2013/12/31

2013 Year in Review

January - Philip started his last semester of graduate school, began taking the CPA exams.

February - Celebrated our 6 year anniversary.

March - Shared the news we'd be blessed with a new family member in October.

April - Philip half-way through CPA exams.  I completed final semester of graduate coursework for my post-Master's certificate for family nurse practitioner.

May - Philip graduates with Master's in Accounting. Annie finishes first year of ballet & has mastered skipping.  I quit my job as a clinical educator & begin an education leave of absence to complete my practicum & do clinical hours full-time through the summer.  Found out we'd be adding a boy into our family.

June - Philip finds out he has passed all of his CPA exams.  Family vacation in Colorado.  Family trip to St. Louis.

July - I completed the post-Master's certificate Family Nurse Practitioner program through Texas Tech. Begin working at Stillwater Primary Care.

August - Philip goes to work for EY. Annie starts pre-school. I pass my Family Nurse Practitioner certification exam.

September - Annie begins her second year of ballet.

October - Welcome Denver.

November - Annie celebrates her fourth birthday.  Denver's first Thanksgiving.

December - Annie participates in her school Christmas program.  Our first Christmas as a family of four.

What a fantastic year it has been! Plans & goals that we had been working on since before we were married were completed & realized.  God has been with us every step of the way & blessed us beyond measure.  Looking forward to what he has in store for us in 2014.






Christmas 2013

Christmas was a lovely time for all of us this year.  Annie was really into giving & receiving gifts (she had a tendency to hand everyone their gift & tell them what it was as she gave it to them) & she was excited by all the fun events & activities that go along with Christmas.  This was Denver's first Christmas & he seemed to enjoy himself by cooing to & wooing everyone around him.

There were two classic Christmas activities Annie was not impressed with. These were viewing Christmas lights & sitting on Santa's lap. We went to multiple light displays throughout the season she was kinda ho-hum about it all.  Whereas last year she really liked seeing them.  
 
We didn't even try the Santa picture this year as it has ended up the last two years being a ridiculous picture of me smiling holding her on his lap while she looks horrified or ready to cry.  


See? I told you.

The Santa thing I can get over, the Christmas lights we will continue to work on because I love to go see lights & as she showed me this 4th of July there is hope she'll come around (she use to be terribly scared of fireworks & that has waned some now).

Our family Christmas gatherings started on Christmas Eve with the Kouba family. While I did take more pictures than are posted here they are on the camera which means they need to be uploaded onto the computer & then put on here. 

Right now that is more complicated than simply blogging from my phone & using the pictures I have on here so maybe some day those will be added.  Or maybe (more than likely) they'll end up in the Norwood family photo archives on the computer like hundreds of others.  Oh well, here are a couple of shots.
 

These two are rather handsome if I do say so myself (how's that for horrible English - where do we get these classic phrases?).


Annie was a good sport to take a picture with us because she really wanted to start opening the massive stack of presents & was having a great time running around playing with her cousins.

After we enjoyed time with family we came home & while everyone was nestled all snug in their beds Santa slipped in and left gifts for a good little boy & girl.




Annie had been wanting a pink Jeep & Santa apparently thought that was what she needed.  

Her initial test drive was a bit jarring & she  had a slight accident right away so as I type this a week later we're still trying to warm back up to the idea of actually driving the Jeep again....

After our Santa & family Christmas we headed to Woodward to have Goodman Christmas.
 
Here Annie received the gift of an eye shadow pallet - so her cousins & her spent the afternoon making themselves & Nana look "beautiful" in their eyes but a bit zombie like to the rest of us.  I have some pictures of this event but again, they are on the camera not my phone.  Never fear though - a fantastic gift I received from my thoughtful husband was iPhone camera lenses so the pictures on this blog might just be headed into a new dimension of artful clarity.  Or not.  I guess we'll see in months to come.

After the festivities in Woodward we headed to Sayre to stay at Nana & Papa's for a couple of nights.  Annie enjoyed playing with Wyatt & Willow & then Jenny came down & added Brynn to the mix of cousins to have fun with.  

All together there was laughter, lots of fun, all sorts of new gifts & toys to figure out, Christmas yummies, & most importantly time spent with loved ones.







2013/12/28

Sweet sleep

This warms my heart...sometimes the days seem long but then this time of day comes & I realize it went all too quickly.








2013/12/23

It's all about balance

It's Christmas Eve Eve today.  As I begin this post I am feeding Denver who is still in his pjs while I allow Annie her time to wake up & orient herself after a long late nap. She remains in her pjs too - it is 4:44 PM (don't shake your head too hard in disdain - I have planted the seed in her mind that she is going to have to change out of them...).  


