July 31, 2009

A day at the beach

We went to the beach today . . . Warren Dunes, to be exact. We took most of our staff and it was a nice, relaxed day. It was a perfect beach temperature and thanks to sunscreen and a rented beach umbrella, I managed to get just a little burned. I'm not sure how because I literally spent the entire time under the umbrella watching Jack and Kyle in the water. Although, even with my eyes closed I could have told you they were having a good time from the giggling and squealing I heard.

I didn't take my camera out of the car once. I've lost my picture-taking mojo and I'm trying to lay off for a while in order to recapture it by the time baby #2 comes along. We'll see . . .

We're having Jen take some family pictures of us tomorrow. We've never had any taken and I'm wishing I had chosen to have them done before I was 33 weeks pregnant and puffy, but oh well. I just wanted a few to commemorate the time in our lives that we were a family of 3. I just have no idea what I'm going to wear. There's really nothing "flattering" at this point. I guess I'll just have to settle for whatever fits.

Heather comes tomorrow! We're so excited to see her and spend a few days with her . . . um, and put her to work at camp!

Not the "feel good" movie of the year

Jack was 8 days late, I was induced . . . and after a bajillion hours of pitocin I finally started having contractions. And after that much pitocin, the contractions were so intense, I demanded an epidural. Literally. I was demanding one.

I wasn't opposed to pain management during child birth, so this wasn't a big deal. But I always had it in the back of my mind that things would have been easier had I not been induced.

A couple of weeks ago, I was site-hopping while doing research on cloth diapers and ended up on this random message board that was discussing the movie, The Business of Being Born. I watched it last night.


It's changed my perspective on childbirth a lot. I didn't think it would. I thought I'd find it igonorant and sesational. And while I think there was a lot of "spin" . . . it did make sense. And the movie's idea of delivering naturally is not necessarily just a "drug-free" birth. It's my pet peeve when women brag about their drug-free labor and delivery as if it makes them a super hero.

I'm not planning on a home birth as a result of this, though I'm much more aimiable to the idea . . . our insurance probably doesn't cover it (which is ironic, given the fact that it's about 1/4 of the cost and proven to be incredibly safe . . . something I didn't realize). I'm not even going to search for a midwife. I really like the group of doctors that I see. I AM, however, hoping to avoid induction (I'm shocked at how quickly doctors jump to induce . . . though the doctors at U of M are pretty conservative when it comes to inducing, so that makes me feel like we're on the same page). But I don't even know where I land on that. I guess with Jack we KNEW that I was 8 days after my due date. This time around, my due date is approximate. We dont' know the actual date of conception like we did with Jack. What if I'm 2 weeks late?

If you're going to have a baby soon, I'm not sure I'd reccommend this movie. Maybe . . . but only if you're prepared to have your mind changed on some things. And you have to put up with Ricki Lake. And you see a lot of naked women give birth.

I'm not really sure what it means for what I'll do 7 weeks from now . . . I'm not completely convinced that after a few hours of contractions I won't be demanding an epidural again. And I'm still ok with the pain management. But I do know that when doctors are telling me what needs to be done "for the health of my baby" I'll definitely be thinking twice.

July 30, 2009

I'm so ahead of my time

About 5 years ago, I made the prediction to my staff that in 10 years, tanning beds and going outside in the summer without sunscreen on would be considered a health risk similar to smoking cigarettes.

They just made fun of my white legs.

This morning, I caught bits and pieces of the Today Show segment on tanning, but caught the rest when I saw Nicole's link to the article.

The irony of the whole thing is that I've never been tanning and I always wear sunscreen and I'll probably be the one to end up with skin cancer . . .

July 28, 2009


I'm quite confident that "normal" is the most beautiful word to anyone who is pregnant or has children. It's the coveted award that we look for at every check up and appointment: "Everything looks normal." Sometimes we hear the word "healthy," "good," or "typical" but as long as there aren't any "abnormalities" it's all good.

I went in for my 33 week check-up today and saw a doctor I hadn't seen before. My usual doctor was on vacation. Let me preface this by saying I really liked him and I'd be perfectly happy if he were the one available when I was ready to deliver. I hold none of this against him.

He walked in, introduced himself and started to go over my pregnancy so far. I don't remember his exact words, but he eventually said, "So you had your 20 week ultrasound and they talked to you about the cardiac focus?"


"Um, no. I have no idea what you're talking about."

"With the baby's heart . . . the cardiac focus. On the ultrasound?"

At this point I was fighting tears. I had no idea what a cardiac focus was, but to go from being told weeks ago that your ultrasound was completely normal to hearing that there is an issue . . . any issue . . . was overwhelming. Especially since this was the one appointment Kyle couldn't come to with me.

He said, "Uh . . . let me just double check to make sure I wasn't looking at the wrong chart."

I felt a little relief at this point . . . surely he was talking about someone else, right? Not me. They told me my ultrasound was completely normal.

