Moving, Shaking and Lasering

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A couple things:

  1. Kris had another appointment with the urologist yesterday.  That darn kidney stone hadn’t moved at all as expected.  The doc said time is up and it now has to come out by force, meaning surgery.  Friday, 10/1/10 at 7:40am Kris will be going under and having that blasted thing lasered.  At the same time other things are being snipped.  It’s going to be a rough weekend for my honey.  Please send good thoughts and maybe some bags of ice his way.  I’m bowing out of all obligations that weekend (craft day at Michelle’s on Saturday and servant day at church on Sunday) to take care of him and the kids.
  2. Levi is over his cold now and sleeping much, much better.  I’m getting 3-4 hour stretches again of sleep.  That every 1 to 1.5 hour thing was growing old quickly.  I looked tired and I knew that thanks to several people telling me as much.  Thanks.  There is no way to make a new mom feel better about herself than to tell her she looks tired, i.e. awful.  Heh.  Last night Levi was up at 12:30am.  I fed him (he had last eaten at 7:15pm) and put him back down.  He woke up again at 3:30am and normally I would have picked him up and fed him.  It’s a fairly quick deal and guaranteed to put him back to sleep.  This time though I just re-pacifier’d him and flipped him over (from his right side to his left) and he went back to sleep.  I crept back into bed worried that he’d just wake up again soon to eat but he didn’t!  He slept until 5:30am!  I fed him then and put him back in bed and then went an got in the shower.  5:45am is my normal get-your-tired-butt-out-of-bed time anyway.  Maybe now that his cold his over we can work more on sleeping through the night.  One can hope anyway.
  3. Annika continues to like kindergarten.  I was thoroughly impressed this week when she wrote down the entire alphabet in both capital and lowercase letters.  Then she asked me how to write “No forgetting allowed” on the sheet of paper.  You know that one is going in the keep pile.  It was too cute.  She hadn’t focused on lowercase letters at all in preschool so I’m so excited to see tangible evidence of learning in such a short time.  In their math unit they are already graphing numbers!  If that is not cool (it does warm my engineer heart!) then I don’t know what is.  And last night she was writing down simple addition equations on a sheet of paper (line 1: 3 + 2 = 5; line 2: 5 + 3 = 8; etc.).  I about tackled her and smothered her with kisses right there.  She made my heart swell with pride when she wrote down another equation (6+2) and then started figuring out that different numbers added together (5+3 or 6+2) could equal the same number.  You could just see the wheels turning in her brain as she quickly figured things out.  That girl is wicked smart which is both totally awesome and a little terrifying all at the same time.  She is going to be one tough girl to parent in her teen years.  I just know it.
  4. James is still enjoying preschool.  He looks forward to going each day although he is a man of few words and I don’t get much out of him to find out what he’s doing.  His art projects that he brings home are adorable and he’s so excited to show them to me.  And I know he’s singing songs because the other day he started singing one and Annika joined in because she had sung it to in preschool.  It was completely adorable to hear them singing together!  (Way more adorable than what happened last night when I was coming down the stairs from putting Levi to bed to see James slapping Annika across the face.  She stuck her tongue out at him and he retaliated.  We had long time outs followed by a big discussion about respect and tongues and hitting, oh my.)
  5. Levi continues to be the best little guy.  Not only is his sleeping getting better but he’s also working on his mobility.  He can now roll from back to tummy going both to his left and right and he can now roll from his tummy to his back.  If you put a toy or something else he wants out of his reach he’ll now roll and twist his way over to it.  We have to be extra careful now not to leave small toys (choking hazards) in his way.  And he’s so far loving his rice cereal.  He eats about 2 oz. of milk mixed with cereal most nights now.  After this first box of cereal is gone I’ll go buy more plus maybe an oatmeal to go along with it.  He turns five months old on Tuesday and maybe a week or two after that we’ll start introducing vegetables.  Real food already!  My baby is getting so big so fast!

And that’s it I think.  We don’t have much planned for this weekend which is great.  I need a weekend to get caught up on laundry and other home chores that have been neglected the past few weeks due to being sick and busy.

Dancing, Doctoring and Skating

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I guess it’s time for my apparently weekly update.  Again there’s lots of items to share!  (Oh, and I updated pictures 7-6 through 8-14 – go check those out!  I’m working on 8-15 – current this week.)

