Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Answered prayers, but more needed

Another long stretch with no updates, my apologies.  The days and weeks are flying by.  I can't believe that next week we'll be into July!  We're planning on a fun filled week at the cabin with my sister and her family for the first part of the week, and Nate's family for Friday and Saturday.  We're hoping that the rain stays away for awhile (not just for us, but also to help with the flooding everywhere). 

Well, we'll start with the big news...a week and a half ago Mema had her surgery.  Poor Boppa was stuck with me at the hospital from 7 am to 7 pm as we patiently waited to hear from the surgeon that all went well.  After 10 hours in the OR, we finally saw the plastic surgeon who told us that everything went as planned.  She was discharged on Monday, and looks AMAZING!!!  Her recovery has gone much better than I would have ever anticipated.  We are so grateful for that answered prayer.  Unfortunately, we got the news that her lymph nodes came back positive for cancer.  Therefore, she is anticipating starting chemo and will meet with an oncologist next week.  Please keep her in your prayers as she continues on this journey. 

Father's Day was that Sunday.  Nate and Ava had a date to the doughnut shop that morning.  Nate went to the gym while the rest of us took nice long naps in the afternoon.  :)  That evening we were able to play outside and grilled.  A nice low key day at home. 

The week brought work and a couple of play dates.  We went to the park and the zoo with a few different friends.  We debated whether or not to go to the cabin this past weekend but decided to stay home.  Saturday was absolutely beautiful outside!  We headed to the pool down the street for awhile.  Grant wasn't so sure about it, and Ava loved it.  Grant finally went into the "kiddie pool", but wanted nothing to do with the big pool.  Ava on the other hand, had a great time "swimming" (with the help of her swim vest of course; if you remember she didn't exactly pass your last swim class).  That evening Nate and I got a sitter and went out for dinner.  That's right, we actually went out on a date.  We never get to do that.  Partially because we're usually busy, and partially because it kills me to pay a sitter so that we can go out for dinner.  It was a nice night though.  Sunday morning we got up, went to church, and then spent the day at Mema & Boppa's house. 

I doubt that I will update before the 4th of July.  Wishing you all a safe, fun filled 4th of July!
 
The deck is finally finished.  Now we just have to find some furniture for it.
This little guy has to have either a ball or a rock in his hands at all times while we're outdoors. 
A little nude reading before bath time
Checking out the bears with his friend Atticus at the zoo
Ava reading "Brown Bear" to Grant
I've been looking everywhere for a sunhat for Grant that fits his big head.  I still haven't found one, but he sure loved this hat at Target. 
A big thanks to the awesome mom who distributed these to all the kids on their last day of VBS last Friday.  Just wanted my daughter needed!
Our trip to the pool...

Daddy & Grant (as if you couldn't tell)

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Great weekend

We had a great weekend here at home, in spite of the rain. We decided to stay home from the cabin this weekend due to the forcasted rain. And man did it rain! Thankfully we were able to get outside and enjoy the morning on Saturday before the downpours began. I think that Nate said we got over 5 inches this past weekend.

Ava has been a bit challenging over the past week or so.  I'm not sure if it's a stage, if she's wanting more attention and is trying to find it by acting out, or if she's just turning into a high maintenance girl at a very young age.  I'm hoping it's a stage...a Very short one!  No matter the reason, we're trying to put a stop to it (however yesterday she decided that dammit was her new favorite word, as she said it multiple times.  At least she said it in the proper context I guess :) ).  Anyway, I decided that maybe she needs some 1:1 time.  So, Saturday morning Daddy and Ava started their day by going to Donut Star.  Ava has been there only once before, but it left quite the impression and she's been asking when they can go back.  So, off they went together.

We then headed to the zoo.  We got there shortly after 9:00, and man did it get hot quickly.  Ava walked most of the way (a few piggy back rides here and there) and was exhausted by the time we got to the new bug exhibit.  She however managed to find lots of energy when we came upon the splash pad on our way out.  She was dripping wet by the time we left.  Thankfully it's a short 10 minute drive home.  Grant on the other hand was not a fan of the splash pad!

Saturday afternoon I was able to run to a party at one of our neighbor's while the kids napped.  Then Nate spent two hours moving dirt/sand out of our back yard before the real downpours started.  That was a lot of work for him, and included many trips with the wheelbarrow.  Unfortunately, the hard rain washed a lot of stuff back into the holes that were dug for the deck, so our poor builder is currently outside redigging them.  :(  Yes, we're finally getting a deck after waiting 59 days to get approval from our association (grrrr).  We will be very excited when it's done.

Saturday evening we were lucky enough to have "Uncle Josh, Aunt Kate", Tate, and Tess over for some dinner and play time.  They live so close to us, yet we hardly see them.  It was great to catch up a little and watch the kids play together. 

Sunday morning we went and checked out a new church.  We have decided that although we really really love Plymouth Covenant, it's much to far to drive every weekend and limits us in our involvement of the church.  So, the search has officially begun for a new church home.  Oh, how I dread this journey and hope that we can find something that we love very soon.

Hoping that you all had a great weekend!  
I usually don't buy shirts with words on them, but this one cracked me up!
We have a couple of job supervisors for our new deck project. 

