Let's go to the Drive-In...

Monday, September 30, 2013
Is there a better way to spend a beautiful summer evening then at the drive in movie?  No!  We had going to the drive in our summer bucket list and we were excited to check it off especially when we heard the main feature was going to be "Planes".  We invited our friends, The Porter's, to join us and we all had a great time!  The drive in is near Newton and about a 45 minute drive from us.  It is literally off a county highway in the middle of cornfields in the middle of nowhere.  There was a big line to get in and we arrived right when the gates opened, we were a little worried we wouldn't make it in but alas we got a great spot - phew!
The boys had some time to play with Dusty before the sun went down!
A little pre-drivein tailgate...complete with lots of yummy food.  My friend Emilie is quite the chef...she always has some amazing dip or dessert.  We were a well-fed bunch!
I met Emilie at the library, she was new to town and since I moved SO much as a kiddo, I know how it feels to be new :(...we hit it off right away.

We all enjoyed the movie and Vera was up pretty much the entire thing despite it starting at 8PM (her normal bedtime).  At the very end, she was delirious so Scott picked her up and put her in this chair and I am not kidding you 30 seconds later SHE WAS OUT with her hands covering her face.  We could not stop laughing....

A quick pic of the boys before we headed out.

Our drive in actually offers a double feature but you have to stay for the whole 2nd movie and the 1st movie wasn't done until about 9:30 so we knew it would be TOO late for our kiddos.  We hope to make this an annual tradition, it made for some special end of summer memories!

Soccer....our new four letter word...

Saturday, September 28, 2013
OH.MY.WORD why do our children have to be so much like us? It is brutal watching your traits that are not beautiful come out.  My mom often reminds me of my first day of kindergarten.  She was 7 months pregnant and I would not stop screaming and clinging to her leg as she dragged me into the classroom, plopped me down and vacated.  MOM, I am sorry!

You may remember this POST about how Solon's swimming lessons began as a Shakespearean tragedy well it seems we must go through this sort of experience with every new experience in life.  Soccer is a four letter word in our house....it is not going well AT ALL.

Like I should apply more deoderent and pop a tylenol before the game because my teeth are clenched.

There are a couple of reflections though....

God is humbling me.  You can have all the right gear and coordinated soccer outfit and your kiddo might not want to play and actually start kicking and screaming at the thought of possibly going in.  You might want to crawl in a ball and hide because you are the mean parent that will not let your child leave.  He is humbling me....and it stinks, really stinks.  God might be teaching me just as much as I am teaching Solon in these moments.

I want to quit too but I know God has commanded us not to give up, to do our best and to keep our commitments, something we must instill in our children even if it means sitting on the sidelines of every game this season only to watch every other kid play.  We made a commitment to this team and we will be there every week.

I have learned (because he is so much like me) that every new experience Solon feels like he might die until he thrives.  He is terrified of the unknown and since it is new and unfamiliar he gets scared.  AND the only way to overcome it, is to keep going and to take teeny-tiny baby steps forward.

Today was tough but slightly, minuscule-y better than last time.  This time he practiced successfully with his team.  A small achievement.  He did go on to the court and kicked the ball, only to run head first into another player - game over for today :(.  Next week maybe he will play without crying...

He wants to be a Cyclone and the only way he is going to meet his goal, is to get out there and learn SO until then we will keep taking baby steps forward as sweaty in the pits and painful as it is for all of us.  After all, we are all learning to humble ourselves, be thankful for the affliction and learn and grow from it.  And someday soon, soccer will no longer be a four letter word, basketball will be **wink!

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer.
Romans 12:12 

A pictoral update of randomness...

Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Sometimes there are pictures that just don't fit into any one post but I want to document SO this post was born :)!
Vera has a thing for her "new to her" backpack.  Solon got a new more manly backpack for school (yes I am the mean mom that doesn't allow character backpacks but in my defense his will last a while and its his favorite colors navy and red).  Vera has to wear her zebra backpack everyday to drop Solon off at preschool and randomly wears it around the house too.
One day I noticed she had an extra clean wipe leftover from a diaper change...
Best buddies - we went out to Pizza Ranch (Evan's favorite) the day before they left.  They have been leaving each other videos on imessage...thank goodness for technology :)!
We went to see Scott's crew ref the North Polk game (2nd game of the year).  It was a HOT night so they delayed the game so we only stayed for the 1st quarter.  It was a great atmosphere, we sat in the end zone and the kiddos enjoyed their concession stand finds! 
Vera shouting "daddy" as he raced down the field.  Whenever she sees a ref on TV, she yells daddy!  And then Solon quickly corrects her (siblings :).
One night I finished tucking Vera in and I found these 2 OUT COLD....
We had some hot September weather and so I filled a tub of water and the kiddos (especially Vera) had a ball playing in there....it went from outside the tub playing, to stepping in to fully submerged with a diaper the size of China before I knew it.

Another favorite pastime is to play in the car (don't worry mom they are well supervised).  Pretending to drive and being the mommy and daddy are favorite activities.

Oh and they have been wanting to paint so I took this messy activity outdoors one nice evening...they were content painting for a good 30 minutes...


We are always thinking up new and exciting things to do.  Solon has been coming up with some fun things lately and I have decided to bend bed time rules or throw out my list of to do's to accommodate from time to time...whether it is impromptu trip to the park or a late night trip to Sonic for a shake, you would think I take the kiddos to the moon ;)!  Some times a little adventure is good for all of us....even this orderly mama!

Feeding the Giraffes...

Tuesday, September 24, 2013
In late August, we headed to the zoo with our good friends, The Porter's.  We had never fed the giraffes before but they were hungry and we were there at the right time SO we got to feed them (for a nominal fee ;)  It was a REALLY cool experience.  I may have forked over more money so I could try it and we could keep doing it.  They have such long tongues and for being such big creatures, they were so gentle.  I could have done it all day.  There is just something about being able to be close to animals that gives me chills.  What a special experience, it was definitely a highlight for us!


And these were taken with my iPhone so there was absolutely no zoom, that is how close we were.  Amazing and priceless!

2 and 4 year old well check-ups...

Friday, September 20, 2013
Off we went to the doctor this morning.  I scheduled the kiddos physicals together and although I was a bit worried because there were 2 shots for Solon and a finger prick for Vera and there was some serious worry on Solon's part - they did AMAZING.  Solon was super duper nervous when the nurse came in but she was such a pro, he didn't even have time to cry.  Vera just kind of whimpered with the finger poke, I held her and Solon rushed over and said sweet nothings to her - melt my heart :)!

They are happy, healthy kiddos and got a clean bill of health for another year.

Here are their stats...

Vera Ann
22.6 lbs (5th percentile)
33.5 inches (47th percentile)

We have a long and LEAN baby girl...doctor wasn't worried considering this sort of body type is in her gene pool **cough cough daddy :)

Solon Robert
37.6 lbs (59th percentile)
40.5 inches (46th percentile)

He is tracking right on where he always has been so that is great.  He is very proportionate the doc said!

I am breathing a sigh of relief and you bet I bribed them with a trip to Target. so we went to celebrate and spend their birthday money that has been burning a hole in their pockets.  Vera's choice - a bath baby doll and Solon's was a Dusty glider from the movie "Planes".  They are learning the art of staying within budget....(Dad are you snickering yet?!)

Thanking God for healthy kids....

New York, New York...

Thursday, September 19, 2013
For my 30th birthday (gasp!), my parents knew I could use a little getaway and surprised me with a trip... to visit them!  So off I drove to drop off my kiddos with my inlaws and met my parents at the Minneapolis airport for the quick direct flight to Laguardia airport...then it was just a matter of finding one of the millions of black sedans and we "raced" off to the city.  I couldn't stop looking all around...there was SO much to look at and yes I had been there before.  The contrast of Iowa to NYC is, well, monumental!