Annika had her first dance class last Wednesday evening.  Her friend Elyse is in the class with her.  I think there are 14 girls total in the class if I counted correctly (and can remember to last week!).  They started out by sitting in a circle and introducing themselves.  The dance studio has a one way mirror in it so us parents can see into the room but the kids can’t see out.  It’s great for spying! I was so proud of Annika.  She answered the teachers questions out loud.  And when they were doing the dancing, she participated fully and seemed to be having a good time.  There was no shyness at all!  Her shyness is usually at its worst when other people are watching so maybe the semi-private setting of teacher and student is OK for her.  Hopefully she matures enough during this school year that she’ll actually dance at the recital in spring.  At the end of the first class they changed out of their ballet slippers and into their tap shoes.  You could see each of the girls check out the tapping for the first time by tapping their toes on the floor.  Pretty soon the teacher made them stop so they could practice together.  I would have had a headache after that class!  The teacher requested each girl have a “dance bag” to hold her shoes so that there is no mix-up of shoes during class.  Auntie Krystle (who was with for the first class) did some searching on Etsy, found some cute ones, showed them to Annika and together they picked out a bag for her.  The girl is going to have the cutest bag there and it will have her name embroidered on it too.  How generous of Krystle to spoil my baby girl that way!

On the way home from dance class after we dropped Krystle off at her house James saw a cat sitting in a window.  He exclaimed “Cat in a window!”  Then he asked if I heard him and when I said I had he said “A cat in a window.  Whoever heard of such a thing.  I crack myself up!”  He not only cracks himself up, but he makes me laugh too.  My cute little boy.

Last Thursday Kris had a doctor appointment to check on his kidney stone.  It’s still in the same spot as where it was in the emergency room three weeks ago.  No new news.  He goes back in two more weeks and if it hasn’t moved by then the doctor recommends surgery to remove it.  The risk of infection and blockage and the low probability of movement will conspire against him.  I hope he doesn’t have to have surgery but passing that huge stone doesn’t exactly sound pleasant either.  Poor Kris!

Saturday we celebrated Annika’s birthday with friends.  She wanted to go roller skating again like she did last year.  We invited a few neighbors and a friend from preschool and all were able to make it.  Annika was so excited!  Ryan and Erin, Zach and Danielle, Sargam and Elyse were all there.  It was the first time skating for many of them.  Annika has been practicing her skating all summer on the driveway and is getting better and better.  She was on her own the whole morning and did really, really well!  Kris stayed home with Levi (Kris was recovering from a flu virus) so I was taking care of James and trying to organize the food and presents and stuff.  James went skating three or four times and was having a lot of fun.  When he was on the carpet, he could actually move around on his own.  He needed a lot of help on the skating floor and by the end of the party I was pretty tired.  That’s a lot of work to hold someone up while they’re skating!  We had a bit of lunch and Annika opened her presents and then everyone skated a bit more before heading out.  Annika received some really fun presents from the kids.  Kris helped her open them all up that evening and get them out of their packaging.  We now have Squinkies in the house along with silly bandz and other trendy toys.  Lucky girl!

Annika, Levi and myself are battling colds right now.  Thank you kindergarten!  Poor Levi is having trouble sleeping soundly.  It’s hard to suck on his pacifier and breathe at the same time with his nose stuffed up.  I am one tired mama!  Hopefully we’ll kick these stuffed up heads to the curb pretty soon.

Ears, Baptism, BBQ and Birthday

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Time for another massive update!  I think about this blog every day and how I should be writing here more often so I can capture more details about the fun things we’re doing but then I get tired or busy or something else and just never make the time for it.  So then I have to come here and do these massive updates with lots and lots of things.  Oh well.

