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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Pumpkin Party




Last night Taylor attended a pumpkin party at Gymboree. They did cool things like play with halloween flashlights in the dark and under the huge parachute, decorated pumpkins, sang songs, and played in the haunted playzone. Grandma and Grandpa Schepemaker came along too as mommy and daddy had to leave early for small group.

Yesterday morning Joanna and her twins and Erin and her two girls came over for a playdate. We tried to play outside but it's still pretty warm. We had a great time though. I'm so thankful for the friendships I've made while working at CCV.

A couple of really cute things happpened this morning.... On the way to drop Landon off at Grandma's house, Taylor was making Landon laugh really loud. I was just cherishing their squeals of delight. Something I always dreamed of was to being driving and look back to see my children laughing and loving each other. I know Taylor and Landon will grow up to be best of friends.

Another thing that happened is Taylor has a pair of size 7 shoes that she loves and calls them her pretty shoes. She started wearing them yesterday (even though they are a tad too big) and won't let me put any other shoes on her feet. Well this morning when she woke up, she walked down the stairs with her favorite new shoes on and her blanket in tow. I thought surely we didn't put her to sleep with the shoes on. So I called Hank to double check. Well it appears that as soon as Taylor got up, she went to her shoe closet, found the shoes, put them on, and then decided to start the day!
Monday, October 27, 2008

Doctor's Orders

So Taylor and Landon had a doctor's appointment this afternoon. I was dreading it since I knew both kids were getting shots. Taylor lucked out with one shot, while Landon was once again tortured with four shots. So Taylor went first. I thought once she saw Landon crying in pain that we would have to physically restrain her to get the shot administered. Fortunately enough, daddy sat next to her and hugged her tight. The medical assistant was so quick, Taylor didn't really know what happened. She cried for maybe four seconds and then started laughing.

Kind of an odd response. But I guess after the pain she faced with the scorpion bite, she knows the difference between major pain and a quick needle poke. I was relieved to see her in good spirits. She was rewarded with a lollipop and stickers before leaving the doctors office.

Landon, on the other hand, had a totally different response. Poor kid cried almost the whole way home on and off and then was cranky for the rest of the night. If I had four shots, I would be cranky too! Hank tried to console our little man after the shots, but he wanted mommy and that just melted my heart even more.

As always, I had my laundry list of questions for the pediatrician. He always looks at Hank and I and says, "Relax! You guys are doing a great job. I can tell. Don't overthink every little thing." So we were reminded to chill out and remain confident that we are raising happy, healthy children. Here's a quick video clip of Taylor playing with Landon while he is in an exersaucer that my neighbor friend loaned me. Thanks Bonnie!
video
Sunday, October 26, 2008

Friends

OK -- so here's the deal. I just read a post from my neighbor friend Kristin about friends and writing down the qualities you appreciate in those whom you choose to have in your inner circle. It kind of goes along with the sermon we heard today at church where Pastor Don mentioned that we should pick our friends wisely...pick the friends who will tell you what you need to hear and not what you want to hear. And that can be very hard at times.

So here's my list...

1) STEPHANIE
Steph just has that sense of humor that I adore. She is a great mom -- very gentle with her kids -- and loves the Lord. I know she'll say it like it is and encourage me at any moment she can.

2) KRYSTAL
Although Krystal will probably never read this post, she is one of my "sweeter things in life" type of friend. She brings out the joy and laughter in everything. Just being in her presence makes you feel good. She definitely has a positive impact on those around her.

3) ANGIE
Angie is probably my most loyal friend. I know that I can call her for anything, especially parenting and/or medical advice. Angie has been blessed with "smarts" and has an incredible memory. Angie is also a terrific example of a Godly mom and I so look up to her.

4) MINDY
Mindy is the little sister who I never had. She's also one of my most loyal friends and has put up with me since high school. Mindy has a servant's heart and does things to perfection. She is someone who I can go without speaking to for a week or two and when we talk again, it's like we never lost touch.

5) JOANNA
Joanna and I have known each other for five years, but our friendship has totally grown as we both went on a hard journey of life without kids especially when we really wanted them. We try to spend time together as much as possible since our kids are only two weeks apart. Joanna reminds me of a steady, smooth sailing ship and brings some peace to my life.

6) ROBIN
Robin is my soul sister. We share a very deep bond, and I couldn't have gotten through some of my most painful moments without her. She is real and funny and sympathetic. She is so loving to my children. Taylor is always asking for "Bobo" (Robin's nickname). Robin lives a practical life and models Christlikeness to me and all of the youth who she mentors.

