Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Surprise! Babies!

Steve got a call from the high school janitor today. She informed us that we had babies in the classroom which we might want to come look at. Huh???

Ok, I have to say that I told Steve I was concerned about one of the guinea pigs a couple of weeks ago because I hadn't seen them in a while and all of a sudden she had gotten really fat! Then while I was cleaning in the classroom yesterday I noticed she looked HUGE! But, we had been told that both guinea pigs were females, and Steve checked and didn't see any obvious male genitalia, so we figured she was just enjoying her food.

WRONG! Turns out, to be fair to Steve (who was worried about his reputation as an almost-vet and biology teacher for a while) that guinea pigs are HARD to sex! This is in thanks to both small and internal equipment. Enough said. Steve's reputation is intact.

Anyway, we went in today, to see 1 day old baby guinea pigs! We have 3 and they look just like their mama. They are already so big and so cute! I can't believe they're only one day old! So, needless to say, the male is now in a separate cage, we are looking for a new home for him so we don't have more babies (especially since we think he is one of the mom's from a previous brood but can't be sure as they were dropped off in Steve's class one day), and in 3 or 4 weeks will be looking for new homes for these three cute little guys! Anyone want a pet guinea pig?
In other news, we have decided that Steve's classroom is a long-lost and far-removed little bit of the South. This makes 3 inbred baby guinea pigs and 3 inbred lady gouldian finch chicks we've had pop up in the last 2 months... So if you want any inbred pets... Give us a call.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

In Loving Memory: Jan E. Ross

On May 23 my grandmother Jan Ross passed away. Although our family misses her, I remind myself that it was a blessing for her after suffering through a series of strokes and declining health over a number of years. She was a great lady.

On June 11 family and friends gathered together at the Nazarene church she was a part of in Kellogg, Idaho where she lived. This blog is mostly to share pictures with family from that day. These are some of the better ones we took.

These pictures are of the flower arrangements that people brought to remember Grandma by. They were beautiful flowers.

It was nice that the pastor who spoke at and directed the funeral knew Grandma so well. He shared some family stories about her clumsiness, like slamming her own nose in the fridge, and her love for other people. My favorite part, and the thing I will remember most about Jan was when he spoke of the mischief that always seemed present in her eyes. My grandmother was a spunky lady. I remember her telling me stories of playing basketball when she was younger (when girls could just start to play) and of de-pantsing girls during games when they made her mad...

It was a nice service and afterward the Nazrene church women were kind enough to serve a luncheon. After lunch we tried to get pictures of family as it isn't very often everyone gets together. I wish we'd gotten pictures with everyone, but unfortunately all the pictures are of direct family with all of the spouses taking pictures.

Grandma's five children.
All of the cousins who were there (minus spouses).All of the first and second cousins there.All of the cousins next to their parent.
And here are a few of the random shots I got which turned out well enough to share.

My cousin Tammy, her son Javan, and his "me doll" that he made at school.
I loved that Hayden only wanted to play on the ground in his nice suit.My second cousin Javan with his Grandpa Rick.
Then we all went to the cemetery to see where Grandma's ashes would be placed. It's a beautiful cemetery with a very pretty view.
This is where Grandma's ashes will be. She is the first in this particular structure, but will have a name plaque on the top right hand corner place.
And lastly, a few more random shots of family.

Dad, Kerry, and Jen.The two little boys wanted to run and play, and Steve is always willing to oblige and distract kids. Here he is playing with Javan (Hayden didn't want to be picked up).Hayden reconsidering his position on playing with Steve after watching for a while. He eventually was asking to be picked up and chased along with Javan.Steve and his boys.
All in all, it was a sad reason to come together as family, but a nice day to spend with loved ones. Grandma Jan was a great lady who will be missed, but we are glad that she is no longer in pain. Steve and I are so grateful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ to help us understand trials as they come and bring us peace and comfort when we miss the ones we love.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Baby Pictures - of a BIG girl!

So, our ultrasound back in March did not go as the doctor had hoped... Our little girl was very uncooperative and they couldn't get the measurements of most of her anatomy to make sure everything was on track. So they scheduled us for another ultrasound for today. Although we weren't thrilled with paying for more ultrasounds, we were excited to see our little girl again.