"Um, Sara Luke . . . birthdate 08/09/78?"


"They never told you anything about a cardiac focus?"


He went on to explain that it's a bright spot in the heart (whatever that means). I asked what that really meant. He said, "It is sometimes thought to be related to the trisomies, but . . . " I didn't hear what he said after that. I lost it.

He felt really bad.

He went on to explain that it's really only thought to be linked to abnormalities when there are other factors. My quad screen was normal, the other ultrasound checks were normal . . . therefore the cardiac focus was considered a "normal variant."

He explained that I probably wasn't told about it because it really isn't considered to be an issue unless there are other factors. And I think he reads my blog, because he went on to say, "I know you'll be home googling this tonight, but just remember that this is completely normal and isn't an indicator of any problem."

Part of me was furious that no one had mentioned this before. The other part was frustrated that he mentioned it now if it was nothing at all.

I had about 2 minutes of the most gripping fear that I think I've ever felt. It felt like 2 hours.

On the way home, I was still a little teary and I couldn't help but thank God for Jack's health and continue to pray for the health of this baby boy. I prayed for families for whom this kind of news lasts longer than 2 minutes.

While the doctor reassured me that it means nothing (as did my google research) and I'm not really too worried, this will probably still hang out in the back of my mind for the next 7 - 8 weeks.

July 27, 2009


Many people have commented to me that "this is the perfect summer for a pregnant woman" because it's so cool. Those people don't know me very well.

I depend on July and August to warm me up enough to last the entire winter. I need 95 degree days to keep me from freezing to the core in February. Needless to say, I was not thrilled about the day last week that it didn't even hit 70.

This week is going so much more smoothly than I had anticipated. I'm almost afraid to publish that last sentence, because, well . . . you know. Only two weeks of campers and our summer comes to an end. Jack is finally adjusting to our schedule and in two weeks it'll change all over again.

I've decided that Jack thinks there's a statute of limitations on what I ask him to do or not to do. If I haven't reminded him of a particular rule (like, say, that he's not allowed to get into the cupboards or refrigerator) in the last 10 minutes, he considers in null and void. He walked into my bedroom while I was drying my hair the other morning and he had the lid of the orange juice carton and was drinking out of it.

The bathroom in our room has a separate tub and shower stall, which normally is annoying, but has proven to be handy over the last couple of weeks. When we get home from camp at night, I give Jack a bath in the tub in our bathroom and let him play while I hop in the shower. For all of you who just audibly gasped over the thought of me leaving Jack in the bath tub alone, the shower is right there and I can see him the entire time. And we're usually singing songs together while he plays with his bath toys. The other benefit of this arrangement is that I have again begun showering regularly. I can almost hear the sigh of relief.

It's a fun little routine and I've come to enjoy that time together. When I'm dressed, I wrap him in a towel and he likes to run around for a little while. He always asks to be "wrapped tight like a burrito." How could you not love this kid?

July 22, 2009

Whiny McWhinerson

Yes, my last post and all of my twitter updates were super whiny. I acknowledge that.

It's easy for me to see that now that I'm sitting on the nice, cushy purple couches in the lobby waiting for Kyle to pick me up (those beds are NOT comfortable). The doctor and nurse both agreed that since my fall was last night, I should be safe to leave now (they came to this agreement after my pleading and crying . . . shameless, I know). It's not that I want to put the health of my baby at risk . . . I just really felt like everything is ok and that lying there an extra 12 hours wasn't really going to tell us anything different. They agreed.

My stay at the hospital was not relaxing. It was not a nice break. I was among mothers and their crying children (imagine that . . . on a a L& D floor) and was surrounded by people with sandwiches and buckets 'o chicken while I was not able to eat a thing. It was miserable.

Before I left, the doctor did sit with me and let me know that although she thinks there's very little risk of placental abruption from the fall, that my visit did show that the amount I was contracting when I came in this morning and afternoon is not ideal. She said I was dehydrated and that I likely need to be taking it easier than I am.

Then she asked the dreaded questions: "Are you working? What do you do for a living?" I was tempted to say, "I have an online stationery business and work at a computer." Because that would be true. Well, half-true.

Alas, I did tell her the whole truth about working at a camp, and I will heed her warning. As much as I love what I do and love to work, I would never do anything to jeopardize the health of my sweet baby boy.

I was kind of bummed because I thought that I had been taking it easy. I thought that my pace was slower. And I guess it is compared to most summers. But maybe not compared to what most pregnant women should be doing. The irony of it all is that at my check-up next week, my doctor will probably ask if I've been exercising and will most likely remind me to stay active.

I'm tempted to feel like this day was a complete waste of time and money, but here are the things I'm thankful for today:

1. I got to listen to my baby boy's heartbeat for 8 hours straight and it was a constant reminder of how blessed I am. Actually, I spent quite a bit of time chasing his heartbeat with the monitor. That kid moves a lot.

