Monday, April 30, 2012

The Lorax

Have I ever told you of my love of cheap theaters?  I love them.  I kind of forgot Ames had one and then I remembered and now one of my favorite things to do is for Jenna, Brody and me (just the three of us) to go to a kids flick.

Sunday was the perfect day because it was rainy and icky and gross.  Perfect for the movie, "The Lorax," along with popcorn.  Bonus:  it was in 3D!  The kids thought that was extra cool. :)

I have to admit that I have never read this Dr. Seuss book.  I actually don't even remember hearing about it until the movie came out.  Anyway, the message in the movie is so great.  If you care one iota about nature and the environment, go see this movie.  If you don't give a crap about any of that, then don't.  I fit into the first category and am trying to teach my kids about the importance of preserving all of these beautiful things that nature offers us.

There was a quote in the movie that really struck a chord with me and I was trying to remember it and then they put it up on the screen during the credits, so I will end this post with that.  I think it's perfect!

"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not." -Dr.Seuss 

Sunday, April 29, 2012

The trail

We recently took a nice afternoon and took the kids down to a trail not too far from home.  Our friend, Jay, told us about it and we've kind of been hooked ever since.  It's called the Heart of Iowa Nature Trail and we just love it!  

The kids and I were going to walk and Aaron was going to run a few miles while we walked and catch back up with us later.  Stretching out...  Do you like Aaron's shoes?!  I love the bright orange.
Ready to hit the trail! The whole point of the walk was to make it to the bridge.  More on that to come... 
 I spotted these crazy looking trees on the trail.  Aren't they kind of creepy looking?!
 One of my favorites on the day.  I want to get the kids out in nature as much as I can.  I like how carefree and curious they are on the trail.
 I did not take this picture.  Jenna took it.  The sign that you saw above specifically says no horses on the trail, but this pile of horse poo was in the middle of the walking trail.  That upset Jenna. :)
 We always have to stop for these dandelions.  The kids love to blow them off the stem.
 I love how green the trail has gotten.  The fall makes everything so bare.  Then spring rolls around and it's given a new, colorful life!  You don't feel like you are in Iowa on the trail.

We made it to the bridge...almost!  Heading down the tricky terrain.
 The bridge!  It was built around 1912 and just has the coolest arches.  It's cement and just quite the structure in person.  This photo doesn't do it justice.
 Picture posing time. 
And one more...My favorite. :)
We can't wait for summer!  More walks and time enjoying the natural beauty of the trail.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


Last Saturday we headed over to Iowa State for our very first VEISHEA experience.  Through the ISU Dance Marathon, we got to be part of the parade, which would have really good except for... rained.  Like as soon as we got to Ames it started to rain.  UGH.  We were optimistic and took our sunglasses hoping by the end of the parade the sun would come out, but it didn't.

Anyway, they had two firetrucks for DM families and some of the college kids were able to fit as well. Below is Kylie, Jenna sitting on her new friend Courtney's lap and Emily holding Brody.
Even with the rain, it was a pretty good crowd.  I thought it was neat because we got to go through a part of campus I've never seen before.  What amazing architecture on campus!
The parade started at 10:30AM.  We didn't even move until 11:20.  It was too much for Blake.  He snoozed halfway through the parade.  What I loved about Saturday was that the college students were so nice!  During the parade we were chatting away, telling them our story.  They asked really good questions.

 I also love how it's like a complete free for all.  Random people holding your kids.  Random people playing with your kids.  Whatever. :)  The dance marathon family really is like one big family.  I love it.
 They had a really cool float from the movie, "UP."  This was the back of it.  On the right hand side it says, 'Adventure is out there!'  Love that.
After the parade we went back to a sorority house for lunch.  We got to talk some more with the students and other families.  They even taped the kids (and me by default) for a little video promo thing.  We'll see if we make it in.  Brody was not having it, but Jenna was little miss charismatic.  No surprise there! :)  If they make the cut I will have to try to post the video here on the blog.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Iowa City Check

Last Thursday Blakers and I headed to Iowa City for his monthly check-up and also an eye appointment to check on the glasses.

