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Sunday, December 30, 2007

No Room in the Inn

Our local friends have often joked that we should name our house "Ben and Amy's Bed and Breakfast" because we have houseguests so often. We've played host to family for seven of the last nine weekends. What with celebrating Bryn's birthday, my birthday, Shay's birth, and Christmas, November and December have been a whirlwind of activity and visits. In fact, the only two weekends we've had in recent memory without houseguests were the two immediately before Shay was born and, let's face it, I wasn't exactly a barrel of fun during those, considering that all I wanted to do was 1) sleep and 2) go into labor, and who would have wanted to stay with us then anyway? :)

This weekend, we apparently decided to outdo ourselves for the grand finale of family visits by adding the designation of "Kennel" to our "Bed and Breakfast" as well. We had two sets of our good friends go out of town for the weekend, and we agreed to watch their dogs for them. Let it be said that when we agreed to do this, we did not actually realize that it was all going to fall on the same weekend, but once we figured that out, we still thought it would be no problem. Thus this weekend held a visit from my mom Tina and my sister Kristin, plus furry four-legged guests Fina and Ravage.

I have to say that taking care of two little girls plus four dogs all at once is not an easy feat, although it did prove to be pretty fun. Luckily, Shay demonstrated her amazing unconsciousness abilities by sleeping through all the barking, and Bryn thought that playing with the dogs was about the best thing to ever happen to her. She chased the four of them around the house, screaming with laughter, and Ben and I decided that her fondest wish was to just be "part of the pack." She fell completely in love with Ravage (who weighs less than 10 pounds but totally held his own with the big dogs). She calls him "Ravi" and insisted that he sit on her lap every time she sat on the couch. She calls Fina "Fin" and loves to pet her as well. So that little girl was absolutely in heaven with four dogs, an aunt, and her grammy to play with all weekend, not to mention her fourth round of opening Christmas presents. As for Ben and I, we enjoyed cuddling the four dogs in bed all night--a little warm, but definitely nice.

As we head into the new year, it seems that our bed, breakfast, and kennel business will be slowing for a while, thus giving us a chance to start to adjust to whatever "normal" life as a family of four is like. We look forward to the next couple of weeks being pretty quiet, and then in the middle of January, I start up with 2 1/2 weeks of nightly rehearsals for the annual Mr. Zionsville pageant, which I am helping to direct again this year. So quiet weekends will the definitely be highly prized as a time to catch up with Ben after only seeing each other to pass of the girls all week. We're looking forward to the adventures and adjustments that the next month will bring!

Updated pictures of Shay to follow, once I manage to catch my breath long enough to get them loaded to the computer....

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Presents and Parties

I'm sure that the simple fact that I now spend my days chasing around a 2-year-old while feeding and diapering a 3-week-old is enough to explain my 2-week absence from the blog, but there are actually other reasons. :) We have been keeping quite busy here in chilly Indianapolis.

While the excessive snow in Peoria two weekends ago prevented my dad and stepmom from coming over for a visit, my college sister braved the weather and came anyway. Kristin arrived last Saturday and settled in for a good visit. She was infinitely helpful, getting up in the night with Shaylee so that Ben and I could sleep and watching the girls for me during the day so that I could run some much-needed errands.

One of Kristin's lifelong friends, Dani, drove over from Champaign on Sunday afternoon so that they could visit with another high school friend, Katie, who now lives here in Indy. Kristin and Dani spent one night here and one at Katie's, and perhaps more importantly, kept me conscious and amused during late-night Shay feedings. When Dani departed for Peoria on Tuesday, Kristin stayed here, and Dad and Diane came over on Wednesday to make up for their cancelled visit.

We had an excellent visit with all of them, including an ample meal of what we hear is "Indy's best Chinese food" and an early Christmas celebration. This was Dad and Diane's first time to meet the baby, and we had a hard time prying Shay out of Grandma's arms so they could head home on Thursday afternoon! Kristin departed with them, and we were left with a short break with no houseguests.

On Friday night, we attended Bryn's friend Christopher's second birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese. It was a little challenging to keep an eye on Bryn as she ran excitedly from game to game while also attending to Shay, who wanted nothing but to sleep in her carseat, but we luckily had many friends present who were willing to help. It was great to get caught up with friends, and Bryn had a fabulous time on all the rides, as well as reveling in pizza and cake.

Later that night, Ben's mom, dad, sister, and grandma arrived to spend the weekend. We celebrated and opened Christmas presents on Saturday morning. Bryn was absolutely enthralled with every gift she received, and it was hard to convince her to stop playing for long enough to open the rest of her gifts! Shaylee slept through most of the proceedings in her great-grandma's arms. After naps, we went out to Sears to have portraits done of the girls and their grandparents. Then dinner out, then home to put the girls to bed. Ben and Jill stayed up late playing with Jill's Wii, and Ben and I were able to receive our second night of good sleep in a row, due to the noctural habits of Nurse Jill, who took over Shay duty for the night.

Sunday held church, then the departure of Ben's family. We spent the afternoon next door, celebrating our neighbor Leleia's third birthday. Definitely a few busy weeks, full of visitors, presents, and parties for Bryn. I think she's going to be pretty bored with me once the new year arrives and all the excitement ends!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

The Baby and The Bean

As the days pass, Bryn continues to love her little sister. We're not certain that Bryn actually understands that the baby has a name; she always just refers to her as "Baby." First thing in the morning, whenever Bryn wakes up, she says questioningly, "Baby?" So as soon as we've changed her diaper, we go into the nursery and wake up Shaylee for her morning feeding and diaper change. On Friday, Shaylee happened to wake up before Bryn, so I took her into Bryn's room when she woke up, and Bryn got a big kick out of Baby coming to get her up.

Several times a day, Bryn will stop in the middle of playing and ask "Baby?" and then scurry off to locate her sister (who is nearly always napping). She is even very particular about where we let Shaylee nap; she always wants her to be in a chair nearby so she can see her. The only "issue" we've had is that seeing Shaylee with a pacifier seems to have reminded Bryn that she used to like those a lot; she actually went up to Shay and took a pacifier out of her mouth the other morning in order to pop it into her own. Lucky that we've got a few spares!

Shortly before Shay was born, Bryn also learned to say her own name--kind of. She referred to herself as "Bin," which is kind of funny, since she is fully capable of saying the "r" sound but just can't seem to get it in that word. Anyway, her pronounciation has recently morphed into something that sounds far more like "Bean." She uses it all the time when asking for things, such as "Bean juice?" It's awfully cute. So I have taken to calling her The Bean, which is probably horrible because it reinforces her mispronounciation, but it's just so darn cute when she says it!

On a separate note, here's a photo of last night's milestone experience of Shaylee's First Bath. Or I guess really second bath, since they do bathe the babies at the hospital right after they're born. Anyway, Ben bathed her in her little pink tub in the kitchen sink while I played paparazzi. She was none too happy about the bathing, although she didn't cry at all. She kind of just scowled at us, probably because the bath forced her to be awake and bottle-less for more than five minutes at a stretch. :)

Today was a big day, with "rehearsal" (all of 15 minutes) for the church Christmas pageant for Bryn, a photo shoot (including changes of outfits) for both girls with our friend Kathy (see her photography blog in the sidebar), and a visit from Nana and Papa Meyaard, who have just left for their return trip to Elkhart. It's all of 7:30 now, and we're pretty much wiped out from all the excitement. Okay--maybe it's just me that is wiped out. Recovering from childbirth takes a lot out of you! Ben is anxious to return to the basement to work on his new foam cutter project, Bryn is running around with a (hopefully clean) burp cloth on her head, and Shaylee is just waking up from her most recent nap, demanding a diaper change and a bottle. Hope you're all having good weekends too!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Life at Home

Shaylee is now 8 days old, and we're adjusting nicely to life at home. Here are some of the "cuteness highlights" from the past few days:

Bryn loves getting into Shay's crib with her, partially because she is obsessed with the baby, and partially because she likes to wind up her animal mobile and listen to the music and watch the animals go in a circle while shouting out their names. Here you can see Bryn engaging in one of her other favorite baby activities, which is giving Shaylee a pacifier whether she wants it or not.

Here's Big Sister Bryn with one of her countless baby dolls, which she very much enjoys carrying around these days. I was feeding Shay, so Bryn dragged in a chair from her room, pulled it up next to me, and cuddled her "baby." As you can tell by the photo, though, she eventually decided that it would be easier if I was just in charge of both babies!

Bryn likes to get in on the feeding action herself. She discovered two days ago how much fun it is to give her baby sister a bottle, and how she loves holding the bottle while the baby is on my lap or, better yet, holding the baby herself while giving her a bottle. The only problem with this is that she tends to lose interest rather suddenly, depositing the baby on the couch and running off to play with something else. It's cute while it lasts though!!

And here's a sign that Bryn may be regressing herself..... last night, she stole Shaylee's pacifier and bottle and crawled under her high chair to enjoy both simulatenously. Got to go; naptime's over!

Friday, November 30, 2007

More Baby Pictures

This is actually my second post of baby pictures today;
scroll down for the first.
Family of Four


Shaylee Grace


Bryn and Shay's feet--so cute!


Ready to go home from the hospital


How we spent the first day at home--Bryn is down with an ear infection, and both girls just wanted to be held all day

Baby Pictures

Here are a few more pictures from Shaylee's first few days:

Sleepy Shay cuddles with Daddy


Big sister Bryn responds to our request to "find baby's nose"


Bryn holds Shaylee for the first time--we promise that Shay was happier about this than it looks like in the picture!


Mommy, Bryn, and Shay cuddle in bed at the hospital

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Shaylee Grace

Shaylee Grace Meyaard Pfanschmidt was born today at 10:08 am, in a very speedy delivery following my 6:30 induction. I am pleased to report that her head is, in fact, smaller than Bryn's, thus making both delivery and the subsequent recovery much easier. She matches her big sister in all other ways though, weighing in at 7 lb 12 oz (Bryn was 7 lb 11 oz), measuring 21 inches (Bryn was 20), and sporting a full head of dark hair and the longest eyelashes the nurses have ever seen (we got comments on these exact same features when Bryn was born). Here's a few preliminary photos:

Cathy brought Bryn up to the hospital as soon was we called her, so Bryn got to climb up in bed with me and hold her baby sister even before lunchtime today. Bryn fell in love with Shay immediately, endlessly repeating "baby" and stroking her hair. Bryn also kept pointing proudly to her own "I'm a Big Sister" shirt, showing us that she knows her new role.

Here's me with my two girls. Both were much happier than they look in this picture, I promise! After cuddling me for a few minutes, Bryn settled happily into a rocking chair and got to hold Shay all by herself. Ben brought Bryn back to the hospital after her nap at Cathy's, and he says that she babbled about "Mommy" and "Baby" the whole way. He also claims that she said something resembling "Shay," or at least something featuring a "sh" sound, but I haven't personally heard that yet.

So I guess we kind of posted these pictures backwards, but this is Bryn's grand entrance into the labor room to visit Mommy and meet Shay. She was bearing two balloons (which she only parted with in order to see "her" baby) an a beautiful carved figurine of a mother and two children (which just happens to match an existing colletion of ours), all compliments of Cathy. Bryn made quite the cute little messenger, coming in to greet us all by herself while Cathy and Chris hung back for a few moments--although they did soon get a chance to admire the baby themselves! Chris tried to climb out of the stoller to see her, and all the photos posted here are actually compliments of Cathy, who wasted no time in breaking out her camera.

And here she is, our own little Shayby. This is what Cathy has christened her, a shortening of "Shay the Baby," and I think the nickname has already stuck for Ben and me. I have typed this whole post with her snoozing on my lap while Ben drives Bryn back to Cathy and Eric's to spend the night. She is certainly a litte angel! Labor was quite fast, and she didn't even cry when she was born. She has been sleeping like a champ and seems as fascinted by Bryn as Bryn is by her. We hope she continues to be this well-behaved and easygoing!

The nurse says it's time to check vitals on Mom and Baby, so I'll leave off her for now. More pictures to follow as we continue to brag on baby!

Monday, November 26, 2007

One Way or Another

Well. As I said before, there will be a baby this week--more specifically, tomorrow--one way or another. At my doctor's appointment this morning, Dr H decided to try stripping my membranes, which, for those of you who have not experienced it, is not a fun process. Basically, this process achieves three things:
1) clearing the way for the baby, so now there is essentially nothing between her and fresh air
2) releasing tons of hormones into my body
3) causing intense achiness

According to Dr H, this process starts labor in 50% of the people who have it. I am also dilated 4-5 cm and now 70% effaced. The baby's head is in position, and I've been having mild contractions for a little over a month. All together, one would think that these things would add up to labor starting any moment, but with my luck, we're thinking probably not.

As a back-up measure, they also scheduled me for an induction tomorrow.... at 5:30 am, which is the latest time they had available. Double ouch. I am not terribly thrilled about this, since I was hoping to avoid an induction if at all possible, but it has come to the point where I don't have a lot of other choices, considering that the doctors are afraid that this baby girl is going to get too big for me. So if I don't go into labor naturally tonight, I'll be hooked up to drugs as of 5:30 am tomorrow. So she's coming, one way or another!

