Friday, December 16, 2011

Easton Turns 3!

Start your Tractor and Put it in Gear,
Easton’s Third Birthday is Already Here!

I have a three year old.  Holy buckets!  A tractor lovin’, potential preschool goin’, three year old.  How did that happen?  I’ve checked the calendar and done the math several times and it comes out the same over and over again.  He really is three.  But don’t get me wrong, he does three really well. 

So here he is…the new three year old at his finest. (Thank you, Pinterest for sucking productivity out of my day and filling it with projects I mostly only dream about doing…with the exception of this one!)

I’m vowing to do this every year from here on out.  How fun!  I think I’ll laminate them and throw them in his “to keep forever” box and maybe at his graduation I’ll figure out a clever way to display them.

Anyway, we did things up right by granting his two birthday wishes.
Wish #1 – What kind of party do you want?  A TRACTOR party!  (Like we haven’t done that before.  Twice before, actually.)
Wish #2 – What do you want for your birthday?  A purple truck like Grandpa’s.  (Purple, easily  confused with the more manly color maroon.)
Done and done.

Happy Birthday, Buddy!  We love you!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


If you're still checking this blog - thank you!! Four months since our last post is a little ridiculous, but know that we'll have great material as soon as we get a moment to breathe. Preschool, work, daycare, church, savoring time outside before snow and holiday preparations have put the blog on the back burner. Please know that it has not been four months since Dana and I last chatted. Example:

Here's a look inside a chat conversation between two friends who miss each other dearly and feel a little less separated through instant messaging and Skype. Today, we covered a lot of ground in a short period. (Every new line is a new post to chat.)

K: Hey you!

Dana Van Zanten-NeuHey!
Slaving away on Mom's Christmas letter. ;)

your mom's? what are you doing that for?

here's the whole Ali story, as printed in the Cinci paper. I haven't read it all yet. I've learned not to read that at work because I always bawl.

It seriously made me appreciate how precious life is. But also...

Dana Van Zanten-Neu: She's over here. She typed it up but wanted me to add a sheet with photos. ;)

Kim Anderson: the way melanie writes about her spirit leaving and how jesus was waiting. it almost makes me a little jealous. how exciting must heaven be?!!

ah, well

Kim Anderson you're golden. she also wanted to snuggle babies right?
pictures with baby at my house in 40 minutes!

be jealous ;)

also, my THIGH hurts. that 5K business is for the birds. lol

tell your mom i better get a christmas letter. we aren't sending any out until this weekend gets cancelled and i get 2 days all to myself.

so don't hold your breath. i have a title and an idea. maybe next month...

"our life is a chris ledoux album"

gage has been obsessed with listening to chris ledoux lately and started memorizing some songs. its funny.

some fo the song and lines are perfect: "long before you take this cowboy's hat"

so my idea is to do up a letter and include CDs with the songs i'm talking about. everyone loves chris ledoux right?

ok, i'm done.



You make me a better person.

Really, for real.

Kim Anderson um, ditto.
i think i have ADHD. i just read above message. yikes. how do you even keep up with that banter?

Dana Van Zanten-Neu:    I have 24 years of practice.

Kim Anderson:    Bahahahaha.

PS - this Ali only if you feel like it. i recommend it, but its heart wrenching. the link above will take you to an article in the Cincinnati paper. this link will take you to Ali's sister Melanie's site: and this link will take you to Rock Pink for Ali:

Friday, August 26, 2011

On Being Bored

If this was a post about being bored, it would be completely empty because we haven't been bored in a really - really - long time.

I hope to have wedding pictures to share next week from the union between Dana's brother Adam and a fellow graduate from the Chester High School Class of 2001 Courtney. Just tying up a few prior session's edits before I can dive into them. They are awesome though! And on a personal note, it was great to see a few people from my past and reconnect with classmates, friends and Dana's family. Good stuff!

All 4 kids are growing like weeds and keeping up super busy. Easton and Ember will be dedicated at church this weekend so fun this will take place there for sure!

Max had shots yesterday (the 18month shots a few months late) along with a well child check. We were given a clean bill of health and after a follow up with the ENT specialist hopefully next month the abscessed parotid gland should be behind us!

