4:10 PM

Merry Christmas: Part I

Friday, December 31, 2010

I'm hoping everyone enjoyed their Christmas as much as we did this year. Starting on Christmas Eve Eve (that's the 23rd, if you we're wondering) begins our three-days of Christmas celebrations and traditions. I love mixing new traditions with some from when B & I we're growing up and we realized this year we actually have a lot of them (and even more we can't do until the kids are a little older!) Yeah, we have talked about it because we just love Christmas that much. 

Thursday, December 23, 2010 

We we're very lucky this year that this begin the first day of vacation for everyone. Since this was a tough year for most (including us) financially we decided to skip the whole "here's your gift and the receipt so you can return it for cash on the 26th" and made everyone goody baskets. (Yes I decorated these basket's from nothing...even the bow. I loved the result!)

We spent the entire day Thursday baking 8 pans of brownies, processing 16 jars of butter (Honey Walnut & Garlic Herb), 4 gigantic batches of buckeyes and 8 loafs of bread. Yummy. Brian is becoming such a kitchen-nut butting into my corner, taking over MY recipes and adding dashes of his own creativity. I love everything but him standing in my darn corner, it's mine and I'm not sharing. We watched Christmas movies and danced around the house with the kids blasting Mariah Carey's infamous Christmas CD. That night the kiddos hang their stocking and the elves make their appearance...

Friday, December 24, 2010

My grandparent's started this tradition with my mom and uncle back in the 1960's. My parent's did it with us... and I love it! All December my Mom & Dad would exclaim suddenly, "Did you see that! It was an Elf... I just know it!" or they'd move stuff around on our dresser and tell us the Elves we're watching for Santa... just to make sure we we're being good. As a reward, you wake up on Christmas Eve morning with stocking's full of goodies...

For us girls, we always got bows, hair clips, nail polish... things to help us get ready for Christmas' Eve festivities. Little man made out with one of those freezer cups, a dinosaur sandwich cutter, Toy Story Fruit Snacks (which he proclaims as, "CANDY!"), a Mickey Mouse magic wash cloth and a book.

We had plans for dinner at my Grandma's with my family that evening so we adjusted the kid's nap time, in hopes of a peaceful evening. 

It didn't work.

Hi, my name is Ericka and I had a Christmas Eve melt-down which included not eating one bite of dinner with my family, tears and breaths that came out in huh-huh-huh's.

Kamryn was set to go down for a nap around 5:30ish for about an hour (this is usually when I'm making dinner so K-man colors & she naps) and every time I tried to take her back I was sucked into the... "just one more minute... wait I didn't get a turn... but she's being soooooo good!" Did I mention Kaleb & Kamryn are the only people under the age of 21 that attend? So after being passed around during her nap time and someone in my extended family insisting they could quiet her down while I listened to her across the basement whining...

I ended up with a SCREAMING baby right smack in the middle of dinner. I excused myself to my grandparent's room in hopes of quieting her down and letting her drift off to sleep. Kaleb, who had been snacking on actual candy they had displayed was full of sugar and wanted NOTHING to do with sitting at the table. Brian missed dinner too, attempting to wrestle our 2 year old away from the candy & breakables without him crying so no one at the table thought he was beating him. 

At this point, Kami is going nuts and it's been well over an hour. Nothing I did worked... she was too upset. Brian came in and tried to switch me but that didn't work either. I took her back and at this point the family is breaking up from dinner and heading down to get ready to open presents. I finally caught a break in the crying when my mom poked her head in and asked if I need help, I shook my head and gave her look of panic, hoping to say if I open my mouth to talk to you she'll freak out again. She backed out...

Five minutes later my Aunt & Grandma poked their heads in asking if I needed help waking the baby and sending her into a full-on melt down. And it reallllllly made me mad, I handed the baby to my mom... made my way to the drive-way and cried my eyes out. Oh, the joys of Christmas.

I took a deep breath, talked to B, headed back in to a quiet house thanks to another 20 minutes of crying with my mom finally getting her to nod off. I did learn one big gigantic lesson, if I would've followed my gut and mother's intuition that told me to take my sweet baby back and lay her down at 5:30 I could've avoided the whole mess. I know my kids and this was so out of the ordinary for our girl. She NEVER shed's a tear, ever. 

I contemplated not writing about this event, blocking it from my mind and pretending it never happened. But it did and when Kamryn's daughter has her Christmas/Easter/Birthday melt-down we can happily read this entry together and laugh. Because at some point or another, your kid is going to do this to you.

