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Zachary's Birth Story
Pregnancy Loss
Third Times the Charm
Vivian's Birth Story
Conner's Birth Story




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August 18, 2014
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Conner has gotten so big! At two months I never mentioned that he weighed 11 lbs 13 oz and was 23.5 inches long (a pound and an inch bigger than his big sister was). I know he has continued to grow a lot because he has busted out of his 0-3 month clothes. I’ll have to weigh and measure him tomorrow when he is awake since I forgot to today and he is already off to dreamland for the night.

Every day he gets more and more alert and smiley. He definitely has eyes for his big sister. Vivian can always get a smile out of him and a little chuckle (not quite giggling yet but seems soooo close). Conner continues to be a super mellow fellow and his schedule is something like this:

  • 7:30pm bedtime routine starts - Ty takes care of Viv and I nurse and take care of Conner.
  • 8pm - Conner is usually passed out by now.
  • sometime between 12-1am Conner wakes for a midnight snack and goes immediately back to sleep.
  • 3 hours later he wakes for a meal again.
  • Depending on how his wakes go previously he is usually ready for another meal sometime between 5-7am and from that point on he sleeps in bed with me until Vivian wakes up.
  • 8:30am Viv usually wakes up and plays in her room while I nurse Conner and put him down to either sleep or play.
  • 9am Conner is back up and ready for playtime while we finish breakfast. He is happy to play on the mat or in the bouncer usually.
  • 10:30am nap time for Conner. He seems to sleep in 30 minute increments and I am trying to get better about not intervining with a pacifier. This is also where the schedule usually gets fuzzy depending on what activities we have planned with Vivian. If we go out he usually dozes in and out in his car seat.
  • 1:30pm Conner naps again. Usually this is dictated by when Vivian can be put down for nap. She goes first then Conner if he’s ready. Otherwise he has mommy time.
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No real pattern can be figured out the majority of the afternoon. The only real constant is bedtime for Conner. It still amazes me that he fell into a bedtime routine so quickly. Vivian hadn’t been going to bed this early at this age (four months was the first routine documented) and definitely wasn’t consistent like Conner is. I guess that is subsequent child syndrome!

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August 15, 2014
This morning I needed lots of coffee to fight the constant whining at my feet. Since I don’t have any big mugs a large measuring cup will do!

This morning I needed lots of coffee to fight the constant whining at my feet. Since I don’t have any big mugs a large measuring cup will do!

August 14, 2014
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A long drive for the kiddos - what troopers!

Three weeks ago (my how time has been flying!!!) we had an amazing trip down to Oceanside, OR. The drive down on that Friday afternoon was an easy 5 hours with quietly content kiddos - although that was not the case on the way home!!! We took back roads because of the traffic report and were so very glad we did!

We were the first to arrive of the group so we checked out the rental house and got settled in and started dinner so it would be ready upon everyone else’s arrival.

The whole weekend consisted of a lot of sunshine (and with it came early wake-up calls from kiddos used to sleeping with blackout shades), beach time, good friends, evening hot tub relaxation, hilarious charade games, toddler swimming pool time, easy hikes and overall fun. I even got myself out on a 45 minute run along the beach with the stroller!

On our way home Nora, Adam, River and our family stopped at Tillamook Cheese Factory for a tour and some lunch. It was a delicious pit stop! Vivian fell asleep for about two hours after that and that was the high point of the drive home. After she woke up it was non-stop crabbiness from both her and Conner. No one wanted to be in the car any longer. Sadly we concluded that as awesome as the trip was - three hours is our long weekend drive time maximum. Any longer and we’d have to stay there for at least a week.

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Pool time!
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Viv loving the sandy beach…
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Chillin’
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Digging in the sand
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Nothing better than the beach with friends!

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August 10, 2014
My little bookworm… falling asleep while reading!

My little bookworm… falling asleep while reading!

August 5, 2014
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Me, Kate and Katie

The 2.5 hour drive across Michigan went pretty well. Viv was wide awake having just gotten up from a nap prior to our departure. Luckily she quietly played or danced and sang to music as we drove. Conner also did a great job and just slept peacefully for the drive.

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Vaughn and Vivian

Once we arrived we had dinner and relaxed with Tyler’s parents and Katie and her kids since they were also staying there for the week. It was fun to see all the cousins together and spending so much quality time playing.

