Tag Archives: Emma

Emma Grace: 3 Years

23 Apr

Emma is THREE! Her birthday was back on April 7.20160407_074733 (Large)

At her 3-year well child check, she weighed 32 lbs (64%) and was 37.5 inches (65%) tall. Emma still takes one nap a day. For a while, she was consistently waking up at 8 am, taking a nap from 2 to 5 pm, and then going to bed around 9:30 pm. But for the past month or so, she has been getting up around 7 am, taking a nap from about 1/1:30 to 3:30 and going to bed at 9 pm. On the days she goes to daycare, she usually goes to bed around 8, since her nap there is shorter and the extra stimulation makes her more tired.

Emma’s general weekly schedule for the past year has been: MOPS on every other Monday, Daycare on Tuesdays, ECFE and Speech Therapy on Thursdays, with Wednesdays and Fridays open for playdates or outings.20160401_071757 (Large)

When she turned 3, Emma was re-evaluated by the Paul Bunyan Education Coop for her speech because she needed to re-qualify to continue receiving services (which was a weekly visit from a speech clinician). Like I expected, she is now in the average range for both expressive and receptive speech, so she no longer qualifies—which is great news! Her articulation is a little below average, but the speech clinician said she expected that to continue developing naturally as Emma gets older.

Here’s what Emma has been loving in January, February, and March:

