Monday, December 31, 2012

Owen's Christmas...Did He End Up the Naughty or Nice List?

This year Owen was all about Santa. He even wrote his Santa letter two months before Christmas. You'll notice Barry helped him.
Dear Santa Claus, 
My name is Owen V. I am trying to be a good boy this year. I just started kindergarten  My teacher's name is Mrs. H. I am trying to learn lots of things in kindergarten. I am also helping my mommy and daddy keep the house clean and take care of my baby sister, Emma. 
If I make it onto the "good list", I would really like to have the following toys for Christmas: 
  • Lego City Police Dog Catcher
  • Lego Dinosaur Helicopter
  • Lego Dinosaur Home
  • Lego Dinosaur Truck with seat on top and a guy on top with a hat.
Owen V.
We reminded Owen often about Santa's elves watching him. He wasn't too worried about it so we told him we'd take away a Christmas present instead if he didn't stop antagonizing Emma. The sibling fights have already started now that Emma is crawling and getting into Owen's toys. Hearing "No Emma" endlessly, followed by her screeching and crying as he tries blocking her or carrying her away, is enough to drive anyone crazy. My suggestion, to move his toys into his room and to play with them his room's door shut has so far been ignored. He also wants to play with Emma's toys, which is fine, until Emma notices and wants to play with it now. We remind him she's a baby and does not know how to share her toys.

At work they held a fun event for the families called "Milk and Cookies with Santa". They had milk and cookies to munch on while you waited for your turn to visit with Santa. They even had a professional photographer (a co-worker's wife) there to take your picture with Santa. Owen was super excited all day to come see him. He hopped on Santa's lap without a second thought and told him exactly what he wanted. Emma on the other hand instantly bawled.

So the question at hand, "Did Owen end up on the naughty or nice list this year?" I think this picture gives it away.
Owen with his Lego "Police Dog Catcher"
Owen also got Yoda slippers, Marvel Superheros Sticker book, Angry Birds Hot Wheels Slingshot Track, stuffed Zebra with red fleece blanket, V-Tech digital camera, Erector Motorized Set, Yahtzee Jr. - Toy Story Edition, Candy Land, clothes, Fisher-Price Trio Boat & Airplane kits, Hot Wheels cars and mini Monster truck.
Owen showing off his Yoda slippers and his Christmas pajamas (Angry Birds)
Owen said this was the happiest Christmas ever!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Emma's First Christmas

Emma has added such joy during this Christmas season. Watching her experience the sights of Christmas has been so much fun. We decorated our tree and the living room while she napped. It was a 2 1/2 hour nap so we were done decorating by the time she woke up. Her reaction was priceless. Her mouth went into an O shape and out came "Ooooo."

Emma left the tree alone for the most part especially since we didn't put any presents under it. I use ribbon as the garland and this year started it about 1/4 of the way up our 9 foot tree. Before we started hanging ornaments, I told Owen anything below the ribbon was the Emma-zone, where she'd be able to reach, and not to put ornaments there. That really decreased Emma's interest level with the tree and didn't look bad either. Emma loved crawling up and pointing/touching at a particular light. Barry tied the tree to our banister and it's pre-lit, so we had no worries about her pulling it onto herself or pulling off a strand of lights.

This Christmas I decided to let the kids open a present each week. Their first present was a holiday outfit for church, a half zip sweater for Owen and a red dress for Emma. Their second present was an ornament for each of them and the third present was a book. Then on Christmas Eve, Owen and Emma opened and wore their Christmas pajamas. I thought Emma would love ripping the paper off the wrapped presents. She went wild with pulling the tissue paper out of the gift bags instead.

Emma got pretty spoiled by everyone. She got stuffed animals (teddy bear, bunny, kitty), dolls (Baby Princess Ariel and Rapunzel), books, clothes, a Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Kitchen, a quilt, a pink & purple wagon, sippy cups and cinnamon animal cracker treats.

What just happened!?! Emma wasn't quite sure about the camera flash.
New books from Santa (P.S. Emma is wearing her Christmas pajamas)
Emma's present from Owen

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Christmas Cookies with Chef Owen

I made Christmas cookies with Owen a few years ago. He helped some and did enjoy watching me. It sounds crazy but at the time he didn't like cookies (crazy I know!) Owen has since developed a love of sugary goodies and can now help make them.

