Friday, December 18, 2009

Santa Picture

Mike and I took the girls to see Santa Claus this morning. Abby was willing to talk to him - she asked him for more snowflakes, more toys and brand new books! She wasn't really willing to sit on his lap, though. We're at least one more year away from a great "Santa's Lap" picture!
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Friday, December 4, 2009

Our family pictures

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Taken by David Denagel Photography.

PAT - Santa's House

I took Abigail and Olivia to Santa's House today. Abigail wrote a letter to Santa Claus - asking for toys, pens, snowflakes, and "anything I want."

Olivia waited patiently while Abigail wrote her letter to Santa.  Abby was having so much fun writing her letter to Santa that I had trouble getting her to leave that room. There was so much more to do, but Abigail was happy to spend all of her time playing with pens.

The girls got to see Santa Claus - and Abigail talked to him a little bit.  She told him what she wanted for Christmas, and he told her that she needed to be good - with my gentle prodding.

Abby also picked out some Christmas gifts for her grandmas and for Mike and me.  She seemed to have a lot of fun doing that.

After that, she also got to listen to a story read by Mrs. Claus - and then Mrs. Claus handed out some cookies that she baked - and Abigail told me it was delicious!

When we left there, we went to have lunch with Mike - and then finally came home.  It was a long and busy morning - but we all had a lot of fun!

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Monday, November 30, 2009

End of November

We spent the day outside - throwing the ball and sticks for Duke. He enjoyed the freedom to run without being tethered to a leash. He is responding very well to the electric fence, though we have more work to do before we can trust him to stay in our yard. When we throw sticks or his ball past the electric fence, Duke doesn't even try to chase them - Good boy, Duke!

Abby enjoyed being outside, too. She's been asking to go outside a lot lately, and I am trying very hard to oblige, if possible. I know that the number of days with beautiful weather will be limited - so I try to get her outside when I can. We spent a lot of time playing in her sandbox - she loves that! She also spent some time running from Duke - he chased her and tried to steal her sticks. She would yell, "No Duke...that's my stick." 

Olivia had a lot of fun being outside, too.  We had her swaddled and had her hat on, but after a few minutes, decided that she didn't need all that bundling.  She enjoyed the fresh air and was quite curious about everything she could see.

It was a great way to spend the morning - and when both girls were down for their naps, Mike and I got out our Christmas decorations and decorated.

We ended the evening watching Rudolph with Abigail - and I think we'll end up watching that many more times before Christmas!

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We did have a great Thanksgiving - spending Thursday with Mike's family at Pat and Vic's - the food was excellent!  Friday, we went to Holly's and helped make food there, and Saturday, did the whole routine again at Holly's - more great food!  I ate way too much - but loved every minute of it!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Yard work - before and after, 11/09

Here are some before and after pictures of the backyard. The first picture was taken June 2008, the second taken this morning. Mike and Gary worked all day yesterday to clean up all of the brush and clear out the hole - getting it ready for the landscaper to be here sometime tomorrow. There is a lot to do yet - getting dirt to fill the hole and then getting the fence put up. I will put more pictures up as we progress.
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Monday, November 2, 2009

Meet Duke!

Meet Duke - our newest member of the family (Olivia didn't hold that title for long!). He's a lab-collie mix, and is 6 months old. He is a very sweet dog, though still nervous about his new home. He's warmed up to Mike and me, but isn't comfortable with the cats - and they are REALLY not comfortable with him! Duke has already had physical altercations with both Bart and Wally - but I expect the cats to put him in his place soon!

He doesn't seem to pay much attention to the girls - which is fine by me, and actually the way I would prefer it (at least until he's more comfortable here). Abigail is only peripherally interested in Duke, preferring her stuffed dogs and mocks our interactions with Duke.

He is scared of the television, and the ceiling fan. He is also nervous about the highway noise, and the ice maker, too. I can't wait until he feels more comfortable here and the cats can come back upstairs!
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Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween 2009

Here are a few pictures of Abigail and Olivia in their Halloween costumes. Abigail made the prettiest Ariel, and my Lovebug was the most cuddly bug ever! We had a great time walking around our neighborhood, and talking with our wonderful neighbors - we really do have the best neighbors!

