Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Valentine's Day

In a surprising turn of events, we actually celebrated Valentines in our house! I think we were inspired by how many people shared Valentine treats with us. Maybe a little bit of it is having a 5 year old in the house ;).

Mostly, there is my mom, who LOVES holidays. She's a romantic and loves letters so Valentines is kind of a given. For a few weeks prior to February 14th, she provides the girls with a card to open everyday, and a big stack for the 14th. We also received some foam hearts from a friend. It all kind of accumulated to our table as decoration for our family's traditional way of celebrating.  We typically mark holidays (you know, the small "commercial" ones, St Patricks, etc) by having a themed breakfast. Colored milk, shaped pancakes. We try to tell the girls about each holidays origins.

Just as rare as us celebrating Valentines, is us eating donuts (though I am definitely more sad about the later). I managed to get up early enough to drag Lucy to Dunkin' Donuts before Eden woke up. The girls were super excited about heart shaped cake for breakfast!

While perusing pintrest I found this really cute idea for Eden's classroom Valentines:

Luckily Grandma had sent a matching game with sturdy cardboard hearts. There were plenty of cards to steal a dozen from and still have a game (or two) leftover. A trip to our local thrift shop proved fortunate with a dozen cars for $1.20. Cheaper than a box of store bought cards!

Eden had a party at school and after school too! It was a great day for our social butterfly. A brave mom in her class invited all the girls (9) over for pizza, playtime, and watching Jason Brown skate in the Olympics. Eden played so hard she finally knocked out her second loose tooth!

We took the girls to see the Jason Brown ice sculpture in Highland Park and then out for pancakes.

While Thomas finished putting the girls down I even managed to cook an adult dinner, one of our pre-children favorites, lamb with bearnaise sauce and spinach with roasted garlic. We ate with no whining, food throwing, or spilled drinks- and it was marvelous :).

Of course, the one thing we always take advantage of on Valentine's is buying each other chocolate!

I know it's not everyone's cup of tea, but I hope your Valentine's was sweet and filled with people you love (and chocolate).

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Lucy's First Birthday

We celebrated Lucy's first birthday at the end of July with a picnic, pie, and close friends.
It was a beautiful Chicago summer day, which also means windy. That didn't quite factor into my balloon and tablecloth plans, but it made it interesting! We packed Italian pressed sandwiches, dried vegetable chips, and fruit into individual brown boxes and served cucumber salad and deviled eggs on the side. Eden requested (and helped make!) blueberry lemonade to drink.

 We placed a few blankets out in our backyard and hung out with the birthday girl.

Lucy was about as impressed with her Strawberry Rhubarb birthday pie as Eden was with her first birthday cupcakes. Meh. I'll be honest, I was kind of disappointed by the lack of an enthusiastic pie face.

Guests were sent home with gummies in bug jars.

Lucy like her dinner on her head (yes, the box was full of food).

It was a great day!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Anyone out there?

Hello whoever is still listening! I keep trying to blog and then get overwhelmed. Where do I begin?? I have so many things I want to share from the last year (yes, a YEAR, that's about how long it's been). So I've decided just to start with the most current.

Our summer has been going very well. Thomas is studying theological German and participating in our church's College of Preachers. He has the chance to preach three times this summer (once in June, this weekend, and once again in August). Each week he meets to help discern his message, get feedback, and provide feedback for the other participants. It is an opportunity we passed down last summer after much deliberation (new baby yada yada :) ) and have been glad he's finally able to commit.
Eden is going to Summer camp for the fist time at her nursery school. She is going Monday-Thursday and stays for lunch. They do "swim days" two days a week (wading pools), had a 4th of July Parade ending with police officers eating red, white, and blue popsicles with them in their classroom. They also have weekly cookouts in their playground. She still LOVES playing with My Little Ponies, loves to play pretend (even invented her first imaginary friend!), and listening to us read chapter books.
Lucy is super smiley and happy. We have been working with a babysitter on her separation anxiety and she is getting much better (so am I ;) ). She says mama and dada and every once in a while surprises us by saying something random, though she usually doesn't repeat it again. She is still cruising like crazy and climbs a lot. She'll walk upright if she's holding onto something (one finger is all it takes!) but shows no interest in standing or walking on her own. Her belly laugh is currently my favor thing.
I am trying to keep up with everyone else's schedules and make sure we are getting together with friends for playdates and dinner.  Occasionally hiring a babysitter during the day to give Lucy practice being without parents has allowed me some time to get back into Microsoft Illustrator and practice with the Wacom tablet (that I got for my 30th birthday and just now opened). I'm also trying to compile some photo books through blurb.com.

So now that you're all caught up, I'll share some photos!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Lucy's Arrival

As I got ready for this post and collected the photos it felt like a distant dream- too long ago to write about now. Lucy is 5 weeks old and it was a lifetime ago that we were in the hospital. However, I still want to share a few images for our family and close friends who are so far away- just a little taste so you can all be part of Lucy's birth experience.

Lucy Ella Middlebrook
July 20th
7 lbs 2 oz, 19 in

Having 9 months to look forward to surgery honestly did a number on me. It's fair to say that about a month out I let nerves get the better of me. God is gracious and answered my pleas for peace by sending a lot of reassuring professionals and mamas my way from all different viewpoints on c-section with honest and kind wisdom. Knowing the exact date and time of the birth seemed strange, but when the day came it was wonderful. We were prepared, the hospital was quiet and calm, our friend and pastor drove us there, and Thomas' brother Ryan was able to join us.

