Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Merry Christmas

Here's wishing you a Merry Christmas!

I hope you all had a wonderful day, with ample opportunity to relax and enjoy your families.

May God give you a blessed New Year!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Christmas is Coming

I wanted to write some posts in anticipation of Christmas, but it just didn't happen. Things have been busy and I am left with this strange feeling that somehow Christmas already happened, but at the same time I can't believe it will be here in three short days. It doesn't make sense, but hey, it's how I feel.

Too alleviate this feeling a little I'm trying to just stop, look back and see what we've done during the "Christmas Season" to lead up to the big day.

We got our Christmas tree. Emily could actually help decorate it this year. That was fun, although she really likes things to be clumped together. This year between school and church she has added three homemade ornaments to our collection. She is such a little perfectionist. She brought home two ornaments from school yesterday. After searching the whole tree she couldn't find a spot that met her requirements, so she just decided to leave them off. Even Katrina got into the action a little.

We made a gingerbread house. Emily says this is her favorite thing about Christmas. She is her Father's daughter, since she had to make it look exactly like the picture on the packaging. (No, it wasn't homemade gingerbread, so sue me) She was a little sad Grandpa wasn't here to help her this year.

We made Christmas cookies. According to Christoph it's not Christmas without iced sugar cookies. Emily had a ball cutting out shapes and then choosing colors of icing and applying them ever so carefully with a butter knife. She also got flour down her entire front making them.

We took Emily shopping and let her pick out presents for some of her friends and one for Katrina. This was a little overwhelming for her (too many choices) but she did like helping to wrap them and deliver them.

Emily got to go see the Nutcracker for the first time, along with Christoph and I. It was fun to watch her watch it. I think she liked the dance of the snowflakes the best, although I would say the Waltz of Flowers was a close second. Of course she is three, so there were some interesting moments toward the end, but overall it was positive.

We have also been doing advent. We missed a Sunday and it hasn't been real structured, but we have done way better then before since this year we actually got the candles and pulled something together. It's nice to have a very specific time to focus of Christ, even though I try to be conscious of why we are celebrating all the time.

Hmm, I do feel better. We have done a lot! I'm also sensing a theme. Emily is WAY more involved this year. She has an idea of what's going on, wants to help with everything, and seems really excited. She is such a little sweetheart. I know this is Katrina's first Christmas, and I am happy for that, but really at her age, she could care less. She's happy just getting some wrapping paper to shred.

Even more fun things are to come. Tomorrow we get to go see the Nativity movie, Sunday is Italian dinner at our house and then Christmas day of course. We are also going to go to Zoolights in Portland with Christoph's cousin and her husband next weekend. So, even though our days are full and life is feeling a little hectic, Christmas is so fun!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Crazy Eight

Wow, I can't believe the last month is gone already. Obviously it caught me by surprise and that's why this post is twelve days late. I was debating skipping this month and combining eight and nine, but I know if I wait November will just be a blur in my mind's eye.

So little Bee, here you are, eight months old. You are getting so big. Literally; you weigh 21 pounds now! You know what that means, no more infant car seat. Your sister got moved into a booster and bequeathed you her old seat. Emily was a little sad at first. but she seemed to get over it pretty quickly. You, on the other hand are not completely thrilled with your new upright position. It is much harder to fall asleep in the car these days.

Your first tooth broke through on Nov 18th! The second one is taking it's sweet time to join it's mate. It is just under the surface and should break through anytime. I think you look a little funny with just one tiny white tooth peeking out when you smile. It will look more balanced when there are two.

You are a busy little girl. You like to grab everything that's in reach, and if you can't reach it you squirm and roll and scoot until you can. There will be no stopping you once you start crawling little girl! Considering what a grabby girl you are, and how little you are, you have an amazing grasp of what the word "no" means. Even if it is said in a calm quiet voice you immediately stop what you're doing and get this little pouty look on your face. If it is said at all forcefully you burst in to tears. So, you are very obedient, but not happy when you don't get your way.

Overall, it has been a month of firsts. First tooth, first Thanksgiving, first snow, first time in a big girl car seat. I'm looking forward to your first Christmas! It will be fun to see if you get excited about ripping wrapping paper or not. You are such a little cutie and I am loving every second of watching you grow up. Every time I turn around some kind of subtle change seems to have happened. I love you precious girl!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

Yes, I realize this is two days after the fact, but Happy Thanksgiving anyway. I hope anyone reading this had a wonderful day full of family, feasting, and fun. We had a great day and got to play in the snow! We have spent the last three Thanksgivings with our friends the Hoffmans. The have a 19 year old tradition of having Thanksgiving dinner at Cooper Spur which is located at the base of Mt Hood. The food was delicious, and it was really nice not to have to cook or clean anything.

It varies from year to year if there is snow or not, but this year was a good one. It started snowing on our way up there and continued to snow all through the meal. I think when we left there was a good three inches of snow on the ground. So, in addition to it being Katrina's first Thanksgiving, it was her first snow. This year Emily is old enough to really enjoy the snow too. She was having a blast. About now you are probably wondering, "Where are all the pictures?" Therein lies the painful part of this whole story. Christoph grabbed the batteries fresh off the charger, put them in the camera and figured we were good to go. When we got there, we discovered that the batteries were dead. So, no pictures of Katrina tasting snow, Emily's first snowball fight, Emily's first snow angel, the beautiful scenery, you get the idea. To make things even worse I somehow left the video camera on during dinner, draining that battery, so we couldn't even film the excitement.