Saturday was a big day for Annika.  She got her ears pierced!  She was so excited that morning and wanted to get going.  I told her we had to wait until Daddy got home from work (around lunch time) and she was so disappointed.  But as soon as he was home and we’d eaten lunch we loaded up the truck and went to the mall.  We went to Claire’s in the mall and got in the ear piercing line.  There were two girls ahead of us.  One was a girl of about eight years old who was getting her ears re-pierced.  Apparently they had grown closed (according to conversation overheard between mother and daughter) and they were getting them re-done.  I felt so bad for that little girl though.  She was so upset and crying.  I think if it had been me we would have left.  To me, ear piercing is not a big deal and if Annika hadn’t wanted it done, we wouldn’t have done it.  This was entirely her idea and if she had changed her mind at the last minute, that would have been just fine with me.  Anyway, the girl in front of us was 15 years old and was getting two more holes put in each ear for a total of four in each ear!  Because she was underage her mother was with her to sign the consent form and told her repeatedly that this was the last consent form she was signing.  No more piercing her ears until she was an adult.  I was giggling about it all.  The teenager was all “Yes mom” and the mom was all “I mean it.”  They were cute though and both mom and daughter were talking about it with Annika trying to boost her confidence.  They were sweet.  Next it was Annika’s turn!  She crawled up on the big chair and was so excited.  I took lots of pictures of her looking excited and smiley.  We signed the consent forms and put the purple Sharpie dots on her ears for approximate placement.  The lady showed Annika the piercing gun and then she did the first ear (Annika’s left).  It was at that point that Annika’s face fell.  She knew it was going to hurt “just a little” and she looked both irritated and mad at us.  She said “That didn’t hurt a little!  That hurt a lot!”  Then she got tears in her eyes and looked so sad.  I stood next to her and she put her head on my chest.  When she did that the saleslady grabbed her right ear and pierced it quickly before Annika could change her mind.  And then that was it!  We were done!  Annika shed just a tear or two but then composed herself again.  She was still a little sad but that faded too as her ears starting feeling better.  A little while later Kris asked her if it hurt just a little.  She said a little is this and put her thumb and pointer finger about a half inch apart.  Then she sad and it hurt this much and put her fingers about 2 inches apart.  So I guess it hurt more than a little but not a lot.  We’ve been cleaning her ears three times a day and so far she hasn’t had any issues.  So far, so good!  And she is very glad still that she did it.  She has been very excited to show people too.  My normally shy girl has not hesitated in the least to whip her hair away from her head to show everyone her ears.  I’m so glad she likes it!  (Now, the perfectionist in me is slightly unhappy that one ear is just ever so slightly off center.  I know, I know.  I need to let it go.  I said I was only slightly unhappy.  I just want it perfect for my little girl!)

Sunday was also a big day!  It was Levi’s baptism day!  He was baptized at the 9:30am service at our church.  His sponsors are Krystle, Mathias, Dusty and Carrie – all the siblings.  We had discussed many times who should be the sponsors this time.  Annika’s godparents are Dusty and Krystle – the older siblings.  James’ sponsors are Carrie and Mathias – the younger siblings.  We talked about going with friends or in-laws but decided to go “all-in” and ask all our siblings to be sponsors for our last child.  I hope they didn’t mind!  I was so happy that all four could be there too!  Mathias was home from Texas and Carrie and family drove up from Iowa.  How special are we that all of them could be there with us!  Levi was such a perfect baby during the baptism too.  He slept for a little while before church.  I woke him up just as church was starting so I could put his baptismal outfit on him.  Then when it was time he was awake, alert and fed – basically a happy baby!  He was looking around at all that was going on with big eyes.  Pastor Will took him and when he put the water on his head he didn’t make a sound.  And Pastor will really got him good with the water too!  At the end of the actual baptism the pastor always brings the baby into the congregation and has someone from the crowd bring the baby back up to the alter and give the baby to a godparent.  This is a welcoming gesture from the congregation to the baby – welcome to our faith family baby!  Levi just looked around at everyone when Pastor Will brought him down the aisle.  Everyone was smiling at him and how cute he was being.  My baby was perfect!  After church was over everyone went back to our house for a BBQ.  We were celebrating both Levi’s baptism and Annika’s birthday.  There was lots of good food (especially the food brought by others!) plus cake and cupcakes!  Yum!  My children were thoroughly spoiled.  Even James got presents!!  James was so cute too.  When Gramme arrived with presents for Annika and Levi, James asked where his present was.  I took him aside and told him we were celebrating Levi’s baptism and Annika’s birthday so he probably wouldn’t get any presents.  He was fine with that.  Then when a couple presents showed up for him too he was really excited!  First though, before presents, we had to eat and do birthday cake/singing of course.  Annika did a great job blowing out her candles.  And did I mention spoiled?  My kids are spoiled.  They both received so many generous, awesome presents.  They’ve been entertained for hours since playing with all the new fun things.  It was also a lot of fun to see the kids playing with their only cousin, Isak.  Well, only cousin so far.  Krystle and Pierce’s baby is due in February and we found out on Sunday that Carrie and Adam are expecting their second!!  We are so excited!!  Congratulations Carrie and Adam!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Annika was playing hide and seek with Isak.  She would hide in the entertainment center and Isak would open the door and squeal when he saw her in there.  Then he’d close it again with her still in there repeat.  Annika and Isak were both giggling.

