Wednesday, February 27, 2013

there's winter-ing left to do

I was walking through the aisles at Target last week, the home good aisles, which I don't always go through I usually head straight for the cleaning supplies/personal care/baby section, but on this day I turned right instead of left and found myself face to face with all of their new pillows and plates and picture frames.  My heart instantly started beating faster, coral! teal! yellow!  Oh, I wanted one of everything.  I rounded the corner and everything was green.  Light green plants to decorate with, candles, welcome mats.  Spring!  Oh Spring, I'm so ready for you!  

And then I found myself shaking my head. No.  No, there is still winter-ing left to do.

Mimi and Papa Grizz came to visit this weekend and winter-ing is what we did.  We never had a chance to snowshoe last year, there was just never enough snow or enough time or enough snow when there was enough time.  This year we've had a real winter, a good 14-16 inches still out there.  And while my heart wants to leap ahead to spring, I know there is still so much to do this winter.  Snowshoeing is one of my very favorite outdoor activities and we've chosen it over cross-country skiing these past few winters simply because it is something the kids can do too.  So when they were begging to get on their snowshoes all weekend, it made Mama just a tad bit happy.

Keaton is a pro; this child was made to snowshoe, it just comes so easily to him.  This was Hutton's first time, the last time we went he was being pulled in a sled. Hutt had a little more trouble; he took several spills but the thing about Hutt is that he just gets up and goes again.  "Mommy, I need help" he'd say with a hand up in the air, and as soon as he was back on his feet he was off again.

The snow was perfect packing but we didn't have a chance to make a snowman.  I guess that's okay though, because there's a lot of snow out there, I don't think it is going anywhere any too soon, and while I still find myself looking forward to spring, that just gives us time to do a little more winter-ing.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Dear Nolan: 9 Months

Dear Nolan,

At the beginning of February you turned nine months old.  Nine months! Three quarters of a year! This year has just flown by, and while seeing you grow and change and learn new things is so much fun, it makes me a little sad to know you are closer to toddler now than to newborn.  You’re still my baby though; all this growing can’t change that.  We had your 9-month well-visit right on time and your Dad and I were both there;  do you think either one of use could remember to pick up the paperwork with your stats on it?  I’m pretty sure I’ve left them at every single visit we’ve had with you.  So while I don’t have the official stats I do remember a couple of things.  At 9-months you weighed in at 17 lbs, you had dropped a bit on the curve and this put you in the 5th percentile.  Your height, though I don’t remember the measurement, was in the 10th percentile, but had moved up on the chart.  And your heard circumference, well let’s just say this, you Konopacki boys have big heads.  It was at least 50th percentile, something very average compared to the rest of your measurements.  I’ve been a bit concerned with these stats because I haven’t been getting as much milk as I’d like lately and I’ve been wondering if it has been affecting you, but I looked back at your brother’s letters and I see they were very similar at this nine-month stage.  You might be a bit smaller, but nothing too noticeable.

This has been a difficult month in terms of keeping you healthy. It’s winter.  You have big brothers who bring germs home.  I know this, and yet it makes me so upset when you get sick.  I just hate it.  I hate seeing our little body all stuffy and feverish and ill.  If I could do one thing this winter, it would be to keep you healthy.  Your ninth month started with an ear infection and those few nights before we were able to get you on medicine were some of the worst.  No.  No, they were the worst.  Even as a newborn we did not have such sleepless nights. They were awful. You felt awful.  The whole thing was just awful. After kicking the ear infection the house had a round of the stomach flu.  I was hoping it’d bypass you but no such luck.  We did get everyone healthy for a run of about 10 days, which was a record for the past few months!!  Of course you know what that means, at your nine-month well-visit you tested positive for Influenza B.  Because of course. We basically quarantined ourselves and braced for the worst, but thankfully (thankfully!!) it wasn’t all that bad.  All three of you boys were sick (you were definitely the worst), but it really wasn’t any worse than a cold.

