Thursday, November 30, 2006


Saturday morning we decided to go see the ducks at Peabody Hotel. For those of you who don't know what this is, the Peabody hotel has 5 ducks that live in a duck mansion on the roof of the hotel in downtown Memphis. Every day at 11:00am the DuckMaster rides the elevator to the roof, herds the ducks into the elevator and brings them down to the lobby. When the elevator door opens the ducks walk down a red carpet from the elevator to the lobby fountain. They stay in the fountain, then for the entire day. At some point the DuckMaster brings them back up the same way (I assume).

Its a really cool thing for the kids to see because they're not roped off from the red carpet or the fountain. The fountain is shin-high for me, so it is a perfect height for the kids to stand at and watch the ducks swim. They can touch them (if the ducks allow), splash the water, and just sit and watch them from that close - they're not separated by anything.

Nora and I had seen the ducks on our trip out there in 2004. This was a perfect opportunity for our whole family to experience the magic of the ducks at Peabody Hotel:)

We arrived around 10:30 and the lobby was pretty busy, but there was plenty of room to move around and to find a spot next to where the red carpet was going to be rolled out. I asked BFWW and Dave to hold our spots while I took Nora and Ryann into the gift shop to find some souvenir ducks to remember our trip. Nora chose a duck that plays really annoying music for $12, Ryann chose a tiny (and I mean tiny) plastic duck for $2.50 (Yea Ryann!), I got a small duck with a G on it for Georgia and I bought a coffee mug for myself. $40 later we were on our way back to the red carpet. It was 10:50 and by that time we could barely walk through the lobby. We had to "excuse me" our way through the lobby to get to Dave and BFWW and then we had to fight our way back through some of the crowd to find better seats along the red carpet.

While we were waiting Nora and Ryann wanted to take pictures of their ducks walking along the red carpet:

Nora's Duck:

Ryann's duck (I know its hard to see it because its camoflauged so well, but if you look carefully I think you'll be able to make out the outline of a duck in there):

And finally after waiting for 10 long minutes while the DuckMaster told the history of the ducks, they came out of the elevator:

I think I was much more excited about the whole thing than the girls were. We watched them at the fountain for a little while and then went home (to BFWW's).

When we got home we started getting lunch together for the kids. We also noticed James and Joy walking by to dump their yard waste in the woods behind the house so Jer helped them and then invited them in for lunch. We made ourselves plates of leftovers and I had corn casserole, sweet potato crisp and applesauce souffle (I may or may not have had more than one helping of each). We put Georgia and Elise to bed and Dave, Jer and James took Nora and Ryann on a walk to the store to buy bread and to the park.

BFWW and Joy and I sat around and talked for a while and I may have had another helping of corn casserole - or maybe not.

After Joy left BFWW and I sat down on the couch to finish Grey's Anatomy. We got two minutes further than we had the day before and started talking again and never finished it.

After everyone came home it was time to get ready for the babysitter to come and to get ready to go out. BFWW had lined up a babysitter so that the four of us could hang out that night and do something fun. We were all about that:)

Savannah and Shelby arrived right at 4:45 and we gave them dinner and bedtime instructions which were met with "Yes Ma'am" over and over. Very polite, these southern teenagers... BFWW and I decided on the way to dinner that we liked that and perhaps I would be sending my girls to finishing school since Elise would naturally learn that stuff while living in the South. (my secret option, which I considered in my head, was to just leave the girls with BFWW and Jer and accidently change our phone numbers so they would be raised in the South).

The rest of the night deserves its own post, so be sure to tune in tomorrow for our experience on Beale Street and the night that Dave almost peed his pants laughing at me.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Eggs and Chicken

Back in the good ol' days when BFWW lived around here we would meet periodically for breakfast. Bakers Square was always the destination and we inevitably annoyed our waitress with how long we sat there and how many times we needed our coffee mugs refilled. It was a morning thing - as in ALL morning, as in 4 hours usually. Every time.

Before we left for the weekend I told Dave that I didn't care what we did for the entire weekend, but that BFWW and I would like to have one morning to go out for breakfast just the two of us. He totally understood and didn't even hesitate in saying he would watch all four girls for the morning.

Friday morning was THE morning. Breakfast for two.

We left at 9am and went to Brother Juniper's near the University of Memphis. We walked in and it really looked like kind of a dump - exactly what any good breakfast place should look like. It was also full - also a sign of a good breakfast place. We had to wait a few minutes and then were seated in the corner near a window - apparently they understood exactly what this breakfast was all about;)

BFWW explained that Rachel Ray had come here for one of her shows and the menu even indicates what her favorite dish is - The San Diegan Omelette - which looked really, really good but I wanted to go a little cheaper and perhaps a little simpler. BFWW ordered the #2 - eggs overeasy, home fries and wheat toast - and coffee. I ordered the #3 (I think): scrambled eggs with basil, tomatoes, and mozerella cheese, home fries, strong toast (which I guess means multi-grain) and a side order of cheese grits because I just had to experience grits - and coffee. Brother Juniper's is the place. The food was awesome. The grits were good. The staff refilled our coffee very regularly. It was perfect.

We got home at 1:00 and Elise was just going down for a nap and Dave had already fed our three girls. We have lovely, lovely husbands.

At 3:00 Ryann and Georgia went down for naps and Elise had already woken up, so Dave and Jer offered to bring Nora and Elise to the park for a little while. Yes - they offered. And since the other two were sleeping and needed someone to be home with them BFWW and I were happy to oblige. We parked ourselves on the couch and turned on the tv and geared ourselves up to watch Thursday night's episode of Grey's Anatomy... We got to the first set of commercials, started talking, paused it and never turned it back on. I don't remember what time everyone came back, but we never got back to Grey's Anatomy that day.

Earlier in the day we had decided that we would like to try Gus's Chicken for dinner. Apparently Gus has the best fried chicken in the country. While Dave and I are not big fried chicken fans, we wanted the whole Memphis experience so we wanted to try it.

Dinner was good. Gus has some good fried chicken and good coleslaw. And the dinner was made complete with another helping of corn casserole, sweet potato crisp and applesauce souffle. No dinner is complete, however, without some laughter which was nicely provided by BFWW when she told us that someone we know eats fried chicken in the car and throws the bones out the window... we laughed for a loooong time about that.

After the girls went to bed we decided to play a game, so we chose Imaginiff. This game includes these kinds of questions: Imaginiff Nora was a princess, what princess would she be? 1) Cinderella, 2) Diana, 3) Fiona etc. etc. - you get the idea. It was great fun and we had many laughs over some of the questions. The best questions of the night were:

Imaginiff Dave could know the answer to any mystery, which would he choose (now you need to know that we were doing this question as a challenge between only me and him and we would earn extra points if we matched and lose extra points if we didn't match): 1) Who shot JFK 2) The KFC's 12 secret spices 3)? 4)? 5)? 6) What happens after death. I chose 6 knowing that that would be the correct answer because a) I'm not sure Dave knows who JFK is b) he doesn't care about the fried chicken recipe and c) we've discussed at length different theories of what happens after you die (beside the obvious you go to heaven answer). He chose A - what?

Imaginiff Jeremy were a singer, who would he be? Insert many weird singers including Alice Cooper, Placido Domingo and Julio Iglesias. I chose Julie Andrews.

Imaginiff BFWW were looking through something, what would she look through: A bunch of answers that included sunglasses and one other thing. Dave, Jer and I all chose sunglasses because she's always wearing them. She chose that other thing:)

Imaginiff Jana was a dog, what breed would she be? BFWW and I chose Golden Retriever because we are best friends and we know each other well enough to know that is how we would answer - oh and BFWW said that I'm shaggy, and drooly and very obnoxious. Dave chose Rotweiler because I'm intimidating and mean (nice, eh?) and Jer chose Saint Bernard because I like to bring beer to people.

I don't remember who won the game, but I do remember that I was the biggest loser - as in I lost by a huge margin because of that JFK question... it was Dave's fault.

We spent the rest of the night discussing ideas about parenting and whether or not being a strict parent is good or if kids are going to do things anyway so why bother being strict. Jer went to bed soon after the game was done and we continued the conversation. When the topics of premarital sex and abortion came up I knew we would be there for a long time so I strapped my beer barrel around my neck and loafed upstairs to bed:)

Monday, November 27, 2006

The Feast

According to our project manager, Jer, Yummy the Large needed to be dealt with beginning at 8:30 in the morning... We had some breakfast, started the coffee and by the time I went upstairs to grab something, Jer was on his way down with Yummy in a bucket.

Our project manager had spoken to a friend of his that used to be a chef. His chef-friend suggested that Jer brine Yummy the Large, so Jer went out and bought a bucket for our 22.5 lb friend and the brining process was in motion. BFWW and Jer did not want to leave him out on the back patio for the animals to get, so they put him on the balcony off of their bedroom... which is why Jer was coming downstairs with Yummy in a bucket.

Preparation of Yummy the Large officially began at 8:33. Kim was scheduled to work on Yummy the Large and then had a break scheduled until 11:30 (I think). So she and Jer went to work - draining him, rubbing him with a mustard/olive oil paste and plastering him with a cheesecloth soaked in olive oil. Before we knew it, he was in the oven. Then Jer did a wonderful thing - he suggested that he and Dave take all of the kids for a walk.

They left and BFWW and I spent the entire morning talking over coffee. This is what we were meant to do in life as friends - spend countless hours together over coffee and just talk. The conversation never gets stale. We never have any quiet moments that are somewhat awkward and one of us has to think about what to talk about next. It just flows and we are both just so happy to be together. We talked until they all came home, then got lunch for the little ones and the real busyness of the project began.

We had lots and lots of dishes to prepare and lots of hands to help. And Jer had the entire situation under a time-management schedule - that made it very easy and much less stressful. In addition, BFWW and Jer have friends that live just down the street and they were also coming for dinner. James and Joy were preparing half of the side dishes and would bring them over when they were ready. At 12:45 James brought over our appetizers - cheese and crackers. We snacked on cheddar, bleu, brie and one other white cheese while we made the rest of the food.

Dinner was scheduled for 3:10. At around 1/1:30, Jer checked Yummy and found that he was already almost at the correct temperature. Uh Oh. Also it was at this point that Jer broke his digital thermometer by allowing it to touch the side of the oven and get too hot. So now we had to improvise. What do we do with Yummy? Do we take him out? Leave him in? Turn the temperature down? We opted for the latter and hoped for the best while we continued to get the rest of dinner together.

I don't remember what order we made things in or who did what, but I do remember standing at the oven for a loooooong time stirring the gravy (Yummy came out around 2:00). I stirred and stirred and stirred. I tasted. I added sugar to combat the saltiness. I stirred. I added some orange zest to give it a little brightness. I added more sugar. I stirred. It was quite a situation:) In the end, the gravy barely was touched and it was a bit too salty.

Finally, dinner was ready. Georgia and Ryann were in bed, the feast was ready to begin. Oh my goodness - I cannot even begin to tell you how exciting this was. By the way things looked, this promised to be the best Thanksgiving meal I had ever had. And it did not disappoint.

Turkey. Green bean casserole. Creamed spinach. Cornbread/sausage stuffing. Mashed potatoes. Potato casserole. Rolls. Sweet potato crisp. Cranberry sauce. Glazed carrots. And my two most absolute favorite things of the meal: Corn casserole and apple sauce souffle.

Almost everything had cream cheese and butter in it - must I tell you anything more about the food? It was good. Very, very good. I ate a lot. It was good.

We cleaned up, put the enormous amount of left over food in the refrigerator, fed Georgia and Ryann dinner and parked ourselves on the couch. Jer and James started making turkey soup and we spent the rest of the evening talking with BFWW, Jer, James and Joy.

Nora and Ryann also spent a good deal of time begging us for pumpkin pie. The adults definitely needed to wait for that for a bit, so we held off. We had pie and coffee just before the girls went to bed at 7:30/8:00. James made homemade pumpkin and apple pies and they were fabulous!

At around 9:00, Jer said, "I think its time for dinner." I sat there in sheer amazement that one could actually think of eating more food after the feast that we gorged ourselves on. Yet, I could understand completely. I think almost everyone then ate a bowl of turkey soup, while I opted for corn casserole, sweet potato crisp and applesauce souffle. And then we may or may not have had after dinner dessert:) And more coffee.

James and Joy left around midnight and we chatted a little while longer with BFWW & Jer. Jer decided to go to bed, while Dave, BFWW and I decided to watch Survivor because we couldn't wait to find out who got voted out. It was a good show and afterward we had a brief strategy meeting on how we would have played the game. And we hit the sheets at 1:30...

Remember the coffee? Yea - that wasn't such a good idea for me. I had a really rough time trying to go to sleep that night. Dummy - I shouldn't be drinking regular coffee at night no matter how tired I am - Brilliant, eh?

It was the feast of my dreams.

Hello Memphis!

Since this will go down as the best Thanksgiving in the history of Thanksgivings, I will be blogging about each day seperately since each one was so awesome. Y'all are in for a treat - 6 days of serious blogging potential (since I'm including the Monday-catchup day as a part of the weekend) and good stories. Sit back, get your coffee and enjoy:)

Wednesday, November 22, 2006
In September when we were on our way home from our Labor Day weekend in Michigan Dave and I were talking about how much we love BFWW and her husband. We had spent Friday night with them at a wedding and we miss them. In the course of our conversation about how awesome they are, we talked about wanting to visit them in Memphis. But you see, we can't just go visit for the weekend - its an 8 hour drive, with three kids and you can't just go there on Friday night and come home on Sunday. Yes, physically you can, but that would suck - a lot.

We decided that Thanksgiving weekend would be perfect: Its a super-weekend because the holiday is on Thursday so we'd have a long time to visit, Dave wouldn't have to take extra time off of work, and BFWW and her husband really like to make turkey. So all signs pointed to go. We invited ourselves over and they accepted:)

Considering the fact that we had three children to travel with, we opted to leave around 5pm on Wednesday evening. I thought that would be perfect - we would get there just after midnight, and the girls would likely sleep most of the trip and we'd have a mostly peaceful drive and would be able to get up bright and shiny on Thursday morning to join in on the cooking project (uh, literally a project).

How could one, pretty intelligent person be oh so wrong? I mean oh-so-wrong?

I spent most of the day cleaning and picking up the house. I had packed our suitcase with all but the absolute last minute essentials on Tuesday, so Wednesday was cleaning day. We had a dogsitter coming for the weekend, so I wanted the house cleaned for her - and hey, who doesn't like to come home to a clean house rather than a dirty house?

We also had to shop. We had to get some food for the dogsitter, but more importantly Nora had earned herself a new movie for staying dry over-night for 14 nights in a row (something we've been working on for quite a while). So off to Target to buy some treats and a movie... I was proud of myself for only staying for an hour and getting home before I had wanted to get home. I spent the rest of the day cleaning and telling BFWW to leave me alone so I could get my house done and leave on time. We were also hoping that we could leave earlier than 5 if Dave could get out of the office sooner, so I was under the gun to get things cleaned up and done as early as possible.

We got on the road at 4:05 and were soooo excited. Two blocks later we had to turn around because we forgot to leave the money for the dogsitter and forgot to pack strollers. This is typical traveling for us - we ALWAYS come back once. So we were on the road at 4:15 and soooo excited.

Ryann and Georgia had not taken an afternoon nap so they nodded off fairly quickly. Nora whined for a long time about when she would get to watch her movie. We told her that she could watch it after dinner (we borrowed a portable DVD player and I suspected it only had a 2 hour battery so I didn't want to burn that too early - and I wanted Ryann to be able to watch, too). We eventually got Nora to stop and things were going smoothly.

At 6:30 we stopped for dinner at McDonalds. We told the girls that we were stopping and getting back on the road right away and they couldn't play in the playland. That would have worked fine if it hadn't been the busiest McDonalds in the Western Hemisphere. The only place to sit was in the playland area. Thanks, people. So they played, but were very good about leaving when it was time to leave - they were quite excited to go to Elise's house, so it didn't take much convincing.

7:30 - Back on the road, set up the movie and we're good to go. Georgia quickly falls asleep and I breathe a sigh of relief - the rest of the drive will be quiet. The girls will watch the movie and eventually fall asleep and Dave and I will be able to have some nice talking time.

Nope. Absolutely not the way it went. Nora and Ryann did fall asleep. Georgia on the other hand would whine and complain every 10-20 minutes. Every 10-20 minutes. She let us know that she was not at all happy to be in that car seat for that long. It was a pleasant experience. At around 11:30 she woke up and screamed for about 20 minutes and never fell back to sleep. Nice.

12:00 - We're in Missouri approaching Arkansas - Yea!!! Dave and I have had a decent trip - with the exception of Georgia's whines. We're looking for Exit 1. The exit numbers have been going down with every mile, we're close - very close. We cross over into Arkansas and suddenly the exits are now in the 280's. What? Mapquest is telling us to take exit 1. So you can all take a wild stab at what happens then... A fight. Yes, Dave and I were pretty nice to each other trying to figure out the directions and where we were going. He threw the directions at me at one point, then asked for them back (and I'm sure you can guess how I answered that:) And as quickly as that all happened, we saw exit 1. I don't know how it changed, I don't care - we were almost there:) And the fight was done immediately:)

We're approaching Memphis. The pyramid is coming up and I know from a previous trip that this means that we are minutes - like 5 minutes - away from BFWW's house. The excitement builds. We're there!!!!

We went inside, thought the girls would be able to transfer from car to bed while sleeping... Ryann did. Nora and Georgia stayed up to say hi for a little bit and then we were all off to bed and looking forward to the big feast the next day. Bed at 1:30, the project started at 8:30 so we had time to sleep.

And Georgia wanted absolutely nothing to do with going back to sleep. She was in our room in the pack and play and stood up screaming at the top of her lungs. I was willing to let her cry until she fell down and went to sleep, but Nora came in and said she was keeping her up - which meant that she was probably keeping many people up, so I got her out of bed and took her to bed with us. I have never done this, but I hear about so many moms who do, so I figured it would be the magic solution. Um, no. She wanted to play and bang her pacifier on the headboard. I finally got her calmed down by stroking her face, but she refused to fall asleep. I put her in the pack and play and stroked her face for 18 minutes of Baby Tad... she would look like she was falling asleep, but then her eyes would pop open to make sure I was still right there. I finally got her out and rocked her to sleep (something else I have never done and wasn't sure would work). I got into bed at 3:15am and was back up at 6:30 when the other girls got up. I was pretty happy about that.

We were off to a rough start for the weekend that I was so looking forward to for months. It didn't matter - in the morning I would be waking up and hanging out with BFWW for 3 whole days, non-stop. Could the outlook be any better? Not so much:)

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

I would love to be a waitress right now if our schedule and child care situation worked out

I loved waitressing. Loved it. I loved it when it was slow and I could hang out with the other servers and I especially loved it when it was busy, busy, busy and stressful. I found myself taking it all in strides, surprisingly. I found the strict time parameters of Bill Knapps' to be helpful, rather than stressful - unlike many of my fellow servers who completely stressed out and had no idea how to time manage their sections.

I think the reason that I loved it so much was because of the constant interaction with so many different people. My customers. The other servers. The cooks. The busboys. The hostess. The manager. The dishwasher. Every person had a unique role in the experience of the night and every person had a different story. And I loved every minute of sharing that experience with them and learning more about some of them.

We had a dishwasher who smoked 4 packs of Basic cigarettes a day (for those of you who have no clue - Basics are one of the cheapest brands of cigarettes you can buy. When I was working at the gas station in high school, a pack of Marlboro's was 2.45, Basics were 2.00). Four packs people!! His teeth were brown and disgusting. He was definitely a smeller, but he was a person and he had a story and he was actually very dedicated to his dishwashing.

And the drama. Oh, the drama. A server was "dating" a manager (the Dean Cain look-alike), but the manager was truly just yanking her chain and had no real feelings for her - which any of us could see, but she couldn't. The younger servers who had a crush on the manager and giggled every time he talked to them. The cook, the server and the manager (yes, same manager all three stories - he was a piece of work), who partied together. The rumors of the manager (same one) doing cocaine with the cook and the server. The drama of the veteren servers fighting for the prime sections on the prime nights. Oh, the drama - you can't forget that:)

It was all fun and I would do it right now in a heartbeat if we could work it out. With Dave's hours and the fact that we don't have readily accessible childcare any time we need it, it is impossible for me to be a waitress right now. If I somehow worked it out, though, I would definitely try a nicer, more expensive restaurant that served alcohol. I would wear a tube top and a scarf for a skirt and liquor my guests up all in the name of providing for my family. You know I would;)

If you could do any kind of job you wanted - any - and every obstacle was taken out of the way (like childcare, a need for more money than you might earn at that job, etc), what would you do?
getting to know me in 100 days - day 21

Sunday, November 19, 2006

I was a hostess and waitress at Bill Knapps

When I moved to Calvin I knew that I needed to find a job. The money that I earned working in the factory that summer would just not be enough to pay for tuition and the few living expenses I would have. So I went searching.

Since I figured that all college girls were waitresses and it sounded kind of fun I went looking for a waitressing job. They weren't as easy to find as you might think. For one thing, 28th Street out by Calvin was not full of chain restaurants back then as it is now. There weren't a whole lot of desirable restaurants to work in within a 5-10 minute drive of Calvin.

My second, much bigger issue, was that I didn't want to work on Sunday. I didn't realize that this would be such a problem, but as it turned out, it was. Olive Garden turned me down based on that. But Bill Knapps' didn't.

