Saturday, July 7, 2012

Summer 2012

Summer is here!  I haven't posted in almost 5 months so I thought I would give a quick update while I can.  We are doing good in Virginia and its finally starting to feel like we are part of a community.  My life pretty much evolves around my kids at this stage of my life so here's an update of each kid:
Noah is still doing good but has reflux.  He vomits lots when trying baby food/rice cereal and we've given up for a week until his doctor appt.  We are still nursing and he is up at least twice every night, which makes for one tired and exhausted mommy.  He's not a big fan of his car seat and being hauled around everywhere for the other kids activities.  But besides this, he is a good baby and definately has a preference for mom and loves being held a lot.  I think he's figured out that if he cries when I set him down, I'll pick him up :)
Four kids in general is a lot of work...especially all under 8 and a newborn that doesn't sleep at night.  I have a newfound respect for all of those in these shoes.  Some days I have to dig deep for strength and pray to God to give me strength to get through the day or at least until Mike gets home to help out.
Ryan is definately my hardest kid.  Good news is he is now potty trained and is he's really cute and fun at night-time when he is stalling from going to bed.  As most of you know, he still has speech delays and some sensory issues and is more active than your typical 3 yr old.  During the school year, he went to preschool for his speech 5 days a week, for 4 hours a day.  And although I had to drive for 3 hours a day, he was getting help and it was giving me a break from him.  Now he's is a wild kid in the afternoons due to his sensory needs and he's only getting 45 min of help a week for his speech. I got a water table for him and going to get an indoor trampoline and ipad to help him.  I'm also working on getting more help privately in my "down time"--if this exists :)  Good news is he is trying to say sounds and making some progress.  His speech specialist said he's one of the worst cases of speech delay kids she's seen.  She wasn't being mean--just honest and blunt.  He still has 2 more years of preschool so we are hoping he makes lots of progress before kindergarten. 
Andrew and Katie are doing great!  They are on the neighborhood swim team, which keeps us all very busy.  Practices are M-F for an hour at 8:45am--I have the get all of the kids up and ready in the morning to get there.  They also have meets on Wednesday nights and Saturdays, if they are good enough.  Katie just had her first Saturday meet in the 6 & under group doing backstroke--she was excited and did good.  We go to the pools a lot lately--we have 5 association pools we belong to and they are awesome!  It's been so hot here, its nice to get in the water but it gets difficult with a newborn that I'm not comfortable taking in yet and that needs to be nursed frequently.  We've been doing activities off of our "bucket list" with them and went camping with Andrew's cub scout troop--first camping trip ever with kids.  Mike actually took the older 3 kids and I went home late at night with Noah and returned in the am with McDonalds breakfast.  Andrew is pretty much "caught up" in his reading delays and we have a summer points system in place where they get rewards for doing reading, math, and spelling, faster swim times, etc.  It's going good so far.
I've met a couple friends that I'm close with here in Virginia and we are actually starting to feel part of a community.  I just started last week doing bootcamp again and am on the road to losing my "baby weight" again.  It's been a long road here in Virginia, much harder than I ever expected but we are doing good now and in a good place.  Mike's job is okay...its not the job description he expected and his boss and co-workers could be better but we are thankful he has a job and he is getting lots of good experience.  We still own our home in Chaska and taking a big hit every month in renting it out but at least we have renters now.  Our A/C went out last night in our Chaska home...thankfully it was fixed with a service call and we didn't have to replace it yet.  We are here for at least another 8 months due to our work and lease commitments and will probably be here until school year is over at least.  Time will tell and we are finally content with that and won't make a decision until Christmas time.
We are coming to MN end of July!  Leaving VA on the 27th, arriving late on the 29th (stopping at Dells), there until Aug 10th.  Mike is working from home during the weeks and we will be staying at his parents again.  I am so looking forward to catching up with friends and family!  Gotta go--baby is crying and family needs to be fed.  I would love to hear from my MN friends if you have time and would love to hear how you and the kids are doing--send me an e-mail if you have a chance :)

