Thursday, November 11, 2010

Halloween (or, the Saga of the Chicken Rider...)

I meant to do this over a week ago, but that was a bad week. I was exhausted all the time, and generally having an "Oh yeah, this is the FUN part about pregnancy" week. But, this week is much better. And, since several of my friends are also recently posting Halloween pictures, I don't feel as bad. Anyway, here they are:

Taking a cue from his current obsession, Timothy was a fireman this year, thanks to some wonderful friends who came through with an awesome suit. Thankfully, he will take it off now. The week before Halloween, I had to convince him to take it off to sleep. (His obsession is good and strong. We still get at least 2 books on firefighting at the library every week, and I personally have learned more about firetrucks and fire equipment than I ever thought possible.)

We decided to put Andrew in the chicken rider costume that Timothy wore at his age. Mainly because it's the coolest Halloween costume ever. Andrew didn't agree. I think he thought it was trying to eat him.

He did change his mind once people started oohing and aahing over him at the halloween party. Then, when we started trunk-or-treating, and he realized there was candy to be had, he agreed with Mommy that this was the coolest costume ever. Either that or this was the best party he'd ever been too. =)

The Saturday before Halloween, the university hosted "Trick or Treat with the Greeks." I took the boys while John was in meetings, and it turned out to be quite well done. I will definitely tell lots of people about it next year. In addition to a hall of trick or treating, there was coloring, various crafts for different ages (which we didn't sample), treats, games (like pin the tail on the cat) and of course, more treats. We had the chance to make "dirt"cups at one station. Timothy started to get a little shy, but Andrew was all over that. =)

(Cue evil laugh..)

Mommy actually ended up eating most Timothy's dirt cup, but Andrew was pretty adamant about not sharing. He's perfected the evil eye if he thinks you're eating his food. It's pretty cute on a 16 month-old. =)

As we left the student union, heading back to the car, Andrew was again admired by a group of passing college students, and obligingly posed to pictures. It got to the point that if he heard someone coming up behind us on the sidewalk, he's stop, and pose before they even got to us. Oh well, at least he stopped screaming about the costume. (Now if only I can get it clean for the next child...) =)

I think they had fun. Don't you?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

When it rains....

They say when it rains, it pours. Well, it's been pouring here these last 10 days or so here in our humble home.

First, John called me on a Friday morning to tell me: "I'm in the ER. I think I broke my fingers." (Thank you for qualifying that dear...) He had been setting up seating in the black box theatre, when the side railing collapsed- on the first two fingers of his right hand. Thankfully it wasn't worse, and while frustrating to lose much of the use of his dominant hand, they seem to be healing nicely. John is learning to adapt.

Sunday, Andrew woke up from his in-church nap, but was listless and didn't move from my lap for the next 2 hours. He also started running a fever. I took him home and pushed the fluids, keeping an eye on the fever. I didn't think it would be anything more than a slight bug. Boy was I wrong! He had no appetite the next day, which is very unusual for him. That afternoon, I found out that hand-foot-and-mouth disease was apparently going around at church. The rash appeared a few hours later, but since there wasn't much I could do for him but make him comfortable, that's what we did.

Sadly, that wasn't enough. The poor guy was hungry, but it hurt to eat. His whole body was inflamed in a rash that- while it didn't seem to itch - mad him totally miserable. He couldn't eat, he couldn't sleep, and after three nights of no sleep for anyone but Timothy (who sleeps like the dead) John took him into the ER in desperation. They informed us that this was a particularly bad case (Great...) and to keep him away from everyone until the rash was completely gone. (Quarrantine... Yay...) They did prescribe some baby ibuprofen for the pain, which seemed to help, but seemed anticlimactic for the cost of an ER visit. Oh well, at least he started sleeping.

On the bright side, John was sent home after a day of work, with instructions to stay home until he saw an Ortho. So, while he was frustrated by the inactivity, he was able to help a lot with comforting Andrew so that we could trade off on sleep.
Andrew recovered (except for some rash, so we couldn't leave the house), but then the next Sunday, Timothy came down with a fever and a wheezing cough. I had a momentary panic that we were starting the cycle all over again, but thankfully, no. He has also recovered, and apparently sometimes kids get a bit of a wheeze during a bad cough. Here's hoping that remains the diagnosis. The doctor wants to check in a few days, but she was hopeful.

