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Saturday, December 31, 2005
Good bye 2005! Welcome 2006!

I hope you all have fun, safe adventures tonight. Kris and I have a babysitter (thank you Auntie Shelly!!!!!) and are going out to a party at a friend's house. We're getting dressed up and everything. I'm pretty excited. We don't get to go out much alone, you know.

2005 has been a great year. Annika went from a little baby who only rolled one way (back to front if I remember correctly) to a walking, talking, running, climbing toddler. That's a big year for such a little girl. I am so, so proud of her. And I know this is weird and probably petty, but I'm so proud that she's physically advanced for her age (rolling over early, sitting early, crawling early, walking early, etc.). It's probably my own insecurities coming through and of course, I don't have anything to do with her abilities, but I'm inordinately proud anyway. :)

I'm hoping 2006 is just as good, if not better, than 2005. I'm hoping Annika stays my happy, healthy little girl. I'm hoping she continues to grow and thrive. I'm hoping she starts saying more words. I'm hoping she takes her first pee-pee in the potty. :) I'm also hoping to get pregnant again. Don't get your hopes up, I don't mean now, right this second; just hopefully by year's end.

I have 2 New Year's resolutions. The first is to find a church in our new community. Kris and I are going to try a new church each Sunday until we find a few that we like. Then we'll go to those a few more times until we narrow it down to "the one." :) It's important to me to find a church we both (him: ELCA, me: Catholic) feel comfortable in and like so we can start worshipping as a family. I also want to get involved more in the church as I'm hoping that will help us make friends in the community.

My second New Year's resolution is to exercise a minimum of 3 times per week. I did pretty well at this in October and early November and then the stress of the holidays kept me busy. It's time to ramp up the exercise again. Three times a week shouldn't be too hard if I make it a priority, right?!?

That's all, I think. Kris, Annika and I wish you a healthy, happy 2006. May all your dreams come true!

Posted by Kristina at 12/31/2005 06:58:00 PM

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Thursday, December 29, 2005
Why is it when I write my post in Microsoft Word and then cut and paste it into Blogger that all punctuation (apostrophe's and the like) turn into garbly-gook? That's the technical term by the way. And yet, when I compose directly into the Blogger field, it's fine? Frustrating.

Anyway, Annika is still a leaky faucet. I won't dissect the color and texture of the bodily fluids coming out of her, let's just say she still has a cold. Thankfully, it hasn't turned into an ear infection yet although we are on the look out for that.

Last night Annika and I stopped by Gramme and Grandpa Merv's house to drop off a Christmas present. We stayed for a few minutes so Annika could play with the dog, the dog's toys, the Christmas tree, eat a banana and then resist leaving so fiercely I had to pry her little tiny arms from around Gramme's neck. While cute and endearing and had Gramme totally swooning, it was not quite as fun for mama. I think we need to go visit a little more often. Our next stop was Granpda Dan's house to pick up what we forgot there on Christmas Day. Again, we stayed a short while so Annika could play with Uncle Mathias, the playstation controllers, the bean bag chair and tear apart the Sunday paper. Again, Annika didn't want to go home and proceeded to run around the house in circles (from the foyer to the breakfast nook to the kitchen to the dining room to the living room and back to the foyer) before I could catch her to put her coat on. Of course, she was sleeping in the back seat before we were too far away from Grandpa's house but she didn't want to leave nonetheless.

Kris and I are amazed every day with house much Annika knows and understands. She had Gramme convinced she was saying "cute" last night when playing with the Christmas tree ornaments. And Monday night while giving her a bath, I asked Annika to give me one of her feet so I could wash it. She held up both. I washed one, put it back in the water and asked for her other foot. She held up her other foot. I think Kris is starting to understand that she is aware of more than we think. And that we need to watch what we say and do and watch on TV and listen to on the radio more than he thinks we do.

I'm really itching to redesign the site. The lullabies theme just isn't working for me anymore. Of course, I don't have tons of extra time to do this. Watch for something new coming soon, I hope.

