Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Hanging Out With My Sister

Julia loves to hang out with Raven during Tummy Time...!

Peace Tree

This last Thursday, Adam and the girls and I drove to Knoxville, Iowa, to check out the newly opened Peace Tree Brewing Company.  Peace Tree is owned by a friend/fellow brewer of Adam's (Scott Ziller), his wife Megan, and a father of one of the two (though Adam would have to tell you which!).  Brewer Joe Kesteloot brews the actual beer there.

Peace Tree is open on Thursday nights to the public, and we were able to be there this last Thursday.  By the time we arrived, there were only four beers left on tap, and Adam sampled them while I had a very smooth and tasty stout (on nitro, no less).  I also had a root beer, which was also quite good, and Julia munched on the pub snacks while drinking her milk.

Maybe it isn't the best place to take kids, but we still enjoyed it is a family night out.  :)

You can "follow" Peace Tree Brewing Co a number of ways... Twitter, Facebook, or through their Website.

We had a good time, though, and we are now proud owners of Peace Tree shirts and pint glasses. 


Edit: Eating Crow

I felt the need to write an edit/update to this post. I got a little ahead of myself in hitting the Publish button.

I will own one of these someday in the next few years. I am sure of it. Nothing like eating one's own words.

What I didn't add was that I have been doing quite a bit of research lately on the best family vehicles for 3+ kids. True, we only have 2 right now and I am not pregnant or any such crazy thing, but I'm all about planning for the future.

While I never *wanted* to own a minivan, it is hard to deny how truly a "good" deal they are. For one, they cost about 1/2 as much as the large SUVs. (We considered an Expedition or Suburban for about 5 seconds until we saw the cost... um, $40,000? NO WAY.) For two, they have a lot more room than the crossovers that promise room for 7 people, but then, HELLO, WHERE DO YOU PUT THE LUGGAGE? Oh, yah. And they are still CHEAPER than crossovers.

Goodness knows I don't want to be a minivan-driving mom, but I am also not stupid. (Or I like to think I am not stupid.) After a bit of research, I will admit I have my heart set on a minivan... but not just ANY minivan. We WILL (barring any unforeseen reasons) be purchasing a 2007 or newer Toyota Sienna. That is the picture above... it is a Toyota Sienna. The reviews are amazing on them, I not longer feel tied to Ford products, and there is the actual TEST (and not just promise) of room for 7 PLUS LUGGAGE FOR 7. Um, cool!

So anyway... now that I know what we want, we have plenty of time to plan and save for one so that when/if #3 comes along or when the Escape conks out or when we are just plain sick of cramming all of our stuff into the Escape or when we go on our first REALLY LONG DRIVE as a family of 4 and Adam freaks out because he can't lay back and take a nap... well, then we can move to purchase the Sienna. Fun!

(If you are interested in reading the history of the idiom "Eating crow", Wikipedia provides an abundance of information here.)

Back to Work

This was a big week in our house.

Monday was my first day back to work after matenity leave and Raven's first day at daycare.

After a refreshing weekend where I was able to spend quite a bit of time hanging out with my quilting buddies and working on quilting projects at our retreat in Newton, Iowa, I was feeling pretty refreshed Sunday afternoon.

However, then I realized how "on sand" my emotions were; the kitchen sink and dishwasher backed up, some of our plumbing under the sink "exploded", and my whole world came tumbling down.

(Yes, I'm still working on being thankful per last week's post, and yes, I do realize that my life is pretty good and a lot of people have it a lot worse. However, sometimes emotions build up and they have nowhere to go but "out". So please refrain from commenting that my life is good and others have it worse or that I need to be thankful for the good things I have in life... I know that and I am. ;)

After trying a few things, Adam determined we needed a plumber. I called and left a message Sunday night.

Monday proved to be a pretty "good" day in terms of how things went... daycare drop off went well, the plumber called back and promised someone would be out today to look at things, and my doctor's checkup proved me to be fairly healthy. (And hey, I am down ANOTHER 5 lbs! Woohoo! That puts me below "pre-pregnancy" weight and one pound below where I was when I stepped off my "Diet Train" last winter when I found out I was pregnant.)

Raven did really well at daycare on Monday; I think it helps that she is a pretty laid-back baby and pretty much rolls with the flow as long as you kiss her and hug her and love her all over. Julia enjoyed daycare and liked having Raven there with her, and she promptly told anyone within hearing distance of her that there was in fact a "baby" at daycare that day and that it was her baby... about 500 times. (I really hope she starts saying "sister" or "Raven" soon... though I am pretty sure she DOES say "baby sis" from time to time.)