In addition to seeing our neighbors, we had a few visitors at our house - including Danielle, Steve and Shelby, and Patti, Jenna, Josh and Katie. Shelby was dressed as Big Bird - and she looked absolutely adorable! Danielle got a few pictures of the girls together, and I can't wait to see them. Patti and the kids came by a little later - Josh was a Ninja, Katie was a cat, and Jenna - well...she was just too grown up!

After trick-or-treating, we came home and watched It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown - and that was fun. Abigail ate a bag of M&M's and then went to bed quickly and quietly - it was the best I could've hoped for!

Olivia was very patient riding in her stroller. She was bundled quite a bit - with a layer of clothes under her very warm costume, and a thick blanket wrapped around her, too.
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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Having fun is messy business!


Today, Abigail has been painting a wonderful masterpiece (never mind that to her, that means painting her hand). She is singing and talking and painting and mixing colors. She is experimenting with her brush and watching the marks that the brushes leave behind. She has gotten more paint on her than on the paper...yes...that IS paint on her lips...

I wanted to capture a video of this - and maybe I still will - but my battery for the other camera is charging right now - so the still picture will have to do...ENJOY!
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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Craft time




Today, we made a mask and a sock puppet! Abby loved the process, but more than that, she loves the puppet! She has not taken it off since we finished it an hour ago! I think it turned out great...for our first attempt! I will be better prepared next time! :)
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Monday, October 19, 2009

Happy Anniversary, Babe!

Today is our 8th wedding anniversary. Eight years ago today, we vowed to spend our lives together - and had no idea what wedded bliss would follow! We have been through a lot in eight short years, and time is flying by so fast. It's hard to believe that we've gone through five job changes for me, six job changes for Mike, moving three times, our fathers' deaths, two of Mike's grandparents' deaths, two births, countless friends and relatives getting married (and some getting divorced), and five holiday seasons at CCC!

Happy anniversary, babe! I love you!






Yesterday, Mike and Abby carved our pumpkin. Abigail was fascinated by it, and happy to be involved in the project. She told Mike where to put the eyes and nose and mouth - and watched intently as he cut out each piece. She didn't want to help me pick out the seeds - she thought that it felt gross and slimy in her hands. She waited patiently for Mike to finish carving the face, and then asked if she could paint it - so we let her paint the pumpkin since she had so much fun painting her pumpkin last weekend. All in all - it was a lot of fun!
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Sunday, October 11, 2009

Stuckmeyer's Farm

Mike and I took Abigail to Stuckmeyer's today for some fall fun! We left Olivia with Grandma Debbie and took off for the farm! Abby was scared of the inflatables when we got there, and scared of the corn maze and dark tunnels - I thought she wasn't going to have any fun...until she found the slide. She played on the slide for quite a while, and then explored a little more. She found a playground, with the yellow tunnel - and stayed there for a bit, too. After that, we found a wagon, some pumpkins, and some lunch. After lunch, she found a sandbox with lots of toys, and she stayed there for almost an hour. We finally decided to come home - but not without buying some apple butter and pumpkin paint! When we got home, we let Abigail paint her pumpkin - and she says it is a very scary pumpkin!

All in all - we had a very nice day with Abigail. She wanted to paint the big pumpkin - but we told her that Daddy is going to decorate his pumpkin next weekend! I will post pictures of that soon!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Monday, October 5, 2009

Olivia update

Olivia is 8-weeks old now - it is hard to believe that the time has gone by so quickly! She is doing really well learning to hold her head up - with looking at her daddy being the best motivation. She is social smiling now, and giggling at people when we talk to her. She is a very happy baby, and only fusses when she is hungry or needs a new diaper.

She weighs 12 lbs now - and that puts her in the 81st percentile for her age. She is also 24 inches long - putting her in the 96th percentile for height. She got her first round of shots today - three shots and one oral dose. She was quite pissed off about the whole experience and it took longer to soothe her than it did Abigail when she was the same age.

Her next doctor visit is at 4 months.

PAT - 1st visit

Abigail and Olivia and I had our first appointment with our Parents As Teachers Educator this morning. It was a lot of fun! Her name is Sarah - and Abigail really liked her!

