Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving in Hickory

Ivie adores her older cousins, Luke and Rod (they're 11 and 8). A few days before we headed to Hickory for Thanksgiving, we broke the exciting news to her that she was going to get to see them. It was all she could think/talk about, getting to see her "cuzins".

The first day in Hickory (Thursday) was difficult, because Luke and Rod actually weren't arriving until Friday. We got Ivie through nap and bedtime by telling her that she only had 2 more (and then 1 more) sleeps until they would arrive.

And when they did, boy did she make the most of it! Thankfully (appropriate for the holiday), the weather was really nice all weekend, so we were able to get outside and roam Grandma's land a bit. Grandma was happy about this, too, as it meant that her treasured (and highly breakable) elephant collection was safe from the dangerous grasp of one Macie Herman.

While we're on the subject of Luke and Rod, let me just say that Dale and I couldn't ask for two boys more willing to "hang out" with their sometimes-high-maintenance 3 1/2 year-old cousin. Seriously, do you really think they enjoyed spending 30 minutes playing hide-and-seek before bed? Or going back to Ivie's room countless times to play with the toy soldiers and "Buster" the robot? Or pretending to have Ivie tuck them into bed for the nap that they gave up many years ago (just so that she would go down more easily for hers)? So thanks, boys, for everything you did (and continue to do) to make your cousin's day. She had so much fun. And she can't wait to play with you again at the beach after Christmas!

Here are some pictures that capture the fun of the weekend. And a video of Ivie's newly-discovered-and-now-favorite outdoor activity at Grandma's house (compliments of Luke).

In the House

MACIE Outside

IVIE Outside

My Girls (and their beloved cousins)

On the Trike...

Friday, November 27, 2009

A Great Idea!!!

As I was putting Macie to bed tonight, Dale poked his head into Emma Jean's (Grandma's) living room (Macie's "bedroom" here at Grandma's house) and asked what I thought about Ivie sleeping on the top bunk in her room. "NO WAY" was my immediate response. "Even with the rails?", he asked. Nope. Not if Mommy wants to get any sleep at all tonight.

After Macie was in bed, I stood outside Ivie's room to eavesdrop on their conversation. I walked up just in time to hear Dale telling Ivie that "Mommy isn't going to let you sleep up there, Iv." (Glad to know I'm the bad guy.) She began arguing, so I stepped inside and began explaining to her that I was worried she would fall, or that she would try to get up by herself during the night and not realize that she was up high.

Ivie argued, responding with all the "right" answers (like, "When I wake up, Mommy, I will just scream and wait for Daddy to come help me get down!").

My next "play" was to say that Ivie could sleep up top if Dale would sleep on the bottom bunk. He didn't bite. In fact, he didn't react at all, so he might not have even been listening! So I moved on to trying to play on her fear of getting hurt. (I know, you probably wouldn't read about that method in a parenting book.) I even used the phrase "lots of blood". Shame on me.

Now that I look back on it, when I began talking about her getting hurt, I saw just a hint of a change in her expression. But it only lasted for a split second before disappearing, as she continued to plead her case about not trying to get out of bed on her own.

After we talked for another minute or so, Ivie cut Dale and me off. And, with eyebrows raised and excitement in her voice, she said, "I've got a GREAT IDEA!"

Playing along (but not really expecting much change in her opinion), Dale and I both raised our OWN eyebrows and asked, "What is it, Ivie?!?".

And out came the very last thing we expected to hear her say.

"I can sleep on the bottom and PRETEND that I'm sleeping up here!"

Dale and I were shocked. Did we really just hear that? "YES, IVIE! That's a great idea! You can pretend to sleep on the top bunk!"

And, with that, Ivie was happy to let Dale lift her back down to the ground to start the bedtime book-reading process. Excited to pretend to be sleeping on the top bunk.

After reading books and tucking her in, Dale reached to turn out the light before exiting her room. And Ivie had one last recommendation for the game of pretend that she'd started.

"Daddy, you can turn out the light and we'll pretend that it's still on!"

Mommy's liking this game...

Monday, November 23, 2009

Gobble, Gobble, Gobble

Well, I've got the day off of work today, because my parents are still here and aren't leaving until this afternoon...

So you know what that means! Time for a Thanksgiving treat for Ivie's class at school! Though I haven't yet gotten permission from Miss Erin to bring them in, so let's hope that goes well. Erin, can I please bring these to school Wednesday for afternoon snack? P-L-E-A-S-E?!?

I found this on the craft blog. It's one of my favorites! They're Oreo cookie turkeys, and the ingredients are Oreos, chocolate frosting, bell-shaped chocolates (thank goodness the Christmas candies are already available at Target!), candy corn, and mini M&M's.

Thankfully, these turkeys were MUCH easier/quicker to make than the marshmallow mummies from Halloween. And, plus, I coerced Mom into helping me, so it went twice as fast!