Oh well, I tried to take lots of mental pictures and be thankful that we were all together and having lots of fun. If it doesn't snow in Corvallis this year we'll just have to go on a day trip and bring extra batteries!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

I'm Mean

I work as a nurse in a children's clinic. So, a big part of what I do every day is give kids their immunizations. Of course they always cry, and it is the part of my day I like least. On the other hand, I know it's only a momentary pain and that they will get over it pretty quick. After I give the shots I usually leave the room ASAP so the kids can get comforted by their parents and not have me there reminding them of their suffering. Or making them afraid something else bad is coming. Sometimes I get dirty looks from the kids, but usually they are focused on Mommy or Daddy's hugs. Last night, however, was a first. This cute little four year old gets his shots, then he is standing on the table getting his hug and he looks over his parent's shoulder, points at me and yells, "You're mean." Ouch! You gotta love this job.

I just have to get up on my soapbox for a second. Two of my biggest pet peeves at my job are:
A. When parents walk in to the clinic saying, "You're going to be mad soon," "Oh you're not gonna like this" and "You won't be so happy in a minute." Why not just keep a positive attitude and let the kid judge the experience for themselves, instead of telling them at the very beginning that they are going to hate it!
B. When parents don't give their kids any warning that they are getting shots, pretend like everything is so great, and make the nurse do a sneak attack. That just seems twice as mean to me. The kid is all happy and then suddenly it's like, "What the heck just happened!"
Are these the only options for doctor's visits? Where is the balance? How about just explaining what's going on. It's fun to see the doctor, he listens to your heart and looks in your ears. We get to see how much you grew. Then you have to have a few shots. It hurts, but it keeps you from getting sick and then you get stickers! Maybe even a trip to get ice cream. Maybe I'm wrong, but I think an informed child can cope better. In the long run, visits to the pediatrician help them learn that sometimes life hurts, but the rewards are worth it. :)

Friday, November 10, 2006

Caffeine, the bitter-sweetness

I'm writing this post at the risk of opening myself to a barrage of criticism. Although, just saying that is probably really flattering myself. I don't think I have enough readers to get too criticized. :)
The other day the girls and I were running around town doing errands. It was way past lunchtime and we hadn't eaten so I swung by Burger King. Emily chowed down her chicken nuggets and kept saying she was thirsty. Since I had nothing else to offer her, I made an exception and let her have a sip of my Coke. In my defense I will say that she had no soda before the age of two and has had very little since. So, she takes a big sip and hands it back to me, then says, "That drink makes my eyes watery, Mommy. Does it make your eyes watery?" It just struck me as so funny. How many times have I taken a big drink of ice cold Coke and had my throat burn and my eyes water? Too many to count. Does it stop me? No, no a thousand times no. Emily, by the way hates to have her eyes water. She avoids it like the plague. It just made me think and wonder about the thousands, or maybe just hundreds of things we do that cause us some discomfort, but the reward causes us to do them anyway. Life is funny.

Friday, November 3, 2006

Sweet Seven

Here it is already. Seven months old baby girl! You are so suddenly mobile this month. You added rolling front to back to your repertoire and now you can gradually roll yourself around the whole room. I never know what position I'll find you in when you wake up from a nap, or in the morning. Horizontal, vertical, sideways, upside-down. You are also sitting up really well and you really love being able to see what's going on and grab everything in reach.

You started teething too. That's a new thing you are not enjoying. You can get very cranky, but overall you are still your smiley self. I can tell those two bottom toofers are going to pop out any time. Working on adding teeth hasn't slowed down your babbling one bit. Now you're saying Da-da-da as well as Ma-ma-ma. You're still growling up a storm and you love to get in squealing/screeching battles with Emily whenever we're in the car. The two of you are like dueling banjos trying to see who can squeal most elaborately. It really makes you giggle when she blows raspberries at you and you don't hesitate to blow them right back.
You really enjoyed getting to meet Grandpa for the first time, and renew your relationship with Grandma when they came to visit from Ecuador for a few weeks. It didn't take you very long to warm up to them. You really loved grabbing Grandpa's glasses and it was Grandma who finally got you to take a bottle. Yeah! Uncle Jonathan also came to visit while they were here. Auntie Linda is up here staying with Grammie and Opa, so you've had lots of opportunities to meet/see extended family this month.

You had your first Halloween and I must say, you looked awfully cute. You didn't make it trick or treating, you were too tired to be happy in the cold dark, but you did go to the carnival and garnered a few compliments there.

You are a ray of sunshine and I love you sweet baby.

***For those of you who are wondering, after three weeks of trial and error, Katrina gained 3 whole pounds. She is up to 18lbs, 1oz! In the process she completely weaned herself and is now loving her bottle. I wish I could have just supplemented her, but she only wanted one or the other (formula or breastmilk) not both. I'm just glad she's getting her thigh rolls back! It has been amazing to see the subtle changes in her activity level now that she's not mildly starving! :( Poor baby.

Thursday, November 2, 2006

Prima Ballerina

So, I know that title is a long way from the truth at this point, but I couldn't resist. Emily started taking ballet/tap lessons seven weeks ago and she absolutely LOVES it. We are fortunate to live in a town with a very active parks and recreation department and the class is offered through them, which makes it a little more affordable. One of her friends from church is taking the same class which just doubles the fun.