Monday was another big day for Levi.  He had his first meal of something other than breast milk!  I mixed up some rice cereal with about 2 oz of breast milk, put him in the high chair and gave him his first taste.  He liked it!  He ate the entire bowl!  Sure, it was a little messy.  But most of it made it in his mouth and in his belly.  And he opened his mouth for more each time I had a spoonful ready.  He’s only had the cereal that one time and so far there have been no ill effects.  I’ll give him a second bowl tonight with dinner and see if he tolerates it so well again.

Monday afternoon we went to a BBQ at Amanda and Dean’s house.  It was chaotic!  We are right in that timeframe when most of our friends have kids who are babies to middle-schoolers.  And there are a lot kids!  The kids had a great time playing together but kids can also be quite noisy!  Normally we’d kick them outside but with rainy, dreary weather that day it wasn’t an option.  That’s OK.  Squeals of laughter and fun aren’t that bad!  Annika warmed up very quickly and was off playing with Jessica and Jean and the other kids right away.  James isn’t as shy and he took off and started playing right away.  I loved hanging out with my friends and Kris does too (isn’t it great when you and your spouse can have common friends?!) so we all had a great day!

One last big day!  Yesterday was not only Annika’s actual birthday but also James’ first day of preschool ever!  We started the day with Happy Birthday donuts (complete with candle and singing).  The kids played all morning and then at lunch time we got James ready for school.  He got his backpack and put on his shoes and stood by the door for the mandatory first day of school pictures.  Then I put him in the car and drove him to school.  He was chatty and smiling the whole time.  When we got to school I showed him where the bathroom was (he was asking about that) and asked his teacher where his locker was.  There is a little girl named Jamie in his class and her locker is right next to James’.  He kept trying to use hers instead of his.  He’ll have to pay more attention to the whole name on the locker, not just the beginning!  We put his backpack and jacket in his locker and then as soon as his teacher opened his classroom door he was the first kid to go inside.  He found his name tag and put it on the “I’m here!” board and then walked off to go play.  I asked him to come back and give me a hug good-bye.  He ran over happily, grinning from ear to ear, to give me a hug and then ran off to go play again.  I was happy there were no tears, well, at least from him!  As I walked away I was all choked up.  I just dropped off my baby boy for his first day of school!  I pulled it together as I walked out of the school but man, that is hard to leave them there the first time!  When I picked him up later he was still grinning.  When he saw me walk into the room he jumped up and squealed “Mommy!” before running over.  His teacher had to stop him to hand him his art project on his way by and then she had to come over to give me the rest of his papers.  He talked the whole way home about all the fun things he did (art, played with trucks, circle time , sang 1 song!, etc.).  It sounds like he had a great day.  Yay!

And there are even more fun, big things coming up too.  Tonight is Annika’s first dance class of the year.  She’s learning both ballet and beginning tap this year.  Tomorrow our friends daughter is going to be on “Are you Smarter than a 5th Grader” at 5pm – set your DVRs!  Kris has a follow up doctor appt tomorrow about his kidney stone.  Friday is Pam’s Pampered Chef party and Saturday is Annika’s friends birthday party at Skateville again (she invited a couple neighbors and friends from school this year).  We’re always busy!  I’m also working on pictures and I’ll announce here when I have them updated.  I’m so behind on those!

Kindergarten!! State Fair!! Duathlon!!

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It’s been an eventful few days for us! Let’s start with yesterday afternoon and work backwards.

Yesterday was Annika’s first day of kindergarten! Oh, she was so excited and had her clothes on, hair brushed and backpack on by 12:15pm. Her bus didn’t come until 12:54pm. She was a little excited I think! So I distracted her by having her put her sandals on and then taking a bunch of pictures in the house of her. And then we all went outside and I took some more pictures in front of the house. It was a family affair, this bus business. All five of us walked down the block to the corner and waited together. I took more pictures, we talked with the other mom and dad and little girl and found out that little girl is in Annika’s class with her. They were kind enough to take a couple pics for us. It wasn’t too long before the big yellow bus made its way over to us. She was so excited and she bounded up the big steps and never looked back. What she did do was climb up into the big bus, find a seat on our side, sit down and give us a big grin and wave. She is so awesome. And when she the bus came back that afternoon with my baby safely inside my whole body relaxed. Then it tensed up again when the bus driver closed the door and my baby had still not exited the bus. I held up my hand and signaled there was one more to come out. And sure enough, there was my girl walking down the aisle and bouncing out the re-opened door…without her backpack. And then another girl came bounding down the steps to give it to her. What a sweetheart to look after the little kids. A wave to the bus driver and we walked back home, my baby and I, hand in hand. She had a good first day filled with circle time, art projects, center time (played in the kitchen and with the dolls) and even outside on the playground with her friend Elyse from a different kindergarten class. It was a very good first day. And each day since we’ve picked out her clothes for school the night before. I like being part of her day (and making sure her clothes are up to my standards!) and maybe it’s a bit easier for Kris then too to get her ready.

