Monday, April 29, 2013

One Fine Day. finally.

The last few days have finally felt like spring, which was an awesome excuse to get out of the house for awhile.

After church yesterday we took the girls to Oleson Park in Fort Dodge for a picnic.
We packed up some food in a cooler and took off.

The result I get from instructing the girls, "Say 'cheese!' "
{Reminds me of how we used to say in elementary school: Do you like seafood? See food!}
The girls ran around on the playground equipment and then we took a walk to see the animals in the petting zoo. It isn't open yet, but the animals are out already.
Graham hitched a ride on me.
So Avery took advantage of the availability of the stroller.
Never mind that there was an infant car seat in there...

We had a fun time and enjoyed our first outing of the season.
I included this last picture just because I think my little lady looks pretty. :)
Bring on the nice days!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

From the Mouths of Babes: Avery Edition

Okay, you got me this time...

While playing on the floor with Graham, Avery comes up and throws a book in my direction. It hits my hand.

Me: "Avery, we don't throw things.
The book hit Mommy and it hurt. 
You need to say you are sorry.

Avery looks at me with zero remorse, says "ok" and picks up the book. She proceeds to kiss the book and gives it a hug. "I am sorry book." Another kiss.

And a huge mischievous grin.
Me struggling to hide my laughter.
Repeats her apology. "I am very sorry book." Repeats kiss. Another naughty grin.

Oh this child...

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

From the mouths of babes

I swear I didn't teach her this...

Bailey: (poking Aunt Justy in the chest) I poked your boob!

Justy:  That isn't nice. We don't poke people there.

Bailey: (very seriously) Ohhhh!
           I will poke MY boob.
           Wait! I don't have boobs....
           Wait! I do. They are just really tiny.
           (shakes head matter-of-factly)

Positive Self-image

Bailey staring into her play vanity mirror:
"You are so pretty! Bailey, you are pretty. You are beautiful... I love me!"

I pray she keeps thinking this for years and years to come.

Monday, April 22, 2013

SNO: Sisters' Night Out

Friday night was the Ellis Girls' night out.

We met up in Des Moines and checked into the Drury Inn.
(Seriously, what a blah hotel name.)
Our stay was free, and somehow we were upgraded to a suite - which was awesome.

Group photo.
I won't admit to how many takes we did on this one.
Screw you post-baby body!

We did a little shopping for clothes and some booze.
Then we headed back to the hotel for their happy hour time. We each had 3 free drinks and some snacks. And being our father's daughters we hit it up - hard. I am pretty sure we were all tipsy by the end of the hour. And probably absolutely annoying the hell out of the people at the next few tables. We successfully harassed each other about topics that needed to be addressed - in a way only sisters can get away with.  (You're welcome, Beaner!)

We eventually headed out for some real supper. and more drinks.
Then it was back to the hotel for more sisterly hanging out.


(Well hello there, drunk eyes Vanessa...)
We eventually wandered down to the hot tub with our beach bag of brews. And it happened to be overrun with skinny 16 year-olds who took tanning for prom very, very seriously.
And obviously I love this as I am chilling in my Spanx one-piece swimming suit that is straining to contain my 3-kids-in-3-years battle-scarred gut and milk heavy chest.
And if I hadn't been downing a drink (that they were probably jealous of), I might have actually cared for a split second.
Dressing-room let-downs aside, we had a good time together. All our voices were sore the next morning from all the talking and laughing.  I love that.
And now for your viewing pleasure, random embarrassing photos from the evening.
And none of me because that is the perk of writing the blog yourself. :)

All these photos are not Facebook approved but are okay to post on the blog because as Beaner so eloquently put it: "No one reads it anyway."  Thanks Beans.
{"And a big 'F you, Justy' for that last picture" - most women I know.}
So that sums it up.
I love you, sisters.
I don't know what I would do without you all to boss around.  ;)  But really, I am so glad we all have each other.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Tubes Round 3

This past Wednesday Bailey had her ear tubes removed and replaced.

Her first set was placed way back in May of 2010 when she had her lip repaired. Those quickly clogged off with wax (I have such waxy children) and had to be replaced in November of that same year when her palate was repaired.

And since then we have done pretty well. Two years is a long time for T-tubes - or so I am told. She doesn't have frequent ear infections; it is just all that wax. Hopefully this next set lasts just as long or longer and she can start hearing normally again.

We had to be at the hospital by 6:30.
Since Bailey was the youngest patient, we got to be first. She was pretty timid once we got there.
She was trying to protest against wearing the surgical jammies, but once she received a stuffed bunny from her doctor, she was down for anything.
A sweet wrist band helped things too. She loves any "jewelry."

