Monday, January 31, 2011

Please send your thoughts and prayers...

So, I got a call last night from my sister Kelly with the news that our sister Danica is in the ICU with total kidney failure.

Testing has shown that she has experienced a pretty rare auto-immune reaction to a viral infection that has resulted in temporary (we think) total kidney failure, among other things.  Danica was told that most patients with this condition recover fully following aggressive and immediate treatment -- including dialysis, one or more total blood transfusions and plasmapheresis.  She is likely to be in intensive care/the hospital for at least a week.

According Kelly, who has spoken doctor-to-doctor to the physicians treating her, even with the above treatment, about 1 in 10 patients do not survive due to other complications.  As Danica is 29 and otherwise healthy, we are praying that she is one of the majority.

As of this morning, it seems that she is responding well, but we don’t know much more than that at this point.  So we would very much appreciate your thoughts and prayers in her behalf.  Hang in there Dink!  We love you!  Get better soon!


Thursday, January 13, 2011

One down, about a bajillion to go!

So, I have about a million decorating/home improvement projects I've been trying to get done for a while.  And by "trying" I mean "really wanting to have it done but not having the energy to get past step one of any given project...".  But I have finally finished one, so I thought I'd share!

Here it is!








I saw this idea last year on a design blog I follow and I ended up making one for my dad for father's day, since he is really into genealogy.  But then I couldn't get over how cool it looked, and I decided we needed one for our home :)  I designed it using two open source programs, one called Inkscape (similar to Adobe Illustrator but FREE) and the other called Gimp (similar to Adobe Photoshop, but again FREE!).  Michael is the genius around here who knows about all these great free programs and who taught me how to use them :)

Anyways, so I designed the tree and then added our names for the trunk and the names of our ancestors 4 generations back.  Then I found a map I liked from the public domain that represented where these 5 generations of our families came from originally (we have Scandinavia, the British Isles, Mexico and the good old USA, so I went with a cool looking map of the northern hemisphere).  By the way, each person on the tree has a leaf near their name with their birthplace (state or country).


Then I just had it printed really big, then I texturized it to look sort of like canvas, bought some foam core and some mat board, and used a fame I already had and some cool looking fabric for trim around the picture and voila!  Done!  I'm really loving it!  And I think I might start a business selling these, because I think they are that cool!  Want to have one commissioned??

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

9 Month Stats

So, first thing on Monday morning, I took Ryan and Sophie to the pediatrician.  Sophie had her 9 month checkup and Ryan was getting his ears checked out.  He has been pretty hard of hearing lately, so I wanted to have him checked out.  And sure enough!  He has a slight ear infection AND strep throat.  Awesome.  So he got his antibiotics and can now join our penicillin party.  Of course Sophie, not wanting to be left out, also joined the party.  She also has an ear infection.  Boo.  Anyways, I'm hoping we get this all out of our system before heading to Utah!

So, Sophie had her 9 month checkup and (besides the ear infection) is a healthy girl!  Her stats are:

Height: 27.25 inches (30th percentile)
Weight: 18 pounds (30th percentile)
Head circumference: 44.75 cm (75th percentile)

Way to go Sophie! Over four pounds in 3 months!  She made it from the 15th percentile to the 30th in both height and weight.  Watch out, Lily and Jane.  Sophie is a comin'!

Here are some pictures!  Enjoy!

Here she is this morning, just doing her thing:






And these are from before Christmas.  Michael and I were watching Top Hat, an old Fred Astair and Ginger Rogers movie, and Sophie woke up part of the way through.  So, naturally, we put her in a box.  And boy did she have fun!





We had popcorn, but she preferred wise men.



We're Home (...for a little while...)

Well, we made it back home on Sunday evening after a great trip up north.  We had such a great time with Christy and Grandpa, and with everybody who was able to make it up there for the holidays.  We're so lucky to have so many people we love so close to us! 