Generally, my least favorite part of the trip is when Blake has to get labs done.  There is one lady that I like to do the labs.  If we don't have her, it's chaotic or something goes wrong.  We walked in and the gal wasn't there and I was nervous.  The gal got him stuck in his arm the first time (thankfully) and took the blood.  Once I got him settled down the gal said she didn't get enough.  I was in my head thinking, are you kidding me?!  This mom was not so happy about that.  So, he also had to be poked in the hand.  UGH.

The nephrology part of things went well.  They made a few tweaks to meds and his feeds, which isn't that abnormal.  Dr. Jetton was pleased with his growth the past month.  Amazing what happens when he doesn't puke, right? :)  Anyway, she was ready to start growth hormone shots, but didn't think it was needed. Yay!

Long story short about the visit with the eye doctor...Blake has to be patched.  They don't think he is using his right eye enough and need to make it stronger.

Ideally, the doctor would like to see him patched for 2-3 hours per day.  Blake is actually doing much better with the patch than he does the glasses, which I guess is sort of good.

Isn't Blake cute as a pirate?!  I told him he needs to learn the joke...What's my favorite letter?  Arrrrr.  Aaron and Jenna didn't think that was as funny as I did. :)

Blake heads back to Iowa City Friday for a routine for kidney kids ECHO.  He has to be sedated, which I get nervous about.  Praying that things go well.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Looking back - the twins are one!

Easter this year also happened to be Blake and Bowen's first birthday!  Wow.  What a year it has been.
It was kind of an emotional day for me on Sunday.  I couldn’t help but think of so many different things.  Things that happened during my pregnancy, things we were told during the pregnancy and the 70 days following the birth of the twins.

I remember the day we went in for the ultrasound and I had this hunch, based on nothing but a gut feeling, that I was having twins.  When the gal told us 45 minutes in that there was twins, I cried.  Happy, holy crap we are having twins tears.
I remember how the slight dilation around Baby A’s kidney was downplayed that day.  I remember how a week later it felt like the world came crashing down on the absolute joy we had felt just seven days earlier.
I remember sitting with the doctor in the semi-lit room in Des Moines, him telling us the terrible news.  I remember hearing the words, “10% chance of survival...try a procedure, but there’s no guarantees and it may set-off pre-term labor and you could lose both babies...”  I sobbed in that room and couldn’t think of a single question to ask, all I could do was cry.  Thank goodness for my husband, who is always so calm in situations like that.
I remember how we had to go and celebrate Christmas with our families in northwest Iowa that same night.  We couldn’t sleep that entire night.  I remember waking up with tears flowing down my cheeks that I just couldn’t control.  I remember driving around Sioux City with just Aaron and he told me that we had two choices.  We could plan on our baby not making it or we could think positively and have the faith that things would work out.
I remember the sense of relief I felt when I heard Blake’s cry after he was born.  I remember how in shock I was that I gave birth to not one, but two seven pound babies!  I remember the call from the NICU that Blake was “fragile.”
The next 70 days were pretty much a blur.  A slew of doctors, nurses and residents that came in our hospital room like it had a giant revolving door.  I remember being at the Ronald McDonald House and getting a call in the middle of the night when I had to get up with Bowen.  There was a message on my phone that they were starting dialysis.  And, despite the fact that we knew it was inevitable, I cried.  This was going to be part of our new normal.
I remember coming home on the Friday of Rose Festival.  I remember how nervous we were that first night being on our own.  Since we have been home, life has been one giant rollercoaster ride.  Some days are great, some days aren’t, but just like everything you take the good with the bad and it’s always worth it.
I think the best part of two babies is that you get double the love, double the smiles, double the happiness.  One of my favorite things is when I bring the boys downstairs in the morning and have one on each hip, they sit there and ramble, “mamamama.”  Hearing that times two makes my heart happy.
I do have to admit that I still have a moment every single day when I look at them and think to myself, ‘holy cow...I really have twins.  I really did have two babies.’  I know it’s been 367 days since they were born, but it still seems crazy to me.
Before I wrap this column up, I have to thank all of you for your prayers and support the past year.  It has meant so much to our family.  I love when people ask me how we are doing because they’ve been following us through this column.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!
If you would have told me ten years ago I was going to have twins one day I would have laughed.  Today?  I couldn’t feel happier about our family of six.  And those twins that I would have laughed at?  They are the best things I never knew I wanted, but that’s just the way I see it.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Easter 2012

