Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Decorating the Tree

After we got home from Omaha, the kids were ANTSY to decorate the Christmas tree. Aaron took the older two with him to get some new lights and they put those on on Friday evening. They wanted to continue decorating, but Aaron and I were exhausted from lack of sleep the prior nite, so we promised them we could put the ornaments on first thing Saturday.

So, first thing Saturday, Aaron laid out all the ornaments for the kiddos and they got to work. It was so cute to watch. Listening to Jenna and Brody discuss how to put the ornaments on and where to put them on cracked me up.

We also put our tree in the basement. Even though we're down there, we're not down there as much as we are upstairs, so with the twins, we thought it might be a safer bet. Jenna showed Blake the tree. He just stared at it. I think he liked the lights....
Brody gets to work...
Bowen. He LOVES the tree. Time will tell how much he really loves it. :) For now, he just stares at it.
We did have a minor meltdown. As I type this I can't even remember over what, but the face was too funny to not put this picture on here. Don't mind me in the background with my mismatched pjs still on. ;)
We have some branches that are currently sporting three or four ornaments. I resisted the urge to change it. Everytime I look at those branches hanging on for dear life, I smile. I think there's eight in this small space. :)
My randomness...
Is there anything prettier than a tree filled with lights? I think not!
Jenna and Brody's big ta-da!!!
What's your tree like? Are you a random assortment of homemade and store bought ornaments like the Burdorfs? Or, are you matchy-matchy right out of a magazine or have a theme to your tree?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

Thanksgiving 2011. I think it's definitely safe to say that this year more than any other year our family is SO GRATEFUL and SO THANKFUL for what we have. It's hard to believe that a year ago we had no idea we were having twins, let alone the journey and challenges that we have faced since last April. We have so much to be thankful for and are so very blessed!!

We headed to Omaha for a couple of days to spend time with Adam, Jill, Addy and Aubrey. Frank and Linda also made the trip from Sioux City. Adam had to work for part of the day, so we just took it easy and enjoyed each other's company.

Here's Jill, the hostess with the mostess! She did awesome with the Thanksgiving meal!
Grandma and Grandpa with the twins
Our niece Aubrey. She's adorable. Blue eyes. Wild curly hair.
Not only that, she has good style. How cute are these shoes for a 1-year old?!
I read on a blog somewhere this week that everybody needs to make sure they take a family picture over Thanksgiving. Don't worry if everybody is not perfect. Or you all don't match. Or not everybody is looking directly at the camera. This is just you. In the moment. I LOVED this idea.

Soooo.....Here we are with our families. After a long day of Thanksgiving. After a big meal. After playing outside. After we put our sweats on. After pie. After naps.
Adam, Jill, Addy and Aubrey
And all six of us. I love Bowen's serious face. I love that Jenna has costume jewelry on. I love that Brody is smiling but not looking at the camera. I love how much Blake looks like Brody. I love how I'm leaning into the picture awkwardly like I tend to do. I love how Aaron is ridiculously photogenic like he always is.
I am so thankful for Aaron. There is no way I would have made it through this past year without him. He is my rock and always assures me that everything is going to be ok and will work out for the better.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Quick Trip to the 'Kee

Last Sunday my dad invited us up for a Thanksgiving meal since we won't be getting together when it is actually Thanksgiving. We drove up and back on Sunday. The kids traveled so well! We had a great time listening to the radio, reading books and enjoying some naps.

Anyway, after a nice, big, filling meal my dad took the kids outside to play. I helped with dishes and then headed out with my camera to see what they were up to. My dad had gotten out this...
Our old wagon. All metal. I love this thing. Built to last.
Grandpa Larry posing with Jenna and Brody.
Bailey! I always love when we see my dad because we get to see Bailey too. I love this picture of her.
Anyway, once I figured out what my dad was up to I said, "Uh...I don't think this is a good idea dad."
His response, "It'll be fine." I didn't like the sound of that so much. My dad has a sloped sidewalk on the side of his house and he thought this would be fun:

Ok, so judging by the expressions (which are priceless!) it was fun. But, it gave the mom a heart attack!!
Then they had the idea to hook the wagon to the tractor and that might help with their lack of steering skills with just the wagon. Brody LOVES tractors. Any tractors. Doesn't he looked determined?!
And then Miss Jenna had a turn. Look at her tongue! :)
...And away they go down the sidewalk.
Meanwhile inside the house...
Daddy and Bowen must have had so much food that it wore them out. :)

Thursday, November 17, 2011


At our house we are thankful for crafts! And creativity! The kids really enjoy craft time, so I told them I'm going to try REALLY hard to be organized and plan something for one day a week after school.

