Wednesday, December 26, 2007

What a Merry Christmas!

Here are some photos from our Christmas. We had a beautiful holiday.

It began at home. On December 23 (our Christmas Eve) we had some friends over for our traditional lasagna dinner. We also celebrated Jesus's Birthday with cupcakes. The kids opened a few presents and we read The Night Before Christmas and left some cookies out for Santa. After they were in bed, Dan and I went to a candlelight Christmas Eve service, while Bekah stayed to watch the kids.

In the morning we opened up gifts from Santa and looked in our stockings. Drew got his red T-rex that he's been talking about ever since he saw it in Costco a month ago. He also got an excavator. Ava got a new kitchen, complete with burners that light up and make noise. They both enjoyed looking through their stockings. Ava was excited to get candy and opened up each piece, but didn't eat any of it. We also opened all of our gifts to each other. I think it's so neat how the kids would love to just play with the first thing they opened the rest of the morning and we have to convince them to open the rest of their presents. We read the Christmas Story from the Bible and enjoyed our breakfast of homemade apple coffee cake and fruit. Then we started packing up to get ready for the six hour drive to Grandma's house. We made it to SoCal by 6:45pm and joined the crew here for their Christmas Eve dinner and presents, and celebrated my sister's 19th birthday. The next morning we had another Christmas with my mom, dad, sister and brother. Then we headed to GG's house for Christmas dinner and more presents! The rest of the time has been spent playing with our new toys. We hope your Christmas was just as merry!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

A Christmas Story

A few weeks ago, I was at the dreaded UCD hospital pharmacy picking up Drew's medication. It's the only pharmacy in our area that will make it. Anyway, as I'm standing in line, I noticed these parents and their newborn daughter in line. They looked tired. More than just "I've got a new baby" tired. I thought to myself that maybe they were being discharged from the NICU and were on their way home. Apparently their medication wasn't ready and they went to sit down right next to where I was standing. The mom was on her cell phone and I distinctly heard the words "heart murmur" and "congestive heart failure." I was pretty sure she was talking about the baby, but I wasn't trying to I had my prescription filled and started to walk out of the pharmacy. I wanted to say something to her, but what? Plus she wasn't talking to me, I just happened to hear her. And she was still on the phone, I didn't want to interrupt her. As I started walking outside I just felt like God was telling me to go back in there. I even stood still and thought "God, do you want me to go back in?" And I knew the answer.

So I happened to have a notepad and pen in my purse (this never happens) so I wrote down the blog address for Hearts of Hope and my email address. As I went back in, she was off the phone. I told her that I had heard some of what she said and asked if her daughter had a heart problem. She said she wasn't sure. I told her that my son was born with a heart defect and gave her the paper. I told her if she ever wanted to email me I'd be happy to talk with her. She asked how Drew was and I told her he's great, he's had a couple of heart surgeries, but he's happy and mostly healthy. I could tell that scared her. I didn't realize how new this diagnosis was to her.

As I left that day I felt good that I had reached out to someone, and that she was appreciative. I mean, she could've totally said "how dare you listen to my conversation!" But she didn't. I haven't heard from her since. I asked Valerie the other day if she'd heard from anyone new looking into our group and she hadn't. And I thought, well, even if I never hear from her at least she had someone on that day who cared about her. Maybe that helped a little bit.

Today we had to stop by the pharmacy to pick up some medication before we leave for my mom's house tomorrow. And you would not believe it, but the same woman was there! I didn't recognize her, but she recognized me. She said she was sorry she had not contacted me, but things had been hectic. She said she had looked at the website and was meaning to write to me. I told her not to worry about it, that I just wanted her to know that there were people who understand that she could talk to if she ever wanted to. She shared with me that she didn't even know what her daughter had that day. They had just found out and were shocked and confused. And she thanked me for taking the time to talk to her.

