Thursday, December 31, 2009

Consecrated, Lord, to Thee

This week during practice at church with friend and leader, Jamey, we got onto a discussion regarding giving glory to the Lord and how sometimes in our everyday lives, instead of giving glory to God, we are giving glory to ourselves. I've been thinking and praying on this the last few days in an effort to come up with words for Sunday's service that talks to a new year and finding it in ourselves to give glory to The One who deserves it; giving glory to God.

Repeatedly the word "consecrate" has come to my heart, and so I have been thinking to dive onto that path a little more deeply. A niggle began Tuesday night during practice when we were singing "Glory to God" (by Steve Fee)... in the song, the words "take my life and let it be" are sung, and that prompted in my head the old hymn, "Take My Life and Let It Be", which was written in 1874 by Frances R. Havergal. The first line of the song goes, "Take my life and let it be, consecrated, Lord, to Thee". From there, the word "consecrate" took hold and what it really means.

To consecrate one's self is a sacred term from the 14th century, and basically means "to devote to a purpose with or as if with deep solemnity or dedication" or "to devote irrevocably to the worship of God by a solemn ceremony". As I prayed over this word, it was put on my heart, what better than to consecrate ourselves at the beginning of the year, make a resolution, if you will, to truly devote to the worship of God? Give glory over to God... raise His name in praise... to truly and wholly consecrate ourselves to him? How awesome that one simple and beautiful word can mean so much and truly capture the essence of how we should be in God's presence.

I love the new songs of today's worship, but sometimes the old hymns really say it so simply... so aptly...

Take my life, and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
Take my moments and my days; let them flow in ceaseless praise.
Take my hands, and let them move at the impulse of Thy love.
Take my feet, and let them be swift and beautiful for Thee.

Take my voice, and let me sing always, only, for my King.
Take my lips, and let them be filled with messages from Thee.
Take my silver and my gold; not a mite would I withhold.
Take my intellect, and use every power as Thou shalt choose.

Take my will, and make it Thine; it shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart, it is Thine own; it shall be Thy royal throne.
Take my love, my Lord, I pour at Thy feet its treasure store.
Take myself, and I will be ever, only, all for Thee.

Let those words play on your heart as you begin the New Year; consider consecrating yourself to the Lord... truly giving yourself over to the worship of Him... devoting yourself, mind, body, and soul, when you enter into worship with Him. Resolve your days to flow with praise to God, through the good and the bad. Vow to let your movements be movements directed by Him. Your words... your song... be His words, be His song. Our thoughts and deeds should be directed by our desire to praise Him; to pour our hearts and our love out over others as an act of worship to Him. Take my life, Take my will, Take my heart, Take my love... Take me, Lord, take me. Take my life, and let it be, all for You and for Your glory.

erin

Hanging with the Girls Today

Each morning that I'm home with the girls this last week, I've been trying to promote play time on the floor for Raven... it is all too easy to swaddle her up and tote her around... but, she needs to be free to move and play and be... and learn to roll over and such!  Julia enjoys the play time too... we read books and she loves to play with Raven's little legs and try to get Raven to play with little baby toys... it's too fun to watch!  These first two pictures are of our play time together today.

The third picture I thought was cute... Adam was holding Raven after dinner while I was cleaning up and Raven was actually calm and just hanging out... :)

erin

Happy New Year!

I am anxious to see the ball drop tonight as the New Year is rung in!

I wanted to share this picture... it is a great example of how our year ended...!  Ha!  Adam and I joked tonight that we'll think back on Raven's first three months as our really good baby, but since then, not-so-much.  She has taken to being quite cranky lately unless Mommy is holding her... or, quite cranky if Mommy is in the vicinity and Mommy isn't holding her... I have reports that when I am not around, she's not so bad.  :)  Julia wanted desperately to hold her a variety times today, but at no time was Raven happy when Julia was holding her... I finally snapped a picture of what we were experiencing and left it at that. 

Julia, on the other hand, has been in a great mood lately and while we had a rough few weeks that I would attribute to adjusting to being a Big Sister, she has been a peach the last couple of weeks and really a dear to be around.  Her vocabulary is expanding by leaps and bounds and this week she has really taken to adding consonants to the ends of her words (up until this week, I had no idea if it was a "bug", "ball", "book", or what have you unless it was directly being pointed at, etc.).  She especially loves words that end in the "k" sound and "book", "stuck", "icky", "yuck", and others have heavy emphasis.  She is very proud of the fact that she can ask specifically for one of us to read her a book and we actually know what she means.  Finally.  Without a big production of trying to figure it out.

