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Showing posts from 2006

Run Forrest, Run...

Lately I've had this urge to run. I've never really been a runner. I participated in track one season in middle school and for a time when we lived in KC I had taken up with running a couple days a week as a cross training tool to mix with my aerobics teaching load and weight lifting, but for the most part I'm not really a runner. So this urge to run as of late has been strange. I've felt great physically lately having adapted to my teaching schedule at the studio, and even though I'm heavier than I'd like to be, I figured that I'd give a run a try today knowing I could stop if I didn't feel right. Normally it's my knees who scream stop first, so I was fully prepared to slow back down to a brisk walk if necessary.

After a warm-up walk, I cranked up the treadmill. To my surprise, after finding my stride, I felt great. I played with the speed a bit, challenging and resting myself when needed. 40 minutes later, I stepped off the treadmill feeling grea…

My little eater...

When Brea was born everyone was amazed at how much she resembled her older sister, looks and temperament. Over the past few months her own personality has really started to shine. Much like her sister was, she's a happy baby and she loves to giggle. On the flip side, she has a bit of a temper and wants what she wants and NOW. There are other small differences that a parent can easily pick out, but three of the biggest differences we've notices between the girls at this age:

1. Brea likes to make it known when she's around. She loves to just scream to hear herself scream. Put her in a space that echos a bit and watch out!

2. Brea is more of a dare devil. Lexi was always a careful baby. Not so careful that she wasn't willing to try new things, but the type of careful that resulted in a relatively bruise and bump free infant and toddler years. Brea on the other hand...well let's just say she doesn't see the distance from the couch to the floor as a barrier…

Holiday cooking...

As I sit here typing, the pumpkin pie for tomorrow is baking away in the oven. Food has always been an important part of the holidays for my family. I find that over the past few years, the years when we've started to build family traditions for our girls, the years when I've not be able to spend the holidays with my mom and brother, food has played an even bigger part in my holiday preparations. It's a small piece of "home" that continues to be special to me even miles away from the rest of my family. When I look back through my childhood, most of the memories I have of the holidays involve food. The past couple of days I've really been thinking about that fact. And well, here's what I think it boils down to...

Growing up in your average dysfunctional American family, the holidays were a time to celebrate, but often in a general air of stress. Family dynamics were complicated. Finances were sometimes complicated. General logistics, depending on where…

A day to celebrate...

Yesterday marked the end of my dear hubby's daily 110 mile round trip commute to work. After almost 6.5 years of making the hour drive each morning and night, this morning he made the 5 minute drive to his new job at ASI Modulex.For the first time in our oldest daughter's life (not counting those occasional days when daddy went into work late for some reason) she was able to have breakfast with her daddy before he headed off to work. So many simple pleasures come with this change: breakfast and lunch with daddy on a regular basis; a shortened drive, less miles on the car, and much less spent monthly at the gas pump; the chance for Scott to feel more part of the community in which he lives; the ability for him to be in town for doctor's appointments, school programs, etc; the opportunity for him to spend time taking the dog for a walk in the morning and to go play some hoops over the lunch hour a couple times a week; and let's not forget, a little more sleep each day a…

Back on the wine trail...

The third stop on the Wine Trail this past Saturday was definitely my favorite, Park Farm Winery and Vineyard in Bankston. It was the most difficult to find, nestled in the Iowa countryside, but the beautiful French style Chateau (pictured above) is like an oasis in the middle of the desert. A beautiful tasting room, complete with comfy furniture and a large fireplace, leads out onto a deck from which you can look down over the vineyard and out across the valley to the hills beyond. To add to the magical ambiance, we were invited on a tour of the wine making facilities where Lucas, the winemaker, talked about how the winery and vineyard had grown over the past several years. If ambiance contributes to your desire to buy on your way through the retail store, then call me a sucker as I left happily carting 3 bottles of wine and a new CD. The wines at Park Farm are more to my taste, plenty of deep, dry reds AND surprisingly, I even purchased a bottle of white, a rare occurance f…

A day on the Wine Trail...

Over the past decade or so, the number of vineyards and wineries have grown steadily in the state of Iowa. Twice a year 7 wineries in the Northeastern part of the state come together for a 2 day event called the Iowa Wine Trail. This fall a group of our friends decided to partake of the festivities...after all, what better way to get ideas for your Holiday entertaining! After several weeks of planning (thanks MB), Saturday morning 9 of us loaded into our rented 15 passenger van and headed north. Destination: Winneshiek Wildberry Winery in Decorah. The first of 4 wineries we would visit that day.

For those of you who have never traveled in Northeastern Iowa, it's amazing. You gradually leave the rolling hills of the central part of the state for rockier, tree cover hills which spill dramatically into beautiful valleys. Along the way you come upon small towns and family farms fit for a Grant Wood painting. Fall is a particularly beautiful time of year and even though we're past p…

The Apple Orchard...

Today Lexi's preschool went on a field trip to an apple orchard. I adjusted my teaching schedule so that Brea and I could go with. It was a bit of a drive, but it was very much worth the time in the car. The trees were sagging under the weight of the MANY, MANY apples. After watching the Orchard owner feed his cows (live animals seemed to be more of draw that apples for most of the little ones), we visited a section of the orchard that had Golden Delicious and Jonathans. After learning how to pick an apple without hurting the tree, each of the kids (and the parents present), got to pick an apple, shine it up, and enjoy it as a cool, crisp mid-morning snack. Lexi choose Golden Delicious. I went with a nice Jonathan. It was a beautiful morning for a stroll in the orchard. In fact, we had so much fun that this weekend we're planning a family trip back to pick our very own basket full of apples...the perfect Sunday afternoon activity I do believe!



A trip to the park...

My growing girls...

Mile stones have been reached this week. On Wednesday afternoon, Lexi emerged from playing in her room with this look of horror on her face. I asked her what was wrong and she told me her tooth was loose. After making sure that she hadn't bumped it while playing, I assured her that everything would be just fine. That wiggly baby teeth just meant her big teeth were starting to make their way into place. Of course then it hit me...my little girl is growing up. She's taking another step into big kid world! How can that be happening? The tooth, now wigglier, is still hanging tough. Now the question is, which will happen first...her tooth coming our or her 5th birthday?

As if the stars aligned to maintain the balance of the universe or something, Brea has had her first baby tooth poke through in the past 24 hours. Interestingly enough, her first tooth is on the lower left while Lexi's first tooth was the lower right. Brea has also gotten her first tooth one full month earlier th…

Visitors...

We had surprise visitors for lunch on Monday. My grandma and grandpa Hall (my mom's parents) happen to be in Iowa as they were driving back to Nebraska from a Wedding in Michigan and decided to take a little detour over to have lunch with us. It was a quick visit on a very foggy, cool day, but Lexi loved getting to see her great-grandparents again only a month after our visit to Nebraska.

An Ah-Ha Moment...

It's been 6 years since I've worked full time in the fitness/wellness industry. Needless to say, over the past several weeks I've had an unwelcome companion...self doubt. Do I really have what it takes to get back into the field? Do I still know the important, necessary information to safely and successfully coach people on their wellness? Will people look at me at my current size (still 20 pounds over my pre-pregnancy weight and 50 pound over my target weight) and really believe that I can help them reach their fitness goals when I don't look like I've met mine?

Yesterday I attended an all day Orientation to become a Spinning Instructor. Having only taken a few Spinning classes at the studio where I teach over the past 2 years, I wasn't quiet sure what to expect but I knew I wanted to be able to teach classes at least on a substitute basis. Like many of these all day fitness trainings, I went in fresh, energized, with granola bars and water in hand and left hun…

Pressing Reset...

In a way, that's what I've felt like I've done over the past month...pressed the reset button on life as I knew it. Professionally, I wasn't happy. Personally I was torn working full time (plus) and not being as available to my family as I felt I needed to be. So, with the support of my family and friends, I made the decision to leave full time employment to become a stay at home mom (SAHM) with a part time job/business that gives me income with flexibility. One month ago today (in the count of Fridays) I made the jump...and while I'm happy, I would have never expected the many thoughts and emotions that have occurred over the past month as a result of the change.

Making this decision for me was a no brainer on one hand. I LOVE being a mom and after being on maternity leave this spring, I realized just how much I was missing of my girls' lives. Not the big things, but just the little, every day things. The little joys. The time to go to the library for story tim…

Going home...

This weekend our family went "home". My husband and I went to college in Wayne, NE, population 5500 (give or take) at Wayne State College, enrollment 5000 (give or take). Because we married after my second year of college, Wayne became our first home together. And because we lived in Wayne year round, unlike most of the college students who went back to their home towns during the summer, we not only were a part of the college community, but lived and worked in the community of Wayne itself. We fell in love with the community and have many happy memories of our time spent there. Ultimately we decided to leave Wayne following graduation (though we have more than once considered moving back should the right employment opportunity present itself), but we try to visit every year or two to check our our old home.

The second weekend each July, the city of Wayne, America holds The Wayne Chicken Show; a weekend filled with fun and activities centered around a chicken theme. It's …

Let Freedom RING!!!