The first part of December I mentioned to Owen about making Christmas cookies with him. Two weeks ago, while Barry was up ice fishing, Owen, Emma and I finally had time to make those cookies. We made Aunt Mandy's recipe for sour cream sugar cookies. Owen helped from start to finish. He wanted to do it all measuring and pouring into the mixer.

Emma loved watching and playing with the cookie cutters. While we were rolling and cutting out the dough, she kept sticking her fingers in the dough. One time she even pinched off a bit and ate it before I could stop her. So we ended up moving her. LOL. I finally wised up and used wax paper to roll the dough out instead of flour. You just lightly wet the area and set your wax paper on down or you could tape it down with masking tape.

Tastes even better than dough!

So hard to resist not eating the cookies before frosting

Owen helped frost and decorate them too. He had fun making different designs with the sprinkles. I loved every minute Owen, Emma, and I spent making cookies. It will always be a wonderful Christmas memory for me and I hope Owen feels the same way too.

Even harder to resist eating them after frosting

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Giving Thanks: Adoption

I've been meaning to get this post done for weeks now. With Thanksgiving now a memory and November, which is National Adoption Month, now gone too I figured I better get this posted now since adoption is at the core of the gratitude I feel this season.

Saying that this year started completely on the wrong foot would be an understatement. After 4 years of waiting, 2 failed adoptions, being emotionally abused twice and suffering some financial loss due to travel expenses twice, we felt like closing the door on our dreams to grow our family. Fortunately before the adoption scam we had decided to sign up with Everlasting Adoptions, an adoption advertiser. We decided we couldn't waste the 2 year contract we already paid.

I know God has particular people enter our lives to act out His will. I am so thankful to Carol the owner of Everlasting Adoptions. She played an integral part in bringing Emma to our family. I don't even want to think how life would be now had we not had her involved. The sections she had us write for our  new profile had us include bits of information about us that I don't know if we would have included otherwise. It was those bits and even the look of the profile that resonated with Emma's birth family and ultimately helped them decide we were the right family.

Even though Emma's birth family found our web site because of our own networking and marketing efforts, our new profile listed the Everlasting Adoptions number. It was Carol who answered their phone call, rallied for us, and got the ball rolling. She is so personable, so caring, and a great listener which also resonated with Emma's birth family. She provided comfort and reassurance for both sides during a trying time and kept communication open until our adoption agency took over. Carol even continued to check on us until we were on our way to back home to Idaho.

I cannot express how grateful I am for Owen's birth parents and Emma's birth parents  They became instruments in God's hands as they answered our many, often tear-filled, prayers by placing their newborn babies in our arms. I am in awe of their bravery in holding fast to their selfless choice amid the pain. I came across the singer Katherine Nelson as she is part of my favorite bands, The Nashville Tribute. She just came out with a new album called Born Brave. It includes the song Whats Mine Is Yours that I'm simply love as it encompasses the feelings of adoptive couples and birth parents perfectly.

Sorry this cuts out near the end but here are the lyrics.

Counting down days since nine months last summer 
From the baby quilts to the sunshine light-switch cover 
All the plans she made 
Wall-papered dreams she made for him someday 

Doctor hardly glanced her way, shut off the monitor 
As he walked out the door said “You’re young, there’ll be others” 
No sirens or loud screams 
No rushing or comforting 
It was just over 

On the longest road toward home 
She parked in the church lot and cried 
And said 

What’s mine is yours 
It’s always been 
What slips through my hands has your fingerprints on it 
I’m letting go 
Though Heaven’s doors feel shut they’re wide open 
What’s mine is yours 

Teenage girl clinging to the gates of mercy 
Holding the weight of the world and her newborn baby 
Trying her best to be brave 
Wrapped in hope giving him away to a longing family 

When her courage met their eyes she saw 
Somehow her baby was born to be in their arms 
And cried 


In this life we come and go and say goodbye 
But there’s more than we can see with our own eyes 
And when my faith’s a thread-bare blanket and I can’t take it anymore 
I remember 

What’s mine is yours 

I’m letting go 
Though heaven’s doors feel shut they’re wide open 
What’s mine is yours 

I'm so grateful for our little family!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Emma Crawling

Emma started crawling the week before Halloween. I finally got a video of her crawling almost two weeks ago thanks to Barry's dad. I really wish I'd been able to post it then. At least it's better late than never.