The class runs in six week sessions and for the last week the parents get to come in for the last half of class and watch the kids dance. It happened to coincide with Grandma visiting from Ecuador, so she got to come watch, which was cool. We also took advantage of Grandma's prowess with the sewing machine and Emily got two new dance skirts. Next time I take pictures I need to sit on the other side of the room, so my pictures aren't so washed out. I also need to work a little on the blur factor.

I love the look of intense concentration that she has in some of these pictures. I've learned two interesting things about my little girl through this new venture. First, she really doesn't like to do things wrong. She really focuses hard on what the teacher is telling them to do. Sometimes she spends so much time trying to do it exactly right that the class will have moved on to the next step while she's still making it perfect. She'll also be paying so much attention to putting her arms in the right position that she totally forgets about her feet. It's hilariously cute. Second, if she doesn't think she can do something, she doesn't even want to try. The other little girls will be falling all over the place and she'll just stand there and say. "I can't do that". Fortunately her teacher doesn't accept that answer. The crazy thing is, I'm the exact same way. It makes me wonder, is it nature or nurture. At three years old can she really have observed me making excuses not to try things so much that she adopted it herself? I don't think so, and it's awfully interesting to think that fear of failure can be born in a person. I'll have to make sure I let her see me trying to do things and having it be ok when I can't. This parenting thing is never that straightforward is it. In the meantime, I'm having so much fun watching her dance.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

I Can See Clearly Now

I just happened to come across this article on the NPR website today (beware of picture if you are squeamish). I had Lasik eye surgery five years ago in September. I do not regret my decision at all. I actually had it done in Ecuador while Christoph and I were there visiting my parents (they are missionaries there). Some of you might think I am insane to have a delicate eye surgery done in a third world country, but the circumstances were not as bad as they first might sound. I have known the doctor since I was about twelve and I know he is very skilled and well trained. I also knew he had good equipment.

I started wearing glasses when I was seven. By the time I had the surgery done my eyesight was like 20/300. I would have to hold a book about 1/2 inch from my face to be able to see the print. I will admit that I was nervous about the surgery idea, but the thought of not having to deal with contacts or glasses was enough to get me over any nervousness. I was most excited about being able to see in the water. I have never enjoyed swimming very much, especially in the ocean, because I hated not being able to see what was going on around me. It is kind of scary as a kid to be out in the ocean and not be able to recognize the faces of friends swimming a few feet away. I wouldn't wear my glasses or contacts because of the risk of losing them.

The surgery was no big deal. It was over pretty quickly and Christoph and my Mom got to watch the whole thing. The hardest part was tying to hold my head perfectly still. The doctor couldn't figure out why he kept having to refocus the laser until I told him I was pressing my head against the table the whole time in an effort to keep it still. The strangest part was after the surgery when I could see, but couldn't see at the same time. I could read signs and words from across the room, but it looked like I was looking at them through water or soaped glass.

Over all the experience was very positive. I did have some light halos at night that lasted about a year after the surgery. They gradually got better, but the first few months I felt very unsafe driving at night. Now I am loving not having to deal with contact lenses. My favorite part about the article is that it confirms I got a smoking deal. With the "new improvements" the average price is $3,050 per eye, the old way is $1,500 per eye. I got my done for $700 total and I had my Mommy around to lovingly put my eye drops in afterward. :) What a blessing! I never would have been able to afford to have it done here in the US, especially now.

Tuesday, October 3, 2006

Let it Go

I'll issue a warning right from the get-go. This post might contain some information you might not want to know about me. So, if you're not in the mood to hear about breastfeeding you might just want to stop reading. I'll try not to ramble and rabbit-trail too much, but this is mostly for my own catharsis anyway.
Today I took Katrina in for her six month check-up. She stopped gaining weight at about 3 months and has been slowly losing a little each month. At three months she was up to 16lbs, 2oz and now she is 14lbs, 12oz. I've been trying really hard not to be an overly neurotic mother, but I have been a bit worried about that. The up side of working with my kid's pediatrician is I can get free information without making an appointment. Up until now he had not been worried because she was still in the 90th percentile for her weight. Today however, she was down to the 25th.

Now, turn back the clock 3 years. When Emily was five months old, I felt like she was losing weight, but I couldn't prove it and no one really believed me. I had gone from pumping 4-5 oz at work to only getting 1. Everyone assured me that babies are better at getting milk then the pump, and besides, look at those fat cheeks. Instead I looked at the skin wrinkling under her arms and the outline of her ribs across her abdomen. I decided I'd just offer her some formula and see how she reacted. Breastfeeding was important to me, but I wasn't going to starve my child for principles. From the first moment she tasted formula there was no going back. Every time I offered her my breast she clamped her lips and turned her head. I won't lie that I felt a little sad that I had only made it five months, but it seemed to confirm my theory that she was hungry and not getting satisfied from me. At the time it was easy to rationalize my failure. After all, it was my first baby. I was working full-time night shifts, swinging back and forth between staying up all night, sleeping and nursing during the day, and then trying to have a normal schedule on my days off. Add to this my job being pretty intense at times and gearing up to move 1000 miles to a new state where we knew no one in a 200 mile radius. "The next time I'll do better," I told myself reassuringly. "Emily is happy and healthy and that's all that matters. She's a Daddy's girl anyway."

