Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas and India (but not Christmas IN India...)

We had a great time this Christmas!

Ingrid had a list she sent to Santa this year. Here it was:

1. A yo-yo. (She saw an episode of Arthur where they were playing with one, and she decided she needed one!)

2. puppets from the Baby Einstein DVD (she had a DVD from when she was really tiny, and we recently got it out for Rowan. There's a part with puppets, and she wanted those puppets badly!)

3. a princess skirt to match her "tippy" shoes (she has these dress-up shoes that have heels on them--she calls them "tippy" shoes because her feet tip up in them...)

We were so excited that Santa was able to find all of those things!

Santa found the "yo-yo ball" that comes back up automatically and the puppets both on Ebay! The princess skirt I found through Kindermusik. It came with a book & CD about a little girl, Tressa, who has a baby brother and she saves the day after "taming" her teething baby brother with her magic wand. Perfect for her. Of course, she got all kinds of other things.

Rowan just liked looking at the Winnie the Pooh/Tigger wrapping paper. He opened ONE present--an Elmo in a boat for the bathtub--and didn't care about the rest! I finally got him to open a fire truck that lights up and rolls by itself, and then he played with those two things. The other present he liked was this toddler hammer/nail set where the nails are actually worms that pop up and hide when you hit them with the hammer. We had to wake him up!

So, anyway, here's a picture journal of our Christmas, starting with the early December decking of the halls:

We had fun with Papa putting up the tree...

Mama and Ingrid put up the Nativity scene...without Baby Jesus for now...and we recounted the Christmas story...

Here's Ingrid with our Christmas Stockings. She's a literal little girl...apparently. :)

Here's Ingrid putting up the Baby Jesus in our Nativity scene--he wasn't born till Christmas morning! :) We did this before we opened any presents. Jesus was our best gift!
Beginning the opening of the presents...The book _Where the Wild Things Are_ from Aunt Colleen and Uncle Eric! I love educational gifts! (We've read it about 10 times since then... They both love this one because there are all kinds of voices I can do when I read it...)We decided we felt bad that Rowan was missing out on the action. We decided to go wake him up!Rowan was so funny. We ususally had a gate around the tree to keep him from pulling it over and eating the glass bulbs, but we took it down to put the presents around the tree. He didn't care about the presents. He was really excited that he could finally touch the pretty lights! :)
Ingrid got one of her puppets she wanted!
He was having so much fun with his hammer! Cute.
Rowan loved looking at his tigger wrapping paper. He kept walking around going, "woo-hoo-hoo-hoo!" tigger-style! He was a little sad about tearing the paper... :)
Rowan and his Elmo boat

Another thing we did was get an aquarium and 4 fish from Grandpa Darrell and Grandma Mary! Their names are as follows:

Ingrid's fish is named "Bobby" (Named after her 2 imaginary friends, Bobby Sewell and Bobby Nervous...Don't ask. We don't know...)

Rowan's fish is named "Ish"

Andrew's fish is named "Bengal" (Ingrid can't remember this one, so she re-named it "Spikes". Not sure why...)

Mine is named "Anna Karenina"

Thanks, Grandpa Darrell and Grandma Mary! It makes us think about feeding fish off your dock in Minnesota this past summer!

So, the day after Christmas, Andrew said goodbye to the kids and I took him to Washington, DC to the airport to catch an airplane to Chicago and then to New Delhi, India! He's going to meet his friend Ram who co-founded the ArTRAN (http://www.autismtheatre.org/) network. Ram visited us this past Spring to present on his work with theatre and autism, and now Andrew is visiting him there and giving trainings and presentations on his work with kids with autism here.

He left home Thursday evening and just got to Bangalore this morning! LONG trip and 3 nights in different airports and a 10 hour delay from New Delhi to Bangalore... But I just heard from him today that he was fine--just exhausted. Internet is finicky there, and he doesn't have his laptop, so we're all waiting on him to send pictures when he can figure out how... He said he's got a little culture shock right now, but reading between the lines, he's anticipating a real broadening of his worldview and expecting the trip to change him for the better. Not sure how it couldn't! :)

If you would like to follow his trip (somehow or other, we'll figure out how to do this...), visit his blogspot at http://indiaautism.blogspot.com/ ! Prayers for all would be appreciated... He'll be back January 15th! We miss him, but we're so proud of him for taking this leap and being brave enough to do this. Can't wait to see what he's seeing!!!

Next: NEW YEAR'S EVE!!! Stay tuned for a Rowan/Isaac photo shoot with their new matching Christmas outfits... :)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Will you come with me, Mama?

I keep trying to upload pictures, but Blogspot has been difficult. I've had this entry done for about a week and a half now, but can't seem to get it to work! So, I've got some catching up to do! Forgive the randomly put together pictures. We've had a fun Christmastide together!

Back when it started to snow, and it wasn't time to put up the Christmas decorations, I decided we should do a little activity together and make snowflakes to put around the house! We had fun. Ingrid is starting to like to use scissors, and I happened to have some glitter glue, so she had fun making them sparkly. Eventually, I ended up making the snowflakes and letting her unfold them and put the glitter on them. We hung them from the ceiling and the windows! It made it snow inside!
We also had to make sure Ingrid had a new Christmas dress--Rowan got a little cow outfit. They were so cute! Ingrid wore her dress to her Christmas play. This year, instead of red, we did pink--because she says that pink is her favorite color...probably because Gramma Camra started her out in pink any chance she got! :) Aunt Sarah would be proud, too!
Ingrid was in her first church Christmas play the weekend before Christmas. She was so cute. She knew every word to every song, and sang in key more than most of the other older kids... :) She's a natural singer. Of course we think she is practically a prodigy... :)
She also had one line.

