Monday, December 27, 2010

"Wow, You're Ridiculously Good Looking. Maybe You Could Do That For a Career"

~ Derek Zoolander

Photo's by Danny Vasquez - Check him out - he's awesome! More to come!

Sunday, December 26, 2010


Christmas was a total success and we still have one more get together to go!

Grandma Betsy came over and celebrated with us last Tuesday night and I made a steak dinner by request of Gavin. Not that I tasted the steak, but by the looks of things, it turned out really well!

Christmas Eve we had a small group at our house for a chowder and chili supper. We let the kids open a couple gifts and Gavin went straight for the DS game (he guessed what it was from the shape of the box....time for me to start getting more sneaky!)

Christmas morning was our family present opening. I, ahem, Santa got a little carried away this year. Can I help it that I am super thrifty and bought all my gifts at super deep discounts? Everything I purchased was on clearance, or a daily deal, or some short run special, so everything was at least 50% the usual listed prices. Next year I will need to start a running list, though, so I know when to stop!

The big hits were a train table for Sam, and Kung Zhu stuff for Gavin, and the best thing about these gifts is that they can play together with them. Sam is very fascinated by the Kung Zhu hamsters. And as we speak, he is sitting IN the train table playing, shrieking happily like the little monkey he is.

Christmas Day we spent at my mom's. My cousin's two boys were there, as well as my niece, although she's still too tiny to play with all the big boys. My mom made Super Cousins capes for all the boys and they had a blast running through the house with their capes and masks. Even Eisley had her own little princess of the universe cape. They had so much fun, even though Sam played right through his nap - he was in good spirits. He fell asleep in a matter of minutes upon getting in the car at 5:15 pm, I was hoping he would just sleep through, but he woke up at 7. Fortunately, I was able to get him back down by 9:30 or so - I was worried he would want to party all night!

After 10 days of a cold/cough that got progressively worse (after Sam's has pretty much cleared up) I went to the Dr today and got antibiotics for a sinus infection. I have felt pretty awful the last week, and all the holiday craziness (and skiing) I'm sure didn't help. I'm looking forward to feeling like myself again soon!

I have many pictures to post, as well as all the pictures from our photo shoot. No big plans for New Year's, and in a couple weeks Gavin and I will be skiing in Colorado! Chad will be on his own with Sam for the first time, so if anyone wants to help entertain Sam in the evenings (or bring them home cooked meals - ha!) I'm sure he would welcome the help.

I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas. Make the most of 2010 while it lasts!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Holiday Card

Pictures In Snow Christmas 5x7 folded card
Create unique Christmas cards with Shutterfly.
View the entire collection of cards.

Thanksgiving Photo's

My cousin Krista and family stayed at our place for a couple nights over Thanksgiving. They live in Illinois and we are lucky to be able to get together a couple times a year. Her oldest is about 6 months older than Gavin and her youngest is 9 months older than Sam. So the house was rowdy with 5 boys aged 6 and under in one place!

This morning cracked me up when I realized they had somehow happened to line up at the counter by order of age:


Friday after T-day I took the boys down to Festival of Trees. Sam could not get enough of the train. He rode that thing for at least half an hour.

 Gavin spent most of his tickets at the prize wheel. He was trying so hard to score a coveted Target dog. There were only a few available and he had seen them in the garage as I was collecting prizes for the event. He was so happy when he won it!

Monday, December 13, 2010

If Only Oreo Crops Were Real

This weekend we were driving out to Gavin's soccer game and we passed by a section of Grimes along the highway that had some undeveloped land.

"Mom....look! It looks like they are growing Oreo's on that field!"

The ground was black from dirt that had been tilled....or whatever you do to push all the grass under and make the ground just dirt. On top of the dirt was a thin blanket of snow. It looked exactly like a field growing Oreo's! lucky am I to be able to see life through the eye's of a child....


Sorry, not much in the way of updates going on here. I've been pretty lazy about taking pictures, and everything else is just going pretty smooth.

