Friday, June 5, 2009


A successful weeklong vacation under our belt, we are back! We spent the week in Destin, Florida, right on the beautiful gulf coast beaches. A 2-day trip on the way there, the kids did really well in the car, and as far as the week goes, we couldn't have asked for anything better from them. We had a blast! The drive home seemed never-ending, as we elected to do it in one single (long) stretch... 14 1/2 hours later, we were back at our home sweet home. Definitely a feeling of success, now that we know we can take a long road trip and endure a hotel stay like this with two little ones under the age of 4!

More pictures to come, but I think this quick shot of Ava defines the general mood of our vacation - carefree and loving the beach!!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Learning our letters

Ava has had a new teacher at her preschool for the past few months. Miss Denise has been a great fit at her school, and is incorporating a few new ideas for the 3-year-olds' class to work on learning activities. One of the new things she has started is giving the kids homework, that is due every Wednesday. "A Letter A Week"... starting with the letter "A." On tuesday nights we look through magazines and newspapers, and cut out whatever we can find that starts with that week's given letter, and paste them on a piece of paper and label them, and Ava takes it to school the next day.
Well, so far, we have had successful weeks finding things that start with "A" and with "B." This past week, Ava came down with quite a cold, and started complaining that her ear hurt, and on tuesday night started running a high fever. So she went to bed early, and stayed home from school on Wednesday so that I could take her to the pediatrician to be checked out, and of course to rest up a little and start to feel better.
Imagine my surprise, when we are all getting ready for bed Wednesday night. I went to bed early to read a magazine for a little bit. Ava came upstairs to start getting ready to go to bed herself. She saw what I was doing, and got very excited. She jumped into bed with me, looked over my shoulder, and whispered, "Mommy... are you looking for things that start with 'C'??"

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

History is Made

On this day, Tuesday, January 20, 2009, history has been made. For the first time ever, a black man has been elected and inaugurated into office as President of the United States. Barack Obama is now our proud leader, after a long campaign ended with victory for the Democratic party, including his running mate, Senator Joseph Biden.
It is an emotional day, not just because of the amazing impact of our country electing its first black leader, but also because of the road that looms ahead for these brave men who have chosen the daunting task of leading this country. A task that several political cartoonists have all but thrown up their hands at, as if to say "Good luck!" because of the state of our current economic state, a world at war, a healthcare system crumbling, public school systems failing our children, and a financial disaster that has been getting worse with each passing month.
This is a huge job, one that many people say they wouldn't want. But my faith and hope is in this man that I personally cast my own vote for, the one who inspired me almost one entire year ago, and who now has inspired a nation to believe in his own dream of a country with the courage to change, and the vision for a better tomorrow.
He ends his inaugural address, with this:

So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have
traveled. In the year of America's birth, in the coldest of months, a
small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy
river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The
snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our
revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be
read to the people:

"Let it be told to the future world...that in the depth of winter, when
nothing but hope and virtue could survive...that the city and the country,
alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet [it]."

America. In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our
hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let
us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let
it be said by our children's children that when we were tested we refused to let
this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes
fixed on the horizon and God's grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift
of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.

I know I am in good company, as I pray for Barack Obama as he settles in as his new role as Commander In Chief. For every day, there will be new struggles, I hope that he is surrounded with the support and wisdom necessary to carry out the immense responsibilities that lie before him. Best wishes to his beautiful wife, Michelle, and their class-act of a family, as their lives change forever. And we as a nation, put our trust in our new leader today.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Happy Birthday Aidan!

We had Aidan's 1st Birthday Party this afternoon. Here he is, not sure
what to think about the silly party hat!
Aidan and Mommy!

His Elmo cake!

Getting a better look at Aunt Stacy!

Are all these presents for ME?

Not to be left out of the fun, Grandma and Grandpa Whetzel brought a gift
for the big sister too!

Ava showing Aidan how to
figure out all these new toys!

The great thing about a big sister -
sit back, relax, and let her do the present opening!

Ava and Callie even put on a little "First Birthday
Song" for Aidan that they made up themselves!

The candle is lit - bring
on the bad singing...

Ta-da! Aidan sees his cake, and we all
sing Happy Birthday! He isn't too
sure what to think about all this!

For me?!

He played with it at first...
it was pretty gooey, and he had a look that said
"Oh my word, are they really letting me do this?!"

And it was very BLUE too!
Blue..... everywhere!

Now he was really getting into it,
shoving it in with both hands like a boy should!

By the time the red frosting got mixed in with
the blue, and ended up all over his face, he looked like
he had gotten the best of someone in a back alley!