We carried on and opened presents and enjoyed the rest of our wonderful Christmas Eve (Yes, wonderful even with the meltdown's)

Before we left for my grandma's...

Kaleb entertaining his sister.

My girl DIGS the pretzels.Yummy.

Kaleb took this picture (Yeah he's good!) and got her to smile like that. She realllly loves him :)

First remote control car... Of course, a huge Ford F150 replica.

He was a natural gift opener :) Sweet boy.

We got home close to midnight. Both kids stayed awake for the 3 minute drive home. We plopped our now giggling baby girl into her crib and she put herself to sleep. I straightened up while B put down Kaleb, telling him the story of The Night Before Christmas and that when he woke Santa would have left him prizes.

Brian & I stayed up until 2:00 am arranging the tree and furniture and camera... And of course the BIG GUY himself made an appearance and added to our gifts.

Most of those gifts we're for K-man, as Kamryn doesn't understand at all what is going on this year. We enjoyed a glass of wine together and just knew our kids would have us up at the crack of dawn to open gifts...

10:40 PM

It's a Wrap

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Well, my Christmas is ready... for my children that is. Brian and I spent a very productive, baby-free Monday picking up our gifts and wrapping everything together. Here are a few of the things under our tree this year:

Mike the Mower {He is going to love this!}

I'm surprised he doesn't already have these but he is crazy about the wooden blocks he has, so I'm excited to see his face when he gets these:

And his love for everything cars & trucks coupled with Mickey Mouse? And a Toy Story shaving kit. Daddy's side kick is going to be thrilled!

And some of Kamryn's stuff:

Oh and we cannot forget the tools set:

So we set off with almost 20 gifts to wrap, sheesh. B was, of course, amazing. 

And after 1 quick tutorial on wrapping, Brian's creative side came out. See.............?

And I just happened to have talked to Santa today and he let me in on these 2 secrets:

A Police Cozy Coupe {He will FREAK out}

And a Sophie the Giraffe for Miss Thang...

And I happen to have heard that their winter wardrobes will be stacked thanks to:

And now that they have been sent and have started to arrive at their destinations, I believe it's okay to post these WONDERFUL cards I got from Shutterfly:

Rejoice Lord King Religious Christmas 5x7 folded card
Create unique Christmas cards with Shutterfly.
View the entire collection of cards.

I love the inside. It has a few of those Christmas pictures I was telling you about a while ago. I am so excited to celebrate with my family and friends this year. Last year was a tough year for us and we are over-joyed and claiming God's presence in our lives as the reason we are so blessed this year. 

Just 3 days to Christmas...!

8:06 AM

Weekend Recap

Monday December 20, 2010

We had a great last weekend before the gigantic Christmas weekend coming up. We have a few last minute Christmas gifts to get together, some baking to do, a little crafting and a TON of wrapping. Good thing I have the entire week off to accomplish all of that... and since we have MORE snow coming in tonight B & I are headed out today (minus the kids & holiday rush) to finish up. 

After hearing for 5 months how Kami is "Soooo like her Father!" 
I just want to point out, she looks like me too :)

See? Like her Mama.... Thank you.

 I guess it doesn't matter... because she's so stinkin' adorable on her own!

And her obsession with hand hold has only gotten worse... 

But we did get in some quality crafting time this weekend
(Kamryn looks less than interested, I think she nodded off right after this pic)

I am really looking forward to the pre-Christmas festivities this week! 

Kaleb is 2 and some change.
Kamryn turned 5 months YESTERDAY!

{Random Side Note: Today is my 1/2 Birthday... I have no idea WHY I always notice this day but it's time to start counting DOWN to my next birthday. And exactly 10 years ago TODAY I was taking my driving test to get my Temps. Where in the heck did the time go?!}

8:33 PM

Kaleb Updates

Friday, December 17, 2010

Kaleb... where to begin? The kid learns something every single day. He is talking up a storm describing everything he see's asking, "what's this?" all the time. He gets out of bed every morning and when he comes out he always says,...."Morning Mom" really nonchalant, like he is just casually strolling through. He climbs up onto the couch and cuddles up with a blanket for a few morning cartoons. He needs a few minutes to wake up every morning before carrying on with his normal breakfast/vitamin/brush/dressed  routine.