Also, Julia has finally learned her Peas and Thikoos and it is sweeter than sweet to hear her ask for "more, peas" and "thikoo" when you give her what she desires.  And, after months and months of Daddy's hard work, Julia is finally saying "Bup!" ("Up!")  What's really been fun is having full conversations with her that I still don't understand, but the facial expressions and obvious deliberateness with which she talks is astounding and fascinating and comical all at the same time.

This last week Adam finished the bunk beds and Julia is super excited about her new bed and we will be using some Christmas money to purchase mattresses for them this weekend.  Each night she tries to get us to let her sleep on the hard plywood slap that that is on the base of her bed... but, soon enough we will be tackling tucking her in at night and hoping she actually stays there.  I hope the transition goes smoothly; we are hoping in a few weeks to move Raven to the crib, as she is sleeping 9 - 10 hours straight at night now.

Today was fun to watch Julia's amazement as we took down the Christmas tree... she seemed quite surprised that the tree could be taken apart in pieces and put into a box... she wanted very badly to help Mommy with this project so she was in charge of keeping the box flaps open when I put the limbs away.  Julia was also enthralled with the number of boxes we have in which we pack the ornaments, and left and right she was picking up and saying "bock", "bock", "bock" over and over again.  Thankfully she hears and obeys when Mommy says, "hand the box to mom!"

At any rate, I am excited to see what this next year brings in the way of watching our girls grow and learn.  It is so hard to believe that two years ago Julia was a tiny baby and now she is a Big Girl and she has a quickly-growing baby sister (almost into 6 mo one-piece outfits!).

erin

I Resolve: Reflection on 2009

This last year hasn't been a bad year by any stretch of the imagination... we welcomed Raven into our lives, we have all remained relatively healthy (minus a gall bladder), and we both still have our jobs.  There isn't much I can complain about regarding 2009.

However, one thing that strikes me over and over again when I think back on the last 12 months is that for the most part, I flew by the seat of my pants.  I didn't plan ahead (I didn't plan at all), I didn't do much of anything with intention, and mostly... I *just* lived.  Each day I woke up and did what I needed to do to get through the day knowing/hoping that I had another chance at survival the next day.  I wouldn't say that I was or have been depressed at all... but I certainly wasn't living with any real intention.

I didn't even make any resolutions this last January... and even though I rarely keep up with them, I always make resolutions. 

I wouldn't say that there are any real reasons for why I chose to live this way... I simply didn't choose to live any other way... to live with conviction... to live with intention... to be deliberate... to live in confidence... to be my own person.  I gave up even before the year had began.

These last few days I have really been looking forward to 2010 and I found it comical as I didn't really know why I was so looking forward to 2010 but it seemed like a good goal to reach... 2010... a new year!  And then I started thinking about it and realizing what I've stated above... and it's no wonder I want a clean slate.  It would be nice to live with purpose, don't you think?  Instead of merely existing, to really exist in the world and be a part of it from day to day.  It wasn't a "bad" year... it wasn't a "good" year... it was... a year.

In the scheme of time, a year is not a whole long time, but in the scheme of a life... say, 80 years... say 100 years, for easy math, it is 1% of a life.  People quibble over less percentages than that in other areas of their lives... so how could I even think that one year was "meaningless" in my life?  Ugh.  Such a thought.

This post might not mean much to you... it might be confusing... but it's been brewing in my head and I needed to get it out.  A good friend of mine said (wrote) today that she is to Be Intentional... and wow, it was really profound to me.  As in, "duh, why have I chosen to not live intentionally?  How hard is it really to Be Intentional?"  I shouldn't steal her resolution but I suppose I will anyway and add it to my list for 2010. 
And... all that doesn't mean we didn't have our fill of interesting episodes this year... some good, some bad, and all of which really make you think about life and what it means and where you are headed and who you want to be and... do I really need to go on?  But, you need to do something with all of that thinking.

I hope that 2010 finds you all living intentionally... that it is a good year for you all!  I'm still working on my resolutions... but I already have a bunch and am excited for the new year to begin.

erin

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Good Morning!

Raven says "Good Morning!" to you folks out there in blog land!

We had a bit of a rough night last night, but we are all alive and well this morning.  Thus far the hives seem to be staying away, so I was able to start nursing Raven again last night... it had been a week.  I wasn't producing as much milk as she wanted and we ended up feeding her a bottle last night to supplement the nursing as she was Stark RAVEN Mad!  Then she was up three or four times last night... yeeouch!  Add that on top of the fact that I'm still sleeping on the edge of consciousness... double ouch... and then Julia was up crying again in the middle of the night... triple pains in my head today...

