photo taken by Angela Speiker

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Emerald's first day of preschool

Man was she excited to go to school today.

She insisted I take a picture of her "pack, pack".

Emerald did get a haircut yesterday. We chopped the bangs--I was so tired of them being in her face all the time. After the haircut she looked in the mirror and said, "I can see! I look beautiful." No, not vain at all, just a 3 year old.
Peering in at Calvin.
This is just to show how smiley she was today. I never get this many pictures in one day of her looking at the camera and smiling (at least not w/o a lot of bribes).

Our little girl started preschool today! She was so excited, she was bouncing off the walls! We hadn't planned to send her to school until next year. However, a spot came open for her in our local elementary school's preschool program. We really wanted her in next year, but she was #11 on the wait list. If we enroll her in the program now, she has a gauranteed spot for next year. This is huge, b/c we wanted her at the same school she will be attending kindergarten. It is also a mere 3 minutes from our house. We are excited, but can't believe that our little Emers can be old enough for school already. She will be attending 3 days a week, in the afternoons, which works b/c she is not napping anyway. She will be a peer model in the program. We know that this will be an excellent experience for her, both socially and academically. We know she is a smart little girl, but it can never hurt to challenge her in new ways. This way she will be able to socialize with other kids her own age. Even though she was beginning the year a little late, their were 2 other new kids in her class today. Her teacher seems super sweet and Emerald was all smiles when we picked her up. Poor Calvin asked all the way home, "(Where) Gee (his nickname for her) go??" After waking up he searched the house, for all of 10 minutes, looking high and low for his hero, Gee. It is moments like this that really make you realize how fast your little munchkins grow up. We love our little girl and we are so proud of the person she is turning out to be!! May God continue to bless her!!

Finished product in decorating the pumpkins

Just a quick post to show our finished pumpkins. Some are painted, some markered, and the rest carved. Emerald will be quick to tell you that the difference between a pumpkin and a jack-o-lantern is that one is carved.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Decorating our pumpkins!

Excited prior to decorating.

Touching the innards of the pumpkin. A little unsure.

They enjoyed "stirring" the pumpkin.

Calvin has this new, cheesy, grin. He does it all the time. Emerald laughs when he does it and says, look at that face. I just love how well they get along!

Painting--mostly the pumpkin, a little bit of clothing.

We think we might have a little Picasso on our hands in Emerald. She loved the paint.

The 3 kids all wound up for the decorating!

The kids have been very antsy to decorate our pumpkins. Last night we got out the paints and carving tools and went to work, in the garage, b/c it was a little more than chilly outside! The kids (all 3 of them) had a blast decorating our pumpkins. The little kids focused on painting and using markers to decorate the littlest pumpkins. The big kid was excited to make pictures on the pumpkin, as dictated by the munchkins. I haven't yet gotten the final product pictures, but will post those soon, maybe with 2 kids in costume later this week. They really had fun "scooping the goop" but were a little hesitant on touching the yucky stuff at first. I love October!!

Emerald got a haircut today, the day after these pictures were taken. She starts preschool tomorrow, but more on that later!

Visiting family

Emerald, crying, don't know why.

The kids w/ Grandma and Grandpa.

Aunt Carmen, Mom and Dad

22 weeks now! Lobster is really starting to show him/herself!
Fall is awesome!
This weekend we went to Emporia. We met grandma, grandpa (Steph's parents), great-grandma, and Aunt Carmen. Aunt Carmen was visiting from Florida, and we so rarely get to see her. We met for lunch, went to visit Aunt Carmen's old sorority house on the Emporia State campus (where homecoming was going on). It makes me realize just how old we are getting and how long it's been since living "college style". I don't know that I could go back to that again! Then we spent another perfect fall day at a wonderful park, Peter Pan Park. The kids had a great time playing. It was nice, wore them out for the 30 minute nap in the car on the way home (honestly my kids don't like sleep!).

A visit to the pumpkin patch

I think she told us she was "posing" on the "ginormous" pumpkin. We don't get "posing" often from Emers.

They were intrigued by the white pumpkins.
Just a random sweet shot of the kiddos around the house.

