Saturday, December 27, 2008

Ollie's Birth Story

If you haven't heard by now, Ollie Max was born on Wednesday morning, Dec. 24 at 1:20 a.m. He was 9 lb. 7 oz. and 20.5" long.
I had an appointment at the clinic in Duluth on Tuesday at 3:15 p.m., and I had a feeling the doctor might want to send me to the birthing center, so I brought our hospital bags and Barry with me. My mom was with the kids (thanks mom, and Abby, for all your help!).
While I was in the exam room waiting for Dr. Stank, I heard a pager go off and someone ask, "What should we do with your patients Melissa (or Dr. Stank)?" Apparently she had been called to the OR for a c-section. When she saw my chart and that I was overdue, she quick stopped in to check me and found I was 3-4 cm dilated. She said if I was okay with it, she'd send me upstairs to break my water and get things going.
We checked into the birthing center around 4:30 p.m. and at about 5:30 she came in and broke my water. Since I was admitted I was only allowed clear fluids, so Barry got to eat my hospital tray of food while I ate Jello and drank apple juice. At this point, I was having some contractions, but nothing too strong or close together. I was still talking with Barry, and slowly dilating to 5. Then they decided to start me on a low dose of pitocin.
Around 10 p.m. the nurse started the IV, and shortly after the contractions were very strong and 2-3 minutes apart. Finally after 3 hours of this (around 1 a.m.) I was ready to push. Ollie Max was born after 20 minutes of pushing. Another drug-free VBAC! It was a little longer and harder than I was expecting, especially after Remy's birth was so easy, but it still went well.
Barry went home to sleep, and after the nurse brought me some peanut butter toast and cranberry juice at 3 a.m. (I hadn't eaten since lunch) I rested while Ollie was in the nursery.
Since it was Christmas Eve day, I wanted to go home so I would be home for Christmas, and the doctors agreed to let me go. We got home around 6:30 p.m. and had frozen pizza for supper.
Barry's parents came over around noon on Christmas Day and brought ham and chips for lunch. Not exactly your traditional big Christmas meal, but good enough for me!
Ollie has some nice dark hair--more than any of the other kids had--and chubby cheeks. He's starting to get the hang of nursing, and sleeps a lot. We're very blessed to have him!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Busy Day

We had a busy day away from home today, starting with a doctor's appointment at 9:30 a.m. in Duluth. Everything's looking right on track with the baby; it's about 7 pounds and is head down. I'm even 2-3 cm. dilated, so things are moving in the right direction! While I was at the clinic, Barry took Remy and Raina to a McDonald's play area and the Marine Museum in Canal Park.
When I was done at the clinic, we took a tour of the birthing center. Now we know where to go and what to expect when the time comes.
For lunch we went to Little Angie's Cantina in Canal Park for Mexican food. I'd been hungry for decent Mexican for awhile, and I got to have enchiladas, rice and black beans--very good!
Then Barry had to go to Menards (fun, fun!).
Finally, we made it up to "the hill" where I went to KMart with Remy and Barry went to Best Buy with Raina. We went to Target together, then Barry stopped at Office Max for a couple of things. On the way out of town, we replenished ourselves with McDonalds shakes and french fries.
It's a challenge shopping with kids because 1) it's nearly impossible to keep presents a secret, 2) Remy continually kept taking his shoes and socks off, and he likes to throw things out of the cart, 3) Raina likes to dawdle and look at everything she walks past. We got a good start on our Christmas shopping, but I think the rest will be done online. Target has free shipping until December 6!
So, a busy but productive day.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Pamida Freebies

Last week, Pamida had double coupons up to and including $1.00. I decided to check it out to see what I could get for cheap or free. Here's what I found:
Two 6 packs of Nestle hot cocoa for $1.19 each, $1 coupon doubled to $2.00, $0.19 per box
Suave deoderant for $1.29, $0.75 coupon doubled, "got back" $0.21
Suave shampoo and conditioner (family size) for 2/$3, $1.00 coupon doubled, $0.50 per bottle
Pop Tarts 8 pack for $2.19, $1.00 coupon doubled, $0.19 for the box
No Nonsense black nylons for $1.69, $1.00 coupon doubled, got back $0.31
Life Savers Gummies for $2.09 and $1.79, $1.00 coupon doubled, got back $0.12 for the two bags.
Net total was under $1.00 for all of the above.

