30 December 2009

Five Years Ago...





Justin Call and Jennifer Lance were married in the Bountiful Temple. We had our first date on September 17th, 2004 a mere 104 days later we were married. Sheesh...talk fast! I thought my parent's courtship was fast (they were engaged like 2-3 months). Our wedding day was freezing cold. The wind was pretty stiff and cold so we did not get many pictures, my veil was waving about like it had a mind of it's own. I remember having a silly grin plastered on my face the entire ceremony and after. I think my face hurt for the next three days. The one piece of advice the sealer gave us...me...that stuck with me was this: "do not nag your partner, instead politely ask once, set parameters, and then followup. " I try to stick with that advice, which tries my patience more than it should. Our reception was a low key affair filled with loving family and friends.

Now five years later we have a full book of memories both good, better, trying, and sad. Our two children brighten our marriage two-fold. We still pursue our road biking hobby and added a full plethora of new hobbies. Justin worked for KPMG 7.5 years then made a job change to Cabela's headquarters in Sidney, NE. He does an excellent job of supporting our little family. I get to stay home and raise a very opinionated Amelia and relaxed Phillip. I felt like Ruth when we moved to Sidney.

I was working as a welfare worker when I met Justin. I worked until we had Amelia 2.5 years later. Now I keep myself busy with several at home ventures including photography, sewing (ScrapShirts), and crocheting. I will soon add piano lessons back into the mix. We enjoy the time and lessons of our life so far. We look forward to the future years. I love my man. He is a great father, provider, entertainer, and husband. Here's to the future!!!
I am so grateful that Justin allows me to be me. He teases me about all my projects and crazy ideas but still gives me the space to be creative. He is perfect for my (almost) independent personality. Justin tries hard to please me and built our friendship.

27 December 2009

Four Months Old







I am a couple days late in posting this. Phillip Anson turned four months old on Christmas Day. We had two fun little photo shoots to commemorate the occasion: one in his Christmas jammies and another in the evening. I can hardly dare to believe 4 months have raced by. Phillip is such a wonderful sweetheart. He is an angel baby full of smiles and cooing. He can finally hold up his head like a champ. Mia held up her head (from a tummy position) from birth, so I was a little worried about Phillip. He can roll over from his tummy to back IF his arms are positioned right. He will track voices now and responds to his name. Phillip stuffs anything and everything into his mouth. He can often be found with his pointer and middle fingers drenched with slobber hanging out in his mouth. His favorite toy are Mia's pretty beads that I hang from his bouncy seat and swing. They are long enough to tangle in his fingers and not lose grip on them. Like Amelia, Phillip is very vocal. Possibly due to the hours we spend talking and cooing at each other. Mia and Phillip love when I play the piano with them perched on my lap.

He is going through a growing spurt, which interrupts his night sleeping schedule. His last feeding is around 10:30-11 pm. For the past week he started to wake up between 4-6 am starving. I hope this trend does not last too long. I am afraid it will continue because we are not supposed to start him on solids until 6 months old due to his laryngeal malaysia. I think he weighs about 12.5 to 13 lbs and is about 24 inches long. What do you think of his cute smile? We LOVE it!!

26 December 2009

Our Quiet Christmas




I think this Christmas was the most relaxing one on record. Phillip woke up at 5:45 but after nursing went back to sleep. We all woke up when Mia came trolloping out of her room dragging her "sock" (stocking) by the loop. She was super excited that Santa had the forethought to give her peppermint candy and chocolate in her Santa. By far the candy trumped her presents until she opened her Snow White costume. She was in heaven dancing around clasping her hands like a dainty princess. We spent an hour or so opening presents. This year we decided to not get each other gifts but rather get someone in need presents and food. Still I got Justin a gift with some crafty money I earned. All Christmas Eve I teased Justin about not getting me a surprise. He played along nicely. Justin is NOT a good secret keeper...honestly, most of the time neither am I. A couple months back I picked up a sweater and hat at Cabela's for Justin to wrap as a gift. The first gift had a chocolate Santa and hand warmers secreted inside. He exclaimed, "see I surprised you!" prompting me to throw the items at him. My second gift had another secret wrapped up...this time it was cool. Justin got me a gift card for JoAnn's craft store. Way to go honey! Justin also has a new down vest to add to his plethora of outerwear. Amelia was cracking us all up, she'd eat a candy, open a gift, go for another candy, etc. She donned her Snow White, then Cinderella, then a new fairy costume. Pair the costumes with a kid-sized Walmart cart and she was in heaven. Little Phillip cooed his thanks for batting toys and clothes. The little guy looked so cute in his Christmas union suit. Goodness gracious we have cute kids.

