Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Happy Belated Birthday Blake!

Monday we celebrated Blake's 4th Birthday! With the hubbub that is the holiday season, I'm of course posting this late!

4 years ago....

It was a Tuesday night, hubby was off work for the holiday's, and I was hoping to have this baby before the New Year arrived. At about 11 pm, I went to bed. But being 9 months pregnant, I couldn't sleep in our water bed, so I was sleeping on the couch in the living room. So I went to sleep, and hubby was upstairs playing computer games (since he couldn't watch TV).

I woke up at about 1 am to go to the bathroom, and recall seeing the light on upstairs still. But I wasn't surprised, hubby is usually up late playing games. I lay back down on the couch, but couldn't get to sleep. I was uncomfortable in EVERY position. After about 30 or 45 minutes, I went upstairs to see if I could get comfy in bed. By now, hubby had gone to bed, but wasn't asleep yet. I tried not to disturb him as I continued to change positions and try to get to sleep. Here and there, I was having some light contractions, but in my mind they weren't very strong and they weren't very regular. So I kept thinking that both hubby and I should get more sleep while we still could.

By 2:30 am, I still hadn't gotten to sleep, and I'm not sure hubby did either. At that point, he realized that I was in labor, even though I hadn't admitted it to myself yet! He had me call the doctor, and when I talked with her, she knew I was in labor, and suggested we get to the hospital ASAP. We called grandma, and she was here by 3 am. At this point, I was definitely feeling like I was in labor, but I still figured we had plenty of time!!

We left for the hospital got there by 3:30 am. Hubby was smart enough to bring along a plastic bag for me to puke in, and boy was I glad he did!! We went in through the ER entrance and they got me upstairs pretty fast, and I was in my room with a gown etc before 4 am. The next 30 minutes are a total blur to me. The nurse must have checked to see how far I was dilated (but I don't really remember that). Apparently, it was pretty far because they prepped the room, called the doctor, and somehow got an IV line in my arm. The doctor suddenly appeared, and with 1 push Blake Huntington was born at 4:17 am. WHEW!! He was 7 pounds, 11 ounces, and 19 3/4 inches long.

Blake lives day to day life just like his delivery....he's a whirlwind, always on the go, and can switch from happy to sad (or sad to happy) in a heartbeat, without any warning!!! He's my little whirlwind, who arrived in a flash, but I wouldn't have him any other way!!! I love you my BIG little man...Happy Birthday!!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Busy Busy Busy

So I've been a slacker in the blog-world. On the plus side, it's because I've been anything but a slacker in the real world!

In mid-November, Izzy and I took a plane ride to Delaware to visit family and friends. I got to catch up with an old friend from high school who I grew up with but who I haven't seen in years, and that was awesome! Then, I got together with a great group of friends who I've known for years but only known most of them via email conversations. We had a great night hanging out together and catching up. Finally, I got to spend a day at my brother's house, for his annual Pre-Thanksgiving dinner. Yummy and a great chance to see a few old acquaintances and meet some of his friends.

I came home just in time to host Thanksgiving dinner for us and hubby's family. 12 of us gathered for turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, and all the other yummies. It was good to see all the cousins who are spread far apart these days.

Since then, I've been busy Christmas shopping (including Black Friday-a first for me!), decorating, and sending Christmas letters.

I've also been busy working on a new business venture....T-shirt Blankets. A few years ago, I took all of my college fraternity shirts that I rarely wore anymore and turned them into a blanket. At the time, I figured it was pretty simple and nothing special. But 3 or 4 years of using the blanket at the park for picnics has made me think otherwise. So many people stop to comment on it, and think it's a great idea, and something they'd love to have but never could do themselves. So....I figured I'd give it a try making blankets for other people. Heck, I've even put together a website for it. Wanna see??? Here's the page!

One last thing has been occupying my mind this last month. And unfortunately, I'm going to end this post on a sad note. I've been forced to realize just how lucky I am recently, because of some terrible things that have happened. First, a friend of a friend's family was driving to Disney World when their car was rear-ended. Sadly, their 4-year-old daughter, was critically injured and passed away. Shortly thereafter, we learned that DH's cousin's newborn daughter may be diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis. Details and a definite diagnosis are still pending, so right now we are playing a waiting game. Then, I learned of a friend's 5-year-old son diagnosis with stage four neuroblastoma. So far, he's doing well through stages of chemo and fighting hard. Finally, hubby's aunt passed away suddenly a week ago.

