Friday, December 31, 2010

Farewell 2010!

Originally my last post of 2010 was going to be of a little New Year's get together we were planning for tonight. But, after the week we've had, we decided to cancel it. A visit to the doc this morning revealed that Dec is on his way to getting better, but he is still fighting pneumonia. Plus, the meds he is on are making him a little crazy!  We will be ordering Chinese and watching Wall Street tonight;)
So, I decided to post a slide show highlighting what a wonderful year 2010 was.
Farewell 2010! A spectacular year - I am a little sad to say good-bye.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Eve of Christmas Eve

In an attempt to squeeze in a little more Christmas fun before the holiday season ends, Declan and I went to SeaWorld with the Ellie, Lola, Micah, and Aidan ( the twins' cousin) to watch the Polar Express 4D (a 20 minute version of the real movie)! It was awesome! So many effects (like falling snow, wind, and a vibrating chair) to make you feel like you were in the movie! We also did a little bit of playing before the movie began!

That night we went to the Botanical Gardens Garden of Lights with Micah and Jaimie. We looked at the Christmas train(a big hit with the boys), made Christmas ornaments in the craft house, and listened to live Christmas music on the lawn. It was the perfect event to end the Christmas season!


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

"Tired Little Tiger"

"Tired Little Tiger" was what was written all over little Declan's hospital gown on Monday. Yes, we unfortunately had our first experience with the ER. Ugh! On Christmas morning Declan woke up with a slight cough - no biggie. But, by Sunday morning his breathing was shallow and rapid. After speaking with our pediatrician on the phone, we were advised to stay home Sunday night, but bring him into the office first thing Monday morning. I had my monthly check-up, so Adam took Dec to the doctor. There they gave him a nebulizer treatment (breathing in vaporized medicine through a mask) to open up his airways. They thought it was RSV (some sort of respiratory diagnosis), but an X-Ray showed differently. We got a call from the doctor that afternoon reporting that he has pneumonia and that we needed to go to the ER.
Our pediatrician and PA were amazing through the whole experience. On the phone with different hospitals, trying to get us direct admittance (unfortunately, due to a flood and other situations we had to go to the ER), calling us a number of times throughout the day to make sure we were okay, - they even gave us their direct cell phone number for after hours! It is so nice to know that when it really counts, 
we have an awesome pediatrician! 
Basically we just did a lot of waiting at the hospital. When they finally took us to a room, they monitored Declan's breathing for awhile, which was better because of the nebulizer treatment. After about 8 hours, we were finally sent home. A very long day for all of us! 
Dec is doing much better now - thanks to meds and a second nebulizer treatment on Tuesday. We are starting to see signs of our little guy coming back to us! Other than a lack of appetite and nasty congestion, you would never know he was so sick just a couple of days ago!!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Baby Love: 23 Weeks

Pregnancy Highlights:
How Far Along: 23 weeks
Size of Baby: She's more than 11 inches long and weighs just over a pound (about as large as a Mango).
Total Weight Gain: 8.5 lbs
Maternity Clothes: Not this week.
Gender: Girl 
Movement: She is especially active at night.
Sleep: Sleeping surprisingly well!
Food Cravings: I have developed a strange love for kiwi's. I eat at least one a day (this is not usually a fruit I favor). Also, I won't lie, I indulged in way too many Christmas goodies this past weekend!
What I Miss: Nothing this week.
Symptoms: Just my growing belly, and a short temper ;)
Best Moment This Week: A wonderful Christmas. Giving Declan his train table was magical! We also received lots of fun outfits for baby girl! And, a healthy check-up for baby this morning! Moving right along...I only have 3 more weeks of the second trimester left!
What I Am Looking Forward To:  A small New Year's celebration with friends.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

A Very Merry Christmas! -Video

We've had a very busy, very fun couple of days! I'm going to start this post on Christmas Eve. I spent most of the day baking, and of course my little Declan helped!
That evening we met the Herkert clan for Christmas Eve mass and then off to the Gryns for Christmas Eve dinner. The cousins were especially wound up this evening - I'm guessing it had to do with the excitement of Santa coming for a visit! Dec and Lily are shirtless in the picture below because we had lasagna for dinner and didn't trust the little ones in their nice church clothes.
After dinner we headed straight home! We had to put little one to bed so Daddy could put together Dec's train table! Adam and I were so excited about the train table!
A work in progress!!
As we went to bed that evening, I felt like a little kid on Christmas Eve - so excited to give Dec his presents in the morning! Onto...

