Monday, November 29, 2010

Shutterfly Holiday Promo

I am sure most of my regular readers are wondering why I'm writing a post about Shutterfly while I still have yet to post pictures and adequate recaps of Allie's birthday and our Thanksgiving weekend (and I will get to that...eventually). However, when I found out Shutterfly is offering 50 free Holiday cards to bloggers (and since I still need to order our Christmas cards), I had to check it out ASAP.
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Since I have not used Shutterfly before, I immediately went to their website to peruse their Holiday card, Christmas card, and photo card designs. I usually am quite picky when it comes to our annual Christmas card, but with the hundreds of options Shutterfly has available I am already finding it difficult to choose just one design! Because I couldn't wait to try out designing my own card, I can also happily report that their photo uploader is quick and editing your card to fit your preferences (number of pictures or a personal message) is also fast and easy.
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Plus, if you are new to Shutterfly (like me), when you establish an account with them you are automatically eligible to receive 50 free 4x6 prints. Score! I am definitely excited to print some pictures that have been sitting on my hard drive for far too long,
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So, if you are still looking for that perfect holiday card or just need a way to print your photos, definitely check out Shutterfly. I know I'm glad I did!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Monday, November 22, 2010

Tummy Time

Olivia is not a fan of the necessitated "Tummy Time."

So...I tried propping her up on the boppy pillow to make it a little more bearable for her.
She still didn't really like it. So, Zach thought he would show Olivia how fun Tummy Time can be if done correctly.

Still not a fan, mommy thought slapping a polka-dot bow on Olivia's head and turning her around would make her less cranky.

No such luck...it just made her really, really sleepy.

But instead of sleep, Zach insisted upon story time.
We're still working on the whole enjoyable Tummy Time concept.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

I Made It!

I can't believe I actually made it through my first week alone with 3 kids! I think God must have known I was a tad bit worried about this first "real" week as a mom of 3 because He provided so much help for me. So, I wasn't technically "alone" at all. Between Ben's help with the kids on Allie's preschool mornings (Tuesday and Thursday), dinners brought over from friends, and my mom's help on Friday so that I could run some much needed errands alone, the week went by so smoothly.
Ben even took Zach along with Allie to her preschool Thanksgiving party on Thursday while Olivia and I enjoyed a quiet morning at home (ok..so I couldn't help but do a little cleaning while Olivia was snoozing away in between feedings). I was sad to have missed Allie's program and Thanksgiving "GORP" feast, but I did get to hear all about it when they arrived home from two very enthusiastic kids.

There were definitely a few "hairy" moments...like when all 3 kids were crying at once (Olivia because she was particularly fussy for no apparent reason, Zach because he was refusing to clean up his toys, and Allie because Zach ripped one of her prized coloring pages). Or, when Zach came down with a nasty stomach bug and couldn't hold in his poop long enough to make it to the potty at the exact moment I began nursing a terribly fussy Olivia. I never thought I would have to contemplate whether it was more necessary to feed my screaming baby or clean up my poopy son. I won't go into particulars, but Zach was able to wait for a bit in the bathtub until I could get to him. And, thankfully, Ben arrived home shortly after.

I even ventured to Target for the first time with all three kids in tow this past week. Granted, I only needed 2 items, but as Olivia slept in her car seat, the big kids and I had fun perusing through the dollar and toy sections.

I actually couldn't believe how quickly the week flew by. All of a sudden it was Saturday! Since Zach was still feeling under the weather, I took Allie along with me to run a few more errands on Saturday. We also went to lunch at Potbelly's where they just so happened to be having an anniversary celebration complete with free cake, balloons, music, face painting, and games. Allie declared it her new favorite restaurant!

This week should prove to be a fun week as well...with Allie's birthday, Thanksgiving, and Christmas decorating all on the agenda!

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Splish! Splash!

I was takin' a bath...

All about a Saturday night!

A rub-a-dub-dub...

Just relaxin' in the tub...

Thinkin' everything was alright.
Oh, I was a splishin and a splashin...
All about a Saturday night!

And that was our Saturday night date this week!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

How Olivia Spends Her Day...

