29 January 2009

feed me seymour

Annika was apparently quite hungry before dinner last evening as she proceeded to drape herself over the table until it was ready! As of late she has taken to crawling over the table from the bench to the highchair - which I don't condone but have a hard time stopping our little monkey once she has her mind set on doing something!

25 January 2009

these boots were made for walkin'

case in point

Here is a little taste of what it is like to vacuum at the Blad Pad. This video was taken Friday last week. . . day 6 of us being stuck inside the house because of illness. Both kids were on treatments for colds/asthma so we spent the ENTIRE week indoors other then getting out for a doctor appointment or two. It was a VERY.LONG.WEEK. And by the end of the week the house was quite messy, so I decided to try to clean up a bit before the weekend. . . which is always easier said then done.

23 January 2009

new definitions

The week I returned to work after having Bergen I remember a co-worker complaining of being "sooooooooooooo tired" because her dog kept her awake during a thunder storm the night before. I tried not to give her hate stares from across the room as I sipped my third (or was it fifth?) cup of coffee. I hadn't slept much not only the night before but pretty much every night since Bergen's birth 10 weeks earlier. He was a horrific sleeper his first 4 months. And yes, horrific IS a strong word, but we struggled like something fierce to get that child to sleep. We alternated between the bouncy seat, the swing, the rocking chair, the sofa, our arms. . . *anything* that would give us maybe a 3 hour stretch. It was a rough start to parenthood for us. . . and a whole new definition of tired.

As we journey through life, each stage brings about a new set of definitions. As of lately I have been thinking about how parenthood has changed my definitions for various things. My kids are little right now, but as they grow I know the definitions will change. And when they leave the house (which, by the way, I can't even think about without crying) I know they will change once more.

Here are a few examples. . .

Date Night: Ahhhh. . . yes, date night. The second that Bergen sees me without my usual "uniform" (i.e. a pair of sweatpants/jeans with a sweatshirt) and with a splash of mascara, he gets this quizative look and says "Mom, are you going out tonight?" Date night for us is now a rare occasion that has to be planned out far in advance. No more fancy restaurants and expensive drinks, because that money is instead put towards a babysitter. Our dates almost always involve a quick run to Target, grocery store or Home Depot, because heaven knows it is much easier to go there kidless . . not real romantic, but practical. And every now and again, date night is trumped by a kid who inevitably throws up 30 minutes before the babysitter arrives. Then I get back into my "uniform" to prepare for a long night with a sick little one, but I always keep the mascara on.

Vacation: Long gone are relaxing, leisurely vacations. Vacations are now centered around kid schedules, kid food, and kid activities. I am not saying that is a bad thing, it is just different. Lars and I used to see who could read more books while on vacation (yes, Lars always won) and now we feel lucky if we can get through one book and maybe, just maybe, we can skim through a couple magazines that are most likely over 6 months old. I miss the days of laying by the pool listening to my portable CD player (yes, vacations were THAT long ago for us!) without any cares or worries in the world. But vacation is basically the same stress of parenting and getting through the day, but without the comforts of your own home and with over-tired/crabby kids from travelling and not sleeping.

Reading: I read every day, but not the books I stare longingly at on the bookshelves. I can recite Dr. Seuss and Curious George like no ones business, but to actually get time to sit and read a book that *I* want to read is a rarity. I used to get through a book now and then before we had Annika, but now it is really hard for me to do any reading at all. Lars being the crazy night owl he is can get some reading done in the wee hours of the night, but my brain doesn't function much past 9pm (and that is on a good day). My energy level is too low (see definition of tired below) to even read a chapter or two before bed. Sad? Yes, but true.

Sleeping In: I think this one changed the most for Lars since waking up early used to mean 10am for him! For anyone raising children sleeping in is a rarity - if not mythical. And by sleeping in I don't mean 9am - a good day is if I don't hear the kids before 7am. The funny thing is that I am a morning person and I still tend to wake early on the very rare occasion when I can sleep in, it is just plain harder to get the body and brain moving when the day starts with a child screaming "MOM! GET UP!" and then having to watch the DVR'd Christmas Day Parade for the millionth time in a row.

