Archive for March 2012

Only the best for you...kind of...

Friday, March 30, 2012
I got to thinking I blog a lot about my kids and boast all about them daily and all that we are up to (well they are the best things ever, I know I know, only my opinion).  One of my friend's once commented, "You do the coolest things, you are the best mom!" 

It got me thinking, we often times only show the best side of ourselves to the public (in my case the 5 readers that frequent this blog :).  We reveal the parts we are proud to show off, the best moments, the shiney, beautiful, praise worthy parts of our lives. 

When you read a blog you are inclined to think "WOW! they lead a perfect, sweet little life".  I, by no means, live a rough life or have many trials but like anybody else don't wake up on the right side of the bed every morning nor do my children.  Just this week, Vera decided to stop pooping.  I mean really, who decides to stop pooping????  Then Solon decided to stop pooping in the toilet, seriously, who decides it's better to sit in poop in your pants? REALLY!?!  Are you grossed out see our life is not always sweet, it can actually be quite smelly and frustrating. (I mean FRUSTRATING :) :) :)  (but then I close my eyes and pray)

But the point of this post is to let you know - we struggle, we have our ups and downs.  But I also stopped competing a long time ago with the next mom because God made us all unique.  It is actually kind of perfect the way God designed it (Kudos GOD) because He created me to be the perfect mama to my 2 kiddos and you to be the best mom to your kids.  Now if we were all the same that would not be any fun because we couldn't learn from one another but His design was never for competition or envy. 

So please never think I am trying to make myself look good (frankly running on little sleep it would be hard to do anyway :), frankly life is too busy and short to worry about that. If you read my blog know that  I blog so that I can focus on the postive, memorable parts of my life - the parts that when I look back on I will remember because sometimes we get down in the weeds of the day to day muck of it all and forget to get out and above and see the beauty of it all which is all that is left when it becomes a memory.  One day TOO soon, I will dream of the days of rocking my non-pooping child to sleep and wish I was knee-deep in dirty wipes because someday soon they will be off thinking somebody else is the coolest instead of their dear old mom....So please never feel as though we live a perfect, happy, tidy little life but instead know I am probably typing with 1 kid on my leg an the other running circles nearby and wishing my pot of coffee wasn't ice cold before I got to it!  Life can be messy at times but it is about finding the very best and meditating on that and knowing you are exactly the mom God designed for this family...because before long that it will be all over and we will wish we spent less time worrying and more time just enjoying!

And above all else praise God because He is the one that has give us this life we are living and is teaching us all the time to choose the best and let the rest just go!

Okay enough of that soap box I am on, I need the reminder just as much as the next guy BUT Solon needs his stool back...and I am sure the next post I will be back to talking all about my 2 precious, adorable gifts from GOD - so no worries I am done rambling!!!

Solon the Skiing Man....

Thursday, March 29, 2012
Anya (our great hostess) with Vera, Solon and Erin

If you ask me...Whistler, BC is not a bad place to learn how to ski!  Solon thought it worked just fine as well...we started off skiing down the hill from the condo and then got his FREE ticket (yes they are free until they are 6 on a "tot ticket") before embarking on our first chairlift ride.  He did fine and hopped right on, they didn't have to slow the down the chair (although it was already going at snail speed but alas they did not stop it for us - and it stops frequently!).

Can you spot us coming down the mountain.  It took the first day of me holding him between my legs for him to get the feel of the motion...boy were my quads burnin'!  Then the 2nd day he kind of could stand up straight and balance with his arms out...or maybe it was the cool helmet cover Grandma got him that looked like a kids have helmet covers!

Here it looks like he is a rag doll puppet and yes I kind of held him up with the harnass (greatest invention EVER) in the 2nd phase of learning...

Hopping on the chairlift - hoping we don't strangle ourselves or get hooked by the harnass...

