Thursday, July 5, 2012

A month

It's been almost a month since I've been here last. I haven't even had time to stop by & leave without anything inspiring to write. I've had plenty I want to share - mostly birthday related things- but just.no.time. I have no idea where the time went. It just seems to disappear & *poof* away. This post will be short & likely a little scattered (much like my brain lately).

Last time I shared 7 things with you on the 7th of June. I thought that was kind of fun so today I'll leave you 5 random things on the fifth of July. (It is the 5th of July, right?!?!)

  1. Elliot is now 4 & everyday he seems more and more like a big boy and not my little man anymore :( He starts school next month. My mind is still trapping to grasp this. He still assures me many times a day that he is "still my baby boy" :) 
  2. We had a big birthday party. Pulling off a celebration for three kids in one day went pretty well. It wasn't as sweltering hot as it could have been (definitely nothing like this week!) and the kids had a blast.
  3. The kids finally got to go visit Daddy's "new" work. He's worked at Deere since February but the kids have only ever been in the parking lot. Dubuque Works threw a big 175th bash that we all thoroughly enjoyed. I was very impressed and we were blessed with another beautiful day.
  4. I'm a year older. Yippee........you should note a large level of sarcasm there ;) Sometimes I feel much older than the twenty-seven years I now am and other times I don't feel like I'm quite old enough to have four kids, a mortgage, house to take care of, meals to cook, etc.
  5. The husband and I just had a weekend away from the all 4 kids and away from home for the first time. We used to have kid free weekends more often when it was just Elliot and Hadley. For some reason the grandparents are a lot more willing to take 2 kids instead of 4. ;)
As you can imagine (maybe?) that's a brief glimpse into some of the posts I need to catch up on. If you read this and are of the praying type I've got a couple you can toss at the Big Guy for us. My apologies that they'll be kind of vague. First, some clarity about the direction the husband wants his career his to go at Deere. Second, prayer for a big, big thing we have going on in our lives/family (no, I'm NOT pregnant). We'll elaborate more at a later date but it's something that has been consuming our minds and hearts for awhile and we just need a lot of prayer.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

7 on the 7th

Seven random things on the 7th:

  1. My mini man will be 4 in TWO days. Wow.
  2. Tomorrow will be the one year 'anniversary' of bringing home Adelyn & Kailyn.
  3. The girls have their one year pictures scheduled for tomorrow. I'm really excited.
  4. Yesterday we had a fantastic playdate with some of our friends. 
  5. My house looks like someone set off a bomb. So much to do......
  6. I intend to survive today with lots of coffee and loud music ;)
  7. I'm feeling incredibly blessed this morning. I could elaborate but I'll just leave it at that.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Happy Birthday Sweet Baby Girls!

A video of the girls first year (click link): Adelyn and Kailyn's First Birthday Video

Yesterday it happened. I knew it was coming. I didn't want to admit it. I wanted to stay in denial. But, it happened anyway. My baby girls turned one.

I can hardly believe an entire year has gone by. May 31, 2011 I went in for a routine NST (non stress test) and never left the hospital. I had a gut feeling that morning that something was going to happen that day. I know I was more than ready to be d.o.n.e. with being pregnant. Still, when it came down to actually hearing the words 'we need to deliver these babies TODAY' I got incredibly nervous. There were so many thoughts running through my head. I was incredibly anxious (which did not help the blood pressure issue). There was a flurry of activity with people coming in and out and getting ready for surgery. And, then, suddenly I was in an operating room, getting poked in the back and laid down. I felt the push and tug as the doctors were pulling the girls out. I heard them. They cried. I cried. Then they showed me these two babies. With hair. Lots of hair. And it was dark. It's a good thing I was the only pregnant person in the room or I would have sworn they got my babies mixed up with someone else.

That was an entire year ago already. Seriously, where did the time go? I know that is such a cliche thing to say but dang it it's true! It is so hard for my brain to wrap itself around the fact they have turned one. I'm not sure why this particular birthday is so hard for me to accept. I think it is because they have taken one of the last HUGE steps out of babydom. This is also the first time any of my kids has reached their first birthday without me being pregnant. There aren't any more first birthdays to look forward to or dream about and maybe that is hard pill for me to swallow even though I know with 100% certainty I am done birthing babies!

A year ago it was impossible for us to know what kind of little person these girls would turn into. Watching their personalities unfold this year has been one of the most exciting things to see. Watching them experience the world together has been a true joy. One year ago we were able to tell them apart based solely on their skin tone. Adelyn was beet read and Kailyn was very pale due to the acute TTTS they experienced during delivery. Now, at a year most people struggle to tell them apart. I, however, think they have incredibly distinct looks but it sounds like I'm the only one who thinks that! Watching them and seeing their personalities really makes it easy to tell them apart (most of the time).

