Friday, September 30, 2011

Hanging out on the Hunting Line

Does anyone else have an annual tradition on September 30th that looks like this? The best day of the year (other than our anniversary, Christmas, and our kids' bdays of course) is finally here... bow season. Matt is giddy :)... and I am glad to say I get to sit in a tree with my husband on op ening day... hopefully I remember to hit record.

Oh... and with the pictures you could play that game that you always played when you were little... "which one doesn't belong?" :).

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The PARK!!!

As a photographer, I often find myslef taking lots of "good" pictures, and often forgetting to grab my camera for the every day stuff... and these are actually the pictures that I love to go back through and look at months and now years later. So, when Matt and I decided to take a family trip to the park this morning, I decided to grab my camera. Going to the park is something we do probably 2 out of every 3 days. We will probably even pack up in our snow pants sometimes this winter and head down the slides a few times just to get out of the house.

I have been putting Eliott in the swing at the park pretty much since he was born, mainly just to give me free hands to push Madison... as well as to keep things out of our little monsters mouth. He liked being in the swing, but I wouldn't say it was incredible. The other day, Madison told me that I should give t-t an underdog. I thought, hmmmm... never tried that before. I flung him way up and then let him go and I thought his little belly was going to burst from him laughing so hard. I felt like he looked at me at the end and though, "Is this what I have been missing all summer!?!? Duh Mom!". He has loved the swing ever since.

Fun days at the park!

Our little pumpkin

Rhydian Talbot made Eliott this cute little hat as a thank you for taking her senior pics. First of all, I loved working with Rhydian and her sister and mom as well with her pics, so I should have been sending her a thank you, but none-the-less, it is a very cute hat... we just had to figure out how to distract him long enough so he would leave it on for a quick picture. Sister helped out a few times :).

Monday, September 26, 2011

Eliott Stands!

Today, while I was washing dishes, I looked over and Eliott was standing in the kitchen, looking at me, smiling. He was sort of close to the refrigerator, but not close enough that he pulled himself up with it and just let go. I wasn't quite sure how he had gotten to that position until later, I watched him get up onto his hands and feet, then slowly stand himself up without holding onto anything. He looked up with the hugest, proudest smile on his face, then slowly lowered himself back to the ground. You may say that we are going to soon have a walker, but I'm not so sure. He still doesn't really walk along furniture, refuses to walk while you hold his hands, and only plays 'catch-up' to his walking toy. We'll see. Maybe he will just learn to stand still in one spot for awhile... which wouldn't be a terrible thing. He still hasn't lost his incredibly fast one knee/one foot crawl. He's a fun little man!

The T-Man

Eliott is always good at entertaining himself. He doesn't need me or Matt to help him find something to do. Usually, this is a good thing, sometimes not. This morning, while Matt had the kids, he was in the kitchen when he heard Madison yelling from the bathroom, "No El-tt, no grab my poopy, no El-tt". When Matt went in to check things out, Madison was sitting backwards on the potty, which she sometimes likes to do, and Eliott was trying as hard as he could to reach over her legs, into the toilet...

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Hawks

Watching my first Hawkeye football game with Dad...

I have a wonderful husband...

Well, when Eliott came home from the hospital, his crib was in Madison's room. I knew he would start in our room, but I figured he would move next in to Madison's room. Not so much - the crib was then taken down and put back up in our room, then moved to the office. After awhile it was then moved back into Madison's room and for awhile this went pretty well... until Big Sister decided that going to bed wasn't her thing anymore. The other night, at 11:30, Madison was still awake. Pretty soon we hear Eliott shuffling around and then he is wide awake as well. All we hear, from the room next door, is Madison yelling (loudly), "El-t-t, El-t-t, EL-T-T!!!, Peek - A - BOO!"... over and over again. Matt had the heart to giggle, I wasn't quite so amused. So... the crib is back in our room.

This isn't a post so much about Eliott and his crib, but more about my husband... who every time I have come to him and said, "I think we need to move the crib..." has looked at me, paused, and said "ok". He then takes it all apart (since it doesn't fit through the doors), and moves it into it's new home, then puts it all back together. He is a wonderful man... mainly for reasons other than this.

Another moment...

Clean sink of dishes, a candle burning, music playing, dinner started, two kids sleeping . . . oh these moments are few and far between but wonderful when they come.

Summer Trip With the Williams

I'm a bit late at posting this one as well but, once again, better late than never. Our summer vacation this year took us to Des Moines. May not seem like an incredible adventurous vacation, but it was perfect for our little family. The Williams and us packed our two days full of wonderful, and some not-quite-so-wonderful adventures.

The day we drove down we stopped at the Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines. What a perfect little zoo for Iowa. We could have spent more than a half of a day there, but that was all we had. We saw tigers, lions, monkeys, ..., rode on a fun little train (highlight for Madison and Ayden) and Madison even got to feed a giraffe.

