Saturday, April 30, 2011

Ella, 9 months

Here are the top 10 things mommy and daddy love about Ella @ 9 months:

10. Your gorgeous baby blues. It's the same blue as mommy and I am happy that you've recieved this trait. Though we notice how beautifully blue they are it was even more apparent in this picture of you and Evie.

9. That you are our stubborn girl. You've been so frustrated in your attempts at crawling. Those silly extremities, why don't they work like they are supposed to? BUT you never give up. We love your determination...and hope you will continue to work hard at those things that aren't easy at first.

8. That you love to talk and do so with a wide range of words and emotions. "Ma-ma, ba-ba and da-da" are favorites along with some said quietly, some loudly, some smiling and some with angry frowns. Such as communicator!

7. Your sleep schedule. You LOVE sleep, sleeping from approximately 7:30p to 6a. Most mornings we have get you up because of your brothers need for food, and you nap the longest. Please explain to your brothers that this would be ideal for mommy and daddy.

6. Your energy. You probably sleep the best because you never stop moving. It's like sleep is a pause in your day. The other morning while you were half asleep you started rolling your fingers over your lips, like it was the last thing you'd done before falling asleep and were getting going again now that you were reaching wakefulness.

5. Your smile is the brightest. You love life.

4. Your joy. You find the world beautiful. We hope that this is so always.

3. Your a tough little girl but you are still sporting a double chin and rolls on your thighs. Love it...those chubbies!

2. That you are always on the go. You are the only one we REALLY have to watch when using the changing table. Even holding you, you can roll over during diaper changes and I am literally holding you on by a leg...straight up in the air.

And the #1 thing we love about you is that we get to call you our daughter, our sweet pea Ella Bella, and that we get to watch you learn and grow.

Ella's Statistics and Facts this month:

Weight: 17lbs (21%)
Length: 26.5" (5%)
Head Circumference: 16.75" (1%)

*Evie was always long and skinny. Ella in comparison (and this is the only comparison we've made) is the same weight but 1.5" shorter with a smaller head. So short and "fat." Ella is more stalky...all those muscles from her "workouts."

*Met her Uncle Christ for the first time on March 24th.

*Went to her first funeral, for great-grandma Betty.

*Begins to use the pincher grasp to pick up puffs. Gets really good at getting food to her mouth after a week.

*On March 31st gets up on all fours and rocking. Crawling "here I come."

*On April 1st says the best words ever "ma-ma-ma."

*Moves to 3 "square" meals a day on March 29th and also "eats" at her first restaurant.

*Was thoroughly disgusted by both new foods, potatoes and avocados, this month.

*FINALLY sits for several minutes unassisted on April 17th. Most of the time she has been too rigid and wanting to stand or lay down instead.

*While movement in "typical" crawling fashion has not yet been achieved Ella can scoot backward, turn around, roll around, and army crawl forward. All attempts at crawling have proven futile.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Henry, 9 months

Top 10 things mommy & daddy love about Henry @ 9 months:

10. Your silly long tuft of hair that sits over your left ear, which we love so much I created a scrapbook page around it.

Journaling: You have this silly and long tuft of hair on the left side of your head, Henry. Maybe it's a remnant of your newborn hair or just a tuft that is growing super fast. Whatever it is, it sure is crazy and adorable. We LOVE it, and when it comes time for your first haircut we will miss that unique part of you!

9. How excited you get when I peel a banana for breakfast or give you mum-mums. There is great shaking of the arms and while eating them you make adorable growling noises with "mmmm" sounds.

8. That you are a master sitter and act very excited about your mad sitting skills. Often just sitting without toys you enjoy flapping your arms, clicking your tongue and blowing bubbles.

7. How when I hold you it feels like you are giving me a real hug with your chubby arms wrapped around my neck and across my arm.

6. Your silly toothy grin, which has a hillbilly kind of look because of only seeing the top tooth.

5. Your delicious chubbiness... I could just eat you up!

4. Your cry, which has a wounded animal kind of tone to it. Yours is the hardest to "ignore."

3. That getting a laugh out of you, though getting easier, makes us feel like we've just won a great battle. Hearing it is like hearing music for the first time. We also love how you make yourself laugh because you enjoy life.