The fancy pants hospital (FPH) is conveniently 1 mile away from our house. I was already very familiar with it- my doctors' office is there and we took a few classes/tours prior to our stay.
We arrived at 5 am to prepare for a 7 am surgery.  Eden stayed at home with our friend/pastor's wife who happens to be Eden's favorite person ever- so she was in good hands :).
As you can see below FPH has HUGE rooms. They are an LDRP ward- so you never switch rooms during your stay (unless you go to the operating room!), so we were able to settle in before surgery.

When I was admitted I was actually having low grade contractions- another answer to prayer because I really wanted my body to start the process on its own. Surgery was so quick. We entered the OR, I got anesthesia, they quickly brought in Thomas and in under 10 minutes we had our baby! I was awake for the whole experience, had none of the bad reaction I had to the anesthesia with Eden, and got to snuggle with Lucy while the doctors (that I knew!) closed. As she came out she cried a loud lamby cry briefly and then settled into a calm alert state. She got a 9/9 on the APGAR. My first thoughts seeing her were that she looked like Eden, only fairer, and she was incredibly sweet. 

After surgery I had a BRIEF time alone in recovery while Thomas and Lucy went to the nursery to clean up and get measured. Thomas brought Lucy into the recovery room and we got to try nursing right away- so much nicer than the hours long stretch from surgery to seeing Eden. According to the nurse Lucy will be of above average intelligence because she latched in under 10 seconds! Intelligence aside- it was beautiful and relaxing and so much warmer than I thought a surgical birth could possibly be.

Recovery was a short lived experience and I was brought back to my room where Thomas was waiting and Lucy was brought in quickly. That morning is a daze- I was pretty sleepy. Lucy was sleepy and snuggly. That afternoon brought a sweet meeting of sisters and some extra time with Ryan.

We roomed in as much as possible, only sending Lucy to the nursery from 11pm - 3am each night during her fussy time in between feedings so I could make sure to get some sleep. The hospital was half healthcare/half hotel. The nurses were seriously nice and very customer satisfaction oriented. Lucy was a calm, sugary sweet bundle and we spent our days cuddling, ordering room service, napping, visiting with sweet friends, and watching movies. The food was great! Seriously missed someone else making me a hot omelet every morning when I came home :). There was a break room on our floor stocked with pudding for our pleasure which Thomas appreciated greatly.

We kept a little box of new toys and books for Eden to use when she visited and let her come up one evening for dinner and a movie (Cinderella with Brandy and Whitney!).

The FPH provides a "celebration dinner" on the night of your choice. They wheel in a large table with a tablecloth and give you a special selection of courses. VERY CHEESY but kinda cute.


My recovery was really smooth aside from a few harder days when I first came home, I really missed that hospital bed! Thomas' mom stayed with us the first week we were home and helped tremendously giving Eden special attention, doing laundry and dishes, and answering every goofy medical question I had.

I'll try to post again soon about how Lucy has grown in the past 5 weeks, but it's 10:30 PM which is 2 hours past my bedtime so I'll wrap things up with a final picture of Lucy's best facial expression:

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Father's Day 2012

It's a bit ridiculous to start blogging again at this point! Our second daughter is due in one week and blogging will be (and obviously has been) very low on our to do list, but hopefully this is a nod at an effort to post a bit more regularly- especially since we'll have twice the cute around here to show off.

We're preparing well (we think, which probably means we're not ;) ) and are feeling excited and mostly calm as the due date approaches for our newest little one. Eden is very excited to be a big sister, wonderful friends are lined up to jump in as soon as we need them, baby clothes are washed, my hospital bag is packed, the freezer has enough food for an army. We've had THREE DATES this week- dinner alone, dinner with friends, AND a movie.We've stolen away a lot of moments as a family of three. Eden has been so well behaved the last few weeks.

If this baby were Eden, we would be waking up tomorrow and headed to the hospital (surprisingly so) to meet our daughter. But, of course she's not, so it's anyone's guess :) and thus begins the great journey of having TWO little girls and learning about all their similarities and uniqueness- I'm really excited to get to know this little girl!!

Physically we're both a bit more tired than we'd like. I'm obviously at the uncomfortable stage of 9 months pregnant and my poor sleeping habits are rubbing off on Thomas a bit. Prayer for good rest this week would be appreciated.

Thomas has really sacrificed getting ahead (or even being prepared) for starting his PhD in the Fall to be around an extra portion this summer to connect with us, offer huge support to me, and take a break.

Here's a peak of what we've been up to:

Within a week of being home from Texas we had a garage sale and Eden got to have her first lemonade stand (pink of course):

For my birthday, we got a family pass for the Botanical Gardens. Wednesday nights are Children's Music on the lawn. Fun for picnics and dancing :)

  We kept up the tradition of strawberry picking:

 We laughed a lot on mother's and father's day this year that Eden got to sleep in and eat breakfast in bed with the honored parent instead of helping out.

Sibling tour at the hopsital. Eden definitely feels special and part of the experience.

Eden got to fulfill a dream of ballet classes by attending a two day Storybook Ballet camp. She looked so grown up!! She now loves walking on her tippy toes with her hands on her hips and a looong neck.

I mentioned Thomas taking it a bit easier? He picked cherries from a neighbors tree and baked a pie one day. Delicious! 

I can't express how wonderful it's been to have this protected time with our family, and what a huge blessing it has been for Thomas to have such flexibility. He really has sacrificed a lot to give this time and rest to us and I'm so grateful for him and the ways in which he is following God's wisdom for our family and not the hectic demands of his approaching PhD. Here's this year's (and the previous for comparison) Daddy pics from Father's Day:

We'll try to keep the blog updated as our week progresses and definitely try to keep up with a few pics as our family grows :).