Eating.
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Sleeping.
Pooping.
(don't worry, I spared you a picture of that one)
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Eating.
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Staring at us like we are crazy people. Eating.
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Pooping in the bath tub.
(again...sparing you the picture)
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Crying.
Eating.
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Tolerating being dressed up in frilly pink outfits.

Eating.
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Pooping on the wall.
(I have never before witnessed jet-propulsion poop until this child)
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Sleeping.
Basically, eating and pooping are her two favorite pastimes.
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Mommy's favorite is the sleeping...especially when she is sleeping while cuddling with Mommy.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

"Grandpa's My Favorite"

According to Zach, "Grandpa is my favorite!"
(Don't worry, Grandma has chosen not to take offense.)
When I asked Zach why, he responded, "Because he calls me Zacker Packer..."
"...and he picks me up by my pants."

Big Brother Zach

I've posted lots of pictures of Allie, the seasoned big sister. So, this post is dedicated to the new big brother, Zach.
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Although the adjustment to having a little sister is proving to be a bit more difficult for Zach (basically meaning lots of temper tantrums as he takes any and every opportunity to assert his will), he definitely loves Olivia. He is always commenting on how cute she is and how happy he is that she is in our family.
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Here he is with Aunt Stephanie, "petting" Olivia's head:
He also likes to play games with her. One of these games involves him waving his finger in front of her face. Apparently, according to Zach, Olivia really likes it.
He also likes to give her plenty of kisses:
And, he does enjoy occasionally holding her:
Zach also really likes it when she holds his hand:
I also think it is funny how interested Zach is in Olivia's whereabouts at any given time. He is constantly aware of Olivia's presence and location and if she isn't around (because she may be taking a nap in her crib), Zach definitely inquires as to where she is. He even asked me one time if she went back into my tummy. Ummm....no.
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So, there you have it--The budding big brother!

Monday, November 15, 2010

My Most Popular Post

Recently I found a new gadget to add to the right side bar of my blog that keeps track of my "most popular posts." I'm guessing that means it keeps track of the posts on my blog that have received the most hits.
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Imagine my surprise when I discovered my all-time most popular post is one in which I commented on the electrocuted squirrel in our backyard that sat on the power line box for nearly three months. In case you would like to re-visit that story in its entire glory (seriously, I'm not sure why), you can find the on going saga in the following posts:
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The post in which I first introduce the zapped rodent
The post in which scavenger birds decide to snack on the zapped rodent
The post in which the zapped rodent is officially removed from our property
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So, there you have it. My most significant contribution to the world of blogging revolves around deceased vermin. Boy, that sure makes me feel good...

Meeting Family

This past weekend, Olivia met her Aunt Stephanie and Uncle Chris for the very first time. We even drove through some pretty snowy conditions and braved a power outage at my parent's house so Olivia could meet them. Aunt Stephanie love, Love, LOVES babies and she spent most of the day snuggling with Olivia.
Sorry, Steph...you are cute, but I'm pretty sure Olivia is cuter (however, I may be a bit biased!).
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We had a fun Saturday and were happy to have the opportunity to introduce Olivia to my sister and brother in law!

It's a Monday...

...and I'll cry if I want to, cry if I want to...
You would cry too if Monday happened to you!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Last Sunday vs. This Sunday

Last Sunday we spent the afternoon outside in sweatshirts watching Daddy put up the Christmas lights. I know it may seem a little early for Christmas lights, but with such beautiful weather Ben couldn't resist (and, really, who enjoys putting up Christmas lights in freezing cold, snowy, and icy conditions anyway?). Actually, this past Monday and Tuesday we even left our sweatshirts at home and wore only T-shirts as we enjoyed the upper 60's and 70 degree weather (which is almost unheard of here in MN!).
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This Sunday, however, we woke up to a winter wonderland. After church, the kids and Ben excitedly dug out their snow gear...

They took a few self-portraits...
...before heading out to snow blow/shovel and build some snowmen/women.

After approximately 2 hours, we now have a snow-Zach, snow-Allie, and snow-Olivia decorating our front yard.
My favorite detail is the stick-hair adorning snow-Zach and snow-Allie's heads.
Although Allie had lots of fun playing in the snow last year, this was the first year that Zach actually enjoyed himself in the snow. He had a blast and is already looking forward to the next snowfall.
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Olivia, unfortunately, did not play in the snow. Instead, she accompanied Mommy to Target to pick up some more diapers.