She started doing a crawl I've never seen before and I got such a laugh watching her. Owen started crawling doing an army crawl where he'd propel himself with his arms. Emma kept her legs closed and used her feet to push herself on up onto her knees. Then she'd move her knees forward as one and flop onto her belly. It was like she was a fish doing a tail flip to propel herself. LOL. After watching her, Barry's dad said it wouldn't be long until she'd have it down pat. He was right and not only is she cruising but she also finding new things like bookshelves and the AV Receiver downstairs. Steering her interest, once something has caught her eye, is challenging so we are currently in the process of baby proofing our home.  

Emma has a pretty bad case of separation anxiety. She won't play with her toys when we put her down next them unless we sit down next to her. Even if she can see you she starts whining/crying and crawling toward you. Funny thing is that when she gets bored she is perfectly fine to go into the next room without you.

She is also pulling herself up on everything even when there isn't anything to hold onto like walls and doors. She has gotten plenty of pinches, scratches, bruises, and bonks for this reason. This Christmas will be a new experience for us since Owen wasn't crawling or pulling himself up yet his 1st Christmas. I can already picture her trying to pull herself up using one of the branches on the Christmas tree. We'll have to use twine to secure it to the banister so it won't tip and decorate only half of it. We did this for Owen's 2nd Christmas. He was 18 months at the time. LOL.

Yesterday she stood for 5 seconds after she let go of Barry's knee. She sure knows no fear and quite likes to have us scare her. Owen, on the other hand, started crying yesterday when Barry jumped out and scared him with a boo.

Emma has 4 teeth now, 2 on bottom and the 2 new ones on top. She has the same amount of teeth that Owen had at 15 months.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Halloween 2012 - Emma's 1st Halloween

I learned my lesson from last year and waited until 2 weeks before Halloween to have Owen decide who/what he wanted to be for Halloween. Owen was introduced to Lego Star Wars last year. We'd play it and our other Lego video games together before Emma came. Anyway, Owen has been playing Lego Star Wars again so he wanted to be a Jedi knight. We decided on Obi-Wan Kenobi. 

The Friday before Halloween was Owen's Halloween celebration at school. They do a Halloween parade and invite all the parents to come. Here is Owen as Obi-Wan Kenobi after his Halloween parade at school. He didn't have his light saber since toy weapons are not allowed at school. 

Following the tutorial here (sleeve length modified by measuring a shirt of Owen's), 
a $5 dark brown twin sheet from Walmart (cloak),
a 1 yard of khaki broadcloth (tunic),  and
2 brown felt sheets fastened around with sew-on snaps
here is my young Obi-Wan Kenobi! 

I made his costume again this year. I remember my mom making my costumes and how loved I felt because she took that time. I hope Owen remembers the same. Unfortunately I didn't realize how little time I have currently so I had to wait to work on it after the kids were in bed. Next year I am going to buy them for sure!! Barry told me he'd let me spend $50 on just one if it didn't mean 5 nights (2 of which lasted after midnight) measuring, pinning, cutting, sewing, etc that resulted in a cranky, tired mom.

I was thrilled when I realized Emma for her 1st Halloween would be able to fit into the pumpkin costume Owen wore on his 1st Halloween! Here's a now and then to show my babies on their 1st Halloween!

On Halloween we went to a trunk-or-treat at our church. Normally a trunk-or-treat lasts 10 minutes. This year we combined with the other ward (church group) in our building and it took us 45 minutes! Owen got a great stash. Everyone thought Owen was so cool and recognized his costume right away. They all loved Emma and thought she was so cute. We got asked a lot if she could have candy and I told them to just put it in Owen's pumpkin bucket. LOL! Mom & Dad got their own stash! Here are some pictures from trunk-or-treating Halloween night. Afterward we drove to Idaho Falls to trick-or-treat at Grandpa & Grandma's house.

The Friday after Halloween there was trick-or-treating at my office. Owen was very confused about it. He'd say "But mom it's November!" He just learned about the months a couple weeks before. I don't know why they didn't hold it the Friday before either. We joked at work, "Well it was decided by corporate." I felt we were living an episode of "The Office." 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Family Pictures

In the hallway that leads to our rooms we have our family picture hung up. Obviously that hall gets a lot of traffic, and ever since we brought Emma home, there hasn't been a day that either Barry, Owen, or myself haven't mentioned how we need a family picture that includes Emma. Thanks to Barry's talented cousin we finally have a new family picture and updated pictures of Emma and Owen. Megan did such a fantastic job! Hope you think so too. Enjoy!