Our last few days in Ironwood mostly consisted of playing with tinker toys and waffle blocks and Calvin gazing longingly out the window asking to go to the park (there is a park at an elementary school across the street that you can see from the window).  Christy and I finally took them one day, and it was SO cold!  We didn't stay too long.  But they sure did have fun!  Although no one complained when we only stayed 10 minutes and then said it was time to go home.  We had fish frys on Friday night (confession, I had the chicken fingers instead) and then went ice skating on Saturday night (see previous post).

Thanks for having us, guys!  We had a great time!  Thanks for putting up with messy high chair trays, garbage cans that smell like diapers, waffle blocks taking over the whole house, and a whole lot more.  You guys are the best!


Sophie inside the waffle block house Michael and the boys built for her :)




Michael and Ryan made the coolest tinker toy creation ever- shopping cart for Ryan to push around!   He loved it and we made pretend shopping lists and went pretend shopping a lot.  Until he overloaded the cart with random things from the living room...but he got a lot of mileage out of it first!





The boys frolicking off to the playground:


Calvin climbing around:



Ryan gauging his climbing-on-icy-playground-equipment abilities.  Luckily, he decided against this one:


 And went for one closer to the ground :)



Next up?  Driving to Utah for a couple of weeks!  We'll keep you posted...

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Ice Skating

Well, this evening we took the kids ice skating for the very first time!  They were really really excited, pretty much until they stepped on the ice with their skates.  Then they got very very serious :)  We went with Christy and Dad and we all had a lot of fun!  By the end Ryan could skate by himself (with the help of that walker-thingy), which was a vast improvement over the beginning, when he was just moving his skates back and forth as fast as he could and not getting anywhere!  And Calvin learned to enjoy himself by the end, until he winded up on the ice with a (slightly) bloody mouth :( poor guy!  But he bucked up with the help of some skittles.  He really didn't want to skate with me at all the whole time, he always wanted to go with Michael or Christy.  And I don't blame him at all--I'm terrible!  It's a miracle I didn't fall down with them!  Sophie sat and watched and was an absolute champ.  She was very interested in the music and the people skating, etc., and didn't make a peep the whole time.  It was especially amazing since I woke her up and got her out of bed to bring her, and it was way past her bed time!  And to cap off the night, Michael beat Christy in an epic ice skating race.  It was a close one, though! 

Dad was the official photographer for the evening, so thanks for all the great pictures!!!  Here are some of my favorites:

Me and Calvin just after stepping onto the ice for the first time.  Love the concern on his sweet little face:



This is about the happiest he got while on the ice.  At least with me...


 Christy showing Ryan the ropes:
 


Cute little wobbly skates:



Is that a hint of confidence I see??



Wait, maybe not...

 

Better stick with the serious face :) He was a good sport, even about falling down.


Calvin with me and Christy :



Michael and Ryan:


I really like this one of Christy and Calvin.  Christy is such a wonderful Aunt.  We love her so much!


Sophie and me hanging out on the bleachers:


Ryan getting some help from Christy and me:


Braving it on his own at the end, and doing pretty well, too!


The kids had a great time.  Especially Ryan, who, on the way home, was saying "That was the most fun I have EVER EVER HAD!!!!"  Anyways, we had a lovely time so thanks for coming with us, Christy and Dad! 

Friday, January 7, 2011

Nine Months Old!

Our sweet little Sophie turned 9 months old yesterday. My oh my how time flies. Here are a few little tidbits about Sophie at 9 months old

-Her new tricks include pulling herself up to standing and occasionally just standing (very briefly) not holding onto anything, and she is getting to be a pretty speedy crawler.

-Sophie completely loses it anytime anyone leaves the room. I mean anyone. Even people she barely knows. She breaks down in hysterics, poor girl.

-Sophie does a really cute and pretty funny little happy dance when she's pleased. It's my favorite thing right now.

-Sophie's favorite person, hands down, is her Daddy. She would rather be sitting next to him whacking his computer while he tries to work than anywhere else in the world.

-Despite her diminutive stature, she can still pack it in at meal time. Favorites right now are chicken and steak. Which is a mystery to me since she doesn't have any teeth.

-She is in the process of cutting her first tooth, which makes for a rather sad, drooly little girl.