Fast forward to Katrina. Throughout my pregnancy I tried to gear up for the breastfeeding thing. "This time will be better" became my mantra, my hope, my dream. Did I mention that my first two months of breastfeeding Emily were an agony of sore nipples and plugged ducts, never feeling the elusive and highly talked about "letdown" or any reassuring engorgement? I tried to convince myself I was just lucky not to have to go through that additional pain. I digress... The second time was better. The soreness and pain only lasted two weeks this time and I think I actually felt a glimmer of the letdown reflex. I had moved to a part time position in a much lower stress environment and I was working during daylight hours. I have a lactation consultant as my boss and I work with a bunch of pediatricians who, by nature of being pediatricians, have to support breastfeeding. The first three months passed in a haze of fairly confident and joyful breastfeeding (I'm too insecure to ever be 100% confident that I doing it right). Then the little niggling doubts started coming back. I had been pumping 4-5oz, now I only get 1-2...She seems to be peeing less...I don't feel that glimmer of letdown any more...oh and she's losing weight! I talked to my lactation consultant and started taking a herbal supplement, but it didn't seem to make any difference. Again came the reassurances, "she looks fine...she's still in the 90th percentile...some women just don't let down for a pump."

Then came D-day. Katrina's weight is down more, and she's got those same little wrinkles under her arms. As her pediatrician put it, "she does look a little like someone who had gastric bypass surgery and needs to get some skin folds stapled up." He's just lucky I'm married to someone with a twisted sense of humor. So, we went and got blood work done and tested her urine looking for kidney or liver problems. Fortunately we have no family history of genetic disease and she was gaining weight really well at the beginning. "It's probably just a calorie problem," the doctor reassures me, "but we should cover all our bases." The plan is to start giving her formula and let her eat as much solids as she wants.

Funny, it sounds so easy when you put it that way. Never mind the fact that she already eats 3, 4 ounce jars of baby food a day plus cereal, and all the books say she shouldn't be eating that much until 8 months. Not to mention breastmilk or formula should still be her main source of food until she's a year old. Not to mention the fact that we have tried and tried to give her formula and she will not take it. She acts like we're trying to poison her when it is offered.
So, I guess I'm finally at the heart of this saga. I can't rationalize my failure away this time. Katrina's not turning happily to formula without blinking an eye. She wants Mommy and Mommy's not there. She would rather nurse and nurse, even if almost nothing comes out and she is slowly starving, as long as she can get enough to take the edge off. So, what does that mean for me? I have to stop taking the edge off. I have turn my back and let her get really hungry so she will drink the formula and start growing. I have to put aside my own feeling of wanting to satisfy my baby's desires and make sure her needs are met. No matter how much her crying, sad face breaks my heart in two. Because either my worthless body isn't making enough milk, or it doesn't have enough calories for a growing baby's needs. Ironic how there is no shortage of fat anywhere else on my body.

Lest you all (all three of you who have actually read this whole pathetic, self-pitying rant) think I'm totally out of it, I am trying to look on the bright side. I did read Pollyana growing up. I keep listing all my blessings and thinking of the pros to try and get outside myself. I have two beautiful daughters who overall are healthy...I can go out and buy formula...I can wear dresses again...I won't have to deal with biting...Katrina's blood work came back fine, other then showing slight dehydration, so there is no long term, crippling genetic illness to deal with...She breastfed for six whole months. But, even though I know all this is true and there are much worse things I can do as a mother then just not being able to breastfeed, I still feel like I'm letting my baby down. I'm not quite up to snuff in the motherhood category. I keep wondering what I did wrong. Maybe I should have a better diet...drink more water...pump every hour...take more herbs. And tomorrow I have to listen to her cry and not be able to comfort her in the most natural way I know how.

Wow, I guess I had more pent up emotion then I thought. I better go sleep so I'll have the energy to be rational tomorrow.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Half a Dozen

Here we are at the half way mark. You will only be a baby for six more months! I can't believe time is speeding by so fast. It doesn't seem that long ago that you were content to curl up on my chest and go to sleep. Now, no matter how tired you are, you want to be looking around. No going to sleep in Mommy's arms, it's your crib or nothing. You are so interested in the world around you. Everything you see is something to grab, gum, and explore. I love going into your room in the morning when you wake up. Your face breaks into a huge grin and your arms and legs start going like little windmills.

You are such a little cutie. You learned to roll over from your back to your tummy about two weeks ago and now you are always practicing your new skill. You get very frustrated that you can't quite get back on to your back. You also started jabbering, mamamama. I wonder if it is a coincidence since you are such a Mama's girl now. Daddy gets frustrated with you sometimes. You will be so happy with him until the second you see me, and then then you fuss and cry until I take you from him. As soon as you are in my arms you get happy again. I tell him not to take it personally, but I think he does a little.

You have started growling too. I thought it was unusual when Emily did it. I haven't heard very many babies growl the way you two do and did. I love the low guttural gughhh that rumbles out of you when you want attention or are in a silly mood. I wonder what it is in our genes that give our babies that funny trait. You haven't gotten interested in your thumb or a pacifier, but you love your blankie for nap time.

I'm loving having you for my daughter. You make me smile everyday. I'm enjoying every minute of watching you grow and seeing you figure out the world around you. Keep up the good work little Bee. I love you.