When he wants a glass of juice, water or milk he will carry his cup and the actual jug up to you and asks, "Drink Mommy, please, Mmmm shank you." He can carry on full conversations, actually making plans with my mom once before I knew anything about it. Little stinker. He is into a few movies right now: Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, Monsters, Inc., Toy Story, Mickey Mouse & Tigger/Pooh. He's starting to play along with his Mickey movies yelling out colors, singing along and asking for Toodles. He usually watches a movie while I'm doing dinner each night and it helps him calm down and unwind. Sometimes he even asks for, "Popcorn Peeese!"

The kid is insanely curious... almost dangerous. He can open any door, climb in cribs, dressers, toilets, closets & dryers with ease. Several times he has gotten into the pantry or refrigerator and taken something into his room without our knowledge... oh, the messes I have cleaned up in the last 2 weeks. I almost caught the kitchen on fire because I failed to check inside the toaster before using it. Nice..... I need to look into safety locks pronto.

He loves to play trucks, tools, blocks, read, color, play playdoh, shoot baskets, toss ball and drag huge plastic laundry totes from room to room with random toys in it. I couldn't resist snapping a picture when he was using his "Pat" so realistically:

And doesn't he look so old here? Like he's ready for school :(

Oh and talk about extreme? The kid has no temperature gauge. We've had 3 accumulating snow falls in the last  2 weeks here in Cincinnati and Kaleb has taken full advantage of playing outside in this weather. This was the first snowfall at my parent's: 

Once we figured out what a nut he was for the snow he got an early Christmas present from my parents. Full snow gear from head to toe!:

Brian and Kaleb played in the snow for HOURS! Finally B dragged Kaleb in, kicking and screaming, promising to take him out again the next morning. The next morning Kaleb was asking for "Snow! Snowmen! Snow Annnngels!" bright and early. Brian's only comment was, "I have been waiting 2 long years for him to be ready to really play. This is AWESOME!" And off they went...

 He is now attempting to sing songs too, "Tinnnnnnnnklllee, Tinkkkkle Star, I wonderrrrrrr,  Up derrrrreeee, Diamonddddddd skkkkkyyyy!"  He has the sweetest attitude constantly asking Peeease, Thank you and Welcome. He asks for "Mommy Kiss.... Oh and hugs too!" He does that all day. He'll kiss Kamryn then tell me, "Mommy kiss her, Daddy kiss her..." until we've all taken our turn. My little love spreader :)

He is getting better and better at counting. When he's with my mom they go over it with him and we do the same, now I'll catch him counting his trucks, blocks and dinosaurs when he thinks we're not paying attention. He has memorized pages out of our favorite books and when we are reading he will do those pages. He loves  saying, "I did it! I read it!" We are still struggling on colors but he has correctly identified a few green things this week correctly, on the first try. Trust me, that's progress.

Christmas is going to ROCK for this little man in just a few short days.

And he will be exactly 2 1/4 on Christmas Day.
Kamryn is days shy of 5 months.

6:59 PM

Kamryn & Stuff

Thursday, December 16, 2010

I know I have one gigantic update that needs to be done and to make it easier I’m going to divide it into two, one blog for each child. Ladies first :) my sweet baby girl will be 5 months in a few days. She’s rolling both ways, talking up a storm, sleeping like a hibernating grizzly, drooling like crazy and giving us a few premature grey hairs these last few weeks.

About a week before Kamryn’s routine 4 month appointment she developed a few unexplained fevers but had no other obvious symptoms. We did fever control and got her into the doctor right away. I thought maybe the ears? No, not red at all. The doctor confirmed by observation of no symptoms. She still had a ravenous appetite, an abundance of wet and dirty diapers and a very happy overall attitude despite the fevers.

She sent me that same day for blood work and to get a urine specimen to rule out infection and the chance of UTI (urinary tract infection). As soon as I heard those letter’s I cringed. Seriously, I did. I have watched my poor sister suffer for YEARS with constant UTI’s… I mean constant. Come to find out we have a family history of a condition called urinary reflux.

With normal urination, the bladder contracts and urine leaves the body through the urethra. With vesicoureteral reflux, some urine goes back up into the ureters and possibly up to the kidneys. Reflux exposes the kidneys to infection. In children, particularly those in the first 6 years of life, urinary infection can cause kidney damage. The injury to the kidney may result in renal scarring and loss of future growth potential or widespread scarring and atrophy. Even a small area of scarring in one kidney may be a cause of high blood pressure later in life. Untreated reflux on both sides can, in the most severe instances, result in kidney failure requiring dialysis or kidney transplantation. (I got that info here).

Yikes. So the plan is basically clear this UTI with antibiotics and then schedule her for 2 tests, a VCUG and renal ultrasound. You can read about the tests on that same site above. We go this Tuesday for those tests. When I took Kamryn to the hospital for her repeat cath (to make sure the UTI had cleared) we must have grabbed some sort of 24-hour bug. By 6 p.m. that night I was hugging a toilet bowl for the first, and with hope, the last time this winter season. It started around 5:15 pm when I was trying to make dinner. I noticed something was really wrong when I was resting my head inside the freezer to cool down. I told B to take over and so began my night in the bathroom...

I think I took 146 baths and ran us out of hot water over and over and over again. It was the ONLY thing that seemed to ease the stomach cramping. Kamryn slept all night in her crib and Kaleb was in bed with Brian, so they all shared one room. When I finally felt okay the next morning around 5:45 Brian got up to give the baby her morning bottle. She took all 5 ounces and immediately threw the entire thing up. She had a fever so poor Brian had to step in again.

I called my mom to let her know Brian was going to drop Kaleb on the way to Children's with Kamryn. Fever and vomiting in a 4 month old needed a check, for my own piece of mind. I wrote every detail I could think of on a card and gave it to B with our insurance card. Bags packed they headed off by 6:30 am into a cold, snowy-rain-sleet mix of a morning.

I took some medicine, said a prayer for B and the babies and headed off to sleep for the first time in 36 hours. My dad decided to ride with B to the ER so I'm sure you can imagine the hilarity that ensued with this dad-grandpa duo taking baby girl to the hospital. Oh. my. gosh. Brain said by the time the 3rd nurse came in she asked him who Kamryn's PCP was and he couldn't remember her last name, she started laughing and told him, "You're doing good dad. It's okay, she was just here for a cath, we'll just use that information." She said they VERY rarely see dad's doing this type of heavy lifting when it comes to the kids. I'm pretty proud of B. 

She was fine. She had the same thing as me and got sick randomly over the next 6 days. Seriously, like every 3rd feed she'd be sick. But the doc said it was normal and we all survived. It's kind of insane what daddy's will do for their girls. I love it.

Kamryn had her 4 month appointment and got a great report. She was in the 70th percentile weighing in at 14 pounds, 7 ounces. Kaleb was already 17 pounds, 9 ounces at his 4 month appointment {88%). However, Kamryn is holding her own in the height department at 25 1/2 inches which was off the percentile page {99+%} and Kaleb was 25 3/4 {81%}. I have some long babies, thank you Brian.

Kamryn has such a fun, bubbly personality. She is smiling constantly. She wakes up cooing and talking, never a cry or scream. She is fiercely independent already, using her legs to thrust herself upright into sitting position. See....

She is always doing that! In her swing, hi-chair, boppy, play mat... everywhere! Since our stubborn daughter insists on sitting up, I wish she would go ahead and actually learn how to do that so I don't have to worry so much. 

We got the go-ahead to start solid foods back on her 4 month appointment. We have tried a few things and she honestly hates every second of it. She spits everything I've given her back out over and over again making a yucky face, squirming around, doing her best to sit up. She did enjoy a bit of mashed potatoes on Thanksgiving so I am optimistic. I think I might give her a break these next 2 weeks and then start over fresh. As many of you know, I am unrealistically picky. Like, to the point I'm annoying and an inconvenience. Ugh, I pray I do not have children like that, it's a curse.

Kamryn is still my ultimate sleeper, going down around 9:00 pm. She wakes only once at 6:00 am to eat, and finally we hear her singing over the monitor around 10:30 am... sometimes 11:00 am. Yeah, she's that good. She then is usually back to sleep by noon, taking her 1 of 3 naps for the day. They last about an hour, sometimes longer. I frequently find her asleep on her mat, in the swing or hi-chair. We just carry her back to bed, she sleeps like a grizzly. Frequently, Kaleb is dancing, singing, whistling, shouting, clapping, stomping, rattling and talking up a storm around her. She is unfazed.

She is teething now. It is horrible, plus the recall on those teething tablets I used so much with Kaleb means less comfort for Kamryn. Poor girl. If she wasn't drooling or gnawing, you'd never know it.  She loves baths. She is nuts for her daddy. She will sit with Kaleb all day long, laughing, watching him wherever he goes. She has the worst case of stranger anxiety ever. I mean, it's bad. I hate that for her  us because sometimes Mama needs a break too =)

She is growing like a weed and is such a joy to have around. Seriously, I am very blessed! We have some awesome new toys to give Kami at Christmas and I'm so excited to see her learn and interact. She is starting to turn into this little human with her own unique personality. 

And I am loving every minute of it. 

Kaleb is almost 2 1/4.
Kamryn is just days shy of 5 months.

{Update: I had this ready to post Sunday, but just now got my computer to upload the pictures. Kamryn did wonderful at her testing :) We got a call from our doctor later that evening with the results. Basically Kami has a very mild version of the reflux and she should out grow it by 6 months. To prevent any further infections while it's growing she will be on a very low dose antibiotic constantly for 6 months, until we can retest and make sure it's gone. Don't worry, I reviewed all my concerns of everything from long term effects to developing immunities and I'm confident this plan will work well for our buggy. Thank goodness. Prayers answered!}

10:32 AM

Christmas Cards

Thursday, December 9, 2010

One of my very favorite things to do is look at beautiful pictures of my sweet babies :) So, of course, for Christmas I feel the need to scramble around my computer...usually Scrapblog... trying to put together a card and send it off to be printed (with lots of pics of those pretty babies). This year, Shutterfly, has decided to make my life a lot easier with a ton of printable cards... just ready for pictures of my kids :) Yay!

I love the idea of a year in review card here... I mean, we did have a pretty big year. (Welcome Baby Girl!)

or this one.  oh........ or this one. And I just love this one.

I'll be sure to let you know what I decide. But after my invites are sent out...

Who wants to see the Christmas card they are getting on my blog before they get it in the mail? Not fun at all.

This is Kaleb's 3rd Christmas & Kamryn is a first timer.

10:10 AM

Singin' Jesus

Monday, November 29, 2010

I hope everyone had a restful Thanksgiving break. We spent our break as a family spreading our hungry-ness over 3 dinners in 2 days (including one that I made so we could snack on over the long weekend). Yummy.

I have so many updates to post but I wanted to share a Holiday story about my sweet baby boy that warmed my heart yesterday.

Kaleb's bedtime routine has changed a bit in the past few weeks, we are trying to transition out his nightly cup of water, in hopes of an easier time potty training in early 2011. Instead, Brian sings old gospel songs to him while they hold hands. It is so stinkin' sweet and Kaleb's new favorite part of bedtime. (I have tried to sing these songs to K too and his exact words to me were, "Mama where Dad? You, shut it") Yeah, my voice is that bad.

On Sunday we spent the day picking out our live Christmas tree and hauling it home (Griswold style, yes, right on top of our car).

We cranked up the Christmas music and spent the day decorating the house. As Kaleb was helping me put up our Santa in the kitchen a song (as many do) came on about Jesus.

He looked up at me with these huge, sweet, blue eyes and said, "Mama.... dey singin' Jesus!"

Yes, sweet boy they're "singin' Jesus"...

I don't know if I could've had a prouder moment... until the end of the song when he said, "Amen."

Kaleb is 2 years, 2 months, 4 days and really loves Jesus :)
Kamryn is 4 months, 1 week and 3 days.

9:00 AM

Happy Thanksgiving

Thurday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever. Psalm 107:1

Spreading some Holiday Cheer from our Family to Yours!

Giving extra Thanks & Praise for my beautiful, healthy babies.

2:01 PM

I'm Back... Again

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I cannot believe how long it has taken me to sit down and do another blog entry. My life has seriously been in over-drive the past few weeks and I'm so ready for a slow down. Every night before we go to bed Brian and I are making "game plans" for the next day instead of just following our normal routine. It really stinks, I'm tired, and I'm so ready for the Thursday-Friday-Saturday-Sunday break that is Thanksgiving.

I had some really awesome holiday portraits to share with everyone we got done of the kiddos. However, JC Penney, has now changed their policy and I cannot save the pictures anywhere on my computer to show you. They want me to send everyone a link so you can edit or purchase pictures of my kids. Um.... not an option. So not only will we not be returning to that studio... my readers will have to wait for me to pick the pictures up and scan them in the ol' fashioned way. Sorry, I know your bummed. Me too. But I do have some adorable kid pictures to brighten your day right before the Holiday weekend.

I mean, everyone loves adorable babies :)

So the term "wrapped" takes on a whole new meaning with Daddy's little girl.

 Saturday Morning I found them like this.

It's okay if you want to nom-nom-nom her cheeks.

Snuggle Buddies! 

Kaleb can finally use the head-phone to watch the in-car DVD player
{Translation: No more Mickey Mouse playing 24/7! Yay!}
**The glasses we're his touch, of course, my cool kid always.**

My happy, happy 4 month old! Yikes.

Kaleb is 2 and some change
Kamryn is 4 months (gasp!)