Friday, December 24, 2010

Payback and a Purple Jump Rope

I spent most of today, Christmas Eve, running around to several stores looking for a particular item that Grace decided she wanted from Santa. A few days ago she started declaring that Santa was going to bring her a purple jump rope whenever anyone asked. She's only 3 and I swear she has a photographic memory, so we didn't want to disappoint her and ruin Christmas and the magic of Santa Claus. It's not easy to find a jump rope this time of year, even in the sports/fitness sections of Wal-mart and Target. I finally decided to try the dollar store and wouldn't ya know, I found one. A purple one even. Well, actually it's purple and bright green, but the plastic handles are purple. Better yet, it was only a buck! Anything less than an over-the-top, uber dramatic, jumping up and down while screaming reaction when she opens it is going to be very disappointing considering the mobs of people I had to maneuver around all day today.
As I was running in and out of stores all morning not able to find that darn jump rope I was really worried about how she would feel tomorrow morning if she didn't get it. I was also wondering how many Christmas Eve's my parents spent running around trying to find the presents I had been telling everyone Santa was going to bring me (that weren't the original ones I had asked for). I'm pretty sure there were a lot of them, and I'm pretty sure my parents did everything in their power to find those presents for me. I don't remember a Christmas when I didn't get just what I wanted or asked for. My parents are pretty great like that. I'm sure when I was a kid they were praying that someday I would have children who would do the same thing to me as I did to them... and they're prayers are being answered!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Halloween 2010

Since Halloween fell on a Sunday this year we celebrated on Saturday. We started the day off by running errands, shopping, and having lunch together in Longview. All that shopping really wore Grace out (or maybe it bored her to sleep).

That evening we headed to the church for the tri-ward Trunk-or-Treat. Grace had a great time playing games and winning candy. She really nailed the "trick or treat" phrase this year, and continues to refer to her Halloween candy as "trick or treats." There was a really great turnout at the church this year, and some really creative "trunks." (I feel like I'm using "quotations" way too much in this post.) My favorites were Sister Muse's and the Missionaries. Sister Muse had hers set up like Lehi's dream and the kids had to hold to the iron rod and avoid obstacles to get to their treats. One of the missionaries was dressed as Samuel the Lamanite and stood in the bed of a pick-up preaching to the people. The kids got to throw marshmallows at him. I had to coax Grace into throwing the marshmallow... she was only interested in eating it. Our hands were full with the kids, so we didn't get too many pictures this year. Here are some of our favorites:

Grace the cupcake and Claire the duck. Claire's costume is the one Grace wore for her first Halloween. I made Grace's costume... thanks to my friend Bonnie for finding the instructions. I had told Bonnie I wanted Grace to be a cupcake for Halloween and she found this one on a website. I LOVED how it turned out!

Claire was pretty worn out by the time the night was over. Poor girl lost one of her little webbed feet and couldn't keep her duck bill on straight!

The whole family. Justin and I really aren't into dressing up, but maybe next year we'll come up with a theme for our family... any ideas?!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

East Texas Yamboree 2010

Last month (I know, I'm way behind!) was the annual East Texas Yamboree. It's a big deal around these parts. I'm still not quite sure why. I don't get it, but then again, I'm not from these parts. We enjoy one night of good deep fried carni food and rides. Every year is a little more fun than the previous because Grace gets into it more and more. The Yamboree runs Wednesday through Saturday. We decided to head up to the Square on Thursday night to get some dinner and let Grace have some fun on the rides. When we got there we ran into our Stake President and his wife VA. VA is our surrogate grandma. She's so good to our kids (someday I'll have to dedicate a post just to her!). Grace absolutely adores her. She took a few pictures of the kids while our hubby's were chatting.

This was the best shot she could get of Grace. She's staring down the carousel, begging us with her eyes to take her on it.

Claire was pretty content to just hang out in the stroller and people watch.

Grace on the spaceship ride. I only brought my camcorder, so the still photos aren't of the best quality. As always, Grace loved the carnival rides. I was disappointed that they didn't have the little car ride like last year. She rode the carousel (twice), a school bus, the motorcycles, and the spaceship. She really wanted to go on the ferris wheel, but her cheap parents didn't want to fork over the money for all of us to go on it... maybe next year ;).

