Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Few Notes - Happy December!

It's here...Christmas week!

Wow! I am so excited about this week! We have been having so much fun this year, creating new Christmas traditions, and reviving our families traditions with Aristana. She's totally up on how Christmas works, both religious and secular. What's even better, is that I have found a renewed faith over the past six months, and am personally feeling so completely surrounded by God's love! I have not felt stressed out once by the culmination of birthday/Christmas/Baby preparations this month. Know why? Because none of that stress matters! I have gained a much clearer understanding of God's plan for me, and the true appreciation of Jesus having died for my sins. I don't deserve the amazing gifts in my life, but can tell you that I never take them for granted! I can live in peace, through good and bad, knowing that I don't control the situation. Thank you Lord!

Bellevue Fire Department Kids' Christmas Party

This was our third year participating in the Bellevue Fire Department's Kids' Christmas party. Again, with Aristana's age, it was so cute. She was so nervous about Santa coming, and could not contain her emotions when he walked in the room. She started with a cute giggle, which quickly led into a non-stop nervous giggle. Her body couldn't stop moving, and she would run a few feet, and run back to Mike. She'd dig her head in his lap and just laugh. Then she'd look at Santa again, and do it all over again.

They provide a gift for each child, so Santa called her name to come up by him.
Oh. My. Gosh. It was HILARIOUS! It took about a minute to get her up there, because she was so excited and couldn't stop running around. I took her up there, and she sat on his lap. She giggled the whole time, still with the nervous laugh, and even had Santa laughing after a short time. After she received her gift, we went back to our table, and she completely decompressed. Once that adrenalin wore off, she was pooped... in a matter of a minute.

After that, she had to check out all the engines, police cars, and utility vehicles at the department. She's such a boy (okay, in a cute red dress). She has a thing for Tracy, the female police officer on the Bellevue department, so maybe she'll follow in her footsteps someday. As of now though, she still wants to "fix railroad tracks" when she grows up.

Moving on...
I had another doctors appointment yesterday, for a non-stress test for baby. She again, did a great job, and passed with flying colors. I however, got my iron results back, and my levels continue to drop. It is due to my gastric bypass. I am eating a ton of iron, but my body isn't absorbing it, and baby is taking everything she needs (which is very good). The result? I'm soooo exhausted, and have an uncontrollable desire to chew ice...all the time (PICA). For those of you not familiar with PICA, it could be worse. I could crave dirt, metal, or duct tape or something like that. I'll stick with the ice. Unfortunately, my doctor and my OB (the doctor's wife) are gone until the first week of January, out of the country. My other OB is out this week for Christmas. I have a nutritionist that is working with the on-call doctor, and suggesting options that I know my OBs didn't want to pursue. It's just a bit confusing and frustrating. A week from now, I'll have had my next ultrasound, and hopefully some more answers. I just need some patience.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Catching Up... to a busy month!

Here's an update of some of the events that have gone on since I wrote in October...

As much as I truly feel like I'm not a true Wisconsinite, considering my disdain for the cold weather, I absolutely love the other three seasons. Aristana loved playing in the leaves this year, and helping Dad outside with yard work.


Aristana turned three years old on December 3rd. This birthday was so hyped up, considering it was the beginning of a whirlwind of changes and craziness for our family. Aristana's birthday, then her party, St. Nick, Baby shower, prepare for Christmas, a bunch of holiday celebrations, New Years, then Baby... Plus, now Aristana is old enough to get excited about these things.

We started off the morning with a birthday muffin with candles, some signs and balloons. She loved it. ...probably not so much my singing to her, but the celebration.

Grandma Kriss came to town, and the three of us went to Build-A-Bear, where she picked out an adorable puppy, named "Silly." She picked out a Milwaukee Brewers outfit, cell phone, and firefighters outfit to go with.

After lunch at Grazies, we came home, napped, and by the time she woke up, Dad was home. We ended the evening with some custard at Zestys. A perfect day!


Like we did last year, we celebrated Aristana's birthday at The GuestHouse Inn, in Bellevue, with a pool party for all of her little buddies. She loves to swim, and with the weather, our options for a birthday party are limited. Maybe next year the kids will have the attention spans to do something else, but for now we took the safe route.