Posted by Kristina at 12/29/2005 07:44:00 AM

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Tuesday, December 27, 2005
What a great Christmas we had! Christmas Eve, Kris's family came over to our house. We feasted on oyster stew, seafood chowder (which Annika loved), appetizers and desserts galore. We also watched two Christmas themed movies (Polar Express and The Grinch that Stole Christmas – the Jim Carrey version). Of course there was present opening. Annika doesn’t really “get” the whole present thing yet. She was interested in ripping the paper once in a while but otherwise would just like to go play with her toys, thank you. She really liked the outfit Grandma Lona and Grandpa Dale gave her and carried it around by the hanger. She also liked the wooden train set Uncle Dusty and Aunt Kim gave her. Well, she liked taking the boxes of train parts in and out of the big box they were wrapped in. After Annika went to bed for the night (in her new Christmas pj’s) and everyone had left, Kris and I opened our presents to each other. Wait, scratch that. Kris opened his presents from me. He had already given me my presents earlier (the strand of pearls and matching earrings while our guests were over and the gift certificates earlier in the week).

Christmas morning started off the right way – with present opening and our family tradition of Swedish pancakes with strawberries and whipped cream. Yum! Annika opened her presents from Santa Claus and Mommy and Daddy. Annika’s favorite present of the morning was her new AquaDoodle. We laid the mat on the floor and filled the pen with water and Annika went to town doodling. Then she started sucking the water out of the pen and sucked it dry in a matter of minutes. Weird little girl, she is.

After rousing Annika from her morning nap, we headed to Gramme’s house for our first celebration of the day. Annika had hardly walked in the door and taken her coat off before Auntie Krystle was giving her her first present of the afternoon. It was a talking Elmo doll and Annika LOVED it. She walked around hugging it and making it talk to her. After enjoying our fancy dinner of lasagna (in the good dining room with China, no less!), we opened the rest of the gifts. Annika also received a couple cute outfits and another wooden puzzle set (complete with book you put the puzzle pieces into – so neat!). While Auntie Krystle chased Annika around the house, the rest of us (minus Merv) played the card game Fluxx. Mathias and I won every hand, I think. No, wait, Kris might have won one too.

It was time to head out to Grandpa’s house for dinner and another celebration. Since we were still full from Gramme’s house, we opened presents first at Grandpa’s and then opened presents second. Annika received a hobby horse (ride on horse-on-a-stick). She used it as a weapon, swinging the stick around, until Marcia showed her the proper way to ride it. Annika also thought it was fun to push it around like a broom. The bottom of the stick has rollers so it rolled around nicely for her. Annika was done with presents by this time though so she kept getting up and walking out of the room during present opening. She wanted to go play. The big hit of the evening though was our (Auntie Krystle, Uncle Mathias and us) gift to Grandpa and Marcia. We bought them tickets to the NASCAR Coca-Cola 600 at Lowe’s Motor Speedway on May 28th! They will be down in Charlotte for my cousin’s graduation from high school. They were surprised and very excited.

Annika decided Christmas evening that she was a big girl now. She started walking down the stairs upright, no longer on her butt or tummy. She holds on the wall for balance and stability and then very carefully steps down the stairs. She does the same thing walking up the stairs now. My baby is not allowed to grow up so fast like this! She’s only 15 months old and she’s walking up and down stairs!!! Not fair! Other babies her age are just starting to walk or run and mine is doing this?

Yesterday was a lower-key day than the past couple. I ran some errands (returns, exchanges and Target after-Christmas deals) while Annika napped at home. Then we all headed out to exchange some other gifts Kris received (a computer game I got him). Kris also needed to buy a new power supply for his computer. (Which, by the way, seems to have fixed his computer and he was happy as a clam last night playing his new games.) Then, we met his parents and grandparents for dinner. Great Grandpa Walter and Great Grandma Betty couldn’t join us on Christmas Eve so we visited with them yesterday. The restaurant had paper covering the table cloth. With the children’s menu came crayons and we all had a great time coloring all over the table. Well, Annika scribbled and Kris drew people and animals and flowers for her.

Today, it’s back to usual. I’m at work and Kris and Annika are at home. Hopefully we can get Annika back to her regular routine now. She has a terrible cold and hopefully a few days of not travel will help her get better. She has been such a good little girl (sleeping through the night, some extra crabbiness but nothing extraordinary) even with feeling yucky.

We are so blessed.

