Daisypath Anniversary tickers

Daisypath Anniversary tickers

Lilypie Second Birthday tickers

Lilypie Second Birthday tickers

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Completely and totally worth it!!

Wow. I don't really know if there's another word in my vocabulary that can express the last 8 days so vividly. Jason and I have just been overwhelmed with how blessed we are. Seeing these two sweet boys experience all the "firsts" has been completely mind boggling. I will try to share all the magic with you, but I know that my human words will completely fall short of how much was experienced.

Monday: The start of the fun was at 4:30AM when we all got up and started getting ready for the adventure! My fabulous aunt graciously agreed to not only watch Liberty during our excursion, but also take us to the airport at 6AM. Thank goodness we live 5 minutes from the airport and didn't have to get up any earlier! Andrew was a ball of nerves but a quick trip to Walmart to get him a drawing notebook and pencils seemed to calm him down. We made it to the airport without a hitch, breezed through security, and got on our plane for the boys very first plane ride. I took an amazing video of Andrew experiencing take-off. He laughs harder than I've ever seen him laugh before! I think Jacob probably had the same thing going, but seeing as I was in the row ahead of them, I couldn't get both reactions. We landed in LA, grabbed our luggage and rent car, which was NOT waiting for us at the gate, much to Andrew's disappointment, and headed out to find food. In-and-Out Burger was the meal of champions (and much better since we only waited 5 minutes and not the 125 minutes that they are still experiencing in Frisco at the new one!) and decided that the boys just HAD to see the beach! We found our way to the Santa Monica pier and spent the next few hours splashing happily in the ocean and teaching the boys how to body surf the waves. It was a frigid 65 degrees (considering we had left TX at 100!), but the sun still kissed us a tad. I think I got the worst of anyone! We left the beach and headed to our hotel in Anaheim and checked in right in time to watch the Disney firework show out our balcony! What an amazing experience!

Tuesday: Disneyland adventures begin! Let me start out by saying this was not my first trip to a Disney park. I'd consider myself an expert...not to brag, but this was just one of my family's favorite vacation spots. Going so many times allowed me to have an idea of how to maneuver the parks the most efficient way possible! Introducing the Disney experience to two people who had no idea what to expect was phenomenal. Our hotel was a short walk away from the tram station so we didn't have to pay to park! We got there as the doors were opening and started the amazing day! I don't think the boys have walked that much in a day before! SO many cool rides and things to experience! I was able to go on quite a bit, but did have to miss out on some of my favorites. It absolutely did NOT matter though! Seeing those faces come off Space Mountain and Indiana Jones was enough! Everyone got the cherished Mickey Mouse ears, including Olivia's tiny pink set. We finished out the day around 9PM and dragged our tired and worn out bodies back to our hotel!

Wednesday: One of the boys favorite rides from the day before was the brand new 3D Star Wars ride, so we went back to the Disneyland park to ride it first thing. While we were there waiting to get on, we rode Andrew's favorite Haunted Mansion for the 3rd time. After the Star Wars ride, we went over to the Disney California Adventure park and rode fabulous things! Since that park is more new, it doesn't have quite the amount of rides as the original, so after we had conquered all at that park, we went right back over to Disneyland and rode more, including the 4th go at Haunted Mansion! :) The boys were SO exhausted, but kept right on trekking. I introduced them to the very fabulous Mickey Premium Ice Cream Bar, my absolute favorite thing to eat at the park. Because of my surgery, I wasn't able to enjoy one the last time I was there, but thanks to the pregnancy hormones, I took full advantage! I think the only downside to these two days was that the boys were wearing Converse shoes, not the best choice for L O N G days of walking, but they were so determined to have fun that we didn't hear much about it! Another fabulous night closed out with our watching the fireworks from our very convenient hotel balcony!

Thursday: Break day! We all slept in and caught up on some much needed body and foot rest! After checking out of our hotel, we headed south to the San Diego area for leg 2 of the adventure. We stopped to get the boys some actual tennis shoes (for which their feet were supremely thankful!) and found our way to our hotel in Escondido, CA. Our plan was to get a hotel in the middle of our adventures in San Diego without being right in the heart of the city. It actually turned out to be a great location! We spent the afternoon swimming in the pool and just relaxing. By this time in the trip, I think Jason and I had both heard about 25 "thank you SO much for taking us on this amazing trip". Precious. We found a great little sushi restaurant, which is what Andrew had been asking to eat for nearly 2 weeks. He devoured his spicy tuna roll in no time flat!

