goodbye november

i can't believe november is already behind us. where has this year gone?

annabelle is over 3 months old already. 14 weeks yesterday! she's getting so big. she's full of smiles and even laughs from time to time. she adores her big brother. she can be screaming her head off and he'll walk up to her and she'll just stop. it's so sweet. she's still in a cradle in our room but our pediatrician says - get her out! she's also pretty reliant on the pacifier for sleeping and pediatrician also says - get that out! so we have some big transitions coming up with her. i'm not looking forward to either of them! she's such a good baby i hate to mess with anything, but i know we can't keep her crammed in the cradle forever. i guess now's as good a time as any to make some changes. it feels a little sad, though, because who knows if we'll ever have another peanut in that cradle in our room again. the end of another chapter, but that does mean the beginning of a new one, and it's always fun seeing what comes next.

jakey is 3 1/2 and walks around the house reciting thomas the tank engine stories all the time. he has also started walking around the house singing songs for his christmas program at preschool. it's so cute to hear him walking around singing, "peace on earth... peace on earth..." he is still obsessed with his trains but also likes to build with legos and tinkertoys. his brain is just like ben's: plan, build, perfect. he is the sweetest boy ever. he tells me, "you're the best mama i have never played with" or "daddy's the funnest daddy i've never known!" (we're working on the difference between ever and never... we love to hear it his way, though!) he is so loving and sweet, but has his moments of being a total stinker, so we know he can hold his own.

we had a busy and fun month, celebrating thanksgiving and my birthday. ben has been working a normal schedule so he's had lots of time with the kids, which is awesome.

anyway, at the moment ben's hard at work and i'm procrastinating - I have to get christmas cards AND baby announcements out at some point. let's hope both will happen before christmas actually comes this year! I'll be sending new photos through kodak gallery soon - keep an eye out for them.


Trick or Treat!

We had a very fun Halloween this year!

It all started with our non-pumpkin-carving-pumpkin-carving-party. We had our good friends Sage, Scarlett, Joey, Elliott, Khiara, Tyler and Julianna over to carve pumpkins. Instead we played. It was actually a lot of fun, even if no carving happened.

Then we had perhaps the most chaotic visit to JC Penney for portraits. Good Lord that was an episode. The kids went in their costumes - Jake was Eeyore and Annabelle was Tigger - and we met up with Joey the dragon, Tyler as Handy Manny, Julianna the chili pepper, and Elliott the firefighter ("fire-fire"). We had the slowest photographer on the planet and I'm pretty sure her experience with kids was, well, none. Then it took her 40 minutes to upload our pictures for viewing (we were told 10-15) and when we finally looked at the photos, none of us could find one we loved. Of course she left us with about 10 to choose from (Total!!!) and none were that great. Oh well, it was the experience that counts. We had fun together all in all and the kids did look really cute.

After that madness Jake got to go with his friend Joey to a Halloween Festival at his (Joey's) school! He had a great time. Again the boys got to dress up and this time Jake got to see what Joey's preschool is all about. He loved it!

Finally we went trick-or-treating with grandma, grandpa, and our neighbors, Jonna, Gui and Khiara. The kids were so cute! It was raining so we didn't stay out long, but no one seemed to mind too much. It ended up being a very mellow night and Jacob scored way too much candy. Guess who else benefits from that?

We love Halloween!

(**this post is dedicated to joyce**)


And We're Back!

Wow, only 2 months after the fact and I'm finally introducing our new little girl, little miss Annabelle Millie Bidwell! The last 2 months have already flown by so fast. She was born on September 4, 2008, weighing in at 6 lbs. 15 oz and 20 inches long. At her 2 month appointment she was 11 lbs 4 oz and 23 1/2 inches long. She is growing quickly! Jacob is an amazing big brother. He loves her and always has kisses for her. He loves to get right in her face and say, "Are you talking? Tell me more!" in a high pitched voice. (wonder where he got that). It's so cute. They are both so amazing and we are so lucky to have two healthy, happy, beautiful children.

