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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Momology

Calling all Indy moms.....
For any mother of a child birth through preschool, check out this great video and, if the timing and location works for you, consider joining us for MOPS at Messiah Lutheran Church in Brownsburg this coming Friday, September 3 at 9:15 for our kick-off Open House and the beginning of our study of Momology.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Kids

We're making an extended to visit Ben's family, and today's agenda included visiting the local zoo. Sadly, I forgot our camera cord at home, so I'm not able to transfer the vast majority of our pictures to the computer right now. With that in mind, I did snap a few on my phone today. I thought that these of the girls petting the goats at the zoo were especially cute.


I was particularly amused by our girls checking out this goat in the barrel. Ever since we learned that I was pregnant with a girl (when I was pregnant with Bryn), Ben has joked that whenever they start to display signs of becoming teenagers or being interested in boys, we're going to put them in barrels in the basement to protect them from the outside world. Apparently this goat mama had the same idea for her kid....



Shay contemplates her future as a girl in a barrel:

Thursday, August 26, 2010

On The Road

It's been nearly six months coming, but now it's nearly here.... our first road trip as a family of five! Stayed tuned for our adventures....

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Gifts

During naptime today, Bryn put some of her toys in various bags and boxes. Then this conversation commenced....
Bryn: I made Daddy a present!
Me (joking): Oh, and did you make anything for me?
Bryn: No, little kids are like presents to their mommies!
Me (laughing and hugging her): And where did you hear that?
Bryn: Nowhere. I just knew it myself. (pauses, thinks) I guess God told me.

Monday, August 23, 2010

On Becoming a Librarian: Part 1

Today is my first day of classes toward my MLIS degree. (That would be Masters of Library and Information Science, for you uneducation folks out there.) It was actually fairly anticlimactic, as both of my classes this semester are online and both had course materials posted as of last week. But in order to celebrate my official first day as a degree-seeking library student, I thought I'd do a post about the very first time that the idea of becoming a librarian ever entered my head.....

I was about nine or ten years old. We were living in our house in Dunlap, and we moved there right around my ninth birthday, so I'm guessing my age based on those context clues. :) I was getting some office supply or another out of the top drawer of my dad's desk when I ran across a pamphlet that he had picked up, presumably, with me in mind. It was entitled (something to the effect of) "Great Careers for People Who Love To Read." I certainly fit the bill, and I started looking through it.

I remember mostly noting that "author" and "teacher" were both listed, and as those were my top two career choices at the time (and through the next decade), I was pretty happy. The list also mentioned "journalist" and "editor," which were ranked somewhere lower on my own dream list as well. But sandwiched in there with the other entries I had expected to find was another career: librarian.

I don't know why I had never thought about a career in library services until then. Goodness knows that I had spent more time in libraries by my tenth birthday than some people spend in their entire lives. In fact, I'd be willing to bet that Dad actually picked up that brochure at a library during one of our many trips....

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Rear Facing

We hit a milestone this weekend. Although Liam is still within the height and weight limits for the bucket seat, he's starting to get pretty close on the height end of things, and our little chunk is definitely getting too heavy for me to be lugging around everywhere in his seat. So out with the bucket and in with the convertible carseat! This is the youngest that any of our kids have moved out of the bucket, but then, Liam is also the biggest of our three, so I guess that makes sense. He seems to be enjoying it just fine, and the girls love having him look like a "big boy" in the car. Check out our little big man here!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

A Preview of Coming Attractions?

One more shot from the State Fair, but it was so cute that I thought it needed its own post. When we saw the girls in this pose, we parents were uncertain whether to be overcome by their cuteness or scared by how quickly our future is coming. Here's how we anticipate that Hannah will spend her teenage years--cruising with the Pfan girls!! (we do hope Shay will keep her hands on the wheel though....)

Fair Fun

On Thursday night, we took the kids to the state fair with some of our good friends. While Ben joked that we might as well have just gone to a carnival because all we did was go on rides and eat, we did have a great time. And see, honey, there was some other stuff thrown in there too.... like, say, experiencing the wonders of Japan:


Here's our little blondies (Hannah, Bryn, and Shay) modeling some kimonos:

The MeyPfan family does the ferris wheel:

And BFFs Hannah and Bryn smile for the camera:

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Double Duty

This morning Bryn and Shay had a big fight--something involving the sharing of puzzle pieces. There was yelling, crying, and door-slamming. I eventually found Shay curled up in the big blue chair in her room. When I walked in, she looked up at me with a tearstained face and said, "I no like Brynie. I want you be my big sister now."

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A Trip to the Gardens

Today the kids and I met up with some friends at White River Gardens. It's rare that we do the Gardens without the zoo, but today was well worth it. We spent the morning enjoying the butterfly exhibit and the gardens, where my budding photographer Bryn got some more practice.

The last time we were there, one of the employees told us that the butterflies are more likely to land on people wearing bright colors, so Bryn picked out a bright yellow dress for herself and a bright yellow shirt for Shay. As you might imagine, Bryn was then over the moon with excitment when her "wish came true" and after she chased this butterfly around for a photo shoot, it then fluttered over to rest on her dress.

Here's the crew of kids, a little sweaty and worn out after playing chase while the mommies enjoyed a relaxing picnic in the gardens: Nathan, Christopher, Bryn, Sam, Shay, and Liam.

And the mommies: Cathy, Rachel, and me.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Lookalikes

Yeah, my kids might look just a little bit alike.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Does A Body Good

This morning marked a full week since the onset of this pestilence, and both the kids and I were fully sick of staying at home. I spent all day yesterday on the couch and in bed getting my strength back, and that helped a lot. My stomach really did seem to be far more stable since getting a few days worth of medication in there. And besides, even the USDA says that salmonella poisoning is only supposed to last up to 7 days and darn it, it had been 7 days.

All of this went through my head when making the decision to leave the house this morning. But to be honest, the true motivator was that I really just wanted to see my friends. Last week, I missed out on getting to see two separate dear friends (neither of whom I had seen in over five years) due to this illness, and I didn't want to miss out again. I had made plans for this particular Monday to drive up to Fair Oaks Farms to meet up with my wonderful friend Kristen (who is a little over halfway through her pregnancy with her first child, a baby boy), and I refused to let any silly salmonella stop me.

Thankfully, Andrea and I had planned to make a date of it. Our BFF daughters were wild with excitement at the prospect of spending a whole day at the farm together, and Andrea even volunteered to drive my car for me, making as many pit stops as necessary along the way (which turned out to be zero).

It ended up being just a perfect day. The weather was gorgeous--about 80 and sunny. The kids couldn't get enough of all the different play areas and kept running from one to another, having a blast at all of them. We grown-ups were able to sit in a sun and get caught up, which was wonderful. This was the first of all the times we've been up there that we haven't even made it to check out the indoor exhibits, which they usually love--but the kids were having so much fun with all the outdoor stuff that we just ran out of time!

And the food, oh, the food. I was initially more than a little nervous about this, since I haven't really been able to eat much for the past week, and even that has been bland foods only. And the food at Fair Oaks is far from bland--every last thing is rich and amazingly delicious. But I split a grilled cheese with my kids, and that stayed in okay. So then I got us some yogurt, which I also intended to split, but I got the lion's share of when they ran off to the playground. And even though I usually don't really care for yogurt, this was about the most amazing thing I had ever eaten. After that, I decided that caution be damned, I was going to have some ice cream too, because who knew when I'd get to eat something that good again? That final step did prove to be a little too rich for me and I did have a few stomach troubles, but not until after I had safely made the return to Indianapolis, and frankly, it was pretty much worth it.

Let me just say that it's a good thing for our family's budget that it is Kristen, not me, who lives near the farm. Because if it was me, I'd be eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner there every day. Yum. Fair Oaks Farms--does a body good.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Bedtime Prayer

Bryn wanted to say the prayer for all of us tonight, and here's what she just said:

"Dear God -
Thank you for our mommy
and daddy
and little sister
and baby brother
and even for me.
And thank You for letting me know about You.
I would like it if everyone could know about You.
Amen."

Amen and amen!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Bad Eggs, Part 2

When I woke up this morning with my guts still aching, I decided that things had gotten really ridiculous and I had to call a doctor. I had done somewhat better with keeping in small portions of bland foods on Thursday, but Friday was an utter fail in this area, and dang, that's a lot of days to be sick.

