Saturday, January 7, 2017

Meeting Bryce

I got to hold my newest nephew tonight, and I am on a high.

I took only Jacob with me, because the big boys had a Scout thing.  But we'd gotten a message from Karl saying we could come by in small groups.  So I asked if it was ok for Jacob to meet him tonight. I brought Food.   Because there was no way I was going to but in, without at least feeding them.  It's so hard having a newborn, let alone a high maintenance one!
On the way up there, Jacob and I had a serious discussion.  Only Toes.  I didn't want him touching his face or hands.   He was surprisingly obedient. Before we even got there, he was chanting, "Boys don't touch Baby Bryce's face, only his toes. Mommies can touch his face."  He had gotten the main idea.

This was my first sight of him at home.  
He was Just finishing up a feeding.  He prefers to have his head on the side as he gets fed.   He drinks about half of it by bottle, then gets the rest dumped in via feeding tube.  When they first brought him home, it was taking them an hour and a half, because the tube was so tiny.  They upgraded shortly before I arrived, and the next feeding only took a half an hour.  Woohoo!  

I picked him up to hold him, and he had blown out his outfit.  Isn't that just like a baby?!

Aunt Cathy volunteered to burp and change a diaper. It's so much easier on a newborn than on full grown bottoms on big baby boys. 
Oh this face! He knew I was someone different.  And he was so curious, checking me out, lifting that giant melon and moving around to get a better look.  I'm in Love. 

This was my Favorite shot.  
As he was focusing on me, he worked so hard his eyes were crossing.  

Remember that one time, when Jacob and Cole actually got along, and played together? 
Yeah, it didn't last long.  But there for a moment they were getting along. 

It's tricky to take a selfie with all this Cuteness!
But I am one Proud Auntie! 
He reminds me so much of Christopher, so tough, with a strong will, yet at the same time, mellow and loving.  They have the same chin.  

Jacob had gotten distracted by Cole and his toys.  But eventually, he'd made it over to Bryce and I.  And he was very careful about only touching Bryce's feet.   
Bryce was practically asleep when Jacob got to him, and he was snoring.  Jacob said, "Baby Bryce snores!... and is crazy!" as he ran back to play some more with Cole.  It's true.  He snores like all my boys did, big snoochy snores like Eric.  He fits right into this family.  
 He probably has some nasal inflammation due to the feeding tube being threaded through his nose.  He keeps pulling it out, so they had to learn how to put it in.  But with Erica's medical background, she used to give Cardiac Stress Tests, and had some high maintenance patience.  Let me just say, she's a superchamp.  And Karl learned it first, he is rocking this whole gig.  They are such perfect parents for this child, God always knows exactly what He's doing.  

And Bryce, he fits right in.  
As Jacob says, he's Crazy.  Just like all of us.  He's so slick, he reaches back, gently puts his hand on his cheek, pretending he's gonna doze off, but then at the last second, BAM! He goes for the tube. Like he's gonna rub his cheek, or push hair out of his face (if he had any) and boom, grab the tube.  They've gotta be fast keeping an eye on this Sneaky Pete! 
Yes, he fits right in.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

The Best Earrings for Flannel

My sister in law and I got to run away on Monday.   She recently had a baby, but my nephew Bryce has been in the NICU at Riley North.  She has been threatening to take me to a place, called Charming Charlie's.  She said I NEEDED to go.  For a couple years.   Then on Cole's Birthday Party on Friday, we were talking about Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream.  Turns out that 's her favorite flavor too, and there's a place called Grater's around the corner, that is her favorite.   She thought I needed to try that too.
I got the idea, that perhaps, as a distraction, we may need to take some Girl Time and run away to these places.   Too bad we never seem to have time, like say when husbands are around to watch kids.  Oh Wait!  It's Christmas Break, and our husbands were around to watch kids.  Bam!

So I drove up there and we ran away to Charming Charlie's.
Oh my goodness.  I love this place!  It's the Mecca of Accessories!  It was mostly artificial jewelry, but of a higher quality than say Claire's.   They also had some cute clothes, hats, scarves, purses.  All the Girly Things!   I'd forgotten how much fun it is to be girly.  Most of the time, I tend to refrain for lack of money.  But my parents had given me Christmas money, and I had yet to spend any of it on frivolity for myself.   So I had my budget and I went.  We spent two hours just moseying, shopping, looking at things, and most important of all... Laughing.

There were moments I laughed so hard my stomach hurt.  And it felt so good.  I mean, what new Mama doesn't need a Tiara or Mask?!

