Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Starting Over... Again

(Isn't this the most adorable thing you've ever seen?!)

Well, our weekend in Branson was a great vacation. Unfortunately, it appears that it has completely undone all of the work we were doing to get Ledger to sleep through the night! So we're starting over... AGAIN! Last night, he was awake and crying for about 2 hours. Chris and I have agreed that if he has already been fed in the last 4 hours, we will comfort him without picking him up. That is definitely easier said than done.

As tempting as it is to just pick him up or nurse him to get him to sleep, I know that in the long run, this will be beneficial for him and us. Right?!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Branson Vacation

We had an excellent vacation this weekend in Branson, Missouri. I, personally, love the detail-filled blogs that my sisters write about their vacations, so this is going to be one of those. :)

We left Salina Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. after Chris' last parent-teacher conference. Ledger wasn't quite asleep when we left, but we needed to get on the road. Unfortunately, getting him to go to sleep in the car is very nearly impossible! Chris sat in the back seat to provide entertainment for the little man... and he did pretty good for the first hour. But for the 45 minutes between Manhattan and Topeka, he screamed bloody murder. Poor Daddy did everything he could to try to comfort him and calm him down, but he was just too worked up. So we pulled off of the interstate and I hopped in the back seat while Chris drove. It took some coercing, but Ledger finally calmed himself down and fell asleep around 9:15. The rest of the drive to KC was peaceful. Josh waited up for us to get to Olathe, but as soon as we arrived, we all retired to our bedrooms and went straight to sleep. (Thanks for letting us crash at your house, though!)

Friday morning we got up and out of the house by 8. But we stopped by Target and grabbed some drive-thru breakfast, so we didn't actually leave KC until 9. Ledger slept all the way from KC to Springfield... which was amazing! I even made Chris check to see if he was still breathing, since that's so abnormal for him. Oh, and here is a fun little challenge... next time you visit Branson, try counting the billboards for "Fantastic Caverns" -- there must have been 100 of them... some of them only 50 yards away from the last one! In Springfield, we stopped at Battlefield Mall in to eat lunch in the food court and shop around a little bit. We finally arrived at our hotel in Branson around 3:30. When we pulled up to the hotel, there were probably 70 people (all over the age of 70!) lounging around in the lobby and patio -- we arrived just after a bus tour! Luckily, it didn't take too long to get checked in and we were happy to get into our room and relax after a long car ride. But we didn't relax for long! Chris was anxious to drive around and see how much Branson had changed since the last time he'd visited in 1993. So we spent an hour driving around town just looking around before we met BoomMa and BoomPa to go to dinner. We were excited to go to Branson Landing for dinner and to see the "Fountain and Fire" show. When we arrived, there were hundreds of people gathered around the fountains -- some of them even brought their own lawn chairs and coolers! Of course, we figured they were just watching the dancing fountains, but then we noticed the stage. Apparently there was a planned musical act for the evening. We ate Mexican food (of course!) and got to see part of the fountain show before we had to head out to get BoomMa and BoomPa to their evening show in time. (The next day, we found out that we missed some great acts at Branson Landing -- including the Liverpool Legends Beatles tribute band) We didn't have anything planned for Friday night, but Chris was very interested in seeing the new Titanic Museum. So I fed Ledger in the parking lot and got him to sleep before we went to the museum. The Titanic Museum was great! It was supposed to be a 90-minute walking tour, but it took us more than 2-hours to get all the way through it. My favorite part was all of the actual "stuff" (like dinner plates and matches and deck chairs) that they've collected. Chris' favorite part was the interactive displays -- like the water you can dip your fingers in that is kept as cold as the actual ocean water around the Titanic and the mock decks that let you try to climb up the boat deck at different inclines. By the time we got back to the hotel around 11pm, we were exhausted!! (PS- There are no pictures allowed in the museum, which is why we don't have any pictures to show you)

