Wednesday, December 19, 2007

When was baby Jesus born?

Gretchen probably asks Steve and I this question at least once a day for the last few weeks. We tell her Christmas but the deer in the headlights look she gives us makes me think she has no idea what Christmas is. Of course she knows it means presents and she knows it has something to do with Jesus since we keep telling her about him. In Sunday school and at home, we read books like Mary's Baby or Christmas in the Barn but we also read Olivia Helps with Christmas. I would love to be able to peek in her ever turning mind and see her vision of Christmas! Next year she will be much better at articulating her interpretation of the holiday season so I will just have to be patient.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Christmas Angel

Gretchen is doing much better. Tonight she performed in the church Christmas program. She was quite popular and entertaining. She is learning a lot of Christmas carols so click on the video link to hear her sing Frosty the Snowman.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Feeling Better (Can I talk on your phone Mommy?)

We were able to bring her home from the hospital Friday afternoon. She is finally doing better. She's eating and playing.... It's such a relief to be back home. I don't have enough words to express our gratitude for all of your prayers and offers to help. It meant a lot to us to hear from you all! Please accept our profound thanks as we feel blessed to have such wonderful family and friends who were there for us during this long week! We hope to get back to normal as soon as possible!
Thanks again,
Anjanette, Steve and Gretchen

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

My poor poor baby

Some of you know already but I thought I should send something out since I can't call all of you. Gretchen was sick over Thanksgiving weekend. Steve took her in on Monday to sick call. Because her blood oxygen saturation was low (87), they sent her to the Emergency Room. After they ran some tests and x-rays, it turns out she has pneumonia and RSV (respiratory virus). So.... we have spent the last few days at Lake Forest Hospital with her hoping she improves. They have her on a few different antibiotics (on an IV), a steroid to help relax her airways, nebulizer treatments every 2 hours and oxygen. She is improving but not as quickly as was hoped. The pneumonia got worse so it has impeded her progress. We're hoping she can come home on Friday. Steve and I are taking shifts during the day (trying to nap a few hours at home) but we're both spending the night in her room. We're holding up well though it was hard to wrap our brains on how serious it is. We're doing good so just keep Gretchen in your prayers.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Ladybug, ladybug

Oh what a month it has been! We have been so busy this last four or five weeks. We went to a pumpkin patch with our niece Samantha (and a slumber party with the two of them), Great America Six Flags twice, art class hijinks, and Halloween (round 1). We'll do Halloween (Round 2) on the 31st with a little party at the library (they do family story time every Wednesday). Although I haven't been posting many messages lately, I have been uploading pictures to my flickr account. Also I added three new videos to youtube. You must go check them out. Other than all that, not much new. Gretchen is talking up a storm now and we are impressed (and a little freaked out) daily with her vocabulary. It is now impossible to keep track of what she knows and doesn't know so we gave up.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Art class is killing me....

No... not really but that's because Gretchen's hair did come clean after we spray painted it. It was a crazy class this past week - we did tattoos, face painting and hair painting. Gretchen got into the face painting.....

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

A Child's Joy

Since my end of summer edition, it has been busy with school (both Steve and I are taking classes), Gretchen's art classes, play dates, etc. No new pictures really but this photo is Steve's favorite. Steve and Gretchen rode this drop and bounce ride at Great America and Gretchen just cackled with joy the entire time. We're taking her back to Great America in a few weeks so we can hear that sound from her again. Priceless.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Bubble Magic

Gretchen's art class (appropriately titled "Messy Creations") always ends with some bubbles. The kids love bubbles. It was the only time that Gretchen stood still (except for when we were sitting painting).

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Cinderella's Glass Slipper

Glass Slipper
Originally uploaded by Piedmont Fossil
Gretchen and I went to see a local play of Cinderella's Glass Slipper. It was very informal which was good since she walked "backstage" about three times. Gretchen can only sit still for about 30 minutes at a time so we had to leave before Cinderella got her prince.....

