Thursday, December 29, 2011

Setting Up Christmas

In my defense, the circus tent seemed a lot smaller in the IKEA showroom.

Nick is spending a lot of time assembling Henry's gift from Jo Ellen. It's a parking garage, and he's going to love it. Assembly is a little complicated. Nick said people who did not have experience or a variety of screw drivers would be really frustrated. On a related note, thank you Doug for the comprehensive screw driver set. It's the gift that keeps on giving.
I am looking at our Christmas gifts and realizing a few things. First, I bought more than I thought, and probably more than I intended. Second, I bought far more for Henry than Georgia. If she were good at math, she would realize I spent several times more on her brother than I spent on her. I don't think she'll actually be able to calculate a comparison. Third, we're going to need to get rid of some stuff to make room for this new crop of toys. Fourth, I didn't get anything educational (except Christmas books). Fifth, I love giving stuff to my kids. Cars and trains make Henry so happy. Lastly, the circus tent is bigger than I thought. It was probably a bad idea. Oh well. It's assembled and I lost the receipt anyway.

Realizing another thing. I've lost the play dough. Where did I hide the play dough??

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas is Coming

You can tell its getting close to our Christmas because we put presents under the tree. Earlier we had a present, but then henry opened it when I wasn't looking. He can't be trusted for long. Georgia just wants to eat the ornaments.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Saturday 12/24/11: Christmas Spirit at the Hospital

I spent the afternoon at the local mall with the kids. It was mostly for amusement and entertainment, but I did pick up a couple of last minute gifts, even if they were for myself.
We were really there because I have guilt for cheating my kids out of Christmas, and treating the mall like Disneyland was supposed to make us feel better. I think it worked. I said yes to almost everything Henry has ever wanted- we bought a toy, rode the train, got a smoothie, rode another ride, ate chicken nuggets, and sat on the coin operated rides without putting any money in because the change machine was broken. Pretty fun.

Then when the mall closed (I was surprised by how many people were still there), we headed to the hospital to have a quick visit with nick. I also got a peek at the ER, but that's another story.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Presenting Ansel Adams Successor

iphone picture by Nick, Mueller Park Canyon

As an early Christmas present, Jo Ellen gave Henry a camera specifically designed for kids.  He loves it.  He has taken about a thousand pictures with it.  There is only one slight problem:

A blurry photo of Nick, and a picture of someone's torso, by Henry
His pictures look like this.

The camera takes surprisingly good pictures outdoors, with the caveat that you mush hold the camera still.  That concept hasn't really sunk in for him yet, but we're working on it.  I'm sure he's just a few clicks away from a masterpiece.  

Friday, December 2, 2011

Gigi's 6 Month Update

She is a rolling machine.  She wiggles away across the floor or crib by rolling side to side.  Once she decides what she wants, she is on the move and there is no stopping her.

She is very close to sitting up independently.  She can sometimes do it for a while, but you never know when she is going to topple.

He favorite thing is to suck on her left them while holding my hair in her right hand.

She is tiny and sliding down the growth curve to 10% for both weight and height, weighing 13.1 pounds last week.

She seems to have realized that she and I are separate people, which has also meant that she is very unhappy about left alone in her crib.  Sleeping-wise, this has been hard on everybody this last week.

Still no teeth, and I like it that way because her gummy smile is just so cute.

Throws up on everything still, but it seems to be not quite as much as before.  But still, nothing is safe.  She throws up on people that hold her at church every week.  Her spit up is more noticeable after she's eaten brightly colored baby food, such as carrots.

She loves to feed herself Baby Mum Mum rice rusks, which are basically starch surf boards as baby snacks.  It is difficult to eat anything with her nearby, as she will try to grab it.

She's getting up on all fours.  I don't know how long it will be until she figures out army crawling.

It's so cute when she sticks her toes in her mouth.  That usually only happens on the changing table.

Overall, her skin has been great!  She has one tiny patch of eczema behind her left knee, but the rest of her looks and feels like normal baby skin.

She continues to have a wonderful, fun temperament, but we see a lot of hints that she is stubborn and impatient.  Those are all qualities that can serve her well.

She loves to grab things and put them in her mouth.

She seems to really respond to music.  She has been seen "bopping along" to piano arpeggios.

