Sunday, December 28, 2008

3 months old...


This little guy just doesn't stop growing. I was shopping with him the day after Christmas, his 3 month mark and I couldn't believe it has been that long. But at the same time, it's hard to remember not having him. He is such a good little guy. We started out a little rough but he really is a great baby and is becoming so smiley. I love getting him out of his crib in the morning and he just smiles at me. By this age Hallie had already been on a plane two separate times and the third was just weeks away. But we managed to keep this guy grounded. Just a few things to remember:
Still loves his pacifier-Thank heavens
Only sleeps well when bundled with the Swaddleme- the best invention ever! And when swaddled properly will sleep several hours in a stretch during the night
Wakes up usually two times a night to eat
Has been man-handled by his sister multiple times, and generally doesn't cry
Isn't content hanging out on his own - we need to work on that
Has met both sets of grandparents, and two aunts and uncles, however has been involved with multiple Skype sessions where he's been introduced to the whole family
Refuses to breastfeed - its just too easy coming from a bottle, so I continue to pump
Has acquired the nickname Hunt-man from his big sister
Doesn't sleep very much of the day- two hours max- all day!
Very smiley- loves to be talked to
Loves bath time which is an improvement from the screaming we used to see
Is a great shopper as we've experienced this holiday season, hopefully it lasts
Likes the Baby Bjorn
Has been to the zoo once, the movies once and multiple restaurants

Here's to another good month!

Merry Christmas...

Merry Christmas! A little late, but it's taken me longer to get all my pictures on the computer than I thought it would, and who can have a Christmas post without pictures! We started our morning at a decent time: 7am. Hallie is still young enough that she will sleep until she's ready to get up, which was nice. We opened stockings which turned out to be successful.

So successful that we made breakfast and talked to family before opening any presents. Hallie was content with the $.50 wooden doll that you color with markers. This kept her busy for a half hour. She even enlisted Steve's help.We opened a few presents; including the Wii and Hallie's request from Santa, the tutu.
Hunter was awake for the majority of the day...go figure. Hallie was very helpful in opening his stocking - and the few presents he had. This no doubt will be the last quiet Christmas we get from him, because next year his little one year old mouth will probably be a jabberin'! Hallie's big gift this year was an easel, which she enjoyed using. She enjoyed even more the next morning when she found a marker that had been left out- yes, there is blue all over the white easel that I can't see to get all the way off. What can you do, I'm sure that's not the last time that thing will be drawn on. I got a fun Wacom tablet for graphic design..no pictures, but man is that thing cool. Props for Steve for even attempting to purchase it, I just love it.

We took a break in the afternoon. Hallie and I took naps while Steve hung out with Hunt-man. I woke up after a long nap refreshed and ready to take on the day. Steve on the other hand was coming down with a cold and didn't feel so well. We headed over to Bob and Gins that night which was great. We love having family here, it's so comforting. Steve by this point was heading south fast in the health department, so we opted out of a movie and putting Hallie to bed there and headed home early. The next day was not good to Steve, he was down for the count. Today he's feeling great, however he's passed it on to Hunter- who's not doing so well now. Hopefully it will be quick in passing.

We both agreed our first Christmas on our own was very successful and enjoyable. It was so nice not to pack or ship gifts, to sleep in our own beds and the best part was never stepping foot in an airport!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas Eve...

Steve and I have always been blessed to spend Christmas with either his parents or my parents...however the larger our family becomes, the more expensive plane tickets become, the larger the presents we have to pack, and for some reason the worse the weather is in Milwaukee- okay, so there is really no correlation between our larger family and the weather in Milwaukee, but it is a reason why we opted to stay put.

Of course we have Steve's brother here which we planned on spending time with on Christmas, so that left Christmas Eve, which is really the best part of Christmas in my opinion and also the thing that would make us most miss home. So, Steve wanted to duplicate the feeling of chaos and love he experiences with all his nieces and nephews so we invited as many people as we could possibly fit in our house: 28: 14 adults. 12 children. 2 infants.

We had dinner, where everyone helped out by bringing some amazing dishes, so much so most of us found ourselves rolling out of the kitchen. We held a small gift exchange for the kids which they absolutely loved. And then we had the kids act out the Nativity (Steve's tradition) complete with a seven day old baby girl Jesus. (Who was just about the sweetest and most petite thing I've seen). We closed with singing a few songs (Kara's tradition) and several of the kids performed a few solos which was so fun. We had a great time. Hallie loved having all of her "friends" over, and both Steve and I agreed it was the perfect first Christmas Eve away from family.

We closed early enough that everyone could go home and have their own family traditions as well. We sent everyone on their way, with some reindeer food to sprinkle on the porch.
We then each opened up a present (pajamas). We set out Santa's cookies and milk, as well as the reindeer food. And then settled down to read "Twas the Night Before Christmas" (Steve's tradition). Surprisingly, Hallie went to bed quite well. I thought for sure she would be wound up for hours, she proved me wrong, thank heavens.

It was so fun to do this on our own. We tend to rely heavily upon our family for events like this, which means we end up doing what everyone else wants to do. But this time, we chose what we did or did not want to do and it was great. There were no expectations to live up to, or rules to follow, which made it relatively stress free. It was a good excuse to use all the Christmas tablecloths and runners I've been saving, the fun tree placemats, the green/red centerpiece, the Christmas serving bowls that I'm sure Steve cursed me when I bought. But they all came in handy! We're grateful for our wonderful friends who we were able to spend this special day with! Now, on to Christmas...

Santa Claus is coming to town...

This is Hallie's favorite holiday song and she sings it all the time. So she was in heaven a couple weeks ago when Santa showed up to the ward party. She even sat on his lap in exchange for a candy cane of course! So for FHE the other night we decided to head to the mall so she could see him one last time before he packs up and heads north. While in the car she kept saying she was excited to go to the church...we were confused, and informed her we were going to the mall. A large tantrum erupts from the back seat, "No, I want to see Santa at church." She was confused. She thought Santa resided at church.

We got to the mall and the line wasn't too long. There was an older lady- late 60's, orange from all the tanning, wrinkles (probably from all the tanning), assisted by a walker, decked out in elf attire. No joke. At first she was comical. Inching ahead of us trying to see Santa. Waving him down to try and get his attention, just funny. She's trying to make small talk with the big man which was awkward. "Hey, Santa! I bet you were wondering when I was going to be back this year. I was going to come earlier but I didn't want you to be on your dinner break. When do you take your dinner break?" Etc, etc, etc....

So she ultimately cut in front of us, which wasn't a big deal, she was more excited than Hallie! However, it was late and the majority of the children in the line were growing tired. So our elf lady-friend continues to inch her way towards the front of the line. She is genuinely excited to be there. Her excitement is slightly concerning, but it's Christmas- it brings out the crazy in a lot of us. The line continues to move slowly, with the Elf now standing in front of everyone. She then gets her turn with Santa, and immediately the line stops moving. She wants more pictures with Santa, then has to check them out on the computer, then they take more, and more, and more. The couple behind us is now fully irritated with the old woman who cut in front of all the four-year-old children to see Santa, and who has officially halted the line. She was there for a good 7-8 minutes. If she would've taken any longer I swear parents were about to carry her out, walker and all.

So we made sure to keep our time short. Thirty seconds was all Hallie needed to tell Santa that she wanted a tutu, and to snap a quick picture.

Sunday Morning...

These pictures are from last Sunday morning- their Christmas outfits! I think I posted about this already, but this was the freezing Sunday- below freezing. The Sunday where the other wards in the area cancelled because temperatures reached the negative 30's. Brrrrrrr.....So underneath all the layers this is what they looked like!

Snow...



Here are a few more pictures from our recent snow storms. Steve thought it was funny to throw Hallie out in the yard- it was so deep she couldn't move! Then we'd sit there and laugh as she would try and squirm around, but couldn't ever truly move.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Music...