BIG thank yous go out to several of our local friends ahead of time -
* Suellen and Alicia for spending the night here tonight so that Bryn can pass a comfortable night in her own crib and not face an early morning wake-up call.
* Derek for being on dog duty until my return from the hospital.
* Cathy for being babysitter extraordinaire, and also Eric and Christopher, for allowing all their lives to be severely complicated by "adopting" Bryn for the next few days, as well as bringing her to the hospital to meet the baby sister, whenever she arrives.

I will post again as I am able, as the fancy-schmancy hospital where I will be delivering has laptops and wireless internet access in every room (wow). So keep an eye out for news!

P.S. Very weird to think that by 24 hours from now, I will have produced another human being, who will change my life forever.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Due Date

Just another update for those of you following the pregnancy saga. Today is my actual due date, and since there are only about 3 hours left in today, I'm assuming that no baby will be arriving. Our not-so-notable day was spent at church, napping, and having pizza with friends. I have another doctor's appointment tomorrow, and since the doctor said last week that we would have to induce if I went past my due date, I'm assuming that tomorrow's appointment will include scheduling that. So I will have more news tomorrow, but it seems that there will be a baby within the next few days, one way or another.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Progress Report

I've had so many of you ask, either via email or on my voice mail, "when are you having this baby?!?!" that I thought an update was in order. No, I have not had the baby yet. And no, just because I did not pick up the phone when you called, that does not mean that I am in labor. It just means that I am trying to keep myself busy with other things in order to distract myself from the fact that there is no baby yet! :)

People I do not know well tell me that I should not be impatient, as my actual due date is not until this Sunday, the 25th. This is true. However, 39 weeks and 4 days of pregnancy is quite enough for me, thank you. Plus I have now been having Braxton-Hicks contractions for nearly a month, and they continue to grow in intensity. I'm starting to think that if these get much worse, I won't be able to tell the difference when the real ones arrive! (although everyone I know who has gone through labor naturally before assures me that, yes, I will most definitely know the difference :)) I've also started having really bad acid reflux every time I lie down, which only further disturbs my already fragmented sleep. I mean, I have to come fully awake to roll over once an hour, and I have to pee every other hour, so it's not like I'm getting quality rest here!

I did take my packed bag when I went to the doctor this morning, but that was only because I felt it was silly not to do it as long as I was going to the hospital, not because I actually felt like anything was happening. I saw a different doctor (Dr M) than my usuals (Dr P and Dr H) this morning, since scheduling is all wonky for the holiday. Dr M tells me that I am 50% effaced and "a good 4 cm dilated," which he seems to feel is significantly further than the 4 cm that Dr P quoted me at my last appointment on Friday. He says they measure differently; I thought a centimeter was a pretty standard measurement? Anyway, he says things are moving along nicely.

Dr M strongly encouraged me to induce and wanted to schedule me for Saturday. I, however, suspect this is because he is the doctor on call for the entire long weekend, and it would probably be a lot easier for him if he knew when he needed to come in. I can sympathize with that, but I am not going to induce this child, who is showing all signs of coming in her own sweet time, just so the doctor can eat turkey on a more reasonable schedule. In spite of the fact that I am desperately sick of being pregnant, I really feel strongly about not inducing unless there is a legitimate medical reason. Bryn was induced (for many legitimate medical reasons), and I would really like to go into labor naturally this time.

Thankfully, Dr M said he could respect that. However, he also said that I need to have this baby by next week one way or the other, so I will need to reconsider induction if I go past my due date. He is estimating the baby at 7 3/4 or 8 pounds now. Bryn was 7 lb 11 oz, and second children are usually larger, so I guess that's not a big surprise to me. Of course, Bryn's head was also in the 99th percentile, so I'm not actually all the concerned with this child's weight, as long as her head is smaller! Anyway, the doctor worries that if I go too far past my due date, the baby might get too big for me to handle. This I do view as a legitimate medical concern, as I am, after all, a little person and have no desire to birth some 12 pound beast. :) So if I go past Monday (which is when my next appointment will occur), then I'll reconsider the whole induction thing. For the time being, though, we're going to just hang on.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Bryn's Big Girl Room

And here are some pictures of Bryn's "big girl" room overall. She has made the transition really well. She doesn't even try to walk into the nursery; she knows that this is "her" place now. I took pictures from each of the four corners of the room, so hopefully you can kind of imagine what they look like together.

Here's a shot from the doorway. You can see Bryn's "big girl" bed (thanks again to Jennie and family for the "donation"), where she likes to sit in to read stories, and occassionally climbs under the covers, but still refuses to sleep. The white shelves are ones that we bought unfinished and painted ourselves to hold picture frames, keepsakes, etc. I sewed the curtains myself (I know, I'm getting very crafty!), the "vanity table" is one that Nana rescued from being thrown out by their church in Elkhart (Bryn loves it and sits there to play after her nap every day), and the chair is one that was in my room growing up.


Here's one taken from near the crib. Again you can see the curtains and chair, as well as her bookshelf. This bookshelf was quite the project. We wanted a white one to match the room, but we just couldn't find a white one anywhere for a decent (aka reasonable) price. Eventually, we painted one of our old ones. This was quite the project, as it is actually made out of particle board, which, it turns out, does not hold paint well. You can also see the Cinderella wall mural and her princess clock, folding table, and chairs. Apparently Disney has made quite the business on all their princess paraphenalia.

This shot is taken from the corner by her (walk-in) closet (spoiled little girl). You can see the Cinderella mural, which is right over her table and chairs. So far she hasn't played much with the table, but she loves climbing in and out of the chairs! You can also see the white dresser, which doubles as a changing table and ended up being far more of a task to assemble than we had ever dreamed (good thing we called in Ben's family as reinforcements). You can also see the corner of her new crib--the old one is still in the nursery, awaiting the arrival of the new baby. On the wall over the dresser and crib is the princess poster that started the whole project. Over that are wooden letters which Suellen and I painted to match the room. Bryn loves when I point at them and say "B-R-Y-N spells Bryn!"

And here's the view from the armchair by the window. Nothing really new here, just a different view. You can see the princess poster, her name letters, the dresser/changing table (baskets compliments of the Siegmanns' storage unit clearance sale :)), her crib, and the Belle mural (which you can also find in close-up shots in a post a while back). Next to the crib is her "babies' bed," which is another Elkhart church clearance acquisition. You can just barely see the rail of her big-girl bed next to that. So that's the whole room! We're very proud of it, and Bryn would be happy playing in there all day long, so I guess we achieved our goal. :)

In other news, no, there is no baby yet. I have continued to have Braxton-Hicks contractions, which are growing in intensity by the day, and I am now dilated to 4 cm, but still no baby. I did have a bout with the flu this past week (thankfully Ben and Bryn both got flu shots beforehand), and that left me pretty weak, so there were a few days there when I was quite glad to not be in labor. Now I'm feeling much better, though, and definitely ready for this baby to come!

