Thursday, June 28, 2012

It’s not always peaches and cream

I’ve noticed that lately my posts have been towards the upbeat – I don’t talk much anymore about the negative in our lives, as if I’ve completely wiped that part out of my mind and figure you don’t need or want to know about it.  But last night was significant and I feel compelled to share.  It also reminds me that this blog is about our lives and not just about all of the happy things that happen.

For days now I’ve been planning to take the girls to the bakery in Arvada to buy them marshmallows on a stick – it’s a silly story, but anytime we go through Starbucks they always ask for cake balls on a stick and I’ve learned not to buy them those – very messy.  But the girls always thought they were marshmallows on a stick and I knew the local bakery had them and considering how many times I said, “Next time”, I figured I owed them.

So after picking up the girls yesterday we went to the bakery and I let them pick out marshmallows on a stick.  I also decided to pick up a few other treats considering my father- and brother-in-law were in town.

Being a mom who experiences guilt, I guess that’s where the mistake was.  I bought treats with nuts on them – what was I thinking?  Julia has had a peanut allergy that has gotten progressively worse since we first found out about it since she was 15 months old, but never bad enough to the point that we needed to consider removing peanuts from our house altogether.  And I’m not saying we need to do that now, but we do need to be more careful.

Julia, who normally is very cautious about all nuts (and jelly – she won’t eat jelly because it goes with peanut butter and peanut butter “makes [her] sick”), but she couldn’t pass up a bite of carrot cake last night.  The carrot cake seemed to only have crushed walnuts so it didn’t trigger a red flag.  Unfortunately within minutes of eating it, her lips started to swell up.  Within 15 minutes, she was having a hard time breathing and hives were breaking out.

I decided we needed to go to urgent care so my father-in-law (who graciously offered to come with me) and I headed to the one about three miles north of where we lives.  The mention of nut allergy immediately brought out a nurse and doctor who, after checking Julia over for about five minutes, said she needed to go to the emergency room.  Back in the van and now we were driving to three miles south of where we live to the nearest hospital.  The urgent care doctor said he would call ahead, and thanks to our quick thoughts to give her children’s allergy medicine before we left, he decided she didn’t need an ambulance.  And thankfully that allergy medicine was starting to lessen Julia’s difficulty breathing.

After we arrived at the emergency room, we were quickly escorted to a room after Julia’s vitals were taken and she was assessed and given Prednisone (steroid).  Then it was a lesson in patience as we waited for the swelling and hives to go down. After discussion with the doctor, it was determined that most likely Julia is allergic to more than just peanuts, and so our new mantra is, “No nuts, PERIOD”.

Unfortunately two hours after she had the Prednisone, Julia threw it up, and so we had to wait longer to see if all of the swelling and hives would get worse again.  Thankfully they didn’t, so about 4.5 hours after we started our adventure last night, we were finally home and I tucked Julia in bed at 10:45 pm.

My father-in-law was a super big help in keeping both Julia and I entertained (he is a RIOT!) and also in helping me clean up the puke (thank you, Ron!).  Julia was such a trooper and only shed a few tears after her blanket was “dirty” (puked on) and she was tired and wanted to go home.  She didn’t like having to trade her dress for a super big-for-her t-shirt, and she really wanted to go home.  But, you know, we started talking about poop, and she cheered right up.

I’m not even kidding a little bit.

The doctor sent us home with prescriptions for Prednisone and an Epipen.  (Yay, as Adam had told me not to bother coming home without one!)  We now have Epipens for both home and school and tomorrow we go back to the doctor for a checkup and also to get a note for Julia’s school about the allergy and the need for the Epipen.  Our daycare isn’t peanut-free, so we have to  be mindful even more so than before.

