Archive | December, 2014

Merry Christmas 2014!

25 Dec

Merry Christmas from my family to yours. Hope you’re enjoying some wonderful time with family and friends, and reflecting on how amazing it is that our Lord and Savior would come to earth as a baby boy.

christmas card 2014

A Day in the Life {12/22/14}

23 Dec

I always think it’s interesting to get a peek into other people’s lives, so here’s a peek into my world yesterday.

5:00 & 6:00 am – I hear Emma cry/moan a little, but it’s too early! So I wait to see if she goes back to sleep, and she does.

7:00 am – I hear Emma again and it’s time to get up anyway, so I go get her out of her crib and try to rock her in the glider for a bit while I wake up. She’s raring to go though, so I change her diaper and let her play.

7:30 am – I get Emma breakfast (yogurt, raspberries, oatmeal squares) while I drink coffee and eat a yogurt. I go wake Travis up too.

7:50 am – Travis is up with his coffee and we do our morning Jesse Tree reading (we’re behind, so we do 2/day).

8:00 am – Wash Emma and let her down to play, while I finish the Jesse Tree script for the remaining days (nothing like the last minute!)

8:45 am – Emma wants to “cook” with water in the kitchen (which she lets me know by pushing one of the kitchen chairs over to the counter), so I set her up and move my computer into the kitchen.

9:00 am – Done! I get Emma dressed, then I get dressed, do my makeup and put my hair up. It’s a no-shower day.

9:20 am – Tidy up our bedroom, change our sheets, start a load of laundry with the dirty ones, do the dishes

10:00 am – Eat a bowl of oatmeal squares with banana while Emma draws at the kitchen table, talk to Travis a bit while he gets another cup of coffee.

10:30 am – Head out to run some errands at Costco (gas), Walmart (a zoo!!) and Office Max.


12:05 pm – Arrive back home; Emma fell asleep in the car. I plan to wake her up for lunch and have her down for a nap around 1:30 but she is OUT so I carry her in and rock her back to sleep.

12:30 pm – I attempt to put Emma down in her crib, but she freaks out, so I end up holding her for her whole nap. Travis brings me my phone so I read blogs and Facebook, and work on a blog post.

2:15 pm – Emma wakes up. Lunch time! Emma and I both have leftover tacos from the previous night.

2:50 pm – I call my mom to chat a bit about plans for our family celebration happening next week while Emma entertains herself by looking through what we bought at Walmart.

3:20 pm – I pop into Trav’s office to say hi and tell him about what I talked about with my mom.

3:30 pm – Emma and I go downstairs to play and she ends up taking a digger into the wall while playing on the guest bed (poor girl), back upstairs for ice and laundry, then we read books and play with her toys.


4:30 pm – Emma wants to play with water in the kitchen again, so I wrap a Christmas present while she’s occupied.

4:50 pm – Emma and I make her Christmas presents for Grandma and Grandpa (her participation is supplying the foot and hands for paint).


5:30 pm – Travis is done with work! I keep working on the gifts for G&G while he entertains Emma. Then we all go on a family walk to the mailbox (yes, it was pitch black outside).

6:15 pm – Travis starts making dinner (elk burgers for us, leftover mac & cheese for E, sweet potato fries for all).

6:50 pm – We eat dinner and do our evening Jesse Tree reading.

7:15 pm – I clean up dinner and do the dishes while Travis gets Emma ready for bed. He gets her bedtime bottle and starts her bedtime routine while I pick up toys.

7:45 pm – Emma is acting like she’s not tired, so we let her play for another 15 minutes.

8:00 pm – Emma’s bedtime! She’s still NOT a fan of the idea, so she cries for 20-30 minutes. I hate it when that happens. But we know she is tired.

8:15 pm – I leave for my women’s Bible study at a friend’s house.

10:30 pm – I’m back home and sooo ready for bed! But I’m also hungry so I eat a bowl of oatmeal squares and watch the end of a Blue Bloods episode with Travis.

11:00 pm – Bed!