Cinderella

As I mentioned two posts ago, we finally got Bryn moved into her big girl room. I've been meaning to post pictures since then, so here we go. I can't seem to figure out how to post more than five in one entry, so we'll just do it in two. Here are all the pictures of the Cinderella mural.

Here's the finished product: Cinderella and friends



Cinderella's loyal dog, Bruno. I actually had to copy him out of a different picture than the rest of the mural, so he was a little more challenging. I really like how he turned out though.



Furry friends Jaq and Gus-Gus.



There are actually four bluebirds surrounding the chair, but I figured posting a close-up of one would get the job done.



And here's a closer shot of the princess herself. HUGE thanks to Jen for coming over to do the eyes, nose, and mouth, as I failed in that area several times before calling in a real professional.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Happy Birthday to Me

This past Sunday was my birthday, the big 29. My dad and stepmom came into town for the occassion.... and, of course, to get their turn at spoiling Bryn. Pretty much the whole weekend was present-fest; Bryn opened hers on Saturday and I opened mine on Sunday. Here's Bryn, Grandpa Dave, and me, trying to coax Bryn to open her presents (she took her sweet time about this weekend).

Let it be said that my birthdays since college have not been so great. In my six post-graduate years, two birthdays have been spent in large, tear-filled conflicts. Two years ago, I spent the vast majority of my birthday in bed, enduring the worst migraine of my life, fighting my way out of bed only to nurse a ravenous week-old Bryn. Last year's birthday was spent moving heavy boxes into our new house while having 1-year-old Bryn throw up on me all day while enduring her first flu, then coming down with said flu myself.

This year's birthday was spent in a somewhat exhausted stupor, caused by the fact that the baby has been beating me up from the inside and that I've been contracting like crazy, and thus have not been sleeping very well. There were a few hours there when I was absolutely sure that I would be delivery a baby on my birthday, or at least beginning the labor process, but neither occurred. What DID happen was that I got a very good visit with Dad and Diane, took a nice afternoon nap after they left, and had an enjoyable Game Night with friends to top off the weekend. All in all, the best birthday I've had in recent years, in spite of the contractions.

Today the contractions continue, although we appear to be no closer to the baby's actual arrival. I should point out that while they are hugely uncomfortable and frequent, these are just Braxton-Hicks contractions, not the actual I'm-in-labor contractions. I've been having these for about 3 1/2 weeks, and while they are becoming much stronger and much more frequent, they don't seem to be actually producing anything. Last week's OB visit yielded the information that I am dilated 3 centimeters already and that the baby's head is in position, so I could theoretically go any time, but the baby seems content to stay where she is and kick me from there. And so we continue to wait....

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Bryn's Birthday Bash

Bryn's 2nd Birthday Bash was actually three days long, and she'll have an addendum this coming weekend. Spoiled little girl--the presents just keep coming!

We began the festivities on Friday, when Ben and I took her to Chuck E. Cheese for some family fun. I think this picture is adorable, and even more so when you compare it to the one from last year (you can find it back in the archives from last November). We ate pizza and played games, and Bryn was wide-eyed at all the excitement. She loved all the car rides, and we discovered a horse ride at the end that she didn't want to leave. The games are still a little over her head, although she did attempt some of them in her own amended style. She ran all over the restaurant, leading to quite the chase for Mommy and Daddy, and cried when it was time to leave. I guess that means she had a good time!

Ben's family arrived after we had put Bryn to bed after her Chuck E. Cheese adventures on Friday night, so the first time she saw them was Saturday morning. Great-Grandma N. and Aunt Jill made the trip all the way down from Grand Rapids to celebrate with our little girl, and Nana and Papa came from Elkhart. We laughed that this is probably the last year when Bryn will be patient enough to wait until almost noon before opening her presents! I guess she didn't realize all those brightly colored boxes were for her. She was hilarious when opening gifts--her obsessive-compulsive tendencies really showed through! She insisted upon tearing every single scrap of paper off the box and handing them to Aunt Jill for safekeeping before even looking at her gift. Luckily she had a very patient audience!

All of Bryn's gifts from the Meyaards proved to be huge hits, and she had to stop in between each present to play with each. Luckily Nana and Papa saved the best for last, though, or she never would have gotten through opening anything else--once the new red wagon appeared, that was all she cared about! They sure make wagons way fancier these days than back in my day. Bryn's new ride includes fold-down seats, two seatbelts, and four cupholders (which I guess is good, considering how much this girl drinks). Here's Papa Tom taking her for a test run around the neighborhood. She also convinced him to take her for several laps around the downstairs of our house throughout the day, and by Sunday, she had taken to climbing into the wagon to play with her other toys.

No celebration would be complete without cake, of course. Here's Bryn digging into her (first of several) birthday cupcakes. She ate all the icing off the top before even considering the yellow cake goodness. Last year, Bryn's birthday held her first taste of pizza and her first sweet ever, in the form of another cupcake. I have to shamefully admit that this past year has held much pizza and many sweets for her. At least we were good the first year, right? In addition to cake, Saturday afternoon held the arrival of my sister Kristin, naps all around, the Saturday night service at church, and dinner out for all of us, before the Meyaards left for home and we tucked our exhausted 2-year-old into bed in her newly-finished big-girl room (pictures to follow in another post).

Sunday held just as much excitement. My mom and brother arrived around 11:00, and Bryn got to have brunch at Bob Evans with Mommy, Daddy, Aunt Kristin, Uncle Brian, and Grammy Tina. This scrumptious feast was followed by naps for all and then present opening once again. Apparently the favored "aunt" gift was this "I'm A Big Sister" book, as Bryn received (and read and deeply enjoyed) copies of it from both Kristin and Jill. Grammy's gift of a desk/easel was quite the project to assemble, and our friends had arrived for Game Night before the project was completed. My family got to meet some of our friends before taking off for their various drives home (Peoria, Bloomington-Normal, and South Bend).

In addition to our usual Sunday night games, there were more cupcakes for all and more presents for Bryn. Christopher got a kick out of riding around in the wagon with Bryn, and even Ravage tried out the new wheels. Everyone sang to Bryn and spoiled her rotten all night long. She went to sleep happy that night with music on her new cd player from Derek and Chris. Meanwhile, Cathy, I will have you know that she is upstairs playing her recorder in her crib (instead of napping) as I write this--she refuses to be separated from it!

