Monday, September 28, 2009

Caillou

I'm posting this for my own sake as much as for anyone else's... I want to remember this and if I don't write it down somehow, I might forget...!

A few months ago, when I would let Julia watch TV or a movie up in our room, she would start to say the words "une guy-you".  We thought that this was just Julia-speak for, "I want to watch a movie."  Without fail, we would hear her say these words when she wanted to watch a show on TV.

When I was in the hospital with Raven, Adam dropped Julia off at daycare one day, and when they walked in the door, Julia said, "guy-you!"  Linda (daycare lady) replied with (according to Adam), "You want to watch Caillou?"  Adam asked Linda if she was indulging Julia in her own language, and Linda informed him that each morning, the kids are allowed to watch "Caillou" on IPTV (PBS).  Finally... the mystery solved!  Julia was saying "Caillou!" the last couple of months, thinking that we would watch "Caillou" on TV and instead we've been placating her with Baby Einstein and They Might Be Giants DVDs (which she DOES love). 

Adam and I talked and decided to purchase a couple of "Caillou" DVDs for Julia.  Apparently she loves the show, and with her not being at daycare as much over the next couple of weeks, she was going to be missing out on a special part of her day.  Today the "Caillou" DVDs showed up, and tonight I asked Julia if she wanted to watch a movie.  She about beat me downstairs and said, "Caillou?"  I picked up the two DVDs we purchased and showed them to her... you would have thought she was going to faint with glee.  I popped in one of the DVDs, and wouldn't you know?  Julia KNOWS THE OPENING SONG and was bopping to and trying to sing along with the theme song.  The word "Caillou" is said over and over again in the song, and sure enough... that is DEFINITELY what Julia has been saying the last couple of months.  Thank goodness SOMEONE knows what she's saying... ha!

erin

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Melt My Heart

(Julia loving on her sister... trying to teach her to say 'bye bye'... seriously, melt my heart.  Enough said.)

Welcome Home, Raven!

Raven and I came home from the hospital last Wednesday, but Julia didn't know yet at that point that the baby she saw in the hospital was actually coming home (or, at least, I assume... I have NO idea what runs through and almost-two-year-old's brain).  Upon coming home from daycare that night, Julia came in the house, hugged me, and then noticed the Pack 'n Play which was NOT there earlier in the day.  Upon closer inspection, she realized that there was a BABY! in there.  All of my fears about how Julia would adjust to being a big sister melted away when she immediately asked to hold the baby... and thus began our routine of Julia climbing onto the couch (with assistance), saying, "I see!  I see!  Chee!" (wanting her picture taken), and holding Raven. 

Beware... this is the first of my posts tonight that are mainly pictures... but hey, wouldn't you rather see pictures than "listen" to me talk?  ;)

erin

Monday, September 21, 2009

Oooh... I forgot!

I forgot to mention in my last post that Raven's umbilical cord thingamabob came off already... crazy!  I undressed her at the Dr.'s office and went, "Oh!" when I realized it wasn't there.  The nurse assured me that it looked okay.

I also found out that Adam had and took the chance to cut Raven's umbilical cord when she was born... cool and yet... gross.  Ha!  :)

erin

One Week (and One Day) Old!

Raven had her first doctor's appointment today... yay!

The appointment went well, Raven filled two diapers while we were there, and we were sent off with a clean bill of health for the kidlet and to return at 2 mo for her next well-baby check-up.

Raven's stats today are:

Height: 20-3/4" (75th percentile)

Weight: 8 lbs (50th percentile)

She handled the checking out well without any crying or whining at all.  She is nursing and sleeping really well and really, we couldn't ask for a more mellow kid.  We thought Julia was a good kid... but wow!  (Ha, I am waiting for the other shoe to drop...)

Adam was a big help and came along (since I still should not be driving) and watched Julia in the play area while we were in our appointment.

Good times!

Erin

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*** Visit my Blog at: erin-quilter.blogspot.com ***

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Sissies

You will be seeing A LOT of pictures of Julia and Raven together because, well, Julia believes that every time she holds Raven, she should ALSO have her picture taken... it is so darned cute.  And she loves to hold Raven... :)  This picture is from yesterday morning... Julia woke up and I brought her into our room while I finished getting Raven up and ready to go for the day and she insisted on being put on our bed so she could hold "baby".

erin

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Big Sissy, Little Sissy

A few more pictures of Julia and Raven together... Julia is loving on her little sister more and more each day!  I am anxious and hopeful for their first meeting At Home tonight! 