So here they are! Aren't they fun?!?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Big Apple (sans kids)

I'm so thankful for this blog. Because now I have an outlet for all the pictures I take of subjects OTHER than my kids! You see, I try to keep up with the printing of the pictures of the girls for my actual photo albums. I've got about 300 prints sitting on my dining room table patiently waiting to be put in the latest album. But I'm certainly not organized enough to keep a photo album up-to-date with random "sightseeing" pictures. Not post-kids, at least.

So now I can share the pictures with you, have them show up next year in my 2nd annual "blog book" that I've already started editing (Year One turned out so great!), and then not feel guilty for not actually printing the pictures. Ahhhhhh.

So. Our trip to The Big Apple.

On Thursday, Dale and I flew to New York, via LaGuardia. Many thanks out to my parents who made our weekend getaway possible by graciously agreeing to fly out here and babysit the girls! The impetus for the trip was our men's basketball team's visit to Madison Square Garden for the Coaches vs. Cancer yearly season tip-off tournament. That was the only slight push we needed!

We didn't have a whole lot of formal activities planned for the trip. To be honest, neither of us had much time to think about it, as November snuck up on us! So Thursday and Friday consisted of a lot of wandering the streets of New York. Which, really, isn't that part of the fun of New York?!?

We'd hoped that more Christmas decorations would be on display, but we ended up being a few days early. By the time we left this morning, we were starting to see signs of the frenzy, though, since the countdown has begun for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in only 5 days...

Here are the things I want to remember about our trip...

1. Benjamin Steakhouse rocks. We had a great dinner on Thursday night with our good friend, Chad Holbrook, after an afternoon/evening of walking around in the chilly rain.

2. Friday was Central Park day. With lunch at a little Jewish deli, Lansky's Old World Deli, on the way. Dale had a reuben, I had an open-faced roast beef sandwich. I lost the bet with Dale about the type of bread my sandwich was on. He said rye. I didn't think it was. We asked the waitress. I was wrong. I followed up my sandwich with a chocolate chip cookie that looked better on the counter than it actually tasted.

3. I gave in and agreed to spend 50 bucks (I talked him down from $65 without uttering a word!) to have one of those guys on a bike with an attached carriage drive us around Central Park. It was worth every dime. We heard the history of the Park, found out where many famous people have apartments, saw locations at which many a movie scene was filmed, and had someone to take pictures of the two of us together. Dale originally resisted the pictures, but ultimately surrendered after knowing he had no choice. You'll see them in a bit.

4. I passed Adam Greenberg walking the streets. He played baseball at UNC and is one of my favorite all-time Carolina student-athletes. I admit to having been smitten with him, from a distance, when I was a grad student. I've grown up since then, of course...

5. I spotted Jon Voight standing on a street corner. I recognized him as Jonas Hodges from 24 last season.

6. It's hard to say which of these two men I was more excited to see.

7. Macy's is overwhelming. And beautiful at Christmas time.

8. I saw my first Broadway play. Wicked. A+++. But I don't really have anything to compare it to, I guess. Sarah, you've got to see it. Being the Wizard of Oz fan you are, you'd love it. The 3 hours disappeared about as quickly as my box of Mike and Ike's (Tropical Typhoon flavored).

9. I went in the M&M Store 3 times. And the Hershey Store twice. Hershey's was much smaller (only 1 story, as opposed to the 3 stories of the M&M Store). The second trip into Hershey's was SOLELY to get a Reese's Cup sample following the play Saturday night. And it was my idea, not Dale's, though he gladly accepted a sample with me prior to immediately exiting the opposite door.

10. It didn't take us long to revert to "pre-kids" sleep patterns, staying up until midnight and not getting out of bed until 9 or 10a. That all ends tomorrow morning...

11. ESPN Zone only had our football game versus Boston College on one tiny TV. So we went to an Irish pub instead. The Pig 'n' Whistle. Big screen at the bar. Great burger.

12. Didn't get New York pizza until Saturday night, right before the play. But it was worth the wait. Tuscany Pizza Cafe.

13. Dale said that one of his highlights was seeing a game (two, actually) in Madison Square Garden (self-proclaimed as "The Most Famous Arena in the World).

14. As we exited the plane in Raleigh-Durham, Dale said, "You know, the sign of a cool city is when you spend the trip home thinking about what you want to do the next time you visit." I couldn't agree with him more.

15. The best part of the trip was walking into our house and having two sweet little girls run into our arms. That will NEVER, EVER, EVER get old.

City Sights

Central Park

And, drum roll please... US!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Aprons and the Winning Gumball

Nina and Papa arrived today, and they came bearing gifts for the girls. Apparently Nina was feeling guilty for not remembering in time to send them each a Halloween card (Silly, right? Missing a birthday? B-A-D. But Halloween? Quite forgivable.)

