Saturday, December 30, 2006

Christmas Edition

Since it has been awhile since I last posted, I thought I would put some highlights from December in this last post of the year.

Our tree:
This year I finally caved and we bought an artificial tree, a step I couldn't believe I would ever take. But after 10 years of buying live trees, I finally consented that they were a lot of work (set up, stringing lights, watering daily, needles dropping, taking off lights, hauling dead tree out of house, more cleanup) for a very small payoff (the experience of going out to pick a tree, and the scent that only lasts a couple of days anyway), plus the fact that Christmas trees were getting more and more expensive with each year (our first year we paid $10 for a tree, last year was $55). The one requirement I had was that it had to look absolutely REAL. So Ed spent a couple of hours online researching trees, and we ordered a 7 1/2 foot, pre lit Noble Fir. After some fluffing, and decorating, the tree was up. It looked real enough to fool several people, especially with the help of the burning Yankee Candle.

100_2796 100_2808

Christmas Cookies:
After E begged me to make Christmas cookies, I finally got around to it on the 23rd. It was a long process that took about 8 hours, start to finish. E and I made the dough during N's nap and let it chill for a couple of hours. After he woke, the three of us rolled out the dough, cut the shapes, and baked them. Then we let them cool while we all went out to dinner. The kids then got ready for bed, and we all decorated the cookies with icing and sprinkles. N went to bed after about five, and Ed, E and I finished them off. E was meticulous and creative, taking an hour and a half to decorate about 15 cookies. But we were very pleased with the end result, and she had such a good time.


Christmas Eve:
We were planning on going to the lessons and carols service at church that evening, but I didn't feel well, so we ended up going for a short drive to look at Christmas light before bed. When we got home, E and N opened up their traditional Christmas Eve presents of pajamas and slippers, and Ed read "The Night Before Christmas". We then wrote our letter to Santa, and E selected some cookies and carrots to put on the plate, and the kids were off to bed. Ed and I then stayed up until midnight putting together a train table for N, from "Santa". Actually, Ed put it together, and I stayed up for moral support as we both watched "The Christmas Story".


Christmas Day:
We have a 3 part celebration on Christmas day. The kids woke up, and opened their gifts from Santa, and us. E's scooter from Santa was a big hit, and she has enjoyed riding it throughout the house, and went around the block later in the morning. N loved his train set as well, especially the engine that runs around the track with special noises triggered by different points on the track. We had some sticky buns and hot chocolate to hold us over until brunch later in the morning before heading over to my parents' house.


We then had out traditional brunch with my parents, Cara, Nana, Andrew and Erin, Sandy, Joe and Elijah. Katherine and Rusty arrived around noon and we had our two hour stocking opening event. Everyone secretly put a stocking gift in everyone elses' stocking. Then we took turns opening our stockings, each person guessing who gave which object. It took a record two hours-- it has taken as much as 4 in the past!!




We returned home for a nap around 2, and then left for Ed's sister, Linda, and her husband, Bob's house for dinner with the Crane side. After dinner, we had the present opening. E, Peter, N, and Erika had a great time playing together, and with each other's gifts. We then headed home around 8:30. Surprisingly, our kids were not tired when we arrived at home, so they played with their toys while Ed and I cleaned up the house until 10 that night, when we all went to bed.





The 26th:
Since we don't have enough time Christmas Day to open gifts with my family, the day after we go out to dinner together, and then come back to open gifts. It is a nice way to spread out the activities, and it gives us some time to recover that morning and afternoon.




The 27th:
This was the Lowery's last day in town, so we decided to go the zoo together, along with Cara. It was a bit chilly, but you couldn't beat it for the lack of crowds. We kept warm in the inside exhibits, and the kids especially enjoyed the Tree house, where E got to do her favorite thing-- make a craft. It was also nice to see the penguins and polar bear happy with the chilly weather, since I usually feel sorry for them in the 90 degree heat when we see them in the summer. The day ended with my family coming over for pizza at dinner time, and the kids playing together before Katherine and Rusty headed back home.




And that was our Christmas this year. We still have up our decorations, and it is a little depressing having that hanging over our head to dismantle and put away. But at least this year we aren't rushing to get our house in order to put in on the market!!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Only a kid...