(OK, now it's your turn if you want to participate. It's a fun way to honor some friendships.)
Saturday, October 25, 2008

Boo at the Zoo

Boo at the Zoo

Well, I'm still sick with a cold and have pretty much been trapped in the house all week with the kiddos. So I didn't want to back out of "Boo at the Zoo" with my parents today. Taylor and I both woke up on the wrong side of the bed. She was cranky and very sensitive, and I thought my head was going to explode with a migraine. Not to let anyone down, we still went to the zoo. Taylor was decked out in her lion costume and Landon in his monkey costume. After an hour, it was so hot we had to take off the costumes.

Oma and Grandpa, who Taylor sometimes calls Opa, met us at the zoo. Oma was so excited to see the kids and they seemed equally as happy to see her. We walked around for a couple of hours and took the kids inside the petting zoo section. This is the place to be for little kids. It's a great way for them to interact with the animals. At one point, Taylor bent down and tried to give the goat a hug. And before we left, grandpa took Taylor on a carousel ride.

Once we got home, all four of us crashed for a good nap. Now we are just kind of lazy and tired. This week the kiddos will have several opportunities to wear their costumes. It's going to be a busy week so I better rest up....

Landon is still so precious. He has a death grip like no other. When he is holding you, he grabs on for dear life and pinches the heck out of you. This week he had a little battle wound from scratching himself with his nails that I have to trim weekly.

Taylor is speaking more and more. I notice she speaks way more when around Hank and I. Sometimes if I put her on the spot and ask her to say a word for someone, she'll get all shy. She's been saying some neat things like "a for apple" or "heavy momma" as she carries in a bag of groceries. She's still saying "very pretty" often. She saw my moms gold bracelet today at lunch and she thought that was "very pretty" too. What can I say, she has good taste!

Taylor always refers to herself as "baby" and that is only because I call her my baby. So when she sees other toddlers, she calls them babies too. Anyway, tonight when she went around the dinner table naming mommy, daddy, baby brother, she finally called herself Taylor. It's so cute the way she says her own name. I could go on and on, but I will end it here :-)
Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Taylor After a Nap

At first I thought she was choking, and then I thought it was a possible asthma attack (even though Taylor has no history of asthma), and then I realized it's just Taylor being crazy. Once I found out she was acting, I started laughing and quickly ran to get my camera. Here is how she entertained Landon and I this afternoon....
video
Tuesday, October 21, 2008

WANTED



Hello mommy friends! I am eager to find the above item whether it be new or slightly new (used). So if any of you see it while you are surfing Craig's List (West Valley) or stopping by garage sales and you see one in really good shape for a really good price, will you please speed dial me. I want to get it as a Christmas gift for Taylor and since money is tight these days, a used one will do.

And since I'm on the topic of money being tight and the holidays approaching, I want to share a really cool idea that a dear friend shared with me.... Our good friends, Cory and Travis, give each of their children three Christmas gifts every year. The kids know to expect three gifts so there is never a question of "Is there more?" I'm sure the three gifts could add up quickly since you can get better gifts without getting more gifts. Anyways, the whole teaching point when the kids ask why they can't have more is because: When Jesus was born, three gifts were given. So why should we expect more than what He got?

You may totally disagree with me, but Hank and I have decided to adopt that teaching and discipline in our home. Of course the kids will get stockings full of goodies and grandmas and grandpas will spoil them with gifts too. But only buying three gifts per person for Hank, Taylor and Landon totally cuts down on the stress, cost and busyness of the Christmas season.
Monday, October 20, 2008

Another Good Purchase




Well, Taylor has thoroughly enjoyed her new bed. The best part about it is that she can jump on it for extended periods of time and she's happy. She kept telling me today "very pretty" and pointing to her new bedding. She's still waking up early...like today she greeted mom and dad at 5:45 AM. Yikes! So I don't know why she is waking up earlier. Anyway, the BIG girl bed has been working well for us. And now I don't have to jump in her crib with her when she wants/needs a middle of the night cuddle.