Grandpa Dave and Grandma Diane are coming this next weeked to celebrate both Bryn's birthday and mine, so our festivities are not quite over yet. Meanwhile, we've got new toys to play with all week long!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Zoo Boo and Miscellaneous Moo

This year for Halloween, Bryn is going dressed as a cow. This was a pretty easy decision since 1) cows are by far her favorite animals and 2) a woman at Ben's work gave us her child's old cow costume for free. I was a little nervous that Bryn might not like the cow costume, since she cried hysterically every time we so much as showed her the monkey costume last year. Apparently she has grown in maturity and dress-up skills since then, because she was absolutely thrilled the first time I took the costume out of her closet last Thursday. She immediately wanted me to put it on her, and then she ran into our bathroom to look at herself in the full-length mirror. She spent the rest of the morning (okay, the next three days) running around the house in her costume shouting "moo!".

The first wearing of the costume was for the annual Zoo Boo at the Indianapolis Zoo, which Bryn and I attended on Thursday with Cathy and Christopher and our friends Kathleen and Emily. Chris was also sporting a free costume--more specificially, Bryn's monkey ensemble from last year. I'm glad at least one child got some joy out of it! Here you can see the kids all decked out and ready for zoo adventures:

Monkey Christopher, Dog Emily, and Cow Bryn
The kids had a really fabulous time. All of the animals seemed extra-friendly, possibly because I would imagine they don't get all that many visitors in late October. We witnessed seals having an argument (much barking, and then one pushed another off a rock), a walrus standing up, a lion pacing by its fence, hyperactive baboons, and two dolphins that wanted to get up close and personal with Bryn.
My little cow, checking out her surroundings.
We had such a good time, in fact, that pregnant lady here overdid it, and I basically ended up limping out to the Jeep while leaning heavily on Bryn's stroller. Apparently walking all over the zoo while carrying my 29-pound "calf" was not a good idea when 8 months pregnant! If only I could have climbed in and had her push me like she tried to do to Christopher!
Bryn pushes Christopher in her stroller.
On Friday, Ben and I took Bryn for an afternoon tour of the Trader's Point Organic Creamery, where she got to see cows being milked. She loved being up close and personal with the "moos" and definitely did not want to leave, in spite of the fact that we were getting rained on. When we got home, she insisted on putting on her own cow costume and running around the house in it. We had Alicia and Suellen over that night, and they thought she was the cutest thing ever. Ben and Alicia stayed up way too late having a 4+ hour "War of the Ring" gaming marathon, and Suellen and I mostly sat around and then fell asleep. :)
On Saturday night, Ben, Bryn, and I got dressed up and attended our friend Stacy's Halloween festivities. ONe of the cutest parts of the whole night actually occurred before we even left the house, when we put Bryn in her costume right after dinner. We'd had chicken strips for dinner (which Bryn actually ate voraciously, in spite of her usual vegetarian tendencies), and she was still nibbling on one as we got her dressed. She ran around the house shouting "moo!" while chomping on her chicken strip. We think Chick-Fil-A should pay us some royalties and use these adorable pictures in their advertising campaign:
"Eat Mor Chiken!"
Since Bryn was obviously attending the party as a cow, Ben and I decided to attend as cowboys. My costume never did end up being complete, though, as Bryn stole my hat immediately and wore it for the rest of the night. She spent most of the actual party sitting on the couch, nibbling on broccoli and watching "Shrek," but Ben and I had a great time getting caught up with friends.
Cow and cowpoke
Other miscellaneous events of the past week:
* Bryn had a successful 2-year check-up. She's still in the 50th percentile for weight, totalling about 29 pounds. She's 33 inches tall, which puts her a little above the 25th percentile for height--finally, one of my genes manages to shine through! Never fear, though, she's still Daddy's girl through and through: her head is still in the 95th percentile for size. I'm dreading what I'll feel like a few weeks from now if her baby sister shares this feature....
* Ben started his NEW JOB at Ingersoll-Rand today. Very exciting! So far he's really enjoying it, liking his boss, meeting nice people, and feeling challenged by new projects.
* Bryn attended my homebound tutoring gig with me today, so then she got to visit with the family's horses afterwards. Several of the horses got right down by Bryn's little face at the fence to inspect her, which alternately thrilled and terrified her. What can I say? My girl loves farm animals!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Further Pine Tar Adventures

And the pine tar adventures continue..... On the second day that I used the soap, I decided that I wasn't getting enough lather on my washcloth to really make the "wonder" properties fully effective. I mean, after all, the only other people that I can figure use this stuff are burly men and pioneers, and I'm guessing none of them use washclothes. So I began applying the soap directly to my skin. I quickly discovered that the reason I wasn't getting much lather on my washcloth was because, well, the stuff doesn't really lather. It mostly just leaves kind of a muddy residue on the skin. When rinsing, it basically looks like mud is running off your body.

Also on the second day of using the soap, it took me both hands and considerable strength to pry the bar of soap off the shelf. Apparently it had somewhat congealed there during the night. I guess this makes sense, considering that both pine and tar are quite sticky substances. As the days have gone by, though, its adhesiveness has decreased as the bar has shrunk due to excessive use. That's a good thing, right?

The soap also leaves a black/brown residue on every surface that it touches--black where the actual bar of soap has rested, and brown where the remnants of rinsing have landed. This results in a rather dingy and somewhat scary-looking shower.

It was actually the third day of pine tar goodness before Ben got the joys of experiencing its scent. He had already left for work on the first morning that I used it, and he was out of town at a gaming thing on the second day. On the third day, however, he entered the shower, only to quickly exit it again, and inform me that my soap smelled like "burning tires." I think that means he doesn't like it.

In spite of all of these complaints, however, it was been fulfilling its purpose. After the first day of use, the PUPPPs itched less. After the second day, the rash had retreated back to just my stomach. Since then, I find myself rather itchy by morning, as if the rash is gearing up to spread, and another pine tar washing provides me with nearly itch-free comfort for the rest of the day. While I do have small red dots remaining on a few parts of my body, they have never become the angry red welts that I acquired the first time around, and the itching is no worse than a few mosquito bites, which is far preferable to the claw-your-own-skin-off sensation of the first time.

I believe that the soap works so well because one use dries your skin out completely--by the time I get out of the shower, my skin is so dry and tight that I feel the need to bathe in a vat of anti-stretch mark lotion. This is not a good-smelling substance either, but it's way better than tar scent. At any rate, it seems that if I keep up this regime, I will manage to keep the PUPPPs rash to a minimum for the duration of pregnancy, so aside from the time that I actually spend in the shower with my pine tar wonder product, I have a far more cheerful outlook on life than the last time I wrote. Only a month to go....