She has found her voice, and it is a loud one. Before we compared her cute little noises to Gizmo. Now Nick calls her a pterodactyl.

She smiles when tickled, but doesn't usually laugh. We guess she's just thinking, "That's so funny."

I've Had Better Trips

I was not going to advertise on the blogosphere that I went to Disney World.  But this trip is too memorable and fraught with heartache to keep to myself.  Nick was not on this trip, but I thought that with some help from the other adults I was going with I could manage things just fine.

The first day at the Magic Kingdom was OK.  Things are slow with little ones in tow, and half the group is constantly staying behind to watch kids while the rest go do something amusing.  In the afternoon, I took Henry on the Speedway, where you drive cars on a track.  He loved it and wanted to go again.  I asked my dad to take him on it a second time while I took care of Gigi.  After a little bit, I went to a scenic point to take a picture as they drove past, but I waited and waited and never saw them.  A few minutes later we found each other.  Henry had thrown up in line, splashing some on my dad's and others' shoes.  They had waited with the mess to steer people around it until someone came with the sawdust and bucket to take care of it.  Amazingly, my dad STILL TOOK HIM ON THE RIDE. 

My dad was laughing about this as he told me, but I know that Henry isn't a casual barfer.  When he throws up, he means that he is really sick.  I gathered up our stuff and put Henry is the stroller to head back to hotel.  Jo Ellen graciously volunteered to come back with me.  As soon as he was seated in the brand new stroller, he proceeded to reenact the famous scene from the exorcist.  The ensuing mess was so disgusting.  He shirt and pants were just caked with food from two days before.  As he was throwing up and screaming, he was scraping off his tongue like he does when he eats something too spicy.  We again had to find the man with the sawdust and bucket.  An innocent bystander also gave me some baby wipes- bless that woman.  So now I was leaving the park with a boy stripped down to a diaper sitting in the back of the stroller, because the front of the stroller was all wet.

We boarded the shuttle bus after just a minute of waiting.  Henry was crying and insisted on me holding him in the baby Bjorn, and since it's tough to argue with a naked two-year-old, I did.  The ride from Magic Kingdom to the hotel should have been about 15 minutes.  About 15 or 20 minutes after we boarded, we pulled into Animal Kingdom.  That's a whole different theme park, which was not our destination.  It also was closed two hours previously, so it was  a ghost town.  But I figure the driver knows what she is supposed to be doing, and sometimes shuttles do have intermediate stops.  About this point we reach absolute meltdown.  Henry throws up all over me, because for some reason he refuses to throw up in a bag, and since he's in the baby Bjorn, he's basically throwing up down my shirt.  Gigi is screaming bloody murder as Jo Ellen holds her.  I think the other passengers felt more pity towards us than annoyance at all the noise. 

15 minutes after Animal Kingdom, I yelled up to the driver "How long until we're at [the hotel]?"  I hear her say 5 more minutes and something about "got turned around," but I think she can't mean that she was disoriented, because she's the professional driver here.  I figure the words must have made more sense if I had heard the whole sentence, which I couldn't, on account of my two screaming children.  10 minutes after that I asked again, and when she answered, I yelled back that I couldn't hear her over my two sick, screaming children.  It was shortly after this, as we were approaching Epcot (a third theme park) that she pulled over at a gas station for directions.

It was when she announced this to the passengers that one came forward with a map and gave her verbal directions on how to get to the hotel.  About 10 minutes later, we finally arrived at the hotel.  I cannot describe the horror of the half hour of two screaming children whom you can do nothing to reassure while being lost on the shuttle bus from hell.  It was much worse than it sounds.  The ride was supposed to be about 15 minutes, and our meltdown didn't really start until 20 minutes in and continued for the rest of the 50 minute duration, so I felt this ride from hell was all this driver's fault.  I have never wanted someone fired before, but I did as I got off that shuttle.  The driver apologized and said it was her first day off training, "and come back next year and I'll be much better."  I don't think she'll still have this job next year.