It turns out that it's a good thing we had the ultrasound. The tech started asking questions about history of gestational diabetes and what size Steve and I were when we were born... Didn't we JUST go over all that a couple of weeks ago??? Anyway, the doctor thinks that our baby might have macrosomia, which is a scary name for being a big baby. Basically, our little girl should be just beneath or around 3 pounds according to the average baby weight for 30 weeks. Instead, she is 4 lbs. This means that since March, she has gone from the 45th percentile for size to the 88th percentile today. They said her head and abdomen are large for where she's at, and she also has very long legs. For me, this explains all the kicking... And why it hurts when she tries to cram her entire body into one small part of my stomach. The doctor said that it's too early to tell if she's going to be a really big baby or not, and as a result we have another ultrasound in 5 weeks to figure out if we're going to be able to have a traditional delivery or not.

The ultrasound tech said to blame Steve. He apparently was 22 inches at birth and a whopping 9 lbs 6 oz. I on the other hand was right around 7 lbs and a very average sized baby. Those Bennett genes are not being nice to me.... The specialist who talked to us briefly after the ultrasound told me that I should have asked Steve about his birthweight and size before marrying him... Advice he told me I should pass on to all my friends. So now that wisdom has been dispensed.

On the other side of this coin is the fact that our baby girl is very healthy! She is growing well even though I haven't hardly gained any weight in about a month, and the doctors got pictures of everything they wanted this time. And everything looked great! The ultrasound tech called the views she was getting beautiful which I found entertaining and said that everything was so perfect she had nothing to check up on at all anymore.

We still didn't get very many great pictures... The one time our little girl was looking at the machine the specialist came in so we didn't get any pictures. Later on she was so squirmy and active that not only did they have to work to get their measurements (and the tech got punched and kicked a number of times to be true to our little girl's previous character) but we also didn't get great pictures. These are the only 3 they sent us home with.

This one is kind of hard to tell, but she was looking towards the machine. As she moved we got a brief glance at a chin, cheeks, eyes, and nose. You all are not so fortunate in this picture...
Next is our standard picture for her when they do 3D... Covering her face. Just before they went to 3D we did get to see her "practice breathing" as she swallowed fluid, and putting a hand in her mouth. Very cute!
This last one is probably the best of the pictures we got today. Her profile. The first time we (or the doctors) have been able to see it! You can also make out hands, which just fascinate me.
Beyond that, we're doing well. She gets more and more active and likes to push on my stomach with whatever part of her body is convenient at the time. As a result, my stomach is constantly deformed and moving. Gotta love it.

We have another appointment Tuesday to talk to our doctor about the ultrasound today as we only got to talk to the specialist this morning.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Oh Spring... Through our Kitchen Window

So, a couple of random tidbits we're learning about spring at our new place, and all from our kitchen window...

First of all, we thought when we first moved in that outside our kitchen window was going to be a lovely garden of multiple varieties of tulips. However, months later, the stems kept growing and growing with a single bud on them - but never blossoming! Last month, this is what they looked like.
But now, this is what they look like.
I LOVE these flowers! No idea what they are, but they are so pretty!

We also learned that we get to watch a great variety of birds from our window. This varies from the sparrows and starlings Steve tries to shoot at from the back door to our lovely quail, local hummingbirds, and a variety of finches.

Our newest addition is actually a pair of swallows which have just built a nest above the lights in the carport. I couldn't believe how quickly they built their nest as it's only been a couple of days!

We also learned that apparently it only takes a couple of days for: yellow jackets to start nests in car doors, or wasps to build a paper nest the size of your fist right above your back door. We use a lot of wasp and yellow jacket spray around here....

But, of course, the best part of spring is always the babies! We've recently found nests kicked out of local trees, some with eggs in them still, and constantly get yelled at by the blackbirds and starlings around the yard for daring to intrude where they live.

Today brought on a whole new experience for me though - house arrest. I was headed out for a church meeting when I suddenly saw a moving sea of black and white through our kitchen window. Meet mama and her SIX babies!
So after watching them for a while as our kitchen window - and therefore the skunks - is located between our front and back doors (and I didn't feel like a tomato juice bath today), I got to see where their den is. So I know these are blurry... They were exploring all over the place! But, their den happens to be right behind one of our berry planters, which happen to be next to our front door. Awesome!
Random tangent: our first strawberry of the year!
We often smell skunk at night, but we didn't realize that the smell was coming from a den right under our house! Needless to say, we need to call the landlord tomorrow. Funny that when we first moved in their was a live trap in that spot and we wondered what it was for... Now it's gone, and we suddenly have neighbors living below us.