Also, a HUGE thank you to everyone who helped us out. My sisters, my mom and my in-laws were absolutely amazing. I could not have gotten through those weeks (the "dark days") without all their help. My in-laws are still getting us through these not-so-dark days! My friends that came by and constantly checked in with phone calls, visits and emails are more appreciated than you know. Also, so many people brought us dinner and little gifts, I just can't begin to thank you all. It made the first 6 weeks fly by and made them much easier than they otherwise would have been. Merci mille fois!! Thank you a thousand times. We are so blessed and lucky!


Jake's (late) 3 year Checkup

Today was Jacob's 3 year check-up. We're only about 4 months late - could be worse! He did a great job, even though the doctor had to look in his ears (he HATES that). No tears, no drama or trauma. The only real argument was that he did not want to remove his clothes. That caused some consternation so we compromised. He would remove his clothes but have the honor of donning a lovely hospital gown.

He looked pretty cute and was very happy, kept saying, "This is so cute! This is so cute!"

He is 40 inches tall (83rd %) and 34 pounds (65th %). I swear he has been 33 pounds for a year so it was nice to see that number creep up, ever so slowly. (The nurse may have rounded up, but that's okay!)
All in all, he's right on track and doing what he should (and then some). Phew! He starts school tomorrow, so I'm sure there will be more to say then!


Just Waiting

Here we are, 3 weeks from my due date, just waiting for Jake's sister to arrive! I've been much more uncomfortable this time around than when I was pregnant with little Jake, but it still hasn't been too bad. Aside from the smooshed tiny bladder, I am sleeping well at night and keeping busy with my boys! You can see the latest belly pictures here:
Belly Shots Baby 2

And here's as close as we are getting to seeing her these days: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qNEyCa81XQo
(wait about 18 seconds for action)

In the last month we've had two new friends arrive in this world. Hannah had baby Julianna Claire on August 1,
and Anna Lisa had baby Calina Grace on August 2. Both are such beautiful little baby girls and their moms just look amazing. They both give me hope!

Jacob still hasn't met Julianna, but he had a chance to meet Calina and was really impressed by her small feet. When she started to fuss he kicked into big brother mode and started shushing her. He's going to be so great.

I hope the new mommies
don't mind if I post their adorable babies on here. They are too cute not to share!


Busy, Busy Summer

We have had such a busy (and fun!) summer. We were in Southern California for almost a week, visiting my sisters, mom and dad. Then we came back up here with my sister and her family for a week, left for Pinecrest (see last post) then headed back down south again for almost another week! The day after we drove home my mom flew in for a few days. She left yesterday and tonight we leave for our last hurrah - another weekend in Pinecrest. My sister and her family will meet us up there for the short trip, but it should be relaxing and fun! I guess I'm trying to cram everything possible in since I can't travel in August and I think life in general will be one big, fat blur come September.

We had a checkup yesterday and the baby is head down (yay!) and everything is fine. I feel really good still but losing a little bit of energy. It's still not that bad. I'm not uncomfortable yet and sleep most of the night pretty well (if only I had a catheter). Jacob has been amazing. He is such a trooper for tagging along on all these trips and I know it must be crazy for him. He is such a homebody and is always eager to get back home "to see Gordon" (his train). He still kisses the belly all the time and likes to trade toys with his sister already. I'm sure it will be an insane adjustment for him, but we're all excited.

That's it for now - until the next adventure! Below is a picture of Jake with all his little lady cousins.


4th of July in Pinecrest

Last week we embarked on our annual trip to Pinecrest with the Bidwells and Little Vosovics. It was a much better visit this time than for our anniversary! We arrived late on Tuesday night and slept in a bit Wednesday morning. In a nutshell: we spent some time on the beach, swam a bit in the lake (Jake and Timber were really the only ones technically swimming), took a boat ride, went for a little kayak ride, hiked around the lake and spent a lot of time walking around or relaxing!

The lake hike was much different than years prior, what with Jakey walking for quite a bit of it (he walked about a mile and a half!!) and Juniper along for the ride. Both kids did amazingly well and the adults weren't too bad either! It got pretty hot but we stopped for a while to cool our feet at the inlet. The hike is 4 miles all the way around. Ben had to carry Jake in the backpack for the last 2 1/2 miles, but he did it! Trooper!

The boat ride and "going really, really fast" was Jacob's favorite part of the trip. He got to help daddy drive the boat, which was really exciting!

