Lions and Tigers and Gorillas, Oh My!

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See?!? It’s been over a week again! And now I have another list of things to share. Hold on. Here we go!

Wednesday, the 16th, Amanda and Dean welcomed their son, Erek, to the world. Congratulations Amanda and Dean! Their son is absolutely adorable, of course. I was able to meet him that Friday night. You can already tell how proud Dean is and what a good mommy Amanda is. They’re going to be terrific parents. And now I can talk parenting stuff with Amanda and she’ll get it! We’ve already had our first breastfeeding chats. Love it!

After meeting Erek I went to Jeanette’s house for her CAbi party. It’s always fun to see my friends. Jeanette made super yummy guacamole and all my friends looked fab in the clothes – of course!

While I was out having fun last Friday night the kids were at Dale and Shelly’s house. I’m pretty sure they had even more fun than I did. They went to two parks, played outside, had hot dogs for dinner, watched a movie and crawled around on Dale like he was a jungle gym. Pure bliss for them. When I arrived later that night to pick them up we couldn’t leave right away because Annika wanted to finish the movie she was watching. So we stayed downstairs where she cuddled up on the couch with Uncle Dale and finished it. And James tried to kill himself with an exercise ball. He’d crawl on top of it and let it roll around. He’d fall this way or that way off of it, sometimes coming close to furniture (particularly sharp corners of furniture) and giving us all heart attacks. I saw stitches in my future more than once. Such a typical boy he is. He came out unscathed though after all his fun.

Have I told you lately how cute my kids are? What? That’s what every post is about? Well, add this to the list then. The kids’ favorite new expression is “You’re the best mommy/daddy ever!” I have to say I like this! I always respond with “You’re the best Jamesy/Nika ever!” and then we hug and kiss. Ah, so cute!

Kris and I have been doing our best the last couple weekends to indoctrinate the kids into football. They will love football. It’s like a family entrance requirement! Saturday we watched the Gopher game. I explained that we cheer for the team in the (awful) yellow jerseys and that they are from Minnesota. Jamesy was OK with that but would have preferred to cheer for the team in blue. He likes blue, you see. Then on Sunday we watched the Vikings game. Jamesy was cuddled up on my lap and I told him we’re cheering for the team in white and purple. Annika was concerned that if we cheer for them then the other team will be sad if we beat them. Um, how do you go about explaining that you don’t always have to share with your friends? Explain that sometimes competition is good? Anyway, it was a cute response from her. Jamesy was just confused because I said the Vikings were from Minnesota. He asked where the Gophers were from again? I told him they’re both from Minnesota. His little mind was putting things together there. What I really need is to get them little Gopher and Viking jerseys. Jamesy has a little Gopher jersey shirt and he is so cute in it! We also need some Augsburg gear too. I’m hoping we can make it to the Augsburg homecoming football game which is next weekend I think (the 3rd?). I have purchased James a little maroon, gray and white striped shirt that at least has the right colors. Go football!

Wednesday Grandpa Dan called me at work to say he and Marcia were near our house and they had a present for James – a big blue tractor! James has wanted a big blue tractor for a long time. I was so excited! They stopped by and gave James his tractor and he’s played with it every day since then. They also gave Annika a couple small presents (didn’t she just have a birthday?!). Spoiled. My children are spoiled. By their grandparents. Hey, wait. Isn’t that how it’s supposed to be? My children are very lucky.

