Friday, August 28, 2009

Hood to Coast

This morning I got up with Lawrence at 4am to see him off for his second time running in Hood to Coast. I feel so proud of him. He really needed this, as all the job searching and contact making can feel exhausting and like it's not getting anywhere. Hood to Coast is a 197 mile relay from the tip top of Mount Hood to the Pacific Ocean. It is the biggest relay in the world. 12,000 runners! It is a very big deal and a very big accomplishment. In the next 24 hrs he will personally run almost 18 miles!

Go Lawrence!

Lily made him the cutest little sign with two popsicle sticks pasted to it all by herself. She used her "crookedy" scissors to cut out a heart and glue it to the center and then she wrote "Good Job Dad". She didn't sign her name because she said, "He knows we are his children".

She and I snuck out last night right before bedtime and taped it to the steering wheel, when he left this morning I saw him find it and he came back in the garage so he could read it in the light. It meant the world to him.

He means the world to us.

He's worked hard, trained a lot, and it has to feel SO good to finish this race. If it feels this good to have a HUSBAND who is finishing this race, I can only imagine how it must feel for him to be the one running.

This photo is from 2007 when he ran this race 8 weeks after Addie was born. It is my favorite pictures because the sense of accomplishment on his face would be the same as if he won the whole thing. In my heart, he may well have.

August 28th is a big day!

Happy NINTH Birthday Jayme, (our niece) we love you!!!

Happy 5th Anniversary Darcy and Dave!

Today we also mark the 7 year anniversary of the day my Grandmother, Jennie Lou Blanchet, (mom's mom) passed away. It was a very sad day, but she went to be with my Grandfather, whom she missed so much for 10 years, and she had all of her children surrounding her.

It's neat to say all of those events occured since I've been with Lawrence. The memories and important dates after we met are matching the memories and important dates from the many years before we met, and that...well, for lack of a better cool.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Weekend and waiting

Things at the Herman household have been good, busier than usual somehow, but good. This weekend my brother came to visit from Eugene and the girls were THRILLED. He hadn't been to stay with us since Christmas (which is so so so sad, considering he is two hours away). Anyway, he let them climb on him like a jungle gym, read to them until his voice was horse, built them a dresser with Lawrence, and got some serious craft on. The "milk parade" (as I have named it since they've started sharing a room and come walking out of their room yelling "milk time", "milk time" at 7am) headed straight passed our room on both Saturday and Sunday and directly into the play room where uncle Matt was sleeping on the couch. This, of course, made all the adults in the house happy! :) Including Uncle Matt, though he might not admit it. I am constantly in awe of all the energy Matt finds for the girls. Yes he is 25 and single, but man, he'll do anything. Crazy dancing, tickle fights, wrestling, pretending to be dogs, you name it.

Friday Lawrence went on a crappy data entry temp job. He can barely type. Well he types decent speed, but he looks and he does it with 2 fingers. The job paid less than the unemployment that was getting deducted and since he was sitting in a cubicle "smaller than his shoulders" with 100 other temps and no networking possibilities, after walking a half mile from his car where temps were required to park, entering addresses into an archaic system for 5.75 hrs, he decided one day of that was enough and his time would be better spend looking for something else. I agree, but was glad he was willing to try anything, because you just never know.

Saturday Sabine went to the beach with her Au Pair group, the kids played with Matt, Lawrence worked in the back yard, and I got to go over to the Roses to meet baby Sullivan.

He. Is. So. Cute. And I'm not just saying that, seriously one of the cutest babies I've ever seen. It made me so excited to hold my own brand new little boy. His cry was even cute, and watching Robin nurse him, I was even a little excited for that!! It was also adorable watching the other kids dote on him, and his daddy too. Even though it will add madness to the madness, I'm really looking forward to meeting my own little guy and falling in love again, and having his whole family dote on him.

I already can't keep the girls off my stomach, talking to him, kissing him, and I've had to have the talk with Lily more than a few times about personal boundaries as she attempt to feel me up and give her baby brother some love. Addie seems to finally really be understanding about a baby in my belly. Today she said, 'Baby, grow, out". Yes, she still talks like a cave man but it adding to her vocab and it is easier to understand her broken sentences.

Things with Sabine are still going great, and we really enjoy having her around. She even won her first game of Blokus with me, Matt, & Lawrence. We were thrilled to have someone good to complete our Blokus foursome. It also showed me how SMART she is, getting good at Blokus takes a while, and she just came right in and kicked butt. She didn't quite understand or listen to all the smack we talk (because she was concentrating so hard), but she'll get there!

