Wednesday, September 10, 2014

First Day of School 2014

Carter, you are adorable, but you have never been a fan of getting your picture taken in the morning. 

Ethan, you are starting 1st grade and you are so excited! You love school, all of your friends, and you have been telling us that your teachers name is Ms. Tortoise and we've been explaining to you that she is not a turtle...her name is really Ms. Torres. I hope you call her by her real name at school. ;-)

Clara, welcome to America! We hope that you love living with our family as much as we love having you here! We hope you meet lots of friends at the high school and share all of your experiences with your friends and family back home in Germany. 

Mariah, this was your last first day of high school! You were pretty emotional the night before your last first day. You laughed so hard that you cried and cried so hard that you laughed which scared your boyfriend, Ryan, but made me laugh and cry with you. We love you very much and wish you the best last year of high school. Make it a great one peanut. ;-)

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

So much to catch up on...

As I look through my blog drafts I realize that I've missed a lot of events:Mariah's first car, trips to the Milwaukee Zoo, 4th of July (2013), the color run, Ethan's preschool graduation (he's in 1st grade now!), camping 2013 and 2014, turning 35 (and since 36...), bring your child to work 2013, Mariah's homecoming dance 2013 (it's almost homecoming 2014), Cory and my trip to California, the first day of school 2013! Where have I been?! I have a lot of catching up to do!

We are still here! Kids, your mom has been busy keeping up with all of you. I've been taking pictures, but haven't been doing very well with writing about the moments and posting the pictures on our blog. I promise, I'll do better this year!

Monday, September 8, 2014

I'm not a writer, I'm a mom...

I write this blog so that my kids will always remember the special moments in their lives. I'm not good at scrapbooks, diaries, journals, or even documenting the special moments with cute keepsakes. Instead I keep a large bin for each child where I throw their memorable items in hopes to dig through that bin some day and make something special.

I have a fear ~ a lot of fears really ~ because I am a mom. One of my biggest fears is leaving my children early or losing one of my children. I pray long and hard and I soak up every moment that I get with my kids. This is happening more and more lately as I read stories that say "hug your kids", "hold your kids closely", "taken too soon".

This morning I learned of the passing of a past coworker. She was one of the happiest people that I had ever met. She was a stylist at the salon that I was apprenticing at almost 15 years ago. She was seven years older than me, but treated myself and the other apprentices and new stylists like we were just as important to the salon. She was happily married to a man that she loved with her whole heart. She was positive about everything in life. We lost touch as the years past, but I learned that she opened a salon of her own ~ one of her dreams. She was successful, had two beautiful children, and had a life to be thankful for. Everyone that knew her loved her.

She passed unexpectedly. These words weigh so heavily on me. She was active, ate healthy from what I remember, and she loved Jazzercise. She talked to everyone about Jazzercise and even got us to join her once in a while. She was, in my eyes, a model-healthy-person. Yet an unexpected health tragedy took her life this weekend at the young age of 43.

I can't imagine what her husband, son, and daughter are feeling at this moment. You will be greatly missed Nicki.

Nicki's situation is my biggest fear.

I'm not a professional writer. I don't need people to comment on my blog. I just need a place to write my thoughts so that my kids can read them as they get older whether I am here with them or not. I need a place to keep my memories and hold on to pictures so I can look back and reflect. That is what this blog is for me. My memories, open, for everyone to share. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Hot Air Balloon Festival

July 2013 - Yes, I am WAY behind on blogging... but working on getting caught up now.
Waterford, WI has a Hot Air Balloon Festival every year in July.  Last year we stopped out to see the excitement.  There were a ton of vendors selling crafts, toys, and food.  Lots and lots of delicious food.  There were games for the kids to play, music to listen and dance to, and best of all, hot air balloons.  Have you seen a hot air balloon close up?  They are beautiful.  Some day I would love to take a ride in one. 
Carter looks less than enthused in the picture below, but he really was loving all of the excitement. 

They lit the fire in front of us, played music, and filled up the balloons.  It was a windy day so the balloons couldn't leave the ground, but seeing them up close and in person was amazing.  They are huge! 

I even snuck in a horribly fuzzy picture with my husband.  ;-) After all, some times it's about capturing the moment and not the clarity. 

Monday, February 17, 2014

Carter's Reaction to Omnicef

On April 12, 2013, Carter woke up with hives.  He was on day seven of omnicef for an ear infection.  At first I didn't think the two were related, because he had been taking the medicine for seven days.  I thought if he was going to have a reaction it would have happened right away, but boy was I wrong. 

I took him to the walk-in that originally gave him the omnicef for his ear infection.  They said that he was reacting to the meds and these types of reactions can happen at any time.  He said we should stop the omnicef, give him some benadryl, start him on a steroid, and begin giving him a z-pack because his ears were still infected.  