Friday, November 12, 2010

2 Weeks

Wow. I can hardly believe 2 weeks have flown by since Olivia was born. Granted, having Ben home to help out for the first week followed by my mom coming to stay and help out for the second definitely made the time pass quickly. If only the last 2 weeks of my pregnancy would have flown by as fast!
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Anyway, today was officially my first day alone with all three kids. And, dare I say, it went by rather smoothly. I am in shock at how well Allie and Zach entertained themselves all morning long in the basement playroom (at this point, I'm going to ignore the fact that they also simultaneously created a ginormous mess that literally took them both approximately 1.5 hours to clean up).
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I even managed, in between nursing sessions, to go through all my maternity and "fat" clothes to determine which ones fit now and are wearable (because, unfortunately for me, I'm apparently not one of those lucky women who can have a baby and then fit back into her pre-preggo jeans within a week's time), which ones need to be thrown away, and which ones will be donated to Goodwill. Let's just say the whole process was motivation enough for me to set a start date of Monday for Operation Lose that Baby Weight! More on that to come later...
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Otherwise, I successfully fed and clothed everyone today and even got in a quick shower. If that's not enough to qualify as "supermom," I don't know what is.
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So, I haven't really blogged much over these past two weeks. Mostly due to the fact that Olivia's fussiest time of day is during the big kids' nap/quiet time (when I usually blog...sometimes I will blog in the evenings after the kids go to bed, but I must confess that there have been more evenings than not recently that I have also been in bed shortly following the kids' bedtime of 8:00 pm). Anyway, when Olivia is fussy, it is a prime indicator of her need to eat. Since I still have not perfected no-hands nursing or one-handed typing, the blog has been put on the back burner.
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But, if I would have been on top of blogging these past two weeks, I would have definitely written about....
  • Zach's newest favorite phrase, "I CAN'T KNOW HOW!" Examples of phrase usage are as follows: Mom says, "Please pick up your room, Zach." Zach replies, "I CAN'T KNOW HOW!" Mom says, "Zach, it's time to go potty before bed now." Zach replies, "I CAN'T KNOW HOW!" Mom says, "Zach, please put your pants on your legs, not on your head." Zach replies, "I CAN'T KNOW HOW!" Nice how that little phrase works, huh?
  • Allie's observance of my tummy. She told me the other day that my tummy is definitely smaller, but it's still just a little big and jiggly. Honestly...sit ups start Monday.
  • I am convinced that lack of sleep is directly related to how severely I crave chocolate. In addition, I am finding that lack of sleep is also directly related to the amount of restraint I am able to display in response to a severe chocolate craving. Unfortunately for me and my chocolate craving self who has shown little to no restraint due to lack of sleep, there is still Halloween candy in the house.
  • Olivia officially wins the award for my most poopy baby. I cannot believe the amount of times that little babe poops in one day...and the quantity is unreal for someone who is barely 8 pounds. Not to mention, she has successfully shot poop on the wall, in the bath tub, on mom, on grandma, and all over most of the clothes she has worn. Thankfully we aren't necessarily exploding out of diapers yet, but the minute the diaper comes off, the poop comes a shootin'.
  • We're supposed to get snow tomorrow. I'm a little depressed by this because I feel like we should still have a little bit of Fall left before the snow comes. Can we not at least have Thanksgiving before the snow (and Christmas decorations, Christmas music, Christmas displays, Christmas ads...)?
  • Thanksgiving is in less than 2 weeks. How can Thanksgiving be in less than 2 weeks?!

I'm sure there is more floating around in my jumbled brain, but the chow-hound is not-so-quietly informing me that it is yet again time for her milk....

I'll try to post more pictures soon...meaning, that I should probably take some more pictures soon (poor third child!).

Thursday, November 4, 2010

How Things Have Been Going...

