Saturday, November 26, 2011


So for as long as I’ve been alive, it is commonly known that (most) women have cravings during pregnancy.  Some are weird (pickles and ice cream – which, by the way, I’ve never actually met a woman who craved pickles and ice cream while pregnant or otherwise) and some are normal, but it seems that typically a woman will crave something.

I’m not different, and I’ve never really documented before that which I’ve craved and it changes throughout pregnancy, but what else do you do while watching a movie with your hub other than blog, so I figured I’d list out a few for you…

- Grapes… I had this while pregnant with Julia too, and once ate $25 worth of grapes in a week before I realized how expensive they were.

- Juice – Lemonade especially, but juice, juice, juice.  I bought my first gallon of orange juice in… 10 years?… this last week.

- Corn flakes – I bought them for a dish I was making and since, have enjoyed nice crispy (or soggy) corn flakes in nice, cold milk.

- Easy Cheese – that stuff is so nasty and so tasty.

Did I mention grapes?

That’s really about it… and nothing weird.


Move Over, Toyota

Well, after testing driving and almost test driving, we’re fairly certain we’ve narrowed down our Next Vehicle choices to the Honda Odyssey and Kia Sedona.  We don’t plan to purchase until early next year, but we figured now was as good a time as any to test drive.

Yes, for those that wondered, we did test drive the Sienna.  Gotta say that while it’s nice, due to their popularity and sales, it seems that they are able to put any price they want on it to get you the options you want… and… well, Honda and Kia are more “fair” that way.

Have I mentioned, by the way, how much I dislike test driving/shopping for vehicles?  So thankful that I had family members in the business… ‘cause shopping for vehicles alone is painful, but with kids… wow… that is pain beyond reason.  Ha!


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Birthday, Julia! (Video)

Happy 4th Birthday, Julia!

It’s hard to believe, but my baby girl is FOUR YEARS OLD today!  She’s certainly no longer a baby… and she’s been a big sister for over two years… and there is a new baby on the way!

Julia told us a few months ago that she would like a “Hello My Kitty” birthday, and so I planned to give her a Hello Kitty cake and sent Hello Kitty favors to school yesterday for her classmates.  Last night we picked up Julia’s cake, and apparently it was all she could think about from 5 PM on, because this morning, right around 7:15 AM, she came into our room and said, “Can we eat cake now?”

So, bright and early this morning, we sang Happy Birthday, blew out candles, and ate cake for breakfast.  (Mommy says, “YUM!”)

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(Video in a follow-up post…)

Julia enjoyed showing people all day that she is now FOUR!  Yay!

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Later today we celebrated Julia’s birthday again at a Thanksgiving dinner with church friends and their family.  We sang happy birthday again to Julia and their son, AJ, who will be 8 on Saturday.

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When we came home, we opened Julia’s presents (or rather, Julia opened her presents while Raven sat on Daddy’s lap and wailed because she wasn’t allowed to open Julia’s presents).  Here are a few pictures of her opening gifts:

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It’s amazing how much kids change in a year.  This time last year, Julia was still in Pull-Ups… now she has been potty-trained since late January.  She’s grown full into size 4 clothing and size 8 shoes… and her hair keeps on growing!  She continues to lose that ‘baby chunk’ and her face and body have thinned out to where she looks like a little girl now… so much more so than she did two years ago and even a year ago.

She is still our “tender-hearted” one, and she cries at the drop of a hat, whether it’s being scolded, losing her favorite toy, having to try new food, or being beat up on by her sister.  But I noticed something else about Julia as well… when it’s absolutely necessary, she exhibits courage and bravery.  This especially shines through when something happens to Raven – she immediately overcomes any fear or consternation she has and hops to the task.  Sure, it needs to be pretty important – trying new food like lime pear Jell-O, for example, isn’t going to make that list.  But she cares… she loves… and she protects.  It’s amazing to watch her take care of her sister despite their differences (and arguments)… it’s amazing to watch her step up and exhibit courage even when you know she fears.

All in all, I’m pretty amazed and we are so blessed with our darling daughter, Julia.  I am so thankful to have her in our lives, and I’m so thankful that she’s the “big sister” in our family.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

One More Quick Post for This Morning

It’s November 23rd and every year since Julia was born that it is November 23rd, I am reminded that November 23, 2007, was my due date with Julia, and that was the day that I adamantly set up the Christmas tree and because that thing was six inches off center, I picked it up and moved and dang, wouldn’t you know, my water started leaking after that and the morning of the 24th, Julia was born via C-section.