We went home that evening and did as we were told.  We thought he was getting better by late Friday night.  Saturday morning was a whole different story though, he woke up with a swollen face.  His hives were worse then they were the day before.  I got nervous, but knew that we had directions from the doctor to continue the benadrly and steriods and things should get better. 
Cory and Ethan left the house Saturday morning to go to a fishing seminar.  We figured that Carter and I would be okay at home because we had the meds that we needed and I planned to watch his every move to make sure he was getting better.  When Cory left the house with Ethan, Carter had a complete meltdown.  I quickly put Carter in the bathtub to try and cheer him up.  He loves bath time.  I'm glad I did this because as soon as I stripped him down and put him in the tub, I noticed bruising spots along his spine and under his armpits.  Fortunately, the bath time had him in good spirits, by once I saw the bruising I started to panic. 
I dried him off while trying to remain calm.  I called the walk-in and told them I was coming back with him and that he had bruising from the hives.  I called Cory and told him the plan and Carter and I rushed out of the house.  The walk-in doctor saw us right away and said we needed to go to the ER.  I asked if I needed to drive to Children's or if the local ER would do?  I was trying to remain calm, but wanted to know how serious this was.   The doc said Children's would be best, but I had to promise not to speed.  Ah... yeah...okay... have you seen my baby?!

I called Cory and we agreed that our local ER was closer and we should start there.  Cory and Ethan were packing up at the fishing seminar and planned to meet Carter and I and the ER.  By the time I got to the ER I was shacking and tears were running down my face.  I ran in to the ER holding my almost two year old baby tightly in my arms.  The ER nurses saw me and waved me in through the doors.  They quickly walked us back to an ER room while asking our names and what was going on.  Within two minutes we had a doctor and multiple nurses in the room hooking Carter up to an IV.  They gave him a histamine blocker which helped to reduce his hives and bruising.  

Can you see the bruising along his spine in the picture above?  It was scary.  We stayed at the hospital for a couple hours.  Cory and Ethan got there shortly after they inserted Carter's IV.  Carter was scared and in pain.  They drew blood to check for organ damage from the severe reaction.  Carter screamed like they were attacking him.  He had no idea what was going on and I was doing all that I could to comfort him.  He started to dose off after a while, but while he was sleeping the nurses came in and said they need more blood.  They had to wake him to poke his little body once again.  This time he panicked.  They got done taking his blood, which took Cory and I holding him down with all of our might.  When the nurses were done and we let go of him, he climbed off the table and crawled across the floor and hid under a chair.  We tried to get him out from under the chair, but he was traumatized.  He screamed.  He screamed like I've never heard any of my kids scream before, as if someone were attacking him.  Cory tried to get him out from under the chair, but even he failed.  We decided to leave him on the floor and I sat down next to him.  Any time I tried to touch him he started to scream even louder.  My heart broke.  I had no way to console him at that moment so I sat on the floor next to him and cried with him.  
Time passed and he started to calm.  I picked him up and held him tight for as long as he would let me.  He asked to sit back on the bed.  He was getting better.  The meds were helping.  We were on the right track.  The test results came back normal.  None of his organs were compromised.   We were blessed.  We were able to go home and continue on with the z-pack, benadryl, and steroids.

We thought the hospital trip made things better, but Sunday morning he woke up with a bright red face, swollen and bruised legs and feet, and swollen hands.  I called the doctor and they said this is normal.  Fortunately, things got better within the next couple of hours and that nasty swollen, bruised reaction never came back.   This event was one of the scariest times of my life.  I pray for all of you with allergies or with children that have severe allergies.  They can come on in an instant. 

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Carter is TWO!

And just like that... our baby turns two. 

 It's moments like these that take my breath away. 
Makes me sit back as a parent and say "wow, where did the time go?". 

These milestones make me forget all of the sleepless nights, struggles of juggling baby gear, heavy carseats, chasing older siblings while feeding the youngest one.  All of those hard moments that happen within the first year or even two years.. they all seem so precious when they are over.  So missed.  Feels like a life time ago that we were anxiously awaiting his arrival. 

Carter, you complete us. You are amazing. Watching you learn from your brother and sister and teach them about love... well it's just incredible.

 There is a magical bond between brothers.  It's an unspoken language. 
 A connection that is beautiful to watch. 
We are blessed.  Grateful.  Thankful.  

  Happy Birthday Carter Oliver.  We love you more than words could ever express. 

Love, Daddy, Mommy, Mariah, and Ethan

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Our New Island

Cory continues to amaze me over and over.  He is excellent with detailed work, but doesn't like to let me in on his secret.  This weekend he proved that he can make my visions come to life and do them in a very professional way.  Thank you honey!

Our island started out like this.  There was a large overhang on the end and left side which made our kitchen feel very cramped.  We were constantly asking each other to move so we could pass by.  After seven years I seriously wanted to rip out the island and just be done with it. 

But we use our island all the time.  Its the center of our home.  We cook, clean, serve food, do homework, well you get it.  We needed to keep the island, but improve the function.  So I started looking on houzz and came up with a couple inspirations. 

I would love to paint our cabinets, but Cory really loves the stained wood look... so he wins for now.  The picture above with the stained island and white cabinets is one of my absolute favorite kitchens. 