She got here around 10:30 and she started playing with Abigail. She brought a teddy-bear puzzle that helped Abigail learn matching and social-emotional skills. The bears' faces had different expressions and Abigail was identifying their emotions very well. They read a book together and then played another matching game with colors and shapes. Sarah spent some time talking to me and answering my questions about potty-training, discipline for this age, and handling naptime/bedtime changes in Abigail.

While Abigail continued playing with Sarah's toys, Sarah tried to play with Olivia for a little while. She brought a black-and-white outline of a face, glued to a paper plate - and Olivia was very interested in it! As long as I held it up for her, she stared at it. I read a book to Olivia, and she was staring at the picture faces and bold colors on the pages. It was really neat to watch Olivia study the faces.

Sarah gave me a lot of reading material, and set up an appointment for mid-November. At the November appointment, she is going to do some screenings on both girls. In the meantime, she gave me a calendar of PAT events that we can participate in - and they seem to be exciting, too. This Friday, we're attending a gymnastics event for Abigail, and next Tuesday, there is a fall festival with crafts and prizes that we'll also attend. I am hoping that the girls enjoy the events and their time with Sarah.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Olivia's Birth Story

I spent all day Thursday walking. I had Shelby Kohler for the day, and Patti and her kids came down to keep us company, too. We walked around the neighborhood, joined by Margaret and Brianna, too. We walked up and down the street, over and over. I just kept praying that the contractions would start before 5:30 a.m. on Friday, when I was scheduled to be induced.

At 5:00 Thursday evening, Holly came and picked up Abigail to keep her for the weekend. We kissed Abby goodbye, and tried to tell her that she would meet Olivia very soon. A little while after they left, the contractions started. They were ten minutes apart, and pretty regular. We ordered pizza and watched The West Wing to kill time. By 10:00 p.m., the contractions were still ten minutes apart, so we went to bed.

At 1:00 a.m., Mike woke me up to tell me that he thought I was having a contraction, and I was. It was intense, and lasted for over a minute. I got up to go to the bathroom, and had another contraction, that lasted just as long. I told Mike that I thought it was time to go, even though I had only had two contractions, because of how long they lasted. We called our moms and threw the last few items into the hospital bag. We loaded up the truck...and the contractions stopped. I ate a peanut-butter sandwich and then Mike and I went for a walk. We walked two laps around the subdivision to try to get the contractions going again, and then headed for the hospital. We stopped at Mobile to kill a little time - and Mike wanted a soda for some caffeine.

We didn't arrive at St. Anthony's until 3:00 a.m., and my contractions were four minutes apart. It was almost 6:00 by the time they checked me again, and I was only dilated to 4. It was then that they decided to start pitocin and give me my epidural. By eight o'clock, I was dilated to 8 cm. I thought for sure that Olivia would be born soon. Mike was joined in the delivery room by my mom, his mom, and our friend Danielle, who took pictures for me.

My labor stalled, and I stayed at 8 cm for the next 6 hours. Olivia was also at a -2 station, and my water hadn't broken. It seemed that my body would've stayed this way forever! My doctor came in, broke my water, and left.

By 2 o'clock, the nurse came in to check me, and Olivia had finally moved down the birth canal. They told me to push a few times, and my doctor came in right away. Her head was right there! I pushed a few times, and her head was out - I have never been more grateful in my entire life than I was at that moment! I knew I didn't have the power in my body to push for three hours like I did with Abigail - I was in so much pain!

When Olivia's head came out, the cord was wrapped around her neck, so the doctor tried to clamp and cut the cord. As she had an awkward hold on Olivia, I had a contraction that pushed Olivia the rest of the way out - it looked as though she was shot out of a cannon! The doctor lost her hold on Olivia and it seemed to happen in slow motion! I thought that Olivia was going to hit the floor - but the doctor recovered, and was able to keep her in her hands! She was born at 2:34 p.m. on August 7th, and shares her birthday with my mom's brother, Jerry!

Olivia was crying instantly, another thing I was grateful for - as it meant that she wouldn't have the same respiratory problems that Abby had! By then, I was holding her and trying to look at her - but the pain in my neck and shoulders was really awful and it was hard to look down. My first thoughts were that she was healthy, and that she looked A LOT like Abigail!

