Thursday, November 20, 2014

Football, snow, & playdates...

Those are just a few of the things that we've been busy with over the past couple of weeks.  Two weeks ago we headed out into the cold Saturday wind to watch the IA/MN football game.  Our friend Erin, and her adorable little guy Carter spent the night with us on Friday so they joined Nate & me as well.  Ava & Grant just loved Carter.  They are still asking about him.  Ava is so sweet with babies, very nurturing.  Grant was also very gentle with him and just loved him.  Ava & Grant did not join us for the football game.  We bit the bullet and hired a sitter for the day.  We had such a great time tailgating with friends and enjoying the great game and HUGE victory over IA.  With 4 pair of pants, 4 shirts, 2 pair of socks, and my winter gear I didn't even get cold.  :)

Sunday morning we tried out a new church about 10 minutes from here called Hosanna.  Ava was excited to go to Sunday school, and Grant was actually pretty good hanging with us in church.  I wasn't quite ready to see if he would be ok in the 2 yr old room, since it seemed to be quite full with a few crying kids as we walked by.  We really enjoyed the service, and went back again last week.  Ava likes it there, and so do Nate and I.  I'm hopeful that we have found a new church for our family that doesn't require a 45 minute drive.  As much as we will miss Plymouth Covenant, it will be so nice to have a church so close to home.  One that we can drive to even if the weather isn't optimal.  I'm very excited about this!

Big news on the swim lessons front, Ava passed out of her current class last week.  She will remain in the same class for the next week, but has passed all of her skills to advance to the next level.  She has improved so much this session.  She's now swimming with her head under the water for short periods of time, back floating, and jumping in.  She loves it and is always excited to go.  Almost as excited for swim lessons as dance class, which she is still loving!

Grant is still talking up a storm, and is officially a non-cryer at daycare drop off.  This makes us so happy!  Eventually we'll head back to the gym and see if we can conquer the gym daycare so that I can actually go work out.  I've been waking up at 4:40 on my days off to go running with some of the neighbor girls.  It's been quite chilly.  The windchill this morning was -1.  Once you get going it's not bad.  It's just kind of a cruel way to wake your body up so early in the morning.  It always feels good to get it done so early though. 

This past weekend was the gopher's last home football game.  I decided to take one for the team and stay home with the kids (in the nice warm heated house with the fireplace on), while Nate got to go and enjoy tailgating and the game in the beautiful cold snow.  He said it wasn't too cold, and that he had a great time.  Great energy at the stadium that day.  Mema & Boppa came down and spent the morning with us.  The kids were so excited.

Speaking of Mema, she started radiation this past Monday.  She goes 5 days a week.  She's hoping to finish up before the end of the year, but it all depends on how many days she can go around the holidays.  We're all looking forward to the new year, as this past one has been a difficult one for her!

Other than football, and the usual schedule the kids and I have been busy with play dates.  We are so fortunate to live in such a great neighborhood with so many kids around Ava & Grant's age.  We had a couple of play dates here at the house, went to the local community center with an indoor playground and gym, and on Tuesday I took the kids to the Children's Museum.  It's never a boring day around here. 

We are looking forward to our trip to IA next week, where we'll get to spend Thanksgiving with my family.  Wishing you safe travels and a happy  Thanksgiving filled with family and lots of blessings!
Avery, Ava, & Caylin loved riding this bikes at the gym.
Carter's first tailgating experience.  He did great!
Kersten, Kate, Meredith, Anne, & me tailgating
Nate, Great, Matt, Nathan, & Josh
The Veldmans and the Voights

We were supposed to get over a foot of snow two weeks ago so we had to try everything on to make sure it fit.  Thankfully the meteorologists were wrong once again.  We lucked out and only got a couple inches at most.

Some snuggle time as we waited for Grant to wake up one morning
Cooking me up a burger at the Children's Museum
The kids loved the new Clifford exhibit
Grant was all about touching the live snakes.  Ava was happy with just observing. 