Christmas Eve I experimented using my super flash seeing if it would work for getting better pictures Christmas morning. After some practice I decided to use the flash as a bounce flash directed toward the ceiling. The effect was perfect. The flash provided enough light to get an even tone and sharp picture for most of my pictures. Talk about excited! Coming soon will be pictures of our completely decorated house....stay tuned!

Justin and Jeff made eggs, link sausages, and English muffins for breakfast. I took a long nap afterwards. Then Justin took an even longer nap (like four times longer). Mia went in to snuggle daddy around 2 pm and didn't come back out until 4:30. Her new favorite thing is to get snuggles. We love to give those snuggles whenever requested. The Christmas mess lingered and lingered until this morning. Somehow the chaos was comforting and mindful of cute memories.

We had a simple meal of BBQ dry-rubbed turkey breast, mashed potatoes, gravy, and green beans, supplemented with wheat rolls on the side. The turkey was simply awesome! It was tender and juicy to perfection. We wanted to go visit the Haley clan with some dessert in tow, chocolate parfait, but the weather was horrendous. Starting around 9 pm Christmas Eve and continuing through today and tomorrow the weather forecast is: TOTAL CRAP. Meaning, high winds (gusting up to 67 MPH), ultra cold temperatures, and drifting snow. All day the winds howled and whistled through and around our house. Our bedrooms were freezing cold since they are situated on the North side. It was the perfect jammie day.

After dinner we watched a movie and then gave the kids a bath. Jeff has an awesome flat screen TV and Blue-Ray player. We've really enjoyed having his TV, hummm I mean Jeff, here to visit. This morning we braved a short trip to Walmart for milk and a new ice maker kit. The guys had the new kit installed in less than 5 minutes with no leaks. Yipee! Sometime this evening we will venture out to have dessert with the Haley family. Of course we enjoyed talking to family over the phone and reading Dad's Santa letter. Dad's letter this year was so funny. Jana reported that Dad was cackling over his letter this year. The up-coming week is packed with Jeff leaving, cleaning house again, our 5th anniversary, and New Year's Day.


PS: Click Here to VIEW more PICTURES of CHRISTMAS DAY

24 December 2009

Christmas Eve





Merry Christmas Eve! This day is more fun than Christmas day for me! Our day was pretty relaxing. Mia and I went to see Alison and family. Her in-laws are visiting, so I had fun talking crochet with her mother-in-law. She actually gave me a hat for Phillip...SCORE...a hat I did not have to make. Yesterday we had a little gift exchange with Ella and Alison. The girls were cute exchanging a Barbie (for Ella) and Pony (for Mia). Ever since Alison watched Amelia while we went to Denver she is SCARED to go to Alison's house. Strange. Also, yesterday we work up to awesome frost formations on the trees and practically everything outside. It was breath taking.

While the kids napped I made bread dough for dinner and rolls for tomorrow. Jeff requested bread bowls. He went around the house completing items from Justin's "Honey Do" list. He installed the screen door hydraulic arm, fixed my elliptical machine, and tried to hook up the water to the fridge for our ice maker. That was a little more complicated so will need to wait until Saturday. Jeff helped me make a cardboard box car for Mia to play in. She was really interested in what we were doing. It excites me to watch her imagination grow.

Dinner was a simple affair of delicious clam chowder and hot bread bowls. Holy Smokes...it was delish. Mia chose to eat Mac and cheese. Yucky! Jeff took the role of "Nelf" ringing bells around the house and leaving treats outside the door. It freaked out Amelia more than amused her. She did love the chocolate Santa's the Elf left. Going to bed was a bit tricky since she was afraid Santa would come on her roof with the reindeer and eat her carrots. As I walked out of her room she said, "Mommy, I need some snuggles...please?!" Melt my heart. The stockings are hung with care, bellies full, presents out, and the scriptures read. We tried to enact the Christmas Story with her little manger set but she just wanted to push the music button. Her stocking is stuffed with an avocado as her fruit, color crayons, chapstick, and a little necklace. The avocado cracks me up! Our day was simply idyllic. I look forward to a relaxing jammie day tomorrow playing with Amelia's fun toys. We are so grateful for Jeff. He makes the holiday that much better. "Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night"