A successful departure...Solon loved the ride and So did mama (a great way to rest the burning quads and back :) - He also wanted to help put the bar down and up - such a first born and rule follower!

And by about the 3rd run on the 2nd day he was skiing with the harnass fully let out.  His legs are still too small to have the muscles to point them into a pizza but by next winter they will be stronger and he will be old enough to go to ski school which means mama's legs are more or less, somewhat off the hook!

It was pure joy carrying on the family tradition of teaching the young the love of skiing.  Solon would have continued up and down forever but our bellies started growling and it was time for lunch.  He has asked almost everyday since we got home when we can go again - I would call that a success!  I think he is going to be smoking us before long!

Skiing at Whistler, BC....

Wednesday, March 28, 2012
We got up the next morning and hit the slopes...first we took Solon skiing (more on that later) and then we took to the slopes as just adults!
Ellen was ready to go....
Whistler-Blackcomb is the largest ski resort in North America.  We spent 3 days skiing and only touched the surface of all the runs.  What we did do, we fell in love with!  Whistler hosted the alpine events for the Vancouver Olympics in 2010.  As part of that work they made the peak to peak tram which is the largest unsupported cableway in the world and crosses the valley below.  It was amazing!

We had a great time skiing together as always!

Off to Canada we go...

Tuesday, March 27, 2012
 I know some people thought we were crazy to go on another trip after just returning home from Australia BUT this opportunity was given to us by my generous parents and with Scott working CRAZY hours at work right now, it worked out for the kids and I to go while he worked non-stop (poor Guy but the end is in sight - kind of)....So we went to visit Whistler, British Columbia.  Good thing we had the passports...

My sister and I flew to Denver from Des Moines and met my parents there and then we all headed together to Vancouver. From there a van took us into the mountains along the fjords of Canada to Whistler.  It was the most beautiful trip.  Luckily the van came with a DVD player so Solon enjoyed some viewing pleasure!

We had a long layover in Denver SO we rode the train around the full circut about 10 times.  Solon was in heaven "driving" the train and we could all relax and talk.  A couple of people asked if we missed our stop :)!
When we arrived to Whistler we were greeted by some great family friends, the Abercrombie's who own 2 condos (and rent them out) there.  Solon, Ellen, Vera and I had our own condo to spread out in which was great!  After unpacking and saying hello, we headed off to get fitted for skis.  Since we only ski once a year if that we just rent our skis.  Solon had to get his skis since he was going to learn how for the 1st time!  Very exciting stuff I tell you....doesn't he look excited?!?!

Whistler is just beautiful and is recieving lots of late winter snow due to the same system that is giving Iowa the 70's degree weather we have been having - made for great skiing conditions!

So I guess there are even more famous Vera's....

Sunday, March 25, 2012
Add this to the list of famous Vera's (and no this is not where we found the name either)...we found this sign as we were driving to the airport in Vancouver, British Columbia...not sure this one will please Vera but the slogan is kind of funny....

Sleeping Babies...

Friday, March 23, 2012

I "tried" to capture one of very favorite moments of the day when I peak on my kiddos before I go to bed.  I always kiss them both and whisper "I love you" and then just study their little faces so peacefully sleeping...I want to remember it forever!

Playing in Nana and Papa's woods...

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Solon loves to walk run in the woods at Nana and Papa's was beautiful weather with highs in the 50's at the beginning of March - perfect weather for playing in the woods!

The Phelps Museum...

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

We visited Scott's parents in Cedar Falls at the beginning of March and headed to the Phelps Children's Pavilion in Waterloo.  They were running a special for spring break, $1 admission for everyone...We have been before but Solon absolutely loves it and it is a great size to do in a morning.  Vera enjoyed some of the attractions too and Solon got daddy to go down the rabbit hole with him, mommy went up!  What a fun morning...

Bye Bye Bug...

