Sunday, February 27, 2011

Belated Valentine's Day Photos

While I was downloading pictures from our camera, I found these photos from Valentine's Day when the kids and I made Valentine Cookie Pops.  I know I am almost 2 weeks late in posting, but the kids had fun and the finished product turned out pretty cute.  Unfortunately, they didn't taste all that great.  But, hey, that's what you get for a 60% off kit from Michael's. 

We're Back!

Actually, we've been back from WI Dells since this past Thursday, but in between unpacking, tackling the laundry pile, taking a much needed trip to the grocery store, caring for a sick baby, attempting to entertain two very exhausted and over-stimulated kids, and making some important decisions about the future of our bathroom, there hasn't been much left over time for blogging.  Whatever time I have managed to scrape up has been indulgently spent reading the new series I started over vacation...because once tomorrow comes, Ben is back to work and life resumes back to normal and I'm fairly certain there won't be any leftover time, especially for reading.

Anyway, we definitely had a great time on vacation.  Even though February is the shortest month on the calendar, it can often feel like the longest due to the unrelenting cold and snow.  So, we were desperately in need of a getaway!

Things are always more hectic now with three kids instead of two, especially since Olivia is still so little, but with some tag-teaming we were all able to enjoy the Kalahari water slides and amusement park.  The drive was probably the worst part...definitely taking a lot longer than what we are used to.  I've made the trek several times, either by myself in college or with Ben after we were married, and with minimal or no stops it is a fairly quick road trip.  Oh...that is so not the case with kids.  Thankfully, the trip back to MN was faster due to the absence of snow (we drove through the remainder of the snowstorm down to WI Dells and it was not very much fun for anyone involved...Ben-the driver, Allie-the carsick puker, Me-the puke collector) even though I did encounter my first ever poopy blow out diaper change in the mini-van at a McDonald's in Eau Claire (there was seriously poop ON HER ARMS!). 

We took lots of pictures, but I have yet to sort through any of them.  So, as soon as Olivia's nose stops streaming boogers and I finish my book, I promise I'll post a full vacation recap with hopefully before next week :)  In the meantime, I hope everyone has a happy LAST DAY OF FEBRUARY! 

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Weekly Catch-Up

The computer has been collecting an awful lot of dust on the shelf this week.  Not only have I been more content to read e-books with my Kindle than think of something clever to blog, but...are you ready for it...we have had temperatures in the 40's and 50's complete with SUN!  WAHOOO!  An almost week-long glimpse of spring in the middle of a typical Minnesotan, bleak winter is definitely something to be celebrated and enjoyed.

On Tuesday, I tackled my first outdoor run of the season.  I still need to find a running/mileage app. for my phone, so I'm not sure how far I ran, but it was definitely farther than anything I've done outside before.  Unfortunately, it was really windy in spots and running into the wind was challenging, but it felt so good to be FEBRUARY! 

On Wednesday the weather was even nicer, so the kids and I went on a long walk around our neighborhood.  Actually, the kids ran most of the time while I pushed Olivia in the stroller.  Olivia only stayed awake for about 15 minutes, but I'm sure she enjoyed her first EVER extended period of being outside.  The kids were a little disappointed to not be able to play on the toys at the park, but we didn't have our snow boots on and there was still quite a pile of the white stuff surrounding the playground.  However, both Allie and Zach can't stop talking about the thrill of being outside without freezing to death!

In other news, our shower broke this week.  We've been talking about possibly remodeling our bathroom since we moved into our house 5 years ago, but the shower breaking has given us the impetus we needed to actually seek out some estimates.  Although we could just fix the shower, it isn't merely a simple fix and would require some ripping apart anyway.  While normally Ben would love to tackle this type of job on his own, with his own full-time job and 3 kids (and a wife-ha!), he just doesn't have the time.  Plus, with it being our only bathroom, whatever work is done needs to be completed in a timely fashion...because we can't really go for an entire month without a toilet or shower.  So, we have some big decisions to make in the next few days regarding the future of our bathroom.