Back to our kitchen project.  I pulled off the counter and got a feel for the space. 

Took some measurements. Then headed to Home Depot and Menards. It took me two trips, but I came home with more cabinets and a new butcher block counter.


We ended up returning one set of cabinets and adding the other to our island to make it longer.  We went with a three drawer cabinet because it was the easiest to work with and custom match to our current cabinets. 

Cory stained, measured, sanded, cut, sanded, finished with a protecting coat, and cut some more... It was a long weekend and he was happy when he was done. 

I believe our conversation before Father's Day went something like this...
Me: What would you like for Father's Day this year?
Cory: And then I'll ask for the same thing next year.
Me: hmmmmm with your talent and my ideas...

The finished project is beautiful.  We have 24" more of cabinet space, our counter is is narrow and long, we can all function in the kitchen without having to move around each other.  It turned out better than I imagined. 

Look at the detail.  Isn't it pretty?  How did we do for learning-as-we-go-DIYers?


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

More Updates, More Projects, More Fun

First I want need to say that I am VERY grateful for my handy husband.  He is amazing!  He may not always like my ideas or want to carry out my ideas, but often times he gives in, rolls up his sleeves, and jumps in to my projects, with a lot of begging and encouragement. 

I keep telling Cory I will give him a break, but my mind is full of creative thoughts.  Seriously, I will wake up in the middle of the night with some fabulous idea for updating our house.  Sickness?  Maybe, but it's my passion. 

We finished our wall project.  This was huge for me.  I wanted an open concept feel so we could stay connected as a family even if we were in different rooms.  Removing a large portion of the wall made this happen.  I am SO happy with how this project turned out.  This project made me fall in love with our home.  I no longer want to move (unless its South to warmer weather) and if you know me, then you know that is a big deal. 

When we finished up the wall project, my focus quickly went to the surrounding rooms.  I made a couple small updates to our front entry.  I still dream of board and batten in this room, but for now I am loving the new cushion, white mirror, and inviting feel.

My next project got a little out of control.  Sorry honey ;-) I sure am glad you love me...
I decided that I wanted to update our kitchen island, a little.  My idea started with a new counter.  Our island counter had a belly that hung over on two sides, but our kitchen is too narrow for bar stools.  This made things very cramped for a family of five.  Mornings were a mess. 

Don't mind the cluttered counters... I was on a mission.

So I removed the island counter and visualized. A. LOT. 

I went to Home Depot and picked up a 24" base cabinet of drawers, then stopped at Menards and picked up a beautiful 8' long butcher block counter.  The drawer base is just a builder grade cabinet, but I knew my handy hubby could make it match our custom cabinets.  ;-) Luckily we have flat oak front drawers so they should be fairly simple to recreate. 

Cory stained the cabinets before connecting them to the existing cabinets.  I've attempted staining before, but Cory doesn't even ask me to help anymore.  Hmmmm, must not be my strength. 

I also picked up a new pendant light from Menards to match the lights that we have hanging in the cutouts in the wall project.  I am loving this light.  We had a ceiling mounted light before that gave off little light.  This pendant really lights up the island counter.  It's amazing how something so little can make such a big difference. 

Cory attached the cabinets and the butcher block counter.  We had to cut the counter down almost a foot to make it work for our space.  Having a 7' island is amazing!  We love all of the extra work space.  Removing the belly from the side also added a lot of open space to our kitchen.  We can now pass by each other in front of the fridge and pantry without waiting for the other person to move. 
Mornings are happier because of this project. 

 We left a 6" over hang on the left end of the island.  We have plans to put newels there to give the island extra character.  It also creates an inviting place to stand (or put a narrow stool - don't tell my husband, he hates stools).

The butcher block is sealed and we are waiting anxiously to start using it again.  It takes 72 hours for the seal to cure... waiting... and waiting... and waiting.  Isn't it beautiful!

We started removing the old trim around the base of the cabinet.  It will have a similar, but much more detailed look when we are done with it. 

Here is a little peak at our pile of detailed trim.  It's going to be fabulous! 

I am very anxious to complete this project.  We have Carter's 2nd birthday party planned for the end of this month, but have very full weekends until then. 
 Think we can have the island project done?!  No pressure or anything Cory. 

Oh, and I promise after this... I'll try to back off on the new project ideas for a while. Maybe.

Next up: tile backsplash, new wood floors! (sssshhhhh) ;-)

Monday, April 15, 2013

Look Out Drivers

Remember my post about Mariah driving...

Well, our baby is legal behind the wheel!  She is a good driver.  A responsible driver.  But hasn't learned the art of defensive driving yet.  Unfortunately, that part takes time and is learned through experiences. 

On Good Friday Mariah passed her driving test!  It's official.  She's grown up.  I'm still in denial.  We haven't allowed her to take out the vehicle on her own, but it will happen soon.  We can't keep her boxed in for much longer. 

I think Paster Sue said it best in one of her recent newsletters. 
 "May you never drive faster than your guardian angel can fly."