-When Sophie doesn't get her way, you will definitely hear about it. Loudly. For a long time. I shudder to think what this will turn into when she can actually talk! But for now, I mostly think it's funny.

-One of her favorite things to do is look at herself in the mirror. Pretty much without fail this will solve any problem in her little life.

-Sophie met her first cat last night. She was freaking out with happiness.

We sure love our little girl!


Here are some pictures of her yesterday, just monkeying around:

Loving that golf ball:


Really excited about dropping it!


 Showing off her standing up skills:








Ahhh, sweet success!



And finally, here is a video of little Sophie doing her thing.  Warning, it is over 3 minutes long.  But she does dance and do a lot of jabbering and even more drooling.  And for like the last minute I didn't even know I was recording it anymore.  So basically what I'm saying is, it's a dumb video that you shouldn't bother watching.  But I like it!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Merry (Late) Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Merry Christmas, everybody!  Despite 3/5 of us contracting strep throat and a sad little Sophie cutting her first tooth, it has been a wonderful Christmas!  On the 21st we had my parents come stay with us for a couple of days, which was so fun!  I was just on the verge of coming down with strep, so I neglected taking pictures of our adventures with Grandma and Grandpa Walton, unfortunately, but we really fit a lot of fun things into 3 days.  

It was nice to have them mostly to ourselves so that they could spend some nice individual time with each kid.  They got some great snuggle time with Sophie, took Ryan shopping to pick out a toy, and took Calvin to do his very favorite thing--push a child-sized shopping cart around the local grocery store and pick out treats to put in said cart.  Happiest kid on the planet.  It was so nice having them stay!  Then we all met up with Ken and Kelly and the gang on the 23rd and me and Kelly and my mom all headed to a salon for some pampering (thanks, Mom!) and then we went out to dinner as a whole big group.  It was a lot of fun!  And afterwards we enjoyed Danica's Christmas present to us all.  She remotely treated us to a movie, so we took everybody to go see Tangled.  

I wasn't optimistic about how my kids would do since neither of the boys napped and the movie started at 7.  But I was absolutely shocked to find that they were all perfect angels.  I didn't even have to leave the theater with any of them once!  Sophie fell right asleep, Ryan sat in his chair and munched on popcorn and thoroughly enjoyed himself, and Calvin (who was too excited to sit down) stood in front of his seat for the entire movie and was completely enthralled.  I don't even remember him saying a word to me the whole time!  Even Lily was a perfect champ.  And the movie was really cute.  What a great time we all had!  Thanks, Danica!

On Thursday Kelly also diagnosed me with strep (oh, fun!) and after a little soul searching about whether or not we should still go up to Ironwood for Christmas as planned, we decided to still go.  I did pass strep on to Calvin and Michael, but so far not to anyone that wouldn't have been around me if we'd stayed in Fridley, so I consider that somewhat of a success!  

We had a great time in Ironwood for Christmas and New Years!  Abbey was back from college, Christy and Grandpa and Vitoria were all there, and we got to talk to James from his mission in Peru on Christmas, which was so much fun!  We miss him and we'll be so excited to have him back in July!  We also got to Skype with Benjamin in Switzerland, and we had a lot of fun talking to him!

The kids were, of course, delighted with their Christmas haul.  We got in at about 9:45 pm on Christmas Eve (we had planned on getting in a little after lunch, but since I was pretty much out for the count all morning, Michael had to do the cleaning, packing, etc., all by himself, so it took a little longer!) so we didn't do much on Christmas Eve.  But the kids were thrilled to wake up Christmas morning to see that Santa had, indeed, come!  They had fantastic stocking stuffers from Santa/Grandpa, and some really fun toys that they just loved.  My favorite was the actual working rocket that Michael made for Ryan.  It was seriously amazing.  Michael is so talented!  Anyways, we all had a lovely Christmas morning opening presents and hanging out all together.  Unfortunately for Calvin, he was in the throws of strep throat on Christmas, so he slept for a lot of the day, but when he wasn't sleeping he was still a very happy boy, playing with all of the fun new toys.