I was hired as a hostess with the potential to train as a waitress in the future. The guy who hired me looked like Dean Cain, so I wasn't too worried about whether or not I would ever become a waitress - as long as he was working the same nights I was, it was all good;)

I don't remember how long I hostessed for, but eventually I did get a chance to become a server and I loved it.

Here are a few things that are big Bill Knapps' memories for me:

*Servers were not allowed to use trays, we "stacked" our dishes up our forearms and learned to carry more than one glass in each hand. If you ever meet me, ask me - I can still demonstrate the unique art of waitressing without a tray... and I feel little sympathy for any server who comes to my table with a huge tray of food that he/she is trying so hard to balance. Wahhh. Wahhh. is all I have to say:)
* Bill Knapps' was the Dutchman's dream. Every week there was a coupon in the newspaper for a Meal Deal - An entree, Soup, Salad, two sides AND dessert all for the great price of $5.79. Without the coupon all of that would amount to probably $8 or $9. But our customers only tipped on the $5.79 - thank you:)
* On your birthday you could come in and get the same percentage as your years off of your bill (so on my last birthday I would have gotten 30% off of my bill - not everyone's bill, just mine). You also got a whole chocolate cake.
* Buttermilk biscuits and honey
* Custard Pie
* Bean soup
* Clam Chowder
* Chocolate Cake
* Customers = not very friendly when you run out of almost everything on your menu
* Older, regular customers don't like it when young, new servers spill hot coffee down their back - not that I know from experience or anything, I'm just saying... hot coffee on the skin, not good.

I loved my two years+ at Bill Knapps'. I loved the tips, I loved the people, I loved the work. Oh - and I loved the food. Mmmmm. Chocolate Cake.

Do you tip based on service or do you feel obligated to tip a certain percentage regardless of the kind of service you received?

getting to know me 100 days - day 20

Thursday, November 16, 2006

A Momentous Occasion

Here is Nora:

One Year

Two Years

Please note the child had barely any hair even at two years old. She was the definition of mullet - and it was a natual mullet, no styling involved:) It took a long time for this girl to have hair long enough to do anything with - barettes, pigtails, braids, etc. By the time she had hair long enough to do anything with, she wouldn't let me touch it - not that I'm girly enough to know what to do with it anyway...

About a year ago, I asked Nora if she wanted to get her hair cut. She told me that she would get it cut when she was 5 (she's going to do a lot of things when she turns 5). I wasn't too eager to have her get her hair cut because it took sooooo long for her to have hair worth cutting. And her hair was beautiful - natural layers, natural highlights - just beautiful. So I didn't argue with the haircut-at-5-years plan.

For the last few months, though, I've been pushing it a little more. Her hair was so difficult to comb. The ends were damaged. She would scream while we combed her hair after she got a bath - even after putting conditioner and detangler in it - she would cry if we combed it while it was dry. Always knots. Always pulling fistfulls of hair out with the comb. It was time to get the hair cut, but she was stuck on 5 years.

Yesterday, however, I got word that a friend of mine was having her cousin come to her house to cut her hair. I tagged onto that idea like a child not wanting to be left behind:) Hmmmmm. 5 minutes away. Nora's friends would be there. I could chat with my friend. Simple decision on my part, now the tough part was getting Nora on board... Wasn't as difficult as I anticipated. All I had to do was say, "Do you want to go to Jake and Luke's house and get your hair cut?" There was about 45 seconds of silent decision making and I got the official nod of approval (she likes Jake and Luke and their brother Jonah enough to sit through something as scary as a haircut).

So we went. And she was soooo good. She sat still for 30 minutes. And now she is definitely a big little girl. I can't believe the difference. And she loves it too. Take a look at my girl and marvel at how much hair she got cut off:)

Here we go!!! Shoulder length hair - she's so big:)

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Ladies and Gentlemen, our Bug is 1

*If you're not up for reading a delivery story, skip to the pictures below it... This post is not really written for anyone except for me as a way to document my memories:)

One year ago today I was pregnant and hoping that my doctor would be able to induce me after I went in for my appointment in the morning. I was 39 weeks, he had kind of promised that he would induce me on that morning, but when I went in for my appointment he told me that the hospital was pretty full and he didn't think he could get me in. I weighed my options - beg for him to find a way and have the baby's birth be convenient and work within our family's schedule (Dave had cleared his schedule for the rest of the week and his mom was on her way out to our house for the rest of the weekend) or wait to have the baby naturally. When Dr. Mac told me that he would be out of town for the rest of the weekend and would likely not be able to deliver the baby if I went into labor on my own, my choice was made for me. I begged.

