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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

On the Downlow

Sorry for the delay in blogging lately. I've been under the weather the past week. Yesterday I was able to start taking anti-nausea medicine, but it only sometimes help relieve my symptoms. Hopefully the next month will fly by and the nausea will go away.

Landon has been expressing his loud voice lately. He is so loud, he always wakes Taylor from her nap. And Taylor has learned two words that no parent wants to hear: "No, mine!". She's been a bit sassy lately so she has also been practicing the word "sorry". It is quite cute to hear her apologize. Like today when she hit Landon in the head with a bag of wipes, or when she thought she was funny by sticking her feet in his face and made Landon cry, she was able to practice the word "sorry".

Here is a video clip of puzzle time tonight. Taylor definitely knows most of the animals. Daddy is such a good teacher....

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Surprise Gift



Before I talk about the surprise gift I received this year, I want to mention three things about God that I have been reminded of lately.

1. God has a sense of humor.
2. God knows the desires of our hearts.
3. God won't give us more than we can handle.

OK, so on to the great gift that I received news of recently but won't be receiving until late summer due to manufacturing conditions. The gift is precious, sweet and small. The gift smells good and is silky to the touch. The gift is priceless yet will cost a lot in the long run. The gift is God-given.

Yep, you guessed it. We are pregnant with baby #3! We are in 100% total SHOCK. I've known for over a week, and I'm still coping with the news. It's not that I didn't want another child, it's just NOW was not my time. Or so I thought. Hank and I have peace knowing that this child is part of God's plan. This baby beat the odds (including birth control) and has been given to us to raise. I debated whether to share this news so early because I'm only 7 weeks into it, but I've had severe nausea since Monday so I would say that means the baby is alive and well. (Hey Michael, is this enough Schepemaker drama for you? haha)

So although we had a wonderful Christmas with family, I am still exhausted from the news, what's happening to my body, and keeping up with two little ones. You know, I've been really lackadaisical about reading my Bible lately, so maybe this is God's way of getting me back to the basics so that I am encouraged and ready to be the Mommy He intended me to be.
Monday, December 22, 2008

She Did It!

video

She did it! Taylor can ride the scooter all by herself. In fact, she loves the scooter so much that it's hard for her to go to bed at night knowing she has to take a break from playing. The other night, Hank caught Taylor waking up in the middle of the night and walking down the stairs in an attempt for some middle-of-the-night action. She cracks us up with her love for that thing. Oh to be a kid again.

Another funny story from last night...Taylor was wired for some reason and she had a very hard time going to sleep. So I laid down with her hoping to get her to fall asleep sooner than later. For two minutes straight, she laid on top of me giving me eskimo kisses. I tried to pretend like I was sleeping, and I really tried hard not to smile or laugh. In the end, she got me. I just had to give her a kiss for being so sweet.
Saturday, December 20, 2008

Arts & Crafts

I'm so excited because so far, Taylor is showing signs of loving arts and crafts. Today while Landon was taking his morning nap and Hank was off feeding the homeless with neighbors from church, I let Taylor experiement with my stamps. She did great except for when she kept on trying to stamp her skin or her shirt. Gymboree taught her that stamps on her body were ok, so I think I was confusing her when I told her not to do that.
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Scooter Surprise







video

Friday night we headed over to Hank's parents house for a chili dinner and to celebrate Christmas before they headed off to Memphis, TN to visit Hank's sister and her husband for the holidays. Anyday now, Kendrie and Josh should have their baby girl.

Grammie and Papa gave Taylor a princess scooter for Christmas. I knew she was going to love it because she's like a magnet to those things. Anytime we see one, she's trying to get on it and ride it. She's still too young and too small but very soon she'll get the hang of it.

So last night was a great reminder of what not to do when opening Christmas gifts or participating in anything fun and memorable for that matter. Because Taylor was so exhausted and we opened the gifts right around her bed time, she had a fit when she kept falling off the scooter. Taylor is very strong-willed and wants/needs to do everything on her own. Hank and I kept on trying to show her how to ride the scooter, but she couldn't quite do it. Possibly because her legs were still a little short.