And big news for Gage: he starts preschool in just under two weeks!! We are very much ready to transition into a new routine and anxious to hear all kinds of new stories from his adventure. I knew he's ready and will have a load of fun! Remember Shelby? Her mom Kelli will be one of his teachers! He's pretty pumped.

Earlier this week Dana sent a frantic message feeling disconnected because she didn't know anything about preschool. Here's the info she requested. I really got a kick out of her message so thought I would share.

Backpack: its gold (parts are metallic even) with a bull and rider on the front. We snagged it at a western store in Bismarck ND.
Supplies: Most of the supplies are provided, but he has to take a box of Kleenex, a roll of paper towels and a package of small paper cups.
Wearing the first day: whatever he wants. So probably "sweatpants shorts" and a long sleeve shirt with his Puma sneakers.
Riding: the public transit bus after school. Mom or Dad will drop him off (whoever gets out the door in time, so probably Dad). :)

We are pumped! Boys are here to visit (the sitter's headed to the hospital to coach a friend through labor!!) so I better fire up a movie.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Pregnancy, Potty Training, and a Princess

Here I am, on maternity leave.  I promised Kim my creative juices would flow during my 10 weeks at home, so I best follow through.  And what a better way to start than detailing my journey in to maternity leave?
I can’t just jump right to Ember’s birth day, because the story holds much more than that.  So we’ll back up a few days before Ember’s arrival.  As most of you know, I have a 2 ½ year old little man at home.  I had made up my mind many, many months ago to push off potty training until after the arrival of Baby Neu 2.  It just made sense.  I mean really, who wants to deal with potty training when you’re trying to figure out your life with a newborn baby in the house.  Not this mom.  So what lit the fire?  Another mom.  Let’s face it, they always have the best ideas and advice.  Working as a children’s librarian gives me unlimited access to moms that are really awesome (and some that are not, but that’s another post in and of itself).  In chatting with one of these awesome moms, I was introduced to the “Three Day Potty Training” method.  Yes, that’s right, I said three days.  So with my mushy, 38-week pregnant mind I decided this was a fabulous idea.  After all, I had two weeks to get this done.  Let’s do it—now!  I had a long weekend home from work due to the fourth of July holiday and decided to take advantage of it.  (Notice the previous sentence says “I” and not “we.”  David had to work…lucky him, right?)  I stocked the closet with cool underwear, a package of Pull-Ups, candy, stickers, and cheap presents.  Ready, set, go!  In an effort to make this short(er), day one (Saturday) was a disaster.  Day two (Sunday) proved to be some better, and by the morning of day three (Monday) I really thought we were getting somewhere.  And day four (Tuesday--I know, it’s supposed to be three days but just bear with me) brought great excitement when Easton actually told us he had to go potty rather than us telling him he needed to go.  This led to a $40 quad-track tractor and an excited phone call from Daddy to Mommy.  A bit dramatic are we?  Probably.  But I was really sick of doing laundry and hauling my kid to the bathroom.

And then I went in to labor. J
I had an appointment Tuesday afternoon and things were as they should be when you’re 38 weeks pregnant.  The doctor had me schedule my next appointment and said to come with an induction date in mind (she’s not much for surprises).  I wasn’t really keen on picking my child’s birthday and planned to pick the very last day she’d allow.  I wasn’t uncomfortable or in any hurry to rush things along.  My husband and I spent the rest of the afternoon running errands and going out for supper.  I was having contractions, but didn’t feel the need to rush to the hospital.  I’m fairly certain David was aware of this, but I’m not sure he agrees.  We left town and headed to the farm to pick up Easton and made our way home. 
After being home for about an hour and a half my brother called and needed rescuing.  His pickup had stalled at the gas station in front of the pump.  He asked David to come and pull him away from the pump and give him a ride home.  It was about 9:30pm and Easton was just getting out of the tub.  I told David I wasn’t comfortable with him leaving for an hour and a half because my contractions were coming every 15-20 minutes.  His response, “Ride along then.”  So we did.  We threw Easton’s pajamas on and hopped in the car.  This is when David becomes totally oblivious to what’s going on.  He doesn’t see me throw the rest of Easton’s “hospital/overnight” bag together and throw it in the back seat.  He doesn’t see me keeping track of contractions on my cell phone.  In fact, I’m not entirely certain he saw me get in the front seat of the car beside him.  Okay, it wasn’t that bad…but (he claims) I hadn’t clued him to how serious I was about the fact that I may very well be going in to labor.  
The rest of the night/next morning goes something like this:
9:30pm - We leave the house to rescue my brother from the gas station.
10:30pm - We drop my brother and his finance off and I pose David with the “What should we do now”? question.  He is still clueless and responds with “Go home?”  I tell him I’d rather not drive all the way back home because I’m still having contractions and I think I want to go to the hospital.  David asks if we can at least go back and get his glasses.  Really David?!?
10:45pm - We arrive at my mom and dad’s farm (this is the half-way point between our house and the hospital) to decide what to do.  David asks if he can leave Easton and I there and go back home to get his glasses.
11:00pm - I make the final call – to the hospital we go. 
11:45pm - We arrive at the Emergency Room and I tell them I need to check in to labor and delivery.  They look at me as if I’m one of “those” people.  You know, the ones who aren’t really in labor but think they are.
12:00am - Still in the Emergency Room.  David has found the latest issue of the AARP magazine to read.  Eventually somebody comes and retrieves us from the ER and wonders if we’ve been waiting long.

