Parenting Story

Parenting Story

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Swim lessons

I signed both Reese and Aidan up for swim lessons this fall. I was not sure which level to sign them up for since they had both advanced significantly in their abilities over the summer. Reese had completed the introductory level last year, so I signed them up for level 1. The first week, Aidan was totally soaking up all of the attention and allowed the instructors to help him float around the pool. Despite Randy and I trying to get him to show off his ability to hold his breath under water or swim, he refused. The second week he finally showed off some of his abilities and after the lesson, the head instructor approached me and asked if I would be willing to allow them to move up to level 2 since Reese seemed to show a higher ability and she thought Aidan would not want to be separated from his sister. We consented and began the following week. The kids enjoyed the new lessons and the instructor was suprised at their ability. At one point Aidan went underwater as he waited for the instructor who was working with another student. When she turned around, she grabbed out to pull him up as if he had been drowning, and just then he popped his head out of the water and grabbed onto the side of the pool. She breathed a sigh of relief and from then on trusted more in his abilities. They learned how to do several different strokes and swimming skills over the following weeks. During one of the last lessons, the instructor tested them on their ability to hold their breath underwater. Most of the older kids went, holding their breath to the count of 11 or 12. When it was Aidan's turn, she counted to 12 and looked impressed, she got to 15 and she looked kind of nervous, and when he finally came up at the count of 25 she was incredulous. Though they did not completely pass the level 2 requirements, I was very impressed with the skills they learned. We will continue to work on their swimming and I hope to get them both involved in a swim team next year.

Only Brother

Yesterday I took the day off work for Randy's surgery. Since Reese was not sick and did not have any reason to miss school, I took her to school while Aidan and Gretchen stayed home. I cleaned most of the morning while Aidan played and Gretchen cooed. They kept themselves entertained and I was not constantly breaking up fights! We headed into town about 10 and dropped Randy off and then ran a few errands while we waited. While at HyVee, our first stop, Aidan commented how it was nice without "Reesey" and I kind of had to agree. We got a kids shopping cart and Aidan was driving by himself and I did not have to yell at anyone to quit fighting or keep their hands to themselves. After getting a few supplies for cookie making, we decided to go get lunch. We went to the McDonalds play place and there happened to be another little boy about Aidan's age. They were playing very well together when I overheard Aidan tell the other little boy, "I wish that my sister was here." Again, I had to agree.
Recently, Reese began referring to Aidan as her "little bother", just like Nickelodeon's Olivia does to her little brother. As she has started school, their relationship seems to be even more difficult. Reese is growing and wants her privacy and time alone, while Aidan is so intrigued by all the things that she is learning and doing and wants to be involved in it. Although they fight the majority of the time that they spend together, I do believe that they really do love each other. It's things like their time apart yesterday that reveal their true feelings and the special bond they share.
As the only boy between 2 girls, I think that Aidan is going to have a lot of skills in dealing with women when he gets to the age to start dating. In another instance yesterday as we were walking through the mall, another shopper said, "Oh look, he is playing with her hair!" I had put Aidan in the back of the double stroller as he requested, so Gretchen was in front of him. He had leaned forward in his seat, with his arm resting on the seat back and rubbing his sister's head and playing with her hair. He has done this often since she was born and it always melts my heart because I know that he truly loves and cares for his little sister. I just feel sorry for any of her potential boyfriends, because I think that he is going to be pretty protective of his little sister.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Pumpkin carving

Unfortunately, we experienced yucky weather on the day that we had planned to go to the pumpkin patch and we were forced to purchase pumpkins at our local grocery store.
Not quite the tradition that I was going for, but the kids did not seem to mind.
I had purchased a pumpkin carving kit last year that I was really excited to try out, so I had the kids pick out their design and then we got down to work on gutting the pumpkins.
Several hours later, we had these beautiful masterpieces.

Halloween 2012

Since I had a lamb costume for Gretchen, I decided that it would be fun to dress Reese up as Little Bo Peep. I started looking for costumes and was disappointed to find that most costumes were around $30 or more and were not the best quality. Though Reese was on board with the costume idea originally, she decided after watching the "Aristocats" that she wanted to be a white cat like "Marie". Wouldn't you know that a white cat costume would be impossible to find. Everywhere I looked, I found balck and leopard tails, ears and costumes, but never anything in white. Since I couldn't find a costume, I decided to try to make one. I just needed a white sweatsuit, which also turned out to be impossible to find. Eventually we found a white sweatshirt and leggings the Saturday before Halloween and day before trick-or-treat. I had some leftover fur from a Christmas project and used it to fashion some ears and a tail for her to wear with the sweatsuit. Though it was a fairly simple costume, Reese was ecstatic. She even thought that she should crawl on her hands and knees like a cat for trick or treat and drink milk from a bowl for her meals.

While we were uncertain about Reese's costume until the last possible minute, we had been working on Aidan's costume much longer. I brought a copy paper box home from work and taped off some boxes and the number one. Then I spray painted it blue. After removing the tape, I painted those areas red. I painted a face on a paper plate and spray painted several paper plates black and attached them to the box with hot glue. Finally, I added a striped piece of scrapbook paper on top and some black buffers to the front and back. I added some straps and Aidan's Thomas the Train costume was finished. Just like Reese he was so excited to wear his costume. I put him in it and he immediately began running around the house bashing into things.

Though Gretchen's costume was not homemade, she still looked adorable!

I hope that the kids will continue to allow me to help them create costumes in the future. It was so much fun to be able to work together to create something that they truly loved and was different from anything else that the other kids were wearing.

4 months

Gretchen turned 4 months old! We went to the doctor on October 7 and I couldn't wait to hear her stats. She was 24.5 inches long and weighed 15 pounds and 4 ounces, so she is definitely growing! The doctor confirmed that we were right to start giving her cereal and said to go ahead and start some baby foods. We have tried carrots, beans and sweet potatoes so far. Though uncertain at first, she now enjoys the new foods. We have also given her some of the baby mum mum crackers. She is not too interested in holding them herself, but will suck on them if you hold it for her. The other night as we were eating dinner, she sat with us in her high chair and licked and sucker her lips the entire time. It will not be long now and she will be eating table food with us! Though I am excited for each of the new phases as she grows, I am sad to leave each stage behind.

Besides physically growing, Gretchen has really started to develop her own personality. She is such a smiley, happy baby and so easy going. She barely cried with her shots and rarely fusses at all. She is an excellent sleeper, having slept a minimum of 8 hours most nights since she was about 6 weeks old. She is also very perceptive. She can tell when a member of our family is not in the room, and is definitely happiest when we are all together.
Though she is awake much more she still naps frequently throughout the day. I often catch her catnapping in her favorite chair
or falling into a milk coma after eating.
Whether napping or just hanging out, she has found that she really enjoys her thumb, much like her older sister did and still does. Though I know that I should discourage her from the thumb sucking I still think that it is adorable!

We love you so much Gretchen! Keep smiling!

Better than a blanket!

My mom came to visit us for a few days while she was off work after surgery. When she came she brought Reese's quilt with her. She had given Reese a quilt for her birthday about a month ago, but had to take it with her to finish up the binding. Reese was absolutely ecstatic to have her quilt and couldn't wait to put it on her bed.

Today as my mom was preparing to leave and the kids were extremely upset at seeing her go, my mom told Reese that sleeping with her quilt would be like having grandma Potter laying next to her and that each of the hearts on the quilt was like a kiss from grandma. Reese calmed down at that and settled down for her nap with the quilt.
A few hours later when the kids woke up from their naps, Reese told me, "Grandma Potter is a lot more fun than a blanket!"

Silent E and other school lessons

A few weeks ago Reese was writing small words like "stop" and making short sentences like 'We go to PE." The other night she was sitting at the table writing like she does most nights, but when I looked over at what she was doing I saw words like "butrfli" for butterfly and was so impressed. I can't believe how quickly she advanced from writing and recognizing short words to sounding out and spelling much longer words. She started reading the words off to me and then began to give me a little lesson on the silent E. After her lesson she said, "Oh yeah, I forgot the silent e!" and promptly went back and added the letter e to the end of each of the words she had already written. Friday, when I went to Reese's school for "read with me", her teacher informed me that Reese was so excited for me to come that she wrote about me in her journal. I'm hoping that we get to see her journal writing when we go in next week for conferences. Regardless of when I get to see it, that journal will likely become one of my most prized possessions when it finally makes it's way home, just like all of the drawings she brings home each week that depict her and I. I'm so glad that she has fun and enjoys school, but it's also nice to know that she thinks of me.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Made up words

We have been watching a lot of the Olympic coverage and talking about the different events lately. The kids try to get in on our conversation with their thoughts and ideas about the "balifics". Though I have been trying to really sound out the word slowly, they continue to call it the "balifics". The other day Reese told me that "dangling lines" were hard to draw. Unsure what a "dangling line" was, I asked her to clarify. She started describing to me that a triangle is made of one straight line and two "dangling lines"otherwise known as diagonal lines.


Since football season has started we have had several opportunities to sport our hawks gear. The first time was during an open practice at Kinnick. Randy and I were very excited to take the kids to the stadium and see their reactions. Unfortunately, they were not nearly as excited as we would have hoped.
I snapped these pictures of the kids in their black and gold before the first home game. Gretchen is actually wearing one of Aidan's old outfits, so I threw the bow on to be sure people knew she is a girl!
Whatever the season brings, the kids will definitely be cute cheering on our favorite team!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Swimming lessons

Both kids attended their final swim lesson for the fall last week. During the lesson, the instructor asked the kids to dunk their heads under the water while she counted to see how long they could hold their breath. The first few kids went and she counted to anywhere from 10 to 15 for each one. Finally, she got to Aidan, the youngest in the class. She started counting immediately after his head went underwater. When she got to 10 she kept going to 15. At 15 she looked impressed and continued counting to 20. At 20 she got a little worried and continued on to 25 when he finally lifted his head up out of the water. Needless to say, both kids passed the level 1 that I originally signed them up for and accomplished all but 2-3 skills from the level 2 class. I am so proud of my little fish!

Let me show you what I can do!

While riding home from swim lessons the other day, Reese started showing me how she could make each of the letter sounds. Apparently Aidan felt left out because he interrupted with, "Mommy, I know things too! A, B, C, D, E, F, G!" and he continued to sing the alphabet. They both have a little bit of a competitive side!


The other day Reese and I were talking and out of the blue she says, "Remember how I didn't even get a cake on my birthday because you were at the hospital getting baby Gretchen out of your stomach." I reminded her that we did not have cake on her birthday but we did go to Happy Joe's for pizza and an ice cream sundae the night before and threw a giant Tangled themed bash the day after I got home from the hospital. Though she admitted that both events were fun it was just not acceptable that we did not have a cake on her actual birthday! And so it begins!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Butterfly Stroke

While swimming in grammy's pool recently, Aidan exclaimed that he was going to do "his balifics (3 year old for olympics)", jumped into the pool and began doing what looked like the Butterfly stroke. I can't believe what he has picked up from watching the Olympics all summer!


During dinner the other night, Reese announced that she had a new friend named Andrew. Me: "Oh really. What did you and Andrew do today?" Reese: "We played under the slide and in the tunnel." Me: (thinking that those places sound kind of like hiding spots, needed some clarification) "What else did you do?" Reese: "Whenever I left, Andrew waited for me to come back." Me: "Oh, really! Why don't you tell daddy about your new friend." Reese: "Daddy, Andrew and I were digging rocks under the slide." Thank goodness! I was worried about Reese getting a reputation!

No Good Horrible Rotten Week

Reese's very first full week of Kindergarten is best described by the title of this post. You name it, anything bad that could have happened did and then some. She was nervous to go to the bus stop on Monday and asked me to stay and walk her to the stop rather than having grammy take her. Since the bus comes just a few minutes after I drop her off at her grammy's I told her that I would take her just one more day. We snuggled on the couch until it was time to go and I walked her to the bus stop. When the bus came, she forgot her reservations and ran after her friends to get on the bus. I followed the bus to her school and waved as I drove past to my school just down the road. Everything was fine until about 2:55 when I received a call from the school nurse that Reese had had an accident and they were holding her to be picked up by a parent. I immediately left work to pick her up. When I arrived she was dressed in completely different clothes and was absolutely a wreck. She was crying and tired and totally overwhelmed. The nurse explained that she cleaned her up as well as she could with wipes, but it was obvious she needed a bath. After gathering up her dirty clothes, we rushed home and got her into the tub. I was starting my first class for the semester, so I quickly cleaned her up, got her dressed and got her settled on the couch. I gave her a kiss and rushed out the door before I could change my mind and decide to skip class. It was agony sitting through class because I was so anxious to get home and find out more about the first day. When I got home, she had taken a quick nap and eaten dinner and was in much better spirits. We talked about the incident and I found that she had gone in her pants during end of the day recess. I emphasized that she needed to find a teacher and ask to go use the restroom if something like that ever happened again. The very next day her grammy took her to the bus stop and all went well at school. After work, I picked the kids up and we headed to town for a scheduled checkup and cleaning. Both kids did very well, but the dentist revealed that Reese's front tooth that had been dead for several years (after falling into a coffee table) was abcessed and needed to be removed. She would not do it in the office, so she referred us to an oral surgeon. By this time, Gretchen was screaming, so we quickly scheduled the appointment for the next day and then ran to the car so that I could feed Gretchen. Reese was already very upset at the thought of having the tooth removed and kept asking questions about it. Randy was out of town on business, so I called him immediately to give him the news. That night I checked our insurance and discovered that the oral surgeon they had referred us to was not a preferred provider, so I called to cancel the appointment and rescheduled with a preferred provider for the next day. Wednesday night, Randy's aunt watched the kids so that I could attend my other class. By the time I got home and ate dinner, fed Gretchen, looked through Reese's school stuff and packed lunches, it was time for the kids to go to bed. I hate how little time I have with them on school nights, but I am so glad that I get to be home in time to still be able to tuck them into bed. Thursday morning we slept in a little as I took 1/2 day off to take Reese to the oral surgeon. We dropped the other kids off and drove to the office. When I pulled up in front of a dilapidated old Victorian home with boarded up windows, I did not have a good feeling. Those feelings became overwhelming as I sat down with Reese to fill out the paperwork amongst the taxidermied animals hanging all around us. When I got to a disclaimer that stated that we would owe the entire amount of the visit up front regardless of insurance, my inner voice was screaming at me to run! I asked the receptionist about the disclaimer and found that they were going to be charging a minimum of $300 to knock her out. After a quick call to Randy, we cancelled to appointment. Reese was upset because she had been all worked up about having the tooth pulled and whether or not it would be painful. I was crying and upset because I just wanted the whole ordeal to be over with for her. Since I had not fed her and did not pack her a lunch for school, we stopped at Subway to get both of us a lunch, and the cookies worked wonders at improving both of our moods. I dropped Reese off at school and went in to work. While I was at work, Randy contacted the insurance to find out about our coverage and rescheduled the appointment with the surgeon that our dentist had originally suggested. After work, we picked up the kids and went to town to sign the papers for the refinance on our house. After signing the papers, we went out to dinner. The kids were tired and crabby and it was not the smoothest or most relaxing dinner out, but I was still glad not to have to cook! The next morning Randy took Reese to the surgeon and had the tooth removed. Reese was a trooper and did not even cry during the procedure. On the way back to school, she wanted to see me, so Randy brought her into my work. All of my co-workers doted on her and though she was in a better mood, she was sore and decided to go back to grammy's. I told her that I would pick her up if and when she felt better and take her to school if she wanted, and not even half an hour later I got the call. I picked her up and took her to school and told her to have a good day. That afternoon when I got to grammy's to pick up the kids, I was shocked to find Reese in the same clothes that she had borrowed from the nurse on Monday! She had had another accident at recess and this time they had just sent her home on the bus. I was livid that they sent her home on the bus rather than calling to have her picked up. After talking to Reese about the incident, I learned that she was scared to ask the teacher to go inside to use the restroom because they had told the students that nobody was to go back inside during recess. Over the weekend I drilled it into Reese that she needs to let somebody at school now when she needs to use the restroom and that they will let her inside if she just lets them know. Thankfully, she has not had an accident since then and she has had a blast meeting new friends and showing off all of her artwork and things that she has learned. Though we got off to a rough start, I feel that we have finally found our way to enjoying Kindergarten!

Not an "S" word

Reese has been working on the sounds that the letters make at school. Reese often exaggerates words trying to sound out each letter to figure out how it is spelled. Each week they have one letter that they focus on practicing writing and also bring in an object that starts with the letter for show and tell. This week's letter is "S", so I suggested to Reese that she could wear her new shirt to school on her show and tell day. Reese: "Sh-sh-sh shirt. Nope. Not an "S" word. I love Kindergarten!

Thursday, August 16, 2012


Today was Reese's first day of Kindergarten! I can't believe that my oldest baby is old enough to be in school! We have been very excited and anticipating the start of the school year. We got ready in record time this morning and I took a few pictures of Reese all ready for her first day.
We drove to grammy's to drop the other kids off and then drove to the bus stop because of the rain. We introduced Reese to a couple of kids that were waiting at the stop. One of the kids asked who Reese had for her teacher, and when we told her she responded that that teacher was mean. When we inquired further why she was mean, I almost laughed out loud when she said that she gets mad if you color outside the lines! I snapped a picture of my sweet little girl waiting in the rain with her princess umbrella.
Soon after the bus pulled up and the kids ran for the door. I tried to take a picture of her climbing on the bus, but between trying to give her a kiss, showing her the bus number to look for when it was time to come home and my heart suddenly jumping up into my throat, I didn't even have time to turn on my camera! I stood back and waved as the bus drove off and then walked to the car with tears in my eyes. As I got into the car and realized that Randy was also teary eyed, I started to lose it! I can't imagine how hard it would be to let a child go if either the parent or child had any apprehension. Here we were all excited and looking forward to this major step and we still turned into blubbering idiots! Her school is on the way to my work, so I wound up following her bus all the way to the school. As the bus turned into the driveway, I waved and blew a kiss out the window. A family friend works at the school and I thought about emailing her all day just to see how things were going, but I restrained myself. I cannot say the same for my mother-in-law! She emailed her and found out that Reese seemed a little shy but that things were going well! Randy was there to greet Reese as she got off the bus this afternoon and she was all smiles!
The smiles did not last for long though. I arrived soon after and anxiously approached her to see how her day was. She whined and pushed away from me, refusing to tell me anything about her day. I anticipated that she would be tired as she is used to taking a 2 hour nap, but did not expect for her to want nothing to do with me! We went home and she went straight up to her room without a word. I went up to check on her after a while and found this:
That is Reese completely passed out! She stirred a little when I took her picture, but went back to sleep immediately. About an hour later I woke her up for dinner. A few minutes later when she was fully awake, she was finally in the mood to tell us about her big day! "They read a story, "The Gingerbread Man" and went on a tour of the school to find the lost cookies. They finally found them in the lunch room on top of the milk cooler. Could I believe that they have a doctor in their school? We got to see her room and everything. I had a taco thing for lunch. We didn't get to play on the playground for very long." Besides being tired when she got home, it sounded like she had a fun day. Unfortunately, she does not go back to school until Monday, but she did bring home some work from school and pulled it out right after dinner and got to work. I think that this year is going to be a lot of fun! I can't wait to see all of the new things she learns and all of the changes that will take place.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Just around the corner

On Monday night we attended a Meet and Greet at Reese's school. We arrived just before 5pm and introduced ourselves to her teacher. After chatting for a moment, the teacher instructed us to find Reese's chair and to do the activity we would find there. We walked over to the tables and after walking around about 3 times, Reese finally found the chair with her name on it. At her spot we found a bag full of goodies that represented the goals for the year: Smarties because they are all smart, gum to remind them to stick with it, and band aid to remind them to be kind to their friends. After looking through the goodies, we got to work on the activity. The activity was a sort of classroom scavenger hunt. It directed us to find Reese's mailbox and locker as well as important areas of the room including the bathrooms, calendar and play kitchen. I read off the items and hung back to let Reese find the items on her own. Immediately after reading the first item, Reese grabbed my hand and asked me to come with her. After finding all of the items on the scavenger hunt, Reese sat down to color in a worksheet with a blank t-shirt. I snapped this picture of her working at her desk.
Aidan had been occupied with some blocks while Reese and I worked on the scavenger hunt. As soon as Reese sat down to work on her coloring page, Aidan grabbed up the container of blocks and moved to the seat across from Reese at her table. As he sat down he announced, "I want to sit by my Reesey!" I have been so concerned with Reese's transition and my own feelings about Reese going into Kindergarten, that I had not really considered the transition that Aidan will also be experiencing. Reese finished up her assignment and then got down on the floor to play with Aidan while I ran around taking care of bus arrangements, dropped papers off with the nurse and made a payment on her lunch account. We made our way to the car and went out to dinner to celebrate. I can't believe that in just one day we will be watching Reese board the bus for her first day of Kindergarten!

