Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween, Part 2

We had tons of fun walking through the neighborhood and letting the kids trick or treat. The kids thought they could eat the candy after the visited each house. They weren't too happy when we took the candy away and told them it was for later. So, they pretty much ate candy the whole time we walked around. Landon crashed as soon as we came home and showered. Taylor, however, is a totally different story. She is still bouncing off the walls...partly because Opa Lou is encouraging it! Good times for sure!

Halloween, Part 1

Today we took part of the annual JDRF walk in hopes of raising awareness and finding a cure for diabetes. Addy, one of the little girls in our neighborhood, has had type 1 diabetes since she was two years old. It was a beautiful morning and the kids fared well, actually they were great!

We all came home and took naps. Now we are hanging out with my parents and will be getting ready soon to go trick or treating. Taylor doesn't remember Halloween from last year so I think she will find it quite fun to go and get candy from people. I will post most photos from tonight...should be fun to see all of the neighbors dressed up!
Thursday, October 29, 2009

Halloween Festivities

Yesterday was a busy morning for us. In fact, it was so busy I about had a meltdown on the way to our first event: Taylor's Halloween party at school. I had an hour and a half to get three kids fed, diapers changed, outfits put on, costume make up applied, snacks and diaper bag prepped, pump for bottles for Ryland, and get myself ready...not to mention cleaning the dishes. I was racing against the clock and made Taylor 15 minutes late for her party. I know the answer is that I just need to wake up earlier in the morning and even wake the kids up early if we have a big morning.

Anyway, Taylor's party was fun for her. They made some crafts and played a few games before the Halloween parade took place. Taylor was the cutest little mouse ever. Hank had to show me the night before how to apply the face make up. Hank is an artist; I am not. It all turned out well though. Here are some pics from her party.

We then headed over to our second event: Landon's Halloween-themed Gymboree class. Landon was such a cute lion. Not all of the kids dressed up. In fact, only a few of the kids did. Many of the kids who know Landon from class didn't recognize him in his costume. There was even one little girl who was really afraid of him.

We had a busy but fun morning. This weekend we hope to get Ryland in the action. He'll wear the monkey costume that both Taylor and Landon wore as babies.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Mommy's Little Helper

Taylor's favorite words: "I can do it!" According to Taylor, she can do anything. Yesterday, she told me she knew how to make brownies. Indeed she did; she also knew how to lick the batter bowl.
Monday, October 26, 2009

2 Months & Growing Strong

Ryland had his 2 month well-check today. I can't believe he is already 10 weeks! Ryland is really a sweet, easy-going baby. He gets a little fussy from being gassy but other than that, he is quiet and content. Ryland just noticed the mirror when looking up from sitting in his swing. He loves to smile at himself and watch the mobile go around and around. Ryland laughs and smiles more than I can remember my other two kids did when they were babies. I'm wondering if the "baby" of the family will live up to his birth order personality and be the party of the family.

Here are the stats from today's appointment.
Height: 25 inches = 95th percentile
Weight: 13 pounds = 75th percentile
Head: 16 inches = 50th percentile
Friday, October 23, 2009


I'm so thankful it's finally Friday. My mom came over this week to stay with me and help with the kids. Her visit was perfect timing because Hank caught some type of bug, which we think was the flu even though he had a flu vaccine weeks ago, and ended up spending two nights at his parents house in hopes of not getting the rest of us sick. Right now I am listening to him wrestle with Taylor and Landon so I would say he has fully recovered.

While my mom was here she treated the kids to a new toy, played ring around the rosie until she dropped with exhaustion, cuddled with them on the couch while the watched The Wiggles for the hundredth time, and both of my parents helped me take all three kids to the children's museum. We all love it when Oma and Opa come over for a visit!

Since the five of us haven't been together for a few nights, we decided to make tonight our family night. While Hank was bathing the kids, I set up the living room into our movie theater. I blew up the air mattress, made popcorn and chocolate milk, and cracked open the Halloween candy. All that we were telling the kids is that we had a surprise for them after dinner if they ate all their food. They followed thru on their end of the bargain, so I was able to make movie night fun and full of the treats that we rarely give to the kids. At one point, Hank had to tell Taylor to slow down...she was sticking full candy bars in her mouth. I learned tonight that Landon loves popcorn. Ryland even enjoyed himself. (BTW, Ryland has started sleeping through the night this week and has also started to laugh. He coos and smiles often and is such a peaceful baby.)

Tonight we took turns from wrestling on the air mattress to watching our movie. Ten minutes into the movie, Taylor turned to me and said, "We are having a party. This is fun!" This is a family event we will definitely do again if not every Friday night we stay home.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Matters of the Heart

Today, Ryland is exactly nine weeks old. At our last well exam only one month ago, Ryland's pediatrician detected a heart murmur and requested that we follow up with a specialist for further testing. So today was our day for more testing. I came into the appointment with a positive outlook knowing that Taylor also had a heart murmur as a baby, but it turned out to be nothing to really worry about. My appointment today though was a little different.