22 December 2009

Makin' Doughnuts




We are really enjoying our time with Jeffrey here. He arrived Saturday around 3 pm after a long drive from Ft Hood, Texas. Phillip immediately started cooing and talking up a storm for Jeff, who ate it up! Uncle Jeff got Amelia up from her nap and was rewarded with 10 minutes of post-nap snuggles. Pretty much we've hung out at home playing Guitar Hero, watching some movies, and enjoying the kids.

Sunday our ward choir gave an awesome performance that surprised me! Usually ward choirs are a bit sketchy...not this one! Excellent work to the Grunigs, Titus', and Sister Gallego. I gave the last lesson in the Doctrine and Covenant's Manual. There is still one Sunday left and I am scrambling to whip up a lesson. Moving on to Old Testament!!! Yippeeeeeee! I made my new favorite meal for Jeff and also the Haley's on Sunday. We had crock-pot steak and chicken (seasoned with cumin) served on two grilled tortillas with cheese in the middle. Toppings included grilled salsa, guacamole, limes, grilled onions, and sour cream. It was delish! The Haley boys totally beat my trash while playing Guitar Hero. Justin slyly caught a video of me rocking out as I played.

Yesterday was pretty busy going to the post office, cleaning, wrapping presents, finishing 3 custom shirts for a lady in town, and making doughnuts! Mom made treats every year to give out to friends while we were growing up. The main treat that stuck out in my mind were freshly made doughnuts. This year I really wanted to greet our new neighbors so the guys rallied and helped make 8 plates of doughnuts. I think about a quarter of those ended going down our gullet. I discovered a yummy cream based glaze that I spiced up with chocolate, vanilla, and even raspberry (all separate). We all walked around delivering the plates to our new neighbors. Most invited us in for a chat! Mia charmed most with her high-pitched "Mewrry Chwismas." Super fun!!! Sorry to those other friends in our ward...maybe next year. Ran out of time and energy.

For the past 2 weeks the kids are tag-teaming me at night. Mia is going through another growing phase so wakes up 2-6 times per night with leg aches. It seems as soon as I settle her back down Phillip wakes up wanting something. My body is rebelling since I am going to bed late and getting up early to exercise. I figure by the time I will be able to sleep in my body won't let me. LOL. Phillip is growing so fast. He is such a happy little guy. Now I hear bursts of giggles from him when Mia passes by or Jeff entertains him. You can always find him with both hands stuffed into his mouth. Can't believe he is "teething" already. I am really enjoying this baby more than Amelia. I think the first kids gets the short end of the stick sometimes.

17 December 2009

Santy Claus is Comin' to Town



Here are the Santa pictures from Saturday. The one from Cabela's is my favorite. Her mouth stuffed full of candy cane and pondering the joys of Christmas. I would say what Amelia wants for Christmas but honestly I have NO idea. She'd be happy just to open boxes. I worked all day today cleaning the upper floor. It took me all day long just to deep clean a couple rooms. Geesh! Amelia invited Ella over to play this morning. Usually when the girls "play" I spend more time separating them than getting things done. This time was completely different. Mia greeted Ella wearing her fairy costume, giving her a huge hug. Then she exclaimed, "Ella needs to share!" After her little declaration the pair disappeared to play nicely in her room and the basement. It was the best play date ever. I am including a couple links to recent videos. One is of Phillip laughing at me being silly. Melts my little heart.