She got to choose her cake from Festival Foods, and decided right away on Thomas the Tank. She was so excited to pick it up the day before, and stared at it every chance she got. It helped that it tasted awesome too!

We had about 25 people there throughout the day, which was really nice. The kids get to hang out and have fun, and we get to catch up with our friends. It really was a win-win. Aristana was loaded up on sugar, and loved her gifts of Hot Wheels, big rigs, trains, semis and her other boy items. Ironically, she did get a Barbie, which she has really taken to. We're all weirded out by this, considering she normally wouldn't touch anything "girly."

It was a fantastic day, and we all pretty much passed out when we got home.

That evening, St. Nick came. However, with all the birthday excitement, and the upcoming baby shower, St. Nick was kind of a flash in the pan this year. Sorry Nick...next year will be your year.


My mom threw a beautiful baby shower for me, on December 6th. There were about 12 guests. Aside from Sarah K and my Mother-In-Law, everyone else was from Lia Sophia. I am so blessed to be surrounded by such wonderful ladies! The decorations were beautiful, and we really had a nice time.

I was given so many great gifts, and truly appreciate every one of them! We gave away most everything up to 12 months, so we were hurting in the preparedness aspect of this pregnancy. The shower gifts definitely helped us out a lot!

A BIG thank you to my mom for setting that up!


When Mike and I were child free, we used to bake Christmas cookies for our friends/family. It seems that time flies, and we weren't able to keep up that tradition once Aristana came into our lives. However, this year, Aristana and I put on our Packer aprons, and did the baking while Dad was at work.

This was Aristana's project. She choose the recipes, helped with all the baking, and decorated the sugar cookies. Many times, the ingredients would end up outside the bowl, on the counter...and the sugar cookies were buried in sprinkles, ready to send anyone into a diabetic shock. These may not be the best tasting or most beautiful cookies, but you will never eat a treat with so much love and work put into it. I was extremely surprised by her attention span. She had fun picking out who to give them to, as well.

Hopefully, I'll write more often again, so I don't have to write a novel to catch up. Then again, with this time of year, and the baby around the corner, you may not hear from me for awhile... If that's the case, I wish you all a very blessed holiday! Don't forget to take the time to reflect on our Savior and the true meaning of Christmas. Take a moment to look back at all the good in your life, and give thanks and praise to the one who gave it all to you.


It’s just like riding a bike…

"It's Just Like Riding a Bike"

Okay, it’s a cliché… and at this rate, I don’t know if I could figure out how to ride a bike either. I have stared from afar for the past few months, at the “What to Expect the First Year” book, sitting on my dresser. I picked it up once in a while, not paying too much attention to the contents. I think I just picked it up when I would get my little spurts of excitement.

Mike and I both made the realization that we don’t remember much about raising a baby. I remember how to change a diaper, since Aristana is still too stubborn to potty train. I remember that sleep is not something we’ll get much of for a long time. I remember that for the first um, maybe six weeks, that we’re supposed to pick up the baby every time she cries. I know we have to feed her, but how much, how often? I remember half of everything we have to do. If I remember quantity, I forgot timing. If I know how to do something, I forgot how much or how often. I remember that eventually she’ll eat real food, at that I used a steamer and food processor at one point in Aristana’s baby days… but wow, we are just going with the fact that Aristana is here, she’s healthy, so we must have figured it out the first time.

As we were going to sleep last night, Mike and I had an argument about the quantity and frequency of feedings. We ended up having to turn on the light, and grab the book, so we could resolve the issue, and go to sleep. It’s so funny though, that we’ve been doing the parenting thing for three years, and seem so clueless. I guess we’ll need to start reading more, very soon!

With all that being said, we are so excited that in no time we’ll be holding our brand new baby. Wow, even though the pregnancy this time around was not as full of newness as the first time, I don’t think you can ever lose the sincere awe and joy that come with seeing a baby, made from you and your spouse, filled with hope for the future, and beaming with the pure love of God. We are truly blessed!

Is it really that time of year already?

Okay, so it just seems that a couple weeks ago, the mild air was still here, and thoughts of holding a new baby were still on the back burner, seeming ages away. I have been attending weekly doctor appointments faithfully, still not feeling under pressure. But, here we are, December 15th already… WOW!

