26 years and 27 weeks

Yesterday was my 26th birthday -- thanks to all of you who sent all the birthday wishes! I had a great day. JP worked from home most of the day, so we got to spend a lot of time together as a family. My sister stopped by with flowers, a card and strawberry concrete mixers from Culvers (my favorite!), and Margie and Ava dropped off some balloons, some toys for Rae, and some YUMMY desserts!!!!! So it was a fattening day. :) I'll just blame it on the baby.
Speaking of the baby, I also had another check-up yesterday. Everything continues to go well. I am 27 weeks along now, and everybody commented on how I had "really popped" this month. :) Yes, it's true -- I am looking (and feeling) more and more pregnant every day. But I will not complain -- my sister-in-law, Lisa, is now 35 weeks along with the twins. Starting Monday she will be considered full-term and they will take her off of bed rest and her meds. At that point it could be babies at any time, but if they're not here by the 3rd, they're going to induce. So stay tuned!!!!!!
We also got the good news yesterday that Israel is clear to hang out with other kids again! My sister-in-law's pediatrician said we just need to make sure she's not sharing cups or sucking on toys that other kids are using. We'll be so happy to get back to playing with our friends again! I think Rae was starting to get a little bored of me.
Here are some pictures of what we've been up to in the meantime.

The Zoo

The Beach

Discovering The Hose


Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease

On Sunday, Israel was diagnosed with the coxsakie virus, also known as hand, foot and mouth disease. It's a fairly common child virus that causes children to break out in a rash/sores on their hands, feet, and mouth. Thankfully, Rae does not have the rash in her mouth, but she does have blistery-looking things on her feet and thumbs. They don't seem to bother her much. She is contagious, though, so we are keeping ourselves confined for the time being.
Because of this, we had to miss all of our planned Fathers Day activities. I hope all of the dads in our life know how much we love them and wish we could have been with them on that day.
JP still had a special Fathers Day, though, playing with his daughter in the backyard. I'm so thankful that he's the daddy of my babies -- we love you, daddy!


Family Camping Trip, Spring 2008

Sorry it has taken me until now to find time to post some pictures and stories from our camping trip. The trip as a whole was good, yet challenging! I've camped pregnant. I've camped with a baby.  I've camped in the rain. I've camped with mosquitoes. But never in my life have I camped pregnant, with a baby, in the rain, surrounded by swarms of mosquitoes! 
We arrived on Thursday evening in the rain. My parents and my sister and her husband and kids were already there with their tents set up in the parking lot because of the wind and rain. JP and Pete set up our tent, which got drenched in the process, and the rain continued to come down harder and harder. Finally we decided to get in the cars and drive to Brainerd for dinner, since we couldn't really unload our food and cook in those conditions. 
By the time our food arrived, we were in the middle of a full-blown thunderstorm with lightning, tornado watches and all. JP made the executive decision that we would spend our first night camping at the AmericInn Hotel. It was a good thing he did, too, because when we got back to the campsite to pick up the terrified dogs (they were in the tent the whole time), part of our tent had given out under the wind. So instead of braving those conditions like the rest of my family did, we slept in a two-room suite with cable and a sleep number bed. :) 
Friday was still a little drizzly and cool through the afternoon, but we were still able to enjoy time outside. And thank you Jesus, Saturday and Sunday were BEAUTIFUL and warm and sunny! 
On Saturday, JP, Rae and I hopped in the car and went searching for the house that JP's grandparents used to live in on Round Lake in Brainerd. JP and his family used to go visit there all the time until they moved when he was about 12 years old. We did end up finding it, which was very special to JP. We also drove into the small, quaint town of Nisswa where they used to visit when he was a kid. We looked through some of the old shops and got ice cream at the candy store -- it was a lot of fun. 
I mentioned the mosquitoes: our site was very nice, large and spread out, but it was right between the Mississippi River and a swamp. So the bugs were horrendous. Thankfully, both dad & JP brought their bug foggers! My poor nephew Elijah had bug bites ALL over his face, legs, back and even on his bottom! Somehow Israel made it out with only one bug bite the whole time -- I have NO idea how. 
The other funny part about our campsite was that it was right across the river from Fort Ripley. From 8 am to sundown we could hear gun fire and tank blasts of all sorts. We found shells to some sort of small missile on the river bank and heard tanks or trucks of some sort so close we thought they'd plow through the trees and onto our campsite. 
In all, the trip was a lot of fun. The kids had SO much fun playing with each other and being outside 24/7. Israel did GREAT sleeping in the tent, too. The only complaint I could offer about the trip was that it was hard to get out and "do" anything. With 5 kids under the age of 3, it was nearly impossible to find a time when all of them were awake, fed, and happy enough to go for a hike or anything. Then by the end of the day, we parents were all so tired that instead of staying up late by the campfire (my favorite part about camping), we all went to bed early knowing we'd be up with the kids again first thing in the morning. Camping with kids is very different from what camping used to be -- in both wonderful and somewhat disappointing ways. 
Here are a few of my favorite pictures from the weekend: