Think Like A First-Born

Caleb had the day off Wednesday, and we spent a wonderful evening as a family eating homemade waffles, playing "picnic" complete with pretend strawberries, peanut butter sandwiches, ice cream, and grapes, and finishing off the night with Daddy playing "Tiger" with the kids.

Basically, the tiger chases Cam and Elly around the corner, then runs away and hides. When Cam and Elly can muster up the courage to come looking for him, he jumps out from behind a new hiding place and scares the giggles out of them. They run away squealing and the process begins again. I watch :)

It is so funny to see our kids' personalities shine while they play this favorite game with Daddy. I have a great vantage point, sitting in the rocking chair and watching them whisper and laugh in the kitchen while they try to get the gumption to come back into the "danger zone."

Elly is always the first to test the waters - and won't run away until she gives a tackle and a hug of her own to the tiger. Cameron follows tentatively behind, sometimes turning around and running away before he even sees Caleb because the anticipation is just too much for him to handle. Cam is whispering to Elly "OK, let's go!" Then, he walks behind her, pushing her along, ever-so-gently nudging her to be the first one through the doorway...the sacrificial lamb!

The kids had so many screams and laughs playing rough with Daddy!! After the they crashed into bed, Caleb and I laughed as we thought back to playing similar games with our dads growing up. He said that his oldest brother Ryan was so similar to Cameron - he'd devise a plan, then send the two younger ones to execute it.

I, the oldest sister, clearly remember being the planner - ahem - the boss is probably more accurate - and sending Laura and Jay into the fire first while I played cleanup. It was always, "You distract Dad, I'll get the ball," or whatever. Basically, they were the ones who faced the first tackle, tickle, or scare. I stayed safely in the background! Some big sister, huh?!

What does this say about us first-borns? Is it innate in our personalities? Are we planners? Organizers? Bossy? Smart? Scaredy-cats? Whatever it is, Cam has what I had. Elly has a whole lot of Caleb...with a little bit of Beichley mixed in, too. I so love just watching my babies' personalities blossom. They each have such unique and precious gifts!

Boo To You, H1N1

Had my [now weekly] OB appointment yesterday. As expected, despite my cramping and attempt to be very active, I am not dilating one bit. My babies like to stay nice and cozy until their appointed arrival times :)

Everything looks good, and I even got a bit of [you couldn't have made my day better] good news - I lost two pounds! I won't disclose my weight, but let's just say I'm approaching a milestone - a number - that I have no business hitting. So to hear I had avoided inching closer made me a jolly soul.

However, I also received some [dangerous for an emotional pregnant mom] news. Following suit with most hospitals around the country, Covenant is restricting the maternity ward to visitors 15 and older to reduce the risk of spreading H1N1. This means NO CAMERON AND ELLY. No big sibs meeting baby brother in the hospital. No hugs for Mommy after surgery. No kisses. No visits...for an entire c-section recovery.

Now don't get me wrong, I truly appreciate the efforts of the hospital to stop the spread of disease. I'm thankful that itsy-bitsy, super-susceptible babes won't be at risk. But my heart is sad because my older two kids are still babies. Thankfully, they don't totally "get" the process, so it's not as heartbreaking as it might be for, say, an 8- or 9-year-old. Honestly, I think with Grandma at home with them, and Daddy around most of the time too (hospital is only 20 minutes away), they'll be fine.

They'll be fine, and the baby won't know the difference. But you know who will? You know who hasn't been away from either child for more than 2 days? Me. Mommy. Emotional basketcase Michelle. I need them. We all got our H1N1 vaccine because I couldn't bear the thought of all 4 of us sick. And now...this. We'll make it, but it kinda puts a damper on the whole event for me.

Here's to a hugely happy homecoming, then, and perhaps a LOT MORE REST than anticipated during my hospital stay!!

Cam enjoying his Veggie Tales beanie babies after H1N1 shot.
Grandma B (my Mom) gave us our shots, and brought fun band-aids and stickers.

Great-Grandma (my Grandma) heard the shots were happening and graciously supplied us with this post-trauma therapy. He truly forgot all about the shot! Elly played with her band-aid :)


Just Petty Things

Quite a few people have asked me if I miss living in Minnesota. There are definitely things I miss, of course the family and friends we have up north are by far what I miss the most. But...other than that...when I think really hard about it, I can generate a list. It's slightly amusing, things that make me say, "Aw, man, I miss that," but things that are so silly when it comes down to it.