"Peace on Earth."

And she refused to say it. She's so unabashed during her singing, but when it came to saying her line, she just clammed up! I couldn't get her to want to do it, and she wouldn't say it when the director (or her little 4th grade friends) told her to. Oh well. But her singing is so funny! :) She even dances a little. And she's very serious about it. Reminds me of myself... She stood on the stage in her little angel outfit and waved at me at every opportunity...usually when it's not such a good idea to be waving to me. She makes me giggle.

Here is a snippet of a rehearsal. She did well at the performance, too, although when she stepped out onto the stage, she froze and just stared at the audience... It was so funny! She was only the second one out--everyone else was waiting for her to move in order to get out onto the stage. She stood there until the other little girl who walked out in front of her came back to get her. It only took her one song to get back to being comfortable, though. Later, we asked her what she was thinking when she saw all the people. She said it was different with all the people there. It was funny. This is what makes the kids' growing up worth it to me. I've always dreamed of seeing my kids in plays or recitals or sporting events--being the Mom in the audience. :) How fun!

video

Rowan loved watching. He sings to me and dances and claps with all the kids... He's going to be a natural, too...albeit probably a bit more of a card than Ingrid. Ingrid is really funny, but she isn't being funny on purpose, really. She just is funny. Rowan, on the other hand, knows when he's funny, and plays it up! He'll be a little comedian, I think... He'll be the kid in the play that does something for America's Funniest Home Videos. Who knows? Maybe he'll make us some money someday! :)

The other night on the way home from play practice, Ingrid was trying to stay awake in the car and started up a conversation about Jesus.

From the mouths of babes...

Here's how it went:

"Mommy, how does Jesus talk?"

"Well, he talked just like us when he was a man--he was born like every other baby, grew up into a little boy like Rowan, then into a man like Papa, and then God said that His work was all done here on earth and he wanted him back in heaven with him, so he died--but then he came back alive and went to heaven so that we could go with him when our work is done. Now he talks to us with dreams or ideas or feelings mostly."

"I want to go to heaven."

"I do, too. Jesus came back to life so we could go with him. All we have to do is believe that he's alive and the son of God, and he'll send for us when our work is done here. Landon (my cousin's son who passed away 2 years ago) is in heaven with Jesus!"

"Landon's mommy, Landon's daddy, and baby Landon?"

"Well, no, just Landon. But he's very happy with Jesus. God told us that there will be no tears in heaven. We won't be afraid or sad or hurt anymore there. Sounds like a pretty great place, huh?"

"Yeah. (pause) But will you come to heaven with me, Mama? I would be afraid if you left."

This is where the knife in my gut twisted... After I fought back some tears, I finally said:

"Oh, sweetie...We'll all be together in heaven someday. We might go at different times, but I'll meet you there, I promise. It's like when you go stay with Aunt Anita, and I always ome back? That's the way it would be."

"Okay. Will Papa come too?"

"Yes."

"Okay."

Shew. These are the moments nobody tells you to prepare yourself for when you're driving your kids home on a cold, ordinary, sacred, irreplacable night... But I suppose it's not something you can prepare for.
I keep coming back to a prayer Sara Groves prays in one of her songs "Prayers for a Child"

"I only have two eyes,
Be all-seeing...
I only have two hands,
Be everywhere...
I do not know enough...
Be all-knowing.
I give this baby up
into Your care.
I do not know how to pray for this child..."
I keep thinking about that verse in Luke that tells us that after the shepherds visit, Mary ponders in her heart all the things they tell her...
And the Spirit promises me that it will intercede for me in groans I cannot speak....

Merry Christmas to All!


Thursday, November 27, 2008

What we're thankful for...

This is Ingrid's list of things she's thankful for:
1. Elijah
2. Julia
3. Nicole
4. Papa
5. Mama
6. Rowan
7. "Me (Ingrid starts with I...)" (direct quote...)
8. that I can dance
9. that I can make this sound "bbbthhhh"
10. "twirl, twirl, twirl" (again, a direct quote...)

11+ Yesterday, she said she was thankful for "all her family in Minnesota". Awwww....
She also said that she was glad that Jesus had a house (churches) that little kids with no warm house could stay in when it snows. AWWWW....!

This is Rowan's list of things he's thankful for (and these are also direct quotes...albeit with a little coersion...):
1. "Papa"
2. "Mama"
3. "Bellbow" (Elmo)
4. "Bob-bull" (bottle)
5. "nigh-nigh" (night-night)
6. "mmmmo" (more)
7. "please" (well, this one was signed...)
8. "hewoh" (hello)
9. "baw" (ball)
10. mwa! (kiss)

11. Yesterday, Rowan told his sissy "taan-tou" (thank you) when she gave him her sippy cup. Awww....

My list of things I'm thankful for:
1. a warm house
2. smart, healthy kids
3. the bills paid (for the time being)
4. health insurance
5. family so close (and those so far away...)
6. a loving husband who is the best father in the world!
7. food in the cupboard and the refrigerator--and it's not all just mac and cheese!
8. a healthy, working body
9. a sound mind (most of the time...)
10. a good imagination for when things get difficult

11. A loving God who gives me hope through Jesus

The Nelson Family


Happy Thanksgiving
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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Girl Effect

Check out this website or watch the video at the bottom of the page. An interesting solution to the world's problems...