But first I did the thing I had been avoiding all week long and looked up the effects of eating bad eggs. Yep, I clearly have salmonella poisoning. Which, by the way, it seems is not technically food poisoning, but rather some demon-spawn bacteria of its own. And while every website that I read said that salmonella poisoning usually lasts 4-7 days, which I am still safely inside, I also learned that it can be extremely dangerous in people with chronic conditions, which, ahem, I happen to have a few of. So I called my doctor immediately, all the while cursing myself for being too chicken (no pun intended) to have looked all this up earlier.

And on the other end of the phone, I encountered an nurse who curtly informed me that there was NO WAY that I could possibly be sick five days later from having eaten bad eggs, and that it was clearly a virus. I resisted telling her that I was at that very moment looking at information from the USDA that said otherwise, since she was referring me to the front desk to book an appointment anyway. She was also my nurse when I arrived at the office, and when she told me the same thing there, I did correct her in person, at which point she rolled her eyes and said that it was unlikely, but if I insisted on thinking so, the only way to prove it was to do a stool culture, then walked out. Quality care right there. (As a side note, I have used this doctor for several years and have never had difficulties with any of the nurses before, so I think this one must have just been a Saturday fill-in.)

When the doctor finally did come in, though, he was great, as always. He immediately recognized the symptoms. He did say, though, that by six days after eating the offensive food and five days after first getting sick, I should be a lot better than I am. I swear I should have gotten my medical degree myself, because I knew the reasons I wasn't getting well, and he said I was right:

1) I am breastfeeding Liam (okay, pumping, but same effect). When I'm having such a hard time keeping in fluids, outputting so many definitely isn't helping.

2) the average person is not quite so dependent on daily prescriptions for their health as me. What with my myriad of health issues (all tied back to my stupid thyroid), if I can't keep in my prescriptions, I really can't get healthy.

3) the aforementioned "especially serious in people with chronic conditions" aspect

So he said that unfortunately, he has to put me on (yet another) prescription in order to fight the bacteria that are currently clawing out my insides (my words, not his). The reason that this is unfortunate is that the only prescription that will achieve this is Very Not Friendly to breastfeeding. It's normally supposed to be a 10 day course of medicine, but between me already having been sick this long and the breastfeeding, he prescribed an aggressive 5 day course instead.

So, now this aggressive medication gets to attack my already weakened insides. When I was reading Ben the side effects (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, intense headaches, fatigue), he started laughing and said, "Wait, those are the side effects or what we're trying to get rid of?" It seems that I may not feel a whole lot better right away, as has been indicated by the fact that nothing I've eaten today has stayed in and my raging headache. But my doctor did say that if I don't feel like a new person by Tuesday, I need to come back in and we need to do something else, likely involving a trip to the hospital.

Regarding breastfeeding, the medication will necessitate an entire week of pumping and dumping (five days while on the medication plus two afterwards to get it out of my system). Good thing I have literally 218 six-ounce bags of frozen breastmilk in the deep freeze (and, apparently, have been OCD enough to keep count of them). In spite of his voracious eating habits, I still don't think Liam will be going hungry.

As for going hungry, just let it be stated, for the record, that I think I would rather starve to death than ever eat a plate of scrambled eggs again.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Intellitainer

About five years ago, we received this Intellitainer as a shower gift for baby-to-be-Bryn. It has received a lot of wear since then. It has been through both of our daughters, as well much use on game nights, some wear by the little boy I used to babysit, and loans to two sets of friends for their daughters. It seems like every time we move it down the basement, we're moving it right back out for someone or other. All told, an excellent purchase! It recently made its way back home after finishinh up its stint with the Julius twins, and it is now awaiting some play by Liam.
In the meantime, though, Shay has rediscovered it! I can't keep her out of that thing! Every time I turn around, she's climbing in it. She usually plays happily for a while (a great testament to the designers of the Intellitainer) before she starts making the face below and shouting (because she thinks that starting with a baby noise is required when in a baby toy), "Ga! Mommy! I stuck! Help me!"