2. The way you kick out both legs at the same time when excited. You do it in the bath splashing, on the floor enjoying yourself and during any good time.

And our #1 favorite thing about Henry: That we get to call you our son, our sweet Henry and watch you grow and learn!!

9 month statistics and other facts:

Weight: 19lbs, 10oz (36%)
Length:27.5" (25%)
Head Circumfrence: 18" (63%)

*For the record, Henry is 2lbs heavier but 1/2" shorter then Evie. In addition, he has a bigger head.

*Met his Uncle Chris for the first time on March 24th.

*Went to his first funeral for his great-grandma Betty.

*FINALLY got his 2nd front bottom tooth on March 27th, 3 weeks after his first tooth. Also got his top right front tooth on April 18th.

*Began eating 3 "square" meals a day.

*Has tried the following new foods this month: avocados (gag) and potatoes (gag).

*Is working on crawling, getting up on all 4's on April 4th.

*Started using his pincer grasp on puffs and uses his whole fist to try and shove banana slices and pieces in his mouth.

*Is sleeping in his crib most of the night (unless he's needing to be inclined) and naps in the crib too. Still swaddling though...

*Sadly, for mama, we are done breastfeeding. I will be cutting out pumping altogether soon. Working on transitioning them to goat's milk formula in the next week.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Right now

Reading: "What is it like to be married to me?" by Linda Dillow. I first heard about this book on a Focus on the Family broadcast and she had some eye-opening things to say. I've only just started the book but already am enlightened by what she has written and expect that it will change the kind of wife I am and how I treat Shawn. Also on a fiction basis I started "Winter Garden" by Kristin Hannah. It was chosen for my MOPS book club and even though I am only in the first chapter I can tell it's going to be good. It takes place in NE Washington but the author's descriptions (which are beautiful) could be talking about MN. The story follows two daughters and their stormy relationship to their mother, Anya. Ahh...mother-daughter relationships.

Listening to: Evie holding conversations with the babies (to Grant while holding up her cup "This is my apple juice.") She also is entertaining them with songs she knows. The babies giggles, especially Henry's which I've been able illicit several times in the last two days, which is quite a feat.

Excited for: An overnight stay in a B&B with Shawn in August. Shawn surprised me with a stay in one for our wedding night so we try to stay in one every year we can-usually on our anniversary. This one I got at a steal $99 (including non-alcoholic wine) as a Groupon. It looks beautiful and is on the St. Croix River. I'm looking forward to enjoying time outside with him. Since our anniversary is in December usually outdoor activities are limited.

Watching: Not as much. Evie's become somewhat of television addict so I've been curbing both of our watching, which increased with the birth of the babies. When I do watch it has to be family friendly television so I love watching "Til Debt Do Us Part" on CNBC or the Suze Orman show.

Over: Swaddling and Swings. We started the weaning process and naps have involved a lot of screaming (for Ella and Henry who normally sleep in their swings). We tossed out their wedges last week as they were well...gross. Looking forward til they are napping/sleeping better and we can move these things out of the house. We've stopped using bouncers except for Ella to eat her bottles in. We have to watch her however, as she will flip herself over and work herself out of them as soon as she's done. Henry made it all night in his crib again on Tuesday night, and even fell back asleep after his 5a.m. bottle...a first.

Over but not done with: Pumping. Just for the record I've made it 8 months, 2 weeks and 5 days. 8 months, 3 weeks and 2 days more then I will ever do again. It's all for my babies and loving them. If the pump wasn't rented I'd have a pump burning/bashing party when I'm done...which will be ??? I still don't know as I'm taking it one day at a time.

Last big purchase: Silver Ring Splints for both of my thumbs, which need extra support due to genetics and rheumatoid arthritis induced laxity. They allow for more movement then the traditional, insurance covered supports without looking ugly. A teen told me she liked them, they must look "cool."

