Monday, December 30, 2013

The boy who made me Mommy

As I am about to go from a Mother of One to a Mother of 3, I look at my son who started it all.

I remember Caleb's first night home. He had fallen asleep and I laid him in his bassinet next to my bed, and went back to the living room. I had the monitor but it wasn't long before I needed to see with my eyes that he was ok and hear him breathe. I looked down at his calm body, but was not satisified that he was breathing. My heart skipped as I leaned over to hover just above his face where I could finally hear his quiet and peaceful sighs. As I walked back out I wondered how I was going to make it if I needed to check his breathing that closely! But motherhood has not been that tense. In fact, I believe Caleb has spoiled me.

He is a snuggler, and affectionate to family. He will jump up to sit by me and snuggle into my side saying, "Mommy. Mommy. Mmm. Mmm." He looks up at me with a sweet smile and soft blue eyes. He shows that he is safe and content next to me. Caleb has liked snuggling since the beginning. He loved being swaddled and his daddy is the best at it!

Caleb has really been a great sleeper. He never had his days and nights confused. As a nursing momma, I really don't remember hating night feedings. Our first several weeks I was still high on adenaline and on cloud 9 to be a mommy. I woke easily and gladly to meet his needs. He took a Nuk and was easy to get to sleep. When it came to be put down awake so he learned to sleep on his own, I couldn't handle the 'cry it out' method, and he was stubborn, so I found a book by The SleepLady and used her method. It was a slow and smooth transistion and he's been doing well since. For a stage he would run and climb into his bed happily for bedtime. Now it's a bit more begrudgingly.

What a great eater! He latched immediately and nursed quickly. He rarely needed to burp and I can't remembering him spitting up! Nursing was easy for us and I wish I could have done it longer, but my work schedule and stress put an end to my supply at about 7-8 months. When we switched to solids he again devoured food. We did cereal and veggies, then meat, for his first few months of solids and it paid off. He eats fruits and veggies gladly. Fruit is a great treat for him! But he'll eat his weight in broccoli.

He has his moments and tears but nothing that isn't turned around quickly. I think he may have reached 5 minutes once. When occassionally needed he takes timeouts well, with apologies and hugs after. Discipline goes well for being 2 1/2. In fact he sits in the timeout, takes a breath, flaps his arms down, and slunches his shoulders with guilt (or frustration). Stinking cute! Thank goodness he does not face me or he would see my grin.

Daycare is phenominal and we are lucky to have Amy provide such a nurturing and loving place for Caleb to learn and play. Caleb has always been good about babysitters, staying with grandparents, or getting dropped off at Daycare. I never need to worry and he lets me leave with hardly ever a tear, but rather a, "Bye Mommy. Have a good day!" And when he is picked up, "Mommy! Mommy! Mommy..." There is usually at least one big hug too:)

Today he stopped what he was doing, picked up a craft feather and ran at me saying, "Tickle, tickle." Boy he knows how to make me laugh!

He is sensing the transition and prefers me to anyone right now. He wants to play with me on the floor, in his fort, or at the table. He wants me at night and he wants to sit by me. A few days I have gotten 'touched' out and go to the bathroom for a break. Yes, he still comes asking for me, but saying I'll be out in a minute usually suffices.

I know I'll regret this many times over and over but as he pulls me over to show something or snuggle for the 100th time that day, I have recently muttered, "Can you love me a little less?" I'll regret my words the first time he runs to Daddy instead of me, when he asks me not to hug or kiss him in public, when he calls a different girl instead of me for advice or encouragement, and many other times. Because the truth is I can not love him less. That's the most amazing truth of being a mother. He can aggrevate, whine, cry, and pout, but I cannot, will not love him less! He is my firstborn, sweet, intelligent, funny, 99th percentile son. A growing, loving boy who looks to me for reassurance, boundaries, and love. I pray God will grant me a long life and the wisdom to be his mother for all my days.

I love you, Caleb!

Carrying the world(s)

As I was desperately trying to find a comfortable position for sleep last night, I became very frustrated. I just wanted to sleep but my hips and pelvis ached and creaked with each movement. Finally after fitful stretches of sleep my body adjusted or resigned to the fact it would be horizontal. 3:00am was my hero and I got about a 3 hour stretch of sleep! Glorious! When Caleb stirred my loving husband went and got Caleb so we could lay in bed a little longer. However my son didn't feel like snuggling in my bed for long this morning. His request was, "Eat!"