 12:15am - 4-5cm dilated.  We’re not going home.  We’re having a baby.  And David is still really bummed he doesn’t have his glasses.

1:15am - 6cm dilated.  I have an epidural, just for safety purposes. J
1:40am - 6cm dilated.  My doctor arrives and breaks my water.  We’re really having a baby…and David is wondering if my mom and dad can bring his glasses when they come to see said baby.
2:45am - 8cm dilated.
3:16am - Push…
7lbs. 15oz.  21 in. long

 Really that’s it.  That’s how it all went down.   So here we are…3 weeks later-- I’m not pregnant anymore, we have a (mostly) potty trained 2 ½ year old, and a beautiful (really, really beautiful) princess.  Life is amazing, isn’t it?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Meet Ember

I'll admit it: I completely missed Ember's birth. Slept right through it. I had talked to Dana a couple of hours before I hit the sack where she told me that her appointment went well, and they were planning to have a baby within ten days. She mentioned nothing of contractions or impending delivery so I went to bed. Woke up the next morning. Took a shower. Got ready for the day and grabbed my phone. At that point I saw '2 text messages from Dana' and my heart skipped a beat.

First one at 12:09am: Havin' a go back to bed. :)

Second one at 5:46am: Ember Lee Neu 3:28am 7lbs 15oz

I texted back at 7:48am: Holy crap! I completely missed it!!

And promptly dialed her cell phone.

I will give Dana the opportunity to fill in from 12:09am-3:28am if she chooses, but suffice it to say it was relatively boring, with the grand finale of Ember Lee.

Flash forward to Kim meets Ember meets Kim's camera.

The blanket in these first two belonged to Dana when she was growing up. So SO cool!

This little piggie went to market...

This blanket came from Smith's Drug in Lemmon. They have the best baby blankets - just ask Max who was gifted one by Dana almost two years ago. The tutu was also a gift and if I remember correctly the giver was afraid it was terribly impractical and left the tags on in case Dana wanted to return it. Um, no. Besides, it is now forever enshrined as The Outfit Ember Wore When She Met Kim.

Sap Alert: You guys, Dana and I grew up together. We played house. Wrote each other letters smothered in puffy stickers. Chased boys at recess. Learned French. Sang duets. Burned many meals in her mom's kitchen. She taught me how to drive a 4-wheeler. But this? Watching my best friend hold her newborn baby girl? This takes the cake.

Here's my observation about motherhood. When baby #1 comes, the new mom is working so hard to make sure everything happens according to plan. For some, it is kind of like fumbling for a light switch in the dark. For others (like me) it is more like fumbling for a light bulb in the back of the closet wearing a clown costume. What I'm trying to say with that baby #2 is often times (not always) much easier. And while Dana breezed through the birth and adjustment after Easton came, watching her with Ember was pretty amazing.  She's amazing. And this picture below? My all time favorite picture of Dana. This moment has been there all along, for 28 years of her life, waiting to happen.

So here's to Ember.

May your beauty stand in the shadow of your compassion, generosity and kindness.

Welcome to the world baby girl.