It's truly been a heart-breaking and emotionally exhausting few weeks. I am trying so hard to be thankful for everything I have, and to do all that I can to support those who are dealing with such terrible loss and pain at what should be the most wonderful time of the year. So send your positive thoughts, your prayers, or do whatever it is that you do, and make sure you say "Thank you" for all the good things in your own life.

Isabelle 8 Months

She's 8 months old, and I've barely blogged twice since she was 7 months old! Oopsies!!

Well, she's been busy (and so have I!). She went from barely being able to army crawl to a full crawl the weekend before Thanksgiving, to pulling herself up on furniture the week after Thanksgiving, and now she's pulling up all the time and cruising all around the furniture!

At this rate, she'll walk sooner than either of the boys. She's gotta walk by end of January to beat Trevor's record of 9 1/2 months! I think she's got a good chance of that!

Crawling under the table...just like her brothers before her!
And crawling under the Excer-Saucer....like her brothers before her!
Pulling up on (and tasting) the table

"Now I can reach everything!"
"Look Mom, one hand!"
This past month was also Izzy's first plane ride, and first visit to Delaware. She was great on the plane. On the ride there she was such the entertainer of all the people sitting around us and was just great. And on the ride home, she slept the entire ride and so did I!

Hanging out with Pa-Hugh


She also got to experience her first trip to the Christmas tree farm. Again, she had a great time and was a perfect angel!

She's still a happy girl 99% of the time!And she loves her brother! Especially now she can 'walk' with him!
My baby girl is growing up fast! But she's doing a great job of it!!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Christmas Lists

For those who have asked, each of the kids has an Amazon Wish List (so do hubby and I), and I'll put the links below.

And just FYI, I use the wish list feature at Amazon because it's easy. However, I don't believe they have the lowest prices on everything so if you plan to purchase, don't feel obligated to use Amazon, find a lower price somewhere else! But if you do purchase somewhere else, please let me know what you bought for which kid, and I'll take it off the wish list so we don't get duplicates!!

Trevor

Blake

Isabelle

Me

Me & Hubby

Also, the sizes all 3 kids are wearing are listed under their pics on the right side of the blog. Honestly, the boys don't really need any clothes at the moment. Izzy is quickly growing out of 9m things, so anything winter 12m would be great (clothes and jammies).

Sunday, November 15, 2009

7, 7, 7 months....ha ha ha ha ha!

Another month has flown by. Where has the time gone!

Izzy's pretty much mastered sitting and LOVES it! I'm sure she enjoys the new and better view of all her brothers antics. She sits and plays with all kinds of toys for ages, until she tips over, and the she's off around the room.

She's great at getting around the room via rolling, scooting, and a modified army crawl. She also gets up on her knees and rocks back and forth for ever... it's only a matter of (short) time until she gets the "real" crawl figured out. Turn your back for 2 minutes and you might find her under the kitchen table or heading for the front door!

We've continued to try lots of new foods, including: sweet potatoes, peas, pears, oatmeal, and butternut squash. She loves them all (well, the peas are a strech!) and has come to like the applesauce too (with a little sugar in it!).
She's also discovered mirrors and thinks the baby in the mirror is lots of fun!

She still loves big brother T, and he LOVES her!
She's up to 17 pounds now and seems to be growing like a weed!

And she's generally one happy, quiet baby!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Great Deal on a Britax Frontier

I've become very attached to my car seats. In fact, I'm very unwilling to let my kids go anywhere without being in a 5-point harness. Why do I require my 5 1/2 year old to still sit in a 5-point harness and not a booster?? I mean, the booster would be SO much easier for me to move from car to car, and SO much easier for the boys to buckle themselves into, and SO much easier to fit into my car and still have room for other people, and SO much cheaper. (Where is that sarcasm font when I need it??).

Here's why... Kyle David Miller.

So no, I'm not buying a booster seat any time soon. Get over it!! But I'm still also a cheap-ass very frugal person. So when a friend told me about a way to get a Britax Frontier car seat for a great price (I think it's close to 45% off!!!) how could I resist. And I thought I would share with you! Here's what you do:

1. The Frontier is currently on sale at Amazon for $195. Go to the site and print out the price. (Frontier in Rushmore, or choose Red Rock, Canyon, or Sahara).

2. Take the printout to Bed Bath & Beyond and have them price match.

3. Use a 20% off coupon to get the price down to $156.

In my case, they didn't have the seats in stock, so they were glad to order it for me and ship it to my home. I've heard it's possible you'll have to play shipping which is $16. Total = $156 + tax if they waive shipping, or $172 + tax with shipping fee. Original price $279.99 + tax

So, now Blake has a fabulous new car seat, and Izzy will soon be residing in his Britax Boulevard, rear facing, until she's probably 3 (or reaches the weight limit of the seat).

