Sunday, December 28, 2008

Going out with a BANG....

Well, 2008 is definitely going out with a bang in our household...compliments of Collin's Christmas gifts this year!

We have decided to not really push the "Santa" angle with him, instead focusing on Christmas as Jesus' birthday. We try to explain that the gifts we exchange with family and friends are really birthday presents and that since Jesus was so special everyone gets and gives gifts on His birthday. Since he obviously sees Santa everywhere during the Christmas season, we have just explained that sometimes Santa helps with this, since there are so many presents being given.

When it came to gifts this year, suggestions were pretty easy. It has been obvious for quite some time that our little guy is a music lover, so this year we directed many of our family and friends toward that theme when it came time for gift exchanges. As a result, we are now pretty equipped to start our own band... (drums, guitar and keyboard, right)

Ironically, neither of his parents have any talent or special interest when it comes to music, aside from my short stint in choir at St. Thomas and some voice lessons for easy class credits that I am not sure should count...perhaps it has skipped some generations and all the extra has landed with Collin?

He is now the proud owner of a children's Gibson guitar (compliments of Grandma Nola), and a keyboard (compliments of the Butcher family). These two items will happily replace the Wiggles guitar and the infant piano we have been using for way too many months. You see, not only does Collin love music, he loves to direct us as his own personal band....assigning each of us what instrument we are to play and then alternating the assignments after each "song," just to mix it up I guess...this has been going on for as long as he could stand and point at us at the same time...

"Rocking out" in his PJ's for Cousin Grace and Cousin Kalie. A Rocker's work is never done...

Doug and I decided to purchase the drum set...we thought this was likely to be the most annoying gift, so we ought not to leave any room for blame once it started to drive us crazy. It was a very inexpensive gift (thanks, KMart) but Collin loves it.
Actually, we are not finding the drums to be too bad either. The cymbal, however, is a different story....This is still a better set-up than the large blue plastic ball that kept rolling away and the recycled chopsticks from LeeAnn Chins that we had been using for drums and drum we are still not complaining! Yet....

Collin playing drums at 6:10am on Christmas morning.

Despite his love of music, he is still a toddler, so even that does not hold his attention span forever. Collin also got a plastic bowling set from us and a very nice and extensive farm equipment, animal and barn set from his Grandpa Don and Grandma Lynn. He is now totally set with Play-Doh and will be practicing "catch" with his new indoor friendly ball and mitt, thanks to the John Rosenau family, in addition to clothes and other odds and ends from various family and friends. All of this has occupied his time nicely over the last few days! I am sure we will be able to "spotlight" all the presents in this blog as he uses them...he really loves them all!

Perhaps some of my favorite gifts are the 2 books given to Collin by the Westphal side of the family. My Uncle Stanley and his family have started a tradition of giving Collin 2 books at Christmas that used to belong to my Grandma Rose. I have memories of reading these books with her myself as a child, and I think that some of them were also read by her to my father.
At the Westphal house. Collin fell in love with the skiing snowman decoration. It moved and played could he have resisted!

Thank you to everyone for your thoughtful gifts. More importantly, thank you for sharing your time with us over the Christmas holiday!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Wishes

As the last few weeks have brought more than their fair share of stress, we wanted to be sure that we greeted Christmas Eve & Christmas Day with some cheer!

Our family Christmas festivities started today, beginning with lunch at Grandma Jan's. We followed that up with our own family gift opening earlier this evening, a Christmas Eve tradition (photo, right: more to come in future posts). Tomorrow we head "back home" to spend the afternoon with the Westphal's and the evening with Grandpa Don and Lynn. We will spend the night at Grandma Nola's house and celebrate the following day with all of the Rosenau Aunts, Uncles and Cousins.

We wish all of you a very safe and Merry Christmas as you celebrate with family and friends!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Sick Day(s)

On Monday, Collin seemed to be coming down with a cold. A very slight cough and not quite as "toddler" as he usually is. On Tuesday morning he slept until 7:45 a.m....clearly he was off his game, as he is usually ready to go at 6am sharp.

He was cranky, but seemed fine with the exception of the cough. His temperature was below 100 degrees and he wanted to play, so off to daycare he went...after a late start and some additional hang out time at home to assess him.