Adelyn is my monkey. My go getter. My destructor. My cuddle bug. My ham. Kailyn is my sweet little charmer. My little smiler. My 'brains of the operation' child. My observer. Adelyn is always making noise, always has her mouth open "saying" something, tasting something, exploring something. Kailyn loves to sit back and take everything in, she loves to pal around with Elliot (she thinks he's the greatest thing EVER), she loves to give coy little smiles & act like she's playing it cool. She's a charmer. Adelyn is a huge drama queen. She has the girly shriek perfected. She has the 'throw myself on the floor, kick & scream' tantrum perfected. She's a master of mischief & never misses an opportunity to get into something she isn't supposed to. Kailyn, while being the sweet one, also manages to be her sister's biggest bully. She loves to chew on Adelyn which, in turn, makes Adelyn throw one of her huge tantrums. Kailyn also loves to cause mischief. She loves to climb in diaper boxes, check out the cupboards, open the potato/onion drawer. She's my little analyst. She observes everything - nothing gets past her. She checks everything out - first feeling it with her hands & then sometimes her mouth. She loves watching the outdoors although spending too much actual time outside requires a dose of benadryl.

The twin bus has been a crazy ride but a year after they were born I can honestly say that I love it. I would take another set of twins in a heartbeat (I used to think people were crazy for saying that.). I cannot wait to see what the next year holds for us and to see them become extraordinary little girls!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Last Day of School

Wednesday, May 23 was E's last day of pre-school. He was so sad. I had a mix of emotions. On one hand I was so indescribably happy not to have to do the load, unload, load circus routine with all the kids but I loved seeing Elliot's excitement, seeing him grow, and getting a short break.

Here's a look at the "excitement" in the backseat of my van before heading in for his last day:

The grumpies didn't last long. Him and Hadley were bickering over something (nothing out of the ordinary there) but he was all smiles as soon as we headed in the door. I promise!

The girls and I had a playdate while Elliot was at school. We've gone to Miss Courtney's house several times this year to hang out with her and her kiddos during pre-school and we've LOVED it! Adelyn & Kailyn hang out with their 'boyfriend' and Hadley gets to play with her buddy. I have to admit this was another reason I was sad to see school end. It was such a good reason for us to hang out!

Pick-up was kind of emotional. The teacher cried. I cried. All of the moms cried. Elliot had an amazing teacher this year. I can't say enough good things about Mrs. Julie! One thing I know for sure is that those who are called to be pre-school teachers are very special people! After our very last pre-school pick up most of us headed over to a nearby park for lunch and the boys got a chance to run and play together again. 

Here is Elliot and his teacher on Thursday night after our song and story end of the year celebration:

He is going to miss her SO much! 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

A Lesson in Sharing

The girls had a lesson in sharing the other day while eating a snack. I'm sure there are many, many, many more lessons like this one to come in the future but I happened to capture a few moments from this particular day. They love bowls and they love those little baby puffs. So, I put the two of them together and they were in heaven for awhile. Then they got greedy. Kailyn was grabbing 4, 5, 6 puffs at a time and effectively emptying the bowl. Adelyn would freak out, scream and then grab as many as she could the next time I filled the bowl. Then they would stare each other down while they ate. Then they started flipping the bowl and trying to crawl away with it. It was pretty hilarious until I remembered I would be cleaning little crushed puffs out of my carpets. Suddenly it was not cute anymore. Not at all.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Pictorial Trip Down Memory Lane

On my laptop I have a folder named P&P which stands for Petey and Pepper. Those are the names we usually went by at camp. In fact Petey is still what I call my husband. I refer to him as Mike with some people but calling him that? No way, jose. That's just too weird. Anyway, this folder contains only pictures of us. I keep it as the first album in my pictures folder so that I can flip through them often and see just how old we've gotten ;) Seriously, we were BABIES in some of our first pictures!  And, anyone who knows me knows that this barely scratches the surface of all the pictures of the two of us.

Here, take a look for yourself:

Our first picture taken of the two of us June 27, 2006 {my birthday}

Fourth of July 2006 Photo marathon - I'll spare you & only post one. Trust me there are several baaaad ones!

September 4, 2006 - Jed & Jess's wedding; also the day before we officially started dating. That wedding was hands down one of the most awkward experiences of my life. Don't even get me started on the 14+ hour (one way) drive alone with Petey. Awkward. Awkward. Awkward.

November 4, 2006 - Mini golf for our 2 month anniversary (also my parent's wedding anniversary)

December 16, 2006 - Holidazzle Parade - Minneapolis, MN

ENGAGED!!!! January 7, 2007 

March 28, 2007 - hanging out and wedding planning (seriously, BABIES!)

June 23, 2007 - P-Cov Wedding Shower. Yes, those are potato heads

MARRIED!! August 11, 2007 - Twin Lakes, IA
(Also, the hottest day in the history)

April 17, 2008 - One day after being admitted to hospital at 25 weeks pregnant. 

July 2008 - Elliot's first bath at MumMum's house

February 18, 2009 - Surprise!! Little Cupcake is on the way!

October 20, 2009 - Hadley Elizabeth is born!

October 2011 - Our crazy, busy little family!