Anyways, Christmas was really lovely, and it was especially fun to spend it with our wonderful family, so thanks everybody!  On the 26th, I ran Calvin out to the urgent care clinic where he was formally diagnosed with strep.  I was surprised when the doctor commented on how bad his throat looked since he had been such a happy boy!  The nurse and doctor even both said that he was the best behaved little kid they'd had.  Way to go, Calvin!  Then he came home and pretty much went to bed.  AnnaMarie and the girls came up later that night and stayed for a few days, so it was really nice to have them around to play with.  We all had a lot of fun which, again,  I didn't really take any pictures of.  But the kids had a great time playing together.  Calvin was on quarantine until Monday afternoon, so he was pretty bummed that he didn't get to play with everybody on Monday morning.  But he came to the store with me instead, and took a bath, and mostly just hung out with me and Michael.  He was so so SO happy when I told him he could play with all the kids again on Monday afternoon.  He was jumping up and down and everyone was cheering for him and he had the biggest smile you could imagine.  He's a sweetheart.

One of the highlights of the week was definitely launching Ryan's rocket.  Scary, but fun!  We were all pleased to discover that it actually did launch and that it didn't hit anyone :)  Michael did great and Ryan REALLY loved launching it.

We had a fun but relaxed New Years.  We never really have done much of anything on New Years Eve, so this was right up my alley.  We had a yummy ham dinner with homemade rolls and mashed potatoes and spinach salad and cherry-berry pie for dessert, yum!  Then we played games and watched a movie until 11:30, when we woke Ryan up for the "party"!  We really had him fooled.  He was so excited to be at the party.  When Michael asked him what he wanted to do at the party, he said "Drink Sprite!  And eat almond roca (which he pronounces  "almon drocra")! And write a birthday card for Luke!"  So that's what we did!  He was very excited at 11:58 when he got to sit in front of the clock with Christy and wait for it to be exactly 12:00.  He was pretty funny, just sitting there, starting out pretty excited and then fading a bit when he realized that watching a clock wasn't actually going to be super exciting, then finally asking Christy "Doesn't your clock have any bells that ding or anything?"  Anyways, he was pretty thrilled when it was the New Year and it was fun watching him try to wrap his head around the concept.    

Anyways, we've had a great holiday!  Here are a bunch of the pictures I did get around to taking!  Enjoy!

The living room, ready for the gang early Christmas morning:


The boys waiting to go downstairs on Christmas morning, passing time playing Candy Land with Christy:


Ryan making sure nobody goes downstairs  (the rule here at Grandpa Moore's is that everybody has to be dressed and ready before anybody goes downstairs):


Vitoria and Abbey and Sophie, ready to go down!


Christy and Calvin, being silly:


Me and Michael ready to go downstairs:


Opening the stockings:



Checking out the toys (Calvin was SOOO excited about his Toy Story set):



The boys' favorite stocking stuffers?  New light-up toothbrushes and Toy Story toothpaste from Santa/Grandpa.  Who knew?


 Sophie wasn't awake for too much of the present opening, but she did get to open this adorable bunny that my friend Liz made for her,  So cute!  She is in love.



Ryan opening his Zip Track from Grandpa, which he LOVED:


Calvin flying the airplane Michael made for him:


 Tired little Calvin, passed out on the chair and a half:


Skype-ing with Benjamin in Switzerland (Ryan recited his German poem I've been working on with him for Benjamin's host family.  He did great! I was so proud!)


 The rocket launch!  Here they are just before blastoff:


Setting everything up:


Ryan, gazing at his beloved rocket:


Blasting off!!


They launched it three times.  Here's the third launch on the way up:


Getting a piggy-back ride back to the car:


Sophie watched with Vitoria and Abbey from a safe distance away:


I also found out this Chrsitmas that Calvin is serious about his love of princess toys.  He has snuggled at least one and sometimes two of Christy's old Cinderella dolls every night.  Here is his favorite:


Calvin enjoying some New Years treats on Michael's shoulders.  He cried when he misplaced his lemon.  He loved that lemon.



Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, everybody!