Pink Days

For 3 days in a row Owen has come home from school having a pink day! What is a pink day? I'll explain in a minute so continue reading on...

I'm sure anyone that read my post about Owen's 1st day of Kindergarten may be wondering how school is going for Owen now. I am happy to report that the second day of school, third day, fourth day and every day since have been good days for Owen. And thankfully Owen has successfully gotten home on the bus ever since that hiccup on the 1st day. For a while Owen had to hold his teacher's hand while he waited for the bus. Now she just keeps an eye on him, and his classmates who ride the same bus (they happen to be all girls, LOL) help him stay put too.

I took my Wolf Cub Scouts to a pumpkin patch for a den meeting.
Owen loved it and insisted I take a picture of him holding the pumpkin he chose. 
So, what about these pink days? Owen's teacher uses a chart of 7 colors where each color represents their overall behavior that day. Pink = Outstanding, Purple = Great Job, Blue = Good Day, Green = Ready to Learn, Yellow = Think About It, Orange = Teacher's Choice, and Red = Parent Contact. Each student has a clothespin and it resets to green each day. Throughout the day, acts of good behavior move their clothespin up and acts of bad behavior move it down. They record the color for that day onto a calendar that goes to and from home. 

I've been so happy to see Owen coming home having blue and green days. We visited with his teacher at parent conference mid-October. She said academically she had no worries about Owen and they are working on his behavior issues with the behavioral management team. I had accepted that he may not ever have a pink day but boy was I surprised to have him come home having a pink day for the 3rd time! 

His first pink day Owen was so excited that he called at work on Skype to tell me about it. His second pink day was on Halloween. Apparently all the class got pink that day but I figured that really didn't matter when compared to how proud Owen was about having yet another pink day.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Once There was a Snow Man

The Friday before Halloween, we had an early treat (or scare if you are anything like me and hate winter driving). Snow! Good thing I bought Owen's snow gear early this year. The next day he went out and built a snowman all by himself except for the face. He begged me to come out and help him finish it. 

My tough snowman builder!

I didn't want to particularly go out into the cold but then I didn't want to make Owen sad and this would be a 1st for Emma. So Emma and I bundled up and headed outside.

Barry's sister Amanda had given us some clothes worn by her girls including this snow suit. Isn't Emma the cutest snow bunny?!?!
Owen already had an empty bubbles bottle as the nose. Emma sat contently in the snow while I helped Owen find some rocks for the rest of his snowman's face. Emma didn't know what quite to think about the snow. At least she didn't cry and even gave me a smile when I took her picture.

While I was taking pictures, Owen wanted me to record a video of him. I think Owen may have a future in broadcasting. What do you think?

It's not unusual to have snow this early but I really hoped winter was not here to stay. Sunday it rained a little and by Monday it was all melted. Owen was sad about his snowman melting. We sang Once there was a Snowman and that made him feel better. I felt better too having the roads clear again.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Emma's 6 Month Checkup

After realizing Emma turning 7 months next Tuesday I decided I better busta' move and get this post published. Emma had her 6 month check up two weeks ago. She weighted exactly 16 pounds and measured 25 inches. This puts in her in the 50th percentile for weight and 10th percentile for height (Dr. Edwards called her a shorty, not nice. LOL. It's mostly OK being that I'm not exactly tall either). She is perfectly healthy and developmentally right on track except he wasn't convinced she knew her name. I must admit I call her "baby" or "baby girl" too much so I've made it a point to be better.

Barry took Emma outside the other day to wait for Owen's bus. Emma loved the grass.
She was kicking like crazy and putting her hands in it contiually. 

I am happy to report that Emma's silent acid reflux is almost completely under control (only spits up once or twice a day) and her eczema has nearly vanished after starting her on a daily dose of probiotics (good bacteria). For the most part, the Prevacid she was taking and Enfamil AR (added rice) formula alleviated most of her symptoms but she would still spit up a lot and have episodes of heartburn.

Then at 3 months old she started having eczema. It was when I fed her pear puree for the 1st time that I found it triggered her ezcema. Without fail, 5 minutes into her feeding Emma's eczema would be inflamed with little red bumps all over her body. The same reaction happened with applesauce. I did some searching on the Internet and learned that fruit like pears, apples, peaches are quite acidic unlike vegetables and should be avoided by acid reflux sufferers.

