Wednesday, June 16, 2010

More great summer events!!!

I LOVE SUMMER! I love having fun stuff to do all the time. I love playing softball… watching softball… farmers markets… Breakfast on the farm…community picnics… parks… sanctuaries… festivals… etc…

Last weekend, we started off the morning by taking our annual walk to the end of the block to cheer on all the runners doing the Bellin run. This year, we didn’t stay long. It was day four or five of rain, and both Maisie and Aristana weren’t too cooperative. I still got to see a few people we knew.

After a nap, the two girls and I met up with Mike, Grandma and Grandpa Hinz at the Bellevue
Community/Firemen’s picnic at Josten Park. Thankfully, the weather held out, and it was nice and warm for a good part of the day. We ate some burgers, watched some waterfights, played some kids’ games, visited with friends, and took some pictures. My good looking firefighter was assigned to work the bouncy house. Still great with the kids. Gotta love him!

Sunday proved to be another beautiful day! We went to Breakfast on the Farm in Newton (Manitowoc County) Grandma and Grandpa met up with us again there too.  I have such fantastic in-laws! There are no problems in the world that cannot be solved with a hearty breakfast, a morning bowl of ice cream, an unending supply of chocolate milk, and some polka music

Bath time for both girls and an early bedtime prepared us for Aristana’s first day of Vacation Bible School at Faith Lutheran in Allouez. This is where she’ll be attending preschool in the fall. I was worried how it would go, since she is usually adamant that Mom or Dad stay with her wherever she goes. God gave us a great morning, and a cooperative Aristana (a true miracle). She got ready, ate breakfast and was an angel. We went a little early so she could adapt before I bailed on her. She walked into her room, and my little girl transformed into a big girl. She was so excited to be there. We found out too, that her cousin Paloma, and friends Lexi and Kinsey were also in her class. I’m loving this! 

That’s it for now. Tomorrow we have VBS again, and Mike’s softball game. Thursday though, we’ll be having nine kids over for lunch and some playtime after VBS… pictures to follow...

Friday, June 11, 2010


This past winter, Aristana wrote a letter to Thomas the Tank, asking him if he would come visit Green Bay, because we had a lot of train tracks for him to use. We addressed it to Thomas, at the Island of Sodor, put a “stamp” on it, and took it to the post office at Festival Foods. After the lady stamped “air mail” all over it, she put it in the box to go out in that day’s mail.

Three days later, a letter arrived in our mailbox, for Miss Aristana, from the Island of Sodor. Thomas thanked her for her letter, and said she seemed like a very nice girl. He would indeed come visit. However, since he hates his snowplow (mom did her research – okay, after seeing 684 Thomas videos over and over again, some things stick with you), he wanted to wait until summer. Well, as Aristana puts it, yesterday was “Thomas June.” We had a really nice time. Unfortunately, we didn’t do our timing well, and didn’t end up having enough time to do everything we wanted to… we learned.

Aristana, the ever timid three year old was quite nervous most of the time, and so we didn’t end up with any pictures of Sir Topham Hat. She was also not willing to get a tattoo, but volunteered me to. She picked out a James tattoo for me, and I took an extra one for her. It turns out she didn’t want someone else to put it on her. So after a quick trip to the bathroom, we had Mom and Daughter matching James tattoos. Add that to the list of questionable things I’ve been strongly encouraging her to do lately (also included, playing in the rain, jumping in puddles, running up a slide, using a knife to make her own sandwich…geesh)
After lots of staring at and playing with train tracks and engines, we boarded the train, and Thomas took us for a ride! This was exciting for her… The first train ride we took (on Memorial Day, same train, without Thomas) began with screaming and tears. We were glad she was much more willing this time around.
Ironically, the thing that may have won the award for “The Most Exciting Part of the Day Out With Thomas,” was the fact that she got to take a ride on a big yellow school bus, to get back to our car. Go figure…

Thanks to God for hanging on to the rain until we were done. Thanks to Mike for working hard to afford us $45 worth of some fun and a free bus ride

Thursday, June 10, 2010

It’s three and a half hours since my last post, and I’m laughing at how the situation changes from peace to war. I have spent the last five minutes ignoring my three year old and trying not to laugh, as her frustration with me quickly builds. She’s still very dependent on my help for things ( I think it’s actually a control issue ~ who will win this battle – type thing). She wants pants on. She knows how to put them on correctly. She just doesn’t want to today. She wants Mom to do it. As I type, she’s walking around with one pant leg on, upside down, obviously to try to teach me a lesson, as she fake cries loudly, “I can’t do it! I can’t do it!” The more upset she gets, the funnier she gets, and the harder I have to work to keep a straight face. So, I’m typing… Currently, there are seven pairs of pants and capris on the floor, since it is apparently to difficult to get any of them on. She decided on her favorite pair of shorts. Unfortunately, they are in the freshly washed load of laundry that has not made it to the dryer yet. More drama… Fun is over, time to end this situation.