Ivie was the recipient of a few princess items (wallet, lip gloss, and magnet), along with a Hello Kitty headband. Macie got a play skillet, a snowman bowl/fork and spoon set, and a stocking cap. And, for both of them, adorable matching aprons.

Maybe someday I will cook and they can join me?

Until then, we'll just let them model the aprons for the camera...

We went to Rudino's for dinner tonight (Papa loves the grinders, Nina was craving pizza). After finishing her dinner, Ivie was rewarded with a quarter from Papa to get a gumball. And, for the first time ever (and trust me, we've tried several times!), she got a RED one! So she "won" a free cookie. And, of course, I had to capture the moment.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Big 6-0!!!

Today is my dad's birthday. And it's not just any birthday, either... It's the BIG 6-0!!!

I captured a little video of the girls this morning so they could wish Papa a happy birthday "in-person". You'll note that I had to do a little editing of the video. That's because Ivie kept asking, "Is Papa IN THERE?" and coming around to my side of the Flip to hopefully catch a glimpse of him. I mean, if we can HEAR him on the telephone, why can't we SEE him on the video camera? Ivie also is addicted to "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse", which is on Playhouse Disney from 7:30a-8:00a, so she several times reached to turn on the television mid-shoot, resulting in more video-cropping.

But the resulting "movie" turned out pretty nice, I think.

So happy birthday, Papa! As "in-person" as we can get today. But there will be lots of hugs and kisses coming your way soon!

Monday, November 16, 2009

25 Random Things: Papa

What better day to share my dad's "25 Random Things" than on the eve of his 60th birthday, right?

Dad pretty much follows in Mom's footsteps with this project, giving us a life story in 25 bullet points.  There are a couple of things that he downplays, though, to which I feel the need to devote a little more time...  The first of which is when he says (in #18)  that being able to figure batting averages within seconds isn't very useful anymore.  WHAT?!?  We all STILL love to play that game where we give Dad random fractions, like 78 out of 432, and see how many milliseconds it takes him to get within hundredths of the correct answer.  So it's shocking to me that he doesn't find that useful.  Because I certainly do!

Secondly, Dad's reference to campaigning in #22 brings back GREAT memories of election years...  I loved courthouse-hopping on election nights watching results come in.  Ahhhhh, that was so much fun.  (Especially since Dad always won!)  The parades and the church picnics were a blast, too.  I could eat a roast beef sandwich right now...  And don't forget about the two-button campaign slogan - genius!  (I tried to find a link to a picture of them online, but, alas, it was pre-internet, so there's nothing out there about it.  If Dad still has a set, I'll get a picture of them and post it later...)

OK, enough elaborating.  I think I'm ready to hand you off to my dad.  The politician/lawmaker/judge that never let his "important" job get in the way of his burning need to politely disagree with go off on a few local refs back in the day when his kids were playing basketball.  (I can't believe that didn't specifically make the list, though I think he tried to get it off his chest a bit in #10.)

Papa's 25 Random Things:

1.  I grew up in Mt. Sterling, a really small town - spent time at Dad's farm implement business ("the garage"), Grandpa's general store ("the store") and gas station ("the station"), lived on the only street in town, Plymouth Drive ("the street"). That place, that family (Mom and Dad, Mark, me, Brian, and Julie) - I still love to go there.

2.  I had the same teacher for all 8 of my grade school years in a one-room schoolhouse at Mt. Sterling - field trips, recesses, same three classmates all eight years, indoor plumbing partway through, up close and personal relationship with corporal punishment.  I got to spend October afternoons outside keeping score of the World Series games for Basil Leach, the teacher, while all the other kids had to stay inside and do the schoolwork.

3.  My favorite thing to do in Mt. Sterling was to play baseball games (I was always the Cardinals) by throwing a rubber ball (bought from the store) against my Grandpa and Grandma's brick house, creating ground balls, fly balls, line drives.  Developed pretty decent fielding skills and forced Grandpa to finally put a screen over the window to protect the glass.  In the wintertime, or on rainy days, I created those same games in our house's basement.  Since the Cardinals had Ray Sadecki and Steve Carlton at the time, I developed a pretty decent left-handed delivery.

4.  Our weekly trips to church (Oklahoma Church of Christ) allowed me to spend time at Hope with my Mom's parents and their whole family - everybody showed up there most Sundays.  Games with cousins, Donnie Hilkerbaumer, Grandma's cooking, Grandpa Miller, trips to White's Store for afternoon sodas (but 7 or 8 grandkids in the back of his pickup truck would have been child endangerment in the modern era).

5.  I had great grandparents, and Grandpa Miller was my favorite - always had a dollar for me at the county fair (when a dollar went a long ways), always teased me (called me "Jefferson Island Salt" after a company that made block salt that he set out for the cattle), always asked me to go along to the Turner Place, or the Fleck Place, or the REA summer boards meetings on the Osage River (with incredible BBQ meals).