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Noah's Birth Story

Noah was born almost 3 weeks ago.  So its time to catch up on blog and finally write his birth story.  He is a great baby so far and sleeps well.  Its midnight and he is sound asleep--he's been sleeping 5-6 hours at night and grunts as he's waking up instead of crying.  He still cries at times but is overall a great baby.  At his 2 week dr appt, he weighed 8 lbs, 14 oz. (birth weight was 8 lbs, 7 oz so he's doing great) and his jaundice had passed.  All is good and we are still adjusting to having 4 kids and all of their schedules.
Moving onto his birth story....It was the night of Valentine's day.  I had did all sorts of crafts and activities with the kids to try to make the day special, knowing that Noah was arriving soon.  We decided to take the kids bowling that night since there was a family discount/deal going on that night and I thought the kids would have fun.  Yes, I bowled but just for about 30 minutes...the deal was 2 hours of bowling and only Katie and Andrew were still bowling at the end.  Afterwards, we went home and I was going to go to the airport to pick up one of my best friends from MN, Britni Nash, that was coming in to help me get through week 1 of having 4 kids.  As I was circling the airport waiting for her to get off plane, get luggage, etc, my water started to break.  Talk about timing and God's plan....Britni was originally coming in 2 days early so we could go thru a full day together before being induced on Thursday....instead she came just hours before Noah was born.  So, we literally drop Britni off at our home with the kids asleep and head off to the hospital.  Britni had never been to Virginia before nor our house and we just dropped her and her 8 mo old to a quiet, dark house--she was not going to sleep well :)  We get to the hospital and contractions start getting worse.  Called for ephideral and was in a lot of pain.  My head was throbing and I was just out of it.  It went from about 10pm until 3:30am until I was dialated to a 10 and able to push--it was a long 5 hours that was dragging on.  2 good pushes and baby was out!  Baby was fine and all was good.
We left the hospital the next day.  The nurse staff was not that great, they were full to capacity, and I was ready to go home.  Noah had jaundice so we went back in for bloodwork every day for about his first 5 days.  We had to supplement and wake him up for feedings but we didn't have to use the lights with him or get re-admitted to the hospital, which was nice.  We've had some nursing issues and still struggling a little but I will refrain from these details :)
Noah is doing great and I have to get some sleep!  Mike and I are still juggling spending time with all of the kids and getting our sleep in.  It will take a bit of adjustment but we will figure this out shortly :)

Friday, February 3, 2012

Enjoying the Calm Before the Storm

February baby month is here!
We are over 37 weeks pregnant and ready for the baby to come out.  However, my not-so-great clinic I chose when I moved her is not willing to induce me :(  Ryan was induced at 37 weeks and Katie came 2.5 weeks early naturally.  So I was kinda hoping we would be able to have the baby soon.  I have a list of 5 valid reasons on why I should be induced but this clinic and drs could care less...uggh.  Planning child care is towards the top of the list and the only non-medical reason.  We have a few people who can watch the kids for the first 24 hours when I go into labor until family friend/family arrives via plane.  A good friend of mine, Britni from MN, is planning on flying in and staying for the first week to help us manage our other 3 kids while in hospital and transitioning home.  If she can't make it when it happens, Mike's parents will fly in from Palm Springs and watch the kids for us.  They will come the following week if Britni comes the first week.  I've been blessed to have many people offer to watch our kids here in VA but Ryan doesn't know a lot of these friends and with his special needs, he will have to stay with us :(
Hopefully the baby comes soon and I can stop stressing about how this is all going to work out :)  Our next dr appt is 2/8 so I'm hoping I can convince this dr of an induction date.  I had such a great relationship with my ob dr in MN so this experience has been very disappointing and frustrating--its all of these little things that turn into big things when you move.
Looking on the bright side, this delay has and will give me more 1:1 time with Ryan and I've been able to relax and enjoy just hanging out with the kids.  The weather here has been nice--50s and 60s--so we've been able to get out to parks and play outside lately, which is nice to do in winter.  And I have some house projects and taxes to finish so this has given me time to do this and just relax.  I know sleeping in until 8am and then snuggling with Ryan for 20 min will be a thing of the past once the baby arrives so I'm enjoying and appreciating these moments now.
Gotta go for now.  The kids are getting restless.
Have a great week!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Update and Q&A