What I Consider A Little Mommy Heaven on Earth

Last night Raven and I had a bunch of time to ourselves after Daddy went home... Mommy needed rest and we kicked back in the hospital bed, nursed, and hung out on the Internet for a while... Raven slept.  I posted yesterday and mentioned The Power of the Sleeping Baby on Mommy's Chest... thought I would take a few pictures so you could see just why reaching my camera cable so Oh So Unnecessary at that point in time...

Home, Sweet Home!

Adam picked Raven and I up today from the hospital around 11:30 am.  I saw my doctor at 9:45 ish, was in the shower around 10:10 am, and had everything packed up and ready to go by 11:00 am.  Yay!

Adam is a sweetie... he had pizza waiting in the car for us to have for lunch when we got home!  Yay again!

We took a similar picture when we brought Julia home... two points if you can tell me something similar between this and Julia's going home picture...!

love,
erin

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Update from My Hospital Bed

Good evening!

It has been a wonderful and busy day today. I thought I would post a few updates.

........ We are heading home tomorrow! Right now, that is the plan. Unsure as to when yet, but Adam will be waiting to hear from me and will come and bring us home.

........ Julia will be having a much-needed day at daycare tomorrow... I am so glad we ended up deciding to send her to daycare one day a week! She needs her routine, and Adam needs a bitty break... he is not used to being a Stay At Home Parent and I know he has had a tiring couple of days.

........ Raven is a nursing champ but also a very sleepy girl so we have been having to wake her up to feed her and such. She had her billi levels checked today, and while they are high, hopefully she will even out over the next few days and not need the lights. She has been a very good... calm, content, quiet... baby... I'm waiting for the fallout when we get home. Ha!

........ Julia adores her little sister and wants very badly to love on her. She asked to hold her no less than five different times while she was here today and was excited to have her wish granted more often than not. Something I should have expected but was hoping wouldn't happen yet... she was also asking to hold her as in CARRY her... she would come up to me while I was holding Raven and ask me to give Raven to her. So she could walk with her... somewhere. I would shuffle her little butt over to the chair and let her hold Raven. Note to self... must work hard on that at home so Julia does not randomly pick up Raven from tummy time or out of the swing or bouncy chair.

........ I am feeling well and have been a "good girl" and am taking my pain meds. I know the next few days / weeks will be rough acclimating to being a Mom of Two and also trying to recover from my C-section.

........ We have received a lot of compliments on Raven's name, which is fun... but sadly, we don't have a good story to go with how we came about it! Ha! :) Raven was mentioned by one of us a month or so ago, it made the list, then it made the short list, and last week that is what I decided on after Adam said I could make the final decision. I love her name and it already seems to fit her. :)

........ A thanks to our visitors over the last few days... Alecia, Amy, Linda, Chrissy, Gene, Nancy, and Racheal (and Amy and Alecia again too!). It was wonderful to share this experience with you as our first visitors to see our little bundle of love.

........ A thanks to the Rozenboom family for babysitting Julia tonight so that Adam and I could enjoy our "Stork Dinner"... I am sure she had a fun time with Hayden and Nile!

........ A thanks to our daycare provider Linda for the care of Julia on Sunday. I know that was the best possible place for Julia to be for a long and unscheduled sort of day... she was at ease and had a good time and knowing that was such a blessing!

........ A thanks to everyone for the emails, FB messages, and phone texts/messages and the well-wishes that came along with them.

........ And... a thanks to my wonderful husband... he has been exceptional this week and has done numerous things, including the hardest -- helping Julia with her transition and being there for her when mommy can't be, and he has done it all without complaint. I am glad that he is my husband and the father to my daughters... I cannot tell you how truly wonderful he is and how much I love him!

Hugs and love to you all! More pictures and video to come over the next few days...! I would do so right now, but the Power of the Sleeping Baby on Mommy's Chest is enough to keep me from attempting to reach the camera cable. ;) Hee!

erin

Monday, September 14, 2009

Big Sister Meets Little Sister

Yesterday Julia spent the day with her daycare provider, Linda. We knew she would have a good day over there and it was a relief to us to know that she would be happy and comfortable where she was for the day. Last night Linda offered to bring Julia to the hospital after dinner to stay with us (and later go home with Adam). Linda and Julia arrived around 6:45 pm, and this was the first time that Julia was able to meet her little sister.