Friday: Legoland! I've been hearing about this park for years, but had never actually been there! I was pretty sure that the rides wouldn't be the same caliber as Disneyland, but knowing the two Lego fanatics that were with us, I wasn't worried. It did not disappoint! The park itself was smaller than a Disney park, the rides less flashy, but the Legos were AMAZING. They even had a brand new Star Wars lego section that had only recently been unveiled. The park was so detailed, even down to the name badges of the employees! We saw mini versions of Washington DC, Las Vegas, New Orleans, New York, and of course, the many planets found in Star Wars! Jacob and Andrew's eyes just kept getting bigger and bigger! We ended the day in the Lego gift shop, which you can imagine was absolute heaven! I had NO idea that there were that many lego sets available! Michael always loved Legos and had a TON, but seeing as he and I probably haven't put a lego set together since about 1991, it's grown quite a bit! :) Both boys were able to get a really cool Star Wars set (naturally!). This park closes early, which was a nice change from the very late evenings the previous days. We decided to go scope out some beaches for San Diego beach fun, so it was a relaxing car trip down the coast.

Saturday: San Diego ZOO! Andrew had been waiting all week for this day! He actually woke up without a hesitation and said "I've been alive for NINE years and today I actually get to see a live panda!" He was off the wall excited from the moment he opened his eyes! We made our way to the Zoo and spent the day experiencing one of the cleanest and most well done zoos in the nation. The highlight was definitely the pandas! We got to their exhibit at the absolute perfect time...right after the opening rush had left and before everyone else found their way back there! Normally, there is a line outside waiting to go into the exhibit and you only get about 5 minutes to watch. We got about 20-25 minutes and actually saw the youngest panda wake up, waddle around, and eat! Andrew's eyes were as big as saucers. By early evening, everyone was tired and hungry so we headed back to our hotel for a much deserved rest.

Sunday: We checked out of our San Diego hotel and headed to the beach we had scoped out two days before! La Jolla Shores is one of the most widely photographed Southern California beaches. Ever since their first beach experience on Monday, the boys had been itching to get back in the water! We spent several hours playing in the surf, and then walking to the cliffs on the north side of the beach. This is where I learned the hard way that Target sunscreen is GARBAGE. Even at a high SPF and when reapplied in the correct fashion, all of us were burned. RUDE! I hate that! We left the beach and made our way to a fabulous hole in the wall pizza place that Jason had discovered online. We were STARVED and scarfed down an ginormous pizza in no time flat! After dinner, we piled our sandy bodies back into the car for the trip back up to Los Angeles for one more night. After checking into our hotel, it didn't take long for the effects of the day of sunshine to hit and everyone got to sleep quickly.

Monday: The hotel we were at actually had good HOT breakfast (not just the sugar rush party of donuts and juice), so we got up a little earlier than we needed in order to take advantage of it. Afterwards, we packed up the suitcases (one completely full of dirty clothes!) and checked out of the hotel. It's become our tradition to take the boys to see the new Pixar movie of the year, so we found a local movie theater and saw Cars 2. SO cute! I especially loved the fact that the Pixar short was a Toy Story themed one! We ate lunch at a place that Jason's been raving about (Tommy's Hamburgers...and with good reason. YUM!), and headed to the airport to drop off our car and start the long process of getting home. We finally got back to our house at 11PM to one very excited (and slightly chunky, a hazard of Camp Aunt Connie) Liberty. The boys barely had the energy to make their beds before passing out for the night. Jason and I did some small things around the house and then passed out ourselves!

Today, I'm back at work, trying desperately to not think about being in vacation mode still! I wish I was at home with my family. Of course, my sweet husband is being the laundry fairy today and I think it's gonna be a very lazy day for all the boys.

My favorite parts of the week would be hard to pinpoint, but I will attempt to list them in no particular order:
1. Seeing the faces of Jacob and Andrew as they put their feet in the ocean for the first time in their lives.
2. Having Olivia create a small show for her brothers so they could both SEE her moving around and feel her antics. Her new favorite pose is to stick her butt up right under my rib cage and make me appear deformed as she maneuvers her way around. My stomach then resembles a camel's hump. Awesome.
3. Deep conversations about Jesus in the car on the way to and from each of our locations. Both Jason and I love making these boys THINK and use those very smart brains they have both been given.
4. Spending time laughing and just being silly with my family. It didn't have to be anywhere special or while doing anything important.

WHEW! Now you know why we're all exhausted today! Olivia did fabulously and only had a few times where she just told me that I was doing too much and needed a slow down time. She's still exceptionally active, but I have no earthly idea whether she's turned or not. Our next dr. appointment and sonogram is Thursday, so we'll see whether or not she chooses to behave. I'm hoping she does, but I'm not laying any bets on this fiesty girl of ours.

I'll leave you with my favorite picture of the week. At the beginning of this pregnancy, I wanted to really make sure that these boys bonded with their sister, even in utero. Oh believe me, they have. Not a day goes by where I don't hear how much they can't wait to meet her and what they are going to do with her. This picture just makes me smile.

Thanks for reading about our adventures. We're gonna keep it chill here for a little bit...


Thursday, June 16, 2011

The mayhem before....the even BIGGER mayhem!

In my silly brain, I had imagined that this week would be a week of calm preparations. I would work, go to a class, and get all the cleaning/laundry done for our fabulous trip next week! The boys were coming over on Friday night and we'd spend the weekend finding fun places to go and eat while we weren't at theme parks. In talking to the boys last weekend, they both DESPERATELY wanted to come this past Sunday, stay the whole week, and just stay through vacation! I think that one week at home doing nothing got to them! So, Jason and I went grocery shopping last weekend to make sure we had the food in the house to feed those growing mouths and picked them up on Saturday afternoon. Gone was the week of calm before the storm, but I wouldn't have it any other way. Mind you, it's cramped, but homey. We have a 650 sq ft apartment, which sometimes feels small for just Jason and I. Now, put two growing boys in there and it gets REALLY fun! Having them here means we got to spend ALL day on Tuesday celebrating Jacob's 15th birthday! Whoo HOO! I love birthdays!! He opened presents, ate cake and ice cream, and went roaming around with Jason and Andrew until I got home from work.

Liberty just goes into happy dachshund shock while the boys are at the house. She always has a lap to jump into and most of the time, a hand giving her bits of goodness to snack on. She LOVES it. Yesterday, I came back from the pool while everyone else was finishing up and she sat at the door and whined until they both came inside. Pathetic.

And so, the countdown continues! We've got two VERY excited kiddos and two VERY excited parents! I get questions probably about 5 times a day about flying on the plane, and the rent car, and the parks, and....pretty much anything! Our plane leaves at 7:45AM on Monday, and I'm not sure there will be much sleep from anyone the night before!!!

We had our 7 month doctor appointment last Friday! Olivia did NOT behave for the 4D ultrasound because she is still breech. 75% of babies have turned by that point, but not our sweet girl! We did get to see a couple of quick pictures of her little face and her cute button nose. The doctor thinks everything is going swimmingly. My blood counts are a bit down, so that means I get to start the fantastic iron again, but otherwise goodness all around! I go back to the doctor in 2 weeks and hopefully we'll get our 4D at that point. We'll see if Miss Feisty decides to behave or not! The doctor wants to do another official sonogram the middle of July just to watch for additional bleeding/clotting. He said it's just a precaution because of my clotting disorder, and I would MUCH rather be overly safe with this little diva. She weighs a grand 2lb, 11oz and looks perfectly healthy at this point! She moves around most of the day, only sleeping for 15-20 min breaks at a time. She's SO active that I often catch Andrew staring at my stomach, just watching her thrash around in there! It's so sweet! He tells me all the time how much he can't WAIT to meet Olivia and how excited he is to hold her. It pretty much makes me cry every time he says it...stinkin' pregnancy hormones!

If you're my facebook friend, you can follow our exciting adventures next week as Jason and I chronicle our fun through the magic of the iPhone. Otherwise, stay tuned until we get home for the latest and greatest. Please keep our sweet family in your prayers as we go 1500 miles away. Prayers for safety and health would be greatly appreciated. Please pray for my stamina and for Olivia to continue to behave! Thanks in advance!

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Blazing Inferno

Oh, the Texas summers are HOT! Yep, I hear some of you, TECHNICALLY, summer hasn't begun yet. Ah well, I'm 28 weeks pregnant, feel as big as a house, and am HOT outside. So there!

The 3rd trimester is upon us, and I'm constantly attacked by emails with the most terrifying titles. I believe every baby website is programmed to hold their most earth shattering and unnerving titles until the pregnant woman actually begins to realize that this child DOES have to come out in the near future. Things like "11 terrifying pregnancy symptoms" or "The 8 signs that early labor is looming" really don't inspire me to confident living! I'm just waiting for the ones to start popping up "My baby was too big for my pelvis" and "Emergency labor situations". Oh good grief! It's no wonder women entering their 3rd trimester think that it might be better to just keep that little one safe inside. Of course, by the time the 8th and 9th month roll around, there's quite a shift in the thought process. "GET THIS OUT OF ME!"....especially when one is massively pregnant in the fabulous Texas summer!