The plumber spent about an hour rooting around and was able to fix the plumbing under the sink and fix the backup issue too. By 4 pm I was able to start loads of dishes again, which was a serious relief. Especially when you realize it is *me* and I was nearly dying having loads and loads of dirty dishes on the counter and sink. Wouldn't you know I had made a meal Sunday night that seemed to use up half the dishes in my house and then I couldn't wash them...? Yuck.

Monday night Adam took Julia for a walk and we had Subway for dinner, since until 3 pm, we had no idea if/when our plumbing would be fixed and I wanted to reduce the number of dishes we would use for dinner... and well, a number of my pots and pans were dirty too. At any rate, we had fun eating subs off of paper plates Monday night, and then enjoyed a lot of good family time that involved Raven swinging and sleeping in the swing and Julia giggling and laughing and being chased around the house by Daddy. It was a good time.

OH. And yesterday? Yesterday Julia said a variation of "Daddy" twice. Crossing fingers that we might finally be moving on from everyone being called, "Mommy" or "Baby"...

Regarding work, I'm back to working with folks I love and have some work that is rather enjoyable as well. As much as it "hurts" to send the kids to daycare, for one, I know that they are truly loved and part of a family there; for two, I know that Julia loves the interaction and loves having little friends; and for three, I am enjoying the "normalcy" that comes from having a job and a schedule and a routine again.

I'm recovered from my gall bladder surgery finally as well. I still have a little tightness in my chest when I take deep breaths, but that comes from also having a cold that started only three days after my surgery. I don't have anymore pain, and my incisions are basically healed. (Though my doctor had to clip off some stitches that were poking out of my incision and keeping one side of my incision from really healing over nicely. That, and well, I asked him too because it was kind of grossing me out to have little threads poking out of my abdomen. Yuck.) I am finally off all extra medications and now am just on my regular vitamins and medications that I normally would be taking.

Also, thanks to nursing, I am losing weight. Yay! I saw a number on the scale this morning that I haven't seen since before I became pregnant with Julia, and that was a great sight to see! (The comments from people have been wonderful fun too... I'll admit it!) This next week I plan to start going back to the gym, which will be good for me physically and mentally... I always find that I have more energy for life when my body is feeling good too... and working out does that! No worries, though... I will know if I am overdoing it or if my home life is suffering for it and will back down when I need to back down... but otherwise, I'm looking forward to it.

That is life in a nutshell right now. The girls are at daycare again today and will be going M-W-F in the forseeable future. I am back to work at around 30 hours a week, which is nice and will be a nice break from not having worked/being paid for 6 weeks. It is hard to believe how quickly around the corner November is approaching, and soon Raven will be 2 months old and Julia will be 2 YEARS old. But, still trying to enjoy each day as it comes instead of focusing too much on the future... there are plans out there, but mostly it is a day-to-day thing around here.

I hope you all are having a good week! God bless!


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Eating Crow

I will own one of these someday in the next few years.  I am sure of it.  Nothing like eating one's own words.
(If you are interested in reading the history of the idiom "Eating crow", Wikipedia provides an abundance of information here.)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

O Praise Him!

After writing my blog post the other day about having a hard time praising God through the storms, I challenged myself to thank God for something every time something not-so-praise-worthy happened.  After all, the only way to change one's attitude about something is to, well, work at changing it.  So I told myself Monday after writing that post that at the very least, I could send up a little thanks now and again, and the best time to do that was when I was wanting to thank Him the least!

Yesterday was a relatively good day and I don't recall any not-so-good parts of it, and honestly, I don't remember lifting His name once.  Shame, shame!  It was a middle-of-the-road sort of day.  So, I suppose it shouldn't be any surprise that today started out like it did... ha!   If there ever was a day when I felt like I had gotten up on the wrong side of the bed, this was it!

I set my alarm last night for 6:30 am this morning because I knew that I would need that time to get ready and get the kids ready to take Julia to daycare today.  Raven and I feel asleep around 1 am last night, and I was grumbling a bit at the thought of having to wake up at least once to feed her in the night and then having to be up at 6:30 am... so little sleep, so little sleep, and I feel so sick still but, thank God for naps!