This year Independence Day is going to be spent celebrating a little bit different freedom in our family than most traditionally celebrate on July 4th. Even before my husband and I got married, we had started to accumulate consumer credit on a variety of credit cards obtained during our new found college financial freedom. Credit cards, and several of them are a snap to obtain in college and our theory was...why have just one! Long story short, and unfortunately one with which many people can identify, we left college not only with a degrees but with thousands of dollars worth of "bad" consumer credit. Of course we thought that as soon as we were out of school and had "real" jobs that it would be a piece of cake to pay off all those credit cards. WELL...it wasn't and soon we found ourselves playing all the games that people play when they are losing control of their consumer debt. It felt as if our financial life was spiraling out of control...and basicall…

Babies, babies, babies...

It's amazing how pregnancy and babies can bring people together. Shortly after I found out I was pregnant last July, I ran across the WebMD pregnancy message boards. I admit, while I love internet shopping, keeping in touch with friends and family far and wide via email, and researching and reading about anything from a recipe for soup to Kundalini yoga, I had never participated in a chat room or posted on a message board before I joined the first trimester message board on WebMD. At first I would just watch from afar, occasionally posting a question, thought, or my answer to someone else's question. But after awhile names started to become familiar and with a few visits to the pregnancy chat room, I found myself hooked.

There is a special bond that is formed between women who are pregnant. I found this to be just a true for those of us who met on the message board as I did for those women here in my home town who I knew who were pregnant. Throughout our pregnancies we shared o…

Sisters...

Those of us who have a sibling know that the bond between siblings is a unique and special bond. When we found out that we'd be adding a baby sister to our family, I had many people comment about the extra special nature of the sister-sister bond. Watching Lexi become a big sister has been amazing, but witnessing the special bond between sisters has been truly incredible. Lexi is such a gentle and caring sister. She's attentive, loving and protective and already willing to teach her little sister about things of this world. And to watch little Brea respond to her, even at this very early age...wow. Her little face lights up with joy when she hears big sister enter the room. The unspoken connection that they share is truly special and unique and I look forward to watching that bond grow in the years to come.Two perfect, beautiful little girlies. We are blessed!peace!

Where to begin...

There are just so many things I want to write about tonight that I don't know where to begin. Basically it's all mommy blabber and kiddo photos. So since it's already past my bed time and the alarm will be going off to wake us up in about 7 hours, I'll keep tonight's post short and continue the mommy blabber tomorrow night.

Tonight's featured photo...this cute pink Nalgene kids water bottle. I have some what of a Nalgene water bottle addiction. Yes, I know it's silly to have a thing for something as simple as a water bottle, but I guess it's one of those oddities that makes me who I am. Having now two girlies in the house I of course couldn't buy just ONE of these adorable pink kiddie bottles...oh NO...I bought two even though the youngest girly won't be able to use hers for quite some time. AND even though I have 4 (yes I said FOUR) Nalgenes of my own, I had to get a matching pink grown up bottle for mommy! (Let me diverge for a moment...I would…

Unexpected surprises...

The best gifts a girl can receive are those that are totally unexpected. It's not about the size, or the cost, it doesn't even have to be a material item, it's simply about the thought. It's about the time and effort someone has taken to show you how much you are loved and appreciated. Today I was the recipient of one of those special gifts.

We've been receiving random gifts in the mail in celebration of the birth of our 2nd daughter, so today when there was an over sized package in the mail box I assumed it was a little outfit or toy meant for Brea. When I glanced at the envelope front however, it was addressed to me and the return address was that of a close friend...Dr. Jen, as we refer to her in our house because well, we friends with about 4 Jens (not including myself). We live a couple hundred miles apart but I had just seen her and her family about 3 weeks ago so I was baffled about what she could be sending me. I at once had to open the envelope.

Inside…

Like father like daughters...

When our oldest daughter (pictured on the left at about 6 weeks old) was born everyone immediately said that she looked like my husband Scott. We didn't know how true that was until we ran across some of Scott's baby pictures (pictured in the middle at about 2 months old). So it shouldn't have been any surprise when our youngest daughter (pictured on the right at about 6 weeks old) was born, that she too would look like her daddy.

Everyone picks out a different feature when they look at pictures of the three and say, "They have the same (fill in the feature)." For me it's the lips. Those adorable little full, triangle shaped lips, lips that even today my husband sports. But really when you compare the photos, you could pick any number of features...the shape of their heads, the round boldness of their eyes, the shape of their nose, their hair lines, even their little chins match. As our oldest daughter aged a bit we also discovered that she was lucky enough t…

The Easter dress...

