Friday, November 28, 2008

Like riding a bike?

I'm not really sure how to get back in the blogging groove. What can I write about the trip to Wyoming for the funeral of our beloved Aunt Liz? Or the puking flu I've had since early Thursday morning? I can't even think of any cute things the kids have done. There must be something... umm...

I am hoping to get the Christmas decorations out tomorrow. Cute pictures and less self-pity coming soon!

Ty (Sean & Heather's son), Ethan, and Brian

Ethan and Brian

Ethan and Kent

Tanna (Sean & Heather's daughter) and Evan

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Changes sends weekly emails with tips, relevant articles, and of course advertising geared for your child's age. This morning the subject line was toddler bulletin or something and I opened it with Ethan in mind, then almost fell off my chair when the headline said '7 Foods Your 12-24 month old Should Avoid'. They meant Evan?! Oh right, I knew that. By the way, I'm pretty sure he ate everything on that list yesterday alone. Ooops. At lunch, Ethan shared one of his PB&J sandwiches (Wook, Mom, Evan is eating a twiangle!) and I figured it would be easier to do the Heimlich if needed than pry it from Evan's little fingers of steel. He has been eating popcorn with us in the evenings since about week 2, and incidentally has mastered the pincer grasp, as evidenced by the dexterity with which he can nab a single M&M at the bottom of the bowl. In the gross motor development news, he can climb onto a kitchen chair and then up on the table. Good times ahead, I can tell.

My mom finished Evan's baby blanket in time to wrap it up for his birthday. This morning he was all snuggled up in it. It was adorable, but I can't find my camera so you'll just have to use your imagination.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

More birthday pics

Evan's legs aren't quite long enough to propel the 4-wheeler by himself, so he climbs on and makes engine sounds. He quickly progresses to squawking if no one takes the hint to start pushing him around.

A teddy bear from Jessica.

And Ethan with his bear from just 2 short years ago. Thanks, Jess!

And while we're looking back...

Monday, November 17, 2008

November 15, 2007

5 am- The alarm goes off. I've been asleep since approximately 4:12. I would lie down, then remember that Ethan's favorite book was under the rocking chair- what if he couldn't find it in the morning? I'd get up and place it next to his bed. Oh, better put one more load of clothes in the washing machine- my parents will have their hands full taking care of Ethan for the next few days, they shouldn't have to worry about my laundry, too. Check the suitcase one more time- do we have enough clothes for the baby? Is the outfit going to be too warm/too cold/too scratchy? One last glance through "The Essential C-Section Guide"- it's very very very rare to die during the surgery, right? Promise? The alarm goes off. We get up, fumbling to get dressed in the dark. We peek in at Ethan. I want to do something to commemorate this moment as a family of three, since next time we will be together we will be a family of four. But I can't think of anything, and we shouldn't wake him up anyway. "God bless you," my mom whispers. We get in the car. It's so cold. I talk silently to the baby- are you ready? I can't wait to meet you. I pray for our safety during the surgery. Tears stream down my cheeks. I really don't want to be cut open. Matt takes my hand. We alternate between nervous chatter and quiet moments.

5:45- We arrive at the hospital and walk through the silent halls to the pre-op area. My friend's mother is our nurse; she greets us with a hug and a smile. I change into the lovely hospital gown. Someone puts the IV in. It seems to be in an odd place on my arm and it hurts when I move. I ask Matt to go get Kate to fix it. Matt says the nurse knew what she was doing. I've had plenty of IVs and this is a bad one, I snap. The anesthesiologist comes in. I ask how many epidurals he's done; how many bad reactions have occurred. Let him do his job, Matt hisses. He is pale. The anesthesiologist is very reassuring. I lean onto Matt while that huge freaking needle goes into my back. He says just the right things.

6:50- They wheel me into the operating room. It is so cold. They wrap extra blankets around my arms and neck but I can't stop shaking. Matt comes in and takes my hand. He is adorable in scrubs; he should have been a doctor. I worry that the epidural won't work. You won't feel a thing, the doctors promise. Kate kisses my forehead, Matt squeezes my fingers. He looks over the drape as the doctors begin. What's happening? I ask. I can feel them pulling and tugging. I can't stop the tears. I feel sick. The anesthesiologist says he wants to hold off giving me the anti-nausea meds as long as possible so the baby won't get as much drugs. Still no baby. Is he ok? Can he breathe? Why is it taking so long? As long as you are breathing, he is breathing, Dr. Pruden says. OK! I can do that! Inhale, exhale, finally something useful for me do. They're making the incision bigger, Matt tells me. More pulling, oh my god I thought this was supposed to be easier than labor.