So... imagine my surprise when what woke me up after falling asleep last night was NOT Raven but Adam settling Julia back into bed around 6 am... what?  I quickly pop up and check Raven's breathing... yes, she is still alive!  Thank You, God, that Raven is still alive!  And then, Oh My Goodness, she didn't wake up to eat?  Is she okay?  Yes, she appears to be okay.  Whew.  Thank you, God, for a baby that sleeps well and a husband that recognizes that his toddler shouldn't be awake for the day yet!

I drifted back to sleep, and as I was doing so, I realized that... Oh My Goodness, I can breathe through my nose... what?  WHAT?  I can breathe through my nose!  I don't feel very sick!  And I actually feel pretty good!  Thank God for turning around how one feels in a matter of hours and giving that to me today! 

But soon I heard Julia rousing again and it was only 6:30.  After ignoring her for a good 10 minutes, I realized she wasn't going back to sleep.  I decided it was time to get up anyway, and so I popped out of bed and checked on Julia.  Sure enough, she was wide awake and playing with her dolls in her bed, and the main reason being that her pacifier had, at some point, escaped her mouth and found its way under her bed.  I picked out clothes for her and Raven and started to get them dressed.  However, now I was stressing a little bit.  I was going to get up early so *I* could get ready... not so that I could spend my morning corralling my children... how was I going to get a shower now that Julia was awake and Raven was starting to perk up after realizing she hadn't eaten in a LONG time?  How was I going to get Julia to daycare by 8 am?

Breathe, Erin.  Breathe.  Thank God that despite the fact that she only got 9.5 hours of sleep, Julia is in an amazing mood and is excited about getting dressed and the first thing she wants to do every morning is check on "baby" and even wants to walk down the stairs by herself this morning!  Small victories!  Yay!

Julia was a champ eating breakfast this morning (Thank you, God!) and Raven took right to nursing.  I was still feeling a little overwhelmed and rushed, but who doesn't some mornings?  The coffee pot was on and everyone was enjoying breakfast... even if I had to take a shower later, it was all going to be good and okay, right?

I heard a cute little popping noise coming from the kitchen but didn't think anything of it.  I have an old house.  I hear a lot of weird noises.  Thank God for my wonderful little old house!   

Julia wanted to watch a show... perfect!  That would give me a little quiet time to at least brush my hair and get dressed... okay!  I have no problem doing this with Julia by my side either, but something was telling me that listening to her saying, "Mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy" in a very annoying little toddler voice about 100 times while trying to find something to wear would send me over the edge... so, Thank You, God, for corralling my children for me!

I ran upstairs and did minimal maintenance.  Then I realized that I couldn't smell coffee (though my brain wanted it... even decaf!) and I ran back downstairs... ARGH!  I forgot to put water in the coffee maker!  And, that cute little popping noise I heard?  That was my coffee pot, which had sat on a hot burner empty for 20 minutes, BREAKING.  I think my heart broke for half a second too.  I wanted coffee!  Where was I going to find that now?  And I need a new coffee pot.  Argh!  Thank God for small businesses like Smokey Row which provides GREAT coffee for the likes of me and Thank God for good friends who *know* me... a very wonderful friend was thoughtful and had brought me a Smokey Row gift certificate when Raven was born... and there was still money on it!  Yay!

The clock was inching its way towards 7:30 and I decided to throw caution to the wind and steal 10 minutes for myself to gather my wits about me and hop in the shower.  Thank God for running and clean water!  Thank God for my daughter's 2-in-1 shampoo/conditioner to make my shower a little quicker!  Thank God for an infant that can't go anywhere other than where I put her and a toddler who can relatively take care of herself for 10 minutes while I'm in the shower!  Thank God, Thank God, Thank God!

I felt immensely better after that shower (again, Thank God for showers!), and I did Julia's hair, put on her coat and shoes, and put Raven in her car seat.  With one little phrase ("Julia, we are going to see Lukie today!"), Julia was barreling down the sidewalk towards the car to go to the daycare lady's house (Thank God that my daughter has and loves her little friends!), and it was still well before 8 am.  But... ACK, I realized I had left my windows open AGAIN on the car the night that it was supposed to rain... and sure enough, my butt was wet in an instant!  Thank God for rain!  Thank God for rain!  How amazing is the earth He created and everything regarding it!  Thank God for rain!  And, God, please help me to remember to roll up my windows next time when I know it is going to rain! 