I did a little experiment and gave Emma peas for two dinners instead and she didn't have any reaction! Unfortunately even avoiding fruit wasn't 100% foolproof. Sometimes she would still have a reaction and I noticed those were the times when she was having acid reflux issues. I figured the acidity of her stomach  was off kilter and the fruits were making it even worse.  I know bacteria in the stomach play a role in good gut health so I decided to try her on probiotics and it has been an answer to our prayers. She can now eat fruit without any eczema flare ups.

Emma has also had another tooth break through. It is the other tooth in the center of her bottom jaw.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Emma's First Tooth

I shouldn't had been surprised when Emma's first tooth broke through September 2nd. I was given plenty of warning at Emma's last checkup. I wish I had a picture to post but it has been more elusive than when I was trying to take the first picture of her smiling.

To save you from a confusing explanation, I've marked Emma's first tooth on this diagram with a #1.

Last week Emma had her 6 month wellness visit. After feeling in her mouth, Dr. Edwards said he could feel several little bumps. I got a glimpse of Emma's mouth a couple days ago and sure enough the incisor, marked #2, is almost through and #3 is on its way as well. Poor baby and poor mama who has a lot of teething to go through for the next couple months! At least Emma is a very sweet baby and doesn't bite down on my finger with her new tooth when give her Ora-gel or a little gum massage.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Happy Half Birthday Emma!

Emma's aunt Jen took this beautiful picture!

On September 2nd, Emma turned 6 months old! Some days it feels she is growing up way too fast. Usually those are the busy days when I have so much going on. Other days I have nothing to do for the 2 hours between work and Owen getting home from school. That's when I let Emma become my whole world. Time can slow down if choose to let it. I find getting down on the floor to play and be with Emma makes my cup run over.

It was also a special day because September 2nd is her Grandma Jaylene's birthday. She would be 54 this year. I truly believe that birthdays are still important in heaven. Our loved ones must realize that their birthday, for those of us left behind, is a day when we are thinking of them and probably missing them.

Miss Emma I am so glad you were born and that your first parents decided to place you in our family. Happy Half Birthday!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Emma Sitting Up

I've wanted to post about Emma sitting up for weeks. Finding any spare time to get on the computer and getting a post up is next to impossible lately. Both Owen and Emma went to bed early tonight so I jumped at the opportunity before I got distracted doing anything else!

Emma started sitting up on her own about 3 weeks ago. Lately she only falls backward or to the side when she is trying to grab something, like a toy that is out of reach, so we still either sit and play next to her or put a couch pillow or her Boppy pillow behind her. Other times she gets tired of playing and will fall back on purpose.

Here is a short video of Emma when she was first sitting up.

Tenacious and determined  would be the best words to describe Emma these days. She literally launches herself forward when she sees something she wants to grab. She is fairly innate at rolling now, so once she gets to tummy she'll roll toward her destination.

She desperately wants to crawl and she's scooted backwards a few times. She was sitting in the living room the other day when she started pushing her bum off the floor over and over again with her hands on the floor. She was trying to push up just enough to fall onto her knees. Eventually she pushed herself over but her knees couldn't hold her weight so she face planted instead. I don't enjoy seeing her get frustrated, and I especially do not like to see her get bonks, but I'm not pushing her to crawl anytime soon either.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Owen's 1st Day of Kindergarden

Yesterday was Owen's 1st day in kindergarden. He was very excited yet nervous.

On his way back to the nursery from a delivery in Rexburg, Daddy stopped to take him to his school. Despite a hiccup where Owen ended up coming home with our neighbor instead of riding the bus, it seemed Owen had a good day.

What a Cheese!
I talked to his teacher this morning trying to sort out what happened with the bus. Apparently his 1st day wasn't as good as we thought. All day he wouldn't follow directions without putting up a big stink. When it was time to go home, he moved from the bus line into the walking line without being noticed. Good thing one of the neighbor boys spotted him with those waiting to walk home and had him come with him.

After some serious talks with Owen and positive responses from Owen after questioning him after school, I am hoping her next report is much better. I can tell she is a really good teacher and is going to be a great for Owen.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Owen Rides Again!

Just a month ago Owen's Spiderman bike was sitting in the garage collecting dust. Barry bought it for Owen's Easter surprise 2 years ago. Owen wasn't too interested at the time in learning to ride. I think he figured that running had never failed him yet and so why make the effort. After my insisting, we got him this Fisher-Price tricycle that same year. It wasn't until last summer, with some positive peer pressure from his friend Tage from next door, that Owen started using his tricycle and learning how to peddle and steer.

