Tuesday, January 31, 2012


At Katie's 18 month check up, her pediatrician was concerned that she had yet another ear infection, and was  delayed in her speech.  She talks all of the time, almost non-stop, but it is just mumbling and copying our inflections.  She referred us to an ENT who found that she had fluid in her left ear,  puss in her right ear, another infection in her right ear and she did not even respond on her right side when they did her hearing test.  We decided that tubes would be the best option for her.

I was admittedly very nervous about the whole thing.  I knew that she would be alright, but the thought of them wheeling my baby off to an operating room without me to be put to sleep was a little unnerving.  My in-laws came over last night to help Jeremy give her a blessing, which helped me relax some.  

So today was the day.  We got to the hospital at 6:15 this morning.  Katie amazed us all by walking herself down the hallway to the pre-op area and climbing right up into the hospital bed.  She sat very still while the nurses took all of her vitals and I spoke to the nurses, the doctor and the anesthesiologist. 
 We changed her into the tiniest hospital gown I have ever seen with tigers all over it and they took her back.  It was over in about ten minutes and they came and got me to meet her in recovery.  All of the nurses were shocked because apparently pretty much all little kids scream when they wake up from the anesthesia, and Katie just sat there.  Her nurse just loved her and wanted to keep holding her.
 Pretty soon she woke up enough to realize I was there and began reaching for me emphatically.  Although, it took her awhile to figure out exactly where I was, she was pretty out of it.
I held her for about ten more minutes until she jumped off my lap, grabbed my hand, and started dragging me towards the door.  Apparently she was done with that place.  The nurses said we could go, so I changed her back into her pajama top and she walked herself to the car.  We were home by 7:45.

They found a solidified ball of puss the size of a marble behind her right ear drum.  They had to put a solution in to break it down and then drain it.  They drained her left ear too and put tubes in both sides.

She seems to already be feeling better and has been very pleasant, but very cuddly, all day.  She got a little scared when Kirsten started playing the piano after school, but they said to expect that as she gets accustomed to the louder noises around her.  Jeremy was wonderful to take the day off work and stay with her all day.  All in all, it was a very pleasant, smooth experience.  I look forward to watching her develop and learn with this new sense of awareness.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Thirty-eight pounds....

You may ask yourself - What could I do with 38 lbs of apples?  Well let me answer that for you.  We got 38 lbs of apples on Saturday for $22.50, too incredible to pass up. I had great plans for them, but honestly had no idea how quickly they would multiply as we started cooking them!

They came in a huge box with 5 layers of apples. 
 Jeremy and Kirsten very diligently peeled, cored and sliced the apples.
 Then we cooked the apples
 And stirred....
 Then we had to mash, and mash....
 and mash some more.
Put that mush into jars
And then the best part - processing them in the pressure canner I got for Christmas!
The result......

14 pints of homemade applesauce
13 jars of apple jelly, and 4 containers of apple freezer jam.
Not bad for a days work!  The best part is that we only used about 24 pounds of apples and still have 14 pounds left.  I ran out of jars, so tomorrow we will be getting more and I am going to try canning apple pie filling.  I really enjoyed doing this more than I ever imagined and I can hardly wait to try something else.  I  think a salsa garden may be in the works this spring!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Everything Else

I figured I would quickly fill in the blanks of everything else going on so far this year with a few pictures.
Katie is completely adorable and growing up so fast.  She loves to go to Kirsten's school and run around the cafeteria.
Katie is also developing a very strong opinion in certain areas.  She insists on picking out her clothes everyday and her pajamas every night.  If we pick it out, she just takes it off.  She wants shoes and her jean jacket on all of the time, and only lets me fix her hair if she is in front of the mirror and can see what I am doing.

She is also refusing to sit in her highchair anymore.  We had the Cochran's over for dinner last Sunday and so we pulled to booster seat out for their little one.  Katie climbed into it and sat there for over an hour.  It has since become her permanent place at the table.
She is also starting to play with her friends more and is particular about which ones she wants to play with.  Here she is with Luke and Owen playing the world's most beautiful piano trio!
Katie also LOVES brushing her teeth.  She seriously does it about six times a day.  She copies Kirsten exactly which has helped Kirsten become more diligent in her brushing. It has become part of their nightly ritual - bathe together, matching pajamas, brush teeth together, read a story in Kirsten's bed together, sing a song together, and then get tucked in at the same time.
 I feel seriously blessed that they love each other so much and love being together and doing things together.  Kirsten told me the other day that she and Katie were best friends in heaven, so Jesus let them be sisters.  It brought tears to my eyes to realize just how much she loves her sister.

