Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Ah, life with a four year old. Kate's birthday was a little rocky in the afternoon. She refused a nap, after getting up early and staying up a bit late the night before. She was grumpy and into everything. You've got to love when your child tells you on her birthday, "I want to run away from this family. I want a family that won't punish me." and "It's my special day you can't punish me!"

Thankfully the day did eventually get better. We took the girls to play at a park before I came home and made her birthday dinner. We had pasta and salad, per her request, with a couple of friends, who really brightened her day.

She chose a white cake this year, and I decorated it to look like a gymnastics floor.

Then there were all the presents.

She was quite excited about all of her gifts. Her grandparents on both sides sent packages for her to open, along with her aunt. She got to stay up late to play her new games.

Align CenterDon't Break the Ice


I won at Candyland and Kate came in second. Gabby enjoyed pulling cards too. She could tell us all the colors. I was glad she got to play too.

In Kansas children can switch to a booster seat at 4, which is good, since Kate was getting too tall for her car seat. We put in her new seat this weekend. Her "nightmare" Sunday night was that we forgot about her booster seat and we were going to make her sit in the car seat again. I had a hard time not laughing at her. It took quite awhile to get her settled back down so I could go back to bed.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Happy Birthday Kate!

Kate is FOUR Years Old today!!! How did that happen?!

So today is all about Kate. She's a fun little gal. She's great at making up stories, which has gotten her into some trouble from time to time, but also makes us laugh. She has a great vocabulary and is always learning something new. She has a great memory and can remember things from when she was just an itty-bitty thing. She's started her first organized activity, gymnastics, and we're already seeing improvement in her coordination. She is finally able to stand on one foot, and she's learned to tuck in when doing somersaults. She says she's a ballerina every time she wears a skirt and a princess anytime she's in a dress.

She's learning more and more about God too. The other night at grace she thanked God for "covering us with His mercy." I'm sure we have a little while to go before she fully understands, but she does understand so much more now than she did a year ago. She can tell us the stories that she's learning about the Prodigal Son at church and Jesus walking on water at MOPS, with great detail.

Favorite toy: her stuffed sheep, Henry (Henry is a girl, by the way)

Favorite show: Barbar (though she hasn't seen seen it in weeks because she's refusing to nap)

Favorite restaurant: Chinese and McDonald's

Favorite color: black (note this changes daily)

Favorite book: Wind in the Willows

Favorite food: macaroni and cheese (I don't remember the last time we had that--I guess I'll have to make some now that she says it's her favorite!)

Friday, September 25, 2009

The girls and I went to a consignment sale Wednesday. I didn't pick up much, but it was fun to get out. I did pick up a pair of shoes for Kate, just some brown play shoes for fall. She's been in the same size for awhile, so I expect to have to buy her new ones soon, so I thought this $2 pair would get us through until that next jump in size. I also picked up two books. We have absolutely worn out our copy of the book Prayer for a Child, which I dearly love. I picked up a jumbo sized hard back for $1! Then there was a book called Tails. It's really cute, with lots of textures and moving parts. I was able to get it for $3. The girls love it.

These sales can be great savers, so long as you don't buy stuff you normally wouldn't and you check prices--I don't buy designer clothes for my kids, so $40 for the princess dress Kate wanted, wasn't a good deal for me. It's tight quarters trying to get through with a stroller, let alone a double stroller and a rather pregnant belly.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Baby Check-Up

The girls and I went to see my midwife again today to check on Baby Ehud*. It seems like we were just there! Those every two week appointments will do that to you.

Ehud is staying on the large side, so she is recommending an ultrasound at 36 weeks (three weeks from today) to check on how big this baby really is--well, an estimate anyway. The ultrasound with Gabby was off by about a pound, if I remember correctly, but it will let us know if we're looking at an eight pound or twelve pound baby. I'm sure I'm not expecting a 19 pounder like that poor woman this week (I haven't even gained 19 lbs!).

We also discussed Swine Flu. She told me the recommendations from the ACOG and CDC, which I had already read. Then she told me that she understood if I was hesitant to be immunized as a pregnant woman, as she would be too. I told her I'd done quite a bit of reading and had noticed that by the time the second dose was administered and considered effective, the baby would already have been born, which she agreed with, so no shots for me. She did recommend using a front carrier in public (Thank you Ann!) to keep people at bay. She said things that she (and I) would typically consider over the top germiphobia were in line for this fall/winter including sanitizing grocery carts and of course hand washing. I told her I'd already pulled by cart cover back out--I use it when the kiddos are small and sometimes still tip over in the cart, but will give it some use this winter. I also purchased a small bottle of hand sanitizer to keep in the van this week.