Owen trying out his new tricycle (Spring 2010)

Owen's first attempt to use his bicycle this summer didn't end up so well. Instead of starting on the sidewalk, Owen decided to go down our driveway. Well, our driveway is slightly steep ... (I'm sure you know where I'm going here) ... and he ended up crashing when he couldn't slow down. Good thing he had a helmet!

Being slightly scraped up and traumatized, he only wanted to ride his tricycle but he did get really good with steering and peddling, becoming our a little dare devil. Owen would start from the top of our driveway and using his feet (reminded me of Fred Flintstone) would slow down enough at the end, to avoid crashing, but fast enough to take a wide left turn onto the sidewalk without even peddling. He completely wore down the soles of first pair his summer shoes doing this!

Anyway...last month Barry took Owen out to teach him how to brake and to have him get a feel of training wheels. He has been riding everyday since! I am so proud of my big boy! And yes, he has learned how to do his dare devil moves on his bike too. 

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Emma Rolling Over

Emma turned 5 months on Thursday. She can do some new tricks now. LOL. Two weeks ago she started rolling over from her back to her tummy. She has rolled back a couple times but usually just flounders. It won't be too long before Emma is sitting up all by herself too. She can do it for a couple seconds if she stays still and doesn't go after a toy.

Emma has become a "chunky monkey" (Grandpa Vest's new nickname for her). I weighed us yesterday and came up with her being around 15 pounds. She has lots of rolls especially on her legs .She even has rolls where her wrists connect to her hands. If they call those rolls that go over your ankles, cankles, then I guess Emma has fwrists (forearm wrists), right?!? LOL. Though she has cankles too.

She is loving baby food when it doesn't make her ezcema and acid reflux flare up on her. We've tried pears, peas, apples, and now squash. For some reason her body just doesn't like fruits right now. Within minutes of eating pear or apple puree her ezcema patches flare red and her stomach acid goes haywire making her excessively drool and chew on her tongue and bib. Luckily vegatables have been ok.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Fourth of July Week

Being August third I decided I better move it and get my Fourth of July post done. This year our Fourth of July celebrations lasted all week. We had a party on the fourth, sixth, and eighth. We were excited to hold our first BBQ at our house for the Fourth. Usually we hold at Barry's parents. Barry made his famous ribs; I think they as good as the ribs served at most BBQ and steakhouses. I won't divulge his secret but I can give a little hint. The secret is not in the sauce but in how he cooks them.

After dinner, Barry's brother Steven lit off some fireworks for the kiddos. We lined them up so they could pick out a firework, hand it to uncle Steven, who would light and throw it in the street. Squeals of excitement followed as the firework went off. Thankfully there was only a couple of really loud, annoying ones.

Grandma Vest loving up on Emma who is all decked out
to celebrate her 1st Fourth of July. She's wearing the hair bow 
I made (I'm not proud of my work, am I?) 
Then we headed to the Menan fireworks. I've been to the Melaluca Freedom Celebration in Idaho Falls several times. Just to get a good viewing spot you have to stake out your place that morning. Plus I'm not too fond of the huge crowd and the traffic afterwards. 

We left home just 15 minutes before the Menan show started and got a prime spot. We were so close that the car alarm of the van behind us kept going off due to the explosions. I have to admit I wasn't expecting much of a show from a town smaller than Rigby; I'm not exaggerating when I say the show lasted 45 minutes! Just as a round of fireworks finished, one of us would say, "That's has to be it" and then another round would be fired off. After the show we made it home in the record time of 15 minutes. After the 
Melaluca fireworks we were lucky to be home an hour later.

Great Grandma Olsen loving on Emma. 
Emma is her only great granddaughter.
On the sixth, we celebrated my Grandpa Olsen turning 80 this June. Since my aunt Julie from Colorado, my uncle Rob from Washington, and their families were going to be in Idaho over the Fourth, we waited to celebrate his birthday then. It was great to see my cousins that I haven't seen in ages. I also really liked how each of us shared a memory or two about Grandpa. There were things I'd forgotten and it made me appreciate my grandpa more. 