Go get a good deal and keep your kid safe for longer!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Success?

Wednesday morning I visited the local hospital for a routine follow-up. Yes, my routine follow-up was at the hospital. That's because it was a follow-up to confirm that the Essure procedure I had done in July worked.

For those of you, who don't or won't click on the link above, the Essure procedure has ended my ability to get pregnant. Yup, the inn is closed, the hotel is out of business, no more babies are living in this body.

So I went to the hospital, met my midwives there (gosh I love those gals!) and got set up for the test. The radiologist who performed the follow-up, came in, took a lot at the x-ray screen, and said, "Success!".

But as I drove home, it made me start to think. Yes, hubby and I talked about this procedure, and planned it, and it was not a surprise. We've planned for years to have 3 children and no more. I'm very content and happy with our family just the way it is. And I'm thrilled not to have to think about birth control or worry about accidental pregnancies.

But it was definitely interesting to hear the radiologist say "Success!". I've successfully ended my abilbity to get pregnant and bear children. And yet, I still know SO many people who would give anything to have the success of getting pregnant. I could wish that me taking my name out of the proverbial hat would increase their chances....but sadly, I don't think that really has any impact at all!

Oh well, I could still be a surrogate.....and maybe I will one day!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Halloween in Pictures

For those who may not know.... Mario Brothers. Or more correctly, Mario Kart Wii. In which, Mario, Luigi and numerous other characters drive race cars on various tracks. It's the boys new favorite game, and it became the halloween theme! So Trev & Blake are Mario & Luigi, that much was easy. I became Princess Peach, since I knew I had easy access to a dress (she was the princess in the castle at the end of the original Mario Brothers game). And in Mario Kart there are banana peels on the race course that make the cars spin out. So Izzy became a banana to fit in with the family theme!

Luigi (Blake) & Mario (Trevor)
Luigi, Baby Banana, & Mario
Princess Peach & Baby Banana

Blake had a halloween party at preschool. He was super excited and had a great time. Here's a picture of all the kids. I think the R2-D2 costume was my favorite (standing on the left) but his hat/head was too heavy for him to wear without his mom holding it!

During the party, they played lots of games and sang songs. Here's Blake and our friend Maddie.
But Blake's favorite part of the party was definetly snack time... followed closely by the goody bags!On Friday, Trevor had his class party. More games, singing, stories, and treats!On Saturday, we carved pumpkins before going trick or treating. Turns out the pumkins had REALLY tough skins, so Daddy needed to use his Roto-Zip to carve the designs!
But they turned out just fine anyway! This is Blakes original creation...
And Trevor's one-eye'd creation.
We had a crazy, happy, busy, fun, wonderful Halloween!!!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Izzy's New Tricks

While Izzy has enjoyed cereal, bananas, and avocado. Her reaction to applesauce was not quite the same. While there's no sound to this video (darn camera has a fritzy sound card), her facial expressions are what matters.
video
Of course, the problem is.... I made a billion batches of baby applesauce since we went apple picking. So, she's gonna have to learn to like it!! Maybe I should add some sugar to it!

And then there's her new skill...

She took her afternoon nap, and when she woke up we went to get photos taken at Sears. I take her out of the car seat, the photographer takes one look at her, and she waves at her. And keeps waving through the whole photo shoot! It was too cute! And she waved at Daddy when we got home. So, here it is, on video. The best one is at the end, she was waving back at me as I took the video. Again, no sound, but not really important!!!

video

What trick should we teach her next???

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Half a year!!!

She's half a year old. Wow! It's been an awesome 6 months, and I'm excited for the next 6. I can't imagine what she'll be doing by her 1st birthday. As it is, she's already hit some awesome milestones in half a year!

At the end of September, I went on a 4-day vacation. The result, Izzy can hold her own bottle. No work for Daddy!
And...now she likes to play with her(empty) pirate sippy cup. "Yo Ho Ho and a bottle of milk!"
She's been working on her sitting, when a toy is present. She can only stay about a minute on her own, but she's getting better and better at it. The biggest problem is she'd rather stand than sit, so she doesn't get much practice!
She's also become a punpkin' head in honor of the season, and made her first pilgrimage to the apple orchard!
About 5 days ago, we introduced Izzy to "real" food. She's been happy and growing well with just breast milk, but she's also shown a GREAT interest in table food. She practically pulled my dinner into her lap the other day!