Christmas Morning!!

Here come Daddy and Dec down the stairs on Christmas morning! 

As you can see, Dec is quite excited! But, it's not because of the train table...yet! We hid that in the other room so the other presents would have a chance of being opened. So what is Dec so excited about? Thomas of course!


This toy chest came with the train set we bought. As you can see, Declan loves it!! The presence of Thomas started our Christmas morning out with a bang!
We spent the next hour slowly opening some other small presents we bought Dec. I think his favorite is this simple Melissa and Doug hammer and nails:
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Before we rocked Dec's world with the awesome new train table, we thought this might be a good time to stop for breakfast. I was very pleased that the monkey bread turned out to be a huge hit, and was so easy to make! This will for sure be made every Christmas morning!
My little monkey loved pulling it apart!
Okay, I think we have waited long enough! Time to unveil the Train table! Thanks to the contribution of many family members, we were able to spring for the big table with lots of pieces! Thank you to everyone who helped buy this gift - you helped make a little boys Christmas traintacular!

The first glance...

The realization of what just happened...

Literally hours of fun!

It is really cute, Dec wants to include Daddy and Mommy in the fun. He always brings us this specific train and either says "Dad" or "Mom" (the clearest pronunciation I have heard to date) and points to the table, inviting us to play (or demanding - however you want to look at it). This is our train, Duke:

After a good nap, we headed over to G-Mom and Grandpop's for more Christmas cheer! Everyone brought something to eat, pot-luck style. I of course volunteered to bring cupcakes! Any excuse my friends, any excuse!
The Herkerts start celebrating Christmas by observing an old Irish tradition. The children light Christmas candles, starting with the youngest (Dec). Below is a picture of Zack lighting his candle:
The rest of the afternoon was spent socializing, eating, and enjoying one another . Oh, and more presents! So many presents! Dec made out like a bandit this year. We are going to have to put some away to save for later!
Below is a picture of the Herkert family, Christmas 2010. Dec is wearing an awesome Thomas shirt (Christmas present) that I found at Old Navy. We also gave him a cute, toddler Thomas the train backpack so he can take his trains anywhere!
And, the 3 additions of 2011: Ella, Baby H, and Ryan, growing in their mommy's tummies:

Merry Christmas!!

21 Months

What you love:
  • Grapes, Popsicles, and chili seem to be your food choices this month!
  • Daddy singing Amazing Grace to you before bed
  • Opening and closing doors
  • The game of chase - everywhere and anywhere! You especially love this game when it includes running in circles. You also really love playing chase with your toy cars in the bath.
  • You are obsessed with the movie The Polar Express. Big surprise! After all it does have a train throughout the entire movie!
  • Snorting! Yes, that's right! You love to make snorting noises;)
  • Balloons! We discovered this when the nice people at Ralphs gave you a balloon - you were quite the charmer that day ;)
  • Jumping off high places - like the couch and stairs. We are not particularly excited about this one.
  • Your new train table!
  • Investigating wheels - this is my favorite new habit of yours. You feel it is your duty to investigate everything that has wheels by laying down on the floor or putting the wheels in a place where you can see them at eye level. I kid you not when I say that a trip to the grocery store or Target does not happen without you getting on the ground and checking out the wheels of the shopping cart. This habit also applies to your stroller and all toys (which is about 90% at our house) with wheels! I love your curiosity and investigative skills my love!!

Growing Up: 
  • Although you are still stingy with your words, it became glaringly apparent to me this month how much you truly understand. I remember one night, early in the month we were watching Polar Express. It was near the end of the movie when all of the elves are around the Christmas tree. Out of curiosity I asked you, "Declan where is your Christmas tree?" You smiled at me, walked right over to our tree and pointed! I was surprised because we had not talked about the Christmas tree to you. We talked about Santa a lot, but not about the tree. It was then I realized how much you must be picking up.
  • This month 4 new teeth popped through. Because of this, all 3 of us had a really tough week. I would be so bold as to say that it was our most challenging week of parenthood to date. After it was over, I could not believe the difference in your personality. For months we have been struggling with naps and you have seemed a bit more clingy. The whole time I either thought it was me, struggling with less patience because of the pregnancy or that you were aware that a change is coming. No! It was those darn teeth. After our hell week, you woke up on Saturday morning and it was the Declan I remember - fun loving, looking for reasons to laugh...you even started easily taking naps again. I feel so bad that your teeth effect you so much. What a bummer to get all 4 k-9's at the same time! I'm so glad it is over. We only have your 2 year molars left! You almost have a full mouth of pearly whites my love ;)
Favorite Moment: One night, I think it was right before we realized your 4 incisor teeth were coming in, you had a particularly hard time falling asleep. This is unlike you - at nap time yes, but not at bedtime. After an hour of struggling, I decided to bring you downstairs. Dad had just made some popcorn, and was kind enough to share. This was your first taste of popcorn and you loved it! I'll never forget the look on your face - you knew something special was happening. The fact that you were up way past your bedtime, and dad was sharing his favorite snack with you was enough to make you beam! It truly was a sweet moment. After your popcorn, you went to bed easily and slept in late ;)
On a completely other subject, this is my favorite picture this month! Although, certainly not your favorite moment!