The next hour zoomed by - with the nurse poking and prodding Olivia - and getting her footprints. My doctor was stitching me up, and then the nurses brought me dinner. I was starving! My mom helped the nurse with the footprints, and Danielle got a lot of great pictures of Olivia's first moments. She was 21 1/2 inches long - which was the same as Abigail. Olivia weighed in at 8 lbs 5 oz, and her feet were 3 inches long! My kids have big feet!

They took Olivia to the nursery to give her a bath and finish poking her with needles - while they cleaned me up and took out my epidural and IV. It was 4:30 or so by the time I was moved to post-partum and Mike and I ate fast food from Jack In The Box, and then Mike went home and I went to bed.

There is so much more to tell, but here is at least, the story of Olivia's birth!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I had my doctor appointment today. I am 70 percent effaced and dilated to 1! The news isn't as good as I had hoped, but its better than nothing. Dr. Hulbert made the comment that the baby was big enough to come now, and maybe she would see me before my appointment scheduled for next Tuesday, August 4th. I can only hope! In the meantime, I am walking each day now. I would really like to have this baby by the weekend, but we'll have to see how it goes. Abby seems eager to meet her baby sister, and I hope she likes her as much as she likes Max!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Ultrasound and baby update

Mike and Abby and I went to St. Anthony's today for my final ultrasound. The baby is measuring right on track, and is currently weighing in at 6 lbs. 4 oz. The level of amniotic fluid is perfect, and she is head-down - everything we had hoped for! Also, the tech verified that Olivia is still a girl, and we aren't expecting any surprise Olivers in the delivery room!

I will post pictures soon!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Congratulations Becky and Johnny!

We went to Arkansas for the wedding this past weekend - and it was a lot of fun. Friday afternoon, on our way there, we drove right into a monster thunderstorm, with 80 mph straightline winds. Mike and Abby and I were racing to our hotel - and we made it at the same time as the storm. I had gone into the lobby to try to check us in before the front came through, but the storm came through right then - while Mike and Abby were still in my truck. I was terrified for them - and they had to make a run for the hotel doors against the wind. There were trees coming down and sheets of aluminum siding flying by. Mike and Abby came sliding through the front door and I was never so relieved in my life!

Friday night, we attended the rehearsal dinner - which was a delicious cook-out at Aunt Susie's house! We visited for awhile, and then we took Abby back to the hotel room. She fell asleep on the way, and slept through the night.

Saturday, we visited with Grandma and Grandpa during the morning, went back to the hotel for naptime, and then got ready and went to the wedding. The ceremony was beautiful and the reception was a lot of fun. Shelby was dancing and having so much fun - she wore herself out! Abby didn't dance as much as I thought she would, but she did spend the evening on Grandma's lap - and that was pretty sweet! The food was excellent, too! Becky was a beautiful bride - and she looked a lot like Grandma!

Bedtime was more challenging with Abby - she stayed awake all the way to the hotel and was overtired. We got up Sunday and drove home. We're all exhausted - and there is so much to do. I haven't unpacked at all, but I did get Becky's pictures posted online. Now, to deal with the video...

8 weeks to go...countdown!

I am 32 weeks along, and can't hardly believe that I have 8 more weeks to go. I have started lying to myself and telling myself that I only have 3 more weeks - what the makes me feel better! :)

Everything is going really well, though. Baby Girl Rhoads is moving along, kicking and rolling and keeping me up at night. She is measuring exactly where she should be, and I will have another ultrasound sometime in July. I don't have that appointment set yet, but anticipate it will be scheduled for after the holiday.

I have another appointment with Dr. Hulbert tomorrow. The closer appointments do help the time go by - so I am grateful for that.

We still don't have a name that we agree on - and the nursery is still miles away from being ready. Hopefully, we can make some progress on that this week!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

24 weeks!

I am 24 weeks along - officially hit 6 months - and the baby has been moving all over the place. I have been able to share it with a few people - Abby, Mike, and Debbie. I LOVE LOVE LOVE feeling her move around in there. It is the most amazing feeling - wierd, but absolutely amazing! She moves a lot in the evening, it seems, usually after I eat dinner. Abigail was the same way.

