Tuesday, December 31, 2013

G'bye 2013.

2013 was a FULL year and extremely bittersweet. Tough and hard yet monumental and beautiful. I'm a big fan of new beginnings so I'm looking forward to tomorrow's start of a new year. 

This last day of the year I'm spending without my hubby who is back in Bismarck while the kids and I are still in MN. It's been a tiring day, Annalee being so very fussy and helping put four kids to bed (my sister's two are spending the night). I'm about done pumping and I'm going to bed...I should make it to midnight in Eastern time zone so I'll just pretend I'm in SC again. If I close my eyes I can hope for that and not this sub zero freezer!

Welcome 2014!


Monday, December 30, 2013

Where is Baby's Belly Button?

Under Her Shirt!

Thanks, Karen Katz' book, for the wordage. Seriously though, Annalee did lift up her own shirt this afternoon. She's just getting into these phalanges stuck on her arms.

And more photos from the end (last night and today) of my way overloaded memory card. Must.Get.Photos.Organized.

Sugar and spice and everything nice.

Bath time in the kitchen sink this morning... cousin Ali helping out!

Hi, blue eyes.
Annalee wearing the clothes I bought Maelee makes this an extra special photo of my kids.


Hospital Holiday.

My sister took my dad to the ER on Christmas Day, shortly after we arrived here in MN at noon. They released him Thursday evening. He had been having these spells that would last for a bit and were quite scary. They are hard to explain but they include slight chest pain, disorientation, sweating, some dizziness, and who knows what else. He had maybe ten on Christmas Day. So they did loads and loads of tests that night and next day.

Praise God nothing serious came up in all the tests. He has some blockage in an artery to his brain that a neurologist is going to look at this Thursday, but the hospital doctor didn't seem too concerned. And in a week he goes to get his knees checked out and will probably get a new one or two of those this spring. It's not ideal timing as they should be enjoying their house in Arizona right now, but it'll be good for them to get this medical stuff ironed out. And overall we are all just grateful for all positive results (even the doctor was impressed with the condition of his heart)! It was a bit hard to see him all dolled up in hospital gear, but then also nice for me to not be the one in the hospital bed this time!

I love my Dad and want him to be around in good condition for years to come. He's got some cute grandkids to love on...


Sunday, December 29, 2013

Waffle Fries!

There are loads of great things about the state of Minnesota. Now that my parents live here along with my sister and her family, we have many reasons to spend time in this state and will most likely do so. However, if we were lacking motivation we are no longer after getting a craving fulfilled at a newly opened Chick-fil-A in Bloomington. This gem is about a 25 minute drive from my parents, right in the heart of rush-hour-traffic hell but conveniently right off 494. We may make it a tradition if we get stuck in traffic (or even if not) on our drives from ND.

We haven't had Chick-fil-A since July and we were so badly craving it. We had breakfast with our dear friends and the place was empty on a Saturday morning. Obviously Minnesotans have no idea they serve breakfast. We stayed so long that we were able to get lunch to go. Two meals of Chick-fil-A in one day is a pretty great day (albeit high on the sodium).

I ate my food before I remembered to take photos to document all the goodness. Later Greg saw a guy take a photo outside the restaurant and then inside was taking a photo of his sandwich. Pretty sure he's a displaced southerner who drove many miles for his Chick-fil-A fix. I get it, dude, I do. It's that good.
Great food and great friends = great day!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Her First Christmas.

Annalee's first Christmas has been an interesting one.

Christmas Eve day we left Buffalo with high hopes of driving to "the cities" (which to all of ND/MN that means the suburbs and all of Minneapolis/St.Paul) to my sisters/parents. I realized a few exits down that I left Annalee's milk in G&G's fridge so we had to drive back to Buffalo for that. And that extra half hour may have really set us back.

The roads were fine but became worse quick as it got darker. And within a half hour I went from thinking we'll make it just fine to calling to see if there were rooms at a hotel. If it would have just been Greg and I, we would have kept going. But with the kids, it wasn't worth it. Annalee was screaming ready to eat and Eli was antsy...the thought of another few hours with them plus the unknown road conditions made it a smart choice. 