7:26- He's out! He's not crying, why is he not crying? I catch a glimpse of my baby as they bundle him into the incubator. He is tiny. He is beautiful. Matt follows him. I want to hold him so badly. They put me back together and tell me I did great. Yes, I must admit I did a fantastic job of lying on my back and not puking.

8:00- The recovery room. Kate stays by my side, checking vitals and wrapping me in warm blankets. My temp is low- oh, ya think? Matt is with the baby. I want to see him. Dr. Pruden comes in and tells me he is healthy and wonderful. He aspirated some fluid. He is on oxygen now and they'll do a chest x-ray but I'll get to see him soon. She gives me a hug and says he'll be fine. My IV hurts and I feel sick.

An hour later, they get me ready to go back to my room. We can go by the nursery, Kate says, but remember those tubes and monitors look pretty frightening. I don't care, I just want to see him. Matt is standing by his crib. He -Evan! that's Evan!- is so tiny. I stare and stare.

Matt comes into the room to check on me. He shows me some pictures of our baby. A specialist looked at the x-ray. His lungs are a little underdeveloped. The gestational-age tests put him as a 36-week baby, not 39 weeks like we thought. But he'll be fine. He hugs me and goes back to the nursery. I call Ethan and tell him our baby is here. I miss him so badly already, I can't imagine staying in this place away from him for four days. They will come visit soon. I make more phone calls. In the movies, the father handles this while the mother, with combed hair and clean teeth, peacefully nurses the baby. This sucks.

2:30- Matt and Dr. Pruden come back. Two nurses are behind them, pushing a huge machine with a tiny crib. The baby can be in our room now but we can't hold him yet. I stroke his little hands with my finger. He sleeps.

My grandpa comes to visit. He has driven up from Lincoln but doesn't stay long. He peeks at the baby and says he is proud of us, then heads home.

Dr. Pruden comes back and checks our vitals. I can hold the baby!! She carefully transfers him to my arms and tells us what numbers to watch for. Matt listens carefully. I breathe in the scent of my baby. You are Evan, I marvel. I am your mommy. He keeps sleeping. He won't nurse. It's OK, Dr. Pruden says. He's had a rough day. He needs more rest than food. He'll figure it out. I cradle him to my chest.

Tessa, Ethan, and my parents arrive. Ethan runs to me and Matt helps him onto the bed. He bumps my IV and elbows my incision but I don't mind. This is your brother, we tell him. Here is our baby. He smiles and watches him closely. Cindy and Brayden come in, and my dad takes the boys out to the play area. I am glad to see my family and friends but I can't focus on the conversation. Matt takes the baby.

During the night, he latches on. He nurses and nurses. Thank you, God. I hold him close to me all night.

The next day he is breathing well and his numbers are good. They take away the big incubator-crib and bring in a regular little bed but we never put him down in it. Other people are allowed to hold him. We position him on Ethan's lap and take pictures. My parents and Tessa cuddle him. How is it possible to love this little tiny person so much, when we didn't even know him until now? How is it possible to have been so happy before we knew him, when only now that he is here, I am whole?

Sunday, November 16, 2008


So, Evan is one. A full-fledged toddler. Ethan and I will have to stop saying "Hi, Baby" when we see him. We had a wonderful celebration with my family. Saturday began at an incredibly early hour for Matt, Dad, and Ethan, who bundled up and headed out to 'boom some deer'. The rest of us enjoyed a celebratory birthday breakfast. "I can't believe he's one!" we kept saying to each other. "Remember, last year..."

We watched the football game, played Scrabble, and put the finishing touches on the birthday dinner. Thanks, Tess!
Evan didn't really seem to enjoy the actual party. He screamed in his high chair and wouldn't touch his cake. The sugar rush isn't such a novel idea for him, I guess, considering that I caught the boys splitting a Kit-Kat from the Halloween bucket that morning.
"Here, Evan, I will teach you how to open pwesents," Ethan told him as he gently guided Evan's hand to the wrapping paper. Matching Husker hats from Kirk and the 4-wheeler from Tessa were big, big hits.