I pushed myself up and my hips creaked again, resisting being vertical now. As I stood, one hand went under my growing belly and the other reached for the foot of the bed for support. Suddenly, "I feel like I'm carrying the world in my belly," dropped into my mind. Just as quickly it changed to, "Actually two worlds!"

My complaints and aches quickly diminished. Whoa, two worlds. It was completely true. Two lives had begun and their entire worlds nestle safely inside me. All they know is provided by my body. As I walked to the kitchen I prayed that these two babes also knew God already, His love, embrace, and grace. Suddenly the burden lightened slightly. While I am charged with this physical burden and blessing, my babies and I are not alone as we ache and grow. We are supported and loved by our family, and above all God!

Thanks for meeting me where I was at this morning, God.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas Morning

December 25, 2013

Caleb went to bed without much anticipation. He didn't know what was in store for him the next morning. We hadn't done much hype about Santa or any elves at our house. For Christmas Eve we had dinner and presents, and then played. So was it any surprise that he woke up as usual and ran to the couch to watch some cartoons. He didn't even look for anything more near the tree, but there was something there. Josh lured him over and they peeked inside the fort Santa (Nana) made for him.
Then he noticed the stick horse that Santa (Papa) made for him. Then he unwrapped the tunnel from Aunt Britta, Uncle Ryan, and Kiri. The fort had a special hidden entrance for the tunnel to attach to. Caleb was pumped. Then he opened a cowboy outfit, chaps, vest, and bandana. Next was the handcuffs and pistols. Introducing Cowboy Caleb, complete with a hideout and horse!
The rest of the day included extreme Cowboy skills. He was my hero multiples times as he would have me handcuffed, grab the keys, and then say, "I rescue you, Mommy!" What a guy! He could melt my heart with each successful rescue.

I called Grandma Miller for her Creamed Eggs and Toast recipe, and we enjoyed a family favorite. I made a roux for the second time in two days. I felt so domestic:) What a day of play and good eating! It was too windy for the planned ice fishing trip, but we didn't mind staying cozy together.

Before having Caleb the joy of Christmas had lost some of its luster for me. I got the hymns and services to feel that Jesus was born, but the true elation and joy was difficult to conjure. I loved giving presents, and appreciated opening them, but something was missing. Apparently, Caleb was missing. This Christmas was all about joy. His joy and kindness when opening gifts. His creativity when assembling and playing with new items. It is the child-like faith in goodness, God, and imagination that gave me back the Christmas Joy!

I hope and pray each of you had Christmas Joy too!
Here are some captured moments of Christmas Morning. I have a playlist linked to this video.

Friday, November 29, 2013


Has it really been 4 months since I last updated this blog? I don't like to shame myself into doing something, but this really is shameful. The disappointing thing is that I have mentally written posts many times, only to be deterred by things to do, the time it would take to upload a picture, or overall exhaustion. I guess it makes sense that about the last time I posted, we got pregnant. 

Pregnancy round 2 has been very different. At first I was sick,... until about week 7. Then I was extremely sick. With Caleb I threw up morning and night and then just mornings until Week 24. This time I was nauseous all day and sick in the morning. It really made for some uncomfortable moments, hours, days. I was also very tired. 

In August we found out we were having twins. Well that makes sense! Granted I've heard every pregnancy was different, but the intensity of my heartburn, nausea, and fatigue seemed ridiculous. At the very beginning of September I had a doctor's appointment and opted this time for the anti-nausea meds. Josh asked me to consider it this time, and I really couldn't say no. I didn't know how I could be a teacher, mother, wife, and family organizer while feeling this way. Thank goodness the meds really worked. I wasn't cured by any means, but I felt much more human...until the side effects of the meds really made me reconsider taking them. I was struggling with more intense heartburn and constipation. Yuck! So around MEA (3rd week of October) I weaned myself off while having a long weekend off work. I still can get nauseous, but overall I have my body in check and can function better. 