Frustrated by: Shawn's continued chest pain, which led his doctors to refer him to the Mayo for more tests. The medication is working but not to the extent that it should. Also by my contacts, one of which ripped t hereby leading to wearing my eyeglasses full-time. Eyeglass wearers you can relate, glasses bite!

Working on: Increasing my exercise. I signed up for Weightwatchers "Walk It" challenge, which goes for 6weeks and will end with my first 5K. On average you are supposed to walk 10,000 steps per day and so I bought myself a pedometer. After a long day of shopping and a walk with the family to the park I was dismayed to learn that I only walked 6,000 steps. Yesterday it was only 4,000-even with a walk. This is going to be harder then I anticipated.

Loving: The beginning of warm weather-though I wish it would be consistent. I learned Sunday how to set up and take down the quad stroller. Parks here we come!!!!!!! I am anxious to get out there. We've been out 4 times already as a family and I am loving it.

Missing: My's been 3 weeks now. I bought myself some fresh flowers and put them in a vase that was hers and when Shawn asked me where we got it I couldn't answer over the tears. Looking at it now I can smile and grandma loved flowers so it is the perfect memorial to her.

Bored with: Peanut butter sandwiches for lunch. Obviously I have little time to eat and this has been a favorite, quick go-to. Now it's just BO-RING! I bought a bunch of microwave meals and that's helped. Also got tired of my normal roasted red pepper hummus so bought 3 olive hummus-YUM!

Last funny thing Evie said: While we were shopping in Target we met a little girl pushing an umbrella stroller who nearly ran over Evie. The mom told the little girl "be careful you almost hit that little girl." When we got into the next aisle Evelyn said (with a scowl), "I'm not a little girl, I'm a BIG girl!" Yes, yes you are Evie! On Shawn's birthday we were watching tv and a commercial came on for light Yoplait yogurt. The character went to her high school reunion and met "Sean" who was quite bald and looked nothing like his younger self. Well, the lady character said something about Sean and Evelyn turned to us and said "That ain't Shawn!" referring to daddy. So true, Evie, so true!

If I had a super power it would be: Super Speed. That way I could clean the house in less then 5 minutes and get to spend the rest of the time with the kids or doing other things I love.

I waste time: Being on the internet. Really hard to get anything else done on days when I have to be online. Seriously! I honestly prefer not to be online but have to pay taxes, check bank accounts and the like. Time-wasters! The only good things online are the blogs I read and mine that I update. That and my savings it!

Average # of times I re-warm my coffee/day: 5

Latest Most Embarrassing Moment: I took Shawn out to dinner the day before his 30th birthday and somehow managed to dump my entire soda on my shirt and lap. I was SOAKED! Luckily I was wearing a tank top (albeit not a nice looking one) so I was able to remove that (you should've seen Shawn's face when I started undressing). This was a first for me. I've spilt a little on myself but not the ENTIRE full glass. Oh well!

What does everyone want pictures of: the kiddos

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Happy 30th Birthday, Baby!!!

It's FINALLY here!! Shawn turns 30 today, yippee!!! Please feel free to comment on how OLD my hubby is!!

All kidding aside, Happy Birthday, Baby! I am so lucky to have you as my partner, best friend, and lover. I love that you are such a hand's on dad, willing to play babies with Evie and make "cookies" on end. I love that Henry said da-da first and that all the kids adore you. You are an awesome chiropractor, awesome leader and man of God. I love that you work so hard to follow God's path for you and are always willing to admit when you are wrong. I could and do learn a lot from you. I love how intelligent you are. I love that you know obscure facts. I love when you use "big" words in your everyday conversations. I love that you love different kinds of cuisine and eat all your vegetables. I love that you open my eyes to new possibilities and new ideas. I love that you share your excitement for God and the books you are reading. I love that you are not afraid of PDA. I love that you are conscience of your patient's time and needs. I love that you work hard to build our business and support our family so well. I love that after 8 years I still learn new aspects of your personality. I love that you love your family. I love that you have a heart for others and that their pain becomes your pain. I love that you protect me with a fiercely even if it's from the thoughtlessness of others. I love that you love having 4 kids. I love that you are offended when people say it must be "hard" to have triplets. I love that you laugh with me. I love that you delight in my quirks and silliness. I love you more and more everyday!!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Thursday, April 7, 2011