We haven't pulled out the scooter again yet. I know we will need to do it after naptime or something. She loves it though so much! It was fun to see her get excited when she was opening the present. Can't wait to see more big smiles from her and Landon this coming week.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Masterpiece


Today Taylor created her first masterpiece. Taylor spent the morning with her Grammie (Hank's mom), and they did many fun things together. Taylor actually painted for the first time. She did a great job. We have her artwork taped up on our pantry door. I can't wait for the day when we have both Taylor and Landon's latest masterpieces on display.

Landon was with Mommy while Taylor had her one-on-one time with Grammie. The lucky boy got to watch me work out and then we spent a good long hour at the grocery store while dodging rain drops on the way. I love this weather! Just transporting two little ones in the wet cold is a little hard to do alone.

Landon is definitely a mommy's boy. He's always looking around for me and saves me the best, biggest smiles. I love to cuddle him and make sure we have at least an hour together each day. As I was pushing him in the shopping cart, he kept on leaning forward and grabbing for me and gave me long hugs. A few ladies in the store even commented how loving he was to me. I'm in heaven when my children show me love.
Monday, December 15, 2008

Pink Princess Tree





My parents came over yesterday with lots of goodies. But the most special gift was a pink princess tree. The beautiful 3-foot tree was decorated with princess stuff that I took off and put away with the many princess costumes that accompanied the tree. Now Taylor has lots of dress-up costumes, jewelry, shoes, tiaras, etc. when she is old enough. She likes to take off her clothes, but she's not quite at the level where she likes to dress herself.

So my mom and I tried to set up the tree in Taylor's room so she could enjoy it for the next few weeks. Every time we left her alone, she pulled them off and collected the "balls" (Taylor's name for ornaments). She even was gutsy enough to throw one over the staircase railing which instantly shattered upon impact.

So then we moved the tree downstairs into the living room up high on an end table. Sure enough, she pulled off the "balls" again. So later today I will be packaging up the beautiful tree and storing it away until next year. It was a great afternoon though to hang out with my parents and let the kids play with Oma and Opa.
Saturday, December 13, 2008

Snow



We just got back a little while ago from taking the kids to a park in our community for a "snow" day. This was Taylor and Landon's first experience with snow. Taylor enjoyed sledding down the hills and pushing other people's strollers. She's so predictable. We were laughing with our neighbors about what type of jobs Taylor might enjoy when she's an adult. My suggestion was a grocery cart collector, and our neighbors suggested a lawn mower pusher aka a landscaper. If you know Taylor well, you know she LOVES to push anything she can get her little hands on. She has even taken away a walker from an elderly lady at the mall. She's quite crazy but so much fun!

Landon liked running his little fingers through the snow. It was a little too cold for his liking, but as always, he pushed the snow straight into his mouth. It must have felt good as his 5th tooth is coming in. I let him stand on the snow a little bit, but he had a hard time with the slippery snow that was quickly melting in the warm Arizona sun.
Friday, December 12, 2008

A Visit from Professor Taylor

Some pre-bedtime fun....
video
Thursday, December 11, 2008

Santa Spotting


Well, they weren't overjoyed to see Santa. But they weren't scared either. For the most part, they both just stared up at him in awe. Landon was going for his glasses, and Taylor was, well, peaceful. Hank's mom and Oma came with me to the mall. I don't think I could have done it on my own. Taylor brought her doll stroller with her, and we let her walk up and down the mall...taking out a few pedestrians on the way. She would also enter into the stores that had eye-catching window displays and join the visual merchandising props. She came home though and took a great nap.

And tonight we headed over to some neighbors for a Christmas gathering. It was good to see some neighbors who we haven't seen in awhile. Landon has learned to sit up from a laying down position. Soon we'll have to lower his crib mattress as he can already bear some weight on his legs and stand a little. Christmas, life for that matter, is so much better with children.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008

For the Birds






Well, both kids have runny noses and the signs of a cold. We spent all day yesterday in our home so today we needed some fresh air. Little errands in the morning always make our days go by faster and are better for the kids. They love to get out and about. So after Landon's morning nap, we met up with Daddy at Hot Bagel for a yummy lunch.