"Welcome to NYC"
We even flew right over downtown Manhattan....what a nice way to come into the city!
And a quick selfie on our way!
We got to my parent's apartment and I admired the view...they live near the midtown bridge and face north. You can get a glimpse of the plaza on the tippy-top left and the river is to your right.  My parents are on the 31st floor - my ears popped every time we went up the elevator.

The first night we walked down the block to a local pizza place that had pizza that tasted like I was back in Italy - amazing.  We stopped and had frozen yogurt at a tiny little hole in the wall and headed back home to plot out the next day.  I fell "asleep" to the sounds of every NYC taxi drive horn...Vegas is supposedly the city that never sleeps, I think they gave the title to the wrong city.

The next morning, we hit up a smoothie bar (NYC is a healthy place ;) and headed to SOHO by way of flagging down a taxi.  There were a number of stores we had read about that we didn't want to miss - Mango, Uniqlo, C Wonder, TopShop, MadeWell, LuLu Lemon to name a few.
The pic above is at Uniqlo - think Japanese Gap.  I got a ton of pants there - they hem them for FREE within an hour...what?  They also have a whole floor of accessories and under garments/tanks/Pj's in little ziploc type bags...it was a TYPE A personalities dream.  Once you open the packaging you can't take it back so they have one of everything in the bags to try on in the dressing rooms...and the prices were ah-mazing.  Like Iowa amazing!!!  Like $49 for a pair of tailored skinny jeans...what?! and spanks for $7.99 and they suck you in for that price too!
Next up was probably my most favoritist store ever, I might have touched every accessory and tried to find a way to take i ALL home.  If a store could scream "ERIN", this would be the store.  Think every southern girl's dream - C Wonder!  And I know I have told you I am a southern belle at heart that has never lived in the south.  I get swoony thinking about check, pearls and cardigans.  I may have purchased a "few" things there and I "may" have told my mom I must go back in December when we visit!  Sadly, there are NO midwestern stores :(!

We then have huffed through China Town to get a few prized possessions on our way back to my dad's place to freshen up before dinner.  Oh the memories, right mom?!

That night we ate at Gramercy Tavern.  It was swanky for a mom that doesn't get out much...I mean there was more than 1 course with things to cleanse your pallet. Did I mention it was not just my birthday.  My dad also turned the big 5-4 (yes he is young :) and my parents celebrated their anniversary too (yep I was a total 3rd wheel).  We also figured out this was our 1st trip in 24 years, it was just the 3 of us.  We made some fun memories but we missed the rest of the gang :)!

Oh yes and this was the apres dessert, you know places normally hand out an andy's mint, nope this was their thanks for paying your bill treat :) and the new trend in NYC is to give you breakfast for the next morning...
So we took home mini coffee cakes and I did enjoy mine the next day!
Our treasures....it was a feat getting that into one small extra suitcase...

The next day we headed north (Soho is south, my dad is in the middle and "Park and Madison Ave" is north).  We had a great time enjoying walking through more urban dwellings.  And these little corner grocery stores with all of the fresh flowers always caught my eye!!!

Upper East Side

We walked ALL over and it was a hot day.  We stopped near central park to enjoy some water and relax under some shade trees.  We admired all the tourists and the view of Central Park before heading to FAO Schwartz and rounding back home...

This is home (31 floors up!).  We dropped off our bags, freshened up and headed to meet my dad's coworkers, see his office and take him out for a birthday dinner!
My dad's office view...not shabby...he can see the freedom tower to the south, Empire State building straight ahead and Chrysler building and Grand Central Station to the north.  He walks the 10 blocks to work...
And off to Smith and Wollensky's for dinner - it was delicious.  I tried to replicate their heirloom tomato salad.  I didn't quite get it, man theirs was top notch!

