Saturday, December 28, 2013

2013 Holiday Fun!

Well, another Christmas is in the books...and it was a fun one!  We opted to stay in Minnesota for Christmas this year (can't imagine traveling with a 7-week old...) so it took some (self-induced) pressure off of getting ready for the holidays.  The weeks leading up to Christmas were busy enough - I can't imagine trying to add a trip in there, as well!

We had fun with so many things this holiday season: making fudge, driving around looking at Christmas lights, going to parties, visiting with Santa, wrapping gifts (haha, not really fun...), spending time with Scott's family on Christmas Eve, and enjoying Christmas day in our new home.

Next up: we're hosting a little party at our house on New Years Eve, so that should be fun.  I'm SO ready for 2013 to be over!

I spent some time this past week getting things in order to go back to work on January 21.  My email inbox is cleaned out, I shifted my hours a bit to accommodate an additional daycare drop off (YES!), and I've even learned that I'll be getting a new project when I get back to work.  I can't believe I go back in 3 weeks!!!

We did find daycare for Garrett...I was getting really nervous that we weren't going to find anything for him, and we'd have to settle for something that wasn't quite right.  A referral from another daycare (with no openings) came through...and I'm glad I called when I did.  She received a few other calls right after me, so I got in at just the right time.  She's an in-home provider, located less than 2 miles away from our house.  AND, she'll have room for Ava over the summer and for next year before school (she's in the same district as us, so Ava can ride the bus to school from there!)  Of course, we need to take a look at the pricing for Ava, but man, that would be so convenient to be able to bring both kids to the same place!

The house is still slowly getting unpacked.  I worked on the office a bit today, and tomorrow, it's all about G's room!  At least he's completely oblivious to the boxes in his room!  G, Ava and I have a playdate scheduled next week with a bunch of women/kids from the neighborhood. Can't wait - and I know Ava will be excited to meet more kids in the area.

Ava was enjoying a snowy sled ride in our backyard

Cuddling with the kiddos on the couch

Trying out a few different carriers for G - but both made my back hurt.  He just loves to be held!

SOOOO big!

Enchanted by his mobile...

Love that smile!

And I love it when he sleeps!


Leaving letters, fudge and eggnog for Santa

Christmas joy...maybe.

This was quite a surprise gift from Scott's grandma!

Ava was excited to see what Santa had brought her.


Our first foray into Legos...we had fun!

The first thing Ava asked for was a rattle for Garrett.  She couldn't remember that she was going to ask for a pogo stick (momentary panic, perhaps...) so when she told Santa she wanted something to jump on, he guessed a trampoline.  Nope!  Not going down that path...or even the pogo stick path! :)

Enjoy the remaining days of 2013...they won't be here long!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Time? What Time?

I honestly don't even know where the time goes anymore.  My days and nights are just a big blur, broken by driving Ava to school in the morning, and then saying goodnight to Ava and Scott in the evenings.  (Garrett and I are still attached at the hip so I never really say goodnight to him!)

I'm trying to think what I did this week...made lots of appointments, called a million daycare providers (no luck - argh!  Well, that's not true, I did find someone that has an opening, but it's way more than we can afford to pay,'s not really an option.)  I'm going to be persistent, though, and keep calling and calling and calling, until I find someone who can fit us in!  Worse case, our neighbor recommended a Montessori school that we could use until we clear a waitlist for an in-home provider.  Just 5 weeks to go until I'm back at work, so we need to get it situated quickly!

I did have my 6-week check-up this past Monday (all is well) and then G and I went to BI to visit with my co-workers.  We were there for almost three hours (!) but it was so nice to see so many people, and be able to introduce my little man to them.  He did great, and was fussy only a few times. 

On Friday night, I got a text from another neighbor inviting Ava over to play, so I sent her off, and then G and I went over a little later to spend some time getting to know our neighbor a bit better. It was a great, unplanned, way to spend a Friday night.