... but, all the same, it is a glorious morning, the girls were happy and bright-eyed this morning and I felt overwhelmed with love and emotion this morning and we got ready for the day.  Who's blessed?  That's right... I am! 

erin

Monday, December 28, 2009

Tradition!: Couch Picture

As is the tradition in my family, each year the cousins take a "couch picture" together.  Here I present to you this year's "Couch Picture" of cousins Laila, Hannah, Julia, and Raven.  You would laugh if you saw the progression of pictures as each girl was adamant that SHE needed to hold Raven and have the picture taken again... this picture turned out well and Raven was fairly happy but by the end, Laila was bored and Raven was screaming.  Too funny!

Grammy also had her picture taken on the couch with the girls... how hard is it to get four little girls to look at one camera?  Obviously very hard.  :)
 
erin

Christmas with Cousins

This weekend (26th through today), my parents (Jeff & Sue) were able to visit with my nieces (my sister Melissa's girls - Laila & Hannah).  It was such a blessing to have them visit and for the cousins to spend some time together.  This is the first time that Laila and Hannah met Raven, and Julia hadn't seen Laila or Hannah since March.  Considering how much Julia has 'grown up' in the last nine months, I was really looking forward to the girls spending time together as Julia is better able to interact and play with other kids.

We allowed Julia to stay up until they arrived Saturday night, knowing that they wouldn't get to spend much time together beyond yesterday/Sunday.  The girls had a lot of fun bouncing around on the air mattress.  On Sunday, the girls stayed home with Papa and Grammy while Adam and I went to church.  After church, we watched the Packers together and Adam really experienced his nieces at that point... he was Uncle Jungle Gym for a little while and it sure was fun watching them bond together!

After Julia woke up from her nap, we had "Christmas".  The girls received some really cute ornaments (yay, Raven received her first and so-far-only "Baby's First Christmas" ornament -- thanks, Papa & Grammy!).  Julia and I received super CUTE aprons (can't wait to get in the kitchen and cook with her in them!) and Raven received some cute outfits.  Grammy loved her sewing machine and Papa likes his new jeans and books.  The Iowa Santa also brought gifts for Laila and Hannah and very quickly Barbie, Little Pet Shop, and Strawberry Shortcake pieces were strewn around the living room.  :)  Raven and Adam were pooped and took a quick snooze during all of the unwrapping happenings.

Julia made sure that she was involved in whatever the Big Girls were doing, even if that meant simply sitting at the island on the bar stools.  Adam thought it would be fun to teach the girls how to play Candyland, as we thought it would be a game that Julia would enjoy, and even though Adam officially "won", Hannah ended up coming from behind and beating Julia and Laila (much to Laila's disappointment). 

While Papa and Erin were off buying much needed supplies at Wal-Mart after viewing the De Vries lights, Adam whipped out harmonicas and each of the girls played and played on them and were excited to learn that they were allowed to take their harmonicas home with them.  Hopefully they didn't cause bleeding ears on the ride home today, and I'm sure Daddy Paul will be SO excited when he learned that Uncle Adam gave his daughters harmonicas as gifts...!  Sorry!  

They ended the night with more air mattress bouncing and then it was time to shut out the lights and hit the hay.  Laila and Hannah headed home with Papa and Grammy today (minus one little hamster which Auntie Erin promised to find and send on its way) with promises of visits from their cousins Julia and Raven soon.  We hope to make it north to Minnesota in February so that the girls have more time to get to know each other and spend more time together.

erin 

Baby Toys

This last week Julia and I decided Raven needed some of her own toys so Julia and I pawed through a box of her baby toys and we tried to introduce Raven to some of them... not so interested yet, but I'm sure she'll get the hang of toys soon enough!  Especially with Big Sister Julia helping out...!
 

Daddy and His Girls

 

Little Drummer Girl

Adam came out with his guitar to show me a new song he had learned, and Julia made a beeline for her little drum and sticks.  She brought it over to me frantically asking me to help her put it on, and instantly she picked up her sticks and started to play along with daddy.  Melt. My. Heart.

erin

Christmas Lights

(This is a video. You must visit my blog in order to view it. Thanks!)

video

For the last few years, we have driven to a home outside of town to view their Christmas lights display... it is quite the spread! Besides the fact that we enjoy viewing Christmas lights in general, Julia quite enjoys it as well. While we had gone out earlier this month to view them, we thought it would be a treat to drive my nieces to see them as well. Also, the De Vries family, due to health concerns, has decided to no longer put on the display after this year... so sadly, this is the last time we'll see them. Thankfully Adam thought to take video of it so we will still be able to "enjoy" the lights in the future.

erin

Bouncing

video

(This is a video. You must visit my blog in order to view it. Thanks!)