Once at the hotel, we worked on keeping Henry hydrated.  He threw up periodically until about 4:00 AM.  The next day Gigi was sick, and by afternoon we were concerned enough we came within an inch of taking her to the hospital.  If I hadn't done a research project in nursing school on oral rehydration I would have taken her in sooner, but I felt that an IV wasn't needed yet, so we decided to continue to monitor her and she started to improve.  It helped that I was able to consult Nick over the phone.  The next day the other kids were sick.  The day after that, half the adults were sick.  The day after that, we went home, and the last kid to get sick threw up at his destination airport.  The culprit was probably Norwalk virus.

Makes you jealous of the trip, right?

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Henry wouldn't wear his Thomas the Tank Engine costume, but he wore a Thomas Shirt, a Thomas Hoodie, and a Thomas hat, so people still got the point. GG wore her skeleton oufit and a cute pumpkin hat from Aunt Megan. We went trick-or-treating with Dallas and the boys. At one point, both of my kids were asleep. I love walking around a neighborhood as parents visit with friends and neighbors and kids are running around excited about their loot.

Highlights of trick-or-treating include the family that gave out cans of Diet Coke and watching Dallas walk around in his Storm Trooper Costume. Low points include Henry reaching his breaking point before falling asleep, and realizing I've lost the key to my brother's car.

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Friday, October 14, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me!

My friend Natalie was here for a 48-hour visit, which made for an awesome birthday. We took our kids to the zoo this morning, grabbed lunch (Portillo's for the adults, chicken nuggets for the kids), and then she had to head back to Toledo. I left for the zoo before Nick was home from work (a 27 hour shift), so when I returned I discovered his quickly made sign, roses, and a promise for a birthday celebration later. The bottom of the sign says "Celebration to follow . . . date undetermined."

Tonight we had a very low-key dinner, and because I didn't want to make a cake, we used a cinnamon roll from yesterday's visit to IKEA as the birthday cake. I realized after I blew out the candles I hadn't made a wish, but that's OK, because I pretty much have everything I've ever wished for: Nicholas, Henry, and Georgia. It's been a wonderful year.
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Monday, September 19, 2011

Almost 30 Months, 4 Months

Just wanted to post a quick update on the kids.

Henry's new developments:   He asks "What this?" about everything, including things that he clearly knows what they are.  Then he asks about them again.  And then he asks again.  When he wants something, he says "How 'bout this?" and points to something or brings it to you.  He contintues to simultaneously be the dog's best friend and his worse enemy.  Sometimes they play really well together, then other times Henry has to go to time out to think about what he has done.  That dog has the patience of Job, but finally did nip at Henry recently.  Henry has become very passionate about what he's wearing, mostly insisting on character apparel featuring Thomas and Friends.  I think his little body is constructed mostly out of yogurt, since he has multiple servings of it almost every day.  He has become quite skilled in constructing a linear(ish) train track.  He then gets really, really mad that not all of his trains will fit through the small IKEA train tunnel.  Baths have not improved.

Georgia has been a champ at rolling back to front for over a month, but only rolls front to back when she feels like it.  She likes to sit up, but is completely dependent on the bumbo or parental assistance to do so.  She can grab a toy and get it in the general direction of her mouth.  She goes through so many outfits in a day, I've stopped counting.  She left church in a diaper yesterday because she had soaked the three outfits I had with me, and I couldn't get to my emergency fourth outfit until after the meeting was over and I just gave up.  I'm really  looking forward to when she stops throwing up all the time.  She really likes to suck her thumb when she is sleepy.  Nick has been trying to get her to giggle for weeks, and she finally laughed last night.  Only, it wasn't a little, gentle baby giggle.  It was a gregarious laugh that reminds me of my own.

Today was day one of Nick's month-long ICU rotation.  It's going to be a long month for all of us.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Dishwasher: Before and After

This is our kitchen, back when it had no dishwasher.

And Look at it Now.

I think they did a great job of making the cabinet look like it had just always been that small. The made it out of the larger cabinet they removed. I only wish we had done this sooner.

Grandma Preston (1916-2011)

Nick attended the funeral Friday for his sweet Grandmother, Alta Preston.  She would have celebrated her 95th birthday next month.  We all wanted to be there, but we couldn't get two seats on the same flight (which is only a problem because Henry can't fly alone.)  