Christmas Eve in a hotel felt odd but we had a fun few hours. No close food place was open so we bought pizza from the hotel and I had hot chocolate and a candy cane. We found one swim diaper and Eli trunks in a bag in the van. Greg wore his basketball shorts and those two went swimming for hours. Annalee had an hour of wide awake "happy to be out of her car seat" time. Nothing was typical, traditional Christmas. BUT it was nice to be just us four together, no one else but us made the unexpected sort of sweet. 

We woke up, had good hotel breakfast and headed out. There were a handful of cars in the ditch which made me glad we stayed. The road was a bit icy today but not too bad/stressful. We missed the big, delicious family breakfast that is always with my BIL's family so Greg and I had leftovers for lunch. Then my sister took my dad into the hospital (more on that later).

So our little girl will have quite the story for her first Christmas... but the very first Christmas was abnormal and bizarre so we rest in that.

Joy to the world, The Lord has come!

Monday, December 23, 2013

90 Degree Depression.

Welcome to my 4:15am pumping session where I was curious about the weather so I opened my app that has my two places. This just shouldn't be. 

Thankfully it does look like it won't be this insane cold all week. And really I just care that Tuesday is good driving weather. But come on! A 90 degree difference. What did we do? Noooooooo. 

Sigh. G'night. 


Sunday, December 22, 2013

Start Your Crazy.

Our days of wacky schedules, too much sugar, and loads of family fun have begun. Merry Christmas y'all! 

Side note: can I please still use y'all? It's a lovely word and I hope southerners will allow me the privilege. 

Friday night we went to cousin Ben's basketball game. Then Chris and Lilli showed up. They always bring the energy level up a few notches. Eli normally goes to bed around 8:15/8:30. He finally fell asleep at 11pm. Yikes. 

Saturday night we had a little mini K Christmas which involved yummy food, final advent reading, and gifts. Extravagant gifts, really. Eli got lovely, fun things and a train set. Much, much joy was had with that in the time after by Eli and Lilli and especially Uncle Chris. It was another late night, of course, and in the morning Eli chose to play with his train over eating breakfast first. 

Today the kids and I hopped in the truck with my in-laws to head to Buffalo where we will spend time with the Greats until Tuesday when Greg will pick us up and keep going to MN. Eli just fell asleep in the last ten minutes, past ten o'clock. Yet another late night after a day of family fun!

Hopefully all this mismatched scheduling, apple crisp for dinner (parenting fail), and extra attention doesn't completely spoil the kid!


Thursday, December 19, 2013

I'm Pumping.

The other night Eli was playing with Grandma's Christmas decorations in the living room. She's great at having some kid-approved decor; one nativity is a particular favorite. She also has a little sleigh with red bulbs in it. We were in the kitchen when I heard Eli in there. I looked up to see him next to the sleigh, holding two bulbs pointing out from his neck and making this distinct waah-wah noise. I asked him what he was doing and his reply was "I'm pumping!".

Oh dear, oh my! It was really so hilarious and yet so very sad at the same time.

You see, Annalee won't latch now. We have yet to successfully latch more than once after her little lip tuck. She became a big bottle fan and now really doesn't want a thing to do with the actual milk supply (that takes longer to give her milk than an instant-gratification bottle). Plus we just haven't had the time to really work at it. So that means that I'm still pumping in order for her to get my breast milk.

Every three hours during the day (or four if life gets messy) and usually once in the middle of the night... I'm sitting at the chair hearing the waah-wah of the pump and not being able to be hands-on with either child. It's very, very hard for me to just sit there for twenty or more minutes so often in a day and not be able to pick up Annalee, play with Eli or be available. It really makes it more of a challenge to plan a day. I have to try to pump before either wake up and the whole time I'm just trying to tell the milk to hurry and hope they don't wake up too soon. Then during the day I try to entertain Eli while I'm pumping (or hope he can find some fun thing to do that doesn't involve a screen). Sidenote: This is yet another wonderful aspect of living with Greg's parents. Eli often ends up pestering Grandma, so at least he's not watching TV every time he's waiting for me to pump. Grandma, on the other hand, gets nothing done! But really, on top of the can't-just-go-outside-because-it's-too-blasted-cold-or-too-much-work-to-get-all-that-gear-on, I just feel bad for the kid. "Come on downstairs, buddy, mama's got to pump." and "When I'm done pumping, then..." etc. He's bored.