At first, Julia was apprehensive... she didn't necessarily like that Daddy was holding the baby, and Mommy was scary looking in her gown, glasses, and big hospital bed. Linda and my friend, Chrissy, took turns holding Raven while Adam snuggled a bit with Julia.

After some time, Julia wanted to see Raven, and would sit next to Raven while Linda was holding her.



Eventually it progressed to where Julia would allow Adam to hold Raven as long as she could also sit on his lap. I think that the three of them watched the Packers game like this for quite a while. After Linda left, Chrissy was able to coax Julia bit to playing with her, and eventually she gained some confidence again, especially after some trips though the halls with Daddy, etc. She started to warm up to Raven and even would sit next to her in the chair. Now she was beginning to enjoy the fact that there was a baby around (although Mommy was still a little scary).



Eventually Julia started to show her true colors in the Big Sister role... she was a great help to Daddy while changing Raven's diaper (read: posing for the camera while watching Daddy change the diaper) and showed she could help by throwing away diapers and cups.




After the diaper change, we asked Julia if she would give Baby Raven a kiss... and she did! We caught it on camera and video.



Julia was thrilled when we asked her if she wanted to hold Raven, and actually got quite upset when Daddy gave Raven to Mommy so Raven could nurse.




However, this opened the door Julia needed to finally be comfortable with Scary Mommy on the Hospital Bed... if she wanted to be close to Baby Raven, she would need to get close to Mommy... and you can bet this Mommy was finally in Mommy Heaven when she had both of her girls snuggled close to her last night.





erin

The Birth Story

As mentioned in my last post, my water broke with a "whoosh" at 4:50 am ish yesterday morning.  After waking up Adam (who had only been home and in bed for 2.5 hours), he helped me to the bathroom and we started with a couple of phone calls.  I called the OB department to find out what we needed to do... as long as I'm not having contractions, I could wait a while and then come in.  We called Linda, our daycare lady, to find out if she would be willing to take Julia a little earlier than scheduled.

After that, we had some things to do... we packed my hospital bag (hadn't been done yet), stripped down the bed (needed to be washed now), and packed up the computer.  Julia woke up around 5:30 am, so we packed a bag for her as well, and then began packing the car (thanks, Adam!).  We were over to Linda's around 5:45 am or so, and then off to the hospital.  I wasn't have contractions, but I was uncomfortable, and thankful that Adam had the foresight to jump in the driver's seat.

The ER was expecting us, so she was able to send us back quickly after signing one quick admission paper.  Upon entering the OB, we were directed to the room I had toured on Wednesday... yay!  I was hooked up to the monitors (no contractions and steady heartbeat for baby) and we proceeded to wait.

My OB was out of town until last night, so a decision needed to be made as to whether to wait until he returned or to go ahead.  I'm glad the decision was made to go ahead...!  I really like my doctor, but goodness, I didn't want to chance contractions and full-on labor without meds for the next 12 hours only to have it end in a C-section (again).
 
Adam was scheduled to talk at church, but a quick call took care of that.  I believe the phone conversation started out with, "How good of an excuse would I need to skip speaking at church this morning?"  Hee.  Otherwise, we waited for some time.  Finally we met the attending physician, Dr. P; the surgeon, Dr. B; and the anesthesiologist, Andy.  My nurses yesterday morning were great too... Kayla followed by Kim.  And, the OR surgeons were very kind as well!

I was wheeled to surgery around 8:30 am, where I received my spinal.  After I was draped and numb, Adam was allowed into the OR.  Up to that point, the morning had been pretty uneventful... and it continued to be so!  It was a smooth and almost relaxing delivery in terms of how well things were managed and how orderly it all went.  We were able to enjoy the birth as opposed to fearing the C-section.

Raven Marie was born at 9:07 am.  She cried and cried from the get-go, cleared out her lungs good, and her Apgar scores were 9/9 right off the bat... what a blessing to have a healthy baby!  Adam and the nurse brought her over to meet me before heading to the nursery.  I was stitched up and then sent off to recovery.  And so the story of our Life as Parents of Two begins.
 
erin

Starting at the Beginning

Good morning!
 