Posted by Kristina at 12/27/2005 08:48:00 AM

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Saturday, December 24, 2005
Merry Christmas Eve! We're having Kris's family over today and are pretty much ready for it. I'm just waiting for Kris and Annika to wake up from their naps. :)

Last night we went to a family party. My cousin, Matt, is home from basic training and my aunt and uncle had a big party. Annika had a great time. We arrived right at her bed time so I was a little worried how the night would go. Instead of becoming clingy or whiny or crabby, she became the life of the party! She would go to anybody, especially if they fed her chocolate. :) In the family room downstairs, she found herself a stage. The space in front of the TV became Annika's "look at me dance and spin in circles" area. I swear for an hour that's all she did. Someone would bring her upstairs and she would immediately head for the stairs to go back down. We left before 10pm and she was out, sleeping in her car seat, almost before we were even out of the driveway. And when we got home, we put her pajamas on and she went right back to sleep, not waking until 7am this morning. Good girl. :)

Posted by Kristina at 12/24/2005 10:21:00 AM

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Tuesday, December 20, 2005
I'm uploading a bunch of pictures. Go take a look!

Posted by Kristina at 12/20/2005 09:13:00 PM

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This morning as I was saying good bye to Kris, he told me this little story:

Annika woke up at 4:40am this morning. Kris went in there to put her back to sleep. She was standing up and gave him a kiss and hug then laid back down. Then she stood back up again to give him another kiss and a hug and then she laid back down and went back to sleep.

And then Kris melted into a puddle.

The end.

Posted by Kristina at 12/20/2005 07:58:00 AM

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Monday, December 19, 2005

Over the weekend, Annika found my salad tongs in a kitchen drawer. Since then, whenever she finds it, we have to "get" her belly with it. We pretend that we're going to pinch her belly between the tongs and she giggles and giggles. She is such a cutie pie!

Posted by Kristina at 12/19/2005 06:50:00 PM

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Has it really been almost a week since my last update? How do the days go by so fast? I always mean to write more. Really, I do!

I can't even remember what we all did last week. Last week was the end of my Adopt-a-Family duties at work. I am one of three people who chair our departments activities each year. This year we adopted 4 families. We had a pancake breakfast a couple weeks ago that brought in $858 in donations. We also have a raffle for $25 restaurant gift certificates. This year we had 5 give certificates to give away. Then we also get straight cash donations and presents. We have a Christmas tree we decorate and on the tree we hang tags with gift ideas for our families. People take the tags off the tree, go shopping and bring in the unwrapped gifts. Then, at the end of the campaign, we sort all the gifts and go shopping with the money raised (>$1800!) to round out the gifts for each family and child. We also get Target and grocery store gift certificates with the remainder. So, last Wednesday night was shopping night. Annika came with and she was a good little girl even though it took us two hours to get it all done. Thursday was final packing day and Friday was delivery day. We delivered our gifts to East Side Neighborhood Services and got a tour of their facility. It was a really great place. I love our Adopt-a-Family program. We help working families. Our families are some single parent, some two parent families where at least one of the parents is working. They are working and trying to be self sufficient, but are still very, very poor and do not have left over money to buy gifts with. However, because they have some income, they do not qualify for the Toys for Tots program or similar ones. It is sad sometimes, especially when they ask for bed sheets and winter clothing. I just want to give them toys, you know!? We did make sure each child received at least one toy along with practical items like hats, mittens, scarves, socks, etc.

On Saturday we visited Grandma Lona and Grandpa Dale. Kris helped his mom with chores while Annika and I visited with Grandpa. She had a good time chasing the dogs, playing with toys and sitting on Grandpa's lap. We were only able to stay until 1pm and then we had to rush home for an appointment at 2pm. The rest of the evening was family time. We watched Polar Express and played with Annika and just relaxed together. That almost never happens!

Yesterday we had two family Christmas parties. One with my Dad's family and one with my Mom's. Luckily one was at 1pm and the other at 4pm so we could go to both. The party at 1pm was in a catholic school gym (large families dictate this!) and there was a ton of balls and toys for Annika to play with. She kept running from ball to ball picking one up and then dropping it to pick up another, etc. She had a great time and didn't want to stop to eat. After eating, she was off to play again. At the second party, in a church fellowship hall, there was a small kid-sized table and chairs. Annika had to go and sit on each chair. She also had a great time playing with her cousins. She would run after them (they are all older) as they would run in circles. She even caught Jake and would give him hugs or point to something on his shirt. He wasn't too sure if he liked her though.

Last night Annika was so exhausted she was asleep by 7pm without a fuss. She woke at 10:30pm for a quick mom check (yep, still here baby!) and then went right back to sleep and didn't wake until after I left this morning.

