Thursday, June 30, 2011

The difference a year makes

I've been meaning to talk about this for awhile now, and if you know me personally then you know all about it, because it has been my biggest struggle this past year. It's my physical recovery after having Luke. I'm being vague about the specifics, of course, because even I have some discretion, open book that I tend to be.

I'm thinking about it today, because it is my 34th birthday. And today I feel pretty much normal, although not 100%. But it has taken almost a year to get to this point. A long year, it has seemed.

I remember last year on my birthday, I was one week post-partum, of course. And I felt horrible. Physically absolutely horrible. We went out for lunch and sat on a patio, and the weather was perfect and the food was delicious. But what I remember was that every second that I sat there was quite painful and uncomfortable. In fact, I remember that I got up and walked laps around the restaurant in order to distract myself.

Some of that is normal, of course, one week after having a baby. But this was beyond the normal recovery stuff. I've been seeing a specialist about once a month since last August. It has been a gradual process, but I am so thankful for that office, because I am finally feeling good. It makes a big difference in my days, to feel good. Eventually I will likely need to have surgery, but we would need to be sure that we are done having kids. Another post.

My point for today is that I am so thankful to be feeling so much better than I was at this time last year. I'm not sure what is next or what will happen long term, but for now I'm just grateful. 

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Catching Up

As others have said recently, I have lots of pictures and events to share, not to mention some topics in my head to discuss. This summer is absolutely flying by, and I feel like I'm desperately clinging to it. In recent years I've never been so conscious of wanting to freeze time.  But I do. This summer could go on an on as far as I'm concerned.

I'm going to try to catch up with one event at a time.

So let's start with Luke's birthday. My Dad and Sue came to visit and have cake with us. We grilled, played outside, opened gifts and sang. I love birthdays.

Here's what I've noticed about boys: they like to make noises. They get around to words eventually, but they really enjoy noises.

He looked bewildered while we sang, but he can clap with the best of them. (Katy was upset that she didn't get to lick the candle)

He enjoyed his cake more than my others on their first birthdays. Shoved it in like a champ.

Poor third child: he got clothes and a cleaned-up, hand-me-down car seat for this birthday. But I honestly couldn't think of a single toy that he could need. Grandma and Grandpa did give him a toy car, and he knew exactly what to do with it, sliding it around on the floor and saying, "Vrrrrrrrrrrrr..."

Finally, a little video to see his newest trick. He has no desire to walk when he can do all this!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

First year of Luke

Lukey Loo, Lukers, Lukey Bubs, Tuke,

It seems that the sentiment that I should be feeling is, "Wow! That went so fast! I can't believe you are 1!" But when I really think about it, that day that you (finally!) arrived into the world late last June? It seems like a really long time ago. I can barely remember what it was like before you were with us. You are the Family Baby, and we make over you all day, every day (hence the ridiculous nicknames).

I wish that this weren't the case, but this past year is more blurry than others. I didn't do as great of a job documenting all that you accomplished and what you were like, mostly because I was doing the best that I could to stay afloat during the days. But please know that I enjoyed every moment with you, and I am just as proud as ever of every single milestone that you reach. Your big sister can tell you the timeline of when you went from "laying down, to rolling over, to sitting up, to crawling, to standing, to walking (still just with help!)."

You are absolutely sweet and completely precious. Small but mighty. You crawl super fast (which I think is why you haven't bothered with walking yet) and have no fear to tear into everything. You can crawl DOWN an entire flight of steps without help, your reflection cracks you up, and the only thing that makes you sad is feeling left out (like when someone goes outside without you). Recently we put away all the baby toys, because you are really just interested in what Katy and David are playing.

Like most 1 year olds, your life goals are 1) to put the toilet brush in your mouth, 2) to push every button on the remote control, 3) to beat Mommy to the street, and 4) to empty the contents of the trash and recycling onto the kitchen floor on a daily basis.

But seriously, I love 1 year olds. You are soaking up so much information and learning new skills all the time. You say "Dye Dye" while you wave, say "Mama" when I come into the room, and point to items and try to name them "da." Just this week you have mastered climbing the steps on the playset and then sliding down the slide backwards on your belly. You are wild in the pool, too, just a riot to watch.