Since it is Thanksgiving, I figured the obvious thing to make would be a turkey. After picking up Jenna from her early out, we went home and got started. The feathers for the turkey:
Brody starts putting his feathers on. He is getting so much better at sitting and doing things like that. I think it must be preschool that is helping.
There was a lot of discussion about how to arrange the feathers on their turkeys. So funny to listen to both of them.
Brody took this picture of my turkey and insisted it be put on the blog. :)
The finished products! I think they turned out really good and we hung them up in the kitchen. Jenna's already asking me what we're doing next week for craft time. Hmmmm....

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

State Football

The West Marshall football team made it to the semi-final round and that meant a trip to the UNI dome. We were matched-up against Spirit Lake on Monday afternoon. That meant a day with no school. Aaron has been my "ace reporter" :) for WM football, so he covered the game from the sidelines. It was nice to sit in the stands and just enjoy the game. Some photos I snapped at the dome, aka marshmallow as Brody calls it.

The blue icees! The kids shared one and Jenna kept making me take photos of her blue tongue.
The kids did reallly well for awhile, but I was sure to bring other entertainment. Jenna drew a picture of the football game and Brody played the DS.
The action on the field. I don't have very fond memories of Spirit Lake when we played against them in high school. That seemed to carry over when we played them Monday. I will say, they were one hard-hitting team! Wow. I was cringing sometimes at how hard our boys were getting hit. It made me have that moment where I wished my boys would run cross country or just play fall baseball. :)
Our friend, Mary and her sister, Amanda and little Miss Cailyn sat by us. Cailyn was super cute in her black and gold!
When all was said and done, West Marshall's season came to a close with a 35-14 loss. They guys did great though! 12-1. Pretty impressive. I snapped one more photo of the kids so we could remember our first trip to the dome and state football.
If you happen to be wondering where the twins are, Grandma and Grandpa Burdorf were kind enough to come down and hang out with them for the day. What a huge help that was! :)

The way I see it...

**This is long! I must have been extra windy this week!**

Unexpected Stay in Iowa City

As good as things were going with Blake health-wise, we hit a bump in the road last Thursday. I took Blake down to Iowa City for his monthly check-up and they ended-up admitting him to the hospital and we didn’t get to come home until Saturday night.

Blake’s iron was low last month, so they started having us do iron infusions. During these, your blood pressure can drop, so the nurse checks it periodically throughout the hour-long procedure. The blood pressure machine was turned away from me, so I couldn’t see it, but I heard the nurse on the phone out in the hall with the dialysis team talking about how high his blood pressure was. She came in and took it one more time before we headed to our dialysis appointment and it was 150-something. For those of you that know anything about blood pressure, that’s a high systolic number even for an adult. That means poor Blake’s little heart was just working entirely too hard.

We got to dialysis and they took his BP again, this time on a different type of machine. It was down to 108. I thought, ‘Good. We’re going to be just fine.’ Then we got his labs back…

It seems his hemoglobin was down to 7. Now it’s not unusual for people with kidney issues to have low hemoglobin levels. It’s just another thing that those amazing organs help the body with. A normal hemoglobin is 12-14, so Blake was at half of what he should have been (he’s usually around 9 and the doctors are ok with that).

The next thing you know Blake’s doctor is telling me how he is going to have to stay the night for observation because his BP is too high, blood pressure too low and they can tell that he is retaining fluids. All that, just that fast!

I think I stood there in shock. I know a lot of other kids with kidney issues are in and out of the hospital a lot, but because Blake had been doing so well, we haven’t had to deal with that. The doctor informed me that Blake is their little dialysis superstar and we are doing a wonderful job of caring for him.