Ryland first had an EKG, a test that measures the electrical activity of the heartbeat. After ten probes were attached to Ryland's little body, it took nearly an hour to get a good reading. They really didn't want him to move at all. Every little move caused us to redo the exam. Those test results came back showing abnormal electrical activity.

We were then shuttled into another room for an echocardiogram that is basically an ultrasound of the heart. The ultrasound process took well over an hour. My poor little man was so tired from the visit that he snoozed for a majority of the ultrasound...that turned out to be the best way to check him. When the technician started the ultrasound, she placed the probe in Ryland's abdomen trying to get a good view of the heart. Because my little boy was so gassy, she couldn't see anything from that viewpoint. I had no clue that an ultrasound probe can't see through gas and air. Anyway, the technician moved on to other angles and was able to get some great shots of the four-chambered heart.

Now I had no clue the ultrasound would take 75 minutes, and her silence made me even more nervous. I thought surely she found something one spends time after time taking photos of a healthy heart. In my mind, I would switch gears from praying to scheduling who would take care of Taylor and Landon while Ryland would have heart surgery. Yep, I let my mind go wild...isn't that what mom's do when they think their children are endangered? Today, I was reminded how madly in love I am with my children.

So to wrap up our visit, the doctor came in and told me the ultrasound showed NO abnormalities of the hearts structure. Ryland's heart murmur is probably caused by his little body having little space to circulate all of the blood. The blood circulating to the lungs has to take a sharp turn and that is probably what the EKG is picking up on. I just need to follow up with our pediatrician, but all is good. Can I get a HALLELUJAH!
Saturday, October 17, 2009

Glow Sticks

We went to church this afternoon and ended the night with some cheap entertainment. We found out that the junior high ministry was having GLOW night. Basically, they hired a helicopter to fly over the soccer fields at church dropping 20,000 glow sticks all in the dark.

I was a little concerned of how Landon would respond to the helicopter. This past week, helicopters have flown over our house and Landon has been completely scared. He loves airplanes, but helicopters are a whole other story. I think it's because the helicopters have been flying lower to the ground and are louder. Anyway, we were able to show Landon the helicopter on the ground before it turned on. He did cry a little bit when it first started up, but he was good for the rest of the night.

So we stood there as a family watching the helicopter fly above dropping glow sticks on the field for the students to capture when they were given the go ahead. It was such a fun thing to watch. Taylor was so excited, she was literally screaming: "It's dropping glow sticks, see!" We had to ask her not to scream next to baby Ryland she was so loud. It was fun to stand next to her and watch her eyes grow with excitement.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Monday, October 12, 2009

Well Check & Sneaky Spinach

Landon had his 18-month well check this morning. At the 18-month visit, our pediatrician checks for signs of autism. Landon had no markers at all, which we knew all along, but it is such a relief when your doctor says, "Your child is completely healthy; there are no concerns." I was surprised that Landon only weighs 26 pounds. For some reason, he feels like 30 pounds when I carry him around. He only had one shot today, thankfully. He sure didn't like it, but the sucker afterwards consoled him completely.

Recently one of my good friends, a fellow mother who is a sneaky chef to her five children, showed me some tricks to create healthy smoothies and crockpot oatmeal. For the past week, Taylor and Landon have been enjoying homemade fresh fruit smoothies. Little do they know, I have been throwing in a handful of fresh organic spinach into the batch.

Here's the recipe if you want to try it:

frozen fruit
handful of fresh spinach
Saturday, October 10, 2009

Pumpkin Patch

Our little family spent a few hours today at a local pumpkin patch. We went to the same place last year when Taylor was one and a half and Landon was only six months old. Now this year, we have three little ones. While Ryland was contained in the stroller or in a front pack for the whole time, Taylor and Landon walked around and saw lots of farm animals and pumpkins. Landon was brave enough to ride the miniature pony; Taylor was too afraid. Both kids rode the train ride with Hank and bounced in the jump house.

Taylor and Landon especially enjoyed the box of corn kernels that they played in. In fact, when Taylor took off her shoes in the car, about 50 corn kernels fell on the ground. At one point, she even had one up her nose. And how could I have neglected to take a photo of that! Taylor picked out our family pumpkin and decorated it herself. She chose black, red and teal colored paint with gold and pink glitter. The pumpkin patch is becoming our yearly tradition.

Suffice it to say, our day was a success. Taylor took a three hour nap and Landon took a four hour nap...this day should go down in history! My kids have never slept that long before.

Birthday Tribute

October 10th marks a special day in our family calendar. Hank and his mom share the same birthday. The story is that Hank was three weeks overdue and finally decided to make his entrance into the world on his mommy's birthday.