  • Pink!–She is still obsessed with all things pink, so naturally we threw her and Annabelle a pink party for their birthdays. (Photos and details to come.)20160409_123042 (Large)
  • iPad—her favorite movies/shows right now are Tarzan, Tarzan II, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Mulan II, Mr. Peabody and Sherman, Lilo & Stitch, Stitch the Movie, Sofia the First, Oscar’s Oasis, Secret of the Wings, Mickey’s Magical Christmas, The Pirate Fairy, and Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue. She has developed this annoying habit of fast forwarding or rewinding the movie every 30 seconds, instead of just watching it. Drives me crazy! She is also very adept at finding new shows on Netflix (90% of the movies above she discovered herself) so every once in a while, we find her watching something we end up turning off.20160420_083444 (Large)
  • Dresses – Emma still prefers wearing a dress over anything else. She’s starting to really enjoy picking out her own clothes to wear, and it’s often a t-shirt, pants and a dress—and sometimes a skirt too. (You didn’t know you could wear a skirt over a dress did you?) And she loves twirling in her dressed!20160407_092727 (Large)
  • Girly things—Necklaces, sparkles, ponytails, earrings… Emma loves them all. Though she will still only leave a ponytail in her hair for about 20 minutes. (So I put her hair in a ponytail most mornings, but she takes it out before we go anywhere.) She’ll frequently tell me in the morning “I need to get dressed” and pick out clothes to wear. Once dressed, she’ll say “I need a necklace” and then “I need a pony(tail).”20160401_153650 (Large)
  • Fishing—We (meaning Travis) got Emma a fishing rod for her birthday and she loves casting the rubber fish into the river off our dock. She’s still hit or miss but I’m impressed that she can do it at all!20160401_092955 (Large)20160415_163505 (Large)
  • Ice skating – though she only tried it once, she has requested to go again many times (unfortunately, the time of year for that is pretty much over)
  • Swimming Playing in the water—Emma cannot wait for beach season. We’ve taken her to the pool a few times this winter and she enjoys it, but doesn’t really want anything to do with being in the water if she can’t touch the bottom (she’s just like a leach). Funny story: we went to the waterpark at the Holiday Inn back in January and there’s this giant bucket that slowly fills up with water and then when it’s ready to tip, it starts dinging faster and faster, and pours a deluge of water onto the splash pad. I had never been there before, so I didn’t know that. Emma and I were standing on the splash pad waiting for Travis and Annabelle, and the dinging started. A group of people gathered on the splash pad next to us and the dinging was getting faster and faster. I could tell something was going on, but I didn’t know what (I couldn’t see the bucket from where I was). Before we knew it, we were getting dumped on with water. It freaked me out and my instinct was to run out of the water. I took a few steps before I remembered to turn around and grab Emma too. She seemed to handle it well in the moment, but it is an experience she has talked about a lot since, and she is now terrified of anything at a pool or waterpark that rains water. Travis was very amused by the whole thing and chuckles over how I started running away before I ran back to grab Emma. What can I say? My survival instinct is apparently stronger than my mommy instinct.20160401_104338 (Large)
  • Walking through the woods—This is probably Emma’s favorite thing to do outside right now. She can walk through the woods for hours, looking at all the different plants, trees, leaves, pine needles, acorns, pine cones, “pokeys” (bushes that have small thorns), and animal poop. But once everything greens up, the woods will most likely be too thick for us to walk through them, so we’re living it up right now.IMG_20160321_115402 (Large)IMG_20160321_121240 (Large)20160407_074744 (Large)
  • Bathtime—Emma never needs convincing to take a bath. Some days, she takes multiple baths. Her favorite things to do in the bath right now (much to my frustration) are pour water on Annabelle’s head, wash Annabelle’s hair, and blow bubbles in a cup of soap with a straw. We most often do bathtime after naptime, before Travis is done with work.20160206_181518 (Large)
  • Sugar—specifically pink (strawberry) ice cream, ice cream or fudge bars, suckers, gum, donuts and Starburst. She likes cupcakes too, but only for the frosting—she uses the cake for making a mess. Speaking of which…20160407_081231 (Large)20160415_160502 (Large)
  • Making messes—She has outgrown the whole “pull everything out of a cupboard or drawer and immediately move on to something else” phase for the most part, but now Annabelle is in that phase, so Emma frequently resorts back to that behavior—I guess because it looks fun? But Emma still loves making messes. Her most recent mess mediums have been applesauce, yogurt, chocolate milk, peach tea, paper, books, markers, toilet paper, and Q-tips. I have been trying to teach Emma that it’s ok to make a mess, but that part of making a mess is also cleaning it up. About half the time, she helps me clean the mess up without a fit or fight. The other half, I end up giving her a timeout in her room and cleaning it up myself. Ugh.20160405_171556 (Large)
  • Running away—This is hands-down The. Most. Frustrating. Thing. Emma does right now. It doesn’t matter where we are—at home, in a store, in a parking lot, at the library, at a park, at church, Emma takes off running. She doesn’t look back. She doesn’t listen. Most of the time, I’m holding Annabelle, my purse and a giant diaper bag, so running after her is hard! And the faster I run after her, the faster she runs away (because she thinks it’s a game). She does this with Travis too, so it’s not just me. I’ve tried not chasing her, and just waiting for her to come back. She doesn’t. I’ve tried telling her that it’s dangerous to run off and I want her to stay with me because I love her and don’t want her to get hurt or lost. Doesn’t faze her. I’ve tried bribing her with donuts and candy. I’ve tried spanking, arm twisting, anger, yelling, letting her walk on her own, forcing her to ride in the cart or hold my hand. Nothing has worked. (If you’re reading this and have any ideas, I’d love to hear them!) The most humbling thing is that I can totally see myself in her… she gets an idea in her head and refuses to be deterred by anything. I have been known to be like too… at times…20160415_110207 (Large)20160414_150150 (Large)20160414_151618 (Large)20160414_150535 (Large)
  • Being thoughtful—As a spirited child, Emma does everything big. She does anger and tantrums big, she does independence big, and she does love and thoughtfulness big. She is very observant and will bring Annabelle a toy, blanket or drink if she thinks Baby needs one. She loves feeding Annabelle with a spoon, or giving her bits of what she’s eating. Emma will also do thoughtful things for me and Travis, like bringing us our phone or sunglasses if she thinks we’ve misplaced them, getting us a tissue if we appear to need one, etc.20160421_100651 (Large)20160402_132348 (Large)
  • Hugs and kisses—At Emma’s Early Childhood (ECFE) class this year, the parents move to a separate room for the last 30 minutes while the kids eat a snack and have free play. The past 4-5 times, Emma has anticipated when snack time will start and tell me she needs a hug and kiss, and after she gets them, she says “Ok, bye!” It’s so cute. Also, on Tuesdays when I pick her up from daycare, she squeals with delight when she sees me, then runs and gives me a big hug. At the beginning of March, I spent 5 days, 4 nights down in Rochester with my dad and Annabelle, and ever since, Emma has said numerous times, “You came back! I missed you. I love you Mom.” It just melts my heart!
  • Arts & crafts–Emma loves painting, drawing, coloring, cutting, glueing, decorating, etc. Like her Nana Beth, she calls it her “business.” 20160123_134208 (Large)
  • Pulling/pushing Annabelle–Emma loves to help, especially when it comes to pushing Annabelle the stroller/trike or pulling the wagon/sled. But she also frequently pushes Annabelle over, and pulls her across the floor since she can’t walk yet.20160120_140233 (Large)20160401_163829 (Large)IMG_20160322_191514 (Large)

And that’s Emma at 3 years!

Emma Grace: 33 Months

19 Jan

Emma was 2 3/4 years back on January 7. Her 3rd birthday is going to be here before we know it!

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That’s a classic Emma face. {her school picture this year}

Here’s what Emma has been up to the last 3 months (Oct/Nov/Dec):

* Corn mazes — We went to two last fall (one local and one in KY) and she enjoyed both. But at the local one, she walked into the corn (off the path) and wouldn’t come out, and at the one in KY, she went into the corn maze by herself so that we couldn’t find her for 10 minutes. Worst 10 minutes of my life.