Thursday morning Kate, our Seattle friend who moved back to Michigan, and her son Vaughn came over to play and meet Conner. The kids enjoyed playing outside in the sprinklers and in the little house together. Then finally nap time rolled around and our friends headed home.

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Lunch time with cousins and Vaughn.
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Swimming!

Friday was a lake day at Miss Shirley’s house! After a very short and early nap we packed up all the kids and headed out for some lake fun.

It was a beautiful, hot, sunny day so it was perfect to play in the water. The kids swam at shore for a while while Tyler drove the wave runner and Marlee got a ride with Uncle Dave. Then we all hopped on the pontoon for a leisurely boat ride around the lake before having some delicious snacks back at the house.

The visit went fast but it sure was fun! Time spent at Miss Shirley’s lake with the cousins will always be a fun memory with many more summers to come.

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Shirley and Conner
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Swimming with Miss Shirley
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Cousins at the lake! (I am amazed I got them all looking and smiling)
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Pool time!

Friday night Kyle and Lauren stopped over to hang out and play some board games. Nick drove into town too so we all had fun catching up over a game of Small World which I did the apparently unthinkable and didn’t change races during the whole game. They thought it was a newbie mistake but I thought I was going to win. I came in second instead which isn’t too shabby - beginner’s luck!

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Birthday celebrations for Leigh

Saturday morning Ty, Viv and I went over to Kyle’s parents house a few doors down so Vivian could swim in the pool. For some reason she was not so fond of the idea and was extremely clingy. That afternoon Tyler and the boys went out to the shooting range while Suzi and I held down the fort with the kids.

In the evening Leigh arrived - her second visit with us during the trip! Since her birthday was earlier in the week I had gotten a few things together for us to celebrate. No birthday left behind especially since we were together in person! Let there be cake… Or chocolate pie :)

Sunday was a full day with the kids’ baptism and BBQ.

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Nana taking Viv down a big slide
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Swinging!

Monday afternoon we took Viv to a nearby park. Tyler, Sarah and I ran through the splash pad with Vivian until she was ready to move on to the swings and slides.

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Nana showing Viv the iPad
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Grandpa and Conner

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Tuesday morning we packed up early and got on the road as quickly as we could so we had time to stop at Nick and Sarah’s new (since the winter) house for a tour and go out to lunch. We made it back to the car rental place with 3 minutes to spare (which included the 15 minute grace period) - yikes that was close!

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Matching stripes.

Since we had cut it so close for the car return, we had to have James meet us up there to pick us up instead of the original plan to go home, drop our bags and kids off while I returned the car with James and Ty got Viv down for a nap. Instead nap had to wait and we had to do a luggage transfer. Oh well, it all worked out and it was nice to spend some extra time with Nick and Sarah.

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Busha holding Conner.

Wednesday morning we went to visit my nana for the last time this trip and in the afternoon after nap my Aunt Karen and cousin Krista stopped by to send us off. After a nice visit we were on our way to the airport with one last family dinner with my parents and brother en route.

A good long trip had to come to an end but not before a long flight home where we tried desperately to get Vivian to sleep. It was an 8pm flight which is most definitely her bed time but she fought sleep the best she could. Even though she was strapped into the Ergo carrier the whole time and was exhausted, she did not let sleep come. She screamed a good portion of the beginning and since Tyler was not feeling well (the beginning of HFM for him) he basically went in and out of consciousness while Viv fussed. She finally slept for the last hour and twenty minutes. Conner of course was a breeze sleeping most of the flight with a short bit of fussiness.

Shelby picked us up from the airport and we were more than ready to sleep in our own beds.

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July 30, 2014
Someone really hates the heat! After a few nights of poor sleep with our consistently upper 80 degree weather we finally busted out the A/C unit. Conner fell asleep tonight without complaint and I am one happy mama!We also figured out that Conner sleeps much better on his side. So with input from his pediatrician we have made him a side sleeper and we are all getting slightly longer stretches at night.

Someone really hates the heat! After a few nights of poor sleep with our consistently upper 80 degree weather we finally busted out the A/C unit. Conner fell asleep tonight without complaint and I am one happy mama!

We also figured out that Conner sleeps much better on his side. So with input from his pediatrician we have made him a side sleeper and we are all getting slightly longer stretches at night.

July 30, 2014

Now that the whole month of July is over it’s about time that I find time to write about our awesome two week vacation to Michigan.