I've posted a lot of pictures, but haven't really given an adequate update on how things are going around our house since Olivia's arrival. And, since I was able to get a whoppin' 6 hours of sleep last night (not in a row, but hey, I'll take what I can get!), I actually feel like my thoughts are coherent enough to effectively communicate.
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I don't know what it is, but I think there is something that gets a little bit easier with each baby you bring home. Not that everything has been a breeze so far, but I think my expectations for what having a newborn means are definitely more realistic since I've already had two before. Plus, I know (from actual experience) that the late nights, the exhaustion, the emotional ups and downs due to all the crazy hormones, the crying, and the poop explosions are truly only temporary. And, because the end of Olivia's pregnancy was so physically miserable for me, when I do start feeling a bit discouraged, it helps me to remember how I felt last week at this time and then I feel an overwhelming sense of thankfulness that Olivia finally "popped out" (those are Zach's exact words in description of her arrival).
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I remember with Allie, as a first time mom, not even being able to see a light at the end of the newborn "haze" tunnel. Granted, she has definitely been our fussiest baby (hopefully I didn't just jinx Olivia's calm demeanor!), but everything seemed so new and foreign and I felt like I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. Now, five years later, I think I'm able to take things more in stride. I feel like I can actually enjoy having Olivia be so tiny instead of worrying about every little minor detail and feeling so overwhelmed.
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Granted, Ben has been home all week to help out and I have had quite a lot of help from my mom which has made all the difference in the world as to how I'm feeling right now. So...maybe in two-three weeks when reality sets in (aka-me, home alone with THREE kids!), I may be singing a different tune, but for now, I'm finding I'm able to really enjoy being with my family, newborn haze and all.
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Like I said, Ben has been a great help. Actually, right now he and Zach took Allie to preschool and will be stopping by the grocery store on the way home to pick up some necessities. The nights are usually the most difficult for me with a newborn, so Ben often stays up with her when she is fussy (and doesn't need to eat) so that I can get a little more sleep. I think he secretly likes the alone time with her, though....because there have been more than a handful of times that I have woken up to see him holding her on the couch and she is sound asleep (and would be perfectly content sleeping in her crib). So, I of course ask why she isn't in her crib (and why he's not in bed) and I usually just get a funny look and a "Because I'm holding her right now" in response.
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The kids are totally enamored by their new baby sister. They like to "play" with her and read her books. Allie even made a book for Olivia and reads it to her daily. Allie also asks to hold her at least a million times a day and revels in being able to help do things for Olivia like getting diapers, burp rags, picking out her clothes, and helping at bath time.
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Although Zach isn't as keen on holding her, he does like to "pet" her head and is always commenting on how cute his baby sister is. He is incredibly pleased to finally be a big "brudder" and reminds us of this new status constantly.
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Both kids were so proud to be able to bring a picture of their new sister to their preschool/ECFE classes this week to show Olivia to their teachers and friends. I'm sure the newness of having Olivia around will also eventually wear off, but right now, it is pretty darn cute!
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Olivia, herself, is doing great! She is my tiniest baby to date and she definitely feels small. I'm fairly certain her favorite thing to do is nurse...she does so about every 2 hours, round the clock. We had a rocky start with nursing, but after a visit from a lactation consultant yesterday, things are looking up. Like I said before, she is really not a fussy baby. She pretty much only cries if she is hungry or gassy. Otherwise, we've been able to enjoy a lot of quiet alert time with her and lots of cuddle time when she is napping.
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I think that about covers it for now. Since my boys are still at the grocery store, Allie is at preschool, and Olivia is snoozing away...I'm thinking it may be a good time for me to catch a little nap as well!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

More Pictures of Olivia

Since she's so cute, I just had to share some more pictures of our newest baby girl!
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We only spent a little over 24 hours in the hospital, so the following pictures were taken at the hospital on the day that we were discharged.

Here we are...ready to go home! Yay!

She wasn't a fan of her carseat, but eventually succumbed to sleep.
Grandma brought the kids home the following morning and they were both pretty excited to see and hold their new sister again.
Here's Dad with all 3 of his kids!
Sleeping in her bouncer...
...while big brother and sister "play" with her.
Olivia getting ready for her first bath at home:
Everyone wanted to help!
Snoozing away...
and now, awake!
Sisters!
Storytime with Daddy.