Milestones

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Two milestones have been achieved in our house…

#1 – Annika read Kris and I a book yesterday. It was a “Learn To Read” book so it had very easy words in it (“You will go.”) but still, she sounded them all out and read them all! Yay baby girl! I couldn’t help but smoosh her and smother her with kisses after every page. I’m just so proud!

#2 – James is now tall enough that he can stand up at the potty. There is nothing cuter than watching him stand there and aim. Hee! Now if only he would tell us when he has to go rather than us telling him at random intervals during the day to go potty. I’m thinking when I have three weeks off at Christmas (two vacation/holiday, 1 furlough) that it might be time to potty train for real. Obviously he can do it, he just doesn’t want to yet or maybe isn’t fully ready. It would be nice to get him trained before baby #3 arrives though!


More Bad News

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We received some bad news on Tuesday night. Kris is being laid off after Thanksgiving. We’re still in a bit of shock but the immediate panic has subsided. And I’ve been re-assessing our budget and re-calculating and playing with numbers all week. To combat the bad we received a bit of good news yesterday, the 10% pay cut I took earlier this year due to the economy is being reversed starting December 14th. My paychecks will go back to what they used to be. That news couldn’t have come at a better time. With that good news and my recalculations, we’re going to be just fine. Our plan right now is to live off my income alone and save any unemployment benefits Kris is able to get. Then we’ll (well, Kris will) have to make some decisions on what to do next. Look for another job in the same field? Different field? Go back to school? For what? It’s an upheaval, that’s for sure, but it’s not the end of the world. And now I get to see my cutie pie husband in the evenings again. And that is great news if you ask me!


The Good and Bad of Life

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It’s been a little while since my last update again. Time seems to move so fast these days! Last week we had some maintenance work done on our car which means we were treated to a couple visits by Grandpa! Annika was so funny. She would pace the house and constantly ask when he was going to come and then when he’d arrive she’d act all shy and coy. Eventually she’d be warmed up and in his lap. She is a goofball. They do always look forward to his visits though (and the M&Ms that usually accompany him!).

Last Wednesday we had Annika’s fall conference at school. She counted to 32, recognized all letters but V (?? She knows that one – silly girl), passed the colors, shapes, cutting tests and is generally doing very well. Her teacher said she does talk to her when asked, plays very well with the other kids and likes school. Unfortunately if the teacher catches her eye while she’s laughing or having a good time with the kids then she immediately straightens up and gives the teacher her sober face again. Silly girl! At least she’s talking to her teacher. Last year the teacher had to lean down to hear Annika’s whisper answers to the questions. So, progress. Maybe she’ll grow out of this a little bit more before kindergarten next year.

Saturday we had our picture taken at church for the new directory. I was hoping to get some family pictures and maybe Christmas cards out of the session but that was not to be. Annika was stone cold sober and when we did manage to get her to smile then James would have a goofy look on his face. He was trying so hard to do as the photographer asked. She’d say smile and he’d give his biggest, goofiest grin…while also opening his eyes really wide and giving a crazy face look. Or Annika would be smiling and James would be looking elsewhere. So we took the free 8×10 of the best of the bunch and called it a day. Maybe we’ll try again later for a family pic – maybe after the baby is born. Oh well.

Monday night James was doing a puzzle on the floor. I was helping him find pieces but he pretty much put the whole thing together by himself. He was looking for a piece with ants on it and then he made a joke by telling me I had ants in my pants. He laughed his goofy little head off after telling me that. He is too cute sometimes. (Like last night when he was using his penis during the bed time diaper change to “pugh” (shoot) me and other things in his bedroom. Then he put his penis down and laughed, telling me his penis was not a “pugher” but a penis. Thanks little man. I had no idea.)