Off to the zoo, hand in hand





She loved this splash pad!

Sweet little Tess and giant Grant

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Summer has arrived

Finally, summer has arrived. The heat is off, the air is on, and it's shorts/dress weather. Ava couldn't be more excited that she can wear all of her dresses again with no leggings.  We love that it's light out so late now, as we can go for a bike ride/walk after dinner or just go out and play to pass the time in the afternoons. 

With summer's arrival, preschool has ended.  Ava had her last day 2 weeks ago today.  She ended up having her program that day since her program was cancelled earlier due to the weather.  It was short and sweet, but very cute.  She loves "performing" and singing her songs.  Boppa was able to make it to the program, and joined us for a picnic afterwards.  Ava even got him up on the playground to play for awhile.  She had a blast.  Unfortunately Grant was a bit under the weather.  I took him to the pediatrician that morning where they diagnosed him with influenza B and an ear infection.  He had been running fevers for a week.  So on antibiotics he went.   

Unfortunately we got some bad news that day as well.  Mema got diagnosed with breast cancer.  It was obviously a shock to us.  She is currently scheduled for a double mastectomy on June 13th.  If you could please keep her in your thoughts and prayers it would be much appreciated.  We will know more about the stage of the cancer and any further treatments that will be needed after her surgery. 

That was the beginning of a rough week.  Friday night Ava woke up at 10:15 crying that her ear hurt.  She was up 3 more times that night.  I had to work all weekend, but thankfully was able to get my last 4 hours off both Sat. and Sunday to help out at home.  Nate took Ava into the pediatrician (thankful they have hours on Sat.) and they found that she had a perforated ear drum.  I'm assuming that she had a bad infection that she didn't say anything about, and the pressure ruptured her eardrum.  After 24 hours of antibiotics the pain was much more bearable.  She continued to run high fevers.  Finally after 3 days she was fever free and pain free.  We followed up at the ENT where they couldn't visualize her eardrum very well due to a lot of junk in her ear.  They attempted to clean it out, but Ava was not very compliant.  Unfortunately, we get to go back next week to see if it has cleared up and they can get a better look at her eardrum.  Our house has now been fever free for a whole week...I'm praying it continues!!!

Of course Nate left for WI on Sunday morning so I got to deal with all that until he returned on Wednesday.  Poor Boppa was a champ and came and watched the kids Sunday until I got home from work.  Ava informed Nate that she didn't miss him on Sunday because Boppa was there, but she missed him a little on Monday. 

Saturday morning we made our first trip of the year to the cabin.  We could not have asked for better weather.  A better attitude from Ava?  Yes!  But better weather, no.  She definitely had her moments while we were there.  I'm not sure where this attitude came from, but I hope it doesn't stick around for long.  We actually had a great time, and took the pontoon out for its first trip around the lake.  I came home with a friend on Sunday so that I could work on Monday.  Nate, Mema, & the kids came home Monday. 

As for this week, it's pretty low key.  We finally got permission from our association for our deck, and the building permit has been obtained.  So, we're hoping that within the next couple of days our deck can get started.  We will be very excited to get that done!

Well I'm off to enjoy a little sunshine on my day off.  I hope that you're able to as well!
 
My happy "little" man
Ava & Boppa on the preschool playground

Ava & Mema planting flowers at the cabin
Ava singing during her program


It's very seldom that he doesn't have a ball in his hands

Grant driving, Ava blowing the horn, and Boppa loving it all
A little sidewalk chalk time
Ava's "costume" during one of her performances at home

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Mother's Day

I hope that you all had a wonderful Mother's Day. I had a great day. Unfortunately the kids were a little under the weather, but that didn't stop us from having a great day.  We were unsure of how it would start since I got home from work Saturday evening and Nate informed me that both of the kids had fevers.  So we decided we should cancel our date night (which was sad since we never get date nights) and stay in.  Saturday we decided to forgo church since both kids were coughing and had low grade fevers.  We figured the parents of other kids in the church nursery/Sunday school would appreciate that).  So we met up with Mema, Boppa, Uncle Wes, & Aunt Janna for brunch.  Of course the kids fell asleep on the way home which meant no real nap once we got home.  We went to Pahl's Market to look at hanging flower baskets.  Then we realized that we could get them for half the price at Home Depot.  This way when I kill them we will only be out half the money.  :)  We ended our day with a trip to the park, baths, dinner, and bedtime.  Oh, and Nate finished the day putting some stuff up on the walls of the playroom.  After 17 months of living here we thought we should probably start decorating and making it feel like our home.  It turned our really cute!

I have to say that this was my favorite Mother's Day thus far.  Maybe because the kids are getting a little older and more interactive.  Maybe it's because I got great gifts from the kids and my husband, including time to take a nice walk around the lake that morning by myself.  I got to take the time to reflect on how great it is to be a mom to these two kids, how much work it is, how rewarding it can be, how proud I am of them, how frustrated I can get with them, and how much pride I put into being a mom.  I've realized that Mother's Day is such an important day.  It's not like a birthday, which happens every year by default and I do nothing to deserve it except keep my heart beating for another 365 days.  Being a mom is something that I work hard at, something that I strive to be good at and improve on every day.  I definitely make mistakes, and know that I will in the future.  However, I try to learn from those mistakes, and make it a teaching moment for my children as well.