Friday, November 7, 2014

Chemo, candy, and a tooth

We hope that you all had a safe and fun Halloween. It's hard to believe that Thanksgiving is only a few weeks away, and then Christmas. I would say the Christmas season, but I feel like that started a month ago in all of the stores. I'm usually not big on Christmas shopping before Thanksgiving, but I'm just about done with the kids already. Not that I normally stress around the holidays, but it will be one less thing to think about when I would rather be snuggled up on the couch when it's snowing outside. Speaking of snow, it's supposed to make it's first appearance here either tomorrow or early next week. I am Not excited about this!!! Getting the kids strapped into their car seats with big winter coats on, and the time it takes for boots, hats, mittens, etc. Not to mention that just thinking about the driving gives me anxiety. What are you going to do? It's only 6 months right? :)

Back to Halloween, we had a very busy day. We started the day off with Grant's 2 yr well child check. He is a big healthy boy weighing in at 38.2 lbs and is 37 1/2 inches tall. He continues to have his umbilical hernia, but it is very small so Dr. Saxton doesn't think that it needs surgical intervention unless he would have to go under anesthesia for another reason.  I was pleased with that, since the last time he had anesthesia he had a horrible wake-up.  Both of the kids got their flu shots and then we were off to surprise Mema for her last chemo treatment.  The kids and I went and got balloons that morning (which was a slight nightmare) and they made cards/posters for her.  She was very surprised.  Then Boppa treated us to lunch at McDonalds.  That evening they came over for dinner and handed out candy while Nate and I took the kids trick-or-treating around the neighborhood.  They brought back tons of candy.  Thankfully they were happy with just going around the block, as it was quite chilly out.  Ava loved getting the candy, Grant loved knocking on the doors. 

I had to work on Saturday and Sunday.  On my way home Sunday evening I got a text from Nate with a picture of Ava captions "Notice anything missing?"  Ava lost her first tooth.  I was shocked.  I was even looking for facial trauma thinking that she must have fallen and got it knocked out.  Well, she didn't fall, but it didn't happen entirely naturally either.  She told me that she bit into Grant's soccer ball to see if the air came out of the black dot.  When that happened her booth evidently bent a good 45 degrees backwards into her mouth.  There was blood and whining, and then Nate plucked it out.  They called our friend "Dr. Greg" to make sure that everything was ok.  Ava was reassured that he said she would be ok.  Monday night she left her pillow on her bedside table and the tooth fairy brought her a nice dollar bill.  She informed me Tuesday morning that the tooth fairy came and brought her a dollar bill.  Then she said, "sometimes the tooth fairy brings $5.  Thanks Grandpa B for telling her that.  From now on we'll make sure to bring her teeth to your house. 

Wednesday Ava had dance and they started to work on their recital piece.  Yes, it will take them 6 months to learn this.  I am already looking forward to the recital though (hopefully I can get that day off work).  They are all so cute!

We have a fun weekend planned.  Our friend Erin is coming to visit for the night and bringing her sweet little man Carter.  He may be the happiest baby I have ever met, and I can't wait to see him again.  Tomorrow morning we have Maddie coming over to babysit for the day.  I'm hoping that Grant doesn't freak out when he wakes up and she's here, since she'll be here all day.  Nate and I are heading to the IA/MN football game.  Of course the weather is supposed to be "blustery" with wind gusts up to 30 mph.  It will be a chilly one, but I'm sure a great time spent with friends that we don't get to see very often.  Sunday we are hoping to check out a new church by our house.  We're still looking for a new church to call home.  It's kind of difficult to do with two small children that are used to going to Sunday school rather than sitting through an adult service.  Hopefully it goes well and we find something that feels like "home" soon. 

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend!

Mema was surprised.  This was her last chemo treatment...YAY!!!  Unfortunately, next week she will start radiation 5 days a week for 28 days.  Praying that this is easier on her than the chemo!  We can't wait for this chapter to come to an end.  Ava is ready to have sleep overs again.  :)
You wouldn't be able to tell from this picture that he was on the floor screaming"off,off,  want to watch football with Boppa" three minutes prior to this picture
Our puppy and Cinderella
Miss Ava missing her bottom tooth.  My baby girl is growing up way to fast.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

A weekend of celebrating

This past weekend Grant had his "Thomas party". There was nothing Thomas about his party except for his cake. He wanted the Thomas cake, and napkins, hats, and plates with balls on them. He called it his Thomas party and he was so excited about it. So excited that he fell asleep 30 minutes before it started.  It was good though, he was in a much better mood after I woke him up to have lunch.  There were about 20 people here to celebrate, which was perfect and low key.  The weather was great so Nate got to grill for lunch.  Grant couldn't have been more excited to hear everybody sing to him and to blow his candles out.  He was pretty excited about his presents as well.  A huge thank you to everybody who came to celebrate our little man, especially those in my family who drove 4 and 5 hours.  We are so blessed to have such a supportive family.