For the last, well, forever, Annika’s been waking up in the middle of the night and coming into our room to tell us she’s scared or had a bad dream. She already sleeps with a lamp on but that wasn’t enough. Most nights I’m too tired to bring her back to her bed and wait until she falls asleep and then go back to my own bed. Instead I’ve just been telling her to lay down on the floor next to my bed and she goes back to sleep within minutes. Also on the floor next to my bed is Dagur on his dog bed. Most nights Annika would curl up with Dagur, using him as a pillow, and go back to sleep. Kris has been getting fed up with the nightly ritual so he told her last Sunday that if she slept in her room for three nights in a row then he’d take her to Target and she could pick out a toy. Sunday night was the first test. And she did it! And she’s done it every night since! Of course, we also have a new nightly ritual too. Dagur’s dog bed has been moved to Annika’s room and when I put her to bed at night I bring Dagur in there and make him lay down. Then I get my hug and kiss goodnight from Annika and she lays down on the dog bed, using Dagur as a pillow. She goes to sleep and most nights we don’t hear from her again until the morning! I’m not sure how Dagur feels about this but he’s tolerated it so far. Annika’s not sleeping in her bed anymore but I’m sure this is a phase and she won’t have to sleep on a dog from here to eternity. I’m just grateful to not have the nightly wake up call. Of course James has been waking up once a night or so the last couple weeks asking to be rocked. I don’t know if he’s cold, hot, etc. I’d really like him to sleep through the night like he always has though. Time to work on that next!

I had this written and ready to post on Friday and then never got around to posting it! So I’ll ad a couple more paragraphs and then post it today.

Saturday we had a pretty laid back day. Kris went on a bike ride with Dusty and to the Machine’s captains practice for a bit. He was home around noon and then we watched the Gophers game, had lunch, took naps, finished the Gopher game, had dinner, etc. It was pretty chill.

Sunday first up was church. Annika got separated from her Sunday school class somehow on a trip to the bathroom and Kris found her wandering the halls after church. Her eyes were red from crying. Poor girl. She was fine though and never in any danger, only scared. Kris had a talk with her about what to do if that happens in the future and I’ll make sure to talk to her teachers next Sunday. Maybe the class is too big and needs to be separated? Maybe more head counts need to be done? We’ll figure it out.

After church we hurried home for a quick lunch and then Krystle and Pierce came over and the six of us climbed in the truck and went to Como Zoo. We met Grandpa Dan and Marcia there and had a great three hours at the zoo. We saw all of the animals and even some of them twice. Annika said all the animals were her favorite. Later that night she said the gorillas were her favorite. The kids really liked all the animals though. Annika decided the four giraffes were a family with a mommy, daddy, sister and brother. Same with the orangutans. There they even had a grandpa since the mommy and daddy and baby roles were already filled. The kids had fun being held by Grandpa to see some of the animals better. And they had fun munching on popcorn after the seal show. It was a great day together.

On the way home Jamesy fell asleep. So did Annika. When we got home though Annika woke up and Jamesy stayed half asleep. I carried him upstairs to his room and laid him down and he stayed there, not making a sound, until 5:30am this morning. More than once I wanted to go in there to check if he was still breathing. Paranoid mom things never really go away, do they? Anyway, I’d say we tuckered him out! Unfortunately he threw up the glass of milk I gave him this morning and then threw up again after I had left for work. Latest reports from Kris are that he’s feeling better. Poor baby. I left him this morning cuddling with Kris, watching cartoons. Hopefully it’s a quickly passing bug and that none of the rest of us come down with it.

The rest of the week is pretty open. Gymnastics on Thursday night. More football this weekend. And that’s about it.

Birthday, School, Shots

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I’m so behind on updating here. New goal: do better. I was reading through some archives yesterday and just love reading about stuff that I’ve forgotten already (things Annika said when she was 3, things James did when he was 7 months, etc.). I have a list of things I want to update. Shall we start from the beginning?

First up? Annika’s birthday. We started the day with an egg bake for breakfast. We treated it as an egg cake and put candles in it and sang “Happy Birthday” to Annika. She thought that was pretty cool. Funny part was because the egg bake was hot from the oven, the candles melted inside the cake a bit. We had to sort of eat around these little wax spots! I explained to Annika the concept of making a wish while blowing out her candles. Later that morning she was begging me to guess what her wish was. I jokingly told her she only wanted me to guess because it was supposed to be secret so she couldn’t tell me. She confirmed that was exactly the reason she wanted me to guess. Know what her wish was? To get a cupcake maker (like an Easy Bake Oven – available at Target). I told her I thought she needed to be eight to have one of those (at least that’s the recommended age on the box) and didn’t know if she’d get one. We’ve seen them in the stores since her birthday and she still says she wants one and I still tell her she needs to be a bit older.