This will show the city girl in me, but I feel kind of bad they're in such a bad spot and we have to try and get rid of them. The babies are so cute!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

29 Weeks

So, an update... Three weeks ago I had a doctor's appointment and they told me that I was gaining weight too fast and that I may be at risk for gestational diabetes. A week ago I went and had the test done. Today, I found out that I am DIABETES FREE! Such a huge relief! I am still on a bit of a restricted diet to try and slow the weight gain, which has worked really well! In fact, I was 2 pounds lighter today than I was 3 weeks ago which is good considering I suddenly and inexplicably had started putting weight on really fast and we had no idea why. Steve and I are only eating whole grain and wheat breads, trying to avoid carbs and snacks, and I try to make sure I get lots of fruits, veggies, and dairy as my snacks between meals so that I get nutrition without many calories. So far, so good.

We also are now at 29 weeks! The doctor today said that her heart rate, growth, and even positioning were all really good and that things are going great. No major complaints, just the typical pregnancy symptoms that everyone deals with, and none of those are even very serious. Steve and I have been so blessed so far throughout this pregnancy and hope things will continue to go well! I can't believe we only have 11 weeks left! That number just seems so small to me now... Just two and a half months and we'll get to see our little girl. Well, actually, we get to see her on the 17th at our next ultrasound. We'll be sure to share pictures!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Memorial Day Weekend - Little Diamond

Dad and Kerry always go camping for Memorial Day weekend. Steve and I were really looking forward to getting some quality camping in this summer - having not camped since September of 07... But that's not exactly in the cards right now. So, we asked if we could come along for the trip as it would be one of my last opportunities to go and they have a tent trailer so I could sleep a little better than if we went in our tent. They always go to a campsite called Little Diamond over in Pend Oreille County in Northeastern Washington. It's a beautiful area!

Steve and I went up Friday night and walked around the area and played pool and ping pong at the lodge. Saturday, when Dad and Kerry came up - it poured all stinkin day. Which actually ended up being a lot of fun as we played cribbage, yahtzee, and Steve taught us some old band trip card games and we told embarrassing stories about each other and chatted the day away. We even had ice cream at the lodge that afternoon.

This silly killdeer made her nest in the parking area outside the lodge. Guests were worried about her so they marked her off with a cone and some rocks so nobody would park on her...
This killdeer stayed at the water 24/7 and was taking a good bath here. Earlier in the weekend he tried to lure us away with the broken wing act they do.
Sunday was a much nicer day. Steve and I went canoeing around the pond there and saw a ton of wildlife which was awesome! We went fishing that afternoon, and even though people had been catching fish like crazy that morning, the only person who seemed to catch anything while we were there was an 8 year old boy who drove the rest of us crazy. Steve did hook one and get it within about 5 feet of the dock, but then lost it. We gave up soon after - it had been 3.5 hours already... We did watch a merganser come into the netted/stocked part of the pond, catch a fish, and leave... He seemed to do pretty well. On our way back to camp we even came across a beautiful woodpecker that Steve spotted! It sat there and flew tree to tree right around us and even played peek-a-boo around one tree with Kerry for a few minutes. That night we had what Steve calls a "white man fire" to use up all the firewood we had brought but been unable to use because of the rain. Roasted chili dogs and marshmallows... doesn't get much better.

Some of the wildlife we saw. Little Diamond always has a TON of geese, and the best part of that is getting to see all the silly little goslings. They were so funny flapping their useless wings to try and keep up with Mama.
There are always tons of little black squirrels (no pictures) and these ground squirrels everywhere around the camp.
So Steve and I still have no idea what kind of birds these were, but they were neat, so enjoy.
Steve and I thought we were sneaking up on this turtle in the canoe. Turns out it's not very hard to sneak up on a dead turtle...
These little guys were CRUISING around the lake... Took some work to keep up with them to even try to get a picture.
Little Diamond has 3 or 4 of these beaver hutches on little marshy islands out in the lake. I've still never seen a beaver here, but like fairies and Santa Claus - I believe.
Turns out this guy is a pileated woodpecker. We was so neat! And, while we were watching, a hummingbird (presumably attracted to the red) came and buzzed him and was watching him for a while before deciding he wasn't a flower and flying off.
It's hard to tell, even if you click on the picture, but this bald eagle has a fish in its talons. We watched him take it, and then got some good pictures of him later on our canoe adventure. So cool!Not long after taking these pictures we saw the osprey that nest around the lake annually get mad at the eagles being around (there was also a juvenile but we couldn't get a picture). As a result, we saw a 5 osprey on 2 eagle dogfight up over the trees and even an osprey do a full on stoop! Steve was beyond excited and it was really neat to see!

Monday - it rained all day again. So we packed up in the rain and headed home. We had a great last hoorah for our time camping without a little one though. The family time was great, and we are so grateful that Dad and Kerry let us come along!