She's putting a note in my chart to stop checking my blood pressure as soon as I walk in too. I give false high readings when they do it that quickly, but I was back down to a respectable 118/72 after a few minutes.

*Ehud is NOT what we are actually naming our baby--I promise. Justin actually suggested it and I thought it was so funny that I took it as a nickname for this little one, until we find out who he or she really is. We also aren't putting our name choices out there (We FINALLY picked a boy name after 33 weeks!!!) because my mother knows baby's gender and so she would know baby's name before I do!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Book Review: A Life Lost...and Found

My mom recently sent me a book. It's called A Life Lost...and Found. It's intended for those who are enduring grief, but the reason I requested the book was not due to some recent loss, but because one of the co-authors of the book was the father of one of my classmates. Ten years ago today his son, Adam, died in a car accident. We were juniors in college.

The book was an interesting insight into the grief of a parent, one I hope never to experience. I had known Adam since we were in first grade and we were classmates through the beginning of college, before he transferred out of state. I have a lot of memories of him, from the playground, his really cool crayons in fourth grade, Mrs. Romagnoli's English class, and the day in college that I told him I thought I'd met the man I was going to marry. Perhaps even more ingrained in my mind are his parents the night of the visitation. His dad, a man who still loomed larger than life, tall with broad shoulders, despite the fact that I was now a grown woman and not the little girl looking up at the PTA president, reached down and grabbed my best friend from growing up and me together in a welcome hug. Then his mother looked at me and laughed recounting that she had purchased a wedding gift for me during the summer. I knew that it was a duplicate, but I had assumed Adam had misread the registry. I was wrong--it was his mom's error. And to make it even better he caught it on the registry sheet when she came home with it. I still think of him when I pull out that iron (I returned the other one because it had meant quite a bit to get a gift from a bachelor classmate), and that it made his mom laugh on what must have been one of the most difficult days of her life. I still think back to their family any time I hear Green Day's Time of Your Life, which his brothers had played at his funeral.

David also shares in his book about the loss of his beloved wife about five years later. His co-author, describes loss through divorce as well. I have been blessed at this point in my life not to have experienced divorce, the death of a child, or the death of a spouse, but the stories are poignant and the advice based in scripture. It is very firmly Biblically grounded. I would recommend this book to anyone experiencing loss, especially one of these three.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Sick :(

Dear Mr. Elephant,

Would you kindly get off my chest so I can breathe again.


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Cord Blood Donation

When Gabby was born we did cord blood donation. There are lots of wonderful things that can be done with cord blood. There's a lot of information at Save the Cord Foundation. There are many diseases that can be treated and there is a lot of stem cell research going on, without the obvious ethical and moral issues that come with embrionic stem cell research. The donation itself is free, but... Our obstentric practice charged us $75 for the couple of minutes it took to drain the blood from the umbilical cord and fill out the short form.

We chose donation for a multitude of reasons. We knew that we couldn't afford to bank privately, so that was obviously not a choice for us. I would hope that we wouldn't have chosen that anyway. The likelihood that our family would ever need the cord blood is quite low. The only people who have had cancer in our families have been our grandfathers (all four), when they were well advanced in years, not children. I really hoped that our donation would be able to benefit someone somewhere, giving them a wonderful life and many more years of joy, rather than sitting in a freezer somewhere out of a paranoid fear. Admittedly, there are many families that have very good reason to retain cord blood--they are at high risk to need it, and I begrudge no one, but I believe that the LORD will provide for our family in the way He sees fit if tragedy were to strike us. It is a very personal decision, but that was ours.

Unfortunately, when I called the billings office this time they have raised the rate to $125! She also gave me false information, saying that the company we donated to would reimburse us. I knew this wasn't the case two years ago, so I called the donation center and was told that they would not. How could they pay that kind of fee for every donation? I don't begrudge them at all. But why should a family who lives on a rather tight budget, not be allowed to give this gift of saving someones life? I understand that there are a great number of costs in delivering babies, but I was there last time and I saw the procedure. It took no extra time in the scheme of things because they have to wait until the placenta is delivered anyway. It is not a risk to me or the baby, so there isn't a chance of being sued for the procedure. I will ask if there is a way that they will "donate" their time, but the problem becomes, who will be delivering this baby? It is quite frustrating.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Gymnastics Class

Yesterday was Kate's first gymnastics class. She has been so excited about going. Here's a picture of her in her leotard (and a pair of pants) before we left.

Align Center

When we got there we found three of the five girls in her class were wearing the same leotard. I think it's the only one you can get here in town, and was less than the ones I looked at online. They joked it was the class uniform.