Then I went next door to Super One for a few groceries and got:
One pound butter free for buying 5 Pillsbury biscuit/roll products (which were $1.28 each after coupons)
Marshmallows free for buying 2 boxes of Swiss Miss hot cocoa
Cool Whip for $0.55 (on sale for $0.88, plus coupon for $1 off 2 Jell-O pudding and 1 Cool Whip)
Jell-O pudding for $0.59 each (on sale for 4/$2.50, plus above coupon)
Green Giant Steamers free (on sale for $1.00 each, had 2 $1.00 off coupons).

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Halloween 2008

Here are the kids dressed in their Halloween clothes:

and in their costumes (Jackson as a MN Wild player, Raina the Vikings cheerleader, Remy the duck or chicken--you decide).

We had mummy dogs and witch fingers with gloppy dip, plus spider cupcakes to eat before we went trick or treating at the AmericInn. Local businesses set up stations in the motel rooms, and the kids just go from room to room collecting candy. It's a nice way to do things, so we don't have to drive around and have the kids outside walking door to door. It seemed like the whole town turned out for the event!

The Halloween candy is dwindling. I'm sure we've all eaten too much this week, but soon all the best stuff will be gone and it will be forgotten.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Baby Update

I had another prenatal check and ultrasound this week. Everything continues to look good. The baby's about 4 lb. 10 oz. and still has a hand up by the face. The ultrasound tech is very good about asking if I know if it's a boy or girl, and since I don't, she tells me when to look away so I don't accidentally see something that would give it away.
I'll go to the clinic in Two Harbors in two weeks, then back to Duluth 2 weeks after that. When I made the Duluth appointment, the date will be December 2nd--just a little over two weeks until the due date! That's coming very quickly.
In case you need some interpretation: you're seeing the side of the baby's face, one eye clearly, and the nose, with the arm/hand in front of the face.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


The other night before bed Remy and Raina were playing with the play food and kitchen. I noticed Remy unzip his jammies and put a piece of the play food down the leg of the PJs. I didn't think much of it until I picked him up and felt lumpy legs. I unzipped the pajamas and proceeded to pull out no less than 20 pieces of play food, a crayon, and a fast food bobble head toy. I can't imagine he would have slept well with all that stuff in there.
And Kiblin? That's Raina's second name for Remy.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Parmesan Drumsticks

Now, I don't really like chicken dark meat, but sometimes legs and thighs go on sale, and it's hard to pass up a good deal. I found a really good recipe for Parmesan Drumsticks in my Saving Dinner cookbook (by Leanne Ely of Flylady fame) that the whole family likes.
1 cup Parmesan cheese
2 tsp. oregano
2 tsp. paprika
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup butter
1 T. olive oil
12 chicken drumsticks, no skin (I usually leave the skin on as it's too time consuming and tedious to remove)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a bowl, combine Parmesan cheese, oregano, paprika and salt and pepper.
Line shallow baking pan with foil.
In a small frying pan, melt butter and oil together (I do this in the microwave). Dip each drumstick in the butter mixture, then in the cheese mixture, and place on the foil-lined pan.
Bake drumsticks for one hour or until chicken is completely cooked.
The outside comes out nice and crispy while it's moist on the inside.
We usually have mashed potatoes and a veggie with this.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Family Movie Night

This weekend we had a family movie night. Since most of us were either coming down with or getting over a cold, it was a good night to stay in together. The kids watched some episodes of Curious George while we got the "Nacho Bar" ready. Our toppings included taco meat, refried beans, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, salsa, guacamole dip, black olives and sour cream. While we were eating, we watched Bee Movie. Then the kids went to bed and Barry and I watched Cleaner (well, I tried, but kept falling asleep).

Monday, September 8, 2008


Fall is definitely in the air. Highs have been been in the 60's, Jackson started school last week, the trees are beginning to change color. We dug out the long sleeves and sweatshirts. Today, Raina started preschool. Here are their "First Day of School" pictures:
I'm not sure about the look on Jackson's face. I think he just wanted to get going.

After I took Raina's picture, I asked Remy if I could take his picture, and he ran over to the same spot Raina had been standing in. Funny boy.

This picture is on my September calendar--the kids (especially Remy, of course) have changed in the last year!

One more: Do you think he enjoyed the pudding? At least he didn't smear it in his hair.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Check Ups

Raina and Remy both had well child check-ups this week. Remy is 23.5 pounds and 32 inches; Raina is 37 pounds and 40 inches. Both are healthy and right on track. Remy had 3 shots and needed a little extra TLC for a day or so, but is doing fine now.