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

When I was young and in college I didn't think about the inpracticality of the was perfect for a young teacher - just the right apple red!  But gone are those days and now I am an SUV driving mama and my poor husband had to drive the bug and he did so humbly for over 2 years...he is a great man!  Not too many men would do that but God blessed him with a good trade from his father-in-law and now he is driving a more manly car :)....I was sad to see the bug go but I know some other special driver will find the satisfaction and joy in driving her :)!

Vera is 6 months old...

Monday, March 19, 2012
I mean how is life not perfect when you stare at that beautiful little miss that God created just for you to raise, disciple and love unconditionally - what a mighty task and what a sweet girl.  We are blessed beyond words....let me regain my composure and tell you what is up with our very special little lady in month 6 :)

Well this last picture sums up our little lady - she is a moving and shaking machine these days and gone are the days where she will sit and smile for the camera :)!  Luckily my new camera takes speedy shots of her sweetness :)
  • Vera is now a talker, oohing and ahing, "talking" to her brother, telling us what is on her mind and pursing her lips to say "oh" which is AH-dorable
  • She is rolling over like crazy.  She mastered rolling from her tummy to her back in the LAX airport on the way home from Australia
  • 2 days later she mastered rolling to get to a desired location and now she is mobile
  • She is still working on sleeping through the night...she likes to wake up at 3:30 or 5:30 for a tiny little snack (and mommy only feeds her for about 2 minutes these days - but she wakes up very mad - judge away :)
  • She goes to bed about 8:15 after her last feeding and the last few days has cut her evening cat nap but sometimes still takes one right after dinner for about 20 minutes
  • takes a 45 minute nap when we are on the go in the morning and a longer afternoon nap 1.5-2 hours generally
  • Wearing mostly 6 month clothes but with this beautiful summer weather I have put on a few of her 6-12 month clothes...they are too big in the waist yet though
  • She wears size 2 diapers
  • She is now eating rice cereal and a veggie at dinner.
  • We have tried green beans, peas, and sweet potatoes thus far and is starting to "like" her veggies
  • Rice cereal and her intestines are still working on getting along - poor thing :)
  • She loves her toys now and likes to play on her activity mat
  • She loves to be read to and sung to
  • She loves her big brother and he likes to give her sloppy kisses
  • She goes through about 4 diapers a day sometimes 1-2 more
  • She still has very tiny feet just like her brother
  • Loves to take off her socks and eat her toes
  • Puts everything in her mouth
  • grabs and pulls at her headbands to take them off (I don't think so :)
  • Still nurses 5 times a day (wake-up, 10:30, 1:30, 4:30, and bedtime)
  • Loves her pink fuzzy blanket and likes to fall asleep with it on her face and then I pull it next to her cheek
  • Laughs when you tickle her or play peek a boo
  • tries with all of her might to sit up but kind of leans to one side and the collapses over
  • likes to stand tall on her legs
She is just a lovable, happy, smiley all the time kind of gal and we love her so much and squeeze her and hug her everyday because she is growing way too fast in our opinion.  We are so thankful to God for her and her brother - what a true blessing from Above they are!

Don't take your double stroller on vacation...

Sunday, March 18, 2012
So the only major snafu of the whole vacation was the dang double stroller.  From the moment we checked in to our flight, I should have known it was going to be a thorn :)!  We have never traveled with 2 kiddos before.  In the past when we traveled, we have always taken our single chicco stroller and they let us gate check it with no problem.  I have seen other double strollers in airports so I never thought to check the airline's website to see if they were allowed.  Oops - first mistake.  They don't allow double strollers to be gate checked but they will check it as checked luggage for free which is okay but not ideal when you are traveling in big airports....
When I travel to Canada, I am taking 2 single strollers so my sister/mom will push one kiddo and I will push the other...should be interesting but atleast they can ride :)

My suggestion to all those traveling is to take 2 umbrella strollers or a double umbrella stroller type that folds much more compactly and then call ahead just to double check...a little advice from 1 mama to another :)

Our Aussie Adventure:Day 14...