The fun actually started on Friday evening.  Aunt Lori and David came Friday afternoon just before Grant woke up from him nap.  They read stories, played lots of catch, played games, and had dinner with us.  We were so happy that they could come and spend some time with us that evening.  After dinner Aunt Lisa, Zacky, & Reece arrived.  Needless to say, the kids were up late playing and having a great time.  Grandma & Grandpa Becker, as well as Grandma Great didn't arrive until around 11:30.  We didn't stay up for them. 

Sunday morning we had breakfast, said good bye to Aunt Lisa and the boys, and got ready to carve pumpkins.  By we I mean Nate, David, and myself.  The kids watched us clean them out (ok, Aunt Lori, David, and Nate cleaned them out) and lost interest very quickly.  They played with Grandma & Grandpa while Nate, David, and I carved pumpkins.  Nate did the kids's names, and did a great job at them once again this year.  David carved one free hand, making sure that every detail was perfect (and it was).  I on the other hand cheated and used a pattern from one of those books that you buy.  They all turned out great, as you can see below. 

This week has been very busy.  I worked Monday through Wednesday, and every night I have rushed home to get ready to leave again.  Monday evening Uncle Wes came over to watch the kids so that Nate and I could go out for dinner to celebrate our anniversary.  It was so nice to get away, just the two of us.  We arrived home 20 minutes after bedtime to find Grant running through the house with a football and Ava playing in the living room with the TV on.  She told me that she "tricked Uncle Wes" into letting her watch TV.  They were having a great time.  We finally corralled them into bed.  Uncle Wes stayed to read Ava her bedtime stories.  Thanks Uncle Wes for the babysitting.  It was very much appreciated!

As I mentioned in my last post, swim lessons have begun, so we're doing those on Tuesday and Thursday evenings.  Ava's instructor told me after Tuesday's class that Ava had improved so much and was doing good.  That made me feel so much better.  Ava informed me that it's because she was wearing her goggles.  I guess she'll be wearing them again tonight. 

Last night Ava had dance, which she continues to absolutely love.  They got measured for their recital costumes.  The recital isn't until next spring, but I can only imagine how cute it is going to be. 

Tomorrow is a busy day.  We have errands to run in the morning before Grant's 2 yr well child check, which will include immunizations for him, and a flu shot for both kids.  He's going to once again hate going to the dr.  We then have a big fun errand (will update on that next blog post) to run after our appointment.  Then it's back home for naps, snack, and getting ready to go trick-or-treating in the frigid cold.  Mema & Boppa are planning on coming down for dinner and will then hand out candy so that we can both take the kids trick-or-treating.  Should be a fun day!

Wishing you all a wonderful and safe Halloween.  Don't forget to turn your clocks back this weekend!
Opening presents on his actual birthday

Reading his new book from Auntie Lisa P, Uncle Craig, & Nick

This is the look of a little girl who has to take a step back from being to helpful opening gifts
He loved wearing his sleeping bag backpack around. 

I love his face in this picture.  He is filled with delight and excitement.  Wish I could freeze him in this moment forever. 
He loved his new helmet so much.  He wore it around the house and outside to mow
Grandma took the kids outside to play for a little bit.  Sad how early it gets dark!
The kids wanted nothing to do with getting their hands dirty with pumpkin guts. 
Instead of carving pumpkins they had a picnic with Grandma 
The final results of the pumpkin carving. 
David's pumpkin that he did free hand.
I forgot to post this picture last time.  It was taken in the photo booth at cousin Daniel and Vanessa's wedding. 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

2 years ago today...

Grant Gregory came into our lives and made our family complete.  It's hard to believe how quickly two years have gone.   I feel like he has grown so much in just the past month.  His vocabulary is expanding almost daily, and his stubbornness gets more stubborn almost daily as well.  He is constantly singing his ABCs and counting (sometimes in Spanish).  He loves to mimic everything, and I mean everything, that his sister does. 