Why rent a bouncy gym thing for a party when you can just blow up an air mattress instead? :)

My nieces (Laila and Hannah) were visiting this weekend and we set them up on the king-sized air mattress in the living room. Within minutes of setting it up, all three girls (Laila, Hannah, and Julia) were having a ball bouncing around. The bouncing never got old and even recommenced this morning before I whisked Julia and Raven off to daycare... I am sure Julia will be sad to see that the air mattress is gone!

At one point, Laila was pulling WWF moves and jumping off of the ottoman onto the air mattress which would send Julia flying into the air (and into a fit of giggles). So cute and so fun!

erin

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas from Julia and Raven!

Julia says, "Jesus" and "Christmas" and "Tree"... I think that means, "Merry Christmas from my sister and me as we celebrate the birth of our Savior Jesus!  And I LOVE Christmas Trees!"
 

 

Santa Came!

This morning we opened our gifts to each other and from "Santa".  Julia had a great time opening presents and with each book she received, she wanted to read it immediately, so she would open a gift and then we would sit and read a book.  So cute!  Julia received a Little People Anniversary Farm set and a few books and Raven received a rolling cheetah toy (that Daddy needs to oil up because it is SQEEEEAKEEEE!) and a book too.

Adam received two books on beer history and a horror flick and I received two John Mayer CDs (woohoo!). 

This weekend my parents are driving down with our nieces (the girls' cousins, Laila and Hannah) and we will have another "Christmas" on Sunday afternoon (somehow we'll have to work the Packers in there too... ha!).  We are looking forward to their visit as I'm sure the girls will all have a fun time together.  And, ha, we can decide whether having kids so close together is such a good idea as we'll have four girls ages five and younger running loose in our house...!

Merry Christmas!
erin

Light

Last night was our church's Christmas Eve service, aptly titled "Light". Through song, scripture, and sermon, we were reminded that Christ is the Light of the World.

The service began at 11 pm. For various reasons, I wasn't partaking in the service (other than attending), and thankfully I was feeling well enough to go. We put Julia and Raven to bed at 8 pm in the hopes that they would sleep a couple of hours, and they did. I got them up at 10:30 and packed them into the stroller and walked them to church in a light rain. (Thank goodness for a rain coat!)

Julia and I really enjoyed the service (minus the horrifying crying during the middle of a narrative when Julia bonked her head on the pew and lost a shoe... whoops!). The music was awesome (see video clip), and near the end of the service we all lit our candles. Julia even had a candle and she managed to light it and blow it out repeatedly without setting the church on fire.

It was a beautiful service and I feel fortunate that I was able to attend it and experience it with my family... most especially my girls. I had misgivings about taking a toddler and tiny baby to church in the middle of the night, but in the end, I'm ever so glad I did and I can see this service as being part of our future family traditions... it was simply amazing.

(Please note that this is a video. In order to view it, you must visit my blog. Thanks!)

video



(Please excuse how this picture turned out... I had a sleeping baby and a camera in one hand and was trying to hold onto Julia and her candle in the other to keep her from dropping the candle or lighting herself on fire, etc., etc. Ha! I thought it was a neat picture and wanted to share it with you!)

erin

Sharing Love

Just some cute pictures that deserve being posted but no real stories behind...
 
... Fist bumping with Daddy (oh, yeah, it's a new thing... too funny!)
... Adam and Julia playing "Night, Night!"
... Julia in a Santa hat (cute!)
... Raven giving out a smile.
... Julia helping mommy make dinner last night (don't worry; the stove isn't on at this point... I just let her stir all of the ingredients together and when it was time to do the actual cooking, I had her help me with something else).
 
erin

Gifties!

video

(Please note that this is a video. In order to view it, you must visit my blog. Thanks!)

Daycare held their Christmas party on December 11th... and poor Julia missed her first Christmas party because she had a high fever the day before. So, I picked up Raven and all of the gifts and came home. I took pictures and video of Julia opening her gift from her daycare lady... and capture two "new" words.... "Wooooow!" and "Thank You!" Once again we have Daddy to thank for a new fun word... the drawn-out Wow. :) Too cute!

erin

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas...

... from our family to yours! We hope that you have a beautiful Christmas!