Last night after having seen the Christmas tree put up at school (i.e., daycare), Julia asked if we could put our tree up.  Having decided that my original plan of trying to “do it all” tomorrow was going to fail miserably due to my pregnant state, I agreed that we could put the tree up (hence my artificial tree post last night), and through the weekend we could put lights on, decorate, etc.  So last night, as we put up the tree, I told Julia a shortened version of what happened that day that I went into labor with her and about the day she was born… I told her that mommy was putting up the tree and mommy and daddy had to go to the hospital because Baby Julia was going to come and her immediate reaction was…

… I was born in a hospital?

Yes, yes, you were, because this day and age, most babies are born in hospitals and you were no exception.

Now, due to the recent activity in our household surrounding Adam’s gall bladder, Julia knows you go to the hospital because you are sick, so her correlation and response to my telling her that she was born in a hospital was, I was sick?

Normally most people would respond with, no, no, you weren’t, you were simply born there so we could take you home, but I decided last night that it was okay to tell her that yes, yes, you were sick, and you stayed in the hospital and the doctors took care of you but then you came home with us and look, you are going to be FOUR.  FOUR (on Thursday).  Wow.  Amazing how a five minute tale can bring back all of those memories like they were yesterday. 

And you can rest assured that in my 15-week-pregnant state, I’m being careful about not moving the tree around without assistance this year.


On Health Issues

It’s 2:30 AM and I’m wide awake.  Even though my 2-year-old has slept all night in her bed for at least 4 nights now, thanks to the pregnancy, I am WIDE AWAKE.  Well, that, and work.  Pregnancy woke me up and thinking about work is keeping me from falling back to sleep.  I can’t decide whether I’m still tired or not, so until I determine whether I should go back to bed after having laid there for an hour already or whether I should just head to work and finish out my week around 1 PM, I’m going to blog.

About a year ago… maybe October 2010?… Adam was suffering abdominal pain and I took him to the ER in Pella.  After having had my gall bladder removed just one year prior, my first thought was that he was having a gall bladder attack.  Apparently, though, when doctors in an ER are presented with a  possible reason for pain by a wife who suffered similar pain not-so-long ago, their first instinct is to assume it is something else.

And so, after about four hours, we headed home with heartburn medication.

This is where I need to say that as long as I have known Adam, he’s not had much in the way of heartburn or indigestion.  He eats a lot of different food and drinks a lot of beer and yet, he’s never seemed to suffer from these symptoms.  However, we were on the cusp of some very big decisions in our lives and he was presented with the idea that stress can cause anxiety and indigestion and heartburn and anxiety and all sorts of other things and most likely it was a new way for his body to deal with stress.

Here I will also say that I never bought that line.  I’ve never met someone in my life who has been able to deal with stress as well as he does.  My hub is a mix of obstinate and laid back, and he has always been good at working through stressful situations, at least, to the point where he knows he needs to take a step back and work through them instead of plowing headlong into them like I do.  But I digress.

This happened again about a month later, and it happened while we were surrounded by a lot of people, and automatically we assumed that the indigestion/heartburn was anxiety related, especially after we hopped into the car to head to the ER again only for Adam to calm down about 15 minutes later and be complete fine an hour later.

Then Adam moved off to Chicago, and while he wasn’t suffering much in the way of heartburn/indigestion/anxiety attacks while he was gone, he managed to exhibit a long-suffering case of hives along with other illnesses… stress, stress, stress.

This summer, when Adam joined us in Colorado, he was in a new state, he was without a job, and he didn’t know anybody.  Sounds pretty stressful to me.  However, he wanted to lose a few pounds so started eating pretty well and exercising regularly.  Curiously the symptoms – all of them, even down to the hives, went away for a few months. 

But, then we bought a house and he exercised less and worked more and did house things and okay, let’s be honest, with my work schedule, I am less than the most fantastic cook on the planet right now and some nights struggle to feed my family, period, let alone plan healthy meals.  The heartburn/indigestion/anxiety didn’t come back, but in the last month, the hives did… and oh, yeah, Adam had been eating over-the-counter heartburn medication like it was candy.

Enter about two weeks ago… our family – mainly me and the girls – were finally coming out of a six week stretch of constant sickness… ear infection (me), horrible colds (girls), flu-like symptoms (girls), fevers, etc., etc., etc.  But Adam stayed strong… and then, one day he was knocked completely down… and then, with his immune system shot and hardly eating or doing a think, he had a major terrible “attack” and at 4:30 in the morning on a Saturday, instead of waking me up, he drove himself to the hospital.  After about five hours in the ER, he came home and had been severely dehydrated, low on potassium, etc., etc., etc.  He spent most of the week suffering from a fever and a bad cold, and by the end of the week he felt well enough to go back to work, and then on Thursday afternoon, an “attack” came again.