Friday, October 19, 2007

Itchy Pine Tar Freak

When I was in my final month of prengnacy with Bryn, I developed this truly awful disease known as PUPPPs. This is apparently a rather rare disease, as evidenced by the fact that I have never known anyone else to have it. No one really knows what causes it, but it only occurs during the third trimester of pregnancy. It is not harmful to the mother or the baby in any way, but there is no cure other than childbirth. Some theorize that it is caused by the extreme stretching of the skin over the stomach at the end of pregnancy. This makes a certain amount of sense, since usually people only get it if they are carrying multiples. Those who are not carrying mulitples are usually carrying boys. So basically, I was a big old freak to get it in the first place when carrying a girl.

At this point, you may be asking, "So what is this PUPPPs thing?" Basically, it is the worst rash you can dream of. Think chicken pox, then multiply by a factor of 10. Or maybe a factor of 100. Anyway, it's bad. You basically want to claw your own skin off. The rash starts on the stomach and then spreads to the rest of the body, until you have angry red welts that itch like the devil covering every available inch of skin. And did I mention that there's no cure? So whenever you develop it, the misery continues for the duration of pregnancy, which makes you VERY anxious to have the child. When I was pregnant with Bryn, I tried a plethora of home remedies, including frequent oatmeal baths and smearing vast amounts of hydrocortisone cream across my entire body, all to no avail. The one silver lining to this itchy cloud is that I was told that there was no chance I could develop it again, as it is a disease limited to first pregnancies.

Anyone who recalls my first pregnancy will remember that it was bad. I basically developed every kind of freakish medical problem that I could: 4 straight months of throwing up everything I put in my body (including water), followed by intense migraines, followed by my pelvis dislocating itself in 3 places, followed by PUPPPs, with a few other minor things thrown in there. This pregnancy, on the other hand, has been blessedly uneventful in the way of strange illnesses. This is perhaps why I was shocked to find small red bumps covering my stomach when I got in the shower on Wednesday morning.

I had just had an OB appointment on Tuesday, when I was completely free of small red bumps, so I tried to convince myself that I was perhaps just having a mild reaction to the ultrasound goop or something like that. As Wednesday went on, though, it was hard to deny that my rather large stomach was becoming itchier and itchier. I kept telling myself, "Thank goodness this is just some silly little rash and I can't get PUPPPs again."

When Ben got home, I showed him the rash. He took one look at it and said, "Honey, that's PUPPPs." I forced a laugh and told him that it was not physically possible for me to get again. He kind of just rolled his eyes at me. I spent most of that night awake, as the itching spread across the rest of my body. No red dots appeared anywhere else, but along about 2:00, I resigned myself to the fact that spots would, in fact, be appearing in a few days.

Thursday's shower revealed that while the rash had not yet spread, the rash on my stomach had gotten bigger and redder.... and itchier. I had to admit that this was looking and feeling a great deal like the beginning of PUPPPs. So following my shower, I hopped on the internet to do a little research. Sure enough, all the "rash during pregnancy" articles indicated that I did, in fact, have PUPPPs. A second search revealed websites by several other angry (and itchy) women who had, against all odds, developed PUPPPs during both their first AND second pregnancies. So apparently there's me and like four other freaks in the world who have managed to achieve this feat (and blogged about it).

Further internet searches revealed that no magical cure for PUPPPs has been found in the past two years. Darn. I did find a website, though, where several women swore by the effectiveness of a product called Grandpa's Pine Tar Soap. They claimed that while all the oatmeal baths, hydrocortisone cream, Benadryl, and moisturization in the world had not helped, this magical soap had cleared up the rash in a matter of days, much to their OB's shock and amazement. I decided this was worth trying out and searched for a website that might sell this wonder product.

When I located a vendor, the website included a review from a man who praised the "manly odor" that the soap gave him. I gulped and attempted to ignore this. At that point, Bryn woke up screaming, and I was off to Mommy duty. About an hour later, while I was in the car, I called Ben and asked him to order the soap for me. He did one better--he tracked down some "organic products" store near his work and called to reserve the one bar of Grandpa's soap they had in stock.

He brought the soap home that night, and I put it aside for use in the morning. While I was working on the computer last night, though, I noticed an odd stench in the room. Something had surely gone bad. I searched for the offending object to no avail. What was that scent anyway? Wait.... it was tar. I hunted down the box of soap, and sure enough, the offending smell was issuing from the sealed box. Great.

When I hesitantly opened Grandpa's "wonder product" (it actually says this on the box) this morning, my bathroom was immediately filled with the scent of tar, tempered by a bit of pine scent, which I believe was just thrown in to (ineffectively) mask the tar odor. I guess that's how Grandpa came up with the original name of Pine Tar Soap. The box boldly proclaims that the soap "lathers white!" I had been curious about this label, as most soaps do that anyway. Upon opening the box, though, I understood why the label was necessary..... the soap is jet black and looks like, well, a big lump of tar. I should add that the box also proclaims that the soap is made of vegetables and has been in use since the 1800s. All I could think as I stood there with this soap in my hand is that if this is the kind of soap the pioneers used, I no longer judge them for only bathing once a week or so--it's probably all they could take.


In spite of all of this, the itchiness got the better of me, and I climbed in the shower and lathered up with Grandpa's special recipe. The "manly odor" of old campfire filled the shower. I also learned that Grandpa's claim that the soap "lathers white" is not entirely true--it is more of a light mud, khaki sort of color, which I guess is as close to white as you can get out of a bar of black tar soap.

Anyway, after all of these adventures, I carried the "manly odor" with me for the rest of the day, in spite of intense moisturizing after getting out of the shower. The moisturization was necessary, as the "wonder product" works by sloughing off dead skin and my entire body was dried out after using it. But after all of these complaints, I do have to admit that the rash has not yet spread anywhere other than my stomach and that the itching there has been kept to a minimum all day. So I guess it really does work.


So there you have it: I am an itchy pine tar freak. I'm willing to try about anything, though, to keep from itching out of my own skin for the next 5+ weeks. Wish me luck--and don't stand downwind of me unless you like the smell of tar!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Beautiful Baby Bryn

Our friends Ryan and Kathy came over for dinner last week (yes, I'm behind on posting--again), and while they were here, Kathy practiced her photographic talents by capturing several adorable poses of Bryn. I'm posting my favorites here. You can also see more of Kathy's work by taking the link to their blog in my sidebar. I keep telling her that she's going to be our official baby photographer!!

This one is just a candid shot. Even though she's not smiling, I think it's absolutely adorable!


Here's Bryn enjoying the baby swing that we purchased to go with the swingset we acquired from Ryan and Kathy. She could happily do this for hours on end!