And I feel blessed. I am so glad that I was able to help someone else out, even if it's only to let them know they are not alone. The very fact that she remembered me means that our exchange was meaningful to her. As we celebrate Christmas we are celebrating the birth of Christ. And the most important thing he told us to do was to love one another. This Christmas season I am so grateful that through our trials and suffering we have been able to show Christ's love to others. Because without going through those things, I wouldn't have been able to do that.

Merry Christmas.
May you experience the true meaning of Christmas this year.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Christmas Cookies

Today we had to come up with some sort of activity to get us through a whole day of self-imposed lockdown. So I decided to bake some cookies with the kids. We made some sugar cookies and decorated them and also made some chocolate chip cookies. We plan on bringing them to Grandma's house when we make the trek down to Southern California on Christmas Eve. Here's some cute pictures of our morning.

Can you tell which ones Ava decorated?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


Since we got the new date for the cath I have decided that we're not taking anymore chances with getting sick. We are all finally well (knock on wood) and I am working really hard at trying to keep us that way, at least until January 2. So luckily both my mom's groups are taking breaks until the first week of January. We are all staying at home. Seriously, no taking the kids to the gym, to the grocery store, to church, anywhere where other children and their germs might be lurking. Except preschool.

I know, that's crazy, everyone's kids get sick at preschool. But Drew's class is very small, he's one of only 9 kids. And the teachers and director are great and are so careful about sickness and letting me know what's going on with the other kids. And I'm staying with him for the first half hour or so, so I can observe for myself and make sure I don't see any signs of illness. I know it sounds crazy, but I just don't want him to miss everything. We were at the mall the other day and he wanted to play in the play area (aka germ incubation zone) and of course I wouldn't let him. He really wanted to and he was crying, and it just broke my heart. It's not fair, but I have to be careful. And this week he had Cookies and Carols, where the whole preschool performs Christmas songs for the parents, and tomorrow is the Happy Birthday Jesus party. How can I make him miss that? I can't. So I will do what I can to keep him healthy without completely living in a bubble. I realize that no matter how careful I am, he may get sick anyway. But I have to at least try.

Anyway, we went to Cookies and Carols tonight and Drew looked so cute. He stood up on the stage with the other kids and...well that's pretty much it. The kid did not sing a word! But I was proud of him for sticking it out and staying up with his class. When we got home he performed the entire program in front of our Christmas tree! I videoed both "performances" and if I can figure out how to download it from the camera I will post it here later.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

New Date

UCSF called this afternoon. The new date for Drew's heart catheterization is January 2. That is technically after the holidays, but just barely. I think it will work well for us because I was worried that he'd get better and then just get sick again, but this way he probably won't have a lot of time or opportunity. We will have a break from preschool and our mom's groups so I think he will have less of an opportunity to be around potentially sick kids. Hopefully we will rid our house of all the sickness before then.


I was going to separate these into a couple of posts, but that would be more work so I'm condensing. First, last week we built a gingerbread house together. It turned out to be fun and not too crazy. I placed the icing and the kids stuck the candy in wherever they wanted. I think we may have to make this a Christmas tradition.

Today Drew reminded ME to have my quiet time. Last week I tried something new. Since Drew doesn't take a nap anymore, the only time I have to read the Bible each day is when Ava is asleep and I usually have Drew watch a video while I sneak in a few minutes of reading. Last week we sat on the couch together and I had him look through his Children's Bible while I read my Bible, then read him some stories out of his when I was finished. Well today during Ava's nap I was getting ready to fold the never-ending pile of laundry when Drew came out of his room holding his Bible. "Mom, I want you to get your Bible and when you're done you can read to me." How cute is that?

Also in the my-kids-are-more-spiritual-than-me department, during dinner tonight we were halfway through when Ava reminded us in her sweet voice to pray. She folded her little hands and shouted at us to "pay, pay!" So we did and then she shouted "A Mey!"