Christmas Thoughts: On Trees

21 Dec


One of my favorite parts about getting ready for Christmas is decorating the tree. This year, we have a real 8-foot Fraser Fir, but every other year that Travis and I have been married, we’ve had a 3-foot pre-lit tree that we just pulled out of the box and plugged in. There are benefits and drawbacks to either real or fake, I think. The fake ones look a little too nice to be real, but they are convenient, economical and much less messy. The real ones are fun to pick out and smell good, but ornaments are often too heavy for their branches and they are needle-dropping factories.

The best part about either kind of tree, though, is the ornaments you put on them. And in my opinion, the best part about ornaments is not whether they color-coordinate or match, but the memories they bring to mind. Maybe it’s because I grew up with a hodge-podge tree full of ornaments that had been gifted, made or were unique in some way, but I personally prefer a tree full of memories and not-so-perfect ornaments than a tree that looks like it belongs in the mall or Martha Stewart magazine. Though those trees definitely have their place too!


Travis’ mom bought him an ornament every year when he was growing up and wrote the year on it. When he got married, we inherited his collection, so that makes up 80% of our ornaments right now. There’s only one creepy ornament that I could do without – a boy wearing a stocking hat and singing.


Am I right?

I liked Travis’ family’s tradition so much that we’re going to do the same thing with our kids. Emma’s ornament last year was the token “Baby’s First Christmas” ornament.


For Travis and me, I buy a picture frame ornament every year that either includes the year or I write it on. The picture I put in is a highlight of the previous year.

20141220_112721 20141220_112748

Right now, our tree is at least half decorated with standard red, blue, white and green balls but I look forward to all the new memories that we’ll collect and hang up over the years with fun and unique ornaments – even the very-homemade ones contributed by Emma and her siblings. 😉

Denver Babymoon

20 Dec

Travis works for a small engineering company where all the employees work remotely. Since it’s rare for everyone to be together at once, his boss flew both of us out for the company Christmas party and paid for our hotel two nights! Seriously, Travis works for a great boss/company. We are blessed. Anyway, we thought we’d extend the trip for the whole weekend and make it our babymoon.

Travis’ parents came down Wednesday night to watch Emma for the weekend and we left early Thursday morning for the airport. I think it might’ve been hard on Emma to have us leave while we was sleeping (and then return when she was also sleeping) so maybe next time we’ll try to time it differently. But Emma did great while we were gone regardless.

We flew into Denver around noon on Thursday, ate lunch with one of Travis’ co-workers and his wife (who had been on the same flight as us), and then checked into our hotel. I took advantage of being in the big city to use one of my gift cards at Massage Envy for a prenatal massage, and then went and got a mani / pedi. So wonderful. I seriously haven’t had my nails done since before Emma was born.

That night was the Christmas party, which was really fun. All of Travis’ co-workers and their spouses were there. Everyone was so welcoming and friendly. Travis’ boss bought all the employees gag gifts from Sky Mall. It was funny to see what everyone got. Travis got a Snuggie, since our basement (where his office is) is so cold.

20141211_182124 20141211_182138

Friday, Travis had a couple of work meetings in the morning so I hung out at the hotel doing some reading and writing. When he got back, he had to do a little more work so I took the rental car and got Einstein Bros. for lunch. I ate my sandwich outside on the patio in the sunny, 70 degree weather. Man, I miss that about Denver.

We went out for sushi that night – I got the fully cooked varieties but they satisfied my sushi cravings. (Seriously, why is that you always crave what you can’t have during pregnancy?) Then we drove out to the Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield for their Trail of Lights display. Unfortunately, we had originally planned on seeing a movie after dinner so I had worn flip-flops! My feet were icicles by the time we left, but it was fun anyway.

20141212_190757 20141212_191340 20141212_191622 20141212_191711 20141212_192017 20141212_192642

Saturday, we slept in and then met our friends D and Doug for lunch at New Peach Garden in downtown Golden. It was great catching up with them. Then we went to see The Homesman in the theater – the most depressing and disturbing movie I’ve seen in a long time. I would not recommend it. It still haunts me. Ugh.