When I got home on Tuesday night around 6:30 (damn the snow!) he had clearly taken a turn for the worse. Always a trooper, he was still in good spirits and had played with Doug since arriving home at 4p...but his breathing was labored and he was wheezing slightly. We started up the car again and off to Coon Rapids Urgent Care we went. I am so grateful they are open until 9pm!

This is his second episode since August, after a similar occurrence that seemed to be sparked randomly after a trip to the Renaissance Festival. While at the Emergency Room I kept joking (well..sorta joking...) that I was hoping he was allergic to the elephants we would be so easy to keep him away from elephants the rest of his life as opposed to other allergens or asthma, etc....

At Urgent Care, Collin was given a nebulizer treatment. Anyway, after this treatment we were given a 5 day course or oral steroids...exactly the same treatment as in August. This time we also opted to buy the nebulizer and bring it home in case this continued. We were told that the wheezing was likely a reaction to the cold virus we had noticed brewing since Monday and that his lungs were reactive to it in this way.

Collin and I hung out and enjoyed a "sick day" on Wednesday which was some rest and some play. (Picture right). We used the kid friendly penguin theme nebulizer throughout the day every 4-6 hours if his breathing did not sound clear. We scheduled a follow-up with his regular pediatrician for Thursday morning.

No problems were noted overnight, but there was still some congestion in the morning and I was very happy to be leaving for the doctor soon. Still in good spirits, we were off to the awesome Dr. Barth, Collin's pediatrician since birth, at the Allina Clinic near our home.

Dr. Barth decided to diagnose Collin with asthma since this is his second episode of wheezing. He defined Collin's asthma as Collin's lungs being more receptive to bouts of wheezing, and that future colds etc. may result in the same thing all season long. We've been directed to use preventative nebulizer treatments (a different liquid medication is put into the machine than when it is being used for an active episode) for him twice daily, until further notice. That will for sure be all of cold and flu season, and I am not sure if it will be year round yet or not. We have another follow-up in a few weeks for more asthma education and to see how things are going once we have been doing the preventative treatments for a while.

I know this is minor and, for more and more families, it is also increasingly common. Still, I am sad and angry. More to manage each morning and at bedtime. More to expect Collin to put up with, as he has to sit still while using the nebulizer. We have no risk factors in the home or closely related family history...just "lucky" I guess.

On the other hand, I continue to remind myself that we are lucky. There are people out there struggling with much worse, so I am trying not to be too disheartened. It has not affected his mood or stamina, and he still remains ready to play at all times...he does not get winded when he is active either, which would indicate exercise induced asthma. He also does not mind the nebulizer, which has a penguin theme for kids. He has taken to kissing it goodbye when we put it in its "house" (an igloo like thing) until the next treatment. The likelihood that Collin will outgrow this sensitivity is also good and it is not seen as a precursor to worse things to come. In general asthma is very treatable and "user friendly" as far as illnesses go....I keep telling myself these things. However, if anyone else has any positive ways to frame this diagnosis, I would love to hear them. The more the merrier...

Still, no one ever, ever wants to see any child sick. At all.

So, please keep us in your thoughts and prayers as we work this new routine into our life and learn more. Please also do the same for all kids out there struggling with any degree of illness.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Merry Christmas Tree

We took the plunge this year and put up our Christmas tree. For years when we were first married, I insisted on having a "real" live tree. Doug pleaded for a "fake" one. I don't recall his argument at the be honest I don't know how much I listened....

After a few years, I eventually gave in (mostly to end the pleading, not so much because I was convinced) and we purchased a tall beautiful tree for our home. In the back of my mind, I was thinking that whenever we had children a "fake" tree may be more convenient anyway for the first few years. No pine needle sap or sharp needles in the carpet if we get lazy with watering or wait too long to take it down, etc. As a married couple we put it up every year and part of our Christmas gift to each other was a new ornament. We slowly added little elements to add to the elegant white and gold tree that we displayed each year. In 2006, (left) the year Collin was born, we also "decked the halls" with all of our ornaments.

Last year Collin was in a very exploratory mode at Christmas time. The big tree, which was the subject of all this debate for years, was never put up. We have a variety of other decorations and we scattered those throughout the house, and used a small fiber optic Christmas tree as our family tree for the year (Christmas Eve 2007, right)...very easy to keep on the entertainment center or move when needed.