He told me to wait for him in the waiting room. Fifteen minutes later he called me up to the front desk and whispered "You are to go to the hospital and tell them that you have not felt the baby move in 24 hours. I got you in because of lack of fetal movement." He was very quiet about it and I wasn't going to argue with him - we were having this baby today - yea!

So we went. The nurses hooked me up to the monitors and were very relieved to see movement and called the doctor to see what he wanted to do. He, of course, told them to induce me and the nurses gave me an IV and started the pitocin. He came in around 1 or 2 to break my water. I talked to PD around 1:00 - she was down the hall being induced, too. She was dilated to 3 - so was I. The race was on. She had an epidural, I did not and I was determined to win this one:)

At 2:00 I was watching General Hospital and becoming increasingly annoyed with the storyline. There was a train crash and a bunch of the residents of Port Charles were trapped in a tunnel under ground. One of them, Alexis, had gone into labor and was fully dilated to 10 and was barely showing any signs of pain. I've delivered two babies without any drugs or an epidural - believe me, at 10cm I was not calmly trying to decide what my best option was. Alexis had an emergency c-section right there in a tunnel - and the doctor did it with a butter knife. Nice.

At around 4pm I was in severe pain - I was having back labor and it was awful. Dr. Mac came in to check on me and I wasn't progressing very quickly. I told him that if PD and I reached 10 at the same time I got to go first because I didn't have an epidural. He agreed:)

5pm - I was at 8 and was crying and sweating through every contraction. These were totally different than what I had with Nora and Ryann. Back labor felt like there were eagle talons underneath my lower back muscles on the left side and with each contraction the eagle ripped the muscle away from my body. It was excruciating. I was not going to ask for an epidural, but my nurse asked me if I wasn't sure that I'd like something for the pain. I asked if it was too late to get an epidural. She immediatley called the anesthesiologist to come in. It took about 15 minutes... as soon as it was done my entire body relaxed. By the time I laid back down on the bed I was at 10 and ready to go. But so was PD.

Dr. Mac told her that since she was there earlier than me (and I ended up getting the epidural) it was only fair that she delievered first. So Georgia's BFF was born at 5:30pm. Shortly after, Dr. Mac made his way down to my room where I was resting comfortably, not feeling a THING. I started pushing at 6pm. With Nora and Ryann I pushed for 10 minutes and they were born, but this was different. Because of the epidural I could not feel anything - I couldn't feel how to do what I was supposed to do. So Dr. Mac ordered them to back down the epidural and finally at 7:39pm our Bug was born.

Dr. Mac exclaimed that she was HUGE. HUGE! I looked over at the scale and it said 7-9 and I said "She's not huge" and he said, "Well she is for you!" She was beautiful and we were happy to welcome yet another girl into our family. The first thing Dave and I said was "Look at that hair! Wow!" Nora and Ryann were bald, this baby had a full head of black, black hair. And by full head, I mean I could put barettes in it already.

She was beautiful and was so good and so perfect. Of course, we fell in love immediately and our lives have never been the same. We love our Bug - Happy Birthday Baby!

One Month

Two Months

Three Months

Four Months
Five Months

Six Months

Seven Months

Eight Months

Nine Months
Ten Months

Eleven Months

Twelve Months

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A girl and her dress

Some people (Gram) have told me that I need to post more pictures of Ryann... I just want to be clear that I do not favor the other two over Ryann when it comes to the camera, Ryann usually won't
a) sit still long enough for a picture
b) smile for the camera
c) keep her eyes open

I have very few clear pictures of Ryann smiling - her smile, you know, the smile that each kid has that you just HAVE to capture on film? Well hers is fleeting and terribly hard to catch in the short time between pushing the button and the camera clicking.

But because someone inSISted on wearing a dress, tights and boots today I convinced her to have a photo shoot. So for all the fans of our little Sweets, here she is in all of her dressed up glory. I'm not sure God makes children that are much cuter than this:)

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Wrong on so many levels - but oh so funny!

Is it wrong that I think these are funny (and that I secretly want one) ?

According to the email I got, these are all the rage in Japan and will be heading to the US soon... whatever. They aren't see-through skirts, those are images painted on the material. Shocking. Clever. Funny. Just LOVE the last one - how dreadfully perfect: seeing it between the sides of the apron. Kind of like any experience with a paper hospital gown.