After we checked into a different hotel, we went over to a friend’s house for dinner, and saw several of our friends from our old church. So fun catching up! I wish it were easier to stay connected across the miles.

Sunday, we ate breakfast at Panera (we made sure to eat at restaurants that we don’t have in Brainerd!) with our good friends Randy, Cathy and James, and their 2 kids. We had seen them the night before, but it was nice to have more time with them to catch one on one.

Then we headed to our old church for the morning service, and stayed after to talk to more friends. We drove straight from there to the airport and just like that, our babymoon trip was over. It had a really good mix of busyness and downtime though. We got home relaxed and rested – only to be thrown back into the furnace of Bisky care! She had slept through the night every night while we were gone. Then the night we returned, she woke up about 30 minutes after Travis’ parents left and was awake for a couple hours. Uff-da. (But since then, we’ve extended her awake time by an hour or so, and so far, that has helped a lot!)

Pregnancy #2 Update: 6 Months

19 Dec

24weekcompI was 24 weeks along this past Wednesday – and my belly is definitely bigger than last time! Seems like pregnancy exhaustion is kicking back in because I am very behind on blogging, but just can’t seem to ever bring myself to do it! I’ve been taking naps during Emma’s naps and vegging in front of the TV after she goes to bed (which means I stay up too late, adding to my exhaustion).

The biggest change since my 5-month update is that I can no longer run. I went on a 2-mile run with my friend Brenda the weekend after Thanksgiving weekend and my pelvis was so angry afterward that I could barely walk. So… I had hoped to keep up the more intense workouts for longer this time, but it appears my body has other ideas. For now, I’m sticking with walking, the elliptical and my prenatal Pilates video. We’re talking about joining the Y, which means I could get back into swimming. I’m entertaining the idea of signing up for a local sprint triathlon that is in August next year. It sells out fast, and registration starts on Jan 2, so I have to decide soon!

Besides running, everything else is still going smoothly. Baby is very active! I’m starting to get to the point of pregnancy where it’s hard to sit up, roll over and good sleep is hit or miss (hence the naps). I’m also having weird dreams, which I had last time. But still no food cravings, no face acne and no linea negra (so maybe it’s a boy this time?). I’ve gained about 12-13 pounds so far. When I was pregnant with Emma, I tried to gain 1-2 lbs every week during the 2nd and 3rd trimesters. This time, I’m only concerned about gaining too much! I know now that the weight piles on faster at the end so no need to worry. Plus, I’d like to gain fewer than 35 pounds this time.

We had our ultrasound at 22 weeks. Everything looked great. Baby was laying like a taco, with his/her legs over her head.


The ultrasound technician was super nice and even did some 3D imaging for us while waiting for the baby to move so she could get a better image of the heart valves.

1509037_850898904940433_6891209828618443299_nI’m still a little apprehensive about not finding out the gender ahead of time, but we’re sticking with it!

I made some more progress on the nursery since my last update – I sewed curtains and stuck up wall dots (from Walls Need Love).

1507940_847382471958743_748364470285530591_n 10628045_847382508625406_6811728264417116824_nI’ve pretty much decided on the other decorations I’m going to do for the nursery, but they are going to be after-Christmas projects. Too much stuff going on before then!

Well, I think that’s about it!

Emma Grace: 20 Months

6 Dec

Emma is 20 months today! I feel like 24 is going to be here before we know it. (And with it, a brother or sister for Emma!)

This past month has been somewhat of a doozy with Miss Emma (and a mostly undocumented doozy at that – I took hardly any pictures!). We have been convinced that she’s getting her 2-year molars and then no teeth appear. She’s had many rough nights, won’t  nap without being held, is sometimes ridiculously picky about what she eats, seems to be in pain often, is drooling a ton, sucking on her whole hand and often whiny and clingy. But still, no teeth. (Lots of ibuprofen though.)

I think at least part of the problem is that her separation anxiety with mommy has increased exponentially over the past month. She used to just run off at MOPS or daycare to play with toys but now she has to be pushed through the door and held sobbing by someone else while I say goodbye and leave. Breaks my heart. But she gets over it pretty quickly.