Everyone comments on your blond hair, especially since neither of your parents are blond anymore (but rest assured, we both used to be!). But I love the little curls on the back of your head - it's a big ol' party in the back.

Stay sweet this year, baby boy! I will treasure every day with you and each new thing that you learn, even if I don't get a chance to document it. My favorite part of the day is when you are tired and I can get you to cuddle with me (only if I have Blankie) for a few minutes.

Happy Birthday to my sweet Luke. I love you!


Monday, June 20, 2011

Pickin' berries

Strawberries are among my 3 favorite foods in this world. Cover them with chocolate, and they bump up to first. I have fond memories from childhood of going to pick strawberries with my Granny. She says that she would sit the basket next to me in the car on the ride home, and they would be half gone by the time we got there.

So I've been determined to take my kids, and finally I made it happen this year. Katy and David LOVED it. We rode on a flatbed behind a tractor out to the field, and they worked really hard at picking, not wanting to stop. I also felt good about taking a step toward teaching them where their food comes from. I have a long way to go, there. (Heck, I don't really know.)

Every day of summer that goes by, I am consciously aware that we're one step closer to fall. How is it possible that it's the end of June already? I love, love, love this summer, and I'm holding on tightly, trying to keep it from slipping away too quickly.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

So long...Aunt Mel...

My sister is on her way to Colorado for the summer. A long summer, and we will miss her tremendously. The kids love seeing Aunt Mel every week, and they have no idea what we mean when we say that she'll be gone for a while. By the time she gets back, Luke will be walking, Katy will be in kindergarten, and David in preschool. David will miss her the most - he tells others that his "best friend is a girl, and her name is Aunt Mel." When she comes to our house, he asks her if she'll go cuddle on the couch with him.

Part of what I love about having Melanie in town is that when she comes over, she just jumps in with the kids. If Luke needs a bath...

We spent some extra time hanging out this week before she left. We made Bon Voyage S'mores. (Although we didn't go so far as to make Melanie's best invention ever: S'mOreos. Oh, yes, you guessed it.)

She doesn't get a lot of face time here, (partially because every time I take her picture, she rolls her eyes and says, "Don't put that on the blog."), but we love our Aunt Mel. If I need a last minute sitter for an appointment, I call her. If I'm feeling really down and I don't know why, I call her. And if I need to go shopping but I'm dreading it because I can't believe I could POSSIBLY need that size now, I call her. She's busy with her own life for sure, but she's a loyal sister.

We're praying for you, Mel, to have a safe and rejuvenating summer, breathing all that mountain air! We look forward to seeing you in the fall! (without wishing away the summer, it's a delicate balance, you know?)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Sunday in June

Thursday, June 09, 2011


We've been so busy with Big Events lately, that I've lost sight of the everyday stuff. This week, the calendar has been pleasantly empty, and we've gotten a chance to revisit day to day life. Take walks, go to the pool, have lunch on the porch, turn on the sprinkler, run errands, read books. It's been awesome.

Someone's got a birthday coming up! He's sucking the same two fingers as his brother and he's totally attached to his blanket. (Mom - do you have any extra of that material? We may need a spare.) Everyone is surprised that he still isn't walking because he crawled early. But he's just really happy crawling and cruising.

Katy is OBSESSED with perler beads right now. David figured out a way that he can help - finding the colors that she needs! (He was having trouble putting the beads on the peg boards so this is a better fit.)

You put these teensy tiny beads in a pegboard in a design and then iron them together. You can do your own, or if you have an idea book like this one, you can copy more complicated designs.

One other item of note from the week: Katy's kindergarten teacher came for a home visit*, and it was a really positive experience. She will be in the afternoons, in the class that we were hoping for, and I really liked her teacher a lot. I finally feel more excited than nervous about kindergarten. Now to enjoy summer!

(*In case you are like me, and had never heard of such a thing as a public school home visit, it has something to do with Title 1 money that the building gets for having a certain percentage of students from low income families.)