Hi all--I wanted to give an update to my blog and do a little Q&A to give an update on how things are going.
Why did you chose the name proud american girl for your blog name?
Mike and I were brainstorming what names would be available and trying to think of something original.  I'm very patriotic and this was one of the first phrases Mike thought of.  We tried it and it was available.  Not much thought to it and it was done.  We had a flag painted in our office in our Chaska home and we are probably the only ones that think its cool :)  One wall was left white, one wall blue, one wall red, and the flag wall--with 13 stripes and 50 white stars in the blue corner square cut out from contact paper.  It's kind of ironic that we moved to our nation's capital, Washington, D.C. and I'm not too happy here.  And we haven't seen a lot of the historic things.  Most museums are not kid-friendly nor would our kids understand some of the memorials at this age.  And I've been to them all before without kids and don't recall the need to go back to any of them.
How do you use this blog thing?
I have no idea :) I barely know how to post a blog.  I dunno if followers get e-mail updates when I post an update.  Do you?  Any tips or insights you could give me would be greatly appreciated.  I'm trying to figure out this blog world myself.  I'd love to get e-mail updates from other people's blogs when they post something--is this possible and how?

What are you doing with your Chaska home?
We had it on the market to sell for about 4 months starting right after we moved and then found it too hard to compete with 2 short sales/foreclosures in the neighborhood.  We knew it would go low given the market but it just went too below.  It's easy for others to drop so low when they don't pay for the loss out of their pocket.  We just ethically couldn't do the short sale process even though we technically had a qualified "hardship".  We also determined this won't be a long-term move and decided to rent it.  It is still on the market to rent and we are praying it gets rented by the end of first quarter 2012...hopefully we will get someone to rent it for a year soon!  Two house payments and utilities are getting old and annoying :)

Are you staying in Virginia for the long haul?
No.  Ask me in 1-6 months and I might have a different answer :)  There are so many unknowns right now and this is so not like me.  I'm a planner and want to know my future plans.  But right now, I have to put this in God's hands and take it one day at a time in our current house and life in Virginia.  Mike is looking at a couple jobs in MN but options are few with his e-discovery field for mgmt positions and we have no strong leads at this point.  We are in an 18 month lease for the house we are renting and if we left VA within the next 12 months, we'd owe the relocation costs back to his work.  So we are looking at coming back realistically in a year or two but we just don't know right now.  There's a quote hanging above our door to the garage saying, "Walk with the Lord and He will walk you home".  I don't know which home this is referring to yet--MN or VA and I'll keep praying about this.

Why don't you post more updates on your blog?
I've discovered I'm not good at this long distance relationship thing--sorry in advance.
I'd like my posts to be positive and uplifting and feel bad posting how depressed and frustrated I am with living in Virginia.  (Disclaimer to my Virginia friends--its not that Virginia is bad--I just have had a hard time finding activities for the kids and meeting people that want to get together.  Everyone seems so busy.)
And with baby coming soon, I have been really tired and resting when not caring for the kids.  It's probably good I can't find activiites to sign them up for.  Andrew and Katie are usually in at least 2 activities at a time throughout the year and now Ryan is old enough for some things, too, if we were in Chaska.  Right now we are just in Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts and Katie's is just like 3 times a month.  But I keep telling myselft this will benefit me when the baby comes that we won't have too much activities to get everyone to.

