Meet the Teacher

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Wednesday night was Kindergarten Orientation for Annika.  She starts school on Monday.  Monday!  It’s coming up so fast!  I worked from home on Wednesday to take Kris to his doctor appt.  That turned out to be uneventful.  One x-ray and short consultation later he was pronounced “fine” and told to come back in two weeks.  Anyway, I was glad I was at home because the open house at Annika’s school started at 3:30pm and I don’t usually get home until 4:15-4:30pm.  But as soon as I was done working at 3:30pm we loaded up the truck and drove over to the school.

We easily found her classroom with the help of a volunteer at the school.  And her classroom is so cute!  It’s very colorful.  There’s a bathroom in the room and a row of lockers for Annika to put her backpack and coat/boats in.  There’s a play kitchen area with dolls.  Annika liked that part!  There’s three low tables with similarly short chairs,  a circle-time rug and lots of books, craft supplies and fun things for the kids to do.  We waited in a short line to meet her teacher (Kris put Levi down on the circle-time rug and he promptly fell asleep in his carseat – good baby!) and I was so proud of Annika.  The teacher asked her a few questions including how to say her last name and Annika answered her each time.  Sure, she may have done so quietly but the teacher could hear her.  My little girl is getting better at her fear of adults.  I just love that little girl so much.  She makes me so proud of her every day.  I snapped a few pictures of her (by her locker, by the entrance to her room, etc.) because of course I had to capture the moment!

I can’t believe I have to send her off on Monday on a big school bus.  Yes, I’m a little weepy over it.  You know there will be lots of pictures on Monday and probably some tears.  I had a brief talk with her today about strangers and good/bad people and good/bad touch.  It’s not an easy conversation to have but I think it’s an important one.  Not everyone can be trusted.  Unfortunately I know that first hand and I do not want my daughter to ever have to go through that.  Knowledge can help be her power.

I think James has grown again.  He seems so tall to me lately.  And he put on a pair of 3T jeans today and they were a wee bit short.  I may have to purchase some 4T jeans for him this fall.  He also cracks me up.  He was dancing recently and was doing a really good job wiggling his butt.  He may have seen a few too many episodes of “So You Think You Can Dance” because pretty soon he was trying to break dance.  He would put his head on the floor and then run around in a circle to simulate spinning on his head.  Or he’d get down on the floor, lay on his back and turn himself around in a circle to simulate spinning on his back.  It was making me laugh and cheer for him.

And Levi is growing so quickly!  Not only does he routinely play with his feet now but he is also figuring out how to use his hands.  He likes to take out his pacifier and then chew on his hands and fingers instead.  He’s even sucked on his right thumb a few times.  And he is playing more and more with toys too.  He really enjoys time in the exersaucer or sitting in the bumbo seat with toys.  Tonight he was on his belly on the floor and he was reaching for toys.  He can’t quite wiggle towards them yet so I brought them closer to him and then of course he put them right into his mouth.  He’s growing so quickly!  He turns four months old tomorrow and has his four month well baby check-up on Monday.  It’s going to be a big day in our house this Monday!


Excitement

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We had been humming along there for a while without any extra excitement in our lives.  And then James starting having tummy troubles last Monday that lasted all week.  We were doing a lot of extra laundry there for a while.  Luckily he seems to be better and nobody else got sick.  The doctor’s office figured it was viral and didn’t want him to come in. Gross, messy, dirty – but hopefully also done.

Then last Thursday our car left me stranded on an exit ramp on my way to work that morning.  Luckily I had my co-worker carpooler with me and he helped me push the car to the parking lot at work.  I had it towed to our mechanic and will hopefully find out today what is all wrong with it.  Ugh.