* Leaves — Emma loved playing in the leaves this fall! She liked laying on a big pile with a leaf “pillow” and being covered with a leaf “blanket”. She also thought it was a hoot to pick up piles of leaves in our hands, count to three and throw them in the air to rain on us.


* iPad and movies — Emma LOVES watching shows on her iPad and has figured out how to use it all by herself. Her favorite shows are Sofia the First and Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. Her favorite movies are Monsters Inc, Frozen and Tinkerbell and the Great Fairy Rescue.

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Asleep with gum in her mouth and her iPad playing Frozen

* Dancing — She enjoys a good dance party and at her uncle Matthew’s wedding, she tore up the dance floor. She was pretty darn adorable twirling around in her little dress. (And I do mean little. Apparently, in the stressfulness of getting both girls and myself ready all by my lonesome, I accidentally put the 12-month size on Emma and the 24-month size on Annabelle. I noticed Emma’s dress was really short and a little tight but I just thought she had either grown faster than anticipated or I hadn’t thought to look at the length when I tried the dress on her. Similarly, when I put Annabelle’s dress on her, I thought I should’ve ordered the 9-month size since the dress seemed really big. D’oh!)20151015_104828 (Large)20160101_093156 (Large)

* PINK — This girl is still obsessed with pink everything. “Pink pony” (tail), “Pink poopy”, “Pink snowmobile”, “Pink truck”, “Pink daycare”, “Pink ice cream” are just a few of the endless list of things she tries to request in pink. For her birthday, we are going to throw her (and Annabelle) a “pink party” — everything will be pink. I think Emma will love it!

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* Dresses — Emma loves wearing dresses, which is funny because last summer, she didn’t want anything to do with them. She has gotten more use out of her summer dresses from last year during the fall and winter than she did then! Unfortunately I didn’t know this until after I bought her fall/winter clothes, so most of those have only been worn a couple times so far. Kids.20151026_134729 (Large)

* Crafts — Emma has really gotten into playdough, painting, chalk, drawing, glueing, glitter, etc. She got an art easel for Christmas from my parents and has loved it. She also loves trying to cut with scissors but hasn’t completely mastered that yet.20151227_173712 (Large)20151026_103056 (Large)

* Singing songs with actions — They sing songs at daycare and Emma has started singing them on her own. She knows about every third word but gets the right melody! And when we sing the songs, she’ll join it with the words she knows (she wouldn’t do that before, so it’s exciting to see progress!). Her favorite songs are Slippery Fish, The Freeze, Sticky Bubble Gum, and Fire Truck.

* Blankets — Emma now has 4 blankets on her bed (yet Travis has to go in every night before going to bed to cover her while she’s sleeping because she kicks them all off). She got a Frozen blanket for Christmas from Travis’ parents and she loves it. It has replaced her favorite blankie.

* Sleeping in places besides her bed — She has slept in bed with me on vacation since Annabelle was born (which she still enjoys), but now she also likes sleeping on the floor next to her bed, in the Frozen castle she got from Auntie Cari, or in her bedroom closet. She’ll even close the closet door! “Crazy Crinks,” we often call her. (Crinks was shortened from Crinkleberry. I don’t know how Travis comes up with some of the nicknames he uses.)20151015_111222 (Large)

* Girly stuff — Getting her nails painted, wearing stick-on earrings (we’re planning to get her ears pierced for real as part of her 3rd birthday present), and (sometimes) having me put her hair up with barrettes and pink ponytail holders


* Playing outside — Emma has been loving snow this year. Last year, she wasn’t sure what to do with snow and just stood in place, but this year, she has helped us build snowmen, make snow angels, and “eat” snow and ice (the clean stuff!).

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* Baby sister Annabelle — Emma still loves having a baby sister, giving her lots of hugs and kisses, and bringing her toys to play with (if Emma wants a toy that Annabelle has, she’ll usually bring Annabelle another toy and grab the toy she wants. It works at this age, and it’s cute that she’s at least that considerate.)IMG_20160116_08402620151031_194449 (Large)20151116_104842 (Large)

* Sweets — I don’t know any kid who doesn’t like sweets, and Emma is no exception! Her favorite candies are suckers and candy canes. She loves chewing gum, and has lately developed a love for “strawberry cake” (angel food with strawberries and cool whip). 20160107_111741 (Large)

* Food — Emma’s favorite foods and drinks the past 3 months have been: mandarin oranges, apple sauce, yogurt, string cheese, baby’s purees and puffs, cereal, chocolate milk, peach tea, peanut butter, fruit snacks and animal crackers. Those are the things she requests the most often. But she also eats most vegetables (her favorites are broccoli and almost any kind of bean), noodles, deli turkey, quesadillas and toast. She eats pretty well for breakfast, lunch and snacks, but dinner has become quite the battle. She won’t eat unless she is sitting on one of our laps and we spoon feed her. I am hoping this is just a phase. 20151205_124030 (Large)

And that’s Emma at 33 months!