I can't believe I haven't had time to do a Weight Loss Wednesday Post the past two weeks.  It would actually not include a list of complaints because my hard work is slowly beginning to pay off.  I'm not losing a ton of weight, but I am LOSING!  Yay!  I think the running is really helping.  I'm up to doing about 3 miles a day and it takes me anywhere from 28-35 minutes depending on how competitive I'm being with myself (and how sore my ankle is). 

Well, the babe is a fussin' and my big boy is officially bored, so it is time once again to place the ole' laptop on the shelf.  Hope all of you Minnesotans have been enjoying our fabulous heat wave!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

Nothing says "Happy Valentine's Day" like two sisters dressed in matching pink heart dresses! 

Except, for maybe....

 A bowl full of pink pancake batter whipped up by using magical mommy powers (that was the answer we gave Allie when she asked how the pancakes turned pink).

And, yes, we most certainly had our Valentine pancakes for Sunday night dinner...because my magical mommy powers do not work before 9:00 a.m. on a Monday morning. 

Tomorrow we plan to spend Valentine's Day in style...decorating cookies, filling out our Valentines for preschool and ECFE friends, and doing laundry.  Oh...and I am most definitely going to have to find some time to use the nifty gift I received from my Valentine:

Happy Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Photo Shoot Giveaway

If you liked our family photos taken by Karen Feder Photography and you live in the Twin Cities area, you are in luck...because Karen is giving away 3 free photo shoots!  All you have to do is go to her blog (click here) to enter the giveaway.  And if you don't take advantage of this unbelievable opportunity, this little chub is going to come and beat you up...
photo coutesy of Karen Feder Photography

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A Little Catch Up

We are well into February and I'm happy to report that despite having some very severe cases of cabin fever and the winter blahs, we are all still relatively healthy.  There has been a minor sniffle here and there, but I'd say this has definitely been our healthiest winter ever.  It almost makes the negative-some-horrendous-number windchill outside bearable.   On second thought, not really.  But, our bout of health has me incredibly thankful.  Three kids is definitely do-able, but three sick kids (and possibly two sick adults) is a whole other story.  A story I have yet to experience and I am perfectly ok with that.  Hopefully I haven't tested our luck by sharing our good health fortune in print. 

Anyway, the winter blahs took a set back this weekend with the Packers winning the Super Bowl.  We had fun watching the game at my parents' house and the big kids even spent the night Sunday.  Ben was more than thrilled with the victory (in fact, I think he is still on a winner's high) and his Viking fan co-worker did indeed change his hair color to green.

To continue combating these winter blahs, we decided to book a trip to stay at the Kalahari Resort/Indoor Water Park in Wisconsin Dells.  We were originally planning on skipping our annual winter vacation this year because of Olivia being so little, but after the past two weeks of continued snow, cold, and lots of time indoors, the kids are about ready to kill each other...either that or they are going to be the death of me.  I think we all need something to look forward to that doesn't include more snow and more cold.  So, Kalahari it is.  We had such a blast last year and the kids are already looking forward to it. 

Other than anticipating our indoor water park getaway, I've been busy trying to keep up with my growing 3-month old.  I have noticed that her clothes were getting a tad bit tight and when I put her on our bathroom scale I was shocked to see that she weighs 15.8 pounds!  Ack!  Allie did not weigh in at the 16 pound mark until she was almost 7 months old.  So, I spent the last two days washing 6-9 month clothes so Miss O has something to wear that doesn't give her elastic marks around her Buddha belly and packing away her 3-6 month outfits.  She only wore those 3-6 month clothes for one month.  Crazy.  I'm thinking she has to slow down her growth at some point...either that or we just might have a contender for the world's chubbiest baby. 

By the way, as I'm typing this post Olivia's snoozing away on my lap.  She's been having a rough time taking naps in her crib, so after listening to her cry for about 15 minutes I'm breaking all the rules and letting her take a nap on my lap while the two older kids listen to books on CD and I catch up on blogging. 