Monday, July 11, 2011

A Lot of Catching Up To Do

Flashback to 6 months ago and our 'typical' night:
-Put Max to bed 8:30-9pm in his crib. Leaps from our arms to get into bed. Doesn't make a sound when we leave the room.
-Read books to Gage.
-Get Gage a snack.
-Get Gage a drink.
-Read more books to Gage.
-Let Gage watch an episode of chosen show (Dora, Diego, Dinosaur Train, The Cat in the Hat, etc.)
-Tell Gage, one more episode.
-Gage falls asleep on the couch sometime between 9:30pm and 11:30pm
-Carry him to bed.
-Crash and burn in my own bed.
-Sleep for a few hours to wake to Gage screaming through a nightmare.
-Calm him down, get him a drink, put him back to bed. Takes anywhere from 60 seconds to 15 minutes depending on severity of nightmare.
-Sleep for a few hours to wake to another nightmare from Gage.
-He crawls in our bed, I wake up at some point and stumble to the couch for the remainder of the night.
-Gage up for the day at 6am.
-Max up for the day about 7am.

I understand that there are approximately 746 things we did wrong, but honestly I didn't have the energy to deal with it. I had been shorted my nightly sleep for 4 years and we had tried everything recommended or claiming to work. Temporary success at best.

Here's how it went down tonight.
-8:30, I get home from taking rodeo entries. Knowing my kiddos haven't seen me all day we visited until 8:45 when I tell Gage that he has 15 minute to finish up what he wants.
-8:50 he comes to get his pajamas. Change him and Max into PJs, fill water cups.
-8:52, Max wants to "nuggle a bit" and is stalling (be it ever so slightly).
-8:53, Gage from the top bunk, "I'm sleepy. Can you turn off the light?"
-Grab Max's blanket and binky, lay in his toddler bed to "nuggle a bit".
-9:00, Cover Max up, walk out, close the door. He cries for 15 seconds and then silence.

We've had a similar scenario for a couple of months now.

Crap. We did it. My four year old sleeps through the night.

Sure he sleeps with two stuffed PBR bulls and a stuffed cow to protect him from nightmares. Sure he insists on being covered up with a quilt I found at a garage sale for 50 cents. Sure he still get up between 5:45am and 7am. But he lets me sleep all night. And for that, I am thankful.

How did we do it?

I have no idea.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

She's Here!

We are thrilled to welcome Ember Lee Neu to the world! She arrived early this morning weighing just under 8 pounds. Baby, Mama and Dad are doing great, and Easton will be meeting his little sister shortly.

She was born on Dana's favorite day of the week: Wednesday.

More details, and pictures forthcoming. In 11 days I will get to meet her. Stay little baby girl!!

Congratulations to David, Dana and Easton on a precious bundle of joy.

Friday, June 24, 2011


Its a one step forward and two steps back kinda day. Let me illustrate.

I've been trying to stock up on baby gifts. Approximately every single person I know has just delivered a baby or is planning to soon and I found some great soft soled shoes at a reasonable price. The same place had a great stainless steel water bottle decorated as a circuit board that would make a perfect accessory for my favorite nerd (Jack). As I filled my shopping cart, I convinced myself that they weren't necessary purchases and went back to work instead.

One step forward!! Go me!!

Then I reached across my desk and ate the second sugar coated cake donut of the afternoon. Its taking every ounce of strength in my body to resist a third. I know I'll probably eat that third donut, before I go home for the day but the longer I wait, the less chance there is I will consume #4 and/or #5.

Two steps backward (more like in a donut-shaped circle around my mid-section).

Happy Friday Friends!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Ten on Tuesday. Dana vs Kim. Volume 10.

Questions for Tuesday, June 14, 2011!
Provided by
Lisa at Lisa’s Yarns.

