Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Evan’s Trip to Illinois

December 20, 2012: Tonight I was brought to Grandma Schumacher’s house-we were planning to drive half way to Illinois and stay in Des Moines, but there was a bad winter storm that went through Iowa, so we decided we would leave the next day.  I was a bit spoiled with all the attention I got from Aunt Rachel, Uncle Kyle, and Grandma Linda.  I got to stay up a little past my bedtime and play-which was a good thing because the next day proved to be a long day! 

December 21, 2012:
Aunt Rachel got me up at 7:45am-I was still sleeping but I guess everyone wanted to get on the road.  I think that when Uncle Kyle and Grandma packed the car they almost forgot to leave room for me-I honestly don’t know what they thought I needed-I mean I am only one-year-old, but the car was packed for me to be able to live for one month without needing a thing (Grandma packed oranges, puffs, strawberry jam, milk, Christmas treats, peaches-you name it, Grandma packed it!).  Luckily, I am little and I didn’t require a lot of room-just a lot of entertainment.  Our day started off well-the roads were clear and the sun was out.  Uncle Kyle drove and Grandma sat in back with me-I guess it was her job to keep me busy and happy.  I honestly was very good. Then we started to get closer to Des Moines-well, I thought we were getting closer.  Then Uncle Kyle started to drive slower, and slower, and slower.  When I was looking out the windows, I started to see the strangest things-cars, trucks, and semi’s in the ditch-oh my!  I could tell Grandma Linda was nervous because she kept telling Uncle Kyle it was okay for him to take his time (I can’t say I was thinking the same thing. The only thing I wanted was to get out of the vehicle and move around!).  We finally made it to Des Moines at 2:15pm and Uncle Kyle and Aunt Rachel dropped me off at Matt and Amy’s with Grandma and then left to get food.  While I waited, I crawled all over their house and went up and down the stairs-boy was it good to be out of my car seat!  When they came back, I ate some bread with ketchup and mayonnaise-boy did I like that!  I also enjoyed fries-mmm, delicious! I need to tell my mom about these foods!
Before I knew it, Uncle Kyle was putting me back in my car seat-I was not happy and I let him know it!  When we got back on the road, I couldn’t believe we were going even slower!  At this rate, Uncle Kyle told us that we wouldn’t get home until 10:00pm! The hardest part is that Uncle Kyle does not listen to Nursery Songs so that left my trusted toy radio and tv controller.  Grandma tried to keep me happy but by 7:00pm I had enough.  Of course everyone in the car kept saying “we are almost there!” But I already know what that means-it means we are still a long ways away but I have to be patient (I’m not quite sure what patient means though!).  At 7:15pm we pulled into the ‘World’s Largest Truck Stop’ and ate supper at Denny’s.  Boy was I happy to be out of my car seat.  I ate lots of hash browns and fruit-I would not touch my pancake though. I also made lots of faces at the waitresses-they thought I was ‘sooo cute!’  Once I was able to sit in Grandma’s chair-I accidently stuck my feet through the back of the chair and got stuck-I was not happy about this!  When we were eating, I got the best news ever-we were going to get a hotel room instead of traveling anymore-YEAH! 

We drove across the street to a hotel-and once we were settled into the room, I got hyper (hey-you would too if you had been in a car seat since 8:00am in the morning!).  I jumped into pillows, laughed a lot, got tickled, bounced on the bed with Uncle Kyle, and Facetimed mom and dad. Before I knew it, everyone said it was time for bed-but it was only 9:45pm! I slept in a special crib that the hotel provided-it had bars that I could put my bottle through-I had fun doing this.  I had trouble falling asleep, so Grandma Linda gave me a hug, and then I went right to sleep.

December 22, 2012: I woke up around 7:30am and Uncle Kyle brought me down for a delicious breakfast-I ate a lot!  Then guess what-it was time for the car seat again!  The good news is that we were able to drive faster than yesterday-the bad news was that I did not want to be in my car seat anymore, and I was going to let everyone know it!  It only took two and half hours to get home, but that was long enough. I was so happy when we pulled into our driveway, and the best part was mommy was there to get me out of the car seat.  I was sooo happy to see her!  I was so glad to be back home with mom and dad and my little brother Jaden! Although the trip was long, I did have fun with Grandma Linda, Aunt Rachel and Uncle Kyle. 
Jaden tackling me in the red blanket! I guess that's his welcome-home-hug!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

An Only Child for Today!

It’s official. Mom forgot to pack Evan when we left South Dakota yesterday. I have been looking all over for him, and he’s not here. I bet he is playing tractors with Grandpa Al and singing B-I-N-G-O with Grandma Pam. Hopefully Grandma Linda, Uncle Kyle and Aunt Rachel will have room in their car to bring him tomorrow. I guess in the mean time, I get mom all to myself!!