Owen and his new friend Scout
My uncle Rob brought his dog Scout along. Owen's initial reaction was a "classic Owen" one (he freaked out and screamed). He is scared of dogs mainly because he doesn't like them jumping up on him and he is allergic to them. Being a typical old dog (12 years old), Scout was very mellow and just laid there while Owen built up the courage to touch him. We've noticed his allergic reaction is not as severe. No more hives or swollen eyes but his eyes will get red, itchy and watery if any fur or dander gets near them. We've told Owen that he needs to wash his hands after touching a dog to avoid touching his eyes. Thank goodness for Claritin melt tabs. LOL.

P.S. Thanks Dean for taking these pictures and thanks Julie for emailing them to me.

The sixth also happens to be my Grandpa Clinger's birthday. He turned 82 this year. So we made a special visit on the eighth to see him. He was doing so well that day that you wouldn't know he has Parkinson's disease; some days the Parkinson's Disease debilitates him to the point that he can barely talk. He loved seeing Emma and talking to her. He kept telling her she was such a beautiful girl (I wholeheartedly agree!).

After our visit we headed over to a surprise party for our nephew Noah who turned 7. The poor boy endured a whole day of being told by his mother that she had not planned a party for him. Boy was he surprised! Even better, Grandpa Vest tried out his Cotton Candy machine (his anniversary present from Mom)  for the first time at the party.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Look Who is Eating Solids!

Emma had her 4 month check up last Wednesday. She weighed at 13 pounds 3 ounces and 23 3/4 inches long which puts her in the 25th percentile. Dr. Edwards said she did  beautifully in all milestone areas like tracking, standing with assistance, and being responsive with smiling, cooing, and laughing when someone interacts with her.

He also called her a show off when she grabbed his scope and tried to put in her mouth as that is a 6 month old milestone. Unfortunately Emma still gets cradle cap and recently has developed eczema from her cheeks all the way to her ankles. Fortunately we are not newbies in eczema care as Owen has had eczema since he was 3 months old too. We already have fragrance free detergent, steroid cream and hydrocortizone but since Owen's eczema does not affect his entire body like it used to we had to get some fragrance free shampoo, lotion, etc for Emma.

Dr. Edwards also said Emma has swollen gums so we can be expecting a tooth sometime soon. I'm so glad she has a reason for drooling and slobbering so much. She wears a bib all day, every day or else she'd end up needing her shirt changed multiple times each day. It's a new experience having a baby who will have teeth before turning one.  

Now for the most exciting part of this post! Yesterday Emma ate rice cereal for the first time and she loved it. She was a totally piggy and ate 4 tablespoons! I could barely get another spoonful ready before she would start smacking her lips for more. Being on AR (added rice) formula I figured she would already know the taste and be used to the thicker consistency. Next week we try oatmeal. 

Did you like that Emma?

You better believe it!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Picnic for Two!

I ran downstairs the other day to get something from my craft area. I'd forgot to shut down the computer so the screensaver was on and I glanced over to catch a picture of Owen when he was just 2 months old. I stood and watched a little longer to see pictures of Owen's first year. I cried thinking how that sweet little baby is no longer so little. Owen has made lots of new friends in our neighborhood this year. I'm so glad because he was really socially isolated. 

But now it seems he always playing with some friend and with work, taking care of Emma, or doing housework I've really missed spending time with him. I realized his time with me being the center of his world is running short so I've started to look for those opportunities to spend time with Owen. So one Saturday afternoon while Barry was still at work and Emma was sleeping, Owen and I had a little picnic in our backyard with peanut butter sandwiches, string cheese, and apple slices, nothing special but we sure had a special time together and that's what matters.

I'm getting to that point where I'm having to evaluate everything I do (even crafts which I decided I am going to buy on Etsy and eBay for now on because I am such an perfectionist) as being worthwhile and meaningful in my life right now. It feels that all the prayer, waiting, and uncertainty we faced for years to have children would be all in vain if I don't take more care in choosing what's the best use of my time while Emma and Owen are still at home.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Emma Update v.2

Emma is now 4 months old. I can hardly believe it is already July. I was looking at pictures of Emma from when we were in Portland to now and I cried seeing how much she has changed. Having waited 4 years for her and being she is likely our last baby, makes her growing up a  very bittersweet experience. Even looking at the picture below of her at 3 months and pictures of her now I can tell a difference. I weighted us the other day and she is some where in the 13 pound range now wearing 3-6 month clothing.