The girls LOVE her and are adapting really well. It continues to be confusing with her schedule with Lawrence around so much, but at the same time she rarely has a long period of time when she doesn't have someone around to answer a question. And she is working around it, even though I know it isn't always easy for her. She seems genuinely very happy and hasn't had an issue with homesickness or jetlag. We are so happy about that for her sake. She gives us lots of privacy by spending a lot of quiet time in her room, but also joins us for family outings and BBQs too. Last night she drove and we went to set up her bank account, picked up her friend (another German Au Pair who lives 1.5 miles from us), and then we went to Target. She did all the driving. Then she went to have dinner with her friend, and she took the car for the first time wihtout us. She did well, and made it there and back in one piece. Today is her first day driving alone with the kids to take Lily to her last ballet class. She is doing a great job driving, we trust her skills, now it is just a matter of teaching her where to go and how to get there (and home).

She will be working this weekend because Lawrence has Hood to Coast. He has been training very hard for it, and also looks amazing. He has lost about 20 lbs since January, and is in great shape. I'm excited for him to run in his second Hood to Coast. His attitude remains good, though obviously it is frustrating being patient and waiting for something to come along. We both believe that it will.

The girls are doing *okay* with the room sharing, it is definitely better, but not easy yet. Each night we just have no idea if they'll go right to sleep or if they'll be up for 2 hrs. The weird thing is, Lily probably is going to bed better than she has in her entire life, sometimes falling asleep with Addie still standing in the middle of the room pooping herself! For a few days Addie was waking a bunch in the night and I was worried about her waking Lily and Sabine, but the last few nights she has started sleeping well again. I think bedtimes will be easier once it is darker earlier, and Addie can't see to mess around for as long. Naps are perfect, no problem, she goes in, lays down and falls asleep, but having Lily in there at night is so exciting she can't settle down. So while I dispise daylight saving time ending, because I love love love it to be light later, I think I will have a few reasons to enjoy it this year. 1.) bedtime 2.)it brings me closer to the season when we will meet our son.

We will be a well oiled machine by the time Baby Boy gets here.

So if you can believe it, I have not taken ONE picture since the walk when Sabine arrived. This made it easy not to procastinate my blog though, so that's one good thing. Not a picture with Matt, not a picture of baby Sullivan, nothin'.

Hopefully gets a cute one of Lily today for her last ballet, and I'll post that.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

22 weeks!

I have a private blog that I keep for journaling about my pregnancy and for some reason it has been easier to keep up on than my family blog. We are doing so much and I just get further and further behind. I am now 22 weeks pregnant. This is a spaghetti squash and it represents the size of my baby. It is next to a quarter so you can see the relative size.
I can feel the baby kick quite often and am starting to feel a little shorter on breath especially when I'm hunched over, so it's been forcing good posture for me. The pregnancy is going great. I really do love the second trimester of pregnancy, it feels good and very easy. I look all big and pregnant but not suffering the "I'm so pregnant I want to die" or "Please make this end". I actually don't remember feeling that way until the very end. Like the last two weeks. My back gets sore when I do outside events with the kids. I don't know why it is all the bending wrong. Why do I only do it wrong (w/out my knees) when I'm outside? Possibly because I don't have a counter to pull up on. In any case, time is going quickly, and I'm enjoying my pregnancy very much. While there are things about being pregnant that are inconvenient and tiring, I'm certainly not one of those people who hate being pregnant. I really like it, especially after starting show. The whole world treats you special because something really amazing is about to happen in your life. And it is.

In my below post, I mentioned some bad news, and I said (more later on that). I was deciding what exactly to say about the bad news. The news was that Lawrence lost his job on Friday. His boss held on to him as long as she could, but due to the economy, and that they are a floundering small company, and he was the newest employee (of 3 years), he was let go.

