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Linden Turns 4

10 Nov

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Two weeks ago, my sweet baby boy turned 4. He basically planned his party months before and TOLD me that he wanted a Toy Story party and instead of a cake he wanted a GIANT COOKIE! Awesome, less planning for me!

We slacked on the pictures this year and missed out on some of the details that I wanted to share, like the food!

I will just tell you what we served, instead:

Buzz Lightyear’s gluten free rice crispy Rocket treats

Zurg’s Intergalactic Rocket Crackers (aka Trader Joes Rocket crackers)

Ken and Barbie’s fruit and fruit dip

The Round Up Gang’s veggies and dairy free ranch dip

Pizza Planet Pizza

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and  for dessert:

Army Men allergy friendly cupcakes and a humongous M&M and chocolate chip cookie.

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There were 17 kids and 2 babies at the party this year, so our activities were a bit chaotic at times.

We had a felt Mr. Potato Head where the kids were blindfolded and got to put the body parts on him.

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Steven borrowed a cowboy boot from his lovely boss and the kids tossed little rubber snakes into the boot. It was a play on one of Woody’s catch phrases, “There’s a snake in my boot!”

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A few years ago Linden received a riding horse for a gift from his Gam & Pa and it was the perfect time to have it out for the kids to ‘Take A Ride On Bullseye’

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There was a jar of army men for everyone to take guesses on how many were inside.

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I also made a claw game filled with treats and toys for the kids to add to their favor bags. We had a little snafu with those bags and the claw game, however, and they somehow got ransacked a bit early, oops! There were candy, favors, and toys EVERYWHERE! At least they had fun!

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Because Linden’s birthday is October 29th, we like to have costume parties. We choose not to celebrate halloween, so for us it is a special time to celebrate Linden and use that as our day to be in costume and have treats. This year we didn’t require costumes from our guests but did encourage it. The Colo clan is another story! We all dressed up like a character from Toy Story.

I dressed like one of the aliens from the claw game

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Steven dressed as Sarge the army man

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Lilah was Barbie (she had a pink belt on but kept taking it off)

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and Linden was Buzz Lightyear (of course)

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No party is complete without an Etch A Sketch photo booth

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We had a great time this year. I love having big celebrations and letting everyone run around like crazy. It makes the perfectionist in me have to let go and surrender to the anarchy.

**In case you were curious, we found most of the costume items at value village/Goodwill. I made my alien hat from a $0.50 beanie, styrofoam balls and a hot glue gun. I did order my tights and Lilah’s leg warmers on Amazon though. I was fortunate to receive the banner and huge toy story poster for free from my local Buy Nothing group. With the help of the dollar tree and Michaels the rest of the projects were quick to put together.

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Linden Turns 3!

3 Nov

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On Wednesday, my sweet Linden turned 3! I can’t believe it has already been 3 years since I became a mother to this wild boy. He is the joy of my heart. I am surprised by him daily. He is the smartest, sweetest, silliest, most funny kid I have ever met. He is also the most independent, strong willed and opinionated person I know, besides myself!

I asked Linden a few of his favorite things:

Favorite color: “red”

Favorite animal: “ummm giraffe!” (it changes daily)

Favorite food: “peeeettzzuhh” *pizza (said in a deep, slight zombie voice?)

Favorite story: “Golahf” (David and Goliath)

Favorite number: “3!” yesterday it was “fixteen!”

Favorite toy: “Thomas” ( the train )

Favorite place: “Parties! Parties are places!”

Favorite shape: “hexgons” (hexagon)

We also saw his Dr. today and got his 3 year stats. These numbers are a far cry from our teeny baby boy who dangled around the 1st-5th percentile for the first 4 months of his life!

Height: 37.21 inches (44%)

Weight: 35 lbs (81%)

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Last weekend we had a pirate themed costume birthday party. Linden dressed like Jake from the Neverland Pirates and Lilah was the cutest baby pirate you ever did see. Steven made a cute wooden plank for the kids to walk. We also had a cannon ball toss game and pin the eye patch on the pirate. Our house is so small that is was a bit of a nut house. Especially since we armed 10 toddlers with gigantic blow up swords!