Music plays a large roll in my life. I love music. I love it in the car, while working, while cleaning, while dancing! It moves me, and gives me energy. So it is no surprise that I absolutely love Christmas music. Yes, I'm one of those that starts listening to it early November and can't bear to turn it off until Valentine's day. My Christmas selection is surprisingly large considering I only listen to it a quarter of the year! The past month as I've let my iPod Christmas playlist play constantly throughout the day, I note when there's a song that really strikes a chord with me. So I've compiled a list. Some of the songs I've loved forever, and a few are newbies.

Stille Nacht - Mannheim Steamroller
Believe - Josh Groban
Where are you Christmas - Faith Hill
Celebrate me Home - Kenny Loggins
River - Sarah McLachlan
Winter Song - Sarah Bareilles & Ingrid Michaelson
Silent Night - Priscilla Ahn
Christmas - Trans-Siberian Orchestra
Baby, It's Cold Outside - Ella Fitzgerald
I'll be home for Christmas - Michael Buble
Oh Holy Night - Studio 60 Episode (NBC)
Christmas is All Around - Billy Mack
Christmas Shoes - New Song
Wintersong - Sarah McLachlan
Happy Xmas (War is Over) - John Lennon

And my new favorite album of the season:
Hotel Cafe Presents Winter Songs, Check it out here

ENJOY!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Polar Express...

Hallie's most recent obsession is the movie the Polar Express. She asks multiple times a day if she can watch it, I usually kindly deny her but last night with the chilly weather it only seemed appropriate to snuggle up with some hot chocolate and watch a Christmas movie. Steve was insistent that I not give Hallie a choice for he knew exactly what movie she would choose and frankly he's tired of watching it. But she gets so excited about it, I knew we wouldn't make it through the whole thing before bed time so it was fine. So she sat happy as a lark on the couch as the Polar Express played and kindly went to bed with the promise that she could finish watching it in the morning.

Of course she has an amazing memory. She woke up, snuggled Hunter and I for a while and then said, "Lets go downstairs and watch Polar Express." Of course. I told her to go down and get ready and I would come down after feeding Hunter to turn it on for her. As it usually goes, I got sidetracked. I fed Hunter, got something to eat, picked up the living room and then decided to go downstairs. I found Hallie downstairs sitting on the couch, covered in a blanket, with Mr. Monkey by her side and she was staring at the blank screen.

I apologized for taking so long and quickly turned the movie on. She replied in her sweetest and most innocent voice, "That's okay mom...Mom, I didn't even get mad at the tv." As you can see we're working on her angry outbursts!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Still cold...

Today was brutal- just cold. It wouldn't have been so bad had I not had to leave the house for church. (Yes, other wards in the area cancelled, and for good reason, but not ours) It is by far the coldest day I've experienced, ever. We peaked today at -35 (that's with wind chill). It made my bones ache just going out to start the car. The car's heat couldn't keep up even turned on full blast, Hallie was shivering (and we even put her in pants under her dress to keep her warm.) The wind was out of control. As I was driving, I would come up over a hill and as I started my descent, I would lose all visibility, a complete whiteout. A little scary. Having said that, there is an absolute beauty of a completely white covered city. The snow is still fresh, so it's not grungey and dirty. It's beautiful. And because of the massive amount it leaves me in awe. Its the perfect background for our Christmas tree. I was just reading a report that said this is the second snowiest December in the history of Milwaukee. With just 19 more inches we will surpass the record (2000), which is not far off if the snow keeps coming like it has. We're supposed to get snow three more days at least this week. With temperatures tomorrow hitting -25. I think we just may have a white Christmas!