So I've had a week now to process the news, and it's all going to be okay. I have brief moments of freak out time, but then I recenter, do not allow a pity party, and take the steps I can to move forward in a positive direction. The rest is out of my control. Some of it is out of Lawrence's control. I will do my job to be a supportive, loving wife, who has one amazing husband. He is also in a great mental place with this. He knows that something better will come out of this, and it will probably involve a few months of struggle. We've already done some cost cutting in a budget where there wasn't much to cut, like reducing life insurance and 401k contribution. We don't pay for cable or home phone, I use public transportation and our nicer car is for sale (though it has been for a while and we have had a few bites-we are willing to downsize that), we are not buying organic foods at the moment and have even been shopping at Winco (ugh) for savings, we've stopped paying debt so aggressively, gotten on equal pay with both power and gas - as well as both living a little out of our comfort zones temperature-wise (me in the winter, him in the summer), heck, we've even invited someone to live in our home, using the house to help pay for our childcare (and a wonderful cultural experience for our kids as a bonus!) any other ideas out there? I'd love to hear some suggestions. Ya know, not wear a sweater in the house or stop buying starbucks (I wish) or stop eating out (HA!) but things that aren't on the top ten nightly news cost savings every single night. Sometimes people don't like to talk about this, but I find it comforting to know we are all in this together, and we aren't pinching pennies alone. I don't feel the lest bit of shame in being a tightwad and actually know I'd be making Dave Ramsey proud, and I HEART Dave Ramsey so there. There is shame in continuing to live outside your means and we haven't been doing that for nearly 2 years, and it feels GOOD. I love Lawrence and I love our family unit, and I love how dedicated we are to making it work, and I love all the lessons we are learning. Interesting how you don't learn much when things are simple and easy and take no effort! :) Anyway, leave a comment of some thrifty stuff you do and help some other mamas out!

That's the update! Happy Friday!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Sabine is here!!

Our new Au Pair, Sabine, arrived from Germany on Friday. After months of choosing the perfect Au pair for us and then months more of staying in touch, getting to know each other, it is hard to believe that the day actually come. And can you believe that the NIGHT before I still had a million things on my to do list that were left to finish until the next day. Things like wash the bedding from my in laws visit, almost 2 weeks prior, putting shelf paper in her dresser, moving our skiing stuff out of her closet, printing some of her pictures to hang on her bulletin board, cleaning her bathroom. Things that could have been done for weeks. But actually, if you know me, you know that I always have a million things to do that don't get done until the last minute.

Well we got a bit of bad news on Friday morning (more on that later) and it threw my day off, exhausted me a little bit emotionally and long story short a week later she still is sharing her closet with my snowpants...but her bedding and bathroom are clean and she loves her room, so I'm not a total failure.

Sabine had a great week at Au Pair school and she had fun on her NYC tour, though it was too short. It was only 4 hrs and even 4 days isn't enough to see all you'd want to in New York. But she got a taste and knows that she wants to go back to see more now.

When she arrived here she was a little shaken from some serious turbulence. We were happy to see each other, and then both went straight to bed once we got home, we were beat.

On Saturday we did the FAAN walk (another post) and Sabine came, we weren't sure she'd want to with all the travel and jet lag, but she said she felt great and joined right in. She squeezed between the two girls in their car seats, since we hadn't moved seats around yet in the trailblazer. It ended up being a great opportunity for her to bond with the kids on the way to Vancouver.

They absolutely love her. I'm so glad we skyped all those times because they felt as though they knew her and were only shy for a few minutes. When they woke in the morning, they could not WAIT for her to get up.

We are having fun getting to know each other. She speaks wonderful English, but it takes some time for us to always understand each other. Mostly because we don't know how the other describes something like a garbage disposal or a cell phone charger. The words don't translate exactly. Then there is the fact that she has never heard of Budweiser! :) And in Germany women put Sprite in their beer. Ewe! :) Ruining perfectly good beer???

Anyway, we are all having fun with it. Lawrence and I have a very sarcastic sense of humor. That also doesn't translate. Like today when I told her to throw a fax machine out the window (she didn't). She did laugh hard when I told her to put it on Lawrence's pillow.

On Sunday we relaxed a lot and it was a good thing because Sabine seemed to be getting a bit of a cold and wasn't feeling great. Even though she didn't think the jet lag affected her, I think that it did affect her body by hitting her with a stuffy nose and sore throat. Josh, Shawna, & Rachel came over for a BBQ and to welcome her. On Monday, she also wasn't feeling good. It was our anniversary (another post) and she was scheduled for her first day, and a long day. She is such a trooper. She has great work ethic and really powered through, even showing unending patience for the kids, while both Lawrence and I were home training her. She also went to the park with the kids and Lawrence. He has been making her drive whenever they go anywhere and she is definitely a good driver. Then you read the post below about the Rose baby and how Monday finished up! :)

Last night we went to Jeremy and Jennifer's for a BBQ, she had a great time, and that is when all the Budweiser talk came up because she brought 2 beers for Lawrence, one from Germany one from Poland. Lawr split them both with Jer, his partner in beer tasting. Jeremy works for Budweiser and couldn't believe she didn't recognize the can. He was asking all these hard differences trying to figure out things in Germany that were not like the US and vice versa. She was a great sport and a great help with the girls, even though she was not "on duty". We are both figuring out how she fits into the family and how it works when she is on duty but we are home and how it works when she is with us but not on duty. So far, it is going better than I could have hoped.