It hasn't been all bad rain though. Last Friday, John and I were able to witness a glimpse of the next little miracle in our lives. It should be showing up around the end of May. =)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Our camera is slowly dying. It was inevitable I guess. Almost 4 years, and countless times being stolen by a very small photographer, it's done it's time. It's sad though, for such a shutterbug as I. It wasn't anything special, but it's kept track of our lives in that time, and recorded many happy memories.

Anyway, enough without the eulogy. I've discovered that I don't like to blog without pictures. At least about my kids. The blogs seem somehow incomplete. Thankfully, I do have the camera on my phone. The quality isn't good, but at least it's something. I'd hate to miss out on the moments, little and big, in my son's lives. I still take considerably fewer pictures, but at least I'm getting something. (That being said, slideshow to follow) =)

The boys are doing well, and growing like weeds. Andrew especially seems to be in a constant growth spurt. He has about a cup and a half of oatmeal for Breakfast, sometimes with a banana, and sometimes with a handful of dry cereal, and then 2 hours later, he's hungry again. The eating pattern continues throughout the day, especially if he really likes what I serve. I remember T being a good eater at this age, but I don't remember this.... Kind of makes me scared for his teens... =)

Andrew is also very interested in vocabulary now. He's constantly pointing at things and wanting to know the name. He hasn't vocalized much yet, but every so often, he'll come out with a new attempt at words. Of course, his favorite word is "kitty." That one he's had down for a while. I don't think the cats share his enthusiasm though... =)

Timothy constantly amazes us with his imagination. His current fascination is all things fireman, as it has been for a while. Lately though, our house has become the fire station, our car a firetruck, and overtime we leave, we are apparently off to fight a fire. Picking a halloween costume this year is kind of a no-brainer. I also love to hear him play with his cars or little people. He has entire conversations that are just great! Now if only he was so excited about potty training... Oh well, we're getting there.

Anyway, That's the news in our life for now. We're making the most of the beautiful fall weather before hermit-time comes, and enjoying the normal ups and downs of small children. Best part of life, in my humble opinion. =)

Here's a few glimpse of our last couple of months:

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Labor Day Camping

We attended our ward's annual Labor Day camp-out again this year. It was much more successful and less stressful than last year. (Something about camping with a 13 month-old rather than a 1 month-old.... I don't know...)

The boys had a blast! They got to roast and eat hotdogs, eat outside! Well, Mommy roasted. T wasn't patient enough to stay near the fire, and A was a little too eager. =) They got to run around and play with friends, and sleep in a tent!

The next morning, we were treated to a wonderful breakfast of Dutch Oven omelets, and pancakes over camp stoves. Especially wonderful since we didn't have to cook it. (I need to work on this, but as now, my camp cooking is limited to hotdogs, and the occasional foil dinner)
After breakfast, we packed up the tent, loaded the car, and took a hike around Kent Lake, which was quite close to the campground. It's a lovely lake, probably a mile and a half or so all the way around, and the path crosses several of these truss bridges:

They're apparently from all around the county, and were refurbished and brought here for all to enjoy their history. There are even signs near each one telling where it came from, and what kind of bridge it is.
All in all, a lovely walk, and a fun weekend. =)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

For Timothy, on his 3rd birthday

On August 10 (almost 2 weeks ago), Timothy turned 3. Sadly, Mommy's been a little behind on things, but here it is now. Late, but no less sincere. =)


Three years ago, you joined our little family, and forever changed our lives for the better. Over the last three years, you've taught us so much about ourselves, and about parenting, and we are forever grateful. Your sweet spirit brightens every day.

You started out so tiny and helpless, we couldn't believe you were really ours to raise. Such a tiny miracle. From the beginning though, you captured us all with your sweet spirit and sense of the dramatic. =)

You grew quickly, and won hearts everywhere you went. Your smile and laughter are infectious, and your sweet spirit still has people telling us what an angel you are - no matter who watches you.

Right now you are obsessed with all things fire department related, and we can't leave the library without at least 2 books about firetrucks. Not that you only want firetruck books. You love books of all kinds, and are sad when I cut you off because the library bag is full. Anyone who will read to you is an instant friend.

You are also obsessed with puppies, and have shared this obsession with your little brother. I love to hear the two of you panting and barking in the backseat together. [Although the persistent requests for a puppy or two of your own I could sometimes do without. =)]

You are such a great big brother! You don't always get along with your brother, that's normal, but when you do, it brings joy to my heart. You are always eager to help me with him when he's fussy, and you love to tickle him and make him laugh. He wants to do everything you do, and you are learning to love teaching him.