Monday, August 6, 2012

DIY Baby Sandals

I have been pretty busy lately with a newborn, a 3 year old and 5 year old, starting grad school classes and just keeping up with housework and family commitments. Despite all of that, I have been antsy to do some crafting. My sister-in-law found some baby sandals for her little one and said that she thought they were something that I could probably make. After hearing this I went out and bought a pair of Toe Blooms to take a closer look. I figured that I could make some and began searching online for a tutorial. I came across this one from Laura at The Creative Muster and immediately went looking for supplies. I was unlucky in finding any cotton jersey in the girly colors that I was looking for- all of the stores I visited had darker fall colors out. So I began to think about what I had on hand that I could use. I had a few cotton t-shirts in my fabric stash that I thought could work. I cut one apart and used the pattern from the Creative Muster as well as the Toe Blooms that I bought to create my own pair of baby sandals. The first pair was too big for my newborn, so I altered my pattern and made another pair. This pair fit perfectly, stretching just enough to fit and stay on my little girls feet.
I paired the sandals with a beautiful gray and pink dress for a wedding that we attended recently. My mother-in-law gifted us the kids matching clothes when our youngest was born. Aren't they just adorable!
Though time consuming- cutting out all of the pieces for the flowers and handsewing all of the tiny pieces together- the sandals were totally worth it! It was a perfect project to pick up and work on anytime I had a few free moments. The best part is that you can do it all by hand and do not have to be a great seamstress. Though summer is almost over and the weather will be cooling off, I think that the sandals would also be cute with tights. I have made a pair in black and plan to make another pair in white. I would also like to play around with the pattern and see if there would be a way to make a pair that looks more masculine for boys. Things like this make me wish that I could come up with something like this myself!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Very Convincing

I got a rare opportunity to watch the kids play at aunt Linda's house one night as we waited for Randy to pick us up. Immediately when we got there Reese found a treasure, a paper drink umbrella. She snapped it right up and started going on about how she needed something like it for her "fluffy". When Linda said that she could have it, Reese absolutely beamed! She turned away from Linda, pumped her arm and mouthed, "Yes!". Oh yeah, she knows how to pour it on!

Family of Five

Every time that we get into the car, I look back into the full back seat and I can't believe we have three kids!
Reese and Aidan both love Gretchen so much. Whenever anyone asks if they can take the baby home with them, both kids immediately respond that she is "their baby" or "our baby", not just my baby. I love it when they ask me to hold her but that is not the only time they interact with her. They talk to her while I change her at the changing table and play with her while she sits in her chair.
One of Reese's favorite things about having a little sister is dressing alike. I have convinced her that wearing the same color is dressing alike for everyday, but she would much rather have all of their clothes be exactly the same as they were for a wedding we recently attended.
No, I still can't believe that we have three children! Though I can't believe it, it is like Gretchen has always been a part of our family and I can't imagine life without her.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Drivers Ed

After attending the fair last night, I drove home. While driving I may have gotten wrapped up in a conversation and noticed at the last minute that the car in front of me was stopping. I slammed on the brakes and stopped in plenty of time. Unfortunately, Reese noticed the jerkiness and piped up from the backseat with, "Mommy's just learning to drive."

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Magic Aidan

I was treated to a quick magic show by Aidan this afternoon. He told me that he could make moosey (his favorite stuffed animal) disappear. He then tossed moosey into his new top hat from grammy. Then he quickly picked the hat up and placed it on his head! Moosey did almost "disappear" to the floor as he manuevered the hat to his head.

It's A Girl!

  • On Thursday, June 7th, Randy and I welcomed our third child! We did not know the sex in advance and were both shocked to discover that our baby was a girl as we were both expecting a boy. In fact, the midwives asked Randy to announce the sex and he initially said "Boy!" because he only saw her from the back and thought that he saw male anatomy.
    While pregnant with this child, I purchased a few new maternity clothes from Motherhood Maternity, specifically for our family vacation to Florida, back in March. Along with the purchases I received several coupons, one being for a $20 card to Shutterfly. I have used Shutterfly for photos and cards in the past, and decided to utilize the card to purchase announcements for the newest member of our family.
    They had a wonderful selection of cards to chose from and I created several different cards, before finding the one that was just right.
Photo Card
View the entire collection of cards.
The cards arrived quickly and I mailed them out to our friends and family within 2 weeks of her birth. We got so many compliments on the quality of the cards and will definitely be using Shutterfly for photo cards and other photo services from now on.