Saturday was pretty nice - I got Ava's room 100% unpacked, so she has NO boxes in her room anymore.  That was a huge feeling of accomplishment!  I also got the office somewhat situated, and am hoping to work on our mudroom tomorrow.  You wouldn't think a mudroom would take much time, but I have to clear it out in order to make room for our bench and cubby hooks that should be coming this week.  It seems like I'm taking just one section of the house at a time, and working on it, but I think that's the only way I can do it.  The next really big thing is to work on G's room.  And then today, we picked up the bed for the guest room, so that will need to be put together, too!  I feel like there are a lot of small details that need to have some attention, but am having a hard time finding the time/motivation to do so. :)

On Saturday night, we went to a co-worker's Christmas party, and I had a chance to reconnect with someone I hadn't seen in ten years, so that was pretty cool.  Plus, Ava had fun entertaining everyone, and G was a magnet for all of the ladies there.  We were hoping to look at Christmas lights on the way home, but it got to be too late, so we are planning that for next weekend.

Today, we had our family pics, and G's one-month pics, taken.  We were able to almost complete our Christmas shopping, and then enjoyed a family brunch (I thoroughly enjoyed a mimosa!)  We had wanted to see Santa, as well, but the line was waaaay too long.  So, that's also on the list for next weekend.  Ava was a little panicked thinking that we wouldn't see Santa before Christmas, but we told her that we WILL make it work!

I was also able to sterilize all of the baby bottles, in hopes that we can start bottle feeding G this week.  I have a Christmas party on Thursday night that I am going to, which means that Scott needs to be able to feed G without me.  Hoping it goes ok - we'll have to try it out a few times this week to make sure he takes the bottle well. 

I was thinking back about my maternity leave with Ava, and felt like I had everything so well-planned while I was out...I knew when I was going to start pumping, we had a good schedule in place for her, daycare was taken care of, etc.  This time, I feel like we're winging it a bit, and I'm not so sure I like that feeling.  I think I'm too much of a type A to be able to let these things happen as they will, so...I think it's time to tighten up on our routine, and start knocking things off the to-do list.  Otherwise, I think I might slowly lose my mind. :)  No, really.  It's driving me crazy.  (I haven't lost it yet, so there's still hope...!)

This coming week is Ava's last week in school for two weeks, so it is going to be very, very busy around here - plus we need to finish up with all of the Christmas stuff, and continue to unpack.  I'm certain that by next week, when I'm ready to write another post, I'll still have no idea what I did in the coming week.  But, as long as I'm getting stuff done, I guess that's a step in the right direction.  Right??

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Oh George!

Our elf, George, has been a bit of a slacker this year...he forgets to change his location most days, and then Ava freaks out if he's in the same place the next morning.  More than once, she's discovered him in his same location, and when she hasn't been watching, I've moved him, and then asked her to show me where she saw him last.  I think this has caused some confusion for her when she looks for him, and he's not where she saw him last.  I told her that George and I had a little chat about him choosing new locations, but...I have a feeling it's only a matter of time before she catches me moving him.  Today, I had him hanging off of a cabinet handle in our kitchen.  When I opened the refrigerator, he fell, so I had to readjust his placement on the cabinet.  Eagle-eyed Ava noticed the slight difference and asked a million questions about what had happened to George.  Note to self: choose locations where he can't be jostled AT ALL during the day.

We got Ava's report card for the first trimester, and overall, she's doing pretty well.  The only thing she's not making great progress in is P.E.  Huh?  How does that happen?  I tried to ask her about it, but that conversation went nowhere.  I might need to reach out to her teacher to see what she's NOT doing in class.  Not kicking a ball?  Not running?  ???  I know she likes to use the "my legs are tired" excuse when she doesn't want to play whatever game is going on,

She's also been getting some more "yellow days" in school...all because she's talking too much, and not being quiet when asked.  When I picked her up on Friday, I asked what color day she had.  There was silence, then she sucked in a big breath, and said, " brain was asking me a lot of hard questions today. Do bananas have ears?  Are bananas telephones? RING RING RING!"  And it went on and on and on...turning into a tirade of vegetable jokes.  In between me trying not to let her see me laugh, I asked if she's getting other people in trouble by talking to them.  Her answer was no...she is talking to herself.  Awesome.  We just don't know what to do with that girl.  I think Garrett's arrival is finally taking a toll on her.