Friday, September 7, 2007

End of Summer Edition

The end of summer is always a big ordeal for our little family. Lindenfest, Labor Day, Steve’s birthday, pool closing, and the start of school all happen in the last days of summer.

August started out good – we had some beautiful weather for Lindenfest (our neighborhood food/music/entertainment extravaganza). Gretchen got to ride the merry-go-round with Steve while I was able to “donate” my hard earned cash on bingo. No wins for me this year. The second half of August, it rained, and rained and rained. I swear we did not go outside the second half of the month!

It cleared up however just in time for Steve’s 40th birthday party. Lenore, Gretchen’s grandmother, taught Gretchen the happy birthday song in anticipation of the little party we had to celebrate the occasion. The party went well – the iPod I bought Steve arrived just in time for his birthday. He already knew about it because Best Buy left me a message on our machine about how the iPod I ordered from them (that they said they had in stock) was not in stock. I canceled my order with them and got it straight from Apple. At any rate, the party went well. Our phone service coincidentally went out that night so it took a few days to hear from some of our friends. Our friend Todd thought perhaps it was such a blowout party that we took out a telephone pole. Hee!

The week of Labor Day we took a vacation. We went to Great America with Gretchen – she is a few inches too short for a lot of the rides but we did get on a mini drop ride in Wiggles World. Gretchen cackled the entire ride! I think she liked the belly flop you get when you drop unexpectedly. Since it was pretty hot, we took her on Loggers Run. We think the drop freaked her out a little (and me – I kept asking Steve if he had a good grip on her).

We also went to Lincoln Park Zoo. I used to volunteer there when I was in high school but it has changed so much since then…. They have re-done a lot of the exhibits and it was very impressive. Gretchen got to have her first taste of Mario’s Italian Ice afterwards. Steve wasn’t too impressed with all the bits of lemon but I was in heaven. I lived around the corner from there one summer and I lived on Mario’s Italian Ice. Yum! We drove around Maxwell Street and it was so different from when I was in high school. We used to drive there for lunch (polish w/onions or Mr. Submarine sandwiches). I don’t think I could afford it now – it is so gentrified. I guess it’s good for the city – no more flea markets and food stands but I still kind of miss it.

Luckily the weather held up and we were able to enjoy the pool one last time as well before closing it. A lot of times we don’t know it’s the last time for the year because the weather just gets cold and we have to close it. So it was nice to be able to get in and play. Gretchen always fusses a bit when we first put her in the baby float (probably her last year for that thing) but she manages to enjoy it after a few minutes. One year we will have to take her to the beach in the city – she might like Lake Michigan.

I have a lot of pictures this time so you can check them out on flickr. I know some of you save them off the internet. You can download them from flickr at a good resolution.

Steve and I are both taking classes this fall as is Gretchen (we’re taking an art class) so this will be the last post for a little while but I will keep posting my pictures to flickr even if I don’t send another update until mid-October or so…..

Monday, August 6, 2007

Need a Vacation from my Vacation

July was an action packed month. We started it with the 4th of July. We took Gretchen to see a parade. She was duly impressed with the fire trucks and sirens. A few days later we celebrated her 2nd birthday with a party in the beating hot sun. Gretchenpalooza was fun but tiring. I could tell our guests were ready to go home to their air conditioning. Gretchen cried while we sang Happy Birthday but managed to sing it randomly days afterwards…..

The week after that we embarked on a road trip! We tried to be smart about it and broke up our drive into 6 hour trips. We visited our friend Jeff in Cincinnati (6 hours from Chicago) and stayed the night there. The next day we drove to Hendersonville North Carolina (6 hours from Cincinnati) to visit our friend Todd (Jeff’s brother). We spent a few days with Todd and then headed back to Cincinnati for the night and then back home. Considering how much time we spent in the car, our girl did good. She only complained about 30 minutes the entire time. With every leg we stopped for food and stopped twice at rest stops to stretch our legs. The hard part was trying to relax while guarding Gretchen in other people’s homes. This was not a sight seeing trip – we were really just visiting friends so we took turns watching her. I think it went well. I brought new toys with us from her birthday (and some I had been saving) so that helped along with Grandma’s portable DVD player for the car.

The rest of July we spent just trying to enjoy the pool and summer. Lindenfest, our community’s street fair is next week – we plan on taking Gretchen on the carny rides (if they look safe). Once that’s over, summer is over for me.

Here are our July photo highlights. However I have more pictures out on flickr for those who are interested.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Gretchenpalooza is over

Saturday was quite a day! We had 14 adults, 8 kids, and 3 babies celebrating Gretchen's 2nd birthday. Temperatures hit the 90's but at least we had the pool to cool off. We ate good (chicken kabobs, shrimp skewers, ribs, pasta salad, potato salad, etc) and had just enough cake for everyone. Gretchen burst into tears when we started signing Happy Birthday but she warmed up a bit once we got the the presents! Everyone was so generous and patient as she opened each gift. We cannot have gotten a better day and party for our little one! Now that it's over, we are hitting the road to North Cacalaka (Carolina)!

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Happy 4th of July

We took Gretchen to a parade on the 4th of July so she could see the fire trucks and marching bands.
She enjoyed it immensely!
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Tuesday, July 3, 2007

On the Brink

Time for our June update!

Our toddler will be two but the tantrums have already started. Don’t get me wrong – she is a wonderful child especially around everyone but us. Since the ear tube surgery, Gretchen’s vocabulary has quadrupled. She is speaking in partial sentences; she is singing songs, it’s amazing. She has not, however, mastered answering questions. For example: Gretchen wants some Goldfish crackers. She goes to the counter and points to them. She will say “Goldfish” and “puhleeze” I give her the crackers but when she wants more, she refuses to say what she wants more of. “What do you want more of Gretchen?”; Answer: More, more. “More what?” Answer: Mommy? Mommy. Mommy! That’s her new favorite word. She says Mommy about 20 times an hour. Like it’s a question. Over and over again. Though she now says “What?” a lot because that’s what I say when she says Mommy.

Back to the tantrums: Gretchen has started throwing little fits when I want to change her diaper or stop her from pulling a piece of furniture on her self. Most of the time she can be distracted or consoled but sometimes accidents happen like a chipped tooth. It breaks my heart to see anything happen to my little baby so there is a little piece of me (very small) that is looking forward to when she can better articulate what she needs and wants. While it may not take away tantrums and disappointment, I would at least know what I’m saying no to.

Luckily, Gretchen is a happy child most of the time! Compared to last year, she is definitely enjoying the swimming pool. We started this season in a little round float with a basket seat for her but after a few days in that, Gretchen wanted her freedom. She doesn’t seem to show any fear of the water which is of course making me fearful. I bought her this little boat for the pool that she likes. However she likes jumping out of it too! I don’t mind holding her in the water though she spends half the time struggling to get out of my arms. The pool makes her tired and makes for a good nap afterwards…..for the entire house.

Next week is her 2nd birthday and we’re have a small party. I invited as many kids as I could think of – she likes being around other kids so it should be fun. Hopefully we don’t get rained on!

Have a great 4th of July holiday! Check out her June pictures and videos!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Chipped Tooth

The "terrible twos" rear their ugly head every now and again with our Miss Gretchen. She's a good girl but every once in a while, she does not want her diaper changed. I don't know why. I don't pretend to understand it. Anyway, this weekend she had a full SWIM diaper - I knew it right away so I was trying to pick her up to change it. She wasn't with the program and pulled away from me and hit her mouth on the patio chair. Did I mention it's metal? Sigh..... There was very little blood and it seemed like just her tooth had chipped. I still ended up crying about it since it happened under my watch. And someone should be held responsible for this completely random accident! Steve took her to the dentist yesterday and found out it's fractured in a few places. We're waiting to see if the tooth will make it. Honestly, I don't know how I'm going to survive the rest of her childhood! She's had stitches (cut chin), surgery (ear tubes), and now a chipped tooth all before the age of two! One highlight - Gretchen is pretty good for all these doctor's visits - she for the most part is calm for every trip to the doctor, acute care clinic, dentist, etc. Thank Goodness for that! Hopefully she'll make it in one piece to her 2nd birthday - we're having a party for her again this year. It should be fun!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Just keep swimming....