Love bug, I cannot help but think of the changes that are just around the corner. Although I know that Baby H will bring so much joy to our lives, I find myself savoring quiet moments with you as I know things will soon be different. Reading one more book before nap time, putting off chores to play games with you...even letting you eat popcorn at 9:00 at night! You are our first born. You changed our lives, making us parents. Everyday sparkles because of you. We love you so much.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Came Early!

Last weekend we headed up to Oxnard to visit my Dad and Carie. They had a very special gift for Declan - his first bike! Balance bike that is! As I suspected, the little one didn't know what to do with it. But, he was very curious about this contraption with big wheels! Luckily for him, his best friend Micah is an expert on the Balance Bike and I'm sure Dec will pick it up after seeing Micah ride it.

Overall the weekend was just perfect. It followed what I would classify as one of our most challenging weeks of parenthood and the extra help over the weekend allowed for some much needed R & R! The only bummer was that due to rain we were unable to attend the Oxnard boat parade on Saturday night. Santa and his sleigh were scheduled to make an appearance - being pulled by a helicopter! I really would have loved to see the look on Dec's face watching that! We'll try again next year!
Thanks for a great weekend Poppy and DeeDee!!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Merrily Mingling

Despite the rainy month and one whole week of being down and out, we've managed to squeeze in some fun play dates! Sometimes having to adjust locations and/or days - we had fun merrily mingling!

At Irvine Park with Gracie and Alex, the kiddos did some good, old-fashioned tree climbing!
And, we love the petting zoo!

A fun day with the twins, Lola and Ellie. One of the best parks we've been to yet - off Mission Bay. I think I say this about almost every park we visit! But, seriously, this one was huge! So much to do! Don't you just love what the girls are wearing?!

Sliding - Dec's favorite activity
Swinging - Ellie and Lola's favorite activity!
This train was a huge hit with all three! Dec is looking at an airplane in this shot - big surprise!


Rainy day play! When we arrived at the YMCA, the sign said it was all full. Luckily, the front desk was gracious enough to allow all four kiddos in! Micah, Ellie, Lola, and Dec had such a good time!


The only picture I got of all four together - we tried to trap them in the ring long enough to take the shot, but those little ones are quick!! 3 out of the 4 out within seconds!
 Ellie and Lola - ring masters! Actually Micah is pretty good at this too (although I don't have a picture). Dec on the other hand is not interested in the rings at all! He prefers to spend most of his time on the trampoline ;)
Dec and Micah have not seen each other in awhile! A hug was a must! Alittle aside here - I received a message from Jaimie last night - Micah named his Elf on a Shelf "Deca"! If that isn't the cutest darn thing! I just love these two together ;)
An all around good day at the Y!

More rainy day play -we met my friend Jennie and her girls, Sienna and Stella at Kid Ventures - the place was packed! But, the kiddos still had a great time! Jennie and I know one another from my pre-mama days, when we were on the Sales and Marketing Council together. It was fun catching up. And, she breathed some new life into a project I am working on for Touch-A-Truck. A perfect way to spend a rainy day!

Dec and Stella coloring

Dec, Sienna, and Stella on the slide
Last night Daddy was hanging out with the guys, so Dec and I met cousin Lily, aunt Kristin, and Lily's grandma Harriet at Shakey's for pizza. It was a fun filled evening as the little ones took turns (most of the time) dipping straws in sprite. I find this is the best way to keep Dec entertained at a restaurant. It gives us 45 minutes to an hour of vertually uninterrrupted time to eat.