Ben's favorite part was the wheeling, of course! We made it to Pinecrest Peak (beautiful view) but not quite to Eagle Peak (which is where he proposed 6 years ago!) We also went up to Dodge Ridge, the ski resort, and found a pretty awesome view from what will be a serious ski slope come winter.
We also celebrated Auntie Gig's 30th birthday! Jakey loved helping her blow out her candles, open her presents and eat cake. Jon's parents and aunt came up to celebrate, as did Auntie Robin and Sarah's friends Paul and Sara. It was a full house but so much fun.

I couldn't pick a favorite part of the trip. It was just so nice to be so active and spend so much time outdoors and hanging with everyone. On the other hand, the naps in April and Marty's cozy room were quite a treat as well! Already I am looking forward to the next Pinecrest excursion!


Happy Anniversary! Sort of...

Last weekend we celebrated our 5th Anniversary! I feel like we've been together forever, but the time has also flown. I guess it tends to do that when you're having fun!

We attempted to celebrate up in Pinecrest for the weekend. We had Jake with us. We had driven about 2 1/2 hours and were only 30 miles away when Jacob threw up all over himself in the car. It was so sad! Since we were so close we decided to head up to the cabin. We couldn't imagine making him sit in the car for another 2 1/2 hours home, on a Friday, prime traffic time!

After a quick stop at Wal-mart for all the essentials (thermometer, Tylenol, Pedialyte, Saltines...) we headed up the hill. As soon as we got inside the cabin, he threw up again. Poor guy. This happened a few more times. We were trying not to worry, and in between "bouts" he was actually chatty and trying to play. Then he got really pale, his eyes started to look really sunken, and he just wanted to lay down. He was shivering but his skin was super hot to the touch. As instructed by Kaiser, we took an average of three temperatures: 104.4, 104.6 and 104.5!! This was way too high for our taste, so we packed everything back up and headed back home that night. (Below is about the only picture we have from our weekend!)

Jake managed to keep some Tylenol down and with that went his fever - thank God! Of course that didn't happen until we were already back home at 1 in the morning. The next day he woke up totally fine! No temperature, eating well, active, etc. He has been fine since. That was the quickest bug ever, but I'm not complaining!
Karen & Steve were kind enough to babysit the next night so Ben and I could go out and celebrate in style at La Pinata. We ended up having a great time and a nice, mellow weekend at home. The best laid plans, right? We're hoping we can have another chance up at the cabin some time this summer, before I get too huge! We'll see. We may have to wait until next year! But at least the little man is healthy and back in great spirits.


Jacob's Birthday Party

Jacob was lucky enough to share his birthday party with is good buddy, Joey. The last two birthdays have been more mommy/daddy-centered, but this time it was all about Jake! There was a bouncy house, a balloon master (he really was a master!), climbing tunnels, a climbing wall, and most importantly, lots of good friends! Oh, and a beautiful train cake that Joey's mom, Jamie, made. It was amazing! Below are a couple of pictures from the party, but here's a link to all the party pictures.

Jacob received so many awesome gifts from everyone - thank you! He really had such a fun birthday thanks to all of you!


The Belly

Check out the latest belly shots! (click here). She keeps on growing and growing and growing...

But that's the point, right? This baby is a mover!


Jacob is THREE!

I can't believe our little guy is three.


I got my last BabyCenter email today and it made me teary (I'm sure this has NOTHING to do with hormones). It does not seem that long ago that he was a little noodle, so tiny we were afraid we'd break him. Today he woke up to be three years old.
Last night we decorated his room with some birthday banners while he was sleeping, and made him pancakes in the shape of a smiley face for breakfast (I attempted a J for his name, but it all went backward). I had to work today so Grandma and Grandpa came over to play with him. He had a blast! Then tonight we all went to the Ice Creamery and ingested way too much dairy.

We had such a great time and Jake did NOT want to go to bed. He was too wound up from opening presents. He had wanted two things specifically for his birthday: Molly (the train) and "the jumpy thing that Makenna has" (a little trampoline). Gramps and Grams got him Molly and Hobbie and Bapu got him the trampoline. This kid was SO happy! He received so many nice phone calls, cards and emails and he loved every minute. Thank you, everyone, for helping make his day so special!

