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Monday, April 30, 2012

A Deck with Personality!

 I am SO excited with how we perked up our deck!  We got a GREAT deal on a patio set when we bought our Crystal Lake house, but it was pretty bland.  We conceded that we could always buy a new umbrella or new cushions to add more color down the line.  The cushions we had were pretty dirty and the beige didn't do much for the gray siding on the back of our house.  So, I went in search of new cushions, but didn't love anything I saw.  In addition to needing (wanting) new cushions, it also annoyed me that I had to go into the garage or basement to get the cushions whenever we wanted to use them.  We started looking at deck boxes, but they were a bit pricey, and not all of them were waterproof.  I thought I would solve the problem by buying a large Rubbermaid tub to store them in, but I couldn't find one big enough.  I wasn't quite sure what my solution was going to be when we saw these beauties for sale at Lowe's!  Not only were they reasonably priced, but they solved both of my issues: they are no-maintenance and don't require storage!!!  SCORE!
The second portion or our deck perk-up was buying a water table for Jackson!  Now that I have new chairs, I WANT to sit out on the deck more!  Up until now I've been more of a front porch gal.  But, I think it will be nice to sit out on the deck with the new baby while Jackson plays.  After MUCH deliberation, we chose the Little Tikes Anchors Away Water Play Pirate Ship.  Jackson LOVES it!  Unfortunately, it is a pollen table at the moment--I'm looking forward to when he can play in it with just water and not extra allergens...

We also have already eaten dinner outside more time so far this summer than in total last summer!  

The Belly Report: "Just Keep Gestating!"

We are now 34 weeks and 4 days into this pregnancy!  I CANNOT believe how fast this all has gone!  We had a great report at our check-up on Monday--Jackson was with us and got to hear Sammy's heartbeat--he thought that was pretty neat.  Dr. Hibshman went down the list and said my blood pressure was great, my weight gain was good, and everything was measuring and sounding right on schedule.  She said, "I don't have anything else for you.  Just keep gestating!"  Josh and I LOVED that quote and that totally sums up our attitude right now!  I (We?) am (are) feeling pretty ready, but we are totally fine with Sammy continuing to cook and grow.  Jackson has started to ask more and more frequently if the baby is ready to come out yet.  I will say, "No, not yet.  He's not finished growing."  About three second later, Jackson will say, "How about now?"  LOVE it :)

I am feeling pretty good.  I feel like my belly is MUCH bigger, but that's ok--it's doing its job :)  I am getting more and more tired, but at inappropriate times.  Am I tired at 9:30 or 10:00 when it would be a good time to go to bed?  NOOO...that's when I get a second wind and start working on various little projects.  I am tired for an actual nap mid-morning or RIGHT as Jackson is waking up from his!  Not the best timing...  I got my heartburn under control a few weeks ago, but it came back in full force yesterday :(  

Sammy is about the size of a cantaloupe!  He is about 4 3/4 pounds and almost 18 inches long!  Sammy's cute rolls are developing as his fat layers fill out--these will help him regulate his body temperature once he's born.  His central nervous system and lungs are continuing to develop, but if he were to be born now, he would most likely not face too many complications.
After dropping off Josh at work, Jackson and I headed into DC to my friend, Kristyn's house.  We went to high school together, and we both landed ourselves out here!  Kristyn and her husband, Arturo, welcomed Baby Diego into the world at the beginning of March!!!  We finally got to meet him--he is so stinkin' cute!!!  Jackson loved checking out his toys and him :)

Flashbacks: Yes, We Cantaloupe!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Lion's Mouth Playground with the Conners