So far she's had, cereal, bananas, and avocado... and she loves them all!She's figuring out how to get around, and therefore we've had to re-baby-proof the living room. The boys are learning how to share their toys with her, and learning what she can and can't have. "My First Tonka" by Izzy



Again, she's a punkin' head, and also apparently starting to model for the camera!
"Wickedly Adorable"

As I mentioned, she's figuring how to get around. No, not crawling, but what we have now dubbed the "scoot and roll". She rolls over and over, and also will scoot on her back, by arching up. The movie below will demonstrate it much better than I can describe it in words. But this picture, this is for my Mother. Who I'm sure can find an identical picture of me (possibly sans diaper) from 33 1/2 years ago. Right, Mother?
Izzy's scoot and roll video...
video

So, she's come a long way in 6 months. And while I'm sad the time seems to be going SO fast, she's at a super fun age and stage right now and it's so fun to see her personality starting to show!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Daddy Apples and Baby Apples!

Last week the boys the kids (damn, I have to stop doing that!) and I, and a friend and her kids went apple picking.

This has become an annual tradition, and the two of ALWAYS go apple picking together. We got lucky with wonderful weather, nice and cool, but very sunny.

We reminisced about years past.... how last year, while in the midst of picking apples, she figured out that I was pregnant but not publicizing it yet! (We were there with other friends, and I SWORE her to secrecy!!).


Since then I've been making applesauce for Izzy, and today we made Raspberry Applesauce for the boys. (Since we have at least 10 gallon bags of raspberries in the freezer from this summer, from our bushes!).

As we made applesauce this afternoon: I was peeling, and the boys were measuring. The apples that weren't peeled yet, were waiting patiently in line (as the boys "asked" them to do), in order from smallest to largest. One of the smallest apples suddenly started talking to the Daddy apple (way in the back of the line), "Daddy, Daddy.... save me! I don't want to get killed [peeled]. I don't want to have my heart cut out [get cored]. Save me! SAAAAAAVVVVVEEEEE MMMMMMEEEEE!!!"
Boys!!!! Seriously, where do they come up with this stuff!!! Gotta love it!!!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Shamless Plea for Fundraising Orders

Trevor's in kindergarten and really enjoying it! Of course, now it's time for the annual school fundraiser. You know, the catalog of goodies that you can order from and his school makes money. So here I am, blogging about it. Can you guess what I'm going to say next???

Yup, he'd love to have your support. It's run by Market Day, and while I don't work for them anymore, I know the products are all top quality, from top name vendors. If there is any issue with any item, just return it for a complete refund, or contact me and I'll help you take care of the problem. This is an easy way to get a head start on your Holiday shopping, while giving support to education too. Approximately 45-50% of the profits of this sale, will go right back to Trevor's school!

The items that are for sale can be found online here. Once at that page enter the Sale ID: 207827. You'll see a screen telling you that you're ordering for Spring Grove Elementary School. Orders are due by Thursday 10/22 at 10 pm. Click the Select button, and start shopping.

Once you've filled your shopping cart, you can choose to have the products shipped to Trevor's school, or straight to your home address (shipping charges will apply). If you live around us, please feel free to ship them to the school. Just let me know and I'll gladly pick them up for you and coordinate delivery.

During checkout (when you're completing your order), you'll have a chance to give the credit directly to Trevor for your order. During "Step 2 Billing", at the bottom of the screen, complete the Sellers information as follows:
Seller First Name: Trevor
Seller Last Name: Kappel
Seller Order Form ID: 1648698
Seller Phone #: 815-675-9673

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Cruise by the numbers

Miles traveled: at least 3,600 (ha ha, it's 1700+ to fly to San Diego, and only 68 as the crow flies from San Diego to Ensenada....our destination!)

Towel animals in room: 2 (elephant and snake)

Meals that involved shrimp, lobster, or steak: 6 I think.....none of that good stuff at breakfast, but I had Eggs Benedict instead! Yum!

Suitcases almost stolen by another shuttle passenger: 1 (more details in a separate post!)

Adult beverages enjoyed: at least 5.... they were WAY too expensive on the boat!

Steps taken per day: about 8,000 according to Gina's pedometer

Stores visited: about 50...between San Diego and Ensenada...good shopping!!

Gifts purchased for others: 7

Items purchased for myself: 1 (a calendar/planner-gawd how boring am I???)

Dollars spent in cruise spa: $150 for a haircut, style, and pedicure (this HAS to offset the stat above it, right?)

Deck chairs sat in: 7 or 8, each for at least 2 hours!!