Lastly, due to our constant state of sickness our lifegroup had to be cancelled tonight because no one wants to come to our germ-infested house. I don't blame them. But we used the opportunity to load the kids into the car and look at Christmas lights around our neighborhood. It was so much fun! The kids were absolutely ecstatic to see the lights. They were both shouting. Ava was saying "lights, lights!" and "Santa!" and "Tree!" Drew was saying "Look at that house mommy!" "I see snowflakes!" "Look, REINDEER! Do you see them?" It was really amazing to see and hear their total and complete joy. I was so thankful to be there in that moment. And the best part is, this was just our neighborhood. Tomorrow we are going to the Candy Cane Lane of Sacramento. I am going to have to bring my video camera!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Heart Catheterization Postponed

Drew has an ear infection. He is on antibiotics and we thought they may choose to do the cath anyway since it is not an URI. But we chatted with Dr. Parrish this morning, and they would like to postpone the cath for at least two weeks, so that Drew can completely heal from his sickness. There are two reasons for this.
1. We don't want to stress his system further when it is already stressed due to illness
2. Being sick might interfere with the very measurements they are looking for during the cath.

We have not rescheduled the cath yet, but it's looking like it will be January. I am feeling kind of ambivalent about the postponement. I guess it is for the best if he is not feeling well, and I am still recovering from my stomach virus, and it looks like Ava may be coming down with something as well. But its kind of hard to get prepared for the procedure and then have to wait, knowing that we'll have to get ourselves prepared all over again.

Thanks for thinking of us and praying for us and we'll let you know once it's rescheduled.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Holiday Parties and Viruses

Well, we had our annual Holiday Party this Saturday and it went great! We had lots of friends here, we made tasty appetizers (bacon-wrapped smokies, artichoke dip, brie crostini, and tomato basil squares) and some special drinks (sparkling stars and crimson sippers). The ornament exchange was successful and I think everyone had a good time.

We were excited that we had all avoided Ava's stomach bug since we thought we would have been sick by then. As we were getting ready for the party on Saturday Dan and I both noticed our stomachs didn't feel great, but I attributed it to our "practice" drinks we had tried that morning. Then Drew came home from his friend's house with a fever. He'd been coughing since Monday, but so far with no other symptoms. It felt like it was all about to fall apart. But, we gave Drew some motrin and he seemed back to normal when he woke up from his nap. Dan and I both felt fine in time for the party.

Sunday evening was our church holiday party. Everyone was fine all day Sunday. I was in charge of making green beans for 130 people. Thank goodness I had some friends step in and help me out with that! The party at church was very nice and included a traditional chicken dinner and entertainment from the kids--Drew refused to sing on stage. :( We left church full and happy and feeling blessed.

Then I woke up this morning with thoughts of going to the gym, maybe wrapping a few Christmas presents. Before I even got out of bed I knew that wasn't going to happen. I ran to the bathroom and began my first of many trips there today. Let me just say, if you can help it, try not to throw up baked potatoes. And Drew is sick again today. He had a fever and already took a nap this morning. Dan has him at the doctor's office right now.

In the midst of all of this UCSF called with the info on Drew's cath which is suppose to be on Wednesday. He was scheduled as the second case of the day and we are to check in at 9:30, with no food or drink past 6 a.m. We let them know he has been sick and we will call them back after we hear from the doctor. We may have to postpone the cath. We'll keep you posted!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The best laid plans...

What a long day we have had! Everyone in the Himmelberger household is exhausted!

So, today was Drew's big appointment with the craniofacial team at UCD. And I wasn't looking forward to it. I knew it would be long, I didn't think Drew would cooperate and I thought they would have unpleasant news for us. But I made a little plan and figured out a way for me to be ok with it. The plan was that Dan would come with me both for moral support and so I didn't have to bear the total responsibility for answering the questions of a dozen doctors and reciting a medical history that can be mind-boggling. A friend of mine was going to watch Ava so that we could both go to the appointment. I got myself all ready last night. I loaded the diaper bag, set out everyone's clothes, packed toys and snacks to occupy Drew, even got the coffee maker all ready to go. We set the alarm and everything was going according to plan, when Dan interrupted my shower with this news: "Ava just threw up." What? That was NOT part of the plan. And then she threw up again. And pretty much the rest of the day. So obviously all my plans went out the window. I have to say I was pretty discouraged this morning, almost to the point of tears. I really didn't want to go at all and I especially didn't want to go by myself.

