highs of Anaheim on their own, but the highs compared to the highs here in Pella.

In Pella next Wednesday through Sunday, the average temperature will be ~85 - 88 degrees.


In Anaheim, we are looking at highs of 76 degrees.

Is that angels I hear singing? I could shout from the rooftops with joy right now!

(Personally, I abhor summer and am so happy to get away from nasty and humid 80-some degree weather, if even only for five days. YAY!)


An Added Note

I want to add this note to my latest blog post... I have to admit, regardless, this was one of the best car trips we have had with Julia. Seriously. It is easier and easier as she gets older, and the car trips are shorter and shorter. (Or, maybe I am more of a Speed Demon now than I was in the past.) For example, our normal 5.5 hour trip to Tomah only took us... 5.5 hours the other night. That was awesome! The main issue lies in the fact that the older she gets, the easier it seems for her to become bored of her books... and snacks... and drinks... and whatnot, because REALLY, she simply wants to be out and moving and physically play. I didn't regale you with our discussion of car seats and their evolution over the years, but I will also say that as Julia will be restrained for far more many years than Adam and I were, therein lies yet another reason for resorting to the use of electronic devices. If her body can't be active, we'll do as much as we can to keep her mind active in the car... even if that means singing "The Seven Days of the Week" song and hearing "We Want Cake! Where's our cake!?" and "Do the Double Dutch! Hula, hula!!!" in our sleep. Ha.


Riding in the Car: Soon to Become a 4-Letter Word

This week, Adam and I traveled to Wisconsin for my Grandpa Schroeder's funeral. He passed away this last Saturday, and the funeral was held yesterday in Mauston, Wisconsin. We are saddened by his passing, but rejoice in knowing he is now with the Lord! Also, we were blessed to know that he passed peacefully and quickly; his was not a drawn-out illness but rather a stroke resulting in a brain aneurysm, which led to him passing away by the next morning.

I was thankful that Adam was able to travel with me; he has a couple of gigs this weekend, which would have been rather tricky to work around, but he was willing, and I'd much rather have company than be alone on long trips.

We took Julia with us as well, and it has become increasingly difficult to entertain her while in the car.

This post is not meant as an disrespect to the death of my grandfather; his passing serves as an event which caused us to be in the car a lot the last few days, from which transpired quite a discussion on the way home today.

I have to admit, I was one of THOSE people who truly thought that I would manage traveling with my child without the aid of electronic devices geared towards kids (i.e., children's DVDs and hand-held video games). After all, Adam and I made it through our childhood without these things, and I had pleasant daydreams about singing in the car with my kids, pointing out trees and wildlife and such, and generally having being in the car a learning experience.

I thought all of these things BEFORE having a child, and having a child who, in the first 18 months of her life, has probably traveled more miles than I did in the first 18 YEARS of mine. Julia has already racked up quite a list of States Visited: Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Utah, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. This week she will add another: California. A trip to California will be a result of her First Plane Trip.

Suffice it to say, my kidlet has traveled long and hard already.

As Adam and I discussed traveling as youngsters and WITH youngsters, we also talked about the fact that hardly ever in our youth did we travel more than one to two hours away from home at a time. A two-hour drive from home may have even resulted in an Overnight Stay, whereas a one-hour drive away from home simply resulted in two painful one-hour drives in ONE DAY. Ack. And, we remember becoming bored in that one hour... or falling asleep... or playing about four or five different car games in that time frame.

If driving one hour can cause a child's head to nearly explode from the inanity of driving... then what, OH WHAT, does a six or seven hour trip do to a child???

Some possible conversation heard in our car today:

"She seems fine now."

"I think she just gave up whining because she is so bored." (Noting listless look on child's face.)

"Maybe she wants a snack."

"Maybe she wants a drink."

"We've pulled out all of the stops in the last five minutes; let's give her a binky."