As was the wagon from my parents. "I think it's a tway-lor" Ethan had announced when Kirk carried the huge box inside. That kid can spot a trailer a mile away.
Then we took the celebration on the road to a bar in Burwell (just terrific parenting, I know), where I rocked the karaoke machine while Tessa, Kirk, and Matt played pool and shuffleboard.
The boys had a great evening with Gramma, Grampa, and Grandpa Joe. They even went to sleep like normal children! On Sunday we were all ready for extra naps, though.

* I am having all sorts of problems with Blogger right now, so I will upload the 1-year slideshow and mushy birth story later.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Birthday Eve

Despite the extraordinary amount of time this week spent wiping noses and trying to convince children to frickin'gotosleepalreadyseriouslywhatisyourproblem, I have gotten a lot of cleaning and decluttering done. Today we have all lost our groove, though. I don't know if it's because the end is in sight - only 6 more hours til Gramma comes to help!- or all the germs are wearing me down but I have no motivation left. Luckily I've got these helpers:
If you need someone to dump large amounts of water on the floor, I mean, wash dishes, Evan's your man!

And somehow we can always find the motivation to make a few calorie-laden treats.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Falling off the Napoblahblah wagon (thanks for noticing, Sarah!:) ) is sorta like eating an entire chocolate cake on the fourth day of your diet. Once you've blown it, you might as well eat a cake the next day, too. And the next. Hmm, now I'm hungry. All I've done the last couple days is wipe noses and sanitize the house. Neither of those activities provide much inspiration for blogging. I haven't taken any pictures, either; see: Noses, runny. Uggh. I have handled diaper blowouts from Hell but I hate dealing with mucus. Just typing it makes me shiver.

Anyway. Both boys want to be held all the time. As soon as their feet hit the ground, they wrap their little tentacle-arms around my legs and hold on for dear life. It's like a nightmarish octopus attack. This is lame, but it really makes me claustrophobic. The instant one applies his death grip, I start hyperventilating. I don't know what my problem is. It's not like I'm accustomed to much personal space. I guess I need the illusion of freedom- at least the possibility that I could run away if I need to. Instead, I try to take deep breaths while cracking eggs or stumbling to the bathroom, muttering 'I'm going to miss this, I'm going to miss this' to myself.

So I feel a little guilty that my family is coming into this germ-infested environment but I can't wait. Ethan pretty much ignores us when the really exciting people get here. Hopefully Evan will hit that developmental milestone soon!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Scenes from (another) winter day

More snow outside and both boys have wicked colds. I've been keeping the Tylenol flowing but unfortunately it hasn't made them sleep any more than usual. It has given them that glazed look in their eyes that, combined with the heavy mouth-breathing, makes me want to preface introductions by saying "My children are really very smart." Luckily, we haven't ventured from the house for a couple days so it hasn't come up.

We counted and sorted beans.

We put a band-aid on the teddy bear because he got stung by a 'wops' (or wasp).

And of course read lots of stories. Thanks, Nick!

Remember when snow days used to be relaxing?

Monday, November 10, 2008


Last night, Matt and I lay in bed surrounded by little boys. For the sake of our eardrums, we had admitted defeat after listening to Ethan scream about the injustices of life in his own room and let him come in by us. (Sometimes it's hard to be a little guy, isn't it? Matt had whispered sympathetically, rubbing Ethan's back to calm those shuddering, choky breaths that always follow an extended shriekfest.) Evan had finally fallen asleep after a marathon scream session himself but popped back up with a smile when he realized Ethan was nearby. Happier than they had been all day, the boys giggled together and climbed around.

"When they're older, I'm going to wake them up at 5:30 for every night they keep us up like this." Matt declared. "How many goats should we get for them to milk?"

"A lot. And our pasture won't have a single thistle in it," I replied.

"Or they'll be straight-A students."
We held hands and optimistically pondered a future in which the boys wanted to sleep. We imagined the glee that would accompany our demands for them to get up! Do chores! Move bales! Mow the lawn! Wash my feet!