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Funny Girls

Even though I still feel like crud, at least my daughters were able to introduce some humor to my day...

Shay (curiously): Mommy, where your dude?
Me (mystified): What dude?
Shay: Your friend. Babyliam.
(Because apparrently both girls think that "Babyliam" is his given name.)

******

Bryn (excited): Mommy, God can give us anything we need!\
Me: That's right, sweetheart!
Bryn (still just as excited): And if He doesn't, then we can go to the store and get it!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Bad Eggs

We think that we have narrowed the cause of illness to some bad eggs. Of couse, we didn't know they were bad at the time, but as I was the only one that ate them, this seems logical.

When I got up this morning, I discovered that I had lost 6 1/2 pounds. Yesterday. And was still going. While I was not adverse in general to the idea of losing a few pounds, this is far from the ideal method. It would, however, be a very effective wartime torture method.

Today involved lots of laying around, as I don't really have enough strength to do anything else. I forced myself to take lots of teeny tiny sips of Gatorade, some of which were actually staing in by afternoon. As a side note, did you know that there are now three types of Gatorade, specifically designed for the level of exercise of the drinker? But as none of those are specifically labeled for the violently ill, they all tasted disgusting to me.

I managed to keep in some pretzels, eaten cautionsly over a painfully long period of time, for lunch. By dinnertime, I hadn't consumed any real food for 48 hours and was really hungry. Oddly enough, all I could think about was how I wanted a Jimmy John's sandwich (an obsession which started with the bread, but soon grew to include the whole sandwich), so Ben got me one on the way home from work. I thought I'd only make it through a few bites, but it tasted so good that I ate the whole thing, and while the following hours have involved some jaw clenching and some very stern instructions to my stomach to stop roiling, it has stayed in so far.

In short, I think I'm on the road to recovery and hope to even get out of my pajamas tomorrow.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Ewwww

All I have to say for today is that I have managed to come down with a rather vicious case of food poisoning. I currently plan on never eating again. Which is good, since I can't even keep in water. Yuuucccckkkk.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Posting the Posts

So I don't really know what happened, but I did notice an even lower than usual rate of comments this past week.... meaning zero. So I finally went out and looked at the blog and realized that none of my posts were there. So I went back in to Blogger and realized they were all kind of just chilling there in various stages of being "saved as drafts," but not posted. Not entirely sure how that happened, maybe some glitch in the system, or perhaps human error... I have been signficantly more tired than usual this week.... Anyway, I did get a nap this afternoon, so I'm now feeling much more alert, and I have now gone in a re-posted the posts, so you have a full week's worth posted below for your reading pleasure. :)

Saturday, August 07, 2010

$13 Well Spent

Last week, my friend Jeanine told me that the Chick-Fil-A two towns over was running a very sweet customer appreciation promotion, so being 1) a big Chick-Fil-A fan and 2) always on the lookout for a good deal, we decided to work past the drama of the last debacle caused by partcipating in a promotion at Chick-Fil-A and go for it. Besides, this one was in a whole different town, so hopefully they wouldn't just take one look at us coming and run for cover. ;)

And thankfully, it went off without a hitch. Earlier this week, I loaded up the kids in the van and drove the half hour over to the Chick-Fil-A hosting the promotion. We spent $13 on lunch for Bryn, Shay, and me, including ice cream for them. They got to play on the playplace, I got to relax at the table with my sweet little boy, and we all got to revel in a morning well spent. And I got to hang on to that receipt....

.... which then got us free admission into the water park tonight! We really love this particular water park but can't really justify spending the money on it when the kids are this little and need to be permanently attached to an adult. Plus they only swim for such a short time before they get cold and want to be done. But tonight was about perfect, as only people participating in the promotion were there, so it wasn't crowded at all and the kids could play to their hearts' content. This was precisely what our girls needed after a very long week of Ben being gone at work for regular hours, plus GenCon gaming convention in the evenings. They'd really been missing him, and something big and fun and memorable like this was ideal. They had a great time hanging all over him and had huge smiles all night.