Update: She ended up yelling and trying to hit me. Both she, and her pants ended up in bed for a time out. I checked on her 30 seconds later, through a crack in her door, and there she was just hanging out in bed – pants on. Wow… I know you all think she gets her stubbornness from me, but it’s just that you can SEE that I’m stubborn. Mike is just as bad… I’m starting to think she’s not as much like me as I thought… I’m seeing a lot of her daddy coming out in her now. Hmmm… we’ll have to keep an eye on that one.

No Time Like the Present

I haven’t blogged in so long, because I guess I felt that I need to have the full story, in order… Obviously, since I was still prego last time I wrote, a ton has happened since then. I have a beautiful almost-five-month-old daughter, and no blogging since before her birth.

I have resigned myself to the fact that I will not be able to tell the daily, weekly, or even monthly stories that would comprise my desired blog. So today, I start from where I am. Sometimes I’ll refer back, sometimes I’ll talk about things that may not matter to others. I need to do this though, for me. Writing my feelings helps me reiterate my blessings, frustrations, joy, and reality. I have nothing to hide, so I’ll just be writing freely.

A few weeks back, I realized that I was never satisfied with my personal feeling of accomplishment on a daily basis, when I’d finally lie down to sleep. I felt that I worked all day, and nothing seemed done. I am mildly OCD when it comes to order and control. I am also unable to function normally without medication to keep my thoughts in order. I hadn’t taken those meds since I became pregnant, and no longer having pregnancy to blame for my scatter brain, I realized I needed to regain control of some things. I made an appointment with my psychiatrist to get back on my meds. I made a ton of todo lists, arranged into daily, weekly, monthly, and misc categories. If I’m not on the meds, I can’t remember what needs to be done, or I can’t seem to multi-task or finish a job I started. When I’m on the meds, my brain is running so efficiently, that I can’t keep up with all of the things it is remembering to do. My lists, although long, specific, and scary looking to the naked eye, have kept me in line, helping me to do a much better job keeping up the household and remembering to even shower.

I also wanted to regain control of my relationship with my family. I was so frustrated that the kitchen was a mess, or that the laundry wasn’t folded, that I failed to realize that we forgot Maisie’s “tummy time” and Aristana was still begging me to play with her, well into the evening. Mike got home from work, to a wife that was frazzled, and kids that wanted so much more attention than I gave them that day.

The meds definitely helped. The lists definitely helped. Things were looking up, but something was still so obviously missing. Ironically, I needed to ADD something to my schedule, in order to make it simpler. I decided that instead of getting up with the first sign of one of the girls waking, hoping for every last drop of sleep I could squeeze out, I would set my alarm for 5am, and spend time with God. Thankfully, I have a coffee pot with a timer. It seems that the smell of the freshly brewed welcome-to-the-morning drink did a much better job waking me than my alarm. I don’t think I actually heard the alarm for the first week or so. I grabbed my favorite cheesy, 1980’s Mickey Mouse mug, and with a hot cup of morning ammo in hand, I’d sit on the couch, sun streaming in on my shoulders, and pick up a book of reflections I received from my mom on Mother’s Day. I’d read a chapter, in the quiet, by myself, and reflect on the attached bible passage. Every day, the story would reflect to a tee, something that I was going through at that time. The Lord knows how to speak to us! The first day, after putting down the book, I started to pray, which quickly turned into a conversation, followed by tears of joy for the many, many, many, many blessings in my life. With a heart FULL of peace and thanks, I said “Amen,” and opened my eyes to see the trees blowing in the breeze, the sun bright, the white fluffy clouds dotting the sky, someone walking down the sidewalk, cars entering the parking lot of the business across the street. I could hear birds, dogs, cars driving down the street, the fan in our living room, the breeze as it flowed through the leaves on the trees. I smelled the grass, the scent of the candle on our mantle, the lingering smell of the toaster from Mike’s breakfast. EVERYTHING BECAME CLEAR! I am surrounded by the gifts of God. He has given all of these things to me! By adding another very important and wonderful “chore” to my ever growing list, everything that was once taken for granted, became some of the most important things in my day. Gratitude and peace had replaced my worry and disappointment. As I wiped away the residual tears, I heard Maisie’s faint cooing over the baby monitor. For the first time in weeks, I was so excited to know my day was starting… noted by the most wonderful sound in the world. My precious little spit-up, gas ball princess.
Thank you God! Thank you for EVERYTHING!