Kickin' the monster's bum
Mirror Buddy
Wishing for School
Pleased to Meet You
Bouncy Seat Kicks
Bee-you-ti-a-ful
Crazy Stair Descent
Toddler Phone Conversation
Braving the Pool
Bag Balm Incident 2009
Phillip Laughs

16 December 2009

Quirks

1. I am a parking fairy, meaning 90% of the time I luck out on awesome parking spots
2. I love to be busy and often make work for myself just to feel satisfied once everything is done
3. My favorite movies are dumb action and Martial Art type flicks
4. I SUPER LOVE to clean to number one, R&B music (my current favorite is Jay-z's Ghetto Anthem and Hova Song) and John Denver...cringe?! I like to shake what my momma gave me...
5. I go through cameras like water, my current rate is about 1 per year.
6. The best thing in the world are snuggles from Justin and then from my kids in their fuzzy jammies
7. When I was eight my mom gave me a boy haircut because I refused to let her brush my hair or brush it myself. That was the best hair cut ever
8. I graduated high school at age 15 then started attending the local junior college
9. In general I hate parties and games. I tend to get lost in all the goings on and melt into the walls. One on one I am pretty good but groups of two or more make me nervous
10. I love to stand up in front of crowds and perform...strange huh?!

13 December 2009

The Bag Balm Incident 2009




We had our first major mess performed by Miss Amelia this afternoon. Justin put her down for a nap about 2:00 pm. I was in the basement with Phillip waiting for his nap time. At 3 pm I put Phillip down then went to take a nap. At 3:30 I walked by her room and heard a muffled giggle. Alarm bells went off since she was supposed to be napping. Mia was sitting up on her bed playing with her mimi's (monkeys). At closer glance I noticed she was slightly shiny and yellow. A little closer glance revealed she was smeared from head to toes with BAG BALM. Lying underneath her mimi was a 10 oz tin of empty bag balm. Her hair, hands, face, tights, new Christmas shirt, pillow, blankies, toys, and sheets were all covered in a thick layer of yellow slimey bag balm. She looked at me with total innocence and exclaimed, "mommy, my hands are yucky!" Yah, ya think? Justin and I used over half a bottle of Dawn in her bath (drained three times) and on her textiles trying to get most of the balm off. After a two hour laundry spin with extra hot water and tough laundry soap her linens actually came clean. Justin worked on her Christmas shirt with some elbow grease so it came clean and is happily wearable.

Before bed I asked her what happened and she said, "I made a mess...a BIG mess!" No joke kiddo. She also succeeded in spilling grape kool-aid twice, once on the floor and then all over our bed spread. We had quite the day....

Funderful Day



We had an awesome day yesterday! Deb, a friend in the ward, came over around 11 to chat about crochet patterns. She gave (!!!) me several more cute patterns to try out. Her twins are dressed to the nines in cute crocheted hats, booties, sweaters, and blankets. Her skills put me to shame!! LOL. We all went to lunch at Cabela's, first doing a little shopping in the store. During lunch Santa and Mrs. Claus walked through the store ringing jingle bells. I rushed Mia over to a vantage point since we were dining on the balcony so could see them quite clearly. Mia started yelling, "I Love You SANTA, I Love You!" and "Hey, Santa you like Mia??" Several kids ran over to Santa giving him huge hugs. It was really sweet. We stood in line with Deb and her 5 kids for our turn on Santa's lap. Amelia found a cute little stuff reindeer on the trek over. She asked everyone near her in line if they wanted to pet her reindeer. Once on Santa's lap she asked him to pet her reindeer too, take a close look at the first picture. Then she told Santa that she wears dresses to church and he needed to come to nursery and give her candy canes. Poor guy was probably wondering what she was constantly muttering. She tried to give him a kiss but he settled on a hand shake and another heartfelt "I Love You." An elf took a funny picture of Amelia staring at the ceiling with her mouth stuffed full with candy cane. I need to scan it for your amusement.

After naps I put on my happy face to wake up Amelia 45 minutes early. I wanted her to get excited about going to see Princess and the Frog with Ella. The exuberance worked until we tried to take pictures in the cold. Ella wore a cute tutu and fairy wings. Had I read my email beforehand Mia would've worn one too. This was our first Princess movie in the theater. During the first five minutes of the movie Tiara screams when she sees a frog on her window sill. Both girls screamed right after much to our delight. Ella was set on having a lollipop so tried to escape several times. Mia sat in her booster seat munching on peppermint patties. After the movie she said she LOVED the movies and wanted to see it again. There were a couple scary parts where she plopped her head down on my shoulder. Justin and Phillip endured the girly factor with grace, even though they did not need to come!