Then we headed for our hotel. The hotel we stayed at (the name I have forgotten), was awesome. We could have just hibernated in our hotel and had a wonderful time. It had an awesome pirate ship water park. I was so excited for Madison to go down the slides and play in the water. Matt and Brett had the wonderful idea to start the kids with the big waterslide (which you could take any age kid down). At the top, Brett challenged Matt to a race on the double slides. The competitive nature of my husband kicked in and Matt and Madison pushed off the top as hard as they could. Matt even layed down to increase speed. In the summed up story from my husband, the two of them were full speed about half way down and Matt knew they were in trouble. He pretty much held on to Madison with all his strength as the flew down the rest of the way, out the end, and under the water twisting and turning until they resurfaced what seemed like a very long couple of seconds. Needless to say, Madison wanted nothing to do with any slide from then on, but had a ton of fun in the kid pool.

... I just told Matt that I was blogging about him and Madison going down the slide and all he said was, "Did you write that we won?".

That night we ordered overpriced pizza, that was okay, and had a good night of sleep, Eliott and I in one bed and Matt and Madison in the other.

The next day we woke up and ate breakfast while Madison and Ayden sat at the windowwatching the waterpark, asking over and over when they were going to be able to swim. Finally we made our way down there and swam for the morning. We checked out of our hotel and wanted to do something before we headed home. We decided the Living History Farms was the place for us. It was okay... probably a bit old for our kids as we went from building to building learning about old ways of doing things. Interested, but not incredibly ideal for our little ones. Then for the funny part...

We saw a sign for a train ride and though, "Perfect - the kids will love the ride and we can relax on the train and drive around looking at the different things. So, we ran to catch the train and when we got there were told that we could put our huge strollers in the back. We told the lady that we would just leave them there, thinking that nobody would probably take them. She looked at us a bit funny, but we thought nothing of it and jumped on. As we drove, I thought it was a bit odd that the train was taking us around the back of the park, and we weren't really looking at anything other than highway and woods. I just figured the real stuff hadn't started yet. About ten minutes after we took off, the train stopped at the beginning of a woodsy trail and all I saw was a big water jug that you could hydrate up with. When the train stopped, everyone got off and headed for the trail. Brett, Karen, Matt, and I, and our two-year-olds and our two infants, sat there with totally confused looks on our faces.

Well... we soon realized that the train takes you to the beginning of the trail from which you are to hike a couple of miles through each of the century farms. The train driver told us that she was not the one that would be taking us back, then left us there. So, we started hiking. Madison refused to walk, so Matt carried her while I carried Eliott, until our wonderful friend Brett offered to carry him - did I mention he was also carrying Ahnie (there's a pic of this). Everyone had good attitudes (except for me at times... notice my expression in the picture of Brett carrying both kids... not the best), considering the circumstances. When we finally reached the end, we got back on the train to take us back to the beginning and the new (nicer) train diver looked at us and asked us if the strollers way back at the beginning were ours. He looked at us and said, "Why in the heck didn't you bring them with you!?!?". All I wanted to say was, "Where were you an hour ago???". Memories none-the-less...

We stopped at the Hickory house on the way home and ended our adventure with an incredibly yummy bbg meal and a wonderful ice cream sundea.

Great memories!


A lot of Matt's family came over tonight to celebrate Gramma Sue's Birthday. There's nothing better than family - I love that Madison gets to grow up near her cousins! Fun night!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

encouragement for a non-sleeping kid's mom...

I usually post for memories for my family... but I know some people do read this and maybe this will encourage one person....

If you would have told me 10 months ago that I was going to sleep through the night a total of, hmmmm, maybe five times in the next ten months, I probably would have sat and cried.... for a really long time. Let me start by saying that I am a mom that wants my kids to sleep in their own bed, all night long. I have no problem with a mom who wants differently, that's just what I have wanted from the beginning.

I read a book when Eliott was born that took me through the process of how to help him sleep through the night by 3 months... better yet, it was a no-cry method. I was sold and was determined to make this happen. Needless to say, beyond my best efforts, he woke up... time and time again. I was a defeated, tired Mom. There's nothing better, when you're in this situation, than to hear another mom talk about how her 6 week old slept 10 hours the previous night. I often fell into, 'What in the heck am I doing wrong!?'. Matt enlightened me (more than once) that mom's probably don't go around talking much about how their kids are such terrible sleepers, so babies sleeping through the night probably isn't as common as I may have felt.

To make a long story short, I have learned a lot in this process of having a little one that is not a naturally good sleeper (and now a two-year old that is a bear to put to bed)... here are just a few...