 Despite all the sickness, we did have an exciting month with you.  Your big development this month was crawling!  And pulling up on everything!  And making huge messes!  Okay, that last one maybe wasn’t that exciting for us, but it was definitely exciting for you. You are so proud of yourself, as soon as I set you down you are up on all fours scrambling as quickly as possible to your bookshelf (or the coffee table, or the oven drawer, or the bathroom – which I quickly remove you from) and immediately anything in your reach is on the floor.  And then you turn and smile your big gummy smile and how can I not be happy for you too?  A mess!  Yay!

Speaking of pulling yourself up on everything, we had a parenting first at the beginning of your ninth month.  With you being our third, and our third boy, “parenting firsts” are something of a rarity.  Oh, but you Nonie, you are going to keep us on our toes.  So at the beginning of this month, just as you started pulling up on everything, your Dad and I both said that we needed to lower your crib mattress, but we hadn’t quite gotten around to it when one evening you were taking a late nap and I was in the middle of making dinner, pulling hot pans out of the oven, when I heard you stir.  I couldn’t get back there in time and your Dad was hauling things in from outside and before we knew it you had flipped yourself, head over heels, out of your crib.  Thankfully, your head landed on your boppy and you were completely fine, but your Dad and I?  I think we lost a couple of years off our life that night. 

I can’t believe I haven’t mentioned this in one of your previous letters, but another thing you do that I don’t remember either of your brothers doing is reading our face with your hands.  You do this mostly when you’re tired, either needing or nap or just waking up from one, your right thumb is in mouth, your head is usually turned to the side and with your left hand you feel the face of whoever is holding you, it’s as if you are reading Braille. You’ve done this for several months now, but what you’ve just recently started doing is moving your hand to yank on our ears and pinch our throat.  While I could do without the pinching, the face reading thing is pretty cute.

At nine months you love water, playing with your brothers, and petting the dog.  You hate being put in your snowsuit and your car seat. You didn’t get any new teeth this month but you did try some new foods: yams, zucchini, banana, and avocado were on the list.  You love both yams and banana. You are still wearing 6-9 months clothes and are between size 2 and size 3 diapers. You sleep pretty well normally, but all bets are off when you are sick and you seem to nap better at home than at Busha’s (not sure why).  I wish I could slow down time a bit, savor these last few baby days, but I know you’re ready to cruise through them, so instead I’m looking forward to all that is to come.

I love you sweet boy,

Thursday, February 21, 2013

for all the little angels

I originally wrote this post in October 2010, but I'm sharing it again today because my heart is so heavy. It's so heavy and I don't know what else to do.  There are no words that can take away the pain of losing a child.

Two days ago heaven gained two more precious angels.  Two beautiful baby girls.  Two perfect little babies that today should be swaddled in their Mama and Daddy's arms. Grandparent's and aunts who should be receiving texts and emails full of pictures and stories.  Instead, today these angels are being held tight by Jesus and the hearts of all those who already loved them have been broken.  There are no words; there are no answers that can take away this kind of pain.  There are only prayers.  Prayers for strength. Prayers for eventual peace.  Prayers that God will continue to hold these babies tight and will be there to comfort all those who are left here on earth aching.  

Today this post, this candle, is for Eva Mae and Ella Josephine.

It's for Maci.
for Jaden.
for LJ.
for BB.
for Hadley.
for Baby B.
for Baby K.
for Baby C.
for Baby S.
for Baby H.

I know there are babies I've either forgotten to mention, or have purposely not listed here (for privacy reasons), and this candle is for them too.  May these children know they will never be forgotten.  May their parents and family know we ache with you.

If you could do one thing today, could you say a prayer for Eva and Ella, for their parents and their extended family?  Could you say a prayer for all these babies who have left this earth to soon.  

(If you'd like to add a baby to this list please leave a comment.  And then lets pray.  Let's join our hands and hearts and pray.  If just one parent could feel a little peace today, it will be all worth it.)


Although I have never suffered a miscarriage or the loss of a baby, I have too many family and friends that have.

So tonight this candle burns for them. 

 For the babies who touched so many hearts and lives even though we never got to touch their face.

.For the babies that graced us with their presence, but left too soon.