6.   I got "adopted" as a teenager by Jack Steffen, a 30-something who was dating my Dad's cousin, Cleo.  We shared a love for the Cardinals, played softball together with the whole town on Sunday afternoons across the river (he was a really good fast-pitch softball pitcher).  He taught me to play golf, would call up my Mom to see if I could go with him to play at Owensville.  He always followed up golf with a trip to the A & W.  I loved the golf, the A & W in those cardboard containers, and seeing the girl carhops!

7.  Listened to Cardinal baseball during the summer at "the station."  Mark and I and the old guys (Fred Leimkuehler, Bud Landwehr, Bill Rikard, Marvin Brinkmann).  They bought us ice cream sandwiches and sodas (back when they were a nickel or dime each).

8.  I graduated from Owensville High School - rode the bus most days 20 miles each way.  Student Council, golf team, baseball team.  Teachers I'll never forget, classmates whom I still see, and some who have died and I still miss.

9.  I was pretty good at Latin in high school.  Mrs. Kinder was my teacher.  Elected president of Latin Club my freshman year (my first foray into politics, but none of the upperclassmen wanted the job).  Was never embarrassed to wear the brown toga with green sash that Mom made for me (the headband with those fake little cherries was over the top, though).

10.  We started a baseball team in Mt. Sterling when I was about 13 or 14.  Drew kids in from the area and played games at Mt. Sterling, Hope, Morrison and Gasconade (the only place with lights for night games).  I lived for those games, hated rain-outs, played catcher, shortstop and second base.  Always batted over .300, fielded well (see #3 above), baited the opposition and the umpires unmercifully.

11.  Those early teams led to having a "town team" in the Osage Baseball League.  We recruited players from a wider area (Owensville, even St. James, Rolla), and won several league championships.  Played second base almost exclusively, batted second in the line-up, developed switch-hitting skills.  Once hit a triple and got a bunt single off of Tom Henke, who would become one of professional baseball's greatest relief pitchers.

12.  Once hit a golf ball through Grandpa and Grandma Schaeperkoetter's bay kitchen window.  Wasn't aiming for it!

13.  Ran into a gas pump at "the station" with one of dad's tractors as a teenager.  Wrecked his brand new car at 18.  And he still loves me, I think!

14.  I was in Army ROTC in college, then served three years on active duty in the Army and about ten years in the Missouri National Guard.  Ft. Riley, KS, for ROTC summer camp, then Ft. Benjamin Harrison, IN, and Ft. Leonard Wood, MO while on active duty.  Served during Vietnam War, but never left the States, and got out of the service to go to Law School.

15.  Met Jane at SMS, introduced by Jane's high school classmate, John Spreitzer.  First date was in October 1969 at the Bears' Den on campus.  Pizza dates ever since!

16.  Jane and I got married in 1973, and Sarah arrived 9 months and 29 days later.  Amy, Scott and Matt followed - four great kids, and now grandchildren are doubling our pleasure.

17.  I love to do different things with words - one time the word "okra" sent me totally over the edge - in front of my kids and Jane eating out at a local restaurant.  Also claim to have invented a word.  "Vuja de" is the opposite of "deja Vu."  It is the feeling that some experience has never happened to you before.  I am pretty sure that George Carlin stole it from me!

18.  I am really good at figuring out batting averages off the top of my head.  Really useful back in the day, not so much now.

19.  Politics has been in my blood since 1960, when I followed the election of President Kennedy closely.  He has always been my hero.  Jane and I really got into the 2008 campaign (saw President Obama and Vice President Biden before the election).  Looks like I will have two heroes!

20.  Elected student body president at SMS (they call it Missouri State now).  One of the opponents that I defeated was a friend, Bob Holden, who would later become Governor of Missouri.

21.  Twelve years in the Missouri General Assembly (8 in House, 4 in Senate), 12 years as a Circuit Judge, five years and counting of other service.  Somewhat unique in that I have served in responsible positions in all three branches of state government.

22.  I really loved those parades while campaigning for office.  But four on July 4, 1988 was probably over the top.  Just ask our kids how much they enjoyed that!

23.  I once taught a college government class for East Central College at its Rolla campus.  I should have been a teacher!

24.  Had a little car wreck in 1999, seven surgeries by an incredible surgeon, Dr. Anglen, and was left with a slightly shorter left leg.  So if I "lean a little to the left", there is an explanation for it physically if not politically.

25.  Married to the best math teacher in the world.  I may have gotten the Cantley Math Scholarship coming out of OHS, but she has the ability to teach math in a way that humbles me!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Ivie's Random Thoughts (#5)

She's a Schaeperkoetter
In the past couple of months, when Ivie gets frustrated or angry with someone, she turns to them, with her "mean face", and says, "You're making me HARD-HEADED!".

This must have come from school, but she's apparently misinterpreting the meaning. But I wouldn't be at all surprised if her teachers are referring to Ivie with that descriptor. Some says it's a Schaeperkoetter trait. So she just might have come by it honestly...