I want to add a fantastic entry I just read from “Chicken Soup for the Mother-of-Preschoolers Soul.”

Time Well Spent

Are you a mother? Do you ever wonder
if you accomplish much each day?
When you see the floor that didn’t get mopped
Or the laundry still not put away?
If you sometimes feel discouraged,
I’ve a few questions to ask of you.
Perhaps it’s time to take a look at all the things you do.

Did you fold a paper airplane?
Did you wash a sticky face?
Did you help your child pick up toys and put them in their place?
Did you pull a wagon, push a swing
Or build a blanket tent?
If so, let me tell you that your day was quite well spent.

Did you turn the TV off and send the children out to play?
And then watch them from the window as you prayed about their day?
When they tracked mud on your kitchen floor,
Did you try hard not to scold?
Did you snuggle close as prayers were said
And bedtime stories told?

Did you wipe away a tear? Did you pat a little head?
Did you kiss a tender cheek
As you tucked your child in bed?
Did you thank God for your blessings,
For your children heaven-sent?
Then rest assured, dear mother,
Your time was quite well spent.

Did you make sure they brushed their teeth today?
Did you comb tangles from her hair?
Did you tell them they should do what’s right,
Though life’s not always fair?
Did you quiz her on her spelling words,
As you tried hard not to yawn?
Did you marvel at how tall he is
And wonder where his childhood’s gone?

Did you buy another gallon of milk?
Was that broccoli you cooked?
Did you straighten your son’s tie and say
How handsome he looked?
Did you hold your tearful daughter
when her teenage heart was broken?
Did you help her find some peace of mind,
Although few words were spoken?

Did you help him choose a college and get the applications sent?
Did you feel a little wistful
At how quickly the years went?
Did you help her pack a suitcase
And try hard not to cry?
Did you bravely smile and smooth her hair
As you hugged her good-bye?

Do you hold them in your prayers
although your arms must let them go?
Do you tell them that you love them,
So they will always know?
To make a home where love abides
Is a great accomplishment
And to serve God as a mother is
To live a life well spent

~Cheryl Kirking

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Today is the day!

Just a note.

We're getting ready. We leave in an hour for the hospital. In about four hours, will have a brand new baby...and life. Wow.

Here we go!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

A Week in Words

Baby Update:

Last Wednesday we went in for our second amniocentesis, to see if baby Maisie’s lungs were finally developed. The plan was to get the okay from Dr. Jazayeri, and head over to St. Vincent Hospital that same day. He predicted that she was between 9 and 9 ½ pounds. (He did say there was a margin of error. “You could have a 7 ½ pound baby…but then, you could also have an 11 ½ pound baby. She’s just getting big either way,” was how he put it) Again, the phone call we got was not what we had hoped for. This time, however, we were a little more grounded to begin with, not expecting much. The first amnio, the week prior, produced a number of 19, when we needed it to be 54. This time, she was at 26. This was obviously an improvement, but not near where we wanted her.

I have an appointment to check my “readiness stats” on Tuesday this coming week. Then, on Thursday the 21st, I am scheduled for a 9:30am C-Section. She’s getting so big, and with the medical issues on both her and my ends, it was recommended that a c-section be done. If she needs medical attention, we don’t have to wait hours and hours until I deliver her. She’ll be out in no time, and off to the NICU if needed. So there you have it, the light at the end of the tunnel. God willing, we will have a baby on the 21st, unless she decides to surprise us sooner. We are just praying that it is God’s will to deliver a healthy baby, with no complications.

Knowing now that I’ll have a long recovery time, Aristana and I have cooked, baked and frozen more food, to take some burden off of Mike. At least we have a few days to prepare for the big day.

Happy Birthday to Natalie!
A quick shout out to our niece/cousin Natalie Kiel on her 8th birthday, which was January 14th! Man, time flies! I see a lot of the same personality in Natalie and Aristana. Independent, and not afraid to take charge. We love you girl! We hope you had a great day!

Aristana’s First Star Struck Moment…
Okay, I’ll give a little background, although I’m not sure it will do justice to setting up the story. When Mike and I first started dating, we went to the Cup O’ Joy Christian Coffee House, to see a great singer/songwriter, Ronnie Freeman. I was struggling with my personal faith journey at the time, and his music practically grabbed me from my chair and spoke directly to my heart. Since then, I have been such a huge fan, using his lyrics as a guide for my faith.