Tomorrow, we go for our 7th month doctor visit and 4D Ultrasound. Yippee! I can't wait to get a small glimpse into what our daughter looks like. After that, the more frequent doctor visits commence. Whew! I know that it's for Olivia's good, but I do NOT like going to the doctor. It will be a test of my patience and determination! It is Jason and I's constant prayer that this little one continues to be healthy and grow as she should.

She's getting a lot more active as the days go on. The last day or two, she's been spending a LOT of time attacking my lower right quadrant of my abdomen, kind of where your appendix is. Just when I think she should be sleeping, I'm viciously kicked or elbowed. She's just SO wild! I'd much rather know she's always there then have her calm down and stay silent.

It's less than 2 weeks until Andrew and Jacob's first BIG family vacation! WHOO HOO! Everytime I talk to them, they are SO very excited! Our next big hurdle is making sure they actually have clothing packed that they can wear (not like the last time when Andrew brought one shirt, three shorts, and 1 pair of underwear!). They've been eagerly planning what they want to bring on the plane and what they want to do during take off...and the most important part, how to get to the bathroom while flying. I love calling them after we buy park tickets or book hotels because it just makes it more and more REAL for them! I have to start getting my "Mom" bag planned out with snacks and goodies for the parks. That part excites me! Maybe I need to start a vacation countdown checklist...

Today is Liberty Grace Emerson Russell's 9th birthday. I'm planning on a celebratory blog post about her, but I'd rather do it with pictures...which are at home and not available to me at the moment. So perhaps that will go up tonight or tomorrow. She's a patient girl, she'll wait to be immortalized on the web! :)

And once again, I've rambled for an inordinate amount of time about things that may seem trivial, but are very important to me and my family. Hope you enjoyed!

Friday, June 03, 2011

Times are flying

Yep, it's June. I'd like to say that the time on this pregnancy is slowly ticking by, but it seems to be the complete opposite. I am almost 28 weeks and feeling P R E G N A N T. Last night, Jason and I watched the game at a friend's house and I actually had to put a pillow under my stomach for support. Ugh. And the summer's just begun! :) I actually have so much to be thankful for. I've been reading the facebook pages of my friends who are also pregnant and am reminded of how God is taking care of even the little things! I haven't been swollen to the point where I can't wear my rings. I didn't throw up my entire first trimester. I haven't had to buy a huge maternity wardrobe because I was blessed to have a sister who is about the same size and was pregnant right before me. So many blessings!

Last weekend, we were able to have a nice and calm Memorial Day weekend. Jason went to a golf tournament (courtesy of my brother and his gift of tickets!) while I basked in the glory of Food Network, air conditioning, and a dachshund who just wanted mom snuggle time. It was a very nice start to my week! Even better, I got paid 8 hours of work for sitting at home on Monday, so I've only had to work 8 hour shifts this week! Yippee! I think the plans for this weekend are also pretty tranquil, aside from the uber exciting car evaluations for our two sad little hail damaged cars. The most horrid thing about living in an apartment (apart from the no privacy and the elephants that live upstairs!) is that our cars are open to all the elements. This usually isn't a problem, but a week and a half ago, we were blessed with tennis ball sized hail that did quite a number on the bodies of the car, as well as their windshields. We do have a lot to be thankful for in that both cars are still able to be driven, but it's just another added cost that we were not planning on.

Plans for our California adventure are going swimmingly! We now have tickets for Disneyland! I squealed with excitement as those printed off! I may or may not have done a happy dance...but just maybe. I think aside from buying the Legoland/Zoo tickets, I just still have to find a hotel for the last night we're in LA. After that, it's all planned out and just WAITING for our adventure to start! SO excited! We leave in 2.5 weeks...WOW. I continue to pray for my own stamina and that I don't hold anyone up whilst I waddle through the Golden State!

The next two weeks are pretty much the same...work and more work. I do have next Friday off, but that day brings my 7 month OB check up and our 4D look at our little princess. YAY! Unfortunately, I think that check up also brings every 2 week visits instead of monthly...soon to be followed by WEEKL?Y check ups until little O's arrival. Whew. How did this point get here already?

Please keep my sweet little friend K in your prayers. He's currently hospitalized and his precious parents are so dedicated to figuring out what all is going with him! He is one of my favorite little guys and I want so much for his issues to be worked out so he can go back to being a mighty man!

Have a wonderful week!