Each time I've walked past this candle tonight another child has come to mind and silently I've held them in my prayers.

May the babies in heaven know they will never be forgotten.
May their parents on earth know that one day they will be reunited. 

Thinking of you all and sending lots of love and prayers your way.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Weekend Highlights

Highlights of the weekend:

  1. Playing in the snow and "blazing trails" with the boys on Saturday.  We headed south out of the garage and toured around the house  - Keaton and Collin doing most of the blazing.  Once around back we detoured into the back acreage where we talked again about plans for the garden.  Tomatoes, yike Papa! Pumpkins! Green beans!  I'm thinking maybe eggplant, or green pepper, or maybe squash. Collin is still undecided.  From there we headed back toward the house, but stay on the trails because there are "eating lions" out there.  Rawr! We came inside just in time for a round of hot chocolate.
  2. Playing 20 questions with the two big boys before bed tonight.  It's a rectangle.  It's in my room.  Dad and I sleep in it ALOT!  Your bed?  YES!!!  Hahahaha!  Hutton: it's in my room.  It's a rectangle.  Keaton: Your bed?  YES!!  Hahaha..
  3. Hearing the giggles come from our bathroom as I got Nolan ready for bed last night.  They played so nicely and waited so patiently while their baby brother played, but once he was out they couldn't get the bubble bath in and the jets on quick enough. 
If you asked the boys they'd probably say the highlight of the weekend was our jaunt into the country after church this morning.  We got out there just in time to see the digger tear a house down.  We knew they'd love it, there was lots of Ooohhs and Ahhhhs as the bucket came crashing down and the old two story house quickly became a pile of rubble.  The digger was pulling off the truck as we turned down the road, we headed to the next farm house to turn around to have a better view and by the time we got back the first smash had already taken place.  "He does not waste any time!" Collin said of the excavator - Collin and his dad have done work him a number of times, he tore our house down - and like today he wasted no time for that first hit.  In fact, we were still around back, salvaging one last time when we heard the crack.  I had no idea seeing the digger today would bring back so many memories, so many feelings. I know I still have so much to work through, but for now I'm going to listen to these excited little boys oohhing and ahhing with each crash.

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend.

Friday, February 15, 2013

The Valentine Moose

The Decorations

Making Valentines

The Celebration

It was January 6th, I remember the date because I was just pulling into the drive, coming home from my birthday afternoon to myself, I was talking to my sister-in-law, Kira, on the phone and she says "I know it's only January 6th, I know this seems nuts, but my mind is all about Valentine's Day already."

"Oh my gosh!  I am so happy to hear you say that!" I told her. "Because, mine is too! I just want to get these Christmas decorations put away so the Valentining can begin!"

I had already been scouring Pinterest and the Internet for Valentine ideas and I'm pretty sure it was that very same day that I first asked the boys what they wanted to make this year.  

"Dinosaurs?"  I asked them. "Look at this one!"

Keaton leaned over and looked at my phone.  "Nope.  We want to make deer."

Deer.  Okay. 

"Ooohhh, look at this owl, it's cute."

"No. Deer."

Do you know how many deer Valentine's there are out there?  Hint: not many. But with a little inspiration from other ideas we hit on something I thought might work.  I threw together an example, which ended up looking more like a bear than a deer, but with Collin's help (let's face it, he's the artistic one in this family, plus, he has more general knowledge of deer) we figured it out.

Thankfully, the message was the easy part:

Valentine, you are "deer" to me.

I told both of the boys what our cards would say this year and they repeated it back to me several times, Valentine, you are deer to me.  They liked it. (I mean, duh, of course they liked it, it said DEER.  OMG, these boys and their love for all things deer.) Even if maybe they didn't quite understand it.