Taylor and I made bookmarks for Carol and Hank as part of their birthday present. I asked Taylor lots of different questions, printed those up, and turned them into cute bookmarks. They turned out so cute. Here are Taylor's answers:

October 10, 2009

How old is daddy?
Taylor: 2

What is daddy's favorite thing to eat?
Taylor: chicken

What is daddy's favorite thing to do?
Taylor: wrestle

What does daddy do for a job?
Taylor: work at office

What does daddy love to do?
Taylor: sleeping

What makes daddy happy?
Taylor: when we wrestle

What makes daddy sad?
Taylor: when I jump on the table

Where does daddy like to go?
Taylor: Hot Bagels

What is daddy's favorite thing to do with you?
Taylor: wrestle with me

What is daddy really good at?
Taylor: going to the grocery store

What is daddy's middle name?
Taylor: Duane

What is something daddy always says to you?
Taylor: wrestle!

October 10, 2009

How old is grandma?
Taylor: 10

What is grandma's favorite thing to eat?
Taylor: oranges

What makes grandma happy?
Taylor: grandma makes me happy

What makes grandma sad?
Taylor: when she falls and bumps her head

Where does grandma like to go?
Taylor: Del Taco

What is your favorite thing to do with grandma?
Taylor: go to library with her

What color is grandma’s hair?
Taylor: white hair

What is grandma’s name?
Taylor: Grandma Lynette Schepemaker


Yesterday, the kids and I along with grandma Carol, aunt Kendrie and cousin Laila drove to downtown Phoenix to see Hank's new office and check out where he spends a good portion of the week. We were able to get a tour of his office that used to be a high school in the early 1900s, meet his co-workers, and have lunch out in a park. It was quick, but sweet. Taylor left the office sugared up by people giving her Halloween candy. Landon and Ryland were very well-behaved and sat in the stroller watching everything.

So after lunch, we went to the Children's Museum of Phoenix that happens to sit across the street from Hank's office. Thankfully my back-up team was with me...three young kids in a museum by myself could have been a nightmare. They were all really good; I am just totally outnumbered these days.

In some of the photos, you'll notice a lovely tint of orange in Taylor and Landon's hair. No, it's not part of some pre-Halloween costume. In fact, the whole story of how it happened is quite funny. Taylor and Landon were painting a house at the museum, a couple of times Taylor would bend down and Landon's paint brush would accidentally swipe her hair. The next thing we know, Landon is bending down to get more paint and Taylor accidentally swiped Landon's head. Neither child knew what they were doing to their sibling. By the end of experience, we had both kids' heads in the sink to get out the orange paint. We still have remnants though on their shoes, so don't worry, I didn't totally erase their fun :-)

Last night we went to this really neat Mexican food restaurant in Cave Creek called El Encanto. We sat outside by the pond and watched the ducks. Several times the ducks would walk around the tables and the kids watched intently. The mariachi guy came around to our table to sing happy birthday and Landon especially enjoyed that. I am bummed that I only took one photo of last night. The photo was of Hank and his mom who happen to share the same birthday. Happy birthday Hank and Carol!
Monday, October 5, 2009

The ABCs

Taylor has been singing her ABCs for awhile now, I just don't think I ever had it on video. So here it is! Lately she has been forgetting the T, U, V, W, and X but gets the rest right. And the ending is her own version of "Now I know my ABCs, next time won't you sing with me." And sometimes to really shake things up a bit, she jumps right into a chorus of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star after she is finished with the ABCs. Tomorrow are Taylor's school portraits. Can't wait to see how those turn out!
Sunday, October 4, 2009

West Fest

Last night after church, we let the kids take a ride on the cow train and jump in the bounce houses they had set up for West Fest. We only stayed for an hour or so and there was so much more to see like a petting zoo and other huge bounce houses. The food was yummy and we were able to meet up with some of our good friends. Taylor and Landon were quite happy playing while Ryland chilled out with me.
Friday, October 2, 2009

Baby Talk

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Show & Tell



It's kind of amazing to look back at Taylor's one-year-old photographs. The girl didn't have much hair, and now a year and a half later she has a full head of hair. Taylor's hair was getting pretty long and since it's so thin and she had scraggly hairs everywhere, I decided to get her a real haircut this trim.

Taylor was game for my suggestion today. She jumped right up on the stylist's seat and let us cut away. Her hair isn't quite a bob but more of a shoulder-length shag cut I guess. Anyway, she looks really cute. When Hank came home today, he commented Taylor on her new "do" and told Taylor she really looks like her Oma now. My mom will be quite thrilled to hear that!

Now that Ryland is 6 weeks old, he is smiling and cooing. He is so precious. He even slept for 6 hours straight the other night. I woke up in a panic wondering what had happened. The little guy was sleeping peacefully but quickly woke up for a middle of the night snack.

Below is one of my latest projects. I couldn't find a growth chart that I liked and that could be included in my kid's scrapbooks, so I decided to make my own for each child. The plan is to write down the date and age of the child next to their measurement at each doctor's appointmet and then fold the chart up and include it in their first year scrapbook. Even though the chart will chronicle their growth from birth to elementary school, I will attach it to their baby album. Here is a photo of Ryland's chart. I was amazed to see that between weeks 2 and 4, he grew 2 whole inches.