Before we could worry about kindergarten though on Monday we had to first get through Levi’s four month well baby check up. It was a busy day! Here are the stats: He’s 16.1 pounds (72%), 27.5” tall (98%) and has one small head (12%!). He’s perfect. Alert. Happy. Ready to crawl. (Wait, what? Hold up there doc. OK, yes, he will probably be an early crawler just like his siblings. Sigh.) And ready for solids. He’s watching us while we’re eating, trying to grab our food if he’s close enough, can sit up pretty well even when unsupported and well, ready. I now have rice cereal at home and we may just give it a whirl this weekend. I have to keep my big boy growing and thriving!

Sunday was the Minneapolis Duathlon. It was my first race back after having Levi. I did OK. I won’t beat myself up about it but it wasn’t my best performance. Moving on. Kris did really well though. He was disappointed in his second run but I wasn’t. I think he did awesome. And I’m so grateful to Krystle and Pierce for watching the kids for us so we could race. They even brought them down to the race so they could cheer us on and see us finish. Mathias raced too and also did really well, despite having some bike mechanical issues. Bummer for him! It was hot out though that day. Yikes but we were all drippy messes when we were done. After the race we went home and didn’t do much the rest of the day. Lots of sitting around until dinnertime when Grandpa and Marcia stopped over with some treats for the kids. And then they treated us all to dinner too and Krystle and Pierce joined us for that too. It was a fun evening and the kids were especially spoiled (M&Ms and ice cream all in one evening!?!).

Going back another day we end up at Saturday. Kris had to work that morning and while he did I got almost everything ready for the rest of the day. We had plans to go to the Great Minnesota Get Together aka The Minnesota State Fair. We also had to pick up our race materials for the duathlon and also run a couple other quick errands. Mathias had to pick up his race materials too so he came over that morning and spent a little time with us while we waited for Kris to get home from work. We had lunch that day at Chipotle while running errands and found out that Jamesy loves their guacamole. He was getting upset with me that I wasn’t leaving him enough chips. He ate more of that then he did his lunch. Silly boy. We finally made it to the fair around 1:30pm that day and quickly met up with Nana and Papa. We have a tradition that they take the kids through the Little Farm Hands exhibit. Annika is already trained to expect her small box of cereal at the end. We also spent some time at the kidway. Annika and James each got to ride 5-6 rides each. Annika rode the swings again (They are so high! Ack!) and was scared but not crying or overly frightened. It was her idea to go on them and I told her how brave she was. She said she wasn’t brave, she was scared! Kris and I assured her that she is brave because she was scared but did it anyway. After a couple little kid rides she tried the kiddie roller coaster. On that one she was audibly screaming in terror. Poor girl. We assured her once again that she was brave. She said she’s never going on that ride again ever in her whole life. Kris said OK, but what about when you’re seven? She said OK, maybe when I’m seven. God, I love her. Jamesy was excited to ride the motorcycle ride and excitedly explained to Grandpa and Marcia that it went “up and down!” He also rode the carousel with me and told us later that it was his favorite ride. I’m sure it was because I was with him. He does wuv me best you know. Heh. And Levi was an angel baby the whole time. He nursed discreetly, he napped while I carried him in the Bjorn, he rode in the stroller and he looked around at all the new things around him. He is such an awesome little baby.

Back to the present. Tonight we have James’ preschool open house. I can’t believe my baby boy is going to school on Tuesday! It was very strange last night filling out those school forms for him instead of Annika. And tonight we’re also stopping by the dance studio to buy Annika ballet flats and tap shoes. She starts dance class next Wednesday. I’m so excited to see her learn both types of dance! And of course this weekend there is excitement with Levi’s baptism, Annika’s birthday and all the family gathering that will be done for both. I better go clean the house and bake that cake!