Another thing we bought at IKEA is a cute little white table with chairs. Taylor has been sitting at her new table to eat, play and read. It's the perfect size for toddlers. Today we cracked out her puzzles where she played with one on her table. I'm still sick and trying to sleep as much as possible. I am hoping that I don't get my kids or Hank sick since everyone else appears healthy. Shouldn't there be a rule that moms can't get sick?
Sunday, October 19, 2008

Big Girl Bed




What a busy weekend! Yesterday morning I escaped with a neighbor friend to go to a Stampin' Up workshop where we made some greeting cards. After that, Hank and I and the kiddos headed to IKEA to get a mattress for Taylor's bed. Since her crib turns into a full size bed, we just needed a few extra parts to make it work. Then I headed to Target to get her the bedding set I have wanted since before she was born. Crazy, I know.

So today I woke up sick and slept for a good portion of the day. Hank assembled Taylor's new bed which she thinks is the coolest thing. I'm a little nervous to see how hard it is to get her to sleep tonight. Last night though, she jumped out of her bed in the middle of the night and kept us up for at least an hour. This morning she was waking us up at 7:00 am to start the day. Good thing we have a baby gate at the top of our stairs.
Friday, October 17, 2008

Monkeying Around






This morning I tried on the kids' Halloween costumes. They are so cute in them! When I was putting on Landon's monkey costume, it brought back so many memories of last year when Taylor wore the same costume. It's amazing to look back and see how my little baby turned into a big girl within a year. Landon looks cute as could be as a monkey, and Taylor is a fearless lion this year..the perfect costume to match her little personality.

Landon is slowly learning how to sit although he falls over almost all the time. It was precious to watch Taylor holding him today while I was trying to take a couple of photos of the two of them. My heart is so overjoyed to be a mom. I'm learning a lot through trial and error...mainly what NOT to do again. But I solely rely on Christ's strength and ask for His wisdom since I am new at this gig.

It's been a great week overall. I really enjoyed my one-on-one time with each child this week and the kids enjoyed their time with grandma. The little dates with grandma sure help the week to fly by faster.

I think to combat the "Taylor jumping out of her crib" problem, we are going to transition her to her BIG GIRL BED as soon as possible. I might bug Hank to take us on a trip to IKEA this weekend.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008

New Schedule



Here are a few photos from our afternoon yesterday in the park by our house. I swear this park gives me high blood pressure as there are a million ways for a toddler to injury herself. Taylor had a good time though, and she saw her buddy Grace. Soon enough the girls will be swinging like monkeys from the playzone and won't want or need assistance from mom.

video

Well this week kicked off a new schedule for Taylor, Landon and myself. See Grandma Schepemaker is now officially retired so her schedule has opened up completely. Grandma has requested one-on-one time with Taylor every week. Today was our first attempt at this new schedule. Hank got Taylor ready and dropped her off at grandma's on his way to work. Landon and I spent some alone time (for the first time since his 17 day stay in the NICU after he was born) and watched mommy work out. Before we knew it, it was almost lunch time and time to pick up Taylor and take her home for a nap. I was reminded today of how easy one baby is compared to two. Thursday is Landon's turn. I will take Taylor to breakfast and Gymboree while Grandma Schepemaker watches the little guy. I know Grandma loves this precious time, and I love it too. If the kids don't wear her out, this will be a weekly occurrence. Yeah! It kind of gave me a taste of what it will be like when Taylor is old enough to enter preschool...nothing that I want to rush.
Sunday, October 12, 2008

Tolmachoff Farms



A couple of my friends have recently mentioned visiting Tolmachoff Farms in Glendale, and so we decided to check it out this afternoon. It was such a great time as a family and to show Taylor and Landon new things. Taylor pet animals like cows, ponies, goats, and pigs. She let Daddy pull her in a red wagon (which was probably one of her favorite activities at the farm) and pick out our pumpkin to take home. Taylor kept pointing to the pumpkins and called them "orange". Today was one of the first times where she got 5 colors correct when we asked her. She is definitely learning more and more each day.

As a family, we went through the corn field maze -- that was so cool! Taylor also played in a huge box of corn kernels and jumped in a jump house. I was the lucky one to take Taylor on a train ride where she was able to steer and squealed with delight the whole time.

Landon chilled out on the lawn for a little bit slobbering on our new pumpkin. He is such a happy boy. In some of the video footage we caught today, you can hear him cooing away. His voice has really gotten louder within the past few days. In the morning, we have to rush him downstairs in hopes that he won't wake up Taylor. Inevitably, she always hears him and scoots down the stairs a few minutes later. As we were leaving the farm, Taylor said "bye bye patch" meaning bye bye pumpkin patch.