The ladies at Hot Bagel always enjoy when we bring the kids in. And they always give Taylor a chocolate chip bagel which she never eats. So instead of throwing it away, I took the kids to a nearby park and we fed the ducks. Taylor squealed with delight until about 80 birds flocked to us and then she just hung tight to my legs. At one point, I had Landon in a front pack on my chest and I was holding Taylor on one hip and trying to feed the birds at the same time. It was really fun though. We'll have to go more often and bring a stroller for the kids to sit in.

After feeding the birds, we went to the park across the street which was perfect for toddlers to play on. It's so fun to see what Taylor likes and dislikes. For instance, she hates the swing, but enjoys climbing on monkey bars. She'll be fun to figure out. And Landon is still my happy boy who prefers to be held and cuddled by Mommy as much as possible. I'm so in love!
Sunday, December 7, 2008

In Sickness & In Health

Two words to sum up our night away: kidney stone. Around 9:30 last night, Hank starting showing signs of passing a kidney stone. This will be stone #5. The poor guy was in so much pain, he threw up most of the evening. Finally around 1:00 am, we decided to go home and leave our beautiful hotel room. I knew we had some good pain medicine at home left over from my hernia repair surgery several months ago.

It was a good decision that we headed home. After several hot showers and lots of throwing up, Hank finally settled into bed around 2:30 am. We could not have made it this morning with the kids at home. Hank and I slept in real late and then headed to brunch before getting the kids. Even though we didn't have the "ideal" night away, we still had a good time and I was able to take care of my best friend.
Friday, December 5, 2008

Hyatt, Here We Come

Tomorrow Hank and I are taking off for 24 hours of wedded bliss. Ha! Guess what we'll be doing...sleeping through the night with no interuptions, getting up at the last minute to enjoy the free breakfast, and then back to sleep for another morning nap. We can't wait! Hank's parents gave us a certificate for a one-night stay and we are super excited. So our little honeymoon starts tomorrow.

Here's my wish list for the 24 hours away:
1. Sleeping in
2. Enjoy a dinner together where we can actually focus
3. Taking in a couple of movies

Here is Hank's wish list for the 24 hours away:
1. Sleeping in
2. Catching up with each other
3. Taking in a couple of movies

Well, it looks like we are in total agreement. This will be Landon's first sleepover at grandma and grandpa's house. It's very hard for me to let go of them even for a day, but Hank and I really need a break. We'll come back to them on Sunday refueled and ready to take on another week.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Let There Be Christmas Lights




First, I just have to say thanks to Hank for stringing the Christmas lights this year. It was his first time ever, and he did a fantastic job. Every year since we have been married and living in a house, I've asked him to decorate with lights. He always said no. Well last year he said no too, but he couldn't get out of it so easily this year. It is so important, to me, to decorate for Christmas. I knew once we had children, Hank would be all over it. And indeed he was!

The poor guy had to run several times to various stores as everyone seemed to be sold out of clips or docking stations or cords. He even had to restring the lights today because he realized after he stapled them up there the first time, some of the strands were backwards and we need the power plugs to be on specific sides of the house. Anyway, Hank easily spent over 10 hours preparing and stringing the lights. So honey, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

We had our own lighting ceremony tonight. We invited Hank's parents over and a few neighbors stopped by. We pulled out the good ol' fire pit and made several cups of hot chocolate. Although I can't say it was relaxing due to chasing Taylor around, it was definitely fun and festive.

Here are a few pics. Sorry they are a little blury.
Monday, December 1, 2008

Celebration of Lights



Tonight we took the kids to the Community Church of Joy light parade. Although the line was long and slow (since it was a free event), it took us an hour from beginning to end, it was a great way to spend the evening as a family. I let Taylor and Landon sit on my lap so they could have a good view. Of course Taylor wanted to climb out the window and reach toward the "lights", a word she kept on repeating over and over and over. But I had a good hold on her so she didn't get away. And Landon was mesmerized by the whole thing. We just snuggled with a blanket and made the most of it. All we were missing was hot chocolate.
Friday, November 28, 2008

Decorating Day



Today we decorated the house for Christmas. Can't believe it will be here in 26 days. I'm finally starting to get a little excited, especially since we have young children now.