A fresh change of gown and the ability to walk on my own is a wonderful experience after laying in bed for almost 24 hours straight.  (I suppose, close to 30, as I was in bed the night before too...!)

Raven has just finished nursing and I have new bedding and such, and I plan to catch a cat nap yet before starting my day, but thought I'd write a short post.  I have a number of things running through my mind that I want to write down and every time I close my eyes after Raven nurses, the notes start running through my brain.

As you might have read by now, I was scheduled for C-section this morning (we'd actually be getting up right about now and getting ready to leave for the hospital).  However, Raven and my body had different plans yesterday morning, and after a quick trip to the bathroom, I laid back in bed at 4:50 am, and a minute or two later I experience the "gush" or "whoosh".  I quite possibly might have said something I don't want my daughter repeating and that was enough to wake Adam up.  He said, "What's wrong?"  I replied, "My water broke."  Not, "I think my water broke" or "I felt a trickle"... no, definitely this is one of those water-breakings that you hear about but which most women don't seem to experience anymore.  In my bed, even.  Fun.
 
Hind sight is 20/20, however, and I feel the need to document a few things from Saturday that I recalled yesterday that make me think, "hmm, yah, that makes sense now."  Saturday morning I woke up feeling great and rested after a wonderful time spent with my quilting guild Friday night.  We had overnight company, and I chatted with her through breakfast, and then made sure she reached her destination around 8:30 am.  I arrived back home around 9:30 am, and already I was starting to feel off... almost sick, but not quite... bloated, but not quite... just... off.  I took Julia in the house to work on a few house projects and to start chili for dinner for that night.  We had to make a trip to the grocery store as well.  Just your normal mundane Saturday activities... done on my last leg, it felt.

My body seemed to be doing other things to prep itself for yesterday as well; thinking back on it all now, it is a neat and awe-inspiring (to me) if seemingly boring sort of events.

After lunch, I suddenly needed to Lay Down Right Now.  I did so, and slept (sort of) on the couch for an hour as Julia brought me books and toys and shoes and played peekaboo with me under the quilt.  When she laid down for her nap at 2 pm, I laid down too, and didn't wake up until 4 pm.  I still felt... well... terrible.  However, I had a few things I wanted to wrap up at Hospice, so I went there and did those few things, and then came home around 5:30 pm.  We ate dinner around 6:00 ish and then Julia and I ran to the store AGAIN for some milk.  Adam had to leave for his gig around 7:30 pm... we spent the last few minutes before he left "torturing" Julia by cutting her nails.

Though she seemed to recover well enough by the time he left, she was out of sorts the rest of the night and hunted around the house for Daddy.  She curled up on my lap and cried pretty much until I put her to bed at 8 pm, and she zonked right out (another one of those, duh, mom, she was tired and probably could have gone to bed sooner).  I started crying too at the thought that this would be the last night home with Julia before the baby was born (she was to stay with the babysitter last night).

I went back down to the basement, collapsed onto the couch, and puttered around on the computer till about 9:45 or so, when my computer conveniently died (battery) without telling me it was going to.  I decided that meant it was time to go to bed, and after reading Harry Potter #5 for about 20 minutes, I rolled over and passed out.

Adam had a gig Saturday night, and he came home around 2 am.  Not-so-quietly replacing my TUMS on my night stand (by him) caused me to startle awake and I remember asking him who he was and all of such other nonsense.  I went back to sleep... and that leads us up to the 4:45 ish wake-up call.

I only had two things on my list that I hadn't completed for this week... install the car seat and wash our bed sheets.  (This last weekend, in my nesting flurry, I wrote myself out a list of all of the things I absolutely wanted to be done this last week... it was an 8.5 x 11 inch sheet of paper and it was my guide for the week and it was COVERED... I think I accomplished more in one week than I did in my entire pregnancy... ha!)  Well, we managed to install the car seat on the way to the hospital yesterday morning... and, well... the "whoosh" pretty much dictated that Adam would be learning how to use the washer and dryer and wash the sheets if he wanted to sleep in our bed again before I was home and had enough energy to take on the task myself.  :)
 
Check, check.  List complete.  :)
 
Off for my cat nap... I will probably be back later with more blog posts...

love,
erin

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Meet Raven Marie

video

Welcome, Baby Draeger! It's a...

... girl!!!
 