Here are some pictures of his pirate party last weekend.

IMG_9680( 3 tiered grain free, dairy free, chocolate cake)

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(Baby Smee)IMG_9695(the spread)

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Photoshoots

20 Mar

In January, I entered a contest for a maternity photo session with Christine David Photography. I did not win the contest but the lovely Christine decided to gift a session with 5 free digital images to the runner ups! Shortly before my maternity session a friend gifted us a complimentary newborn session with her as well. Our experience with Christine was spectacular! 2014-01-18_026-web 2014-01-18_037-web 2014-01-18_100-web 2014-01-18_107-web

These are some of the beautiful images she captured of our family of 3 1/2. I never felt so comfortable in front of the camera as I did with her. She is such a joy to be around and truly made me feel beautiful, which is difficult to feel at 37 weeks pregnant and gigantic.

We had such an amazing time at our maternity shoot that we couldn’t wait till the newborn session. We went when Lilah was 1 week old. Watching her with Lilah was precious. She was so patient and gentle with her that she never cried once! Christine is a mother of 3 boys herself, which is so evident in her interactions with Linden as well. He thinks she is super fun! We felt more at home with each and every visit to her lovely studio.

If you are looking for a photographer to capture some of your most memorable moments, I cannot praise Christine enough!

This week we received the prints that we bought as well as our announcement cards. Christine sent us this splendid digital version to share online.

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To top it off, she put together this sweet little video announcement that I just had to share!

Linden turns 2!

29 Oct

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Today is Linden’s 2nd birthday! I cannot believe it has been two years since I first held him in my arms. (You can read about his birth here.)

We have been celebrating a lot recently so it seems as though his birthday has taken over the month. On our trip to Oregon two weeks ago, my family had a little party for him. He got a bunch of fun gifts and blew out his first candles. It was really special to get to share that with my brothers and my parents (Gam & Pa), because we don’t get to see them very often.

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Yesterday, we took Linden to his 2 year well check. It is crazy to think he will not have an appointment until he turns 3 now, unless he is really ill of course. My favorite part of doctor visits are getting the stats:

Weight- 30 lbs 6.4oz (86%) looks like we have another 10 lbs till turning his car seat front facing.

Height- 34.25 inches (41%)

Head Circumference- 49cm (69%) not that anyone really cares how big his head is!

Last night we put a bunch of balloons in his room while he was asleep and when he woke up this morning he had a blast! It was probably his favorite gift and only cost $1.29 for a pack of balloons.

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He was having so much fun playing with the balloons that he ignored my repeated requests to open his present until I basically forced him to.

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A few weeks ago, Linden suddenly got the Thomas the Train bug and EVERY time we see one in the store he has a complete meltdown. We went shopping last week and snuck this Thomas into the cart without him noticing. Steven hid it on the checkout and our checker put it in our bag. I thought it was safe to move our cart to the front of the line since it was safely put away, when our checker decided to whip it out and say, “Oh does he want the train!?” I frantically waved her off but not before he caught a glimpse and began crying for “A-Mas!!!” He didn’t let up the whole way home and even the next day was searching the house for him. {Note to checkers: please don’t offer toys to children!}

All that to say, he was very excited to get Thomas!

After balloons and presents, we went down stairs to have birthday pancakes with whipped cream and sprinkles. He was so into the whipped cream that he was completely uninterested in blowing out the candles.

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We have some more birthday plans for this evening and his actual birthday party is on Saturday. This silly boy is going to be so confused someday when he learns that birthdays are really only 1 day!

You can check out our YouTube channel for videos if you are so inclined.