So often, small children systematically hammer away at the foundation of the relationship that brought them into this world in the first place. The lack of sleep and the infinite demands to watch dis, help me pweese, I wanna poooooooop, do not provide an enviroment conducive to romance or even a minute to catch up on the day's activities. But for the most part, the challenges of parenthood are bringing us closer together. Matt rarely left my side during the 30+ hours of labor that ended with Ethan in our arms and kicked off this exhilarating journey of parenthood. He was steady and encouraging and believed in me when I didn't believe in myself. After Evan was born, I struggled with guilt and feelings of inadequacy and despair and guilt that I was ruining our children and helplessness and did I mention GUILT? And again, Matt was steady and encouraging and believed in me and made sure I got the help I needed. Lately I'm not doing very well at expressing just how much I appreciate him. Not many guys will work 45+ hours a week at a job they loathe, work many many hours at the ranch, and come inside to take the night shift with the babies. He is an amazing father and we are so blessed to have him. I should go tell him that right now.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Tenacious E

Evan is really figuring out items that go together. If he is playing with a bowl, he wants a big spoon to stir around in it. Most of the time, he can get the right blocks in the shape-sorter thing. This morning he was holding an empty Gatorade bottle and digging through the lids drawer. He pulled out the little orange lid triumphantly and tried to put it on the bottle. One day he brought me a sippy cup and lid, and squawked til I put some water in it. He definitely knows his own mind and is not afraid to express himself.


"I'm gwoing up", Ethan announced after he finished his lunch. "I'm going to be a daddy or a mommy or a baby. Or a pumpkin. Or a baby pumpkin. I want to be a baby somefing. I'm gwoing...little."

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Someone's in the kitchen

Wow, I thought I was just barely going to squeak in an entry tonight because it feels like midnight but it's not even 10:00 yet. I am seriously looking forward to my future in a nursing home- just me and my TV. I am NOT getting out of bed to play Bingo. By the way, November is National Blog Posting Month and I am participating in a challenge to post every day for 30 days, if case anyone was wondering why I am writing more often about less interesting things. Feel free to not check back til December.

Except, ha ha, I have a cute story: This morning I heard Ethan pass through my room to go downstairs. I intended to get up, of course, but fell back asleep. When I got downstairs a little later, there was an empty yogurt container with Ethan's favorite spoon on the kitchen table and he was quietly lining up his tractors with his tools by his side. "Good morning, Mom!" he exclaimed delightedly. "I am doing my work!" And mine too, apparently. Let's see, am I an incredibly lazy parent? Or doing his future wife a huge favor by encouraging self-sufficiency? I think I'll take this glass half full, unless he decides he needs to use the oven for breakfast tomorrow. Yikes.

Friday, November 7, 2008

This post doesn't deserve a title

I'm pretty sure something happened earlier today that I started a mental post about, but of course now I have no idea what it was. It was probably inspiring and thought-provoking yet humorous, commas were not overused, and not a single sentence ended with a preposition. Huh...your loss.


We are all having some trouble adjusting to Daylight Savings Time. The boys wake up waaay too early with the sun beaming through the blackout shades but aren't as quick to adjust their bedtimes. I've moved up the baths and storytime, of course, but the actual time Ethan surrenders to sleep is usually around 11. (Parenting: FAIL) So, he's a little irritable. This morning, Evan was walking around chattering, 'bah-goo-da-ah', etc. "Evan!" Ethan snapped. "DON'T say bah-goo-da-ah!" I could barely keep from laughing at his crabby little face and furrowed brow. Often I recognize my own words or tone when I listen to his conversations, so I quickly racked my brain, hoping I hadn't snapped something like that recently. Nope, I'm pretty sure I haven't told anyone not to say bah, goo, or anything lately. I have even managed to not tell Ethan to stuff a sock in it when he goes on and on AND ON about Diego.


It's Friday night, and no backup troops are on their way out here. WAHHH.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

What? November?

In all the excitement of the past few days, I have completely forgotten to start celebrating Evan's Birthday Month. Not that every day is all ice cream and presents, but during the month of March I like people (re: Matt) to spend a little more time than usual expounding on the wonderfulness of my existence, and I feel that the same courtesy should apply to my children. I suppose it should apply to Matt, also, but it's already like EVERY DAY is his birthday around here, I tell you what.