When we were decorating the house, I was telling Taylor that we were decorating our house to celebrate Jesus' upcoming birthday. I know she has no clue, but some day she will. She was mommy's little helper today. She actually did a great job handling all of the ornaments. She only broke one. And she insisted on doing everything herself. I wonder where she gets that from :-)

One of the traditions we are going to do every year is to camp under the Christmas tree the first night we have it up. But as Hank reminded me, she is still too young so maybe we can start the tradition next year.
Thursday, November 27, 2008

Blessed Beyond Belief



Happy Thanksgiving! I hope your day was relaxing as many of you enjoyed time today with family and friends. We had a late lunch over at my in-laws and my parents joined us too which is a nice treat. So much better than breaking up the day and traveling across town with two little ones. I asked Taylor today what she was thankful for and she said "my blanket". At least she told the truth...even though she didn't say mommy, daddy or baby. Oh well, maybe next year :-)
Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving Eve

We just got back from "Baby Steps" at the local library. It was my first time taking both kids and I think we will definitely go back as often as possible. It's good for Taylor to practice her listening skills, and it's just as good for Landon to hear a book being read to him. I checked out three books to read to the kiddos this afternoon: The Night Before Thanksgiving, The Berenstain Bear's Thanksgiving, and Thanksgiving Mice! Sounds like a great afternoon to sit inside with some hot chocolate and read to the kiddos while it's cold and overcast outside.

The kids are now napping, and I am thankful. But I'm thankful for much more than this hour of solitude. I'm thankful for so many things. The top three things that come to mind are:

1. God's unconditional love for me
2. My children--the greatest blessings in life
3. Good health

Tonight we are having some neighbor friends over for dinner and games. Ronnie, who is 27, has cystic fibrosis. There is no cure for CF and it is terminal. So Ronnie's outlook on life is so different than the average person. I tend to take my health for granted. I tend to think I will live to be old and gray...at least that is my hope. But in reality, none of us are guaranteed another day. Ronnie knows that the average life span for someone with CF is 35 years old. He's OK with it though. He said that he will use his life, no matter how long or how short, to glorify God.

Wow! Shouldn't we all live that way? I am so thankful for these little reminders.
Saturday, November 22, 2008

Free Time

We had a lot of free time today as a family...such a treat. Normally our weekends are packed full of errands, events and activities. But not today. We were able to hang out and just have fun.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Two by Two

The reason why we haven't been sleeping at night is because both of our children are teething. It looks like Taylor's molars are finally making their way down. And Landon's two, upper front teeth are breaking the skin too. So our kids have both been up multiple times every night. Hank and I are almost getting physically ill due to lack of sleep.

And what's the deal with insomnia? It's like a plague from the devil. Even when I have the chance to sleep, I can't because my mind is racing. Do any of you suffer from insomnia? It really is a horrible, debilitating thing.

Life could be worse. I am thankful for the happy moments throughout the day. Like today, Landon kept on giving me kisses and was giggling. Taylor walked up to me just to give me a kiss...not something she typically does without persuasion. Thank you God for the little reminders that encourage me to be the best mom I can be to Taylor and Landon. One day soon my kids will be off to school. And then they will be married and having children of their own. Those are happy times to look forward to, but oh how I wish I can put life on pause (even with sleepless nights) so that I could always have my babies with me.
Saturday, November 15, 2008

Another "First"


















This afternoon we finally felt Landon was "old enough" to ride in the bicycle carrier with Taylor. Bike rides have become a favorite pastime for Taylor, so we thought Landon would really like it too! The weather was beautiful this afternoon, and I really wanted to get a jog in. So as I was running next to Hank as he pulled the kids, Taylor kept yelling at me trying to get my attention. I almost gave up jogging at one point because she didn't like that I was ignoring her as I was trying to get into my "zone". I finally gave up on listening to my iPod so I could yell back and forth to Taylor.

Well after 7 minutes into my run, Landon decided enough was enough. He didn't like being strapped into the carrier and pretty much demanded that I carry him home. He's been really fussy the past 24 hours because he literally has 3 teeth coming in at the same time. So my jog was put on hold and yes, I carried this 20+ pound baby home. We were almost home and I had to switch places with Hank (who was still riding Taylor around) because my arms were killing me.

Since I'm such a pushover, when Taylor demanded out of the bike carrier so she could walk, I let her out and hoped and prayed that she would walk next to me as I pushed the bike the rest of the way home. Taylor was literally saying, "I wanna walk." We were floored at her communication level.