2015 Recap

7 Jan

Last January, I said that I had two specific goals:

  1. Give birth.
  2. Start and finish the Northwoods Triathlon on August 8.

Check and check.

The other, less specific goals I mentioned (and an update):

  • Don’t let newborn sleep deprivation turn me into a raging b!t@h. (Trust God to provide sleep.) I have dealt with this much better!
  • Pray for and see my mom be healed. Still praying!
  • Spend more time playing with Emma instead of getting stuff done. Still struggle with this. Some days are better than others.
  • Support my husband more sacrificially and selflessly. Uff da. This is an area where I need to grow but I have had some victories this year!
  • Read more books and watch less TV. Currently sucked into Gilmore Girls, but I’ll be done with the last season soon and then I’m cutting myself off!
  • Go on bike rides in the summer. I biked during triathlon training, but that was it. We plan to get a bike trailer this summer and go on family rides!
  • Be more intentional about inviting people over, or getting together. I get together with friends for play dates on a regular basis, but we still would like to have families over for dinner more often.
  • Finish my book and either self-publish, or seek publication! Book is nowhere near finished. It is SO hard to find the time and energy!

Goals aside, this past year was challenging because of Travis’ working so much and my mom’s health situation. But it was also filled with lots of fun memories. I went through my phone and here’s a smattering of the Best of 2015.

2016-01-05_12.47.47(From top to bottom, left to right) 1) Pregnant! Due April 8. 2) Fun painting with Emma 3) It’s a girl! Annabelle was born on March 27. 4) Big sister + little sister. 5) New swingset from Nana Beth and Papa Al! 6) Spring’s in bloom! 7) Nana Sheri & Annabelle — we spent several weeks down in Rochester during the summer when Travis was traveling for work. 8) Emma at my parents’ cabin throwing rocks into the lake off the dock. 9) Kriswold family reunion at our place.

2016-01-05_12.52.271) Emma feeding a deer at Paul Bunyan Animal Land. We also went to the Safari North and Pine Grove Zoos. 2) Emma “painting” with yogurt all over the deck and sliding glass door. What a mess! 3) Annabelle’s faux hawk in full force! 4) At the beach, boy! 5) Emma holding baby on her lap. 6) We re-landscaped the planter in our driveway. 6) Lots of chalk drawing happened this summer. Other daily outdoor activities were playing outside on the dock by the river, picking wild raspberries on our property, pushing Emma down a small hill in her wagon or Little Tikes truck, and walking or riding her trike down the driveway to get the mail. 7) Sweet baby. Love this picture of her. 8) Emma taking her baby for a walk with no pants on.2016-01-05_12.56.301) Aftermath of the devastating storm in July. Picture taken just north of us a few miles. 2) I took Emma and baby to the St. Mathias corn maze by myself. One word: stressful. 3) During our trip to Evansville, we went to another corn maze / pumpkin patch. Almost lost Emma in a minion-shaped corn field. 4) Beautiful fall colors right in our yard! 5) Baby feet are the cutest. 6) Fall fun in the leaves! 7) Selfie of me and baby on our dock, enjoying the fall colors on the river. 8) One of Emma’s crazy outfits. 9) Dressed up as a fairy, 80s girl and Snow White at Pillager Fall Fest.2016-01-05_12.59.181) Annabelle sitting up in the cart for the first time! 2) Emma wearing stick-on earrings and the cutest top knot ever. 3) Sister love at Costco. 4) Family trip to Cabela’s in Rogers to buy daddy a muzzleloader. 5) Baby’s first Thanksgiving! Too bad it was followed by the stomach flu. 6) Diana’s bridal shower in Grand Rapids. 7) Snowman! 8) Annabelle’s first Christmas. 9) Travis’ and my trip to Denver for his work Christmas party.

Other things worth mentioning:

* Memorial Day was spent up at Travis’ parents’ cabin on Lake Namakan. The Fourth of July and Labor Day were both spent down at my parents’ cabin in Pine City. For the Fourth, Al, Beth, Matthew, Diana and Chris joined us too. Thanksgiving was spent up in Nevis with Trav’s family and Christmas was down in Rochester with my family.

* The girls and I played at the beach well over 2 dozen times, including several evening trips with daddy or by ourselves while daddy had Bible study. Annabelle went swimming a handful of times and almost always fell asleep in her carseat at the beach after I changed her into dry clothes.