When Julia’s allergy first presented itself, it was very mild.  Our doctor then said that it would either go away as she grew or it would get worse – I guess we know now for sure which way it is headed.  It was really scary to listen to her breathe and to act and be super quiet as she struggled to breathe, and at the same time that Mom Mode took over and I kept fairly calm as we drove for what seemed like miles (which was only 12 total for the whole night).  We’re so very very thankful for the urgent care doctor who assessed her so quickly and called ahead, and so thankful for the great nurse and doctor at the emergency room.  We have so much to be thankful for, but really, we are just so thankful that Julia is okay and that the reaction happened at home and not when she was at school or somewhere else.

So sometimes bad things happen.  It’s not always peaches and cream around here.  But, that doesn’t leave us any less blessed… you just have a more rounded view of our life here.


Tuesday, June 26, 2012


I’m lacking for words tonight but I can make up for that in pictures.

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Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Never. Again.

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Anna is 6 weeks old!

What’s new with Anna in the last week?

- She smiles.  A lot.  We can make her smile.  That’s REALLY cool.  And sometimes I can make her laugh too.

- She loosely weighs 12.2 lbs.  She’s growing like a weed!  (Anna, please slow down, as we have approximately 160 Size 1 diapers left that we were unable to return to the store.)

- She sleeps about a 6 – 7 hour stretch at night – I feel like I can admit that now as it’s been consistent for about a two weeks now.  The other night I put her down at midnight and she slept until 6 AM and that was pure heaven right there.

- She has developed some baby acne ish something or other after her last bath – maybe I need to use a different soap or no soap or lotion, who knows.  We’ll figure it out.  We already use “free” laundry detergent and she doesn’t seem bothered by it at all.

- She still loves mama best but daddy is growing on her.  She also REALLY likes Kevin in our church small group – I think his voice is like that of angels for how quick she is to calm down when he holds her.

A few pictures – “why, yes, mom, I will pose for you!”  (Last time until she is an adult – ha!)

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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Julia’s Princess

Our oldest princess had fun drawing her own princess on the chalk board today.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A Special Gift

My dear friend Chrissy knit this beautiful sweater for Anna, and I wanted to capture it in photos and blog.  It was finally cool enough again today to dress Anna in the sweater and outfit (high of 77 today versus the 96 yesterday!).

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The buttons are especially wonderful – they are from Chrissy’s grandma’s button box, and she put three of them on Anna’s sweater!

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So very special to receive heirloom gifts like this – it may not fit forever, but it’s captured in photographs and will always be a treasure for Anna.


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Anna is 5 weeks old!

I’ll keep this up as long as I’m able – doing the weekly photo – but I already “broke” the pattern once by posting a day late so I think I’m okay if I suddenly drop off and switch over to months.

Today Anna is 5 weeks old – this is my 6th week of maternity leave – and that means that after Wednesday, my maternity leave is on the downhill slope.

Today I hopped on the scale with Anna and she clocked in right around 11.5 pounds.  I will have to go and look at when Julia and Raven weighed that much… but considering that Anna had almost 2 pounds on them at birth, I think 11.5 is pretty good and right where she should be – the doctor said about 1 ounce a day (gained).


She’s pretty mellow and likes to be held.  She is starting to notice her surroundings more and notice when mom is not around.  She’s allowing daddy to hold her and placate her more.  Despite our complete lack of trying to use a bottle with her (since she’ll need one when she goes to daycare), she took Bottle #3 like a champ and FROM ME yesterday, so I consider that a success.

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These photos are just from my phone today, and using the front camera at that (I ordered a new backplate so that I can take “good” pictures with my phone again).

I can say that Anna has smiled for me already which is super fun.  Sometimes she laughs in her sleep.  Her eyes do open wider than you’ve ever seen them in pictures but only when we’re in darker rooms as it’s pretty light outside. 