We headed home and we squished everything we could into our suitcases and somehow we made it work.  We had an early morning flight to catch and back to reality I went.  What a great, super fast trip to NYC.  We head back in December with the kiddos.  We can't wait to take in the Christmas sights!  What a fun place to visit and for my parents to call home for now!

Thanks mom and dad for an unforgettable 30th birthday celebration - I am one lucky, down right spoiled gal!

Wow...

Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Well after I bared it all yesterday, you embraced me with open arms.  I was relieved and also thankful for the love and support from all of you - thanks.  I am not brave or courageous, mostly just nuts.  I just felt that if I had to go through the nastiness of anxiety/depression that the Lord should atleast be able to use my story for His glory.

And that is the thing folks....

He did.

It is not about me at the end of the day - it is all about Him.  He doesn't promise smooth sailing in this life, we live in a yucky, messed up fallen world but He does promise to be with us in the good, bad and oh so yucky ugly times.

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.  
Isaiah 41:10

Even when I was alone tormented with my own thoughts, God never left me.  Even though I went through this, I never lost faith in Him.  And although I don't like going through tough times, if He can use me to help others, I am thankful.

So we will keep up the good fight, every day is new and life will be bumpy at times but we know we are not alone.  Share your story, you never know how God will use it.  And use it, He will!!!

Let's just get real, shall we....

Monday, September 16, 2013
I have a million things I need to blog about, let's face it, I am behind.  I have just not had the zest for the blog lately.  Let's be honest, I have not had a real zest for life in general lately.  I have been drowning...

Drowning in my own anxiety.

I have been floundering for a while but for some dang reason I have to flop around like a fish gasping for air on the dock trying to find what it is I am looking for.  There I am just flopping...

Maybe the best way to put it is -- I have been surviving.  AND all I have wanted for a really long time is to be "ME" again.  I have kept up on the appearances and daily duties of mommy and wife hood and hoped and prayed with all my might that God would help me and in the meantime nobody would figure out my deep dark secret....

But that's just it I believed the lie that I could fix this.  I tried working out (it has worked in the past), memorizing comforting scriptures, doing bible study and none of it seemed to work.  I was FRUSTRATED and had such immense guilt over feeling the way I did.

To sum it up my anxious thoughts consumed every part of my day.  There was not a single second I was awake that some anxious thought did not creep in.  I don't know if it is the fact I turned 30 and both my aunts battled hard core cancers in their 30's or the fact that I just could not control my health.   It was not until I finally faced reality...I have a problem and I need help.

See the thing is mental health issues are taboo in this country.  Did you know 1 in 3 of us struggle at some point in our lives with it and 50% never get help because they are too embarrassed.  Why is that if someone is sick with an infection, they can go to the doctor and get medicine no question asked but when you seek medicine for mental health you are seen as "crazy" or weak for not fixing it yourself.

Then there is some in our Christian population that tell you "you are letting the devil control you" or "you have too much sin in your life and God is trying to get your attention".  How come someone with cancer doesn't get told that?  Let me tell you these are lies people - lies!!!

I am here to tell you - I am not letting Satan control me and I may have sin in my life like anyone else but that is not the cause of my anxiety.  I believe my anxiety is part of me, always has been and always will be.  It is the way I choose to deal with it...

So about 3 weeks ago I went to the doctor and I was making myself physically sick from the anxiety-nausea, pain in my extremities, fatigue and IBS...I was at the end of myself and was ready to humble myself and my pride and ask for help!

And I am so thankful I did...

My doctor prayed with me as tears rolled down my face.  I knew I wasn't crazy but I knew I could not only survive this life, I could thrive.

She recommended a small pill (lexepro) taken once daily that would help regulate my seratonin levels.  She reminded me we are all wired differently and this is a season in my life that I just need a little help and many young moms struggle.  I had believed for so long that I should be able to fix it, my anxiety wasn't that bad and God would fix this.  Well what if God is going to fix this with a thing called medicine, was that so bad? NO.