What do you miss so much about MN?
1.  MY FRIENDS!  It's hard to see gatherings I so want to be at on facebook.
2.  My neighbors and neighborhood.  You don't realize how good you have it until you leave sometimes.
3.  Having a daycare--I thought this was bringing me down and holding me back from playdates, etc. but it really was a part of who I was and made me a better mom to my own kids.  And they had instant friends over all of the time.  If I return, I know things won't be the same since all have moved on and are doing good but I'd like to have before and after school kids that are Katie and Andrew's age.
4.  My home.  It was our "home" and where we raised our kids in.  No one else would like our home as much as we do since it doesn't have a lot of bells and whistles and upgrades besides the lots of square footage.  Just like how we don't love this VA house the way the owners do.  They talk about all of these things they love (we are renting and they built it and lived in the house for 17 years) that just don't matter to us and I'm sure it's how I would talk about and like my Chaska home.   I know this one sounds materialistic but we did down-size to move here due to cost of living adjustments, etc.  I miss the open floorplan and storage space we had everywhere.
What do you like about Virginia?
1.  We are living life at a slower pace since we know less people and can't find things to do.  This is good and bad--some days it drives me crazy and other days I'm just fine with it.
2.  It is nice to not have to wear a winter coat out most days.  The weather is in the 30's for the highs lately so that is nice.  But its still too cold to go out and play at parks for a long period of time or do bike rides, etc.  This is supposively milder than what it usually is, just like how MN has it this year, too.
3.  I will say this move has given me a whole new perspective and I have learned lots.  I was so narrow minded and had only lived in MN all my life. 
4.  Still trying to figure it out :) :)  All of the museums/memorials are boring to the kids and we have no sitters so we haven't really done any sight-seeing.  I've seen most of it before so I don't feel the urge to go back.  And the congestion/business of downtown DC scares me :)
When is the baby coming?
Wish I knew!  The clinic I chose is not being helpful and not willing to schedule an induction.  Their policy is they don't schedule anything until the 37th week and then the scheduled date cannot be earlier than after week 39.  I'm going to go before week 39 so I'm pretty sure so the induction plans are not possible at this time.  Katie was 2 weeks early and Ryan was almost 3 weeks early.  I feel like I could go any day now but we'll see.  I'm at 35.5 weeks right now and 40 week point is 2-23.  I'm not a fan of this clinic or the doctors and had to choose someone from the internet since I didn't know anyone to ask for a referral when we came to VA.  Uggh.
What are you doing with the kids when you have the baby?
Good question.  We may have to take all 3 kids with us to have the baby, depending on how and when this all works out.  We are pretty protective with our kids and don't have a lot of close relationships with other families yet, especially with Ryan.  We are going to try to ask one of our neighbor friends to take Katie and Andrew for a bit, depending on day and time.  And if it happens overnight, maybe one of the parents can come over and stay at our house until Ryan wakes up around 6 or 7 am.  Then Mike will have to come back and get the kids and bring them to the hospital or get them off to school.  Once we go into labor, we'll be calling Britni or Mike's parents and one of them will find the next flight available and come help us.  This might be a day or two though and Mike will have to manage the kids until one of them comes and I manage the baby and me.  Hoping labor is fast and baby is fine and all goes fine.
I hope everyone is doing well.  Sorry for being so long-winded in my update.  I miss getting updates from everyone when I see them at various events or playdates.  I'd love to hear from you and how you and/or your kids are doing, etc.  Stay warm!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Fresh Perspective and Update

Hello friends! I have to admit I'm not good at updating by blog so far--sorry.
We went to Disney World a few weeks ago and the kids had fun! There was a lot of walking--me on vacation is no relaxing when there is things to do. The kids complained about it, which was frustrating and they had to be reminded that many kids dream of doing this :):) But they have good memories and remember all the fun they had. Andrew loved the Indiana Jones show, the Star Wars ride and all of the rollercoasters. Katie loved the princesses, fireworks, Dumbo, and rollercoasters. Ryan loved the parade with Toy Story characters in it, it's a small world ride and the Buzz and Toy Story rides. He adores Jesse from Toy Story and when we saw her and Woody, he was shy and scared--he didn't like any of the characters :) I loved seeing their eyes light up in awe and excitement. Mike liked being able to take the big kids on the big rides--splash mountain and all the rollercoasters.

It was hard to come back to Virginia but we were so exhausted, it felt good to come back to our house and be at a slower pace.
I've tried to keep things in perspective and enjoy this slower pace. Unpacking and meeting friends is still slow but I'm becoming ok with that. My days back in MN were busy and filled with activities and things to do. It was so nice seeing friends and playing with the kids we had in daycare--sometimes that made me a better mom to my kids. Now we are snuggling in front of TV, going on bike rides, running errands during the week, and trying to establish a schedule. The weather here has been nice although some days its similar to MN since weather there has been nice this fall.