Jesus, Light of the World
by: Third Day

The most beautiful night of the year
All the stars light up the sky
And the city is sparkling with silver and gold
From a million points of light
A reflection of something that’s deeper within
Just a flicker of something more

Jesus, Light of the World
Shine through the darkness
Bright as the day
Jesus, Light of the World
Shine in our hearts
Show us the way tonight

Who is this child in a manger?
Kings bow down and angels sing
The Lord of the Universe
Has come here to save us
A precious Offering
All the heavens above and the earth below
Are filled with the light of Your love

Jesus, Light of the World
Shine through the darkness
Bright as the day
Jesus, Light of the World
Shine in our hearts
Show us the way tonight

Jesus, Light of the World
Shine through the darkness
Bright as the day
Jesus, Light of the World
Shine in our hearts
Show us the way

Jesus, shine, shine
Show us the way
Light of the world
Shine in our hearts
Show us the way tonight,
Oh, Show us the way tonight


May Jesus be a light in your world today and always! He is the way, the truth, and the life! God Bless and Merry Christmas! Thank you, Father, for sending your Son to us... born a helpless babe... raised by a young girl and her husband... to lead a group of disciples and spread The Word... to die on the cross for all of our sins. You are an awesome God, and we worship you!

With love this Christmas Day,
erin

Talking to "Gukie"

video

(Please note that this is a video. In order to view it, you must visit my blog. Thanks!)

One of Julia's favorite friends (she positively LIGHTS UP when he is around!) is Lucas. (We also call him Lukie.) Julia knows Lucas through daycare and Lucas' mommy is one of my besties. Lucas is off with his family to North Dakota for the holidays, and Julia is sure to miss him. She was ever so excited when I put their holiday card up and it was low enough for her to see... and talk to... and play peek-a-boo with...! SO CUTE!And... I realized, that besides "Jesus" and "Raven" (neither of which she does very often and they are hard to understand), she absolutely knows who Lucas is... "Gukie!", she screams. "Gukie!" SO CUTE!

erin

Conversations

video

(Please note that this is a video. In order to view it, you must visit my blog. Thanks!)

I have tried lately to be better at capturing video of Raven as she is starting to make noises and such. Julia is very interested in what I am doing when I am videoing, so she is often involved as well. Here you can see the three of us having a multitude of conversations.

New Family Hobby: Cheese

We decided to start a "family hobby" and our family hobby is making cheese.  We haven't made actual cheese yet, but we have started with the basics (so far we have made yogurt and labneh).  We are taking an "online course" that Adam found here.

Our first course was making yogurt, and it turned out well.  It required a half gallon of milk and store-bought Dannon yogurt.  We ended up with two quarts of yogurt... and it is good, good!

Our second course was making labneh (pictures seen here).  Labneh is yogurt that has been... strained of the whey... for lack of better description.  Here we have stirred the yogurt (with salt added to it), then scoop it into a clean and sterile cloth and hung so that it can weep.  Twenty-four hours later, labneh is formed.  Labneh is a traditional food of the Middle East and Southeast Asia.  And labneh goes really well with pita chips!

So, after getting our labneh started, Adam and I made up pita bread (yes, from scratch -- pictures seen here).  The next night, Adam baked us up some pita chips, balled up the labneh, and we had ourselves a snack.  DELISH!

Our next course is Neufch√Ętel... what you also might know as a form of cream cheese.  We were planning to do it this week, but my hives episode got in the way of things... so this next week we'll be diving into the next course... and eventually working our way to other cheeses.  It has been a blast so far and we even get Julia involved with stirring, etc.  For now, Raven enjoys being held and watching everything take place.  But I'm sure that eventually she will be a cheesemaker as well.  :)

erin


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Good Day

I turned out to be a good day after all.

Raven laughed.

:)

Back to the Doctor

I went back to the doctor today again when it seemed like things were starting to get bad again.  (I started to break out on my neck, chest, and face this morning around 8 am.)  I saw a different doctor as my doctor was out.  While I am the most severe case they have ever seen of hives, they didn't think it warranted IV drugs (yet).  I am to take my Prednisone (taken), along with Benadyl and Zantac.

The allergic reaction could have been triggered by something new, something old that I am suddenly allergic to (which would make it very hard to pinpoint what that would be), or nothing at all.  If it was the hops, even though the hops are out of my system by now, the hives can last up to six weeks in some form or another.  If it was the beer/hops, drinking it again to determine that could cause an even worse reaction and land me in the hospital... so probably won't be doing that!  But, it might not be.  It could have been any number of things that day separately or together... that's the hard thing with hives... they can come out of seemingly nowhere and caused by seemingly nothing.

I have deep purplish coloring where the "old" hives were; so my skin is very blotching.  The doctor said that most likely the discoloration will eventually go away.

I am unable to nurse Raven until I am completely off the meds, and my milk supply is diminishing rapidly.  I only hope I'll be able to nurse her again after this is all said and done.

At any rate, I'll be sleepy and grumpy and itchy for the next several days... yay!  But, here's hoping I'm finally on the mend.  While today's hives are bad, they aren't as bad as they were yesterday.  So that's a positive!

erin

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

One Visit Too Many

I thought I would write a blog post to update you on my hives sitch.

