Friday, September 25, 2009

She's 30!

And by "she" I only wish I was talking about someone else.

But no. It is I. 30. That's kind of a lot. It's that age that I always thought was so "old" when I was younger. Boy, was I wrong! ;)

All in all, today was a nice day. Drew even behaved! No time-outs! Now that's a great birthday present! Reed was a bit of a stinker, not wanting to nap so mama could nap, too, but there's always tomorrow for that, I suppose. So for those dying to know (and I'm sure you all are), what did I do on my 30th??

Laundry. I did laundry. And will be doing more laundry tomorrow.

Thrilling, I know.

Oh, and I shouldn't forget about the family trip to Walmart. That was a blast! Brad especially enjoyed it. (He said I could do whatever I wanted I told him I wanted him to help me with a few's the only day of the year I can get him to go with me!)

And while I did do a lot of laundry (seriously, that maid is slackin' around here!) my day was great. The boys were good, and they gifted me with a small present this morning. Brad's gift arrives in November. Or rather, we're going to go to it...on a San Francisco...for a much needed vacation! I.can't.wait.

Yeah, I know. Brad's the best.

Brad also put this little gift together for me, as well. It was a nice surprise to see it this morning as I logged into Facebook. Since not all of you are Facebookers, we'll post it here, too.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Off the Charts

Off to Dr. Hunter this morning for Reed's six-month well-baby check-up. And although he talks like a baby, eats like a baby, and plays like a baby...Reed certainly doesn't measure like a baby!!!

He is...

23 pounds 2 ounces
30 inches long
and has a 47 cm head circumference

...just two pounds and one inch shy of how big Drew was at ONE YEAR OLD!

Reed is officially off the charts! I can't give you the percentile's Reed is situated in, because he isn't in any. Unless something like "the 107th percentile" is for real.

And all this time I thought Drew was a big kid!

Dr. Hunter assures me that he is perfect (was there any doubt, really??). He's growing in perfect proportion, and his measurements continue along a curve, which is what they want to see. "He's just gonna be a tall guy," is what the doctor had to say. I wonder at what age he'll surpass Drew? And if Drew will notice? Or care? Reed might be the "little" brother, but little he is not!

Reed's ears are healed from the infection he had, although they both have some fluid in them. Dr. Hunter suspects it is just residuals from the infection, but to keep an eye on them nonetheless to see if they begin to bother Reed again. (I've come to the conclusion that everything bothers Reed. He's kinda high maintenance...I can't imagine who he gets that from...) She also reassured me that she expects Reed's reflux to back off here in the next three months (as Reed puked all over me right there in the exam room...nice). He continues to take baby Zantac twice a day, and thankfully, it is still working as our "wonder drug." His next round of immunizations were administered today, and his next appointment is scheduled for December, when he'll be nine months old (!).

Monday, September 21, 2009

Pumpkins, a Parade and Papa, OH MY!

And Grammy, too! :)

We enjoyed another wonderful weekend with company as Grammy and Papa made the trek down to visit us. Usually we don't do anything extra special; we just enjoy spending some time together. This visit, however, as Morton, a neighboring town, was celebrating their Pumpkin Festival, we all headed out on Saturday morning for their parade.

"Mom, we don't need anymore." (Yep, that's right. That's what my two-year-old told me!)

Now that's a pumpkin! 635.5 pounds of pumpkin, to be exact.

We also had "movie night" where Drew was able to properly introduce his grandparents to Lightening McQueen. They had yet to see Cars and Drew was more than happy to watch it...again...for the 47,000th time.

Grammy and Papa also had a special delivery for Drew, from a new friend. My brother's girlfriend's 5-year-old son has outgrown his electric Jeep, and in an act of pure generosity, decided that he'd like to give it to Drew. (Now that mom has done something right! A 5-year-old who actually wants to give something of his away?!?! That's impressive!)

Drew couldn't wipe this grin off his face! I think it's safe to say he loves it!

And, in an effort to practice generosity himself, Drew thought Reed needed a chance to try it out, too!

On Sunday, we took advantage of having the extra hands and muscles to do a few things around the house; namely, rearranging the furniture in the living room. Compromising really is an art form...and when it means that mom gets her way, you know what they say: No one's happy unless mom is! We've made our primary living space a bit more roomy, and in order to meet Brad's need, the TV is viewable from almost every corner. As Reed's becoming more active and the toy population continues to grow, it will be nice to have a bit more floor space to play and move about on.

We're thankful that even though they live several hours away, our families still make it a priority to visit us. So, when are you coming?

Friday, September 18, 2009

When the Power Goes Out

What do you do to keep yourself busy when the power goes out?

Each ice cream by candlelight, of course!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Marigold Festival

This last weekend, the four of us took in Pekin's Marigold festival, complete with parade participation and deep fried foods! YUM! The festivities began on Friday night, when we walked downtown (about eight blocks away) and snatched our favorite festival food - funnel cakes! (Unfortunely, I forgot the camera so no pictures to share of Drew's first funnel experience. But trust me, he loved it!) Then on Saturday morning, our church walked in the parade, handing out popsicles and water. It was a beautiful day, and a lovely walk as I pushed the boys in the stroller.

If there was a judges category for "Cutest Parade Participant" I'm pretty sure these guys would've won.

The past two years, we've headed down to the park after the parade, where the bulk of the festival takes place. Food, music, games, and a traveling zoo make it the place to be on a Saturday afternoon. This year, however, Brad (the genius that he is) suggested we wait to go until Sunday afternoon. And was he wise with that idea! Apparently, the park was jam-packed with people on Saturday, and on Sunday, we barely had to wait in line five minutes to get our tenderloin sandwiches and hot dogs! Note to self: second day festivities are just as good as the first day, with 1/4 the crowd! It was another lovely day, but we didn't stay too long at the park. Everything costs money, and until the boys are a bit older to appreciate it, I'd rather not spend $4 for them to have a 30 second pony ride!

A view of Mineral Springs Park. If you look closely, you can see several white tents lining the grassy edges of the lagoon. This is what they call "Art in the Park." Arts and crafts dealers set up shop for the weekend, and apparently make pretty good sales. With over 100 tents, almost everyone we saw had some kind of purchase in their hands.

Fair food!

Obviously enjoying his lunch.

"Drew gets a hot dog, and I get a hunk of plastic?!"

Eh, he seems okay with it!

This is a "Kids Experience" area in the park set up with space discovery activities for children to try. This one let Drew launch his own rocket.

Another activity requiring an entrance fee: the traveling zoo. We admired from the outskirts. Drew's looking at a goat (my frame wasn't big enough to actually capture the goat...he was a pretty big goat.)

Supporting the Boy Scouts of America with a Brownie on a Stick!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Six Months Old

Why is it that the last six months seem as though they have flown by, yet during the last six months, the days and nights seemed to have dragged on f.o.r.e.v.e.r.??? It may have something to do with the fact that I've had the least amount of sleep I've ever gotten in my entire life? Um, yeah, that could be it. :)

Regardless, here we sit, six months after little (big!) Reed came into our lives. And what a six months it has been! As I mentioned a couple posts ago, it seems like things are quieting down around here (despite Reed's current ear infection). The reflux medication Reed's been on continues to bring happy days to our household, although it doesn't stop him from actually regurgitating whatever it is he has eaten. (It works to remove the acid from the crud that comes back up, therefore taking the agitation and pain away from his esophagus and throat.) And when I say that whatever he eats comes back up...I mean everything. Now that he's on baby foods, watch out! If you're not adequately covered and armed with burp cloths and washcloths, you'll have a lovely necklace made up of green beans and prunes! Nice, right? Needless to say, Reed goes through a lot of bibs and burpees, and I do a lot of laundry!

Another milestone this month: rolling over! At the end of his fifth month, Reed had started to roll successfully from his back to his belly. Now, he can go the other way too, making him one mobile little fella! He's also strengthening up those ab muscles, almost ready to sit on his own. Maybe all this mobility will lead to Mom and Dad not having to tote him around everywhere! Our big guy keeps getting bigger! At almost 23 pounds, he's wearing size four diapers, and wearing 12 month clothes! He's not hefty...he's healthy! :)

And Drew. The biggest thing to share about Drew are his "Drewisms": those things that he says that just make us crack up. Where do kids come up with these things?!?! Here are a few...

* While playing with Reed's toes, Drew exclaims with surprise, "Hey, Reed's toes won't come off!"
* Fortunately for Dad, Drew is starting to reverse the shopping psychology that I use on him. While in Target one day, I was looking at lampshades. Drew says, "No, Mom, we don't need that!"
* Drew: "Mama, my tummy hurts?"
Mom: "It does? What does it need?"
Drew: "It needs pancakes."
* In a long conversation about why daddy has to work, I finally say "Dad needs to bring home money so we can go shopping. We like to go shopping, don't we?" Drew smiles and says, "We DO!" (That's my boy!)
* Dad: "Drew, how'd you get so smart?"
Drew: "Mom got me so smart."
* I was in the bathroom, with the door closed. Soon I hear Drew say "I can see you mom." I look down to see his fingers peeking at me underneath the door. I ask him who taught him to do that, and he responds with "Justin did." Then, on a different day, Drew begins to lift up his shirt while we're eating dinner. Again, I ask him who taught him to do that, and Drew says, "Justin did." Uncle Justin, you have some explaining to do!

Enjoy this past month in pictures. We've got quite a few....all too cute to narrow them down to just a couple!

In an effort to lose the need to make sure all things are neat and tidy at all times...I bought Drew Play-Doh. But I still only let him play with one color at a time. Hey, I'm working on it, people.

Lounging with Dad.

Drew's fixing up his Cars cars. Handy Manny's hammer, Pat, oughta do it.

One night after his bath, Drew decided he wanted to read books. He sat on the couch like this for almost an hour, reading. I wish he'd always do this!!

They take pretty good care of each other.

"Ma, the plumber's on his way."

Keeping mom company as she cleaned up the kitchen.


Hee hee hee!!!

Despite all his troubles, he still knows how to SMILE! ;)

Making trail mix.

Mmmm yummy! (But of course, he only ate the marshmallows!)

Stud. Muffin.

Cuter than cute!

Helping mom put the finishing touches on his baby book.

"Me? Trouble? NAH!"

Go Dragons!

And again I say... Stud. Muffins.

Apparently, something's funny.

"Hey, Reed. Look at this!" Oh brother. Negative influences begin.

Drew's got this new thing where he doesn't want the baby gate put up in front of his bedroom door anymore when he takes a nap. Consequently, he's been quite the little explorer upstairs. The other day I came upstairs to find him napping on the guest bed. The kicker? He'd put the baby gate up in the doorway!

Like mother, like son. :) Introducing Reed to the goodness of Culver's ice cream...

...Drew's already well aware of its deliciousness!

"Mom, is that you? I can't see with the sun shining IN MY FACE!"

Enjoying Pekin High's JV football game.

No, he's not too cool to eat his veggies; nor is he too cool to reflux them back up onto himself!

Reed is definitely Daddy's Little Boy!

Stinkin' adorable. What else is there to say??

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Monster Within

Wasn't it just a few days ago that I said things around here are "quieting down"??? Note to self...never state things are going well, because inevitably, things will begin to get very l.o.u.d.

The monster that once resided inside Reed is once again making himself known.

Poor little Reed. He just can't win.

The long and short of it is, Reed hasn't been sleeping. For the past week he's been waking in the night, crying, needing to be consoled and rocked before he can fall asleep again, only to wake anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour and a half later and do it all again. Just to give you a frame of reference: I was up with him SEVEN times between the hours of 12:30 and 5:30 on Sunday night. Yep. Seven. Ouch!