2. That kid moves a lot. I'm so thankful for that. This morning, his movement was slow and seldom and I was so scared. I no longer take the kicking for granted. Remind me of that at 2 AM or so.

3. I had lots of time to do nothing but pray for some of the troubled campers that I encountered last night . . . whew - more on that later.

4. I'm glad that I did come in so that I could find out how dehydrated I am and discover how much I'm contracting so that I can be intentional about getting more rest. I spent the whole day hooked up to an IV and am well hydrated again! The rest part . . . I'll be working on that.

5. Our staff has had a chance to really shine . . . we've been so impressed with how (we've heard) that they've handled things while we were gone. We were already down to the bare minimum of staff and when we left the last two days, Kylie was there to manage everything herself. And she's done a great job!

6. Coming home to Jack was so great. I didn't get to say goodbye to him this morning and I really missed him. I was so excited to see him and didn't even care that the first words out of his mouth to me were, "I want to not see mama. I want to see grandma!"

There's a lot more to be thankful for, but I have some things to do before my head hits the pillow tonight. Thanks to everyone who sent their prayers and well-wishes!


I've just been admitted into the stupid hospital overnight and I'm already miserable. I don't really think I need to be but it's "protocol" for when a pregnant woman takes a tumble.

I tripped over a cord last night and fell flat on my face. Everyone keeps asking if I fell on my belly and i can't remember. I don't think I fell hard on my belly, but I remember rolling a little because I was conscious of the fact that I didn't want to be laying on my unborn child. And the pain in my left shoulder was so intense that I wasn't paying attention to much else at the time. The tenderness of my shoulder right now makes it shocking that I don't have a bruise there.

So, upon advice from many people who said, "It can't hurt to check" I called triage and they called me up for 4 hours of monitoring. Monitoring which includes a hospital gown, no eating, no drinking and an IV that still stings. They said they'd watch my contractions and if I had more than 4 per hour, they'd want to keep me overnight.

I had one every 5 - 10 minutes. Lovely. So I'm here until tomorrow.

I'm in a room where they bring c-section patients for recovery before they take them to their actual room. I'm already sick of the lady next to me watching smut on tv and referring to her child as "the kid."

This is all following an afternoon in the ER with Kyle yesterday. He tripped and turned his ankle and it was swollen unlike I had seen an ankle swollen before. Luckily there was no break.

Kyle went home (an hour each way) to get some stuff for me. All I can think about is how much I have to do and how pointless it is that I'm here. I'm wishing I had never made that call to triage because I'm fine and the baby's fine.

The nurses just keep reminding me that it's "protocol." I wonder how much the bill for this "protocol" will be.

I'm hungry, thirsty, way uncomfortable and really cranky.

July 21, 2009

32 weeks

I had been holding off on posting a "30-week" update until I could get a picture, but with the way our lives are going right now, I think it'll be a while. And I refuse to take anymore self portraits because I always have this look on my face like I'm concentrating more than anyone should have to concentrate about taking a picture. But seriously, the camera is heavy and hard to keep steady . . .

Anyway, I'm 32 weeks now. I have another appointment next week and I'm a little fearful of the scale. Did I mention my weight gain at my last appointment? In my first 24 weeks of pregnancy, I gained 9 pounds. In weeks 24 - 28, I also gained 9 pounds. Nice, huh? I'm hoping I haven't gained another 9 this time around. I might cry.

Baby #2 has officially surpassed Jack in amount of movement. Which actually surprises me, because it seemed like he had a slow start. Seriously*, I was laying in bed with Jack the other night and he kicked hard enough to shake us both. It startled me and made Jack giggle . . . thus starting the bedtime "settling down" process from the beginning again. Thanks so much, baby boy. I am glad to know he's healthy and growing, but I don't remember Jack's movement being as strong or as constant as it is with this one. Maybe I'm just not remembering correctly.

He has ONE spot on the left side of my belly that he LOVES to kick like he's riding a bicycle. I feel like I have internal bruising on that side of my belly. I remember being uncomfortable a lot when Jack would kick and poke, but I don't remember it hurting this much.

I haven't been able to wear my rings in about 3 or 4 weeks. Well, I can in the morning, but I'm fearful that I won't be able to take them off by the end of the day, so I don't even try. My ankles have been holding up well. Just a little swelling at the end of the day. I just checked my blog and my swollen ankles and the claw started at about 33 - 34 weeks. Fingers crossed that I'll just skip right over that this time.

I bought a book when we were in Chicago for this little guy. And we bought a blanket from PBK for Jack to give his baby brother when he's born. Until this last week, these were the ONLY things we've purchased for him so far. This week, I bought a few of the clearance things at Target . . . blankets, a couple of sleepers, etc. We don't really need them, I suppose, but I need something to make me feel like he's actually coming. I had six baby showers with Jack, so we had these little parties every two weeks or so for the last 12 weeks of pregnancy reminding us that a baby was coming. I have EVERYTHING that I need this time around, so showers would be pointless, but I miss the anticipation and excitement that they built.