On Wednesday, as we were driving to Wisconsin, we finally did the one thing I never thought I would bring myself to do... we popped in a DVD of the They Might Be Giant's "Here Come the 123's" for Julia to watch. We waited in anticipation for about 30 seconds before we realized that SHE LOVED IT. LOVED. IT. And for 75 blissful minutes (you can sure bet that we had NO problem playing it TWICE), she was enthralled... HAPPY, even... and we drove on listening to TMBG songs and giggles from a toddler.

It felt like a "duh" moment at that point in time.

And, so, we talked about it today. And we realized, when you have a child and you have to travel for long periods of time (which is how it is with us, seeing as how we live 5.5 and 7 hours -- PRE-child -- away from our parents), there are only so many times you can sing "Old McDonald" or point out the window at objects ("Look! A truck! Look! A tree! And another tree! Oh, there's another one! Oh, and about 100,000,000 more trees! Oh, and LOOK! A sign for Cruisin' Chubbys and another sign for the Adult Superstore! Look, honey, look!!!") or listen to your husband say, "Water, water, water, water, waaa-aaaa-ttttteeeeerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!" Adam provided the Quote of The Day with "something something something something before your child's head explodes from boredom". I heartily agreed, and we both agreed that the use of these electronic devices in the car aren't so terrible after all... it keeps Julia from wanting to learn how to unbuckle her car seat and jump out the window, and it provides her parents with a bit of sanity as well.

(When Julia gets tired of being in her car seat, she starts saying, "Owie, owie, owie, owie, owie!", which means, "I'm stuck! I'm stuck! I'm stuck! I'm stuck!" This is almost as painful to listen to as the Water Sequence shared above.)

I should probably add, Julia was not the only one sick and done from being in the car today. I about had my fill and was pretty glad to pull into our driveway this afternoon and be out of the vehicle for a time. I don't know if it has to do with being 26 weeks pregnant... or if it's simply just being in the car for such a long time... but I was done. And I drove most of the way, so I should have been the least bored of all of us, right? Because I was tasked with keeping us safe and alive and getting us home, right? So I can only imagine the pain shooting through Julia's brain as she tried to determine what next to do with herself, while being restrained from shoulder to crotch in her car seat.

Thank you, inventors of children's DVDs and portable DVD players. No, I don't see us resorting to sitting Julia in front of said DVDs in the house so that we can have more time to ourselves, but I am not above using them in the car from now on, either.

As mentioned above, Julia and I (and Adam as well, but he's off to a different city) are on our way to California this week. This will involve us driving to Omaha to the airport. Omaha is about two and a half hours away from us. Today, the mere thought of driving that distance ALONE with my child was enough to make me quiver and cry. I am hoping that I am recovered by Wednesday so that we can have a peaceful drive together, and fun navigating the airports and meeting our friends in California. Wish us well on our trip! :)


Monday, June 8, 2009

Funeral Details

Funeral preparations were done today for my grandfather's funeral, and the funeral will be held on Thursday morning (June 11th). The funeral is at 11 am at Bethany Lutheran in Mauston, WI, following a visitation at the church.

Burial will follow a lunch at the cemetery in La Valle, WI.

Adam and I will be driving up on Wednesday after work and will be returning on Friday.

Thank you for continuing to keep our family in your prayers!



I posted last week that I had a test for Gestational Diabetes last week... it was Friday morning.

Just a quick note to let you know the doctor's office called today to let me know that my levels are normal and I do NOT have Gestational Diabetes! Woohoo!

I won't tell you what I had for breakfast to celebrate. Ha.


Star Trek!

This last weekend, looking for something fun to do on a Saturday night (which is a rarity for our family, considering Adam often gigs on Saturday nights), we decided we would pack up the car and head to the Valle Drive-In in Newton, Iowa.

The double feature for the night was "Star Trek" and "Night at the Museum" (the sequel). Adam and I both had a desire to see "Star Trek", so decided it would be a fun outting. The weather was gorgeous that night, and we were in between thunderstorms.