On Saturday morning, we woke up early to enjoy the hotel's complimentary breakfast. BoomMa and BoomPa came over and babysat Ledger so that Chris and I could go to Silver Dollar City. Chris loves theme parks, so he had been really looking forward to it! I usually don't love theme parks -- mostly because I get very motion sick on round rides, which severely limits what I can ride without yakking. The last time I'd been to SDC, we rode 1 roller coaster and my friend puked, so we had to leave. As a kid, we went to SDC, but I remember it being terribly lame. So I was really not looking forward to our Saturday. Happily, I was completely proven wrong! Silver Dollar City rocks!! They have 3 main roller coasters -- all of which were fun and unique. The best coaster is called the "Powder Keg" and it's a one-of-a-kind launch coaster, which we thoroughly enjoyed! We also rode "Fire in the Hole", a classic SDC attraction and "Flooded Mine" which is basically a shooting gallery ride (it was so much fun, we rode it three times!). Right now, SDC is in the middle of their Fall Harvest Celebration, so the park is covered in really pretty fall decorations and there are a lot of visiting craft exhibitors. If we had stopped at all of the booths, we'd probably still be at the park -- that's how much there was to do! And don't even get me started on the food! Instead of sticking to typical theme park food -- burgers and chicken strips -- there are multiple, mouthwatering food booths. I ate baked potato soup in a bread bowl and Chris had barbeque beef brisket -- both were excellent! And I had to build up my willpower to walk right on past the apple turnovers and pumpkin cheesecake booths. Around 3, we had to head for the exits to make sure that Ledger had a meal before he started getting really cranky for his wonderful babysitters! But, we're looking forward to going back again soon. We only had a couple of hours of down time after the park before we had to leave to catch our boat... literally. We had reservations for the Showboat Branson Belle. The food and show were very nice, but the highlight was the firework display from shore. Ledger had trouble sleeping through all of the applause on the showboat, so we had a very awkward night time. Another late night on vacation!

Sunday morning, we woke up and packed up all of our bags. (And BOY does it take a lot of bags to travel with a baby!) We met up with BoomMa and BoomPa and drove out of Branson and up to Springfield. We ate at Lambert's Cafe -- the home of throwed rolls -- and we all enjoyed the humongous portions. We ate a lot!! :) Then our family started the long drive back to KC. We had to stop every few hours to feed Ledger and keep him happy. We stopped at Legends in KC to take a break from the road. Our 5-hour trip home took about 8 hours and Ledger was definitely ready to be out of his car seat! Oh well!

All-in-all, it was a great vacation. Exhausting, but worth it! :)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

On The Road Again

Today we're leaving for Branson -- our first family vacation. I sincerely underestimated the amount of packing it would take for us to transport Ledger for a weekend. I'm sure I will learn a lot this trip about what I do and do not need to take with us. Let's just hope that we don't get all the way there and realize we've forgotten something really important... like diapers or binkies. I guess there's something to be said for breastfeeding - at least I can't forget his food!

Wish us luck. We will definitely be blogging from the road!
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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Sleeping In

The last two nights haven't been great... but it's not terrible either. The only way I'm able to make it through the day is because Chris wakes up around 6 a.m. and takes Ledger downstairs with him for about an hour. So I get one complete hour of un-interrupted sleep in the mornings. Then Chris brings Ledger back up to the room where he and I cuddle and go back to sleep while Chris gets ready to go to work. Together, Ledger and I have slept in until 8:45 Tuesday and Wednesday! I LOVE cuddling with him and we both sleep so sound! And today it is nice and cool outside, so I shut off the air conditioner and opened the windows. There is nothing better than sleeping in on a cool fall day. I can't wait until the weekend when all 3 of us can sleep in together!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Weekend Update

On Sunday we had the Heusner crowd over for the first home Chiefs game. We really enjoy the chance to gather with our friends -- even when the Chiefs completely suck and lose to the Raiders. We also staged a Mario Kart tournament for half-time, which was really fun. Damon won, in case you're wondering. Actually, the tournament was so much fun, I'm trying to organize a winter time Kart-a-Palooza at our house involving 3 separate Wiis, a double-elimination bracket, and a $2 buy-in so that the winner gets a little "jackpot".