We decided to have a more low-key day on Saturday after our crazy-busy day on Friday!  We decided to show-off our favorite playground, the one that is nicknamed Lion's Mouth Playground :)  "Why?" you might ask?  Well, because there is a water fountain coming out of a lion's mouth, of course!
The kids had a great time running around and playing :)  
We were particularly proud of Jackson for two reasons.  #1: He crossed these wiggly platforms ALL BY HIMSELF!!!
 #2: He went down the super-tall slides LOADS of times ALL BY HIMSELF!  Paige and Josh were checking to see him as he slid down this one :)
 We were planning to have a group shot taken while at the playground, but some neighbors unexpectedly showed up, so that was perfect!  They were nice enough to take our picture :)
 We stopped at Five Guys on the way home for a delicious lunch :)  Then we read a quick story before naptime!
 During naptime, Josh set up our Baggo boards, and we had fun playing, soaking up the gorgeous weather, and hanging out.  Paige and Jackson were the first ones to get up, and they made their own games up on the boards.
 Jackson was happy to play basketball with Paige on his new basketball hoop!
 As always, a favorite activity was standing in The Watching Spot to watch Josh and Nick hit golf balls into the woods :)
 Before an early dinner of tacos and salad, we got in one more group shot :)
After dinner, the Conners loaded up and started heading back home :(  Our couple of days together went WAY too fast, but they were wonderful!  

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Belly Report: Six More Weeks!!!

If there is such a thing as being PAST nesting, I am there :)  The house is cleaner between "big cleanings" than usual, all of the newborn-six month clothes are washed, both cars have been cleaned out (except the Xterra needs it again since Josh hauled mulch in it this weekend), car seats have been washed, all of our bags are packed, I'm doing laundry like a crazy person, and we have back-up care lined for Jackson in case Sammy comes earlier than my mom gets here.  Next on the list: installing the infant seat bases in both cars, organizing more baby clothes, and setting up baskets of things I want to have close to me once we are home and I'm recovering from my C-section.

We had a great check-up last Monday!  Dr. Hibshman said everything looked/sounded great, and she really had nothing to talk about--LOL!  Sammy's heart rate was much lower than usual (120s instead of the usual 140s/150s), but she wasn't concerned at all.  She said at any time a baby's heart rate can very significantly.  I'm not worried if she isn't!  Plus, he continues to move around ALL the time!  I finally felt a movement or two on my left side last week, but he still is mostly on the right.  I am feeling really good--sleeping well and still have a decent amount of energy.

Last week, when we were 32 weeks along, Sammy was about the size of a large jicama (about 3.75 pounds and 16.5 inches long).  He has toenails, fingernails, and "real" peach-fuzz hair!  We are now 33 weeks along, and Sammy is about the size of a pineapple (over 4 pounds and over 17 inches in length)!  Sammy's skeleton is hardening and he doesn't look so wrinkly anymore.

Flashbacks: Hiccuping Jicama
I Live in a Pineapple Under the Sea...
...Strollin' Along, Singin' a Song, Side by Side...
A True Look at Dana's OCD

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Smiths and The Conners Take on DC!

We headed out about 10:00 Friday morning for our first stop: The National Zoo!  The guys drove Katie and Nick's van with the three big kids.  Katie and I drove in our car with Caleb--the sweet boy was so excited to have a quiet car to nap in ;)  We found good parking and off we went in search of animals!
 Josh and Jackson checking out the elephants
Caleb and Katie :)
 Jackson riding the frog...
Paige riding the frog...
And, Lexi riding the frog!
 My sweet boys :)
From the Zoo we drove to park by the Jefferson Memorial and got ready for some walking!  We started by walking through the FDR Memorial.  The kids LOVED all of the waterfalls!
Nick was a trooper and gave shoulder rides to give all of his kids a break from the stroller/walking.  Caleb made quite a game out of squirming around!

 It was our first visit to the new Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial!