Being surrounded by family, relying on the Lord, living on love...these are things that came with us to Iowa. We are so supported here by our church, friends, and family that I feel a little guilty talking about the simple things I miss.

Alas, some of them must be shared...you might really appreciate them if you currently are or have at one time been a resident of the Land of Lakes!

Petty Things I Miss About Minnesota

1. The news anchors. Can't get used to the ones in Iowa, most are different than what I grew up with. I love me some Channel 4 Amelia Santinello and Frank Vascelero!

2. No sales tax on clothes. Makes for some outstanding baby bargains. (Plus winter coats, boots, hats, etc.) Seriously...I think every state should adopt this fantastic concept. :)

3. The Multi-Grain Bread @ Cub Foods. Store brand...there is NOTHING better. And, it's only $1.85! Man, I do miss that bread (although any avenue of carb elimination at this point is a good thing).

4. Living approximately 2 miles from Target, in ANY direction. I know. A bit out of control. And I only live 20 minutes from a Target now. A little spoiled I am.

5. None of these. Holy cow, it's a plague.

6. Stores that double coupons. Regular prices are a bit lower here in Iowa, but with all the grocery competition in MN, everyone was vying for business with great prices. AND, stores that doubled coupons (and price matched) allowed me to get groceries on the cheap - strike that - the ridiculously cheap.

7. As of right now, I miss my husband working only 30 minutes away!! :)

8. Chipotle. Pregnant Michelle loves Chipotle. Didn't go there all the time, but just knowing it was there was some kind of high-sodium comfort to me...hehe!

I could think hard and generate more - but just in case you were curious, these are the little things I miss. The big things...we've definitely got covered right where we're at. :)


Two Randoms - Completely Unrelated

#1 - I visited the doctor today, and among other things, he said that baby is on the "high side" of 5 pounds. If babies gain about a pound per week in the final month - and they do - that means our little meatball will be pushing 10 pounds at birth! Suddenly quite thankful for a c-section... :)

Pregnancy Tickers from WiddlyTinks.com

#2 - These are back in stores. Black Pepper Jack Doritos, my favorite!! Cannot.Stop.Consuming. Why don't we just call Junior an even 11 lbs?

Related, you say? You mean, I could be growing my baby to gargantuan proportions via my diet of spice- and preservative-laden tortilla chips and Almond M&M's?

Nah. He's just a big baby :)


It's High Time...

For some pics of the sweetest babies around! My goodness, how did you all survive so long without a dose of Cameron and Elly??! ;)

Made 'em pose for a pic before heading outside :)
We were relieved to have a day of sunshine!

Cousin Jocelyn left us her four-wheeler!

It took a few days, but Elly now loves the kitties :)

And Cam loves all the wide open space to run...and run...

Just ask him, he'll tell you,
"Dis my NEW house! I WUV my new house!"

Voice Of Truth

Those of you who know me well will smile at the fact that I had a GOOD cry today...in my van...outside the Grundy County courthouse...while listening to this song.

I love these lyrics. The Lord literally poured them into my heart today when I needed them most.

Voice of Truth
By Casting Crowns

Oh, what I would do to have
The kind of faith it takes
To climb out of this boat I'm in
Onto the crashing waves.
To step out of my comfort zone
Into the realm of the unknown
Where Jesus is,
And he's holding out His hand.

But the waves are calling out my name
and they laugh at me,
Reminding me of all the times
I've tried before and failed.
The waves they keep on telling me
time and time again
"Boy, you'll never win,
you'll never win."

But the Voice of truth tells me a different story,
The Voice of truth says "Do not be afraid!"
And the Voice of truth says "This is for My glory!"
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the Voice of truth.

Oh, what I would do
to have the kind of strength it takes
To stand before a giant
with just a sling and a stone.
Surrounded by the sound
of a thousand warriors
shaking in their armor,
Wishing they'd have had the strength to stand.

But the giant's calling out
my name and he laughs at me,
Reminding me of all the times
I've tried before and failed.
The giant keeps on telling me
time and time again
"Boy you'll never win,
you'll never win."

