Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Ivie's Random Thoughts (#7)


We've been reading "Twas the Night Before Christmas" with Ivie before bed for several nights now, so she's familiarized herself with several of the lines. Sunday morning, as she was eating her breakfast (peaches and a pop-tart), I told her that she needed to drink ALL of her milk before she could get up and play with her cousins. She had several drinks, but was not yet finished, when she looked up at me, stressed, and said, "Mommy, I'm full! This milk is making my belly full of jelly!".

Referencing, of course, St. Nick's belly, "that shook when he laughed like a bowl full of jelly."


We've been working with Ivie on the polite way of asking permission to leave the table after a meal. The most difficult word of the phrase for her at first was "excused" - it took her a week or so to get that one down. But now she's having a hard time grasping the meaning of "may", since she's much more familiar with the word "can". So her current version of the request is this:

"May can I be excused?"


One day at the beach, as I was preparing to put Macie down for a nap, I was searching for her pacifier (because I'm still not in paci-mode and had only remembered to bring one). After looking around to no avail, I asked everyone sitting in the living room, "Have any of you seen Macie's p-a-c-i" (spelling it out so that she wouldn't hear me say "the word" and start sticking her tongue out in anticipation).

No one said a word, but everyone started looking around on the floor, the tables, the couch... Ivie, who was playing off to the side, looked up nonchalantly and said, "Macie's paci? You're looking for Macie's paci?"

Everyone just looked around at each other with bewildered looks, and I thought to myself, "If she can spell already, I'm in big trouble!" To test it out, I asked her how to spell paci. Her response?


So she must just be really good at using contextual clues.

But this HAS gotten her in a spelling mood. Tonight, as we drove through Chick-fil-A for some ice cream (yes, they sell ice dream cones when it's 37 degrees outside), Ivie asked how to spell various animal words, including "mouse". So I spelled it for her, and then randomly started singing the "M-I-C... K-E-Y... M-O-U-S-E" song. I sang it a few times, and then told Ivie that if she could sing it, she would be able to spell mouse, too.

After we practiced a few times together, I asked her if she could spell "mouse" by herself. Here's what she said:


Fitting choice of words for her to use following the Christmas season and the many stories about Santa Claus.

Monday, December 28, 2009


Much to her delight, Ivie and the boys have spent every spare moment this weekend in the pool. It's all she can talk about, and, thankfully, Luke and Rod seem to enjoy it just as much as Ivie. We're hoping to sneak in one more morning session tomorrow before we head home.

Macie and I have joined in the fun only once. She wasn't a big fan, deciding that she doesn't want to sit in the baby float any more, instead preferring to hang out with me while I held her in the water off to the side of the action, watching the boys playing catch back and forth between the pool and the hot tub. It was quickly closing in on her nap time, and she was calm and cuddly, so I admit to keeping her in there with me longer than I should have, reveling in the rare snuggle time with my "baby".

I didn't bring the camera to the pool, knowing that I wouldn't have a free dry hand with which to manipulate it, so you'll have to settle for some pictures of the preparation in our condo. My favorite? The one in the bottom right corner of the kids sitting by the door in a single file line, waiting patiently for the adults to get ready! Though the shot of the "hats" in the top left corner runs a close second!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Tooth #8

I can't believe it's been nearly 5 months since I've been able to post a picture of Macie's tooth chart! She still hasn't gotten her upper left lateral incisor (which particularly concerns Dale, since apparently missing laterals is VERY BAD for orthodontic purposes...), but yesterday her lower right first molar made its debut!

So as not to just have the boring tooth chart picture, I've included another one, as well. If you click on it, have a really big monitor, and look very closely, you MIGHT be able to catch a glimpse of the molar... And if you can't? Well, at least you get to see another cute shot of Macie, eagerly awaiting the arrival of our elevator!


Today, at 1 year, 3 months, 2 weeks, and 3 days old, Macie stepped foot for the first time on a beach. Odd, I know, since we live about 2 hours from the coast and own a beach house. But when the beach house is 3.5 hours from home, your kids max out behavior/attitude-wise at about 30 minutes of car time, and all babies want to do with sand is eat it, you find more peaceful ways to spend your vacation time.

But Macie sure made the most of her first visit! She loved chasing the birds and pointing at the various dogs we saw walking along the shore. One even stopped to play! And while she was certainly intrigued by the sand and sat down to grab a handful a few times, she's finally old enough to think better of stuffing it in her face. Ahhhhhh... Looks like it's safe for us to plan another beach trip!