You also love your Daddy, and think he's the coolest person ever. You especially love to help him with his tools. You have an uncanny sense of knowing just what tool is needed for the job. More than once you've come to me asking for a tool, and it was exactly what Daddy needed...he just hadn't told you what to ask for.

To me, you are still me cuddly boy, who still finds time for hugs in the midst of his busy day. I love your questions, your smiles, the way your mind works- in ways that take me completely by surprise. I am so glad the Lord sent you to our family.

Happy Birthday my son!

Friday, July 30, 2010

My Baby is One!

One year ago today, Andrew Joel Keisling joined our family, and life has never been the same. We can't imagine life without his smile, his laugh, or his irrepressible determination. =)

Andrew my son, you came to us quickly (once you decided to come) and energetically. Your coming was greeted eagerly by many family and friends, especially your big brother.

10 days after your birth, we moved half way across the country. (As it turns out, newborns travel really well, since they still sleep most of the time.)

Once you became aware of the world around you, it had your full attention. You were constantly watching, observing, and trying to explore. It was very frustrating for you that you were so limited at first, but it never stopped you from trying.

Then you were on the move, and nothing was safe. =)

You love balls, kitty cats, and food of all kinds, but most of all you love your big brother. He is the coolest person in your world, and you want to do everything he does.

We love you Andrew Joel! Happy 1st Birthday!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Of bikes and car collisions

Since we've moved here, John has taken advantage of the bike-friendly paths, and the short distance to work, and has biked whenever he can. Monday morning, I got the called that every wife dreads:
"Mrs. Keisling, this is the Coralville Police Department-" (at which point I kind of stopped comprehending things for a minute)

As soon as I was able to understand that John was okay, I was able to start breathing again. The policeman assured me that while my husband had been hit by a car, he seemed okay (nothing broken), and was just on his way to the hospital for observation. His things were at the police station when we were ready to pick them up.

I called John's cell, and he sounded okay. He in the ambulance, and said he'd call me as soon as they were done checking him out at the ER. He might even go into work after he was done.

Eventually, I was able to put the whole story together:
John was biking to work, and had the "walk" sign in his favor. A car at the cross street began turning right without checking for pedestrians, and ran into him. Thankfully, neither of them were going very fast, so while John was thrown onto the hood of the car, then onto the road, nothing was broken. Just very badly bruised.
The ambulance took him to the ER where they took over a dozen x-rays of every possible broken area, especially his ankle, which swelled alarmingly. Then they put him on some fun pain medication, and let him sleep for a little while before he called me to come pick him up around lunchtime.

Needless to say, he didn't go into work that day. He's still so sore today that he hasn't gone in more than a few minutes. There are some really pretty bruises forming, but he has happy oxy-codiene when the pain gets really bad, and he's spent a lot of time just resting. Timothy has been really helpful in "taking care of Daddy" bringing him water, ace packs, and whatever else he needs. It's so sweet! (of course, for Timothy, the highlight of Monday was seeing the ambulance that brought Daddy to the hospital)

While John is recovering, his bike may not. Thankfully the other guy's insurance is going to pay for repairs or a new bike, depending on the extent of the damage. Mostly it's the wheel that's ruined, but we'll see about the frame when we take it to the repair shop.

In the meantime, I am amazed at and grateful for God's protection in our lives. According to the police officer, John's accident was fairly minor compared to many he's seen. And, since John's vacation starts next week, he has extra time to recover. =)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Happy Birthday John!

Thursday was John's Birthday, and we made a weekend of it.

Thursday night, John came home to a homemade sign that I cut out after Timothy colored. "Happy Birthday Daddy!", and some decent grill tools. These he promptly put to use with his very yummy steaks. The boys enjoyed them almost as much as we did. Timothy put a piece in his mouth and said "Steak Daddy! Moo!"

Friday John and I went to see one of his summer stock shows, while the boys stayed with some wonderful friends. Then on Saturday, we headed up to Cedar Rapids for a Minor League Baseball game. Birthday money from John's Mom bought us dinner out, and from my parents, great seats five rows behind home plate.

We were close enough to see all the action, and the boys loved that they got to high-five the mascot. The game closed with Fireworks, which the boys both loved. John was happy that he got to take his boys to the game, and it didn't hurt that the home team won. =)