I had originally thought that everyone would drop off their kiddos and leave, but instead they all stayed, so we did too. They had a play room, where Gabby was able to play with another of the little sisters.

They did stretching exercises, used colored scarfs while following their teachers movements, and practiced somersaults on a downward inclined wedge. They also got to practice on a balance beam, hang from one the bars, and go hands and feet across the parallel bars. Kate will have to work on waiting her turn though. I noticed that she sometimes ran ahead before she was called. She didn't seem to notice when I asked her about it later, but at those times, she was then called on to do the activity last. I'm sure it will be a learning process for her, since this is the first truly organized activity she's been involved in. Sunday School and MOPS aren't nearly as structured at every moment, so she'll have to learn the rules.

She had fun and Gabby says she wants "'Nastics tooooo!"

Monday, September 14, 2009

A Parade and a Fair

I took the girls to a local parade this weekend. Kate really enjoyed it. Gabby, well, she wanted to be held the entire time. That's a lot of holding without an extra set of hands! She also wanted to walk the mile from where we parked, until we got far enough from the van that I didn't want to go back, not to mention that a stroller was sort of out of the question, since I knew that then I would have to keep track of it and the two munchkins all at the same time. So I carried her.

This huge flag was hung between two fire engines extended ladders at the beginning of the parade route.

We saw quite a few marching bands. Kate was quite impressed by the girls from one of the local gymnastics schools (not the one she's attending) that were doing flips and walking on their hands. Their were also lots of people handing out candy. I made Kate stay with me most of the time, but she did manage to procure two suckers. Gabby's favorite was the Chick-Fil-A cows though.

Watching right before we left.

After nearly two hours the parade wasn't over, but I was, so we walked (well Kate and I did) back to the van.

I had also promised to visit the associated fair, so I went back that afternoon (when I could park close by) and I put Gabby in the stroller for that part of our trip. I bought the girls each a pretty pink hair tie for playing dress up with and a Christmas present for my mom. The girls were given free popcorn and balloons and we got a funnel cake because Kate was quite excited about them. The afternoon was much more relaxing!

Eating popcorn.

Hope you had a great weekend!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Visiting the Midwife with my Entourage

Over all my girls are well behaved compared to most of their peers, but I had been hesitant to bring both of them with me to visit the midwife. Unfortunately the midwife I typically see had a change in hours, so the time that I had been using when Justin was able to come home a few minutes early, was no longer available. Technically he's "off" on Thursdays, meaning he doesn't teach class, but he still works that day on preparing notes and meeting with students. The afternoons were convenient for him though, since he teaches late labs several days a week it wasn't difficult for him to excuse himself half an hour earlier than usual to help me out, but mid-morning is harder, since he typically goes to work at seven, so he would loose several hours or have to come home after a very brief start to his day.

I decided I would try the girls today, at what I knew would be a quick visit. Gabby did have some frustration with the fact I made her stay in the stroller in the exam room, but she did really well. As I was being weighed, Kate, remembering that they gave her a sucker the day I took her to see the baby on the ultrasound, and also knowing that I had told her she could not ask for one today, looked at the nurse and said, "Could my sister have a sucker to settle her down? Oh, and if you have them out any way, I'll take one too." Note she didn't ask for one for herself. Stinker! It did work out though. The sucker kept Gabby quiet while we waited. Then they went through the toys and books I brought with us. As the midwife and her student came in, I handed off the cereal I brought (they each had their own bowl--mom's plan ahead!) and they happily munched through the questions, measuring, and listening to the heartbeat. At one point while they were looking for the heartbeat Kate asks Gabby, "Do you hear the baby's heartbeat?"

"Yeah!" answered Gabby enthusiastically.

I couldn't have asked for better behavior from a one and three year old. The midwives and the nurses all agreed too. I'm proud of my girls and glad to report the baby is healthy.

I've not gained any weight in the past couple of weeks, but I wasn't surprised. I had picked up several pounds the month prior with having some company, so I'm sure I'm just evening out from that. The only concern was my initial blood pressure reading at over 150. The nurse rechecked it and it was back down at 118. It must have just been the extra hustle and bustle of getting the girls settled in that caused a little spike, but thankfully there is no concern about it now. The baby is semi-transverse, with the head down and to the side, but he or she has plenty of time to return to head down. We are now measuring almost right for dates, probably due to the change in position, but we'll take it for now.

Five to ten weeks until delivery!

