Archive for August, 2009

i heart violet

Sunday, August 30th, 2009

So I attempted to do a photo shoot with Violet. I’m always lecturing parents who’ve booked newborn shoots with me to have the pictures taken at about 7-10 days old. I barely took my own advice and did Violet’s on day 10, and I sooo missed the opportunity of having a comatose baby. On day 10 Violet was awake during most of the photo shoot and the slightest touch made her wide awake and/or unwilling to look like a snuggly newborn. I did manage to get a few cute photos, but I had such high hopes during my pregnancy to finally get those newborn shots that I’ve dreamed of having of my babies. One other drawback to waiting so long to photograph Violet is that she is packing on the pounds (or ounces). Her face is so much more filled out than after her first few days home. She went in for her 2 week check-up on Friday, and she’s already gained a pound onto her birth weight (that’s 9 pounds now) and grew almost 2 inches. Slow down, Violet!

One of the first shots I took. Violet does not enjoy being swaddled and worked very hard to get herself out of this prison.

I finally got her to sleep a little, but I couldn’t position her or get the blanket the way I wanted without waking her up each time.

I’ve always wanted to try the pose where the baby lays her head on her folded arms. It’s not nearly as easy as it looks, and I certainly didn’t get the intended outcome. But check out that dimple. Swoon!

Couldn’t resist doing the furniture shots.

She finally fell asleep right about the time I was ready to give up and when the big sisters were starting to demand my attention. Grrr!

annie turns 6!

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009

Annie has been excited about her birthday since mid-July. She’s been asking about what we were going to do for her birthday “party”. However, we weren’t really planning on doing a party for Annie. Since Grandma Kathy, Hayley, and Matt would be visiting, I figured that would be enough of a “party”. Annie seemed pretty satisfied with the outcome though. In keeping with our cake-baking tradition, we wanted to think of some fun way to decorate her cake. I racked my brain to think of what Annie likes right now, and I all I could really think of was how she loves to play dress-up and carry a purse around all the time. So it seemed appropriate to do a purse cake. As usual, I was the designer of the cake and Mike did the actual decorating per my designs. Kathy was a huge help by doing the baking of the cake. I think it turned out pretty, dang cute. And Annie absolutely adored it (almost complete alliteration in that sentence).

The whole kid gang celebrating.

Annie blowing out the candles while Matt is in deep thought perhaps thinking of what kind of cake he would like for his birthday coming up in October.

Violet woke up long enough to see her sister blow out the candles, but she promptly took to her nap again.

Grandma arrived on Friday night with Hayley and Matt. The girls have been busy harassing them ever since. Hayley and Matt have been good sports and having been playing a lot with them. They can get the girls to sit and draw for a good amount of time. Mimi doesn’t usually enjoy doing that for more than a minute or two, so that’s saying a lot.

Kathy brought along 6 grocery bags full of apples from Anut Dorothy’s apple tree. All of Saturday was spent canning 14 jars and 2 big tupperware containers of apple sauce. It is positively delicious. Kathy also made an apple crisp to eat for later that night. There was still a large bucket of apples left over, so Mike and Kathy peeled, sliced, and froze them last night to use for baking pies at another time.

Just to make sure we weren’t busy enough we hosted a fish fry at our house on Saturday night (no pictures though). We had about 25 people here (mostly kids). It was a great night for the event, and we had a fun time. Thanks to everyone who attended and for all the yummy dishes that were shared with us. Some friends from church are moving out of state, so we did this as kind of a going away party for them. We will certainly miss them and wish them well on their new adventures. Fortunately, they are moving to the Twin Cities, so we will hopefully get to see them on some of our visits to see our MN relatives. Good luck, Mortons!


Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

When I said before that the girls were very excited about Violet’s arrival and couldn’t get enough of her I really was understating the situation. Annie and Mimi are absolutely obsessed with Violet and want nothing more than to be within inches of her most of the day. Each morning Violet and I are greeted by giddy little girls who want to see their little sister. The girls had even moved the ottoman in our living room next Violet’s bassinet so they could gaze at her for hours on end. The one advantage to all this hovering and excitement is that Violet will be able to sleep through a sonic boom.

Violet has been very sleepy since her introduction into our home and pretty much has just waken up long enough to get her meals. No amount of poking/prodding/de-clothing/putting chilly things on her would wake the little princess. Finally, last night Violet stayed awake for a good hour, and the girls couldn’t have been more thrilled. I laid her on the floor, and the girls stayed with her the entire time talking/singing to her and holding things in front of her face to look at. Violet was once again awake this morning for a good while, and the girls looked quite adorable entertaining her, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to snap a few pictures. Of course, once I got involved the scene got awkward with fake smiles and poses. Fortunately, I got a couple of cute/candid pictures of the girls with Violet.

As you can see, Violet isn’t too annoyed by the girls’ constant presence. They were actually able to keep her from getting fussy for a bit.

I finally got Violet alone and couldn’t resist a snap of her, too.