Saturday, March 17, 2012
Good-bye Sydney, Good-bye Australia, Good-bye Malin's!
It was SO hard to say good-bye - so many tears!

We had an absolutely incredible, amazing, fantastic, out of this world time and we all could have stayed longer.  We were not ready to go....but of course we packed their SUV to the brim with our 3 suitcases, 3 carry-ons, a carseat, double stroller, 2 children, and 3 adults.  Raquel and the kids had to stay at their house, there was simply no way they would fit.  We drove to the airport seeing the Sydney Opera House and Harbor Bridge one last time.  We arrived at the airport and unloaded and headed to the ticket counter with 2 hours until flight take off...we thought we would have plenty of time.  But as we waited and waited and waited, 15 minutes went by in line then 30 and finally 1 hour of standing in line (and mind you there were only 15 people ahead of us)...Scott and I began to sweat at this point because we still had to clear customs...we left the ticket counter with 50 minutes to take off...Scott took our oversize luggage (aka the stroller and carseat) to a special counter and then we ran to customs where we HURRIDLY filled out our immigration paperwork (we should have done that in line :)...we (PTL) made it through customs in record time and were ready for security...thankfully they saw we had kids and let us skip the line and we ran to our gate as they started calling for families with small children...that was a close one.  Luckily the ride from there on out was pretty smooth.  The flight home is more challenging because you are flying in the daytime so Solon really only slept 2 hours (naptime) but Qantas had Disney Junior on Demand, we walked the plane a couple of times (our plane was a 747 - so there was some yardage to walk), used the restroom, had a couple of meals, played trains on the bulkhead floor and hung out - he was a trooper.  Miss Vera slept for about 7 hours and otherwise hung out. They were such good travelers for 2.5 and 5 months!  We were not as lucky this time and Scott had to sit across the aisle so another family with a baby could have the 2nd bassinet in the bulkhead but they were very nice and it all worked out.  When we got to LA we had breakfast again on our 48 hour Saturday and then all slept on our LA to Chicago 5 hour flight...we were so glad to be home, shower and hit the sack at 8pm - NONE of us got up until 11AM the next day and only because I MADE us....we were beat!

It was a trip of a lifetime and we were so worried if we could, should or dared but we are so glad we did and wish we could go again.  It was worth every dollar spent and every hour worked by my husband...the memories will last a lifetime.  Thanks Malin's for your hospitality and letting us have a glimpse into the life of Australia!  We are so blessed and thankful...

Our Aussie Adventure: Day 13 Part 2....

As I mentioned before this day was SO much fun - 1st the beach and then a date night in downtown Sydney.  Neither of us couples go out on too many date nights so it was fun to get gussied up and we had so much fun...
We headed downtown by train after their wonderful and amazing babysitter came (she is from Nashville, TN and is studying at Hillsong college - a real southern sweetheart).  We started off by having a drink on the patio on Circular Quay and people watched...what fun!  Then we headed up to Cafe Sydney and ate out on the deck overlooking Circular Quay with the harbor bridge to the left and the Opera House to the right...not bad for a date night if you ask me!?!
We each got an appetizer and rotated so each of us got to try a taste and then we rated them...they were all good but I loved my scallops the best :)!  But I did try calamari that still looked like octopus...
The sun setting on the harbor....
We ordered some Aussie wine and I ordered "John Dory" a special Aussie fish and had a great time....after dinner we walked up the Quay towards the Opera House and took some pictures.  It was a Friday night and it was hoppin'.  We stopped at a Belgian chocolate dessert bar and had coffee and a Belgian waffle dipped in chocolate...I needed the coffee because when we got home we still had to pack after moving in for 14 days :)!

We are so glad Scott thought of the "date night" idea....we hopped on the train back home and finished the night packing and chatting the night away - going to bed entirely too late but of course we had was our last night in Australia...

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