All Hands on Deck

What a relaxing time the Herman clan is having at the beach! The older cousins went for a nearly 2-hour swim this morning, while Macie napped and I showered. Before the swim ended, Macie and I had some rare quiet time to ourselves, which we spent enjoying a Biscoff cookie snack (no Delta airline flight required, thanks to the local Kroger!) and playing stacking games with her new toys.

After lunch and before nap, the girls spent some time hanging out on our deck, which has a wonderful view of the ocean and its "sandbox", as Ivie calls it. The sun was perfect for some "glowing" shots of the girls. So I'm going to upload these individually, instead of as a typical collage, so we (or I, at least!) can enjoy them in full format on the blog.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas, 2009

We started this year what I hope will become a family tradition. On Christmas Eve, we went to Dollar Tree and let the girls pick out presents for each other. For Macie, Ivie chose a hobby horse (though I admit to having to ask Dale just now what it was called - I probably would have had to go with "stick horse" if left to my own devices!). And I helped Macie pick one out for Ivie, too. One of those "magic baby bottles" whose liquid somehow slowly disappears when you tip it up in the baby's mouth. I still don't understand how it works...

This was the first year that we've spent Christmas Eve and morning at home instead of traveling to visit extended family. We took full advantage, making cookies for Santa (he doesn't care that they were Pillsbury Ready-to-Bake, does he?!?) and pouring him a tall glass of milk. In the red plastic cup with the built-in straw, no less (Ivie's choice).

After weeks of internal (Dale didn't have an opinion!) debate while planning for Christmas, I finally decided that if we were going to get the girls a play kitchen, this was the year. Ivie's the perfect age, and Macie has begun to shown interest in our play food, as well. So I finally broke down and ordered it, knowing that the decision would make the gifts under the tree itself fairly minimal. But at a time when I'm constantly being reminded of our need to PURGE STUFF, it turns out that the sparseness of wrapped packages left me feeling calm, pleased that the girls wouldn't be frantically opening (and then just as quickly forgetting about) tons of presents for which I would then have to find a home in our already-overly-cluttered toy bins.

Macie obviously doesn't get the concept of Santa bringing presents for her to open. She was content to stand back and let Ivie open her packages for her before diving in to play with them herself. She was the proud recipient of several stacking toys, for which we all know she has a strong affinity.

For as long as she's been asked "What do you want Santa to bring you for Christmas?", Ivie has been answering with "a baby stroller and crib". I think she got the idea on a trip to Sam's Club back in September, when we walked through the toy section and saw a Disney Princess set. So shopping for her was quite simple... I also got her a Teach Me Time! clock that will hopefully put an end to the "Is it wakin' time?" question that she is fond of posing to us in the middle of the night. The clock is programmable, such that parents can designate the time at which the clock goes from a yellow glow (night light) to a green one, signifying that it's okay for the child to get out of bed. I'm not sure Ivie was as fired up about this gift as Mommy, but it also includes some game features for when she's older and is learning to tell time, so hopefully it will grow on her!

After a Christmas morning of playing and exchanging gifts with the Devers, the girls both got naps and we left home around 5p to make the 3+ hour drive to Cherry Grove, SC (North Myrtle Beach). Though rainy most of the way, the girls were troopers for the drive. Along with eating McNuggets successfully in their car seats (12 whole nuggets between them!), they managed to almost complete 4 movies: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (thanks, Nina and Papa!), Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, and The Polar Express.

Mental note to self that maybe it IS better to travel with well-rested kids as opposed to the more tempting option of hoping that tired ones will take a good nap in the car, so as to kill two birds with one stone. That hardly ever worked for us with ONE kid, much less two loud ones...

After a short, but good, night's sleep, we spent this morning outlet shopping. Spent a whopping $6 on a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse puzzle and replacement stacking blocks for the ones we've used so much we've destroyed. I also l-o-v-e the great deal Dale found for me on a wallet for the new purse he surprised me with for Christmas (after we told each other that we weren't going to exchange gifts). The wallet? It's pink! I know - so totally unlike me to get pink, huh?!? Maybe that's the reason I like it!

Ivie's napping now, and we're eager for the rest of the Herman clan (Emma Jean, Doug, Jennifer, Luke, and Rod) to get here this evening. Ivie can't wait to swim with her cousins. And open more presents from Grandma, of course!!!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Santa Train

A few weeks ago, on December 5th, we ventured to the Museum (I've referenced it enough in this blog for all of you to know which one I mean) to take part in our first of what we hope to be annual trips to the Santa Train. Joining us were the Devers and the Garcias.