So, to review, for $13, we got....
* lunch for 3, including dessert
* unlimited playground time for Bryn and Shay
* admission to the water park for a family of 5 ($28 value)
* unlimited brownies and drinks while at the water park
* games for the kids at the park
* 5 raffle tickets into a prize drawing (which we didn't win, but still)
* and lots of hugs from the cow!!

Friday, August 06, 2010

Boo-Boos

I swear I do not beat my child, no matter what these photos indicate.

For the record, there are NOT injuries under all of those band-aids. Okay, under ANY of those band-aids. It's just that now that Shay sleeps in a big-girl bed, she really enjoys the freedom of being able to get out of bed and wander around her room. Today, that freedom entailed emptying two full boxes of band-aids onto her legs. And now I am left with the dilemna: do I peel them off? Because she might actually end up with some boo-boos if I peel off all those band-aids at once....

Thursday, August 05, 2010

The William Triumverate

A little over a year ago, I hosted a baby shower in Peoria for two of my dear high school friends, Melissa and Ashley, who were pregnant at the same time. At the time of the shower, I had just found out that I was pregnant with Liam, although that was still my little secret. Neither of them found out the sex of their baby ahead of time (wayyy more self-control than me). In short, we all had boys (Melissa in August, Ashley in September, and me in March) and all named them William. (Theirs are both Will and mine is Liam).

We had long been talking about getting together for a visit to introduce the William Triumverate, and the much-anticipated meeting took place yesterday in Urbana. We had a great time getting caught up on all the funny stories that come with motherhood, particularly that of parenting boys, which is a whole new ballgame for me. It was absolutely wonderful to see two of my dearest lifelong friends and meet their boys. We most definitely need to do this more often!! Bryn and Shay came along for the ride as well, and while they were confused by meeting two little boys with the same name, they actually held up pretty well, in spite of the long car ride and the scorching heat.

Here's the mamas and the Williams, photo compliments of Bryn:

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

July in Review - Amy

When I sat down to write this post, I realized that I never got around to posting my kids' updates for June. I'll get on that in the next week or so. In the meantime, here's my own July update. Got to keep myself honest. :)

1. Read the Bible.
Ashamed to admit that I'm actually a few days behind on this one. Getting caught up is top priority.

2. Read at least one pleasure reading book per month.Like I said in my last update, I started this month by reading Something Blue by Emily Giffin, which I liked a lot more than Something Borrowed. I then read Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson. I actually remember looking at at this book on my seventh grade teacher's bookshelf and being intrigued by it way back then, but somehow, I had never gotten around to reading it. That being said, I didn't really like it very much, no harm done all these years. :) The absolute highlight of my month was reading The Hunger Games and Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins. They were truly fantastic, and I cannot wait for the third book in the trilogy to come out at the end of August. I would recommend then to anyone!! I finished up the month by reading The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer, which was interesting as a side story to the Twilight series, but I really didn't like as a stand-alone story.

3. Join some kind of musical group and perform with them.See yesterday's post for details. Concert upcoming in September. :)

4. Blog daily.
I'm actually kind of rethinking this goal. Eight months into this goal, I'm largely running out of things to say! Plus I don't get very many comments on my posts anymore, which indicates to me that y'all don't have time to keep up with reading either. But I have to admit it would be pretty fun to see "365" as my grand total of posts for the year, so we'll see. I'll have to think about this some more.

5. Get back down to (at least) my pre-pregnancy weight.Goal achieved several months ago. No more weight lost. Of course, none gained either.

6. Get involved in some kind of theatre group and help out with at least one production.
Still no progress here. Given my current level of busy-ness, combined with how busy I will be this fall this my grad classes (more on this later), I may just need to accept that this isn't going to happen for a while. We'll see.

7. Teach Bryn to read.The closer that the start of the school year gets, the more she wants to "study." She hasn't learned to read yet, but she does love to learn in general, so I'm happy to oblige. :)

8. Potty-train Shay.I might call this month a bit of a setback, although I'm sure Shay thinks she's making progress. By this I mean that Shay has started trying to change her own diaper. (insert ominous music here) Whenever she wakes up from her nap and finds that her diaper is dirty, she tries to strip it off and change herself, often with disastrous results, especially when the diaper holds #2. YUCK.