Monday, November 3, 2008

Trick or Treat!


I can't believe the difference a year makes! Here are my two kiddies a year ago on Halloween:







And here they are this year!


We had a puppy and a kitten as we went trick or treating. It was really fun, too, because Anita and Phil took all of us in Dad's suburban (Julia, Elijah, Ingrid, Rowan, Anita, and Phil--Andrew had to work late that night, so we met him at the farm afterward...we missed him...) and we all went together. I got quite a workout, though, getting both kids in and out of the big suburban with bags of candy--in the dark! :) Anita, Julia, and Elijah helped, though Rowan wasn't a fan of Anita with her ugly man mask. Every time he saw her go toward him, he jumped and started to climb up the front of me! :) We had Julia help with him most of the time...


Ingrid was loving it this year. She went up to every door without hesitation and said, "Trick or Treat!" By the end of the evening, she had a lot of candy. We spent the whole 2 hours making the rounds in Aurora...all of the same spots we used to go as kids. I couldn't believe how "un-shy" she was (she's usually pretty cautious around new people, though I wouldn't call her completely introverted)! I guess the reward of more candy in her bag outweighed any fears she could construct in her head. There was only one house where they had a "scary CD" playing and she had to really talk herself out of being afraid. When I told her it was just a CD, she repeated that a few times and bravely walked to the next house...


She didn't want me to paint her face this time. I think she was too tired to deal with the identity issue (she had just come from preschool, and that usually wipes her out!). She also said she didn't want her face to be sticky. :) That was OK.



Rowan didn't have a costume, so on my way to pick up Ingrid, I stopped at Wal-mart and got him a little puppy costume. He didn't get a first birthday party, and I didn't want him to not have a costume too, so I bought him one! And he was sooooo cute! You don't see in the pictures here, but he wore cute little paw mittens, too, for a while. He had a lot of fun, too!



At first, he was just confused when we started going from house to house. He couldn't figure out why we weren't going into peoples' houses. At one point, he actually tried pushing past someone into their house before I finally got him! It was OK, though, because we knew everyone we visited, and this lady happened to be an old teacher in the area. She would have invited us in anyway, but I said we should go. ;)



My favorite part of the evening was when we got out and walked around Aunt Sue's neighborhood. Houses are spread way apart in Aurora...and of course, there are no sidewalks...but in Aunt Sue's neighborhood, there are about 7 houses in the vicinity that you can walk to, so I let Rowan walk at that point. I had been telling Elijah to stay out of the snow (there was a little bit left from our snowstorm last week, though it was in the '50s that night) where he was making snowballs. Rowan started to catch on and started yelling after Elijah!



"lijah! 'Lijah!" Just giving him the business! It was soooooo funny! He does that to Bella, too sometimes because we're always yelling at Bella not to bark. This was the first time he had transferred it to Elijah. It was great. :)



Afterwards, we went back to the farm and Ingrid dove into the candy and Anita had fixed an amazing dinner. We all stuffed ourselves and laughed around the table. Rowan went to bed pretty early, but Ingrid proceeded to eat candy. We tried our best to keep her from eating the chocolate, but I think she got at least one chocolate bar in... We succeeded in keeping her out of most of it, though!



It was a fun night, though we wish Andrew had been able to join us. So, Happy Halloween to all! Next holiday: Thanksgiving!



Post Script: Happy Birthday to little Eva Sophia Malone (Gina and Rodney Malone's new baby girl--hopefully, they'll have a new post up soon with pictures!), born at 8:18pm on Halloween! She was born 6 weeks early, but both mom and baby are doing well and both may be home within a week! Praise God!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Will it be Spring next, Mama?

Well, this week was exciting.
Andrew and Rowan came home from Minnesota on Monday night (Andrew spent the weekend with his Dad and brother in Bluefin for their annual Father/son weekend trip and took Rowan with him. He stayed with Pam for most of the time, and I'm soooooo glad he was able to spend some quality time there!! Thanks, Pam!). We put Rowan to bed kind of early because he was really sleepy, and after about an hour of crying with no consolation, he fell asleep. Andrew had said that he kind of had a little cough, so we thought if we could get him to sleep with a humidifier, he might sleep it off.
No such luck.
At about 11:15pm (Andrew and I had gone to sleep by 10:00pm...!), we woke up to him crying and coughing a "barky" cough. I ran into his room, and with every breath, in and out, he "barked." Scary. Ingrid had had the croup last winter, and I recongnized this as the same thing. The croup is just an inflamed trachea, making breathing difficult because of the small airway opening. We called the hospital in Oakland to make sure they took our insurance, and when we found out they did, I got up and took him in (so much better than driving to Ruby Memorial in Morgantown, like we had to with Ingrid! It's an hour away, and Oakland is 15 minutes away!). They gave him some steroids, and he was on his way to feeling better, though he did wake up a few more times that night. He's much better now, but the cold that accompanied the cough is still pretty bad, so he's been taking decongestant that the doctor gave him a few colds back, and that helps tremendously. (It should, since after insurance it cost $50!)
The other news is that we changed the kids' sleeping arrangements, and it's soooooo much better! We ended up putting a pack 'n' play in the office (it's been tricky with the printer and computer in there, so we're going to have to figure out some way to move that around), and he has slept through the night for 3 nights in a row! Even with not feeling well! We're attributing it to the smaller bed, and most importantly, a stricter nap schedule. We've started a bedtime routine, which seems to help the screaming, however, he still hates going down for a nap, but even when it takes him 45 minutes to fall asleep, he eventually does, and we let him sleep as long as he will. I think we're on the right track. I can't believe how much better I feel! I'm sure he's feeling better, too! I was having a lot of trouble with "blacking out" every time I stood up, and since getting even 3 full nights' sleep, it's almost completely disappeared! I guess my body was just telling me it needed more sleep...
Autumn?