So, needless to say, it's been a bit hairy around here. I figured he's teething, working on those little chompers, waiting for them to pop through. I think I'm right, as he's got drool down to his toes and he's constantly licking the snot off of his upper lip. However, things have just gotten progressively worse, as even benadryl couldn't keep him asleep. So I called into the pediatrician yesterday afternoon. We went and saw her this morning, and indeed, Reed has an infection in his left ear. So good news, and bad news. Bad news: the poor lad is indeed sick. Good news: it's something we can treat with an antibiotic and don't have to deal with "waiting it out."

After stopping at the pharmacy to pick up that delicious pink amoxicillin, we came home, and it was then that I realized the arsenal of drugs my poor monkey is on.

In Reed's medicine cabinet you will find tylenol and motrin, saline solution and benadryl, Vick's BabyRub (this stuff is great, if you haven't tried it yet. Works just like VapoRub but has a much sweeter smell!!), and Reed's three prescriptions (Zantac for reflux, stool softener and now amoxicillin).

Cross your fingers that our little guy is on the mend. Except for being so tired he could rub his eyes off, his disposition is otherwise bright. He's playing on the floor, giggling with big brother, and taking a stab at sitting on his own. Oh, and his weight? He's one ounce shy of 23 pounds! (Yep, my back could use a chiropractor!)

And unless you look really close, you can't even see his snot-crusted nose! :)

Saturday, September 5, 2009

My Favorite Things

These are a few of my favorite things:

1. My boys
2. Scrapbooking
3. Chocolate
4. Alone time

And my favorite of all of these favorites?? When I can combine all four into one!

After a particularly difficult day, when Drew won't stop saying "NO" and Reed won't stop crying, there's nothing quite as peaceful as retreating to my own little corner of the house, alone, to scrapbook. I love paper crafts. I love working with my hands, picking out fun color palettes, playing with stickers and other embellishments, and most of all, "remembering when" as I look through photos of my growing-much-too-fast boys. (Ahh, and don't forget about my candy jar, perched perfectly beside my pencil cup!) These moments are few and far between, as the demands of mothering have, well, doubled since Reed was born. But things are quieting down around here. Finally. Reed is maintaining a manageable schedule, and Drew is learning that sometimes playing without Mom is more fun than playing with her. I am getting more sleep, regaining some energy, and my creativity and motivation are in full swing. So finally, FINALLY, I was able to take a personal retreat two days ago to start, and actually finish, a page for Drew's scrapbook. I am almost a year behind in his book, and I have yet to start Reed's. For me, three quarters of my scrapbooking time is used to come up with the ideas and stories I want to tell in their books, as well as rummaging through all my goodies to come up with the perfect combination of color, paper, and bling. I admit, many of "my" ideas are "scraplifted" from one of my favorite magazines (Creating Keepsakes) so I can't claim them as my own creative genius. But I figure my brother couldn't have gotten all the artistic genes, right?!?! Something has to have rubbed off on me!!

I love this. I love putting pages together that share our stories, that showcase our family, and help us preserve some of our favorite moments. My hope is that, someday, my boys will appreciate it. (If not, I plan on being buried with these books!)

Here is the project I worked on a couple days ago. It's from Halloween last year.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Grandma & Grandpa

This post is long overdue! I guess I feel like things are finally reaching a new kind of normal around here, so I've been a busy little beaver around this house. Getting things organized and put away, like a few boxes that haven't been unpacked since we moved over two and a half years ago...needless to say they've been transplanted to a new box with "garage sale" written all over it!

Anyway, one of the reasons I've been able to get some things done is because Grandma and Grandpa Vander Waal came last weekend for a little visit. Brad and I had an event at church on Saturday morning that took much of the week to plan and set up for, so Grandma and Grandpa came just in time to watch the boys as we put the finishing touches on things over at church. And although we weren't around the house very much, I think it's safe to say that the boys had a great time! Here are a few photos from the weekend, courtesy of Grandma's camera.

Thank you, Grandma and Grandpa! We couldn't have gotten done what we needed to get done without your help! (And we've noticed all those secret little things you did for us around the house...THANK YOU!)