* Emma loves dancing so we had many a dance party in the basement (many of them were with daddy while mommy was at Bible study).

* Other fun things we did (not caught on camera) were go to the Mall of America, Children’s Museum, Crosby Project Play, Family Fun Center waterpark in Nisswa and Timberlake Lodge waterpark in Grand Rapids.

The more specific things for each girl are captured in their monthly or quarterly updates (coming soon!). These are just the big picture things that I want to remember later.

Even though I mentioned that I’m not making any resolutions or goals this year specifically, I still am praying for and focusing on all the things I had mentioned last year, plus one other main thing: managing my time wisely. I’m going to do a separate post about that soon.

So that’s it for 2015!

Evansville Trip, Fall 2015

28 Nov

My oldest brother, Jeremy, and sister-in-law, Jen, live down in Evansville, Indiana. My (and Travis’) last visit to their house had been when my nephew Jensen was a couple months old — he’ll be 4 in January. So we were due for a visit.

Timing-wise, it worked out best for me and the girls to go while Travis was going to be elk hunting in Colorado during October — which obviously meant he wouldn’t be joining us this time. I had a hard time deciding whether we should fly or drive. Flying sounded challenging because I’d be on my own with two kids. Never mind Emma’s craziness or Annabelle’s dependence — the sheer logistics of getting all our crap into the airport by myself were mind-boggling.

But the thought of driving 13+ hours with Emma was equally intimidating. And I had a $100 credit for Southwest, and tickets were very reasonable. So in the end, I decided to fly. We would fly from Minneapolis/St. Paul to St. Louis, where my parents would pick us up and drive us the last 3 hours.

After much thinking and strategizing, I pared our stuff down to a manageable amount: I had our jogging stroller with Annabelle’s carseat (and Annabelle), a single giant rolling duffel bag with all of our stuff, and one larger carry-on bag that contained toys/markers/iPad/snacks for entertaining the kids during the flight, as well as my small purse that contained only the essentials. For Emma’s carseat (that we would need once we got to STL), we ended up buying Annabelle’s convertible carseat early and shipping it to my parents’ house, so they brought that with them in their car (they drove the whole way).

Thursday morning, the girls and I left the house right on time. My plan was to park at an off-site airport lot so that the shuttle would pick me up at my car and drop me off right at the door. Well, right as we were driving through St. Cloud (after we had been on the road about an hour with 1.5 hours more to go), Emma puked up the copious amounts of applesauce she had just ingested. I pulled over at a gas station (soooo happy we were right by one!) and spent about 30 minutes wiping off her carseat, changing her clothes, and rinsing the dirty ones.

I didn’t feel like we had enough time for the off-site parking anymore so I decided to just park at the airport. It would mean more walking but less time waiting. We made it to the airport without further incident and got our stuff unloaded how I had planned. As we were walking through the parking garage trying to find the entrance/elevator, Emma got freaked out by all the loud noises so I pulled over and ended up putting Annabelle in the Ergobaby, Emma in the stroller and carrying the carseat in the same hand I was using to push the stroller (the other one was pulling our duffel). It was tricky to say the least.

Luckily, getting our bags checked and going through security were both a breeze. We had plenty of time so while we waited for boarding to begin, we played at the kids play area they have in MSP Terminal 2.
The flight went well. Emma got a window seat and I sat in the middle with Annabelle. Emma started getting a little impatient on the jet way before we took off because she had to be sitting down and buckled in but I turned an iPad movie on and that solved that. It was tricky nursing Annabelle on the plane because the seats are so cramped and she really dislikes the nursing cover but we made do.

When we got to St. Louis, my mom met us at baggage claim to help with all our stuff. We got everything and everyone loaded up and hit the road after a quick lunch at Culver’s. Both girls napped almost the whole way to Evansville.

That night, we got settled in at J&J’s house, ate dinner and hung out. It was really warm that day — probably mid-70s — so our bedroom upstairs was hot that first night. Thankfully it cooled down for the rest of our trip and then it was very pleasant. Emma alternated between sleeping on the air mattress with me and in Jensen’s toddler bed.

The next day (Friday), we checked out the Evansville Fall Festival (what we Midwesterners call a fair). Emma went on the several rides, including the carousel, swings and train (Jensen was not interested one bit!).
Jeremy and I went on a crazy ride called Freak Out. It didn’t look that bad from the ground but holy cow, it was crazy. I’m not a fan of roller-coasters so my mom was surprised that I was actually willing to go… she was right. I screamed so loud that my throat hurt the next day.
We also tried a bunch of different foods at the Festival, including a deep-fried Monte Cristo, kraut balls, Creamsicle float, and deep-fried pickles. My stomach and esophagus hated me later.
Saturday, we stopped by Ruby Moon winery on our way to Cates Farm in Henderson, KY. The winery had some of the best wine I’ve ever had. My favorite was a white called Stellar White. I definitely need to get some more sometime.