Last weekend we spent a beautiful Saturday afternoon at the pumpkin patch. We couldn't have asked for a more perfect October day. Unfortunatly my camera's batteries stopped working about 5 pictures into the trip, so what you see is what you get. They had great photo opportunities, but alas, we will just have to scan our own memories for those, sorry to not be able to share. The kids loved the large slides, tons of pumpkins, petting zoo, haunted barn, hay-rack ride, yummy kettle corn, apple cider slush, and spending the day together. Emerald did a great job riding a zip line they had for kids. Calvin got pretty tired by the end. It was a fun way to spend our birthday weekend.

Finally--updated pictures!

OK, I have dumped pictures and am finally ready to update our blog. Sorry about the delay.
The kids were giving daddy a huge hug saying thanks for finishing their swing set.
They think it is hilarious when mommy or daddy slide down the slide.
The final product. The kids have really enjoyed our new swing set.
Eating outside on our new table (thanks grandma). Putting together a swing set is hard work for a 3 year old and 1 year old!

Emerald "helping" daddy mow the lawn.
Calvin "helping" on the new "tractor". He loves it.

We finally finished the swing set. The kids are thrilled to have a place to use up their energy (oh wait, that's me). They also love riding on daddy's new "tractor". Thank goodness we had some help in getting the swing set put together. We never could have done it w/o Jeff and our neighbor, Chris.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

First Photo Session for Baby Lobster!!

Here are our sonogram pictuers of baby Lobster!!

This one cracks me up! We can't remember what they were showing us, but to me, this one totally looks like a lobster!! How appropriate!

His or her little feet!

We call these 2 pictures our "Halloween" baby! Great pictures, just a little spooky.

Here are 2 profile pictures. I couldn't pick which one was cuter.
No real news on the Lobster front. I am planning a new post on the 2 "big" kids in the next day or 2. Our OB is an awesome guy! He has called me twice in the last week--he, himself, not his secretary. He wanted to reassure me that we were going to stay on top of things and that he was happy that everything looked great in the 2nd sonogram. He did inform us that we were going to continue to do monthly sonograms and starting between week 28-30 we were going to begin doing non-stress tests. This is good, in that we will be staying aware of Lobster's progress and my health. However, he informed me that we'd have to go into the office 2 times a week at that point. The most difficult part of this is trying to plan out what we will be doing with our other 2 munchkins. I can't very well chase them around the office for the 30-45 minutes during the test, and it is difficult to ask Skip to take off work twice a week (plus additional actual doctor visits). We will figure it out. I do feel so thankful to have my so many people lean on for all my million questions during this time in our lives. We will continue to keep you informed.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Baby Lobster Update

We had our sonogram on Wed. What a miracle to be able to see this beautiful baby growing inside of me! I was most impressed with the side view of our little one showing his/her spine, ribs, etc. To think that this all started with nothing and so perfectly formed in the end guided by God's hands. We got to see a wonderful profile shot, too. Emerald came to the appt with Skip and I (Calvin stayed with a friend, he's still a little too young). She was amazed at seeing baby Lobster on TV. The sono tech laughed at her nickname for the baby, saying that she hadn't heard that one yet. I know, you want to see pics. We have several great sono pics, but haven't had the chance to scan them in yet. Be patient, and we promise to post them soon.

As they were performing the sonogram they did discover a problem. In the umbilical cord there is supposed to be 3 vessels--2 arteries and 1 vein. Our sono tech was only able to find 1 artery and 1 vein. The doc informed us that this could be an indicator of birth defects. This, of course, is not the kind of news you want to hear, and being in normal steph fashion, I started to cry. He didn't want to take any chances, so he sent us to a perinatologist--or a doc that deals with more high-risk pregnancies. Luckily they were able to get us in the next day, thurs., oct 16. Talk about a basket case--I am a crier anyway, and with this crazy hormonal state of pregnancy I think I cried all day long thinking worst-case everything. Skip, my ever calm Skipper (or captain of our family) remained his cautious, calm self.

This new doc did another sono and confirmed that it was a 2 vessel cord, or SUA (single umbilical artery). They spent a great deal of time observing all the major organs of the baby and taking measurements. It was odd laying in the room, as the nurse went thru a checklist w/ the doc. "Stomach present, check--bladder present, check--etc" He spent a great deal of time on the heart, and didn't say check right away. I got so nervous I really thought I was going to faint. If I hadn't been laying down, I'd have asked them to let me. They did eventually see what they wanted to see, though. For now, everything looks healthy and good on little Lobster. Thanks be to God!!! What a wondeful bday present for both Skip and I!!

Many times this condition leads to a healthy child, so please know that is what we are most concentrated on!!

We are going to have to continue visiting the perinatologist for monthly sonograms (yeah, more chances to see our baby) to keep updated with the growth and condition of the baby. In addition we will also be seeing our OB as often or more frequently for normal tests and non-stress tests to make sure the baby is healthy and thriving. They said this condition increases our chances of many things, including still-birth, Down's Syndrome, heart conditions, etc. That sounds awful, but the chances are still way in our favor. We could do an amnio, but the chances of harming the baby are still much greater than the chances of them having any of these problems. We are going to watch the growth of the baby for sure, as one of the problems of a 2 vessel cord also include growth restricition. The perinatologist said that there was never a 0% chance of stillbirth, but with all of us keeping such a close eye on the baby we will try to keep the baby as healthy as we can.

There are still a lot of things we don't know the answers to. This is new to us. As we find out more with future sonograms we will know more. We don't know if I will still deliver at the same place, or if there will be a need to deliver at a hospital with a higher level NICU (just in case). We are very good friends with our pediatrician, so hopefully we can chat with him about possible future issues this may present after birth (heart conditions, kidney issues, urinary issues, etc.). Of course, our ultimate prayer is that Lobster is born a happy, healthy little ___________ (nope we still can't fill in the blank even with 2 sonos this week--still a surprise). We aren't sure if we will be able to go to full-term or if there will be any reason for an early delivery (although we are praying that everything is healthy and fine until the baby is healthy and ready to come meet us).

We will keep you posted and updated as we find out more information. For now we ask for prayers for a healthy Lobster and a healthy me. We will get pics posted as soon as we can scan them in. They are precious pics of our little one and I can't wait to share.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Cheering on the Cats

You can't ever have both kids smiling!

Calvin's pointing out his "Wildcat K-State"

I couldn't decide which of these I liked better of Emers. Both are too sweet. Mango, of course, had to make the photo session.

We are happy to be back in Kansas so that we can wear our purple with pride and have others around doing the same. Even though our Wildcats got stomped last weekend (good job to all those Tech fans), we still enjoyed watching the game. Emerald was especially happy to wear her special dress from Jessie and Calvin was quick to say, "Wildcats, go K-State". Yes, we are training them young.

Our house has been sick lately. Skip started sick, passed it on to the kids over the weekend, and thank goodness I've stayed healthy. Even in the middle of it all, he continues to be our rock and is working up a storm. I love and respect my husband so much for always working so hard. We unloaded about 15 boxes from our garage this weekend. It felt like an accomplishment. We are also in the early stages of working on Emerald's room. Wish us luck as we argue over colors and "girly" decorations for her cowgirl room. My goal is to have it done before Halloween, if not Thanksgiving. We have to get it done before working on our nursery.

On Wednesday we will be 20 weeks!! That is half way!! I am feeling great these days. I get a little frustrated that I can't always do what I want (like carrying heavy book boxes up the stairs this weekend), but gotta take care of Lobster. We have our sonogram next week, and yes, I plan to post pics if we get some. I started feeling the baby move (can't remember if I wrote that before) and it is getting a little stronger each day. It is a little odd getting this random kick when you aren't expecting it. However, it is reassuring that Lobster is healthy and kicking inside. I am thinking maybe a little gymnast inside, a tall gymnast!! We have been debating names lately. We have about 3 girl names that we are both very happy with. Boy names, another story! So, if you have any random suggestions, shoot them our way. We will consider most names, but have veto power ;) We are also starting to talk about how we want to decorate the nursery. It is fun to discuss all of these things. Keep praying that we all remain healthy and that our sonogram next week goes well.