Yesterday, I slept 6+ hours in the car, so the last thing I wanted to do is go to sleep when mom and dad put me to bed. I threw my blanket and toys into Evan’s crib, but he wasn’t there to throw ‘em back. I screamed instead, so mommy brought me back downstairs to run around…..which I gladly obliged to!! I learned to say ‘Go!’ and I can’t wait to tell Evan that if he lays down on the Santa rug—he’ll get tickled!

Here are some pictures from our quick trip to South Dakota this past weekend. 

Taylor let us play with her pink toys!
 We got to stay at Aunt Laurie's for 3 nights! I loved eating her blueberry muffins!
Great-Aunt Bondell & Great-Uncle Chuck with Evan and me after Sahra's wedding
Grandpa Al & Grandma Pam

 We got to play Grandma Linda's piano. Well, I played it and Evan climbed it!

I want these doors on my bedroom!

And of course Evan got Grandpa Al to pull him around!

Cuddle Time!

We got to meet Jack at the SDSU basketball game! I loved him, but Evan cried!

On our way to Illinois, we made an impromptu stop at the Giuliani's. It was fun to get out of the car and chase their cats all over!

Miss you, Evan!

Monday, December 10, 2012


Balance. No, I’m not talking about Evan balancing his body with his hands as he rides his train or about Jaden balancing on his tippy-toes as he reaches for [insert anything you can think of]. I am talking about the balancing of ‘life’…….and this time of year, it can be a true act.

 I think I'd rather play 52-card-pickup!!

I am in a small group with other working moms and reading a thoughtful book: “Balance That Works When Life Doesn’t: Simple Steps to a Woman’s Physical and Spiritual Health” by Susie Larson. The main topic areas include nutrition, physical activity, and spiritual health. Fitting into the category of physical activity was this last chapter on ‘Rest.’ Ironically as I read the chapter, my eyes were heavy as I had again waited until the last day to do my reading homework.

Rest. It can mean many things: sitting quietly; watching mindless TV; reading a book; sleeping; or for me tonight- I took time after I put the boys to bed to play some Christmas songs on the piano (side note: I am pretty sure it is just as difficult to get back into running after not doing so for a year as it to play the piano again….yikes!) but it was a great way to clear my mind and to rest. Yes, I still have the stack of Food Science papers to grade, I haven't sent out one Christmas card, and I have no idea what I’m making for tomorrow’s department potluck……but that’s okay. 

With this busy time of year, it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle. A verse that stands out from the book is from Mark:6 when Jesus feeds the five thousand. 
30 The Apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. 31 Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”  

I hope all of you can take some time for yourselves this Holiday Season and rest!

Jaden working on his physical activity with some dance moves! This kid never rests!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Remembering Grandpa Chris

November 26, 2012 would have been Grandpa Chris’ 60th birthday. Although there isn’t a day that goes by that we do not think about him, today especially, we reflect and celebrate his life.

On Thanksgiving day we lit a candle in memory of him on our first big holiday without him and his laughter, good appetite and faithful heart.

Evan and Jaden today were happy to wear their “Grandpa Chris’ gym outfit” that Grandpa Chris gave them for their 1st birthday.

This was the last photo the boys took with Grandpa Chris.
Although we cannot physically hug Grandpa Chris, we can let his positive outlook on life and his love for Jesus Christ live on through all of us. His faith truly made him strong and a great role model for Evan and Jaden.

I think it’s time for some German Chocolate cake:) 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

It's Thanksgiving!

 We have so much to be thankful for. And I know with the hustle and bustle of not only the holidays, but of the semester and of following two 1 year olds around, I often forget to ‘stop and smell the roses’ as the cliché goes. (Maybe that’s because I’m smelling too many dirty diapers…hmmm….). Anyway, last year I started what I will now term a ‘tradition’ of having a Thankful Tree as the centerpiece on our table at Thanksgiving. Last year we began our Thanksgiving meal by writing on a paper leaf what it was that we were thankful for. This year I decided to cut out more leaves and have other people who stopped by our house this month write on a leaf. I just read through all of the leaves…..and was amazed at all of things to be thankful for. Obviously friends and family won the majority vote, and I agree after this past week.
My week of thanksgiving started out with a night get-away at a spa in WI, where I met up with a friend from MN.  I did get to relax (and got an uninterrupted night’s sleep!), while I also finished grading all of my Food Science research papers! The boys survived the night with dad, or I should say dad survived the night with the boys! Sorry, this is not Thanksgiving dinner at my house!! This is a pic of the amazing food at the spa-- scallop salad, baked brie, hummus, and yes, creme brulee for dessert! 

