Monday, July 28, 2008

Build-a-buddy

While in Kansas City yesterday for Mike's big homecoming, we stopped at Build-A-Bear workshop for the little kids. The kids had tons of fun choosing an animal and dressing them up. It only took moments for Jackson and Sydney to choose their animals' outfits. Jackson got a cheetah and dressed him as Buzz Lightyear. Sydney, right in the midst of her princess kick, chose to dress her bear as Cinderella. We'll have to go back and get one for Kate when she's a bit older. These aren't great pictures of their new friends, but you can see how happy they are to have them. I'll have to take some individual photos of the animals later.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Elder Jorgensen Returns!

My nephew Michael returned from his mission yesterday. He's been serving in the California Sacramento mission for the past two years. It was fun to go over to Kansas City to see him get off the plane and step back into normal life. He's still our fun-loving, teddy bear Mike, but he has definitely grown up. It's so fun to see him again and hear about some of the things he did. Connie took a ton of pictures but I thought I would let her post them...but for those of you aching for a glimpse...here are a few photos from our trip to On The Border after the airport. Looks like he's ready for college football, huh?! Dixie College, here he comes!





Saturday, July 26, 2008

FOUR MONTHS

Kate turned 4 months this week. After a stint of fussiness, she's turning into a real sweetheart. She can still cry like the best of them, but her happy moments are super happy. She loves to stand up and coo and is so close to rolling over. Hopefully she'll save that for next week when we're with Jake. So here are a lot of pictures of our little cutie...especially for you, Jake. (All these pictures were taken at the same time even though there was a wardrobe change...that should demonstrate how moody she can be.)
Grandma is pulling her up to standing. She gets so excited!

Whoa...


Hi!


I'm going to get anything I want when I get older...hehehe


Waaaaa...I'm SO SAD!!!

Oh wait...there's my finger...

What is THAT???

Look...look at that on my finger...

yes...right there!





Friday, July 25, 2008

Three Great Kids

There are a lot of times...like tonight...where I get so impatient with my children. They just won't listen, they challenge me on everything, and worst of all...they laugh when I try to discipline them. So nights like tonight, I feel it is important to sit down and think about all the great things about them and remember why I love them.
First off, there's Jackson. He is getting so big and yet sometimes is more of a baby than Sydney and Kate (wait, I'm supposed to be positive). I only say this because today we tried to take him to the YMCA. The plan was for he and his cousin Braden to go play in the Kid Zone while my mom and I did water aerobics. Well, he did NOT want to be left alone and insisted on sitting on the edge of the pool for an entire hour and suck his thumb. Of course everyone was looking at him and then he whined about that saying, "MOM! I don't like everybody looking at me!" Ugh. Anyway, I really do love the kid. When he wants to be good, he's a really, really good boy. He is pretty good at sharing because he has to do it all the time. He's also become a very polite boy, especially after we do something really fun. For instance, after seeing Wall-E as we were walking out the door he said, "mom, thanks for taking us to see Wall-E...it was really fun!" It's just so nice when they say things like that without being prompted. He's a good big brother and looks out for Sydney and Kate. He always likes to be with them and always wants to be touching Kate. Sometimes that becomes a problem, but overall it's really cute. Anyway, he misses his dad like crazy right now and can't wait to build stuff with him. Every night in our prayers we ask Heavenly Father to bless daddy that he will pass the bar...well, now Jackson thinks it's funny to come up with other things daddy can do with the bar...sit on it, go in it, jump over it. He's such a jokester.
Next, we have our little Sydney. Just look at her...so sweet and innocent! HA! She has us all fooled...until you watch that little mischief maker get into anything and everything in a manner of seconds...smiling the whole time. She's so stealthy that she usually gets halfway into it before we realize what she's up to. But on the other hand, I just can't resist her sweet face. Sometimes I just feel so lucky that she loves me and wants me to hold and kiss her. She's such a sweetheart. She's really quick too. Tonight in bed she was telling me the story of Cinderella, including the stepmother and fairy godmother and the dress and the slipper and the prince. It was really cute. I don't think I realize how much she picks up on. She also has a little lisp that makes the words "yeth" and "appleshawsh" just the cutest.
And lastly, for now, our baby Kate. What a split personality! She can go from cloud nine to the depths of despair in mere moments. I live for those cloud nine moments though. She is "talking" up a storm these days...cooing and oooing and ahhhing. I can't wait till she can tell me what she's really thinking...well, not really. I'm enjoying her baby days! But it will be fun to hear her little voice one of these days. She is moving a ton now and on her way to rolling over. She rocks back and forth and has almost turned several times. She's a wiggler and a hand wringer. Stay tuned for her 4 month photos I took tonight. Nothing fancy, but I caught some of her signature moves.
So here are my three peanuts. They make me laugh...they make me cry...they make me crazy! But they make me a mom and I love them to pieces.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Have you ever...