Our trip began on July 1st after a regular breakfast at home. Shelby drove us to the airport and dropped us off for our 11:30am flight. Looking back, the flight went rather well considering we were two adults traveling with two kids under two with only two seats and a bunch of carry on crap. Vivian was a bit antsy but otherwise Tyler kept her occupied. The trip definitely went much better than our flight to Puerto Rico in December.

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Dinner out on our first night in town!

When we arrived around 7pm my parents were excited to pick us up and we all went out for a bite to eat. After dinner we got our rooms ready and got Vivian ready for bed. Since she didn’t nap on the plane, she was beyond ready to hit the hay just slightly after her normal bed time even with the three hour time difference. It actually made adjusting to Eastern Standard Time much easier!

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My brother and Aunt Julie with Conner
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Cousin Kela with Viv

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On Wednesday, both my parents had to work but my brother (who is living at home for the summer) was around and my Aunt Julie and cousins (who were also in town for the 4th of July) stopped by to meet the kiddos and play outside a bit. Kela had fun walking around with Viv showing her the flowers while Maya enjoyed showing Viv the ropes on how to play in the pool.

My friend Ashley, her husband and son also stopped by to catch up and let the kids play. It was a beautiful day so the kids played in the kiddie pool out in the yard.

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Viv and Jack at the pool.
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This is what summer is
about - sunglasses and ice cream!

Vivian took a nap a tad later than normal but pretty on time for adjusting to EST. After nap Tyler, the kids and I took a walk in the neighborhood.

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Conner with his G.G.
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My cousin Kelly (photo bombed
by Greg) with Conner

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On Thursday we lounged around before a big night of family, friends and fireworks! My parents’ lake does professional fireworks every July 3rd of which they conveniently started the very first summer I moved away (when I was living abroad in Santander, Spain in 2006). We have always enjoyed visiting during this social holiday to enjoy the fireworks ever since we moved to Seattle on July 5th, 2008 - that’s right, we stayed for the fireworks and fun celebration!

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Conner and Vivian in their
pre-holiday apparel.
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Me and my kiddos

This third of July was especially exciting because it was big Conner’s debut. He got to meet the majority of my family and friends for the first time! Viv also got to meet some of my cousins for the first time as well since many of us come from out of town these days and our travel hasn’t always lined up.

Anyway, my parents had their big party and it was fun to let Vivian stay up late to watch the “works” as she called them. By the end of the firework show, Vivian was beyond exhausted and promptly passed out despite the commotion right outside her door.

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Watching fireworks on Union Lake.
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Conner’s First Fourth!

On the Fourth of July family came back over for the annual boat parade and water balloon fight. Tyler joined in while I stayed back with the kiddos. It was apparently pretty tame this year but in previous years we have had various injuries because the fight was getting a bit rough with kids using lacross sticks and sling shots to really chuck the balloons.

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Fourth of July fun!

After the boat parade some of my nearest and dearest came over to hang out and let the kiddos play. Crazy as it was, Jesse’s little guy, Odin, and Vivian never had met because when I went to meet him back in November Vivian was sick so I left her with my mom so not to pass on the germs to a newborn.

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Viv and Odin finally meet! (with Alex)
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Odin and Conner meet too!
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Leigh and Conner

Leigh also drove up from Chicago to spend the weekend with us but mostly just meet Conner (right, Leigh?) It was a blast having her and she got lots of good Conner snuggles… as did everyone else because he is such a snuggly little guy!

Luckily the weather was super nice and allowed us all to just relax on the lawn in the sun and shade of the trees. We also went out on the boat a bit too including some swimming.

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Amanda and Conner
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Pops teaching Viv to drive the boat!
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Our family on Fourth of July
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Amanda, Jesse, Me and Alex - friends since elementary school!
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Viv’s first time on the tube!

On Saturday morning we went to the park to meet up with Brit and Ashley. After some playtime we went home and let Viv take a much needed nap. We spent the rest of the day in the yard or on the lake with my friends, cousins and dad. Vivian got to try tubing for the first time ever. She wasn’t a huge fan but next summer I’m sure she will love it. Then we had a family dinner with my Nana (and Leigh too).

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Uncle James showing Viv his catch!

Sunday was spent out on the lake - no surprise there - with my family and Leigh. We took a nice leisurely pontoon ride and went swimming. James fished along the back of the boat and caught three fish! Vivian was extremely interested in his catches.