Cates Farm had a little of everything. They had a pumpkin patch, sandbox full of corn kernels, rubber ducky racing, slides, bouncy house, hay rides and a corn maze. We spent our first hour or 2 doing all the kid activities. Emma LOVED this big slide they had, which was just a 50-foot-long black, plastic culvert pipe. We went down it 5-6 times. She also loved the duck racing because it involved water.
She did not love the bouncy house though. She wanted to jump in it but the two times she tried, she got scared by the bigger kids and had a meltdown so I had to go in and get her out.

The only bad moment of the day was when we couldn’t find Emma for about 10 minutes. We looked everywhere we had been in the kid area… she wasn’t anywhere. It felt very surreal. We started asking employees and other patrons if they had seen her; no one had. FINALLY, we found her. Apparently, she had wandered into the corn maze alone. A wonderful lady had seen her in there and heard me calling for her, and brought her back out. Thank the Lord!

After we walked through the minion-shaped corn maze (watching Emma like a hawk), went on a hay ride, and picked out our pumpkins, we called it a day.
On Sunday, we went to J&J’s church and then just spent the afternoon at their house. Jensen and Emma painted their pumpkins and spent the rest of their time doing what they had been doing the whole trip: chasing each other around, wrestling, screaming, jumping off couch cushions, playing with toys. They had a great time together.
Monday, we packed up, ate a quick breakfast and hit the road. When we got to St. Louis, we ate lunch at a hole-in-the-wall BBQ place called Mark & Wanda’s. It had great service, great prices and great food. We’ll definitely remember that place for the next time!

The flight home went well. My mom helped me get our stuff into the airport and stood with me in the security line until I got to the TSA person. We had just enough time after getting through security to buy Emma some candy (she chose Swedish Fish), change diapers and go to the bathroom, get our stroller tagged for gate-checking, and fill up my water bottle. Then it was time to board!

When we got on the plane, I was worried that I was going to have to ask someone to move because only middle seats where left. But there were two rows on one side in the back that had a middle and aisle seat open so we sat in the very last row. Again, both girls did well and it was definitely easier to nurse Annabelle sitting in an aisle seat and not the middle.

It took us over an hour to leave the airport after we landed. First, I thought I should try to nurse Annabelle a little more so she didn’t get hungry on the way home. So we stopped at the kids play area for a bit and met another little girl named Annabelle.

Then we made our way down to baggage claim but we had taken so long, they had already moved our bags back to their offices. We walked over there, found our bag and Annabelle’s carseat, and then Emma had to poop. So we stood around for 10 minutes waiting for her and then changing her diaper.

We were finally on our way to the car except then we took the wrong elevator, so we went up, got out, got back in, went down, walked to the correct elevator, got back in, went up and got out. All that while pushing a stroller, pulling a duffel and wrangling a toddler. Ugh.

Emma then discovered moving sidewalks, which she thought were pretty fun. So we rode it a couple more times than necessary (that part of the airport was dead) just for fun.

Then came the fun of finding the car. In the midst of the chaos of getting to and into the airport, I forgot to take specific note of where I parked. I knew the general area but we had to walk around a bit before finding the car. Emma was walking and wearing her backpack leash, and she kept whining “Emma’s car. Emma’s car.” I was relieved when we finally got loaded up!

Both girls slept the whole way home and it didn’t mess with their bedtimes too much either. So all in all, it was a very successful, enjoyable (albeit exhausting) trip!

Emma Grace: 30 Months

7 Oct

Emma is officially 2 1/2 years old today! She won’t go back to the doc until she’s 3 so these are just a few rough estimates by me, but she’s now 27 pounds and 3′ tall. This BabyCenter percentile calculator puts her in the 10-20th percentile for weight and 25-50th percentile for height.


Fun with chalk

Here’s what Emma has been into the past 3 months (July, August, September):

* Peach tea — She’s obsessed. One day, we had run out of peach tea. While we were playing outside, she wanted to get in the car and be buckled in her carseat. As I’m doing it (hey, she’s asked for weirder things), she says “Peach tea buy.” I laughed, and we went to the store and bought some more. Who was I to turn down that determination?


Having a living room picnic on a rainy day

* Beach — Even though it is no longer beach-going weather, Emma still asks to go on a regular basis. We went to the beach quite a bit this summer. Probably at least once a week. At the end of summer, we started going in the evening. I loved it because it was still warm but we didn’t need sunscreen, didn’t need to worry about baby getting burned, didn’t need to pack food and we usually had the place to ourselves.

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* Being outside — In addition to the beach, Emma’s favorite things to do outside have been: gather acorns and leaves to throw in the river, ride her truck/trike/bike in the driveway and down the hill in our front yard, play at a playground or swing set, play with water and/or the hose, and go down to the dock and “poke the water” with a stick (there’s lots of algae and weeds to entertain her).

* Taking care of her baby — Emma has started wanting to take her baby doll with her everywhere. She wants baby to swing, go in the stroller, sit in the Bumbo, come in the car, and she’s even asked me to “tick Baby” at night (by that she means rubbing her foot or back). She also likes taking care of Annabelle, but since she is real, I obviously limit what she can do with Annabelle.

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* PINK everything — Emma is so obsessed with pink that she is adamant about getting or using the pink version of anything — even if it’s just a CD of 70s music she wouldn’t like. She even suggested that instead of replacing our roof with gray shingles, we should use pink shingles. She’s also started using pink to describe things that have no color, like the booms we can hear from artillery hitting the ground on the military base near our house (“pink booms”) or the beach (“pink beach”). What a silly girl.

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* Watching TV — Right around 27 months, Emma started getting interested in watching movies and shows on TV, and now she is obsessed. I have to admit that she watches quite a bit now because it’s just so easy to turn a show on while I’m nursing Annabelle and/or putting her down for a nap (and other times, I just don’t feel like fighting Emma over it). But she only sits down for about 20 minutes before running off to do something else, then comes back to watch for a bit, then runs off. She also stands right in front of the TV and jumps up and down during her favorite parts. Emma’s favorite movies/shows so far have been: Ratatouille, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (1&2), Despicable Me 2, Minion mini movies (specifically Banana, Puppy and Training Wheels), Gnomeo and Juliet, Super Why, Horton Hears a Who, Finding Nemo, and Flower Power and Farm Feet from a Little People DVD we got with a toy.


* Playing games on my smartphone or the iPad — Emma’s favorite games are painting, puzzles, counting, fish in a koi pond, and tea party. I think this could end up being our incentive for potty training…

Speaking of which, no, I have not potty trained her yet. I think about it often, but I am just dreading the time commitment and hassle of it. I’m thinking we might wait until the winter when we’re hunkered down inside and have nothing else to do…


We’ve had success on the toddler bed front though! For the first 2-2.5 months that Emma was in a toddler bed, we laid with her on her bed until she fell asleep — which sometimes took 1.5 hours! It was not sustainable. Not only were we losing precious “me” and “our” time, we almost always emerged from her room frustrated that it took so long, and too tired to do anything but stumble to bed ourselves.

Finally, about a month ago, I decided enough was enough, so at bedtime, I explained to Emma that we wouldn’t be staying in her room until she fell asleep anymore, that she needed to be a big girl and go to sleep on her own again. Then I went through Emma’s usual nighttime routine of put on pajamas, drink peach tea, watch moons, brush teeth and rub her back/arms/feet/legs (what she calls “tick”). Then when we got to the point where I’d just lay there until she fell asleep, I explained to her again that I wasn’t going to stay until she fell asleep, but that I’d be right on the other side of the door, and would leave it cracked. I gave her extra kisses and snuggles and then went out of the room, leaving the door cracked.

The first few nights and naps, I sat in the hallway outside her room, watching her on the video monitor until she fell asleep. She did get out of her bed a few times, but I just went back in her room and told her that she needed to get back in bed. I kissed and hugged her again, and left the room. That was it. We really haven’t had any problems since. Sure, there are nights when she rolls around in bed for an hour, putting her feet on the wall, and throwing stuff on the floor and then reaching for it with her body half off the bed (really testing the limits). But we are so happy to have “our time” back!

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Now that it’s fall, we’re back into our rhythm of MOPS on 1-2 Mondays per month, daycare on Tuesdays, ECFE and speech appointment on Thursdays, with Wednesdays and Fridays open for play dates, errands or chilling at home. It’s a good mix for us!

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And that’s Emma at 2.5 years!

Annabelle’s Newborn and Emma’s 2-Year Pro Photos

19 Aug

Way back when Annabelle was 7 weeks old, we had professional photos taken of her and our family (since Emma was just past 2 years old too). It was kind of chaotic and took us meeting 2 different times, me nursing Annabelle several times mid-session to calm her down, and Emma holding on to a plastic baseball she had found in the photographer’s car (random) in our family photos to stay happy. But all you need is a split-second of everyone looking happy!