Right after the movie we walked outside to see a Christmas parade going by. Santa came to Sidney in a helicopter this year. We drove to the fairgrounds for Sidney's Winterfest. The city provided free soup, crackers, cinnamon rolls, drink, and cookies for dinner. A different Santa was set up to visit with the children so Mia got to sit on a Santa's lap twice. Phillip even joined the fun the second time! I enjoyed roaming the craft fair portion eventually settling on a new Salt City Candle in my favorite scent of "Welcome Home." Mia colored a little snowman ornament before we headed home. As you can see in the last picture, Phillip has started to gnaw on anything close to his mouth. He is pretty coordinated when it comes to getting objects into his mouth. Phillip is also laughing a little now. He laughs when I take off his onesie or shirt...that must tickle! Justin was able to hear in laugh last night for the first time. His laugh is better than any Christmas present.

Justin surprised me by cleaning the kitchen and starting the laundry all by himself. I wonder what he did to my regular husband. I finished crocheting another cute hat for Phillip and accessorizing a matching pair of booties. We also got some proofs from our family pictures on Friday. You can view them at Jenny Reichman Photography. Jenny did an awesome job! I can't wait to take her family pictures, we swapped talents so the photo shoot was free, of money at least. I put a smartie on Phillip's head so it looks like Amelia is kissing his head. Gotta love that trick!

11 December 2009

Say What? Laryngomalacia!




Phillip had his bronchoscopy on Wednesday. It was a super LONG day for everyone involved. We were up by 6:10 am and out the door by 6:50. Alison offered to watch Amelia for the day. When we left it was -18 degrees...without the wind chill factor. Brrrr! Phillip usually nurses at 7:30 but we had to travel in order to make it to Denver on time. He received his first bottle with gusto. Poor little guy was so hungry he even held the bottle himself! I brought along a pump and had the adventure of pumping in the car. Let's say it was a little cramped. We stopped in Sterling for gas and breakfast...okay, really...for Diet Vanilla Coke from Sonic. Yummy!

The Children's Hospital in Aurora is pretty amazing. The most frustrating part was finding a parking spot at prime hours (10:00). It took us 20 minutes to snag a spot. Once checked in we were in the procedure room and relaxed in 30 minutes. Phillip was being very cute with all the nurses, smiling and cooing at them. He had on a spiffy new shirt and hat for the trip. I was delighted to give away all my business cards. My kids are awesome at promoting my business! Justin fed him a little bit of pedialyte two hours before the procedure. Phillip was tired and hungry but still only complained a tiny bit. Pretty much he is a perfect baby. The doctor and anesthesiologist came and briefed us. He was in the OR for 40 minutes. Justin made a trip to Del Taco for lunch while we waited. Holy Smokes, we MISS Del Taco. Phillip woke up easily from the drugs and slept until 3. He was so hungry at 3 he nursed for nearly an hour. We stayed until nearly 5 pm.

Dr Kahn said Phillip has "laryngomalacia" and "tracheomalacia" both which exacerbate infant reflux. The awesome news is that he should grow out of the conditions by 18 months to 2 years old. The laryngomalacia causes a noisy "stridor" which is an abnormal, high-pitched, musical breathing sound caused by a blockage in the throat (larynx). In layman terms Phillip has a floppy tracheal wall, basically when he inhales his trachea partially collapses causing a strange noisy breath. We are glad he does not need further surgery and that the diagnosis was more severe. He is one a stronger reflux medication now and we are to keep him propped up most of the time. When he sleeps the Dr suggested using a small neck roll to open his trachea while sleeping.

Denver traffic made the trip a bit longer. Justin was kind enough to let me stop at JoAnns and the Carter's outlet in Loveland. We had another delicious meal at Noodles and Co. I feel a little BIT chubby right now after Thanksgiving, then Stake Conference meals, and now our Denver trip. My newly established exercise program needs a diet change too! My hands were stiff by the time we got home. I crocheted two hats and a pair of booties.

Mia did not have a good day at Alison's home. She only ate two bites of cereal, two bites of rice, a bite of pork chop, and a bit of egg. Alison said she only spoke a couple words throughout the day. It is really unusual for her to not talk! She perked up a bit when we talked over the phone. Alison said she talked more in that little while than she had all day. Thursday was NOT fun. Phillip was sore and grumpy and Mia was extra clingy and grumpy too. We had a PJ day!