But, for a day that started out pretty crappy, it turned out pretty good. My son is amazing. We sat in the same room for 4 and a half hours and saw 12 doctors. He was so good! I almost cried watching him. I told him I was so proud of him for being so patient, for listening to the doctors, for being able to calm himself down, and just being so darn cute and sweet for so long in such difficult circumstances. Seriously, what three-year old can sit in a room for that long and not have a total melt-down?

I was expecting less than good news from the doctors, but they all seemed to be impressed with how well he was doing. At one point Drew had to have his ear canals cleaned with this metal instrument, while sitting in a chair kind of like a dental chair, and had to hold really still. He let them do the first ear, but wasn't ready to let them do the second ear. One of the doctors said if he couldn't hold still she'd have to wrap him (like swaddling), and I knew he wouldn't like that. So I told him, you have to hold still and if you can't they are going to wrap you like a baby. Can you hold still? And he said "yes mommy." Then my sweet, sweet boy started taking deep, cleansing breaths and he held perfectly still the rest of the time! I was so proud of him, being able to soothe himself and do what he had to do. And the doctors were so impressed! I even heard them talking in the hallway about how he did better than the five-year olds they see and how cute he was with his deep breaths.

Three hours into the appointment he had a hearing test, where he had to sit in this tiny room with headphones on and listen for more than half an hour. Every time he heard a beep he was suppose to pick up a toy and put it in a bucket. And I sat there watching him, thinking what kid does this? He is sitting here, following the directions of a stranger, not playing with the toys they way he would want to, not throwing the toys off the table because he is done with these people, but quietly listening for beeps. Every once in a while the audiologist would remind him to wait until he heard the sound to put the toy in and he would look at me and say "I have to listen."

So the basic news is his hearing is fine, his speech is fine, his palate is fine, his teeth are fine, his head shape is fine. The geneticist was impressed that Drew can recognize all his letters (she didn't even know he knows the sounds they all make too) and she did recommend we get an x-ray of his cervical spine. We'll see the panel again in another year or two, and we may see the speech pathologist for another evaluation in about six months.

On the way home I told Drew that he did such a good job that we could do whatever he wanted the rest of the day. We could go to the park with his friends, watch movies, bake cookies, go to the toy store...He picked toy store. We were about half way there when I looked back and he was asleep in his carseat! He must have been exhausted! So I took him home and let him sleep for a few hours. Then I woke him up and said let's go to the toy store! He picked a Mickey Mouse Christmas video to bring home and spent a lot of time looking at dinosaurs, cars & books.

Not only do I have the best son, I have the best husband. He took care of Ava all day while she either slept on him or puked on him and didn't complain about it at all! He is such a good daddy. Poor Ava could barely keep any water down and by the time she went to bed tonight the only thing she had eaten all day was a banana. Needless to say I have been trying to keep her and Drew apart since we don't want him getting sick before his cath next week. I bought some clorox anywhere spray and have cleaned all the toys Ava likes, all the toys Drew likes, the tables, the chairs, the remotes, etc. I also had Dan mop the floor with bleach to kill any germs that might be lurking. We may still all end up puking, but it won't be for lack of trying.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas

After much cajoling from Drew, we decided to get our tree last weekend. The kid is so into Christmas! We saw a tree at someone else's house and he said sadly, "We don't have a tree..." That's because it was still November! Anyway, we went with our friends, the Quayles, on Friday morning. After trying out a place in Natomas, we ended up in Dixon at Silveyville Farms. It's a cut your own tree place, but they also have fresh cut trees available, plus free cider & popcorn, sleigh rides, a Christmas playland, etc. The kids had a great time, and the highlight seemed to be the lollipops they got from the sleigh operator (not Santa). We found the perfect tree (a little skinnier than we got last year) and we even picked up a tiny tree for the kids. The idea was to let them touch and play with the little tree so that they would leave the big tree alone. So far so good.