Recently, when we ask Ivie to go to the potty before leaving home for an outing and she doesn't have to go, she exclaims, "I don't have to go! There's NO POTTY in my throat!".

I've found this to be quite amusing, so I've let it go for a couple of weeks. But I've had my fun. Last night, I introduced her to the word "bladder".

We took the girls to the UNC Men's Basketball game this afternoon versus Valparaiso. Speaking of, do you know where Valparaiso is? Dale knew it was in Indiana. I didn't. Here's a map if you're interested..

Macie was her usual terror at the game. It took me about 10 minutes to remember why I always decide after the first game of the year with a child (and now two) that I would be better served to just watch the games at home. At least until all children are (at a minimum) 3 years old. With Macie, if she's not eating, she's not happy. We (she and I) were ready to head home at halftime. But Ivie was having too much fun, so we stuck it out for 10 minutes of the 2nd half before hitting the door.

On our trek to the car, as we navigated the first of two long staircases, Ivie lagged behind me by about 6 stairs. We were still close enough to talk, though, and Ivie said to me, "Mommy, I had fun with you today!". She's said this before when she's having a sentimental moment, but this was especially sweet because it was so randomly timed. The folks around us on the stairs thought it was very cute, too!

Then, when we got to the car, she said, "Mommy, you make my heart feel very happy." The feeling is mutual, Iv.

Mod Podge Thanksgiving Decoration

As I've said many times, I'm not very crafty. In fact, just looking at the "My Giant Busy Box" full of kid craft projects that Ivie got as a gift from one of our friends last Christmas makes my heart race.

I think it's because I'm a perfectionist. And when it comes to crafting, that's a hard characteristic with which to come to terms. Because nothing is ever going to be entirely flawless. And I'm the type that spots a blemish and then CAN'T TAKE MY EYES OFF OF IT.

So at least I know that this is a weakness. And because I continually strive to be a fun mommy, I'm branching out and trying to learn to get over myself. Even if it means letting Ivie glue stick a cow's ear in a clearly off-centered location on the paper-bag-turned-"moo cow puppet" from above-referenced "Busy Box".

Today, I finished up a project that has now become our lone Thanksgiving decoration for the house. I'm not sure why we've never decorated for this holiday. Maybe because we need a little break between Halloween and the craziness that is the 4 huge red and green tubs of Christmas decorations that stare us in the face the weekend after Thanksgiving? Either way, the house seemed bare of anything that could remind us (and help teach the girls) what Thanksgiving is all about.

I've never ventured into the world of Mod Podge. But I did today! And while it's not perfect (I wish I'd have placed the "U" a tad lower), I'm still pretty proud of it.

And before you look at this and wonder why I included the random-and-not-really-matching flower stickers in the upper corners, please understand that this is what happens when you take your 3 1/2 year old daughter with you to Michaels to shop for project materials. The only way you make it out of the store alive is if you promise that she can add a couple of grabbed-off-the-shelf-when-Mommy-wasn't-looking "beautiful" flower stickers to the finished project. At least I picked these two out of the bunch and not the ones in the set that had purple as a prominent color, right? But, looking on the bright side, for years to come, Ivie will remember that she got to help. And that's what is most important!

Condiments, Anyone?

Before her lunch was ready today, Macie was able to sneak into the open refrigerator and start unloading the bottom two door shelves. First up was the ketchup bottle. I'm not sure if she knows how much Ivie likes ketchup, or if it was just by happenstance, but Macie grabbed the bottle and took it over to Ivie, who was already seated at the table eating. Ivie grabbed it and put it on the table.

As Macie turned and headed back across the kitchen, Dale (who was standing nearest the fridge) caught a glimpse of her face. It was covered with an ear-to-ear grin. He didn't have the heart to shut the door on her, despite the many more dangerous glass bottles that remained.

Below is a picture collage illustrating the next 10 minutes...

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Who Needs a Dress?

This morning, we put on Ivie's "comfy clothes" for our trip to the Museum. While we were eating breakfast, she donned her Snow White crown and shoes and said,

"Mommy, I don't have a dress, but I'm still a princess."

Her positive self-image is intact. Hope it still is when she's 12...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Eviction Notice

I shared a room with my older sister growing up. At least until I was in the 6th grade and we moved into a bigger house and she and I got our own space. Since I don't remember much before the 6th grade (it's inexplicable, so don't even ask), I don't really know if I enjoyed sharing a room or not. But I'm pretty sure Sarah and I had a good time and that it was ultimately good for our relationship. Or that's what I intend to continue believing, at least, since I really want Ivie and Macie to have the same experience. And I don't want to blow the sisterly-love/best-buds image that I have in my head about how great it could be for them.

So I've been talking to Ivie the last couple of months about how she's going to be able to share her room with Macie when Macie gets, well, "bigger" (no need to use other descriptors that she won't understand because of her inability to comprehend measurements of time). But Ivie seems very excited, particularly when I bring it up during those times when she's feeling particularly big-sisterly, which, thankfully, are coming around with more frequency as she gets older.