Today, on a whim, I checked out our old CaringBridge site we used when I was pregnant with Elliot. His fourth birthday is approaching faster than I care to acknowledge. It blows my mind that he is going to be four. It just does not seem possible as many days it feels like we left that hospital just yesterday. So, for anyone out there that may be interested here is the entry from May 21, 2008:

We've been here for 5 weeks! WOW!! It's crazy to think that we hopefully only have 3 weeks or so left. Life is sure full of surprises ;) We have another BPP & growth ultrasound scheduled for tomorrow morning so we'll get another chance to get a good look at him - maybe even see his face ;) It will be good to see how he is growing and to see how much progress he has made that last 3 weeks!
Petey is off getting his eyes checked today so he can get new glasses!! Yay for no more supergluing them together! I'm working on studying for a couple of tests that need to be taken for school. My mind seems to be settling down enough to let me do this so hopefully I'll do well!

Five weeks. Right now it's hard for me to imagine being in any one stationary place for 5 weeks - we have one speed around here and it is go, go, go as fast as you can. Sometimes I wonder how I ever made it through eight whole weeks of staring at the same four walls day after day and sitting in the same bed day after day and looking at the same roof and flower shop day after day. I know I would do it again in a heartbeat but wow that is a long time. This morning I flipped through some of our other entries and, as it always has before, I was amazed at how far my little man has come. Four years ago we didn't know how our story would end. We didn't know if it would be a happy ending or a tragic one. We didn't know if we would be in for a lifetime of struggles with him or if it would be smooth sailing after the hospital. No other experience in my life has made me believe so much in the power in prayer. We have been beyond blessed with Mr. E.

And, for your viewing pleasure here is a picture from May 16, 2008. This was my first time breathing fresh air outside the hospital in a month. I was finally granted permission to take a quick wheelchair ride outside with my husband. I remember it being absolutely, gloriously, beautiful and refreshing!
Please don't hold my ghostly appearance against me! It was snowy the day I was admitted to the hospital and it is pretty impossible to catch any sun while you're stuck in a bed!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Dr. B

May 31, 2011 was one of the most amazing days of my life to date. The day I finally laid eyes on my two baby girls. So much happened on that day that most of it is just a blur. However there are a few random details that I can recall with surprising clarity.

One of those details was meeting the on-call pediatrician in the operating room. It was decided that I needed to deliver due to rising blood pressure and pre-eclampsia risk but I was also most definitely in the beginning stages of labor. And back labor at that. (It sucks big time for those of you that don't know.) I know I was nervous, excited, anxious, eager, and SCARED. I was about to have my first surgery ever and I was going to be wide awake for it. I remember sitting on the table while there was a flurry of activity going on around me - warmers being set up, nurses going in and out, getting my spinal ready, etc. I sat there in pain, excruciating pain, and I know I just wanted to get this started and over with. Several nurses introduced themselves to me and then Dr. B came up, took my hand and introduced herself. I don't know why that moment sticks out more than any other. I remember feeling uneasy about someone I had never met checking over my girls right after they were born which was totally silly because that's the way it had been with both of the other kids. I remember being ready to burst into tears as that made it really sink in this was happening. I'm not 100% positive but I'm pretty sure I muttered some witchy response. Sorry Dr. B!

Soon, I was laying on the table and numbed. Mike was back with me and it was time to meet our babies. Adelyn, as we all know, made her debut first. Just thinking about it now nearly a year later still makes me get teary.  Husband was snapping pictures like a mad man not even knowing what he was getting pictures of exactly. Because of that we have some pretty graphic birth pictures....... But anyway, here's a picture of Dr. B (in the lighter blue) checking out my little Adelyn Grace.

Kailyn was a little more stubborn when it came time to make her exit. I remember so much tugging and pulling and feeling like they were reaching up my throat to grab that baby out of my stomach! Eventually they grabbed her little booty and pulled her out. She always has been a squirmy baby that is hard to hold on to at some moments.....  Here's Dr. B's while she was first checking out Kailyn.

Their doctor, some nurses and Mike showed me the girls and all their DARK hair. That was seriously the biggest surprise of the day. My newborns had HAIR!! They finished up with me and sent me back to my room for recovery. Mike was able to snap a few pictures of the girls being weighed, getting IV's, xrays and being poked and prodded. I am forever grateful to him for taking pictures and being there with our kids when I couldn't. 

This is Dr. B checking Adelyn. That day I had absolutely no idea how important she would become to our girls and to us. No idea.

So, while I remembered our first actual meeting I had no idea how important or special this woman would turn out to be. In fact for the next several days I didn't realize it and I don't remember an a-ha moment when I realized it either. It just sort of happened over the course of our hospital stay and our first visits to her office. Fortunately she didn't hold my horrible attitude against me ;) I was so NOT a nice person while I was in the hospital after the girls were born. I was worried about my health, I wanted them to be with me, I was annoyed with some hospital policies and I wanted to go HOME. I was also a little annoyed that she kept putting a 't' in Kailyn's name. Little did I know she was just the first of many, many people to do the same. I promise I don't hold it against her!

So, why do we like her so much and why do we feel like the world's best pediatrician kind of fell in our laps? Oh where to begin? 