Family Ties

The other night we were discussing family relationships after Aidan reported that grammy is daddy's mom. I then asked him who daddy's dad was, and he immediately responded grampy. Then I moved onto my family and asked him who mommy's mom is. He knew that it was Grandma Potter. Finally, I asked him about who mommy's dad is. He immediately responded, "Uncle Devin!" My parents are divorced and my brother still lives at home with my mom. And in Aidan's defense, he has only met my father a handful of times and probably has not seen him now in over a year.

Big Kid Day

Reese and Aidan have been such big helpers since we brought Gretchen home. They will do absolutely anything I ask to help out with their little sister. Besides being big helpers, they have been really good about taking a back seat to their little sister. Though we still spend time doing things together like reading books before bed and snuggling on the couch or playing outside, they have definitely had to entertain themselves while I am feeding or taking care of Gretchen. Which is why, when Reese had a doctor appointment this week, I figured it would be the perfect opportunity to leave Gretchen with grammy and spend some time with just the big kids. We dropped Gretchen off just after 8 in the morning and headed straight to Reese's appointment. We got the worst part over with immediately when we arrived. We went to the lab where they did a finger stick and took blood. Afterwards we went to the optical lab to have her eyes tested. Finally, we checked into the doctor's office and they gave me a development questionnaire to fill out. It asked several questions related to Reese's physical and mental development for her age. Some of the questions I was to ask her and see her response, others she was to try and repeat, still others she was to perform some task. Although she was able to write in the responses that were required, I wish that we would have done this before she had blood drawn. It was major drama to get her to hold a pen because her finger hurt, but she did it. Finally, the nurse called us back to weight and measure. Reese weighed in at 62 pounds and was 47 inches tall, off the charts for both at only age 5! Then the doctor came in to listen to her heart and check her ears, throat and belly. Since we didn't need any shots, she gave us our Kindergarten physical forms and sent us on our way!
After the doctor, we started the fun part of big kid day. We went to the Dollar Store next where I let both kids pick out one toy. Aidan picked a checkers game and Reese picked a hair bow. After shopping around for awhile, we were ready for lunch. We went to Culvers for kids meals and m&m topped chocolate ice cream. Finally, we headed to the theatre to watch a movie. We were uncertain which movie to go to, but in the end we decided on Madagascar 3. We got our popcorn and a water and proceeded to our seats after going to the restroom. We found seats in the very top row of the theatre and when the movie started we were the only people in the theatre. The kids gobbled up popcorn and laughed with the movie.
Immediately after the movie, we went to grammy's to pick up Gretchen. I had the kids stay in the car while I went in to get her so that they wouldn't wake up all of the sleeping babies. As soon as I opened the door to put in the carseat Reese said, "Get that blanket off, I wanna see my baby!" I was so happy to have some time with just Reese and Aidan as big kids to reward them for being so helpful during the transition of family of 4 to family of 5. But it absolutely made my heart melt that they missed Gretchen during our outing and were so excited to see her.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Wedding Planning Already

Reese and I have been talking a lot lately about growing older. She is all about growing older and is constantly talking about all of the things that she will do when she is 7, 10,15 and beyond. I, on the other hand, constantly tease her that I am going to put a brick on her head so that she can not grow any more. Today we were talking about Randy and I's wedding and she said, "Someday I will get married and wear a white dress." I was taken aback by this statement and wanted to answer that she will not be getting married for a very long time, but insteas answered with a simple,"Yes, you will." Then she got really quiet and asked in a choked up voice: "But will that mean that I will have to leave you?" Though I wanted to answer, "No, your husband will definitely want to move into our house and we can all live together like one big, happy family." Reese is smart and I knew that she had already made the connection that her father and I had left our parents homes to get married and start our family. So I answered with the truth. Me: "Yes, you will, but you will be with your husband and you will still be able to see me."

Monday, July 2, 2012

Future Olympic Gymnast

We were watching the Olympic Trials the other night and one of the gymnasts was up for the balanace beam. As she walked across the beam, Reese announced, "Some day I am going to be a professional walker like that!" and she started walking around the room like she was on a balance beam.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Mother Hen