In Memory

My paternal grandparents have been gone now for almost 15 years. With being #14 of 23 grandkids there wasn't a lot of one on one time with them. Not to mention I think with 9 kids they didn't appreciate the noise anymore. I have a lot of memories of them but more as a large family of kids, grandkids and great-grandkids. I love and miss them still.

That isn't the story with my maternal grandma, Betty. We (my sisters and I + Cousin Sarah) spent a lot of time over at my grandparents house. They were at most of my activities and they were an integral part of my childhood. With only 4 grandkids for most of my childhood they had more time/energy to spread around.

It's been over two weeks now since my grandma passed away, from ALS. It has been a sad time for our family to lose such a beautiful woman. I am not a speaker (in fact it's a huge phobia of mine) but was compelled (and nominated) to speak on behalf of my family at her funeral. I am posting the letter I wrote and read at her funeral here so you may know how much we miss and love her.

March 23, 2011

Dear Grammy,

I never, ever wanted to write this letter. The time has come to say goodbye, but before our “final” farewells, I wanted to tell you what you’ve meant to your grandkids and great-grandkids.

I didn’t realize that the lessons you were teaching me as a child would so drastically influence me as a woman and a mother. Not many a night goes by when I don’t tell Evie “Good night, sleep tight, don’t let the bedbugs bite, and if they do…hit them with a shoe and say ‘I DON’T want to sleep with you.’” Even now I remember your voice as you repeated those words to us. I also remember so vividly cuddling up in bed during our weekends together, all of us sisters fighting for a spot next to you for the reading of our favorite book “Christina Katerina and THE BOX.”

How we looked forward to those weekends!! Days filled with learning to bake bread and biscuits by hand. Eating lasagna and enjoying cottage cheese. However, even your admonishment that cottage cheese eaten with peaches “all gets mixed together in your stomach,” that still cannot convince me that it is a tasty combination.

When we weren’t eating or cooking, you taught us how to play “Hide the Thimble.” Someday I will teach this game to my babies. Of course, their first words will be “what’s a thimble?” I imagine it will be akin to your confusion over computers and fish screen savers. You installed in us a love for games…especially Scrabble. It is because of this that not only is my spelling typically top notch, but I can and usually do beat my husband soundly.

Honestly, I’m not one for gardening. This is unfortunate as I would love to have your green thumb. Your garden flowers amazed one and all. But my favorite gardening moments were also the tastiest… mmmm—strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and sugar snap peas. We loved not only the task (one strawberry for the bucket, one for me), but the end results of our hard work…pies and jellies. One of my biggest regrets is never learning to do this with you. I will attempt it this summer on my own and will know great sorrow with each berry I cut…missing you, missing our time together. The only thing that I will not miss from your garden is that horrible, vicious rooster. I still remember the day he attacked my feet with his sharp beak, but you were just as quick to defend me. I think his head permanently bore the marks of your cane, though not enough of them to prevent you from winning grand champion at the fair. Unfortunately he didn’t know that that fair would be his last shining moment, before he became dinner.

In your basement we became waiters, business owners, florists, and piano players. In fact, most often when I pass a piano I cannot do so without plunking out the few notes that you taught me. A few notes to accompany you…a duet that will forever be a part of my heart.

Every time I came to visit in the last few years, I’ve been tempted to take a walk to the “crick” in the woods. Remember how you used to take us there and let us strip down to our undies and “swim” in the “deep” waters. Okay, in reality it would probably only reach my ankles, but it was deep enough for us to have hours of fun before the mosquitoes drove us into the house. I haven’t been to visit it because I like to think of it as our own secret garden, a little treasure trove of memories, laughter, and adventure. A place that will become a legend to our babies.