Clean: Gaining whole new definition, or standard, of clean has helped my sanity immensely over the past 4 years. I know Lars struggles with the chaos of the toys scattered all over the floor and I can't help but feel a twinge of jealousy when I am in a house that doesn't have a toy in every corner, but I have learned to let it go and let it be. The times I do feel overwhelmed with the mess or become frustrated with tripping over toys in the dark, I remember this quote: Cleaning the house before the kids are grown is like shoveling the walk before it is done snowing. So true. I can pick up the same toy 10 times a day to turn around and see Annika throw it across the room again. Trying to do the laundry, put clothes away, wash the dishes. . . all with an 18-month old tugging at my leg or crying because she wants to help makes it really challenging to get anything done at all. I guess that is what the weekends are for. . . . which brings me to. . . .

Weekend: Oh how weekends have changed. On Saturday and Sunday mornings Lars and I always look forward to reading the Facebook status updates of our friends with either no children or grown children. Most of those updates involve a cup of coffee (either leisurely at home or at some chic neighborhood cafe) and a crisp newspaper. But for us, weekend mornings are not a morning off from the daily grind of the week. Weekends are no longer 48 hour stretches to plan movies, dinner with friends, or enjoy long breakfasts at Original Pancake House (we may still go out for breakfast, it just isn't as peaceful or relaxing as it once was). Instead it is filled with errands, to-do lists, and maybe a trip to somewhere like the Mall of America to keep the kids entertained. That is right, we have become one of THOSE families I used to see at the mall (that is before I had kids and actually had time to shop) who would just walk around for free entertainment. I didn't get it then, but I do now.

Relaxation: Another term I could have used for this is Free Time. Either way, there is very little of both . . . to which I am not complaining. That is life with kids and we signed up for it. But what I think is interesting is how differently I think about relaxing in my free time. Long gone are the 3-hour hair appointments, shopping excursions, week night movies, 1-hour massages. . . now it is the simple pleasures in life that I look forward to. Reading a book, watching a movie without interruption, having coffee with a friend, taking a nap. . . all these things I used to be able to do without a thought is really exciting and important to me now. And for that I am thankful. Nothing like enjoying the small pleasures in life.

Worry: There are various levels to worry and if you know me, you know I worry. But when it comes to my kids it is more then worry. It is a gut-wrenching, heart-aching worry that stops me in my tracks. Parenting can give you the highest of highs, but also the lowest of lows (like when Bergen was hospitalized). There is so much to worry about as a parent these days that it isn't even worth me writing all the fears and concerns that we and so many of our friends share when it comes to our kids. . . plus it would probably just make me worry even more. But the fierce worry and protection I have for my kids (and Lars) is unlike anything else.

Tired: Where to even begin. . . It isn't even so much the loss of sleep (although that plays a major part), it is trifecta of energy that goes into raising children. The mental, physical, and emotional energy to get from A (waking) to B (sleeping) every day is incalculable. Some days are easier then others, but at the end of most days 99.9% of my energy has been all used up. If only I were able to plug myself into the wall for an hour to recharge. . . I guess that is why God created coffee.

Unconditional Love: I sat at my keyboard for a long time to figure out how to define the love I feel for these beautiful, amazing children of ours. And really, there just are no words.

21 January 2009

20 January 2009

fears do come true

I am sad to report that we are now 2 for 2 on kids with breathing/asthma issues. Annika's nose started running on Saturday afternoon and about 24 hours later the wheezing started. . . just like it always does with Bergen when he gets a cold/virus.

I had posted about my fear on Annika also having reactive airway in my i should have knocked on wood post and how happy I was that she surpassed the time of Bergen's onset, but it seems as if we aren't going to escape unscratched (and I DID knock on wood!).

I was feeling pretty darn good after she had pneumonia with absolutely no wheezing. I was thinking we just might be in the clear. . . but as I was watching her play Sunday afternoon I could see her little chest was working too hard to breathe. And after listening to her wheeze for about 3 seconds, I sent her to Urgent Care with Lars. After a few nebulizer treatments she was feeling much better and her lungs started to open. They did take an x-ray to make sure all the pneumonia had cleared up - which thankfully it had!