Then on Saturday morning we decorated the trees. It was a lot of fun! We listened to Christmas music and the kids looked through all the ornaments. They picked their favorites to put on their small tree and helped with placement of the ornaments on the big tree. Drew helped Dan put the lights up too. He really is getting to be such a good helper. Drew wanted to put candy canes on his tree so I bought him some. Not a great idea. Ava has munched on most of them, leaving the sticky, slimy, staining canes in various locations on our white carpet. But the trees do look beautiful and the kids love them!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Appointments and Meetings

I was sitting in one of my mom's groups on Wednesday when I realized that I would be missing the next two Wednesdays because of big appointments for Drew. The first one is Dec 5 and is with the cleft and craniofacial panel. Yes a panel. It's a four-hour long appointment and a parade of doctors will be coming in, probably not with a lot of good news. Drew saw the panel when he was three months old, so technically this is a follow up appointment. Last time he saw an otolaryngologist, a geneticist, a pediatrician, a clinical nurse specialist, an oromaxillofacial surgeon, pedodontist, two audiologists, a social worker and a speech pathologist. I am dreading this appointment because most of the time I can convince myself that Drew is doing great and we only have to worry about his heart issues, but this panel of doctors will be looking for things that are wrong and it feels like being diagnosed all over again every time they tell me what I should look for. I am trying to remember that Drew is the same today as he was yesterday and just hearing the information does not change who he is.

The following Wednesday is his heart cath at UCSF. I am not too worried about this appointment, but I think my anxiety will increase as it gets closer. Which is why I am keeping myself busy with holiday parties, shopping, painting, etc. I am also nervous because I had a total breakdown after the last cath and I am hoping to avoid that this time. But I do have a friend lined up to take care of our family the day after so I can "decompress" if I need to.

Last night was another Hearts of Hope meeting. At first I was sad hearing everyone's stories, but by the end of the night I was inspired. I was sitting in a room full of women (and a few men) who have been through A LOT. And each person was encouraging someone else. They were there not just for support for themselves, but to reach out to someone on the same path. These people are amazing and I am honored to be among them.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Black Friday

The last thing I would ever want to do is go shopping on Black Friday. I do not like crowds. I don't like people touching me. And I don't really like shopping. I purposefully avoid the stores on weekends or evenings because that's when everybody else goes. I only go during the day on a weekday. Because I know that everyone and their brother is out shopping after Thanksgiving I decided that I would get all my Christmas shopping done before the holiday. And I did get most of the people on my list taken care of. And so on Black Friday we stayed home and put up all our Christmas decorations. Dan and his family worked on the outside of the house, mowing the lawn, raking the leaves, pruning the roses and putting up the lights, the deer and the train. Drew and I worked on the inside of the house (while Ava was napping) taking down all the Thanksgiving decorations and replacing them with the Christmas decorations. Here's what the outside looks like:

And here are some of the inside decorations:

I think I am taking a chance leaving the breakable nativity and glass ornaments in reach of the children, but we will see how that goes. So far they have been pretty good about "just looking."

Thanksgiving Recap

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Dan's family came here and we hosted Thanksgiving dinner. We started the day out though, by participating in the Run to Feed the Hungry, which benefits the local food bank. Dan, his brother Scott, and I were running and Grandma Kathy and Great Aunt Jennifer brought the kids to watch us run. It was crowded! There were over 25,000 people running and we ended up sitting on the freeway offramp for thirty minutes! We were a little late but there were so many people running it didn't matter. The first and last mile were packed because the 5k and 10k runners were together, but the rest of it was pretty clear for running. I think we finished the 10k in about an hour and ten minutes and Scott, the runner in the family, finished in only 44 minutes!

After the run we headed home, showered and got the turkey in the oven. We did lots of food prep and then rested. The menu included turkey, garlic mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, green bean casserole (my favorite), rolls, cranberry sauce (two kinds) and pie (dutch apple and blackberry).