Linda had a smile on her face and Julia was happy to be at daycare, and I felt immense relief.  I left daycare with Raven and decided to get that coffee... yay for a Sweet Georgia Brown!  And thank God for a short line and friendly and sympathetic baristas...! 
As I pulled my car into our alley towards our garage, I kid you not, the song below came on the radio... and I sat there with the car running... singing and praising God, raising my voice to him, thanking Him for all that He is and has done... laughing and crying and realizing that today was going to be a BEAUTIFUL day!  God, I know your timing is perfect and you orchestrated this morning for a purpose... and I thank You for doing that and showing me what that purpose is!  Oh, yes, no matter what, it's going to be a WONDERFUL day!

O Praise Him (All This For A King) by The David Crowder Band

Turn your ear
To Heaven and hear
The noise inside
The sound of angels
The sound of angels' songs
And all this for a King
We could join and sing
"All to Christ the King!"

How constant
How divine
This song of ours will rise
Oh, how constant
How divine
This love of ours will rise
Will rise...

O praise Him!
O praise Him!
He is Holy!
He is Holy, yeah!

Turn your gaze
To Heaven and raise
A joyous noise
Oh, the sound of salvation come
The sound of rescued ones
And all this for a king
Angles join to sing
"All for Christ the King!"

Oh la la la la la...

O pra-ise Him!
O pra-ise Him!
He is Ho-ly!
He is Ho-ly!

How infinite and sweet
This love so rescuing
Oh how infinitely sweet
This great love that has redeemed
As one, we sing...

He is Ho-ly!
He is Ho-ly!"

O pra-ise Him!
O pra-ise Him!
He is Ho-ly!
He is Ho-ly!

Oh, La la la la la la...

He is Ho-ly!
He is Ho-ly!"

O pra-ise Him!
O pra-ise Him!
He is Ho-ly!
He is Ho-ly!

Oh la la la la la la...
(And oddly enough... this song provided a dual purpose this morning... I feel that God spoke to me through it twice... besides Praising and Thanking Him... I have been troubling over something for a while now and have been praying about it for the last few weeks and hearing this song today was another answer to prayer... I've been praying that God would help me to know what to do about this something, and the absolute instant that this song came on and I realized who sang it, the not-knowing-what-to-do burden was lifted from my heart and I had my answer... Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, God!)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Someone Hates Me

Really?  Seriously?



This last weekend I started noticing that the kids were a little congested, but I hoped and prayed that they weren't getting sick.  Well, now here I am five days into recovering from my gall bladder surgery, and now Julia, Raven, and I all have colds.  Sheesh.  I hate to sound like a whiny baby, but seriously, I could use a little break.  I am going back to work next Monday.  I would really like to be healthy by then... like, FEEL good.  Bodily.  My abdomen and my head.  Raven is also supposed to start daycare next week; I don't want her immune system weak upon entering a plethora of germs and I want her to have a good first day.  Furthermore, I don't think I can mentally handle Raven's cold turning into RSV and landing us in the hospital.  At the very least, I would cry.  A lot.

I know that I should be praising God even through the storms, and believe me, I DO know He is good and He is there and that I am blessed.  Julia is a sweetheart of a daughter AND sister... seriously, I couldn't ask for a better daughter in her.  And Raven, God bless her, sleeps and eats so well (and poops really well too... ha!).  My husband is a blessing to me and my family and especially today I am thanking God for him.  I have a job, Adam has a job, we have wonderful and caring family and friends... I could go on and on.  But, even still... it is hard not to be a little angry.  And, I suppose... I can say, I am not THAT sick and Julia is still puttering around the house a million miles and hour and Raven seems to be handling her cold well and it could be A LOT worse... but still, there is that little being inside of me saying, "Why?  Why NOW?"

I prayed about this a lot last night and have been on and off today... mostly, I am praying for peace through all of this no matter what it means.  I am praying for strength to make it through no matter whether we are healthy tomorrow (a miracle!) or end up in the hospital (Please, God, No).  And, I am praying for healing; I'm still recovering from my surgery and while I feel a ton better today than I did last week, I am still really sore and tire very quickly... and a cold on top of it... wow, I just want to curl up in bed and go to sleep (sounds good, but Adam is heading out for the night soon and Julia is a spitfire in the couple of hours before bed).  If you have an extra prayer or two you would send up for our family, it would be appreciated!