On a different note, this week, we had an early snowstorm. I mean, it wasn't a foot of snow or anything, but the temperature dropped really fast, and it became icy and snowy in a matter of hours. Not fun to drive in.


Ingrid, on the other hand, was ecstatic! She's a Minnesota Baby through and through. She could not wait to get out into the snow and make snow angels or "throw snow bites" (or "have a snow fight," as we would all say). ;) She played outside till we told her she needed to come in because her nose was so cold! She would have stayed outside all day. Andrew went out and helped her make a sad-looking snowman (there was only about 4 inches of snow...), and she felt satisfied after making snow angels and showing me her snowman. I made her a "steamer" of hot milk and maple syrup (chocolate brings out her evil twin...), and she felt so grown up drinking out of a "grown-up" mug, holding it like Mama does with her hand through the handle, cupping the mug to keep her hands warm.
She's so funny. She really, really tried to convince us to go sledding. She tried every angle, suggested every hill, and told us it would be okay... I don't think she was convinced that there wasn't enough snow. I think she thought we just didn't want to do it.


She talked with me about how the snow will go away and then it will be Spring. (My mom had been talking about the seasons with her recently.) But then, when I told her that the snow would probably go away this weekend, she asked if it would be Spring next. I explained that it was just a funny snow because it was still Fall, but about Thanksgiving time, it would stay cold and the snow would stay for a while. Then, we could make more snowmen. She was excited for that, and a little relieved, too, that winter wouldn't be over.

Tonight, we go trick or treating. It's supposed to get near 60 degrees today, so it shouldn't be unbearably cold. Ingrid is going as a pink and grey kitty cat instead of the tiger because the costume is much warmer. She was excited to be something else, anyway. I'm not exactly sure what we will do with Rowan, but we'll just make it a surprise for everyone! In any case, they'll be using their Halloween bags that Pam got them for Halloween last year with their names on them. Check back in very soon for pictures of our Halloween Adventure!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The cutest Tiger...

We went to the Aurora School Fall Festival tonight where Ingrid dressed up like a tiger!


She was so funny reassuring all of us that she would still be Ingrid after I painted her face. Every time she looked in the mirror, she looked away immediately. :) She never got used to looking at herself. She thought getting her face painted was pretty fun, though. She said it was like when Mama and Papa and Aunt B did the play at the theatre... Uh-oh... ;)

She was really funny, though... All night, she wouldn't do anything that might take her paint off her face. She was so careful when her nose itched or when she wanted something to drink... In fact, she wouldn't even drink out of the pop can because it might take off her black lips! :) By the end of the night, though, she was over it. She kept asking if we could go home and wash it off, mostly, I think, because she was so worried about messing it up. :) I gave her a napkin and told her to itch her nose and took her to a water fountain so she could get something to drink...


We ended up winning a candy dish full of caramel Hershey kisses because we guessed the right amount in the dish. I let her have 3 of them, knowing she was so tired, it wasn't going to matter once we got home. I was right. She's sound asleep right now, although despite our reassurance, she wanted me to leave the door to her room open tonight. I don't blame her since Elijah was dressed like a bloody-toothed vampire and Aunt Anita wore a wierd man mask, and Granny was a skeleton bride... :)

At least Aunt B and Uncle B and Isaac weren't scary... :) We had fun.


Andrew is in MN, so he missed it, but thought we'd post these pics so he could at least see Ingrid. So, Happy Halloween, Papa--and Uncle Eric, Aunt Colleen, Grandpa Darrell, Gramma Camra, and Grandpa Jack--and everyone else!! We love you!!



Saturday, October 18, 2008

The earth showeth forth His handiwork

Even as I type this, I'm serenaded by my son who is crying at 11:30pm... It's so much harder to figure out what to do with a crying baby in the middle of the night when both kids are sharing a room. Tonight, earlier, I was trying to put Rowan to bed (he goes to bed by 7:30 usually, but today we went to Brian's sister's house and neither of the kids slept until we were headed home...so Ingrid was just getting awake at 6:30 and Rowan was just going to bed...) and the screaming that he's started to do when I put him to bed woke Ingrid up. Ingrid sat up and yelled, "NO! Rowan! It's too loud! STOP IT!"

Oh, yeah. That made things so much better. :^?

Rowan still isn't sleeping through the night. Ingrid definitely was sleeping through the night by this time (13 months). I'm so tired. And I'm not sure what to do to remedy it... It's really hard to let him cry it out when the crying wakes up the other one--especially when she insists that if she's awake, everyone else may as well be too! And to put Rowan's bed in the office or something is just really inconvenient...and if he's in our room (if there was room for him in our room), I wouldn't sleep at ALL because I would wake up every time he rolled over.