Grandma Preston was a wonderful woman, and while she will be missed, I am glad that her final illness was of relatively short duration and that she is at peace.  I took the kids to see her a month ago, and knew it is probably the last time I would ever see her in this life.  So even in missing the funeral, I felt like I had the chance to say goodbye, and show our love for her.  I think one thing that made her so special was that whoever was in her presence felt loved by her.  I think that is what being Christian means, and I don't know of a higher compliment I could give a person.

Is That My Baby?

A picture of me as a baby, next to a current picture of Georgia. My mom said she was holding me up in this picture, underneath my dress and maybe pulling on the dress. I'm not sure how old I was at the time when it was taken. Georgia is three months, two weeks, and two days old.
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Friday, September 9, 2011

No Binkies, Just Fingers

Georgia has completely rejected the pacifier, because she loves her fingers too much. Sometimes her thumb seems like a magical shut off switch to crying. We just moved her to the crib and there's a little bit of adjustment for both of us.

Henry has figured out that he can't tell us no when we've given him a command, so now he tells us "I don't.". Now that Georgia is sleeping in the crib, Henry wants to sleep in the crib. He took his nap in there today, watching the mobile.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

It's a 7-Step Process

I broke my prescription sunglasses a while ago.  More like a really long time ago.  It was winter, and I lived in St Louis at the time.  I've been wearing them anyway.  The frame has a crack in it, and I just gently position the lens on that side, put the glasses on, and then not make any sudden movements.  When I was in Utah, I stumbled on a new solution.  I drove Harry's car and he keeps his sunglasses attached to the sun visor.  His sporty sunglasses could actually be worn over my regular glasses.  I kept forgetting to bring mine to the car, so I ended up just borrowing his most the time.  It worked perfectly.  But then I had to give his car, and his glasses back to him.

I want to buy new glasses and sunglasses, but it's a process with so many steps.  First I need to find out what the name of our eye insurance is  (don't judge me.)  Then I need to find a participating doctor, then make an appointment, then go to the appointment, then assert myself that I don't want to buy the glasses there, then take my prescription (which they will have judged me for taking without a purchase) to Costco and buy some glasses, then return to pick them up.  It's a very complicated and long process.

But want to know what's easy?  Going to the accessory shop at the mall and finding a giant pair of glasses for $4 that can be worn over your existing glasses.  So many fewer steps, and much cheaper too.

PS- moments after I took this picture with my phone, I dropped it and the screen shattered.  It made me a little sad.

Monday, September 5, 2011

2 Month Photos by Holly Hyde

Georgia at Two Months Old

Henry's wasn't exactly cooperative for this, as you might guess from his expression.
While I was in Utah, I took Georgia for her "newborn" pictures (she was two months old at the time).  They were done by Holly Hyde Photography.  It was a very good experience, although I wish Henry had been a bit more co-operative (but Holly is Great with kids,) and wish that Georgia hadn't thrown up on every outfit she was put in thirty seconds after we put it on.  Georgia went through a lot of clothes during the session, not because I was seeking variety, but because she constantly throws up and the clothes were visibly wet and messy.

I printed 4x6's at Costco and the came back looking dark with high contrast.  It took me a second to figure it out, but the problem is I had ordered from the kiosk at the store and didn't turn off the "Auto Color Correct."  Normally I order from home, and have the color correct turned off.  If you have professional pictures you're printing, turn Color Correct off, because the photographer has already fine-tuned them and has the color as it's supposed to be.  All an automatic setting can do in that situation is mess it up.  With the color correct off, they look great, and now I have them on my wall.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

My Mother, the Vandal

My mom put a "p" on the light switch with a marker. I'm sure it stands
for "porch."

To know my mom is to love her, and to love her is to accept that she
writes on everything with a sharpie. You can't get mad at her because
most of the time it's reasonable markings and conveys useful
information. She writes the dates she bought them on her appliances
and The dates when she made a recipe and notes how it came out. She
will write your name on your property for you, whether you wanted it
labeled or not.
Occasionally she labels something that I wish had been kept pristine,
but mostly I'm just grateful for the lessons on sharing important
information in writing, dating every piece of paper you ever write on,
and "If you value it, put your name it." Property she values and has
labeled includes (but is not limited to): electronics, pillows, camp
chairs, coolers, pans, shovels, strollers, buckets, books and charging
cables. If you can't write directly on something, use a luggage tag.
I have my diaper bag, camera bag, and stroller labeled this way. I
bought an engraved tag on eBay (a small pet tag) to attach to Nick's
newest stethoscope (bought to replace a missing stethoscope).