She’s our long girl – sometimes we think her torso is long and other times we think her legs are long and either way, she’s already threatening to bust out of 3 – 6 months in the length – thank goodness summer is full of dresses and shorts!  She’s not big enough around for 6 month yet (and not even some of the 3 – 6 month clothes) and so we’ll stick it out with the dresses and shorts in the one size but pull in 6 month onesies for night time.  Super glad we stuck with the 48” swaddle blankets because she would be busting out of a tiny SwaddleMe.  :)

A few nights a week she’s sleeping in longer stretches – usually from about 9 or 10 pm until about 3:45 AM.  Too bad mama doesn’t know well enough to go to bed at 9 pm… ha!

So that’s little Anna.

Julia and Raven are doing well but are also trying our patience of late.  The whining and crying has gotten out of control, and I think a lot of it is the “I will get attention especially with bad behavior”, so I’ve been thinking on that some.  They also have a serious case of The Mommies, which makes going anywhere difficult – there’s Adam, and there’s me, with three girls hanging off of me in various forms.  The girls still adore their baby sister though – they just need more Mom time, I think.

love ya all…


Friday, June 15, 2012

What I’ve been up to…

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Mwaaa haaa haaa!  No, not all of this is from one day – I typically take three days worth and freeze it all at once so that I only have to go through the trouble every few days.  Storing up for when Anna goes to daycare and I go back to work.  BTW – I strongly dislike the Medela freezer bags.  SO glad I have a box of Lansinoh storage bags in the cupboard – I’ll be glad to start using those again!

HONEY, we’re gonna need another freezer!

One Month Old!

Anna is one month old today!

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Anna was really mad when I first tried to take her pictures.  We cuddled a bit and then she was good to go.  But, I had to get a couple of shots of her upset.  I wouldn’t be a good mother if I didn’t have picture proof of these times!  Heh!

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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Stuffed Hugs

The other night Adam suggested we watch “The Lion King” – we weren’t even sure that Julia remembered how much she used to enjoy this movie, and before “The Princess and the Frog”, “The Lion King” had been Adam’s favorite Disney movie, and it’d been a while since we watched it.

I also enjoyed “The Lion King” when I was in high school, and while my mom was traveling for work, she – knowing how much I still (yes) loved stuffed animals – brought me home two Simbas from The Disney Store – a store we hadn’t been exposed to as yet in our little town in Wisconsin.  I had already dug out and bequeathed Baby Simba to Julia about two years ago when we first started watching “The Lion King” with her, and I decided the other night that I needed to dig out Teenage Simba so that Raven also had a bit of the movie.  Teenage Simba is rather large and ALSO a puppet – very cool – and he was a hit with Raven.

(Thankfully Julia is so entranced with anything “baby” – including hoping that she turns back into a baby – that there was no fighting over the lions.  Julia was more than happy to keep Baby Simba and let Raven have Teenage Simba.)

Going through my tub of stuffed animals to find Teenage Simba reminded me of a stuffed animal purge I did a few years ago that resulted in me sending a box of stuffed animals to Loving Hugs.

Loving Hugs collects donations of stuffed animals (new or very ‘gently used’) – they call them “hugs” – to send to children in war zones, orphanages, refugee and IDP (internally displaced persons) camps, and medical/hospital facilities around the world. They also send donations of stuffed animals for emergencies from natural disasters around the world, such as the 2009 flood in Manila, Philippines, and the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, to bring some comfort and hope to those children.

Why Loving Hugs?  Why not just donate my stuffies to the local thrift shop or try to sell them at a garage sale?  Well, this is where you learn a little bit more about me.

When I said “tub” above, some of you might have been shocked that it wasn’t “tubs”, plural.  Growing up, I had a plethora of stuffed animals.  I asked for them for birthdays, holidays, etc., and I “rescued” them.  I absconded them from the depths of my parents’ own childhood boxes, and I adopted the ones my sister didn’t want anymore.  For me to only have one tub left is saying something – I’ve been purging over the years and keeping only those that really have a place in my heart.  I’ve also dug some out for the girls to play with – those that I’ve been able to wash/clean well.  I love stuffed animals.  I still love stuffed animals.

I had a very hard time getting rid of stuffed animals as a kid.  I was terrified that no one else would love them as much as I did – hence the rescuing and adopting.  I vividly remember one garage sale where I had put some stuffies in the For Sale box, only to go out and take them back in the house and sob and apologize for having even thought to get rid of them.  I simply didn’t want the stuffed animals to go to a home where they wouldn’t be loved.  I loved them and took care of them like they were my children.

My sister and I used to go to garage sales and rescue stuffed animals from the boxes For Sale so that those poor animals would have a home where they would be loved.  I’m pretty sure I cajoled my sister into these missions, but we would pool our dimes and buy as many as we could – often the ones that looked the saddest/in need of the most love and attention.

Another vivid memory – when my dad would go take the trash, I would often go with him.  One such trip resulted in me in tears because of a bear that I saw in the huge pile of trash that had been discarded.  Similarly I shed a load of tears last year having to throw out an animal that didn’t make it through the wash – WHO makes children’s play toys out of acetate anyway?  SHEESH.  But, I watched that dog fall to pieces and sadly had to throw him out.

For me, Loving Hugs is a way for me to share the love and comfort that stuffed animals have meant to me over the years with a child who has no toys, no animals, to love.  It’s a practice in sacrifice for me to remove these stuffed animals that aren’t seeing daylight and sharing them with children who are in need of the comfort that a stuffed animal can provide.  I watch my own children with their “lovies” and see how they interact with these inanimate but very obviously important “hugs” in their lives.  Their lovies provide them comfort that I cannot provide – they signify safety and security.  And these are kids that are surrounded by toys and stuffed animals and people who love them.  I want to be able to provide that sort of “opportunity” for kids who haven’t had that in their lives.

So after finding Simba, I decided it was time for another purge.  This morning I went through the tub again and picked out every animal that fit under their description list and I’ll figure out a way or different organization to share the rest.  Of course I’ll save those that mean so very much to me and have a story that I can share with my kids someday.  But for now I’ll donate what I can to an organization that is providing for kids around the world.

Last time I sent a box, I physically had to pack the box and mail it, so after picking out the animals, I searched Loving Hugs for their address (I follow them on FB so constantly have updates as to what they are up to), and I was shocked to learn that they operate out of Littleton, CO!  Furthermore, I found that I could donate directly to one of many Heritage Cleaners in the area as they provide the cleaning services of the animals that will be sent out.  So, Anna and I loaded up the car and drove up to Broomfield today to deliver another box of “hugs”.  And, while I admit I have not searched my heart or the area strongly for a volunteer opportunity, I think I finally found a place that ties directly to my heart where I can give of myself and not just of my past and my money.

If you’d be interested in doing something similar, check out the following links to the Loving Hugs site:

About Loving Hugs:

Donation guidelines:

How to send your “Hugs”:

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Anna is four weeks old!

And that means that in three days, she’ll be a whole month old already!  Yikes!

Ha, Mama still ain’t so great at manual mode on the camera, so in-house pictures are hard because the lighting isn’t great, but thankfully we had some good cloud cover this afternoon and the smoke from the High Park Fire had shifted, so we were able to get outside and take a few pictures.  (High Park Fire – Read about it here.  Chrissy – friend from Cedar Rapids – and I had unknowingly a good view of the smoke plume from Estes Park of this fire on Sunday.)

About Anna… finally she has had her eyes open wide enough and the color has been changing that I can safely say they are blueberry blue.  However, both of her sisters had blue eyes and just recently Julia is developing a goldish-green ring around her iris (still blue for the rest) and Raven’s have shifted to gray-green with a tiny hint of blue left, so we’re thinking she might go completely hazel.  So it’ll be interesting to see where Anna ends up!

Anna is sleeping well at night – about three to four hour chunks, which is great for me in getting enough sleep.  Now if I would only go to bed when she does!  Otherwise, I’m also able to get one good long nap out of her during the day, and good cat naps otherwise.