You may or may not know that I don't know much about Star Trek. I have never seen any of the episodes or the movies, don't own fancy Star Trek costumes, and only know the "cult classic" quotes that circulate our culture.

So, I was quite amazed by how much I actually "knew" while watching the movie. That alone drew my attention and caused me to really get "into" the movie, despite the fact that my 18-month-old was gabbing away, hanging out the window, and sometimes sitting directly in line-of-sight of the movie.

I can't say that I would be a very good reviewer of the movie... for better reviews, check out these two blogs (two of my friends!):
Movie Review: Star Trek
Stardate 653… er… Reboot

However, do know that I LOVED THIS MOVIE! I thought it was great! And now that I have seen it, I totally want to go back and watch all of the Star Trek episodes and movies and everything else... it was that excellent!

Aside from the movie itself, if you haven't ever been to a drive-in, it is a real treat. For one, it is a kid-friendly place... and even though our kidlet chose to stay up with us through the entire movie (as opposed to going to sleep, thus being up 3.5 hours past her normal bedtime), she wasn't a disturbance to anyone. And, if she got too "chatty", we could just turn up the volume (because you listen to the movie through a radio station in your car).

Another positive... you can bring your own drinks and food. Many families were sitting out in lawn chairs with coolers and such... we chose to watch the movie from inside our vehicle, however, Adam was able to enjoy a few beers, I had a Coke, and we both worked at a bag of Doritos. And Julia managed to create a cracker / Nilla Wafer / Cheerio storm in our vehicle... hmm, time to clean it out again.

However, we didn't stay for the second feature... because the first ("Star Trek") didn't start until 9 pm. So... if you really want to see the second feature... plan on taking a nap in the afternoon, or plan on a really tiring next day!

All in all, it was a super fun experience for all of us! We got home ~ midnight that night, and Julia pretty much slept like a rock. (She had passed out from exhaustion less than one mile from the drive-in on our way home.) Seeing as how I haven't been to a movie in a theater since before Julia was born, this was a real treat... and something I would definitely do again with kids!


Feline Conversations

Here, you can watch Julia conversing with her "cat"... the stone hedgehog that resides on our property. It has become a ritual of hers that whenever we go into or out of the house, we must stop and have a quick coversation with the kitty.

Favorite Word of the Week: Down

Adam has been working on "Up" and "Down" with Julia for a few months now... and like a light switch, "Down" has finally taken root and it is her new favorite word.


Me: "Julia, sit down."

Julia: "Down, Down!"


As she walks down ANY stairs... "Down, down!"


When she's done eating... "Down, down!"


As I'm pulling her up from a laying position...

Me: "Julia, let's get up!"

Julia: "Down, down!"


It is super cute, and today as we were leaving the house for daycare, I caught her saying "Down!" multiple times on video.



Poodle Leash

Really, there is no way to get around it... a "child harness" is really a "leash".
I bought one (more like, broke down and bought one) for our pending trip to California June 17 - 21. Julia loves to be out and walking around, but I hate the thought of her getting away from me or being snatched... not that a "leash" would prevent that, by any means, but at least it should help me keep tabs on her a bit.
Adam has been the most successful one at getting Julia to wear her harness... here she is on Saturday... Adam had it on her and she couldn't have cared less.
Here's hoping *I* can put it on her and it works while we are on vacation...!


For Grandma

My mom bought this dress for Julia a few months ago... it has finally been warm enough for her to wear it. So cute! It is adorable on her! Julia received a bunch of comments on it yesterday, especially when she had her shoes on (sandals that pretty much completely match the dress, by coincidence!).


The Church Directory Picture

Who doesn't love having their picture taken for the church directory...
We had our picture snapped about 5 times in 30 seconds... thankfully Julia was up for sitting still and smiling for those 30 seconds as opposed to how she is most of the other times we try to take pictures of her... hee!