Dec playing a game of peek-a-boo with aunt Kristin

I'm sad December and 2010 for that matter, is almost over. It has been a great month and a spectacular year!



Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Balloon Brawl-Video

On Monday Declan was on his best behavior at the grocery store (an unusual occurrence these days). He kept smiling and waving at the checkout girl. His charm paid off and won him a balloon! What a great prize - it kept him entertained on and off all day on Monday. Below are a few short clips.


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Monday, December 20, 2010

New Christmas Traditions

Last week I was reading about Elf on the Shelf on the Braly's Blog (I learn a lot from Miss Kyndal!).  An hour later Dec & I went to story time at Barnes and Noble, and what do you know? They were reading Elf on The Shelf!! Luckily we recently received a B&N gift cert in the mail, so I went ahead and purchased the little elf and his book.

The story is that Santa is so busy getting ready for Christmas that he sends his elves to watch over the little kiddos. Every night the elf leaves our house and reports back to Santa and in the morning he is watching from a new spot! The only rule is, the little ones cannot touch the elf or his magic will disappear - so cute! Dec is a little young to get the whole story yet. And, we are waiting to name the elf until next year when Dec can choose. Right now we just call him "Christmas Elf." Every morning I ask Dec, "where is your Christmas Elf?" And he always runs to the spot where the elf was the day before. Then we go searching for the Christmas Elf. Although Dec doesn't understand the whole story yet, he does love looking for the elf each morning! Here are some of the places we've found Christmas Elf hanging out in our home.
I love this new tradition!

Our next new Christmas tradition hasn't happened yet. But, I was talking to Carie this past weekend, saying that I wanted to make something special for breakfast on Christmas morning - something that we would only have on Christmas and that I could make every year. She suggested Monkey Bread. Before I even found out what it is, I was hooked on the name alone! Then I heard what's in it - and was completely sold! Basically, it is a mess of cinnamony-sugary goodness!
So, assuming everything goes well on Saturday morning, this will be our Christmas breakfast for years to come ;)

Baby Love: 22 Weeks


Pregnancy Highlights
How Far Along: 22 weeks
Size of Baby: She is 11 inches (the length of spaghetti squash) and almost 1 pound!

Total Weight Gain: 7 lbs
Maternity Clothes: The outfit I am wearing in the picture above was pretty much what I wore all week (or a version of this). It was a tough week as Dec cut 4 new teeth and none of us got much sleep. Sweats was all I felt like wearing! In other news, I moved up another bra size. This is not a side effect of pregnancy I particularly enjoy. It makes running harder and is just uncomfortable.
Gender: Girl - still debating her name. There are 3 names we've seriously considered. We can no longer use one of them, and are debating the other 2. At some point I will reveal all 3...but it may be after she is born!
Movement:There is a little gymnast in my stomach!
Sleep: Not a lot of sleep this week - mainly because of Baby #1, not Baby #2 ;)
Food Cravings: Nothing more than my usual daily sandwich. Although I am making a conscious effort to eat more veggies.
What I Miss: As I write this the mountains are getting a ton of snow. As we watched the rain come down, Adam and I couldn't help but reminisce of past snowboard trips. I really miss snowboard season.
Symptoms: Dear God, my mouth has run away with me. Really, I cannot believe how confrontational I am when I am pregnant. It is so unlike me. For example, this past week I waited a long time in a parking lot for a close spot. I usually just park in the back, but I am working on holding Dec's hand in parking lots and a shorter walk ensures success. Anyway, after waiting a long time, someone swiped my spot! Unlucky for him he stood by his car and made a phone call. I decided to stop by his car on our way into the store and give him a piece of my mind. This is so unlike me, and I felt incredibly remorseful afterward.
Best Moments This Week: I know I always go overboard in this section, but I can't help it! 1)Spending a cozy, relaxing weekend at my dad and Carie's. 2) I'm pretty sure I found Baby's bedding! I am ecstatic about this ;) and 3) I received a ton of cute outfits for Baby H this week. Some hand me downs from my good friend Stacie and also from my generous sister-in-law Krissy and some new outfits as presents! Thanks Carie, Jen, Stacie, and Krissy!  It is so exciting to receive these adorable outfits and picture my little girl in them! Here is a sprinkling of what we received:


What I Am Looking Forward To: Um, is Christmas this week?! Wow, December flew by! I'm looking forward to squeezing in a few more Christmas adventures and Christmas day of course! I can't wait to give my boys their presents!!!
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