This year, Collin, Doug and I were all excited to get back into the Holidays and put up the tree, as we listened to Christmas music (see video) and ate cookies.

We did skip a few of the more "tempting" decorations, such as the ribbon and icicles we typically wind around the tree. Still, even without these elements present, Collin finds it "beautiful". It is topped by an angel that my Grandma Rose used (right). My guess from the style is that it was purchased in the 1920's. I remember putting that angel on a tree with her each year growing up and am so happy to have that remembrance on my own family tree now.

Each morning when we come upstairs the first thing I have to do is plug the lights in on the tree. And, as I do I so, I sense myself giving in again, and we will have a "real" tree next year.

Christmas Tree, 2008

"Baby New Year" wearing Christmas stockings? Hmmm....

Monday, December 15, 2008

Danika's Baptism

On Sunday, December 7 we were invited to celebrate the Baptism of our niece,
Danika Rosenau.
Danika was an angel during the Baptism. Collin also enjoyed the event, especially the modern music played for the service. He had a little dance party and clearly enjoyed himself.
The service was followed by a lunch and gift opening in the lower level of the church.
All in all a beautiful event.
Congratulations, Danika!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Just something funny...

So, this is not really a post about the family. It is just a funny joke that was sent to me by a co-worker. For some reason it really made me laugh more than anything else lately, perhaps because I parent a toddler who at times can seem much like the parrot???...Anyway, I thought I would share it and hopefully brighten someone else's day as well:

A young man named John received a parrot as a gift. The parrot had a bad attitude and an even worse vocabulary. Every word out of the bird's mouth was rude, obnoxious and laced with profanity. John tried and tried to change the bird's attitude by consistently saying only polite words, playing soft music and anything else he could think of to "clean up" the bird's vocabulary.
Finally, John was fed up and he yelled at the parrot. The parrot yelled back. John shook the parrot and the parrot got angrier and even ruder. John, in desperation, threw up his hand, grabbed the bird and put him in the freezer. For a few minutes the parrot squawked and kicked and screamed. Then suddenly there was total quiet. Not a peep was heard for over a minute.
Fearing that he'd hurt the parrot, John quickly open the door to the freezer, the parrot calmly stepped out onto John's outstretched arms and said, "I believe I may have offended you with my rude language and actions. I'm sincerely remorseful for my inappropriate transgressions and I fully intend to do everything I can to correct my rude and unforgivable behavior."
John was stunned at the change in the bird's attitude. As he was about to ask the parrot what had made such a dramatic change in his behavior, the bird continued, "May I ask what the turkey did?"

Monday, December 1, 2008

Welcome to Winter

So, I really dislike winter...mostly the snow, actually. Not as much as our friend Molly, but I am still not a fan. However, so as not to taint Collin's childhood memories, I am going to give it an honest try this year and "celebrate" this winter season.

In the past Collin has not been deterred by the wind, the snow, or the biting cold. He is still as ready to play and be happy as on the nicest 80 degree day (as you can see by the photo at the right...we had to practically wrestle him to get him to hold even this still for a picture, he was so excited about the snow last year), I suppose if he can tough it out, so can I. Of course, he never has to drive in it...

Oh well...Welcome to winter!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

This year our family took the week of Thanksgiving "off" from our usual work and daycare schedules, so the only responsibilities we had for the week were to take part in the fun festivities of the season...something to really be thankful for!

In addition to the Thanksgiving feast we celebrated at Collin's daycare (right), we celebrated at our home with Grandma Jan the weekend before Thanksgiving. On Thanksgiving day, we celebrated with the Grandma Nola and the many Rosenau Aunts, Uncles and Cousins.

In between Thanksgiving meals, we enjoyed the few days (maybe more like hours?) of mild weather and played outside, still taking advantage of the chill in the air and warming up with some hot cider (left) once we came back inside.

We hope that you all enjoyed your Thanksgiving holiday as well and found something to be thankful for.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Father of the Year?

Ok folks, I think we have a contender here....
  • So I failed to mention that the long 3 day weekend we had together at the beginning of the month was the opener of deer hunting season. Doug traditionally goes hunting with his Dad each opener, no matter the weather, no matter...well...anything. He had this vacation planned again this year, then was told about the mandatory training. This year he voluntarily decided to stay home since he had been in Texas all week. I had not even mentioned it!