The rest of her birthday morning was spent doing a little cleaning and food prep for her party. That afternoon Nana, Papa, Great Papa, Dusty, Melanie, Gramme, Grandpa Dan, Marcia and Krystle all came over to celebrate with Annika. First we all grazed on the appetizers then we ate some yummy dinner (ribs, steak, hamburgers). After we ate we had cake. Annika picked out a Barbie Fairytopia cake from Lund’s. It turned out pretty cute and she was super excited to have it. We sang happy birthday again for her. Then after cake we finally let her open her presents. She had wanted to open the one from us which was sitting on the countertop since she woke up that morning for hours. She had repeatedly asked and didn’t like the answer of “at your party.” She got some really great gifts, as always. She’s enjoying her MP3 player, My Little Ponies, magnetic dolls, make-your-own princess crowns, sleeping bag, legos, cash register, etc. She also got roller skates and accessories from Gramme. Those were a big hit and used later that week at her skating party.

Jamesy also got a couple small gifts. He was such a good boy while Annika was opening her presents. He said on Papa’s lap and just kept asking what Annika got and oohed and aahed over them. So patient. At the end he asked if he could open his present now. One of the things he got was a dinosaur egg that when submerged in water would “hatch.” We put it in water that night and within a couple hours the egg had cracked. Jamesy pulled me over to the counter several times that night and the next morning exclaiming “It’s hatching! It’s hatching!” He thought it was pretty cool. Both kids were a little freaked out by it actually until I made it silly and lighthearted and fun. Then they thought it was cool and were okay with it.

Annika was so funny when she was opening gifts. She would alternate between wanting to open and use something right away (like the roller skates) to opening the next gift, putting it behind her and moving on to the next one. Of course some of those she thought nothing of at first are now her favorites. She didn’t understand what some of them were at first I don’t think. We’re trying to teach good manners but little kids don’t always have the best tact. I tried to make sure she said thank you to each person that day. Hopefully I caught everyone.

Thursday last week was Annika’s preschool open house and her first night of gymnastics. At the open house we met her teacher and teacher’s aide, saw her classroom, found her mailbox and locker as well as played with a couple toys in the room. Annika reverted back to her shy self and wouldn’t talk to any of the adults. I hope her teacher was able to get her to speak yesterday at her first day. It’s pretty cute that she has a locker outside the classroom in the hallway. There’s no lock on it and it’s simply to put her back pack or coat in while she’s in class but I still think it’s cute to see her open the locker. I, of course, took a picture of her by it yesterday on her first day.

After the open house we went to gymnastics. We had stopped gymnastics back in April because Annika was starting to get bored. We were going to do dance over the summer but the schedules and times didn’t work for us. Then this fall we asked Annika what she wanted to do – dance or gymnastics and she chose gymnastics. Fine by us. So we’re back at the gym. She had fun during her first class and there were only six kids in her class so I was happy about that. Too many kids = a lot of time spent in lines instead of enjoying the obstacle course or trampoline or whatever. Jamesy was asking if he could go in too and do gymnastics. I had asked Kris if he was interested in putting James in a parent/child class like we had done with Annika when she was James’ age. It’s already $63/month for Annika and he didn’t really want to pay $126/month for both of them. I told James that when he turned three he could go to gymnastics. I asked him how old he was and he told me he was three. Not quite buddy. I told him no, you’re two and he proceeded to laugh and tell me no, he’s three. I told him he’s not going to be three until February and he laughed at me again. Maybe next spring or fall we’ll enroll him in a class too. I know he’d enjoy it. Right now he’s stuck in the lobby with boring old Mom, reading books and goofing around.

Friday night Annika decided that she and I are going to be best friends forever. When she’s a grown up we’re going to live together and play together and even go to work together and at the same time. Then she asked me very seriously what she was going to do if she didn’t have a Daddy to watch her kids while she was at work. I told her that they’d go to daycare. She was OK with that answer. Isn’t it funny how in her world Daddy’s stay home and Mommy’s go to work? We have neighbors where the mommy stays home and neighbors where the kids go to daycare and she knows of those situations but apparently in her world those don’t apply.