Apple Picking and Pumpkin Harvesting

13 Oct

I have never been apple picking, like real apple picking… I have picked a few off of my parent’s little tree but never in acres upon acres of trees and apples everywhere the eye can see!  I have been wanting to go for ever and today we finally made it happen. It also turned out to be the most beautiful fall day which made the whole thing perfect! We decided to go to Bellewood Acres. They are not a certified organic farm but use organic practices and are major supporters of the YES on I-522 so we felt super good about supporting their farm. They not only have 25,000 apple trees with 15 varieties to choose from but they also had a small pumpkin patch, apple crate train, corn fields, a distillery and a huge bistro and farm store where they sell ciders, pies etc. We made sure to bring home some honey crisp apple cider and could not pass up the delicious apple cider mini donuts they were cooking up outside!

We started our visit by posing at all of the photo spots, of course! Be prepared for this post being a mega photo dump.

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Then we ate our donuts and boarded the apple train.

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We were dropped off in the orchard and started our apple picking in the Honey Crisp rows because they are without a doubt my favorite apple ever! We also filled up another sack full of Jonagolds.

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Linden had so much fun picking the apples and putting them into the sacks. He also really enjoyed chucking the apples as far as he could toss them, much to my chagrin!

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After picking our apples, we went to harvest our little pumpkins. Linden loves pumpkins so much he kept giving them hugs and kisses hahah

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We made it home with two bags of apples, totaling 23 lbs 3oz! We prepaid for a 10 lb bag of both the Honey Crisps and Jonagolds but since you just fill up the bag yourself we came away with a few extra pounds!! After averaging out the cost we paid with how many apples we ended up with it came out to about $1.25 per pound! I plan on making a big batch of applesauce this week with the Jonagolds and just keeping the Honey Crisps for eating, except for a few which will go into a pie, of course.

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The Honey Crisps were more per pound compared to the Jonagolds but over all, they were way cheaper then we pay anywhere else and we got to pick them! It was nothing like I had expected either. I pictured tall trees and having to climb up ladders but this orchard is much more accessible because the apples are growing along vine like trestles which is much more efficient and kid friendly! I had such a fantastic time, despite my only getting 4 hours of sleep last night. The day was very memorable and we were able to kill two birds by just getting our pumpkins on the same day. We will most definitely return to the U-pick orchard next year and probably stock up on double the apples.

Linden’s First Haircut

11 Oct

Yesterday we took Linden to get his first haircut. I trimmed his bangs once but it didn’t really count. I wanted his first haircut to be special. I wasn’t totally ready for this day because I love his shaggy baby curls and want him to stay looking little forever but Steven was hoping it would be cut before his dad’s wedding this month.

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We decided to bring him in to this little kid’s hair salon to make it fun.

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But first, we did a mini photo shoot of his “before” hair!

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It was a fun little shop with a lot of toys. Linden attached to the trains and I’m pretty sure said, “Choo! Choo!” Three million times the entire visit.

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He picked out the red firetruck because he thought it was Lighting McQueen at first. She was super fast and was finished cutting his hair in minutes! He didn’t give any notice to her at all because the toy basket was a great distraction.

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They even gave us a little “diploma” and pouch of his hair which will eventually go into his baby book.

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Our appointment was so late last night that we didn’t get to take after pictures until today.

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I think he likes being my little model.

I teared up but didn’t have enough time to get too emotional! It was probably a good thing. We did learn that Linden has the exact same cow lick that Steven has on the base of his neck, which is hilarious! Side by side the back of their heads look the same. Linden resembles his daddy much more now. He is still my sweet little boy but looks so much more mature.

When your heart lives outside of your body

22 May

20130522-111925.jpg{ My sweet boy }

It was 5 am on Sunday morning that Linden woke me up crying in his room. I found him shivering but he was burning up. He had a fever of 101.2 axillary. The rule of thumb is to add .5-1 degree to an armpit temperature so he was about 102. I applied some aloe vera gel (which is an antipyretic) to his body and used cool cloths to cool him down. He nursed and fell back asleep and his fever had cooled down. We don’t take fevers too seriously in our house because we know it is the bodies way of fighting an illness. I usually just try to lower it a bit and make him comfortable. When he woke for the day at 8:30 his temperature was 100.6 which is maybe 101. It was a good sign that it was decreasing. I gave him a bath and then we went downstairs and ate breakfast. He devoured his morning banana just like he does everyday. I could tell he didn’t feel very well, he had a little cough and a little clear snotty nose. We mostly snuggled reading books and watching Curious George. I even soaked some of his socks in apple cider vinegar and put those on his feet. Apple cider vinegar on the feet can help draw a fever down from the head. It worked well because just to the touch his skin was all over more heat balanced. He even got up and played in the living room for awhile.