Caleb knows things are changing, but he's not quite sure what. He will point at my belly when prompted and say "babies." But overall he's still in the dark. My belly is measuring about 6 weeks ahead of schedule, which is typical for twins. I have practically stopped picking up Caleb from the ground. He's 40 lbs and it's just too much pressure at this time. I also have a supportive and willing husband who has stepped up doing the laundry and vacuuming since those chores are too much weight to lug around .

Caleb updates: He was ghost for Halloween. I sewed his costume out of a King Size pillowcase. He loves to say "ohooo oooo" and "Boo!" Just today he wanted to wear his costume again. 

October 31st was also his last night with his nuk. There's been a little more heartache at bedtime, but we're in process of it taking less than 10 minutes to lay him down and sit by his door. He doesn't leave his bed at least. He just needs some extra security again now that the Nuk is gone. 

Caleb is an expressive communicator, but not yet clear. We're working on saying the beginning and endings of our words. He's coming slowly along. Every once in awhile he really has a story or a play idea, but out of context Josh and I look at each other and say, "We've got nothing." As now he doesn't get too upset, but we're working on it so he doesn't get too frustrated. 

Caleb baptized me with his first night time puke. Our pajamas and sheets got changed and he slept with Daddy in the living room. Josh opted to stay home as I had conferences. Apparently the middle of the night episode took care of it though. He was up and his happy self the next day. Glad he kicked its butt!

This Thanksgiving we celebrated at my Mom's with the Harjes extended family. We were 13 adults and Caleb. Lots of good food and laughter. I was just recovering from the flu, but feeling myself again. The only thing was my stamina really still wanted me to just sit around. Luckily Thanksgiving isn't too active of a holiday, just my son is. Again, Josh steps up and he really helped out!

Today we are getting some cleaning and organizing done. Saturday is football, Ohio State and Michigan, and Josh's nephew is playing basketball in town. Sunday we will begin decorating for the holidays. I can't wait. I need to spruce some things up. 

The title of this post is not "Catching My Breath" because I don't feel like I'm resting or caught up, but rather I am taking a sigh. Trying to take a moment to breathe in and out with ease. Breathing will start getting harder as these babies take up more and more room, so I need to make the most of deep sighs I have left. 

Because it is November most people list their blessings, but last spring I started doing that due to a book "1000 Gifts" I read by Ann Voskamp. It has become a discipline to stop, pause, and recognize the blessings around me. And so it is with a very generic sigh of gratefulness that I end this post today. 

Until next time,
may you find a moment to sigh in and out with peace.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


So if anyone asks about Caleb's first flight I will honestly say he was a trooper. He didn't cry a bit. He loved his wings and sucker. However, his parents, me specifically, had an epic fail moment.

I can actually see Caleb sitting in some orientation as a teen or young adult in a circle. He should share his name and a little known fact. He will say, "Hi. I'm Caleb, and I have worn Depends." 

Here's the synopsis: 
We got through security smoothly with our toddler getting about 5 Junior Security Badge stickers, while Josh and I tried to juggle our 4 carry-ons and stroller. Without too much sweat, we made it to the very end of Concourse G to our gate and had 1.5 hours to spare. We had Caleb run some laps but tried to corral him too. We had smiles from others around us so we knew we kept the annoying factor in check. It was about 15 min before boarding would start so I thought I would change Caleb's diaper before getting on the four hour flight, praying we'd be set until we landed. I grabbed the wipes and then...a little more digging...another zipper opened...and then a moment of terror. The diapers were in the checked luggage! Josh looked too and then said, "Should I go buy some?" "Well this one is wet and we have another 4 hours, so yes." He found out that diapers would be back in the main mall area, at the opposite end of our concourse, near security. He took off running and within minutes of him leaving they called for early boarding: those with medical assistance and young children. My heart beat a little faster. Josh ran up 10 minutes later, a bit winded with a bag in tow. He said the largest size they had was 3 (our son wears 6), so he bought small Depends. I grabbed them and ran to the bathroom. Of course there was a line and the woman in front of me decided to change her baby's entire outfit. I will admit that in my talking to Caleb, I explained that we had to wait but that it wouldn't take long. I was very passive aggressive, but I don't think they really heard it anyway. 