People often remark on how busy Emma is and it’s true – she’s a little tornado. I’m going to do a separate post on the messes she makes but suffice it to say, leave her alone for 30 minutes and every room upstairs will be torn apart.


Favorites this month have been:

* Emptying all the clothes out of her dresser, especially socks
* Being pushed around in the laundry hamper
* Wasting toilet paper, tissues, Q-tips and napkins by ripping them into little shreds
* Sitting on the dogs, or even daddy’s head
* Being rolled up like a burrito in a blanket
* Playing in a fort (under a blanket)
* Sitting in mommy’s closet
* Going down slides all by herself
* Eating applesauce and yogurt (the 2 foods she requests almost everyday)


We found out that Emma does qualify for ‘speech therapy’ or whatever they call it. She is in the 6th percentile for language development, which was the cutoff for aid. (But she’s in the 95th percentile for cognitive ability! I’ve always said she has an engineering brain like her daddy.) So that means we have a special education teacher and speech clinician come to our house once a week for the next year to play games with Emma, with the focus of increasing her vocabulary. They also work with us as parents to give us ideas on how to help Emma start communicating, even if it’s just by using sign language. So we’ve started learning more signs and teaching them to her. She’s a lot more receptive to them now than she was even just a few months ago. We’re seeing progress!

It’s funny – this is the kind of situation that seems like would be hard to not feel like a failure as a parent or wonder why Emma isn’t more like other ‘normal’ kids. But neither Travis nor I feel like that at all. Sure we’re complete amateurs at this whole parenting thing but we love Emma for who she is and she just happens to be behind in speech. It’s nice to have ‘experts’ help us help her. So if you have any questions about our experience, ask away!


What Emma lacks in speech, though, she makes up for in facial expressions and friendliness. She loves other kids and is so goofy and silly. She’s started walking backwards and spinning in circles. She also does this thing where she flaps her little hands (like a wave) close to her face – pretty much the cutest thing ever. She’ll also open her mouth really wide with a shocked expression on her face while she tickles my head/hair with both hands. Even though this age has its challenges, I love seeing Emma’s personality. It still amazes me that she’s only 4 months from being 2!


Christmas Thoughts: On Gifts

5 Dec

I’d like to do a short series in the month of December featuring various thoughts I have about Christmas. Here’s the first installation. 


If I had a penny for every time I heard a Christian lament the gift-giving frenzy that is Christmas in America, I’d be able to buy every Christmas gift I’ve ever wanted.

Don’t get me wrong – I agree that Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Cyber Week, and Christmas shopping in general are out of control. Even though I’ve gone shopping on Black Friday the past 3-4 years (at a respectable hour like 6 am), I refuse to go shopping on Thanksgiving Day. I just can’t imagine ever wanting to buy something so bad that I have to miss out on family time to get it. But I digress…

I think that as Christians, it is tempting to swing the opposite direction of our culture and think that gift-giving at Christmas is bad. I myself, for one, have had the thought during more than one Christmas, “If Christmas isn’t really about the gifts, why are we [meaning my family] still doing that whole thing? Why don’t we just do away with gifts entirely?”

But I think that mindset is missing the point. The problem with Christmas gifts is not that the act of giving gifts is wrong – it’s that the gifts have become ends in themselves. They are often no longer a way to show another person that we care enough about them to spend the time, energy and money to buy something that we hope makes them happy. They are an expectation of the receiver and a duty of the giver.

Deep down, though, I believe that we as humans enjoy giving gifts – even more than we enjoy receiving them. At the very least, we were created to enjoy giving gifts. Why? Because we were created in God’s image and He is the Ultimate Giver. “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change” (James 1:17).

So at Christmastime, I think that we can embrace giving gifts as a reflection of our heavenly Father’s character and the greatest gift of all, Jesus. Use this time of year as an opportunity to teach our kids the reasons why we give, and allow them to experience giving themselves, not just receiving. Emma’s still a little young to understand the whole concept, but we plan to make giving to the less fortunate one of our family traditions (throughout the year, but especially at Christmas).