This is basically how Claire spent the evening. She even took a nap in the stroller!

On Saturday morning we parked ourselves downtown to watch the Queen's Parade. We had to rename it the "Princess Parade" for Grace since the only queen she knows of is the one from Snow White (and she's a scary queen!). Grace wasn't into the parade much this year because we didn't have front row seats on the street. She really couldn't see anything so she kept herself occupied by picking the grass and playing in the dirt.

Miss Claire enjoying the nice weather and all the attention

Justin was helping the boy scouts raise money by parking cars, so he got to the parade in time to watch the last two floats.

We had fun at the Yamboree again this year. I was so exhausted the morning of the parade because Claire was up a lot the night before and Justin wasn't there to help with the girls so we didn't head over to see the livestock like we usually do. We decided to grab some lunch and go home for naps!

We look forward to next year's Yamboree. Really, all I care about is the food!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Just so I don't Forget...

My mom and I were out shopping the other day with the girls when Grace said the funniest thing. I just have to write it down so I don't forget. I love the things she comes up with these days. We were standing in line at Joann's to have some fabric cut and Grace was whining to get out of the cart. I told her she couldn't get down because there were too many people around. She looked at me (very seriously and with a straight face) and said "No, mommy. There are three many people around." Silly girl.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Grace has a new bestie!

Meet Skateboard. He's Grace's new best friend. She loves him oh so much. For the sake of privacy (my blog is public, Skateboard's family blog is private) I won't refer to him by his real name. He totally prefers to be called Skateboard anyways, and I think it's freakin' adorable! Skateboard's family is in our ward and I serve in young women's with his cute momma, R. R is going to school right now and her regular sitter wasn't able to watch him last week. That's where Grace and I come in. We were so excited to spend a few hours with him. These two played together for 4 1/2 hours. They got along great! No fights or tantrums or meltdowns of any sorts.

This is one of the only "boy" toys we have and the two of them played with it FOR-EV-ER. It's a cute little Caterpillar loader that has an electric screwdriver to take it all apart. They would take turns unscrewing the parts and putting them back together. Too cute! Skateboard was so excited when he figured out that he could put the parts back together in the wrong places to make it look funny.

Skateboard brought play-dough with him and they had a great time playing and chatting with each other.

Skateboard brought some chocolate milk and shared it with Grace, so Grace shared her laptop with him (she must REALLY like him because she doesn't let ANYONE play with her laptop!)

They also played with this huge stuffed puppy for a long time. One of them would sit on it and hold on to its ears while the other one dragged them around the house by the puppy's nose.
I love how they're looking at each other in this picture... it melts my heart!

As Skateboard and his momma were leaving Grace called out to him, "I love you!" Skateboard, looking over his shoulder and being sooo cool, replied "I love you too," as if it was the most natural thing in the world. I about melted into a pile of goo right there on my dining room floor. It was absolutely adorable!
We had such a fun time with Skateboard! We hope he comes back to play again real soon!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Family Home Evening - Pumpkin Carving

Yesterday, the kids and I ventured out to get pumpkins for Family Home Evening (FHE). We're planning a family outing to the pumpkin patch next weekend, so I decided to embrace my frugal-ness and hit up Wal-mart for pumpkins to carve. Grace was so excited she could hardly contain herself. It turned out to be a great bargaining chip to get her to take a nap. She wanted to carve pumpkins with daddy soooo bad that she didn't give me any trouble when I told her it was time to take a "rest" (I can't call it a nap anymore or she gets an attitude about it, but I'm getting off track now). We had a great time together as a family. This was the first year we've carved pumpkins with Grace and I'm pretty sure it will become a family tradition, seeing how she LOVED every bit of it.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Choo Choo Trains

Grace has a little obsession with trains lately. She has this toy train she got for her first Christmas and has played with it daily for the last few weeks.
She loves to line things up (like the letters on the fridge below) and say it's a choo choo train.

She has these stacking/nesting boxes that she lines up and says is a choo choo train. Minnie Mouse is always the conductor and Baby Giraffe is usually the only passenger.

She gets so excited when we see a real train while we're out driving in the car. She can hardly contain herself when we cross the railroad tracks on our way to church every Sunday. She's pretty easy to please.