And when we left, I pulled out my bag, to put something on myself.  I had picked Erica up a birthday present when she admired a ring I thought would look stellar on her.   I gave it to her immediately when we got to the car, so I wouldn't forget.  And it looked Really Good on her!   So then I thought about which of my goodies would look best on me.   I asked, her, "Which earrings look best with flannel?"   It didn't occur to me before I said it how ridiculous that sounds.  I had dressed for shopping comfort not style.   And I was in jeans and flannel.  That saved me, I'm sure, for some crazy purchases.  Bling doesn't really work with flannel.

She laughed at me.  And I laughed.  And we laughed and laughed.  So hard my tummy hurt.
It was so good for both of us to laugh that hard.   When you're baby is in NICU,  you don't get a chance to laugh that hard, but it gave both of us all kinds of energy.  We had amazing ice cream for lunch, and yapped each other's ears off, and it was Wonderful.   We really should play more often.

And with that good news, we found out that Bryce may be coming home this week.  Sure, he'll still have his N/G tube, and Karl and Erica are going to have to learn how to put it back in, because he's so feisty that he keeps yanking on it.  But that's the Last Thing keeping him there.  Now he can come home and snuggle and grow big with his fam!   Best News!   And it means we'll be able to see him soon.  He's been in lockdown at the Hospital for 4 weeks, because RSV season started.  I can't wait to see him.  His face has filled out, he's got a little buddah belly, and he weighs just over 7 pounds, he looks more like Jacob than Cole now.  It does my heart such good.

Oh, and for the record, we decided gold hoops go best with flannel. ;)

Monday, December 19, 2016

Willman Fest

How Amazing it was to have the Willman Clan over to our home this weekend!   It had been two years since this many of us had gotten together. It has been a family tradition to have Extended Willman Family Christmas on the Saturday before Christmas, all of Eric's young life.  All the cousins would get together and have fun, catch up, play, visit.  I remember the first time I went to Willman Family Christmas, Grandma had made sweaters for all the grandkids (there's like 14 of them!). I had one cousin growing up, and he was 10 years younger, a significant difference.  Unfortunately, the weather was Extremely Icy, so there were a number of cousins that couldn't make it for the ice.  But we still had 35 people.

As it turns out my home can get pretty noisy with that many people.   Noisy, but Fun.

Chris got tired of the noise very quickly.  He was smart to go for his headphones. 
We brought up kid tables from the basement, and set them up for the kids.  They had a lot of fun sitting at their own tables. 

 A Super Silly Aunt indeed.  My nieces and nephew crack me up.  
We had everyone spread all over the house.  And there was lots of chatting, as everyone got all caught up.  It felt like it had been Years since we did this.  It had only been two years.  Still, it felt like a long time.  It was so nice to get caught up.  

What a great haul of food!  
We had ham, turkey, and brisket, with sides of salad, mashed potatoes, macaroni, corn casserole, baked beans, bread, deviled eggs and a relish tray.  Grandma always had pickles and olives out for snacking. I glanced down at one point, and saw sweet little Vera, one of our newest family members with black olives on her fingers.  She fits right in!  Willmans love Black Olives.   
Don't even get me started on Desserts! 

After our luncheon, we had a mini-recital. 
Back in the day, when Christmas was at Grandma and Grandpa Willman's, the kids (cousins) would all give a recital on their chosen instruments.  I remember seeing my mother in law do a flute duet with a cousin.  I remember seeing Uncles and Sons all playing trumpet together.   There are a lot of Willman trumpet players.  
This year, the next generation of musicians gave us a demo.  
Kaylee broke out her bells, and played Jingle Bells and Star Wars, the music of our people. ;) 

Alexis broke out her cello and played a duet with cousin Kyle who is accompanying her on her solo/ensemble piece.  I think it's a concerto by Saint-Senz.  There were a few hiccups, our piano needed desperately to be tuned.  And Alexis was apparently playing on a loaner cello, not hers.   Still, in spite of that, I got chills listening to her play.  

The whole fam was listening. 
And it was a Beautiful thing. 
It reminded me of old times at Grandma Willman's.  
How honored I am that our home gets to be the place to pass this on to the next generation.

Even little Jeremiah got in on the action. 
He became Alexis and Kyle's director.  
He's ready to conduct!

After almost everyone headed out, somehow my children were hungry. 
They needed a snack. 
Exhausted but cute.  

Jacob did a great job in underwear. 
He only had two accidents all day, which in the grand scheme of the level of insanity at our house, that's pretty miraculous.  It's also just an adorable picture of Grandma helping him wash his hands. 
I had made the mistake of sitting down.  

I couldn't get up.  