Much love,

Sister Love



This picture of Adam and I was taken last Friday night on our "date night".  We had dinner at Alohana Hawaiian Grill (a restaurant in Des Moines), watched Zombieland at Copper Creek, and had a shake (Oreo for him and Strawberry for me) at the 5 & Diner.  What a fun night!

I Heart Target

Since we don't live so close to a Target anymore, it's not often that I have a chance to peruse it, but I still love Target as much now as I did when we lived in Cedar Rapids.  Recently we received a package from California Katie and Family that contained two Paul Frank rain hats for the girls... and Julia fell in love with them!  When I was at Target this last week (a week ago today) with my mom, I found more Paul Frank items on the clothing rack, and I *had* to pick them up... $2.33?  How could you not?  At any rate, I had fun snapping a few pictures of the girls in their "matching" outfits today.  :)


Happy Anniversary!

Happy Anniversary to my husband, Adam, of seven years!  :)

Those seven years have flown by quicker than quick... wow!  Seven years ago at this moment in time, I believe Stacey and I were at my parents' house taking showers and getting our hair ready to go to the hair studio for the Wedding Hair.  I don't doubt that throughout the day I will remember various bits and pieces of that day... the best part being, of course, when I said I would marry Adam!  :)

Happy Anniversary, honey!


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Sepia: 1940 Something

I'm puttering tonight in my quilting area, and this picture is on one of my picture boards.  I absolutely love this picture... this is my Grandma (Muriel Mae Rischette) in the 1940's... obviously long before she became my grandma.  I think she is beautiful, and as my mother-in-law stated, this is a "classy" picture.  I thought it would be a great addition to Sepia (my "blast from the past" pictures on my blog) and a great way to get them started again. 

Two Sweeties


This is what pizza and brownies look like... yes, Julia had pizza and brownies for lunch yesterday.  I'm a nice (bad?) mom like that.  ;)

Out, Out, Darn Gall Bladder

Wanted to post an update...

Went in at 6:30 am this morning, had a mite of lab work done, and then was admitted for my out patient surgery to have my gall bladder removed (if you ever need out patient surgery at Pella, you are "lucky"... the area is quite beautiful and very patient-considerate!).  I went in around 8 am and have no idea what time it was when I finally woke up.  My friend Nancy was kind enough to come and hang out with me while I chatted her ear off (more than normal; drugs, ha!).  We got back to my house around 12:15 pm, and after getting settled, I took a nap until 3:30 pm. 

I am not feeling the greatest and mostly think that this should have not been an out patient surgery; I honestly feel worse right now than I did after I had my C-section, if that is even possible.  But, I have some good pain meds and otherwise great help at home, and I'm able to walk and talk and eat, so all is well.  :)

Many thanks to everyone who has been so helpful the last week... mom was great to come down and help prior to my surgery, my mother-in-law is here right now and watched Raven all day, got Julia ready to go to daycare today, and is picking Julia up as well.  And, Nancy was so wonderful to take Julia to daycare and to hang out with me all morning and make sure I got home in one piece!  There are many other folks... too many to name... who have been such awesome help and support in the last month and I am very, very blessed.  Blessed beyond belief!  Thank you!


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

One Month: Pictures

I didn't think to take many pictures of Raven by herself today, but have a couple to share of the girls together.  Enjoy!


An update... my surgery to have my gall bladder out is at 8:00 am tomorrow.  I am to check in at the hospital at 6:30 am, and then will be taken for labs, etc.  My surgery is outpatient, so my friend, Nancy, will be coming and sitting with me during recovery and then bringing me home.

Thanks to family and friends who have and will be such a big help this last week and this week.  I really appreciate it!  :)


One Month

I recognized a few days ago that Raven would be one month old soon, but today it woke me up like a slap across the face.  Raven is ONE MONTH OLD TODAY.  Now is the perfect time to once again pull out the old cliche, "Where does the time go?"  I suppose if I look back on the last month, I can piece it together with "memorable events"... first I was in the hospital, then mom and dad came to visit, then we were home for a week, then Adam's parents came to visit, then my gall bladder went wonky, then my mom came to visit.  Wa la.  Here we are.

In the last month, it is obvious to me (and to others) that Raven is starting to fill out and grow longer.  Her newborn diapers are already pretty snug on her, and she outgrew our "coming home from the hospital" outfit a couple of weeks ago already.  Her cheeks are a little puffier and the 0 - 3 month onesies are a bit short on her.  Today I put her in a 3 - 6 month outfit, and it fits her pretty well.  I don't know if I notice these changes because I have been here before with Julia, or simply because I don't feel like Raven should be this big or this old yet.