We watched some PBS shows while our doctor took his sweet time getting lined around.
Only 45 minutes late...
Luckily my girl is used to the doctor stuff. Crayons also helped for distraction purposes.

The procedure went well.
Both tubes were blocked and she had fluid in the right ear, so it definitely needed done sooner rather than later.

The recovery nurse rolled her back on her bed and I could hear her non-stop chatter coming down the hall long before she arrived to her room. She was literally yelling "hi!" to every person she saw. And then she proceeded to tell them all about her latest adventure: how she cried in the room and got yucky medicine and that her nose smelled and her ears were all better now.
Our nurse remarked, "Don't worry, she is just a little high from the medication" as she chatted away to me about all that went on.
That is just Bailey. Full of animation with so very much to say.

We hung out for another hour and a half, half-heartedly watching Sesame Street and cat-napping on the bed (Mom included).
She was begging to leave the entire time.
"Let's leave now. I want to see Grandma at my house."

Patiently waiting.
or as close as a 3 year-old gets.
All in all, it went very smoothly.
She did great and I was very proud of her.
It was good practice for the surgery she will be having this summer to revise her previous cleft lip surgery. That will be a much more involved one, but if she even does half as well as she did yesterday, I will be happy. She did pretty kick-ass with her first two cleft surgeries, and I don't think this next time will be any different.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

just stuff

I don't have much blog-worthy material to discuss right now, just some random pictures of the last week or so.

It was nice enough one day for Jared to take the girls on a bike ride around town.
And by "nice" I mean not bone-chilling cold.
They still needed hats and a blanket on their laps.
These girls are dying to get outside any way possible.

Little Man finally fit into his Broncos get-up.
{Daddy and Grandma Cathy are so proud!}
Too bad we missed football season by a few months...

Graham is finally starting to enjoy bath time.
It's so sweet to watch them realize that they can kick the water with their feet
and actually have fun in the tub.

He is also in the beginnings of the crawling stage.
Unlike his sister Avery, he might actually move an inch or two before the age of 7 months.
P.S.  I really, really love his wild hair.

I had the chance to do a little shopping in the past two weeks.
It was nice to escape the kids for a few hours and look around for things I actually WANTED to buy.
Bonus: I didn't have to spend an hour buying groceries!

I found some new frames to display some of my favorite photos.
a) Avery and me when she was just a few months old
b) Graham a few weeks ago

c) one of my all-time favorites: 
    Bailey and my dad. on a hay rack ride. with straw in their mouths.
I found the decorative bird for $1.70 at Hobby Lobby.
Little things really do excite me.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Saying Goodbye

We have lost a member of our family:
Our old, annoying - yet faithful-  Pontiac Grand Am.

Why, it seems like just a month or so ago I was listing all the reasons I loved the old girl... most of them revolving around the word "cheap."

It's fitting really.
We just paid off our Pilot back in February and Jared just installed a new radio in this car since the original one worked about 3 whole days a year.
I knew the second we spent one extra cent on that old car it would up and die!

And she did just that. Sort of.
I am sure someone could sink some real money into her and she would run again for a while. But that someone is not going to be me. And it sure as hell isn't going to be Jared.

So we are now the proud(?) owners of a 2006 Chrysler Town & Country.
Yes - a mini van.
And while it is not our dream car ... or even our dream van...  we are excited upgrade from my college car.
It has higher miles, but we got it at a pretty good price I think.
It's already a step up from the Grand Am because I don't feel like I am driving at go-cart height AND the radio works.    It's the little things.

Monday, April 8, 2013


This past Saturday trip was a total success. For me at least. (Sorry Jared.)

Old friends reunited for a night of laughs.
And beers.
And cupcakes.

We talked into the wee hours of the evening about old stories, new events in our lives, and even more old stories. Lord knows we have a lot of them; just ask our significant others - they can probably recite them all, too.

Some time after 1 AM Kevin lugged out a large box of old photos. Almost all of them brought back old memories. Many of them were embarrassing. And some were also slightly depressing as we realized just how much thinner we were back in those days.

I have known these people f-o-r-e-v-e-r.
I honestly went to preschool with Kevin, Shelby, and Holly. 
That's like 23 years of friendship right there.
And Sarah was my best friend starting in 3rd grade.
She was my friend through the fat years, the braces years, the glasses years, and the short hair year. Sadly a couple of those overlapped... Yikes!