And we only got one comment yesterday about Annika's need for siblings. :) All in due time people!

Posted by Kristina at 12/19/2005 02:42:00 PM

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Tuesday, December 13, 2005
I think I'm officially done Christmas shopping for Annika. Kohl's had bounce houses on sale 50% off last week so I ran down the street and got one for her. She's going to LOVE it! I have some other shopping left to do. I know exactly what I want so it's more of a buying excursion than a shopping trip.

We had a nice weekend. Saturday we had lunch out together, did some grocery shopping, cleaned the house, etc. It was a pretty low-key day. Sunday, Kris went to visit his family and help his Dad get situated back at home after his knee surgery and hospital stay. Annika stayed home with me and helped me bake cookies all day with Mary and Amanda. We made four different kinds of cookies. We are not the best cookie makers, that is for sure. I think we need to stop experimenting and just stick to the tried and true recipes of old. Oh well. Sugar is sugar. :) Annika was such a good girl too. She was content to play by herself most of the day. I think the open floor plan of our house is nice with that respect. She can play in the living room with her toys and still see mom in the kitchen since it's basically all one big room. She also took 2 long naps during the day (1 1/2 hours minimum each) so I didn't have to worry about her then either. She took her naps on our bed and I left the door cracked open each time. When she woke up, she crawled off the bed and came downstairs to find me. It was pretty cute how she'd toddle downstairs and into the kitchen rubbing her eyes. We'd cuddle for a few minutes while she finished waking up and then she was off to play with her toys again. Mary had to leave early to head to the airport for a business trip. Amanda stayed into the evening and her boyfriend Dean came over too so we could all have dinner together. Kris grilled us yummy, yummy steaks.

Last night Annika and I had a quiet evening at home. We read a bunch of books and played most of the night. At one point Annika was resting on my lap in the recliner, watching the end of Sesame Street when she decided we needed to kiss. That's all well and good, except that she still kisses with her tongue and teeth. She's licking me all over mouth and chin and then biting at the same time. I don't know how she does it but I'm sure it looks like I'm being mauled. Of course, I'm laughing the whole time so she giggles too. I'm probably just egging her on with the giggling. How do I teach her to kiss nicely?!? :)

I got the new winter catalog for the parks & recreation department in town. I found a music class Kris and Annika can take together on Tuesdays this winter. That along with their ECFE class on Fridays and me home on Wednesdays should break up the week nicely for them. There is also a baby swimming class on Monday nights I want to sign up for. That's in the evenings so Annika and I will take that together. I think she's going to love it! I can't wait! Must get back to work now. Have a good week!

Posted by Kristina at 12/13/2005 07:53:00 AM

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Thursday, December 08, 2005
Annika had a big day yesterday. She visited with Santa Claus and she doesn't like him one bit. We went to Southdale and had pictures taken. I had to be in the picture too, holding her, because she has a big case of stranger/separation anxiety as of late. Annika also had her 15 month well baby visit with the doctor yesterday. Once again, she was terrified of the nurse and doctor. She crawled up my body and clung to my neck with her arms and my waist with her legs when I tried to put her down to be weighed. She's 21 pounds 2.5 ounces which is the 25-50 percentile. She's only gained 5 ounces in the last 3 months. Maybe she should sit down once in a while, huh? She's 32.5 inches tall which is the 95th percentile. She's tall and lean, my little one is. When the doctor came in to do the exam, Annika wanted nothing to do with her. I had to physically restrain her on my lap in order for the doctor to listen to her heart and lungs and check her ears and eyes and mouth. Poor girl. There was lots of yelling when she got her 2 shots as well but as soon as the nurse left the room and she was safely cradled in Mom's arms again, she was fine. The doctor was impressed with Annika's vocabularly. Annika can say at least 10 words and 3-6 is considered "normal" for her age. Annika also passed the block stacking test. The doctor put 5 small blocks on the table and wanted Annika to stack one on top of another one. Annika did even better by stacking the blocks 3 tall before they fell over. We have a little overachiever on our hands. :)

Grandpa Dale is having knee replacement surgery today. Please think healing good thoughts for him! We love you Grandpa Dale! Kris went down to the farm yesterday to help his parents with chores before the surgery. Since I needed to be working from home with is near impossible with Annika, Auntie Krystle came over for a few hours. She has this week off from work so it worked out perfectly. Annika ran right to Auntie Krystle and was not afraid of her at all. She had just seen Auntie Krystle on Saturday at my Pampered Chef open house so that may have been part of it.