9. Frame our portraits.I framed our newest portrait; now just waiting for Ben to hang it.

10. Finish up some of my murals.
I posted pictures of the last ones I finished (the princess ones for Hannah). I've now started on a scene from Noah's ark for the kids' upstairs playroom.

11. Paint the kids' bathroom.
I actually did get around to taping one wall and painting some of the borders, only to second-guess myself and think that maybe I don't want to spend the time on this project when there's so much else to do. So it's currently sitting there partially done. Sigh.

12. Get Shay into her big girl room.Achieved in January.

13. Breastfeed Liam.He's still on 100% breastmilk through the pumping method.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Practice Makes Perfect?

Tonight was my third practice with the Zville Community Band. Aside from these three rehearsals and one practice at home, I had not played my clarinet since college, so it certainly stands to reason that I am WAY out of practice. What actually surprises me more is how much of it comes right back.

In high school, I played the clarinet every day. We had band rehearsal every morning, and while I'm sure our director, like all teachers, lamented about wasted class time, I will say that he made far better use of rehearsal time than most. At various points during the year, I did a few other ensembles that met in the evenings, and in short, music was a constant part of my life. Even during the summer, we rehearsed twice a week, and being the good, diligent student that I was, I practiced regularly on my own as well. (Seriously.)

In college, the fall still held marching band. Regular rehearsals were six hours a week, plus basically all day on Saturdays when we had football games. I won't say there was a lot of focus on musicality here. We changed up music and drills fairly often, and rehearsals were used for that, so it was assumed that by college, we were all good enough musicians to take responsibility for mastering the music on our own time. I will shamefacedly admit that this was not always actually the case for me. While I was a triple-major, music was not one of them, and I was actually kind of intimidated by the practice rooms at Lilly Hall. Pathetic excuse, I know, but true.

At any rate, my musical skills weren't exactly growing during college, but they weren't decreasing either. I played in marching band in the fall, basketball band in the winter/spring, and concert band in the semesters where my schedule allowed me to fit it in. I remember the semester that I studied abroad in Ireland as being the first time in about seven years that I had not been connected to a musical ensemble. I missed it desperately. One day I actually walked over to the music building on UC Cork's campus and stood outside a rehearsal hall, just listening. It made my heart ache just to hear the notes and not be part of it.

When I got back to Butler that fall, I actually was kind of worried that I'd have problems playing my clarinet. It had been about six months since I'd played. What if I sounded terrible, couldn't read music, couldn't make any sounds?? I didn't actually have any problems, but it's funny now to think how worried I was after just that short of a time.

As an adult, I am still an absolute sucker for marching band. My heart just thrills every time I hear a warm-up cadence on the drums. I've enrolled my kids in Kindermusik for several semesters, and Ben and I try to expose our kids to music in every way possible. But I have still missed being part of it myself. And now I'm back. Kind of.

Like I said, I'm struggling. It's frustrating when my slow old eyes can't keep up with the music, and even more frustrating when my fingers can't keep up with my eyes. I have never been terribly good at sight reading, and that's pretty much all I'm doing at this point. I'm much more of a "practice makes perfect" kind of girl, and that's not so much in the cards right now, given the large stack of music in my folder and the pitiful amount of "free time" in my week (most of which comes when my children are asleep, which negates noise-making activities on my part). But in spite of all of this, I am so glad to be doing something that I enjoy again. Thanks to Kathleen for talking me in to (finally!) joining!!

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Five Months and Eating

Liam turned five months old today! I can't believe my baby is getting this old. (And as Ben and I agreed, we can't believe how little we've gotten done in the last five months!)

But time marches on, and lately, every time the little man finishes a bottle, he's been looking at me like, "Seriously, lady, that's all you've got?" So at Ben's suggestion, we decided that the five month mark was a good time to try some rice cereal.

Ben hauled the high chair up from the basement, I went to the store and purchased some Earth's Best, and we were ready for Adventures in Feeding, Round Three. Liam's reactions proved that he was more than up to the task.

He sat very patiently and waited for his food.
Then he opened up wide for the spoon.

Mmm, that's tasty.

Seriously, guys, can't you just let a boy eat in peace?

And perhaps most importantly, then he slept like a champ. And everyone was happy. :)