Raven is still sleeping well at night and eats well during the day.  She nurses mainly in the afternoon, though... and then all evening long!  Though, it allows me to get a good bit of sleep at night, so it's fine with me!

Julia is still doing well with Raven and we haven't had any "accidents" since Raven was a week old.  It is obvious that it is increasingly important to spend "alone time" with Julia whether that includes reading to her, rough-housing with her, taking her for a walk, or what have you.  And that becomes increasingly difficult the more Raven is awake... but we make it work!  Thankfully Julia is still enthralled with babies and really wants to help as much as she can; sometimes the reason she becomes upset is that I won't let her help more than she already does.  She does a good job of bringing diapers and wipes and even likes to help clean her sister up.  It's super cute and I'm really still so thankful that she seems to love her so.

Have I mentioned yet that I am still loving being a mom of two?  :)

Hopefully later today I will be able to post a few pictures.  Have a great day!


Saturday, October 10, 2009

Getting Her Hair Did

Grandma Sue had a whole bunch of fun playing with Julia's hair tonight, and Julia let her. :) Here are a few pictures of Julia's updo.



Rain Hat

I lied. I had more pictures to share.

My super fun Katie from California surprised us with a super fun gift in the mail today... rain hats!

Julia loved them so much she even thought she needed to wear one during lunch AND afternoon snack. Too fun! And, Julia definitely knows that they are "Mine!" Ha!


Thanks, Katie! :)


How Could I Forget...?

One last post for tonight...

I don't know how I managed to forget this, because it was extremely exciting even while in pain. While I was at the doctor's on Tuesday, I had to step on the scale, and to my delight, at 3 weeks and 2 days post partum, I was back to my pre-pregnancy weight.

Oh, yah!

Sure, I have pounds I could (and want to) lose, but it was a fun thing to see the scale showing the number I last saw last January. :) Hee.


Let It Snow!

Today was our first snow fall of the season. A tad early. Especially for Iowa.

I am not complaining.

(Adam did. I distinctly remember him looking out the window and saying something akin to, "Okay. It has snowed. I'm ready for spring now.")

I must admit, though, I'm a tad concerned about how hard of a winter we might have. I've heard the rumors that it will be colder and snowier than we've seen in the last few years. Maybe something similar to what I remember from my youth? That remains to be seen. Record number of snow days for Iowa school children? Undoubtedly. Ha.

Julia doesn't remember the snow from last year; she was six months younger, and heck, she is still delighted each day when she finds the baby RIGHT WHERE SHE LEFT HER THE NIGHT BEFORE! in her bassinet or finds a toy she had hid on herself days ago. So it shouldn't have surprised us today that she was enthralled by what she saw outside.

Apparently, though, Julia actually LIKES snow now (as opposed to last winter). And, before she could even eat breakfast... nay, before she would even let me put her clothes on for the day (though, I basically forced her to get dressed first), she HAD to go outside and investigate this wonderfulness falling from the sky.

So, we suited Julia up in her way-too-big 3T coat that Mama bought on clearance ($8) last winter...


... and Daddy took one for the Adult Team and also suited up and took Julia out for a fun trek in the snow.



Julia super enjoyed it and I'm glad... the snow was gone by 2 pm and while it stayed pretty chilly all day (never reached 40), I think it might be a week or two before we see snow again. I wonder if her reaction will be the same...? :)


Tea and a Tutu

I like to think I could think of something exceptional to write in every blog post, but sometimes (okay, more often than not), I simply love posting pictures of my sweet children. :)

Julia has finally started allowing us to put clips and pony tails in her hair, which is fortunate for her (though she doesn't realize it), because otherwise she was going to face being held down in order to cut her bangs (which is even MORE tramatic than cutting her nails, if that is even imaginable). I was trying to get some pictures of her with a cute pony tail one day, and she was also wearing a tutu at the time, and dang, if she isn't just as cute as can be. :)

I love my kids. :)


The same day, I decided to take a few pictures of Raven... it is amazing how quickly she is changing and growing! She is a long squirt, and already I'm having to consider busting out the 3 - 6 month clothes even though the 0 - 3 month are still too big around the waist. But, her 0 - 3 month one-piece outfits are starting to show signs of being too short... so what's a mom to do?