We never realized how hard this move would be and have considered about this not being a long term plan. While we were on vacation, Mike's parent company had a few layoffs--not major and not his entity but enough to wonder how stable this job is--time will tell and we have to give it more time--like 15 more months to be exact :) Our home in Chaska is still on the market and we are now looking at renting it for 12-15 months so we can have more time to decide our long-term plans. The housing market in MN is terrible (VA market isn't that bad and haven't seen as much drop and their houses are 25% more expensive) and I can't believe how low houses in my hood have gone down and we have been forced to be competitive with that (low, low 300's). Even renting will result in a loss to be at market but it is what it is and we'll be fine with that.

Halloween is right around the corner and one of my favorite holidays.  Friday is our school's halloween bingo party so the kids are excited and hopefully that goes well and maybe we'll meet a couple people.  It's hard to not think of all of the MN parties I'm missing out on.  And we've trick or treated with our Chaska neighbors kids for as long as they've been going trick-or-treating.  Last year, the kids said it was the best night ever and had so much fun.  Realizing how much our neighbors were like family to us.  But we are going to try to have a positive perspective and make the best of it this year.

I'm coming back to MN soon for a long weekend--11/3 to be exact.  So excited to see friends--still working out details.  I know it will be hard to leave MN to come back to VA but good to come home to the kids.

I'm realizing this is really long so I'm going to close for now--sorry :).  Hope all is well with you!
Your friend, Josie :)

Friday, September 16, 2011

I am an official blogger now!

I have decided to create a blog to give my life updates to my friends and family.  Now that we are living in Virginia, I find it harder to connect with my true friends and I'm hoping this will help.  I'm not a writer so this might be quite boring for some..bear with me...I might get better as I go :) :)
We have been living in Virginia for almost a month now and it has been one of the longest and hardest months of my life.  Having a baby was much easier...knock on wood...I still have one more to go.  We were in a hotel for a week, camped out at our house for a week until our stuff arrived, and are still unpacking and getting settled.  I still haven't unpacked my flat iron and many other things nor know my home phone number.  Shopping consists of boring stuff like drapes, rugs, trash cans.  Andrew misses MN and his friends a lot, which is hard to see.  Ryan is still struggling with his speech and I've lacked the time to find the resources to help him here in Virginia.  We are still pregnant I think...I should be about 18 weeks now but can't get in for a doctor appointment until the 27th to confirm.  It's depressing to have to start wearing maternity clothes again cause my regular ones won't fit anymore.  But looking on the bright side, at IKEA today, I bought a 6-pk of cinnamon rolls.  Not only did I buy them but when they asked me if I wanted as much extra icing as wanted for $1 more, that was $1 well spent.  If I wasn't pregnant, there's no way I would have bought those rolls in the first place.  I'm really not eating a lot of junk since I'm pregnant as this comment would suggest--it was just humorous that I told them to keep going with the icing, its been a long few weeks and I'm pregnant.  I'll be working off those pounds in about 12 months from now.   Good news is Katie is fine.  She's met some new friends and loves kindergarten and riding her bike without training wheels. 
But I'm trying to turn over a new leaf and try to be positive about this move.  I've signed up for a MOPS group and have requested information for a local MOMS Club, two groups I loved being a part of in MN and have developed amazing friendships from--ones that I miss so dearly nowadays.  Andrew and Katie are playing soccer 2-3 times a week now so maybe I will meet some "soccer moms".  It was awkward going to Andrew's first practice this past MN, I was outgoing and comfortable "in my skin" and would talk to anyone, especially the parents of the other kids on the team.  Here in Virginia, I am so out of my element and the majority of the people don't talk to eachother on the side lines.  Meeting people overwhelm me at this point.  I still have so much unpacking to do and don't feel like I have enough time to reconnect with my MN friends and am tired a lot...much less make new friends.  Focusing on the kids and getting settled is priority now, which isn't all bad.  New friends will come in time.
DisneyWorld is in 15 days...hoping for a great family vacation after all we have been through lately.
I'm tired and going to close for now.  Stay tuned for another post.  Thankful I don't have a character limit with this post like facebook does.  My blog will improve by Christmastime, I promise.