We’ve almost finished Christmas shopping, only having to help out Santa with choosing Aristana’s gifts at this point. The Christmas cookies are made and delivered, and the decorations have been up for awhile. Now that the “hustle-and-bustle” of the holiday season preparations are complete, the inevitable realization has finally set in… WE’RE HAVING A BABY! WE’RE HAVING A BABY VERY SOON! HOLY CR*P! (I censored that last word, just because we’re so against Aristana saying it, that I feel guilty even spelling it out)

For about a month now, I have been told that I am measuring two weeks ahead of schedule. Two ultrasounds ago, we were told that baby is two and a half weeks ahead of the game, in weight. My latest ultrasound, last week, shows she’s three full weeks ahead, and already 5lbs, 9ounces! Do you remember all of the issues I have had trying to gain weight this entire pregnancy? Yeah, apparently she’s not bothered by it, because she’s sucking every ounce of food from me.

With that being said, I am getting weekly Non-Stress Tests for the baby, to make sure Baby Blue Lightning is healthy, and better off being in me, than out.

Yesterday, she passed her test with flying colors, and won the “Best baby of the day” award. Awww… such a proud mom I am! I have not gained any weight in the past week however. Again, I guess I am not so worried about it… I’m convinced she has food reserves, and is just hibernating at this point. She must have one heck of a placenta!

Our next step is another ultrasound on December 28th. If she continues the rapid growth, they will perform an amniocentesis to see how her lungs have developed. If the lungs are good to go, they will induce labor much sooner than my due date. Considering I have anemia, it would be better at that point for her to be in the real world, than inside, dealing with my issues… ha, so many comments
On a side note, Mike just received a summons for jury duty the first week of January. Great timing. I have always held disrespect for those who receive the summons and immediately try to come up with an excuse to get out of their civil obligation. Now I’m sitting here going, um… do we play it by ear? Do we jump on the “get out of it” train?

I have so much more to say, but I think I’ll do some separate entries. I’m too prone to rambling already.

Again, a side note… Best wishes and prayers go out to Andrew and Julie (& Baby Bruiser), and Scott & Wendy (also toting a huge baby girl), for a safe delivery and comfort and joy through the Christmas season! Congratulations also to Sarah and Jim! Even though you are still early on, we are soooooooo excited for you two!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Over the past couple weeks, I’ve noticed Aristana growing at a fast pace. It would seem that on any given morning, she would be an inch taller than the evening before. As I sit here in the living room, unable to sleep (thanks to the other growing daughter – in my belly), I am becoming sentimental. I keep finding myself staring at the two pairs of footie pajamas, hanging off the armoire, drying. I look at those pajamas and try to figure out how she ever got that big. Not to mention, she’s getting to the point where those PJs may not be able to be worn for much longer than a couple more weeks. Wow…

A Year Ago...
I also think back to a year ago, and realize that it was then that we were dealing with that nasty illness that lasted two months for Aristana, and baffled each doctor we brought her to. From her family doctor, to the Milwaukee Childrens’ Hospital, no one could figure out what was going on with her. We decided to agree on two different scopes, while understanding the danger we’d be putting our little girl in, with the sedation process. It was not an easy decision, but what else could we do? Giving all praise to God, just days before her scheduled scopes, it stopped. Weeks upon weeks of sickness just stopped. We never did find out what it was, but as a week passed with no problems, we were in awe that she had just gotten better…no meds, no changes in anything…hmmm.

So now, she’s on the brink of becoming a three year old. Why does this seem like such a HUGE jump in age? I think it’s the things she says, or watching her on a full three minute phone conversation with Grandma that make me realize that our little girl is not so little anymore. She is constantly checking on her baby sister to make sure she is okay in there. Today, I was not feeling so well, and she came up and rubbed my back, and said “I love ya Mom.” We’ve pretty much outgrown Mama and Mommy, and now I’m “Mom.” Pretty soon, she’ll be heading off to school, and that will be even harder to take. I am so proud of her. In her short life so far, she has touched so many lives, and brought out so many smiles. She speaks of Jesus, and knows Him as her friend. She grasps on to so much, and puts us in awe with her awesome memory.