We're still tossing around the idea of cloth diapering. It's amazing to me how many different opinions and differing experiences there are out there about the whole thing. I guess we need to decide sooner rather than later.

Like I've already mentioned, I've been going back and forth about whether or not we do something completely new in the nursery. On one hand, it seems like a waste since we have a perfectly decorated nursery already. On the other hand, I don't want this kid to be cheated out of his "own" things. Though just typing this makes me realize how ridiculous that thought is. What newborn is going to care that he has the same airplane nursery that his brother had?

8 weeks left . . .

*Jack has started saying "seriously" before things he says or looking at me and saying, "seriously?" when I tell him to do something . . . and I'm beginning to see where he gets it from.

July 19, 2009

A decorating update . . .

So, we went into town tonight to find and buy paint for Jack's room with the hope of getting it painted tomorrow. We decided to hire a babysitter and make a "date" out of it. But, we forgot that it was Sunday and by the time we were done with dinner, the paint stores were all closed. Maybe we'll be heading back into town tomorrow morning.

Instead, we spent some time at Target. I found this receiving blanket and I LOVE IT. I bought it as inspiration, should we have time to re-do the nursery. On the website it's called "blue armadillo" but the packaging calls it "hedgehog." Weird, huh? It's cute and babyish. BUT, the colors and the fact that they're hedgehogs make it modern enough for me.

Oh! And I found the quilt for Jack's room on ebay (it wasn't there a few days ago, but it is now). My guess is that it will go beyond my price range since it's no longer available on the website, but we'll see . . .

July 18, 2009

Jack is (officially) 2 years old

Yes, he's been 2 years old for over a month but he just had his well visit with the doctor this week. Here are the highlights:
  • His weight has slowed down a little, but his height is still off the charts. 94th percentile for weight (33 lbs), 95th percentile for head circumfrence and 115th for height (38.5 inches). The nurse (who we really like, so it's ok that she did this) looked us both up and down and said, "Where is he getting his height from?!" Good question. My dad and brother are tall. Kyle's brother is tall. Jack just got the right genes, I guess.

  • He's developing normally. I wasn't really concerned about anything in particular, but it's always good to hear. We did get a little "development activity booklet" that I'm supposed to do with him and send back. I'm hoping to get to it sometime before his third birthday.

  • Jack asked the nurse and doctor questions about EVERYTHING they did. It was half amusing and half annoying. What's that? What you doing? Where she go?

  • He's obsessed with asking, "What time it is?" even though our response never means anything to him. He also gives us arbitrary times that he thinks things will happen. For example, when the nurse left the office he asked where she went and I said, "She'll be back in a few minutes." And he said, "Yeah, at one-firty." Nope.

    Earlier this week, his grandma asked him how long he had napped and he replied, "An hour and half." Nope, again.

  • Side note: He LOVES to do anything he can to help. This morning, he said, "Mama, you need socks?" I replied affirmatively.

    "Would you like me get you some?"

    "Sure, Jack."

    "How 'bout these?"

    "No, not those ones."

    "How 'bout these cute ones?"

    Funny kid.

  • At his appointment, he had to get his last immunization shot until he's 5. I made the mistake of not telling him it was coming. I just leaned across him like I normally do and tried to distract him. He kept saying, "What she doing? What Terri doing?" and I just kept trying to divert his attention. The look of concern grew across his face as he realized that I wasn't answer his questions. He looked really betrayed when he got stuck with the needle and I wish I had just told him that he would be ok and that it might hurt just a little. I think he's old enough now to understand it and I think he would have been less upset knowing it was coming. Maybe not. Oh, well.

  • He had his two-year auditory screening and he didn't pass on his left side. The doctor is going to re-check it when I bring the baby in for his check-ups in September/October.

July 17, 2009


I know I should be updating on more important things . . . like my 31st week of pregnancy or Jack's 2-year well visit. But I have something else on my mind.

We're in the middle of trying to decide what to do with the bedrooms in our house. Jack has moved into what used the be the larger spare bedroom, and there is literally nothing more than a bed and a dresser with the drawers against the wall in the room. Now that he's getting better at staying in bed, I think it's safe to start decorating. But I'm a little stumped.

We knew we wanted a baseball theme, and we found this room as our inspiration. Of course, it's the only room in the catalog that doesn't have the Benjamin Moore paint colors listed so we'll have to figure it out ourselves. AND, the quilt sold out and they won't be restocking it. Nice, huh?

We were going to buy Jack a new bed, but we think we're going to stick with the one that we have, as well as the dresser that we have. Both are a medium to light colored wood. Eventually we'll put both boys in that room and turn the nursery back into a spare bedroom so we decided to save our money on a new bed now so that we can get bunk beds in a couple of years.