Speaking of...Garrett's still the sweetest little baby possible.  He's sleeping pretty well, and generally going a few hours in between feedings.  Sometimes he likes to eat every hour, but we're trying to extend that time period for him, as it gets to be really hard on me when he does that.  This coming week's task is to find a daycare for him - that's causing me a lot of stress right now, so that needs to be my main focus!

Last night I went to the cookie exchange at my neighbor's house and met a ton of really nice women in the neighborhood.  They're all around my age, and most have young kids.  It was so nice to get out for a bit and have some wine, and adult conversation.  I'm really looking forward to getting to know people better...last night reaffirmed my thoughts that moving to this neighborhood was the right thing to do.  In fact, everywhere I've gone in Rosemount, I've met really friendly people.  This morning, at the grocery store, I ended up chatting with the cashier and the lady behind me for quite a while, as they were welcoming me to the area.  That sort of interaction really warms my heart...this is something that has been missing from my adult life, and is something that I've wanted for a number of years.  Minnesota hasn't felt 100% like home to me in the last 20 years, but I think I have a really good chance of finally feeling settled, now that we've made this change in our lives. 

As I was cleaning up after dinner, who did I see peeking over the couch?  Little G!

Chatting Daddy's ear off...

Working on her letters - and being silly!

A little bit of sibling cuddle time

I love it when he's alert like this!

So comfy...

Enjoying his swing, and the taggie from my coworker!

It should be another fun week ahead of us...I'm bringing G into my work tomorrow since I'll be in the area for a doctor's appointment.  And then we've got a Christmas party next weekend, fudge making, family photos, Christmas cards, wrapping gifts...and the non-ending task of unpacking!  Such a busy, but fun, time of year!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013

What a great turkey day this was!  My parents were in town for the holiday, so not only did we get to have Thanksgiving dinner with them, but they were also available to provide two extra sets of hands to help us with projects, entertaining the kids, etc.  While I don't feel like our to-do list is getting smaller, I DO know that we accomplished some of the bigger tasks over the last several days. I want everything to be done right now, but frankly, that's just not realistic!  Gotta keep those expectations in check...  One thing at a time has become my new motto!

Our dinner on Thursday was wonderful - instead of preparing everything from scratch, we were able to utilize Byerly's meal service, and simply had to heat things up.  And it was gooood!  Really good.  Surprisingly good.  I would definitely recommend it!  Plus, it then gave us more time to spend as a family...eating, drinking, playing, and enjoying each other's company.

We started off the meal, at Ava's request, by telling everyone what we were thankful for.  I think it's great that a 5 year old felt that was important - and it was good to take a few minutes to publicly acknowledge all of the blessings and joys we have in our lives!

Enjoying her new "I Spy" puzzle

Scott made his very first pumpkin pie...and it was good (says the people who like pumpkin pie...I do not, so I didn't partake in the pie eating part.  But it smelled good!)

Grandma Karen and Grandpa Doug with Garrett


Love this family!

Getting the kids under control!

Ove Glove Love!

Beer buddies

The rest of the weekend flew by (no Black Friday shopping for us!) and my parents drove back to Colorado on Saturday.  We spent the remaining time organizing (my car is in the garage - yah!), hanging curtains, and starting to decorate for Christmas.  It's interesting how much longer things take with two kids...Ava was so excited to decorate the tree, but Garrett was demanding a lot of attention from the ornament-prep guy (Scott.)  So, half the tree is decorated, and we'll tackle the rest in the next few days.

Garrett had his one month check up today, and he's doing great!  He's up to 8lbs, 14.6oz, 21.5" long, and looking good!  His eyes are a pretty blue-gray color so it'll be interesting to see what color they end up as.  The doctor did say he did not see any hint of brown in them, so they might end up staying more on the blue-ish side. He's happy and healthy, and that's the most important thing!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Almost Done? Maybe?

Remember my whole spiel about planning and how we can try our best, but unexpected things generally come up and can prevent us from completing "the plans"?  I had really high hopes for this past week...really high.  And then those came crashing down when Ava got sick over the past weekend.  She was sick from Saturday-Tuesday...throwing up, not able to eat, etc.  When I took her to the doctor, it was determined she had a stomach bug, and the only thing they could do for her was to give her anti-nausea medicine.