Grandma Pam, Grandpa Al and Aunt Laurie all arrived Wednesday noon to spend the weekend playing with the boys! This is a picture of Jaden helping me bake a pecan pie. I was glad I had an extra set of measuring cups and spoons!

The boys love to read books. Evan is more patient than Jaden and will listen to a whole book.
Aunt Laurie had fun playing a game with Evan--Evan puts his arms in the air with his hands in fists and yells, screams actually. He doesn't quite grasp the concept of 'shhhh, we're in public be quiet! As you see here, Evan got to venture out shopping with us Thanksgiving afternoon. 
There's this (annoying) Thanksgiving song that we listened to one night and Jaden just had a blast 'dancing' around......marching really. Evan has his own little dance moves, too!

And the highlight for the boys this weekend was having Grandpa Al as a troubleshooter who figured out that if he tied a rope to the train, the boys could ride around and around and around and around the house! And that they did!
The boys even tried sharing the train and road together---but that often ended with one or both of them on the floor! I should also mention that after eating Thanksgiving dinner, the boys had to change into elastic waist pants as their 12-month jeans were a bit too tight!
Saturday night we attended a friend's wedding with Dan and Brooke.

 We were grateful to my family for watching the boys for much of the day and night Saturday. They all got to come swimming at a hotel Saturday and Sunday. This is Jaden looking at the hotel's decorations. Both of the boys love Christmas lights......they look but don't touch---for now!

 Sunday we took the boys swimming. Cold water, but they had fun splashing around!

It was sad to see Grandma, Grandpa, and Aunt Laurie leave this morning! The boys sat on their train tonight, wondering where the rope is and why no one was pulling them around! Thankfully, Christmastime with family will be here before we know it! 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

A House Full of Helpers

It’s easy to look around the house and see all of the extra work that kids create. Like sweeping the kitchen floor every day (or after every meal!) – Washing extra dishes/bottles – Washing one (or two) more loads of laundry every week – you get the idea. But if I focus on that, all I would be doing every day is 'work' around the house!

So instead I’ve decided that Evan and Jaden are my little helpers around the house.

Evan and Jaden help with Laundry

Evan and Jaden help clear tables - really anywhere in the house. 

 Jaden helps pick up recycling around the house. And then actually repurposes the items. 

Evan helps sweep the kitchen floors. 

They are also pretty good helpers at making me smile every day. 
Evan and his little ‘fish face!’

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Fall Fun Part II

Evan, Mason, Jaden

I finally uploaded pics from my camera—I get so used to having my phone around and using it to take pics, that I forget to frequently upload actual ‘camera’ photos. So, I needed to create a ‘Part II’ to my last Fall post. Ironically, I could write the same thing today as last week! Jaden is like a clock…….I would love for you to post comments of any tips you have to help kids transition with time changes. Evan has done just fine with adjusting to the new time---so it appears more of a personality thing, than a parenting thing……..hmmmm….something I have been fortunate to observe with many things.

Feeding the boys and getting them to eat is one of those things. Inevitably, one of the boys will love what I feed them for supper, while the other one will carefully and deliberately throw the food on the floor. In those moments I have to focus on the one who actually likes what he is eating and know that tomorrow the roles will likely be reversed!

Naptime is another area I’ve noticed that can be more personality than parent based. Yesterday, we had a relaxing Saturday – without much planned. The boys ate a filling lunch, and then I put them down for naptime like always. Well, Evan just wasn’t having it. He wasn’t tired and tried to keep Jaden up. Since Jaden gets up so early, he is consistently a good napper. I finally took Evan out of their room – so he got one-on-one time playing until we wore him out for a later naptime.
This is in lieu of naptime! 

Jaden playing outside during Evan's naptime!

I could go on about stories where if I just had one baby, I would think I had ‘failed’ at parenting for a specific task, but luckily, one of the boys typically cooperates……and that’s what keeps me going! Well, that and my morning pot of coffee!! 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Fall Fun!

I used to think that the extra hour we got when we turned back the clocks was for sleeping…….I do wish it was. But Jaden is like a clock, and I guess we didn’t read the manual correctly last night when we told him to make sure he sleeps in today. He was up right on time……unfortunately that time was actually 5:30 instead of 6:30. Oh well, extra time to post this blog today, do laundry, and of course, drink coffee!

Here are some pictures from the boys’ fall fun!

Jaden painting pumpkins at daycare.

Although we did not go to the popular 'Rader Farms' to pick pumpkins, pet horses, and go on a hay-rack-ride, (I found it silly to pay a fee to go to a 'Rader' farm!), the boys did get to pick out their pumpkins at church. 



Evan deciding what he's making for dinner on Halloween!

Thing 1 & Thing 2

Helping pass out treats

Halloween was definitely more successful than last year!!

Hope you have enjoyed your fall festivities!