  • Yesterday was a Thanksgiving lunch at the daycare for all the parents and kids to join the staff for a meal and celebration. I took Collin home after the lunch, but all he wanted was DADDY!..Not in a normal "want what is not in front of me" way, but in a sobbing, "oh my God, where is Daddy!" way. Doug was scheduled to go to an event at Concordia St. Paul that evening to learn more about the grad school program he will be starting this spring. He found out that Collin wanted him and opted out of the event...even coming home early from work!

  • I think it was a residual effect from the afternoon "crisis", but Collin was a very restless sleeper last night. I think he was testing us to be sure we were both here and adequately at his disposal. Doug got up each and every time (and I mean there were a lot of times last night...), giving Mommy some sleep and Collin the Daddy time he craved.

  • (STOP reading if you are not good with bodily functions) Today Collin is clearly coming down with a bug of some sort. Mostly labored breathing and some coughing, a slight fever...nothing major, but still it breaks my heart. At dinner the coughing turned into "regurgitation"...which has always been Daddy's weak point...He sees it or hears it and I have 2 sick boys to deal with. Through the last 2 years he has slowly adapted, as all good Daddy's do, and tonight did a very "mom" thing...and spared the carpet some major cleaning with some very quick moves. He also took charge of the bath that automatically follows that type of thing...

So, definitely in the running for Father of the least in my book!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Hanging Out

The last two of weekends have been pretty calm for our family...yet another thing to be thankful for as Thanksgiving approaches and the rush of the holiday season begins.

First, we took a long 3-day weekend together to reconnect after Doug's trip to Texas. We spent some time at the library as well as a lot of playtime at home. Oh, and how can I forget my favorite...some well deserved afternoon naps all three days!
Collin got his own library card this summer
and has made good use of it since then
This past weekend we were given the honor of watching JJ Hammill for his first overnight without mom and dad! He and Collin had a great time playing together, and JJ even took it easy on us and mostly slept through the night. Both of the boys must have been pretty worn out because Collin slept until 7:30am (unheard of!) and JJ woke up shortly after at 7:45am.

Collin & JJ at the craft table.
Looks like Collin did not appreciate this paparazzi shot!

Thank you James and Angela for letting us spend time with your little man!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Some Prayers, please.

You may have noticed the addition of a new Family/Friend blog link on our site to the left, the Callison Chronicle. I worked with Corey and Tina at Bar None several years ago. Since then they have moved on to other careers, gotten married and have been blessed with 2 beautiful daughters, Ashlyn and Lynnea. They are close friends with the Hammill family who have kept us informed from time to time on how things are going with the Callisons, and we have seen each other at baby showers etc. from time to time as well.

Lynnea is the newest addition to the family, just born this Halloween. Unfortunately little Lynnea and her family are in need of prayers and support as she has heart issues that were recently discovered and will require a series of 3 surgeries...with one possibly as early as tomorrow.

Please keep them in your prayers.

Baptism Anniversary

Flashback to November 12, 2006

Two years ago today, Collin was Baptized at the Church of St. Stephen in Anoka, MN. Today we wanted to say a very big thank you to his Godparents, Katie & Darin Bartsch and Jennifer & Trevore Butcher, for the important role you play in the life of our little man.

For those of you who also joined us to celebrate Collin's official entry into the Church, we also say thank you for making it such a special day!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

We love you, Daddy!

Doug is in Texas for a required training session. He has been gone since Monday and will be back on Thursday of this week. Collin has held up pretty well, asking where Daddy is and accepting/comprehending the answer that he is working and will be home best he can for his age.
But, at home things are still not the same and Daddy is very, very missed by both of us.
A little boy needs Daddy
For many, many things:
Like holding him high off the ground
Where the sunlight sings!

Like being the deep music
That tells him all is right
When he awakens frantic with
The terrors of the night.

Like being the great mountain
That rises in his heart
And shows him how he might get home
When all else falls apart.

Like giving him the love
That is his sea and air,
So diving deep or soaring high
He'll always find him there.
--Nicholas Gordon

A politician?

Ok, so Collin did not actually vote today...but he thought that my "I voted" sticker was very cool. Here he is working on a puzzle and showing off the sticker. I'm sure he is trying to take his mind off the stress of the election.