Today Katy came over to drive them all to ballet, and apparently the girls gave her a little harder time with Katy there too. But Sabine and Katy had heard A LOT about each other and really were glad to get to meet. In the afternoon Sabine and the girls had a great time, including ice cream for snack because it was such a HOT day. Tonight Lawrence had a Hood to Coast meeting and Sabine and I got to chat over dinner after the kids were in bed. Then we got her set up to download pictures and set up Skype on the home computer with a new webcam with microphone. It was a busy night, but we had fun. Thanks to my brother Matt who spend about 45 minutes on the phone and skype with us to get it all figured out. He must think I am SUCH an idiot sometimes, but I think he likes how much I need his help for computer type stuff.

There are many things that Sabine does, little things, that show us we made a perfect decision of who to ask into our home for a year and care for our kids. She shows so much respect and consideration, she is caring with the kids, she can be firm with them when needed, and she is an extremely hard work. She also did a lot of homework reading the family manual I wrote from her and when she pulled out her copy I could tell she'd gone through it with a fine tooth comb. It's hard to describe how you will know if someone is going to be a good fit for your family. Because you don't. But there are so many little things that are NOT annoying and that are NOT invasive and that show what a quality person she is. YAY! So much of my anxiety about this has melted. We have also let her know that she is doing this a very hard way to start off, trying to establish control with both parents at home. I think the next 2 days she will be all on her own and it will be easier with the kids.

For now, there is a lot to do! She still is far from self sufficient as far as driving directions and getting to school, making friends, getting her Oregon drivers license and Social Security Card. But this is a list, one you mark of and go through. These just take time to accomplish and we can do it. While I feel that there is a lot for us to do, and I feel like I keep telling her, we will get to that later, I'm so glad that the important stuff, the stuff that is much much harder to take care of, is going really smooth and easy.

Tomorrow we are going to Music in the Park and Sabine might get to meet another Au Pair from Germany who has been here for two months and lives near the park we are going to. Then this weekend she gets to go to the Beach for her first Au Pair meeting. It will be a great chance for her to meet some other Au Pairs in Portland as well as see the Pacific Ocean!!

In this post, I've listed THREE other posts to come. How will I ever get caught up? Probably won't and you'll say, where is that post on her anniversary that she mentioned six months ago. Hey, my Au Pair needed to learn to work my washing machine so that she could help me with some of my burden...OKAY!!!???? I'm doing my best and for now, it seems good enough...

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Congrats to the Rose Family!!!

Sullivan Joseph Rose was born this morning at 1:49am. 8lbs 10oz; 20inches long; 14.5" head

Hopefully I can post a picture later today when Mark sends one out. I was honored to be asked to be there to help out with the kids for Robin's 3rd home water birth, though I'll admit slightly nervous to be present for my first home water birth. And in the end, there wasn't really much for me to do, but relax and chit chat a little with my friend and her midwives. The kids were so well behaved and other than blocking Quinn from ramming his mom with a trike a time or two, I felt a little useless. This must be what dads feel like during labor! :) Nothing you can do but offer support, unsure if the laboring mom wants it, and wait.

Robin first called me around 1pm but I didn't end up getting back to her until 3pm because I was busy training Sabine on her first day (which is all going very well by the way, more on that later). I got to their house around 5:15pm after getting everyone settled. I was afraid I might have missed it because at 3 she felt that things were really picking up.

I walked in to a very calm quiet home (who can say that for a family with 4 kids and a mom in labor!!) Music was playing, they had a pool set up in a privacy tent outside, with plants and Christmas lights. The midwives were relaxing on the couch and everyone spoke in a soft tone. Robin was walking around and would get down on all fours to labor a contraction and then would be back up, checking things such as whether the dog had it's medication or not. We all laughed at that. Her friend Kim was also there, to photograph and video the birth. My job was mostly to just help with anything needed and with the kids. So honestly there wasn't much for me to do. It was amazing to watch Robin and her peaceful labor, which was obviously painful. I have never seen anyone labor in person (except for myself or other girls in the maternity ward). Robin was really amazing, the way she was very internal with her contractions and working through them.