His temperament seems to be changing a bit as well.  Perhaps it's not his temperament, he's just becoming more independent (which I love and but also hate when I'm in a hurry).  We were extremely lucky with Ava and never really experienced the "terrible two's".  I'm pretty sure that we may get more than we bargained for with Grant.  He had the biggest melt down this past weekend at the wedding.  Shockingly enough guess what it was!  Oh, not just any food but a cupcake.  A whole table of cupcakes.  After my blood was boiling and I was ready to take him home, I handed him off to Nate and when I returned he was smiling and devouring a cupcake.  Ava informed us on the way home from the dance that she had two cupcakes that night.  Grant piped in and said, "I had free (3)" and was so very proud. 

Along with his tantrum he was also stuck to me like glue all weekend.  Everybody tried to help me out, but he just cried when I wasn't around.  He's once again crying at daycare drop off, and when I took Ava to dance last evening I left him with a sitter.  As I pulled away from the house I looked in my review mirror and saw this snot faced little boy running down the driveway after me crying "mama".  I felt worse for the sitter than I did for Grant.  Praying that this phase ends very very soon!

As I mentioned, we were at a wedding Saturday.  My cousin Daniel and his wife Vanessa got married.  We went back to IA Friday morning in time for Daddy to go play golf with his buddy Nathan that afternoon.  It was so great to be back and see most of my family.  My brother and sister-in-law were even back from MO.  I enjoyed every minute that I got to spend with everybody, and can't wait to see some of them again this weekend for Grant's birthday party. 

Grant's big birthday party is on Saturday.  We didn't do to much to celebrate today.  We had ECFE this morning, and Ava started swim lessons this evening.  I'm so glad that she enjoys them.  She told me multiple times, "I love swim lessons".  Unfortunately, she is not good at them!  Thankfully she likes them and doesn't yet realize that swimming is not her forte.  The teacher told me today that she should really be swimming with her face in the water and that she may have to move back a class.  I don't know why I was so bothered by this.  I don't want to be one of "those parents" who thinks my kid has to be best at everything.  However, I did struggle with that tonight as one of the 3 1/2 yr old girls  skipped two classes and is already swimming.  So Ava won't be a professional swimmer, why do I care?  I don't know, but I do.  I sure hope I feel better about this tomorrow.  Like I said, I don't want to be one of "those parents".  She 4 1/2 for the love!  As long as she doesn't drown that's the important thing.

Anyway, back to Grant.  We got home from swim lessons, had dinner, and he enjoyed the messiest and yummiest cupcake of his life.  It was then off to bath to clean up the cupcake and time for a few presents.  He loved his new books from Auntie Lisa P., Uncle Craig, & Nick.  He read those for bedtime, grabbed his football, gave kisses and hugs, and headed off to bed (with his football).  As of last night, he can no longer sleep without one of his footballs.  He is such a boy!

I almost forgot to mention, Nate and I "celebrated" our anniversary Monday.  Seven years it has been.  I remember that day like yesterday as well.  It was one of the greatest days of my life.  I often tell Nate and I wish we could throw another party like that again.  Great friends, family weather, food.  It truly was our perfect day.  What did we do to celebrate you ask.  Well, we both worked, came home and made some pasta for dinner, gave the kids baths, and fell asleep on the couch while watching TV at 9:30 only to wake up at 11:55 to go to bed.  Oh how seven years changes things.  :)  We are actually going to go out to dinner next Monday evening.  Rumor has it that Uncle Wes is coming to babysit while Nate and I go out.  Could be an interesting night in our house.  :)

Thanks for checking in.  Have a great weekend and enjoy the beautiful fall weather!
Grant loved driving the fire truck.  He loves driving anything he can get his hands on.
Balls and tractors, I think he dreams of moments like this.
Ava & Grant fighting over who gets to drive the tractor
Grandma & Grandpa with Zacky, Reece, Ava & Grant
Reece actually took this picture
Our family all together, it was great!
Great Grandma with her great grandchildren
G looking sharp in his suit
My entire family on my mom's side (minus a few)
We missed nap time due to pictures, thankfully he fell asleep at the ceremony.  Unfortunately it was at the end of the ceremony. 

My mom, sister, and sister-in-laws.  Great women!!!
This would be the cupcake that turned Grant's night around (his first of three I guess)
Grandma and her granddaughters (minus Megan)
Aunt Sara got him away for a little while, but he just had to be near me. 
Both of the kids got a second wind (or perhaps a sugar rush) and rocked the dance floor.

My Aunt Darlene and me. 

My cool dude.
Happy Birthday G-man.  We love you so very much!!!