Since we've started taking our kids to her it's been awesome to feel like someone really knows us and knows our kids. It's even more awesome that our kids love going to the doctor's office now. When my hands are full or things get overwhelming she's helped me get the babies dressed, taken Hadley out for some extra stickers, drove my stroller out for me, etc. It's all those little tiny things that make my life easier and make me feel very well taken care of. I don't know if most doctors are like this or not. Most of them that we've seen are in, out, done and ready to send us on our way as fast as they can. They don't seem to want to actually get to know us - they just want to get their job over and done with and move on to the next patient. I don't feel that way when we're with Dr. B. For sure she has other kids she needs to see but I don't feel rushed in and then shoved out the door. It also helps that I feel like she talks to me and respects that I'm their mom and that I know them better than anyone else. Too many times I feel like I've been brushed aside as irrelevant when my kids have had to see the doctor and that just doesn't sit well with me. Several times she has personally called me to pass on info she could have easily passed to a nurse and she's always offering words of encouragement which seem to come at the perfect time. Yesterdays adventure at the doctor's office only cemented her rockstar doctor status with me. She's always been willing to lend me a hand with the kids. Maybe that's because she feels sorry? Hahaha I don't know but I appreciate it!

Mike and I have been so happy and impressed that we've decided to stick with her even though our insurance has better coverage at different doctor's offices. Neither of us think we'll find someone who makes us feel like our kids are as important to them as Dr. B does and that is something we can't put a price on!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Sick Buggle

 My sad, sad, sick little buggle. Miss Adelyn was diagnosed with a double ear infection on Monday. The doctor also said her left ear was perforated. Yikes! I had no idea she had that going on until she woke up with a little fever on Monday afternoon. I would have waited until Tuesday to take her in but after talking to our doctor (not the one she saw Monday night) I decided to have the husband take her in. So, she started on an antibiotic and some ear drops to fix her up. She was her normal silly,  
hamball self Tuesday
morning but by that afternoon I could tell she was feeling really awful. All she wanted was for Mommy to hold her and rock her except for sometimes she didn't but she did. She just didn't know what she wanted and I just didn't know how to make her feel all better. I knew her fever was up but not exceptionally high. I debated whether to treat it or not but since she was so obviously uncomfortable I did. Her little cough also started to get worse. Needless to say Tuesday night was a pretty restless night for my poor baby.

Wednesday morning she woke up jabbering away in her bed just like any other day except that when I went to pick her up she felt like she was on fire. I quickly grabbed a thermometer and plugged it in her ear. 103.2. Yikes! I took it under the arm with the same results. Yikes again! To be honest I don't think any of my kids has ever entered into the 103 territory and only once before have I seen 102. Yes, I know, I've been lucky but it was still kind of scary for me to see. She passed out on me as soon as I sat in the rocking chair. Poor baby was so upset when I had to wake the big kids up to get to pre-school. She actually got to ride in the baby carrier instead of the stroller this morning which she enjoyed. Anything to be closer to Mommy I guess (Mommy didn't mind). I checked her temp again around 10:30 (4 hours after a dose of Tylenol) & sure enough she was up at 103 again.

I got a call from Dr. B (a shout out to her coming soon) while I was loading the kids up after pre-school. She asked about Adelyn & decided she should be seen. To be honest I was glad she made the decision easy. I had been debating & couldn't decide if I was over-reacting or not. So, the kids had lunch in the van while I ran home to get more bottles before we headed in for what turned out to be an eventful doctor visit.

The nurse and I tried to get a rectal temp on Adelyn until she sprayed red poo (red from the antibiotic she's on - don't worry it's normal I guess). We opted for underarm instead which showed a fever that was only slightly elevated. That would explain the fact that she was being a hamball again. Her ears looked ok for being on the meds for 1.5 days but the issue came when Dr. B listened to her. Not too long after I was on my way down to x-ray with the girls. Fortunately we go to the world's best doctor and her & her nurse kept an eye on Elliot & Hadley while I was gone. Having a chest xray done on an infant is a special kind of torture. It took two nurses and me to get her in it and then she gave me those eyes. Oh the eyes. Those sad, sad, 'why are you doing this to me?!?' eyes. Break my heart a little more baby....  Kailyn was freaking out because her sister was freaking out. Luckily it went pretty quick and Adelyn was fine once I was holding her although she had a pretty firm grip on my shirt after that.

X-ray showed that she definitely has something going on in there :( Dr. B also told me that she's pretty confident the fevers and this chest business are a separate issue from the ear infections. Fortunately the meds she was already on don't have to be changed & we don't have to add in anything else. I hope my sweet little buggle starts feeling better soon. I miss my little hamball!

Here's a comparison of the difference in the twins tonight. One is a very happy, energetic baby. The other....is not. And please don't judge the mess in the background. I was too busy rocking a baby to pick anything up!

My happy, funny, crazy little Kailyn.

My sad, sick, exhausted little Adelyn. Big brother was trying to get in on this picture. He has a crazy love affair with cameras.