It wasn't such a great first experience for Hank and I, but the kids really had a good time.
Thursday, November 13, 2008

Gone Baby Gone

My little girl is growing up. And today confirmed that fact even more. It makes me so happy to see her growing and changing but kind of sad too. My precious first-born daughter is no longer a baby but a sweet little girl.

Today my mom (Oma) and Grandpa Lou met up with us for Taylor's haircut. I told the stylist I was thinking of a bob cut, but still wanted the option of putting Taylor's hair in a pony tail. So that's what we got....

BEFORE


AFTER




Another mark of Taylor's maturity is that she went poopy on the potty today. Although it was one little nugget (too much information), she did it! Not to mention that she went pee on the tile and pooped again (or the remainder) outside, I think we are moving in the right direction. And she really enjoyed the Snicker's candybar leftover from Halloween for her reward. So besides reminding her to pee and letting her run around naked but watching her closely, I don't know what else to do. We have the potty by our backdoor next to all of her toys so leaving the "fun" isn't the issue. There is so much "information" out there, so I think we will just practice until we get it and not stress about the process.



Landon
On the way to the haircut place, I heard Taylor saying "Baby! Baby!" Landon looked at her and they giggled back and forth for several minutes. My heart melted again. I am so blessed to have these little ones under my care.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Caught Red-Handed!

I caught Taylor red-handed today...or should I say orange-handed. See today was the first time Taylor ever had Cheetos and she loved them. She devoured the ones I put on her plate next to her sandwich. Of course she ate those first and then refused to eat her sandwich. Her whining kicked into high gear, and I was firm about making her eat turkey, orange or avocado first before getting more Cheetos.

So next thing I know, a friend calls and I turn my back on the kids for a second. When I turned around, this is what I saw.




The little sneak climbed up on the table and snuck more in her mouth like a little chipmunk. She's teaching her brother bad habits. Now Landon sits with us in his highchair at mealtime. It's so fun to look around the table and see their sweet little faces. I am a mom in love!

Taylor later redeemed herself by being daddy's little helper. She is showing herself to be a tom-girl who loves dirt, rocks and the outdoors. She did recently let me paint her toe nails though.



So Taylor's new favorite word is "owie". She likes to have me kiss her owies several times throughout the day. Well tonight after I gave them a bath, she noticed mommy has an owie on her foot. I counted three times that I found her crouching over to kiss me clean feet. Isn't she sweet!

And Landon is still so yummy to me. I love him to pieces and thank God he gave me a boy to raise. I was telling Hank tonight that I was afraid to raise a boy for many reasons, but God knew that a son could teach me so many things.
Sunday, November 9, 2008

Special Blessings

This weekend has been full of blessings. I am so thankful for the little things. Sometimes it's the little things that mean the most. Here are some blessings from this weekend that I am thankful for:

1) My husband watching the kids for several hours so that I could have time away to be with friends.
2) My friend taking our family photo for us for free.
3) A new friend gave us a fabulous gift and I just met her today! (I will explain more about this.)
4) Hearing guest speaker and author Mark Cahill and being totally encouraged.
5) Spending time with neighbors and old friends all day Sunday.
6) Eating yummy food that our friend/chef Harrison created.
7) Watching my kids love each other through laughter and affection.
8) Coming home to a house that provides shelter from the wind and rain.
9) Sleeping in and letting Hank take care of the kids. Awesome!
10) Hearing the quiet whisper of God speaking to me.

So more about this fabulous gift that was given to us. Well we spent the afternoon at a couple who I barely know. In fact, I just met the wife today. Kelli was showing me all of the "old" toys she was getting rid of in this coming weekend's community garage sale. Guess what was neatly tucked away with all the toys? A beautiful bright, shiny cozy coupe. Remember the plastic kid's car I posted a few weeks back?

I told Kelli that I would buy it from her and she turned me down. She said, "Nope, it's yours to keep!" I was so excited. I couldn't believe we found one and that it was free. It's in pretty good shape. While Taylor was taking a late nap, I cleaned it off and had it all ready for her when she woke up. Let's just say should would probably sleep in that thing if she could. Anyway, I feel so blessed and just wanted to share. Here are some fun pictures from our weekend.