It was also our anniversary, so around 8pm when the kids were in bed and it appeared that Robin was in a bit of a holding pattern, water still not broke, I decided to sneak away for our anniversary. I met Lawrence for some dessert and good conversation, then called back to the house. Robin was resting and so were the midwives, and it was about 10pm. I decided to go home and get some sleep myself.

So I missed Sullivan coming into the world, but all the kids got to wake up and be there for it. Given the time he decided to make his appearance, I'm glad that I made the decision to sleep. Kim said it was amazing. He was Robin's biggest baby, also with the biggest head.

What an incredible mother she is. This is her 5th baby, and she is just so strong and kind and peaceful about the birthing experience. It is different from my own, but I admire it very much. And again, I feel honored that she would invite me to be in on even a few hours of such a personal intimate experience.

Welcome to the world Sullivan Joseph Rose, you are gonna love it! There is so so so much love waiting here for you. And God chose one of the best mommies I know for you!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Melinda's Wedding (19 photos), by JENNY HERMAN

I'd like to share my Snapfish photos with you. Once you have checked out my photos you can order prints and upload your own photos to share.

Wow - THIS is a very very lazy way to update the blog and catch up a little! :)

On July 25 - I had a whirlwind trip to Boise to visit my friend Jeanine and attend my old Jr. High/High School friend, Melinda.

I don't plan to use this as an excuse for blogging, but might just do it for a few catch ups...

Monday, August 10, 2009

47 bites

Between Lawrence and I, I think we have about 47 mosquito bites from the weekend. We had a wonderful time at the Blanchet Family reunion at Red Bridge State Park in the Blue Mountains of Eastern Oregon. The hardest part of camping pregnant was getting in and out of the tent and helping the girls get dressed without being able to kneel down on the ground. All rules of modesty were broken when had them dress from atop a picnic table so mommy didn't have to bend down one more time to help them get pants on.

We all slept pretty well in the tent, though I worked late on Thursday night and got up early on Friday morning at home, so Friday night Addie and I went to bed much earlier than Lawrence and Lily. This is just what I needed to feel rested for the day on Saturday.

Many more of my cousins came this year (as opposed to some years when it is mostly my moms cousins). Which was really fun. Lily and Addie had a blast playing with all the cousins and a surprise visit from Uncle Matt on Saturday night who happened to be in LaGrande finishing up 3 weeks of national guard training. They ran him ragged and laughed their heads off as usual, and he headed back to training with a frog tatoo on his cheek.

This is our last week with Katy, and our Au Pair, Sabine arrives in the US today!! She will be at Au Pair school in NYC until Friday when she flies to us. Her plane should land in Newark in about an hour and I just checked and it looks like all was on time. I'm glad for that for her as it was her first time flying, and that seemed to be the one thing she was nervous about.

I have a plethora of pictures to post from the last month, and plan to get them uploaded tonight.

We have Katy every day this week and she has a mountain of fun planned for the girls and she also wants to make a scrapbook of their fun summer together so I promised I would finish uploading tonight.

Room sharing continues to have its ups and downs, but the girls are adjusting. Last night Addie was the tired one, and Lily was throwing a fit because now she is used to going to sleep by the campfire and can't go to sleep without one. But they were both asleep within an hour so we are making progress. This morning they were up at 6:30, but voluntarily stayed in their room until 7:30am. So BIG progress there! They did make the "milk march" at that time and came into announce to me that milks were NOT made last night. Which I knew. I didn't mind though because they gave me a few minutes to lay there and not get out of bed. It is just hilarious to listen to them in the mornings.

Addie continues to be a little more difficult than she used to be, but her behavior is perfectly normal for a 2 year old. She wants what she wants when she wants it and will do whatever it takes to get it, caring little about rules or how it affects others. Wait, even though this is perfect 2 year old behavior, I do know some adults who act that way too. hmm. Again, I'm just very spoiled because prior to 2 she was above average for an under two year old in the easy department. She's definitely a mommy's girl and would prefer it if I'd carry her and hold her most of the time. Or be available and ready to at any moment. This has definitely been more since the room sharing and her always being a bit over tired. She loves to get her bear bear and snuggle.

I've got to get back to work. Lot's to do this week in preparation for Sabine and unpacking decampfiring from the weekend. Plus I'm going to try to go to prenatal water fitness tonight and see how that helps my back. My friend Robin is 39+ weeks, and tonight could be her last class, so I'd love to visit with her before she is holding her little guy.

More posts and pictures to come.