I can’t say enough to convey how blessed I am to have such a beautiful, wonderful daughter. Thank you Aristana, for being my daughter and my best buddy…and thank you God for making it so.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

A True Man

I have an overwhelming urge to say a little blurb about my husband. Mike has never been a man of drama, or a man of many words. We obviously differ in that. He is however, a kind-hearted, decent, Christian, hard working man, who is a fantastic husband, and a wonderful father. Through him and his family, I have found a foundation of faith, a caring, loving “in-law” family, a truly special group of friends, and the knowledge that I can trust him with all my heart. Although our personalities are on opposite ends of the spectrum, I have nothing but love and sincere appreciation for Mike, and the person he is.

There have been many times over the last few weeks that I have been reminded of just how blessed I am, that God chose for us to be together in this life. I don’t know how I ever deserved to be with him, but am so thankful that it worked out that way.

Thank you Mike, for who you are, and for what you mean to your girls (all THREE of us!)

Monday, September 28, 2009

This N That

I am so extremely exhausted right now, but am having the urge to write again.
So I just returned yesterday from a Lia Sophia business rally / leadership event. As always, I am pumped, excited, and feeling like I can accomplish anything. Fantastic. I’ll get back to that later.

Anyway, baby is kicking like crazy, and letting us know that she’s doing well. What a blessing! We have decided on a name, but according to Mike, are keeping it a secret. At least that part is done.

Next, we have officially transformed our office into Aristana’s new “big girl” room, with the “big – big girl” bed (we moved her to a twin bed). She has been so excited ever since we told her that she’d be getting a new room. She got to pick out her paint color at Home Depot. After learning that Home Depot was “all out of” bright red paint, she chose a bright pool blue color. It took some getting used to, since the room used to be a forest green color. However, I think the color really does fit with her personality.

I just left her room, to let her fall asleep on the first official night in her room. We still have to do a few more things…but it’s livable at this point. Now, to bring the crib back up to the nursery, and get that all set up.

After these adjustments, the house is feeling like it is three times smaller now. The office was our catalyst. Need a pen? Office. Need a folder, envelope, piece of scrap paper? Office. Need to use the computer? Office. Mike’s closet? Office. Now, it’s our room, Aristana’s room, and the nursery. The house is closing in! Andrew & Julie…you feeling this way yet?

Okay, now back to some Lia Sophia thoughts. One of the many reasons I love what I do, is knowing that I am setting a good example for Aristana, through confidence, independence, and happiness in what I’m doing. Last week, I could hear her talking in the bathroom to someone (she has a ton of imaginary friends). I peeked in, and saw her holding up one of my necklaces and nodding. She said, “Yes, this is a very pretty necklace. It is long and blue. Do you want to try it on? I’ll show you,” and she put it on. Next she held up some bracelets and said, “This is Mimic. This one is Wild Side. You can wear them too.” My little girl went from having tea parties, to having Lia Sophia parties! She opens her kids laptop, and says she’s looking at her Lia Sophia online. She told me last week that she has five shows this month.

Today, she sat in her new bed, with her laptop, and two order forms, and worked on her Lia Sophia orders for 45 minutes. Hello? Her attention span is no longer than 45 seconds. She is so fun to watch! I am so proud of her. As amusing as it is to see her in action, I thank God that I am able to provide a positive example to her. This business, as I have said many times before, has changed my life so much! I hope to share this with friends, and others who might need a change. More money, a night out, networking, self confidence, a fantastic group of friends, and the knowledge that unemployment is not around the corner. You control your own future (with God’s help, of course)!

Thanks for listening. Now for my goals. I like to post these…more accountability...

*Bookings: 20 Shows between September and November. I have four submitted and nine more on the schedule. Only seven to go, and I can get there. I agreed to this goal, based on an incentive from my friend in the business. When we started, I had two on the books, so this is awesome! I am sharing this goal with Erin and Tammy on my team, since we all needed to kick it up a notch. They are doing a great job as well! (Note: now is the time to book, since I am offering a ton of free stuff for hosting, so I can meet my goal. If you’re interested, contact me…you’ll be surprised at what you’ll get! …even out-of-towners or out-of-staters)

*Sales: September - $2500 in sales / October - $4000 in sales / November - $7000 in sales