In fact, Jacob came over shortly after Mom and Dad left, and asked to snuggle.  
Eric told us we looked cute.  I said Take a Pic if you want.  I don't remember anything after that.  We were out cold for at least a half an hour.  I have no idea how it happened.  We were exhausted. 
It's taken me a couple days just to recover.  

Ice Ice Baby

We were really worried on Saturday when we woke up hearing we'd gotten an eighth to quarter of an inch of ice come down in the night.   Friends commented on early morning fb posts that they were stuck on the highway.  I-74 was shut down.  It was time to worry about our Loved Ones traveling, and wonder how we were going to pull off all we had cooking.  

Meanwhile, my backyard looked Beautiful. 

We decided to skip out on the Boys Gymnastics Class, and just take them to church.  We figured if it took twice as long to travel across Brownsburg as usual, that's like 10-20 minutes, as opposed to Zionsville which goes from 40-hour and a half.   Don't think so.  
Little did we know, the Gym agreed, and 8 hours after we'd made the decision not to go, we found out they'd cancelled the kids end of semester party for the weather.   Good thing, I hadn't wanted to drive that.   Our driveway was a sheet of ice.  Good thing that we could go slow, and that since our street had never gotten plowed last week, there were enough bumps still in it to provide some traction.  

Meanwhile, we turned the Christmas lights on, so the fam would see the trees. 
It made it extra sparkly.  And I love the bitty blue bokeh in the background.  

Check out that ice!  
We're gonna drive on that?!

Beautiful needles before they drop.
The Dawn Redwood is a tree whose needles change in the fall/winter, and drop, only to grow back in the spring.  It's one thing I love about this tree.  That and they grow Big! 

I love how the ice floats on the needles and sits on the branch. So cool. 
But not for long. 
Luckily, it got up to 35 pretty quickly, so by the time we got home from taking the boys to church, at 10, the ice was turning to slush.  Still, I'm glad I got these beautiful pictures of our Dawn Redwood. 

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Cookie Fest

My Dad and Stepmom have started a new tradition since we've had kids. 
We call it Cookie Fest. 
Every year, they invite us over, for an early Saturday morning party for decorating sugar cookies. 

Oma and Opa hooked the boys up with Groovy Aprons!  

Our crew takes the required family photo (I love that we do this tradition every year too) before the kids get so sugared up they can't hold still for a photo.  

We had explained to Christopher on the way down, that because Oma had made 22 dozen cutout cookies for them to decorate, there would not be Black Cake.  Oma's Black Cake (aka chocolate) is Christopher's favorite.  And my stepmom is such a sweetheart, she makes him a cake every time he comes, because she knows it's his favorite.  He doesn't like it with a ton of icing, just plain.  And even though, she made a zillion cookies, and there was a table spread covered in all sorts of sugary decoration confections for the cookies, she still made him a cake.   And he loves him so Oma Black Cake.  He was so surprised that she made him a cake anyway.  Surprised me too. 

Jacob has got this down!  
He was seriously ready to dig in and decorate. 

Oma always makes sure there are plenty of non Red 40 options for Sam to decorate. Lots of Green and Blue things.  This year, she even made Black icing.   She didn't think we'd use it much, but everyone really loved putting black wheels, belts, penguin bodies. Everything.   
Sam is my color consultant, he has such a great eye for color and art.  He is quite serious about it.

Christopher likes to stick his tongue out ever so slightly while he works. Just like me. Just like his Opa.  Though this time, when I went for the picture, the tongue tip disappeared.  Well, I know he does it.   And I love it.  He was getting in touch with his artistic side today too! 

Sam insisted I take pictures of his favorite cookies.  This wreath, he was already to start eating.  He took a nibble off before insisting that I take the cookies' picture.   

Jacob didn't even put this one away before digging in.  
There were a couple of Jacob's cookies that look like he licked a bit before packing them up to take home.   I think he's going to be the only one eating them. 

My lovely nieces got to come down, even though their Mama was not up for driving. Opa drove up and back to Carmel to grab them so they could participate. They had a great time, and looked so adorable in their matching green sweatshirts.  

Turns out that this fella not only can build a house, he is pretty good at decorating a house shaped cookie too!  This was the first year Eric and I could decorate some too, since the boys were finally old enough to decorate on their own.  

My Stepmom received some excellent new ornaments for a gift. 
Buffalo Wing Ornaments!  
Of course, to true Buffalonians, they are just Wings.  
Still, what a great idea for an ornament.  Even better as a gift for my Stepmom. 
The kids thought they were so cool. 