I'm just not sure how to find stuff to tie it all together, you know? I'm feeling a little bit uninspired.

The second thing is that we've gone back and forth about whether or not to re-do the nursery. It was decorated in "vintage airplane" theme from pottery barn kids. Remember what it looks like?

I've found a few different crib sets that I like, but Kyle claims they're not masculine enough. When I was shopping with Joy last Sunday, I found a throw blanket that I love and I was inspired to use that color in the nursery. It's a darker cornflower blue, but I can't seem to find anything to coordinate with that color in baby bedding. I'm sure I could buy fabric and have someone sew stuff for me, but I have trouble envisioning what it would look like when I'm just looking at fabric.

So maybe we should just stick with what we already have? I can't decide.

July 14, 2009

5 things


1. I wish I would have seen these before the 4th of July. They're way cuter than the plain old fruit skewers that I brought to our family celebration! (photo from http://www.makeandtakes.com)

2. I've decided that if I had any free time, I'd make these. Not because I need more coasters, but because there's something about them that is enticing to me. Much like these baskets that I had the craft class attempt . . .with little success. (photo from http://www.howaboutorange.com)

3. My birthday is less than a month away and I want one of these. For real, people. I'm not kidding anymore. (photo from http://www.apple.com/iphone)

4. I did make these for our family's 4th of july get together and they tasted great. Unfortunately, I only had black cherry jello and no mini-chocolate chips, so they didn't look as cute as the one in the photos. If you decide you want to make them, contact me first because getting the limes out of the peels is harder than it looks. I can give you a few pointers. (photo from http://www.chocolateonmycranium.blogspot.com)

5. I purchased this cute little bag from an etsy shop called Knitty Bitties. My thought was that a smaller bag for the summer might mean less clutter build up and that maybe it would be easier to find things in my purse. While that theory has proven to be anything but true, it's still cute and I still love it.

July 12, 2009

The first night of family camp

The good news is . . . no one was hurt. I'll just start by saying that.

I'll also say that if it hadn't been for the torrential rain yesterday morning, you might be hearing about this on the news, rather than just reading it on my blog.

Last night was the first night of family camp, and the first night is notorious for some sort of disaster. Usually, the disaster is something along the lines of network crash, power outage, etc. I mean, you add a couple thousand people to our grounds and something is bound to go wrong, right?

About 10 minutes before the service last night, I was walking Jack in the stroller toward the nursery so that Kyle and I could go attend the service. As I was walking, I passed someone I know (imagine that . . . someone I know at family camp) and she said, "How are you holding up? Everything going ok?" I responded affirmatively and started thinking about how, even though this had been a REALLY rocky start to family camp, we hadn't had any major disasters. And it was like I said it out loud . . .

Because within 30 seconds, there was a call on the radio from Dave saying that he heard on his scanner that 911 had been called from the camp about a trailer fire and he needed staff to help him locate where it was. Gulp.

I don't think anyone with a radio at that point (with the exception of maybe, Chuck, our assistant director who was there for the whole thing) really knew how bad it was. I heard Kyle say that he had located the fire in the back 40 (lovely) and all I could think was "GREAT. NOW GET OUT OF THERE."

I listened but knew I couldn't do anything . . . I'm 7 1/2 months pregnant and had a 2 year old in a stroller. So, I just listened on the radio, prayed and kept on my way to the nursery.

It was around then that Chuck started letting people know on the radio that we had less than 2 minutes before the trees around the trailer would catch on fire if the fire department didn't get there soon.

I stopped at the trailer to get a diaper for Jack, and I heard them saying that we needed to get a particular camper from the service up to his site NOW because his car was parked dangerously close to the fire. At that point, I didn't know how close. I didn't know how big the fire was. But I knew that I was standing next to a golf cart and my sister-in-law was standing there asking if she should take Jack.

SO, I asked her to take him, I hopped on the golf cart and sped down to the tent as fast as the governor on the golf cart would allow me to. After some searching, I eventually picked up the man and took him back . . . totally unprepared for how bad it actually was. As we drove close, the smoke was so thick, we could barely make out the fire trucks. So, I stopped and the man ran. I was getting debris in my eyes, so I backed up. The fire had basically been put out and all that was left was the scorched frame of the trailer. It was horrible.

It wasn't until later that someone was saying how lucky we were to have had that downpour yesterday morning. Things had been so dry, but the hour of torrential rain might have saved the trees from catching. If they had, we might have had an entire camping area to clear out and a much more devastating loss.

Kyle said that the worst part for him was watching the family watch their trailer (which they had purchased THE DAY BEFORE) and everything in it just crumble. I mean, it's a trailer . . . not their home, and no one was hurt . . . but still, it was devastating for them. Think about how many personal belongings you might bring if you were to go camping in a trailer for 10 days.

I was proud of our staff. The fire was out, the fire department left and our staff had (what was left of the) trailer loaded onto a flat bed and off the site before the service was over. And speaking as someone who watched the whole thing . . . it was not easy.

So, that was the first night of family camp . . . from my perspective. It can only get better from here . . . right?

July 10, 2009

His first photo shoot

Jack is just like me in that he likes to play with cameras. He holds it up just the way I do, says "cheese," and then presses all of the buttons.

It's really cute and I want to encourage his creativity and curiosity. The problem is, I have some expensive photo equipment.

So, I decided to give him the ok to take pictures . . . within my set of boundaries: He can only use the small olympus camera and he must let us wrap the strap around his wrist (to prevent him from dropping it in the event of, oh, say and ice cream truck driving by).

And instead of him pressing random buttons, I taught him which one takes the pictures and how to hold it up and look through the screen. Though, I have to re-teach him every time I give him the camera. Up until now, we always had shots of grass and shoes, and he still needs a lot of help, but he's getting it.

Here's are a few from his photo shoot last weekend (thanks to the help of Grandma Wietholter and Aunt Karina):

July 9, 2009

Aunt Jose

Jack was on a "No way, Jose" kick for a while about about a month ago. He didn't just say "no." He said, "No way, Jose!" On Father's Day, we went out to eat with Kyle's side of the family and Jack started by telling his Aunt Katie, "No way, Jose" and by the end of dinner, he was calling her Aunt Jose.

Well, Aunt Jose came to babysit him tonight and he had such a good time. When I got home, she was telling me about all of the games that they played - Hi, Ho Cherry-O, Don't Break the Ice, Memory, etc. I know how much patience it takes to play those games at all . . . but to play them with my two year old? She's a saint.

So when she finished telling me all of this, I just looked at her and said, "God bless you."

Jack started giggling and said, "God did not sneeze!" Too funny.

After Katie left, I laid in bed with Jack for a little while and we talked. When I was getting ready to leave, I said, "Did you know that God made you special?"

"Yeah. God lives in my heart."

"He does? I'm so glad to hear that."

He thought for a moment, lifted up his shirt and said, "He poke out of my belly like baby brother?"

Even funnier.

July 8, 2009

Sibling rivalry

Last night, we were changing Jack in the nursery and he wanted to lay in his crib. So I let him for a while. We talked about how that's where baby brother would sleep when he came home. Jack was quiet and didn't say much about it.

This morning, we were back in the nursery as I was trying to change Jack from his pajamas to his clothes and he was throwing a royal fit for no apparent reason. He was crying and thrashing and I could tell that something was really bothering him. I finally decided to step back from trying to get him changed and just figure out what was bothering him. I sat in the rocker and asked what was wrong and he just yelled, "I WANT TO WEAR MY PB'S!" I'm pretty sure he meant "PJ's."

So, we sat there a little longer while he calmed down and I asked him again. He finally said, "I don't want baby brother to steal my bed."

Hmmmm . . . I think we might have a long road ahead of us . . .

The campout

I mentioned that we took our staff on a campout in early June, but with the drama Jack caused at the beginning of the month, I kind of neglected to write about it.

This was our 8th time taking staff on this trip (well, my 7th since Kyle took them alone the week after Jack was born) and every year I leave thinking, "We shouldn't do this trip anymore." And every year I come home thinking, "We must ALWAYS do this trip."

There are so many reasons for it . . . time for staff to get away and bond, spiritual renewal and preparation, fun, etc. It's a blessing to us every year (and hopefully to them, as well). We call the trip "rustic" because we have no electricity or running water, but it's actually not. We bring coolers, cook over a fire and take our trash to a dumpster every night. So, "rustic" is quite a stretch.

The hardest part was that it got down to 38 degrees the first night. We brought a travel trailer to carry all of our supplies, so Kyle and I lucked out and slept in there instead of a tent. We were cold, but it could have been much worse. The others were all troopers and there was shockingly little complaining.

It was so hard to leave Jack . . . I think it was a combination of pregnancy hormones and knowing that he was in a difficult stage. Honestly, as great as the trip was, I probably wouldn't go if I could do it over again because of how hard it was to readjust once we were back. I would be lying, though, if I didn't say I enjoyed the break.

Anwyay, because there is zero cell phone reception in the area where we camp, we would drive about 30 minutes each night to call and check in on Jack. On one of these trips, we decided to ignore the route that we knew back to the campsite and follow the GPS. The roads to the site were paved and we just thought we'd explore some uncharted territory.

The GPS eventually lead us down a dirt road. No big deal. We can hand dirt roads. We spent the next hour (which should have been the last 5 mintues of our drive) driving down PATHS. Not dirt roads. Paths. Don't believe me? Here are some pictures I took:

The GPS would say things like "Turn right on Green Road." I think calling these "roads" was a little generous. Though we wasted about 45 minutes, it did make for an interesting adventure. We eventually came to a point where we couldn't fit anymore (even though the GPS kept telling us to go right on through) and turned around and found an alternate route.

