Saturday, February 27, 2010

Off the hook...

I'll be the first to admit that these Olympics
have me parked on the couch on front of the
T.V. most evenings around here. And whether
it's the inspiration from the snuggly headwear
in the crowds, the snowing and blowing that's
happening outside our own windows or the simple
fact that our littlest needed something to keep his
noggin warm - this cute little number came off the
hook this week during some skiing, a little bit of
hockey and last night's nail-biter of a curling match.

And I think he likes it!

The only problem?
Now they ALL want one!!
Well, I guess around here we still have a couple
months of winter to go.
And March Madness is just around the corner...

Friday, February 26, 2010

To London, to London...

We were back to London the other week for a check-up for Jude and our first appointment with the geneticist. We're getting pretty good at these trips, learning all the tricks that make the best of the day. Things like:
a) show up at least half an hour before your appointment, because after a two hour car ride Jude will want to nurse before anyone starts to poke and prod him.
b) show up half an hour early... but be prepared to wait for two hours.
c) don't book appointments close together because of b).
d) bring a stroller or sling, because Jude is getting to be a bit of a lug to cart from on end of the
hospital to the other in his car seat.
e) always fill your bag with some snacks and an extra bottle of water because you never know
when you'll get the chance to eat a meal.
f) have a bottle of infant Tylenol in the diaper bag for after appointments
g) find fun things to do at the hospital, because spending another $9 on parking, if you leave the
parking lot in between appointments, is ludicrous.
This last visit was pretty good. Only an hour wait for Jude's check-up with Dr. Merrit (one of his surgeons) and then a two and a half hour break before seeing the geneticist. This is what we did while Jude slept and recouperated from going up a dilation size at his first appointment:
Peter's very competitive and takes
for-e-ver when it's his turn!!
Good thing I'm a patient woman :)

We made up our own game channeling the rules
of Rummikub. Ya, we're Dutch.

But, with life as crazy as it is right now,
cards and a cup of Timmies at the hospital
cafeteria is a pretty sweet date afternoon :)

The following is a little update on our sweet Jude. The basics are that he's been officially diagnosed with VACTERL phenomenon, we're working on his dilations and will hopefully have him right where he's supposed to be by the time he's five months old. Developmentally he's right on track or above the norm and, despite the odds, he's in the 75th percentile on the growth chart! Yay Jude! He continues to amaze his doctors and we are just absolutely smitten with him!
If you just want the basics, you can stop reading now :) But I know that many of our family and friends who are reading this are actively involved in or have a history in the 'world of medicine', so I thought I'd go into a bit more detail for y'all (and for our own 'records'). So here's the dealy-o
1. Since Dr. B has gone on maternity leave, Jude has now come under the care of Dr. Merrit. Since he assisted with Jude's surgery back in December he's been following him and we couldn't be more grateful to have him come on board! He is incredibly caring and is a phenomenal doctor. He contacted the Cincinnati Children's Hospital which has the only pediatric colorectal center in the world. He's put Jude on their dilation schedule and, while it's much more aggresive and intensive, they are the experts and we are seeing that this will be a very positive, albeit difficult, part of Jude's healing and ,hopefully, complete recovery. We started at a size 6 and are now at a 12. By next month he needs to be at a 13, and then he's right where he's supposed to be. There will be quite a long tapering off period (about 6-12 months yet) but the hope is that he will have normal functioning after this. Switching to a 12 was very difficult, I felt very sick the first time we did it (can't even imagine what it's like for Jude) and 13 is characteristically also a very hard transition. Thankfully, Jude is quick to recover and usually by the third day after a size change, he's back to his normal self. He is such a little trooper!
2. After all the test results were in, Jude had four of the seven markers for VACTERL: vertebral anomalies, anal atresia, renal anomalies and limb defects. In a full skeletal x-ray it was discovered that Jude actually has extra ribs (a right C7 cervical rib, hypoplasia right ribs 1-3 with aplasia of the right third rib, there is a bifid right 4th and 5th rib). In about 5 % of VACTERL individuals the vertebral anomaly manifests itself in the ribs instead of the spine. We are so thankful that Jude falls into this small category! Also, 70% of individuals have cardiovascular anomalies. Jude still needs his follow-up echo done, but his doctors think that from the sound of things that his heart valves have closed up on their own! Praise the Lord! When all was said and done, we left the appointment feeling very grateful.
So that's where it's at with our little miracle boy! He's a roly-poly little chap with smiles and giggles for everyone. And while he seems to enjoy everyone, he does have a special fondness for his mama, which is more than okay by me.
This wee lad has definitely stolen our hearts.