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Getting the hang of driving boats!
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Boat life includes pontoon snoozing!

Sunday afternoon Leigh had to head back home and that night after putting Vivian to bed, Tyler, Conner and I headed over to Jesse and Adam’s place to hang out some more. This trip was probably one of the best that we have had quality time with all of my friends rather than just seeing each other once for the whole trip.

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It’s ok friend! (Odin and Conner)

We all had pitched in with fondue dippers so when we got to Jesse and Adam’s place we started dessert! Alex melted the chocolate which took two takes because we all learned that almond milk is not the same as cow’s milk. Luckily Adam walked over to the party store and grabbed some milk. We all indulged in the delicious fondue and sat around chit chatting once Odin was asleep and Conner just went with the flow more or less. Conner even slept like a champ that night when we got home with only one wake up during the night! Definitely his longest stretch to date (and he has not had a repeat performance since).

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Me, Amanda, Brit, Alex and Jesse
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At the farm

On Monday my mom, Tyler, Viv, Conner and I visited my Nana at the “old folks home.” We had some snacks and Vivian had a blast getting so much attention from the residents. She loved running around the open living room and cafe area. I was even pleasantly surprised that Viv was not afraid of anyone as some kids might be with all the wheelchairs, walkers and whatnot.

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Chickens!

After nap we all went to Turtle Creek Farm which was started and is owned by a family friend. Viv got to look at (and touch if she so choose) all sorts of cool animals - emus, llamas, alpacas, chickens, ponies, horses, parakeets (including ugly little bald and wrinkly just hatched ones), pigs, sheep, deer, ducks, goats, bunnies… you name it! Viv even gave a baby bunny a kiss which made the bunny squirm and it scared Vivian so we moved along to the next thing. It was a fun time and I look forward to her getting to visit as part of our Michigan tradition.

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Family lake time!

After the farm, Tyler and I took Viv in the lake for some water fun. My friend Erica came over for dinner and to meet Conner and catch up. After dinner we all went on a leisurely pontoon ride.

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Erica and Conner

For our last full day at my parents house, Tuesday, my dad took a rare day off work and got to spend it with us! We were hoping for a day out on the lake but there were thunderstorms that kept us indoors most of the day. When the rain stopped we took everyone on a walk up to McDonald’s to eat and let Viv play in the indoor play structure for a little and get some energy out. After a bit we walked back home and Viv got to splash in puddles with her Pops which she loved! After nap we all went out to dinner at my favorite restaurant, Uptown Parthenon. Sadly they no longer serve my all time favorite meal - octopus in red wine sauce over rice pilaf - and their lamb chops (my second choice) were only okay. It seems I will no longer require a meal there when I visit Michigan… time to take a trip to Greece to get the real deal!

After dinner, my mom and I ran some quick errands while my dad took Tyler and my brother up in his plane for a spin. When they got home Tyler excitedly reported that he got to fly the plane and that it was just like the video games but with a bit more feedback… haha!

Wednesday Tyler and I got things packed up and visited Nana one more time before we made the drive across the state to his parent’s house.

(to be continued…)

July 23, 2014
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Viv’s favorite activity was go fish!

Traveling across the country with an 18 month old had Tyler and I a tad nervous this go around. After our horrible flight experience with Viv at 12 months in December, we did not want a repeat experience. So I went into overdrive trying to make and gather fun things to do in order to keep her occupied for the four hour flight to Michigan. One of my friends posted a DIY travel activity kit so I thought I’d give it a go. I ordered up the supplies from Amazon Smile (regular old Amazon but linked to donate a percentage to Parent Support - you can support P.S. too) and got to work spending most of my evenings crafting.

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Coloring was pretty fun too!

It took a lot longer than I had anticipated to make this kit and in actuality I spent much longer making it than it was actually played with on the plane but i’m sure it will get much more use as Viv gets older at home on rainy days as well as during future travel.

All in all the flight went well. Viv was antsy but kept busy with snacks and books. We packed way too many things in our bag that it was overwhelming trying to find what we wanted. We also had a few things wrapped which she loved to unwrap but it also caused a bit of a challenge trying to figure out what was in each package.

Next time we will be traveling with much less in our carry on!

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Front page with the shape
matching in the pocket
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Dry erase drawing on the person
 
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Velcro sticks and pipe cleaners
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Color and size match pom poms
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Pattern match disks (evolves
into memory game when she is old enough)
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Go (magnetic) fish!