Out of the two of us, I'm generally the one who is like "Eh, it's a cold....or a virus.  She'll get over it.  No need to panic."  Scott's the one that will generally get worked up first and worried.  And it's good how we balance each other out.  But, Ava lost several pounds over those few days, and the sight of how skinny she was really scared me. That's probably the most worried I have been for her in the last five years.  BUT, it's all good now.  She was at home with me and Garrett on Monday and Tuesday, and then was back to her normal, chattering self for the rest of the week.  The only residual thing that we're dealing with it the couch...she threw up on it.  Yuck.  So, on Monday, we have an appointment for a upholstery cleaning - and they needed to be cleaned anyway, so in the end, it all worked out ok.  Can't wait to have our nice, clean couches back!

So, that was one wrench in the plans.  The other was that last Sunday I think I had a mini-baby blues episode.  I had no motivation to do anything, and didn't even really want to talk to anyone.  Maybe I was just tired.  I don't know.  But, I do know that nothing was going to get done with that state of mind.  Thank goodness it was short lived...I snapped out of it pretty quickly when I had to step up and get Ava to the doctor.  And then the rest of the week was a whirlwind of shuffling boxes and trying to get daycare set up for G (no luck yet. YIKES!)

Scott's hunting this weekend (I am a pretty nice wife for letting him leave guilt-free when he has a newborn at home - and a house/garage full of things that need to be unpacked and moved.)  The good news is that he got a deer last night, so he's coming home tomorrow morning, and already has plans to make us pancakes!  And once he's home, I'm leaving for a bit to run some errands and take a bit of "me" time.  It hasn't been a bad weekend though...Ava and I rented Monsters University last night, I had a nice long chat with a good friend who's been on vacation, and I also managed to get the study boxes a bit more organized so we can start working on that room.  In the process I discovered another TWELVE boxes for the kitchen.  What??  I'm kinda thinking that if we didn't miss the stuff for the last 6 months, we might not miss it...permanently. 

Ava and I worked on her room for several hours this morning, and we are going through each box of toys and books to see what we should keep and what we should donate.  She's doing pretty well with the donation idea, so that pleases me. We've seriously got an awesome donation pile right now.  Feels pretty good!

My parents are coming to town on Tuesday, so it'll be great to have an extra few hands around the house.  Oh, and of course, I'm sure they'd like to meet Garrett and see the new digs! :)  Scott's already got my dad lined up for some projects...assembling our new kitchen table/chairs, working on a part for G's crib (poor little guy is still in the pack n play until Scott can get that broken piece fabricated for the crib!) and probably enjoying some beers. :)

For me, I'm hoping my mom will provide me some encouragement to get the rest of these boxes unpacked.  Or at least most of them!  It appears there's only so much time in the day, though...I can't imagine why Scott doesn't want me unpacking our last three boxes for our bedroom at 3am.  I'm awake...why isn't he?  Ha!

Garrett's still doing great...sometimes he goes a few hours without eating, and sometimes, it's on the hour that he gets hungry.  I'm trying to figure out when he'll get more into a routine.  But, until then, I'm his beck-and-call cow...moooooo!

Enjoying some of the caramel apple cookies we made together...SO good!

Love this little cake the hospital gave us after Garrett was born

Getting used to holding G - only once did he roll off her lap...

Love this little monkey!

So I worked on unpacking those twelve kitchen boxes tonight...and this was the end result of unwrapping all of the glassware.  OMG!  What a mess!

So. Much. Stuff. 
TOO much stuff!

Serious moment between big sister and little brother

That serious moment didn't last long...I had to step in before things went horribly wrong here!

Right now, Ava and I are watching Tangled, and G is dealing with a big case of the hiccups.  Last night I was in bed by 10pm, so let's see how late I make it tonight. :)

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The New Norm

Soooo...we were going to move our household this past Tuesday, but Scott decided to bite the bullet and move the majority of our items (with help from family and friends) over the previous weekend instead.  I was not prepared for a move that was taking place 3 days early, so didn't get to pack everything up as well as I had wanted to...but that's ok!  It is DONE!  I finished cleaning up our rental on Thursday, and Scott got the last of the items out of the garage on Friday afternoon.  Scott met with the owners this weekend to give back the keys, and we'll even be getting money back from our half-month rental. 