Last night Annika and I played a game of memory on the living room floor. We ended up pretty even (with me playing to the best of my ability) with me having 20 matches and she having 16. My sweet little girl is not the best sport though. Each time I would get a match she would sigh or “argh” or make some other silly noise. Kris was teasing her that she’s a good a sport as her mom is. Thanks honey. I have no idea what he’s talking about. (Something about playing trivial pursuit against me? Hey, I can’t help it if I like showing him that I’m smarter than he is! )

And now for the bad news. My aunt, my godmother, Denise is not doing so well in her fight against cancer. It has invaded her body once again. Please, if you could, pray for her and her family. I’m going to see her on Sunday and I’m so angry about the unfairness of it all. No one this young (no one period) should have to die due to this disease. It all started as breast cancer and the recent news on the new “recommended screenings” for breast cancer have only made this family tragedy even more infuriating to me. Don’t get me started on the new recommendations. I’m likely to give you an earful and it wouldn’t be rainbows and butterflies either. *Angry* *Annoyed* *Outraged*

We’ll end this on a happy note. I’ve felt the baby move! Only a couple times, very random. But it’s still in there, apparently doing OK and starting to make its presence known. My next appointment is the 27th (day after Thanksgiving) and I plan on bringing Kris and the kids with me so they can hear the heartbeat too.


Cuteness Abounds

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Last Thursday night James was melting down. I told Annika to go brush her teeth and then wait in her room for me and I would be there shortly to put her to bed. First I had to take care of James since he was obviously very tired. A few minutes later I walked in to her room and found her sitting on her bed with her hands clasped by her belly. I asked her what she d was doing and she told me she was giving herself a hug. Aww, how cute! I told her to come here and give me a hug and I stood her up and sat down on her bed where she had been sitting. Then I pulled her arms apart to put them around me. In doing so, her right arm flew behind her back and her left arm went around my neck. Hmmm. I asked her what was behind her back and she smiled and said nothing. So I pulled her arm from behind her back and found a fun-size Kit Kat bar in her hand. A ha! Sneakiness! And lying! I gave her my disappointed look and told her that she was supposed to brush her teeth, not go get candy. I told her to give me the candy and of course she protested. I told her to give it to me again and she quickly broke the candy apart into two pieces and shoved one piece in her mouth and handed the other piece to me. Then she gave me her big, devilish grin. I wanted to kill her. Instead I took the other piece, told her she couldn’t have it and made her get into bed with no bed time story and a lecture from me. We are in so much trouble with that one. She may be shy and mute around strangers but she is intelligent and cunning and we’ll have to keep a close eye on her to keep her on the straight and narrow. Giving myself a hug. Sheesh!

Saturday I went to the Gopher-Illinois football game at the new TCF Bank Stadium on the U of M campus. What a treat! Krystle and Pierce had an extra ticket and invited me with them. I was excited to go! We left home shortly after 9am and drove to the tailgate lots. We got there a bit later than we wanted (my fault – I sent Kris out to get some cash and that delayed us a little) but we were still in time to say hi to Nicole and Rich and their tailgating gang. Plus we had plenty of time to catch the buses and head to the stadium. (The tailgate lot is on the State Fairgrounds adjacent to the St. Paul campus.) And we had plenty of time to get in the stadium and find our seats. Krystle and Pierce’s seats are great! They’re on the second level and from there we have a nice view of the field plus the giant scoreboard and even the downtown Minneapolis skyline. I got some great pictures. (Which I am working on and hope to upload tonight.) In honor of Veterans Day they had two Army guys skydive into the stadium while the National Anthem was sung. It was so cool to see them maneuver their parachutes to achieve the perfect landings at midfield. But man it was scary to watch them fall from the sky. I could never do that! The game itself was hit and miss. There were some good plays, some lousy plays and for a while the crowd was pretty down. At half time Krystle and I went to the two story Gopher store at one end of the stadium. I purchased a potential Christmas present for the kids and Krystle purchased a Gopher maroon and gold scarf. It was a beautiful day out on Saturday (60 degrees) but we were sitting in the shade where it got a bit cool. During the fourth quarter the Gophers staged a comeback but it was too little, too late and we ended up losing. That’s OK though. The stadium was great and it was super excellent, awesome, so great to hang out with Krystle, just the two of us. We rarely get to do that anymore as I usually have the kids with me or something. I miss just hanging out with her! (Pierce sat by friends in another part of the stadium.) Anyway, great time had by me!

When I arrived home from the game Kris was getting ready for a bike ride. And as he was leaving I was getting shoes on the kids. With it being such a nice day I just had to get them outside to play! They played in the sandbox and on the driveway. I did a small chore outside (pulling up the dead flowers from the front tree flower bed) and before we knew it, it was getting dark and time to go in! And it wasn’t even 5pm yet! I…am not a big fan of daylight savings time. At least they were able to play outside for a little bit.