I think it's really awesome that 10 years out of high school now, we are all still good friends. We might not see each other very often, but our histories are interwoven in a way that I won't experience with anyone else. Every single time we get together my stomach hurts from laughter. We don't have to do anything special. Some of the best times we have had involved a cooler and someone's living room/garage/barn. I can always count on them to remind me of all the stupid things I have done in the past - most of which they were doing right along with me. (Believe me, Kevin has the pictures to prove it!)

I am so glad we got together.
I love you guys.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Recap and kneecap

So it isn't really my kneecap, but it rhymed and I am feeling that cheesy today.

I finally have a few minutes to myself. This week, as well as this past weekend, has gone by so quickly.

Let's recap.

So I had my knee surgery last Thursday. I had to be at the hospital by 6:30 AM so my mom woke up early and rode along with me and Graham while Justy watched the girls and Jared slept from working part of the night before.
Everything went well.
I had to have a spinal because general anesthesia requires a 24-hour break from breastfeeding.
I was definitely not going down that road. Dealing with Graham and his bottle drama would be much more pain than a surgery I am certain.
I have had spinals before with my two c-sections, so it wasn't anything new. Sadly what also wasn't new was the anesthesiologist having to try three different locations because of my "bony" back. {Ugh - That would be the only part of my body to be described as bony...}
Of course since that took longer than normal, the surgeon was in the room impatient to start before I felt any of the medicine working - so she gave me Propofol too.

I was gone from the room for a grand total of about 35 minutes. I was still very foggy from the Propofol and kept sleeping on and off for a few hours. The worst part was not being able to move my legs. I felt like I just couldn't get comfortable. I hate that feeling! I can't imagine how terrible it would feel to be paralyzed; three hours felt like an eternity! But within those three hours I was back to normal and walking around though.

I didn't need crutches and was able to bear weight right away. It was stiff at first, and thankfully I was able to rest a bit since it was Easter weekend and my sisters were in town. It was a collective effort of keeping the girls entertained.
My knee hasn't been what is bothering me - it was my back. Every time I bent over or sat in a chair other than a hard-backed chair, I would have shooting pains up my back and down my legs. I have been told by my doctor that can be normal, even though I didn't have it with my first two spinals. Gradually it is getting better, but it was torture that first night when I tried to lay down to sleep; not even ibuprofen and narcotics helped it.

I am clear to resume exercising, although I am not sure exactly what that will be. It has been nice outside, so we have been going on walks. And out of the videos I have been doing, I am guessing about half of the different moves would cause my knee pain - which is what I am supposed to go by as I get back into the swing of things. Pain in the knee: it's too much. I have just gotten to the point where going down stairs feels close to normal again, so it is going to be a gradual process in the exercise department.

We celebrated Easter two different days.
Saturday was spent at my grandparents' house and Sunday at my parents' after church. The girls woke up to an egg hunt on Easter morning and LOVED it. It makes me smile to remember their excited squeals as they would find the hidden eggs and candy. The holidays really are that much more special when you begin to relive them through your children.

Other than that, this week has been full of doctor's appointments.
Both Bailey and Graham had routine check-ups on Monday.

Graham's 4 month stats:
Weight: 15 lbs 14 oz  (75th percentile)
Height: 26 1/2 inches  (90-95th percentile)
   {No wonder he continues to be too long for all his pants.}

We had a different doctor because our regular one was on vacation. She said both Bailey's ears were free of wax and her tubes were clear. Umm... not what we were told less than 2 weeks ago. She looked a second time and didn't change her mind. So I caved and schedule an ENT appointment so we would know for sure and get the ball rolling on surgery if needed. And yep, our Wednesday appointment confirmed that both her T-tubes are still plugged with wax and she does indeed need them removed and replaced. So we will be scheduling that soon.

As for the rest of this week, I am leaving Saturday morning for my much anticipated get-together with old friends in Kansas City.
I would be lying if I didn't say I am feeling a little anxious about it.
I know Graham is like 4 1/2 months old now, but I haven't been away from him for more than 5 hours before. And that happened only twice. It's not that I am one of those moms who can't be away from her baby, but this child barely eats when I am gone!

I suppose he will figure it out once he has to - at least that is what everyone tells us. And the one day I went on strike and refused to feed him, he eventually gave in by the 3rd bottle or so and ate an ounce. He isn't scrawny; I know he will survive. I just feel bad about it. It makes me feel guilty to know that I will be having so much fun and he will probably be here crying on and off for me. Poor baby, I just need to not think about it I guess...

On a happier note, Graham has been sleeping in his crib for a couple weeks now. I appreciate a baby-free room and he gets a much more comfortable space too. Plus, he just achieved 10 hours of uninterrupted sleep the other night. Hooray!

Okay, and now for some picture randomness: