Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Forgive me for this lapse in blogging - when I sit down at night my head goes blank. I think I say this everytime. :)

But coming up this week at the deMontaigne house - A Princess Party for Ella this Saturday. I'm making a castle cake that I found on the Family Fun website. I'm not posting any pictures of their example unless mine turns out better! So I just made two batches of buttercream icing and tomorrow I'm baking cakes in hopes of not having a kitchen full of powdered sugar and icing and crumbs at midnight on Friday. We'll see how that goes! Ella is sooo excited for this party that I'm a little nervous that she'll be easily disappointed if everything doesn't go exactly as she has planned (case in point, I would have liked the cake to be a total surprise but she said she wanted a princess cake and need to "test the waters" to make sure she would be alright with a castle cake) or go into a state of depression when it's over. At least we have Christmas to look forward to. January has the potential to be a long tough month.

I'll be sure and post pictures and details about the party on Saturday. I'm sure it will be quite the event.

Hopefully Renee will get an update on her blog soon because her family has had an eventful week. They spent two and half days down at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia with their newborn little girl Mia. She was showing symptoms that had their pediatrician concerned so little Mia had to undergo a number of tests, including a spinal tap, in order to rule out any diseases that could be dangerous for a newborn. Thankfully the doctors determined that it was a virus so they all were able to go home this past Monday and start adjusting to life with two kids. It was a scary few days waiting to hear how Mia was doing and I really haven't done any justice to their experience because 1. it's not my story to tell and 2. it really deserves it's own post. So check over to Renee's blog an update which I'm sure she'll be doing before too long. Because you know having a newborn and a toddler really don't keep you that busy!!!

I'm closing this post on a very un-serious note. But I have to put it out there because it has caused me distress and Matt isn't home and you, my blogging friends, are the only ones I have to tell about it. Sunday night we had some internet and phone problems. Our services are all through Comcast and are cable was the only one working. After a long time on the phone with a technician (extremely helpful and patient I must say) we figured out it was the splitter (???) we were using to get everything connected. In order to get our phone and internet working we had to disconnect the family room cable. Not a problem. Matt hooked it up again Tuesday night. But from that moment on the DVR box was frozen - it wouldn't turn on or off an the time wasn't changing. Again, I wasn't too worried. I figured I would call Comcast and they would send a signal (that's what they say they're doing -kind of weird) and fix it all up. That's basically what they did, but when I turned on the DVR, EVERYTHING WAS ERASED!!! For those of you who don't tivo or DVR this means nothing to you, but hopefully there are a few of you who might feel my pain. I have, I mean, had, a ton of kids' shows that I could put on when Ella would watch something at night - very convenient. I often tape something I'm interested in and don't have time to watch and I have it set to tape the shows that we watch on a weekly basis. Because rarely do we watch them while they're aired. And of course because of the holiday we haven't watched tv in a week and my Grey's Anatomy and Friday Night Lights and Chuck all were deleted. Plus the old episodes of The Office that were on there just in case I felt in need of a laugh. All gone. As I type this I realize it's not a big deal. Not in the grand scheme of things. Not even in the small scheme of things. I know that. But I enjoy TV to help me chill out and relax at the end of the night and it's nice to know there is something you're interested in watching all taped and waiting for you to watch. That's it, just had to share.

Check in the end of this week to see a cake that hopefully looks like a castle as well as Ella, AKA Cinderella. I'm sure you'll be curious to see if I am able to replicate Cinderella's hairstyle/do on Ella as she insists that I must. Nevermind that Cinderella is a CARTOON DRAWING. This does not compute to an (almost) four year old and has the potential to be our first obstacle on Saturday. Those of you with boys are just feeling pretty lucky right now!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Just a Few Thoughts

As usual no clear theme, just a bunch of snippets from the past few days...

1. Matt is finally starting to feel better. He left the house for the first time since Wednesday to go to church today and I am thankful we're moving in the right direction after a few set backs. Of course today Ella was having a fit of anger and resisting Matt's attempts to talk to her and she accidentally bumped his nose. Not good. I'm hoping it doesn't effect his progress because it definitely caused a great deal of pain.

2. One of my best friend's, Renee, just had her second baby, Mia Rose, tonight (I started this last night, so actually she had the baby yesterday). She'd been having contractions for a few days and was minutes from going to the birth center in the middle of the night on Saturday when things died down a bit. I think she was glad she waited because when it was time everything happened quickly. She just updated her blog so you can head there to check out some pictures of their beautiful little girl. I got to spend some time there this afternoon holding the little one - there is nothing like holding a sleeping newborn! OH yeah, I guess I should add that because she delivered at a birth center they went home 12 hours after delivering. It may seem crazy but their house felt much more peaceful and relaxing than any hospital.

3. The other day Matt was trying to get Ella into her pajamas, her Pittsburgh Steeler pajamas to be specific. She complaind that she didn't want to wear them because "I don't like the Steelers and I don't like football." Matt gasped and told her that she couldn't say that to me because that was my favorite team but since the pjs were her softest pair she might as well put them on. Done. Later on she whispered to Matt "don't tell mommy that I don't like the Steelers and football." Of course Matt is getting a kick out of this, probably hoping there's still a chance she'll be an Eagles fan (over my dead body). Yesterday afternoon as we had our afternoon football on (the Eagles mind you) Ella came up to and gave me a big hug and said "Mommy, I like the Steelers. The Steelers are really fun." Yup, working the parents already. Can you see why I'm nervous about the teenage years?

4. Compared to Ella, Catherine is the easy one. But she has started to exert her strong will in some random areas. Like socks and shoes. It's taken us about two weeks to get her to wear them without throwing a major fit. She still fights it a bit but it's gotten alot better. I haven't had to straddle her in order to force her to put shoes on in a couple of days now. I blame it on the exceptionally warm fall that we had which prolonged the use of her precious princess sandles into mid October. But now we have Dora sneakers so things are getting better. Of course putting on tights to go to church provided us with another challenge. Because of this warm fall we haven't had to wear coats to often either. It's been in the 30's the past couple days and every day Catherine insists on leaving the house without a coat. She's gets about two inches out the door before she retreats and says "coat please". Our other little issue is that of diapers. I would like to potty train but I haven't been able to carve out the time. But sometimes Catherine decides she wants to go and we'll find her pantless sitting on the baby potty. With nothing in it of course. And then there was the night when she took off her diaper and said "bye bye diaper, bye diaper" over and over again. Yes, Catherine - we do want to say goodbye to diapers. Just not right before bed. So those are some of our Catherine issues. And still I can say that she's our easy one. Doesn't even begin to compare to moods of Ella.

5. We're leaving Wednesday to visit Matt's family in Ellicott City MD. We do this almost every year, but this year my parents are coming as well. Our parents haven't hung out in years even though they all enjoy each other's company so it should be a fun time. On Friday morning I'll drag myself out of bed around 4:30 or 5am and head to do some crazy BLACK FRIDAY SHOPPING with my mother in law. There are so many deals that I really have to make a list and stick to it or I might end up coming home with all sorts of things just because it was on sale! so hard to pass up some of those deals.

Off to bed unless I can't pull myself away from Monday night football. Matt needs four points to win in a Fantasy league so he might need some moral support.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Now comes the fun part

We're home again - after a looooong day at the surgery center. Matt is upstairs in a state of semi consciousness from the lingering effects of the anethesia and the new effect of his pain medicine. His surgery went quickly and I was initially told he would be in recovery at 11:30 and heading home by 12 or 12:30. Due to complications with his blood pressure, nausea and continued grogginess, he wasn't moved from post-op to recovery until close to 3pm. It was hard to see him in so much discomfort - I know without a doubt that I haven't missed my calling as a nurse - I can't handle seeing others in pain.

Tomorrow he gets the packing, aka tampons (seriously, that's what the Dr. called them), out of his nose. Once we get past that fun experience I'm hoping we see some improvement. I got a surprise offer a help from Matt's mom and she is coming tomorrow for the next day or two. Definitely an answer to prayers because I feeling nervous about being a caretaker to Matt and having the kids dependent upon me as well.

That's all for now. Thanks for checking in and I'm sure I'll have another update along with something a bit more exciting and fun to read!!!

One funny bit was that Ella thought that Matt was sick and was contagious so she was hiding from him when we got home (not like he was in the mood for saying hi to anyone). I realized this when she went to sit on the couch and said something like "did Daddy sit here? Is it ok to sit here?" I explained that she couldn't catch anything from him, but now that I think of it I really should have played up the contagious bit. That is probably the only thing that would keep her from coming in our room and trying to crawl over Matt to snuggle between us in the morning. As it is I will most likely lay awake from 7am on listening for the sound of her door opening so I can intercept her. Oh well, hindsight is 20-20!!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Is anyone else in shock that Thanksgiving is next week? Somehow that just doesn't seem right seeing as how I just put away my summer clothes.

So we got Ella's preschool picture back last week. Of course because I ordered the smallest and cheapest package it turned out adorable - no pirate smile at all! Now I have one 5X7 and about 8 wallets of a really cute picture. I'll definitely share it with you when I get a chance to scan or take a picture of it. Along with her individual shot we have a class photo as well. There's just something about having her first class photo and first school picture that hit me hard. My mom kept every single 5X7 school picture from every year - preschool through 12th grade. They are all lined up in order from youngest to oldest. Many times a friend/boyfriend (or in brother's case, girlfriend)/extended family member/random visitor has enjoyed a good laugh looking at the Koerber kids from 4 to 18. Because you know in there were some awkward years. For some of us more than others, but none of us escaped it. I'm curious - how many of you that read this blog have had the privilege of The School Photo Tour? Well now we have our first photo for Ella. It's framed and sitting in our family room reminding me of myself at that age and making me excited and also nervous for all the many more photos to come. Not because of what they'll look like, but because of all the learning and growing and struggling and succeeding and failing and hurting and rejoicing that those years will bring. It's hard to be at the point when you have to start letting your children out "there" to experience life on their own. Obviously it's just a few hours a week at this point but that photo on our entertainment center is just one more reminder that Ella is growing up. I'm not sure I'm ready for it, but I have to accept it!

A big event is coming up in the deMontaigne household. Matt is having a septoplasty on Wednesday to repair his severely deviated septum and hopefully help him breath better and sleep more soundly. I have to honestly say that I haven't given it a ton of thought - which is unusual for me. In fact last night I mentioned it to Matt and he said "oh yeah" - because he kept forgetting that it was coming up in a few days. So today, in typical Megan fashion, I began looking up information on the procedure and the recovery time. I even found a blog that detailed one man's recovery period. Of course that means that now I am not as relaxed about it. I'm nervous about how he's going to feel afterwards and how quickly he'll start to reap the benefits of having the surgery. We leave to visit his family for Thanksgiving next Wednesday and neither one of us have factored his recovery into the equation. For some having this procedure has been a walk in the park, for others it seems to take two weeks at the very least to start to feel back to normal. So yeah, that kind of freaks me out. But I know all I can do is pray for Matt and his doctor and anyone else involved with his surgery on Wednesday and for the recovery afterwards. Hopefully you'll join in praying as well. I'll keep you posted....

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Need Advice....

I've been waiting for this week's edition of Works for Me Wednesday for awhile now. Typically Shannon at Rocks in my Dryer has people list all sorts of tips and advice that they want to share with the blogging world. But this week is the second time she's doing it backwards and you get to post something about which others can give you advice and tips!

I have a couple of things I would love to get some feedback on, all kid related....

1. Teaching thanfulness. I know this is a pretty broad topic, but with me it has to do specifically with my almost four year old daughter Ella. Recently we've been dealing with some major attitude issues and alot of it is about her wishing she had the same bike as her friend, or not having a dress or pair of shoes that she sees someone else with - it really goes on and on about trivial things. She says things like "this is so unfair" or "that's so horrible" - and she's not even four!!! I want her to be thankful and grateful for all the things she has and not be so wrapped up in possessions. Short of telling her to be thankful and doing things like Operation Christmas Child does anyone have any creative ideas for helping her see how good she's go it? OR is this just something we have to deal with because she's a preschooler and figuring things out and not that uncommon. I just don't want a child growing up obsessed with having things that everyone else has (make for tough teenage years) and being materialistic. Again, I know this might be alot to worry about with someone this young but it's frustrating to have her saying that it's so unfair that she doesn't have a bike with a basket like so-and-so, her bike is sooooo much cooler than my bike......

2. Any ideas or tips on how to remove craft paint (the kind you buy at Michael's or AC Moore for less than a buck a piece) from clothing??? Is it hopeless?

3. Chore Chart/Behavior Chart. I've been meaning to start a chart for Ella (and Catherine, just over 2, not sure if she's old enough yet) with some daily responsibilities and perhaps one for her behavior. I'm hoping it will help curb some of the issues I've been having with her acting out being stubborn about silly things. The thing is I get stuck in the details. How much is too much? Do you reward after each day or at the end of the week? Do you add up all the ways they cooperated and they have to meet a certain amount each day/week? How do you handle the times (because with us there will be many) when they don't cooperate? Anyone will to give examples with specifics would be greatly appreciated. Also, it has to be simple or it won't last in our household.