Monday, September 25, 2006

It Begins

My baby is a preschooler. It just boggles my mind to even write it. Two weeks ago was your first day of school and now I can't even pretend that you're still a toddler. It's official, you have become a preschooler. You look more and more like a little girl everyday. Your face has thinned and your legs are suddenly a million miles long. Unfortunately you are going through a phase where you hate getting your picture taken. So, your first day of school is forever immortalized with your breakfast in your mouth and bed head. Even so, you were sooo excited to start school. The week before the big day you started counting down. Every morning you would wake up and say, "Mommy, I only have to sleep four more times...three more times...two more times before I go to school!" I do have to admit, at first the main source of your excitement was having a new playground to play on. We went to buy some markers, the only school supply you needed, and you ordered me, very seriously, to "Put those markers back Mommy. I won't be coloring at school. I'm only going there to play on the playground." You have had five days of school and everyday you are sad when it is time to go home. You love your teacher, Mrs. Denise and are glad to have your friend Andrea in your class. It is so fun to pick you up and have you tell me all about your morning. What songs you sang, what you played, what snack you ate. I love you my sweet girl and I hope you can hold on to your love of learning for the rest of your life.

Photographic Evidence

I just came across the pictures showing that I'm not the only one enjoying our DS Lite. It's fun for the whole family! How cool is it that the New Super Mario Bros has minigames simple enough for a 3 year old and yet complicated enough for adults! Ok, ok, I praised the DS enough yesterday, but I couldn't resist adding these pics.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

DS Lite

Ok, true confession time. Part of the reason I haven't blogged this month is I've been sucked into playing Mario. My husband bought a new DS Lite and I've found that the Super Mario Bros. game is really, really fun. Part of the fun is how annoyed Christoph is that I am in world six and he's only in world three. Mostly I like it because this is the first Mario game that I've actually been able to get past the second level. I could never beat the first castle on the original Super Mario Bros and I don't think I even passed the first level on Super Mario World. I don't know if it's because I've become a better video game player or if this game just isn't so frustratingly impossible. I have played a lot of Mario Party over the last three years and that could be a big part of it. In addition to the main game it has a bunch of mini games. There is a fair amount of variety to them. It's nice to have something you can play for a few minutes without having to devote time to beating several levels. Anyway, I love this game. It is so fun! And I can stop playing anytime I want to. Really. No big deal. It's not like I NEED the DS. Gotta go, I'm at the castle.

Saturday, September 23, 2006


It just dawned on me, that I have not posted for almost the entire month of September. This month literally flew by and all the times I thought I might blog just never came. There was always something more pressing to do. Either that, or I was just too brain dead for the creative juices to flow. I feel so sad that Emily has been in school for two and half weeks now and I haven't blogged about it yet. Katrina rolled over for the first time, and I haven't written about that either. Not to mention all the random things that have happened to me. The really sad thing is I have five entries started, but I haven't finished any of them. Sheesh. Hopefully next month all the other things taking up my time will disappear, and not me.

Saturday, September 2, 2006


Katrina got tagged by Sophia. We feel so special!

3 Things That Scare Me

*Sudden Loud Noises
*Being alone, unless I'm in my bed
*Getting my face washed

3 People That Make Me Laugh

*Big Sister Emily, she's just soo funny

3 Things I Love

*My green blanket
*My Ocean Wonders mobile

3 Things I Hate

*Being put down
*Not being held (I know it's the same thing, but that's how much I hate it)
*Bopping myself in the face with a toy I'm playing with (still figuring out gross-motor skills)

3 Things I Don't Understand

*Why I can't be held all the time
*Why Emily feels the need to let out sudden ear-piercing shrieks
*Why I can't eat anything more interesting than pureed food and rice cereal

3 Things On My Desk/Table

*Mommy's Beatrix Potter Books
*A lamp
*All the cards friends/family sent to welcome me that Mommy hasn't gotten around to storing

3 Things I'm Doing Right Now

*Chewing on my toes
*Working on sitting
*Deciding if I want to roll over or not

3 Things I Want to Do Before I Die

*Catch Emily as she runs by
*Taste a french fry
*Kiss Suki, our kitty

3 Things I Can Do

*Blow Raspberries
*Graciously receive complements on my cuteness
*Suck on my lower lip

3 Things I Can't Do

*Roll over (or can I? Maybe I just don't really want to)
*Speak in full sentences
*Program (but Daddy thinks I show promise)

3 Things I Think You Should Listen To

*My mobile, it plays five cool songs
*My sister Emily singing, it always makes me feel better when I'm sad in the car
*A Prairie Home Companion, Garrison Keillor's voice is strangely soothing

3 Things I Think You Should Never Listen To

*The Yoshi toy Emily got at McDonalds
*The protesters outside City Hall
*Chicken Dance Elmo

3 Absolute Favorite Foods

*Rice Cereal
*Sweet Potatoes (I haven't gotten to try anything else yet, so I'm a bit limited)

3 Beverages I Drink Regularly

*Mommy's milk, lip licking good
(that's it)

3 Shows I Watched as a Kid

*Baby Mozart if Mommy is feeling desperate
*Anything my sister is watching, if I can crane my body around
(I'm not really allowed to watch TV yet. To quote my sister, "Babies can't watch TV!")

3 Babies I Tag

Baby Bartle
I know the last one is a stretch, but I don't know any other babies that have blogs, or even websites. My friends haven't moved into the 21st century yet. ;)

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Five Months and Counting

Wow. I can't believe another month has passed all ready. Little Bee, you are growing up before my eyes. You haven't changed much as far as size and weight, but you are making your age known in subtler ways.
This month you figured out how to blow raspberries and it is your new favorite form of communication. Raspberry blowing interspersed by squeals. Nothing makes you smile easier or faster than your big sister. Your eyes follow her adoringly around the room. You also started eating real food this month! You've been watching us like a hawk whenever we eat, taking an acute interest bouncing and licking your lips. When you were offered your first bite of Rice Cereal you lunged for it and slurped it down. The first three days we fed you, you cried angrily in protest when you realized the dish was empty. We finally got the hint and started giving you more. Forget the 1-2 tsp recommended in the baby books, you're a growing girl! After two weeks you have figured out that you don't need to stuff your fingers in your mouth in order to swallow. Feeding times have gotten much less messy consequently. You are starting to hold up your arms to be picked up and grab my head to hug me back when I cuddle you. I'm sure when you lean forward and gum my jaw-line it's your way of trying to give kisses, and it makes me love you all the more! I love how you interact with me more and more every day, even though there is a shadow of sadness as I see my baby disappearing already. I love you silly girl!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Butterflies and Brown-eyed Susans

These are a few of my favorite things...Yesterday we spent the day at the Oregon Zoo in Portland. We went there shortly after Katrina was born and have been wanting to get back all summer. We finally had a completely free weekend and took advantage. Of course there were all sorts of fun moments with Emily and Katrina, but for once my post is not about them. :) I had really been wanting to check out the Winged Wonders exhibit which is only open during the summer. I had a lot of fun taking pictures of the butterflies and the flowers in the garden outside the exhibit. Brown-eyed Susans are one of my favorite flowers. The just give me a happy feeling. This was one of my favorite parts of the day. I had been wanting to play with some depth of field ideas I read about on Shooting The Kids. Here are some of my best shots. Enjoy.

Sorry, I just had to throw in the one of Katrina. Hey, it does have depth of field. Christoph doesn't like it but I think it's a cool shot.

Friday, August 25, 2006


I was driving to work the other day listening to NPR and a spot came on that I found amusing and at the same time very weird. I will issue a warning right now, I quote "More than a million people around the globe have been sucked in by an anime clip on the internet." This song does get stuck in your head. There. You can't say I didn't warn you. Continue at your own risk. I must admit my intrest was piqued. So, once I got home I looked it up and found the actual clip they were talking about. Oh my gosh. It really is true! It sucks you in. Maybe it was my linguering post-pregnancy brain fog. Maybe it was just that it was after 10:00pm, but I just couldn't look away. In a sick way it's almost relaxing. Apparently people are actually taping themselves going into a trance watching the thing. I also find it interesting that it is most popular in Russia. I'm not sure what that means, but I love the closing line of the article.

"This is basically a joke for someone who spends all of their time staring at a computer, made by people who spend all of their time staring at a computer. It's possible to read deeper meanings into it, but it sort of defeats the purpose because in the end it's just this hypnotic clip of animation."

I'm not sure which is sadder, people video taping themselves staring at a anime girl spinning a leek and singing, or people wasting brain cells trying to figure out deeper meanings to some random video clip. Sometimes all you can do is shake your head and laugh.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The Name Game

Have you ever tried to explain something to your kid and just felt at a loss? Sometimes it's so hard to take a abstract concept and put it into concrete terms a kid can understand. For example: This morning I was getting Katrina dressed and Emily asks me, "Mommy, what will Katrina's name be when she is as big as me?" I look at her and say, "Her name will be Katrina." It was quite obvious from the look on her face that she was not happy with that answer. "What do you want her name to be?" I asked. "I want it to be Emily, like me," she stated emphatically. I tried valiantly to explain that you get your name when you're born and you keep that name for the rest of your life. Of course as I'm telling her this, all the exceptions start running through my head, but remember I'm trying to keep things simple. After my big explanation, using real life examples of babies being born and getting named, how she was named Emily when she was born; she just looks at me and says, "But, I wanted my name to be Katrina when I was a baby!" Oh boy. I give up.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Growing Bigger Every Day

No, I'm not talking about my stomach. That fortunately has stopped growing now that Katrina is born. Now if it would just start shrinking... I'm talking about my kids (what a surprise). I recently came across an article in Parenting magazine that intrigued me and weirded me out at the same time. This lady took pictures of her daughter every year wearing the same bathing suit, showing how she was growing. It intrigued me because I've been doing something similar with my girls and it was fun to see the final results. It was suggested to me by a co-worker when I was pregnant with Emily. Basically, you take repeated pictures of your child with the same stuffed animal. The first year you take one picture every month and then yearly after that. It's been fun to see Emily start out smaller then her lamb and then this year finally pass it up.

                Emily at 4 weeks

Emily at 3 years

I've started doing the same thing with Katrina. It was cool to see the pictures in Parenting and see that it really does make an impact when you look at all the pictures lined up. It seemed a little odd to me to use a bathing suit, although the one used was a tasteful item that looked like it came from the 50's. In some ways clothes would make the child's growth more dramatic. Anyway, I just thought I'd share this idea, you could probably use a variety of things to chronicle your child's growth. I'm having fun taking pictures with the lambs! We have the added fun that both lambs were presents from Grandma for their first Easter, so there is that sentimental note as well. Now I just need to make sure the lambs survive playing, moves, and life in general.