Don't you just want to kiss those cheeks!!

We thank you, O God!
We give thanks because You are near.
People everywhere tell of your WONDERFUL deeds.
~Psalm 75:1~

Sunday, February 21, 2010


I found this book in the kid's bedroom and
had a little 'talking to' with Gracie Jo and Silas
about taking better care of their books.
They both adamantly assured me they didn't do it.

Then I found this book in Levi's bed.

It's one of those thick, heavy board books and the corner
was chewed (?) right off. What in the world???
Do we have mice in our house?!

Then we found Mr. Happy.
Not so happy anymore.

How does this happen?

So here's the lineup.
Will the guilty party please step forward?

(At this point it would be appropriate for Gracie Jo
to step up for putting her brothers in those outfits...)

Ta da!
That's right, no mice.
Just a two year old with all of his canine teeth
cutting through at the same time.

Teething: hard on Levi, hard on our books.
I think I'll send him to bed with Jude's chew toys from now on.

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Makings of Valentines Day...

Hard at work - making valentines is serious business!

Gracie Jo using every girly colour possible.

Glitter - check!!
Puffy paint - check!!
Now go, go, GO!!

A Valentine snowflake.
My, but our girl is creative!

Oh, I DO so want to be your valentine!

What is Valentines Day without conversation
hearts and a deliciously sweet little girl?

The kids putting on their 'tough and cool' looks (while feeling
secretly giddy inside) in their Valentine tattoos.
You'll notice we're missing a member here...

...Levi was quite grumpy about his butterfly
tattoo. I guess next year I'll have to get
something a little bit tougher for him...

Above all, love each other deeply, from the heart.
~1 Peter 4:8~
Hope your day was full of love!

'How GREAT is the LOVE the Father
has lavished on us, that we should be
called children of God!'
~1 John 3:1~

Monday, February 15, 2010

Valentines Day - part 2

Since nothin' says lovin' like a little something from the
oven, and everybody likes a little baking action on a quiet
Sunday afternoon, we set off to make these most sweet
and lovely cookies from this recipe.

Can you feel the anticipation???

The BEST part of baking.

Roll on little doggy...

A sprinkle of sweetness

Why Levi is banned from sugar-coating duty.

Stop to give this little-big guy some loving.


Little pockets of boysenberry love


"I've loved you the way my Father has loved me.
Make yourselves at home in my love.
- Jesus
(John 15:9, The Message)

Friday, February 12, 2010

I'm Hooked!

Just before going into the hospital for Jude's surgery back in December I received the most awesome package in the mail. My bestie had sent me the book "I Taught Myself to Crochet". (Okay, I know most of you are probably laughing at me right now, but just you wait and see!)
So I packed up my new book, a few hooks and a couple balls of yarn and headed off to the hospital with visions of returning home with hats and mitts for everyone at Christmas. Well, our time in the hospital was pretty intense, and I came home with about 2 inches of a scarf for my dear Farmer Husband... The following weeks were equally difficult and my dreams of crocheting up a storm of gifts while snuggling up with my wee ones fell to the wayside.
Thankfully this story doesn't end there.
At the end of December we had the most wonderful visit with a special friend and her dear family. When she had found out I was pregnant, knowing my love of handmade things, she got to work and stitched up this most incredible blanket! I was completely blown away.
Look at those perfect single-crochets!
What my friend didn't know, is that my Oma Meinen used to
knit a baby blanket for each of her great-grandchildren
before they were born. If I remember correctly, I think
Kaleb was the last of the Oma's great-grandchildren to
receive her loving stitches. So getting this blanket
was so special for me. Knowing what a precious gift this
was, I was inspired to give my short-lived crocheting carreer
a second go. And boy am I ever glad I did!