So, now we are treating her just as we have treated Mr B so many times before and having been down this road we are much more calm this time around. I have her 18-month appointment next week and will be anxious to talk with her pediatrician about what the next step is. I think I am also going to schedule an appointment with Bergen's asthma doctor. . . might as well get the ball rolling. And yes, this *could* be a one time thing, but as our asthma doctor told us, Lars and I have certain factors that make us high risk for having children with asthma (which my mom brain isn't recalling at the moment). I am fully preparing myself for another long road of breathing issues with our Little Miss. . . and only time will tell what will happen with our Sweet Pea joining our little asthmatic family in April.

one week later. . . update on dad

It has been a week since my last update on Dad and while the last thing I wrote was about Dad going home. . . it hasn't happened yet. Our Iron Man become our Mystery Man this week as Dad encountered more and more ailments each day. . . NOT related to his heart. There may be a few question marks in the air still, but I am thrilled to say that he is becoming less of a mystery and is doing better now that the doctors have a much clearer idea of what they are treating. . .

Last Tuesday Dan started to spike a fever and after 24 hours they decided to run some blood tests only to discover bacteria in Dad's blood. While they still aren't certain as to *why* he has/had bacteria in his blood, either the antibiotics seemed to take care of it or there were contaminants in the initial blood tests as the latest cultures are showing no bacteria growth. Very good news!

Last Wednesday Dad started to have horrible right shoulder pain. . . . which spread to pretty much every joint in his body. By Saturday, when Lars and I were able to visit him (kidless thanks to Grandma Peg!), he was in quite a bit of pain - swollen hands/feet and unable to move on his own. It was very hard for us kids to see our normally unable to sit still Dad with such limited mobility. After baffling the doctors, an autoimmune specialist was finally able to diagnose Dad yesterday with what they think is Gout. Once they started to treat the Gout, Dad started to to turn the corner quite quickly. While he doesn't have full movement back, he is doing a lot better! Thank you steroids!!

Other road blocks this week were some fluid in his lungs (from laying down so much after procedures) . . . horrible migraines (as Dad is unable to take his usual migraine medication now due to his heart). . . but thankfully all tests of his heart and ICD are coming back stellar.

Now that the road blocks of our Mystery Man are ever so slowly moving out of the way, the cardiac rehab specialists can begin their work with Dad again on getting him up and out of the hospital. We are hoping he can come home Friday. . . but if not at least we know our Iron Man is back on his road to recovery! Thanks for your love, support, and prayers!

Here is another video from Aunt Megan of Dad yesterday. . . looking MUCH better! He is wearing a "back-up defibrillator" that their wonderful friend Tim Mogck made for him! As you can see Dad still has his wonderful sense of humor! :)

13 January 2009

update on dad

Dad is our new Iron Man! He's the new host of a Medtronic ICD (Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator) that was implanted yesterday.

After reviewing the chain of events which occurred Saturday night, they opted to NOT do the electrical testing yesterday. They felt that the test would have been inconclusive and didn't feel it was right to put him through such a rigorous test feeling it would yield no concrete results. Plus, the symptoms that Dad had didn't align with a true electrical problem.

So today the doctors are now exploring a possible non-electrical cause of his cardiac arrest. They are conducting another angiogram with an intravascular ultrasound to look at a specific spot on his heart where there might have been some blockage. Depending on what they find, they might elect to insert a stint, which would hopefully prevent another blockage from occurring.

He is still at North Memorial Hospital and will most likely be released tomorrow. He has welcomed many visitors over the past few days, including Bergen and Annika this morning.

Dan, and all of us Leafs, are beyond grateful for your love, prayers, and support. Keep on praying!

Video courtesy of Aunt Megan and her Mac today during our visit!


QUICK UPDATE: They did NOT find any sign of blockage during the angiogram this afternoon. Dad's heart looks very healthy - which is great news. No heart disease, no damage. All signs point to HOME tomorrow.

11 January 2009

prayer request

Our wonderful dad Dan Leafblad suffered a heart arrhythmia last night and is in the critical care unit at North Memorial Cardiac Unit (the hospital where he has practiced for 20 years.).

He started having symptoms of a heart attack about 4p.m., took some aspirin, and had Barbara take him the ER. They have determined it was not a heart attack, there is not blockage, etc. and that he may need a pace maker or something like that.

Lars was able to join Dan and Barbara at the hospital. In no time Dan was, of course, making jokes, but it is serious and a team of the best experts around will hopefully diagnose him on Monday to see what his options are.

We are BEYOND GRATEFUL that he listened to the warning signs. Had he not - he would not be with us today. We would appreciate your prayers for Dan to continue to grow stronger and that we get some answers as to WHY this happened tomorrow and what to do next.