I have to say that few candidates really inspired our family this year, but some of them caused me enough distress to go and vote so that hopefully they will not be voted into office...all we can do now is hope and pray that the outcome is good for America.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Argh! Happy Halloween!


We experienced our first full fledged family Halloween tonight! At the time of Collin's first Halloween he was about one month old and Doug was in North Dakota for work that whole week, incidentally leaving me as the single parent of a newborn. Collin's costume was "baby in diaper" (photo at the right) with pumpkin socks compliments of Trish Cooley, I believe. I was so tired that I did not even give out candy.
Last year we stepped it up a notch and gave out candy at home. Collin also had a Dalmatian costume (left) that he wore for his party at daycare. But, again, as a family we did not venture out.

So, this year we took the plunge. The Saturday before Halloween we went to a celebration in Maple Grove with the Bartsch and Not-Cooley families where Collin got to wear his pirate costume for the first time ever. He was shy at first (especially for a pirate!) but definitely found his groove toward the end.

Riley "Not Cooley" as an elephant and Zack Bartsch as a dragon (though he preferred dinosaur) and Collin, all enjoying the balloons! Kiley, Zack's infant sister was a I guess he was inspired!

Today, actual Halloween, Collin again got to be "Captain Collin" the pirate and wore his costume to daycare and later tonight as we trick-or-treated. For as fidgety as kids his age can be, I am impressed that he typically wears the hat, sash and eye patch without trying to take them, those same items may fall off because of his activity level...but still, I'm impressed!
Collin had a hard time understanding that we could not go into the houses at first. He wanted to see people's pets and tried more than once to walk right in. After a while he got the hang of it. Full of sugar, we went to his daycare center (Elim Christian Learning Center) in Anoka where they had a "pitstop" type of Halloween party, complete with hotdogs, cider, hot chocolate, games, etc. etc. We spent some time there, then as the sugar wore off we headed home.

Collin really enjoyed the dancing and singing turkey that was part of a large outdoor display.

And he also enjoyed "just hanging out". Pirating is hard work!
All in all a "Happy Halloween"!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Time with "Toby"

I am normally not the kind of person who wins "stuff". I don't play the lottery, and I am normally not a winner at drawings or raffles if I decide to give it a try. So imagine my surprise when after entering a radio contest on K102 that I won the opportunity to meet Toby Keith!
On October 28, Toby's newest CD "That Don't Make Me A Bad Guy" was released. As part of a promotional tour he was doing an in person radio interview at the K102 radio station in Minneapolis. I signed up on the internet one day on a whim. A few days later I recieved a call that I had been chosen to be present for this interview and meet Toby Keith.
So, Doug and I arranged to take some time off from work. Collin was able to spend the afternoon and evening with his friend Bryce (THANK YOU to the Neumann family for babysitting!) and Doug and I had a "date" with each other...and Toby.

The setting at the "Roadhouse" where they did the interview was intimate. I would say there were less than 40 people present. We got to take part in the interview and meet/get our photo taken with Toby during commercial breaks. He shook our hand... and called me "sweetheart". Gotta love that southern charm! He really is as down to earth, irreverant, funny and handsome as one would expect...but I'll stop gushing now!

After the radio show, Doug and I completed our date with dinner the Texas Roadhouse in Coon Rapids. Where better to end the "country themed" evening?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Apple Orchard Fun

The day after Mike & Cagney's wedding, we took advantage of being "back home" and went to a local apple orchard with our friends the Hammill family, who were gracious enough to have accompanied us for the weekend as babysitters for the late part of the wedding dance.
The orchard was an ideal setting for a few good fall pictures of Collin, as well as a great backdrop for Collin and his friend JJ to play farmer and "ride" some tractors, compliments of the engine power of Uncle James!

Collin said he had fun at the orchard, and I think I believe him. He has eaten at least one apple almost everyday since we picked them...On the days when he has not eaten an apple, he has taken to asking for one anyway and just carrying it around....hmmm....

Congratulations Mike and Cagney

On Saturday, October 18 we celebrated the wedding of Doug's youngest brother Mike and Cagney, a truly beautiful bride! The wedding
and reception were held in Norwood/Young America, MN and fun was had by all! Pictured to the right are Kalie, Sybil, Dylan, Collin, Grace and Riley.

I did not have my camera for much of the night, choosing instead to live it up myself, so you will just have to take my word for it!

A connoisseur of fine milk....