Annika already has a pile of presents underneath the Christmas tree. She's getting an Aquadoodle, wooden puzzle, 2 board books, Cinderella the DVD, 3 outfits, magnetic letters for on the refrigerator and a potty chair. And there might be more, it feels like I'm forgetting something. Kris and I still want to get her a bouncy thing (one of those big, inflatable bounce houses) and then we'll be done with her. Oh, and Kris is looking for a "Night before Christmas" book for her. He wants a cute one with pop up pictures or something. All he's seen so far are storybook types. If you see one - let him know! Other things Annika could use now are more board books (loves books!), new bath toys, more educational and "big girl" toys. She has a ton of stuffed animals and baby toys. It's time to get her more big girl items. She's still wearing 18 month size clothing and seeing as how she's gaining so little weight recently, she might be wearing this size for a while longer. Clothing in a 24 month or 2T size isn't out of the question though either.

OK, I have to get back to work now. Work has been so crazy lately that I barely have time to eat lunch. Must go shove food down throat...

Posted by Kristina at 12/08/2005 12:02:00 PM

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Monday, December 05, 2005
Yes, it's been forever since I posted. I'm so sorry. Things have been very hectic around here lately. I should have a relatively peaceful week. Well, peaceful at home at least. Work has gone crazy lately. Last Thursday, I was in meetings all day, from the minute I walked in the door until the minute I left except for 1/2 hour. Crazy! And now I'm being given even more responsibilities. This is all a good thing, of course but Oohmygoshihavenotime!!

The week before Thanksgiving we hosted a baby gathering at our house. Lisa with Emma and Robyn with Gavin and Jessica came over. Annika had a good time with them. Although, she was confused why these kids were playing with her toys. She kept taking the toys away from the other kids and giving them to her dad.

Thanksgiving was nice, but busy. It felt like as soon as we got done eating we were off to the next gathering. And pretty much, that is how it was. It was nice to see everyone though. And we timed it pretty well so Annika got her naps in the car while going from one place to the other. I got a cute picture of her at Uncle Dusty and Aunt Kim's house. She had fun with Uncle Dusty too as he swung her in the air.

The day after Thanksgiving we took Annika to the doctor. She had a couple rough patches of skin, one on her arm and one on her face. The doctor said it was either ringworm or ezcema. We treated it essentially as both. We put ringworm cream on the couple spots and then started covering her in Eucerin lotion from head to toe twice a day. She seems all better now. We go back on Wednesday for her 15 month well baby appointment. At the doctor that day she got her first flu shot. It also snowed for the first time this season that afternoon and evening.

And ever since that night Annika has decided that going to sleep and sleeping all night are not necessary. Kris and I weren't sure if it was her molars coming in (2 on top and 2 ready to poke through on the bottom), a reaction from the flu shot or the snow on the ground making it lighter in her room. She wakes up in the middle of the night now ready to go and it takes some coaxing, some crying and both parents usually to get her to go back to sleep. Ah, the fun.

Daddy taught Annika a new fun trick in the bathtub. She has 3 toys with suction cups on the bottoms. Daddy showed Annika how to stick them to her tummy and she loves to do that over and over again now. She wiggles her tummy around with her toy stuck too it and giggles! Ah, so precious.

We put up our Christmas tree after Thanksgiving. Annika's been very good around it. Of course, there are no ornaments from about my waist level up. She's shaken the tree a couple times but redirecting her with toys usually solves that problem.

Annika has been giving lots of kisses tonight. Too bad she still kisses with her tongue out and tonight with her teeth too. She bit my lip so hard! Ouch! Then we had fun playing on the floor. That consisted of her running a few steps then flopping down on her belly. The game was I was supposed to crawl over to her and tickle her and kiss her. Then, she would get up, crawl a few steps and flop down again. Over and over again with the flopping and tickling and kissing.

Annika has started saying a few more words too. She's started saying uh-oh and no. She says uh-oh when she drops her pacifier or when she throws her sippy cup on the floor - on purpose - just so she can say uh-oh.

We got news yesterday from Jon and Michelle - they are expecting their 3rd!! How exciting for them! Yay for babies!

I think those are the highlights as of late. I will try to post more frequently, I promise!

Posted by Kristina at 12/05/2005 08:11:00 PM

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