I'm buckling up for the long haul. I hear stories about Andrew not sleeping in his own room till he was much older than Rowan. My Mom said that Rebecca didn't sleep through the night until she was 3. And I'm so tired.

On the other hand, I'm loving Rowan's age. He's starting to blow kisses and initiate playing peek-a-boo. He said "bah-boo" today for "bottle" and he's starting to say "mama" and "papa" to us. Tonight he said "tee-tee" (sissy) as he pointed to Ingrid's shoe, and when we said that it was sissy's "shoe," he tried to say shoe, but ended up with a funny sound because he couldn't quite figure out the "shhh" part... We laughed a lot tonight.

He's really funny about his eating right now, too. Frustrating for us, but really funny how dramatic he gets when he wants to feed himself. I mean, when you put the spoon or fork to his face to feed him, he screws his face all up like you've just fed him castor oil and shakes his head, sometimes accompanied by a "DOE!" which, of course, means "NO!" or "DOP!" again, of course, meaning "STOP!". Both of which he learned from his sister who constantly uses those words to him... And he will immediately spit the food out--if you're sneaky enough to get it into his mouth before he clamps his mouth shut. Then, you can give him the fork or spoon with the apparently disgusting food on it and he will readily eat whatever he's just spit out. Frustrating.

The only thing he will not object to being fed is YoBaby yogurt. He knows the little package and he will open his mouth like a little bird as long as that's what he is being fed. He's suspicious about ANYTHING else... Hmmm.... maybe I should wash those little YoBaby cups out and re-use them... Nah. He's no dummy. One bite and he'd probably never eat YoBaby the same again. Better not even take the chance. :)

Ingrid is really funny too. I was giving her a bath tonight and she was talking to her little Dora doll about how something was "heavy on her brain." :) She's so funny at night time. For some reason, she comes up with these clever quirky things right before we put her to bed. Nothing gets past her. Apparently, one of Andrew's favorite bluegrass groups has a song that she LOVES and that phrase is in it. :) She's so great.

Thursday, Andrew put some new jeans on her (her 2T size jeans are WAY too small for her, but the new 3T jeans are too big around the waist...) and they kept falling down. She kept having to pull them up and turned to Andrew (and then to me later) and said, "I've gotta pull my britches up!" What a turkey...

We also had a pretty cool discussion today about God. I told her the story about how I had been praying that God would help me figure out how I could get my car fixed because I didn't have the money and I knew it wasn't very safe. And then God told my Mom to tell me to take it to the High School where they have an excellent program in the vocational building where they fix cars under the close supervision of an experienced mechanic (a teacher, too) and they only charge for parts, not labor. So, I got my car fixed the other day--a job that would have cost $450-$500 elsewhere--for $105, including an oil change! And I was explaining to Ingrid that God was good and that we can talk to God anytime and God will listen to us.

She reiterated to me that God was good and then asked, "Where is God right now?" So we got to talk about what Heaven was like and how no one cries in Heaven and that sometimes people talk about Heaven being in the sky, but really, we couldn't understand until Jesus wants us to be with him and He comes to get us when we die and that we didn't have to be afraid to die because that just means that we get to see Heaven and see God and Jesus. She said that she wanted to go there someday. :) We talked about Jesus and that she could go to Heaven to see Him, but we'd have to wait until we were done with our work here.

Then, she wanted to know if we could get to heaven on an airplane. ;) I said no, that we had to wait until we died to see Jesus in Heaven, but that we could feel God and Jesus now anytime we felt love for someone else or when we looked at the beautiful trees or sunsets.

Then, she was quiet for a little while....and asked me to put in her Mickey Mouse CD. :) But nothing gets past her, and I pray our conversation stuck somewhere in her little mind... It will in mine, I know.

So, now I should sleep. But I will leave you with a few pictures of the kids and Becca and I at our Autumn Glory Festival this past week. It was a glorious autumn weekend.

"The Heavens declare the Glory of God, and the earth showeth forth His handiwork." Psalm 19:1


Mama and Rowan

Mama, Rowan, Ingrid, Isaac and Aunt B

Aunt B and Isaac

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Two birthdays!

So, last weekend, Ingrid turned 3 and last Tuesday, Rowan turned 1! Gramma Camra gave us the best gift (for parents AND kids)....(drumroll please...)

A Jump-o-lene!

Ingrid's been wanting a "jumpoline" since we jumped on a real trampoline at my friend Jill's gym in Minnesota this summer--and we've been thinking she needs one, as she is wrecking my sofa by jumping off the arms onto the cushions CONSTANTLY! All the pillows are smashed down and the seat cushions are sunken down in the middle now... :(

Anyway, for their birthdays, Gramma Camra (in MN) sent a real live "Jump-o-lene"! That's even the official name of it! It's the best. It wears the kids out so fast! :) And it's saving my couch! Both of them love to get in it. It also came with 100 plastic balls...which are fun to clean up...but fun to play with too.

Here's a video of them the day we got it and blew it up in our living room. (excuse the boxes and mess about...I'm in the process of boxing things up to get rid of them.)

video

Today, we had a little birthday party for Ingrid with her little friends from church, and we brought it up to the community room and they all jumped on it! What a blast they had! And we grown-ups were able to really talk and get to know one another better. It was a good day for all.