Katie, Paige, Lexi, Nick, and Caleb in front of Indiana's sign at the WWII Memorial
 Next time we see each other, there will be one more little guy added to this picture!!!
 Nick and Paige were sitting by the fountain, and that was adorable!  Then, Katie sat down with Lexi and Caleb to join them, and it was a gorgeous, adorable picture...until we realized in the car that the shutter hadn't opened on their camera :(  I feel so guilty that our picture turned out like this!
 Just like when I was pregnant with Jackson, I made it up ALL of the stairs at the Lincoln Memorial!  It really wasn't so bad ;)  Jackson loves jumping over/down from ANYTHING!  He was SUPER excited to jump down all the stairs at the various memorials we visited :)
We had made the conscious decision to skip naps so we could spend as much time in the city as possible.  The kids did AWESOME!  Sure, we probably went through two whole bags of Goldfish and lots of other snacks, but they were really troopers.  Katie and Nick brought their double stroller and we had ours, so we had a spot for everyone to ride.  They were really pretty happy to ride wherever there was a seat.  There were a few times we made everyone ride, but we really tried to let them get out and run around whenever we could.  It had not occurred to me that we would be sitting in rush hour traffic on 95 on our way back home, so the guys put on a movie in the van for the bigger kids.  Apparently this wasn't necessary to keep the peace since Lexi and Jackson were quickly in the above poses :)  Traffic wasn't too bad, and we all got home around 7 to enjoy pizza for dinner...
 ...and some movie time for the kids :)  

We calculated that we walked about 10 miles during the day!!!  GO US :)

Welcome Conners!!!

Katie and Nick drove from Indianapolis last Wednesday night/Thursday morning to stay with us for a few days!!!  We had SUCH a good time!!!  They got here just in time for naptime.  Katie checked on Lexi and found her with a few borrowed friends she had pulled into the crib!  
 After they woke up, Jackson and Paige dove right into Play-Do :)
 Then they moved outside--it was a tad windy, but still a nice day.
 Their favorite game, by far, was hanging the golf clubs from the trees!  This kept them busy for quite some time...
 After Lexi woke up, we had snack-time on the porch, on the wonderful, borrowed bench-turns-into-picnic-table we borrowed from the Walburgers :)
 Jackson was SO excited to play with Baby Caleb!  He especially loved showing him all the baby toys we have ready for his own baby brother :)
The Handy Manny tools, especially Flicker the flashlight, were a HUGE hit, as always!
 We all had dinner (Pork Burgers, homemade fries, and fruit for the grown-ups, and dinosaur chicken, fruit, and yogurt for the kids), and then it was time to wrangle everyone for bedtime!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Easter on Talon Drive!

WOW!  I didn't realize quite how many pictures I took on Sunday...  Oh well, for your viewing pleasure:
We made up our own order for things and let Jackson find his Easter basket right off the bat.  He found it hiding behind the recliner :)
A new pair of ears!
An egg-shaped view-finder!
Checking out the rest of his basket...
This wind-up bunny has become such a favorite toy!  It wasn't that long ago he was terrified of these wind-up toys...
Mater and Lightning McQueen Wheelie cars to add to his stash :)
JAS Bunnies!
I read this awesome idea on Pinterest to break up a puzzle, split the pieces up amongst some eggs, and the hide the eggs.  Well, the puzzle pieces from this puzzle were too big to fit even in the jumbo eggs I bought :(  So, the puzzle went whole into the Easter basket--Jackson loves it anyways!
He sang the ABC song about a million times while doing this puzzle!
Josh requested sausage, biscuits, and gravy for breakfast.  I'm not a huge gravy fan, but I told Josh I would be happy to make it and even try it.  It was actually pretty good!
Josh's plate of deliciousness :)
Easter Egg Hunt 2012 commences!
Here's one...
...and another one...
...and some more!  
You get the idea :)
Checking out the Easter egg fillings (jelly beans and stickers)
Eating some of the filling :)
After nap time we had an Easter egg hunt that included four houses from our neighborhood!  The Bashores had family in town, so there were six kids from that house, Sage from next door, Callie from across the street, and Jackson!  It was absolutely adorable to watch them all come out to the front of the house and take off to find eggs--there were TONS!  I think all of the kids got quite the haul :)
Off they go!
LOVE watching these two play together!  Jackson and Avery are two years apart and such good playmates :)
Egg hunting!
They were SO quiet sitting in this circle opening all their eggs!  I think after the eggs were all emptied they re-hid the empty eggs to find again!