I was fortunate enough to grow up in a family that said, "I love you" a lot.  I always knew that I was loved, but never truly understood how much until I had children of my own. There are no words that could possibly convey what I feel for my children.  "Love" is the best that I can do, and I can only hope that they always know that it's much deeper than just a word. 

So yes, on this Mother's Day I was feeling quite blessed.  I hope that you were too!

A quick note about Grant's well child check last Friday (the day before he started running a fever and got a bad cough).  His pediatrician said he looks great!  His tubes are still in his ears and look good.  He is currently weighing in at a hefty 32 lbs 15 oz, and is 36 inches tall (4 lbs heavier and 1 1/2 inches taller than Ava was at this age).  Needless to say, he is off the charts in height, weight, and the circumference of that huge head.  I actually had to buy him a 4T shift at Target.  I think they need to adjust their sizes.
 
Here are a few from my real camera from Ava's story time.

Mother's Day

Friday, May 9, 2014

We've had a busy and great couple of weeks. The sun came out for a few days after about 15 days of rain, and it was warm enough for us to play outside. It was so nice to be able to eat dinner and then head outside to play for awhile before bedtime. We are definitely enjoying the later sunsets. Unfortunately, as of yesterday we're back to colder, dreary days for a bit.

Let's see, what have we been up to?  Almost two weeks ago I was able to attend a baby shower for my friend Erin and her sweet boy Carter.  I was so happy to be able to go since I had to miss her first shower in Des Moines due to a snow storm.  It was so much fun to catch up with her, her family, and some great work friends that I don't get to see very often. 

During the week we were busy with the usual; preschool, swim lessons, ECFE, and work.  Ava had her last swim lesson and took her test.  She passed some of the skills, but not all.  So she'll be retaking that level.  I loved her teacher, Grace, and am hoping that she'll be teaching next session when I enroll Ava again.  I'm hoping to enroll her in a summer session so she doesn't forget everything that she just learned. 

Everything is starting to come to a close for the summer.  We have a few more ECFE classes, and Ava's last preschool class is Wednesday.  She was supposed to have her spring concert last night, but it was cancelled due to a tornado watch.  She will now be doing her performance on Wednesday.  I'm so thankful that I have that day off so I can go watch her, enjoy a picnic, and be there for her last day.

There's not much new to report on Grant.  He's growing like a weed, trying a few new words out every now and then, and that's about it.  He has his 18 month well child check this afternoon.  I think it's another immunization visit.  I'm sure he'll be less than pleased.  He already doesn't like going to the Dr., and clings to me like no other.  It's amazing how different two children from the same two parents can be.

This past weekend we were able to head to IA to help cousin Reece celebrate his 6th birthday, and cousin Zacky celebrate his confirmation.  It was a great weekend, surrounded by family and friends.  I didn't want to leave.  Our kids just love every minute that we spend there, playing with all of their cousins and being loved on by all of my family.  Grant spent most of Saturday outside, somehow getting somebody to take him outside to "shoot" hoops.  He's got a few skinned knees to show how much fun he had.  And whoever wasn't outside with Grant was inside with Ava playing Chutes & Ladders, CandyLand, or some pretend game like Frozen or Lion/Kitty.  That girl loves to play games.  Since we had so many people to love on our kids, Nate and I decided to take advantage of it and met up with friend Erin, Kevin, & Carter for dinner.  It was so nice to get to see them again.  Carter is growing so quickly! 

This weekend we'll be home.  I'm actually working for somebody tomorrow during the day.  Tomorrow evening Nate and I are going out.  We're having one of the neighbor girls babysit for the first time.  We're not leaving until after Grant is in bed, so it should go just fine (as long as Grant doesn't wake up).  :)  Sunday we're planning on going to church, and then having brunch with Mema, Boppa, Wes, & Janna.  I'm hoping that the afternoon will be nice so that we can go outside and do something fun together as a family. 

Wishing all of you moms a Happy Mother's Day!!!
      
Erin, Carter, & me
Renee, me, Erin, Carter, Molly, & Beth at the shower

Ava reading to Grant one morning in her bedroom
This was Grant possessed by the DVD player at 9:30 at night on the way to Des Moines.  I don't think that I had ever seen his eyes so big.  It's only 1 1/2 hours past his bedtime at this point 
Playing "trucks"
One of the Many games that Ava played that weekend
Grant and his "pup pup"
Grandpa got a good workout lifting Grant up to "shoot" many many times.
Grandma, Grandpa, & cousins
Ava is always willing to help open presents

One of Grant's best friends; cousin Sara
They went for a walk to see the horses
Grant's best friend (besides Mommy).  He loves his Grandpa!!!
Ava before confirmation
This morning we headed to the zoo.  I thought we would be one of the few there since the weather isn't real nice.  I pulled into the parking lot and was greeted by 22 school buses (not to mention the day care vans).  Not my favorite trip to the zoo!