Sunday, May 31, 2009

Friday Fish Fry...

You have not lived until you've attended a Milwaukee Fish Fry. When we moved to Milwaukee three years ago we were amazed at the number of fish frys held every Friday night. We saw advertisements for them everywhere. But for the sake of despising fish, we never made it a priority to attend one. We had some friends invite us out with a large group of people to a fish fry downtown held in an old brewery. It was a large banquet sized room with several long rectangular tables as well as round tables. There were no decorations, nothing fancy, vinyl tablecloths. There was a makeshift dance floor towards the front of the room that kept the kids entertained for the majority of the evening. There was a stage with a polka bad - i.e. a man playing the accordian and another on the drums! They were good. My grandpa played the accordian, so I knew most the songs that were played and it took me back ten years. If I were to shut my eyes I really thought I was sitting in my grandparents living room while my grandpa played and played, the music filling the room. It was fun, and I loved watching Hallie dance back and forth across the floor. The food was okay...fried fish, what do you expect. It's not as though they have a whole menu of items. They just open on Fridays for the fry. They did have a great maple root beer. It had a subtle taste, very good.

It was fun...I would recommend everyone attend at least one fish fry and from what I hear the Lake Front Brewery is a good one, it's an experience you won't quickly forget.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Funny sighting...

I was driving behind a Honda Odyssey this evening. We were stopped at the light and I was caught off guard, with what looked like a large bumper sticker just below the bumper. "Hidden Hitch". Sure enough I noticed the slightly hidden hitch just below the bumper. I couldn't help but laugh at the thought of creating a product which is meant to conceal itself, and then slap a 12 inch sticker on it proclaiming to the world that this vehicle was equipped with a hidden hitch. Defeats the purpose in my opinion. Clearly not everyone is cut out for marketing!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

8 months...


Yep, he's 8 months...already. He's got all sorts of tricks up his sleeves. The latest and greatest:

Finally lowered the bed to the lowest setting because he was getting to the point where he could've fallen out.

Loves to climb the stairs. He gets both feet on the first stair, starts rocking back and forth and then falls down.

Loves the grass. Loves sitting in it, eating it, everything.

Climbs up on everything, but especially his activity table, he loves the music.

Always dances to music. Clearly he got Hallie's hips!

Is doing better in the food department, much better. We're hoping for some serious weight gain at his next visit.

Likes to grab the spoon and try and feed himself.

"Experienced" the dreaded stairs, luckily he was perfectly fine. We now have permanent gates up everywhere.

Loves to play in the bathroom. Why? Why do all kids love to play in the dirtiest place in the house?!

Went to Chicago for the first time.

Drinks water from a sippy cup.

His eyes are always opens. A lady in the store was admiring him in his carseat, when she commented. "Wow, he really doesn't blink does he?" Nope. Always open, wide open.

Experienced his first swings, and loved them.

Still fits in his infant seat, although he is getting heavier to carry around.

Has a love/hate relationship with his sister already. He loves her to talk to him, he hates it when she tries to "play" with him. Her play isn't very gentle, he ends up getting hurt more often than not when Hallie is in the room.

He really is a happy kid. I love getting him out of bed first thing in the morning. As he's standing up in the crib, he starts rocking back and forth as soon as he sees me. With mouth wide open he lets out a high pitch squeal. I love it.

Friday, May 22, 2009

BBQ/Talent Show...

Bust out the BBQ's because it is summer time! I love walking the neighborhood at 5:30p.m. with an aroma of the grill filling the night air. And as much as I love the smell of a good BBQ, walking by with my wagon of children, with our puppy dog eyes, longing for food off their grill, it's much better to participate in the BBQ! We had our ward BBQ/talent show when my mom was in town and we couldn't have asked for better weather. Hallie has yet to understand that Hunter can get away with crazy faces and it's still cute...not so cute when your three, and definitely not cute when your 26!

One of the best things of having my mom around - Steve and I weren't arguing who would have to hold Hunter the whole night. Hunter was pretty fond of her!

That's right - what is a BBQ without busting out the flip flops!

There was a talent show after the BBQ. I knew I was surrounded by talented people, but the variety of talent I witnessed was amazing, not your average talent show. This kid is in our Sunday School class, 16 years old, he performed an Aztec dance. Wow! He was good. He participates in a group that practices weekly. I loved the way his feathers seemed to float across the stage as he danced around.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Funny Comment...

We were eating dinner last night and I commented to Hallie that she had a messy face- with ranch dressing dripping down from her eyelash!