"If you value it, put your name it," will be put on her headstone some
day. But it's true. This week I found out that Nick had recovered our
stethoscope that had been missing for months. He was able to get it
back in part because he could say, "This is mine, it has my name on
it." You really can't stop thieves, but honest people can't get
something back to you unless you've put your name and number on it.
Anything you lend to someone should be marked.

Keep the information where you can use it. Today I picked up our
minivan after it spent nearly two weeks at a body shop. They must
have disconnected the battery, because the radio wouldn't work until
I put a security code in it. If you don't know the code, you have to
pay the dealership to put it in. While stopped for a train, I pulled
the users manual from the glove box- my mom had written the code
inside. I listened to NPR the rest if the way home.

Thanks, mom!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Tempus Fugit

My, how time flies. 

Nick has just started his third rotation of his second year of residency.  Two nights ago we were all in by at 9:15, but at 9:16 Nick's phone rang calling him to a North Suburb hospital for a pediatric surgery.  He got home at 1:30 in the morning, and left again about 5:30.  He just finished a rotation at the burn unit at Loyola.  He really liked his time there.

Georgia is just about three months old.  Incredible!  She rolls from back to front like a champ, throws up on everything, and smiles a lot.

Henry is using a lot of full sentences.  He is getting more jealous of Georgia's stuff and is constantly taking away her blankets and rattles.

My daily picture blog is now a year old.  I have posted a picture for every day, though sometimes I wait a little while to post them.  Most the pictures are bad iPhone pictures, but the journal aspect of the project has been really nice for me.  I looked back at several months of activities in just a few minutes.

I'm still behind on everything.  I haven't sent out birth announcements, and wondering if I've waited this long, should I just wait for Christmas Cards?  Also, I haven't been productive at all in my church calling, Primary secretary, but I'm going to dive back in this week and start to be helpful.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Before The Trauma Set In

This picture is a year old, before bath time became akin to torture. For the last eight months, every time I bathe him, I think my neighbor's might call DCFS because of all his screaming. He starts shrieking the instant he realizes the bath is coming, and doesn't stop until he's dressed.
Any suggestions out there for things I may not have tried to make it less traumatic for both of us?
Things tried include toys, varying water temperatures, bribery, bathing with him, showers (big failure there), and bubbles. I am hoping that someone out there has a panacea.
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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A Few Things to Remember

Henry and Georgia are changing so quickly, there are a few things I want to remember about how they are right now. 
Georgia is growing quickly.  I think she's close to 11 pounds now.  I've had to put away some of her 0-3 month clothes but most still fit.  She smiles now.  She is much more laid back and cries much less than Henry did, and probably less than he does now too.  I didn't realize he was a relatively hard baby until I had her to compare.  She's over her baby acne, her eyes are a non-descript hazel color.  She has nice eye lashes but not as impressive as Henry's.  She sleeps for a good five or six hour stretch at night, but unfortunately the stretch doesn't begin until about 1:00 or 2:00 AM.  She takes a power nap about ten at night, then wakes up and wants to be held for a couple of hours.  But when she finally gets back to sleep, we both get some good rest. 
She likes a binkie.  She hates to be swaddled.  She likes to sleep with her hands above her shoulders, and demands that her legs be free to kick.  She likes her swing a lot.  When I'm desperate for her to sleep, say around 1:30 AM, I ignore all the baby book advice and put her in the swing and let her fall asleep.  Whatever it's costing me in batteries, it's worth it (and we're still on her first set of Duracells.)