Friday, August 4, 2006

Sniff Out The Meaning

I just asked Emily if she could sneak upstairs and listen outside Katrina's door to see if she is awake. She comes over to me and says, "Is this how you sneak?" and wrinkles up her nose and sniffs. I look and her with a confused look, and so she repeats the motion and the question. Light bulb for mom, "No, that's sniffing, sneaking means very quietly without running or shouting." "Oh, ok," and off she goes. A few seconds later she comes back. "I don't hear any noise, it's very quiet." Little moments like these just give me the giggles. I wonder how many times I've told her she was sneaky and she thought I meant she smelled bad or something. :)

Monday, July 31, 2006

Sleeping Beauties


There is something so wonderful about sleeping children. Aside form the obvious reasons, (finally they're still and quiet) they're faces are just so beautifully relaxed.

I think it's safe to say that adults don't relax as much when asleep. I think we're aware of the limits that our larger bodies require. If we were to spread out that much we would quickly run out of bed. Or maybe it's just that kids expend so much energy playing, learning, absorbing, assimilating that when they sleep, they sleep. I think I can remember sleeping that hard, before I had kids. It's funny how that happens. It used to be that once I was asleep nothing could wake me up. I remember being concerned when I was pregnant with Emily that I might not wake up to her crying at night. Then she was born and it seemed that with the slightest noise I was awake. It seems like I always hear the girls in the night long before Christoph does. Maybe he's just better at ignoring them. :) Anyway, I love watching my girls sleep.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Here's to you, Four-month Old

Happy Day little girl. You are four months old. Even though it sounds lame I'll say, the time has flown by. You grow more fun and more beautiful everyday. I love you from the top of your little Yoda ears to the tips of your chubby toes. You are so much fun laughing and smiling. You get so excited when someone talks to you. Your eyes focus like a tracking beam as soon as a person walks into the room and then follows them around like one of those paintings that always seem to be looking at you no matter where you stand. You are no longer content lying around, now you want to be sitting up watching the action. You don't suck your thumb or even a pacifier, but can regularly be seen slurping away on your bottom lip. Sometimes you alternate by sucking on the side of your arm. You are so silly. What will happen when you get teeth? If you smile when you're doing it you make this funny clicking noise from your tongue sucking away at nothing. I love the throaty giggles you reward me with if I tickle you just right. I love how you gaze adoringly at your big sister even when she's making mean faces at you. I love how your eyes sparkle when you're really happy. And I love at the end of the day how you turn your head to the side, cover your face with your arm and fall asleep. You are my precious, beautiful girl and I'm so glad to have you.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Kids Say The Darndest Things

On the fourth of July we spent the evening at our friend's the Divineys. They are great friends and we love hanging out with them. Selena is one of Emily's favorite friends and they get along really well most of the time. You know kids, you can never say always.

Before dinner we set off a few fireworks, including smoke bombs and sparklers. Then the girls were jumping on the trampoline. I wandered over to take some pictures of them and Emily says, "I had fun smoking, Mommy" and Selena chimes in, "Me and Emily were smoking together". I knew they were talking about the smoke bombs, but it sounded so bad. Smoking already, at such a tender age. Goofy girls.

Emily and Evan, Selena's older brother, had this massive water gun fight too. Evan, being a year older was much better then the gun and Emily was drenched, while Evan was almost dry. She was just squealing with laughter the whole time. She really liked it when Evan's gun ran out of water and she could exact her revenge. Later that evening Evan was using the restroom and I was in the hallway, he pops his head around the door and says, "There is a tentacle in our toilet!" "A tentacle?" I question, confused. "Yeah, a tentacle that kills the germs." "Ohh, a chemical?" "Yep, a blue tentacle!" Way cool.

The kids and Dads had great fun watching and setting off fireworks. All in all it was a great evening of fun and fellowship, just waiting to see what the kids would come up with next.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Outdoor Fun

A couple of weekends ago we got away from the weekly grind by going to visit our friends the in nothern OR. They live on 20 acres of wooded land in the beautiful Columbia River Gorge area. Sunday evening we went on a little walk and boy did Emily have fun! She spent plenty of energy running up and down the paths in their forest.

It's not very often that I can just sit back and watch Emily play without feeling guilty. Usually I have constant thoughts of, I should be...insert never-ending household chore here. I try to have some balance, otherwise I feel guilty that I'm not spending enough time with her, but I'm usually left feeling pulled in two directions. So, this weekend was doubly fun because I had nothing else to do but sit and enjoy watching my daughter's imagination at work. Her imagination is an active one! She told us all about her pretend dog named Treehouse. She was playing with Treehouse all around the porch. At one point she crouches down and says, "Come out Treehouse. It's ok, I won't hit you with my stick". What!?! All I could do is laugh. It does make me think twice about getting her a dog. She then picked up a bunch of rocks (very carefully selected) from the garden path and arranged them in a complex geometrical configuration. She then proceeded to have us each one by one pick a rock. Sometimes she would have us hold the rock for a few moments and other times we would be told sternly, "don't touch it, just leave it there". It was like playing some complex game where only one person knew the rules. I wish I could see exactly what is going through her little head. It's funny to me because she is still egocentric enough that she assumes you are thinking the same thing she is. So, there is no reason to explain, you already know. She gets quite frustrated when she's talking to you and you have no idea what she is saying. How many times have I heard, "No Mommy, don't say 'what' to me!". This sometimes makes me laugh and other times I have to take a deep breath and count to ten so I don't bite her head off.