She is still eating and sleeping (and pooping) really well. Although Julia's had a few more rough days in the last week or so than I would like, I think she is still adjusting well and hopefully being back in a normal routine in two weeks will help her out a bit.

Otherwise... just lovin' being a mom of two...!



And... of course, I must show off the cute cat shirt that Buscha bought Julia on our excursion to Target last Friday (the 2nd). I giggle every time my mother-in-law visits because she always says, "I look at the clothes but have no idea what to buy!" (Note: I love you, Marcia! :) And you don't need to buy anything, you know that!) But, apparently it is no problem picking out a shirt when the child who would wear it is sitting in your cart and smiling and giggling at you. :) Hee. (By the way, Julia LOVES her kitty shirt!)



Grandparents Visit #2!

September 30 - October 3, 2009, Adam's folks came to visit to meet Miss Raven for the first time, and of course, hang out with Darling Julia.

They arrived on a Wednesday and we enjoyed time together. Of course, Adam's mom made yummy treats and cooked dinner and whatnot for us, which was fantabulous. :) We also took a trip for the first time to the new Bass Pro Shop in Des Moines (I am in love.) and also to a great BBQ place though it is not very kid friendly and I ate my BBQ faster than the speed of light because Raven was screaming to be nursed. And I sat next to Julia. In a tall chair. It was a little wild.

At any rate, we had a great visit with them. Unfortunately Buscha's desire to take Julia on excursions and whatnot about the town were quite inhibited by the rain we had EVERY DAY they were here, but otherwise I'm thinking everyone had a good time. And of course we had to take some pictures!







Photos from my Phone

I have taken a number of photos from my phone and just thought I'd share a few...




My Ode to Harry Potter


I have been reading the Harry Potter books (again, sort of) and have been watching the movies as well. I read books #1 - 4 back in the day before movie #1 even came out, but after the movie came out and I watched it, I became disenchanted and stopped.

Well, fast forward about 6 years and the buzz around movie #6 caused me to want to dive in again, so I started with book #1 and then watched movie #1 and so on and so forth. I finished book #6 recently, and while I haven't seen the movie yet, I've started book #7. I finished #6 with tears and have been told I'll need Kleenex for #7. It's been a lot of fun and I really think they are fabulous books (and I'm enjoying the movies too).

One day a couple of weeks ago, I was readying Raven to go out, and I put a little jacket on her. When I saw her in it, I immediately thought she looked like a witch -- a cute, good, Harry Potter-like baby witch. ;) So, this picture is my Ode to Harry Potter.


I'm looking forward to finishing #7, just to see how it ends, and already I'm consumed with a sickness to start them again... BUT, I have other books calling me... so maybe 'someday'.



Today Adam is in Iowa City at the University of Iowa Hawkeyes football game with his friend Chris. How exciting! Even though we aren't from Iowa and have no real allegiance to any particular college football club, it is still fun to get to go to a Big 10 game. It's part way through the game, and it'll be exciting to find out who wins, as the Hawks are 5-0!

My mom found a Hawkeyes cheerleader outfit at a consignment shop in Northern Wisconsin (of all places) and bought it for Julia. She is super cute in it! Here are a few pictures of her in her duds.



Here is another picture of Julia and Daddy together too... so cute together this morning before Adam left for the game!


Go, Hawks!


Friday, October 9, 2009

Gall Bladders... Do Something

Even though I'm still not 100% sure what my gall bladder does, it is coming out this next week.  I met with the surgeon yesterday, and after reviewing my labs, x-rays, and ultrasound, he decided also that my gall bladder should come out.  I'm scheduled to have it removed next Wednesday, the 14th.

The Moms are being helpful and coming to help with the kids over the next week.  My mom is on her way here right now and Adam's mom will be coming down Tuesday.  Thank goodness for them!  What a great relief it is to know that they are so willing to come and help out!  :)  Of course, we also have some wonderful and awesome friends here in town who have been offering their services too... it is such a blessed feeling to know and feel so much love!


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Gall is a Four Letter Word

As in, gall bladder.

Yesterday morning (3 am) I woke up to a dull but very angry pain in my upper right abdomen. I nursed Raven, rolled around a bit, and fell back to sleep.

Looking back, I could tell you that I was in pain most of yesterday, but thought it was probably a back pain or something; who wouldn't have a little back pain from carting around two kids on her hips?

Late yesterday afternoon, the pain intensified, and I realized I hadn't eaten much of anything at all yesterday. I went to the chiropractor, got adjusted to the hilt, and felt a lot better. I came home, ate dinner.