1. How do you pronounce the word aunt? Does your pronunciation rhyme with ‘haunt’ or ‘can’t'?
D: To rhyme with can't...but I honestly had to say it with a few names before I could answer.
K: the 'haunt' way

2. Do most of the people in your life know you blog? Or are you partially or totally anonymous?
D: Probably not. I was strongly influenced by Kim and at this point she'd probably give me a D- for participation. I'm waiting for maternity to let my blogging juices flow (consider this a warning).
K: I'm really not sure. It would be fantastic if they came here and read every word, then commented about how I'm the coolest person in the history of the universe, but that's maybe not realistic. :)

3. When you grocery shop, do you prefer to bag your own groceries or do you like it when the store bags them for you? Paper, plastic, or reusable bags?
D: They bag them for plastic bags (gasp!). I'm not at all opposed to using the reusable bags but I'd have to bring about 10 of them along on each shopping trip. I do use them at the library though. :o)
K: The home town grocery store is pretty insistent that they bag for us. And that's ok with me. I use plastic bags, but save them for reuse or send them to daycare for her to reuse. When we're through with the diapers and soiled clothes phase, I might change my preference.

4. Do you have a green thumb?
D: I don't think so. I do moderately okay when it comes to keeping things alive, but calling myself a green thumb would be a huge stretch.
K: Not even close. The thing I've let live longest is our dog, but I'd probably score a 4 on a 10 point pet owner scale. (5, I just got out of bed to let him outside)

5. If you watch the Food Network, which chef/show host is your favorite?
D: I don't watch the Food Network. It's out of my league.
K: Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and I've only seen it about 4 times. I'd love to visit those places.

6. Do you like to take baths? Do you take them very often?
D: Yes, and yes. LOVE them.
K: I wouldn't mind it in a bigger tub. Our bathroom is teeny enough that we had to custom order a tub surround to fit in it. Shorter than average. Boo.

7. What color are the walls in your kitchen?
D: It's been 6 months since we moved in to our house and I couldn't even begin to remember what our interior paint color is called. It's a really light tan and I haven't put a brush on the wall yet. I really don't have any intention of painting in there any time soon, unless it's in Easton or Baby's bedroom.
I do know that Kim painted some walls in her house a color called cookie dough. Strange that I'd remember that. I think she's used a few colors that have food names. Maybe that's the route I should've gone. (K: It was actually Sugar Cookie, but close!)
K: Right now, Cream Dream. Hopefully before long, Dinosaur Grey. Most of my paint choices come down to the name. If I find two I like, the one with the clever or food-related name always wins. We just painted the porch Whipped Topping and at one point, there was Chocolate Syrup as an accent color in the living room. I can remember paint names of almost every color we've used in our house but I have to ask Jack what channel John Stewart is on every. single. time.

8. Do you prefer to dine outdoors or indoors?
D: Outdoors so long as it isn't raining, it's below 90 degrees, the humidity isn't unbearable, the wind is calm (to nonexistent), and there aren't any bugs around. Hmmm, maybe I prefer indoors.
K: Indoors. There is hardly a day with wind calm enough to eat outside. And if there isn't wind, there are bugs. I would love a screened in porch.

9. Describe your ideal weather.
D: Ha! See above.
K: 78 degrees, sunny, 5 mph wind.

10. If you could learn any foreign language, which would you choose to learn?
D: Dutch. It's part of who I am. :o)
K: I started learning French in 2nd grade, so it might be fun to know more of that.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Potty Training: Ready...Not

At 20 months old, I thought it might be a swell idea to introduce Max to the potty. At 18 months, Gage pooped in the potty for two straight weeks without doing the deed in a diaper. (Then he got pneumonia and we completely started over.) And since every child should be parented exactly the same way, I figured it was high time for Max to get started as well.

Disclaimer: It took me exactly 7 hours to realize that my children would need different parenting techniques. We've been two track parenting ever since. I'll tell you all about it when you're older.

Anyway, this weekend we spent a fair amount of time at home and I tried to take advantage of the golden opportunity to work with Max. Saturday morning I pulled off his diaper and asked if he'd like to sit on the potty for a while.

"NOOOOO!" was the reply.

"Here, let's put your potty in the living room and you can sit on it while you watch Mickey Mouse."

"NOOOOO!" was the reply.

"Just try."

At this point, my sweet little boy picked up the potty, carried it back to its holding cell near the bathroom, and threw it on the floor.

He walked back into the living room and said, "Diaper!" Then walked into his bedroom and returned to the living room with a diaper. He threw it down on the floor, laid down next to it and assumed the position.

Something tells me he isn't ready.

We've also expanded his vocabulary to include "tato" and "chip".