Thanks for taking the time to help me out here!!! Post your own questions or go help others with their's by clicking here.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Traveling Reports

This time last week I was on the last hour and half of a ten hour drive home from Asheville North Carolina (I started this post last night but got caught up watching the Eagles lose). We left at 11:30 AM and after a number of stops, we got home shortly before 11 PM. Overall not a bad trip. The kids did really well with all the driving. The one downer was that we borrowed a portable DVD player from our neighbors and then one of those cool bags that allows it to hang between the two front seats from friends. The downer about it was that the neighbors didn't give us the correct power cord so after 45 minutes on the trip down (luckily it was right before they were falling asleep) it died and we no longer had a nice high tech distraction.

The purpose of the trip was to go to the wedding of my cousin Shiloh Mielke and his fiance, now wife, Josie. It was a really nice outdoor wedding. The colors were gorgeous and the weather was really perfect for a late October wedding.

Following are a few pictures from the wedding...

Josie and Shiloh

Me and Catherine - she's not so sure about this whole wedding thing...
Ella, on the other hand, is quite happy to be sitting with her cousin Isaac!

The both did really well during the wedding. It was an evening wedding so that meant the reception was late. Luckily there was a little area blocked off for the kids, where they had a movie playing, pizza, soda and a couple of babysitters. Seriously, it was genius! Except the kids were done eating and bored with the movie well before we were served our meals. All in all it actually worked out pretty well - by the end of the night Ella was just running back and forth from our table, to my parents, to the dance floor. I think some of the time she just stood in front of the gorgeous three layer chocolate cake and drooled. I knew one thing for sure - in order to avoid a major tantrum we were not leaving until we had a piece of cake. Ella wouldn't have been happy either! :)Trust me, it was well worth the wait. And all that chocolate gave the kids (and me) the boost they needed to make it until almost 11pm!
The next day we went for a hike with my parents, brother and fam, a few uncles and aunts and cousins. Asheville and the surrounding area has so many gorgeous places to explore - definitely a great place for anyone who spending time outdoors.
There's just something about this picture that I love. Perhaps it's the light behind Ella making her look a bit angelic?? Hahahahahahaha!!! Just the thought of that....!
We tried to get a nice family picture. Tried.
Catherine finally decided she wanted to walk on her own on the return trip. That's her hiking back with my Uncle Bob.

We stayed with my Uncle Bob and Aunt Cindy. I have some pictures of their beautiful custom built home that my Uncle designed and built, but blogger is not cooperating. I do have one picture of their side yard where he built a waterfall into the rocks. I just love it and I would have loved to have had a chance t0 relax out there. Someone else beat me to it.....look closely...

The highlight of the trip was probably visiting my grandparents (my dad's parents) grave site. My Grandma Sissy and Grandpa Ike were married for 50 wonderful years and buried side by side. I wasn't at my grandfather's burial so I hadn't been up there since 1992 and I'd never seen the headstone. All eight Koerber kids (my dad is the second of eight) plus some spouses and cousins and even some of the young kids gathered up there and spent some time sharing and reminiscing about the life and adventures of my grandparents. They were both such dynamic people who loved the Lord and it showed in how they lived their lives. Their lives were spent reaching and loving and serving others. I grew up being entertained by the stories of their full house and touched by hearing of all the people whose lives were touched because of compassion Sis and Ike.
This was echoed in a prayer/song that my grandma used to always sing....and the title is what's engraved on their headstone.
Others, Lord, Others
Lord, help me live from day to day
In such a self-forgetful way
That even when I kneel to pray
My prayer shall be for—Others.

Others, Lord, yes others,
Let this my motto be,
Help me to live for others,
That I may live like Thee

I left feeling encouraged and challenged by the legacy that has been left by my grandparents. One of living life by always putting others first. And not just the ones who make it easy - like your kids and your friends - but the least of these - unwed mothers (50 years ago I'm sure this was not as common as it is today and not highly regarded), refugees, or parolled convicts. A small example of the people who my grandparents brought into their home and their lives and showed them Christ through their words and actions. It definitely leads me to look around my home and life and pray the prayer of my grandparents, "Others, Lord, others."

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