It was several days later when the boys were working on art at the kitchen table while I got dinner ready.  They had their farm stencils out and Collin had taught them if they used the pig stencil and then drew horns on it, it looked like a moose. Page after page after page Keaton would trace and then add some horns and as he set each one aside I heard him saying something.  I couldn't quite make it out but as I listened closer I heard him clear as a bell:

Valentine, you are "moose" to me.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

I feel like this needs to be said

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day.  Today, Keaton will be having his Valentine exchange in his class.  I'm one of those mother', we're one of those parents who make homemade Valentine's with the kids. I've done this for the past three years for one simple reason: my mom did it with me.  I have memories of so many cut-out hearts and doily butterflies and I want my kids to have those memories too.  The first year we did this Collin kind of rolled his eyes at me.  By year 3 he now rolls up his sleeves and digs in because 1) he knows an eye roll won't sway me and 2) he sees how happy it makes the boys.

In the past few days I've seen so many posts online about those over-achiever mothers, the ones with the homemade Valentine's.  Here's the thing, this isn't about you.  I'm not trying to one-up you as a mother and my kids sure as hell aren't trying to one-up your kids (they don't even know what that is!) This is about us.  This is about the four of us sitting at the table (usually while Nolan naps) cutting and gluing and sticking and stapling.  This is about us working together and having fun.  Of course, it's not ALL fun, there's also a lot of, Careful with that! and This line!  This line here! and of course there was the time that Hutt spilled an entire bowl of popcorn all over the floor - but for the most part, it was fun.  Our Valentine's this year took several sittings to complete and on more than one occasion I gave the boys the option of doing x or working on Valentine's.  They always chose Valentine's. And not once during all of those days, not once!, did I wonder if the other mothers would bring homemade Valentine's to Keaton's class.  Not once!  Because this isn't about you.  It's about us.

I got up early because I have a deal that needs to get done today and the instant I saw the box of Keaton's Valentine's sitting on the dining room table my stomach flipped.  I suddenly realized, I'm nervous to bring them into his class.  Will the other mothers judge me?  Will they scoff at his over-achieving, homemade Valentine's?  Honestly, I was getting so worked up about it I kind of wanted to puke.  But then I decided, no, screw that, this isn't about you.  This is about us.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Bears in (not so much) Hibernation

You guys!  I can. not. stop. with the baby comparison pictures.  Look what I found when I was looking through some old photos!  All in their little bear (okay, I think the first two are technically monkeys, but hibernating monkey's makes NO SENSE!) snowsuit/hats.

Keaton was a little older than the other two at 11 months in this picture because he was born in a different season, but Hutt & Nolan are both 8 months.  They are in order, K, H, N. 

Photo by CaSondra Shim Photography

Gawd, I love their cheeks!

I've had lots of people ask how the boys are faring with the flu (thank you, friends, we appreciate you thinking of us!) so I thought I'd give you an update here.

They are doing okay.

I know, boring, right?  But really, they are okay.  They had their moments over the weekend, a couple of fevers, really runny noses, self-induced long naps - okay, that's probably the most telling that they are sick.  Keaton, laying on the couch, was whining about how he just wanted to take a nap!  You guys are being SO LOUD! He even shut the tv off on his own, just so he could get some sleeping done.

All in all, this hasn't been much worse than any of their normal colds.  Except for Nolan at night.  OMG.  Will someone please tell this child to sleep??  It's not entirely all his fault, he sleeps for an hour (if we're lucky) and then gets too stuffed up to even breath, so he wakes up.  I understand that.  What I do not understand is his need to bee bop in bed at night. A ba ba ba, he chants.  Then he crawls over to Collin and smacks him in the face, JUST FOR FUN!  It's like 1 am hits and he suddenly has Influenza P.  P for Party.

Collin and I?  We're tired.  We're back to the multiple wake-up calls from each child and basically getting no sleep, but we haven't actually developed any of the flu symptoms yet.  I'm crossing my fingers, but as I told Ember today, I'm afraid as soon as we let our guard down we'll go down in a ball of flames.

Hoping you all had an enjoyable weekend.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

9-mo Baby Comparison: The Answers

And a big congratulations to......


Who is our winner!  Jill - watch your mailbox :)

Did you get it right?  Of course, you know I ran some stats.  Let's break it down, shall we?