Gavin: continues to do well in school. Currently finishing up his first season of indoor soccer and will start the second season in January. He would prefer to just stay back and guard the goal, and is a little put off that we are making him play all positions so that he doesn't lose his fire when he gets back to outdoor soccer and he'll have to cover the whole field again. So we are working on that. He is constantly doing things that just surprise me with his creativity. He's been laboring over a picture for a few days now, and kept telling me he was working on a "dot to dot". Well, it's a blank piece of paper, but them he drew a dot pattern, and then connected the dots. It's a very cool little drawing that he's done, and the creating the dots himself seemed so smart! I have been very much on top of vitamins and omega 3's lately, and on the nutrition front, he's eating more of what the rest of us eat, less separate meals of his own. Meal time has become less of a struggle, and his behavior has been really great lately. Vitamins/nutrition/behavior all related? I'm convinced of it. I'm going to wait til the end of the week when I am back in the classroom and see if his teacher has noticed a difference as well. Gavin and I are going to join my uncles skiing in Colorado the second week of January so we are very excited and looking forward to that.

Sam: such a pistol! He seems to be adapting to the new nanny, who started last Thursday, very well. Right now he is going through a phase where he only wants to wear shirts with basketballs on them. Fortunately we have several, but it still warrants a mid-week laundry load. Fingers crossed, sleeping is starting to get better. The last three nights he made it to 4 am or later without waking up, so 7 or 8 hour runs of sleep. When he wakes up, rather than downing a whole bottle, he just drinks a couple ounces and falls back asleep. Hopefully this bodes well for sleeping through the night soon, something Daddy would appreciate before I take Gav to CO! Sam's latest tricks are jumping and getting both feet off the floor and wanting to do the stairs himself. He is also getting very good at feeding himself. He still won't give up his bottle for milk, but I'm not terribly worried. There are worse things to be attached to. He drinks other liquids out of sippy cups, and is getting very good at drinking thick stuff (like smoothies) out of his little Michey Mouse dixie cups.

On the food allergy front: Sam's reaction to dairy seems to be getting worse, so please do not feed him cheese, yogurt, milk, sour cream, butter, mac & cheese, etc. We do give him a few bites of yogurt here and there, but we'll ask that others refrain, because if I don't see it, I don't have a sense of how much he's ingested and if he gets too much it's horrible diapers and throwing up. I tried giving him a little peanut butter a couple weeks ago (he didn't test positive for peanuts but they told us to avoid just in case). The next day he had horrible diapers, but Chad was also feeling a little stomach bug at that time, so I can't say for sure it was the pb. But for now we are continuing to avoid it.

On the drinking front: the not waking 3 times/night does wonders for his fluid intake. We've been able to keep him within the 40 ounces pretty consistently. Hopefully it was just a bad habit that he's growing out of and/or if we keep him busier he doesn't drink out of boredom. We'll still re-test for diabetes at the end of January at his (gasp!) 2 yr appt.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

what the what??

The look on Sam's face here is priceless

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

This is IT!

You will have to wait for our holiday card, but here's just a little taste of the awesomeness you are in for....

That's IT! I want to post all the gorgeous pictures, but you'll just have to wait. Don't think you are on my address list for a card? Email me to make sure we have your address!

Monday, November 29, 2010

"I Win!"

The latest round of cuteness from Sam - he has been challenging his brother to run races around the living room for some time, but now he will just randomly run across the room, throw his arms up and yell "I win!!"

He is also practicing jumping off the last step in the basement, when he lands he throws his arms up (gymnast-style) with lots of flair and more "I WIN!".

He's so darn cute.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

"I Know Why You Love Me"

Gavinism, out of the blue

"Mommy, I know why you love me"
"Because even when I'm mad you love me"


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Friday, November 19, 2010

Festival of Trees & Happy Thanksgiving!

I haven't been good with the updates lately, and lest anyone worry something is wrong - it's not!

I have been incredibly busy getting ready for the Festival of Trees and Lights, an event that is held every year during Thanksgiving week. This event raises funds that support the Child Life program as well as the Child Advocacy and Outreach programs at Blank Children's Hospital. In fact, this event 100% funds the Child Life program! You know those Children's Miracle Network radiothon's that have you crying on the way to work? Well, they only support one hospital in every state. In our state the money goes to the U of I hospital which means that in order for other children's hospitals to offer the same program - they have to raise the money themselves. This is so close to my heart - and not because the boys have ever used their services. There really isn't much they can do in a NICU. But if my kids were ever to be in the hospital for any period of time, you can bet I would be SO thankful that this program existed.

I am responsible for the Children's Area at the event, and this is my second year doing it. We have all sorts of fun activities that kids participate in, in exchange for purchased tickets. There is no admission to get into the kids area, but you do need to purchase tickets for the activities. Activities are $1 - $2 and we have a great line up this year! (If I do say so myself) If you are in the area, PLEASE consider coming downtown and supporting this great event! More details can be found here. You may remember the boys had their pictures taken - come see them on display!