Name: Raven Marie
Born on: Sunday, September 13, 2009
Time: 9:07 am
Weight: 7 lb 12 oz
Length: 20.5 inches
 
(My original due date was Thursday, September 17, 2009 with a scheduled C-section for Monday, September 14, 2009.)
 
My water broke at 4:50 am which caused us to head to the hospital about 24 hours earlier than planned... ;)
 
Raven is healthy and beautiful and I'm doing well too.
 
Hugs!
 
Adam & Erin & Big Sister Julia!
 

Thursday, September 10, 2009

39 Weeks

Today I am 39 weeks pregnant.  It is unbelievable to me, and unbelievably difficult to explain how quickly this pregnancy has gone for me.  My pregnancy with Julia moved at a snail's pace... and that last week...?  What is slower than a snail?  Like watching a tree grow?

At any rate, here we are... 39 weeks.  Today was my LAST OB appointment; more than once I said, "Bye!  The next time I see you I'll have a baby with me!"  I even made my 6-week post partum checkup appointment today... for the same day I head back to work (Ugh, work.  I mean, work, I love you!).

This last week I have been extremely hungry all the time.  I eat full meals and then at 8:30 pm I am ready for a bowl of cereal or something, and at 4:30 am I am waking up to my stomach growling.  I thought for sure that this would mean a few pounds of weight gain, but apparently it only meant that the baby had a growth spurt.

Total Weight Gain: 25 lbs

Difference from Last Appointment: -1 lb (YES!  MINUS ONE POUND!!!)

Baby's Heartbeat: 150's and moving around like crazy!

Fundal height (belly measurement): 46 cm / 46 weeks (If you've been following, you will notice this is ANOTHER 4 centimeter jump from last week.  Not that it means MUCH, but Dr. C thought today that maybe this baby will be slightly bigger than Julia.  If you look back to 39 weeks with Julia, I had weight gain of 23 lbs and was measuring 41 cm... again, doesn't mean much, but I like figures and such, so it's interesting to compare.)

Blood Pressure: Good... didn't bother looking today... I'm sure if for the first time it was bad, my nurse would have said something.

And... the most wonderful thing happened at my appointment today... well... I guess, it doesn't take much to make a pregnant woman happy!  Ha!  My nurse Joan left the room for a minute and returned with (gasp!) HOMEMADE chocolate chip cheesecake and can I say, WOW, it was delicious!  Another nurse had brought it in to share with everyone, and Joan thought I would like a piece.  Little did she know that it is my favorite dessert (cheesecake) and well... she made my day, that one.  The story about the other nurse... some time ago this nurse contracted meningitis, and it was bad enough to the point that they thought she was going to die and were ready to pull the plug on her... it was THAT bad.  Then about two weeks ago she just like that, turned around, got better, and now is home making cheesecake.  Amazing!

Another shout out of THANKS to my Dear Husband too... he came home early for lunch today to watch Julia so that I could go to the doctor.  Not that it would have mattered much to take her with me again this week, but I wasn't sure what the last visit would entail.  I have a feeling she would have eaten my cheesecake while I was having the heartbeat checked... I shared it with her after lunch and she really liked it!

So... what a journey!  In four short days (or sooner) you'll be hearing about the birth of a new baby into our family.  In four short days we'll go from Parents of One to Parents of Two and boy, won't THAT be a fun rollercoaster?

love you all!
erin

ps.  Check out that belly?  Crazy, eh?  Holy CATS, it has taken on a life of its own!

Definitely Mama's Girl...

... I mean, Daddy's.  Definitely Daddy's girl.  :)

Fun with Julia

Julia and I are mostly just hanging out today... fatigue has taken over and the need to rest is overpowering... but that doesn't mean we can't still have fun!  :)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Pre-Op in the OB

Today was my pre-op appointment in the OB department at our hospital. After my surgery consult, I was a little leery of how well this appointment would go (or not go), but after receiving a phone call last Friday, I was pretty excited for today.

This morning I met with one of the head nurses of OB for an hour. We discussed everything that is going to be happening next week Monday... next Monday! Five days from now! All of my paperwork is filled out, signed, and all we need is a baby and a name! Yay!

My surgery is scheduled for 7:30 am on Monday, and Adam and I are to be at the hospital at 6:00 am. We had worked out previously with our daycare lady that she would take Julia Sunday night overnight and keep her all day Monday to help alleviate with the transition that is Becoming a Big Sister. :) While I will miss little Julia overnight Sunday, I am also glad for her that we don't have to wake her up at the butt-crack of dawn to drop her off somewhere and start her day off hairier than normal.