We did have a couple of notable Thanksgiving mishaps. First I have magnetic tot locks on my cabinets and kept having trouble finding my magnetic "keys." At one point Jennifer was checking on the turkey and said "what is that dripping from the bottom of the turkey?" It turns out one of my magnets attached itself to the bottom of the turkey roasting pan and was melting inside the oven! Then when it was time to take the turkey out we dropped him upside down half on the counter and half on the stove. Turkey juices dripped all down the front of the cabinets and down the oven. But at least it wasn't on the floor. That was the rolls. As I took the rolls out of the oven they started to slide off my cookie sheet and as I tried to compensate the sheet went the other way and all the rolls ended up on the counter or on the floor. We decided a little dirt didn't hurt and ate them anyway! And finally during clean up three glasses were broken! Despite our mishaps we had a very happy Thanksgiving and I hope you did too.

Unfortunately I could not find my camera the entire weekend and so I have no pictures. I remembered the last time I saw it Ava was holding it up to her little face and saying "chee." I knew she put it somewhere, but couldn't figure out where. Finally, just before Jennifer left on Saturday I found it in one of her toy baskets!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Giving Thanks

In my family we have a Thanksgiving tradition of going around the table and each sharing something that we are thankful for. One year, soon after one of Drew's hospitalizations, I got all teary and said that I was thankful for...antibiotics. Yep, I know it's cheesey, but I'm a cheesey kind of girl. And every year I am reminded that I said that. So, even though I know its sentimental, I thought I'd make a list of what I'm thankful for this year.

I am thankful that today I spent the day with my kids. We read books and played outside. We were silly and spent a lot of time just laughing together. They are both healthy. They are both happy. They are both adorable. I get to stay home and take care of them. I am so lucky.

I am thankful that I have a husband who loves and supports me even when I think I'm not very loveable. He is my safe place. We have fun together. We work hard together. We are a good team. I am so lucky.

I am thankful for my parents who made sacrifices to give me every opportunity. I appreciate the rules they made and the lessons they taught me. They continue to sacrifice, worry about me and love me to this day. I am so lucky.

I am thankful for my God, who loves me more than I can understand. I know that I am learning and growing through my struggles. I know that God will redeem my every sorrow. I know that he walks with me through it all. I am so lucky.

I am thankful for my friends. For the friends who can listen to me cry, the ones who can point out the postives, the ones that I can dance with all night long, the ones that I can shop with, the ones that I can just watch TV with, the ones that I can support, the ones who pray for me and the ones who have known me forever. I am so lucky.

I am thankful that we live in the U.S., that we have good health insurance, a house to live in, food to eat, our health, each other. I am thankful for all the wonderful doctors, nurses, therapists, and other heart families we have met. I am thankful for antibiotics.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Killer Cold Virus

As if I don't have enough to worry about with hosting Thanksgiving on Thursday, a Christmas Party on Dec 8, Drew's cath on the 12, choosing, buying & wrapping Christmas gifts, and my normal "what if's" now there's a killer cold virus making the rounds. Maybe we will lock all the doors and seal off the vents with plastic sheeting until cold & flu season is over.

Which reminds me, Drew was denied for his Synagis shots and the doctors are still working on getting it approved through the insurance company. I'm gonna have to call and check on that tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Ava's 18 months old!

Where did the time go? I swear it was yesterday that we brought her home from the hospital, all bundled up in pink and purple. My tiny little newborn with a full head of hair, and constantly moving from the very first day. But, no, she is 18 months old and in the throes of toddlerdom. She had her well baby check today and it is confirmed that she has a successful career as a supermodel ahead of her.

Weight: 20 lbs 12.6 oz (6%)

Height: 32.5 inches (74%)

Head: 47.5 cm (76%)

Apparently she's tall and thin with a big head. And she's also working on her skills as a diva. Yesterday she decided she did not want to come play outside at Drew's preschool. In protest she threw herself on the ground and refused to walk. I tried to leave her there, thinking she'd get upset we were leaving and follow us, but she just stayed there. So I took her hand and half dragged her out of there, then picked her up football style the rest of the way. My goodness. I think we may have a Naomi Campbell on our hands!