As we were eating dinner, I noticed that E had "disappeared" from the table. I could see her balled up in her seat, and thought she was playing a game. Irritated, I said, "E, sit up and finish you dinner, or you have to go to bed". Ed looked over at her and said, "She already has!"

Thursday, November 30, 2006

"Do Self"

Those are the two words most likely to be heard from N. He has just started to be really vocal in asserting his independence. High on the list of things he needs to do by himself are opening the door, climbing in and out of his car seat and chair at the table, putting on his boots, carrying the milk from the fridge to the counter (and back), and taking off his jacket. If he is determined to "do self!" it is nearly impossible to do it for him without a tantrum on his part. I know that it is necessary for him to go through this, and that the only way he will learn to do these things well IS to do them himself, but sometimes my patience runs thin. If we are running late, and he has insisted on getting himself out the front door and down the walk (stopping to swing on the railing, roll in the leaves, look up at the trees, etc.), you will find me impatiently calling,"Come on N, let's go!" Which of course causes him to stop cold in his tracks, stare at me with a mischievous grin, before turning around back toward the house. At this point I start walking toward him saying, "N, you need to obey Mommy and come right now!". This only spurs him on, as he leads me on a little chase back up the path. I catch him, and carry him to the car seat where I struggle to buckle this octopus of a child into his car seat, as he arches his back and wails,"DO SELF! DO SELF!!"

And this is just one moment, in a day of many moments like this. He is my 'Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde'. One minute he is sunny, agreeable, trying to make us laugh. The next he is red faced, screaming and disagreeable. And you don't always know what will set him off. I feel like he is that little girl in the poem about the curl--

There was a little girl, who had a little curl,
right in the middle of her forehead
And when she was good, she was very, very good,
and when she was bad, she was horrid"

Yes, that about sums it up.


Wednesday, November 29, 2006

22 Weeks

I went to the Dr. today, and the visit was pretty anticlimactic. I've been waiting for this visit to give me the healthy thumbs-up. I went in, and it was the usual-- measure the belly, listen to the heartbeat. The doctor then seemed done, and asked if I had any questions. "Uh.. I've been on bedrest the last couple of weeks..." She just smiled and said, "For bleeding right? There hasn't been any more? Good, you're fine." I had to double check, "You mean I can go about my life as usual? No restrictions?" The answer was no, and she was out the door.

Well, good news, to be sure, but it seemed a little casual, unscientific. I guess I was hoping for something definitive, I don't know what exactly, but some sort of medical reassurance that my body was OK to continue normal activities.

I am thankful, though, that I feel healthy, and that the baby is fine, and that I can resume "my life". It was hard to sit back and let others do for me the past few weeks. Sure, some duties like changing dirty diapers I was glad to hand over, but I found that I missed taking care of my family. I wanted to get up in the morning and make breakfast, to clean the house, do laundry, all the mundane things that make up my day to day. I guess I didn't realize what joy it is to be able to do those things for the children, but especially for Ed. I know I have felt from time to time that I have felt that the bulk of the housework falls on me, and that I wish Ed would "do more". But being forced to sit on the couch and watch Ed get dinner ready, clean up, get the kids ready for bed, all without my help was almost painful to watch, since I knew how hard he had worked all day long, and how tired he must be. I realized how important it is for us to share the evening duties, and that we really are a team.

The baby is also getting more active. We are able to feel the kicks from the outside now, which is always cool. I am finding myself slipping into a sort of nostalgia, knowing that this pregnancy will be my last. Never again will I feel these little kicks, or carry a child of mine inside my body. I just have to remind myself of that when I am feeling tired, achy or sore. Four more months!!

Friday, November 24, 2006

Thursday, November 16, 2006

You know fall is here when

there are bags of apples in the fridge, and bright orange pumpkins on the porch.


This has become my favorite season of the year. The bright colors, cool nights, warm days, blue skies, and the seasonal activities. We have formed a couple of traditions since the children have been born. One of them is to go apple picking, which we did last weekend with our mini-church. As an extra bonus, my sisters and their families also joined us. We have been enjoying apple pie, apple sauce, and just plain, crispy apples since then.

Yesterday after church we first went to brunch and then to the pumpkin patch with Ed's family. In addition to the fun of finding our own pumpkins, there is a fall festival of sorts at the patch. The kids loved the pony and wagon rides, but I think their favorite part was listening to the band and jumping along, across, and over the hay bale seats.