Saturday we had a birthday party for Annika with a couple of her little friends. Ryan, Erin, Jessica and Emily were able to come. We went rollerskating at a local roller rink. It was so fun! Annika was excited to try out her new skates. She needed help around the rink but by the end it was simply holding her hand or arm to keep her upright. She still tries to walk or step on her skates rather than push off and glide. Kris tried to show her how to do that but she didn’t really get it yet. And we put Jamesy on skates too! That was hilarious. He needed a lot of help, of course. I would put him between my legs (I was on skates too) and hold him under his arms and around his belly. Then we’d go around in circles. He thought it was fun but he didn’t last too long out there. He was way more interested in the arcade games. We didn’t give him any quarters but he doesn’t know he needs them yet. He was happy to just turn the steering wheels, press the buttons and pretend he was playing. The other kids had a good time skating too I think. Jessica and Erin both loved it and their moms had to take them around and around that rink. Maria’s ankles were so sore (she wasn’t skating) from being whacked into by little tiny roller skates. Jessica was getting pretty good at it by the end too. Annika got really nice gives from the kids although she was too shy to say thank you to Jessica and Emily. That’s just because she doesn’t see those girls as often as she sees Ryan and Erin, the neighbor kids.

The cutest moment of that day was when Jeff came to pick up Ryan and bring him to the Gopher football game. Ryan and Annika had been goofing around during lunch, hugging and hanging on each other. James and Erin had gotten in the act too. We, uh, may be in trouble with the neighbor kids in about 10 years! Anyway, when Ryan was getting ready to leave Annika gave him a huge hug good-bye and then wanted to give him a kiss to. Of course she wanted to give him a kiss good-bye – that’s what we do with Daddy when he goes to work each night and Nana and Papa and Grandpa and Marci a and everyone else when they leave. Well, Ryan didn’t really know a kiss was coming and he was bobbing his head around to avoid it. We broke it up and said good-bye and then Annika crumpled in my arms. She was so embarrassed that Ryan wouldn’t let her kiss him. We explained that Ryan didn’t know she was trying to kiss him and we soothed her bruised ego and skated some more. So cute. Poor girl.

We did watch the Gopher game that night on tv. I didn’t expect it but seeing the stadium on campus with all those students in it with the campus and Minneapolis skyline in the background really got to me. For the first time I understood what they were saying about this being important for students and alumni. I had season tickets when I was a student and had no problem taking the shuttle buses to the Metrodome to see games. I’m almost desperate now to go see a game in the new stadium. As an alumnae it has become a huge deal to me. You know though, just being back on campus brings back strong emotions for me. I loved my college years. I love the University. I loved my sorority. Being able to re-live those by going to a football game on campus seems like so much fun. Maybe I can try to find some tickets at some point. And maybe in the future we can get some season tickets. That would be super fun I think. Jeff and Maria and Krystle and Pierce have tickets. How fun would it be to tailgate with them?? On campus?? It’s almost too much to even think about, it excites me so much.

We also watched the Vikings game on Sunday. I’m glad we won but it was still so weird for me to see Favre in a Vikings uniform and to cheer for him. Cheering for Adrian Peterson? Not a problem at all! What an amazing football player and athlete in general!

Monday’s was Annika’s first day of preschool for this year. We moved her to the community education preschool program instead of the (literally across the street) catholic school program. She’s been at the catholic school for two years already. I don’t think they’d be teaching her anything new there. And I’ve heard nothing but good things about the community education program. Kris and James and I brought Annika to her first day. First she had to put her backpack in her little locker. (She has a locker! So cute!) Then she found her nametag and put it on the “I’m here” board. Then I requested a kiss and hug but she was already inside the room busy playing and listening to the teacher. She didn’t even look back to wave good-bye or anything. Just gone. Guess she wasn’t nervous at all! That’s good.