Henry's vocabulary is exploding every day.  He is constantly saying things that leave me wondering where he learned that.  It's a little more difficult to put his skin medications on as he's fighting me and screaming, "Just stop it, mom. Stop it!"  General crying is far easier to ignore that specific instructions.  He loves showing off all the words he knows as we read books.  He loves to point to the pictures and tell me what it is. 
He can follow simple instructions, when he chooses to.  We now send him to grab something from another room or pick something up.  He gets distracted sometimes, but often completes the task.  He loves to do puzzles, and I think it will be very few years before he's better at it than I am.  (I'm not good at puzzles, but he seems to have aptitude.)
Photo by Jo Ellen
He loves to push things around.  His shopping cart continues to get pushed from one end of the house to the other.  When we're outside, he pushes a Tonka fire truck from one end of the sidewalk to the other, over and over and over again.  It seems the only time he deviates from his  path is to chase the dog with it.  He still ends up in time out for harassing the dog almost daily.  They also play nicely together a lot. 
Henry loves books.  His favorite right now is A Mouse in the House by Henrietta.  We read it and find the hidden mouse on each page at least once every day.  I just ordered the sequel.  He also loves Thomas the Tank Engine Books, and really any book.  He always manages to talk me into reading a few extra ones at nap time and bed time.
When he says "my turn," he really means, "Give that to me, and you're never going to get it back."  He's pretty good at consistently saying thank you.  He can't say "Henry" understandably, but is very clear saying "Georgia."
Right after Georgia was born and we had a month of guests, I was very frustrated at every turn with Henry.  He was constantly telling me no and fighting every thing all the time.  Now that we're settled into our new normal, he's much more pleasant and agreeable.  Elements of the terrible two's are still visible, but I'm no longer tempted to exchange him for a different model.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Trying to Find Religion

Without Nick, church was not really smooth sailing when I had one kid, and adding a second has not made it any easier.  Getting ready is the hard part. I swear the two kids are conspiring against me since they know they have me outnumbered. When I woke up this morning, I knew we'd be a little late. We ended up being an hour and a half late.
Girls are harder to get ready because there's pressure to make sure their outfit matches and there's accessories involved. Boys are harder to get ready because after you get them dressed you turn your back for a second and suddenly they have no shirt, socks or shoes on anymore.

Henry didn't exactly sit still, or be quiet, but he wasn't terrible.  Georgia has needs, but is completely reasonable.  The bottom picture is Henry rolling all over the floor of the Mother's Room. This is after he was using the diaper pail as a drum.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Urban Wildlife

Henry, Georgia, and I went to a missionary's open house tonight.  Henry had a lot of fun running around with bigger boys in the backyard.  When we went inside, I was a little anxious that he was going to break something.  Georgia stayed in her car seat for awhile.  When she fussed, a member of the ward graciously held her for me, while I continued to chase Henry around.  I should have brought the monkey leash.

I was talking to someone who asked me if Georgia was difficult.  I described her very pleasant personality and explained that Henry was actually the harder one to care for right now.  Being two-and-a-half is a very dangerous time in his life.  He can climb up anything, open nearly everything, but has absolutely no judgment.  The man's reply was a perfect summary of Henry, "so it's kind of like living with a raccoon."

Does he need a rabies shot?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Georgia's First Weeks

Georgia at about Five Weeks

We've had a great six weeks since Georgia was born.  This blog post is intended to fill in the gaps left by our daily picture blog,  

Four the first month of Georgia's life, we had family staying with us almost every night. We had a steady stream of visitors from moments after we came home from the hospital at 9:00 PM on Friday night. My parents were first (here five days) followed two hours later by Harry & Lucy (36 hours). Patti and Stan arrived in the area that same night, but didn't come over from their hotel until the next morning, and they went back to STL on Tuesday.  The best visitor was Nicholas.  He worked a thirty hour shift that Sunday, but then started a nearly two week paternity leave.  (He would like to thank liberal politics and gender equality for making this possible.)  We didn't think something like this could happen, so we're very grateful that it worked out the way it did.

Harry and Lucy ended up driving the old, faithful '92 Honda, with its single working door, back to Utah via Mt Rushmore and Devils Tower. The night before they left, Harry went to Walmart and bought an oil change kit, window tinting (which they applied to the outside of the car for easy removal upon arriving in Utah) and new wiper blades. We all knew it had no radio, but we were sad when they discovered miles into the trip that the air conditioning had died. Fortunately it was unseasonably cool so no one melted.