Times I thought about the kids and wished I was home instead of on the cruise: ZERO

Bags of frozen milk still left in the freezer when I got home: 7..... yay me!!!

Stories, laughs, and good times had with the girls: Countless and Priceless! It was an awesome trip!!!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Is it here yet?

Before I begin the important part of this post, I must tell you a background item. After T's birthday, we returned a duplicate gift, and waited for it's replacement (a Dragon Fortress). The replacement took close to a month to arrive due to processing issues, it arrived just after our camping trip in August. The boys were VERY anxious to receive the fortress and asked about it daily. Apparently I was not always polite and anxious to deal with their questions!!!

Okay....now back to the real post....

T & B are really good at creative, imaginative play. A lot of the credit for this, I must give to Grandma. During her many days of babysitting while I was at work, she had the kids playing some of the craziest games that she or they invented. Games like, "camping", "gingerbread boys", "motorcycle rides", "christmas trees" and many more.

Recently, I encountered them playing a very drawn out, invented scenario by themselves...

They built a house using various blocks we have in the house, and the house had a lovely garden of trees and flowers. In this house, lived Batman and Robin (the little action figures that we have). For a while, Batman and Robin played happily at home in their garden and in their hosue.

Often, Robin would ask Batman, "Is the Dragon Fortress here?" and Batman would reply "No". And Robin would ask Batman, "Is the Dragon Fortress here?" and Batman would reply "No". Over and over again. Robin continued to ask about the dragon fortress, and after a while, Batman's response would get ruder and ruder, and then one time Batman responded, "NO! NOW SHUT UP AND DON'T ASK ABOUT IT AGAIN!!"

Then they decided to go camping. After lots of packing of various items from their toy kitchen/grocery store, B & R went off camping by the fish tank (in the front room). They camped for 3 days and 2 nights, but had to stop camping and come eat in a restaurant (have lunch-Mommy insisted) during their trip.

After camping, B & R came home, to find a large box (2 boxes from an Elmo construction set) in front of their house. B & R opened the box to discover a Dragon Fortress inside. And Robin turned to Batman and said, "Yay it's here! Now you never have to yell at me again!"

And Batman & Robin lived happily ever after and there was no more yelling!!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Isabelle-Chapter 5

Seriously, she's 5 months old! Holy cow! Okay, I know that sounds cliche, but I honestly don't know where the time has gone. I'm trying SO hard to appreciate every day, and snuggle and cuddle her as much as possible, and enjoy her being a baby before it's gone, because she IS the last, but somehow the time is still flying! (Sorry, that was a really long sentence!)


Regardless, she's at a REALLY fun stage right now. She's so strong, she holds her head up and loves to be tossed in the air and shaken up (gently, no shaken baby syndrome here I promise!). Both those things make her giggle. But her giggle is silent! You can see the laugh on her face, in her eyes, and her mouth is open wide, but rarely does she make any noise!


In fact she's really quiet a lot of the time. Yes, she'll babble and talk if there's someone (aka Trevor or Blake) to talk to, but much of the time, she just wants to sit and watch and stare and smile. When she starts to make a "lot" of noise for an extended period, that usually means she tired, hungry, or has a dirty diaper (or all three!).


While she first learned to roll over two months ago, now she does it with regularity and purpose. She does it when she wants to, and so she can see stuff. She can really get her head and chest way up off the ground now, pushing with her arms. So now she has a really great view of things going on in the room when she does roll over, and she loves it!


I've really gotten into the BabyLegs....so cute and so fun! (and so nice for the cool mornings in this weird summer/fall weather!)

She's also getting very good at picking up toys and moving them from hand to hand. In general, she loves to reach and grab for anything she can see....including, my hair, my shirt, Daddy's beer, my lunch (she went for my roast beef on white today!). I'm hoping she'll soon start pushing the boys away when they give her a little too much love!!!
Pirate Izzy (courtesy of Trevor!)
She seems to have figured out things to help her sooth herself t0 sleep. She now loves her nuk (pacifier) and blanket and music machine, and once she has those in her DARK room, she roll on her side into the corner of the crib and sleep! Bingo! Of course, it's not that easy... if she falls asleep for 20-30 minutes in the car seat, she wake up when we get home and think she's done with napping....no going back to sleep for her! But at least she wakes up happy!!

As I look at all the photos of her, with the boys, I see traits in her that look like both Blake (the nose) and Trevor (the eyes). I'm curious to see who she'll end up looking most like, but then again what's the point. Both boys looked so similar when they were very young (under 3 months) that I can't always tell which picture is of who! And, ultimately, she's going to look like herself....which is just fine with me!