Sunday, September 26, 2010


Yes, I am acutely aware that time passes all too quickly. (I am already 31, you know!)

In the everyday, mundane, regular routine, though, it sometimes feels like the days are just inching by.

But then there are these moments - small, vibrant flashes - that remind me that these two boys are growing much too quickly.

Today, I had one of those flashes.

Drew, October 2008, 21 months old

Reed, today, 18 1/2 months old

How have we gotten here already?

How is it that Drew is already almost four years old, long past wearing 24 month sized clothing? How is it that Reed is one and a half and already wearing these same clothes?

Maybe it's because of the clothes; maybe it's because of my birthday. But I found myself reflecting today a little bit. I don't feel like I'm 31. It doesn't feel like time has passed so quickly. It doesn't feel like Reed should be old enough yet to be filling the clothes that his big brother wore not that long ago.

But all of this is true.

And today, in a gray and red striped shirt, I am reminded to live in this moment.

Because these kinds of moments make time stand still for just a little bit.

Picture of the Day, Week 38

Reed has found his way into the coloring drawer in the kitchen. He's gotten into the habit of grabbing a book and the crayon case, marching into the living room, having himself a seat, and "coloring" for a good two minutes. :)

Last week I posted a picture of my favorite fall TV shows. These are the shows that Brad watches. Not a lot of overlap between the two of us, which keeps our DVR quite busy, but there are a few shows of his that I find myself watching occasionally, and vice versa.

Cupcakes for snack this afternoon resulted in a major mess for me to clean up. Why don't I think these things through?!?!

Brad gets the credit for this photo, taken with his phone on his way home tonight.

My favorite part, so far, of preschool is the artwork that Drew brings home. He has something new in his backpack everyday, and I make him let me take a picture of whatever it is. It's only week three...I think he's getting a little "ah mom!" with the picture taking!

Loving this right now.
Amidst the rivalry and tug of war and boys being boys, there are these little shining moments of love and care. It was such a beautiful day today, and when I suggested we go for a walk in the wagon, Drew insisted on pulling Reed. Just love this.

Topping off my birthday celebration with my boys at Culver's. It was a really good day.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Celebrating 31

I admit that I didn't think much about my birthday. Maybe it's because I realized I'm getting "older" and celebrating isn't what it used to be. Or, more likely, it's because I'm now "in my 30s" as opposed to just "being 30" I've crossed this threshold of, I don't know... oldness.

I'm happy to report, however, that today was tolerable. :)

I was given the gift of sleep as Brad got up with the boys this morning and allowed me a few extra hours of shut eye. Although my body is so used to the 6:30 "alarm" it was a struggle to sleep too much past my normal waking time. But 8:30 is better than 6:30 any day. :)

When I came downstairs, I was greeted with this:

I was showered with gifts in the forms of shopping certificates and love coupons. How wonderful to receive a coupon for time spent alone, help with the dishes, and a date night!

{Wow. I am getting old.}

My boys took me out to dinner at Culvers (my choice!), with a Pumpkin Spice Shake for dessert. Y.U.M.

The icing on my birthday cake, however, was this baby. It all comes down to this...the important stuff. The stuff that makes getting older - being "in my 30s" - an okay place to be.

Thank you, Brad. I love you so, so much.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


This is one of those "I totally didn't think this through" moments.

Or maybe more like "I fooled you, Mama!"

The boys had cupcakes for their afternoon snack yesterday. Yummy, moist, crumbly chocolate cupcakes. Being the smart lady that I am, I had them take off their shirts so as to not stain their tops with chocolate. Much easier to wipe off their skin than to Shout out a chocolate stain, right? Right. So I'm totally banking on much less mess once they've removed their clothes. So off went the shirts.

Well, I was right. Their shirts definitely stayed clean....but I can't say the same for...

the table...

the floor...

or Reed's entire body.

I'm kinda feeling like I got Punk'd. By a one year old.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Gift of Gab

Reed and I headed in to Dr. Hunter's office yesterday morning for his 18 month well-baby check.

His vital statistics...
31 lbs 13 oz
34 1/2 inches
51 1/2 cm head circumference

His weight and height are in the 97th percentiles, and his head... it's big.

He looks great, feels great, is growing better than great, he's great.


He's a bit slow in the language development department.

There are these benchmarks in child development; guidelines that tell doctors and parents if their children are on track or average or where they should be at any given age. At every well-child doctor's appointment, the nurse will ask usually four or five questions that give a general idea of how Reed is developing (like, can he use a spoon? can he stack blocks? can he squat without falling over? can he point to five different body parts? etc etc etc). At his 15-month appointment, Reed was only saying one word: "Mama" (I'm so honored). Typically, children at that age can say about five words. In the last three months, Reed's vocabulary has doubled! He now says "Mama" (and "Mommeee Mommeee Mommeee") and "Dada Dada Dada." YAY! Except...children at his age typically speak between 15 and 20 words.


We knew that Reed wasn't talking. This isn't news to us. (Although having a preacher as a dad and a mom who can babble til she's blue in the face, you wouldn't think he'd have any trouble in this department!) The only thing we have to measure his progress by is Drew (kid isn't even two yet and he's already being compared to his brother...) and Drew was a talkin' machine by one and a half. Reed's primary way of communicating is grabbing my hand, taking me where he wants me to go, and then pointing and grunting. Second and subsequent born children can have a tendency to develop a bit slower in these kinds of things. But, because Reed can only say two words, and because it took almost three months for him to begin to say that second word, he is being referred for a speech evaluation. This is important for a couple of reasons:

1) They will check his hearing to make sure that what he is hearing is clear and crisp. If there is a hearing impairment of some sort causing him to hear things muffled or garbled, he obviously wouldn't be able to form the right words in order to speak them.
2) Intervening early (like now) is important because the inability to communicate leads to frustration. And frustration can lead to behavioral problems. And I'm already well aware that a "normal" three year old has enough behavioral problems on his own!

So I don't know much about what this will entail. I know they will come to our home and meet with us here to evaluate Reed. How they do this, I have no idea. Should he need some kind of early intervention, it will come in the form of some kind of speech therapy.

Huh. Teaching a toddler to talk. Am I sure I really want that??? (reference earlier statement regarding three year old!)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Picture of the Day, Week 37

We spent just a little bit of time at the park for the Marigold Festival. It was just enough time to eat some fattening and delicious fair food for lunch. This baby didn't last long at our table!

A car ride for Luci...she loved it, until she found out that the vet's office was her destination!

My most favorite time of the year: Fall TV Preview! Parenthood started tonight, and these are some of my other favorites ready to record on my DVR.

Without a doubt, Brad's most favorite ice cream(s).

The workbooks for my next Bible study arrived today in the mail. We have our first gathering on Monday night. I'm pretty excited about this one. This was the first Beth Moore study I did, about three years ago, and it has been my favorite, so far.

We are so blessed to have some incredibly generous people in our life. The Ori family came over today to give their old outdoor playset to the boys. It was actually their boys' idea to give this to Drew and Reed, and our boys were more than happy to be the receivers of such sweet generosity.

Comforting Luci as a mid-morning thunderstorm passed through. (She's not a fan of thunder!)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

It Takes a Village...

...or at least one very cool get a very stubborn three year old to eat his dinner!

Dinnertime is one of our greatest challenges right now with Drew. It doesn't seem to matter what we are having to eat, he will almost always tell me "I don't like that. I'm not hungry." In an effort to instill good family values we tell him that it doesn't matter and that he has to sit with us at the table, whether he eats or not. It's important that our family share our meals together.

In the past, we've negotiated the actual eating part of the meal. He'll usually sit there, plate untouched, until we are about finished eating. We'll inform Drew that if he doesn't eat, he won't be getting a bedtime snack. Previously, we would keep his plate on the table until snack time, and if he asked for snack, we'd tell him he had to eat his meal first. 9.9 times out of 10, he'd eat it.