Gretchen still likes the pool. I couldn't resist getting her a little tankini. She gets a big kick out of Steve swimming under her. Laughs and laughs.....

Monday, June 4, 2007

May Day

So busy this month - the ear infection, the tubes, etc kept us very busy.
It's been a month since she had the tubes put in and it shows. Gretchen is talking so much more now and we can understand her better (she can understand us better!). This month she really put a lot of words together. And she is absorbing everything we say so it's starting to get tricky. Steve and I have started spelling words or saying them in Spanish so she can't understand us. If the word ice cream gets mentioned out loud, Gretchen starts chanting it on the way to the freezer. It doesn't help that I got an ice cream maker so I guess it's my fault. We finally saw the end of the flooring issues - our laminate was installed in the family room and kitchen. It looks great! Of course we want new cabinents now but maybe next year. Memorial Day was busy - the pool was opened, the grill got a work out and Gretchen of course spent as much time outside as we would let her! Here are the pictures of our little blondie from May.

Thursday, May 10, 2007


Well, Gretchen got her ear tubes yesterday... It was scary for us but after she slept off the anesthesia, she seemed good as new again! Whew!

Thursday, May 3, 2007

No more sleeping! (April 2007)

We have had a busy month! We took Gretchen to the zoo for the first time. We had some unseasonably warm weather one weekend so we took that opportunity to see the baby polar bear at Brookfield Zoo. Gretchen was pretty thrilled to see an elephant. And because she has a beanie baby goose, she really wanted to get close to the geese walking around Brookfield. Last weekend we went to Great America for a preview night. While it wasn’t Gretchen’s first time at Great America (Six Flags), it was the first visit that she could enjoy Great America (and boy did she!). We took her to the little kid’s area and she actually went on a ride by herself. Steve and I were white knuckled, ready to jump the fence to get her if needed. Of course she was fine and enjoyed every minute of the ride.

Gretchen’s favorite word these days is OUTSIDE. As in “I go outside?” We bought her a sandbox/water table that she really likes to play with outside (she has learned to say sandbox as well). She enjoys moving all the sand from the sand area to the water section of the table. She can spend an hour doing that! We also got her a little picnic table for the yard though now she would rather climb into our patio chairs. Sigh…. You see all these things in March’s

We’re still doing some home improvement. We finally got our foyer tiled and hope to have the kitchen and family room floor replaced in May. We also started a real vegetable garden in the backyard. We had been doing container gardening for the last few summers but we decided to really do some growing this year. We planted broccoli, tomatoes, cucumbers, peas, string beans, zucchini, and peppers. I can’t wait for the summer now!

Gretchen has been battling constant ear infections for the last 5 months so we saw an Ear Nose and Throat doctor. It turns out she’ll be getting tubes in her ears May 9th. We’re a little nervous but we think it’s the best thing to do considering the number of ear infections she gets and since it’s a vital age for language development. The fluid on her ears could be compromising her hearing and thus her language skills. It will be interesting to see how fast she learns words after the surgery (yes, tubes in the ears is surgery) since she’s flexing her vocabulary muscles daily. My favorite example of this happened last weekend. I told Gretchen to go see Daddy one morning to wake him up (I know, I’m mean). She went in and said “Wake up Daddy”. Then she said “No more sleeping”. Steve and I were shocked. We didn’t teach her that but she learned it from somewhere! We really have to watch what we say.

After her surgery, I’ll post here to let everyone know how it went! Until then, keep our little pumpkin in your prayers….