Then Saturday only ten minutes after I had left the house to go to the Twins game (free ticket in row 10 behind 1st base!) I got a call from Kris.  He was obviously upset and asking me to come home.  He said “something’s wrong with my kidneys” but I thought he said “something’s wrong with my kids.”  I panicked for a second until he corrected me.  Then I figured out that it was him and that he was in a LOT of pain.  I told him to call an ambulance and that I’d be home as soon as I could.  I hung up the phone and knew, just knew, that he wouldn’t call an ambulance.  So I grabbed my cell phone again and called our neighbor Andrew.  I asked Andrew to go check on Kris and that I’d be home in 10-15 minutes.  When I got home I found my older two at the neighbors, Levi sleeping in his crib with the baby monitor at the neighbors and Andrew at the ER with Kris.  Thank God for good neighbors.  I quickly called Krystle, luckily she was home, and she came over and grabbed the older two from the neighbors and kept them at our house with her.  I took Levi and drove as quickly as I could up to the hospital.  Luckily it’s only a mile away from the house.  I found Kris and Andrew in the triage area, thanked Andrew for his help and stayed with Kris.  After all the vitals were taken Kris was finally given some pain meds (after swearing, gritting his teeth and writhing in pain – poor guy!) and he instantly felt better.  He was given a CT scan where it was verified to be a large (6-7mm) kidney stone working it’s way down and out.  Poor Kris!  Two and a half hours later we were walking out of the ER with prescriptions for pain meds and an order to see a urologist early in the week.  Kris is feeling fine now.  He’s tired from the meds he’s on and took a three hour nap yesterday and another one today.  He has an appt with a doctor Wednesday AM to see if this is going to pass on its own (ER doc said that’s unlikely given it’s size) or if it’s going to need a little help.  I’ve been teasing Kris – last year just four days before the Minneapolis Duathlon he had his appendicitis and couldn’t race.  This year, with eight days to go before race day, he gets a big kidney stone and may or may not be able to race.  I don’t think I’m going to let him sign up for the race next year!!

While we were at the ER, Nana came to our house and picked up Annika and James and took them up to Dusty and Melanie’s house.  We were supposed to be there too to celebrate Dusty’s 35th birthday.  After a quick trip to Target to get his prescriptions filled, we joined everyone at the party.  They were surprised to see Kris there but like I said, he was feeling fine with the good drugs in his system!  He’s unable to drive while taking them so I’ll be driving him to/from work and his doctor’s appointments and such until this bout of excitement is done.

I’d like life to go back to normal now please – working kids, working cars, working husbands.  I need them all back in functional mode please!


New Things

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Levi has learned two new tricks.  Cool Tricks.  One – he can now do raspberries.  OK, so, the kid drools.  A lot.  And his new raspberry trick makes his drooling problem even worse.  Poor baby is a sopping wet disaster all the time.  You’d think I’d break out a bib or something but all our bibs have been used by two previous children and are stained and icky.  Instead I constantly use his poor wet, sopping shirt to wipe him up.  Now officially on the Target list?  New bibs.  But the raspberries?  They are cute.  His cute little lips puckering up to blow them.  Sigh.  He’s so sweet.  Not quite as sweet but still equally adorable?  When he puts his lower lip out in a perfect pout just before he lets loose with a cry.  That face, that sweet little melting-into-a-cry face is absolutely adorable.

His second cool trick is finding his feet.  I was sitting outside last night while the kids played on the driveway (bikes, roller skates, rocks, big wheels, the usual) and I laid Levi down on my lap.  He doesn’t really like it when I do that.  He prefers to sit or stand.  To keep him happy I started playing with his feet, blowing raspberries into the bottom of them.  That always makes him giggle and smile.  Well, then he found his toes and that was it.  He was content.  He just laid on my lap grabbing his toes the rest of the time we were out there.  And I may or may not have put his foot in his mouth so he could chew on/suck on his big toe.  Heh.  Anyway, feet are cool and Levi has officially found his.

And last night around 6:45pm Levi got tired.  So I wrapped him up in his Halo sleep sac (we still swaddle him with that when he sleeps) and laid him down in his crib with his pacifier in his mouth.  And he went to sleep on his own.  His eyes were rolling back into his head as soon as I laid him down.  I didn’t hear another peep from him until 7:30pm.  That kid is amazing.  I don’t think he does that for Kris during the day.  I’m not sure if Levi doesn’t like to take naps then or if Kris needs to work on his timing and techniques but for me naps and bedtime are easy with Levi.  He did the same thing at 8pm when I put him down for the night.  I gave him a bath, changed his diaper, fed him, put him in his sleep sack and put him in his bed – awake – and left the room.  I didn’t have to go back in until 11:30pm when he needed his pacifier put back in.  And then I didn’t have to go back in until 1:30am to feed him.  That kid rocks!