Tela's most bizarre habit involves the constant licking of human feet. Me, Ben, guests, it doesn't matter; she goes straight for the foot bath. Bryn has picked up on this and now offers her feet to Tela. I'm glad someone enjoys the dog's weird habit!!
Here's Bryn on her indoor playset. It looks like she's doing a modeling pose, but she's actually showing off her smarts by pointing to her ear upon Daddy's request.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Bryn's Newest Friend

This past Saturday, while I was off proctoring the SAT, Ben took Bryn over to his friend Steve's house for a morning of fun. The dads got to hang out, chat, and watch TV while the kids played happily in the living room. Steve's son Caleb is about a year older than Bryn, and since Bryn is far more interested in older kids than ones her own age, she was obviously thrilled with this set-up. Ben says that they played very well with each other. I actually have yet to meet Steve, his wife, and Caleb, but Ben says the boys are working on correcting that situation. Meanwhile, if these pictures are any indication, it seems that Caleb might be the cutest little boy in the world--look out Christopher, I think you have competition for the position of "Bryn's first boyfriend!"
Bryn explores all of Caleb's toys.... apparently he's better at sharing than she is!

Bryn's newest friend, Caleb--very cute!!

Speaking of Christopher, Bryn did not see The Friend for a whole four days, but she held up admirably and only whined for him once. When she woke up today, though, I told her that we were going to see "friend Chris," and she got so excited that she didn't even eat her breakfast. So I took her over to Cathy's, and Cathy babysat her while I did my homebound tutoring gig in Zionsville. Then we split up for lunch and naps, and in the afternoon, I assisted Cathy with dropping off her car to get new tires, and then we took the babies shopping for winter wardrobes at the new Kohl's in town while her car was being worked on. It's funny to be buying winter clothes when it's 93 degrees out in October, but with a 50% off grand opening sale, you really can't go wrong.
The rest of this week holds big plans for running errands, more tutoring, library class for Bryn, catching up on household projects, and going up to Michigan this weekend to visit Ben's extended family. We're keeping busy trying to fit everything in before the new baby arrives!
On a separate note, what's up with the lack of comments? I remember the "name that baby" post that got 32 comments! And I also know that there are many of you out there who read regularly and have never, ever commented..... I know this because on the rare occassions that I see you and start to tell you stories about what's going on with us, you say, "Oh, I know, I read that on the blog." It's great that you're all keeping updated on me this way, but leave me some comments so I can keep updated on you too!!!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Coming Up For Air

Ahhh. You readers should interpret that noise as a deep sigh of relief. I am now officially finished with my 32-day stint as an English teacher and am back to being a stay-at-home mom (at least for the time being). All of my students kept asking me if I would miss them, and I said, yes, on Monday I will, but today and tomorrow will just feel like a much-deserved long weekend! Thus far I have been right.

Monday and Tuesday of this week were half days for the students and staff development for us grown-ups. Thankfully, my principal excused me from the staff development stuff, leaving me free to grade papers, photocopy materials, and generally just prepare for my exit. On Wednesday, three out of my six classes threw me going-away parties. Now, I am realistic enough to know that I was just the excuse and that the parties were really designed to allow them to consume large amounts of junk food and avoid classwork, but I was okay with that. When all was said and done, I managed to get all my possessions packed up and loaded into my car (with the help of the students). The down side to all of this is that I still have roughly 40 poetry analysis papers to grade (for no pay) before I am officially "done" with my stint at ZCHS, but the ability to sleep in might actually make that worth it. Last night Ben surprised me with a celebratory "retirement" dinner at Ruby Tuesday's with Alicia and Suellen, so my time off definitely started enjoyably.

Bryn and I slept in this morning, and she has been in a great mood for me all day. We played and began to catch up on chores this morning, and then we went down for naps this afternoon. I have a much-needed chiropractor's visit in about an hour, and then we'll get to hang out with Ben tonight. It's very nice to actually be able to spend time with my family!! My OB visit on Monday revealed that I am severely anemic (as in, they put my on prescription medicine for it--and this medicine is currently NOT agreeing with my stomach), which I guess explains my extreme exhaustion as of late (and here I thought it was just due to being 7 months pregnant and working full time), so I have been glad for today's extra rest.

Tomorrow night holds working in the concession stand for the final game of the season, and then I'll be back at ZCHS bright and early on Saturday morning to proctor the SAT (I'm hoping to use my "sitting silently" time of proctoring to grade the rest of those pesky poetry papers). Then I start into my "new job," which is actually a sweet gig of scoring the SAT from home. I just log onto Pearson's website during whatever hours I am available to score tests, and I get paid $17 an hour for it. Plus I am going to be homebound tutoring one of my former students for two hours a week while she recovers from a surgery. It seems that I am not quite "retired" after all, but this schedule is excellent because I can spend time with Brynie and make money while sitting around in my pajamas!! :)

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Homecoming x2

It has been quite a busy weekend here at the MeyPfan house, due to the fact that it was Homecoming for both Butler and Zionsville (and also Brownsburg, although this luckily will not affect us until Bryn gets into school!). After a crazy week of mounting student excitement (for Homecoming) and panic (for the large papers and project that were due on Friday), I finished up my last full workweek for this year and proceeded into a hectic evening. Cathy dropped Bryn off at Alicia and Suellen's house for me, and they took her to the park, fed her snacks, and generally spoiled her while I went to work at the ZCHS concession stand. Blessedly, the girls' volleyball team proved to be superstar workers, and my wonderful husband showed up to take over for me after a mere hour and a half of preparing massive amounts of hot dogs and popcorn.

After rushing home and changing out of my concession-stink clothing, I met up with Alicia, Suellen, Bryn, and one of our good friends from college, Kristen. As it was nearly 7:30 by this point, we headed out immediately for Ruby Tuesday's, where we feasted on salad bar and were later joined by another good college friend, Krysten, and her husband, Adam. Aside from some fussiness out of Bryn (which was understandable, as she ended up being awake far past her bedtime), we had a great time all getting caught up.

Kristen spent the night at our house, and Krysten and Adam stayed with Al and Suellen, and we all met up again the next morning to grab some lunch and head over to Butler for the Homecoming festivities. We visited some of the favorite old spots, ran into old friends, and hit the bookstore for a restocking of Butler wear. Our family decided to bail before the actual game, due to the fact that it was past Bryn's naptime. The whole gang reconvened at our house that evening, where Krysten prepared us a scrumptious Italian feast and Ben indoctrinated the out-of-towners with a game of Bang.

I had to rush out in the middle of the game, though, in order to get to ZCHS in time to chaperone the Homecoming dance. This was actually a lot more fun than it might sound like. Kids came up and hugged me and showed off their dress-up ensembles and dates all night, and I was actually asked to dance by four junior boys (I refused them all). Experiences like that really remind me why I went into teaching--not for the content, or the grading, or the discipline, but because I love teenagers and being with them makes me happy. Not to mention that it's a huge plus when they love me back. I would say that the only downfall of the night was that I discovered our unborn child's apparent love for bad rap music, as she was dancing up a storm in my stomach all night. As in, both I and the parent chaperone sitting next to me could see my stomach bouncing all over the place from her kicks. Yikes.