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Button practice
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Felt flower art (too advanced for now)
July 20, 2014

Last Sunday while we were in Michigan we had the kids baptized. We had been planning to do it for a while for Vivian but we never got a chance to go to the baptism preparation class until the very end of my pregnancy with Conner so we decided to just wait until Conner was born so we could have both kids baptized at once and have family make one trip.

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We had the baptism at St. Thomas the Apostle Parish which is the church for which Suzi is the principle of the school. We chose to have the kids baptized there because after we lost Zachary we got a lot of support from Suzi’s coworkers and church. Then when I was pregnant with Vivian we continued to have support from afar and they even had a Celebrate Life day which included a full size banner that had a picture of Vivian’s ultrasound photo.

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Too cute to handle! I’m going to say
Viv was excited to get baptized.

We don’t have a church that we are strongly connected to yet here (although I have been taking the kids to church with me and I even got a congratulations card for Conner’s birth) so I definitely wanted to make sure it was somewhere meaningful. It also made a lot more sense to have the baptism somewhere that family could come celebrate for the day and a three hour drive for a few people is much easier than a flight and overnight stays - as much as we would have loved to have family in town.

So on July 13th at 1pm my parents, grandparents and brother drove from the east side of the state and Leigh drove from Chicago to Grand Rapids to meet up with us, Ty’s parents, Miss Shirley, Nick and Sarah, Katie and her kiddos for our small baptism ceremony.

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A private ceremony allowed everyone to come up close.
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Deacon Denny blessing our children.

The ceremony took about an hour including time for photos afterwards. Vivian hated having the water dumped on her head but I think part of the problem was that she wasn’t feeling well. This was the first day of her fever (we now know was Hand Foot Mouth virus) and she only was able to have a 20 minute nap since the baptism was during her normal nap time. So she was in as good of spirits as I could have asked for and once Deacon Denny was done anointing her with oil and water Vivian could not stop telling everyone about the water - “wa wa, wa wa!” while pointing to the baptismal fountain.

Conner slept through the entire ceremony and didn’t even flinch when he was anointed. That’s what taking him in the shower with me will do I suppose!

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Viv getting baptized.
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Conner getting baptized.
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Kids, parents and Godparents.
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Candles lit.
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Conner with his Godparents.
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Vivian with her Godparents.
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All done!
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With the cousins!
imageWith the Grandparents.
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With the Great Grandparents.

After the kids were officially baptized we took some photos with the family before heading back to Suzi and Steve’s house for a little celebration. Suzi and Steve were kind enough to host a wonderful backyard BBQ for the family. We all ate and drank and enjoyed each other’s company catching up for a few hours before my side of the family had to retreat to the east side of the state.

It was a wonderful day of family and celebration.

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BBQ after the ceremony.
July 18, 2014

This little man sure is growing fast! In addition to growing leaps and bounds, he is getting stronger and more interactive. Conner is great at tracking faces and objects and gives some great smiles, coos and some silly chuckles.

I’ve learned that Conner absolutely hates the heat and sweating. He’s not a huge fan of diaper changes or clothes changes but since he spits up a lot he is prone to frequent wardrobe changes. He absolutely hates when he has a bubble in his throat/belly and screams until we work it out of him. Going back to the spitting up - the burping to rid of the bubbles nearly 99% of the time brings up whole meals. It is very messy business holding Conner after mealtime. Today we got some of the cloth diapers resized for Conner and we tried one out and it turns out he also hates being in wet cloth diapers. He never seemed to mind disposables when they are soiled but the cloth made a difference. So more frequent diaper changes will also be in his future if he continues to be so aware.

Even though he spits up a ton, Conner always wants to be in your arms or on the boob. He will nurse till pigs fly. He is a very active fellow - again not helping the barf situation - and loves kicking his feet like a madman. He does pretty well during tummy time but I am always so reluctant to put him on his stomach because he is almost guaranteed to be sloshing about in his barf within minutes. In fact today I put him down and he was happy as a clam until he unloaded and then proceeded to wiggle his was up through his spit up and covered his face and belly. Pretty gross and I didn’t blame him for screaming after that.

Every day seems to be getting more and more interesting with Conner. He is getting into a schedule (if only we didn’t interrupt it with travel) and is awake for more of the day. Vivian continues to be a great big sister and loves to help out her baby “Dondu.”

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