Taylor still seems effected by the scorpion sting. She's a bit slower, looks tired, and just doesn't seem to be her old self yet. I am starting to think the trauma of Wednesday evening has caused these subtle changes. We are just thankful that she has recovered almost 100% and is healthy.

As of tonight, 4 nights of scorpion hunting, Hank has killed 18 scorpions total. Every night there have been fewer and fewer. And tonight there were none. Since it's cooled off, I don't think we will see them again until late spring when the weather starts to warm up again. Thank you to all of you who have made comments on the blog, written us e-mails of encouragement, and prayed for our family. Hank and I truly appreciate your kindness.
Saturday, October 11, 2008

Birthday Celebration


Last night we ate dinner at the Verde Grill to celebrate Carol's 54th birthday and Hank's 32nd birthday. It was a special night with so many grandmas and grandpas around. My parents had just driven into town from California and joined us too.

After dinner we came back to our house for cake and presents. Taylor played with her singing duck and landon drooled all over the toys. I think his third tooth will be here any day. Can't believe Hank and I have known each other for almost half of our lifetimes. Crazy how the time flys by!
Friday, October 10, 2008

Happy Birthday Honey!

Today is a very special day. Today is not only Hank's birthday, it's also his mom's birthday. I only know of one other mother/son who share the same birthday. Anyway, Happy Birthday Hank and Carol!

Here's a little photo tribute to my husband and the father of my children:









Hank, you are the best father a child could hope for. Watching you the other night comfort and loving Taylor through all of the chaos warmed my heart. I love how you tell our children that you love them and are thankful for them almost every day. I know you don't take their precious lives for granted and I love that about you. Thank you for taking care of them throughout the night with me and for taking the morning shift as much as possible. I could not survive without you.

We've had our rough patches and our smooth sailings, but through it all...I love you more and more every year. I love living life with you! God has been good to me to give me the gift that you are. Just remember, we are changing our kids diapers now, but soon will come a day when we are changing each other's diapers.
LOVE YOU ALWAYS, Rachael

PS - And thank you for protecting us. You are the king scorpion killer (14 in one night).
Thursday, October 9, 2008

Black Light Patrol







I should be napping now while my kids are asleep, but I wanted to get this post out there to warn all of you so that you don't have to experience what we went through last night....more drama. I've been asking God to lighten up on us :-)

Last night Taylor (20 months old) was bitten by a scorpion in our house...actually in our kitchen area. As soon as I saw her bending down to pick up something, I saw the scorpion scurry away. I quickly picked her up but freaked out a little. She started screaming, but I thought it was because I scared her with my reaction.

Within a minute, her left hand was swollen. The spider bite was on her pointer finger on her left hand. We knew she was in intense pain and frantically called 911 who then routed us to Poison Control. The lady as Poison Control was not too alarmed, and very slow to get each word out and explained what symptoms would likely follow. She said we wouldn't need to take her to the hospital unless things turned south. Well guess what, things turned south rather quickly.

One of the symptoms is excessive saliva. Kids can actually choke on their saliva and die. Taylor's pain level also began to increase when we thought it was bad enough already. So I called back to Poison Control and gave them an update. Because we live about 30 minutes away from the closest hospital, they wanted to send an ambulance to check her out.

So first the fire fighters show up and assess her. They quickly make the decision to get her to the hospital ASAP. So Taylor and Hank are in the ambulance while I quickly run inside to get Taylor her beloved blanket. They are ushered off and I was left behind with Landon.

Soon Hank's parents arrived and Grandma Carol graciously stayed with Landon while Grandpa Don and I headed towards Boswell Hospital...so we thought. Within two minutes of leaving our house to chase the ambulance, I get a phone call from the fire department saying that they decided to air vac Taylor to Phoenix Children's Hospital. I began to sob and quickly got myself together and knew that I needed to be strong to get through this for Taylor. Thankfully Hank was holding her the ENTIRE time and was able to comfort her since I wasn't able to.

At Boswell Hospital, they tried four times to attempt an IV all without success. By this time, Taylor had been crying for two hours nonstop and her eyes were unable to focus because her nervous had been attacked. It was so hard to watch our daughter lose control of her body. The best way to describe the nervous system being attacked is to say that is was similar to convulsions. Our baby girl went through a lot last night and it kind of makes me sad to think that this is only the beginning.