My family is grieving over the loss of my grandpa, Marvin Schroeder, early yesterday morning.
I want to ask you to please be in prayer for my family this week, especially my mom, uncles, and grandma.  My grandpa, Mike / Marvin Schroeder died Sunday morning at 2:37 am.
It was sudden and unexpected.  He was on his way home from South Dakota (prairie dog hunting), and he was found at a rest stop slumped over the wheel of his truck.  The doctors in Rochester determined it was a massive stroke / brain hemorrhage.  They kept him on life support long enough for my grandma, mom, uncle Kirk, and uncle Corey to arrive at the hospital.
Today funeral arrangements are being determined.
Rest in the Lord, Grandpa!


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

24 Weeks (and Then Some)


Today I had an OB appointment... how fun! I am 24 weeks and 4 or 5
days pregnant... wow, the time is flying by!

Here are some stats...

Blood pressure: 118 / 62 (consistently in a good range... I guess my
freaky dream from last weekend did not come to fruition)

Weight gain: Umm... ugh? I am +18 right now. Crazy.

I started measurements today as well... my "fundal height" is 27 centimeters / weeks.

And, I had a different nurse today, as my nurse was gone to a baseball
game. Imagine my surprise when I learned it was Shalene, the
instructor from our baby class for when we were pregnant with Julia.
So that was fun!

Also, today I received my bottle of sugar juice for the Gestational
Diabetes test, which will be this Friday.

My next appointment is July 1.

And... my doctor is joining a band again! So, that was fun... I think
we talked more about the band than we did about my pregnancy... and
that was cool with me! I couldn't stop asking questions... I am a
curious cat that way. Fun stuff. I just hope he is not off gigging
somewhere when our baby is born. Ha!


Tuesday, June 2, 2009



Julia had her 18-month check up today. Aside from the fact that she
is scared of the nurse and the doctor, the visit went swimmingly.

Julia is "average" in height, weight, etc., but that's all good with us here!

She is 22 lbs, 12 oz, which means she has gained almost 2 lbs in 3
months. Way to go, kid! I was slightly concerned with her last
weight gain of only 6 oz in 3 months, so 2 lbs is much better! She is
40th percentile for weight.

She is 32" tall. She is quickly encroaching on that 3 ft mark, and it
is apparent, seeing as how she can reach door handles now (but cannot
turn them) and can blindly whisk anything off of the tables in the
kitchen and dining room. She is 50th percentile for height.

Her head measured at 18.5", and apparently that finally popped her out
of the "small head" category. :)

Her development astounds me daily; she impresses me with what she is
able to do. I look at the "Development" list for 18-month-olds, and I
smile when I realize she DOES do most of the things listed there and
has been for a while. That is a good feeling.

She has been climbing up and down the steps since she was 12 months
old, and long before she was walking. Recently she has started to go
up and down them while STANDING UP, much to my fright, but she is
getting a lot better at it and wants to do it herself using the

She also has been climbing into chairs for quite some time, and this
is a big enjoyment for her, especially when she knows she should NOT
be doing it. :)

She can draw with a crayon, throw a ball, drink from a cup, stack
blocks and rings... it's fun to watch her learn new things!

She also is quite the little talker in her own language. She really
loves to read books, on her own and with a parent, and she likes to
tell stories from the book, even coloring books. She still doesn't
say a lot of "English" words, but she has tried out a few before they
have disappeared back into the "word vault". However, she is
constantly asking, "What's this?" and pointing at things.

And, she has a number of "sounds" down. She meows constantly, makes
the "shhh" sound when "filling" a cup from her play fridge, says
"whee" when on swings, rocking horse, or slides, says "ahh" after
taking a drink, and says "beep" when pressing imaginary phone or
microwave buttons. Too cute! And, of course, she is very good at
shaking her head "no" and saying "mo" when she wants more of
something. :)

All in all, we think she is moving along just fine! Hopefully she
enjoys meeting her new baby sister OR brother come September! Julia's
next appointment is in DECEMBER...!!! After she is TWO! WOW!

Hope you have enjoyed her developmental updates thus far...!