Here is what you do: copy & paste the list & bold the things you've done!

1. Touched an iceberg
2. Slept under the stars
3. Been a part of a hockey fight
4. Changed a baby’s diaper
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Swam with wild dolphins
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a tarantula
10. Said “I love you” and meant it
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Stayed up all night long and watched the sun rise
15. Seen the Northern Lights
16. Gone to a huge sports game
17. Walked the stairs to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
19. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
20. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Bet on a winning horse
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Taken an ice cold bath
28. Had a meaningful conversation with a beggar
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Ridden a roller coaster
31. Hit a home run
32. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking
33. Adopted an accent for fun
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Felt very happy about your life, even for just a moment
36. Loved your job 90% of the time
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Watched wild whales
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Gone on a midnight walk on the beach
41. Gone sky diving
42. Visited Ireland
43. Ever bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited India
45. Bench-pressed your own weight
46. Milked a cow
47. Alphabetized your personal files
48. Ever worn a superhero costume
49. Sung karaoke
50. Lounged around in bed all day
51. Gone scuba diving
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Done something you should regret, but don’t
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Been in a movie
60. Gone without food for 3 days
61. Made cookies from scratch
62. Won first prize in a costume contest
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Been in a combat zone
65. Spoken more than one language fluently
66. Gotten into a fight while attempting to defend someone
67. Bounced a check
68. Read - and understood - your credit report
69. Recently bought and played with a favorite childhood toy
70. Found out something significant that your ancestors did
71. Called or written your Congress person
72. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
73. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
74. Helped an animal give birth
75. Been fired or laid off from a job
76. Won money
77. Broken a bone
78. Ridden a motorcycle
79. Driven any land vehicle at a speed of greater than 100 mph
80. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
81. Slept through an entire flight: takeoff, flight, and landing
82. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
83. Eaten sushi
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read The Bible cover to cover
86. Changed someone’s mind about something you care deeply about
87. Gotten someone fired for their actions
88. Gone back to school
89. Changed your name
90. Caught a fly in the air with your bare hands
91. Eaten fried green tomatoes
92. Read The Iliad
93. Taught yourself an art from scratch
94. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
95. Apologized to someone years after inflicting the hurt
96. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
97. Been elected to public office
98. Thought to yourself that you’re living your dream
99. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
100. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn’t know you
101. Had a booth at a street fair
102. Dyed your hair
103. Been a DJ
104. Rocked a baby to sleep
105. Dropped a cat from a high place to see if it really lands on all fours
106. Raked your carpet
107. Brought out the best in people
108. Brought out the worst in people
109. Worn a mood ring
110. Ridden a horse
111. Carved an animal from a piece of wood or bar of soap
112. Cooked a dish where four people asked for the recipe
113. Buried a child
114. Gone to a Broadway (or equivalent to your country) play
115. Been inside the pyramids
116. Shot a basketball into a basket
117. Danced at a disco
118. Played in a band
119. Shot a bird
120. Gone to an arboretum
121. Tutored someone
122. Ridden a train
123. Brought an old fad back into style
124. Eaten caviar
125. Let a salesman talk you into something you didn’t need
126. Ridden a giraffe or elephant
127. Published a book
128. Pieced a quilt
129. Lived in an historic place
130. Acted in a play or performed on a stage
131. Asked for a raise
132. Made a hole-in-one (if minature golf counts)
133. Gone deep sea fishing
134. Gone roller skating
135. Run a marathon
136. Learned to surf
137. Invented something
138. Flown first class
139. Spent the night in a 5-star luxury suite
140. Flown in a helicopter
141. Visited Africa
142. Sang a solo
143. Gone spelunking
144. Learned how to take a compliment
145. Written a love-story
146. Seen Michelangelo’s David
147. Had your portrait painted
148. Written a fan letter
149. Spent the night in something haunted
150. Owned a St. Bernard or Great Dane
151. Ran away
152. Learned to juggle
153. Been a boss
154. Sat on a jury
155. Lied about your weight
156. Gone on a diet
157. Found an arrowhead or a gold nugget
158. Written a poem
159. Carried your lunch in a lunchbox
160. Gotten food poisoning
161. Gone on a service, humanitarian or religious mission
162. Hiked the Grand Canyon
163. Sat on a park bench and fed the ducks
164. Gone to the opera
165. Gotten a letter from someone famous
166. Worn knickers
167. Ridden in a limousine
168. Attended the Olympics
169. Can hula or waltz
170. Read a half dozen Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys books
171. Been stuck in an elevator
172. Had a revelatory dream
173. Thought you might crash in an airplane
174. Had a song dedicated to you on the radio or at a concert
175. Saved someone’s life
176. Eaten raw whale
177. Know how to tat, smock or do needlepoint
178. Laughed till your side hurt
179. Straddled the equator
180. Taken a photograph of something other than people that is worth framing
181. Gone to a Shakespeare Festival
182. Sent a message in a bottle
183. Spent the night in a hostel
184. Been a cashier
185. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
186. Joined a union
187. Donated blood or plasma
188. Built a campfire
189. Kept a blog
190. Had hives
191. Worn custom made shoes or boots
192. Made a PowerPoint presentation
193. Taken a Hunter’s Safety Course
194. Served at a soup kitchen
195. Conquered the Rubik’s cube
196. Know CPR
197. Ridden in or owned a convertible
198. Found a long lost friend
199. Helped solve a crime
200. Responded to a NJP newsletter