Let's see, the other big news around here is that Allie now officially has a school to attend for kindergarten.  Since our local school district only offers all-day, every-other day kindergarten, I decided to use the open enrollment option offered by the state of Minnesota to get Allie into a daily, half-day kindergarten program.  Long story short, as Allie's mom I know that she will do far better in a daily, half-day program rather than the all day, every-other day option.  Allie, like her momma, loves and thrives on routine.  Anyway, we found out this past Saturday that she has been accepted into our district of choice so I've been busy this week trying to get all the final applications filled out.  We get to tour the school and meet her teachers tomorrow night, so she's pretty excited. 

I think that about covers it for now.  Hopefully I'll get a chance to put together a Weight Loss Wednesday Post.  Stay tuned!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Go, Pack, GO!

There are two members of our family that are EXTREMELY EXCITED about the Super Bowl tomorrow.  Can you guess which two? 

Aren't these Packer pictures awesome?!  Just some more proof that Karen is awesome!  All photos in this post are from our family shoot with Karen Feder Photography.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Family Photos

A few weeks ago we had Karen of Karen Feder Photography come to our home to take pictures of our family.  I usually aim to get pictures taken in the fall so that we have them ready for our annual Christmas card, but with Olivia's arrival and the busy-ness of the holiday season, it just didn't work out this past year. 

Anyway, I really love all of Karen's work (you can see a sampling of all of her photography--including engagement photos, wedding photos, family photos, senior photos, baby photos, children's photos, etc.--by going to her photography blog) and I knew that she would do a great job capturing us in our primary element.  She was able to once again depict each one of our kids' unique personalities and I know we will treasure these pictures for years to come. 

Here are some of my favorites from the morning (it was really hard to only pick a few!):

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Happy 3 Months, Olivia!

That's right, baby are officially 3 months old!  I can hardly believe how fast the time has flown by.  I still think of you as my itty-bitty newborn, but when I actually see you next to an itty-bitty newborn, I realize how big you have gotten! 

We haven't weighed or measured you since your 2 month well-check, but my guess is that you have to be at least 14, if not 15, pounds by now.  Your 3-6 month clothes are already starting to fit a little snug and you have officially graduated to size 3 diapers (we completely skipped size 2, by the way).  Your dad and I love to look at your big belly and chubby thigh rolls before we give you a bath each night.  Daddy thinks that you look like a little line backer, but I think you more resemble a sumo-wrestler.

I guess we shouldn't be surprised that you are growing so much because you sure love to eat!  You nurse about every 3 hours during the day.

Thankfully, you seem to have the sleeping-through-the-night thing down pat.  You usually go to bed between 7:30 and 8:00 at night and will sleep until about 4:30-5:30 in the morning before you wake up completely famished.  Mommy definitely prefers the 5:30 wake up time, but you're still little (relatively speaking) and apparently growing, so 4:30 isn't that bad either.  Plus, you will usually go back to sleep after you eat until about 8:00 or so in the morning. 

We are still working on naps during the day.  Since you sleep so well at night, I haven't been that worried that you only take 3-4, 20-30 minute cat naps during the day.  Plus, I imagine it is difficult for you to take longer naps in your crib on the days we are at home when you are so used to catching shut-eye in your car seat in between trips to preschool or ECFE for your big brother and sister.  If you do fall asleep in your car seat, we usually just let you sleep for a while longer when we return home.

This month you've started smiling and laughing a lot more.  I definitely love your baby laughs the best!  Usually you laugh the hardest when we kiss you on your cheeks or neck.  Your favorite person is undoubtedly your big brother.  He can make you smile in an instant and you always seem to want to know where he is. 

You've discovered your hands this month and love to look at them and chew on them.  You love to reach for things with your hands, but haven't quite gotten the hang of grabbing yet, but I'm sure it won't be long! 
You've also started to drool like crazy.  I'm curious if you will pop a tooth soon or, like your big brother and sister, drool for nine or ten months until that first tooth finally makes its appearance. 