They ended up putting Blakers on some BP medications, made him do a couple of 17-hour dialysis treatments to rid him of all that fluid and gave him a blood transfusion to help with his low hemoglobin. Whew!! It was a crazy couple of days. My husband and I both took our turns down there and bringing him home Saturday night felt so good. I think Blake thought so too, because I’m certain he kept looking around his hospital room looking for his brothers and sister.

The power of facebook is amazing sometimes. I put on there the situation and I had so many friends telling me they were sending prayers. It lifted my spirits immediately. I am a firm believer that the power of prayer got us to where we are today. We even had three families help out by bringing us meals. It makes me tear up thinking about what an amazing community we live in. You all have been so supportive and I literally cannot thank you enough. It means the world to our family!

As sad as I was about our situation, there’s nothing like a trip to the hospital in Iowa City to make you have that moment where you think, ‘I could have things so much worse.’ I literally have a moment every single time down there where I see a child or adult who I know is having a truly difficult time. I’m thankful that all we have to deal with is “just” Blake’s kidneys. There is a transplant in his future. He will be on medications his whole life. That’s just how it’s going to be. It’s not going to be easy, but things are going to get better, slowly but surely. Positive thinking, prayers and Blake’s smile get me through, but that’s just the way I see it.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Jenna News

A couple bits of Jenna news for you. First, Jenna won an award at the Character Counts assembly last week! She was chosen for the pillar of responsibility and we are so proud of her. We got an email from her teacher and were asked to keep it a secret and so we just showed up at the assembly and she had no idea. It was great! The kids get SO EXCITED and you coudn't help but smile. :)
Ever since Jenna went to the dentist this summer and he told her that she had a loose she has been wiggling that thing non-stop. Yesterday it finally happened. She lost her first tooth!! It was a tooth on the bottom and she lost it at school. Jenna is very excited and was even more excited that the tooth fairy came and left her some money! Parents out there...what is the going rate for the tooth fairy these days?!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Monkey-ing around

One morning last week the boys were being super adorable (like always!) and they were in matching monkey shirts and so I grabbed my camera for a little photo shoot. I thought they turned out so cute! Plus, you can just tell by the pictures there is a little story going on between Blake and Bowen.

Bowen with his deer in the headlights look
He got it figured out. This cutie pie is all about his tongue. Bowen always has it sticking out...
Mr. Serious aka Blakers...
This face is just so precious. I always think he has a little dimple on the right side. I guess this proves it.
Let the twin conversation begin. Bowen smiling and Blakers not so much...
Pretty sure Bowen was telling Blake that he was supposed to smile when I point that big black thing at them. So he did...
Hey brother - now we have it figured out!
Bowen is sick of the brotherly bonding, so he's going to try and push Blake over, but...
...instead lost his balance and ended up falling over. :)
I think Blake must have laughed because Bowen wasn't having it and the next thing I knew, this happened...
Bowen with the takedown. :) Photo shoot over.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

More Fall Fun

This may or may not be the last blog on fall fun that we're having. :) I figured since I'm on a roll, I would tell you about our impromptu trip to the apple orchard in Cambridge. Aaron decided we should randomly go on a Thursday after school. It was nice. And less crowded. Way less crowded. A tour of our time at the apple orchard:

The obligatory shot when you walk in. Smart idea with the name of the place and the year. All four kids actually facing the camera! Woo-hoo!
The duck races. Aaron is all about the duck races. He raced and beat Jenna. Brody tried too, but he somehow got his finger in the way and that just didn't end well.
Aaron and I tried our hands at lasso-ing. Man that is hard! Seriously, how do those rodeo-types make it look so easy?! I'm in awe. Here I am giving it a whirl.
Jenna with her scary face.
My two oldest took a second to pose with their mama
Gotta love the kissin' pigs. They make me smile every year. I told Aaron we should put this on our Christmas card! :)
Where there is a tractor, there is a Brody...
Daddy and the kiddos on the giant pillow. I really think we could have just paid admission and had the kids jump on the pillow the entire time.
The giant slide. This was a favorite for all of us. They all three wanted to go together. I got a lot of pictures on the slide with great expressions.
And last but not least...
We just love Fall! As I am typing this I just heard the weather on t.v. and they mentioned the "s" word. I'm not ready for the white stuff yet! I will take 60 and 70 degree weather for a few more months.