It may not be wrong to think they're funny, but I'm pretty certain that it is wrong to want to wear one to an old, southside, dutch CRC church on Sunday morning. I'm just saying, I don't think the old dutchies would appreciate the humor of these skirts. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Happy Birthday Princess Olivia!

Nora's BFF turns 5 on Tuesday and to celebrate her mom, PD, threw her a Princess Party at Our Party Palace on Saturday morning. For 2 whole hours Olivia* and 7 of her friends were magically turned into the most beautiful princesses ever. One in particular was especially beautiful:)

After arriving, each girl walked into a huge closet full of princess dresses and was able to find the absolute perfect dress for the party - the dress was just the beginning of the transformation:

Along with a dress, every princess needs the perfect pair of shoes to wear:

When the perfect dress and shoes have been chosen, every princess needs to choose a tiara and have her hair done:

and her makeup done:

Transformation complete:

On the agenda for the day... a Tea Party

And some real princess dancing:

In addition to the tea party and dance lessons, the princesses made a picture fram and were taught some princess manners and how to curtsey. They had pizza for lunch and cake for dessert. Birthday Princess Olivia opened gifts and then all of the lucky, beautiful princesses got their very own purses and a few small items to put in them (Nora chose a watch, a pen, a keychain, a bracelet and some chapstick - I successfully steered her away from all of the fun makeup that was available:)

Nora had a grand time at the princess party. She told me she had a lot of fun, but she was a little shy because she didn't know that place very well (she kind of stood off to the side for a few things. We kept asking her if she was having fun and she said she was - I think she was just being a little shy that morning).

And while her true Prince Charming (Nolan) was not available, she did agree to have her photo taken with the one that was available:

*I did not include pictures of the birthday princess because I did not get permission from her mom:)

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Halloween 2006

I do not remember Halloween being so fun when I was a kid. I remember dressing up and going trick or treating, but wow is it so much MORE fun as a parent:)

We had a busy day yesterday... Nora had a party at school so we got her dressed up before she went. I have to tell you - her costume turned out MUCH cuter than I anticipated it would. She was a 50's girl and she was the only 50's girl at school (there were at least 4 princesses - so glad I chose not to do that this year). She was adorable and came home with a ton of candy from her friends.

Dave came home a little early to be a part of the trick or treating. After he changed his clothes he took the girls out "just around the house", which ended up being around the block with our next door neighbors. John and Michelle have two boys, Nolan 5 and Nate 2 1/2. Nora is going to marry Nolan, and Nolan loves Nora so I'm sure there was much excitement when they saw they were leaving to trick or treat at the same time. I could see them down the block from our house and they were holding hands:) Oh my, they are so cute together.

I joined them after a little while and we finished trick or treating around the entire block. At that point Georgia was pretty happy:because it was 40 degrees and dinner time and she wanted a bottle. So we got her a bottle and loaded the three of them into the car to trick or treat at the Fulmer's. Some parents bring their kids to the grandparents houses on Halloween - this was our version of that except that Doug and Jenny aren't as old (okay, they're almost as old, but not quite as old as our parents). We love us some Fulmers:
After making Doug and Jenny's night really happy by leaving our Bunny with them, we made our way to the party at PD's house. We got there and it was a mass of costumed children who had surely had a lot of sugar, parents who were kind of just hanging out and as much food and goodies as you would expect at a christmas party. We all had a great time and Nora was very brave while Mr. Shivers was hanging around (Mr. Shivers is a 6 foot mad scientist that speaks when you talk into a microphone. Nora has been terrified of him for the last month - so much so that up until yesterday morning she did not want to go to Olivia's halloween party.)

We love halloween. Our girls had such a good time. Ryann loved it even though her pumpkin was just waaaayyy too heavy to carry. And she loved all of the candy and the fact that she could basically eat however much she wanted to eat for one night without getting into trouble. Nora loved dressing up and spending time with Nolan and Olivia and Georgia loved being snuggled by Jenny for the whole night.

Good times. Good times.

Our bunny Bug making everyone happy:

Doug got in the frame right as the camera was taking the picture, so no, I'm not as good of a photographer as Gram;)
Isn't she so pretty?

Ryann was our 50's clown (because she has to do everything Nora does). Its a good thing I colored that smile on her face because she refused to smile for the camera - I think she was ticked because getting her picture taken was taking serious time away from eating candy!

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