In the next three months, Mike and I have a lot of work to do. We haven't started on the nursery - and it is currently wall-to-wall crap! It has servers and bookcases, file cabinets, photo albums, camera gear, clothes, a bed and bed-clothes, and that is just a list of the stuff I can still see! Our first order of business is to get rid of the double-bed that is in there - that will give us some space to even get into that room and move stuff out.

I also need to bring all of the totes of Abby's clothes upstairs and sort through them. They weren't packed away well - by that I mean that I didn't sort them by size. Every 6 months or so, I would just go on a rampage and take stuff out of Abby's closet. There are probably five totes of clothes to go through, and it will be an all-day, cover-the-entire-living-room-floor, mind-numbing chore!

I will also need to go through the gear - car seat, swing, bouncer, and changing pad to clean them for the new baby. I will need to wash the clothes and blankets, too.

Last, but certainly not least, we need to come up with a name for this baby! She needs a name! Mike and I aren't very good at doing this together, because we typically don't like the same names - so it's probably going to be a struggle for us! Wish us luck!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Short video of Abigail

Spring Break '09

This week, Mason and Brandon are on Spring Break. I have had them all week, and we've been trying to find some fun stuff to do. On Monday, we spent the day at Suson Park, with Patti and the kids. We walked through and looked at the animals - Abby thought that was neat! - and then we played on the playground for hours. The kids ran off a lot of energy and had a lot of fun. On Tuesday, Jess came up and we went to Forest Park. It was packed and took us two hours to find a parking spot. We went to the Science Center for a little while, but Abby was already crabby by the time we got there. We did play outside on the playground at the planetarium for a little while, though. On Wednesday, we went to Mastodon Park with Patti and her kids, and we played on the playground, climbed trees and played in the creek. All the kids were having a blast, and we met some other people and dogs to play with, too.

With the cold front here now, I don't know what we're doing today, but I am hoping we can continue to find some fun stuff to do. I have had as much fun this week as they have, and it feels really good to spend some time outside, running and playing. We haven't watched Shrek all week! That's awesome!!!

Visit to see the new pictures posted, and the video should be up sometime later today!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

18-Week Appointment

Mike and I went to see Dr. Hulbert yesterday for my 18-week check-up. We heard the heartbeat - still fast and strong - and then I got a flu shot. My next appointment with Dr. Hulbert isn't until April 6th, but I do have the ultrasound this Friday.

Also, Dr. Hulbert speculated that I might have an anterior placenta, which would explain why I am not feeling the baby move. I will find out more on Friday!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Monkey Joe's

Abby and I went to Monkey Joe's to play and see my friend, Trish, whom I hadn't seen in almost two years. Her son is a month younger than Abby, and she has a daughter who is 5 months old. She had some other mom-friends meet us there, and we played and ran and jumped. Abby had a blast and I can't wait to take her back there. I did snap a few pictures with my point-and-shoot camera, but I haven't uploaded them to the computer yet. I did upload a short video to youtube - you can find that here:


There is a little overlap here - I posted some on MySpace this morning, but there are people who visit my blog that don't read our MySpace account.

Our work situation is all straightened out! Mike and I are both breathing easier knowing that this is over. He's still at St. Anthony's, which I am happy about, and I have been substitute teaching. This works out well for all of us, because I am only working part-time, which has allowed me to be home with Abby when she is sick and also to set up play-dates with friends. Since I am subbing at Windsor, I also get to spend more time with Mason and Brandon. When they don't have school, they come here to play with us and that make Abby very happy! She LOVES her cousins!

Also, stay tuned for the ultrasound results - next Friday afternoon!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

It isn't working!

This morning, I decided to play Dad's DVD for Abigail (for those who don't know, I had a DVD made with pictures of him and songs that reminded us of him), and my DVD errorred out and wouldn't play. It played for a minute, and then froze, and I couldn't get it to go again. I paid several hundred dollars to have this DVD produced, and I am aggravated that my copy isn't working. I had copies of this DVD made for Mom, Holly, myself, and all of Dad's siblings. I wonder if anyone else's DVD's have screwed up and I don't know about it. Not to mention, that we haven't watched this DVD - ever, I think...