It's hard to imagine that Ingrid is 3 already! She's so smart and funny! I think back to her first days as an infant and look at her now and wonder what's next. It's better than I had ever imagined when she was a baby...I'm sure the next few years will be, too. Here's a little snippet of Ingrid and Papa playing "air guitar." It was all over once she realized I was videotaping her. :) She wants to watch herself...

video

Unfortunately, I haven't been able to have a party for Rowan. We tried to have a little party one night at the farm on his birthday, but he was really tired and didn't really want anything to do with the cake we made...and Papa wasn't even there, so it didn't really feel like a party. Poor second child. But the important thing is that he knows we love him, and we had a little family party for all the September birthdays last week, so he was included in that. He's a special little boy. The world can't be all bad when he's in it... :) I hope he knows how special he is...

The other day, he picked up Andrew's old phone and put it up to his ear and talked on it! He would babble and then LAUGH! He's soooooo cute. He'll pick it up and say "Hi!" and then give it to you and say "tank too" and then "bye bye" and wave. He can also say "all done" and sign it and also sign "more." He's so smart. :)

Here's a recent video of him the other day. He's started talking a little more. Here he is saying Bella--using the L! He's starting to try using a fork, too, although not very successfully yet. I wish I could get him to say everything on command s you could see all he knows. He's pretty stubborn that way. He'll only say something when HE wants to... Makes a liar out of me every time. :) But he's such a good boy, though VERY determined. When he wants something there's very little you can do to avoid a mini-breakdown if he can't have it, but food will usually divert his attention (typical boy, right?) or a dip upside down will distract him... But he ALWAYS has time for hugs and kisses (his kisses are very slobbery, but completely heart-felt--and many times un-prompted)! He loves to be affectionate... He's my boy. :)

So, here he is! My one-year old Rowan.


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Monday, September 8, 2008

My "Brown" Baby Boy

Geesh. I've sure got one for you. It's one of those stories you carry with you that qualifies you as a parent. This time, Andrew gets the medal.

I wish I could have gotten a better picture of this, but I'm going to try to see if I can download my phone picture. It won't be great, but this is priceless...

So, I was substitute teaching for Mom on Friday when I get a phone call from Andrew.

"Hello?" I said
"Heelllooo..." Andrew said in a tone that made me wonder what was coming next.
"What's going on?"
"Well, your son..." Oh, no, I thought.

So, apparently what happened was Andrew had been listening to Rowan play that morning like he does every morning until Ingrid gets awake. He was cooing and babbling very pleasantly, so Andrew decided to get just a few more minutes of shuteye until the baby started to complain--or until Ingrid got up--which ever came first.

After about 20 minutes, Rowan started to cry, so he went into his room to get him. When he opened up the door, he was greeted with a foul stench, which could mean only one thing. He had one of his messy diapers which would require a full change of clothes and possibly a sheet change. He had one of those once every couple of weeks, and he was due for another one. Luckily, we had just washed the extra sheet and comforter, so he wasn't worried.

However, when he went to the crib, he realized the mess wasn't confined to a messy diaper. What Andrew saw when he looked over the crib rail was a brown baby boy... Brown because he had taken his diaper OFF and pooped EVERYWHERE.

There was poop on the sheets, the crib bumper, the crib railing, Rowan's shirt, between his toes, caked in his hair, smeared across his face, in his eyes...and in his TEETH! Needless to say, he had rolled in poop.

Andrew called me, cleaned things up, and gave Rowan a bath... However, Rowan got a new word out of the ordeal. Now, he can say "poop."

We're so proud of his growing communication skills.

picture to come soon...

Monday, August 25, 2008

What Would Jesus Do?

So, Andrew was feeding the kids tonight while I was in Cheat Lake doing a Kindermusik class. He was busy feeding Rowan in his high chair, leaving Ingrid to eat her dinner beside him independently as usual in her booster seat.

At one point, Andrew looked over at Ingrid and saw her licking her pink Care Bears placemat. He told her not to lick her placemat. Big kids don't lick their placemats.

She said, "Yes they do. Big kids lick their placemats all the time!"

Andrew said to name one big kid that licks his placemat.

Ingrid said, "Jesus."

Andrew said, "Are you telling me that Jesus licks his placemat when he eats?"

Ingrid--without batting an eye--said, "Yes. Jesus told me to do it," and continued licking her placemat.

Seriously, I have no idea where that came from. Truly and honestly.

All I can say is, "Jesus, help us."

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Yard Sale Blues...

We had a yard sale this weekend. I sold some baby stuff (not everything...I didn't have time or energy to get through EVERYTHING.) and made about $50. I choked back the tears all weekend... Silly how "stuff" can mean so much, but all the sleepless nights, sweet-smells of babies, and the exquisite feeling of a baby sleeping on my chest were almost tangible as I sold my babies' clothes to other mommies and grandmas. Each $.50 piece of clothing had a prayer that went with it...

The saddest part of my Friday was when I sold 3 flannel baby blankets to a local farmer to use as grease rags! I literally almost cried in front of him! I've kicked myself several times for doing it, but half of me also says that I need to separate my memories from my stuff. After all, my babies' babyhood is NOT in those blankets. Neither are the memories.