That means that the last of our 2013 big changes are complete!  We had a new baby AND moved into a new house, all within a few weeks of each other.  We survived and didn't get too irritated with each other in the process - woooohoooooo!

So, how about an update on things?

Garrett: What a sweet, sweet baby!  He's letting me sleep for a few hours at a time during the night...which doesn't sound like much, but it's better than being up every hour.  He's a pretty good eater, LOVES to be held and snuggled, and is starting to track more items with his eyes.  I love it when he's awake (and not crying) so I can get in some good face time with him.  I enjoy watching him look at me, and take in my features.  I am so glad that Garrett has joined our family - it feels complete now.  Without a doubt, I can say that he is my little (guardian) angel, and I can't imagine what the last year would have been like had we/he not been preparing to join our family. 

Ava: She's doing great in school!  She's moving onto the next level of reading, and is doing well at writing phonetically. Ms. Meister enjoys having her in her class...and we couldn't be more pleased with how she is performing!  She's getting used to having a sibling, but...she's made a few comments lately that makes me think she's feeling a bit neglected.  In truth, we've had to split the parenting duties over the last week.  Scott hasn't spent much time with Garrett and I haven't spent much time with sucks, but until we start bottle feeding, G and I are pretty much attached at the hip.  But, that too shall pass...

Ava had a birthday party for her Maple Tree BFF yesterday...she was so excited to see Ellie (and Lydia, her sister.)  And it was wonderful to see Ellie's mom again - she's one of those people that makes everything look easy.  And she is very laid back about things.  After I left their place I realized that I need more people like her in my life.  I'm a, high strung, so I need people that can balance me out and bring me back down to normal levels.  I have a feeling that more changes are coming soon!

House:  Oh, how I love this house!  We are living with stacks of boxes and piles of things and have no idea where so many things are (drinking glasses?  haven't seen them in months!  dog bowls?  hm, no clue where they might be!) BUT, I still love this place.  Things are a bit slow to get unpacked as my mornings are busy getting Ava ready for school and the driving her to SSP.  This past week we've had a lot of appointments and phone calls for both the house and Garrett, so that has also taken a good chunk of my time.  Plus, I have my little snuggle buddy who wants to be in my arms all the, slow going is the norm.  However, this coming week I need to kick it into high gear and get moving!  The holidays will be here shortly and we want to have everything pretty much done by then.
We've had a few different neighbors stop over to welcome us to the neighborhood - people are very friendly here, and I'm looking forward to settling into our new community and learning more about the area. 

Yesterday, I was in a wedding (bridesmaid) for one of my college friends.  I wasn't sure how everything was going to work since I was part of the wedding party, and Garrett had to go wherever I was going.  It actually went much better than I thought it was going to...G slept for 85% of the time, so we had a chance to socialize with adults.  But after 9 hours of being away from home, he let us know when it was time to leave last night. And we were both ok with that...we were exhausted by 9pm!

I'm grateful for everything that we've encountered over the past year (well, maybe not the sad things,  - and there were definitely a few heartbreakers), because it has forced us to make big decisions and continue to work hard for where we currently are in our lives.  November is a month were I usually write a "daily gratitude" and post it on Facebook, but this year there is so much to be grateful for that I didn't feel I could isolate it to one thing per day.  As someone advised me last month, "It just keeps getting better!"

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Welcome Garrett!

Well, what did I say earlier about plans...and how God likes to laugh at them?  Yep, that's right - the timeline that I had laid out previously was disrupted (in a very good way) just 48 hours later.

On Monday night, around 11pm, I woke up and realized things were a bit...wet.  I didn't realize it at that time, but my water had broken.  I went back to sleep - or tried to...but then I noticed that I was having semi-regular contractions.  So, for an hour I monitored them, and around 2am, called the hospital.  They advised I called my doctor...which I did, who then told me to go to the hospital for evaluation.  We packed up the car, dropped off Ava at Grandma Deb and Grandpa Whitey's house, and headed to the other side of town.  It's amazing how much faster the drive is when there is no other traffic on the road!