My older two children rock too of course.  Annika woke up this morning shortly before I left for work.  She thinks it’s fun to see me before I leave.  It’s like a special little experience for her.  I always have to get her breakfast (cereal with milk) and turn on some cartoons for her.  Then I leave her resting on the couch while the rest of the house sleeps.  And I get lots of hugs and kisses and “I love you’s” as I’m getting ready and leaving. I can’t believe how big she is.  Less than two weeks and she starts kindergarten!  I’ve been meaning to sit her down and talk to her about what to expect (get on bus, get off bus and look for teacher, bus routine for after school) and also talk with her about stranger danger, good/bad touch, etc.  She’s been my innocent little girl for so long that I don’t want to spoil that but I also need her to know what is OK and what is not now that she will be away from Kris and I for larger amounts of time.  Threats are real and dangerous and can come in the form of trusted adults.  Unfortunately.  I know this all too well.  Anyone have any ideas as to how to have “that talk?”  I have some good links I can refer to but first hand accounts are appreciated as well.

You know who else is cute?  My Jamesy.  Oh, that boy still holds my heart in a special place.  The way he melts into my arms when he hugs and kisses me.  The way that I can just say simply “Kiss your mother” and he bounds over from whatever he is doing so he can kiss me and give me a hug.    He can be in the middle of playing, completely not paying attention to me and I can simply request a kiss and he stops what he’s doing and gives me one.  Please tell me that will last forever.  Please.  I’m fragile lately (I will cry at the drop of a hat, don’t test me!) and I’ve been requesting more kisses from all my children.  Jamesy gladly gives them to me every time.

My kids are just the best.  The very, very best.