We finally get in and I take off his wet diaper. As I slid the new "diaper" over his legs and up, I could see Caleb looking at me questioningly. I stood him up and hiked the Depends all the way his armpits. Too big, but no time. So I pulled up his shorts and folded and stuffed the 'extra diaper stuff' back down into his shorts. I wanted no visible evidence. We came out and Josh had almost all our luggage in his arms, save one small carry-on suitcase for me to pull. I grabbed it, got to line, took our tickets out of my pocket and got in the skywalk to the plane. As I walk I begin to laugh hysterically, people turn to look. The relief of boarding the plane after the frantic last 20 minutes just overcame me. How absurd it all was! I immediately thought what a memory this will be! And really, that's what vacations are for; making memories! 

The flight went really well. Take off was smooth with snacks and a sucker. We were in the kid zone of the plane so we gave each other support and knowing smiles.

Half way through the flight I wanted to be sure Caleb could get the next 'diaper' on to avoid any leakage. I went to the back of the plane and asked the flight attendant where I should change him. There were no platforms or changing tables in the bathrooms so she told me to change him on my lap while sitting on the closed lid of the toilet. Instead of scoffing or throwing a fit, I walked in and closed the door. I wanted to give her dimensions of my lap (about 18" x 12") and my son's height of 37", but she didn't seem sympathetic to the situation. Upon closing the door, I closed the toilet lid and stood Caleb on top. I changed him completely in the standing position. I did Thank God he did not have a dirty diaper or I would have rung for HELP! Again, my two year old handled it all in stride and looked slightly less questioningly as I pulled the 'diaper' up to his armpits and then rolled it back down. I love him.

I am a teacher and I frequently say, we learn most from our mistakes. Lesson learned: I will always, always, ALWAYS check that I have diapers in my bag. 

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Official 2 year old pics

I've got a nice camera so I may as well use it! Here's our attempts to keep a 2 year old still:) Let me know which pics are best. so I know which to order. As his mother, I am biased.


#2 (same as 1 but B/W)



#8 Thinking...

Playground set

No we haven't added the full swing set at our house, but Grampa and Oma keep adding to theirs. They have tractor tires to climb on, a sandbox, swings, and other climbing areas. Most recently they added toddler size equipment that can move around the yard. Caleb was very excited as it took three adults to put this thing together:)
Swinging makes waiting easier

Wild Hair on the trapeze

Helping Grampa carry supplies

They are fitting this puzzle together

What?! I am 12 feet off the ground and flying this thing by myself?!
I'm getting down from there!

It's done! Whee!


Caleb loves a party. He loves people, fun, and food. He is definitely an extravert. :)
For his birthday we had a lot of people in our house, great food, and plenty of presents. He gave hugs after each present as a thank you. While I realize gratitude is not fully grasped, I was happy he could take a break from the pile of presents to give love to his family. I love that our family is nearby and we can celebrate. We miss those far away, and those in Heaven, but always thankful for the Circle among us.

The blessing

The Cake

How old is Caleb?

Cupcake Mustache

The Little Drummer Boy

Thanks for the drums Aunt Kayla & Uncle Garrett

A Bus!

Thanks J1 Millers (Eli and his fam)


Thanks Nana and Papa favorites!

Thanks Aunt Sandra and Auntie Krista

College Fund - Thanks Oma & Grampa

Dr. Miller (beat you Jason) - Thanks Aunt Greta

Fear me...I am 2!

Ball Player- Thanks Aunt Britta, Uncle Ryan, and Cousin Kiri
There were many more pictures and gifts but we I decided to keep it to 16 shots of a wonderful day. So happy and blessed with our Little Guy!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

My 2 year old!

Caleb turned 2! Wow! I am blessed. I wrote him his annual letter, sealed it up, and put it in his memories bin.  I get so excited writing him, dreaming, and praying for him.

Caleb's actual birthday was a Friday night. We had a quick supper, cupcake, and then went swimming.
Good morning, Coach!

Get the frosting!