I'd love to write about the amazing and festive and magical time we had that night, our first of many Christmas celebrations for this year. But, sadly, I can't. You see, while I most often write on this blog about the wonderful and funny times we have as a happy family of four, sometimes things don't happen as I would have scripted them!

On the day of our Santa Train ride, it rained, non-stop, all day, enough that we worried that our train trip to the North Pole would be canceled. But, as luck would have it, the rain stopped just in time for the 5p start to the every-20-minute excursions. Our train didn't depart the station until 6p, so we had 30 minutes or so to wait. Which basically meant that Macie, who had long since fussed her way OUT of her stroller, had time to find, and toddle through, every rain puddle imaginable. And when you're less than 3 feet tall, puddles pretty much soak your entire lower half. You'll see in the pictures. Her jeans were wet up to her knees, making for a pretty miserable kiddo. Not to mention that she wouldn't keep her mittens on, so we were forced to put a pair of Dale's on her and pull them up over the sleeves of her coat. Let's just say that Macie was not exactly a fashion diva that night!

Ivie, on the other hand, really did have a good time. She was well-behaved and enjoyed riding the train, telling Santa what she wanted for Christmas (a baby stroller and crib - CHECK!), and checking in the woods for Rudolph, whom Santa said had run off and gotten lost in the woods. She also enjoyed sharing Daddy's hot chocolate, and managed to avoid spilling it all over herself. So, from our 3-year-old's perspective, it was a good night.

But back to Macie. By the time we made it back to the station after our train ride, she was fit to be tied. I think the hat, hood, oversized mittens, and wet jeans had pushed her over the edge. And she was hungry, too, which didn't help. She refused to go back into her stroller, pulling the all-too-familiar-to-parents-of-toddlers back-arching craziness. So we gave in and let her walk back to the car. Until, that is, she ventured off the concrete path into the grass. Which, at this point after a day of hard rain, was nothing but a mud pit. So now her white sneakers and pants were not only wet, but also covered in mud. GREAT. This left us no choice but to carry her, which made her even more angry.

Let's summarize by saying that by the time we got to the car, my nerves were shot. We were all cold, hungry, and down to very short fuses...

Then, as if it couldn't get any worse, I couldn't find the car key. I knew it wasn't lost, since I had unlocked the car and gotten the girls in their seats. But as I started to climb in myself, the key was nowhere to be found. It took Dale and me about 7 minutes of searching, and, today, 20 days after this outing, I have no idea where we eventually found it.

But don't worry. The evening was entirely salvaged by a trip to Bullock's BBQ with the Devers for dinner! Almost as if she knew we'd had a tough night, the hostess graciously put us in the back room. All by ourselves. So the girls, regardless of how loud they were, didn't disturb a soul. Ahhhhhh.

So that was our first adventure with the Santa Train. I have a feeling future rounds will be more calm. But maybe not as memorable!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Leapfrog Fun Center

On Sunday afternoon, after several days of being mostly cooped up inside because of snow and cold temperatures, we were all looking for a way to burn off some of the kids' energy. Scott and Bobbie's idea was to take them to Leapfrog Fun Center in Holts Summit, which is only about 15 minutes from Jefferson City.

Ivie was entirely self-sufficient and preoccupied with exploring the facility with Olivia, so I spent the majority of my time following Macie around and helping her in and out of the bounce houses. Thus, most of these pictures are of her! But I did sneak over to the ball pit to snap a few shots of the others (sans Gavin, for some odd reason - maybe because he's not a big fan of getting down INTO the balls, preferring to walk along the outer edge of the pit while holding on to the netting!).

The 10,000 square foot building, full of bounce houses, ball pits, and mazes, was just what the doctor ordered. All seven kids were able to run and bounce around for a couple of hours before heading home for much-needed afternoon naps. (Who am I kidding? The adults napped, too!)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Nina and Papa's Christmas, 2009

Saturday was a day FULL of Christmas. After short naps for both girls in the car on the way back to Jefferson City (maxed out to its full potential for Mac, since she fell asleep literally before we even made the left turn onto Highway 50!), we settled into Nina and Papa's living room for Round #2 of the day.

We mixed it up a bit this year and started with Nina and Papa opening THEIR gifts from us. This year, they got their yearly Shutterfly photo calendar, a clock for their room that projects the time up onto the ceiling (might sound funny, but it rocks to not have to roll over and squint to see the clock on the nightstand - trust me!), and their favorite annual gift - a gift card to their favorite movie theater!