Joe, (Elijah), Sandy, Rusty, (Teagan), Katherine, (TJ), Cara, Me,(N), Ed, E









Tuesday, November 14, 2006

20 Weeks

Ok, I have tried to write this entry 3 times now, and can't seem to capture the experience exactly right. So I am just going to put it out there...

Last Monday we had our official ultrasound, and all is well with the baby. It is healthy and strong, and growing beautifully. It was really cool to see its little legs kicking away, the individual fingers and toes, the arms, belly, and beating heart. The only concern the techinician had was the placenta which is low-lying. She said we should make an appointment in six weeks to check on it, and see if it has moved up. On the way home Ed and I were discussing the visit and I said,"Oh, I'm not worried at all about the placenta. It will be fine, it is pretty common, and won't be a problem since it will probably move up by the delivery".

Fast Forward to Friday night...

Ed and I had just finished watching a movie. Towards the end I had been experiencing a little discomfort due to increased, uh, moisture. I thought it was normal pregnancy stuff, and wasn't worried, but realized I might have to change into something dry after the movie. So as soon as the movie was over, I went up to the bathroom and discovered that it wasn't normal at all-- I was bleeding. In a shaky voice I called Ed to come, and asked him to get the phone. I called the OB and explained the situation, breaking down as I talked. Ed quickly called Cara to come watch the kids, as well as my parents to pray. I got a hold of Jess and quickly explained the situation and asked her to pray too. Even in the middle of this, I was so thankful that I could call and ask for prayer. That even though Jess and I were separated by thousands of miles she could still cry out on my behalf to the Only One who had control.

Anyway, we arrived at the hospital and after walking around trying to find a way in (all the doors are locked at night), we made it up to triage on the birthing floor. Upon arrival I discovered that the bleeding had stopped, which was a great relief, but then they hooked me up and proceeded to try to find the heartbeat of the baby. For a few heart stopping moments she couldn't find it. I clutched Ed's hands, tears streamed down my face and I just shook my head at him, thinking "It's gone. The baby is gone." Finally, it must have been a minute, even though it felt like five, the sound of a tiny galloping horse filled the room.

After that the visit proceeded normally. An exam, utrasound, bloodwork, contraction monitoring, they all confirmed that the baby was fine and we were discharged at around 1:30 am. The discharge orders were "modified bed rest" until Monday when I would see the doctor again.

Saturday and Sunday I spent most of the time in bed while Ed was "super-dad". He made a pancake breakfast, got the kids off to soccer, brought lunch home, went to the library to get me some books, made dinner, put the kids to bed, got them up and went to church. In the beginnning I was Ok with getting some extra rest, time to read, nap, etc. But that got old quickly as I heard the sounds of the kids laughing and playing downstairs, and as I felt increasingly guilty about the extra burden this had placed on Ed.

After lunch on Sunday I passed a rather large clot, and it was off to the hospital again. We dropped the kids off at my parents, and made our way up to triage. The scene was all too familiar, as they went through the monitoring and exam. Everything was fine-- no more new bleeding. They said that this was probably all due to the low lying placenta, and that I may have a few more episodes before it moves up. So I went home to continue my bed rest.

Monday I went to the OB, and everything checked out normally again. I was hoping that I would be given the green light to continue my normal activities, but that was not what the doctor ordered. So here I am. I need to continue to stay off my feet as much as possible, no cleaning, shopping, or lifting the kids for the next couple of weeks until my next visit. She did consent to let me go to WBS, since it is mostly sitting, but even now I am missing play group. It is extremely frustrating to not be able to do the things I normally do. I want to be able to do my jobs around the house, and absolutely hate putting all the work on Ed while I sit on the couch and watch. It is seriously stressing me out to have to rest, if you can believe it. So if you want to find me the next couple of weeks, I will be on my couch with my feet up, praying for that placenta to migrate up my belly.

Friday, November 3, 2006

Halloween 06

Here are some pictures from the festivities.









Wednesday, October 18, 2006

16 Weeks

and all is well.

Thank you for everyone who has been asking. I feel like a normal person again!! It is actually hard for me to believe that I am pregnant, I feel so normal, except for this little growing bump across my middle. A few weeks ago, when I lay down my "belly" would disappear, but now there is this little hill that won't disappear, no matter how much I suck in my breath.