I have to tell you that I was really worried about him.  Every. Single. Time. he had one of these stinking “attacks”, his symptoms he described didn’t sound like indigestion or heartburn.  Dudes, I am pregnant for the third time – I KNOW indigestion and heartburn.  And anxiety attacks?  WHEN did Adam Draeger EVER start experiencing anxiety attacks?  I mean, REALLY?  So now I am starting to think heart problems or something else because if it’s not gall bladder then what the heck else is it?  (Never mind that the gall bladder is on the exact opposite side of the body as the heart… ha!)

So when this Thursday attack came on, he called me from the ER parking lot and asked me to find him an urgent care or something.  After some discussion, and him starting to feel better, we settled on me finding him a doctor and that afternoon he met Dr. Brian.

Dr. Brian is a home brewer and all around good guy from the way it sounds, and Dr. Brian immediately told Adam this his reaction to Adam’s symptoms was gall bladder.  HA!  As in, DOUBLE HA!  My first reaction, admittedly, was HA, as in, I KNEW IT!  Even though the tests hadn’t come back yet, I felt justified in my earlier “diagnosis” of his problem.  Am I doctor?  Absolutely not.  But sometimes you know certain pains and you know certain people.  So when the tests came back last Friday saying it WAS gall bladder, well, we rejoiced.  We FINALLY FINALLY FINALLY knew what was wrong!  And it wasn’t in Adam’s head and it wasn’t heartburn and oh, my goodness he could finally stop eating heartburn pills like they were candy and whew…

Gall bladders, though, unless something bad has happened with them, aren’t an emergency, so while he needs surgery, he will have a wait a week or two here before it happens.  I’m glad for him that he knows what is wrong now and I’m glad for him that that pain will be gone.  I remember it all too well… first with my pregnancy with Julia and then again with Raven… I tell you what, that pain was worse than labor… and now my only hope is that that darn gall bladder comes out before we head home for Christmas in a few weeks so that we can all enjoy the holidays and family without wondering if another “attack” is going to come along.

So, suffice to say that now I am wide awake… methinks I will take a shower and head to work.


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thoughts on Artificial Christmas Trees

  • Don’t lose the paper that has the color coding for the order of the limbs.  It must be in the box somewhere, so look for it.  If it’s not, replace the tree.  Do not think that because you’ve done it before that you can do it again.  Duh, you only put the thing up once a year.
  • If you change what you do with your tree from year to year, it might be best to document that.  As in, if you decide not to use your largest row one year because of space reasons, maybe make a note about that.  Otherwise, because of bullet point #1 and forgetting about bullet point #2, you will put your limbs on in the wrong order and find yourself taking your tree apart to put it together again… correctly.
  • Artificial pine needles are just as plentiful and horrible (if not more so) to suck up with the vacuum cleaner as real pine needles.  Don’t let the fake tree fool you.
  • Artificial trees are potentially more dangerous than real trees.  Just ask to toddler whose older sister poked her in the eye with a fake tree limb.
  • If the tree stand is broken, replace the tree.  Stat.  Or, at least plan to replace it next year.
  • Based on a conversation with a coworker, do not buy a pre-lit tree.  Eventually those lights die and you have to put strings on anyway.  And then you’re just irritated that part of your tree works, part of it doesn’t and that you still have to put lights on.
  • And, remember… a realistic looking fake tree doesn’t make the tree.  LIGHTS make the tree.  This is why I still love my post-Christmas-originally-$80-marked-down-to-$15 Christmas tree.  LIGHTS.


Terrible, Horrible, Wonderful, Awesome

This post is inspired by my sister-in-law… her Facebook post from yesterday about Target nearly made me die laughing…

I have decided after living in both big and small cities, the amount of money you spend typically on things you do not need has NOTHING to do with the size of the city…

… it only has to do with your proximity to a Target.

When I lived in Cedar Rapids, I lived within 5 miles.  In Pella, within 40 miles.  In Arvada, I’m within 3 miles of 2 – TWOOOOOO – Targets.

I don’t spend more money here because I live a metropolitan area.  I spend more money here because I’m closet to Target.

Oh, Target… how terrible… and yet so awesome… you are.