Monday, June 06, 2011

Much celebrating

You may remember back in 2009 when I shared about my dearest friend Cindy's bridal shower and wedding. This weekend, many of the same folks came to my place once again to celebrate the latest blessing in Cindy's life - a new baby due in August!

I've discovered in the past few weeks that I really enjoy hosting parties. I just love the planning part, love putting all the pieces together, and love to see everyone enjoying themselves when it's party time. This shower was definitely a group effort, which made it even that much more enjoyable. Plus, I only get to see Cindy a couple of times a year, so it's always a blast to get together.

A new experiment for me: a 3D cake! It was Brian's idea to add the toys.

Another view. It was a very interesting process (it bakes on its head!).

Favors (sunflower seeds) from Tracy and game prizes from Kelsey!

We hung clothesline and decorated it with some hand-me-downs from the guests for Cindy. Some of the girls included pictures of their own babies wearing the outfits.

This might have been my favorite part of the shower.

Cindy appreciated the history behind each outfit (this sweater is one that her grandmother made and she wore as an infant).

Onesie painting! Cindy and Chan call their little one "Bun."

Bun will be creatively dressed.

Male representation in the form of cuteness. (yes, that's Kelsey, but not her baby. :)

This game was somewhat of a bust, because every single person got 100% correct. I had played it at another shower and it was really tough, so that was impressive.

Classic because Cindy LOVES to get a picture with anyone who has a pregnant belly, and try to get it at an angle that makes your belly as large as possible. Now it's her turn! Can't wait until August to meet the little Bun!

Sunday, June 05, 2011

First wedding

Last weekend, a dear friend of Brian's (and mine) got married in Kentucky. Like the best man said during his toast, you will not find a man on this earth with a kinder, more sincere heart than the groom, Brandon. And itseems that he has found a woman of equally good character to make his bride. So we needed to celebrate.

Out-of-town weddings always raise a question mark for small children, and prior to this one, if Brian and I have attended one, we've left the kids with grandparents (we've done this 3 times in 5 years). But this time, we took Katy and David along and left Luke at home to get some quality time with Aunt Mel. This ended up to be the best decision, because Luke would have had a hard time with the schedule, but Katy and David thought it was fabulous to attend a wedding and stay in a hotel (!!).

The week before we left, Katy pulled out our wedding video and asked if we could watch it. This was actually the perfect prep tool to talk about everything that was going to happen and what was expected of them and explain what it all meant. She asked about a thousand questions and got very excited about the upcoming event.

When we arrived at the hotel prior to the rehearsal, you would have thought we had pulled into Disney World. The kids were exclaiming: "We have a BATHROOM in here?!? And a SHOWER?!? We each get our own BED?!? There's an ALARM CLOCK?!?" And the pool at the hotel? Heaven right here on earth.

I wish I would have gotten a picture of them sleeping in the same bed. I had to place a line of pillows between them to get them to keep their feet to themselves, but once they fell asleep, they did great.

Photos to tell the rest of the story:

Regretting that I didn't get a better photo of the bride and groom - they looked amazing!

Studying a caterpillar at the park where the wedding took place

Another bonus of the wedding was getting to visit with some friends that we don't see often, like Tyler & Arpitha and their beautiful baby girl.

Katy loved the dressing up part

Brian's friend Joey came and visited with us for a couple of days after the wedding.

I think my favorite part of a wedding (beside the life commitment part) is the cake. And we got to watch the girl assemble this one. It was fascinating! (and incredible)

Thinking of her next question...

When we stopped at a rest stop on the way down, he pointed at a snack machine and asked, "Is this the wedding?" At this point I think we got that cleared up.

Dancing their little hearts out.

Not pictured: the massive (and I mean massive) meltdown my kids had when they missed the bride and groom with their bird seed toss (their aim was bad and the pitch was too slow). Our friends Mark and Anne were incredibly good sports, and walked through several more times, pretending to be the newlyweds so that my kids could actually pelt someone with bird seed. (Overtired much?)

Congratulations to Brandon and Melanie! It was a great day!