Once at the hospital (3am), they evaluated me, and much to my dismay, I was still only 1cm dilated. They were going to send me home...but, they checked to see if my water had broken, and because it had (all of a sudden, that extra fluid at 11pm made sense), they were forced to admit me.  YEAH!  I ended up walking around the delivery room for 45 minutes, and then got my epidural (6:30am at this time.)  I had done "GREAT work", and was then dilated to 6 cm.  And then 7cm, very quickly.  The nurse advised that we would most likely have the baby around lunchtime.  (Scott and I looked at each other and laughed.  She had no idea who she was dealing with, clearly.)  Next time the nurse checked, I was at a stage 2, which means the next stage was BABY OUT!  My doctor (yay, it was MY doctor on call, not another doc from the clinic) barely made it in time.  I had three hard contractions, pushed with everything I had, and out came our little guy.  The umbilical cord was wrapped around his shoulders, so they had to take care of that, but other than that, everything went very, very smoothly.

I cannot imagine how hard it would be to push for hours - I was tired after my 10 minutes of pushing.  Also, I heard one of the nurses say, "Did you see how relieved she was once he was out??"  (Um yes, because now I can breathe again, and eat full meals, no longer pregnant!)  Oh, and the epidural didn't fully have time to take effect, so I felt the pain a bit more with this delivery.  But, hey, 10 minutes of pushing, with some pain, is STILL an awesome delivery story, and I will not complain!

Here are the stats for our new little man: Garrett Douglas - 10/29/2013 - 7:25am - 7lbs, 4oz - 21" long
Garrett's healthy, doesn't cry as much as Ava did (YEAH!), and I'm already loving this little guy more than I thought possible.  His jaundice levels were a little high, so I took him in on Friday for an additional check, and now they don't think there is anything to be concerned with.  Whew...

We stayed in the hospital just until early evening on Wednesday, and then headed home.  Ava stayed with Grandma and Grandpa on Wednesday night (we did stop by to see them before going home) so we could try to figure out the best sleeping arrangement for the next few weeks.  Little G and I are out in the living room (so I can be at his beck and call throughout the night :) ) while Ava and Scott are staying in the master bedroom.  Let's just say that 2 of the 4 of us are getting decent sleep, while the other 2 are definitely not.  But, that's to be expected, and since I'm no longer working, I can catch up (kinda) during the day.

A nurse called to check in on me on Thursday, and she informed me that babies are designed to be more hungry at night, as moms produce more milk during that time.  Who, on God's green earth, designed that plan?!?  But, each night is getting better, and this weekend, Scott was able to relieve me of duties each morning, so I've been able to get 2 hours of uninterrupted sleep each morning...and I will never, ever take my own bed for granted again.  And a dark room.  And silence. :)

So, with all of that thrown in several days early, we missed a few things that we had planned  Most of them could be rescheduled, like our house walkthrough.  We completed that on Thursday evening, and now have our final walkthrough scheduled for next Thursday.  Closing is still scheduled for Friday, and then we'll start moving stuff in over the weekend, with the movers doing the big stuff the following week.

We also have Ava's first conferences this coming Wednesday night, and then no school for Ava on Thursday or Friday.  She'll be going to the Kids Choice program on those two days, which I know she'll like.  While I'm off of work, she isn't going to the before-school Kids Choice program, so we've got some extra time in the morning to fight about socks, shoes, waffles, etc.  Just another adjustment that we are working through!

Pre-delivery, ready to go!

Welcome to the world, little guy!

Not so happy to be out of his warm and cozy home. 
I did hear the nurse say the umbilical cord was a good one - good to know! 

Love that skin-to-skin contact with my new baby boy

Meeting his Godmother, Emilie

He's a great sleeper...during the day...

The list that helped us stay on track :)

Happy Dad!

Heading home

"Heavy Duty Truck Repair"

Look at those skinny little arms!

Oh yes, we needed to fit Trick or Treating in there, too...Ava went as the bride, Rapunzel.  Scott took her around the neighborhood for an hour, and couldn't believe how much candy she came home with.

Proud big sis!

Snuggly with the monkeys

Looks like we have a thumb sucker

The Winfields stopped in to meet G...Isabel did great holding him!

Not in your eye, silly boy!

One of these boys is happy...

Soooo....yeah.  It's been a busy week.  But, at least we've got some things checked off our list (haha) and can focus on the house/move next.  Looking forward to seeing what the next few weeks hold in store for us!