So, we changed our tactic. It wasn't a matter of not liking the food, it was a matter of pure ornery-ness. Now, if he doesn't eat at dinner time, he doesn't get a second chance. No dinner at dinner time, no snack. Period.

We still get the "I don't like that" and "I'm not hungry" and he still stalls when he's actually sitting at the table. Usually, however, he does end up eating before we are through. If he doesn't, we stick to our guns. No snack. And he knows it.

It doesn't seem to matter where we are or who has done the cooking (unless Ronald McDonald did it), we go through this same routine. At one of our recent visits to my parent's house, my brother Justin was there, and witnessed this drama. He simply told Drew "I think you can eat everything on your plate."

And Drew did.

Just. like. that.

I was equal parts appreciative and frustrated, let me tell ya!

So, this past Monday night. Dinner time, same story. We're having pork chops, parmesan noodles, and green beans. Surprisingly (because we made it into a game), Drew has eaten his pork chop but wants nothing else.

Drew: "How much more do I have to eat to be done?"
Mom: "All of it."
Drew: "Nut uh."
Mom: "Yep. I bet Uncle Justin would tell you to eat all of it."
Drew: "Nut uh!"
Mom: "Do you want to call him and ask?"
Drew: "Yeah!"
[calling Uncle Justin...]
Justin: "Hi."
Drew: "HI!"
Justin: "Hey Boogs, what's up?"
Mom: "Ask him your question, Bubba."
Drew: "How much do I have to eat?"
Justin: "What's on your plate?"
Drew: "Noodles and beans."
Justin: "I think you can eat all of it."

HALLELUJAH! I thanked the good Lord above that my brother knew exactly what I needed him to say, without even having to allude to it!

And yes, I did tell Drew "I told you so."

And yes, Drew did eat everything on his plate.

We sent this picture via text to Uncle Justin five minutes later.

Justin...THANK YOU!

Thursday, September 16, 2010


It is everywhere.

And it is gross.

Oozing out of the boys' noses...drip, drip, a new kind of Chinese water torture.

Except it's not water. Because if it was water, it would totally be okay for Drew to lick it off the top of his lip.

Snot is dried to the inside of my pants pockets from carrying around half-used tissues.

It's crusted to the sleeves, shoulders, and neck line of Drew's shirts because apparently "Go get a kleenex!!!" holds no meaning for him.

And this morning, it was caked all over Reed's face. And yes, I mean his entire face. Forehead, cheeks, upper lip, and eyelashes. For all I know, his ears could've been plugged with it. Which would totally explain his lack of listening skills.

Or that could be because he's one and a half. Whatever.

In the past four days, we've used approximately 230 kleenex.

That's a lot of snot.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Great Vander Waal Family Vacation

So, this post is long overdue. :(

You could probably tell from last week's POTDs that the four of us were vacationing in the great state of Minnesota a couple weeks ago. I guess my attention was distracted with so many other things upon returning home that my time to post more pictures got delayed.

(I'm sure you have all been on the edge of your seats.)

We had a most fabulous time.

In the spirit of David Letterman, here is our top ten list of things that made this Vander Waal Family Vacation so great.

10. Spontaneity - We decided on Sunday, August 28 to head out for vacation the very next day. It certainly adds adventure to ones travel itinerary, but it also lends itself to just a wee bit of stress trying to do laundry, and pack, all on Sunday afternoon.

9. The Scenic Route - In a tradition similar to one my own dad enjoys (hi, dad!), Brad took us off the interstate and onto many Mississippi River roads so that we could enjoy a different view. We took a few wrong turns, but that just adds to the spontaneity, right?

8. A Portable DVD Player - I'm thinking that a nine hour van ride with two small children pretty much makes an explanation for this unnecessary.