Mmm.... Loganberry

MB gave us our first new ornament of the season, this excellent Loganberry ornament.   In Buffalo, they have this great soda flavor, Loganberry, it's a combo of blackberry and raspberry.  It's not grown there, but in California.  But this resort, Crystal Beach used to serve the soda.  Then restaurants made stuff like Loganberry ice cream, milkshakes, soda, syrup.  Everything.  So I'm a bit of a collector.  I've got a stash of Loganberry goodies in my pantry.  It just also happens to be enhanced with Red 40, so it's exactly Sam/Fam friendly.   More for me.   This awesome ornament came from the same ornament company as the Wings.   This place in Buffalo does ornaments as well as great Western New York Foods.  I miss Western New York.  I miss Grandma Pat, and Suzy.  And when my Stepmom gave me this Loganberry ornament, I cried.  I miss them all so much.  
Maybe, it might be time to go back.  You know, Jacob's has never seen Niagara Falls.....

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Stuff happened

 I couldn't sleep this morning, been up since way too early.  I love that E makes me good coffee.  He knows my body doesn't work so well in the morning, it takes all the energy I have to get downstairs.   He takes very good care of me.  One of the perks of being Down to one good foot, is that I get to catch up on blogging.

In the mean time, I did some snapping of pictures of the boys in front of the trees, in an effort to get a Holiday Card made.

They are pretty cute!  

Photobombed by a dog. 

They are doing a great job of laughing. 
Here's the secret, Daddy was standing right behind my head making faces.  

My Favorite! 

This would've been my Holiday Card...until I looked, and I used them wearing the exact same pajamas as our Christmas card last year!  Doh.

So, I have made an alternative plan, and you'll just have to wait and see! 

Monday, December 5, 2016

Happy Birthday Eric!🎂

Poor Eric. 
He really got the fuzzy end of the lollipop for his birthday. 

For his 42nd Birthday, he got to take care of me all day, and do things I should be able to do. 
He took Jacob to Kindermusik class.  He made lunch for us out of leftovers.  He worked from home. He took care of me because my ankle is still quite sore and swollen. And the one thing I had hoped I could do right was give him a stellar present.  But his present was late.  Shh... it was a grill, a really nice grill from Amazon Prime, who was late with the delivery.  It said it would arrive on the 5th when I ordered it at the end of November.  A week is plenty of time.  Apparently not for Amazon Prime.  Something is going on, their shipping is going down the pooper.  They are gonna hear from me!

Meanwhile, he received coffee and cookies also from the kids and I .  The Birthday Pig brought him the Hamilton Soundtrack, which thrilled Chris and Sam to no end.  Poor Eric even had to make his own breakfast of honey flakey biscuits with sausage and cheese, because I can't cook.  I can barely stand.  Maneuvering around the house with crutches is terrible!  My armpits and hands are already getting sore.  And going to the bathroom while on crutches, in public, is quite possibly the most disgusting thing Ever.   At least today Eric didn't have to pull me off the potty like he did Sunday afternoon.   We're having small improvements.   I used to think it was so cool to have crutches.  Turns out, it's really not that exciting, it kind of sucks. 

It sucked for Eric to have to be my Honey Do all day.  
I was grateful to have home though.  It was somewhat more of a treat for me than for him.
At least I got a good nap out of the deal.
Meanwhile, the Fam took care of him, taking him out to a Birthday Dinner of his choice. 

They took us out to dinner at Hirosaki.  
Hirosaki was our favorite sushi restaurant in town.  He prefers that to any birthday cake.   But as soon as we walked in, we could tell things had changed.  There's a new owner.  They don't make the Ginza roll anymore.  The Ginza Roll was because the people that owned Ginza in Indy made this special roll at Ginza, and we loved it from back in the day when we used to go there a lot.  Then they moved to Avon, and bought Hirosaki, and we loved that too.  I'm not sure if I love the service at this new place.  My father in law had to ask for ginger sauce three times, and they had trouble keeping me in water.  Maybe my opinion is skewed because I was hobbling around on crutches, exhausted, and thirsty. The kids order of chicken tempura had only three strips, and they left hungry and demanding dessert.  We weren't sugaring them up on a school night.  No one should go out for sushi and leave hungry.  

Seriously?! Eric and I didn't leave hungry.  Eric and I split a lot of good stuff.  The quality is still good.  We'll have to give them one more try, maybe when I'm less a hot mess.  At least Eric was happy to get stuffed silly with sushi.  I'd guess the root of it was I don't do well with change.  And poor Eric was exhausted from work drama and me drama.   The up side was that it was good to spend some time with his parents.  They've been traveling a lot lately, and we just don't get much time to talk with them.  Most of the time the boys interrupt.  That happens a lot.  Happened here too, but at least, when they were eating, we got to talk some.   I dig that about this time of year, that we get to spend more time with our loved ones.  I guess we can't go wrong with Birthday Sushi.