We then moved on to our tradition of rotating through the kids, youngest to oldest, opening one present each time through. We started with their annual ornaments. Nina says that picking out the kids' Hallmark ornaments is her favorite part of Christmas shopping! This year, Macie got the standard "2nd Christmas" ornament, and Ivie, appropriately, a Wizard of Oz-themed one.

I wish I could have frozen that evening in time. What fun it was to sit back and soak up the excited frenzy in that cozy room. It was a snapshot of complete family happiness. Seven smiley kids, surrounded by their blessed parents and grandparents.

Thank you, God, for giving us so many reasons to celebrate!

Sarah's Crew, The Andersons (minus Tony, who hates to be photographed even worse than Dale...)

Scott's Crew, The Schaeperkoetters

The Herman Girls...

And Matt and Carla (who hopefully were not scared by the madness)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Paci Toddler?

Neither of my babies took a pacifier. Or maybe I should re-phrase. Ivie never took a pacifier, and since it was really nice not having to break her of the habit, I decided to purposefully avoid even introducing it to Macie. So she never took one, either.

Until, that is, about 3 weeks ago, when, on a particularly crabby night at home, she was digging through her toy bin and came across one (since that's where the random ones we still own have ended up). And she put it in her mouth. And she was instantly, wait for it, P-A-C-I-F-I-E-D. I'm not kidding. She went from crazy, screaming toddler to quiet and peaceful (yet still very tired) bystander.

Dale and I just looked at each other.

From that point on, a paci has ventured with us on all evening outings. From 5p when we pick her up at school, until 7:30p when she goes to bed, Macie is one exhausted cookie. And the pacifier has gotten her through those tough nights when we're out-and-about and need her cooperation.

So you can bet that it made the trip to Missouri with us. And it has come in more-than-handy these last 5 days when naps have been "off" and she hasn't laid head-to-crib before 9:00p...

While I still am doing my best to keep it from becoming a habit we have to break (trying not to give it to her for nap or bedtime itself), it sure is nice to have a surefire way to calm her down. Besides, she sure is a CUTE paci toddler. Don't you agree?!?

Granny and Papa's Christmas, 2009

Yesterday was the annual Christmas celebration at my Granny and Papa's house in Mount Sterling, Missouri. Quickly thinking back, I'm pretty sure that, in all of my 33 years, I've never missed a Schaeperkoetter Christmas. And Dale said yesterday that he thinks this was his 8th. Man, we're getting old!

The Herman girls have settled right into the craziness that is the Schaeperkoetter Christmas. Lots of amazing food (love the rolls!), 38 wonderful people (spanning in age from 86 years to 2 months), tractor rides for the kids in the Kubota (compliments of Schaeperkoetter Sales & Service), gifts from Granny and Papa that each of us pick out ourselves (a tradition started several years ago so that the surprises of the day were for the two wonderful people who funded them!), and wonderful times "catching up" with family members with whom we don't get the opportunity to see much throughout the year.

We missed you two, Em and Nathan! Hopefully you'll feel like you were "there" from looking at these pictures...

Extended Family

Herman Girls

Friday, December 18, 2009

Missouri State Capitol

Today we visited the State Capitol. Although I've been there countless times (growing up as the daughter of a State Representative/Senator), it was Dale and the girls' first visit.

Macie loved all the room she had to freely roam the mostly-void-of-people halls on foot. And apparently something on the ceiling in the Senate chambers caught her attention, as I snapped several random pictures of her looking "waaaaaay up".

Ivie loved climbing into the Senators' chairs. And convincing Macie to follow her wherever she went, of course.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


Ivie's got the best of both worlds. In Luke and Rod, she's got rough-and-tumble boys that love to spend time with her outside. And in her Missouri cousins, she's got a great boy-girl mix whose interests run the gamut.

In our first 24 hours in Missouri, her favorite activity, by far, has been dress-up with Olivia, who is a mere 5 months older than Ivie. And Olivia is lucky enough to have a big sister, Josie, who began the dress-up clothes collection for the Anderson family several years ago...

Pictures from Day One, including the mall play place at lunch time, complete with a close-up of Macie's boo-boo on her face from falling down the 4 steps leading up to the slide. But don't worry - she was right back up climbing them again. Then, of course, some shots of the dress-up craziness...

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Ivie's Random Thoughts (#6)

Taste in Clothes

Last Wednesday morning, Ivie woke up early (6:45a), so she chilled in our room while Dale showered and dressed and I went downstairs to make my lunch and cut the day's round of Magic Bars for Dale's clients.