*Team Building: 16 team members by the end of the year. I have nine now, and really feel like I can accomplish this one, with a lot of stepping out of my comfort zone. Again, I can speak from my heart on this one. People are many times not wanting to leap into something like this, since it is unknown territory. However, all I ask for is five weeks, five shows, and then take it or leave it. However, in those five weeks, you will have: $1000 of jewelry for $150 (Starter kit cost). All the hostess benefits from your starter show. A chance to earn $600 more in free jewelry. $300 in free jewelry for anyone who wants to start with you. Based on average sales per show, you will have earned $1000 in commission. Best of all, you own your own business. You are your own boss. You decide when you want to work, and how often. What a fantastic deal! Yet, you have every right to walk away if you don’t want to continue…oh, and keep it all.

*Company Trip: Earn the trip to Cancun by the end of November. ($25000 in personal sales, and $25000 in team sales. I’m almost there!)

Promote to Unit Manager by January 2010! I am confident in this one!

Okay, enough of that. Have a good one!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

In regards to the news of our AHS schoolmate, spreading like wildfire...

I need to vent. I’m not sure why my heart just can’t let this one go…

Many of you, who graduated from Ashwaubenon High School, are aware of one of our former schoolmates, and the horrible legal trouble they’ve recently been in, regarding sex crimes. For those of you who are not aware, I am sorry, but I am writing this strictly from my heart, and not for any gossip purposes. I will not reveal the name, but refer to them as “he.”

I decided to write this, after receiving numerous texts, facebook messages and emails regarding this story.

I have heard/read different stories and allegations, and am only certain that he has been officially charged. I am also aware of the extreme sadness his actions have caused the victims, as well as the victim’s families. I understand all that. Please know that this blog is in NO WAY defending his actions.

However, I feel an extremely strong desire to talk about it. We are told in the Bible, that we are not to judge one another. A sin is a sin, no matter what. In the eyes of God, the only one who matters, the crimes this man committed are no worse than the white lie I told this morning. Someday, I will die, and be judged. He will die and be judged. Only then, and by God, will his journey from there be determined. Don't forget the most important thing of all. Jesus died for us, to take our sins away. We all can live, by the grace of God! We are all equal!

The devil knows our weaknesses. He exploits them, uses them against us, and ultimately desires to place a small wedge between us and the Lord. Unfortunately, we cannot always find the strength to fight these desires and feelings. The wedge gets bigger, and we lose our self control, and strong relationship with God.
In high school, when my parents divorced, I blamed God, and questioned His motives. The wedge was placed. I fell away from the small relationship I had with the Lord. This person however, not knowing me very well, reached out, and invited me to Bible study. I went, and will always be so thankful for that day. I know my life has been blessed tremendously, just for knowing this person. I know many others can say the same. Many lives have been blessed by this person in the past. Which is ultimately why I’m writing this entry.

Instead of name calling, gossiping, and telling everyone we know about it, how about we say a prayer. Pray of course, for the victim(s), for their families, for his family, both immediate, and extended. Most of all, say a prayer for him. Say a prayer to God, asking Him to hang on tight to this person who needs him so much right now, and help him become a better person once again. This is a tragedy in so many ways, but there is no doubt the goodness that lies within this man. Those of you who know who I’m talking about…I know you can’t deny that.

If you are about to tell more people about it. Ask yourself why. What do you gain by gossiping? Being the bearer of bad news does not make you a better person. Giving the family some respect, does.

If you are name calling. Ask yourself. Have I not sinned? If you can say that you are sin free, then put him down. But since we are not to judge, I believe that in itself would be a sin.

I don’t mean to offend anyone by writing this blog entry. Again, this is my view… and I don’t claim to speak for others. However, I know in my heart that my journey to finding Christ may never have begun, if it wasn’t for this person. As much as I am saddened by the news, I will continue to pray for EVERYONE involved.

Thank you for your time, and respect of my opinion.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Good Old “Native-American” Summer

I am amazed at the absolutely beautiful weather over the past week. Despite repeated reports of four straight days of rain, here we are, warm temps, hot sun, perfect breeze. Unfortunately, kids are back in school, docks have been brought in, and cottages closed up… However, lets praise God for this great opportunity to get some outside activities in, before the summer closes up shop for good.