So here I am 3 weeks later and today is a GOOD day.  I feel more like me everyday.  I am not just going through the motions of life but I am enjoying those motions again.  Baking cookies with the kids and genuine laughter.

I hesitated to put this out there for a long time but I told God I would use my story to let others know they are not alone.  Needing medicine doesn't make you a bad person and having anxiety or depression doesn't make you crazy.  You are not alone...

God IS helping me overcome this, I just had to get out of His way and stop trying in my own strength to fix the problem.  I am far from "perfect" but I will be darned if He can't use the beautiful mess He has made in me.

Little Miss Vera is 2....

Thursday, September 12, 2013
It has been a BIG week around here and not to be missed Little Miss V turns 2 today!  I still remember going to the ISU vs Iowa game VERY pregnant because my OBGYN and my hubby wanted to attend the game and of course I "rushed" er waddled on to the field and prayed I did not give birth amongst the masses.  Sure enough, I didn't and little miss came into the world under dramatic circumstances and knowing our daughter who has a flare for the dramatic, it was just the entrance for her (don't know where she gets that from **wink).  I have always wanted a daughter because my mom and I share a special bond and I am so thankful for this little lady He entrusted us with.  Below you will find a pictoral parade of the past year....boy she has grown up right before our eyes from baby to little lady.

October 2012


November 2012

December 2012

January 2013

February 2013

March 2013

May 2013

June 2013

 July 2013

Vera Ann at almost 2!

Here is a recap of what she is up to at 2...
  • She STILL wears size 12-18 month clothes and is in between shoe sizes 4 and 5
  • Wears a size 4 diaper and goes through about 3-4 per day
  • Loves chocolate milk, apple juice, donut holes, cupcakes, fruit and anything that is a snack
  • PICKY eater and hates eating her vegetables, we have been known to have a battle at the dinner table to get her to eat 1 veggie (The rule at our house is you have to have as many bits of food as you are age wise - so she has had to have 1 bite - I can't imagine now that she is going to have to have 2)
  • Still struggles at bedtime (but only apparently with us - did find with the grandparents - hum?!)  Sleeps from 7:45-6:45 or 7AM
  • Naps from 1-3:30 daily
  • Loves to play outside in the rocks, play with bubbles, and water play
  • Likes to be driven in her power wheels convertible
  • Has PREFERENCES on things - aka opinionated...likes only pink and purple dishes and utensils, only likes certain shoes and prefers to pick out her own clothes - um what?
  • Love love love to be read to and likes to reread the same book many times over
  • Loves to do finger plays and movement rhymes - right now her favorite is Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear
  • Loves to play in her house with play food, with her dollies and purses/dress-up
  • Loves Minnie Mouse
  • Loves to dance and sing (participates wildly in our family dance parties)
  • Loves to paint, color and do play-doh
  • Just got over her fear of going up and down stairs
  • Loves to play and wrestle with big brother - they fight but they are great friends
  • Loves to "talk" on her phone
  • Puts her hands on her hips and crosses her arms just like me
  • Says a few words but she is pretty tight lipped - we are working on it :)
  • She loves to "help" around the house and cook/clean and do laundry
  • Still in her crib but her big girl room is 95% ready for her when she is ready
  • Still parallel plays mostly with friends but Solon and her play together
  • Prefers mommy when hurt of sleepy but she always asks about daddy (read A LOT!!!)
  • Getting more liberal with her kisses and hugs 
  • Shy in new settings and with adults 
  • Loves her grandparents and aunts and uncles
She is growing up so fast but it is fun to see her little personality, equal parts sweet and firey, appear!  We love you SOOOOO much Vera Ann.  We can't imagine our lives without your fun spunky spirit lighting up our home....Happy Birthday Baby Girl...glad you still let me cuddle you and call you my baby :)!


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