Today held the youth service with my awesome small group at church, then family naptime, then many chores and a winning Colts game. I am thrilled to report that I only have 3 days of teaching left before my "retirement" for this year. I will miss the kids desperately, and I have no idea how I'm going to grade 71 poetry analysis papers by Wednesday, but I have to admit that it will be wonderful to sleep in, put my feet up during the day, spend more time with Brynie, and get caught up on projects and on time with friends.

Anyway, here's a few of my favorite pictures from this weekend:

Bryn rides the bulldog at Hinkle Fieldhouse
Here's the reunion gang: Kristen, Ben, me and Bryn, Krysten, Adam, Suellen, and Alicia

Monday, September 24, 2007

Glory Days

This past weekend was the big Dunlap Class of 1997 reunion. I was on the planning committee, and to quote Ben, "Wow, it's like you get an hour of your life back every day now that it's over!" I am quite glad that all the planning and organization is over (I even got to sleep in a little this morning as a result of not having to sort through RSVPs before going to work), but I wish the reunion itself could have lasted longer.

Ben and I both took half days on Friday in order to drive over to Illinois and make it to DHS in time for the pre-football game tour and potluck. This weekend was Dunlap's Homecoming (thus why we did the reunion this weekend), and Ben and I managed to get stuck in traffic for about 20 minutes while within sight of the high school as the annual parade was ending. Those who are familiar with Dunlap will appreciate the irony of this situation, as this is probably the one time of the whole year that actually generates a "traffic jam" in the town that doesn't even have stoplights.


At any rate, we eventually made it to the high school, where I was immediately thrown for a loop by the fact that what used to be the front entry hallway is now blocked by a large wall. We meandered through the newly constructed hallways until we found the commons (which is what other schools call a cafeteria), and we were able to take our bearings from there. As Derek and Damon said, the tour itself was not nostalgic as we certainly never attended that high school. There have been so many additions in the past 10 years that most of the school is unrecognizable to us old alumni. Only the football field itself felt nostalgic. That hasn't changed much, although I think the football team has won more games so far this season than they did in our entire high school careers combined.

I thought the best part of the Friday night portion of the reunion was getting to see all my former classmates' kids. Some of them have up to 3 kids, which I guess shouldn't be all that shocking to me since we're about to have our second, but was really surreal to see all the same.

It was so cute to see the little (and some big) kids running all over the place and rather amusing to see my former classmates turned parents. It was weird to realize that we're all grownups now. Some of the people that I thought were big screwups in high school are now holding down good jobs, raising children, attending medical school, etc. Wow.

My stay at the Friday reunion was rather short, however. Bryn had developed a nasty cough/cold combo during the week, and her snuffliness kept her awake for the entire car ride to Peoria. So she didn't feel well AND she hadn't taken a nap, which is the perfect combination for the creation of Fussy Baby. We tried to go into the stands and watch the football game, but we ended up sitting right behind the student section. Now, this was problematic for a few reasons. For one, all the students stand for the entire game, so if we wanted to see anything, we, too, had to stand on the bleachers. This was a precarious enough position for the pregnant lady and the not-quite-2 year old, and it became even more so when we discovered that the current DHS students take ANY excuse to jump up and down wildly to shake the bleachers (which are possibly the only thing at the whole school that have not been replaced since my time there). This led to a terrified Bryn burrowing into my shoulder and crying, while I sat down and clutched my seat for dear life and her yet-unborn sister kicked wildly in protest. Because of all of this, we left at the end of the first quarter, which was especially disappointing because we didn't even get to see the band's halftime show--which, as we all know, is the real reason for attending football games at all.

I hear that the rest of my former classmates had a good time at the game and at Kelleher's downtown afterwards, but Ben and I went to Dad's house, put our fussy baby down to sleep, and promptly fell fast asleep ourselves. Bryn slept in on Saturday morning but then spent the rest of the morning whining and crying pitifully. She was awake for all of two hours before she fell asleep on the five-minute car ride from Dad's house to Mom's--yet somehow she couldn't fall asleep during the 4-hour ride the night before?? Anyway, we stuck her in the crib at Mom's house, thinking this would be a 20-minute power nap or something. 3+ hours later, she finally woke up and promptly resumed her crying. We had made plans to meet some of my friends at local park, which we had thought would be fun for the kids. But while Bryn usually loves slides and swings (both of which she calls "whee!"), she was having none of it that day. She spent our entire trip to the park crying on my chest, so we cut the visit short and returned to Dad's house, where she was somewhat placated by watching the "Baby's First Signs" video we have borrowed from Christopher.

Bryn spent Saturday night with an adoring Grandpa and Grandma while Ben and I attended the DHS '97 reception downtown. This was definitely the highlight of my weekend, partially because it did not include a crying baby and partially because it actually allowed me to get caught up with my friends and former classmates. It was absolutely wonderful to see my friends, and it wasn't long before we all started planning our own reunion weekend for hopefully sometime in the spring. Life, jobs, kids, etc. all prevent us from getting together as often as we used to, but somehow, when we do see each other, it's like no time has passed at all and we all just pick up right where we left off. While many of our former classmates elected to visit a local bar following the reception, my friends decided to hit up Old Chicago for some pizza, since the appetizers at the reception had been far from filling. All told, it was nearly 1:00 by the time Ben and I finally got back to Dad's house, which is 2:00 our time and darn close to Ben's typically wake-up call for Wizo work. We were happy to sleep in a bit in the morning!

The down side to this whole visit became apparent on Sunday morning, when Bryn began crying pitifully as soon as she became conscious. We decided to scrap our Sunday plans and head straight home. She cried the whole way back, which led Ben and I to wonder if we had somehow become stuck in a time warp or if the trip from Peoria to Indy was always that long. The unconsolable crying, coupled with runny nose and coughing, continued all night. Ben ended up taking today off work, as Bryn was too sick to send to Cathy's house. He managed to get her in at the doctor, where we learned that her cold had morphed into bronchitis. Oops--bad Mommy and Daddy for dragging her out of town in such a condition!! On the up side, she was feeling much better after getting some medicine in her and taking a 5+ (wow) hour nap this afternoon, and she was even playing like her old self by this evening. Thank goodness!

Here are a few pictures of the reunion for those who you former DHS-ers who weren't able to make it:
DHS Class of 1997 Alumni

Clan reunion: Caroline, Chuck, Maria, Corey, me, and Damon

Clan friends and significant others: Maria and Jason, Caroline and Cosmos, Crissy and Chuck, Liz and Corey, me and Ben, and Damon