I am very frustrated. I know that I can get my hands on another copy of the DVD, and I am grateful for that. I wanted to show Abby all of these pictures of him and see if she recognized all of us. Oh well. Grrrr.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Dr. Appt update

I went to the doctor yesterday, and there is little to report. Mike and Abby were both there with me, and we all got to hear the baby's heartbeat. Abby seemed fascinated by it - her expression was so priceless. She didn't move a muscle, she just sat and stared at my belly.

I opted not to do any genetic testing, and my next appointment is March 9th.

Monday, February 9, 2009

So, I have been a slacker

I haven't posted anything on here in quite awhile, at least not regularly. I haven't been busy, in fact, just the opposite. I have been at home with Abby, and we haven't done anything. I have been a stay-at-home mom for about a month, and I am loving it. Abby and I spend time singing, dancing, reading, watching Sesame Street, and cleaning my house. She has been "helping" - she is really helpful when it comes to making my bed. After I straighten the sheets and blankets, she hands me all of the pillows. She will also help me sweep the floor - although, I prefer to do that by myself. :)

I am really looking forward to some warmer weather. This past month, we have had snow and sickness, both of which has kept us homebound. I am looking forward to getting together with some friends for playdates, but with the snow and sickness keeping us homebound, it just hasn't happened. We are both getting a little stir crazy, though, and some time outside this past weekend helped a lot!

On Saturday, Mike and Abby and I spent some time walking outside, and Abby discovered mud puddles! She loved to walk in them and watch her reflection. She didn't like it so much when she found the deep puddle that got her feet and pants wet, but she had fun anyway!

We have all been sick for about a week now, and I am looking forward to feeling better. Yesterday we opened all the windows and had the attic fan on for a short while. It was chilly, but it was really nice to have fresh air flowing into the house!

I do have an appointment with Dr. Hulbert today. I am 14 weeks along, and this will be a very routine visit. I will update later, if there is anything significant. I have over a month left to wait for the big ultrasound.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

New pictures up

Hey - I got some cute pictures of Abigail in the snow yesterday - they're posted on my Picasa account. Just go to to view them!

No news on the job front yet. I will post as soon as I have some exciting news.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

10 Weeks Today

Today, I am 10 weeks along! Mike and I have already started discussing names, how we'll decorate the nursery, and who will be in the delivery room. I am really looking forward to feeling the baby move, although I am probably a month away from that.

I also have my appointment with the OB on Tuesday, so if there's anything to tell, I will post an update then, too.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Abby Update

I can't believe that Abby will be two years old in only three months. Tonight, she has figured out how to open interior doors by turning the door knob - this is a horrible event, because now she can escape out the front door, or hide herself in any room/closet we have in the house! I prayed this day would never come.

Also, her vocabulary has grown at an asounding rate. She uses phrases instead of words, including things like "just a minute", "I don't know", and "Daddy's working". I don't know if I can count the words anymore - her newest ones would probably be sorry, dancing, singing, and Big Bird.

There is almost no limit to her physical abilities right now. She can climb, run and even tumble on the living room floor. She tries so hard to get herself dressed, but hasn't quite figured out which holes go where.

Abby got a LOT of Christmas presents - and her favorites are two movies - Follow That Bird (a Sesame Street production from 1985) and Abby (Cadabby) in Wonderland. She wants to watch them over and over again. Sadly, Mike and I already know them by heart.

I will try to get some new pictures of Abigail this weekend - after I cut her hair again - and then get some posted. In the meantime, I just posted the pictures from New Year's Eve on my Picasa page - you can find it by visiting

Ultrasound Update

On January 2nd, Mike and I went for an ultrasound for Umbert (for those who don't know, that's our nickname for the baby until we have a real name). Everything looked great - we even got to hear the heartbeat (163 beats per minute, I think...). Dr. Webb (who is the greatest) told us that the size and proportion of everything seemed healthy, and that the chance of miscarriage is pretty low at this point. My next ultrasound is scheduled for Friday, March 13th at 11:00 a.m.