Here was the result:10475445_980834938594907_3082657565790053818_o 10914950_980828621928872_1653972813925739179_o 11145270_980828665262201_297409411428702661_o 11265574_980828611928873_5341966412947857647_o Kluthe (13 of 1) (Large) Kluthe (22 of 1) (Large) Kluthe (27 of 1) (Large) Kluthe (28 of 1) (Large)

Kluthe (38 of 1) (Large) Kluthe (41 of 1) (Large) Kluthe (50 of 1) (Large) Kluthe (56 of 1) (Large) Kluthe (68 of 1)-2 (Large) Kluthe (73 of 1) (Large)In the past, we used our friend Jen Jacobs from Kitestrings Photography for our photos. But since she’s all the way down in Minneapolis, we decided to try out a local recommendation, Sarah Larson Photography. Sarah was great and worked well with Emma and Annabelle. She also has a lot of props, backgrounds and lighting options. My only frustration was that instead of getting rights to all the photos like we did with Jen, we had to either buy prints from her, and or buy the rights to the digital files. So we ended up buying the rights to 10 photos, and ordering a few more prints of the ones we liked, but not enough to buy the file for. It ended up working out though and I love how the photos turned out!

An Impromptu Week in Nevis

3 Aug

Since the bad storm in the Brainerd area caused us to lose power for several days, we hightailed it up to Nevis to stay with Travis’ parents until our power came back on, which it did on Wednesday afternoon (after being out since Sunday night). Regardless, we decided to just stay put until Friday night. Travis’ parents’ were watching Emma for us that following weekend so instead of driving down to our house just to drive back up, we stayed put.

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Travis, of course, had to work while we were up there. But Emma, Annabelle, and I – we just hang out all day, every day. 🙂 I do like those perks of being a stay-at-home mom. On Tuesday (the day after we got up to Nevis), we headed into Park Rapids to buy a few things at Walmart, but otherwise, we just hung out at the house.

Wednesday was my birthday, so to celebrate, I carted the girls and three armfuls of stuff to the beach. Seriously, going to the beach is an ordeal. But hey, I went to the beach last year on my birthday, I went this year – I think it’s going to be my new birthday tradition. I like going to the beach, even if it does take forever and a day to get packed up. There wasn’t anyone else there when we arrived and we had forgotten to bring our beach toys from Brainerd, so Emma was a little bored. Baby and I went in the water too but there’s only so much you can do at the beach… after what seemed like 3 hours but was only 45 minutes, Emma wanted to go swing on the swings at the beach playground. Ok. So I schlepped all our stuff up there. Bless her heart, Annabelle went to sleep in her carseat while I pushed Emma on the swing. It’s just so easy to love that baby.

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Wednesday night, we went out to dinner at the Iron House in Nevis with Travis’ parents. The restaurant had changed owners since any of us had eaten there and the food was delicious – though the service was a little slow. Emma, poor girl, had a fever and when we got home, we discovered it was 104! We thought about taking her in, but we gave her some Tylenol and her fever went down. By the morning, it was gone. So strange. I’m thinking teething again?

Thursday, Emma was still off so the girls and I just hung out at the house. Emma and I actually watched the majority of Finding Nemo before she got bored and wandered off. (This has proven to no longer just be something she does when she’s sick! She enjoys watching shows now, though her attention span is still about 20 minutes). After dinner, Travis, the girls and I headed back to the Nevis beach so that I could do an open water swim (same beach of the triathlon I’m doing). I feel more confident knowing that the water gets deep enough, fast enough that the seaweed doesn’t touch me! Seriously, that’s the worst part about swimming in open water for me – I have an irrational phobia of seaweed.

That night, Emma took forever to go to sleep. She asked for anything and everything (milk, water, juice, yogurt, strawberries) to get out of going to bed. And silly me, I believed that she might actually want something to eat or drink. She did end up drinking a few juice boxes and eating some strawberries in bed – after over an hour of trips downstairs to the kitchen for food and drink. By the time we went to bed for good, I had had it. That’s when it’s nice to have reinforcements in the form of a spouse.

Friday, the girls and I headed up to Bemidji to go to the zoo (Paul Bunyan Animal Land) and have lunch with Travis’ sister, Carolyn. It was really fun – we fed deer and kangaroos from our hands, gave the monkeys bananas through holes in their cages, and saw a lion, pot-bellied pigs, camels, rabbits and tortoises.

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Afterward, we ate lunch with Carolyn at Green Mill. Emma took a nap on the drive up and drive back, so when we got back to the house, she was wide awake.

After work, Travis packed up his stuff and headed back down to Brainerd to make sure everything was good with the house. Meanwhile, I packed up Annabelle’s and my stuff. Once I got the all-clear from Travis, Annabelle and I sneaked out while Emma stayed with Grandma and Grandpa.


While leads me to the weekend that Travis and I had without Emma… coming soon in another blog post.