But the Voice of truth tells me a different story,
The Voice of truth says "Do not be afraid!"
And the Voice of truth says "This is for My glory!"
Out of all the voices calling out to me,
I will choose to listen and believe the Voice of truth

But the stone was just the right size
to put the giant on the ground,
and the waves they don't seem so high
from on top of them looking down.
I will soar with the wings of eagles
when I stop and listen to the sound of Jesus
singing in all of me!

But the Voice of truth tells me a different story ,
The Voice of truth says "Do not be afraid!"
And the Voice of truth says "This is for my glory!"
Out of all the voices calling out to me,
I will choose to listen and believe
I will choose to listen and believe the Voice of truth.



It's still hard for me to organize my thoughts in paragraph form (combo of the move and severe pregnancy brain), so I'm going to do my best to summarize our update in little blurbs. Tidbits, if you will :)

Number one most important...the kids are adjusting SO well. We had a couple rough nights of sleep, along with one Mommy meltdown-inducing comment from my son, "I want my OLD house," but they are doing great now! Cameron loves his new house and has to show every visitor his "new" room - decorated just like his old one (MN Twins), but this one came pre-carpeted in RED. He thinks it's pretty awesome. I'll take pictures of the rooms and post sometime soon.

I am now the owner/aquire-ee of anywhere from 8-11 farm cats. I grew up with cats, and anyone who knows me knows I am not their biggest fan. There is (as of last night, sad highway accident) only one mother cat and 9 babies. The little ones sure are cute, and the word is they keep the house mouse-free come combine time. We're not friends, but we are allies. :)

Caleb is currently commuting 1 hour and 15 minutes ONE-WAY to work. It has been rough on everyone, but we're trying our best to pray through it and be patient for whatever God's will is in this time of transition. Still incredibly thankful for employment and health insurance for our little ones. Thank you, Lord!

I have a doctor here in Iowa, a doctor who a couple friends from church have gone to and liked a lot. The practice itself was also highly recommended, so I'm feeling at ease about this area of life. the C-SECTION IS SCHEDULED for November 17 at noon, so the countdown is ON! Coming up on only a month left, and my nesting is in hyperdrive. Not such a bad thing when there is still a bit of unpacking to do.

The baby boy name choices have been significantly narrowed. We're close. That's all you get to know about that one. :)

My parents, Caleb's parents, Caleb's brother Eric and his family, and our friends from church have been such a blessing as we transition. The kids are in seventh heaven with all the family to play with. On Saturday, Cameron got to go on a 4-wheeler ride with Papa (Caleb's dad), and plans are in the works for him to ride in the combine with Grandpa (my dad). Being close to family is priceless.

I just finished paying our last round of utility bills for the Minnesota house today, so I'm starting to get a grip on what will be our regular bill-paying routine. This is super important for me - it makes me feel much better to have it all ironed out before the baby comes.

I'm loving being "home," that is, where I grew up, right around harvest time. There is just something about the [exceedingly, lately] crisp air, the crops coming out of the fields, and the crunch of leaves under your feet that isn't the same in the city. It smells like cross country outside to me - also a product of my upbringing. :)

Hmmmm...what have I left out? A lot, I'm sure. Cameron had one day of accidents, but hasn't since regressed on his potty training - PTL!! Elly has so much going on in that little brain, but refuses to talk - she basically just nods and mumbles to express herself. I know she could talk...but she won't until she decides it's time. For now, we're hearing "dada," "ball," "car," and the occasional "mama." Lil' stinker! Lots of kisses and cuddles though, which I'll take any day.

I miss a few things about Minnesota. Namely our wonderful friends and the cross country team. It's hard to be away from them. But the Lord has kept us connected in many ways, and I know we're here for a reason. Not just "oh, we moved back, so we'll settle in," but a God-inspired reason. Praying in anticipation as He continues to reveal His plan.

Thank you all SO MUCH for your prayers, well-wishes, and help before, during, and after the move. Every single act - tangible, emotional, whatever - is greatly appreciated!!


Green Acres

Green Acres Theme Song
By Vic Mizzy

Green Acres is the place for me!
Farm livin' is the life for me!
Land spreadin' out so far and wide
Keep Manhattan, just give me that countryside!

New York is where I'd rather stay!
I get allergic smelling hay!
I just adore a penthouse view.
Dah-ling I love you but give me Park Avenue!

...The chores!
...The stores!
...Fresh air!
...Times Square!

You are my wife.
Good bye, city life!
Green Acres we are there!!!

I'm back, blogging friends! How I've missed you!
More updates to come soon!