7. Flexability - Again, traveling with two small children should make this self-explanatory.

6. Carbone's Pizza - Delish. And we had it twice.

5. Amusement Park Rides - At two different parks. Drew's an animal. He wouldn't stick a toe in the hotel pool, but he doesn't want to stop on rides like "The Scrambler" and "The Monster." Not to be outdone, Reed has his fair share of fun on the rides, as well.

4. Minnesota - It's a great, great state. There's something about wearing Twins apparel in Minnesota that really gets a girl excited.

3. Friends - We were able to spend some time with some really close friends while vacationing. And we're talking about the best kind of friends; the kind that even though you don't see each other very often, you just kind of pick up where you left off last time, like you just saw each other yesterday. And the kind that take care of you when you really need to be taken care of. (To the Johnson's and Vrieze's, we love and adore you. Thank you!)

2. Family - Our week away included time spent with both the Clifton's and the Vander Waal's. Really no obligations to speak of, just time to spend together as a family. Loved that.

1. The Four of Us - This was the first vacation that included time for just the four of us. Our first family vacation. We were itching for some time away, where we could concentrate on each other and ignore some of our other duties, chores, and work. ("Parenthood" didn't get a assured, the boys were bathed, fed, and entertained on a regular basis.)

Coming home with over 500 pictures taken during the span of our week, you'd think I'd have some pretty impressive things to share. Uh, nope. We're still playing around with our new camera, so many pictures are duplicates (or more), and apparently the amusement park rides were really a highlight as many of our pictures are of either Nickelodeon Universe or Valleyfair.

Or maybe we just didn't do much. Because that's exactly the kind of vacation we wanted.

We arrived in Eagan around 7pm on Monday 8/29, and were able to catch dinner with Justin, Mindy and Perry (Carbone's pizza, round 1).

Pop tarts for breakfast, hotel style.

There are no words.

We spent Tuesday morning at the Mall of America, with the intentions of taking the boys to Legoland and the Underwater Adventure Aquarium. Well, Legoland was "under construction" and the aquarium would have wiped out our budget on our second day of vacation. So, the rides at Nickelodeon Universe were a better option. With Drew's timid and non-adventurous disposition, I thought for sure he wouldn't want to ride. He fooled me!

Drew and Brad rode on four or five different rides, and then Drew became super generous and let Reed and I have a try at the cars pictured above. There's a reason I'm not posting those pictures. Those cars aren't made for sissies, and the expressions on my face? Horrifying.

We spent Tuesday afternoon with the Johnson's. Along with playing Superheroes, Drew drooled over Elijah's Cars collection.

Meeting Lucy, the Johnson's youngest.

We spent Wednesday at the Como Zoo. We saw such a variety of animals, many of which Drew had never seen before (flamingos, orangoutangs, reindeer...). Not posting those pictures either. I'm sure you've all been to a zoo. :)

The Como Zoo also has a conservatory and flower garden. This was amazing. I spent several minutes in here taking many photos of the beautiful flowers.

Wednesday night we shared dinner with the Vriezes.


and Norah. Not sure if the highlight for Drew was the pizza and popsicles for dinner, or playing with Gracie's Buzz Lightyear with wings that shoot out!

With my family Thursday and Friday.

We celebrated Addy's baptism, and ate a delicious dinner at Jeremy and Ashley's afterwards.

Stinkin' hilarious. Self-entertainment at its best.

Back up to the Cities on Saturday to finish off vacation with the Vander Waal's.

A picnic lunch

followed by games at the park.
(Drew getting soccer tips from cousin Elise.)

Swimming and movies in the hotel for us, while everyone else shopped at the Mall of America. Rainforest Cafe for supper that night.

More pop tarts, hotel style.

To Valleyfair on Sunday.
This is the ride that surprised me. We explained to Drew that if he wanted to ride it, he'd have to go by himself. No problem! (Why can't he be this willing to go to preschool all by himself!)

Both Brad and I were able to get in a few "big kid" rides, as well.

"The Monster." Drew's last ride, and his favorite. See his little hand poking up??

The Vander Waals

Oh, it was good to be away.

Really really good.