And I think Jude is too :)
I can't tell you how happy it makes my heart
each time I see this picture!

They're not perfect, but they remind me
of Oma and there's just something about them.
So, thank you Marnie and Margaret for
giving me such a special gift.
And bring on the yarn, because this girl is hooked!

Some may think it's outdated,
but there's something about Proverbs 31:10-31
that just tugs at my heart.
So here's to one more step on the journey.

"She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands..."
~Proverbs 31:13~

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Gettin' ready for the love...

With Valentines Day just around the corner our house
is in full blown crafty mode. Here's our latest adventure,
along with a photo tutorial and handy-dandy tips...

Begin by peeling off all the 'wrappers' off your junky old
crayons that the kids don't use anymore. Practice your
matching/colour skills by putting the crayons into
different piles that suit your fancy. Also, don't suggest
that your five-year old puts in a pig tail on the other
side..."This is the COOL way to do your hair, Mom!"
Tip: If you soak the crayons in cold water the wrappers will
come off a lot easier and save your thumbnails.
Unless of course you want to keep your kids occupied
for an undetermined length of time...

Let kids break the crayons into as small of pieces
as possible. Figure out how you will stop your
two-year old from doing this to all of your
good crayons in the future.

Tip: Use an old butcher knife to chop the rest of the pieces
as small as possible. Smaller pieces equals faster melting
and better swirlys later on.

Now, here's where we 'live and learn' so to speak.
I had these ice cube trays from Ikea that I had bought
5 years ago and never used. I dug them out, thinking they
would make for pretty little molds. I was pretty sure that
at 4 for $1, they weren't made of silicone, but you never
know until you try, so we loaded them up and into
the oven at 350 they went!
Note: I had read that if you were using plastic molds, you could
pre-melt the crayons in a double-boiler and then pour
the melted wax into the molds. That seemed like too
much mess and the kids couldn't help. I wasn't
really looking for a craft for myself so I ignored this information.
*Next time heed professional advice.*

Voila! Pretty, swirly, flower crayons.
A lovely, FREE, fun craft to make for
friends' Valentines goodie bags.
I would like to end my little crafty tutorial here,
and pretend that I am awesome.
But I'm not.
So, here's the rest of the story...

Those six precious little flower were all that we were able
to retrieve from our plastic molds.
*Note to self: In future don't put plastic ice cube trays
full of wax into the oven. Hey, you never know unless you
try. I must secretly like to learn things the hard way.*

Round two: For the boys in our life
Fill'em up and pop them in the oven.
Tip: The mini-muffin tins that were suggested work wonderfully well.
And it doesn't wreck the tins at all.

Don't forget to occasionally walk over to your
four-month old, who needs a little bit of
peek-a-boo action to keep the afternoon exciting.

Once the crayons are starting to look a bit like soup,
pull them out of the oven and pop them in the freezer.
Tip: If your freezer is hazardous to open due to being stuffed
so incredibly full that there's no room for a cookie sheet to sit
level without dumping melted waxed all over - huck the tray
out in the snow on the porch. Also, since it's a snow day, eat the
brownies that you baked for the bus driver to distract the
kids from asking "Are they ready?" every thirty seconds.

Dump your new crayons out and admire them.

Tip: Lay a tea towel or something cushy on the counter before
you knock the crayons out otherwise you end up with this.
No one wants a crappy, broken crayon in their treat bag!

Magically, those old, junky crayons are new,
wonderful and exciting. Now, go make a second batch
to give away, because the kids like these ones again.

Disclaimer: Just to dispel the crazy notion that's been circulating
regarding me being some form of super-mom...
I definitely switched lunch up from steak fajitas
to peanut butter and banana sandwiches and I'm
*pretty sure* that there's still a load of towels sitting in
the dryer that will not be folded until tomorrow...
Just keepin' it real ;)

Stay tuned for more crafty, Valentines day fun.
Gotta love the Love :)

By this all men will know
that you are my disciples,

if you love one another.
John 13:35~