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Gage-ing Metabolism

We spent the first week of parenthood in what might best be described as foggy bliss. Survival mode. We were ill prepared, at best, for Gage's arrival and the learning curve, unspeakable. The little peanut spent quite a bit of time sleep, eating and pooping like most newborns and not knowing any differently, we attempted to find our new normal.

Seven days after his arrival the phone rang. Our physician was on the phone speaking simultaneously in warp speed and slow motion. From what I remember it went something like, "We have the results of Gage's newborn screening tests and it looks like there's a problem with his thyroid. You'll need to take him to the clinic right away for follow up bloodwork. In a couple of days we will have those results and will get him treated when we know more." I hung up the phone and called Jack in a hysterical panic. We rushed Gage to the clinic for a blood draw and headed home to wait. Before we arrived home, our doctor had called back. I am not certain if the nurses and lab technicians we saw tipped him off that I looked like a crazy mess, but he started with: issues with the thyroid are easy to treat, it is just something we'll need to deal with as soon as we can. It is a pretty minor issue.  Also, by this point the North Dakota state epidemiologist had called to say that Gage needed to start medication immediately, without waiting for test results. There was a prescription waiting at the pharmacy for us.

Holy crap. I don't remember a lot about that afternoon but I remember telling Jack, "I don't even know what the *bleep* a thyroid does." Of course the first thing I did was look it up. Turned to the trusty Internet for information. That afternoon I answered a few of my questions, brought a few more to the surface and found very little about infants with thyroid disorders.

The next challenge was getting the medication into his tiny system. Synthroid is a very common drug, with very few side effects and, as far as we've been told up to this point, very little interaction with other drugs. However, the only form available is pill form. Meaning we had to grind it up, mix it with water or juice and make him drink it. The other factor is that it is supposed to be taken on an empty stomach. So we have a newborn learning to eat, not routinely drinking from a bottle, only consuming milk, hungry all of the time, who all of a sudden can only drink one ounce (maximum) of juice from a bottle every morning. Let's just say that some days were better than others. Since he was 8 or 9 months old, I've just given him the pill to chew and swallow. It is so much easier, faster and reliable. Keeping food out of his system for a while after he takes the pill is the bigger challenge. More days than not, he wakes up ravenously hungry.

When the test results from the second blood draw came back, they gave us a baseline for dosage. Six weeks later, they took more blood and found that his levels had stabilized and the dosing appeared to be correct. The dosing level has been increased two times since the first amount and he has finally grown into the 75 mcg/daily pill.

The actual diagnosis is congenital hypothyroidism. The heel pricks they do to newborns in the hospital? Checking for this very disorder is one of the main reasons they screen infants. I was scared out of my mind at first. But between our physician and the information I have uncovered online, it is a seemingly minor disorder. By taking one pill every day and monitoring levels with a blood test, Gage can grow and develop normally. Early intervention is key, as research suggests that prior to requiring the screening on newborns, congenital hypothyroidism maybe have been a leading cause of stunted growth and mental retardation.

Hypothyroidism ran our household for a while. I cannot count the number of times that I looked at my child, observed his abundance of energy, his lengthy tantrums, short temper and undesirable sleep patterns and wonder how much is "Gage" and how much is a result of too much or too little synthetic thyroid hormone. In the next installment, I'll try to share some of the instances where our observations lead to a blood test and a resulting change in dosage.

When Max's newborn screening test results all came back as normal, we had a celebratory meal and acknowledged that "We CAN make a functioning thyroid!"

We love our kids with all that we are, and would not change anything about the experiences that have brought us to present day. This information is more about documenting these issues and events before I completely forget so Gage has a record of this in the future.

A quick picture of Gage, April 13, 2007.

And 2 weeks later. Since the medication has kicked in and he woke out of the newborn stage, he has required constant stimulation. Its been a real trip. :)

Until next time.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Ten on Tuesday. Dana vs Kim. Volume 9.

Questions for June 7, 2011

1. Have you ever used Craigslist?
D: No. I've never bought or sold anything on there...but I wouldn't rule it out.
K: I once bought a box full of clothes for Gage that I found on Craigslist. I sent my sister to pick them up and assured her that they seemed like really nice people. J I have looked for things on there before, but haven’t come up with anything else.