Monday, July 14, 2008

"And thank you for the birthday party"

That's how Jackson's prayer went after this fun birthday party for Sydney. We got to celebrate Sydney's birthday twice this year. Last week we celebrated with Jake and Greg's family and Brad's family. We had a fun princess party. It wasn't really start out that way, but I found these great foam crowns and it just blossomed from there, and Sydney absolutely loved it! Ever since we bought her a Disney Princesses nightgown in Michigan in May, she has been in love with Princesses. The only 2 she's seen are Little Mermaid and Cinderella, but she knows the names of the others.

Jake and I went to Wal-Mart and found a bunch of Cinderella stuff...a coloring book, some fruit snacks, even cookies...and of course, a dress. That was her "big" present. It even came with a wand. It's a bit big on her, but that just means she'll be able to play in it for a long time!






Happy Birthday Sydney!!!

Our little Sydney turned 2 years old today! WOW! She is getting so big and learning so much. I'm so amazed how much more she's talking now and how she picks up on everything. She is such a mischeivious little thing though. She knows it too. She'll look right at you while she does something bad...with a smile on her face! Follow that with the typical, "hi mommy!" in her sweetest voice and it's so hard to get mad.

She's generally a quiet girl, until she decides she wants something. Her sweet demeanor is hard to resist though. She can wrap you around her finger very quickly. Her favorite things are babies (playing with them and drawing them) and her blankie. She also LOVES playing with Jackson and will follow him around wanting to do whatever he's doing. We're so lucky to have her in our family!

In the Skousen family they have a tradition of telling the story of the day each child was born on their birthday while the family sits around eating cake. SO...for posterity's sake, here's Sydney's birth day story.

We had been living in New York City while Jake was attending Brooklyn Law School. I saw an OB there but mid pregnancy we decided that a legal internship in Missouri where my parents live would be a great summer opportunity. So in May, shortly after finals, we headed to Moberly for the summer, knowing when we got on the airplane that when we returned, we'd be bringing a new baby girl home with us.

I had several ultrasounds right before Sydney was born. Because of my diabetes I had to have bi-weekly NSTs (Non Stress Tests) and BPPs (Bio Physical Profiles) to determine the size of the baby and the level of amniotic fluid. They could tell Sydney was getting big, which is typical for babies of diabetic moms. They could also tell she had a lot of hair that was about an inch long. (Wow ultrasound machines are great!) Anyway, at the last NST/BPP the day before Sydney came the ultrasound tech estimated Sydney's birth weight at about 8 lbs. 10 oz. Ha ha ha...boy did she have a surprise for us! The dr instructed us to come to the hospital on the morning of the 13th to be induced. This was 2 weeks to the day before my due date but that is standard practice for diabetics. The OB I'd been seeing for the last couple months in Missouri was not there, so an associate of hers was planning to deliver the baby. At this point I really didn't care because I wasn't with the dr. I'd seen most of the time anyway so it really didn't matter who was on the receiving end of this...as long as Jake was there with me!
They didn't give us a time to get there so we decided we'd sleep in a little bit since we knew this would be the last good night sleep we'd have for awhile. We left the house to drive to Columbia (a 30 minute drive) around 8:30 and after about 15 minutes of driving we got a call from the hospital asking if we were coming to have our baby today. I guess 9:00am wasn't "in the morning" in their eyes. Anyway, we showed up around 9 and by 10:15 I was hooked up to the pitocin drip. I was already dilated 2 cm but there was a long ways to go. The contractions started around 11. They progressively got stronger and stronger and remembering that I had to be able to sit still for the epidural I decided I didn't want to wait till they got too uncomfortable. It's always a hard decision for me to decide when to get the epidural. They always warn that it could slow down labor so in the back of my mind I always think that I want to wait till the last minute to get it so we don't have to wait any longer for baby to come. Well, around 2:30 my water broke and the contractions got super strong so I called for the epidural immediately. They got me all numb and happy and once they emptied my bladder the baby let all the way down and she was ready to come. It only took about 5 pushes or 2 contractions to get her out which is why I was so surprised when they told me how big she was...TEN POUNDS!!! (OK... 9 lbs. 15.5 oz.)