Sunday after church we headed out to do some shopping. First we stopped at Red Lobster for lunch. And that’s when we discovered that apparently James is a little biased against lobsters. Just getting out of the truck he had to point out the two “naughty lobsters” on the sign and the front of the building. And one inside the door I took him to see the live lobsters in the tank and he wanted nothing to do with that. He backed away and cringed a little bit. And all during lunch he had to point out each and every lobster on his menu, on the walls, everywhere and call each and every one a naughty lobster. Kris tried to explain to him that lobsters are not naughty – it’s only if you bug them that they’ll pinch you – if you leave them alone, they’ll leave you alone. I’m not sure how successful we were with that though. He still called them all naughty lobsters. At least on the way out he went a little closer to the live lobsters though to get a bit of a closer look. The cutest thing though was when Jamesy was served his fish and mashed potato lunch. He was excited to squirt the lemon on his broiled fish (and insisted on doing it himself after I had put some lemon on it and he mashed that poor lemon to bits) and when he had his first bite he let out a big “mmmmmm”. The waiter thought that was extra cute. Kris and I died laughing. He is so cute, that little Jamesy!

We were out shopping for maternity shirts for me and I was lucky enough to score three nice ones. Kris really complimented me on one of them when I tried it on for him later (he was with Jamesy in another part of the mall while Annika “helped” me shop for shirts). That was very nice to hear! After that was done we bummed around in a couple other stores and then we went to the local cheap place and got Annika’s hair cut. It’s not super short, but it is up to her chin again. Kris and Annika both like it short like that. Me? I wish she’d grow it out. I’m a sucker for longer hair though. She’s adorable, of course. We kept asking her if she liked it though and she kept saying she didn’t know because she couldn’t see the back. We assured her that it was the same length as the front and then she was OK. She was feeling the back and worrying that it was still too long. Too long! Chin length! My hair gets above my shoulder blades and I’m having a panic attack. (Thanks Mom!)

Anyway, Annika’s cute (albeit deceiving and cunning and wily) and James is cute and Kris is cute and life is good. (Now if only I could feel this baby move and life would be even better! 15w2d)


Halloween! (Pictures coming soon – I promise!)

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Time for an update again! I never gave an update on the nuchal translucency screening. The ultrasound showed normal, healthy results and that combined with the blood test lowered our odds for Downs Syndrome from 1:376 to 1:7561. And it lowered our odds for Trisomy 13/18 from 1:~300 to 1:>10,000. That was all great news! The only thing that worries me is I still can’t feel the baby move. I know it’s still early (14w4d today) but with the lack of movement on the ultrasound (I keep telling myself the baby was sleeping as we did see it move a little bit towards the end.) and with the lack of movement felt so far I keeping worrying about all these awful diseases and birth defects. Argh. I’m such a worry-wart. I know. I can’t seem to turn that part of my brain off. I’m can’t wait to start feeling movement and then for our Level II Ultrasound on December 4th. Just a little over 4 weeks away. I’ll try to keep my neuroses under control until then.

Last Friday night Kris took the night off, we dressed up the kids in their Halloween costumes (and Kris with his skeleton face) and headed to Jason and Theresa’s house for a birthday party/Halloween party. It was a good time and it was fun to see the other kids in their costumes. I was a bad mom and pushed Annika and James away from me and told them to go play with the other kids instead of going with them and helping them get acclimated with these kids they hardly see. But I was hungry! Luckily they had each other for moral support and did go and play with the kids and all was well. Amanda and Dean came with Erek and I immediately snatched him away for a good, long cuddle session. What a cutie! Annika made me sit on the couch with Erek so she could get closer to him. She stroked his head, kissed his forehead and generally loved on him. She’s absolutely smitten with babies. I hope that doesn’t turn into jealousy when our new baby arrived. James was more neutral. He came and checked out the baby briefly and then went back to snacking and playing and generally ignoring me and the baby. Good? Bad? We’ll see I guess.

Saturday was of course Halloween but it was also Great Grandpa’s birthday. So once again we dressed the kids in their costumes and went to have lunch with him and Papa, some other family members and some of Great Grandpa’s friends. He had a large group of people at the restaurant to wish him a happy birthday! The kids were fighting on the way there about who was going to sit by Papa. They worked it out amongst themselves when Annika suggested that she sit on one side and James sits on the other side. Already using her logic reasoning skills like the good little engineer in training she is. Cousin Jake was there with his infant daughter Autumn. I held her for a while and Annika of course had to come over to coo over her too. She is just in love with babies. Kris even held her for a fraction of a second before he coo’ed enough and gave her back to me. Still not much of a baby person, poor Kris.

After lunch we visited Nana at work quickly and then went to look at a huge display of carved pumpkins at Nana’s friend’s house. He carved 125 pumpkins this year! It was cold out so we didn’t stay out there long. Then we went to Nana and Papa’s house for a quick visit before heading back home.

At home we rushed to put on a few more layers of clothes and hats and mittens and then went over to the neighbor’s house. We had pizza there while they got their costumes on and within a few minutes were all went out together trick or treating, six kids and three adults. The kids segregated themselves into two groups – the big kids (Ryan and Annika and Ryan’s two cousins) and the little kids (Erin and James). I stayed with the bigger kids who were faster than the little kids. They were all super excited to go from house to house though. And this year Annika wasn’t timid about going up to the houses. She marched right up there with the other kids and didn’t once ask Kris or I to go with her. Big improvement! And Jamesy was all over it too. He may have been slower but he made it to just as many houses as she did and got just as much candy. And man did they get candy! Their buckets were completely full when we got home. And we didn’t hand out nearly enough candy at our own house (next year I think one of us needs to stay home while the other takes the kids out so we actually get trick or treaters at our house) so we have a ton of candy at our house right now. We have at least four unopened bags of candy! Um, danger! I’ve been pretty good – 2-3 pieces a day max. And we’ve been very good about rationing the kids too. They get 1-2 pieces a day and only if they eat all their lunch and then dinner. No finishing your meal? No candy. It is a treat for them though to go through their buckets to pick out just the perfect piece of candy they want. Annika literally empties hers to pick out her piece and then we have to put it all back in again.

Sunday morning while Kris and I were trying to take advantage of that phantom “extra hour of sleep” the kids came into our room (at 7:30am which was actually 6:30am) and snuggled in our bed. Annika crawled in and immediately asked why there wasn’t snow outside. “Snow?” I asked. She said yes, after Halloween is Christmas. Where is the snow. Silly girl. I explained that first we had the month of November and then Thanksgiving and then the month of December and then Christmas. I promised we’d get out a calendar later to help explain but she was OK with that explanation for now.

We had a long time that morning to play and eat breakfast and shower and get ready for church. I was getting downright bored myself. Don’t worry, I didn’t clean anything or do any chores to help pass the time. I watched DVR’d TV instead. I’m such a good wife and mom.

After church we made a quick lunch (tomato soup and grilled cheese – my favorite fall meal!) and then I made a grocery list and very politely asked Kris to go to the grocery store. He sighed, picked up my list and coupons, grabbed his wallet and went. He hates going to the grocery store. But because he is a good father and husband, he did it anyway. Me? I cleaned up from lunch and then snoozed on the couch while watching football. See? Stellar wife and mom. I made sure to jump up and act awake when Kris arrived back home. He’s reading this and hating me right now. Heh. I did get to work then though, making a chip dip to bring to our Vikings/Packer party at the neighbors later that afternoon. And when the dip was done and James was awake from his much needed nap (He didn’t even make it through lunch before Kris carried him upstairs and rocked him to sleep – poor boy) we walked across the street to the party. That was the best party commute ever! There was another little boy there that the kids played with and there were several other couples there for us grown-ups to cheer with. Luckily no Packer fans showed up so we could cheer for the Vikings as loudly as we wanted. And we did. And we were all very happy when the Vikings won. I could have done without all the Favre nose-blowing camera shots though! Gross!

And speaking of that darn time change, it’s still messing with the kids’ schedules. Every morning this week I’ve had at least one child with me when I’m getting ready in the morning – at 6am. They normally wake up in the 7-7:30am range. Monday it was Annika so I left her downstairs with some cartoons on. Tuesday it was James so then I made Kris get up and go downstairs and veg out on the couch with James while James watched cartoons. This morning it was both of them and I left them downstairs with cartoons on. I’m not sure that was the wisest decision. They can’t get into much or get out of the house but they are smart little kids and with Kris sleeping upstairs I’m not sure what kind of hurricane it looked like when he came down this morning. Hopefully it wasn’t too bad. I’m sure he appreciated the extra sleeping time though. Hopefully this will all even out pretty soon. We have some crabby kids in our house! (James is refusing to take naps unless he’s completely melting down – it’s quite fun!)