And finally for those of us like me, who still struggle a little with the idea that Christmas gifts feel expected and not spontaneous, it can be helpful to remember that giving gifts to those we love is not just a way of being forced to fight the holiday crowds. Instead, giving can be an expression of Christ’s love to them… and a blessing to ourselves in return.

Thanksgiving Weekend 2014

2 Dec

I had grand plans for Thanksgiving this year, but apparently God wanted to teach me a lesson in slowing down and letting go because things didn’t go quite as planned.

We hosted the big meal at our house for Travis’ immediate family, my parents and my brother. We’ve never hosted a fancy meal for that many people so it was a learning experience! Monday, I went grocery shopping after Emma went to bed. Tuesday, I deep-cleaned the house while Emma was at daycare. So far so good.

Wednesday, I attempted to repurpose an old tablecloth that didn’t fit our new table into a table runner and placemats. Well, somehow I got my math wrong because the table runner ended up being too short and then my sewing machine broke in the middle of the placemats. I ended up borrowing a tablecloth from my mother-in-law. It worked, but that wasn’t the plan! (Luckily, the table runner fits our table when we only have one leaf in it.)

Some more of our fall decorations:

20141201_160253 20141201_160312 20141201_160337 20141201_160347

My parents, Travis’ brother and his girlfriend arrived Wednesday night and we had elk steaks, roasted vegetables and mac ‘n’ cheese for dinner. After getting everyone mostly situated, I hit the sack for an early morning – running the local turkey trot. Never mind that it was supposed to be about 0 degrees at the start.

Unfortunately, that plan got derailed as well because I developed a horrible sore throat and cough overnight that made me sound like a 50-year-old chain smoker. Running outside in the freezing cold probably wouldn’t be a great idea. So no turkey trot. Money down the drain.

Being sick also meant that I couldn’t help out in the kitchen much, since who wants a sickly person making their food? Instead, I took a nap, a long hot shower and directed people to where things were and what else had to be done. (I must admit, it was nice in some ways.)

The most important things though – food and family – were perfect. We all ate until we couldn’t eat anymore and enjoyed conversation, watching Planes, Trains and Automobiles, and playing Big Buck Hunter.

IMG_6050 (Large) IMG_6051 (Large) IMG_6052 (Large) IMG_6053 (Large) IMG_6054 (Large)

Teeny tiny tableIMG_6055 (Large)

Emma was not impressed with the Thanksgiving fareIMG_6056 (Large)

Quick family picture in the single digits!IMG_6058 (Large)


The cute cupcakes that Travis’ bro and his girlfriend made

Everyone left that evening except my parents and brother. It was nice to have some extra time with them.

Friday morning, Travis and I headed to our 21-week ultrasound while my parents and brother watched Emma. Everything looks great! I have my 22-week appointment with my OB tomorrow.

1509037_850898904940433_6891209828618443299_n 10428447_850898891607101_4829821911885653690_n

Legs up over the head

After my parents and brother left, it was Emma’s naptime – which, these days, means time for mommy or daddy to hold Emma for a nap. She was a little sick and we’re pretty sure she’s getting her 2-year molars. She’s been putting her hands in her mouth a lot, drooling up a storm and seems to be in pain quite often. Poor girl. After Emma’s nap, we attempted some Black Friday shopping but Emma had a meltdown so we just came back home.

Saturday, Travis’ uncle got married so we journeyed down to the Cities for the wedding. It was nice to see his extended family again, and Emma actually did really well. There was another little girl there her age and Emma walked right up to her and gave her a big hug. So cute! I am proud of Emma for being so friendly and outgoing.


Eating a tide-me-over at McDonald’s before the wedding

Sunday, we went to church and then hung out at home until our date night! Some friends watched Emma while Travis and I went to Mockingjay Part One. It was good – different than the other Hunger Games movies and a little slow at first, but we enjoyed it overall. Then we grabbed a quick bite at Buffalo Wild Wings before we picked Emma up.

It was a fun weekend! Unfortunate that I had to get sick (and am STILL sick) but such is life, right?