Last weekend, Lauren and I sold our mom’s art at the Parallel 44 Fall Harvest Fest, in Kewaunee. Again, a perfect day. We ate, drank (well, not me the pregnant mama), took in the grape stomping contest, and watched fine wine connoisseurs sampling the vineyards finest blends. More fun though, was watching the non-fine wine connoisseurs getting progressively intoxicated as the hot sun and 33% alcohol content took over their bodies. Good times. If you go to a wine fest for the fest, and not the wine, go for the last few hours. You’re guaranteed to hear some smashing glass and a few Whoo! exclamations coming from the crowd.

Yesterday, Lauren met us at our house, and she, Aristana and I headed out on a short road trip. We met up with our crazy uncles Gary, Mike and Pat, at Wilke Lake. These were the guys who lived out there most summers, so reminiscing was great. Lauren hasn’t been there in a while, so it was nice to get her caught up.
From there, we grabbed some lunch at “The Cedars,” on Cedar Lake. Good food, a perfectly clear lake, and public beach access. It was fantastic. I ate a ton of food, and topped it off with homemade cheesecake for dessert. Wow!

We all went and played around in the water for awhile, and Aristana got soaked. I love to see her enjoying the pure fun of being a kid. Her favorite “Pink Guy” got to take a swim too. Beautiful!

After stopping in Manitowoc to see Mitzie & RJ, and a trip to the “Big Cow” for ice cream, we ventured back home.

Oh, and the absolutely best part of all of this, took place inside…in the bathroom, specifically. Aristana FINALLY went on the big girl potty when we got home!!! She was almost in tears, she was so excited. She kept hugging me, and giggling, and flail/dancing. She and I will be headed off to Wal-Mart this morning to get her the two Matchbox cars and nail polish she’s been working so hard to earn.

For the next week, we’ll be running around like chickens with our heads cut off. However, we are thankful for every day and every experience.

Till then…

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Half Way There!

Today, we are half way there! Our baby girl is doing well and so are we, at 20 weeks. She is kicking a bunch, and getting stronger. I can’t say enough about the feeling of the baby kicking in my belly, and not just the physical feeling. I love knowing that finally our miracle is strong enough to let me know that she’s there. I love knowing that someday soon, both Mike and Aristana will be able to feel it too. I love knowing that a baby’s kick is the one thing that only I can truly experience. Even when others can feel her, no one else will be able to feel it from my perspective. It’s something that only Baby and I will share. I don’t mean to sound selfish, but it’s just great!

Aristana is really grasping the Big Sister role well. She is always talking about her, wanting to buy her things, and has already named her. Baby sister’s name apparently will be Lightning, at least according to Aristana. I can hear her talking to her animals about her baby sister, and how they need to be nice to her. I am aware that things will probably change once Lightning is born, but it’s good to know that she at least has a positive attitude to begin with.

Last of the baby stuff… We have narrowed the real baby names down to four. For a short time, we had one chosen…but I can’t seem to love it yet. Of four names, I’m not a fan of Mike’s favorite. He’s not a fan of my favorite, and the other two, we are both “okay” with…but neither of us are overly-excited about them. So we tabled the subject for a few days, hoping each of our names would grow on the other person. I’m pretty sure people will be surprised by our choice, no matter which one we choose. One sounds like a name from the “olden days.” The other three are shorter, two-syllables, and better known. I personally wanted something more simple, that still sounded nice with Aristana’s name. Hmmm, we’ll see…

Off the baby subject. We went to Red Robin with Mike’s parents yesterday. As we were leaving, we saw Aaron Rogers! I’m not one to get star struck… but apparently the New Kids on the Block, and Aaron Rogers are a different species. Since his name was added to the Packers roster, I have been a huge fan. Even when there was no Favre drama, and we were all aware that Rogers was nothing but a back-up, I was a fan. As soon as the Favre/retired/not retired/playing for the Jets drama started, we chose a Rogers jersey for Aristana. Anyway…We made eye contact for a couple seconds, and I truly became giddy. What a dork! Here I am, with my husband, daughter, in-laws, and I am giddy that I saw the quarterback of the GB Packers. He even shaved off his crazy mustache, and looked really cute. Okay, I can move on… maybe. ( I think he looks a little like Mike, so that would explain my attraction) Didn’t I say I was moving on?