Here’s Violet and Daddy, and you can see that Violet won’t be bothered enough to wake up for the photos. Mike has been such a great help to me these past few days. He’s not questioned that he’s in charge of meals, dishes, keeping the girls busy, and so much else. Thanks, Mike!

violet marie has arrived

Sunday, August 16th, 2009

The time finally came for Violet to make her first appearance into the world. Even though she wasn’t expected to arrive until August 21st, she decided a week early on August 14th wasn’t too soon to make her official entrance into the world. Of course, we weren’t going to discourage this.

Voilet is my biggest baby weighing in at 7 pounds, 15 ounces, and 19.5 inches long. She was born at 6:20 a.m. on August 14, 2009.

The girls have been nothing but smiles since Violet’s arrival. It’s all they think and talk about. I say this as they hover over her bassinet.

Here’s Violet all burritoed up in her hospital bassinet.

The girls each got their turn to hold Violet. You can’t tell from the pictures, but they are very excited.

Violet is all dressed and ready to go home. Of course, she couldn’t wait to have her first blowout and had it on the drive home. Boy, does that mustard poop stain the heck out of clothes.

Her first ride in the car seat.

Finally at home where the girls are constantly lingering just inches away from her and persistently asking when they get to hold her again.

One last picture to show Violet’s hair. We’ve decided she really looks a lot like Annie did as a newborn. Annie couldn’t be more thrilled to have her own mini-me. One major difference though is that Violet has DIMPLES. So cute! {Notice how she is back in her hospital t-shirt. I’m not going to take any chances on ruining more cute clothes for now.}

I’ll give just a quick rundown of the events on August 14, 2009:
1. 10:30 a.m. – I had a doctor’s appointment where the doctor stripped my membranes and scheduled me for an induction on Monday at 9:00 a.m.
2. 6:30 p.m. – I started having contractions, but they weren’t that painful or consistent yet.
3. 9:30 p.m. – Stronger but still inconsistent contractions started which prompted me to call the hospital for advice. I was advised to stay home until the contractions were around 2 to 3 minutes apart. I’m sure the nurse didn’t believe that I was in “true” labor yet.
4. 11:30 p.m. – The contractions were quite painful and consistently 5 minutes apart. Yet I was told by that pesky nurse to wait until 2-3 minute spaced contractions, so I waited.
5. 1:00 a.m. – I decided that the contractions were strong (read painful) enough even though they were still 5 minutes apart and that we should call the hospital to see if they recommended us coming in. The nurse said bring me in.
6. 2:30 a.m. – We arrived to the hospital after dropping the girls off at a friend’s house to stay the rest of the night. I was told I was dilated to about 4-5 cm and stated as officially in labor.
7. 3ish a.m. – I took a bath in the whirlpool tub. The bath was actually very relaxing and made the contractions disappear for about a half hour. However, the contractions picked up again at 2 minutes apart, and I decided it was time to get back to work.
8. 4:00 a.m. – The nurse checked again to see how far I was dilated, and I was now at 7-8 cm. I requested an epidural at this time. The anesthesiologist arrived about a half hour later. I should’ve noted and objected when he said that he wouldn’t dose me up very much since I was so close to delivery.
9. Time gets fuzzy from hear on out since I was now with an epidural and on a sedative.
10. 5ish a.m. – The sedative and epidural wear off, and I’m now feeling the contractions completely again (see last statement in #8 above).
11. Late 5ish a.m. to 6ish a.m. – Time to push.
12. 6:20 a.m. – Violet Marie is born. She weighs 7 pounds, 15 ounces, and is 19.5 inches long. We couldn’t have been more thrilled!

boundary waters

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009

As promised yesterday, this post will be about Mike’s trip with the scouts to the Boundary Waters last week. This trip was a big one in the making. Mike and his fellow scout leader, Seth, spent months preparing, purchasing, and practicing for the adventure. The past couple of months seemed like the guys were doing something in preparation every single night. Julie, Seth’s wife, and I were skeptical about all the food that they dehydrated. Seeing a large jar of spaghetti sauce reduced to what looked like fruit roll-ups had us wondering how they were going to get it back to spaghetti sauce again. Supposedly, everything turned out just fine and edible when needed.

The guys left Sunday morning at the crack of dawn and stayed at a lodge the first night. Monday morning they started off bright and early for their canoeing trek. For those of you who have never heard of the Boundary Waters, it’s a wilderness area up in northeastern Minnesota situated along Lake Superior. The way visitors maneuver through the area is by canoeing between campsites. The trip is hard work and takes a lot of practicing before-hand to be ready. The guys planned their trip for 5 days in the wilderness. From the news I’ve gotten everyone had a great time and got to fish, swim, and got LOTS of exercise.

Many people were shocked that I would let Mike make a trip to an area without phone access for a whole week so close to my due date. However, people have to understand that this trip was planned before we even knew I was pregnant. Like I said yesterday, the week was uneventful for the girls and me which was the way I wanted it. Mike returned this past Saturday night safe and sound. The girls were still awake, and they were so happy to see their daddy again. Mike hadn’t bathed since before the trip, so I encouraged him to do that immediately and to take his time and maybe do it a few times.

I won’t post many pictures since the ones Mike took were mostly of the boys, but someone did get one of Mike with a fish he caught.