Weekend Update

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It’s time for another update! First, let’s talk about sleeping. I have to say that Levi is the best sleeper of our three kids, at least as babies. He eats at bed time and when he’s done he wiggles and struggles to get away from me. So I stop feeding him, kiss his perfect little forehead, put him in his crib and leave the room. And then he goes to sleep. It’s a miracle! Annika you had to nurse to sleep in bed and then very carefully move away because she would wake up if she sensed you leaving. James had to be rocked into a deep sleep and then put down. Levi is so easy compared to those two! He does a pretty good job sleeping during the night too. For a few nights last week he was going down between 8:30 and 9pm at night and not waking until 3 to 4am! The last few nights he’s been back up around 1am to eat. I can’t complain too much. Although Friday night when he was up every two hours to either eat or to be re-positioned or to have his pacifier put back in, well, that was difficult. It wasn’t hard during the night necessarily as they were all quick fixes to get him back to sleep, it was the broken sleep that did me in. I was exhausted and crabby all weekend due to the bad sleep. Just ask Kris. Poor Kris. Annika is very into jewelry lately. Not only does she want her ears pierced for her birthday but she’s also interested in necklaces and bracelets. Friday night we had a fashion show. Annika has two bracelets, a ring and two necklaces that are real jewelry, not play jewelry. She put those on (well, we put her baby necklace on Levi actually) and I put jewelry on and we even found some jewelry from my jewelry box for James to wear. Then we paraded down the stairs and showed Daddy our fancy jewelry. After our fashion show then we had to have a dance party in our fancy jewelry. So I turned on some music and we danced and wiggled our butts for a bit until I was able to usher them upstairs and into bed. We had to do that again on Saturday. We had a pretty busy weekend. Busy but fun. Saturday morning while Kris was off working out the kids and I made cookies. They love cracking eggs and mixing and measuring with me. While the cookies were baking I rushed around the house getting everything ready that we needed that afternoon. And when Kris got home we got everybody ready and left the house shortly after noon. It was family party time! Gramme’s family was gathering at Aunt Sue and Uncle Stan’s house. There is a lake nearby their house so we spent a few hours there. A couple family members had boats so Annika and Kris were able to tube and James got a boat ride too. Levi and I stayed on the beach but I did put Levi in his swimming shorts and shirt and put his life jacket on him so he could play in the water too. Again he loved floating around the lake. He’s such a cute little baby. He got tired of the lake so we took him out and wrapped him up and Gramme held him while he napped. It was such a beautiful day. Aunt Sue was finally able to convince us all to pack up and go back to her house so we could eat. And man was there food! With so many cousins and aunts and uncles and everyone bringing something to share there was more than enough food. The kids had a night at their house playing on the swings, playing outside, playing with cousins, etc. I hope we make this family party and annual party now that Great Grandma is moving to Arizona and won’t be home at Christmas time. When Levi was getting tired we packed up the truck and headed for home. And Levi, who hates car rides, fell asleep just a few miles down the road so we were able to have a quiet car ride. I guess with him it’s all about timing the car rides so that it’s his nap time when we’re driving. If we don’t do that he will cry the entire time we’re driving. Poor baby. Yesterday was another busy day. This time we left Daddy at home and the kids and I headed out for a play date at Michelle’s house. There were so many kids there! And they all get along so well. I love getting together with my friends. They’re all so great. I’m lucky to have such a great group of girlfriends. The kids played outside for a long time yesterday afternoon as well as in the girls’ bedroom. One super cute moment was when Annika, Brianna and Jessie were sitting on the small playset together chatting. It was like they were their own small group of friends, just like their moms are. I hope we continue to get our kids together as often as we can so the girls can grow up as friends. And I’m sure the boys will be friends too (Asher, James, Jake and David are all pretty close in age too!). Thank you Michelle for another great playdate! After dinner last night Annika asked if we could go to the park across the street from our house. She wanted to ride her bike on the tennis court. Jamesy thought that was a great idea. He’s very into riding his bike lately too. After I fed Levi we did just that. The five of us walked over. There were a few neighbor kids out too so Annika and James had a great time playing on the playground, racing bikes on the court and playing with the caterpillars the other kids had found. Annika is super fast on her bike. She loves racing as fast as she can and will go in circles around the court over and over again as fast as she can. James is a little slower as he’s still new at this but he does amazingly well for only riding a few times! A few times he’d tip over and each time he’d look up laughing. I was so worried he’d fall and then not want to get back on but he’d laugh, call his bike silly for landing on top of him and then I’d help him climb right back on, steer him back to the court and off he’d go. If I walked next to him, he’d be fine but if I tried to touch him or his bike to help him steer then I was told to let go. He could do it! He also made the cutest sounds while riding his bike – “Whee!”-ing and “Whoo!”-ing all over the place.  And I had to tell him how fast he was going.  He thought he was super fast.  So cute!  I called Krystle from the court and told her to come out and join us for a little while if she wanted. Sure enough, just a few seconds later she came walking over.  James had her cracking up with all his cuteness.  Pierce brought the dogs out too for a little while. A couple other neighbors (Joe and Jeff) were also outside and we all talked for a while as the kids played around us. It was such a nice evening! I ushered the kids home, fed Levi and put him to bed, kissed Annika good night, put James to bed and then after a few minutes of play time on the computer I went to bed too. It was a busy weekend, I was running on interrupted sleep and I was exhausted.


Babies

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I’ve been keeping something from you.  For eight weeks.  Yes, it is what you think.  NO, IT’S NOT ME!  Geesh people.

My baby sister is having a baby.  I am so ridiculously excited about this that each and every time she announces it in my presence to someone I immediately start crying.

I’m only telling you about it now because she officially announced it on her blog this morning and gave me the official go-ahead to spill it here on my own blog.

So…

CONGRATULATIONS KRYSTLE AND PIERCE!!!

Everyone in our house is so excited for you!  Annika is convinced it’s going to be a girl.  I’m sure James and Levi wouldn’t mind a little boy cousin to play with.  I’m just looking forward to snuggling another baby, loving another niece/nephew and watching my little sister become a mom and finding her way through motherhood.

Let the adventure begin!