Right now your great-grandbabies are too young to have developed memories of you. Therefore, it will be up to Keesha, Jessie, and I to pass on your legacy of selflessness, gentleness, and love. They will know you when we read to them, put together puzzles, teach them Scrabble, mixing, cutting out, and decorating sugar cookies, introducing to them Lincoln Logs and tinker toys. Some day they will learn all about the inventions of the past like record players. Did you know that the Sesame Street record we about wore out can now be bought on CD?

Someday they will ask why I am always saving the stamps from letters, and I will be able to show them the stamp collection that you started for us, and someday they too can call themselves philatelists. Remember how you helped me introduce this term for stamp collector to my fellow 4-Hers?? As afraid as I was to present my demonstration, I was so proud to tell others of this collection and show off my crazy stamp collecting skills.

Dress up is already a favorite activity in our household, and I know that there will be giggles and lots of twirling in your square dance dresses. Remember how we begged to wear them every time we visited? I may have to take a twirl in them again as well; their fun is not hampered by age. We have so many memories of you, Grandma that our babies will begin to believe that they knew you. They will call the Jello salad we make “pink stuff” and request quick rolls every Easter just the way we did from you.

It has only been a few days since you left your earthly body, Grandma, but the magnitude of your departure has put a Grand Canyon-size hole in our lives. These past few days have made me realize how often I do things with and for my babies that you did for us.

I’ve looked at all the pictures of you as a baby, a teen, a woman in love, a friend, a wife, a mother, a grandmother, and a great-grandmother that the ache in my heart only grows larger. You are loved and you are missed, BUT your love and legacy is being passed on to future generations. And while I would give just ONE more day to tease you about how short you are getting, or to attempt to beat you at Scrabble, or to discuss every little thing—even if it meant listening to that static-filled radio station playing 1940’s music or Lawrence Welk hour—your legacy is a thing that I would wish for myself when I pass from this life. YOU have made us better women, friends, sisters, daughters, mothers, and wives. Thank you, Grandma. We love you! We miss you!


Tawnda, Keesha, Jessie and all future generations

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

All together now

While I love taking pictures of the babies and Evie individually I thought a few recent pictures of everyone would also be nice so...

Mommy and babies in our 8 month picture.

Unlike Evie, these guys love being on their tummies and rarely stay on their backs. I have two (Henry & Ella) which have been up on knees to (Ella was even rocking) so I know that crawling will be happening before I know it. They rock the tummy time.

My sweet darlings! Evie LOVES them!

My typical photo ops. Evie kissing someone. Someone trying to turn over and reaching for things. I have a limited time to get a good photo.

The grandkids and great grandkids on my mother's side.

This is my favorite picture. There were other ones where Evie was looking at the camera but those smiles on my parents just capture how much they LOVE being anma and ampa to the kids. They are AWESOME!!! The kids are so lucky to be loved so much. Kudos to my dad for "putting up" with the commotion of the kids while we visited for a week. Silence was probably bliss after we left!

Evie and Xander being silly with Auntie Jess and Uncle "Doober"

This was yesterday. They all received the same type of "nammies" and I thought I would dress them "the same" for a photo opp. Lots of cute pictures but a lot of Henry blinking or Ella crying (she was hungry-it WAS right before their last bottle and night-night).

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Ella, 8 months

Ella can be the messiest eater. She often itches her eye creating this mess!


Smiley baby girl.

Yes, I do adore her!!

With both her bottom teeth!

At 8 months, Ella is:

*The textbook definition of a "bouncing baby girl." This is per her daddy and per anyone who's ever met her. She literally starts her kicking/flailing/bouncing the minute she is unswaddled...before she even opens her eyes from a dead sleep.

*Still has the most gorgeous blue eyes with long eyelashes. Boys watch out!! You too daddy!!

*She wears size 6-9 month sleepers and 3-6 months onsie/pant sets. She wears size 3 diapers.