08 December 2009

Stake Conference





Saturday morning we rushed about trying to get out of the house before 9 am...yeah, that did not work! I think we actually pulled out around 9:30. Pretty good time considering I had to pack up stuff for two kids and myself. This weekend we had stake conference in Cheyenne. Justin needed to attend the priesthood session and we went to the adult session both on Saturday. Justin used the last of his hotel points to reserve a hotel instead of driving back and forth in two days. We went up early to squeeze in some shopping. Like usual I crocheted a hat or two on the drive there and back. We stopped in Pine Bluffs so I could nurse Phillip. Amelia had a blast playing in the snow at the rest stop. She looked so stinkin' cute in the Christmas Tree outfit I whipped up for her. Most of the time I was giggling to myself watching her skirt ruffle in the breeze. I used extra trim to make the hem stiff so the skirt would stick out!

Justin followed me around Big Lots then Hobby Lobby. He was a pretty good sport corralling the kids and letting me shop. I was so excited to get some new Christmas decorations. Our main investment this year included stocking hangers for our new mantle. We lunched at Chipotle's...so delicious. I asked Justin if I could run into TJ Maxx for a second...totally in-and-out. He stayed in the car while I shopped there for a loooooong second. I was totally feeling so giddy about all the cute stuff in stock at TJ Maxx. It was a little over-whelming. After 15 minutes Justin texted me asking me to hurry. I tried but kept getting distracted. I was in discount heaven.

While Justin went to the priesthood Amelia and I went swimming, Phillip took a snooze in his carseat. Amelia was totally cracking me up. In the past month she started to get her hair wet voluntarily and "swim" in the tub. Over the summer she was not very keen on swimming at the pool. This time was a complete 180 degree change. I put her floatie on and she was off! We were in the pool over an hour. Amelia kept choking on the water and barfing (into my hand). Afterward, she'd exclaim, "I okay mommy, gotta keep swimming, mom, I gotta keep swimming!" Justin thought this was very funny because the statement is reflective of her "Lance" traits; ie, going and going until you can't go anymore. She started to get blue lips so we went over to the hot tub. She sunk into the water with slow relish, murmuring, "oh, this is soooo wAaarm, like my wAaaarm sockies!" We finally turned in because Phillip was hungry and Mia was swallowing more water than swimming. She developed a nasty cough afterward probably from reside water in her lungs. Poor thing was so tuckered out and needed a nap badly, the hotel was too exciting for her to calm down. Justin left me at the hotel to attend the priesthood session. He also took all the juice, fruit snacks, and princess movies. Miraculously, I had enough change in my purse for a bag of Cheetos. That pulled her through until dinner.

We made it to the adult session right before the snow started to fall! Mia was so tired we actually left in the middle of the meeting. She had a complete meltdown. I was so sad we missed hearing Elder Cecil O Samuelson speak. He presided over the meetings. We all spent a restless night, me with a thrashing, coughing Mia and Justin with a snorting Phillip. I actually went down to the lobby at 3 am to see if they carried any Tylenol...no luck.

The general meeting was awesome! We parked in the RS room with the comfy chairs to listen. The choir was amazing. The theme was centered on simplification and temple attendance. Once again I missed Elder Samuelson's talk because I was nursing Phillip and all the ladies in the Mother's Lounge were chatting too loud. He seems to be a very humorous person. Phillip looked like a little English Sheep Herder wearing a sweater and oxford hat. Our drive home was a little sketchy due to continuing snow fall.

We've enjoyed some hearty winter meals lately: potato onion soup, split pea soup, fettuccine alfredo, and yummy rolls. Mmmm, not so great for the "diet" but super delish. I started doing an exercise regime last week entitled P90X. It is based on muscle confusion and mixing cardio and weight training. My muscles are constantly sore, reminding me how long it was since last exercising (two weeks before Phillip was born). I like the program because it can be done at home with minimal equipment. Hopefully those last few pounds will come off and my current muscles toned! Due to my Lance genes sticking to the program is no problem.

Today we enjoyed a quiet day at home. School was cancelled due to snow. I think about 4-5 inches fell, adding to the 3-4 from the previous day. Mia and I shoveled the driveway and walks after lunch. Tonight a frigid -13 degrees, feeling like -30 is forecasted. Needless to say all are advised to stay inside. Frostbite can set within 20-30 minutes in such cold temperatures. Justin and I are headed to Denver tomorrow morning with Phillip for his bronchoscopy. I am a bit nervous about the drive!