So that is going to keep me crazy for the next ten days.

The boys are doing great! We had family pictures done last Monday, so I am looking forward to seeing the results, although Sam was less than cooperative. It may look like we only have 1 kid in most of the shots. Oh well! That's life.

Gavin was referred to an eye doc after a vision screening at school. We were there yesterday and it turns out he is red-green color blind just like his great-grandpa! While you can't really get excited about color blindness, I have to admit a part of me felt a little happy knowing there are definitely some of my grandpa's genes in that little body. And now I have another reason to think of him when I look into my Gavster's eyes.

Sam is his usual spunky self. Still sleeping poorly and addicted to the bottle, although the nights seem to be making slow progress. He's definitely still allergic to milk - every once in a while at the store he begs for his "baby yogurt" (Stonyfield Farms - pics of babies on the package), and then we give it to him, and then he has horrible diapers.

We hired a new nanny! She starts Dec 13th. Our current nanny gave her notice (for the second time - long story!) and while we are very sad to see her go, we think we found a really good person to replace her. The kids (Sam and Kalin) have been with Brenda since they were 6 weeks old. It's very hard to think of anyone else taking care of them. It was always ok leaving Sam because I know how much he was loved in her care. Our new nanny, "K", has a lot of child care experience and is going to school for Early Childhood Education. I think (hope!) she is going to be a great fit with our family and the kids.

That's all for now, and don't worry if you don't see much on here for the next couple weeks. Between the Festival and Thanksgiving (complete with the Verdun family at my house = 5 boys aged 6 & under in my house!!) I am going to have my hands full!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Happy Birthday Chad!

Happy Birthday to the man that is still as cute as the first day I saw him.

Check Me Out!

Coupon System

Click the link above to read my guest post on how I try to keep my coupons organized.

My "guest post" - don't I sound official?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Trick or Treat!

Why didn't the skeleton cross the road?

Sam apparently hates all things fuzzy, so even though he LOVES Elmo, he was having no part of the costume. And try as you might to explain to a 21 mo old that people just won't give you candy without a costume, no matter how cute you may be, he didn't get it. We finally got him to wear a Pablo hat - Gavin's 3 yr old costume (from the Backyardigans). Of course we didn't get pictures. So he went out in shorts and a polo shirt and a Pablo hat.

Gavin was a rock star, Chad took them out the first hour, then Gavin and I hit up a couple more streets. All told, he was out almost 2 hours. Very much a success.

Gavin also spent a special day with Gamma Jamma on Friday. She is now "retired" and he had the day off of school. So she took him to lunch, walked him around the Botanical Center and Capitol building, and then they went trick or treating at The Register where he scored big time amounts of candy.

Because he didn't have any guts!

Monday, November 15, 2010


Seven years ago, the girl married the boy she daydreamed about in English class.

Octber 7th, 1995 was Roosevelt High School's homecoming and our first date. But before that, a tall, handsome boy walked into Pfander's English class and I "knew" (as high school girls "know") he had to be mine. Little did I know, that 15 years later we would be here.

November 15th, 2003 was the The most perfect intimate ceremony at the Hotel Patee in Perry, Iowa. We wrote our own vows - mine paled in comparison to his, but he was an English major, and a writer, after all. I should have cried (as many in attendance did), but I was too distracted by the fact that my veil was slowly slipping off my head. At the end of the walk down the aisle, Grandpa Joe (unplanned and unrehearsed) gave me a hug and kissed me before giving me away, knocking my veil loose in the process.

I walked down the aisle to Ben Harper's "Waiting for an Angel". (He's still waiting - ha!)

"Uncle" Zach gave a speech "straight from the hip, but heartfelt".

I danced to Frank Sinatra's "The Way You Look Tonight" with my Grandpa, and Ben Harper's "Give Me Your Forever" with my husband.

It was a celebration of love and friends and family, and a starry eyed teenage girl's dreams coming true.

We did not know that three days later those vows would be tested. When most people are enjoying their honeymoon, I was falling apart. And life continued to test us when less than a year later Gavin was born 13 weeks early.

Last night, the boys were up past their bed time, but I couldn't help but let them stay up and play. They were in our room with Chad and they were playing and giggling and having a blast under the covers of our bed. And I realized that things are about as perfect as they come these days.