Tonight as I tucked Ivie into bed for the third time (I still can't get out of her room as easily as her daddy can), she brought up the fact that someday she wanted to share her "princess bed" with Macie. (It's not really a princess bed. But it's white, and calling it a princess bed makes Ivie want to get into it and go to sleep. Whatever works, right?) She proceeded to, as a procrastination tactic, take me through the progression about how both she and Macie had started in the "crib" in Mommy's room (the bassinet that for some reason is still set up in the corner), then moved on to Macie's crib, and then to Ivie's princess bed.

At the end of this timeline discussion, we had the following exchange:

Ivie: Mommy, when Macie gets bigger, I want her to sleep over THERE (pointing to the opposite side of the bed from where Ivie currently sleeps).

Me: That's a good idea, Ivie. That can be Macie's side of the bed!

Ivie (glancing to "Macie's side" of the bed with a suddenly-troubling look on her face): But Mommy... Where will I put my BOOKS?!?

You see, after we read books at night, they get put up into the bed with Ivie. And they "sleep" next to her, in the exact location that Ivie just realized will someday be occupied by Macie!

So books, consider this your one-year (or so) warning. You're probably going to be demoted to the shelf of the headboard. But at least you'll get to witness the sisterly love that is undoubtedly going to flourish. At least that's how I've scripted it in my mind.

In reality, the better advice might be to duck your collective covers to avoid being hit by the inevitably flying pillows.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veteran's Day

About a year ago, my Papa (dad's dad) took a trip to Washington, DC with other veterans from his local community. As part of that experience, family members and friends of the veterans took some time to write them letters thanking them for their service to our country. I wrote one for Papa.

I've thought this morning about whether or not I wanted to put this letter on my blog. While it's a letter that I wrote solely for him (and not for anyone else's eyes), a year later I look back on it and think that I someday want my kids to have it. To know how I put my feelings about gratitude for veterans and love for God and family into words for Papa.

And then, to top it off, I remembered that not many people outside of my family read this anyway, so it's not like I'm sharing my personal thoughts with the world or anything...

So here goes. On Veteran's Day, a quick shout-out to one of my ALL-TIME FAVORITE veterans. My Papa.

November 15, 2008

Dear Papa,

Hi! Dad has told me about the awesome trip you've been on today. I'm sure it has brought back many memories of your time in the service. Both good and bad.

I am glad that as part of this trip I'm getting the chance to take some time to thank you. For so many things that I have never put into words to you (either spoken or written). I am just hopeful I can do justice to what you deserve to hear from me today...

First, in light of your trip today, thank you for what you did for our country. I know that sounds cliche, but I like to think there is a reason that a phrase becomes over-used. Because it's the best way to say something, right? I can only imagine being 18 or 19 years old and taking the step that you took - one of uncertainty and probably quite a bit of fear of the unknown. You put your life on the line every day for the future of your family. Not many people can claim that same thing. What an amazing thing to be able to say that you did with your life!

Second, thank you for finding the most wonderful woman with whom to spend your life. If the two of you hadn't found each other, I wouldn't be able to say that I have the best grandparents a person could ever imagine. I know that life in a marriage is not always easy (and I'm only 4 1/2 years in!), but the way the two of you continue to live your lives as a loving couple sets the most amazing example for all those who are lucky enough to know you.

Third, thank you and Granny for raising four kids of whom I am SO proud to have in my family. Now that I'm older and wiser, I can even say that about my dad. HA!!!! In all seriousness, though, your extended family is full of four separate families in whose homes love for God and for family reigns supreme. That's no coincidence, of course. It's a direct result of the upbringing that your kids experienced in your home. I hope that you are able to look at all of us now and be as proud of us as we are of you for starting our family.

Fourth, finally, and most importantly, I would like to thank you for raising my dad into a family that believes in and loves the Lord with all your hearts. By putting your trust in Him, you have shown your children (and their children, and their children) how to do the same thing. What greater gift could you give your family than the knowledge of God's love? I can only hope that I will instill in my children the same values and love of the Lord that you were able to in yours.

Papa, you and Granny have been, and continue to be, the ultimately role models for how to raise a family of which every member is proud to be a part. What a legacy you have begun for the Schaeperkoetters! I'm more proud of you than you could ever know. And I'm so thankful for this opportunity to finally be able to tell you.

All my love,

Ivie's Random Thoughts (#4)

Just this morning, in the hour and a half that she was awake before we walked out the door to school and work, Ivie gave me enough material for another random thoughts post...

Halloween Song
I'd say 4 mornings out of 5 each work week we have to wake Ivie up a little after 7a to get her ready for school. This morning was the odd day out when she woke up on her own.