Thursday, August 7, 2008


I had my 20 week ultrasound yesterday--my first one that used the 4D technology, so we can see the baby's features without it looking like an alien. True to form, we're waiting to find out if it's a boy or girl. Everything looks good, although they want to do another ultrasound in a month because they didn't get all the views of the heart and cord insertion they wanted because of the position the baby was in. Raina came with me, and when the nurse called my name (Jennifer), Raina said, "That's not Jennifer! It's mommy--mommy Jenny!" The nurse got a chuckle out of that.
Since they put some ultrasound pictures on a CD for me, it's easy for me to share.
Profile (head on the left):

The face, with hand by the nose:

Side view of the face, with hand and arm:

Front view of the face, with the hand still there (the ultrasound tech said it would be interesting to see if the baby likes to sleep with his/her hand up by the face):

Gooseberry Falls

While my family was visiting for a couple of days, we made a stop at Gooseberry Falls. It was nice and warm out, so the kids enjoyed splashing in the water.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 4th of July!

We started out the day with red, white and blue pancakes (blueberry pancakes with strawberries and whipped cream on top). Then we were busy at the store all day. When we got home, we grilled Polish Sausage and hot dogs and also had taco salad and watermelon (which I got for free for buying the Polish Sausage and buns). For dessert we had Cherry Cheese Pie.
While we were waiting for it to get dark, the kids and I watched the Boston Pops Fireworks Extravaganza. Then we went outside where Barry set off some little fireworks in the back yard. We could see many of the town fireworks over the tree tops, and all the kids were quite impressed. We had a fun day!

Cherry Cheese Pie:
1 graham cracker pie crust
1 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese
1 14 oz. can of sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tsp. vanilla
1 can cherry pie filling
Beat cream cheese until fluffy. Slowly add sweetened condensed milk. Stir in lemon juice and vanilla. Pour into crust. Refrigerate until firm, at least 4 hours. Serve with chilled cherry pie filling on top. Very good and very easy!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Raina Turns 4!

Yesterday was Raina's 4th birthday. She picked vanilla cake with strawberry frosting and sprinkles. We also had cheeseburgers and french fries. She really wanted balloons on her birthday, so we also had lots of balloons for her to play with. She had a fun day, and is growing up so quickly! See her change through the years:

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Happy Birthday, Jackson!

Jackson turned 9 years old today! It's hard to believe he's 9 already. We had a pretty low key birthday at home, but he got pancakes and bacon for breakfast, cake and ice cream, and didn't have to do any extra chores. I think he had a good day. Here are a few pictures from birthdays past:

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Recipe Time

Sometimes when I get in a rut for meal time, I go through cookbooks and recipes I've collected looking for new things to cook. Tonight we had Teriyaki Chicken Packets.
You need:
4 chicken breasts
4 green onions, cut into 1-inch pieces
1-20 oz. can of chunk pineapple
1 medium red pepper cut in strips (I used a small red and a small orange)
1/2 cup teriyaki sauce
2 T. brown sugar
1 tsp. fresh ground ginger (I didn't have fresh and used ginger out of a spice jar)
Use 4 sheets of aluminum foil, 12 x 18. Put a chicken breast in the center of each one, top with green onion, peppers and pineapple. Mix teriyaki sauce, brown sugar and ginger and spoon over chicken. Fold the aluminum foil at the top and sides, leaving room for heat to circulate. Cook at 450 for 18-22 minutes. You can also cook these on the grill.
We ate this with brown rice and some (cooked) frozen peas.
By the way, if you've never tried brown rice, you should! It's really easy to cook (1 cup rice, 2 cups water, 1 T. butter or oil, bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook for 35-45 minutes) and is better for you than white rice.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


We had a couple of really nice days last week and went hiking nearby after Jackson got home after school. Now May is only a couple of days away and the forecast looks more like late February than late April.
We call Raina "Adventure Girl" when we go hiking because she's such a trooper. If she falls or gets dirty, she just gets right back up and keeps going. She's not scared to go up or down steep hills, and is curious about everything she sees.