I can also eat again, which is a great relief. There is a lingering weird mouth taste, but chewing on some peppermint gum seems to do the trick. So Josh, Susie, we should plan a Korean restaurant night. That is, Sue, if you can stomach it?!

As for the "glow" some of you mentioned, maybe it has less to do with my being pregnant, and more to do with the much needed haircut I had last Saturday. I have been feeling so mommy-ish lately. My hair was too long, and I was well past the time when I should have colored my hair. I would look in the mirror and just look at myself in despair, wondering when I had "let myself go". I was going around in a braid or ponytail most of the time. So it was wonderful to have several inches cut off, layers added, and a fresh color to brighten my hair. Plus it was a bonus to have two hours to myself on a Saturday morning to read magazines!! It makes me think I should do this more often than twice a year...

And I have my energy back, which means I still need the occasional afternoon nap, but I can now also use that time for home improvement projects. Ed and I finished up our room and moved in last week. He had done all the spackling, priming, and painting while I just came in at the end for the trim work. So all the credit really goes to him for how great the room looks. I am ready to move onto the next bedroom, realizing that we have a six month deadline that is soon becoming five, and I am getting a little nervous about getting it all done. Maybe my nesting is kicking in a little early!


Also, Funyuns are definitely underrated as a snack food. They really do put the "Fun" into onions. I am embarrassed to admit I have devoured an entire bag in the past two days. 8 servings. Calories and fat galore, that are not benefitting the baby or me. Oh well, they sure were tasty. Time for some mint gum!!!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Pack Rat

Yes, that is me. I save everything-- I have stuff I made when I was 5. Today I was in the basement looking for a notebook of sermon notes that I took in 97-98 because I know there are some great sermons in there about Genesis (we are studying Genesis in Women's Bible Study, and I had some questions on the passage we are on this week). Instead I found a different kind of notebook. It held ALL the letters I received (and sent, I made photocopies of my letters) my freshman year of college, and the following summer. Yes folks, it has been some very interesting reading. It is interesting how those letters really take me back to my life then, and my frame of mind. It was fascinating to read, if somewhat embarrassing at times. But they give me hope-- I am not the same person I was then. God IS at work in my life, and he does change people.

Monday, October 9, 2006

Time with my boy

Monday, 09 October 2006

I rarely get to spend alone time with N, but today was an exception. I didn't have Erika (because her dad had a school holiday), or E (because she didn't), so N was my only child. It was really nice to enjoy him without the distractions of other children. It is also one of those perfect fall days when the morning was cool, but it warmed up nicely as the day progressed. So after lunch N, Holly and I took a walk down to the pond. As usual, N held a running commentary on everything that we saw and did.

"Leaves, fall? Tree, so high?"
100_2686 "Ducks, here?"100_2687

Looking at the ants ("Oooh! Look! Ants!")

Throwing rocks ("N?..strong?...big?...rock?")
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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

13 Weeks

  • End of the first trimester!! Woo-hoo!!
    I have not written about the pregnancy in a couple of weeks, becasue it was more of the same old thing.
    Feeling sick, feeling tired, etc., etc.
    But now, I feel like I am turning a corner, at least mentally.
    I can tell myself that the worst is behind me, and the lingering nausea will soon pass.
    I am getting my energy back, and am feeling ready to tackle some painting jobs around the house.
    I am also looking forward to going to the hairdresser's and getting a much needed trim and color.
    On top of that, I can wear maternity clothes, and look a little pregnant, instead of just "fat".
    So things are good.
    I even think I felt the baby move, although Ed doesn't think it is possible yet.