At about 6:40a, Dale and I heard her start singing. I was in the bathroom getting ready, and Dale was lying in bed reading (nearest the monitor), so I asked him several times what she was singing. He could never really make out the song(s). But she sang on, and on, and on.

About 10 minutes into her singing session, clear as day in an emphatic crescendo, both Dale and I hear...


Those of you who have little Noggin/Moose A. Moose fans running around your homes will appreciate this. If you don't, it won't make any sense at all... So here's the video for you...

We're currently under a flood warning in North Carolina as the remnants of Hurricane Ida are dropping heavy rain that might ultimately equal 6 inches here... It rained on and off yesterday, and I think it precluded the kids from going outside at school. Which frustrates Ivie, who loves to go out and play.

This morning as we headed down the stairs, Ivie looked out the window at the front door. And saw that it was still raining.

Ivie (with an exasperated sigh): It's STIIIIIILL raining?!?

Me: Yes, Iv, it's going to rain allllll day today.

Ivie: That just DOESN'T MAKE SENSE!

I know it's disappointing, Iv. But you better get used to it, because it's supposed to rain for the next 3 days...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Not "In-House", but Close Enough...

If you watched the clip of Ivie on television a couple of posts ago, you would have seen my credits at the end where I thanked ESPNU and wondered if what I was doing was legal. Since my livelihood relies on helping our coaches and student-athletes follow NCAA rules, I'm a bit of a stickler. (Dale's rolling his eyes right now, because he knows that it has less to do with my job and more to do with the fact that THAT'S JUST HOW I AM.)

Because not many people read the comments left on posts (I know I don't on other blogs that I read), I wanted to be sure everyone saw my dad's response to my legal concern...

Plus, legally, if they used Ivie's image without seeking your permission, they may be deemed to have waived any right to complain about your own failure to seek their permission.

Dad (the lawyer)

Ahhhhh, I feel better already. Thanks, Dad!

Monday, November 9, 2009


I know the purpose of this blog is to tell stories about life within the Herman family, our little clan of 4, living happily and healthily in North Carolina. And I know that my readership is, like, maybe 10 people, and that's only because I require my family to read it by having email my posts to them as soon as I hit "publish". So they don't really have a choice.

But I'm going to stray from my stated blog purpose for this post. Because I'm so utterly happy tonight that I can't fathom doing anything but writing about how happy I am for this random family. A "Frozen Tundra" family that I have never met and most likely never will...

I know that there are naysayers who are skeptical about anything positive coming out of Facebook, blogging, etc. But I also know that because of Facebook and blogs, and former acquaintances with whom I've reconnected as a result, I've been introduced to a family whose story deserves to be heard, shared, and celebrated.

Chrissy, I think you check my blog out every once in a while. So, if you do, thanks for introducing me to MckMama and her Many Small Children.

As a very brief intro, MckMama (her blog name for herself) and her husband (Prince Charming) have 4 kids. The youngest, now-one-year-old Stellan (also known on the blog as "MckMuffin"), has a very serious heart condition that the doctors thought would take his life in utero. But, because God had other plans, Stellan lived. And he just had his first birthday last week! But his heart has struggled with a condition known as SVT (I don't know what it is, either - it doesn't really matter, except to know that it causes his heart rate to skyrocket out of normal rhythm). And his last two weeks have been very tough, as the family and their doctors have had to make the tough decision to go forward with a second ablation (also not important for you to fully understand, but just know that it is a VERY serious and dangerous surgery to perform on a toddler).

So after traveling with his mommy to Boston's Children's Hospital (apparently the best in the nation, and maybe the world, for this type of surgery), Stellan was today rushed into his ablation. A day earlier than scheduled, ultimately, because his heart went into SVT and the doctors couldn't get him stable enough to wait until the scheduled Tuesday ablation.

MckMama, who somehow found the time, energy, and faith, kept the entire world updated fairly regularly throughout the day with both blog updates and Tweets. I'm not much of a Tweeter (that sounds funny, I know), but I found myself refreshing my internet so often on her Twitter page today that I started to wonder if I would accomplish anything of "importance" in my work day.

And even though this might be all you know of their story, I can tell you that if you go and read this post, you won't come out of it dry-eyed. No way you could. Because Stellan and his doctors were so obviously in the palms of God's hands throughout this day that it's almost unfathomable. And the part that makes it so much better is that Stellan's mommy, at a time in her life when her fears and doubts could have so easily taken over and blinded her to God's glory, she didn't let them. She sooooo didn't. What an amazing woman.

If you have some time, read some of the stories from the past two weeks on this blog. I can assure you that when you finish, you won't be able to describe what has happened any better than MckMama does, when she says:

To God be the glory, great things He hath done!