4 months

My baby is 4 months old now and growing way too fast. We saw the pediatrician last week for her check-up, so here are her stats:
16.0 lbs (90th percentile)
25.5 in (88th percentile)
16 in head circumference (37th percentile)
Her head seems much bigger than that to me. Maybe it's because of those super chubby cheeks! She's doing well and is very healthy. We've been concerned about her head because of our experience with Grace, but Claire has great rotation in her neck with no signs of torticollis. The back of her head is a little flat, but her doctor says it's pretty normal for a baby her age since all she does is lie down. Now that she's holding her head up well on her own she'll spend more time sitting up in the bumbo seat and her exersaucer, which will allow the back of her head to round out more.
We love our little Claire. She's definitely not as easy going as her sister was. She's a little more high maintenance and has quite the set of lungs on her. She likes to scream. A lot. Especially when she's hungry or tired or both. She has been a great nighttime sleeper, but not so good at the naps during the day. From the day we brought her home from the hospital I was surprised by the length of time she spent awake between naps. She usually takes one decent nap (about 2 hours) and then two more shorter naps (30-45 minutes) a day. I just never know what order they'll be in. Sometimes her longer nap is in the morning, and sometimes it's in the late afternoon. I hate that she's not consistent. I like my kids to be on a schedule. She's also much more attached to the binky than Grace was. Claire will wake up in the middle of the night crying and all she wants is for me to put the binky back in her mouth. She's getting to the fun stage now where she's starting to grab for things and has an interest in playing with toys. She has the BEST laugh and it is so contagious. She's ticklish around her neck (yes, she has a neck!) and under her armpits. I love her wide, open mouth, gummy smile. It melts my heart. She loves to watch her sister and will crack up at Grace. I love those moments! We're so glad she's part of our family.
This was the first time I tried to feed her rice cereal. She's not a fan. I've tried again since then, and still no luck. She won't even open her mouth for it. I would never have guessed she'd be a picky eater!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Pest Control

We had a cricket in our kitchen the other night, so Grace decided to take care of it herself.

She trapped it under the laundry basket. Pretty smart if you ask me. Except that the cricket was much smaller than the holes in the basket.
He eventually jumped through one of the holes and met his fate with the fly swatter.

Water Fun

Yesterday while Claire was napping, Grace and I headed outside to have a little fun with the water hose.

The finger up the nose was because of the water that went up the nose in the previous picture.

Another Milestone

Now that Claire is 4 months old, I decided to get the exersaucer out of the garage for her to try out. I'm so glad I did because she loves it! She was grinning from ear to ear at all the toys. Then she started reaching for them and spinning those colored wheels. I'll be honest... I cried. Just a little. She's growing up way too fast. Next she'll be eating rice cereal and solid foods, rolling over, sitting up, crawling, walking... AHHHHH! I wish I could freeze time and keep my kids little forever.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Sisterly Love

Claire was having fun during tummy time until...

sister came along and decided she wanted to be in the picture too.
Claire really does love her sister, from a distance. She even loves her sister from the safety and protection of mommy's loving arms. She doesn't love her sister when she's in close enough range to touch her without mommy to keep those pinching fingers at bay. Grace doesn't understand that someday soon Claire will be able to get her back.

A Name and a Blessing

On Sunday, June 27th Justin blessed Claire in his home ward in Howell, Utah. We were already out west for a family vacation in Jackson Hole, Wyoming so we decided to have her blessing where our family could be there to share in the joy. It was a gorgeous day and Justin gave her a very beautiful and touching blessing.

My parents with our family

Justin's parents with our family

All the men in the blessing circle

Grandma and Grandpa Petersen

Grandma and Grandpa Nessen

Four generations

After church we had a luncheon with a lot of family from both sides. We had a good time visiting with everyone and enjoying the wonderful weather! We're so happy Claire is a part of our family. We wouldn't have it any other way. She has been such a blessing in our home. She is definitely more temperamental than her older sister was, but we love her just the way she is. She makes our family (more) complete!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Nessen Family Pictures 2010

This spring Justin's grandparents celebrated 60 years of wedded bliss, so the family decided to get everyone together (an impressive feat) this summer to take some pictures. All but 2 grandchildren were there, but don't worry they were photoshopped in later and you can't even tell!
This picture is of Justin's parents and their children and children's spouses.
Grandma and Grandpa Nessen
The whole gang. I'm not sure the exact number, but it's close to 50. Pretty amazing, huh?