Throughout the years, we have never missed one of his shows (he comes 1-2 time a year). His music has been a background through our relationship, and our marriage. When Aristana was born, Ronnie’s songs became her lullabies, as I rocked her to sleep each night. As she grew, she eventually started singing the words with me. Now, every night, we pray as a family, Aristana and I read a couple books, and close the night out with singing a couple Ronnie Freeman songs.

This year, Ronnie came back to the Cup O’ Joy on the 15th of January (last night). I was sure I would have to miss the concert, being that we were supposed to have a baby by now. I’m pretty sure God helped set this one up. We were able to go…and Aristana, for the first time. Unfortunately, Mike got a fire call about five minutes before we left for the venue, so Aristana and I had to go alone. Looking back at the evening, I feel God wanted it that way. One more night, just me and my little buddy…no baby, just us.

When we got to The Cup, Ronnie was busy signing his CDs from the previous show. We went up to him, and I introduced Aristana to him, letting him know what an impact he’s had on our lives, and Aristana’s life. I asked if he was going to sing “The Only Thing,” since that is her very favorite song. He said it wasn’t on the playlist, but he would see what he could do.

Aristana stared at him through the whole show, and was absolutely awesome. Near the end, he said, “Before I forget, I took a request. This is for my new little three year old friend.” (She was standing on my legs at this time, so she could see better) He looked over, and did a cute little wave, and she waved back, realizing that he was talking to her. All of a sudden she got so giddy and started the same giggle she had when she saw Santa this year. Everyone was laughing, and staring at her. She started to sing along with him, and did pretty well with the words. I cried like a baby…knowing how many times I looked to his lyrics for strength and faith…knowing how far I’d come, how blessed I am, and aware of the blessings yet to come. He was singing to my little girl. It was a phenomenal experience, and I am so thankful to him for doing that. He made that little three year old friend’s day. She hasn’t stopped telling everyone about it since. Not to mention, I think we’ve had to sing that song about 483 times in the last 24 hours. To hear the song, click here...hope that link works.

Sorry, that was a long one!

Hopefully I’ll be updating this from the hospital at the end of this coming week. Please keep us, especially baby Maisie, in your prayers!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

She's Not Fully Cooked Yet

Statistics as of January 6th, 2010

Gestational Age: 36 weeks & 6 days
Average weight of a baby this age: 6 pounds
Our Baby's Weight: 8 lbs, 8 ounces
Dilated: 0 centimeters
Effaced: 50%

Well, after all the excitement of the last blog entry, I have the game plan. Unfortunately, it's pretty much where we were prior to today. Baby's "number" for the amniocentesis needed to be 54, and she came back at 19. She's nowhere near ready to join us yet. Bummer. Her lungs are very much underdeveloped at this time. If she decided to come on her own, she could be in the NICU for awhile. We'll hope she too, agrees with the doctor, and hangs out in there for a little longer.

I will be heading back for another amnio next Wednesday morning, to see how she's progressing. Right now, she's measuring out at 8lbs, 8ounces, so Dr. Jazayeri says by the time she's ready, I'll most likely have to have a C section, due to her size. On the plus side, all of her non-stress tests over the last six weeks have been very positive, and she passes with flying colors each time. I guess, we just need to work on the lungs.

Everyone I spoke to said the amnio would be painless, being that I'm so far along. It would feel nothing more than the needle in your arm when getting a lab drawn. That was a bunch of bunk. It wasn't horrible, but definitely uncomfortable. After
I complained to my mom and Mike about the amnio, I headed to Bellin Hospital for my next iron infusion. Ironically, after complaining all day how the amnio was much worse than the "needle in the arm," the nurse missed my vein on her first try, and blew up my vein on the second try. The third try made it, only after moving the needle around in my arm a few times. Now I can say that the amnio was definitely better than the "needle in the arm" scenario. That was not cool. I'm here though. Still alive. Six days of no needles. I'm content. Thanks for listening to my rant.

When I got home from my first doctors appointment this morning, Aristana was excitedly waiting in the front window for me to come in. She was jumping up and down when I walked in, asking if we could get our baby today. She is so excited to be a big sister. I told her we would have to wait for them to call me, and tell me if she's ready to come out yet. I have to tell you, we were all bummed, but that little three year old was seriously sad. I told her baby wouldn't be coming out for a while, and her bottom lip immediately grew triple it's size, and she almost started to cry. All day, she and I just kept cuddling with each other. I explained to her what was happening. We both understood, but were both disappointed. It really brought us close together today.

So, that's the update. I'll be sure to keep the updates coming.