I love her little personality so much. In some ways she is so girly, making up stories about her stuffed animals, breastfeeding her dolls, and having her nails painted. In other ways she can be a little tomboy, collecting rocks and sticks and hating to have her hair brushed. I love the mixture, if she were too girly it would drive me crazy, but if she didn't like playing with dolls at all I would feel a little sad.

I also had fun taking pictures of random things. Hurray for Macro-mode and hurray for weekend getaways!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday to the one I love. Christoph, I'm glad you were born 28 years ago. I hope we get to celebrate many, many more of your birthdays together. You are a great husband and a great father. Thank you for letting God mold and shape you daily as you continue to grow more like Him everyday. I love you! Sorry I didn't get this posted Sunday, on your actual birthday, but we were just too busy celebrating. :)

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

New Eyes

Have you ever seen the movie Dumbo? It's always fun to see old movies from my childhood from an adult perspective. You notice things that never stood out as a child. Emily was watching Dumbo a couple of days ago and suddenly the lyrics of the opening song really stuck out. I heard Look Out For Mr Stork and just started laughing. Always before I've been focused on the cute scenes of Mothers being united with their new babies. This time I thought of certain friends who are childless and determined to stay that way, which made me laugh even more..."don't try to get away, he'll find you in the end". Christoph sees me grinning and pipes in, "We're currently employing a Stork radar interceptor". Oh, Geez. And yet, it's true. Can't have Mr Stork making his deliveries too close together. However, I do love the two bundles we've gotten so far!

Speaking of Dumbo, there is no other movie that can make me cry quite as easily. The scene with Dumbo visiting his Mother while she's locked up gets me every time. I never used to cry this easy before having kids. When I started college I could count on one hand the number of movies AND books that had made me cry. Then when I was pregnant with Emily it started. I cried watching Veggie Tales, Rack ,Shack and Benny (Jr Asparagus singing the song his Mother taught him). I figured, I'm pregnant, it's the hormones. Well either the hormones never got back into balance or being a Mother just opened me up to a whole new emotional level. Seriously, it gets a little pathetic when TV commercials make you cry! You should have seen me pregnant with Katrina, trying to read Emily a book about becoming a sibling. I paused, trying to get myself under control, and she looks at me and says, "Is the story over Mommy?" Poor kid, no wonder she was a bit apprehensive about getting a sister! Luckily I can always count on my sympathetic husband to put things into perspective. We were considering trying a new form of birth control and I had expressed concern with it potentially causing mood swings. He came home one afternoon to find tears running down my face because of some sappy scene in a cartoon Emily was watching, and says, "Well, this will give us a basis of comparison for the mood swings you were worried about." Good point, honey.

That's ok. As long as I can still laugh at myself I know my occasional cloud bursts won't drive Christoph crazy. Just don't get me started on forgetfulness after having kids!

Saturday, July 8, 2006

Sisterly Love

I come from a family with two younger brothers. The only time I can remember wishing for a sister was when I was nine years old and my mom was pregnant with my brother. According to the ultrasound he was supposed to be a girl, and I was excited about that. We were waiting in the hospital waiting room and I'm told that when my dad came out to tell us HE was born I grumpily stated, "Jonathan (my other brother) always gets what he wants!". After that momentary disappointment I quickly grew to appreciate the joys and benefits of being the only girl. I never had to share my room, and my brother was never interested in getting into my stuff. All this to explain that I had very mixed feelings when my own ultrasound told me my second child was a girl.

Never having had a sister, I wasn't sure how I felt about having two girls. Most of my friends growing up who had sisters fought like crazy. They complained about having to share birthdays, rooms, possessions. And, for some crazy reason I've always been concerned about having one daughter that was really pretty and one that, well, wasn't. Shallow, I know, but I would feel so bad for both of them.

So, two girls. Sisters. Since my childhood I've met many girls who loved having sisters and are great friends with them, so I wasn't completely freaked out by the idea. However, Emily's lack of interest in the baby and her repeated requests for a dog instead of a baby sister did nothing to assuage my fears. She has on a couple of occasions talked excitedly about getting bunk beds or a swing set when her sister is older, but I think that's more interest in the possessions then in sharing them with Katrina.

And then last week, a breakthrough. I was upstairs getting ready for work and Katrina was downstairs secure in her bouncy seat. Emily appears at my side and says, in her inimitable emphatic way, "Mommy, I dragged my little chair over next to Katrina so I could keep her company, and she SMILED at me TWO times. And then she fell asleep." She was so happy and excited about it. Christoph got home a few minute later and she had to tell him all about it too. It was so cute. I went downstairs and there was her little chair snuggled up next to the bouncy chair and the little sister, sound asleep. Since then there have been other occasions she has shown appreciation for her little sister. We were traveling in the car last weekend and Katrina was crying. Emily started singing her a lullaby. After a few seconds Katrina stopped crying and went to sleep. Emily whispers to us from the backseat, "I was singing to her so she wouldn't be sad." The best was yesterday when I was getting ready for work. Katrina was in a hold-me mood and was crying quite angrily. Suddenly I see Emily go over to her and start singing the lullaby again. Then She says, "Do you like that Katrina-B? Why are you sad? Do you want your milk? Do you want your breastmilk from Mommy?" I couldn't help but crack-up. Maybe they will like each other after all.

As an aside, just to show God has a sense of humor, my two girls share the same birthday and look VERY similar to each other, even down to their blue eyes born of recessive genes. Of course I think they're both beautiful.