Once at Phoenix Children's Hospital (PCH), Hank and I signed off on the anti-venom medication which is still in the trial phase. Only a couple of hospitals in the state offer it. That's the reason why she was air vacced. It took another hour and a half to actually get the medicine in her system. My little girl had an IV in each foot and once the medicine was administered, we started to see good results rather quickly. Thankfully Grandpa Don had driven down to the hospital and my best friend Robin drove down to be with us.

The toxicologist was wonderful. He kept us informed and taken care of. Once the medicine ran its course, they evaluated Taylor and gave her the green light to come home. Taylor and I crawled into bed around 3:00 am. Although today when she woke up, she's been unable to walk on her own. Her feet are wobbly and her eyes are quite normal. She's happy overall but not her normal self yet. The Poison Control is calling every few hours to make sure she has a complete recovery.

Now to add to our to-do list, Hank will be sealing ways off into our house and trying to scorpion proof our house as much as possible. He'll be checking inside and the outside perimeter of our house every night with a black light. We'll try to kill as many as possible. We do live in the desert though...literally.

Thank you all for your prayers and support. I don't want to blog about this kind of stuff again for a very long time.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Boris & Healthy Habits





We just got back from our playdate over at my friend Joanna's house. Taylor played for awhile with Kat and Brody, and then I ran to McDonalds and brought back food for all of us so we could eat lunch together. We try to get our kiddos together as much as possible since they are less than 2 weeks apart in age and seem to get along well.

Taylor is obviously comfortable with Joanna as she climbed up in her lap and sat there for awhile before taking off to play on the indoor slide. Boris, their pet turtle, also came out of his shelter and was walking around the backyard. Taylor was able to check him out through their backdoor window.

Taylor is consistently putting more and more words together and is talking a lot. Ever since our trip to Denver, we've noticed she's matured even more. In fact, Taylor will be getting a big girl bed within the next few months. She climbs out of her crib every time we put her down. She just can't manage to climb back in.

And Landon is just my sweet precious boy. I can't say enough about him. I'm so thankful that he likes to snuggle and give kisses...or should I say he likes to give slobbers.

On a side note, my blogger friend Katie has encouraged me to travel with her on a 40-day journey of setting personal goals and creating new, healthy habits. So here are my new goals for the next 40 days starting tomorrow:

1) Wake up at 6:00 am so that I have enough time to read my Bible and get ready for the day. Usually I don't get up until I have to because there is a crying baby to feed.
2) Make sure I give Taylor and Landon one-on-one time to practice colors or letters or in Landon's case to practice sitting and holding a bottle.
3) Use my hour of free time while both kids are napping to scrapbook, nap or play on the computer. Not for chores and housekeeping.
4) Clean at least one thing in the house daily. i.e. Thursdays are dust day
5) No computer after 9:00 pm and in bed by 10:00 pm

I know these goals may sound silly. I just need to implement them so that my priorities are straight and that I'm not losing my mind. Will you take a 40-day journey too?
Monday, October 6, 2008

Carousel Ride

It's a long video clip, but you'll get an idea of how much Taylor enjoyed the carousel just by watching a few seconds worth.

Denver Trip

Denver Trip

What a trip! It was so wonderful to escape from our everyday life and travel to such a beautiful state. We had a great time. Taylor and Landon were perfect for the hour and a half flight. In fact, Taylor was so excited to be on an "airplane" that she was giddy for most of the flight there. Thankfully her and Landon slept most of the way home.

Denver is so awesome, I was considering moving there. But then on our last night it was cold and rainy, and I realized I'm meant for the warm weather. Our 3 days there went by fast. We had a great time making new memories and spending time with extended family members.

Here are my top 10 favorite memories from the trip (in no particular order):

1) Taylor's excitement for the airplane.
2) Watching Amee walk down the aisle and looking so beautiful.
3) Our adventure to the Denver Zoo where Taylor gained a whole new vocabulary.
4) Landon being held by great grandpa Vern and great grandma Ivella for the first time.
5) Taylor's squeals of delight while riding the carousel.
6) Hank and Landon playing together while wearing their matching Adidas outfits.
7) Trying not to laugh as Taylor learned how to escape from the pack 'n' play at bedtime and jumping in bed with us. (The sound of pitter patter on the carpet forewarned us she was coming for a late night visit.)
8) Watching Taylor and Hank fall asleep together as they cuddled late one night.
9) Dinners with all of our extended family members.
10) A walk around Cheesman Park with the kids in the stroller. A postcard scene for sure!