Although you seemed to be a dead ringer for Allie when you were first born, more and more people have commented that as you are growing, you are looking more like Zach.  I have to agree.  Either way, you definitely look like their little sister!  You already love watching both of them and I just know you are coming up with ways in your baby mind to cleverly annoy the heck out of them as soon as you are able. 

We've been continuing to work on your neck exercises and you are doing an amazing job!  We've noticed that you will fully rotate your neck/head to the right now without hesitation and when we check on you at night time, you are sometimes even sleeping with your head facing the right.  And best of all, your little flat spot is slowly going away!

You still hold the title for this family's best baby.  You continue to be mostly easy going (yes, you still do have your bad days) and rarely cry.  Usually you only get fussy if you are tired, hungry, or want to be put down. 

We love you, our little bug-a-boo, and even though you've only been here for 3 months, it is hard to imagine our family without you!

Top Ten Signs You Are Dealing With An Overtired Three Year Old

10.  He wakes up in the morning approximately one hour earlier than normal and you are greeted with the grump face.

9.  Complete refusal to get dressed.

8.  Complete refusal to use the potty.

7.  Complete refusal to eat or drink.

6.  Complete refusal to participate in quiet time or *gasp* take a nap.

5.  Pretty much a complete refusal to do anything that you would like him to do.

4.  Every word that comes out of his mouth can be classified as a whine, yell, or complaint.

3.  He begins sucking his thumb so hard you are afraid his thumb might actually fall off.

2.  He won't stop moving for fear that he actually might fall asleep. 

And the number 1 sign that your three year old is overtired....
He falls asleep...sitting the living room while you and your 5-year old daughter are rockin' out to a cardio-dance DVD.  And, because his head won't stop bobbing back and forth, you have to lay him down. 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Catch Up

Tonight I'm sitting here in bed, cozy underneath the covers, watching "What Not to Wear" on TLC (why can't I get myself on that show?!), drinking hot cocoa, and completely at a loss as to what to blog about.  I've been a bit MIA the past few days, mostly because my laptop has decided that it will only hold a charge for 5 minutes.  Add to that a fussier than normal baby who is really not into taking naps and a laundry pile that never seems to disappear and there is just not really a lot of time left over for blogging. 

So, I'll just hit the high points and then my head is going to hit the pillow.

Ben and I had a great time at his fancy schmancy work dinner last Friday.  It was nice to leave the kids for a night, get dressed up, and enjoy adult conversation.  I think my favorite part, however, was the fact that the only food I had to cut up was the food that was going into my own mouth.  And there was chocolate cake.

My ankle survived my high heel shoes, but because it was still sore and swollen on Monday, I decided to take an unofficial Facebook poll to see if I should go to the doctor.  What?  You mean not everyone seeks medical advice from their Facebook friends?  Actually, I should probably give credit to my sister who first demanded suggested I take my pathetic ankle to the doctor.  Anyway, the doctor diagnosed me with a severe ankle sprain when the X-ray showed no breaks.  No running for 2 weeks.  Um...we'll see about that. 

I got on the scale last Friday and was elated to discover I lost 1.2 pounds-yay!  Then, I got on the scale this morning and discovered I had gained 1.5 pounds back-grrr.  Darn chocolate cake.  Basically, don't expect a Weight Loss Wednesday update this week either.

Today I made Zach his favorite snack...Peanut Butter Banana Bites (basically, cut up banana smeared with peanut butter and topped with craisins and a frilly toothpick) while Allie was at preschool and before we had to leave for his ECFE class. 

Allie has been spending most of her time writing.  It is amazing to me how much she has taught herself!  It is so cool to see her mind working out letter sounds and putting them together to make words. 

Translation:  Alligator (line 1), Crayon (1st word, line 2), Tap (2nd word, line 2), Pencil (line 3), Lion (line 4)

And this little cutie turned 3 months old! 

Stay tuned for more 3 month pictures of Miss O...

My mind now officially feels like mush...time for bed!