2. Can you sew?
D: Ha! Negative. I can sew on a button and it pretty much stops there. BUT I'm gaining a sister-in-law that can sew...and quilt...and do homemaker-type stuff. I'm not going to drop the first project on her until after the wedding. (I hope she hasn't found this blog yet...yipes!)
K: Only enough to be dangerous. I can sew up the pockets in Jack’s pants when he tears a hole in them, and take care of a stray button. I might be able to hem something if I needed to, and straight lines I could probably figure out. I sewed in 4-H but never wore anything I sewed after Achievement Days. It wasn’t my forte. I also tried to sew curtains and a slip cover for our couch when we were in college. I hated them, but used them until we moved and then threw it away…I hope. They still give me nightmares and I put off doing window treatments in our house for 5 years (no kidding…). What I have now I like so they’ll probably stay until the kids break them or we move.

3. Do you pour syrup on your pancakes or dip your pancakes in the syrup?
D: I've never even thought about dipping instead of pouring. I like an overabundance of syrup so it's likely dipping wouldn't cover it for me.
K: I pour it on pancakes and waffles. Dip it with French toast sticks.

4. Rain storms: Love them or hate them?
D: If it's just rain, they're fine...and as long as it doesn't come in amounts of more than 1/2-1in. (I'm a farm girl, okay?) If there is strong winds/tornadoes/hail involved forget it.
K: Rain storms are fun to listen to and that smell is pretty incredible too. I also like the feeling following a rainstorm at the end of a hot day. Getting to that point can be crazy though. Tornadoes aren’t cool and hail isn’t much fun either.

5. Do you like swimming?
D: I like wading. And this summer I'm waddling and wading. It's cute, I'm sure.
K: No especially. I like taking our kids swimming because they love it, but I’m a terrible swimmer. I tend to hang out a 3’ or less.

6. What kind of drink do you order at Sonic?
D: The same kind of drink I'd order anywhere else, likely. Mtn. Dew or maybe a lemonade of some sort.
K: We don’t have Sonic. But at the Powderhorn I like Strawberry Dew and at the Sugar Shack I’m digging the Raspberry Cherry Italian Soda.

7. Are you funny?
D: Yep.
K: Nope.

8. At what age will your kids get cell phones?
D: Whenever they stop going everywhere with me, because that's likely when I'll turn into a helicopter parent. I'm admitting it now, and I don't even care.
K: I have a long time to worry about that. I had one the end of my senior year of high school when I started traveling with FFA and then moved to college.

9. What’s your favorite vegetable?
D: Sweet corn. I'm counting on an ample supply from Mom & Dad to feed my family for at least a month. If you can't make an entire meal out of sweet corn, you're not a farm kid.
K: Pizza Sauce and Marinara? Hello Tomatoes!

10. Were you a Girl Scout?
D: No. I don't think they even had Girl Scouts in Chester. And it was highly unlikely my parents would drive me the 20 miles to Madison to participate. I don't think it was really my style anyway.
K: Negative. I don’t remember there being much for Girl Scouts I guess and I’m not sure I had their cookies anywhere except my Grandma’s house until we moved out here. I was in 4-H starting at 7 years old all the way through the first year of college. And FFA from 8th grade through college too. No worries, I stayed plenty busy. J

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Baby Love: Shelby Mae

Today's special guest on the blog is Shelby Mae. Born on May 25th, she is the answer to many prayers and belongs to some great friends. So while this post isn't exactly Life Between Friends: Dana + Kim, it still is very much about life between friends. And this is all Dana's fault. The end of her pregnancy is just around the corner and I keep trying to figure out how I'll be able to drop everything to hold her fresh baby in several short weeks! But enough about us. Here's the star of today's show.

As part of our business, I have a photography studio right in our store, and utilize the beauty of the great outdoors as much as possible. For newborn sessions, the kiddos are much more comfortable in their own home. Behind Shelby in these pictures is an old desk that sits in their front room. It made a beautiful background but didn't steal the show from this squishy sweet baby girl.

I was able to plan ahead a little for this shoot, since her mama and daddy knew she would be sporting pink. With two big brothers, its pretty certain getting a date with her will be no easy task. Thank goodness! :) This is one of my favorite shots of the day. The light spilling in through the window gives it such a peaceful feeling.