Saturday, July 10, 2010

A terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day

*FYI: This is a bit of a lengthy post*

The title of this post is a bit of and understatement... in my opinion at least. Yesterday was an awful day. Claire had her 2-month well baby check-up scheduled for early yesterday afternoon. I had called the pediatrician's office the day before to give them the phone number for the Logan Regional Hospital so they could request her medical records (more on that will come in a later post!) from her trip to the ER while we were in Utah. I asked to speak with the same nurse I had been checking in with while we were in Utah. I ended up with a different nurse on the phone, but she assured me she would request the medical records and answer any questions I had at the time. I told her about Claire's UTI and that her blood culture came back positive for E-Coli. I informed her she was on an antibiotic and wanted to know if the doctor would want us to come in that day, or wait until her scheduled appointment the following day. She told us to wait. OK. Then I asked if Claire would be having a repeat of her cultures to see if the infections were gone (these tests are hard for a mommy to watch her 2-month old go through, so I wanted to be mentally and emotionally prepared). She said no. We'd have to wait until she was off the antibiotic so we would have an accurate reading. OK.

Now I have to back up a bit to Wednesday. Our dog, Jasper, who we've had for 5 years went missing on Wednesday. Justin said he was acting strange all day Tuesday, and then Wednesday morning he was gone, and we hadn't seen him since.

So, I had made arrangements with my friend Kadie to keep Grace while I took Claire to her doctor's appointment. After dropping Grace off I was headed back toward town to get on the highway to Longview when I noticed something on the side of the road. It didn't register with me until a few seconds after I had passed it. What I had seen was Jasper. He had been hit by a car and was dead. I immediately called Justin to let him know. We couldn't believe it. He was several miles from our house. We have no idea what he was doing that far away. He never wanders away from our yard. We are so sad. We got Jasper when we moved to Wisconsin when he was only eight weeks old. The hardest part is that he was Grace's best friend. She loved him so much. She would play in the backyard with him for hours. She keeps asking to play with Jasper (*tear*) and stands at the window saying, "Jasper, bye-bye?" It's heartbreaking.
Now, back to the doctor's appointment. When Dr. Chaiken came in we talked about Claire's UTI and after a moment I realized she had no idea Claire also had a blood bacteria. She was shocked. Logan Regional did not include the blood culture results in the information they sent her. She was livid! Apparently, Claire should've been admitted to the hospital and put on IV antibiotics no matter what if she had a positive blood culture. She was also really ticked off at the nurse I spoke to because the E-Coli in the blood should have been a red flag for her to inform Dr. Chaiken immediately, which she obviously didn't do. Dr. Chaiken also said she would have insisted on seeing Claire the day before, but the nurse told me to wait until our regularly scheduled appointment. The nurse also misinformed me about the repeat cultures. Claire would be having them done that day, and the antibiotics she's on would not alter the outcome of the tests. Yay. I wasn't prepared for my baby to go through all that. Dr. Chaiken was on a man-hunt to find out which nurse I spoke to. I'm pretty sure the unemployment rate just went up. So, not only did Claire have to have a catheter urine test AND her blood drawn, but she also had to get 3 shots in her thighs. It was horrible. I had to hold her tiny little body down and try to comfort her while they pricked and poked her. The nurse wasn't very happy about it either. As soon as she finished with the shots she was outta there, practically in tears herself.
Now we're waiting on the results of the cultures. If the blood culture comes back positive Claire will be admitted to the hospital and put on IV antibiotics and possibly have to have a spinal tap. If the urine culture is positive (which we don't think it will be) she will do another round of antibiotics. As soon as we get a negative urine culture Claire will be scheduled for a renal ultrasound and a voiding cystourethrogram, or VCUG. Because of her age, the UTI may indicate a bladder reflux problem. Sometimes the valve at the top of the bladder doesn't function properly and urine will reflux back into the kidneys and cause infection. Depending on the severity of the reflux she will either be prescribed a daily antibiotic for 6 months, or need surgery to correct the problem. We're praying that there isn't anything wrong with her bladder or kidneys.
So there you have our terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

Grace and Jasper... Best buddies

Claire with her battle wounds
Once it was all over and she had a bottle, she was a pretty happy baby.