In Ledger news: thanks to everyone for their sympathy regarding our complete lack of a sleep-schedule. Since Friday, things have improved quite a bit. We are still working on convincing the little man that he only needs to wake up and eat once at night. He is still waking up around 3 or 4 a.m., but I am managing to comfort him and get him back to sleep without picking him up (which is the real challenge). That first night, it took about 45 minutes of fussing for him to fall back to sleep. Last night it only took about 15 minutes. So it is getting better.

Chris and I have also made the big decision to take our first family "vacation". We are taking a long weekend and traveling to Branson! We've made reservations to have dinner aboard the Showboat Branson Belle and visit Silver Dollar City. In planning this vacation, we realized that taking a trip with a 4 and 1/2 month old baby isn't an easy fete -- so we called for back-up. BoomMa and BoomPa Powell are going to meet us in Branson and are going to watch Ledger while Mommy and Daddy go to SDC and generally help us to actually enjoy our getaway. We are really looking forward to our little trip and promise to take lots of pictures for the blog. :)

I'm including some pictures with this blog, because everyone loves recent pictures of the baby! :)

Friday, September 18, 2009

5 a.m.

It is 5:00 a.m. as I write this post. I'm awake because Ledger is awake... again. As I have stated in a few other posts... our sleeping habits are all screwed up right now. He goes to bed really easily and wakes up once around midnight to eat again. After that midnight feeding, he wakes up every 2 hours and most nights I breast feed just to get him to sleep -- which is a really bad habit to get into. So tonight, he ate at 1 a.m. and 3 a.m. and woke up at 4 a.m. screaming mad. He's not gassy, because he burped really well after his previous feeding. I got up and changed his diaper -- another bad habit we've gotten into because it worked once to get him back to sleep.

So now he is awake and mad. I refuse to feed him because he just ate an hour ago -- he can't be hungry. He doesn't want his pacifier and he's fighting so hard that I can't get a swaddle around him. All of our resources give similar advice... most of them telling you to let them cry (checking on them every 5 minutes) until they fall asleep by themselves. This is supposed to teach them self-soothing. I can't put into words how hard it is to hear your baby crying and not run in and pick them up. So who is going to soothe me while I sit here at 5:00 a.m. listening to my baby cry on the baby monitor!?

UPDATE 9/20/2009: Thank you to everyone who read my 5 a.m. post and commented with support and empathy. As with everything, there are good days and bad days... and that was a bad day. The last few days have been better -- with fewer night time feedings and less time awake between feedings.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Deck Project - Step 2

Today we started working on "step 2" of our deck project -- staining. :) It actually goes pretty easy with Chris spraying the stain onto the deck and me following him with the paint pad to smooth it into the wood. This is one of the many things I have learned that I can do one-handed while holding Ledger. He is a good work assistant!

This picture shows Chris staining himself into a corner on the lower deck. We completely finished the lower deck and stairs before we lost the sunlight and got eaten alive by mosquitos. Tomorrow, I am hoping to finish spraying the upper deck and brush-on stain to the lower deck bainsters and railings. The stain takes 24-hours to dry.... so keep your fingers crossed for 2 full days of DRY weather. :)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

I Love This Baby

This week has been pretty good. Uneventful, but good. So I'm going to post some of my favorite pics from this past weekend.... just because. :)

Ledger with a uni-brow.
Ledger hugs uncle Shawn.
Ledger keeps his eyes on Brody.
Ledger kickin' uncle Shawn's butt.

I also recorded this video of Steph playing with Ledger and making him laugh. She does this super-speedy version of pat-a-cake that is really hilarious. :)

Sunday, September 13, 2009


Today, Ledger was baptized. I used it as an excuse to dress him up in a sweater vest -- see the picture above. :)

We were thrilled that Pastor Kent Happel was able to perform the service at Immanuel Lutheran Church (the same pastor at the same church where Chris and I were married). We were a little unsure of how Ledger would react to having water drizzled on his head in front of a crowd of people. Oh, and it was a crowd of people -- we filled the first 5 rows! We were so lucky to have a lot of friends and family able to attend the service and support Ledger.

Ledger did great at the church. He was definitely interested in all of the stained glass windows and new things to look at. He was a perfect baby throughout the baptism and didn't cry or complain at all about having water drizzled on his head. His sponsors, Emily & Josh Perkins and Jaime & Chris Vanderbeck, kept him calm through the whole thing. :) His Grammie Pam also sang a solo during his baptism -- half in English, half in Sweedish (which was pretty cool). We weren't allowed to use a flash during the service, so the pictures are a little grainy.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Steak House Saturday Night

Emily and Josh came into town Saturday afternoon and we all went out to eat at Daimaru Japanese Steak House here in town. We were a little nervous about how Ledger would do with all of the noise, action, and (of course) the fire. You can see the concern on my face in the picture below when they lit the fire. Chris and Ledger are both entranced by the flame. Ledger loved it. He barely took his eyes off of the chef.

Emily and Josh came to Salina bearing presents. She picked up a few of my Craigslist finds -- a lot of Dr. Browns bottles, a Britax car seat, and some sleep sacks. BUT... even better than that... she MADE Leder his own sleep sack. You can read all about it on her blog. Here is a picture of Ledger modeling his custom made sleep sack:

Project Saturday

BoomMa and BoomPa Powell came to visit from Oklahoma. BoomPa loves to help us with any projects that need to be done. Our big "to do" over the last few weeks has been to get the back deck stained. Unfortunately, the weather has not cooperated and we haven't had 48 hours without rain in 2 weeks. Great for the lake water level... not so great for my "to-do" list! We asked BoomPa to bring his power washer with him, and he was able to help us power wash our deck. First off, let me say that I had NO idea how disgustingly dirty that deck was. Second, after seeing these pictures, no one should ever stain their deck without power washing it first!

Before: Faded, but not TOO bad
BoomPa hard at work -- can you see the difference?

Dirty Wood ------Washed Wood

Gross huh? Way to go BoomPa! Now we just have to apply the stain. Hope the weather holds up this week!

Of course, BoomMa and BoomPa didn't just come to work on our projects. :) They came to visit Ledger.

He sure enjoys the special attention he gets from his grandparents.

They decked him out in his OU gear again -- I have to admit that he looks good in "Crimson and Cream".

We even got BoomPa to change his first official diaper as a grandpa! :)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Nobody Loves Me?

As a blogger, the only way you know that anyone is reading what you write is by reading the comments. I *think* that quite a few of my family and friends read this blog... but I don't get a lot of comments. Over in the right-hand sidebar, I have put a new widget that ranks my top commentators. I sure would like to see some other names on there... Emily, Pam, Korey, and Chris?!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

4 Month Doctor's Appointment

Today was Ledger's 4 month doctor's appointment. I was absolutely dreading it because I knew he had to get shots. He got 3 injections in his thighs and 1 oral vaccine. He cried, of course, but I nursed him immediately afterwards and he calmed right down. I asked the nurse practitioner about his "teething" and she didn't seem to think that the chewing and drooling was abnormal at this age. I also asked her about the lack of night sleeping and she said that as long as he is actually waking up to eat at night, that he may be going through a growth spurt right now. We'll see. I sure hope he grows out of it soon... Mommy needs some sleep! :)

Ledger weighed in at 15 lbs and 1/2 oz and was 25.5 inches long -- both numbers put him in the 75th percentile.

Overall, a good checkup. I'm glad it's over and really glad that he doesn't have to do it again until his 6 month check! :)

Saturday, September 5, 2009

4 Months Old

Today Ledger is 4 months old! He has hit a lot of milestones in the past month.
  • Ledger smiles a LOT now -- he is a very happy baby.
  • He has also started laughing. We think this is the most adorable sound on the planet.
  • He can blow bubbles and make raspberries.
  • He chews on his hands all the time, frequently trying to slip his thumb into his mouth.
  • Ledger loves to stand or sit up, refusing to lay in a reclining position for any length of time.
  • He has much improved his hand control and will reach for things that interest him -- food, phones, hair, toys.
  • He is spending his days with his nanny, Darlene, and has formed a special bond with her.
  • He has recently moved out of his 0-3 month clothes and into 3-6 month clothes.
  • He is still wearing size 1-2 diapers... but we'll definitely have him into a bigger size diaper before the end of the month. :)
I would really like to be able to say that Ledger is sleeping through the night... however, he's not even close. I don't know if it's teething pain or what, but the last 2 weeks have been especially sleepless.

As always, we got too many good pictures from his "4 Month" photo session. Click on the collage below to take you to his album to see all of the pictures.

And, I always like to put the pictures side-by-side for comparison. You can definitely see the changes in him...

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Still Teething

As hard as it is to believe... Ledger still seems to be teething! I honestly didn't realize how LONG babies "teethe" before they actually cut teeth. He always has his hands in his mouth -- often chewing on his thumbs and massaging his gums. We have multiple teething toys: refrigerated ones and vibrating ones and textured ones... but the ones he likes best are his fingers, or mine! :) Here are some pictures of Ledger attacking the straw on my plastic cup this week.

The lady holding Ledger in the second photo is Darlene, our "nanny". She is truly wonderful with him. Every morning they play on the floor, practice tummy time, and she gives him a baby massage. He is very spoiled! :) I think he "talks" more to her than to anyone else. I was initially a little worried about having someone come into our house to babysit, but it has been a dream!! I even tried to convince her to consider staying with us until Chris gets done with school in May, but she is insisting on retiring! But we sure do love Darlene. She's like a 4th grandma to Ledger, AND Chris and I have both enjoyed coming home and talking about our days with her. (We owe a big thank you to Grammie Pam for hooking us up with Darlene. She wouldn't be here with us if she didn't think that Pam is a wonderful lady.)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

I'll Take One Baby, Please

Well... Chris and I made it to Walmart last night. It is currently considered un-safe to put your baby's car seat up on the top of a shopping cart, so we always just sit his entire carrier inside the cart. And then we fill the cart with groceries... basically burying Ledger in food. lol. Chris snapped this picture just before we checked out. I'm sure if we tried to ring him up with the rest of the products, he'd be marked "priceless". :)

This week, Chris and I are both working on eating better at home. For our family, it works best to plan meals ahead of time... it just makes our lives easier. So, let's talk food! :) Last night we had turkey burgers and corn. If you haven't switched from regular hamburgers to turkey burgers... you are missing out. They really taste just as good as regular burgers but are 70% more lean! We also love turkey bacon instead of regular bacon. (And while we're talking about substitutions, I have completely converted to wheat pasta and LOVE it!) Tonight we are having chicken enchiladas and vegetable medley (squash, onion, carrots, cauliflower). I don't really like to eat my veggies, but I'm working on it... for Ledger's sake. Tomorrow night, we're having Miracle Lasagna (SO easy and low fat too!) with garlic bread. Thursday we're doing a "Chicken Helper" from-the-box. No shame in my game... I love meals from a box. They're fast and easy and Chris can follow the directions on the box without me having to do anything! :)

Hmm... well, that's my blog for today. Obviously everything is going well here if half of my blog is about food. LOL. Oh, and I realized that there are not very many pictures of ME with Ledger, because I'm always the photographer. So here is a picture of us from this week.