At lunch time he barely ate a thing which is normal if you are sick, I suppose.  It is not like our Linden to NOT eat though. This kid is a garbage disposal when it comes to food. I took him upstairs to change him and noticed he had some diarrhea and it caused his tush to be a little bit red and blotchy. Steven had been outside all morning mowing the lawn and weed whacking so I though it would be a nice time to allow Linden to lay outside for some naked air time. I got a blanket and brought it out back. Linden was just wearing a t-shirt and was enjoying the partly cloudy day and the fresh air. He was being goofy and playful, felt cooler to the touch. He seemed much better!  Steven was just about finished picking up from his yard work when I decided to rub some coconut oil on Linden’s tush. I laid him down on the blanket and applied the oil and when I finished he started to sit up. Then he fell back down.

I thought he must have just lost his momentum, so I tried to grab his hands to help him up and his face changed. His eyes started rolling back into his head. His teeth were chattering. His body was limp and jerking all over the place. My heart dropped as I realized he was having a seizure. I knew in the back of my mind it was most likely a febrile seizure. I had one as a toddler and grew up with stories from my mother about that terrifying day. As I said above, we don’t take fevers all that seriously. The same is true with febrile seizures, I know they are just a way for the body to “reboot” and cool down. The difference is understanding those things on a logical, rational level and experiencing them first hand as your child is convulsing on the ground beneath you and utterly unresponsive.

I screamed to Steven, “call 911!” As I actually dialed it and handed him the phone. All I could do was watch him jerking around and cry. I cried out to the Lord for help, I cried to Linden to wake up, and I just plain cried! I looked around yelling, “where are they?!” It seemed like an eternity, but actually only took 2 minutes for the ambulance to be at our house and the EMT’s to be in our back yard. We actually live 7 blocks from the nearest E.R. I can see the hospital if I stand on the sidewalk in front of our home.

When the EMT’s arrived, I was actually upset that they weren’t doing more! I know they were doing their job and assessing the situation. But I was in full irrational Mama bear mode. I just wanted them to “fix” everything. One man took me aside to answer questions while the other checked Linden’s heart rate. They had me carry Linden to the ambulance and hold him while sitting on the stretcher to the E.R. They wheeled us into our room where we switched beds.

Steven followed behind in his car and met us in our room a few minutes later. When Steven got there I realized I was still cooking rice for Linden on the stove! He had to run back home and turn off the stove. The E.R. nurses took Linden’s temperature rectally when we arrived and it was 104.6! His fever had just skyrocketed out of nowhere! The beginning of the E.R. visit is such a blur but eventually Linden was weighed and given a dose of Tylenol. They pricked his foot twice (thank you nurse in training) to test his blood sugar and hooked him up to the heart monitor. All of this time he was still totally spaced out. He was awake but confused, angry, fussy and wouldn’t make direct eye contact. It is so sad to say your son’s name and not have him look at you! His eyes just glazed over and pointed down and off to the side. He got very angry when anyone tried to make him lie down. He just sat bolt up right stubbornly for a good hour before he started to doze off from the Tylenol.

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{ Here he is sitting up, fussy and dazed 😦  }

The rest of the time was a crazy hubbub of IV’s, blood work, urine bags, chest x-rays, and waiting, waiting, waiting.  The waiting was terrible. We arrived in the E.R. around 2:15 and were released around 10:30 in the evening. The last three hours were the hardest of the waiting game because by then Linden had turned the corner and was himself again. He had doses of Motrin and Tylenol along with fluid IV’s which did their job. Toddler’s are not easy to keep still in a hospital bed hooked up to wires and tubes. He kept saying, “done!?”  Around 9PM the nurse gave him an IV dose of antibiotics which took 30 minutes to pass into his system. When the Dr. returned, he told us he was sorry for the extra delay but that the urine sample he was waiting for had apparently been lost for a bit and when they found it later, it had been sent to the other hospital lab! If that hadn’t happened we could have left probably 3 hours sooner.