We finally got to go home from the hospital today with baby Gretchen, and Reese immediately showed that she is ready for her role as big sister. As soon as daddy pulled up to the doors of the hospital, Reese grabbed up the carseat and started to carry her little sister to the car. Though she seemed to have a hold of the carseat pretty well, I broke it to her gently that she could not carry the carseat. We got Gretchen into her seat and then quickly loaded all of our bags and belongings into the trunk. When I returned to the car to buckle the kids into their seats, I found Reese situated in the middle of the backseat, so that she could keep an eye on her baby sister. As we drove away, Reese kept me informed of everything that Gretchen was doing. At one point Gretchen started crying and Reese began to sing a song that she made up as she went. I was so proud listening to her singing about her sister being a beautiful girl and telling her to go to sleep. When we got home, she wanted to immediately get Gretchen out of her seat and into her bed. I convinced her to leave her be since she was already sleeping and asked her to help me get some things organized around the house. She gladly helped me to go through all of her old baby clothes and sort them by type (onesies, dresses, pajamas, outfits). When we were finished with that, she also helped me to get out and clean all of the bottles and feeding items. We finally left the house the other day to get a few groceries. All three kids were sitting in the backseat and again Reese was more than happy to help out. She started again by giving me a report of every move that Gretchen made. Then she decided that Gretchen was too warm with her blanket covering her. Two minutes later, she was cold and needed the blanket back. Then she started to cry, so I gave Reese the bottle and asked her if she could feed her. Aidan was devastated that he did not get to help, but was satisfied that he could give her the binky when she finished her bottle. Gretchen did not eat the bottle very well, so Reese gave it back. Then she started to cry again and Reese wanted to try the bottle again. She just had to be doing something with Gretchen the entire ride into town. Randy and I have been wondering what to expect of the car trip we have planned to Indiana (6 hours away) to see family in a few weeks. I'm almost thinking that we could go without any of our usual road trip paraphernalia (video games, movies, crayons, books and toys) because the kids will be so busy watching, playing with and helping with taking care of Gretchen.

Sister's Day

With Mother's Day already past and Father's Day coming up quickly, Reese had a valid question, "Mommy, when will it be Sister's Day and everybody can buy me presents?" My answer, "There is no such thing as Sister's Day, but your birthday is coming and I bet that you will get lots of nice things for your birthday."

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Reese's 5th Birthday Bash

Our oldest daughter Reese turned 5 last week, and we had several celebrations planned to mark the event. First, we planned on going out to lunch at Happy Joe's on her actual birthday, June 7th, when my husband had a work conflict. I had a doctor's appointment scheduled for that afternoon and began to think that if my midwife induced labor, I was five days from my due date, I would not be very comfortable or willing to go out to dinner. As a result, we decided to celebrate her birthday with a family dinner the night before. We went to Happy Joe's per Reeses' request and the kids had a blast playing all of the games and collecting tickets for their prizes. After eating too much pizza, they delivered a birthday sundae to our table and the entire restaurant joined in singing, "Happy Birthday!" to Reese.
The very next day, I went into labor with our third child! Besides getting a "Happy Birthday", the poor girl did not get the celebration that this much anticipated birthday deserved! She did get to go out to dinner at the restuarant of her choosing (Chik-Fil-A) and go shopping with her grammy, which made her feel pretty special!

We had planned to hold a birthday party with my in-laws that weekend, so after getting home from the hospital, we went into full party prep! Actually, most of the preparations had been done long in advance, so it was just organizing the house after bringing home a truckload of stuff with us from the hospital!

Reese absolutely loves the movie "Tangled", so we decided on a Rapunzel themed party. I started with the invitations several weeks ago. Being pregnant, crafting invitations was a perfect activity to keep me busy while spending the evenings with my feet propped up. I combined 2 different invitation ideas that I found on Pinterest to create our own unique invitation.

Another project that I worked on while propping my feet up, was the banner. I used a cut out of the sun motiff and attached it to a piece of purple cardstock. I then strung the cards together with yarn and hung them throughout the house. We also had several different types of purple paper lanterns hanging in different areas of the house.

My banner was inspired by this one on Pinterest.

Finally, we put together a cupcake "cake" inspired by a cake I also found on Pinterest.

I baked a batch of cupcakes and frosted them all in green frosting and arranged them all on a platter. I then frosted the edge of an ice cream cone and placed another one on top. I added the cone castle to the cupcakes by using a toothpick inserted into the cone and cupcake. While I rolled out a few pieces of banana laffy taffy to make the hair, I gave my daughter a package of edible flowers to add to the cupcakes and tower. Finally, using some frosting, I attached the laffy taffy braid to the tower and draped it through the cupcakes.

The birthday girl was completely spoiled by our wonderful families. Though she ended up having to share the birthday spotlight with her new baby sister, I think that she ended up having a perfect birthday!