There is not a single picture of Shelby crying from our session, which is pretty unusual. She really is super calm. In fact, she let four little boys play around her all morning and was not bothered a bit. What a welcome relief!

The only thing better than a sweet baby is a sweet baby that belongs to a great friend who lets you snuggle anytime you want. The camaraderie between moms with kids of similar ages is really like nothing else. Shelby's parents came into my life after we were all parents. At the time, it was the biggest thing we had in common and someday our eldest boys will head off to Kindergarten together. (good luck Mrs. Peterson...) With Dana and me, we obviously became friends long before we became mothers. Our personalities and interest created a friendship, motherhood solidified it. We are truly blessed.

Shelby's biggest brother, Nathan, waited a long time for a baby sister and he is very thankful to have her. He is so sweet and wanted to make sure that the "bucket" was safe for his baby sister to sit in and help set it up and test it out. What a great helper.

I love me some sleeping babies.

This is the kind of picture I would enlarge and hang up in the nursery. Just a thought...

Shelby, thank you so much for sharing your family with us for a bit. You are a precious little being and loved more than you will ever know.

Hopefully soon I can get you a post filled with boys in tuxes, girls in dresses and a beautiful bride who surprisingly chose my brother to marry. Until then, happy weekend! I am not sure it could be any more perfect outside and we. are. headed. there. right. now.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Ten on Tuesday. Dana vs Kim. Volume 8.

Eleven days since our last blog post. I know you're worried, but we're fine. At least we are mostly fine now. In that time I have (in no particular order) seen and photographed a fresh newborn baby girl, attended my brother's wedding and welcome a sister-in-law, talked to cowboys and taken rodeo entries, sorted through all of my baby clothes into keep, throw, send to Dana and rummage sale piles, and worked a few hours too.

Dana is busy working too. She kicked off the summer reading program, fought a nasty sinus infection and most importantly, continues to incubate a human being.

I know we missed a couple weeks of Ten on Tuesday, but nobody complained or even said they missed us. So we evidently haven't drawn as large of a following as we'd like to believe. At any rate, we're back. Enjoy!

Ten on Tuesday – Topics and Archives
Questions for Tuesday, May 31, 2011!

1. From your childhood, what do you miss most about summer vacation?
D: Running around in my swimming suit all day long.  I wouldn't do it anymore even if I could (you're welcome), but how can one get any more carefree than that?
K: Sitting at baseball games 4 or 5 nights a week.
2. Are you going anywhere on vacation this summer?
D: I'm taking maternity leave the middle of July, does that count?  And approximately 3 weeks after that begins we'll be in Yankton for an extra-long weekend for my brother's wedding & family reunion.
K: Kind, but not really. We will be going to several weddings across South Dakota, and we may work in a few extra days around those.
3. What foods do you like to barbecue?
D: Steak, hamburgers, and brats.
K: Burgers, hot dogs, brats, chicken, veggies
4. How do you celebrate the fourth of July?
D: I think it's been two years since I've stayed up late enough to see fireworks.  Lame.  Maybe this year we'll celebrate with a new baby (wishful thinking).
K: This year we'll be taking rodeo entries all day. We usually try to grill and spend the day outside.
5. What’s your favorite beverage to drink in the summertime?
D: Powerade and Mtn. Dew (that's year-long actually)
K: Lemonade
6. What movie are you looking forward to seeing this summer?
D: Cars 2...with Kim
K: Kung Fu Panda 2 and Cars 2 - yep
7. In the car: windows down or AC?
D: Windows down in town, AC on the highway
K: Windows down until it gets super hot, then AC
8. Have you ever had a summer fling?
D: Not so much.
K: Not really. In my early teens I'd crush on some 4-H boys at the judging clinics and state fair, but I was holding
out for a cowboy. :)
9. Do you wear sunscreen?
D: Yes.  I've learned that my skin can handle about 30 minutes of exposure without sunscreen before things get ugly.  Then I usually put on something with a low SPF and to still get the color, but not the burn.  It's a science, really.
K: Yes, but probably not nearly as well as I should. I try to be diligent to the boys at least.
10. Do you have any favorite summertime activities?
D: Going for walks, splurging for late-evening trips to DQ for ice cream, and catching a baseball game or two.
K: Playing outside, grilling, watching rodeo, walking.