(Look at what a little peanut he was! The first picture is courtesy Uncle Chris - I love it! Look at those legs! - and the second was taken just after birth by Ben, when I hadn't seen him yet. Ben brought the camera over to me so I could get my first glimpses of our boy!


Jake vs. his Parents

It has become clear that while I SHOULD be in bed, relishing sleep, I instead spend time making power point comparisons of either my children or, now, my husband and I versus Jake!

No one can decide who Jake looks like. Or they'll say that such-and-such looks like Ben while another part looks like me. I guess he gets his fabulous looks from both sides (haha). Anyway, I'll let you decide for yourself! (I have to say, those eyebrows/that forehead - those expressions are definitely from Ben. But the big old mouth and Turley nose? What do you think?)

~in case you couldn't tell, the first picture is Ben, the rest are me~

March for Babies

(Lynn, Marlis, me, Anne, Nancy, Cathy, Lillian, Julie & Jamie)

Saturday we had our March for Babies. It was a lot of fun! Jake and I met up with the Baby Boot Camp moms at Peet's first thing Saturday morning and then we all mosied on over to the starting line together. And because of all of you that sponsored me, I was a "Top Walker" and got a hat, long-sleeved T-shirt, sweatshirt and gift certificate for a book for Jake! I also got my name and picture in our Boot Camp newsletter with the other two Top Walkers, so that was fun!

The walk was long and the day was really warm, but there was so much good conversation the time just flew by. Jacob spent most of his stroller ride next to his buddy Joey so they had a great time. They swapped cars and trains and snacks and kept each other well occupied.

Again, I can't say thank you enough to your sponsorship and support with this walk. I truly appreciate it and, especially being pregnant, know that's it's going toward a good cause!



I had to post this comparison of the two babies. The picture on the left is Jacob's 17 week ultrasound profile picture. The one on the right is this baby's 17 week picture. I am amazed at how similar they are. The nose and the area from the nose to the upper lip - looks like this baby might get the Turley nose, too! I guess we'll have to wait until September to really see, but it looks probable!

Good Results

Saw the doctor today and all the baby's measurements look terrific! They've updated my due date to 9/8/08 - 4 days earlier. The earlier the better in my opinion! It was hot today and it gave me a little glimpse into how uncomfortable I may be this summer! Thank God for a/c and pools. (Missing the beach right about now - it will be worse this summer!)

Jacob talked a lot about his "baby sister" today so he is in much better spirits. We spent the whole day out and about today and he was an absolute champion. I was so impressed and proud. No issues, no complaining - and he only napped about an hour in the car. For anyone with a child, you know what a big deal this is! :)

By the way, speaking of great results - a HUGE thank you to everyone who is sponsoring me in the March of Dimes March for Babies! I will walk hard for all of you! My original goal was $200 and thanks to you all, I'm already up to $360!! Amazing - you are all amazing. The walk is in 2 weeks - I'll let you know how it goes.


It's a....


We had our "big" ultrasound today and found a little girl kicking around like crazy in there! She was moving like a madwoman. It was really amazing and fun to watch. She did not stop moving the entire hour we were in there. Of course the tech couldn't give us any details, but from what we could tell she has a brain, beating heart, two arms, two legs, fingers, toes, eyes, nose, mouth, etc. All the essentials. The tech did tell us she has a good heartbeat (144 - average I guess is between 120 - 160? Something like that?) and we will learn more at our next doctor's appointment. Also, the AFP (blood test) came back negative, which means they did not detect and abnormalities. Good news!

Jakey was not very happy about having a sister at first. He really wanted a brother. But by the end of the evening he was talking about how he was going to teach his baby sister to play trains - his favorite pasttime - and even show her which direction the trains go. Now if that isn't love, I don't know what is.


the Belly

The belly is growing. And growing and growing and growing. I am the size now that I was when I was 6 months pregnant with Jacob! Oh well, I guess my body knows what it's doing! I have a couple of belly pictures, but not too many. I'll try to take more as the growth speeds up. The first pic here is when I first found out I was pregnant. The second pic is 10 weeks, and the last pic is 16 weeks. My, my how we've grown! (I'm now 17 weeks.)