Upon my return upstairs, Dale was in his closet getting dressed in his typical work attire (slacks/dress shirt). As Ivie watched him choose his clothes, she struck up the following conversation:

Ivie (in her recent "dress-up" frame of mind): Daddy, what are you dressing up like?

: I'm getting dressed for work!

: Oooooooohhhhh. Well... I don't even like that.

: You don't?!? I'm sorry!

Apparently Ivie doesn't agree with Dale's taste in clothing...


There's a southern saying that Dale's mom, Emma Jean ("Grandma"), uses with the girls all the time. Whenever she's craving a hug, she will say to them, "Come here and give me some sugar!". Ivie, at least, knows what Grandma's after and generally obliges....

Yesterday morning, I was sitting at the kitchen table, working on my computer. Taking a break from her various activities, Ivie drifted over and asked if she could sit on my lap. After climbing up, she looked me in the eye and asked, "Can you give me lots of sugar, Mommy?!?".

I, of course, was more than happy to accommodate.

Christmas Tree

Around 9:30p last night, an hour and a half after getting in her bed, Ivie was still awake. Dale and I were downstairs watching television, and every once in a while we heard random noises coming from her room. Thuds, to be specific.

After 20 minutes or so, Dale went up to check on her. When he asked her what she was doing, she said she was "building a Christmas Tree".

At 5a when I went in to attempt to calm her out of a coughing spell, she was quick to point her "tree" out to me, as well.

So I thought it only fitting to share it with you...

Monday, December 14, 2009

Milk Bubbles

foI'm home with a sick Ivie today. She had a bad night last night (wheezing and coughing), so, around 11:30p following a middle-of-the night breathing treatment, we relented and Dale slept in her bed with her. By jumping on the nebulizer treatments quickly, we're hopeful to nurse her back to health prior to our upcoming trip to Missouri...

Anyway, moving on to the subject at hand, Ivie practiced making milk bubbles over lunch. Another perfect opportunity to check out my new camera lens!

So. Within 14 hours of the appearance of illness, we've given in to sleeping in her bed with her and allowing poor table manners. I hope the sickness takes these habits along with it when it leaves. Sooner rather than later, please...

Not Me! Monday (#1): Our House

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! For those of you that read MckMama, you've heard of this. For those of you that don't, feel free to check out her blog to get the background on how this started. (Watch out, though, or you might fall in love with her family, despite never having met them, and become addicted to her stories. Trust me. It's been known to happen.)

Anyway, Not Me! Monday is essentially a fun way to tell about some of the funny things that you generally would refuse to admit to doing. But since you do it in this "not me" setting, it becomes a little less, well, awful!

So here's my first installment....

1) Dale and I are firm believers in child-proofing. That's why it is not us that rely on a Pack-n-Play, instead of a drilled-into-the-wall-for-added-security safety gate to keep our 15-month old from climbing the stairs.

2) I hate clutter. That's why it is not me that has a toy corner in the living room that looks like this,

a Dining Room table that looks like this,

and a guest bed (affectionately known to Dale and me as "Dining Room Table - North") that looks like this.

3) While I'm on the clutter topic, I believe that shoes should always be placed neatly in one's closet. On shoe racks, specifically. That is why my clothes dryer most definitely does not look like this:

4) Even though Macie loves to climb, I am very careful to not let her do anything that could result in her being injured. So I would never allow her to climb on the bench or chairs in the kitchen. And, even if I did, I would stand VERY close to her, holding her hand, and would never back away from her to catch her extremely funny face with my camera...

5) Although I love ice cream, I limit my children's exposure. So much so that Macie doesn't even really know what it is. That's why I'm not really sure why a small carton of it would elicit the following response...

And when it was time to give her a tiny sampling, I did not send Dale after the camera to get some shots of her bird face...

6) Over the past several weeks, as Dale and I have been spending our late evenings making "Magic Bars" for his customers (we're at 20 batches and counting), I have not required that he put the chocolate chips on before the butterscotch. Because that would be plum silly. Particularly since the only reason is that I think they "look more festive" that way. In fact I did not pound it into his brain so often that when I exclaimed "Seriously?!?" (for an entirely unrelated reason) while he was distributing the chocolate chips in batch #19, his heart did not skip a beat and he did not do a double-take to make sure that he had the right chips in his hand, for fear of having to deal with the wrath of Amy.

7) Finally, saving the worst for last, I did not spend time yesterday disinfecting Macie's humidifier that has been sitting unused in her room for nine months with about 2 inches of stagnate water inside. Because that would just be gross.