Ivie's Television Debut

So I figured the only way to show you all Ivie's television debut (mentioned in my Old Well Walk post) was to film it with my Flip while playing it on TV. Here you go!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Old Well Walk

We hit Tar Heel Town with the girls again yesterday. As we stood amongst the crowd alongside the sidewalk down which the team would soon walk for the home-game tradition of the Old Well Walk, Ivie asked Dale if she could get on his shoulders (their father/eldest daughter tradition). Since we were still probably 10 minutes from the team arriving, Dale told Ivie that she needed to wait until she could see the team coming down the path.

So Ivie continued to check for the team. When she finally saw them, she turned to Dale and exclaimed, "Daddy, the high-five men are coming!".

To adults, it's the UNC Football team. But to my Ivie, they're really big guys that walk by her each week, full of smiles as they gently slap her little hand with their monstrous ones.

Incidentally, Ivie also made her ESPN network debut last night! A camera man had come around before the Old Well Walk and taken some brief footage of several kids, including a few seconds each of Ivie and Emerson. Then, with about 7:15 left in the second quarter of the game, ESPNU did a brief overview of Homecoming weekend, including several fan shots. And, sure enough, there was Ivie! Imagine my dad's surprise when he was watching their DVR'd version of the game back in Missouri and saw his granddaughter flash onto the screen! He said he immediately yelled to Mom to "get in here, QUICK!".

It's kind of sad that Ivie made it to ESPN before either of her parents, both of whom claim to have been decent athletes "back in the day". Dale's hoping Iv makes a reappearance as a professional golfer someday...

Friday, November 6, 2009

May, 2006

By May of 2006, I had figured out the strategic use of a hand towel during the nursing process (I won't go into any more detail here, but I had to get that memory in writing so that I can go back and laugh REALLY HARD at it someday. I give you permission to laugh, too, Sarah...). And Ivie was spending a little more time awake. So here are some of my favorite photos from that month.

Isn't my personalized towel so cute? And it keeps me warm, too...

When it was my nap time and she wanted to take a shower, Mommy would put me in the bassinet and wheel me into the bathroom so she could keep an eye on me (and know if I woke up screaming).

Don't you just love pictures of baby feet?

Ivie's Random Thoughts (#3)

2 Saturdays ago, before nap, I asked Ivie to take her shorts off and put on her Pull-Up (which she still wears for naps and overnight). I told her she could leave her t-shirt on, but she insisted on taking it off, because she wanted to wear her "jamamas" instead.

Too "out there" to even attempt a title...
Dale was gone Wednesday night. He called us on our way home from school, and Ivie and I were talking to him through my car's Bluetooth system. Dale told Ivie that he loved her, and Ivie responded with:

"I miss you, Daddy! I love you, I love you, I love you. (slight pause) I like to move it, move it. I like to move it, move it."

After she stopped, she and I both burst out laughing. Even SHE didn't know how to explain what had apparently come over her in that moment!

Dressing Up at School
While I definitely got the "Cool Mom" award for bringing in the homemade Halloween treats, I also made a critical error on the day of Ivie's fall festival at school. For a couple of days leading up to the party, there was a sign posted on the door that said they were letting the kids wear their costumes (a first, as they've never been allowed before). But since Ivie's only 3 1/2, and still doesn't remember that her Cheetos-covered fingers should be wiped on a napkin instead of her clothes, I didn't take the chance. I needed to save her Dorothy dress for trick-or-treating (and, ahem, pictures) the next day...

I figured there would be other parents who would feel the same way, and that Ivie wouldn't end up feeling too left out or even really noticing.

I figured wrong.

That day in the car after school, and probably about 10 times since then, Ivie has randomly looked me in the eye, transformed her face into its adorable little pout, and said, "Mommy, I'm so sad that you didn't let me wear my Dorothy costume to school." And then she goes on to describe to me the different costumes of the other kids in her class.

So let the record show, for Ivie's sake, that I HAVE told her that next year she can wear her costume to school. That gives me about 359 days to find one for her that won't show food stains...

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween, 2009

I'm going to resist the urge to write a long blog about Halloween, because I will be creating my annual Halloween book in the near future (which I'll share with you via a link when it's complete). But I WILL share here several of my favorite pictures of the night. The Herman girls had a wonderfully fun Halloween. Ivie didn't want it to end. She's still in denial, in fact; as I sit here and write this blog post, she's wearing her Dorothy dress and "ruby reds", looking all over the house for the missing Toto (we're not sure where he ended up in all the excitement last night), and watching The Wizard of Oz.

It's hard to believe another Halloween has passed us by, isn't it?!?

Ivie, as Dorothy
(with guest appearances from her sidekick, Ladybug Emerson!)

Macie, as the Scarecrow

Eagle View Cul-De-Sac Crew
(I'm a poet and I know it!)

Show-and-Tell, Round 38: Toto

Although I wouldn't let her wear her costume to school on Friday (can you IMAGINE what that pretty white dress would have looked like after the Cheetos and chocolate cookie-laden afternoon snack?!?), Ivie did the next-best-thing. She took Toto (in his basket) for Show-and-Tell.