5 Years...

5 years yesterday...man it feels like we're old. We sat and reminisced on the last five years, the ups the downs, the adventures, the learning experiences. We've had a great five years.
In five years:
Both graduated college
Had two children
Interviewed and interviewed for jobs
Never rented: owned a condo, and then a home
Totally remodeled a home
Worked in Zion National Park for the summer and lived in a fifth wheel - that was an adventure
Worked in Arizona for the summer
Enjoyed Chicago - multiple times
Moved to Milwaukee
Lived with Steve's brother in Wisconsin for a couple months before finding a home
Hiked Havasupai Falls in the Grand Canyon
Hallie's major surgery
Trips to Lake Powell
Family Reunions
Ski Trips
Trips to D.C. (Owens), Nauvoo, Vegas, to see family
Baseball - basketball - football games anywhere from high school to pro
A broken ankle (large surgery), fractured jaw, and three broken fingers (none of which were for me!!)
2 root canals, 2 crowns, and I won't even mention how many cavities! Yes we brush and floss our teeth- bad genes!
Had multiple friends come visit and stay with us

Good times- We both agreed...we have an excellent life.

Ugly Sweaters...

We had some friends over last week for a nacho bar and games. We invited everyone to look deep in their closets or the Salvation Army for the ugliest sweaters. We had some dooseys- the pictures don't do these absolutely ugly color combinations justice!Steve & Kara
Yes, my sweater says, "My grandkids are snow much fun" the sad thing is this is a current model...Kohls, this season. Ouch. Steve's is straight from Peru- literally. David and Jodee
Jodee claimed they didn't have any ugly sweaters - I believe her!Cameron & Tiffany
You can't tell from the picture but her sweater had a beautiful shimmer that was blinding to the eyes!
Marc and Tricia
It takes a real man to wear a pink sweater- an even bigger man to wear a woman's sweater! We loved how they matched!
Adam & Danielle
Another man wearing a woman's sweater- the dog is just beautiful - so the 80 year old lady who saw him purchasing it pointed out. Danielle sporting the vest, which looks like a 90's Christmas placemat, over her very pregnant belly
Jared & Leslie
Flash back from the 80's. The purple, burgundy, and green took me back to the 4th grade where I swear my teacher had the same sweater. Leslie is sporting the abstract roses which never should've gone out of style. Roses are classic, right?
Jared - perfecting his poses for "pictures by deb"

And the so the sweaters went back in the bin- only to be brought out again next year.

Chilly...

Steve is getting ready to take out the trash, and it looks awfully cold out there, so I decided I would check the temperature and wind chill as of right now: -7 with winds ranging from 29mph - 36mph. Now that's chilly. Steve will probably refuse to take the trash out now...I shouldn't have looked it up, sometimes ignorance is bliss!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow...


The news has been prepping us for this storm for a few days now. In the past they've done this and the storm hasn't lived up to the expectations that were set forth by the media...today is a different story. I decided to stock up on some basic groceries last night just in case we happened to have this huge monstrous storm...entered the Target cereal isle...empty. Just empty, except for two boxes of Kashi, and a box of almond granola which should never be counted as cereal. They were out of milk...chips...craziness. Steve's work already made it a late starting work day. But the snow was out of control. The news reported that we received over 12 inches since 1 am with some areas receiving more. (thats on top of the snow we already had!) We can't even get out of the driveway- literally. We have to wait for the city to come plow, which considering we're in a cul de sac could take all day. Needless to say, Steve never made it into work. Its a snow day. Hopefully the wind will stop blowing and we'll be able to go outside to enjoy it.

Just for kicks and giggles I thought I'd post the picture of the garden area from our flooding earlier this year, only to now be covered in snow. We have definitely received some extreme weather this year!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Funny Comment...

I went ice skating with the young women tonight. We were getting our skates and the man asked my size.

Kara: Size 10 (I know, who really has that large of feet!)

Man: (brings out the skates and they look ginormous)
Kara: Are these a mens or womens
Man: They're unisex
Kara: Oh really (confused)
Man: Yea, they're all unisex sorry
Kara: So when you gave me a 10, Did you give me a mens 10 or a womens 10?
Man: (Now he's confused, and finally realizes he's not making any sense.) (Chuckling) Oh I get it- you're right, they're a mens 10, not unisex

That will go in the books as one point for Kara!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Kindness...