So, as I reflect on my babies...and grapple with their independence from me...I pray that God will show me how to find my worth in God, not in whether my children need me...and that God would show me God's plan for my life... I know God is faithful. Now, I just want to be.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Rowan is walking!

So, my baby is on his way to not being my baby anymore... *sigh* He's walking! Well, he still thinks it's a game--he loves it when he can run into your hug--but he doesn't use it as a functional way to get around yet. I have to say, it will be nice to let him down outside or when we're in a public place instead of carrying him because the ground is dirty... But mostly, I want to stop time. I have cherished every single day with him and every milestone and hug--and somehow I thought that would make time go slower... Or it would prolong his baby-ness. Alas, babies grow up...


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While Andrew and Rebecca and I were doing theatre this summer, the kids were all taken care of by Granny and Grandad and Aunt Anita and the girls. It was a wonderful time for all of them. Isaac and Rowan are buddies now, and the family got to know all of them better. It was great. Here's a video that shows Rowan and Isaac when they stayed at the farm one day while we were at the theater...

Rowan is also trying to talk. He doesn't say much that's intelligible, but he sure has lots to say! ;) Here, you'll hear him call for our dog, Bella, who lives at the farm with Granny and Grandad. He also LOVES to get into Granny's kitchen cabinets. There are several that just have pots and pans and cookie sheets and stuff in them that Mom lets him empty out. Fun, fun! :)

Isaac is eating in this video, but you should see them wrestle one another when they're both crawling around! Usually, I have to admit, Rowan is the one knocking Isaac over and playing Isaac's little head like a drum... I thought Kindermusik might be a good thing for him... Apparently, he's decided that anything makes a great drum! Oh well...


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Sunday, July 27, 2008

Rowan the Clown

Rowan is starting to realize that he can make people laugh. It's hilarious. He makes this face that cracks us all up. :) He somehow picked it up from us trying to empathize with him if he bumped his head or fell when he was trying to walk or something... One that means "Oh, poor baby, did that hurt?" A very perceptive little guy because it's not an easy face to make!

He started doing it only when we might have used it, but now since he's gotten such a good reaction from us, he does it when he wants something or when he wants some attention...or just at random! :) He came out of the womb making us laugh with his funny faces. I can't wait to hear what kinds of things he comes up with when he learns to carry on a conversation...especially with Ingrid as his big sister!!

Here's a short video of him tonight at the piano. He was playing nicely behind me while I was at the computer and I heard him playing the keys gently with his fingers (he's not tall enough to be able to bang on it from the floor...) and then some quiet time...and then some banging on the keys. I knew he was no longer on the floor... :) I looked back and he was standing on a box playing the piano with great fervor! He looked at me and gave me "the face" and I had to run to get my camera. He makes the face twice in the video (although not as well as most times...). You have to kind of watch him to catch it... I'll try to get some better snapshots and post them. Enjoy!


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Andrew and I are in Little Women, the Musical this weekend and next! We open on Thursday and begin dress/tech tomorrow night. We are so excited about our little Theatre on the Lake and are just feeling honored to work with such talented people. It's so great to be performing again!!! In any case, we're excited about the show...It's going to be great. Hopefully, I'll get to take some pics at the dress rehearsals and I can post some soon! Keep watching...

Monday, July 7, 2008

Minnesota Nice

Well, we had a wonderful trip to Minnesota! I'm going to tell you all about it, but I'm going to let some pictures tell some of the story... The kids are both supposed to be asleep, however, I've got a little radio show coming from the monitor. While they are both happy at least, I'm going to try to blog! :) Here's how our trip went:

I wish I had some pictures of the kids on the airplane. I was worried at first about having 2 kids on an airplane, but it was absolutely fine. Ingrid was sooooo excited about it. She LOVED riding on the airplane! She was a little lady the whole time. Everyone around us was quite impressed with how quiet and still she was, while being polite and sweet. It helped too that Midwest Airlines served Sierra Mist and warm chocolate chip cookies! :) It was fine. Rowan was a bit squirmy on the part of the rides that he was awake for, but all in all he did fine too.

We got to Minnesota and stayed at Uncle Eric's and Aunt Colleen's on Wednesday the 25th. We met Pam and Jack in Forest Lake at their new office (beautiful place!) after taking Darrell back to his house (Darrell lent us the use of his car while we were there--sooooo nice!). Then we went to eat crab legs in Lindstrom! Gramma Camra (Pam) had a box of clothes for both kids and a backpack for Ingrid as well as a big box of diapers, formula, wipes, and a stroller for our trip! We were completely taken care of! Then, we had a great time lazing around on Thursday. Colleen was gone on a business trip and Eric went to work for most of the day that day. Finally vacation!


On Friday, went to Burnsville to stay with Andrew's friend Dave Mattson and his new wife Jess and visited the Minnesota Zoo! We saw the new Russian Grizzly Bear exhibit and if we had been about an hour earlier, we could have witnessed the birth of a new little monkey! Ingrid and Rowan loved watching the birds and the turtles. Rowan walked away with a toy turtle and Ingrid, a flamingo. Fun was had by all!!!
We went to Andrew's Uncle Greg's wedding to a wonderful woman, Jill, on Saturday night on the St. Croix river boat. It was a beautiful wedding, and Andrew and I were honored that they asked us to play guitar and sing during the ceremony. Unfortunately, the camera was left in the car... But we had a good time catching up with family, eating good food, and celebrating a new member of the Hawthorne clan! Congrats, Greg and Jill!