Monday, November 12, 2007

If You Want Me To

I wanted to share this song because it is so meaningful to me. I love what it says, but I can't sing it without crying. We sang it in church this Sunday and I broke down into tears again. I hope that someday, when I've fully accepted our situation, I'll be able to sing it.

If You Want Me To
by Ginny Owens

The pathway is broken
And the signs are unclear
And I dont know the reason why you brought me here
But just because You love me the way that You do
I will go through the valley If You want me to

Now I'm not who I was When I took my first step
And I'm clinging to the promise
You're not through with me yet
So if all of these trials bring me closer to You
I will go through the fire If You want me to

It may not be the way I would have chosen
When you lead me through a world that's not my own
But You never said it would be easy
You only said I'll never go alone

So when the whole world turns against me
And I'm all by myself
And I can't hear You answer my cries for help
I'll remember the suffering Your love put You through
And I will go through the valley If You want me to

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Family Update

Lots of stuff going on around here. Ava has been keeping us on our toes lately by climbing onto anything she can. I was trying to wait to post about this until I could get a picture, but so far I've just had to hurry and save her from falling to her demise instead of running for the camera. Here's a list of places that I've found Ava this week.

  1. Standing on the bathroom counter turning the light on and off.
  2. Standing in the middle of the kitchen table playing with my decorative gourds.
  3. Sitting on top of the kitchen counter, trying to open a permanent marker.
  4. Crouching on top of Drew's dresser (it's tall!) and crying because she was stuck.
  5. Balancing between the rolling chair and Dan's desk, trying not to fall as the chair rolled away.

She's crazy! And not afraid at all. Today as we were leaving preschool she took off running in the parking lot (she was on the sidewalk, but still) and was laughing hysterically as I chased her. Even when I caught her and told her she was naughty she just thought the whole thing was amusing. She can even say naughty, she's heard it so much.

Drew's been busy too. He loves preschool! He has fun playing with his friends. This week they had Leaf Day and he brought in two pretty fall leaves. He's making cute little preschool crafts. When I ask him what he learned every day he tells me a little about it. He's got all three of his memory verses memorized (I am wonderfully made; Be kind to one another; Give thanks to the Lord for He is good). He's also been learning the sounds the letters make by watching his Letter Factory video nearly every afternoon while Ava is napping and Mommy gets a moment to herself.

Dan's been busy with work but is finding time to ride his bike once or twice a week, play poker with his buddies and even got to play golf this week. I was away last weekend and he did fantastic on his own with the kids, even taking them to the zoo. He is such a great Dad and husband. I am so lucky to have him.

I've been trying to keep up my workouts, but we've all been sick so its been difficult to keep up. My new plan is to try and bike once a week, run once a week, and do yoga or pilates once a week. I am also planning to run a 10K on Thanksgiving morning. I've been keeping busy with my mom's groups twice a week and on Thursdays we have a little girls playgroup. I also started a mentorship program though church that I am really enjoying. Maybe I'll write more about that later.

We also had some beautiful family photos taken by our photographer friend, DeAnna, this week. I'm trying to decide if I should post them here since they will likely be featured on our Christmas cards and could possibly be gifts for some people. Maybe I could just do a few...

Thursday, November 1, 2007

She wasn't sleepy

Ava was up all night last night. So you'd think she'd be ready for her nap this afternoon. You would be wrong. She cried and was making a lot of noise for a while, then quieted down. We thought she was asleep. Until I heard the sound of paper crinkling coming from her room. This is what we found...

Happy Halloween!

Ava is a little bee and Drew is Bob the Builder

We had fun trick-or-treating last night! We told Drew he could go trick-or-treating after dinner. He ate his whole dinner (that hardly ever happens) and then wanted to go go go! I got him dressed and Ava was still eating and it wasn't even dark yet! We left around 6:30 and walked around our little neighborhood. They both were really into it. Drew would say "I got a lot of candy!" after each house we went to and Ava would clutch her bucket in her tiny little fist and shout "Mine!" if any of us got too close to her candy. As Dan said, she knew she had something valuable. I was surprised how much Ava like it. She was practically running to each house and she'd say thank you and bye to the people.

Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you look at it) she didn't last long and began to have a total meltdown where she wanted to be held, but she also wanted to walk and her candy bucket was getting heavy but she didn't want to relinquish control of it. We were back at home by 7:15 and she was in bed shortly after that. Drew had fun seeing the other kids come to the door and was all hopped up on candy acting like a crazy man. I don't know if it was related to all the sugar they ate or not, but the kids were up all night long, taking turns waking us up after what seemed like just minutes of sleep. We are tired! But, there's lots of candy to get us through the day...

The kids holding hands as we start our trick-or-treating

An action shot of the kids knocking on the door

Our attempt at a family photo right before Ava's meltdown

The kids enjoying some of their candy

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Carving Pumpkins

Last night we carved our pumpkins with the kids. We have two jack o'lantern decorations that Drew wanted to use as inspiration for his and Ava's pumpkins. I wanted to carve a spider on mine. Dan doesn't really like carving, so he just helps everyone else. Actually, he doesn't mind the carving so much as the scooping. Drew didn't mind helping to scoop the seeds out, but didn't want to touch the goop after it came out of the pumpkin. Ava kept trying to eat the pumpkin seeds and even put an eye piece in her mouth after it was carved out. EW! I had a great idea this year. I used a disposable halloween tablecloth to cover the table and then just threw it out when we were done. Easy clean up!

Drew scooping out a pumpkin seed

Ava with her pumpkin

Drew and his jack o'lantern

Ava and her jack o'lantern

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Happy Anniversary

Yesterday was our anniversary. Well, kind of. We celebrated our anniversary yesterday because on our real anniversary we were in the ER with Drew. And we have been trying to schedule our "make-up" anniversary date ever since then. So this weekend my parents were here and they were able to watch the kids for us while we celebrated. Our real anniversary on September 22 wasn't actually that bad. At least we were together. And Dan, ever the romantic, said "Well we're going to miss our reservation, but I'll get you whatever you want from the cafeteria." Isn't he sweet!? And really, isn't that what marriage is all about? Facing the tough times together and making the best of it?

We had a whole day of celebrating! We started off with a long bike ride. Well, long for me. We rode 14 miles into Folsom and had brunch at an outdoor cafe then rode 14 miles back home. When we got back my parents took Drew with them to visit my aunt and Ava took a nap. So we had a couple more hours of alone time in a quiet house. Then we went to a movie at 4. Dan had a great idea--we should go to the movie BEFORE dinner so that I might be able to stay awake for the whole thing. We saw Michael Clayton and it was pretty good. And I stayed awake! Then we had dinner at Zinfandel Grille. We had a yummy goat cheese appetizer, Dan had pizza and I had pasta. And for dessert we had gelato. It was good!

That was us then-September 22, 2001

And this is us now-not really a great picture of either one of us, but the lion looks awesome

Saturday, October 27, 2007

The Pumpkin Farm

Well, we made yet another trip to the pumpkin patch. This time it was just the little girls since the big brothers were in preschool. The Pumpkin Farm was located just 2.5 miles away from our house in Citrus Heights. We thought it would just be some tiny little patch, but it was huge! In fact, we jogged right by it last weekend and had no idea it was there. There must have been 300 cars in the parking lot and probably ten or more school field trips there. Thank goodness I only had one child to chase after! Even so she almost got run over by a tractor more than once and I don't think the driver would have stopped.

The girls had fun looking at all the animals, picking up pumpkins just their size and taking a hayride. The mommies liked it because parking and admission was free and so were activities for kids two and under. So it cost us $2 for the hayride and a whole morning of fun!

Ava checking out the goats

Keilani, Ava and Molly looking at ducks

Ava carrying a pumpkin

Molly with her pumpkin

Ava on the train