She was such a chubby little thing! I couldn't believe it! She was so beautiful though. It was a few minutes before they could let me hold her because she was having a hard time breathing. Her hematocrit levels were really high and she was laboring to just pump her blood. She also had low blood sugar which made her even more lethargic. I did get to hold her before she went to the NICU. She was so beautiful. I remember thinking she looked a little like a sumo wrestler...she had such olive skin and dark hair and eyebrows. Here cheeks were so chubby...I couldn't wait to kiss them.





Finally, the nurses took her to the NICU to get her on an IV drip of glucose to bring up her sugar and to do some more testing. Jake followed along. So there I was, all cleaned up and all alone when my mom, Marcia and Jackson arrived. The labor had gone so quickly that they missed the whole thing and were a little bewildered to see me there all alone. I explained Sydney's condition and they took turns going in to see her in the NICU. I didn't get to go see her for a couple hours till my epidural wore off and I was allowed to walk. I remember walking into the NICU and seeing all these super tiny preemie babies, as is typical in there, and then seeing our big, RED baby...all splayed out with leads on her and an IV in her belly button. She was so cute and I was dying to hold her and love her. But I would just hold her hand and kiss her cheeks. On the second day they let me come in to nurse her at feeding time. That was my only chance to hold her so I made the most of it. She didn't really nurse well but we tried every time and then I would give her a bottle.

When we went to the hospital, we were settled on choosing between 2 names...Paige Elizabeth and Savannah Lilly. Well, when our little Sumo wrestler came out, neither name seemed to fit. After spending a little more time with her, we revisited our lists and looked through a lot of names. Finally we decided Sydney Jennifer was the name for her.

The doctors did several tests to make sure she was healthy before they would let us take her home. They thought she might have a heart murmur, but they did and extended ekg and found her heart to be completely healthy. They slowly decreased her glucose drip and after 2 days her sugars were stablized and they were able to remove the IV. After that we only had to deal with her bilirubin levels, which were high. The doctors decided she needed to stay at the hospital to receive UV light treatment for jaundice. She and I stayed in the pediatric unit at Boone Hospital for 4 days while she "sunbathed" under the lamps. Jake came down every day to visit and my mom and dad brought Jackson down every day to visit. One day when they came, Jackson ran all the way down the hall from the elevator, through gereatrics to pediatrics saying, "baby, baby, baby, baby..." the whole way! He was so excited to see Sydney.

It was worrisome watching our new little girl going through all this stuff...being poked and prodded and just having to lay there under those lights and not be held and loved like a new baby should. I knew she would be ok though. Her problems were typical of a baby from a diabetic mom and her condition continued to improve. Finally, Sydney was given a clean bill of health and we were able to come back to Grandma and Grandpa's in Moberly. She was such a cute, happy little baby...well, little compared to us! :)




Sydney, we love you sweetheart! You're a wonderful daughter and a great sister to Jackson and Kate. Thank you for being such a cute, fun girl. Your strong will and quick mind are going to serve you well in your life...though I'm sure it will make telling you what to do rather difficult! I can't wait!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Two "pees" in a pod

Ok, I feel a little bad posting this pic because Jackson will be mortified at some point. Is there no privacy anymore?!? But I just couldn't resist! These 2 are inseperable! They do everything together. If only Sydney was sitting on a potty too and I was able to take advantage of this situation.

Pigtails

I have tried and tried to do Sydney's hair over the past few months. She, like me as a child, was very resistant to me doing ANYTHING to her hair. Finally yesterday, distracted by Little Bear, she let me put pigtails in her hair!

first attempt -- hair VERY untamed


Today's attempt -- much cuter! :)


Doesn't she look like Boo from Monsters Inc.?

Silly face! Having fun with Aryn.
She's getting so big! She'll be TWO on Sunday!!!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Outside

When Kate is inconsolable we usually head outside. Usually the fresh air or the motion of the glider on the deck or the rope swing will do the trick. Here, Grandpa relaxes during a particularly long session on the swing.


Jackson was a little nervous to go outside for the first week or so we were here. He is, after all, a city kid and not used to the grass and bugs and stuff. It only took his cousins' arrival to show him what fun there was to be had in the backyard. So here is a picture as proof of his new-found freedom. Now he runs around barefoot and was even spotted helping catch fireflies last night!


Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Flowers from my boys

Roses from Jake

Dandilions picked and put in water by Jackson