Sisters are still enamored with Anna and are excited for her to “get older” so that she can be more fun.  The house should be a load of fun at that point in time!

Here are pictures of Anna today:

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Part of this post if for my mother-in-law, Marcia – she asked this week about Anna’s name – if it was family or not.  I realized in thinking about that question that I don’t know that I’ve ever "written down” how we came up with the names of our girls and I don’t doubt our girls would eventually like to know.  So, I thought I’d write a post about it.  Beware – it is not very exciting!  Heh!

Julia – Adam and I were in Oregon, driving down the highway and enjoying the view, on vacation in 2002 (after Adam graduated from college).  We started talking about names of kids… if we were to get married and have children, and that is when Julia Morgan was named.  Of all the names we discussed on that trip, it is one of the two that stuck and five years later, Julia was finally born!  Julia is named after my Great-Grandma Julia Rischette.  Morgan was simply a name that we liked that went with Julia.

Raven – We didn’t know if Raven would be a boy or a girl.  We had a boy name, but took some time to come up with a girl name.  We thought we had pegged a few, and then approximately two weeks before she was born, we were having the name discussion, and one of us (sadly I cannot remember which one) said, “Hey, what about Raven?”  About a week before she was born, it was narrowed down to Raven and Maria, and Adam gave me the choice to decide between the two.  The day we went to the hospital it was a mutual, “We know the name, right?”  And Raven was born.  Marie (her middle name) is after Adam’s grandma, Marie Bannach.

Anna – When we began vetting names this time around, we started with a new list of names yet again, but also knew that we wanted a family name in our next child’s name.  (I should say, the boy name stayed the same yet again – maybe someday we’ll have a boy?)  When Adam’s grandma Dolores Draeger passed away in December, I suggested to him that we should use Beyel (her maiden name) as a middle name if our baby was a girl.  We started looking at names that Beyel might sound good with; ironically, we landed on two names about a month out and Beyel wasn’t the middle name for either.  However, we weren’t comfortable or settled on either of those names, and our list of two went back to a list of 20.  A FB message session with a college friend (you know who you are!) popped Anna onto the list, and within a couple of weeks we were settled on Anna as a name.  And, lo and behold, we thought Beyel went great with it!  So to answer to the question as to whether Anna is a family name – not in how we came up with it.  However, because of the popularity of Anna in the early 20th century, it is easy to find a family member in both of our trees that had the name Anna.

As I said, not very exciting!  But that is the short story of how our girls were named.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Anna is three weeks old (and a day)!

Yesterday Anna was three weeks old. Again with that "time flies" business. We were excited and thankful to have Adam's sister and her family visit the last few days and the girls we're able to spend "cousin" time with Dex and Ivy.

Hanging out last night while mama pumped milk:

Hanging in the car yesterday with Ivy and Julia while the family explored Lookout Mountain:

Anna popped into 3-6 month clothes last week and has been out of newborn size diapers for about two weeks. I'm actually thinking that after taking back a bunch of newborn diapers I will ALSO have to take back a box of size 1. He's growing like a weed!

I'm also down to 7.5 weeks of maternity leave left. Sounds like an eternity until I think about the 3.5 that have already flown by.

This afternoon after Adam's family left, Adam and I had a much needed and impromptu afternoon "date" in Boulder. We took Anna along but she mostly slept. We ate at Boulder Beer and walked the ped mall. Yay!

So hard to believe that in a little over a week Anna will be a month old already. In many respects it feels like she's always been in our family and in other ways I can't believe she's already this old! Then I look at my oldest children. Wowsa. :)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, June 1, 2012

The only time I will ever compare Adam to Will Ferrell…

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Adam may be having too much fun with his new iMac.

I may or may not like Will Ferrell at all, but I’ll admit that the movie “Megamind” wasn’t half bad.