Hallie: Your face is messy too.
Kara: (Confused) No it's not.
Hallie: (Pointing to my face) Yes sir, right there.
Kara (Still confused, I run my hand across my face where she said it was messy, and there wasn't any food, just a mole!) That's not messy, that's a mole.
Hallie: Mom, no it's not, it's this (pointing to the brown gravy on the table)

My child is mistaking my moles for food on my face, one of the many cherished moments of motherhood!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Chicago Conservatory....

If you're ever in Chicago and looking for something free- with free parking- the Conservatory is for you! We went when my mom was in town, and we were surprised at the size and the amount of plants housed there. We were able to catch the tale end of the spring flower show which produced some beautiful blooms. I think my favorite area was the fern room. There were some waterfalls trickling here and there, very Garden of Eden-ish, at least how I picture it!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Three years ago...

Three years ago yesterday, we took our young child through the doors of St. Luke Hospital in Boise at 6:30 am. Hallie had been diagnosed just 7 weeks prior with Hirschsprung's disease (disease of the colon) and she was having a portion of it removed. We were new young parents, unsure as to what to expect, exhausted and tired of listening to our daughter's non-stop wails and a tad bit nervous. Although it was just three years ago, it seems like a lifetime ago. Hallie seems so big now, we have another child, and life keeps marching on. Here are a few things I remember about that experience:

Hallie refused to take a bottle. The surgeon informed us she would have to be on clear liquid 12 hours before surgery. When I informed him she wouldn't take a bottle, he kindly told me, when she gets hungry enough she will. And that she did. After holding out for 9 hours, she finally took the bottle.

Staying in the Ronald McDonald House. What a cool service/facility. We had just moved all of our stuff to Milwaukee just a week prior after Steve graduated to search for homes, and life was a little chaotic. It felt good to be able to stay so close to the hospital and have a little room we could call home for four days. It was hard to see so many families there for much longer terms as their children required so much medical attention, we felt blessed to stay for such a short time.
We had to wait in the surgery prep area for what seemed like forever. They told us we had to be there early, so we were. But we waited and waited for the surgeon to show. Hallie was starving at this point, screaming and yelping. And although it was a relief to finally see the surgeon, it was so hard to watch them hold her down, arms and legs kicking, as they wheeled her away. That hurt. Feeling so helpless and so afraid.

Having my parents there. My dad took the day off work and my mom came as well to sit and wait with us, that was a huge relief. Just knowing that someone with a little more life experience than myself was sitting next to me made me feel at peace, having it be my parents was just a huge bonus.

We played Settlers of Catan in the waiting room, as we'd watch her name on the screen to get updates.After five hours the surgeon came in to let us know the surgery went well. He started explaining the process, explained that as part of the they removed her appendix. I was a little confused and he could tell. He thought he had told us that he was removing it, but he didn't. Don't get me wrong, I'm pleased as punch it's gone, I was just surprised.
Sitting by her bedside. This was hard for me. It was hard to even recognize her, and it scared me just a bit. She was so swollen...I mean really swollen. She was hooked up to all sorts of machines and I swore that it couldn't be my child. So we sat, with my parents the first day in a small room, with Hallie in a small bed and watched as she slowly started to come to life. There was no place to sleep in her room, so at 9 that night we stepped out the doors and put all our trust in the nurses watching over her and said yet another prayer that they would love her the way we did.

Days went by and she continued to progress. By the last day she was sitting up a lot better, smiling a lot more and much happier. And although I was so excited to have her released from the hospital, there came with it an anxiety. Just as it was before the surgery, our life was in a somewhat transient/chaotic state. Steve would return to Milwaukee shortly after to start his job. I would stay with my parents for a couple more weeks to be close to the doctor for the follow-up appointments. All of our stuff was stored in a pod unit back in Milwaukee. There just didn't seem to be any normalcy and this started to concern me.

And although the concerns were valid at the time, my young and naive state didn't take into consideration how resilient children are. She will never remember that experience in the hospital, ever. It effected Steve and I much more than it will every effect her. And I think it matured both of us quickly. Sitting days in a hospital with your child attached to all sorts of machines that beep will do that to you. We're better off because of it.

Which brings me to the last and final thing I learned: Trust a mother's intuition. I (and also Steve) knew early on that something was wrong with Hallie- it just took some time to find a doctor who would listen.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Polar Bear vs. Polliwog

On a recent Scrubs episode there was an acoustic version of "Hey Ya" by Outkast. It was a slower, more calm version. I really liked it and found myself singing it quite often throughout the day. Of course Hallie hears me singing it and with her love of music starts singing around the house as well. I overheard her singing in the kitchen and there was one particular line she got a little confused. The line "Shake it like a Polaroid picture" - was replaced with a more juvenile line: "Shake it like a polar bear and pinch her". I died laughing in the other room.