As for gender, we are hoping Thursday we'll be able to tell. Can't wait! I had a favorite boy name and a favorite girl name picked out but Ben didn't love either one and I didn't like the ones he suggested. So today we finally came up with a list of 5 boy names and 7 girl names we both like. I guess we can narrow it down when we find out what we're having. Try them on for size and see how they fit, see what Jake thinks (though he's already decided "It's a brother and we are calling him Daniel.") We will let you know!


The Joys of Potty Training

So Jacob's potty training is going amazingly well! (Knock wood!) Everyone told me to wait until he was ready and not to force the issue. I was getting impatient (especially knowing there are a LOT of diapers in my future!) but I waited, or WE waited, I should say, and now I'm so glad we did. I know kids can be encouraged along, but I think for us waiting was definitely the right thing to do. He was ready and because of that we've had very few accidents and fewer fights. It was a bit of a struggle the first week, but I think a lot of that was the fact that we were on vacation. Not the best circumstances under which to try this huge new thing! But it all worked out and, for now, it's going really well. We are so grateful and very proud of him. (Here's a picture of him going potty with his great friend, Sage).

On another note, we should hopefully find out a week from today what "flavor" (as Ben would say) this little peanut in my belly is. I will be 17 weeks tomorrow and the time is flying. It is a bit frightening! We have both felt the baby moving, which is incredible, considering it's still pretty early. Big baby? Maybe! We will know more in a week and hopefully have some ultrasound pictures to post!



We just got home from a very fun and busy trip down south to see the family. We took the kids to the San Diego Zoo, a state park for a picnic, to Nonnie's for lunch, and spent a lot of time playing at the ranch.

Our Easter was a blast! We had Easter with Poppo and Nonnie first, then the next day we celebrated at Auntie Barb's and Uncle Bill's with Hobbie, Bapu, Aunties Cat and Steph, Uncles Dustin and Scott, Sheila, Galen, Alexes, David and all the little girls. Jacob had so much fun searching for Easter Eggs with his cousins.

The other exciting thing is that Jacob is potty training. He decided right before our trip that he wanted to go on the big potty, and he has been doing really well ever since. He has even woken up in the dead of night to run to the potty. He usually sleeps like a log, though, just like his dad, so that is not a common occurrence! However, he is doing amazingly well and we are really proud of him. We can't wait until his diapers are a thing of the past!


Wow, I can't even keep up with this blogger business! I guess there's not a whole lot that has happened in the last month. Jacob continues to grow practically before our eyes. He is still super cuddly and sweet. He is going to this drop-in preschool once a week and loves it. We are thinking about signing him up for soccer, too! He would be so cute out there. He's getting so tall and skinny - looking more and more like his dad!

Easter came up on us with a quickness. We are headed to So Cal to spend it with our family down there. We haven't done Easter at Auntie Barb's in a long time. We are very excited to see everyone!


The Holidays are Over!

I love the holidays, but I am so glad they are behind us this year! We had a wonderful time with family and friends, but it gets so busy and stressful! Jacob loved visiting Santa and all he asked for was a bell (he recently saw Polar Express). We celebrated Christmas three times - first with my mom and Prasad, then with my dad, Nonnie, sisters and their families, then with Ben's parents. Each time we had a blast! We were also blessed with a new little niece, Juniper Lily Vosovic, courtesy Ben's sister, Sarah, and her husband Jon. After three Christmases, we were home to host a mini New Year's Eve party. We had friends come over and stay until the wee hours! I have not been up that late in years! It was so much fun, but I think we're all still recovering (Yes, it has been a month). The latest and greatest Jakey news is that he is officially sleeping in a "big-boy-bed!" He has been wonderful about it - staying in it all night and calling for me in the morning and letting me come get him, instead of getting out of bed. Friends warn me this won't last, but I'm happy with it for now. He looks so cute and grown-up in that bed with a fun new quilt from Grandma. I hear him kicking the wall now, so I guess my quiet time is over for today.

Happy New Year!

We finally made it to blogville. I have many friends with a variety of blogs so I thought I should get on board! I am getting worse and worse with emails and pictures so hopefully I'll be better about doing it this way! I will try to update often with just the important details! (hah - as a mom they are ALL important!). We hope you enjoy all the news!