I had my steroid shot at 12:30 and by 1:30 pm, my body was on fire.  Bad, bad, bad.  By 2:30 pm, I was able to get the girls down for a nap so I took my next dose of Benadryl and laid down too.  An hour later and my hives were looking a lot better.

However, tonight we had an appointment and on the way there, Julia puked all over herself and her coat and the DVD player and... yah.  It was disgusting.  This would be about the time my hives started to act up again in a big, bad way... basically, I was having a stressful moment deal with a husband screaming about puke (sorry, Adam, I love you, but you were yelling loudly about the puke) and a kid who was covered in puke... trying to clean her up in misty 30-some degree weather... oh, yah, my hives loved that.

By 6 pm I was having a full-on hives attack again and I could hardly drive back home.  I dropped Adam and the kids off and went straight to urgent care.  By the time the doctor saw me, my hands, feet, and face were swelled up bad with hives all over them.  (My whole body was/is covered in them, including inside my ears and even my lips now.)  They gave me a shot of Benadryl, a shot of epinephrine, and two pills of some sort that I don't recall what they were but, hey, that combo seems to be helping.  After about an hour, my body was calmed back down again and my face (minus my lip) had returned to normal size and not so hive-y.  I am not terribly itchy right now which is good; just in a lot of pain.  But, it is not bad pain... just that achy muscle pain.  I am to keep taking Benadryl pills and then go see my doctor again tomorrow.

We hope Julia was just suffering car sickness or something; she seems fine now and hasn't puked again and doesn't have a fever.  And Raven?  Well, she's a peach.  Good news for the day amidst all the crap: she slept 10 hours straight last night.  Wow!!!  That will be helpful when we move her to big sister's room (Adam is nearly done with the bunkbeds).

Here's hoping that tomorrow is a better day.  Through it all I remember that God is good and that there are lessons to be learned in all of this.  Today's lesson?  As much as I like to think I have an iota of control over my life, I really, really don't. 

Off to bed soon; will let you know how I'm doing tomorrow.

erin

ps. Mom and MIL... I had just laid down for a nap when you tried to chat me... sorry I missed you!
pps.  I do not have shingles.

Hiveville

I have some fun and positive posts coming soon full of great pictures and videos of the girls.  However, this blog is about my life too and well, I need some prayers.  On Sunday afternoon I started developing a case of hives (possible due to a beer?  but not sure; it could be anything, really).  They got progressively worse overnight so I went to the doctor yesterday.  They gave me a shot of steroids and a prescription for Prednisone... low enough doses of each to make sure I could continue breastfeeding, but hopefully high enough to send the hives packing.

Fast forward to this morning and my hives are worse still.  Sleeping last night was next to impossible, and today I'm light headed and dizzy... not a surprise since the hives have climbed up my neck and have attacked my face and my scalp.  (Of course I can't help but have thoughts every now and again that Adam will come home at lunch to find me passed out from shock and the girls screaming and crying.)  I called the doctor again today in tears... I am not just itchy, but my hives sting and burn and some are really painful too.  It is so bad that Raven nursing hurts and itches terribly and simply carrying Julia from one room to the other sends my hip and arms into a painful itch attack.

I am headed back into the clinic while Adam is home for lunch for another steroid shot in hopes that I will start to find relief.  I also told the nurse that if I needed to 'pump & dump' (due to a higher dosage) so that the hives went away quicker, I would do that, because seriously, I cannot function.  Writing or putting away the dishes or washing my hands hurts, walking causes my clothes to lightly graze my skin which causes me to itch, etc., etc.  So, if you pray, prayers would be appreciated.  I know hives doesn't sound like it should be all that terrible to deal with, but it's difficult to handle when trying to take care of two small children.

erin

Monday, December 14, 2009

Oxymoron or Ironic

It is too late to decide definitively whether the incidence from last night is an oxymoron or simply ironic, though after looking into it a bit at Merriam-Webster's Online Dictonary, I think it's a little bit of both.

Last night, as we were watching a show, we heard a faint beeping sound, but couldn't figure out from where it was coming.  After a little bit I realized that it was coming through the monitor in Julia's room.  Upon further inspection (i.e., looking out our front window), we realized that there was snow removal equipment out in front of our house removing snow from across the street at the Pella Manor.

Oh, yes.  Snow removal equipment that beep, beep, beeped as it backed up over and over again... outside the front of our house... at 10:30 pm... on a Sunday night.