We had a very laid-back Easter at our house this year.  Because we had all the family down the weekend before, we decided to kind of lay-low on Easter weekend.  Plus, Aaron had to umpire baseball on Saturday, so we couldn't really go anywhere anyway.
We had our first campfire of the year on Friday night.  It was a such a perfect night.  Not too hot, not too cold.  Just perfect for a fire.  
The kids wanted to make s'mores.  They had some issues with not lighting their marshmallows on fire, but otherwise did great. :)
The kiddos decided that they wanted to tell "scary"  stories by the fire.  Oddly enough, they both told stories containing bears.  I told them they should be nervous for our trip to Wisconsin for Kasea's graduation because there's bears in Wisconsin!  Freaked them out a little bit.  Haha.  Aaron also downloaded this cool app to his phone where if you hold up your phone to the sky it points out constellations.  How cool is that?!
Sunday we went to the 9:30 AM church service.  I'm kind of a stickler about family pictures on holidays, so of course I made us gather for a family picture attempt.  We set the camera on a timer on our steps and this was the best we got.  Blake must have seen something really interesting over my shoulder.
My four baby dolls Jenna, Bowen in blue, Blake in green and Brody.
Aaron had the kids in the back practicing golf while I got dinner ready.  I think the biggest plus was that nobody get decked in the face with a club!
Those are plastic golf balls, by the way.  Jenna had to wear her new rain boots she got from the Easter Bunny.

And the twins were just relaxing inside with me.  On their first birthdays.  How is it possible that they are already one?!

Our family spent a lot of time outside, enjoying the nice weather by going for walks, bike rides and taking trips to the playground.  We hope everyone had a wonderful 2012 Easter!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

My Ode to Brode

On March 28th, we celebrated our second of four birthdays at our house.  Mr. Brody turned 4!!  For some reason that is so hard for me to fathom.  It feels like just yesterday his big 'ol 9 lb. 10 oz. self came into the world.
I love this kid.  He marches to the beat of his own drum.  That's how he likes it.  
He's ornery.  He's sweet.  He's rambunctious.  He's full of energy.  He's full of love.
He eats with gusto.  
I love this face.  Don't let his innocence fool you.
Sportin' his new camo rubber boots.  This boy loves all this camo.
This is Brode at his finest.  He tried on these new basketball shorts he got from his birthday.  They were just a little big, so he decided to solve the problem by putting on his belt. :)
Even at four, he still wants to curl up in my lap and cuddle with me.  I love this.  Brody holds a special place in my heart and I feel so lucky I get to hang out with him three days a week.  

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Fun and Games

One of the things I love about our family is that we're, um, a little competitive.  When we get together we usually have to play a game - any game where somebody wins and that somebody can brag about it. :)

Our friends, Jerod and Mary, have a yard game called fowling.  Football+Bowling=Fowling.  There's two teams of two, you throw a football at bowling pins and the first one to knock them all down wins.  It is seriously harder than it looks, but really fun!

 This is bad form...haha.
 Good form.  But I didn't play football now did I?!
 So we have had an ongoing tradition of boys vs. girls volleyball.  Before we leave we shotgun a beer.  In our driveway.  Yeah...we're classy like that. ;)  The grandparents watch the kids and we head to the gym for some trash talkin' and volleyball playin'!
 I have to give the hubs props.  He dominated us girls at the net.  It was actually quite annoying.
 This is the first year in I think four years that one of us girls hasn't been pregnant.  We were finally  in full force!  We won game one.
 Game two the boys won.  And they also won game three.  
 Look at my brother.  Nice form. 
We had a bit of a disagreement at the end of the game.  We decided to play one last game to five.  Girls thought it was sudden death.  We won and thought we deserved the trophy!  The boys thought they had already won.  So, I guess it depends who you talk to who won this year.  It was fun though! :)
 I debated on showing this picture.  See me hitting?  Yeah...that ball is going straight down.  On my side of the net.  Because my loving husband blocked it back in my face.  I was so mad and proud of him at the same time. His volleyball skills have greatly improved since we got married. :)