And although I found the situation quite funny, what ended up being more amusing was telling my brother the story (who will remain nameless). He shared with me he just recently realized what the lyrics were- before he thought it said "Shake it like a polliwog dancer..." A polliwog dancer...seriously!? I was laughing even harder than the polar bear version. It's still a toss up which one I'm going to sing in the shower tomorrow, polar bear...polliwog, I love them both! (For those that don't know what a polliwog is clearly didn't spend enough time next to puddles and irrigation ditches!)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Chicago Kite Festival...

While my mom was in town we made a trip to Chicago. We attended the Chicago Kite Festival because most are aware of my fascination with kites. It was at a park right on Lake Michigan, hundreds of kites dotting the sky, just enough wind to keep the kites afloat. There was an area roped off for professional kite fliers, and as much as I wish I could've considered myself in that category, I stood off to the side of the orange cones and flew my simple kite. It's difficult to fly a kite when your surrounded by other kites, more than once we got a little tangled! We talked with a few of the professional fliers...they take their work very seriously, and were not the least bit kind to those who weren't professional. And although their egos seemed to fly as high as their kites, they were good, they were really good. I couldn't help but dream someday I would have a "fun" kite, a kite you really have control over...someday.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day 2009...

There is nothing better than spending mother's day with your mother...and I was just that lucky. My mom has been visiting us for the last little while and unfortunately I had to take her to the airport today, but at least I was with her for part of mother's day. Just a few things I love about my mom...

...when she comes to visit, I just love it. I wish it was more often, but I understand that's not possible, so I take it when I can get it!
...how willing she is to feed the kids, especially Hunter which is always more work than it seems worth!
...she's so easy going- she doesn't have to be entertained and is content to just hang out
...how she listens to me, she truly listens and it's focused listening, she's not running around doing a hundred things while talking to me (which of course I'm guilty of!)
...she's beautiful- the pictures can attest to that
...she motivates me to do/complete projects I've been sitting on for quite a while
...she is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to gardening and also canning. It's seems I'm always calling her for an answer to some question.
...she allows Hallie to wake her up early in the morning so I can sleep longer.
...she snuggles my kids until I pry them out of her hands and force them to go to bed.
...she understands my struggles and weaknesses and is great at helping me without giving advice or being pushy, this is very important for me!

The list could go on and on, but the bottom line is, I couldn't ask for a better mother, and I love her dearly!
We had a great Sunday- breakfast in bed, church, fabulous lunch, took my mom to the airport, and then a nice little nap. Unfortunately Steve was feeling sick today, so we kept everything low key. Earlier this week, Steve surprised both my mom and I with certificates for massages for Mother's day which we received on Wednesday. It was really nice. I like massages, I like them a lot. There's only one down side to massages...they end. I never like it when they end! Hallie and Hunter offered up cards with hand prints and footprints, always a favorite. They'll go in the file and be pulled out on occasion so I can marvel at how big my babies are getting!

Just a few things I love about motherhood:
The joy of watching my kids accomplish something for the first time.
Teaching Hallie and seeing that she understands it.
Receiving hugs and sweet kisses before she goes to bed.
Knowing my kids depend on me, and it's important I don't disappoint them.
Picking Hallie up after playing with her friends and having her run into my arms.
Having Hunter smile his toothless grin as he waits in anticipation for me to get him out of bed.
Listening to Hallie's explanation on a number of things, she really is like a sponge and remembers a whole lot.
Walking into their rooms late at night and watching them sleep, and at times climbing into bed with Hallie and lying by her side.
Listening to Hallie sing in the car.
Holding Hunter in my arms as he slowly drifts off to his dreamland.

Life is good, really good.

Monday, May 4, 2009

March for babies...

We had a friend friend invite us to participate in the March for Babies a couple weeks ago. I was so excited to be a part of the walk and march for little Bennett. We packed up the strollers, grabbed some snacks and headed downtown. The weather was warm, with a few clouds in the sky. We made our way to the starting area, took some fun pictures of the art museum and heard the announcement to start the walk. Within seconds it starts raining. Then continued raining, harder and harder...So hard we headed for some shelter. We thought we'd wait it out for a while. More and more time goes by and the rain never let up. They finally cancelled the event. I was so disappointed. I'd been looking forward to this for quite a while. I felt even more bad for the people who had spent the last year planning the event only to have it rained out. I guess there's always next year.
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