I've been sick. Monday was probably my worst day which conveniently happened to be the day that Steve came home from work sick...evidently I was more contagious than I thought! So the two of us sat on the couch today trying to entertain Hallie the best we could without getting off the couch! Late this afternoon we realized that it had been snowing all day and we had yet to shovel the driveway. So reluctantly Steve gets all of his snow gear on and trudges outside to tackle a task he had no physical strength for...

As Steve is walking outside to shovel, we see our sister-in-law Virginia and Cameron walking through the deep snow carrying a large brown bag. Yes, they brought us food. And no, it was not your average casserole. She brought everything! A whole chicken, salad, bread, pasta, and even a cake! (which is enough to make any sick person feel better, trust me!) Steve and I were so grateful, we could have easily had soup for the third night in a row, no problem, but it was so good to eat a good meal. Virginia walks in dressed from work, suit and all and asks for snow clothes. What!? She insisted she shovel the driveway with Cameron. I was not about to let her do that. The meal in and of itself was one of the more thoughtful things that someone has done for us. We didn't want her outside shoveling our walks- but Virginia was insistent- and she is a strong willed woman, not likely to change her mind once it is set! And so we sat sniffling inside as they shoveled our driveway (and we have a long one!).

I was in awe. Not that it is at all out of character for them to treat us so well, because they do it all the time. But it was the timing of it all. We were both quite sick. Steve was just getting the energy to go outside and do it himself. And then the heavens sent us angels, that's exactly what it felt like. I know that Cameron would've rather been home doing something else, and Virginia has a thousand things going on with work/home/family/holidays...everything. To know that they took time to bring us food and then noticed yet another need within our home was quite touching. More importantly it was such an example. She ranks up there with the busiest people I know and they took the time, they were selfless. Which is why this goes down in my book as one of three most touching acts of kindness I've witnessed. Thank you.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Sick of it...

I'm sick. Cold sick. Stuffy nose. Sneezing. Coughing. Achy body. The whole works. Hunter is too. We're quite the pair. I was home from church today. Had a bowl of ramen noodles. Three pieces of toast. A bagel. A bowl of tomato soup. And two cups of hot chocolate. As appetizing as that diet sounds. It still didn't make me feel a whole lot better. Maybe sleep will. Good night.

Hallie's First Haircut...

Hallie was born with hair, in fact, I can't remember exactly, but I think she came from the womb with a pony tail. (The details are a little fuzzy!) And since that first day in the hospital, I have loved her hair. Loved it so much I refused to cut it. Yes, for a while it was a little awkward, on the brink of a mullet, but none the less cute and curly. I think my mom trimmed her bangs one time because it bothered her that they were in her eyes. But we gave it some time and her hair was long enough to pull back in a pony tail on the top of her head. And then it was long enough for a pony tail on both sides, and then one long pony tail in the back. Her hair is naturally curly so you never really noticed how long it was, unless it was wet.

My love for her long hair started to fade as I would have to brush oatmeal, spaghetti and suckers out of her hair. Untangling it after bath time and after nap time. I got to the point where I was okay to cut it all off (okay, maybe only 5 inches) even if it meant losing all of her curls. And that we did. Hallie had never seen the scissors used on hair (for good reason of course!) so we had to explain that mom is the ONLY one that uses scissors for hair. She was so excited to have her hair trimmed. We made it a special event for her and she loved every minute. I was pleased with my first haircut on a child, (Steve does sit more still) and even more pleased that it's easier to manage! However, I was sad to see that perfect ringlet curl drop to the ground.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

It's late...

It's late, really late, and I'm tired. Steve went to bed hours ago and I stayed up with Hunter. Two hours have passed, and Hunter is still looking at me with his "scary" eyes. (The eyes you never want to see at this time of night). He's making me tired just looking at him. One thing's for sure, this kid does not require a lot of sleep. Neither did Hallie...I'm starting to see a pattern...
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