*Has the most sensitive skin. She had a diaper rash from birth through 5 months til I finally figured out a method of clearing it up. As soon as we introduced foods it was back. Mostly because Ella is a ninja pooper. She doesn't let you know she's doing it (no grunting like the boys, or face redness) and it doesn't stink. I've finally got it under control again.

*Has a lot to the bossiest voice. I think we are going to have a bossy sister on our hands. In fact, after Henry tried to steal a toy she wanted/had she told him what she thought of that...quite loudly.

*The fastest mover. Literally walk into the kitchen and the next thing you know she's under our futon. She's able to roll but does a lot of her movement by pushing herself backwards. She's started to get up on her knees...I'm in trouble now!

*Has tried the following new foods this month: peaches (sour-yuck!), squash (delicious), banana pieces (double delicious), teething biscuits (slippery but yummy), and prunes (yum!).

*Has a lot of hair...though you might not be able to see it. It looks like the same shade as Evie's, which was the same shade as mine when I was a child.

*Feeds herself her entire bottle without assistance.

*Sporting to two bottom teeth...the bottom right arrived March 10th.

*Has quite a lot to say. Henry typically says "ba-ba-ba" and "da-da-da." Ella says a lot. Her anma's and anpa's insist she is saying their names and truth be told (which I ALWAYS do) she is actually saying mama and daddee. Shawn will agree. She has a lot to say anyhow...just like someone else I know. In case your first instinct is to say me (which is true) I was actually thinking of Evie.

*Ella has a sweet disposition. She finds joy in many things and looks quite excited just to have you pay attention to her. When we were in GR for the week she was quite taken with her Uncle Goober (or Uncle Doober as Evie calls him). Auntie Jessie would swing Ella towards him and Ella would start kicking and flailing through the air (like she's swimming) with great excitement. She was quite enamored. Just to test and make sure that it wasn't just a coincidence Shawn just swung her at me and...nothing. She looked excited but didn't give me so much as a leg twitch.

*Loves to eat. She isn't picky and doesn't play favorites...just as long as her belly is full.

*Continues to have some remnant congestion and coughing. It doesn't affect her disposition or her sleeping...though her slimy nose can be gross.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Grant, 8 months

With Auntie Jess.

Love this outfit on him.

So tired. I put him in the swing for a few minutes to keep him happy while I changed diapers. This is the result.
iBig sitter!

Being loved on by mama!

At 8 months, Grant is:

*Enjoys making spit noises with his tongue.

*Sleeps on his back now. He was a tummy sleeper but kept flipping over to his back so I said "fine, if that's what you got it;o)"

*Does not need a swing or other device to get him to sleep. Congestion rarely interfers with a good sleep, but he is usually the first to wake up. He has a habit of night-pooping, i.e. pooping at 4:30a. Why? I have no idea...but we've been telling him he needs to quite this habit.

*Is the most happy when he is being held. It gives him the best access to his favorite toy: your face. He can be fussy if he has to play by himself on the floor. Often he is on the floor crying while playing with a toy.

*Already plays peek-a-boo. He holds up a bib or burp cloth over his eyes and then pulls it down quickly. Arms and towel go back up after you say "peek." I LOVE it!!!

*Is the most sociable.

*Wears all 3-6 month clothes and size 2 diapers. He is most like Evie in body type. He will need pants with cinchers as she does while his brother won't have this problem.

*Has blond hair and blue eyes. Looks bald!

*Has tried the following new foods this month: peaches (sour-yuck!), squash (delicious), banana pieces (double delicious), teething biscuits (slippery but yummy), and prunes (yum!).

*Can sit the longest and easiest.

*Had his first long laugh at Evelyn being silly...March 12th.

*He started saying "ha-ha-ha-ha." It's pretty silly...don't know where he heard it to learn it.

*Is the easiest to feed. No whining, crying, difficulty keeping food in the mouth, impatience. Just opens every time and fairly neat. Fairly neat...hands get messy some meals from helping the food stay in his mouth.

*Has no favorites, though Evie spends more time with him then the others. No idea why...maybe because he's the loudest or smallest?