SO EXCITED!


Fun Fun Fun

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We had a fun weekend!  Yesterday we spent the morning and early afternoon at home, enjoying a low key day.  The really good stuff started in the afternoon.  Nana and Papa got a hotel room for the night in Bloomington to celebrate their 41st wedding anniversary (Congratulations Nana and Papa!) and they invited Annika and James to come spend the night with them.  We all went and brought our swimming suits and played in the pool for a while.  Yep, even Levi.  All the kids had a great time!  Annika and James have no fear in their life jackets and they were swimming around the pool like little fish and jumping off the steps and having a great time.  I brought Levi’s swimming shirt and shorts, a swim diaper and his life jacket too.  I wanted to see if the water was warm enough and if he’d want to go in the pool too.  And he did!  He loved it in the water.  He kicked and laughed and smiled and coo’d.  He spent a long time in the pool too!  After the pool we met Dusty and Melanie for dinner at the restaurant James requested – Red Lobster.  Where he also requested to eat lobster.  Silly boy.  So we ordered the lobster pizza as an appetizer for us to share and he was happy with that.  From there Kris and Levi and I went home to a nice quiet evening and the older two stayed with Nana and Papa to be spoiled and loved.

This morning after Kris was done with his two hour bike ride (and I was done taking a nap when Levi took one) we all went out for a short run.  It was already hot and sticky outside (high 90′s here today!) so we didn’t stay out too long.  Levi was in the jogging stroller and seemed to like going for a run.  Dagur was on a leash and at first he trotted along merrily…and then he was done.  Poor puppy was super hot.  So, we turned around and jogged back home so he could head inside and lay on the “cold” tile floor.

Early this afternoon the kids and Nana and Papa arrived home.  They went swimming again this morning and I think they wore Nana and Papa out!  Thankfully Nana and Papa could relax at our house then while Annika and James played with play-doh all afternoon.  Both Nana and Papa got lots of snuggles in with Levi this afternoon.  There’s not a better way to spend a day, right?

Tonight was James’ last swimming lesson for the summer.  His report card shows he mastered all the skills and there was a handwritten note exclaiming what a cute kid James is.  Thank teacher!  We think so too!

Annika’s birthday is coming up.  She wants to get her ears pierced for her birthday!  I’ve told her for a while that we can pierce her ears when she wants to do it.  She’s always been curious about my earrings but has not wanted to do it herself.  She was always so scared it was going to hurt too badly.  Well, a little girl in preschool had her ears pierced and now Annika’s talked herself into it, psyched herself up and she’s ready.  Maybe in a few weeks we’ll head to the mall and have it done.  My big girl!  She also wants a globe.  She’s been asking repeatedly for one.  I saw that Target had one in their back to school supplies for only $15.  I found some much nicer ones on Amazon and Kris picked out a $60 one there.  I’m not sure which to go with.  The $15 one would be fine for now and then who cares if the 6 and 3 year old torture it to death.  On the other hand Annika specifically asked for one that had bumps for the mountains (how does she even know to ask for one like that!?!) and the $60 one is a raised relief globe that even swivels so that you can see all of Antartica.  Hmm.  More thinking to do on that.  And more Swagbucks to earn and redeem for Amazon gift cards.  Anyone want a referral to swagbucks so we can both earn some free gift cards??

I think that’s all that’s new with us.  How about some pictures to end this entry with?

James at soccer in July

Annika in the pool yesterday

Levi and I in the pool yesterday

Annika and Levi lined up with my "day care kids" (Annika's game)

Levi showing his complete adoration for his big sister

Levi liked his exersaucer!

My goofy kids!

My gorgeous sister!

My handsome brother!