As you can tell by the scene presented to you productivity around this joint has been kinda low today.  We've organized closets & sorted through things to give away in anticipation of the Christmas deluge from loving family members.  Annie has been beyond excited with the anticipation & I have been casually getting stuff ready for our Christmas gatherings with dear ones over the next few days. We've managed to watch one Christmas movie in its entirety which is something for the three of us.

I've also come to the realization that in a little over a week the holidays will be behind us & a week after that I will go back to work.
 

Denver is closing in on 10 weeks old.  That is hard to believe.  Everyone tells you before you have your first baby that the time will fly by & that they grow so fast - this is something you don't fully understand until you experience it firsthand but it does.  The second time around you know it's going to happen but it still sneaks up on you.
 
I'm not going to lie - the first couple of weeks after he arrived are kind of a blur looking back. Hormones, lack of sleep, & the wonderment of a new little person in the house make the days & nights mesh together in one hazy fog. I will say this though - this time around everything went much faster - delivery, recovery, and routine. By the middle of the second week I was pleasantly surprised that I felt like myself & had adjusted to having two kiddos to care for.

 
I also realized at this point in time that I'm not cut-out for being a stay-at-home mom.  
 
 
I love my children & can honestly say every day I am more thankful to God that I am blessed with these two precious littles.  Annie is sweet, kind, & helpful - I couldn't ask for better kid.  Denver is a pleasant little guy with few demands beyond regularly being fed & put in a clean diaper.  I am really grateful for each minute I'm given with them.

 
However, as my maternity leave starts to wind down I have to admit in a small way I am ready to get back to work. It is going to be hard & there will be tears for awhile (mine not theirs) but it really is what is best for our family.  No, I'm not saying that just based on finances - we could make budget cuts & sacrifices to live on Philip's salary if we REALLY wanted to.  I'm saying it based on the fact that I am a better wife & mother because I work.  
 
Why? I appreciate the time I am with my family more.  I've noticed while being off work that I am more distracted, less patient, & not as "present" all the time.  I read an article a few months before I had Denver about how a lot working moms really do get as much "quality" time with their kids as stay at home moms because they make it a priority.  I can honestly say that this is true for me.  There have been many days that I have gone to bed and wondered how Philip & Annie's days went because I really forgot to ask or listen to them talk about it.
 
When I am working I make a concentrated effort to spend specific time focused on them when we are together.  I take for granted that I have so much time at home during the day then realize I didn't take advantage of the hours I actually had with Annie or our family together as a whole.  With Denver I get distracted doing the tasks of caring for an infant & forget to soak in the preciousness of his developing personality & growth.  Philip, bless his heart, rarely gets a proper greeting when he comes in the door because I generally have a baby for him to hold or a child I need him to occupy while I finish something up or run to the bathroom.

Being a mom is hard work & I want to do the best I can at it.  I don't want my kids to see me as someone who was cranky or pre-occupied with other things.  I want them to view me as someone who listened, paid attention to, & valued them.  I want them to enjoy being around me.  Working helps me be that person.
 
I love my job and work hard at it for the 36 hours a week I am there (I very rarely work extra).  Annie goes to an outstanding pre-school & is loved and cared for by her teachers there & then spoiled by the two fun babysitters she has that fill the gap between school & when I get home.  Denver will be staying in a loving home with a friend of mine from church while I am at work.  At any time during the day I can check on any of my loves thanks to the wonderful cell phone & unlimited messaging.  

Stay-at-home moms do the most important work & it is difficult work.  I applaud all who do it and am aware that I am unable to - but I'm okay with that because at the end of the day I truly appreciate my family, am able to give them the attention & care they deserve, & we all go to sleep loved.
 








2013/12/09

Snow day

So for some reason the earth has turned on its heels & we get freezing cold temperatures & a snow storm before Christmas every year (at least we have for the last 4 years).  This occurred last week. We ended up with 4+ inches of snow which meant - no school for Annie!

Snow days around Christmas are more fun in my personal opinion.  It adds to the magic of the holidays & amps your spirit up by many decibels.  Another bonus is there are quite a few indoor activities you can do.

Here's how we spent it:

Assisting Philip while he worked from home.


Denver clearly did not think Annie's numbers were on target in this picture.  

(For posterity's sake I should note I am of the opinion that Philip's new glasses look like they came from 1960 & I have all manner of jokes & comments about world events that occurred in the 1960's that I ask him to tell me about his personal experience with when he wears them - yes I'm that clever & funny.)

We put together our gingerbread house which I kept having to remind Annie (& still am to this day) that it will taste like a cardboard box if actually eaten, which is only slightly deterring her interest in injesting it.

 
Completed project - she is eating a leftover gum ball in this picture to treat herself for her good work.


The next activity we did was layer up in clothes & put on boots to go outside.  Annie was anxious to build a snowman & "snow fight."  