I'm crying

Hadley, for quite a while now, has been telling us how she's feeling after it's very obvious. For example, "I'm crying" while she's sobbing and dissolving in tears. Or we hear "I sad" or "I'm going back to bed" or "I don't like that" or "That's not vewy nice! but usually "I'm crying". Of course it's said overly dramatically as that seems to sum up my little Hadley.

Here's a picture that sums up her "I'm cryiiiinnnnggggg" phrase:

She's absolutely adorable even when she's crying, no?

Spring Soccer 2012

Elliot finished his second 'season' of soccer over Mother's Day weekend. We actually only made it to 3 out of his 6 games :/ When we signed up we didn't have anything planned and thought we'd be able to make it to a majority of the games. Sorry Green Team! Despite missing half of the games he still LOVED being out there, running around, occasionally kicking the ball and being with his buds. Like in the fall he preferred the practice portion since everyone had their own ball & he always got to kick it. He has improved in the respect of listening to instructions and actually doing what is asked. He also didn't run off the field at random times or need to hold the coach's hand during the whole game. So all in all a grand improvement. We're skipping the summer season but hoping to be back at it in the fall. Little sister will miss the cut-off for Fall soccer but hopefully next spring we'll have her out there kicking some butt I mean ball. ;)

My little Pele on his last day of soccer.

Thursday, May 10, 2012


I'm a stay at home mom. Some people may hear that and think my day is full of excitement and fun. Some people may hear that and think I am batcrap crazy. Some people may hear that and offer their apologies and still others may hear that and think 'wow, good for you!'. What are my thoughts on the whole stay at home mom topic? It's crazy, chaotic, exhausting, awesome, amazing, infuriating, and wonderful all at the same time. Mostly I feel exhausted which also means my brain isn't operating at it's full potential to put together a complete, coherent thought on that topic right now. That and all the noise going on around me makes it really (REALLY) hard to think.

So, is my day full of excitement? Sometimes. Some days there is a lot of excitement - kids learn something new, discover a new tv show (mom of the year ;), babies reach a new developmental milestone, lots of hugs and kisses are doled out, etc. Those are exciting days and they happen pretty frequently. There are also some really, really NOT exciting things in my day like laundry (neverending vicious cycle), dishes (I LOVE paper plates), laundry, diaper changes, laundry, cleaning, laundry, vacuuming, laundry, sweeping, laundry....you get the idea. The mom job seems to get glorified especially when we're little. What little girl doesn't want to be a mommy and have a house full of kids?!?

So, outside of my kids there is little excitement in my world and really that's ok. I didn't understand it before I had kids and I used to think people who basically gave up everything when they had kids were batcrap crazy but now I kind of get it. You don't give up everything - you find something new, better. It's not that you HAD to give it up and are pining away for it day after day it's that you've found something new, something better that you didn't realize would/could be better. Now, for sure there are things I miss and for sure you don't give up or replace everything. You still have to be you. Now, I know I'm not explaining this as well as I would like to but hopefully it makes a little sense.

Since my kids are basically my life and there aren't too many exciting things that happen away from them I'll leave you with some pictures of the littlest littles :)

Yes, Kailyn is standing and taking a few steps. And, yes, Adelyn loves chewing on diapers. At least this one was clean.

Thursday, May 3, 2012


I am itching to share something big. I may or may not be the only person who reads this and that's ok but I'm still itching to share something big. Hopefully soon that big something will be let out of the box. Ok, whew, got that off my chest.

How was our weekend? I'm so glad you asked! ;) We had an absolutely amazing time. Friday we made it to Ames in time to check into our hotel, potty break and head out again for Anthem. It was a.m.a.z.i.n.g. Loved it. Loved it. Loved it.

After Anthem we hit up Applebees for some half price apps. Applebees & half price appetizers have a special place in our relationship & no, not because it's a great deal. When we were at school in Minnesota we had pretty strict visiting hours. Boys & girls were only allowed in each other's dorms on Tuesdays & Thursdays for a couple hours & then again on the weekends for a few hours. Needless to say all the common areas filled up really fast. On top of that we lived in two totally different dorms that were not close to one another and Mike worked until 10 or so most nights which meant there was no where left to find privacy and Minnesota is COLD  in the fall/winter/spring which meant no hanging out outside. So, the husband (then fiance) would swing by after work, pick me up & we would hang out at Applebee's (where it was warm) & eat half price apps. It's something special that we try to do whenever we can. Anyway, they were really good! After that we headed back to the hotel, played some games on our phones and crashed. We each got our own bed that night - it was fantastic!

Saturday we were going to take in some Great Plains before heading up to my parent's to get the kids but we ended up meeting them at a new (new to me at least) Chinese place in FD. The kids were actually pretty excited to see us. Mum-Mum & Papa were still in one piece and seemed to be surviving as well. The big kids were able to ride the little rides. As in we actually gave them quarters to make them light up & move. They were in heaven! It makes me so happy to see the little things bring them so much joy. My mom and I did some major shopping after that. We slayed Younkers. I am not used to that kind of shopping anymore though. I'm usually spent after one store with my kiddos. MumMum is unstoppable! I also wore the wrong shoes for a major shopping trip! Saturday night we checked out the progress on the new house & ate pizza. The kids were, once again, in heaven. They're little pizza fiends.

Sunday we packed everyone up and headed back to Ames. We've missed Cornerstone so, so, so much since we moved and rarely get a chance to attend a service there. They're children's programs are top notch. It was awesome to be able to drop each of the kids off & have them all be excited - well mostly anyway. The teaching there is also top notch. I always leave there feeling filled up - both spiritually and intellectually. We were able to catch our friends on our way to pick up the kids. We hit up one of our favorite local establishments for lunch. It was the lunch from h-e-l-l. We've never had any big issues eating out with the four kids until then. The big kids were tired, didn't eat & just laid on the benches. And randomly screamed. Adelyn screamed and shrieked and threw herself all over the whole time even after we changed her dirty patootie. Even sweet, quiet Kailyn got in on the grumpies. We breathed a huge sigh of relief when we left.

Before heading home we met up with some friends at the BK playplace. The kids LOVED that although it took a while before they decided they weren't 'scared' of the slide. Little goofs. It was awesome to catch up and let the kids burn off some energy before we headed home.

All in all a fantastic, fabulous, amazing weekend. We were exhausted when we got home but it was worth it. We miss living there. Maybe someday......

Friday, April 27, 2012

Finally Friday, a day off and random thoughts

It's finally Friday! YIPPEEEEEE! Fridays are usually fantastic days around here. It's the day I know Husband is coming home and won't be going to work the next day. It's the day we usually don't have anything going on except maybe a playdate. This Friday however is different than any other Friday in recent memory. This Friday I slept until I was ready to get up (7:26am to be exact), bummed around, took a looooong, hot shower, made my own breakfast & now I'm watching what *I* want to on TV (Gilmore Girls for those interested).

How is this possible?!? What did I do with my kids?!? Don't worry they're not locked in a room or anything. Last night Husband met my mom and they did a vehicle swap. She took the kids last night and they'll have them again tonight. I know....I can hardly believe it either! The big kids were so over the top excited. This is the girls first overnight trip to MumMum & Papa's without Mom or Dad. I'll admit I miss them. A lot. Those adorable little smiles and those sad dramatic faces when Sister takes a toy. They'll have a blast though & I'll give them lots of love and kisses when I see them tomorrow.

So, today I technically have a 'day off'. The kids aren't here but I have months worth of cleaning to do, laundry to fold and put away, stuff to sort, etc., etc., etc. And what am I doing? Sitting on the couch watching Gilmore Girls and rambling on and on and on on my blog. Nice, huh? I'll admit this is uncharted territory for me. I can't even remember the last time I didn't have any kids with me. It makes  being able to just chill that much more special even though the cleaning and laundry really need to get done. And they will....in a few minutes.

So, what are Husband and I going to do with our free time tonight? I am practically giddy with excitement that we are going to Anthem. We never missed it when we lived in Ames but since leaving we haven't made it back. As much as this feels like our home now and we are pretty settled in our church & are building friendships I still feel homesick for Cornerstone and the friends we were just starting to make there. I miss the teaching & being really filled up with knowledge and encouragement. It's really hard for me to explain. Suffice it to say I can hardly contain the excitement about being back there tonight and hopefully heading there for church this weekend. It seems so funny to me that I'm *that* excited to go to church. I never used to be that way but I'm finding more and more that I need that.

Ok and with this I'll wrap up the most random and rambly (made that word up) blog post in history. I'll leave you with a video of our friend Jesse (better known as Pants to us) singing a song from the newest Anthem cd. Enjoy :)

Friday, April 20, 2012

Four years......

This post is a few days old - should have been posted April 16th but I wasn't able to post here on that day. So, here it is.....

Four years ago....I was scared for my baby's life and for my own.
Four years ago....I was thankful to be pregnant.
Four years ago....I had no idea stuff like this actually happened to people.
Four years ago....I wised up faster than I thought possible.
Four years ago....I prayed. I cried. I prayed while I cried.
Four years ago....I tried my best to put my brave face on.
Four years ago....I realized my dreams for my baby boy had drastically changed.
Four years ago....I still dreamed about the little baby I loved but had never seen.
Four years ago....I had a huge life lesson in the preciousness of life.
Four years ago....I was grateful for everyday I had.
Four years ago....I wondered what God was doing. Didn't he care about me? My baby?
Four years ago....I clung onto Him with everything I had.
Four years ago....

I've been feeling a bit 'off' the last few days. It's not something I've vocalized to anyone but it's been there nonetheless. This time of year always makes me edgy and emotional. It's hard to think about the events that led up to me being in the hospital - those long hard weeks, the ups and downs and scary moments. It is still hard for me to accept the fact my body failed both me and Elliot. I hate that he had such a rough start to his life. I know his start wasn't as rough as it could have been had he come that crazy day in April. Mostly this time of year is emotional because I know it very well could have been the time we said good-bye to Elliot before even getting to know him. At 25 weeks it's kind of a toss up on whether or not you have a good outcome. I'm grateful the nurses, doctors and staff at United/Children's were up front and honest with us about the road ahead. As hard as it was to be in that hospital I'm grateful for every single day my body was able to help Elliot develop. Granted, my body was a bit of a hostile place for him but still better than a lonely little isolette. Four years ago I took pregnancy for granted. We hadn't planned on getting pregnant when we did so obviously the actually conceiving part wasn't hard for us. I was finishing up school and getting ready to graduate. I wasn't thinking that much about being a mom yet. That was something for me to think about after the middle of May. After graduation. After we moved. I went from student mode to full on Mommy mode immediately. It took awhile for the seriousness of April 16 to sink in but as it did the gravity of the situation we were in weighed down. As I've watched Elliot grow and blossom I've always reflected back on what could have been. I know. I know. I should just let it go and be thankful he is who he is today & that we didn't have a micro-preemie. But, thinking about 'what could have been' always brings me back to place of thankfulness. A place of contentment. My baby boy is here. He is alive. He is growing. He is thriving. He is hilarious. He drives me nuts. He is so sweet. He is my Elliot and I wouldn't change him for the world.

So, April 16 is always a hard day for me and I think it probably always will be. It doesn't seem like it could possible be four years already. It feels like yesterday & I can recall moments from that day so vividly it is frightening. I actually checked the calendar and counted on my fingers to make sure I had calculated right. But, yes, it has been four years. My first baby will be four in eight short weeks which also means my youngest babies will be one nine days prior. Whoa......that's a whole different brand of emotional!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

John Deere

At the beginning of the year Mike made the decision to begin pursuing a job at John Deere. It was a hard decision for us to make as we loved the company he was working for but our family grew much faster than we had anticipated and our bank account was running dry. The decision was made solely because of money. It was one aspect but not the cause. As much as we loved & believed in the company he was working with we were feeling led to at least check out what John Deere had to offer. It has since become a little clearer as to why God was leading us this way but I'll save that for another post and another time.

The interview and hiring process was super fast and efficient and they were very, very interested in him which, I think, was a great confidence boost for him. He started February 27. Adjusting to a new place and a new schedule has been interesting but we're getting into the groove. The biggest adjustment for me has been having to take Elliot to pre-school and pick him up. Everytime. This is probably old hat to most other moms but I was super spoiled with Husband's old job since he was able to set his own schedule & come and go when he needed to. This was great for me since he would take him to school on his way to work, then pick him up & meet me somewhere so I didn't have to unbuckle, unload, load, unbuckle all the girls each time. We've gotten into a pretty good groove now but we're still kind of a circus. Elliot is usually bouncing off the walls excited, Hadley is usually being a drama queen & 75% of the time she's throwing a fit on our way in in the morning. I wear one of the girls in the Baby K'tan & push the other one in an umbrella stroller. I've recently started bribing Hadley with treats just so she'll get out of the van and come with us. After having her almost get run over by a van in the parking lot I'm willing to do whatever it takes to keep her from going into full fledged drama queen mode in the middle of the parking lot. Yesterday Mrs. J told us we only have 8 classes left. WHAT?!?!?!? Last night I signed Elliot up for a couple summer programs to help keep him busy :)

Anyway, back to John Deere. It's been a good move and one that we believe was in the best interest of our family. Hopefully soon we can elaborate on why we believe it was divine leading. I know. I know you're all probably sitting on the edge of your seat ;) But until then you can enjoy a picture of the kidlets in their John Deere get-up.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Easter 2012

Easter was a bit strange for us this year. We kept it very, very low key and didn't overload on places to be and stuff to do. Husband played bass at church for the five services we had at our main campus which meant he was gone all of Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning. We did manage to get a few eggs colored, an egg hunt done, 'baskets' opened and attend church. We didn't have a huge spread out Easter dinner but grilled out instead. It was actually really nice to keep it super simple and just be. I felt really wiped out - probably from getting up in the middle of the night with K several times the week before. I'm not sure what has been up with her but she seems to hate sleeping in the middle of the night. She doesn't even want to sleep on Mommy! Crazy girl.

A couple weeks before Easter I took the kids to a local photog for some Easter pictures. I LOVED them. She's taken other holiday pictures of the kids and they always turn out great. This time they were outside so Mum-Mum & Papa came along with us to help corral. She had live baby chicks and bunnies! E was really into the bunnies while they were in the cage. As soon as it was loose he freaked. A, however, was a grumpy-puss when we got there (& you can tell in the pictures) but as soon as that bunny was set down in front of her she was EXCITED. Poor bunny :( She desperately wanted the fur off that rabbit (it was super, super soft) and she kept reaching down and touching and grabbing and pulling. H & K just looked at it but as soon as it made one move E was up and crouched into the fetal position behind his sisters. One of the funniest things I have ever seen! It was awesome. So....without any further ado I'll share some pictures of the kiddos from their Easter session. I think they're all pretty darn adorable - not that I'm biased or anything.

This was seconds before E freaked out about the bunny. A is reaching for it - she apparently loves animals. Or bunnies at least.

My first two babies caught in a rare moment.
E - 3 years old
H - 2 years old

My littlest loves
K & A - 10 months old

Friday, February 10, 2012

Where Have We Been??

If any of my "followers" still check in once in awhile they're probably wondering where we've been the last few months. Obviously we've been busy ;) Life with twins and four kids 3 and under has been quite the adjustment. Now that the twins are 8 months old I feel like I'm finally getting a better handle on all of this - better late than never, right?! The house could always stand to be cleaner but now that the girls are sleeping a little more at night I feel like I have a bit more energy most days to devote to that.

Our last update was in October. Here's a look at what we've been up to since then!

October 20 our little Hadley turned two! It's hard to believe she's that old already but at the same time she seems so much older than that. She's been speaking in clear, complete sentences for such a long time and has no problem telling you exactly what she's thinking or what she wants. We celebrated her birthday with a Minnie Mouse party - Minnie is a BIG deal around here!

This is one of the shots from her two year photo shoot. She had a great time being on her own with just Mommy & Rachel. Her little attitude really came out when she was all alone!

In October Elliot finished his first season of soccer. He played every Saturday morning for 6 weeks and LOVED it. He especially enjoyed the practices since everyone got to have a ball. He usually lost interest toward the end of the game. He loved to hold the coaches hand, lay down in the grass and flirt with the ladies from the women's soccer teams that came in to help coach. He did learn a lot though and is looking forward to playing again! Mommy had so much fun watching her little man play!

Halloween was a ton of fun this year! The big kids had a good time helping pick out pumpkins and digging the 'guts' out of them. The little girls got to have their turn inside a pumpkin. Adelyn thought it was the most hilarious thing EVER. Kailyn wasn't so sure and freaked out the first few times we tried. After she was able to lay a hand on her sister she liked it better!
(Kailyn is on the left, Adelyn on the right)

Hadley had her first Trick or Treating experience this year. She took her firsts on Halloween 2010 - this year she was running from house to house as soon as she realized they were filling her bucket with candy! My little pirates had such a great time although we learned the hard way that we should have brought the wagon with us! We were only going to do our block but they were so into it we did at least half of our subdivision & were gone for over 2 hours. They were quite the little troopers and collected over 5lbs of candy!!!

At the beginning of November my friend Jen's house was inundated with little kids. Imagine four mommies and 10 little kids 3 and under. Mr. Elliot was the only little guy there & he soaked up every moment of that. He loves any chance to see his "girlfriend" Lauren & is always asking about his other friends. It was crazy but it was so much fun to spend time together.

From left: Peyton, Maddie, Kyliee, Kenzie, Kailyn, Elliot, Leah, Lauren, Adelyn & Hadley.

The weather here was absolutely beautiful this fall - even into November! So, we took advantage when Mum-Mum & Papa were here for a weekend & did some family pictures. The kids LOVE going to the Riverwalk & seeing the Mississippi River (one of their favorite things to talk about).

                My little people!!

On November 11 Elliot fell while he was playing with Papa. He cried when it happened and then went on his merry way & played some more. When we all sat down for supper he started freaking out, screaming and favoring his arm. After some deliberation Petey & I decided to take him into the after hours pediatric clinic. Dr. Callahan took great care of him! They sent us for some x-rays but couldn't tell for sure if it was broken or not. They put him a splint for the weekend (picture right). He did get a cast the next week that he wore for a few weeks. It seems to have healed nicely at the very least! I know it was a pretty minor break but it still freaked mommy out to see him like that.

Elliot with some of his artwork from pre-school. We really, really love this pre-school. I love seeing all the fun things he makes at school! His box of artwork is quickly filling up!

Elliot had his first big kid program at school. The 3/4 year olds did a Thanksgiving chapel for their families. They sang songs and shared pictures they've made in class. It was so much fun!

Thanksgiving Day got off to a loud start. The night before all of us (including Mum-Mum & Papa) headed out for Schaumburg, IL. Our plan was to get up & head to the Museum of Science & Industry for Thanksgiving day but those plans were thwarted when the fire alarms went off at our hotel. Elliot was so scared of the noise! Thankfully it wasn't a big deal & the big kids got a chance to sit in a real fire truck for the first time! 

All of us in front of the enormous Christmas tree! MSI does a Christmas Around the World celebration  every year that is very neat. If you've never been I highly, HIGHLY recommend it. We were there ALL day & still didn't get to spend the time we wanted on a lot of things & had to completely skip some parts. There are so many fun things for the kids although Petey & I have enjoyed our solo trips here as well. It was such a fun day spent with our little family! We went back to the hotel after & enjoyed a yummy meal together.

Adelyn & Kailyn - my little santa babies the day after Thanksgiving. They were all dressed up and ready to meet Santa at the Woodfield Mall for the first time!!

The family waiting to meet Santa! The Woodfield Mall has an Ice Palace we got to go through first before seeing Santa. Inside a huge globe it actually "snows". Elliot thought that was absolutely fantastic!!

The kids Christmas picture. I had high hopes of getting a Christmas card out this year but it just didn't happen :/