So, you might be wondering where the oxymoron or irony in this is... well, if you live in Pella, you might *get* it right off the bat... since we have lived here (five years now), there is an unspoken rule that you shouldn't mow your lawn on Sunday.  We were even jokingly told this by the Chamber representative who drove us around looking at the town while we were here for our interviews with Pella Corp.  So, to keep peace with the neighbors (and you must know we are "neighbors" with approximately 100 older folks across the street), we don't mow on Sunday.  Even though Sunday might be the only day we have "free" to do yard work, we don't do it.

So, it was quite a surprise to see SNOW REMOVAL EQUIPMENT clanging and banging and BEEPING around out front last night (which is also out front of the homes of approximately 100 older folks) on a SUNDAY night until MIDNIGHT.  Midnight, people.  MIDNIGHT.  I have no idea how Adam fell asleep or how Julia and Raven stayed asleep, but I laid there whilst the beep, beep, beep played on and composed a blog post in my head...

erin

Friday, December 11, 2009

Update on Julia

A quick update on Julia... she has been fever-free since this morning.  Of course, will keep her home and relaxin' a day or two more and hopefully she'll be able to go back to daycare on Monday.  Yay!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Hello, Influenza

Last night around 6:30 pm we noticed that Julia had a fever and it turned out to be a rather high one (over 103).  We put her to bed early and checked on her regularly through the night hoping her fever would break... it seemed that it did this morning, and she seemed quite chipper.  However, around 11:30 am it came back (along with a mad set of chills) and by 3:30 pm I was slightly panicked as her temp was up to 105 and Tylenol wasn't doing anything for it. 

By 7 pm I had decided to take her to the Urgent Care (now called Convenience Care at our hospital... and it is oh, so convenient... but not oh, so cheap!).  After meeting with the doctor and holding her down TWICE to get ibuprofin into her (she puked up the first dose all over me and all over herself), the doctor determined that she had influenza.  Which variety?  We don't know.  We decided not to do THAT testing (pokes and blood draws on an already over-tired and freaked out child = no fun for anyone), but if she isn't better by Monday, then we are to take her back in for more extensive tests (i.e., better = fever gone).

Poor Julia.  Daddy is staying home with her tomorrow so that Mommy can go to Cedar Rapids for work and her work holiday party.  Mommy will stay home tomorrow night so Daddy can go to his homebrew club anniversary/holiday party.  We are canceling our trip to visit our friends Wanda and Xander this weekend, and Julia is also missing her holiday party at daycare tomorrow.  She missed it last year as she wasn't going to daycare on Fridays then, and now tomorrow she will stay home.  I will still take her gift, though, and pick up her exchange gift tomorrow night.

Thankfully the daycare lady agreed that it would be a good idea to still take Raven to daycare as she is not sick and it is a break away from her sick sister (and her sick sister's germs all over her!).  So, hopefully Daddy won't have too horrible a day keeping a sicky comfy on the couch and plied with hugs, cuddles, liquids, and movies.  :)

I suppose when God speaks and tells you to slow down a tad, if you don't listen, He will find a way to make it happen anyway.  Ha!

erin

Child of God

video

(This is a video collage of pictures... if you receive this via email, you must visit my blog to view the video.)

Raven was baptized this last Sunday at our church, Trinity Reformed. We were blessed that family were able to attend the baptism with us: Grandpa Ron & Buscha Marcia, Grandma Sue, Great-Grandma Marcella, and Great-Grandpa John.

After the baptism, we had a luncheon at our home where friends and our pastor and his family joined us and our family in fellowship. We had a "soup bar", for lack of better explanation, and folks munched on GEMS croissants and had a pick of chili, chicken dumpling, and cheeseburger chowder.

We are so blessed to have such a loving and wonderful church family that complements our "real" family... you all help us to feel as though we have a "family" away from home! And, to our "real" family... thank you for continuing to love and support us, and for driving and being here for those "big" moments in our lives.

love, erin

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Oh, Christmas Tree

Julia was delighted when she found upon coming home from daycare on Friday that the tree was full of ornaments... and I thoroughly enjoyed watching her really experience Christmas for the first time (this may be her third Christmas, but it is the first time she seems old enough to really care!).

Thanksgiving 2009

video

(This is a video... if you receive this via email, you must visit my blog to view the video.)

We traveled to Wisconsin for Thanksgiving this year. The above video is a highlight of pictures from the weekend. We left on Wednesday and drove to Mauston, Wisconsin, where we stayed with my Grandma (Marcella) Schroeder. It rained the entire trip but we managed to do the trip in 6.5 hours... not bad with an infant and a hungry toddler in the car. Grandma had dinner ready for us (chicken soup with spaetzel). We chatted with Grandma for a while and then we all went bed.