Friday, September 11, 2009

In Remembrance

This day eight years ago is so vivid in my memory. It was my very first year teaching. I had no idea what was going on when someone came in and said to turn on the TV, just in time to see the second plane hit the towers. My students were special education students, one of whom was deaf. Our interpreter had just left, so I remember signing the sign for plane crashing and then building over and over again for her.

My students kept asking the question we were all asking too, "Why?"

I was proud of how our country united after that...that unity seems so distant now.

In memory of those who perished, just trying to earn a living and those who ran into burning buildings to try to save others, and also to those who died retaking their plane and protect the people who would have been involved there. And in honor of those who have served our country since, especially my cousin Andrew, Evan (whose mother was with me in that classroom that day), and my friend (from grade school through high school) who is currently deployed to the middle east, Derrick. Thank you!

Enhancing the Truth or Out Right Lying?

I think we may be in for an interesting few years. Miss Kate has always had "a way" with the truth. Last night Justin ran in to turn off something at the university and took Kate along for the ride. When they got home he went to run water for the girls' bath. As we were chatting, she told me that, "Daddy gave me Crystal Violet, and it burned me."

It seemed highly unlikely that my husband would give the child any chemical, let alone one that might burn her, so I pressed her, asking, "Will Daddy tell me this?"

"No," she answered. "He wouldn't want you to know it hurt me. They have Neosporine and band-aids there."

"But, Kate, you're not wearing a band-aid."

"Well, it wasn't hurting in the car, so I took it off."


So when Justin came down, I asked, of course he said it wasn't true...he gets to keep his good Daddy badge, but why would she make up such a story and how does she even know that there is a chemical named Crystal Violet?!? She said she's just teasing, but how do we convince her that sometimes her words can have huge consequences on others. I mean, I actually asked Justin if it was true. What happens if she tells the wrong person that we hang her by her toe nails or some other such nonsense and they believe her?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Checking it Off

I've been busy trying to get things checked off my to-do list.

I went and bought some boy clothes at Carter's yesterday--I caught some good sales and got all this for about $35.

Don't get too attached though because it may all be returned for pink in a few weeks!

I also was able to finish up baby P's quilt. The girls and I mailed it off today.

Align Center

I loved the colors for something different for a little girl. With two older sisters I figured they were probably swimming in pink, so I did something a little different for this little girl.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Labor Day

This idea came from the Diaper Diaries...

How long were your labors?

Kate: days and days! About 18 hours at the hospital.
Gabby: I was induced at 7:30 AM and she was born about 5:30 PM, but only 90 minutes of hard labor

How did you know you were in labor?

Kate: My contractions had been going for days, so I asked to be admitted.
Gabby: I was hooked up to all sorts of monitors before my labor started.

Where did you deliver?

Kate: A hospital in Cincinnati
Gabby: A hospital here in KS.
New baby: I keep teasing Justin we won't make it in time. :)


Kate: I had one dose of Stadol after about 12-14 hours on Petocin.
Gabby: Just the induction medication, no pain relievers.



Who delivered?

Kate: We had midwife, Trish.
Gabby: We had our midwife here, Lindsey. She had been really busy in the room next door (delivering another baby), so one of the nurses thought she might get to deliver. Lindsey made it just in time.

Saturday, September 5, 2009


Okay, first how did it get to be September already? I turned the page on my calendar this week to be greeted by a month of busyness. Our MOPS group resumes this coming week and this is also the beginning of Kate's gymnastics class. There are various other appoinments for the girls and for me as well. It looks like this SAHM (stay at home mom) will be taking the show on the road a bit more than I have in the past, at least for the next month.

Aside from the busyness of the week, which included a nice little trip to the park, our weekly grocery shopping, and several other items of business, I've been absolutely exhausted. It's typical to start feeling a bit run down in the third trimester, but this unfortunately goes beyond just the pregnancy fatigue.

The girls have been waking regularly through the night this past week. Kate would call for me calmly and then say she had a bad dream. It didn't really appear that it was the case and we finally told her that's why I felt so bad because I hadn't had a full nights' sleep, despite going to bed at ever earlier times all week, and she hasn't called the past two nights. Gabby however doesn't get reason. I'm truly at a loss. We want her to feel safe, secure, and loved. She was always a good sleeper, so it never worried me to go and put her back to bed when we moved her into her new bed. We didn't stay to play or talk to her--it was all business--but now she is getting up at all hours. Between Justin and I, we were up five times during the night last night. Unfortunately, it can take quite a bit for me to get back to sleep these days, since the little jaunt into Gabby's room seems to wake up our little kickboxer, who spends the next two hours violently reminding me of his or her presence, to the exclusion of sleep.

I promise myself that some day I will sleep again, but I wonder when that will be!