3 months old
4 months old
On a happier note, Emma sure loves her big brother. When Owen stays still long enough you can see Emma watching him. She wants to be able to be on the go too. She'll push with her legs to scoot a little on the floor. She's rubbed off a lot of hair that way. Emma desperately wants to roll over and she can get to her side at times. She'll roll just enough so she can see what is going on behind her. Once she figures out to lift her legs as she swings over her arm then she'll be rolling over in no time.

She wants to eat more so we tried 5 to 6 ounces and that made her acid reflux act up. We went back to 4 oz and just feed her more frequently but even that doesn't work all the time. Her 4 month wellness check is Tuesday so hopefully he gives us the OK to start cereal and/or increases her medicine's dose.

Our swing has been such a godsend the past month. One afternoon I was struggling to put her down despite her being so tired, so on a whim I put her in our swing hoping the motion would put her to sleep. Not only did she finally fall asleep but she also slept 3 hours! I've found I even have to turn the swing off after an hour or else she will sleep too long. I figure besides the motion, the little clicking noise the motor makes as it swings helps too.

Emma's favorite toys are her elephant and her doll Dolly (original name I know). Anything that goes into Emma's hands ends up also in her mouth including Dolly's braids. 

Emma has learned how to growl She picked it up from Barry as he likes to growl when he's tickling her belly with his face. A funny thing happened last week when Barry's dad went to hold Emma. He only a minute to hold her and the moment she got into his arms then she he growled. I told him not to take it personally as she has growled at me a couple times. Now she will growl when she doesn't like something that is going on.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Graduating from Preschool

I know I'm a little slow posting this. It seems all of the sudden all the books I had on hold at the library came available and our laundry has multiplied. I can't remember doing this much laundry for Owen. With Emma's acid reflux she spits up more (not projectile) and now she is soaking her clothes with drool. Enough said about that. This post is about Owen.

The end of May Owen graduated from preschool. We are so proud of how much he has learned and the progress he has made especially in the social area. We had the convenience of Owen's preschool being next door. Our next door neighbor runs a preschool in her home so many of the kids in our neighborhood go to her preschool. Owen has made some really good friends in the neighborhood this way.

His teacher Mrs. Jamie did a great job especially with Owen being an active boy. With her help, Owen starting to read 1st grade words before school ended. We preregistered him for kindergarten last month too. Owen was so excited to be visiting his new school and didn't want to leave when the time came. The teacher screening him said he was such a smart boy.

So he doesn't forget what he's learned during summer break, we are having him do 10 minutes of reading everyday. Half of the time he reads to us and the other half of the time we point at the words as we read them to him.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Emma Update

Emma will be 3 months old this upcoming Saturday. It has been whirlwind experience since the day we got that life changing call March 3rd. Now that Emma's adoption is finalized and she is sealed to our family, I feel time is passing at just the right pace (not to jinx myself).

The only way I can get her to take a good nap is for her to sleep on me otherwise she only takes 20 minute cat naps. I can't complain because I love snuggling and it's a good time to catch up our blog using my Android phone or read a book. She does pretty well with one good nap a day so I do it while Owen is using his computer time.

Emma loves to be sitting or standing up now instead of being cradled. She either fusses or tries to pull herself up whenever someone holds her that way. I wish we had one of the Bumbo chairs but they are so expensive for what little time they use them that we improvise. I either have her sit on my lap with her back against me while I sit cross-legged on the floor, or I lay against the couch arm with my knees up and place her so she is sitting on me with her back resting against my thighs.

Here is some video of Emma cooing. She is such a talker and I love talking and listening to her. Honestly I don't remember Owen cooing this much (must be that we girls enjoy talking). At her 2 month appointment she did this much cooing for Dr. Edwards. He said it was really fun to hear her talk that much because most babies will just coo a little for him. I'm sure she is going to be quite the talker as she gets older but I'm glad she is also a very good listener.

Catching that Smile!

The other day I wanted Emma to wear one of the bows I've made. I've been having fun making these easy flower bows that match many of her outfits.


I dressed her in a matching outfit and she looked so stinkin' cute. I grabbed the camera and hoped to catch her smiling. This is the smile that magically turns my moods around. I can feel sad or grouchy but after Emma smiles at me I feel the negative feelings just drain away. I feel so blessed to have Emma and I often think of her birth parents and how they changed our lives with just one decision. Emma smiles a lot now. She has even laughed out loud a couple times. She just loves to be smiled at and talked to.