Since Georgia is the first granddaughter, everyone went a little nuts shopping for clothing and accessories that did not have dinosaurs, heavy equipment, vehicles or sports on them. During our day in the hospital (we were there about 27 hours total), Nick ran back to the house to take care of a few things, like the dog for instance. On his way back, he stopped at Babies R Us and bought her several pink things, including a ridiculously expensive dress. Just FYI, my standard for a ridiculous newborn dress costs $30. My mom and Aunt Patti went shopping and each came back with new clothes for Georgia. Family bought her clothes, neighbors brought things, and friends gave things. I've been amazed at how generous people have been to us. She has so many cute clothes, that even though she goes through several outfits a day, she always looks fabulous.

A day after my parents left, my sister Katie came for 36 hours. About 36 hours after her departure, my brother Dallas, his wife Shannon, and their three boys arrived here by car via Mt Rushmore and Devils Tower, and most importantly West Des Moines, Iowa. With them, we went to the Museum of Science and Industry, and briefly visited a Parish Festival where Maggie Speaks was playing. I just kept Georgia in her car seat and so no one breathed on her or touched her.  See Dallas's blog for a much more exciting summary of their visit.

The day after they left, Nick's mom and sister came, bringing with them cute things for Georgia and a present for Henry.  Debbie even made Georgia a beautiful crocheted dress.  We all visited the art museum and Millennium Park on that Saturday, then that evening, Debbie and Samantha watched Henry while Nick and I attended the Residency Graduation Dinner, with Georgia along for the ride.  I was a little nervous taking Georgia to a rather formal event, but she stayed underneath the table in her car seat without making a peep.  People were very surprised at the end of the night to find out she had been there the whole time, wearing her ridiculously expensive dress.  Nick received an award for being the best resident teacher, as chosen by the medical students who rotated through surgery this year.

On Monday, he went back to work and the rest of us headed to the Happiest Place on Earth [for Nerds], the Museum of Science and Industry.  It's so big and wonderful, I still haven't seen all of it.  Debbie and Sami left that evening, and about 24 hours later, my Aunt Jo Ellen, aka Toots, arrived for her two week visit. 
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Monday, May 30, 2011

It's a Girl!

We are excited to welcome Georgia Kay Johnson to our family. She was born Thursday May 26, 2011 at 6:15 PM. She was 20" long and weighed 8 lbs 4 oz. We're so grateful for her safe delivery and for all the support we've received from our family, friends and neighbors.

Georgia Kay Johnson is named after some wonderful people. Her first name is after Nick's paternal grandmother, who passed away several years ago. She was a wonderful woman, who exemplified devotion to her family, love for the Lord and an enterprising spirit. Baby Georgia's middle name is the name of Nick's late stepfather. Additionally, the name Kay has added meaning for my family. Our friend Rebekah passed away three years ago, and Kay is also her middle name. I can't hear the name Kay without remembering the wonderful influence both of these people have had in our lives.
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Monday, May 23, 2011

The Robin and Me

This planter, that currently functions as a bird's nest, is on the front of our house, sheltered by our little porch. It hosts a robin that spends almost all her time sitting on three bright blue eggs. I try not to use the front door too much because it spooks her, so I wait until she's not on the nest to grab my mail.

I think that she and I are a lot alike right now. We're both sitting around waiting for our offspring to appear. We should savor this time before the real work begins, when babies cry and need things and wake you up several times in the night. I want to savor this time, but the two-year-old woke up at five this morning, which feels more like newborn hours than toddler hours. And since the birds start chirping outside my bedroom window at about that time, I'm guessing the robin didn't sleep in either.
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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Oh Baby, Where Art Thou?

My due date is Monday, but we have no expectation of having a baby here anywhere near that soon. Henry was a post-date induction, and I won't be shocked if this baby has a similar birthday in store. On Monday we finally got the baby furniture out of the attic. I still don't have my bag packed for the hospital. Maybe I should work on that this weekend. We do have the car seat, some diapers, a few onesies and a blanket. The rest is just fluff anyway.

So, loyal readers, both of you, in the comments give your best guess for when this baby will show up, what gender it will be, what size it will be and suggest a name appropriate for the predicted gender. Actually, suggest lots of names. I'm worried we'll leave the hospital with the birth certificate filled out as "Baby Johnson."