Plus there is sweet Annalee. I think I could manage this much more if it was just her but even that is hard. She's a baby with no time schedule so it's hard to plan. Sometimes she needs to eat and I really need to pump. Bah! This is where I know I couldn't do it without Greg. When he's not at work, he's able to feed her/hold her/entertain her (and Eli) so I can pump. Plus he usually washes all the blasted pumping paraphernalia which is a big, big help.

In addition to the time factor is my milk supply woes. My body knows it's not her, it takes way longer than it should. I'm trying very hard not to let my milk supply decrease but it's tough. I can't add loads more pumping sessions without pumping taking over our lives. Plus she's eating a bit more now so less and less of what I pump is going in the freezer and more and more is being used. This makes me sad because I know she won't make it to a year with just my milk. There's no way my supply or time will allow it. And the thought of doing this even another three months is daunting. I can't even go there in my brain or I really, really start to loathe pumping. I sometimes have many drama queen moments where I am so fed up I'm ready to whine and pout and quit. These are usually when I'm waking up in the wee early morning to pump when all I want is to sleep.

I will say that sometimes it is a nice break, to force myself to sit down and not be doing something. Sometimes I am grateful for the rest aspect of my waah-wah time on the chair. But mostly I'll be glad to be done and able to do a host of other things during the time I am now using to pump. 

And if you are wondering how I got this typed up... I used the hands-free-pumping bra while typing this during a both-kids-napping-at-same-time opportunity. Any communication I do is usually done while pumping. Sometimes I wonder if nurses or other people I call on the phone understand what that waah-wah noise in the background is...


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Paddington Bear.

Since we aren't in our own home with all our bins of stuff, I don't have access to lots of baby photos to compare us to Annalee. However, I had this one of me saved on the computer. And it's a good comparison one since our little darling is often crying. This one shows the hair similarities. And maybe some chunk and short leg similarities too.

And here's sweet Annalee today wearing an outfit family friends gave me when I was born... Paddington Bear vintage style! Fun to get to have this daughter to enjoy these sentimental family things with. 


Saturday, December 14, 2013

Quality Time.

We do hope our house in SC will sell soon so that we can buy here... having our own place will be great for a multitude of reasons. That said, Greg's parents have been so wonderful, so gracious, and so darn helpful these last four months. It's been a gift to us, even if it isn't ideal, and also a gift to our kids. They get spoiled with love and attention and all things grandparents do so well! Eli has a special connection/infatuation with Grandma and Annalee already loves the way Grandpa holds her high in the air on her tummy. This is much of the reason we are back in this tundra, and it's good to dwell on that when we feel like packing up and moving back!


Showing Eli the joys of the wishbone.

Friday, December 13, 2013


I wanted to put this pic on here as proof that Greg and I DID go out without our kids and had adult conversation. Sadly, there is too little of that going on (but this will be remedied soon, hopefully, when we get our own place and we'll drop the kids off at the grandparents often). This was taken at his work Christmas party last night. In a Hummer limo. We drove around and looked at Christmas lights (which were super hard to see through the very small, foggy windows). Then we went back to their office for food and conversation. I know the folks in this photo are older than us but the other side of the Hummer (and much of the other Expedition limo as well) are super young people. And I felt pretty old last night. All these early twenty-somethings with no kids and no responsibilities.

But thirties is the new twenties, dont-cha-know! Plus my sweet little boy just came running at me and is now trying to type looking all cute and innocent pretending to be a "worker of computer"... can't beat that for a reason to feel old! 


Monday, December 9, 2013

Cape On.

I bought this shirt on super clearance (cost me $2) a year or more ago. It has a cape attached to it. I put it on Eli and told him he should fly. For a short moment, I could tell he really thought he could. Sweet boy. I had to clarify it was just pretend.

I know there hasn't been enough of his cute mug on here lately so I'm glad I remembered to take a few shots of him enjoying his pretend flying:


2 Month Cutie.

Took these last week!


Friday, December 6, 2013


This week has definitely been one for the books. Monday was the ice storm (see below's rant). Tuesday evening the snow came. And by Wednesday it was bitter cold. Of course Annalee's two month check-up was 9am Wednesday morning.