After getting to the hospital, we'll finish going through the rest of the pre-op stuff and then... off to surgery! :)

(And, before you think to remind me, realize that I DO realize that I could go into labor BEFORE Monday and this baby could still show up whenever it wants to...!)

I also received a tour of OB again; I remembered it well as I have been there before and less than two years ago, but it was nice to see things again, and they also have two "overflow" rooms where they like to put their C-section patients so that they don't have to move them halfway through their stay. The bonus...? These rooms are much nicer and LARGER than the normal C-section recovery rooms... so cool! She asked if it would be okay if we were put there? Of course! Sign me up! I'll just be a hop and a skip away from the OB department, the baby will still be with me, and they won't "forget" that I'm over there. Sounds like an excellent idea to me. :) (Oh, and Adam, no worries... these rooms don't cause extra just 'cause they're bigger... ha, I made sure to check into that!)

Many of you are on the "call" list... so expect to hear from us sometime Monday later in the morning. We also will be texting and... it seems now that OB also has internet available in it, so we will be emailing folks as soon as we are "recovered" and able.

So... that leads me to my first request... don't call us... we'll call you! Please, I know you might be anxious to know about the baby coming and what we had and the name and all that, but I would ask that you please wait to hear from us and not be calling Adam or me when you think you "should have heard by now". Ha! As we learned last time around, the unexpected can easily occur and we will wait to call people until I am out of recovery and we know everything is good with the baby.

My second request... please no visitors without calling or texting first. Possibly I would take visitors Monday night... definitely Tuesday... I don't know for sure.

I have two main reasons for this...

One... Julia will not be meeting the baby for the first time until Monday evening (she will remain at daycare all day Monday until Daddy picks her up at 5 pm). I would really like her to have a chance to meet her new brother or sister without other people being around; it feels like it should be a special moment for our family, if that makes sense.

Also... I tend to be a pretty private person. If you or your wife has had a C-section before, you know that the first day is full of... well, recovery. And yuck. And not so much of wanting to see a lot of people seeing me looking and feeling gross (even if you are just there to see the baby, I will still be firmly attached to the room in all of my post-op glory). If I recall from when I had Julia, it was early afternoon before I could feel my legs again and it was early evening before I was even up out of bed and walking around.

So... if you want to visit, please call or text first. I should be in the hospital until mid-day on Thursday. I think OB visiting hours are 10:30 am - 8:30 pm... even Julia has to adhere to these "rules", I found out today (since she is 'young')!

I am beyond excited! The anxiousness dissipated after the visit at OB today. I was hoping that being there would make things more "real"... like I would FINALLY accept that YES, I am having a baby!, but nope, not yet... not even after seeing some SERIOUSLY CUTE NEWBORN BABIES today! However, I am anxious to get my hands on one here soon... ;) We hope you are excited for us too and are looking forward to meeting the newest addition to our family!

love,
erin

Monday, September 7, 2009

A Kitten Named Frank

Tonight we ended our Labor Day weekend with a barbeque at the Van Gorps. Liz Van Gorp is the violinist in the Amy Steenoek & Rising Son band of which Adam is the bassist, and the Van Gorp family invited us over for the afternoon/evening.

The Van Gorps live on a farm and have quite the assortment of animals. Julia, not being around animals too very often, LOVES them... until they get a little too close. Even with cats... while she LOVES cats... she is 'better' with them if she is allowed to approach them instead of them approaching her.

But... Liz and fam had BABY cats... kittens, if you will. We checked out the kittens early in the evening, but Julia, while interested in the kittens, was all about checking out the farm in general. She enjoyed some time on the trampoline with Adam, met horses (on the second time she's ever been "up close" with horses), and even allowed a dog or two to sniff her out.

But, after dinner, Julia decided that the cats were where it was at, and she toddled over to the steps to play with the cats. After petting a few of them and meowing at them enthusiastically, we noticed that our child... JULIA... was PICKING UP THE KITTENS! And not just picking them up... she was carrying them around and putting them in her lap.