We have been trying to enjoy some family time whenever we can.  Friday was kind of crazy so we had a picnic in the living room and watched CARS 2.  The girls were thrilled to stay up past their bedtime.
My dad spent the last month in Afghanistan.  We have been so worried about him and praying continuously for his safety.  His birthday was Friday and he came home Saturday.  They came straight from the airport to our house and we were able to celebrate his birthday with dinner and carrot cake.  The girls were so excited to see their grandpa.
I found at that I am going to have to have surgery on my ankle.  I injured on my mission ten years ago and it never fully healed.  I re-injured it running this fall.  The tendon just under my ankle bone is ruptured.  We have decided to schedule the surgery for March 5th so that I will have two weeks off of work - one being spring break.  I will have to be completely off of my foot for a month, which should be interesting with Katie, but thanks to wonderful family and friends, I think we will actually be able to make this work.  As much as I am not looking forward to this, I am looking forward to an end to the pain that has been plaguing me for so many years.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

You're a STAR STUDENT!!!!

Kirsten was the Star Student in her class at school this week.  She was so excited to be chosen and has been looking forward to this all year long.  She was able to go to the library and pick out a dog to bring home for the week.
 She chose Biscuit and brought him home, complete with a carrier and book.
We also made a poster all about her that she got to take to school.
 On Friday we went to Good Morning Ogle where they honor all of the Star Students.
Here is Kirsten with her STAR
 Dancing on stage with all the other Star Students.
Kirsten also brought home her report card this week.  She got all checks - an absolutely perfect report card!  Kirsten is truly the "STAR" of our lives!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Jeremy's kind of fun

Jeremy has a big smile on his face because he is having a ton of fun...
 taking apart my computer!  
He enjoyed himself way too much.  I do have to admit that I was thoroughly impressed though (while simultaneously being freaked out).  He was able to change out the mouse touchpad on my lap top for a grand total of $8.  Add that to the dryer and freezer that he recently fixed, and he has saved us hundreds of dollars in the past two months.  I am so blessed to have such a versatile handy-man in the house!

A song and a trip

Friday was a big day for Kirsten.  It started off with her class performance at Good Morning Ogle.  They sang a really cute song about telling time. 

 Grandma Alleman came up to watch her perform and then took Katie home with her so that I could go with Kirsten on her class field trip to Frisco Fire Safety Town.

They started out with a class on car and pedestrian safety.  It was not the highlight of the day....
 But soon enough we made it outside where Kirsten's class got to drive the Jeeps.  It became pretty chaotic and we were joking that we now know what the Liberty HS parking lot will look like in ten years!
 After about 30 minutes, they switched with the other class and her class got to practice pedestrian safety through the little town.  Kirsten loved running around with her friends, especially Caroline.
 Mrs Bolling's class in front of the fire truck
 Mommy and her angel
We had such a great time together and I loved being able to spend this special time with my special girl.

18 Months

So Katie actually did turn 18 months old at the end of December.  Time is just flying by so quickly!  At her 18 month check up she was 27lbs 10 oz (88%) and 33 1/2 inches (92%).  So she went down a few percent in her weight and up a few in her height.  Overall she is just a really big sweetheart that is wearing 3T clothes at 18 months old!

The best part of turning 18 months old is starting nursery!  She went on New Year's Day for the first time.  She jumped right in and started playing with her friends. 

 Jeremy and I hardly knew what to do with ourselves when we got to actually go to Sunday School together! Of course that only lasted one week because he is teaching Gospel Principles and I am doing the new member lessons for Bri who was baptized in November.

She has been three weeks now, and it is actually getting progressively worse, which I did not expect, but we will work through it.

At the park the other day a friend of mine had her Canon Rebel T3i with her (my dream camera) and she let me play with it a while.  I got some cute pictures of Katie on the swings.

We have Katie's speech assessment on the 31st of this month and a visit with the ENT next Monday.  Hopefully we can figure out how to help her start talking more.  She is such a wonderful little girl, and I can tell she has so much she wants to say to us.  I love my Katie!