And as I was heading out of the driveway, my van got stuck. Thankfully Greg was at home so I didn't have to deal with this on my own. However, I still may have shed a few tears out there and had some choice words for this place we now call home. After five minutes of trying to de-stuck the van, I called to reschedule for 11am. I went inside to feed our screaming child. Greg spent the next hour shoveling and snow blowing the van out. He also went to fill the van up because it was near out of gas (not a good thing). He tried buying salt (to put on the ground so the ice melts) at two places but they were all out. The whole town of Bismarck was out buying salt to lessen the ice rink that is their driveways and sidewalks. Uffda is right.

See the non-ice part where the van used to be parked? The rest = ice.
But I made it to the appointment with both Annalee and Eli. Imagine me holding Eli's hand while he's trying to smoosh his face into my leg because he's breathing in this freakishly cold weather while I'm also carrying Annaelee in her car seat and a diaper bag through the not-yet-plowed piles of snow with my not-still-healed foot. Poor Eli tripped twice and I'm sure it looked like I dragged him a few feet. I felt like doing a victory arm-in-air punch when we made it inside.

After her appointment I had to go to the grocery store with these kiddos. As I was nearing an intersection I just kept thinking about all my friends back in SC and how they surely, most surely were NOT gripping the steering wheel wondering if they were going to slide into the car in front of them as they were driving that day. Nope. But I was! And will be 'til I remember how to drive on this again.

Of course this amount of ice plus all the snow and super cold won't always be here. It will get better. And then a little worse sometimes. But it won't always be this bad. Plus eventually I WILL remember how to live here again and even learn how to manage kids in all this.

That said, if Greg's parents didn't arrive back from China that night, I was seriously considering getting on a plane back to SC. I told them they needed to come back as our reasons for staying here significantly lessen if they aren't around! But they arrived and we stayed inside all day yesterday. Today Grandma and I braved the "feels like -20" weather to bring the kids to the mall. It went just fine but man, that cold bites. So glad for warm cars, warm houses and Grandma!

View from our bedroom window. I wish you could see the wind fiercely blowing the snow!
More posts with some cute kid photos soon!


Thursday, December 5, 2013

Lip Tuck.

I have so much to write about but blogger wasn't working on my phone and there has not been time sitting at my computer (well, there were a few snippets of time but I did online shopping instead). But I know you may be curious...

Annalee's lip tuck (that's what I'm calling it) went fine. It was super quick (she was gone maybe two minutes). The doctor was awesome and so kind. Sadly Annalee has not wanted to latch at all the few times we've tried since. So I have no idea if it helped 'cause the stinker won't try. We've had limited time at optimal conditions so I'm hoping this weekend we can really focus and try often. The doctor said it was significant enough to cause dental problems later on so it was worth doing regardless if it helps her nurse or not.

Oh how I wish we could have done this right away instead of two months later. Sigh. This saga continues.

I like my milk in a bottle. You?

Monday, December 2, 2013

Ice Ice Baby.

This weather is something else. This morning everything had a sheet of ice on it. When I went out to the garbage, I slid the whole way. I needed ice skates! I really don't remember this extreme ice-so-thick-you-can't-even-scrape-it. Too bad Annalee's appointment was today so I had to cart my two kids out in this.

(Insert photo of my iced van. Photo to follow. And update on Annalee's appointment as well.)

While in the waiting room I came up with a plethora of would-be status updates. I started typing them to pass time and feel better. I'll share:

I like ice skating as much as the next guy, but this is taking it too far, Bismarck. 

Nothing like "welcome back to driving in ND" like this giant city-size rink. 

Today I really WANT to drive a zamboni. 

No room in the garage means my minivan was an giant white icee this morning. 

And THAT is why I need new boots, dear husband. Ones that are made of snow tires. 

Huge vehicles. I get that now. 

When you can't walk out the front door without extreme caution, you might be in North Dakota. 

Attention hip doctors: old people need you today. 

My few years hanging out in a curling rink have finally paid off. #whereismyslider #justpretendiamsweeping

So as I'm writing this last one-liner, still grumbling about why we moved back to this dangerous tundra, in walks this chic:

Seriously?? In THIS weather? Those heels! How the heck can she manage the ice carrying her baby in car seat plus a big (albeit cute) Coach diaper bag?! I felt like a big 'ol unstylish wuss. 

I don't know how you do it, lady, but kudos. I will try harder.