* Out of 9 total guesses; 4 people, or 44%, got it correct - this is a pretty big increase from our 6-month comparison when only 2 (20%) got all three correct.

* The most correctly guessed baby was Keaton, with 7 correct guesses.  At 6-months Hutt was the most correctly guessed.

*  The most often confused baby was Hutton.

* The most often mixed up babies were Hutton & Nolan (at 6-months it was Keaton & Nolan)

* The second most often mixed up babies were Keaton & Hutton.

* No one mixed up Keaton & Nolan.

I find that last stat fascinating, considering those were the two most often mixed up at 6-months.

Here's what I think.  Keaton and Hutton, as we all know, look very little alike.  In fact, before I was wearing a wedding ring again I, MORE THAN ONCE, got the look from questioning so close in age, all different dads, I could FEEL it in their stares!!  I so badly wanted to blurt out - dude!  It was stolen!  But, you know, I refrained.

Anyway, back to the boys....Nolan, on the other hand has always seemed to be a total mix of the two of these guys and I think that, once again, is evidenced by these results.  Tonight I looked at him and he looked EXACTLY like Collin.  But other days, I see all me as a baby.  I think his looks shift in and out quite regularly and, right now, it seems he looks more like Hutton.

My prediction is that by 1-year they will all have completely their own looks and there will be no question about who is who.

And for the record, Hutton saw these pictures twice and both times told me they were:

A. Nolan
B. Nolan
C. ME!!

So even he gets the two confused.

Of course, I purposefully chose pictures that were a little more difficult to tell.  These were the original pictures I was thinking about posting.  I didn't because 1) they were SO easy and 2) I don't seem to have a really cute bath tub picture of N.

These are the boys, in order (K, H, N), but I doubt I need to tell you that:

Thursday, February 7, 2013

A 9-month (Valentine's Day!) Guessing Game

Today was a bad day.  A bad, bad day.  Actually, it started yesterday when we took Keaton and Nolan in for their 4-year and 9-month well visits.  All 5 of us headed into the office because I had to go directly from that appointment up to Wausau for my doctor's appointment (6-month recheck, still trying to get 3 "normals" following my leep procedure.)  The boys had been coughing and running low-grade fevers so I had a feeling we were heading in to Round #3 of the year, but honestly, I was shocked when she asked if we'd been exposed to the flu and said she wanted to swab Nolan.  I mean, I thought they were getting colds, but the flu??  Hahaha.  Silly me.  Positive.  Influenza B.

I asked her what that meant and she said, oh, ummm, B...that's bad.  


Although she didn't swab the big boys, based on their coughing and sniffling (and general crankiness, holy jeeze) she figured they probably had it too.  So, three prescriptions for Tamiflu and Collin and I are supposed to call our primary if we develop a fever (we haven't, so far.)

The boys are, honestly, doing pretty good.  Nolan's definitely the worst, but he's been sicker and the big boys hardly seem sick at all.  But that doesn't stop me from feeling like we've just been given a death sentence.  I'm just waiting for the shoe to drop.

When I left that appointment it was snowing, and not the pretty fluffy snow.  No, this was gloomy, slushy, I hate winter snow. (I don't hate winter, but you know)  Collin came thisclose to getting into an accident with all three kids in the car on his way home and I drove about 40 miles an hour, praying constantly, as I passed several accidents and cars in the ditch all over the Interstate.  

Today we kept everyone home and do you know how easy it is to work with 3 kids at home?  Let's just say NOT EASY AT ALL!!!!  I'm trying so hard not to fall behind at work and, well, today was not good.

So!  I'm in need of some fun, and what's more fun than a Name That Baby! guessing game?

Nolan turned 9-months this week, so I figured it was time.  Below you will find three pictures - all of the boys at or around 9-months of age.  They are labeled A. B. C. so this will be pretty easy - in the comments, tell me who is who.

(If your guess is already taken, please leave a comment anyway.  I'm interested in the stats :) )

The first person to correctly guess the boys will win their very own Valentine "Love" sign.  This sits on my coffee bar and it makes me so happy every morning. 

Okay, here we go.....are you ready???  Name That Baby!