Gramme with her grandkids


New Normal

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I think we’re starting to find our new normal now that I’m back at work.  The kids and I are having some good evenings together and Kris doesn’t seem completely frazzled when I get home from work.  Once in a while he even smiles!  Hee.  We didn’t do much this past weekend either which as nice for me.  I needed some time at home.  Saturday I went to a duathlon training session for a few hours and yesterday I ran to Target and the grocery store but I spent the rest of the weekend at home with the kids.  I even managed to get a few chores and projects completed.  Me = Supermom.  Ha.  Still, it feels like my time with each child is low.  Sure, I spend a lot of time with Levi.  He and I are practically attached at the uh, hip.  But James and Annika spend a lot of time playing together and less time playing with me.  I did help each of them with puzzles and other games over the weekend and I spent time reading with them too.  It still just feels like they’re off doing their own thing while I’m with Levi all the time.  I did give Levi to Kris yesterday and then went outside with James to run around and play tickle monster.  We both enjoyed that.  I think James needs some mommy time each day and I try to give that to him.

At the training session on Saturday Amanda lent me a Bumbo seat for Levi.  We’ve put him in it a few times already and he seems to really like it.  He’s still a floppy baby for the most part but he loves to sit up and look all around.  The bumbo seat allows him to do that without having to be held all the time.  Kris also brought up the exersaucer from the basement last week.  When propped up with blankets, Levi loves being in there too.  That allows him to “stand” on his own and even bounce a little bit.  He’s not a fan really of laying down on his own.  He wants to be sitting and standing so he can see everything.

I think we’re starting to find our new normal now that I’m back at work.  The kids and I are having some good evenings together and Kris doesn’t seem completely frazzled when I get home from work.  Once in a while he even smiles!  Hee.  We didn’t do much this past weekend either which as nice for me.  I needed some time at home.  Saturday I went to a duathlon training session for a few hours and yesterday I ran to Target and the grocery store but I spent the rest of the weekend at home with the kids.  I even managed to get a few chores and projects completed.  Me = Supermom.  Ha.  Still, it feels like my time with each child is low.  Sure, I spend a lot of time with Levi.  He and I are practically attached at the uh, hip.  But James and Annika spend a lot of time playing together and less time playing with me.  I did help each of them with puzzles and other games over the weekend and I spent time reading with them too.  It still just feels like they’re off doing their own thing while I’m with Levi all the time.  I did give Levi to Kris yesterday and then went outside with James to run around and play tickle monster.  We both enjoyed that.  I think James needs some mommy time each day and I try to give that to him.

At the training session on Saturday Amanda lent me a Bumbo seat for Levi.  We’ve put him in it a few times already and he seems to really like it.  He’s still a floppy baby for the most part but he loves to sit up and look all around.  The bumbo seat allows him to do that without having to be held all the time.  Kris also brought up the exersaucer from the basement last week.  When propped up with blankets, Levi loves being in there too.  That allows him to “stand” on his own and even bounce a little bit.  He’s not a fan really of laying down on his own.  He wants to be sitting and standing so he can see everything.

We received great news on Merv’s lung cancer last week.  The tumors in both lungs have shrunk considerably after his first round of six weeks of chemo.  He stars his second round of six weeks on Wednesday if his white blood count is high enough.

So I wrote that top part earlier.  Time to finish this off and get it posted!  Tonight when I got home I didn’t sit down once until after 9pm!  After we all ate and changed clothes we kissed Daddy good-bye so he could go to work and then we went to the park.  And we stayed at the park for over two hours!  The kids played on the playground and Annika roller skated on the tennis court.  It was so hot and muggy out that the kids were literally dripping.  I ushered them home to get drinks and their bikes and then we went back.  Two of the neighbor kids plus a new neighbor girl were also out playing and riding bikes and James and Annika wanted to join them.  Annika played race with Danielle and rode as fast as she could, which is pretty fast!  And James was riding his bike too!  He hasn’t been on his new big boy bike very much this summer but I guess he wanted to be like the big kids tonight.  He took a couple spills but got right back on.  His legs are not used to pedaling so he was going pretty slow.  He’ll have to work on those leg muscles!  But I was so proud of him and he was quite pleased with himself too.  Auntie Krystle saw us outside and joined us for a little while.  She too thought James was doing a fabulous job on his bike and couldn’t believe how well Annika rides for only knowing how for a month or so.  And best of all?  I felt like I spent some real quality time with the kids tonight while also snuggling and cuddling Levi most of the night too!  Win-win-win!