When I asked her later how her day went, she said it was good. She liked playing on the playground. They had cookies as a snack. And she learned a lot that day! (Her words.) She learned to listen to the teacher and walk in a line down the hall with her hands at her sides. And she learned that for circle time you need to sit down and criss-cross applesauce (sit cross-legged). Basically I think she learned the rules of the classroom on the first day. She also talked about the letter A apparently. When I asked her to tell me a word that started with the letter A she said “Annika!” Well, that will work. She also said she made new friends but she couldn’t remember their names.

Wednesday Annika had her 5 year check up. She’s in perfect health. Her doctor said her growth curves are wonderful. And I was so proud of Annika because she did everything the doctor requested and answered every question the doctor asked! She wasn’t my shy child who just looks to me instead of answering adults! Annika is in the 56th percentile for weight and 50th for height – my well proportioned average child I guess! She’s officially 42.5 inches tall. After the doctor left it was time for shots. 4 of them plus a flu spray up the nose. Annika’s been worried about these shots ever since Ryan, the neighbor boy, had his five year old shots in June. And he told her they hurt. Great. Thanks. I’ve been telling her for days that it’s just going to hurt at first but then it will be fine, no big deal. She was a wreck. I had to have her sit on my lap and hold her arms to her sides and she just pleaded with me “No, Mom. Mom!” Poor girl. She got her four shots though and was fine after that. She has been complaining that her one arms hurts since she’s had her shot but that should go away today or tomorrow. And James got a flu shot too and he went after Annika and he didn’t even flinch. Shots are no big deal for James. I hope that continues. He was just excited about his basketball band-aid.

I started writing this on Tuesday. It’s now Friday and I’ve had to add a couple paragraphs of things that have happened since I started. This is the final one. I promise.

Yesterday was James’ first day of ECFE for this school year. He said he had fun and played with a boy named Max. He had goldfish for a snack and didn’t mind when Daddy left for the parent education time. That’s usually when the kids have snack so of course he didn’t mind Daddy leaving! I can’t believe Jamesy is getting so big. I can have an actual conversation with him now! Next year he’ll start preschool. Can you believe next year I’ll have a kindergartner and a preschooler??? They’re growing up so fast. It makes all the snuggle time I get with them even that more precious.

And now that I’ve written over 2600 words (!) I think it’s time to sign off for this update. I’ll try to update more so these updates don’t have to be so monstrous.


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I know I’m terribly late in posting updates. I owe you and myself a lot of updates here. Like about Kris. He’s doing well in his recovery. He still gets tired a bit and his stomach still gets sore every now and again and he has a rash from the iodine that is slowly going away. All in all, he’s doing pretty well.

And the kids went to Nana and Papa’s from Sunday – Wednesday last week so Kris had some quiet days at home to recuperate. I’m sure they had a great time there but it was weirdly quiet here at home. I think Kris was a bit bored during the day.

And yesterday we went to the State Fair. There’s pictures coming from that soon. There was corn on the cob and rides in the Kidway and of course the little farm hands exhibit – although I don’t know who enjoys that more – the kids or Nana and Papa.

But what I really wanted to write down tonight was something my almost five year old girl told me. She’s going to be 5 tomorrow you know. We spent part of the day shopping for her, part of the day cleaning for her party and part of the day just playing. I can’t believe she’s going to be five already. Tonight at bed time as she was giving James and I good night hugs and kisses she jumped into my lap. We hugged and kissed and cuddled and I told her that she’s my best girl, my best Nika and she says back to me, “Don’t die before I’m a grown up.” I assure her I won’t and she bounds off to her room so Kris can read her a book. Kris and I are both a little stunned at what she said. Sometimes the most mature thoughts and worries come out of her head. It can be a little weird, a little unsettling to hear some of these things. I just try my hardest to make sure she feels loved and safe and try and explain the big bad things of the world in the most gentle way possible. And then sometimes my heart swells so much with both pride and fear. There will be bad things I can’t stop from happening. How can I keep her happy and healthy and safe???

For tonight I’ll kiss her goodnight, assure her I’m not going anywhere and then go wrap her presents and make sure she has the best birthday possible tomorrow. It’s the best I can do tonight. I love you baby girl.