Julia's favorite kitten was Frank. He is a mostly-white (with black) fluffy little bugger, and she L.O.V.E.D. him. LOVED. And Frank allowed Julia to do pretty much whatever she wanted (even allowing her to pick him up BY THE FUR at one point). It was cute and fun to watch Julia with Frank... until Frank had enough. Thus the meltdown began. We tried to pacify Julia with other cats/kittens, but it wasn't good enough... she needed Frank.

We finally decided to leave after some wailing and whining and begging for "Mama" (read: Adam), and on the way out, Liz had found Frank again. We tried to get Julia to say good bye to Frank, but it seemed Julia really thought Frank needed to come home with us. She had Frank around the neck and was trying to carry him to our car. Finally Adam and Liz decided that Adam would take Julia and Liz would take the cat... and our poor little gal cried the entire way home.

I kindly asked Liz's mom, Sue, to please not leave Frank on our front door with a red ribbon around his neck. She laughed and said she wouldn't. As much as I THINK I would like a cat... and as much Julia LOVES cats... the little bit of playing with the cat that Adam did tonight had him completely wheezy on the way home (whoops... Adam is allergic to cats) and come on, who really wants white cat fur all over their carpet and furniture... especially when a new baby is about to make an appearance?

(So please, please don't ever get us a cat...!!!)

However, we did manage to snap a few pictures of Julia with Frank... though, I might wait a few days before showing them to her. And, we were invited back to the farm to visit Frank and maybe someday to even ride the horse. ;)

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erin

Des Moines Renaissance Faire

Over the last month or so, as we would tool around Des Moines, we would see various signs advertising the Des Moines Renaissance Faire. Adam mentioned a few weeks ago that he would really enjoy going; he hadn't been to once since a trip to Shakopee, and I have never been to one. I thought it would be fun as well, so we decided to go this last Saturday (September 5).

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Being as how I am 38-weeks-and-some-change pregnant, it was questionable as to how long I would last... and the weather was the hottest it had been in over a week (oooh... 80 degrees F), but my "nesting energy" showed up this last week and I was ready to take on the day.

We arrived at the Faire at 11 am and we finally left the grounds around 5:30 pm. What a fun day!

It is hard to describe/explain everything that we did there... thankfully I have some pictures!

One of the first things that we did was and check out the manly Highland games. Adam decided he'd give the Caber Toss a go.

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It was fun to watch Adam give it a go and also fun to watch men flit around in their Scottish kilts.

After the Caber Toss, we grabbed a beer (for Adam). He had fun toasting with some scallywags at the 'beer tent'.

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We decided the check out Hamlet... as a comedy. And boy, was it ever funny! Shakespearian actor Jeff McLane of Chicago brought Hamlet to life as a comedy in a 25-minute show. We laughed quite a bit through it... quite excellent, it was. Definitely my favorite part of the entire day! (Though the rest of the day was pretty awesome too!)

After the one-man play, we stopped off for some lunch. One of the many food vendors was a German 'restaurant', and Adam enjoyed a bratwurst (and later, a few pints of Paulander Oktoberfest brew). We ordered Julia a pretzel stick and she loved it! (I had cheese & broccoli soup in a bread bowl from a nearby soup 'restaurant'.)

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We checked out the shops that were at the Faire; quite a few and some very neat ones too. As we were walking around, we noticed a small herd of dressed-up geese seemingly walking around on their own. We found out that these geese (as well as some baby pygmy goats) belonged to Paul The Gooseman, a traveling animal-lover who brings his geese and sometimes other animals to fairs, parades, and other shindigs. After some walking around, we found the geese in their pen next to the goats and Julia thoroughly enjoyed the goats (and wanted to enjoy the geese, but we didn't need her fingers getting snapped at...!).

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A trip down to Pirate Cove brought about many more fun wonders... shade and a cool breeze being one of them! There was archery going on... a slingshot where you could try to hit a 'fool' with rotten fruit, and... a Jacob's Ladder. Adam gave it a shot but didn't make it very far.

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We thoroughly enjoyed our day. Other adventures included... watching the Greywolf Blacksmith... catching an ACTUAL wedding take place during the Faire (complete with Renaissance dress)... meeting the Berry Fairy and receiving Berry necklaces (one for Julia and one for Baby Draeger)... purchasing pottery (new mugs, yay!)... watching the jousting... checking out comedic jugglers (who juggled fire too)... and... well, you can imagine, our day was full and all sorts of fun!

It was definitely worth the trip and next year... well, next year we hope to dress up too! :)

erin