Family picture with the 2 year old and frosting:)

Swimming with Daddy

So much fun!
Caleb had a lot of fun. It's family fun nights like on his birthday that I just revel in US. Josh, Caleb, and I have so much fun together. It's great to be out of the home and just focused on Caleb. Caleb is clearly thrilled and happiest when the three of us are doing something together, at home, in the backyard, or out and about.
I love my two year old, but even better...I love us as a family!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

April - the fake spring month

April was deceiving. My poor guy wanted to play outside, but he couldn't shake his winter jacket! We made a trip to the park and some great walks, but really didn't enjoy our yard. It either had snow or was a sloppy mess. We tried to make the most of it though. And really, a toddler does help with that! One new thing Caleb started doing regularly at daycare is going on the potty. He doesn't get there all the time, but he willingly sits and sometimes pees on the potty chair. He is quite proud of himself. And we are proud of him too!
Flushing the potty.

At the beginning of the month Caleb had an ear infection and after several sleepless nights, Mommy got a cold too. But we got through it. I knew Caleb wasn't feeling well but I never would have guessed it was an ear infection. He really is a trooper and tolerates pain well.
Caleb got a new item in his room. A map! We plan to mark all our destinations on this map as a family. We're pretty excited and Caleb was happy to help put it up. We also had a snow day on April 11! Can you believe it!? Another highlight was eating Rouladen, a traditional German meal. Caleb really enjoyed it.
Caleb's happy about the Snow Day with Mommy!

Rolling up the sirloin, bacon, onion, pickle and mustard into Rouladen!

April means Caleb turns 2. He can say, "Two," and hold up about two fingers. He at least gets there eventually. He watches as his fingers curl down. It's stinkin' cute! The night before his birthday he helped mix and bake his cupcakes. He is such a great kitchen helper.

On Caleb's actual birthday Caleb celebrated with daycare first with snow. Well, first he had to put up with his mommy sticking a tie on him and taking pictures in the early hours of the day. School was two hours late due to snow so I could just enjoy the morning with some extra snuggling. When we got home that evening, we ate supper quickly and had a couple cupcakes. Then Josh, Caleb, and I went to the YMCA. First we went in the ball pit for a bit and then played basketball in the gym. We finished the trip with the pool. Caleb loves the water!

That night after Caleb was in bed, Sandra and I frosted all the cupcakes and I got the cake done. Fishing was the theme. We think they turned out really well.

Saturday, April 20, we invited family over for a party. We squeezed in had a wonderful meal and fellowship. During gift opening Caleb gave hugs to everyone for each gift. It was super cute!

We ended the month with more snow and Josh's 34th birthday. School was actually two hours late on his birthday too! We enjoyed supper at the Taphouse with Nana and Papa, Sandra, and our little family. When we got home we enjoyed a German apple cake that Sandra made. YUM YUM!

Spring Break and Easter

My son has become the reason I get up in the morning. Literally. Spring Break used to be this time for me to get up leisurely, as well as watch TV in my bed, read on the couch, and go/do what I wanted. Now, spring break is completely different. Not that that is a bad thing!

Caleb and I had a great time this spring break. We went to the Southern MN Children's Museum in Mankato, The Children's Museum in the Twin Cities with our friends Beth and Brenna Erdal, went to the YMCA, splashed in puddles, and had lots of family time celebrating Easter!

Write off the bat I got to go to the hospital and take pictures of a brand new baby boy. My colleague had a baby and I got to practice taking some newborn shots.
Monday, March 25, 2013 - Children's Museum in the Twin Cities
Beth and I have been friends since we were babies. So we took our babies to the cities for some fun! Both kids did such a great job transitioning from room to room and listening to their mothers. We had a wonderful day! They slept the whole way home.

The MN Wall at Children's Museum
Sleeping with his book.
The next day we played hard at the open gym and ball pit at the YMCA. Woohoo! Caleb loves running around the Y.
 And then he collapses for nap time. He didn't last long.
 Multiple times we went for walks. Well, he took me for a walk, as you can see with the leash. Sandra took Woody and Caleb took me. On this particular day I messed up and we just wore tennis shoes.
The next time we wore boots. He drug me along:)

Friday morning we drove out to my parents to great our Colorado family, visiting for Easter. Kiri had just woken up and we got to have some play time with her.
Do you like the music?

Getting so big!

My beautiful goddaughter
 Saturday morning we dyed eggs. We did some basic dipping and then we did a couple shaving cream eggs. Caleb really enjoyed it!

For lunch we went to Green Isle to celebrate Easter with the extended Harjes family. We had a blast with cousins and Easter egg hunts.

 Sunday we hosted the Miller Easter.