New Year's Eve

We ended out holiday season with a fantastic New Year's Eve.  We started the morning by heading to the mall for Kirsten to make her build-a-bear.  She has been doing extra chores and saving all of her money since September so that she could buy herself one.  She is so dedicated when she puts her mind to something, $30 is a lot of money for a 6 year old to earn and save!  She ended up making a bunny, and named it Bun-Bun.  I was so proud of her as she picked it out, made it, then counted out her money for the cashier.
We then headed quickly over to Nancy's house for our annual New Year's at Noon party that the Craig Ranch Moms Group puts on for the kiddos.  They had a blast, but we may have to re-think the noise makers next year!
Kirsten and I enjoyed the beautiful weather by riding our bikes to Nancy's house.  She worked so hard over Christmas break with daddy and was able to learn to ride her bike without training wheels!  She loves it and we go bike riding almost everyday now.  I am definitely getting a lot of use out of my bike and trailer for Katie.

That evening we started a fire in our fire pit and had Grandma and Grandpa Lowe over to roast hot dogs.  The girls had so much fun being able to cook their own dinner and be outside.

It started to get super windy as a cold front was coming through, so we moved the party indoors.  The Lendermans came over after dinner and we had a blast playing games, watching movies and making s'mores in the fireplace.

We got the kids to bed about 10, and then Jeremy and I counted down to 11 pm with the NewYork ball drop and headed to bed.  Nothing like 9 am church to end a New Year's Eve party early!

We enjoyed setting our goals for 2012 with the kids Sunday night and I am so thrilled with some of Kirsten's goals.  Her number one goal she set was to read the Book of Mormon by herself this year.  She is doing great and is already well on her way.  She is a great example to us as she reads first thing every morning and last thing before bed each night.  This is going to be a great year!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Christmas 2011

We had such a wonderful Christmas this year.   I think that the highlight was having my little sister, Jenny, her for four days.  It is the most time that I have spent with her since June of 2001 when she graduated from high school and went to New York for college and I left for Honduras for my mission.  It was great to see her and to watch my girls getting to know their Aunt Jenny. 

We enjoyed having my mom here too and invited the Lenderman Family over for Christmas eve.  We were brave and had a kids only table in the living room.
Jeremy kept up our tradition of reading T'was the Night Before Christmas
Followed by all the kiddos acting out the Christmas story.  Kirsten and Michael were Mary and Joseph, and Rebecca had the starring role as baby Jesus.
Rachel and Katie were the cutest Shepherds ever, and Jenny was the Angel of the Lord (because she was the only "LOWE" in the house).
Kirsten and Katie also got to open the matching nightgowns that I made for them.
Leaving cookies and milk for Santa Claus
 And the stockings were hung by the chimney with care....
It was great having Jenny's stocking with ours.  Santa left two shiny presents and filled the stockings.  Jeremy made Katie a toy box that I covered.  He also made Kirsten a bed for her American Girl Doll, and I made the bedding.  They were so excited!  The girls received so many wonderful gifts from family, here are a few of the highlights.
The CD player Kirsten got from Santa
Matching Princess Pajamas from Aunt Anne
A stuffed Kitty from her big sister
A stroller for her dolls from Grandma and Grandpa Lowe
A watch from Mommy and Daddy
And boots from Great Grandma Adams
I was also able to find beautiful matching Christmas Dresses for the girls.  
After church, we came home and got ready for Christmas dinner.  I made a turkey, rolls, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, dressing, an apple pie and a pumpkin pie.  It was exhausting, but so fun at the same time.  Jeremy loved being able to carve the turkey for the first time in his life!
We really enjoyed hosting Christmas this year, and were so thrilled to have my mom and Jenny out.  My mom left after dinner on Sunday.  Sunday night we opened presents with my dad and enjoyed pies.

Monday we got up early and went to Cracker Barrel for breakfast - Patty's favorite!  We enjoyed shopping at Hobby Lobby and then went to see Puss in Boots and the dollar movie.  We had dinner at my dad's and then had to say goodbye to Jenny.  Kirsten cried when she woke up Tuesday and Jenny was already gone.

Tuesday afternoon we headed over to Jeremy's mom and dad's house for Christmas with them.  Megan gave the girls Disney Princess dolls, his mom mad the girls beautiful embroidered towels, and his dad made a periscope for them.

We enjoyed a great spaghetti dinner and tons of dancing with the Wii.
They also gave Kirsten and Katie matching pajamas (yes, that makes 3 matching sets for Christmas).
I think Jeremy got the most coveted gift of all....
A Kinex Rollercoaster.  I think his brothers are all jealous!  I do not know who had more fun putting it together, him or Kirsten.  It has already gotten hours of play time this week!

We had such a wonderful Christmas this year.  We feel so blessed and are so grateful for this time of year to spend with family celebrating the birth of our Savior.