Jackson had a Field Trip to day to Wolf Ridge Learning Center nearby. They ground their own wheat and corn and made muffins out of it, learned about hybrid vs. heirloom, and hiked to the top of the hill for a great view. Barry went along on the trip.
Remy is becoming quite the climber. He mastered the couch and Raina's bed a couple weeks ago. Today he climbed on a kitchen chair and then onto the kitchen table. He's keeping me on my toes!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


WARNING: Do not read if you are easily offended by "poop talk".
The other day when I was cleaning up in the kitchen, I noticed Remy had a paper clip in his hand. I washed my hands and as I picked him up to take it away, he looked like he was trying to swallow something. He no longer had a paper clip in his hand. It was not on the floor around him, either. (You can guess where this is going, right?) Yes, Remy swallowed a paper clip.
I've heard of kids swallowing coins and other small objects and passing them out the other end, so I figured if I watched Remy closely for any signs of discomfort and examined his poop for a couple of days, everything would be fine.
Happily, the next evening the paper clip came out without incident.
Babyproofing is not an easy job.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Bottomless Pits

I've noticed lately that the kids must be growing and eating more as we rarely have leftovers anymore. Jackson is ALWAYS hungry and Remy will eat pretty much anytime we offer him food. Raina has always been a good eater.
In other news, I'm pretty sure Remy thinks he's a dog as he frequently "barks"; Raina thinks she's a princess; and Jackson . . . he's still the statistician.
Leaving you with a picture of the lake from last week.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Gooseberry Falls

This weekend we ventured out to Gooseberry Falls. The hike was easier than Tettagouche--less hilly and icy. We're looking forward to returning throughout the spring and summer to see how the falls change through the seasons. The view was great, too!
Jackson has Spring Break this week, so no alarm clock--woo hoo!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Tettegouche and more

Yesterday we set off on a little adventure to see more of the area that we're now living in. We started out at Tettegouche State Park, which is less than 5 miles from our house. We parked at the trail head and set out to do some hiking. The sign said 0.7 miles to the high falls, so I was think that 1.4 miles round trip would be a piece of cake. Of course, I wasn't thinking of 1.4 miles in the snow/ice, up and down steep hills, while carrying a 20+ pound child, so it wasn't quite a piece of cake for this out of shape mama. But we made it to the high falls and back again all in one piece.

Next we continued to drive north on highway 61. We drove past the Lutsen ski resort which was packed! Barry's trying to convince me to take up skiing next winter. We'll see.

Then, since we were only 20 miles away, we continued north to Grand Marais. We ate lunch at the Crooked Spoon and walked around the town a little bit.

We then headed back home. During the whole trip we must have seen at least 40 deer along the side of the highway--they're very plentiful up here! They seem to gather in 2's or 3's.

Everyone enjoyed the day, and look forward to more hiking in the many state parks up here.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Week in Review

Last Sunday, we took an afternoon drive just getting to know the area up here. Silver Bay is nestled in rocky hills, and the scenery is awesome in many places. Lots of great views of the lake and surrounding areas.
Monday we were adjusting to the time change--it's been tough this week getting the kids to think it's bedtime!
Tuesday I called JCPenney because they were supposed to mail out the pictures we had taken there, but they hadn't mailed them out yet due to some mix-up. They usually try to sell you some extra sheets, but she just mailed them to me for free because of their error.

Wednesday I went to MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers). There are about 15 women in this group, and it was nice to meet some moms from this area. Incidentally, I won the door prize which included a MOPS mug identical to the one I had that broke earlier in the week.
Jackson had an extra homework assignment this week to create an "I Spy" poster. His theme was In the Kitchen. At the same time Jackson worked on his project, Raina created her own Noodle Art. She's been very into artistic endeavors lately--lots of coloring, water color painting, and other projects.

Thursday I did my first "big" grocery shopping since we've been up here. I went to Super One and was pretty pleased with the selection and prices. Now we're stocked up again for at least a couple of weeks.
After Jackson got home from school, Denise (who works at the Blue Anchor) watched the kids while Barry and I went to Duluth. We were invited to a wine tasting for a local distributor that wants us to carry Black Oak wine at the restaurant. I'm not a big wine drinker, but it was interesting and I learned a little more about wine. I liked the White Zinfandel the best, as it was the sweetest/least dry of all that we tried. The distributor had a life-size stand-up of Dale, Jr. that he gave to us for Jackson. Dale, Jr. has Mt. Dew Amp as a sponsor, one of this distributor's products.
Before we went to the wine tasting we did a little scavenging at a couple of Goodwills. We need a dresser for the kids' room and were also looking for things to use to decorate at the restaurant. We did not find a dresser, but did find an old Coast Guard trunk, a couple of egg decorating kits (new for 49 cents each), a pair of pink pants with white polka dots for Raina and a couple of shirts for eBay.
We saw at least 8 ships that have been in for the winter. They should be going out soon--as early as next week.
Today we didn't really do anything interesting. Tomorrow Barry plans to clean out the garage. I was going to check out the library with the kids until I saw that they're closed on Saturdays. I'll have to find some time next week to go instead.