So! November... no longer just the cold, bleak waste of time between autumn and Christmas. Last year at this time I weighed 58 more pounds than I do right now. Ethan and I did a lot of baking and decorated the house early since we had a good excuse. Matt handled all the year-end appointments with the craptastic FSA, for which I am forever grateful. Maybe being pregnant wasn't so bad after all...

Hmm, clearly I am too tired too think straight. Stay tuned for another thrilling installment tomorrrow.


WTF, Nebraska?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Yes We Can

Last night, I laid on the couch with my babies and watched Barack Obama become the next president. Tears rolled down my cheeks as I listened to his words. We as a nation chose hope. We chose a person to lead our country because of his intelligence and honesty. We did not fall for the lies and hateful tactics of the other candidate. I have never been so proud to be part of this nation.

I am so proud to be able to tell my children, you were part of this. It is because of you, your future, your innocence, my dreams for you, that we were able to make this happen.

I voted for Obama because of what his policies will mean for my family, but as I watched him on stage with his wife and children, I was struck by what his election will mean for all families, especially the many black children growing up in homes without fathers. What a role model for those young men- a Harvard-educated man who is devoted to his wife and daughters; who has faith that he can bring change to the system that, 50 years ago, would have tried to keep him from voting.

Yes we can.
Yes we did.
Yes we will.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


We voted tonight! I was torn about whether or not to vote early and get it over with, in case a blizzard kept us from getting out or something. I really wanted Ethan to see the process, though, because we have been talking about this election so much. He recognizes the candidates and VPs (Jon 'Deere' Stewart is his favorite show, after all) but I haven't been sure how to explain the actual voting. (Our house is not a democracy in any way, shape, or form. I like to pretend to be in charge but, you know.) I decided to wait and go to the polls when Matt got off work, hoping that we could all go together and get ice cream or something to make it Family Fun. It was awesome! My eyes filled with tears when Ethan pointed to Obama's name (settle down, he just recognized the B) and he helped me color in the circle. What an amazing opportunity for us to participate in. I am watching the speculation and waiting on pins and needles, but I am so glad the campaigning is over. It will take a long time for this country to recover from the struggles we are facing but right now it seems possible that we will. I get a little hysterical when I think of McCain winning, but I know that God will take care of us no matter what happens. God bless America, and the Lord will bless and keep us.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Summer's End

We have had some very warm days lately so we are trying to soak up as much sun as possible before it snows again. Of course that includes going to a playground every time we have an errand to run.

I can't get over how much has changed since our first trip to the park this summer. Evan slept in his carseat or I carried him around. Then he graduated to the baby swing and the fun that is crawling around eating sand. Now he thinks he can run the excavator! It will be awesome to watch them run around together next summer. Can I start bringing a book?

We planted bulbs last week. I dug the holes, Ethan put them in, and Evan took them out. A very efficient team, if I do say so myself. At least this time when Ethan watered them, he didn't use so much water that the bulbs rushed away in a river of expensive soil nutrients. (Poor lilies.) We found a lot of worms. The first one was tiny and Ethan carefully carried it over to a chair. "This baby needs his mommy!" he announced. So we found another one. "It's OK, Baby, we found your mommy. She will take care of you," he reassured the little one as he brought the 'mommy' over. He spent the next several minutes constructing a nest for them, then wandered back over to me. "Are the worms happy now?" I asked him. "They need their Gramma to come," he informed me. Well, don't we all. He was ecstatic when we found another one. "Here is your Gramma, little wormies!" he cried. "NOW they are so happy."

Sunday, November 2, 2008


We had a great Halloween. On Friday afternoon, there was a little kids parade in Sargent followed by trick-or-treating at the Main Street businesses. Ethan was mesmerized by all the different costumes. Ten minutes before we walked out the door, he decided to be a football player. I ended up carrying his helmet and ball, of course, but he was pretty thrilled with the whole process. It was a really warm day so we didn't have to try to stuff their snowsuits under their costumes or anything. In the evening we went to a few different friends' houses and came home with lots of candy. Ethan seems to have forgotten about it already so there is plenty for Matt and me to enjoy.

Ethan, the original Punkin Baby:

Thanks, Gramma!