She quickly realized that snowball fights were not something she enjoyed as I pelted her with about 5 snowballs (in all honesty I had no desire to snowball fight so this was an effective method for cease fire).  

Our snowwoman was small but had character.  


After that we gathered up some snow & Annie enjoyed some snow ice cream with sprinkles.
 

We then were inside the rest of the day until we went out for dinner that night.  That is unfortunately a problem I have.  A snow day & being stuck in the house is a novel idea to me until about 4:30 in the afternoon & then I start to understand why Jack Nicholson's character went so crazy on The Shining.  I need fresh air & to make sure the rest of the world is still out there.  

It was fun though - we slept in (as much as you can with a 4 year-old & 6 week old child), ate Christmas snack-y food, watched some Christmas shows & played around all day.











2013/12/03

Thanksgiving

We had a fantastic Thanksgiving.  At pre-school Annie had talked about all things Thanksgiving including the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade so we started the day out by watching all manner of large cartoon balloons being marched through Herald Square.

We then packed up the car & headed to Yukon to have Thanksgiving with family.  We ate yummy food & had great conversation with relatives.  As the afternoon went on Annie played with her cousins, Denver charmed everyone with his cuteness, Philip played some high definition NFL video game (that more once fooled me into thinking it was a real game) with his brother, & I scanned all the Black Friday ads with the other ladies there.

That night we headed out to Sayre to visit my parents.  After I had the kids in their jamas I realized I hadn't taken a single picture of them so I quickly snapped this one to document Denver's first Thanksgiving.


We got up Saturday & met Jenny & Brynn to hit one Black Friday sale in Elk City.  Then out of nap necessity we all headed back to Mom & Dad's. After everyone was all rested up & Dad & Philip had gathered & fed all the calves we went back to Elk City.  There we ate dinner & drove through the Christmas lights at the park for the kids.

The next morning we headed home, first stopping in Yukon & visiting at Jana & Steve's.  While there went to see the movie Frozen which surprisingly Annie watched the majority of (usually after about 30 minutes she's done) & enjoyed.  Before leaving town we drove through the light display in the Yukon park.

Overall it was a great holiday with a lot of family, food, & fun - the good things in life .

2013/11/27

Annie is 4

Annie turned 4 on November 7th.  This seems so hard to believe.  Especially since Denver was born because they are so similar it seems like we were just going through/doing these same things with her & that she was a newborn.


She is sweet, affectionate, concerned, intuitive, sensitive, & bright.  She is usually outgoing; can be shy at times but is most generally talkative & engaging to people of all ages.  

In the last couple of months she seems to have matured a great deal & Philip & I are constantly laughing or looking at each other wondering where she came up with or how she remembered or knows what she just said.  She can be sassy and ornery but those moments are brief & keep us on our toes.

She often asks where she was when she sees pictures of us before she was born & after I answer "you were a glimmer in our eye" I am thankful that she is here now because life & our hearts are so full with her.  

To celebrate she had seven of her little girlfriends from school who she has been in the same class with for the past 2-3 years to a tea party.  Since purple is her favorite color it dominated the theme.





On Sofia the First (a princess show she watches) they had a tea party with pink bear cookies so that is what she requested instead of cake.

There was fairy dress-up for those that wanted to and or you could wear your regular clothes (Annie got boots from Nana & Papa for her birthday so she changed out of her dress-up clothes back into her regular clothes to wear her these).  


The dance party and bubbles were definitely a crowd pleaser
 



The coloring, crafts & conversation also added to the fun.
 

 

The cake & gifts just topped off a lovely party.
 



On her actual birthday she had her best friend Sadie come over after school to play.
 

We then celebrated with her favorite dinner of "egg soup." For her birthday cake she had requested chocolate & pudding (not chocolate pudding) so an individual Boston cream cake is what she enjoyed.



Happy 4th sweet girl - here's to many more!



Halloween fun

Annie was super excited about Halloween 2013.  She had developed a love of the Avengers & all things super-hero this summer so she chose to be Wonder Woman.
 
This year her school had trunk or treat so that morning Denver & I stood out in beautiful fall weather while Annie & her friends came through in their pajamas trunk-or-treating.
 
 
Denver was a trooper hanging out in the sling.
 

   
   sampling before the next go-round
 
   
     resting up for trick-or- treating
 
That evening we joined our friends the Harms & trick-or-treated.  Annie loved running from house to house & seeing all the costumes.
 
   
Annie & Lilah (photo by Allison Harms Photography)

  
  Denver's first trick-or-treat (photo by Allison Harms Photography)

  
  (photo by Allison Harms Photography)

After we got home Annie handed out candy & may have enjoyed that more than getting candy herself.  Denver was happy to just watch. 
 

Overall it was a super fun day for everyone.