Maren, Lars, Kids and Entire Leafblad Family

10 January 2009

24 weeks

24weeks along and everything is looking great! At our DR apt this week, Ingird's heart rate was 150, my belly measured right at 24cm (it is cm, right?) and I gained, um, 7 lbs this past month. So that puts me up a total of 11. The DR said that is right where I want to be at this point in time and with the holidays in there preggos like me tend to gain a little more. So far I am feeling fine about the weight gain, but I would like to avoid the usual 55lbs (did I just admit that to the entire cyber-world?!) I gained with my previous pregnancies.
Bergen and Annika joined me for the DR visit and this morning Bergen said that his favorite thing all week was when he got to hear the baby in mommy's belly. So sweet!
Here is a pic that Bergen took of me last Sunday. . . please excuse the toy bomb that went off in the living room. . . I have definitely "popped"!

when the day is done

At the end of the day, we are ALL excited for Dad to come home! The second they hear the garage door going up, the kids will run and hide in the bathroom right off the kitchen so they can run out and "surprise" Dad. And even though the kids have done that a thousand times, Dad *always* seems to be surprised!

Here are a couple little clips of us waiting for Dad to come downstairs after he gets home. . . and then Dad having to get right in on the action the moment the kids see him. Not much down time for either of us these days. . .

The kids LOVE to watch out the window for Dad and the moment they see his car they run to their hiding spot. I tried to get a good clip of them coming out of the bathroom to surprise him, but it seems when the camera is rolling kids never seem to do what you want them to do. Below is the best clip I could get of them "surprising" Dad!

time for a song

room wars

In anticipation of our little Leaflets arrival I thought it was time to flip Bergen's bed over to start preparing him for sharing a room with Annika. We bought this great Ikea bed that serves as a loft - so Bergen can sleep on the top and we can put a mattress underneath for Annika.

The plan is for Bergen and Annika to share until the baby is old enough to be sleeping through the night and then we will room the girls together. But that will be probably at least 18 months from now because our kids don't sleep through the night until after their first year. I am nervous for the kids to start sharing a room - I worry about them waking each other up at night, I wonder if they will play at night instead of falling asleep, and I can probably kiss any possibility of sleeping in good-bye (and by sleeping in I mean until 7am!). I know millions of families have kids that share rooms and as they have all adjusted, we will also adjust.

My only question that remains is WHEN do we want to adjust. Annika is no where ready to move to a "big girl bed". The baby will be sleeping in our room for probably the first 4 months (at least that is what we did with B and A) so that puts Annika at just turning 2 when the baby will be ready for her own crib. I think this is one of those things I need to think less about and just let happen. It will work itself out in time and I will know when the timing is right. Probably not until after the baby comes. . . because if there is sleep to be lost, it might as well be lost when we already won't be sleeping with a newborn in the house, right?

nye and christmas celebration #4

About 4 years ago we started a great tradition with Lars' mom Peg to celebrate Christmas together on New Years Eve. Not only is it nice not trying to squeeze in one more event during the actual Christmas holiday, but it gives us something to look forward to after the Christmas craziness is over and allows us to have a nice, leisurely day together. A great way for us to end the year together!

christmas celebration #3 and d-town

After our leisurely Christmas morning, we took the minivan for its first long distance road trip to D-Town. It was GREAT! So much room and the kids watched a movie the whole way. Plus the dual-side heat control made arguments about turning the heat up (me) or down (Lars) non-existent.

We had a great Christmas dinner with Great Gma Betty, Aunt Marilyn, Uncle Dick and Aunt Peggy. The kids were pretty fried by the end of the day - their little brains can handle only so much excitement. But we had a WONDERFUL Christmas Day!!

We spent the rest of the weekend "up north" with Nana and Papa. . . and as usual had a lot of fun! We also got a visit with Great Gamma D and Great Gma and Gpa Birk. It was a wonderful Christmas weekend!

06 January 2009

merry christmas!

Our Little Miss was apparently quite excited for Christmas as she was up at 5am Christmas morn. . . a little too early if you were to ask Santa's helpers. But it was all worth it when I was up to see the excitement in Bergen's face when he came out to see that Santa "didn't forget" to come to our house. I could seriously see tears in his eyes he was so excited. Lars and I ate up every second of our little ones opening their gifts. . . everything brought them so much joy and excitement. And as cheesy as it may sound, that is THE best gift Lars and I could ever ask for on Christmas.

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