Here are a couple of the other leaders who attended. Seth is in back.

A look at the open area.

Mike did shoot this video of one of the boys cliff diving. I figured since there isn’t anyone recognizable in the clip that it would be okay to post.

While the guys were away the girls and I got together with Julie and Katelin often throughout the week (Katelin’s husband was out of town for work all week). We also decided to each take on a night to make dinner for everyone. What a relief to not have to cook for at least 2 nights and to have the kids all have each other to play with while us ladies chatted away. A wonderful woman from church also brought us a dinner one night which gave me another night off from cooking. Thanks, LeShel, for such a sweet a gesture!

garden of delights

Tuesday, August 11th, 2009

This summer has been a really successful one for our garden. Everything that has been planted has sprouted with flourishing vegetables and fruits (except for the strawberry plant that only produced one strawberry which was stolen by a squirrel, we think). Mike has been diligent about pruning and picking as often as needed. The girls have been given the daily task of watering and have kept up with it. Now we’re getting to a point where there’s more supply than need and are giving away what we can to neighbors. There just hasn’t been time to work on freezing or canning the extras with Mike being gone all last week and getting ready for the baby this week. Have a look at the results of our labors.

Some of the tomatoes are finally turning red.

Mike couldn’t resist threatening one of the tomato plants. Yes, he’s weird.

Ample squash and zucchini. We’ve also had lots of cucumbers to pick and eat. Yum!

Beans, beans, glorious beans.

We’ve already had a bowlful of blueberries. They were tasty.

The girls are so proud of the garden and love to eat anything we pick. Last night Daddy and the girls made chocolate chip zucchini bread. It wasn’t finished in time to eat last night, but they were thrilled to have some for breakfast this morning, as was I. We all loved it!

In pregnancy news, I’m about 38 1/2 weeks along and ready to POP. Everyone is ready for this baby to arrive. The girls ask constantly when she’s coming out. Annie asked how I will know when she’s ready to come out, and I told her I would get a really bad belly ache. So now Annie keeps asking if I’ve got a belly ache and is disappointed when I tell her no.

I didn’t advertise it last week for safety reasons, but Mike was in the Boundary Waters for a scout trip. It was a little nerve wracking for me, but we all survived without any catastrophes. I’ll try to post pictures from his trip tomorrow.

organization junky

Monday, August 3rd, 2009

Not to say that my house is the epitome of cleanliness and organization, but I have always craved and strived to have an organized home. As a child I was drawn to containers/boxes/bins/any item used to store other items. Smitten was I with colorful hat boxes, and my mom picked up on this early on and would put many of my birthday/Christmas gifts in them. I still have many of those boxes that I use for organizing my craft stuff. If you look in most of the drawers around our house, you’ll find mini bins to arrange the contents. Having piles of mail and papers or other daily junk on my counters drives me insane, so I put together our mail center in hopes of cutting down on the counter clutter. It works to an extent, but I do have to weed out the junk mail first so as not to overstuff the bins. Mike hasn’t quite caught onto my mail system and will usually leave all his daily junk on my counters. He gets mad at me when he can’t find his stuff (I usually throw his stuff in his allotted bin each day), but it’s always in the place where I’ve designated for him to put that debris. During the school year Annie and Mimi’s daily papers pile up very quickly. At first I tried to be the good mother and save everything, but 5+ papers a day for 180 days just takes up way too much space. Now I try to filter out the significant or cute stuff that shows their progress. I got a hanging file bin for each girl which has a folder for each age. I put all the school papers in there and hope to hand it off to the girls when they start their own families.

When we moved to Maryland and had an extra room for the girls to use as a playroom I went on an organizing hunt and decided to purchase a cubby unit from Ikea and bins to go in each cubby. Initially, I tried to organize each bin by different types of toys, but the girls weren’t able to understand the concept of organizing. I was just happy that all the toys made it into the bins during clean-up time. Upon moving here we decided to make half of the guest bedroom a playroom for the girls still using our cubby/bin system. However, it seemed to have gotten out of hand the past months as the girls acquired more toys and tried to stuff every single toy into those bins. I decided it was high time to make labels for the bins (Annie can now read well enough) with pictures and to sift out the junk that wasn’t needed/used anymore. I finally got around to accomplishing this goal of making and installing the labels. Even the girls are excited about this project and have been great users of the system. I really hope it lasts because it helps take away some of the anxiety I feel when some part of my house is not organized.

The labels I made have the descriptive term and picture. I even tried to make them cute with ribbons.

I also made labels for all of the kitchen toys. The girls especially love these and seem to play with their kitchen more often now.

In the past the girls would just stuff all their princess dresses in the bins which took up too much space. Since the closet isn’t really used for anything other than storing a few things, it made since to hang the dresses in there. I bought those 3M hooks for this purpose. Yes, the chalkboard also resides in the closet. Surprisingly, it all fits and is not too cluttered for the girls.

Now I can breath easier. That’s saying a lot because I’ve got about 1/3 of my lung capacity these days.

The girls love to help cook. They helped Daddy make cheesy, scrambled eggs one Saturday morning.