         












2013/11/26

Fall arrival

To catch up some...

The first half of October essentially consisted of what has become the normal fall for our family.  Work and "school" during the week, football games, birthday parties, fun with family and friends on the weekend.  The difference this year was I was swollen beyond recognition from the knees down.  Seriously for the last ten weeks or so of this pregnancy I had elephant legs and ankles.  It was to the point patients at work would look at me and say "Are you okay?" and my co-workers would laugh every day.  Even with support hose (which donning them every morning became the hardest part of my day) I had huge sausage feet.  Luckily though I never had any other issues such as increased blood pressure or anything else.  This did leave me pretty exhausted though by the end of the day and very ready for our little guy to arrive.

On October 16th he decided to do just that.  His original due date was October 23rd, but since his sister came early I assumed (as did our doctor) that Denver would do the same. So by October 9th, I was more than ready and started trying all the old wives tales of how to get him here.  On Tuesday October 15th I woke up with contractions and thought it was the day so Philip took Annie to school and we both stayed home from work.  Much to my dismay though by 9:00 AM the contractions had slowed and lessened in intensity so Philip headed to work and I stayed home to fight a migraine.

That same day I learned from a friend that acupressure was an effective labor inducer so when Philip got home we went out to eat, came home and Googled acupressure. He then squeezed some spot right on my ankle and after five minutes of anticipation of immediate results we called it good went to bed. 

At 2:30 AM I woke up with some really strong contractions but decided I should try to sleep & see if it went away.  An hour later they woke me up again and this time would not be ignored.  I got up, showered and got ready and then woke Philip up to do the same so we could start timing them.  By the time he was all ready we realized timing them was a moot point now because they were constant.  So we called our babysitter to come stay with Annie and headed to the hospital.

We arrived around 6 and were quickly in a room, I was hooked up to a monitor, and we were waiting for the doctor, who was suppose to be there around 8.  We wanted to see when he thought I'd deliver so we could let our parents and family know when to come.  Well, at 7:45 our nurse came in and helped me back to bed after a bathroom break and looked at the monitor and decided the baby's heart rate was a little low so she checked me.  At that point it was like someone hit the fast forward button because the next thing we knew there was a warmer in the room, they had turned on the labor lights, and the CRNA was in the room to attempt an epidural. 

Our nurse Ginger,  who we love because she had been our nurse with Annie, then told us he was coming so quickly the doctor might not make it.  YIKES! So Philip started calling our family members and telling them it was time.  Throughout all of this rush Philip and I just kept looking at each other confused that it was happening so quickly since with Annie I had labored for hours and if you know anything about me if it doesn't go just like I had planned I'm totally thrown off.


At this point the CRNA attempted an epidural but since I was already dilated to 9 it did not work. Yeah so we were going to go the natural route.  Again not according to plan... :) Oh well you take the good with the bad and luckily Dr. Henry arrived just in time for me to begin pushing.  Philip and I were both in shock at this point that things had escalated so quickly.  Alls's well that ends well though and a few minutes later we were introduced to all 8 pounds 9 ounces and 22 1/2 inches of our handsome little man.


It was nothing short of amazing.  Regardless of the fact that we had experienced the same thing with Annie it was still just as wonderful the second time around.  A unique thing about it all was we had Denver in the same room, with the same doctor, same nurse, and honestly when they put him up on me he looked just like Annie had.

I recently saw where someone described the birth of their child as a surreal experience and I can't think of a better way to say it.  It's such a special time and definitely one of those moments that you want to hold on to as long as possible because you know it's so very precious.




Possibly the sweetest moment of the day was when Annie met Denver.  She walked into the room with a big smile on her face and looked straight at Philip and said "Where's my brother?"  She had been talking to him, patting him, and kissing him for months and couldn't wait to actually meet him.  Her little "Awwww...he's the cutest baby and I love him" and expression on her face is something I will never forget <picture 1 below> (and will remind her of when she begins to complain about him).






Fortunately for us her infatuation with him has not waned a bit in the last 6 weeks.

(Disclaimer - we do actually brush her hair on a regular basis throughout the day but these pictures would not indicate that.)




You can tell that Denver recognizes her too (although sometimes he does get the wild-eyed look of "Please don't say you have left me alone with her") because he often calms down when she pats him and gives him his pacifier.  It's really nice to see how good she is with him.

So that's the story nearly 6 weeks later of the arrival of our favorite little guy.









 

 
 


While we aren't getting much sleep and I'm without caffeine because it seems to bother him we are all still so thrilled to have him and thankful for the great gift he is.  He brightens our day with his sweet presence and we can't wait to see more of his personality develop.  This Thanksgiving the Norwood 4 are truly blessed.






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I'm blessed with fun days, happy moments, & precious memories...this is where I store some of them.