Thursday morning we drove north to Spencer to celebrate Thanksgiving with the Draeger (and Bannach) clan. Lunch was delicious as usual, including the brandy slush and pumpkin pie. Thanksgiving Day is usually spent catching the Packers vs. Lions game as well, and then vegging in front of the TV and hanging out with family. Also, I coerced Claire (Adam's sister; expecting in January) to open her baby shower gift from us, as she was opening her gift from Shannon (Brian's wife) as she couldn't be there Saturday for the baby shower. (I suck; I *had* to have her open her gift.)

Friday, Adam's mom watched the girls and Adam, his dad, and I went to Wausau to check out Red Eye Brewing. We had lunch there (fabulous pizzas and the cheese tray -- yum!) and tasted the local beers. After a stop at a local grocery (and beforehand I did my one quick stop of Black Friday shopping at Wal-Mart to pick up a few more items for the baby shower), we headed back to Spencer. We stopped at the Maranatha Market, run by local Amish and/or Mennonite (I am pretty certain I saw a Mennonite cap on a gal but there were Amish and a buggy on the label).

We were back at Adam's folks a short bit before driving to Neillsville to visit my Uncle Corey, Aunt Dixie, and Cousin Brock. We had pizza from Pizza Hut (yum!) for dinner with them and then played with the girls and watched a bit of TV before heading back to Spencer. It was so good to see them! And, Julia seems to enjoy a bit of hockey.

Saturday was the day of the baby shower for Claire. It was a lot of fun hanging out with the relatives, eating lunch, playing games, and watching Claire open her gifts. She received some really great stuff! We are so excited to be welcoming Baby Schiller this coming January! :)

Saturday evening we drove out into "the country" a bit to see Adam's high school friends; it was good to catch up with them also... and the group continues to grow as more babies are born!

Sunday morning we loaded up the car and drove to Tomah where we visited my folks and Grandpa (John) Rischette and ate lunch and hung out for a bit. The chili was delicious and perfect before heading on the long drive home. We left Tomah right around 2 pm and arrived back home this side of 9 pm. We put Julia straight to bed as she only napped for an hour in the car.

What a fun weekend! :)

Erin

Julia's 2nd Birthday: Blow Out the Candles

video

(This is a video... if you receive this via email, you must visit my blog to view the video.)

Ha, the highlight of this video... me suggesting (not so lightly) in the background that Adam take a picture... little did I know that he was videoing... oh, well!

Julia's 2nd Birthday: If You're Happy and You Know It

video

(This is a video... if you receive this via email, you must visit my blog to view the video.)

Winter Wonderland

This is looking from the garage towards the back of the house as I went to pick up the girls from daycare today.  I thought the view, regardless of it being the back of our house, was breathtaking.  Even though snow is cause for treacherous driving and cancellations, it is also quite beautiful to experience and begs us to slow down and observe the world around us.

erin

Friday, December 4, 2009

2 Year Appointment

Julia had her 2-year appointment on Tuesday (December 1).  She threw an absolute fit pretty much from the moment we walked back to the exam room... her appointment included holding her down various times so that the doctor could look in her ears, nose, and mouth... so her head could be measured... so she her height could be measured... the only time she didn't throw a fit was when I set her on the weight scale.

At any rate, she proved to be 26 lb 2 oz clothed, and she is 34.5 inches tall.  The weight is 50th percentile and the height is 60th.  She is doing well on the development chart (knowing words, walking/running, acting like a 2-yr-old, etc., etc.), so we are glad for that. 

I had to laugh at how different her appointment was than Raven's just two weeks before... and knowing that eventually Raven will be acting like Julia did.  (I've been having to hold Julia down for these appointments since her 15-mo checkup this last winter.)  Raven slept through Julia's whole appointment... what a blessing!  I am extremely thankful that there didn't need to be shots... I had enough bruises from her head-butting and kicking as it was...!  Nothing like explaining that your kid gave you a fat lip!  Ha!

erin

Raven

It has been over a week since posting to the blog and I have a number of things I want to post... but, it might be next week before I get to them.  In the meantime, I wanted to share this cutie picture of Raven... she was hanging out with Adam almost two weeks ago and I thought it was a cute look and took a picture with my phone... I found this picture in my email inbox as I was clearing it out today and thought, good blog post.  :)

Busy around these parts, but trying not to be insanely so.  We came home from a good and busy Thanksgiving weekend Sunday night and the week started off and running early Monday morning.  This weekend is Raven's baptism, and then we have a little break in the entertaining biz and whatnot.  :)  I will be posting... videos from Julia's b-day party... pictures from Thanksgiving... pictures / video from Raven's baptism... and whatnot, next week.

Have a good weekend!  :)

erin