In this season of marriage, people talk about the seven year "itch", and I feel like we're finally getting to the honeymoon.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Because We Are Aliens!!

Remember this post?
Turns out it was true.....

I just realized I never posted Halloween pictures - will work on getting those up!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

November is Prematurity Awareness Month

Did you know that November 17th is prematurity awareness day and that November is prematurity awareness month?? Did you know that after 82 days in the NICU, Gavin came home on November 17th, 2004? I get choked up just thinking about it!

In this month of thankfulness, I will always be the most thankful that the work of the March of Dimes gave us the chance to raise Gavin to be the healthy, spunky, crazy, smart boy that he is today. We are so incredibly lucky, but ours is just one story, and there are many others with less than happy endings. There is still a lot of work to be done.

Please take a moment to read the message below from the March of Dimes. And please take a moment to be thankful for all the children in our lives. Sick, healthy, full term, or preemie, more than likely you have been touched by the work of this organization.

Every year, more than half a million babies are born prematurely in the United States. The rate of premature birth has risen by 30 percent since 1981.

Premature birth is the leading cause of newborn death worldwide. Even babies born just a few weeks too soon can face serious health challenges and are at risk of lifelong disabilities. Premature birth costs society more than $26 billion a year.

In 2003, the Prematurity Campaign was launched to address the crisis and help families have healthy, full-term babies. In 2008, the March of Dimes Board of Trustees extended the Prematurity Campaign globally, and in 2009 the March of Dimes released the first global estimates showing the serious toll of preterm birth worldwide.

The March of Dimes works different channels of influence to reduce premature birth rates. One way is to raise public awareness of the serious issue and to invest in education of moms-to-be and health care providers. We also support medical advances and knowledge. Every year, new promising research studies are funded through our Prematurity Research Initiative. Advocacy efforts have opened the door to more federal funding for prematurity research and education.

The campaign is already showing signs of success, including a recent 3 percent decline in the premature birth rate. With more than 1,400 babies born too soon every day, much work is still to be done.

Find out how you can get involved by visiting the March of Dimes web site.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Honest Confessions About Motherhood

This post is part of Working Mommy Wednesday - head over to Julia's blog and check out what other mom's have to say!

I think I make it look easy on my blog. It is SO not easy.
I love, LOVE, my kids. But some days I'd love an hour at Target by myself even more.
Chad has been working a lot. I know it's not fun for him to be working all the time, but sometimes I'm secretly jealous because I would like a break.
Sam is so into babies right now, I would love to have another baby. Almost just to see how great of an older brother he would be. But I know there is no way we want to risk preemie hood again. Not to mention we are completely overwhelmed with activities and keeping it all straight as it is.
That stuff they tell you about feeding your kids healthy foods when they are little and they will grow up to make healthy choices? LIES!
Sometimes I pay my 6 yr old in quarters to just eat the same meal we are eating without complaint (hey, one way to earn their allowance am I right?)
I sleep on the couch with my 21 month old because he still won't sleep through the night and it's easier to just sleep with him than to walk through the house 3 - 4 times a night to get to him. I secretly don't hate the snuggle time
My 6 yr old is getting to the age where we hear "I hate you". While we definitely discourage this language, it doesn't break my heart like I thought it would. Mostly because by the time we get to that point, I'm so mad I don't like him that much either in the moment.

Despite the tough times, there are more good moments than bad.
It only takes a fraction of a great moment to make up for a whole lot of bad ones.
There is nothing, nothing like the love of boys for their mommies.
These boys (and their Dad) are my world, and everything I do, I do with the honest intent of making their worlds better.

Oh yeah, and they are pretty much spoiled rotten. Sue me!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


You know your couponing and deal buying is out of control when...

Gavin - "Mom, can I have these Combo's?" (I never buy junk like that unless it's practically free, and then I toss it in the pantry unannounced for him to find for a treat)

Me - "Yes, Gavin, you can have some."

"Did you get them at Target?"


"were they on sale?"



Me - "Sam, come here and lay down, we need to change your diaper"

Sam - "no, dude!"

Monday, November 1, 2010

Sunday, October 31, 2010


These are the only photo's I took all football season. Gavin didn't love it. It's a hard game to learn, and I can't say the 8 am Saturday football games did the experience any favors. We'll see if he decides he wants to play again - we'll certainly let him if he wants, but I won't say that I would miss it!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Friday, October 29, 2010