Birthday Bash, Several Times Over

Click on photo for better view.
At the end of March, we traveled to Utah and Colorado for Nick's vacation time. In addition to getting near adequate amounts of sleep for the first time in months, Nick was able to spend a day skiing, go see a couple movies, and see lots of family. We were also traveling for Henry's birthday, so we turned it into a traveling birthday party. We had birthday candles and cake at each of his grandparents house. His favorite part was the noisemakers that unroll when you blow on them. He now knows how to blow out a candle.

For his actual birthday, he spent much of the day strapped into his car seat driving from Utah to Southwest Colorado to visit Nick's grandpa Buddy. (Henry's middle name is after this grandpa.) We did get him ice cream in Moab to celebrate. It was a bit reminiscent of his first birthday, when he spent all day in his car seat, first driving around Chicago neighborhoods looking at houses and then making our way back to St. Louis. But once we arrived in Colorado, we made up for the drive by having fun on an awesome playground and visiting Nick's aunt Reba.

Our family was very generous with presents. He loves the cars, trains, balls, and puzzles he received.
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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Easter Family Fun

Henry has a thing for sunglasses now and wears them a lot. He seems especially drawn to wear them indoors, in the evening during low-light conditions.

We had a special visitor for Easter weekend. Katie came for about 44 hours, which is about her average visit. She took her last final for the semester and hopped on a plane from San Diego to Chicago.  When she got here, it was raining so heavily, we could barely see the planes taking off very nearby. I don't know what her rush was for leaving: I thought we were more fun than that.

Nick was post-call and didn't get home until 12:00, but luckily he had slept a little during the night. We forced him out of bed at about 3:30, had a one-kid Easter Egg hunt in the backyard, then had a delicious dinner. During the egg hunt, Henry found a lot of eggs (often with help) but each egg had the tiniest amount of candy possible. His bucket looks full, but it's really only about twenty jelly beans.

As soon as dinner was over, we quickly sewed a button back on Kate's jacket before rushing her back to the airport. I was doing it, but apparently I've never learned to tie a knot properly. Nick insisted on taking over and finishing it off with a surgeon's knot of some kind. If his surgical career doesn't work out for some reason, perhaps he can go into tailoring. 

Monday, April 4, 2011

End Vacation with a Little Home Improvement

We spent Saturday listening to LDS General Conference and removing wallpaper. This lovely striped wallpaper was "in" during the late eighties, so from the previous homeowner's behind the times taste, we're guessing it was installed in the mid-nineties. It was on the inside and outside of our stairwell. I would have left this project until next year (there were uglier walls to tackle first, believe it or not) but Henry had already started stripping the wallpaper for us.

With the research we did, multiple sources directed us to Zinsser wallpaper removal products, most importantly DIF, an enzyme gel solution that dissolves the glue. We would recommend DIF and the Paper Scraper. The Paper Tiger wasn't really useful because we were able to pull the vinyl coated front off the wall in one piece, leaving the backing glue and paper exposed and ready to absorb DIF. It's still lots and lots of time-consuming work, but we were able to get it off without damaging the wall. This experience makes me hate wallpaper even more, though. You should have to buy a bond when you install wallpaper, to ensure that you're the one who eventually takes it down. Otherwise the bond would cover its removal, because I feel like the last homeowner left us holding the bag of this house with all it's outdated and unattractive-in-the-first-place wallpaper. Also, they should be shot for painting the ceilings in the house the color of the walls. It's bad enough that my bathroom is bright yellow, but it's worse that the ceiling is bright yellow. Ceilings should NEVER, NEVER be anything other than flat white paint. So over the next few years, we have four rooms of wallpaper to remove and a household of ceilings to paint. Now, the fun part. I need to pick a paint color. There are some creative constraints here- the formerly wallpapered area is only the lower half of the stairwell. The upper half would require professionals to paint because of the very tall wall, and the fact the ceiling (two stories off the ground) is painted the wall color. We're not ready to hire professionals right now, so we're only painting what was previously covered with wallpaper. The question is do we go with a color very similar to the upper half of the stairwell, paint the walls the same color as we painted the living room/hallway last fall (a warm off-white named "Toasted Cashew"), or pick something bolder?

Leave suggestions in the comments please.

Also, a public shoutout to my brother Sam.  His gift of a gently used computer allowed us to watch general conference on an actual TV, while sitting on couches, in our own home for the first time since we moved out of Utah.  Thanks also for Dallas's technical support.