I've never been so glad to hit pavement . . .

Overall, the trip was a good one and we caught a beautiful sunset on our last night:

July 7, 2009

We love this book!

We checked this book out of the library a few weeks ago and LOVED it!

Henry and Amy: (Right-Way-Round and Upside Down)
by Stephen Michael King

The story is so sweet and the illustrations are fantastic!

I think I'm going to buy a copy for us to keep!

July 6, 2009

Reunion Tour 2009, Part 2

So, where did I leave off? Oh, right. We spent our first evening in St. Louis with Aaron and Alisha.

We returned back to our hotel room and got a great night of sleep and headed to the zoo on Monday morning. We got there right at 8 AM and were able to park on the street, thus saving $11 on parking. Also, all of the exhibits which cost extra money are free from 8 - 9 AM. The zoo itself is free. It's such a nice zoo. I had been there a few times in college and appreciated it even more now.

Jack seemed excited about being able to pet the stingrays, so we did that first.

We walked around as long as I could handle it. Jack preferred Kyle's shoulders to his stroller.

With the money we saved on parking and exhibits, we let him pick out a toy (a stuffed turtle) which served as a pillow in the car.

We were done at the zoo by 11 AM and headed to the Galleria( so that I could buy a decent pair of maternity shorts) and then had lunch at the Spaghetti Factory (not to be confused with the Spaghetti Warehouse . . . the Spaghetti Factory is so, so, so much better).

We went back for a nap that afternoon and then met up with Jan and Dustin again for a Cardinals game at Busch Stadium. It was Jack's first MLB game, and even though the Cardinals lost it was perfect because it only lasted about 2 hours. Jack did really well and enjoyed it! He liked seeing Jan and Dustin again, too!

On Tuesday, we swam in the pool at the hotel and then checked out and met up with Heather and Nicole for lunch. I hadn't seen Heather since our wedding (almost 7 years ago)! We keep up with each other's blogs but it was so good to be in the same room and share a (delicious) meal! I had never met Nicole before, but it's so nice to feel like I know her in the real world rather than just the blog world. Kyle calls all of the people whose blogs I read but have never met, my "imaginary friends." Nicole no longer fits into that category.

Anyway, it was such a good time and my only regret is not pulling my camera out ONCE! Can you believe it?!

From there we went to Springfield to have dinner with Ben and Heather. Again, no pictures! But we had a chance to talk and just spend an hour or so catching up . . . which didn't seem like enough since we hadn't seen each other in two years! I'm hoping that it doesn't go that long again! Jack was a little bit, um, difficult at the restaurant. I think he had been in the car way to long because he was wound up and totally defiant.

We left Springfield and headed to Chicago and spent two nights with my sister. I hit the Land of Nod Outlet and got these two storage bins, among other things, for only $9 each! That's a $120 savings! Yay!

We ate at Giordano's, Ann Sather and Nookies . . . all of my favorite places to eat. We actually saw Jesse Jackson at Nookies. At least we're 99.99% sure it was him. We shopped a little and just wound down before heading home.

We had a great vacation and while sometimes it's nice to stay in one place for a while, it was nice to keep moving and to see lots of friends!

July 5, 2009

Reunion Tour 2009, Part 1

Our drive to Greenville was as close to heavenly as it can get when you're tired and traveling with a 2-year-old. After some unexpected setbacks, we left later than we had anticipated and Jack slept the first two hours. When he woke up, he ate and was pretty much content listening to his "Bible songs" and watching videos the rest of the way.

Kyle and I were struggling to stay awake, but agreed that the trip only seemed like it took 2 - 3 hours (instead of more than twice that).

Anyway, we made it in at about 10:30 CST, so it was pushing midnight before Jack was in bed. When we got there, I changed him and he was jabbering to Sarah and asking her questions. Suddenly, he got quiet, looked out the window and then looked back at me. His lip popped out and he just started bawling. I held him for a few seconds and was asking him what was wrong. I was completely puzzled. He pulled away, looked at me and said through his tears, "I'm sleeeeeepy!"

So, we got Jack to bed (he looks huge in his pack and play . . . HUGE) and Sarah and I stayed up for a while talking. When I went to bed, I looked at my phone and it said 3:26 (EST). WHAT?! We stayed up way too late, but it was good to catch up.

We slept in on Saturday morning (until 8 or so) and I got up before Kyle and Jack to shower, bake scones and put fruit on skewers for the shower. Kyle and Jack dropped me off at the shower and picked up AJ (Nicole, my college roommate's, son) and they played together while we, um, showered? Threw Sarah's baby shower? Had our party? However you'd say it.

We did my usual onesie applique activity at the shower and it was fun. Mainly, it was just good to catch up with these girls. There were only 6 of us, and it was nice just to chat and be with them. And of course, I keep forgetting to download a group picture from Sarah.