*God doesn't always give you patience (he gives you situations to practice being patient)
*I can survive on 4 hours of interrupted sleep and I don't have to be crabby to my family because of it
*To be happy for others (who have little ones sleeping well) even if my situation isn't as wonderful
*Don't compare your child to another's
*Ask God for guidance, and while you're waiting for answered prayer, figure out what you are supposed to be learning and working on in the process
*If you want a result, be persistent
*I can be a great mom, even if I have a two year old doing two-year old things, and an infant who does not sleep well

Matt and I decided about a month ago that the only way Eliott was going to sleep better was to let him figure it out himself. He was tot he point that he would fall asleep as long as I was in the room with him. This was all fine and dandy until 2:00, and 3:00, and 4:00, ... He cried (on and off) for an hour and 40 minutes, then finally fell asleep. He was practically sitting up. I felt so bad for him as he was 'hiccuping' since he had cried... but let me tell you, he slept through the night that night and many nights to follow. He's not mad at me for having to cry, and now does a great job at night... usually sleeping from 7:00 to 7:00 (needing a binky every now and then). I'm not saying this would work for anybody and you have to be at a point that you feel comfortable doing it, but it was what we felt we needed to do, and it worked for him. His sister is another story now. She sits on the potty as I type this at 9:00. She doesn't need to go, just trying to waste time. errrrrr.

We'll keep working on it patiently and persistently.

oh my...

... fun times.... so little... seems like yesterday!

The scene at our house lately

If you come to our house at any random time throughout the day... this is what you will find. Madison loved books when she was younger, but after awhile she rarely pulled one off the shelf. I remember thinking, 'Man, I hope she likes to read again someday'. Well, she is now extreme. When she comes out of her room in the morning, she is usually dragging the book with her that she read before she went to bed. She heads straight to the book shelf and drags off each of the other books one by one. She pages through the, not missing a page (if she does, she says 'missed a page', and flips back). Sometimes she reads to animals or Eliott, but mostly on the floor, with her legs out in front of her, to herself. There have been many days where I have had to drag her outside to play. The only 'owie' she has needed a bandaid for lately is a paper cut... and I say that truthfully. Love this girl...

Catch A Bunny!

Ok, so this happened quite some time ago, but life has been a bit crazy around here... better late than never.

At the end of July, we made our annual trip up to the good ol' Bremer County Fair to the "Scramble". This is definitely one of those days that you realize just what it means to live in Iowa. Kids of all ages get into a ring and try and catch various animals. We had been prepping Madison all week for this since this year was the first year she could participate. Her age group got to get in the ring and try and grab a Bunny Rabbit. All week she kept saying, 'Catch a Bunny, Mom?', and I'd say, 'Soon!'. Ayden and Jordann came along for the fun. To make a long story short, we took Madison (with her very reserved personality) into the ring with probably 50 loose rabbits. Let me just say that I was totally not prepared to bring home a rabbit... we would have had to find another home (two kids and a high-energy dog is enough for me!), but when she got in there we all cheered her on. She somehow found a rabbit who was trapped behind a bunch of people that no other kid was looking at. Needless to say, she had ample opportunity to scoop him up and bring him home. Instead she just studied it, touched it, and then let the other kids race in and grab him. None of the three kids brought home a rabbit, but a fun night none-the-less. For days later, she kept asking to go again and catch a bunny rabbit. It's tough to explain 'next year' to a two year old :).

Monday, September 5, 2011

9 months for Eliott!

You have officially finished your 9th month and you are everywhere! Holy moly. I have been in awe as I watch you explore the whole house from all kinds of different views as you now crawl very fast (usually with one leg up and the other knee down). You are very coordinated with pulling yourself up on things and carefully sitting back down to speed crawl to the next object. You'll transfer from one thing to the next but you haven't really stood much by yourself or taken any steps (other than catch up to your toys as you push them away). Awhile ago you started getting all four top teeth at the same time and they are all now through, giving you a grand total of four on the top and two on the bottom. When it comes to dinner time you often show us all up. Usually by the time I have put your food on your plate, then fix mine, I have to stand back up and get you more ready. You will eat pretty much anything I put on your tray, but don't want to have much anything to do with me feeding you from a spoon. You are pretty much out of your 12 mo clothes fitting into 18 months... soon, I'm sure into 24 months. I can't remember what you weighed at the doc, I'll have to find that, but I do know you were 99th percentile for height and 90th for weight. Dr. Huwe always calls you a 'leader' :). One of your favorite things to do is play on our bed with your sister. You just sit and bounce and then flop down on your face. Then you bury your head into the bed and walk your feet up and sometimes get yourself to do a sort of summersault... not sure if you watched your sis do these or if you figured it out on your own. It's very funny to watch! The summer is winding down and that sure is a bummer. You loved going to the waterpark and you still love going to the park and swinging. You have actually gotten quite the kick out of the swing lately. One of my favorites to post about is you are becoming such a better sleeper. Yay for us all! One night I left you in there to figure it out for yourself. You were mad for about an hour and forty minutes until you finally clonked out. You have slept through the night (other than an occasional binky replacing) ever since. You are much happier for it, and so is mom :). Your sis wakes you up every now and then, but other than that you both do pretty well. When I went to tuck your sis in tonight, you were zonked out in your crib. She went over to your crib all by herself, blew you a kiss, rubbed your little arm, put your binky back where you could see it if you needed to, and then covered up your little toe that had come out from under the blanket. You are loved by us all!

Boy are we in love with our little boy. You make us smile and laugh at your wonderful, easy going, happy personality. Life is busy with two little ones, but we wouldn't trade it for anything. We love you TT!