We found out this year that there is a big difference between Easter dress shopping with a 3 year old (who really didn't care about which dress we chose and who could be talked into any dress) and Easter dress shopping with a 4 year old whose criteria for a good dress is how well it twirls. This dress, with it's little purple flowers, was Lexi's choice because it won the twirl contest. She so proudly showed off her dress to everyone who visited our house for the 3 weeks that we had it hanging in her closet before Easter and was so excited for Sunday simply because she knew she's be able to wear her special dress. She really is a cutie!

3 weeks old and growing...

I can't believe 3 weeks have already passed since that special morning that Brea decided to make her entrance into this world. We've had some ups and downs. Our littlest munchkin had some jaundice issues due to the extreme facial bruising she experienced at birth. So we spent some time in the hospital letting her "sun" under the lamps and got the experience of using a Wallaby blanket at home for some additional treatment after our hospital stay...but our baby girl is now a healthy pink color instead of looking like she's been dipping into some really bad self tanning lotion. But over all, the past 3 weeks have been filled with joy. I am amazed at how she's grown, how much her face changes each day, and how strong she is! I guess her given name (meaning Strong one) is appropriate!

In addition to the joy of watching Brea grow, watching Lexi bond with her new little sister, and finding out just what it's like to be a family of 4, we've had many visitors o…

My true loves...

I think the picture says it all...peace

Breanna Pauline...

Born on Monday, March 27...her due date...at 7:19 am. She entered this world at 7 pounds and 3 ounces and measuring 20 1/2 inches long. And now...the story of her birth... For the past several weeks I'd been having problems with my hips aching at night. So I'd sleep for a few hours in bed, wake up to empty Brea's pillow (my bladder) and then move my slumber out to the living room for the next several hours. The night of Sunday, March 26th was no different. We had had a pretty busy weekend knowing this may be our last before our little girl joined us. Saturday we went shopping and enjoyed some family time together. Sunday we woke up and fixed our standard Sunday morning waffle breakfast and started working on some house cleaning tasks. Lexi and I decided to take advantage of the sunshine and after a brief rest mid-afternoon we walked over to our local park where she took her bike for it's first spin of the spring as I waddled behind. By the day's end I was tired bu…

The final stretch...

That could be taken several different ways. First of all we're in the final stretch of the pregnancy...now at 38 weeks and patiently waiting for our little one to decide to make her entrance. She seems to be taking the same attitude as her big sister did and is no hurry to get the show going. But that's 0k...an April baby sounds just as nice as a March baby....and a healthy, uneventful delivery that results in a happy healthy baby and a happy healthy family is all that matters.

You can also look at my belly and see that my skin is also hoping that this is it's final stretch!


Looking back...

40 weeks, 3 days...and waiting...

September 2001...we're expecting the first addition to our family. Belly pictures finally captured 3 days post due date...little did we know at that time we still had 6 more days to wait before meeting our precious little daughter. Looking back at those early days as a family of 3 now as we are looking to add a 4th has been great fun. Lexi gets such a kick out of seeing her self as a baby and asking all sorts of questions about her life then. It's been a great way to talk about what the baby will be like when she arrives...plus, those are such wonderful memories, it's good to go back now and then and talk about them.

September 27, 2001...our first family portrait. Welcome precious.peace

Random thoughts...

So yesterday while I was posting my new belly photos below (thinking about the pictures of my enlarged belly from my first pregnancy that I plan to post later this week), I got to thinking...how empowered do I feel having the guts, courage, confidence (whatever you want to call it) to post my naked, stretch mark filled, swollen abdomen on a site where anyone in the world can see it!?!?!?

Ok, so it's not posing nude in playboy. But for for a 30 year old "average" size 16 "farm girl" who grew up in the mid-west before the time of short shorts, super minis, ultra low rise, thong showing, belly baring fashions we see so often today, it's a pretty big step. Maybe it's comfortable because it's not about sexy. It's about the miracle of growing a life. About celebrating the wonders of the female body. About having an attitude and confidence that I can pass on to my girls that says "you are strong and beautiful because of who you are...not because s…

And the countdown continues...

34 week...only 6 weeks (give or take) until we meet our new little family member. Some days that feels like an eternity from now, like time is creeping by at an incredibly slow pace. Other days I'm freaking out about moving from a 3 person family, which we do well, to a 4 person family, which will have a whole new set of challenges, in such a short amount of time.


Over all, we are so excited to get the opportunity share our love with another little creature...one that was created out of our love for each other. Growing a baby really is such an amazing thing!




28 weeks and growing...

Big sister is very amused by all of this belly hype!
Sisterly love...already a strong bond.