Meanwhile, AJ and Jack were wrestling, playing in the sprinkler and squirting each other with water guns. At dinner on Saturday night, Jack prayed and said, "Dear Jesus . . . thank you for day . . . . thank you for AJ . . . amen." I think he had fun. I'll post some video of them later.

We spent the rest of Saturday hanging out at Sarah's, followed by an evening photo shoot. Have I mentioned yet that the heat index was over 110 for that day? Even at 8:00 PM, we were dripping with sweat. But it was so worth it.

Later on Saturday, we met Jan and Dustin Fenton for ice cream. The sun had finally gone down and we were able to walk to Dairy Queen without passing out from heat exhaustion. Dustin works and lives on campus, so we walked around campus for a while after we ate. I was overwhelmed with nostalgia. I couldn't believe that Houge Hall was gone and even more, I couldn't believe that it didn't look odd. It just seemed natural. It's actually hard to believe that the building used to fit there. He also showed us the music center . . . I hadn't been in since it had been converted from the FM church. It was good to catch up with them and Jack LOVED hanging out with them. They have a nephew his age, so they were really good with him.

On Sunday, we slept in (again, until 8ish) and skipped church. Yep, you heard me. We skipped. We went to Lotawata Creek for lunch and then checked into our hotel. We had a great view from our room!

After naptime, we went to visit the Cobb family (Aaron, Alisha and Micah . . . Micah is a week older than Jack . . . Alisha and I had the same due date). We ate dinner with them, let the boys play at the park and caught up with them. They lived in Michigan for two years after they graduated from GC, and we miss having them only 1 1/2 hours away!

(this last photo courtesy of Aaron & Alisha)

Stay tuned for part 2 . . . .

July 4, 2009

A sneak peek for Sarah & Kevin

Yes, I will write about our time away last week. I'm working on it. Don't rush me.

For now, here's a sneak peek for Sarah and Kevin. We did this in their beautiful "back yard" in Greenville on the hottest day EVER. Seriously.

I put "back yard" in quotation marks because it's huge and when I think of a yard, I think of something much smaller. Maybe I should say we took these on their property.

But you can't even tell it was, like, 115 degrees outside. I'd like to thank my husband for making these photos possible . . . by picking grass off my sweaty shirt and shoulders and helping me to roll over when I was shooting while laying down. Taking pictures is getting harder now that I'm in my third trimester.

When I shot this last one, I didn't think it would be a keeper, but I L-O-V-E it . . . I think it's a great representation of who Sarah is. I hope you guys like what you see so far!

July 3, 2009

Dear Jack, Month 25

Dear Jack,

At one point last week, you said something that broke my heart. You grabbed my hand and whispered to me, "Those kids don't like me." I was stunned to hear you say that and I even asked you to repeat it so that I could make sure I heard you correctly.

"Those kids don't like me."

Just recalling that moment makes me ache.

I don't know what made you think that or if you knew what you were saying or what inspired you to say it about kids we don't even know, but it bothered me a lot. Not because I'm naive enough to think that everyone will always like you . . . it's true there are some people in life that just won't (though at this point it's hard to imagine how that could ever be).

I was saddened to think that at two years old, you're already aware that people have the capacity to like or not like you. To judge you. That you're already in the beginning stages of feeling self-conscious and sensitive about who you are. And what bothers me even more is that I don't really even know what to tell you. I still feel that way a lot . . . self-conscious, that is.

I want to protect you from ever feeling that way. I want to keep you from ever thinking that anyone doesn't like you. I don't want you to ever feel awkward about who you are or what you look like or what you're capable of. I don't ever want you to look in the mirror and not like what you see. I want you to celebrate all of the ways in which you're gifted.

But of course, I know I can't protect you from those things. You're human and you'll fall into some of the same thought patterns and frustrations that we all do. But what I can do is remind you often that you're created in God's image and should concentrate on becoming more of who he wants you to be. And as I'm reminding you of that, you'll serve as a reminder for me to do the same thing.

Your two-ness continues to bring us moments of sheer joy and extreme frustration. I feel like we can talk about pretty much anything and you'll understand what I'm saying. I wish that I could just have a recording device strapped to your chest at all times so that we could remember every funny thing you say . . . there are way too many to keep track of!

At the same time, your ability to understand and communicate brings a frustrating dynamic in that you can tell us EXACTLY. WHAT. YOU. WANT. Your manners have become excellent in that you will usually say, "May I please have . . . " But you haven't quite figured out that asking nicely doesn't always mean that we'll say yes.

Summers are hard. Your dad and I work a lot, which means we spend a lot of time missing you. It seems ridiculous, I know, because you're right there with us at work. We eat every meal with you and we can walk out of our office at any time and usually see you on the playground or the beach. But that almost makes it harder.

I love spending time with you, Jack, and I miss you when you're not around. I like you and I think you're one of the coolest people I know.