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{ Here he is more himself and using the remote as a phone. “Hehyo!” }

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{ Trying to entertain him and prevent him from pulling out his IV }

We stopped by the drug store on the way home to pick up some infant Motrin, which they recommended because it is longer acting. He had a a normal temperature but that was probably due to the meds so we did give him a dose before bed. In the morning his fever was gone. We had a follow up appointment with his pediatrician early that day where she went over the test results. Everything had come back normal. His white blood cell count was normal but the breakdown of his cells were very high in neutrophil cells which fight bacteria.  This confirmed that it definitely wasn’t a viral fever but looked as though his body was fighting off some sort of bacterial infection. The problem is, we still don’t know the cause. None of his tests have revealed an infection. We are still awaiting the results of one culture but that culture was to test for chicken pox which is viral anyway.

Linden is fine and dandy now. No more fever, still a little cough but 100% back to his crazy rambunctious self. I am not, however, back to my normal self. As a self proclaimed Type (B) Mama, I am generally laid back in my parenting approach. I don’t freak out about little things like my son playing in the dirt and eating food he dropped on the floor. We have a relatively casual “baby proof” home. I don’t use Purell or Clorox wipes around our house. I welcome the chance to build up my son’s immune system by not living in a super chemically sterile environment. I take fevers calmly and naturally. We don’t use meds unless it is a last resort. Generally speaking, I don’t freak out about “spilled milk” issues and use them to teach Linden discipline and independence. But these past few days, I have been super paranoid about all of these little things. If Linden stops for a minute or makes a weird movement, my heart is leaping out of my chest in worry. Sleeping through the night is no longer a joy, it ignites panic as I watch him on the monitor to ensure he is moving and not unconscious or having a seizure in his sleep while I am oblivious. I have become a helicopter mama these past few days.

On Saturday, the day before his seizure, I was JUST telling Steven how somedays being a mom is like watching your heart walk around outside of your body. So many things run through my mind that never would have before. A silly example I used was talking about how I had put a tin can of coconut milk into the recycle bin the other day. I had used the can opener and the jagged lid was really sharp and the bin was pretty full so the can kind of protruded towards the top of the bin. I placed it in, lid up and walked away. As I was going about my business, I had this vision of Linden opening the lid to the bin, which he has done before. He cut his hand on the can in my hypothetical vision and so I had to actually walk back to the bin, move the jagged can upside down and pushed it to the bottom back. Those little things that make you rethink, or redo what you would normally do “just incase” is such a new thing of parenthood. Like not leaving your coffee cup on the coffee table where the kids can spill it.

All of that to say, I have been recounting my steps during the beginning phase of Linden’s fever. Questioning my choices and second guessing my decisions. Our pediatrician told us we did everything right and that there are usually two types of fever kids. One that seizes and one that breaks. She said that half of kids will get to a high fever and it breaks on it’s own while kids prone to febrile seizing will seize. Not to say that it will happen again, plenty of kids seize once and never again but the stats suggest that once you have seized from a fever, you are more likely to again. Because I know he has seized now, and that I had also seized as a toddler, I think I will be more conservative with fevers in the future for Linden. Not that febrile seizures are a bad thing in themselves, but who wants to go through that AGAIN? Not me! It was a humbling day for sure.

To close I do need to express my thanks. I am so completely thankful for: A) being present while it occurred, B) living so insanely close to a hospital, C) God’s providence, and D) for EVERY. SINGLE. PRAYER! I remarked to Steven later how blessed we are and how grateful I am for everyone of our friends, family members, and neighbors who lifted us up in their prayers. We received so many messages and offers of food, support, and prayer. You do not even know how comforting you all were to me on a day when I was so distraught. It was such a beautiful picture of the body of Christ.

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