Ahh.... the sugar coma is kicking in. And we head
straight upstairs for a bath!!
Happy birthday, my handsome boy! I can hardly believe you are a whole year old.
One year of sweet memories made, and many more to come!
Mommy and Daddy love you!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

My baby is one year old today!

Exactly one year ago today, I was in labor with Aidan. At this very hour (5am-ish), I was filled with anxiety about whether or not he would be healthy and fine, eagerness to deliver and finally meet this baby boy, and of course pain - thank you, non-functioning epidural! Over the next few hours of that day that became our little boy's birthday, I had no idea that it would be such a whirlwind of a labor and delivery story!!

The 4 hours I waited, from my recovery from general anesthesia and surgery, until I was able to see you after your time in the NICU seemed like forever, but this first year of life seems to have gone by in the blink of an eye.

It was never completely smooth-sailing, even from our first few days in the hospital. Daily bloodwork, and twice-daily forehead screens for bilirubin levels, due to quite a bit of jaundice, kept things interesting. By the end of day 2, Aidan was put on a bili blanket (the blue lights you see underneath his blankets in the picture above) to attempt to bring his bilirubin levels down.

Finally, we were able to go home! And the next week was rough, as any family with a newborn knows. We were sent home with our own rented bili blanket machine to use, and were told to have him on it as close to 24 hours a day as possible. Luckily, Aidan was a laid-back, happy baby, who didn't seem to mind it at all.

I was totally in denial how yellow he really was, until a few months later I looked back at pictures of him during his first week! And this is where he spent that first couple weeks - in his Moses basket, hooked up to the bili blanket, sitting on the coffee table in the family room!

The week was filled with dr visits, more bloodwork, more bilirubin testing. Supplementing with formula, anxiety that he is not eating enough, pumping, and more dr visits. But luckily after a week of this, he was much improved. His color was so much better, he was eating again like a champ, and was given a clean bill of health. And our bumpy road smoothed out again, just like that.

Such a sweet baby, who could sleep anywhere, and
loved to be held!

And a year later... here you are, my sweet boy. Full of laughter, personality, smiles, babbles, new teeth, new tricks, and so much happiness. You have made our family complete. I can hardly believe you are a year old already, and that you are leaving your baby days behind you. Happy birthday Aidan!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

This makes it official, huh?

Yes, you read that right. Aidan is turning one - in three short days. I am incredibly sad about this. Not just because he's my baby, because that is what babies do... from the day they're born, your job and mission is to help them grow and thrive every single day. I'm sad because of the obvious - he's our last baby. And this marks the end of our "baby days" here in the house.
Little by little, I've been getting rid of things... some clothes here and there, the beloved cradle swing, even the green Bumbo seat that was such a lifesaver I didn't know what I did without it. And unlike me, Aidan is growing up without looking back, and smiling through every moment! He is using sippy cups like a champ, and only takes one or two bottles a day. He eats everything we eat, even pizza, and loves it. He is not only walking, but climbing up stairs, and getting back down them on his own. He babbles a lot, and can say "Yes", "No!", and my favorite... "Mama."
So next Saturday, after his official birthday has come and gone on Tuesday, we will celebrate. An Elmo cake for him to smash and eat. New toys wrapped in Sesame Street paper, just for him. A party to enjoy this first birthday, and the amazing little boy he has become. Just please, pay no attention to me... I may need a Kleenex box nearby!!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas Pictures!

Ava getting into the spirit, ready to open gifts on Christmas Eve at the grandparents' house!

Aidan is not too sure what to do with all these boxes yet!

Ava and Daddy rip into their gifts - Bounce Back Racers remote-control cars!

Lots of fun additions to the dress-up wardrobe!!

Aidan with his reindeer antlers *and* Santa hat!

Too many sweets + No Nap + Too much holiday excitement =
Christmas Eve Meltdown!!

Christmas Morning! Ava shows off on of her favorites -
The "Dinosaurs In A Rock House"!

Dinosaurs everywhere!!

And we must line them up!

The Whetzel family Christmas tree. Notice the incredible lack of
ornaments on the bottom 1/3 of the tree!!

Ava delivering the goods!

Trying out her very own digital camera. Say Cheese!

Only on Christmas morning is it ok to completely devour a Reese's
chocolate peanut butter tree at 8:30am (straight out of the stocking!)
in a total of four huge bites!

Aidan and his new basketball game

It's the Inchworm!!

A new sandbox for Ava!

Whew, all this holiday excitement. Can you
see the tiredness in his little blue eyes??
Merry Christmas to all of our family and friends, near and far! We hope yours was
as joyous and memory-filled as ours was!