Sunday, after I (Elizabeth) recovered from what seemed to be an attack of vertigo that prevented us from going to Forest Hills Church and a lunch meeting with my good friend Lori (:( ), we proceeded up to Forest Lake for a Nelson family Birthday party! Andrew, Eric, and Grandpa Bud (Darrell's dad) were all June birthdays, so Grandpa Bud, Andrew's Aunts Katie and Trudy & their husbands, Andrew's sister Kara, and a few family friends met us and Eric and Colleen at Darrell and Mary Lee's for a birthday party! Ingrid fed the fish off of Grandpa Darrell's dock, rode in the pontoon, and ran with their dog, Maggie. Rowan sat with Aunt Katie a lot, but he did let Grandpa Darrell feed him! We took a picture of the four generations of Nelsons. What a cool day!

While we were still in Forest Lake, we left Darrell's to see the Novaks, Ruters, and Johnsons! Rowan had been reluctant to go to strangers but when he saw Steve Ruter, he instantly went to him. He has the same sort of countenance as my Dad (not to mention the white hair), so I think he might have thought he was Grandad. :) In any case, he loved Steve! We had a good time talking until late at night (2:30AM!) and Andrew left the next morning at 5:30am to fish with Benny. Sweet Susan got up to bake caramel rolls for him before he left! :) And then, Kristi, Ingrid, and I feasted on them a little (OK, a lot) later that morning before our day of shopping and visiting...

Monday was a day for Andrew to fish with Uncle Benny and the kids and Lizzie shopped with Vanessa and Kristi--and lunched with Kristi's boyfriend (nice guy!). Thanks to Pam's gift of Kohl's cash, I (lizzie) got a new bathing suit (one that was not a maternity suit!) and got Rowan a new hat that Vanessa found for him with a sweet turtle on the front! Then, it was back to the Novaks for a nap and then on to my friend Jill's new gymnastics gym. We had a fun time on the trampoline (not just the kids, all of us!) and then went out to eat for pizza nearby. Then on to Old Chicago for some bad karaoke and more talking. It was sooooo wonderful to see them all. They are definitely family to us... Badu-badu you all!

Tuesday, we went to the Minnesota Children's Museum where Ingrid and Rowan had a great time. Ingrid loved blowing big bubbles and crawling through the Earth World and Rowan loved the room for babies where he proceeded to crawl up and down the big stairs without fear! He's so funny going down steps head first...but he always seems to manage without banging his head or falling! Then it was on to a sushi dinner at Sakura in St. Paul with Uncle Eric and Aunt Colleen. YUM!
Wednesday, we left for Wisconsin and stayed at Gramma Camra's house for the 4th. Wednesday and Thursday were just relaxing days. Ingrid and Rowan played at the beach and Andrew fished. Eric and Colleen joined us there. I managed to read my first novel in several years during the trip! I read my book in the sun in my new bathing suit and managed to get a tan that day... My idea of a wonderful vacation!!! Gramma Camra was in her glory, too. She had thought of everything so we had anything we would need while we were there, complete with beach toys and an extra pack 'n' play for Rowan so he could be "penned in" while we were all outside enjoying the cool, sunny days!


On the 4th, the house was filled with Hawthornes and Sullivans. Ingrid played with Mitchell and Levi, had nice talks with Joe and Bridget, rode a kayak with Colleen, and reveled in the attention given to her by everyone!

Rowan even let several people hold him! :) By the end of the night, he and Gramma Camra had become very good friends he even pushed me away because he wanted to go see Uncle Eric! It was a fabulous time.






The night of the 4th, we left and went back to Uncle Eric's and stayed overnight until he took us to the airport where we flew to meet Aunt B in Pittsburgh! We had such a good time. Thanks for the wonderful trip, all our Minnesota family & friends. We can't wait for the next trip! We love you. I've included all of the pics on the blog and more on our slide show. Check it out at the bottom of the blog.
The night we got back (the 5th), we had my family all over to watch the fireworks that had been postponed here in McHenry because of rain! We didn't come back to a lonely house, we came back to a party! Fun! I didn't get the camera out for that, but it was so nice to have them here.

Unfortunately, we also came back to a house with no water. For some reason, our water had been turned off while we were away (not due to any fault of ours...we suspect they were turning off our neighbor's water and turned ours off instead...). We really wanted to sleep in our own beds, so we stayed the night at home and ended up at the farm the next night. But we called the maintenance man Monday morning and he had it turned off before Andrew could get back here to meet him. So, at least we have water now.
Now, it's full-force into our rehearsals for the play we're in! Fun! We're doing the musical Little Women. Andrew is playing Laurie's tutor, Mr. Brooks, and ends up proposing to me! I'm playing the oldest (and, according to the script--the most beautiful!) March sister. My sister Rebecca is playing Beth March, the sister who ends up dying... :) It's fun. Stay tuned for some pics of our cast and rehearsals!
Andrew leaves for Orlando tomorrow to present at a national autism conference. He's got some exciting prospects, as there's been a prominent publisher from the UK contact him about whether he has any ideas for books he'd like to publish! He's going to spend the two and a half days there greasing palms and networking... Wish him luck!
Well, I've gotta get ready for rehearsal. My mom and dad are here to take care of the kids--mine and Rebecca's--for the next 3 hours. Stay tuned for more and check out the slide show!