But, about an hour after eating dinner, I was feeling a LOT of pain and started throwing up. Adam and I briefly discussed me going to the hospital, but the thought of an ER bill kept me home, and I sent him off to watch the Packers with his buddies.

By the time Adam got home, I decided I needed to go in. I made sure bottles were made up for Raven and took off for the ER. I was there for about 2 hours. I had an IV of fluids and morphine, was poked and prodded, and had x-rays taken. The ER doctor was sure it was my gall bladder, but didn't want to give me the "good drugs" because it would mean not nursing (pumping-and-dumping) for a few days; it is bad enough that I have to do it for 24 hours because of the morphine! The x-ray technician also scheduled an ultrasound for 7 am this morning, since I couldn't eat or drink anything for 12 hours beforehand.

The pain subsided with the morphine, so they let me go home (otherwise I would have been checked in), but by 3 am, I was in full-on pain again. I took a few Tylenol, and that along with a rice bag and a seriously cute baby snug in my arms helped me get to sleep.

I had my ultrasound at 7 am. That took about a half hour. Adam called in for a personal day today because I knew that I would need sleep (1.5 hours is not enough to function! ha!) and I would need help with the kids as well. I had a follow-up appointment with my doctor today to hear the results of the ultrasound...

... and sure enough, my gall bladder in angry...
... and, not only that, I have a surgery consult on Thursday so that out patient surgery can be scheduled to take my gall bladder out!


Maybe I should have titled my post, "How Many Abdominal Surgeries Can I Have in One Month!?" Ha.

At any rate, I'm on a "bland food" diet until after the surgery. I'm hoping it all goes well. Adam has been a big help and hopefully we'll be able to get everything figured out with the kids too. :)

Still lovin' my doctor and he was pretty funny at various times during my appointment (as was my nurse). Those two are good for a laugh at any rate.


ps. Will keep my blog posted with surgery time... no idea yet. Will find out on Thursday.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Julia Sings Along

This isn't the best capture of Julia singing along with the Caillou theme song... because she keeps looking at the camera thinking I'm going to take a picture of her. :) But, I thought these were so cute and wanted to share it with you!!!

Another Sister Picture! :)


Raven's First Bath (at Home)

Raven had her first bath (at home) on the 20th... yes, a full week after she was home, but babies aren't very stinky or dirty. :)

Here are a few pictures Adam took during her first bath. (She has since had two more, both in the bathtub.)




Hanging With Our Friends

Two weeks ago, we asked our friend Alecia if we could come hang out with their family to watch the Packers game... it wasn't playing that we could get it on our TV, and they have NFL Sunday ticket... seemed like a fun way to spend the afternoon. And hey, who doesn't enjoy spending time with one of her besties? :) And... of course, Julia had a seriously fun time hanging with her pal Lukie. :)


Here's a video of the kids playing together too...

Thanks, Alecia, for having us over! :)


Grandparents Visit #1!

I'm a bit behind on my posting, but I wanted to write a blog about my folks visiting.

The weekend after Raven was born (Sept 18 - 20), my parents drove down from Wisconsin to visit the Littlest Pella Draeger. My parents arrived bearing gifts and meals and love for their grand-daughters!

Julia enjoyed being with her grandparents after she woke up from her nap and had a lot of fun with her presents she received. The girls also received some really cute outfits as well. :) One of Julia's favorite gifts was her very own doll stroller. She is a big fan of anything "baby" these days and a stroller was just the ticket.



Grandma and Papa also brought along Great-Grandpa John, who is always a treat to have visit.

We had a wonderful evening out in Knoxville at the Swamp Fox restaurant. Tasty food and drinks and altogether a good time together. Mama (me) was super tired out by the end of the night, though, and turned in pretty early.

During that weekend, Adam thought it was pretty funny how much larger his bass was than Raven... had to take a picture of that!


Grandma enjoyed time cuddling Raven, but also was nice and took Mama out shopping a bit on Saturday. How fun! And, Papa made roast for dinner for the family Saturday night, complete with veggies and potatoes. It was wonderful!

Of course, Julia proved to be a regular ham and even had a taste of her fabulous duck cookie from friend Amy (the blue frosting was too much fun!).


She also wanted to hold Raven a bit that weekend...

All in all we had a really good weekend together, even if it was a little short. I'm so glad my folks were able to come and visit their little granddaughters!