Monday, April 9, 2007

March Marches On

Well, we started the month with the stomach flu – Gretchen hardly suffered, Steve and I were sick as dogs. Sigh…. A few days later, Gretchen dozed off at daycare, fell off her chair and split her chin open. She got her first set of stitches. Poor thing! Gretchen’s vocabulary is multiplying daily. She remembers so many words now and uses them appropriately. Her personality is really starting to show now. Along with all the fun stuff with Gretchen, we are also starting to see some tantrums now when she cannot get want she wants or can’t verbalize properly what she wants. Luckily, a random “Hi Daddy” or funny song (she makes all kinds of little noises) makes up for all of the little tantrums.

We finished up the month with a little home improvement. We replaced the carpet that was
flooded and tiled my bathroom (Steve did all the work). Hopefully by the end of April, we’ll have new flooring in the foyer and kitchen/family room!
I did post some new pictures for March so check them out!

Friday, March 9, 2007


Well, it's official. Gretchen has gotten her first stitches. Poor thing was eating lunch at daycare and nodded off. Apparently she fell off of her chair and hit her chin on the table. Steve took her to the Acute Care Center down the street from daycare to get two stitches. The cut is a line at the base of her chin so it's not extremely noticeable. I'm glad Steve took care of it because I would have been a basket case. My sweet baby has stitches..... Sigh.... Good thing she has a high tolerance for pain! If she is anything like Steve was a child, she'll be getting stitches often in the coming years.

Monday, February 26, 2007

February Blahs

What a month February was! We started strong with the Bears going to the Super Bowl! And it was all downhill from there…. Gretchen is recovering from her third double ear infection of the year. Gretchen seems to have a high tolerance for pain since she seems in pretty good spirits most of the time. I have had to put a lot more hours in at work due to a CRM project so Steve and Gretchen have had a lot of bonding time together. I miss her terribly but she seems quite comfortable in her daddy’s arms. Daycare is going much better for Gretchen. She seems to be enjoying her time at KinderCare. However, we had two biting incidents where another child got into her personal space. While I was mortified Gretchen bit someone, there was a very, very small part of me that was happy she can defend herself. Finally we had a little sump pump failure and flood the rounded out the month with a hectic rush to dry out the basement. I can honestly say I am looking forward to March! New pictures are posted here.

Monday, February 5, 2007

Thursday, February 1, 2007

What a way to start 2007 (January)

It has been a whirlwind month for us. We started the New Year sick: I caught a cold while Steve and Gretchen suffered through the flu. Once they recovered from that, Gretchen caught my cold and it turned into a double ear infection and pinkeye. I ended up with bronchitis and a sinus infection…. Sigh.. Needless to say I didn’t a lot of pictures but I was inspired to start this web log! My goal is to at least update it monthly with pictures and maybe an anecdote here and there about the little one. I’m also playing with putting up videos through You Tube (scroll down and you can watch one from October 2006). Feel free to add posts though I think you have to give them your name and email first…. I hope everyone likes this format. We’re going to try it out for a while.

Anyway, Gretchen is a regular chatterbox though we often pine for a translator since we cannot decipher most of it. She is starting to run a little or at least “trot” especially when you need to put her coat on her! She has developed an Elmo/Sesame Street habit. She was already a fan but while she was sick I let her watch quite a bit of Elmo. Now I get a nightly request for Elmo as she points to the TV. It could be worse – she could be watching Power Puff girls!

Next month I’ll have some new pictures and a video.

Gretchen Misses Her Mama

In October I went to a conference in Arizona for three days. I was kind of sad to leave Steve and Gretchen behind. To cheer me up, Steve sent me a video of Gretchen every day. The one posted below is my favorite!

Monday, January 29, 2007

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I got this blog idea from a friend at work. I saw her weblog about a year ago and have been thinking about doing one ever since.... I'm finally getting my act together. It seems easier then my webpage from several years ago. I hope you enjoy it. Please feel free to email me with ideas if you have them....


This is a new project for me - instead of publishing a Gretchen page every month, I thought a blog might make it easier for updates. So it's under construction right now.... Anjanette