Monday, September 11, 2006

The Disney Decision

Three years ago we took a family trip to Disney World with Ed's parents. We had a wonderful time, and decided that we would like to go with the rest of his family next time. So we started planning a trip for Spring 2007. We thought E and Peter would really love it, and economically speaking, N and Erika wold be free, yet old enough to have fun. We got Jim and Steph, Linda and Bob (Ed's sister and husband), and Ed's parents on board with the idea. Since then there has been much anticipation on E's part, as well as ours. We have all really been looking forward to this trip. Well, as you know, our "plans" to have a baby earlier this year did didn't actually happen. So as each month passed, we realized we were getting closer and closer to a "deadline" if we wanted to make it to Disney. That deadline passed, and we decided that we needed to put Disney on hold and keep trying for a baby. So here we are. I am due the exact week that we have been planning to go, for three years. Ironic, isn't it? Needless to say, everyone else is going ahead with the trip. I would like to push it back until the fall, but with Jim teaching, Easter week is the only one that works for him. I feel like we did make a conscious decision, knowing we would probably miss this trip, but I still am really disappointed that we are going to miss it. And as you can imagine, E is too. She has been talking about seeing Mickey when she is six for the past 2 years.
So now it comes to our decision. Ed's parents have generously offered to take E with them, all expenses paid. It is a wonderful offer, but we are not sure how we will respond. For one thing, she will probably have a great time for the first few days, but I can see her getting homesick after that, especially as the week will be action packed and she will get exhausted. Another thing is that we will probably have a new baby right before they leave, or while they are away, and I'm not sure I want her gone for that. And the final reason is a little selfish-- I want to be there to see her reaction, and to be a part of that experience, I don't want to miss sharing in her joy and excitement. They will probably be buying the plane tickets soon and need our response, and we really don't know what to do. We don't want to deprive her of this opportunity, yet.... what do you think??

Saturday, September 9, 2006

The Red Dragons

  • Well, it is clear that E has inherited more than my crafty genes, she has also received my "athletic" ones too. I have kind of suspected all along, but it was very clear today in the game that she doesn't quite have the hustle and drive that I am sure my sisters possessed at that age. She started out pretty cheerfully, running along, attempting to kick the ball, but by the end she was clearly dragging, running behind the crowd of little girls, not even attempting to put her foot on the ball. It was super hot, so she did get overheated, and it was probably the most sustained "running" that she has ever done. We were just glad she didn't end in tears, and that she had fun, at least in the beginning before getting so hot and tired. I think her favorite part was after the game, when she got to play on the playground and have a soft pretzel.
    As a side note, her friend, Allison, is on the same team, and that girl has got the moves! She was weaving in and out, stealing the ball, dribbling up the field and scored so many times I lost count after 6! It was impressive to watch, and hard to believe it was her first game too. The girl has a future in athletic pursuits!

    The team warms up 100_2644 E has her turn to dribble and.... 100_2645
    Score! 100_2646 E and Allison before the first kick 100_2647
    After the game, a pretzel and a smile! 100_2648

Friday, September 8, 2006

And the results are...

No twins!!! Just one little "walnut" in there, thank the Lord!
I do not know what I would have done with twins.
I was having visions of bedrest, c-section recovery, endless bottles, no sleep, not being able to go grocery shopping, etc., etc.
It was really cool to see the heartbeat, and the little arm and leg "buds".
It's hard to believe I am 1/4 of the way done,
and in 10 more weeks I will have the "official" ultrasound, and find out if we are having a boy or girl.
I am kind of feeling boy, but we were completely surprised by N, so my feelings aren't completely reliable.
Whatever he/she is, this baby is sure giving its mama a hard time already.
I am looking forward to the golden 2nd trimester!

Thursday, September 7, 2006

The Big Day

E's first day of school went really well. She woke up excited, and quickly got ready. Aunt Cara even came over to give her a little card and gift, which was a special way to start her day. I drove her to school, since it was the first day, and walked her inside. Her teacher was waiting in the hallway, greeting the students as they came in. I kind of stood off to the side for about ten minutes and watched Ellie as she waited to go to her classroom. She was kind of quiet, taking everything in, but she didn't seem anxious or fearful. I didn't actually see any children crying, although a couple of moms were shiny-eyed. After her neighborhood friend arrived, I said my good-byes and left.
All day long there was a definite void in our house, and I kept thinking about her, wondering what she was doing and how her day was going. Finally 3:20 rolled around and I went to pick her up. I can't tell you what a wonderful feeling it was to pull up and see her walking toward me, her little face beaming. I felt like I hadn't seen her in days, instead of hours. She gave a complete report of the day, and was able to answer all of my questions. She said her favorite part of the day was "Everything". This morning she woke up early again, and was eager to go. She was very excited to ride the bus, and went off happily for her second day (although poor N started crying when E got on the bus, saying, "N ride bus too!! N school!! "). I am just extremely thankful that she had a great time at school, and it puts me a little more at ease to know that she is happy and comfortable.

Aunt Cara visits in the morning
All ready to go!!
"Class of 2019", can you believe it?
With her teacher, Miss Weihenmayer ("wine-mayor")
Waiting in the hallway