Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Life Happens

Wow, does life ever happen.

I haven't been on here since July. I have thought about posting something simple, something long and journal like, just photos, and a thousand things in between hundreds (literally) of times. However, life just happens. The last two months have been so busy for us, the blog was the one thing that I knew I could neglect without repercussions. Sure the family might get a little antsy for photos of the girls and want to know what's going on in life, but the ones who love to read the blog, are the ones who knew how hectic life has been. And guess what, no one complained. There wasn't a timeline I needed to meet, or tens or hundreds of people relying on me getting something done here. That's what I love about this space.

So, I'm welcoming myself back. And I have lots of good things I want to catch up on. There are too many pictures from the end of summer that I just have to share on here. Mostly for me. So I can look back and remember that despite all of the craziness, we really did have a great time and there were lots of smiles to share. So hold tight with me while I catch up. Again. Those who have been reading longer than others have done this before, and we all survive. Mostly because you can skip the posts, or skim for pictures, and I share what I want when I want! :)

For now, we brought the girls to skip around a state park just on the outside of town over the weekend. Here's a couple I thought I'd share for now.

I'll look forward to slowly catching up and trying to stay current. It's all a balancing act.

Love to you all.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Just a Little Cone

Oh Little Annie - how we know you love ice cream, kitties, singing and dancing. And yes, Zesto will forever be a favorite! :)

This image was captured by staff photographer for my office and friend Chad Coppess. I just love that little birdie tongue sticking out. So stinkin cute. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

First Day of School

Can't believe that our little Blondie is in second grade. We knew going into the school year that it would be hard to beat her teacher from last year, but once again, for the third year, we got an amazing teacher and we couldn't wait for the year to start.

Grace has got an awesome group of friends, and it just so happens that many of them are in her class this year, this teacher is going to be working hard to keep everyone on track. 

Here's to a great year in second grade Grace!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Baby Specs

Other than starting with an updated picture of my sweet beauty and her new permanent accessory, I don't know how else to start this post. In June, we brought Annie in for an eye doctor appointment and by July, she was sporting her new glasses.

It's been quite an emotional roller coaster for this Momma. Many people have asked how or why we discovered she needed glasses.

Back in October when Annie was a little over one, she went in for ear tube surgery and to probe through both of her extremely clogged tear ducts. Part of the process was an optometry exam before her tear duct procedure. At that point, we were told that she was a borderline candidate for glasses. We were told that all babies are born far sighted and it gradually evens out - but it was something to watch. Both procedures went well for Annie and we didn't have any concerns.

Then April 2014 came around and I was traveling for work. Cody noticed that she was blinking excessively for several days in a row without her eyes being watery, red, or swollen. It didn't appear she had any infection or anything. After nearly a week of her doing this, we called the eye doctor in Pierre to see if there was anything to be concerned about. They didn't think so, and somewhat attributed it to a new habit she formed - something interesting to do. It continued for another week, we called again, and were somewhat thinking it was allergies at that point. By mid-way through the second week, I was determined to get her in to the eye doctor. We got an appointment scheduled, but not until the middle of June.

By the time her appointment had come around, she had nearly stopped the excessive blinking entirely, but I still wanted to get it checked out so we would have another baseline to watch from our last optometry exam 6+ months before. Her appointment day came around and it was a very busy day at the office - we didn't get in until 45 minutes after out appointment, and Annie was such a good girl waiting - she visited with everyone in the office and other patients. Luckily, we have a great relationship with our eye doctor and he was very apologetic about our wait - he knew (and I told him) it was his turn to be patient with Annie. We got through her appointment with a few bribes of treats and other antics. We didn't have time to dilate her eyes, so he did a dry exam and we were to come in a few days later for the dilation and additional exam.

We came back in a few days, and dilated her eyes. Again, she was a champ the whole time. She took the spray well and we were off to buzz a few errands - unfortunately during the sunniest part of the day. And momma forgot good sunglasses. She got a pair of temporary ones from the doctors office that were adult size and WAY too big, but she wore them and looked hilarious. We were back to the office less than an hour later for a final exam.

This time, with the help of a DumDum sucker, she also looked into the refraction machine (automated vision test) really well three times with each eye, and the test showed it went as accurately as it could have. He did an additional on her himself, and the results showed the exact same results as the machine did. Indeed, Annie had a great need for a strong prescription. In terms of a scale of 1-5 does she need glasses, she was a 5+...absolutely. Admittedly, I was a bit heart broken right away. My little baby, just over 1.5 years old. And she needed glasses.

However, immediately what lifted my spirits was that he was telling me that because of the strong strength of her prescription, he had said that he highly doubted that this would be a battle to get her to wear her glasses. He told me he was very impressed that we noticed this so early and took the initiative and were persistent in getting her an appointment. He had said that usually, parents don't notice this in kids until they are around 3-4 years old when they go cross-eyed because they have been working so hard to focus. Then they are dealing with correcting the crosseye and dealing with the prescription. Luckily, we are only helping her see better and not correcting anything. Still, I wondered, how would my baby handle wearing glasses? How could we get her to keep them on? How would she feel in them? And mostly, I knew as a glasses wearer that this could be a long road ahead of her.

What was very interesting to me was that he hold me based on his original exam a few days before we did the exam after dilating, was that he said he might not have prescribed her anything. That means she was working so hard, quickly, and efficiently to correct the vision that it was hard for him to detect. The dilating acts as a truth serum, and it told the truth! It was interesting to watch him test her with putting lenses in front of her eyes and watching the reaction by shining and light and examining how she focused. (By the way, I hope no optometrists are reading, because they are all extreme lehman terms, with a frazzled mom who was trying to take all of this information in while tending to a anxious baby.)

We waited until after July 1 until we ordered glasses. Mostly for insurance purposes, but also because it was hard to find frames that both fit her small face and nose, and that I approved of. We found a "happy" medium.

We have had her glasses with lenses for about 10 days now. A whole new rollercoaster of emotions started when we went in to pick up, fit, and get her new glasses. Immediately when we put them on, I had a swell of negative emotions. Just mostly based upon looks and the fact that my baby getting glasses was real. However, within seconds, I knew this was going to change her life. She looked down, moved some papers off a placemat with advertising on it, and looked at and examined the text and photos. She stared calmly, and intently at it. Looked up, looked at all of the glasses on the wall. She looked at the gal helping us and pointed at and examined her jewelry and logo. And had a sense of amazement on her face. It took all I had to hold back tears of joy, that this truly was a life changing moment for my little girl. She got down, caught her sealegs from a new depth perception and asked to hold my hand to help her walk. We walked to a bucket of toys for her to pick out, and she examined 5-6 of them for a few moments each. In the last 10 days we have had very little struggle in getting her to keep them on. She only takes them off occasionally (a few times a day) and puts them back on within minutes. Our biggest struggle right now is finding a fit that works for her without them slipping down granny style constantly. That will be a forever process I'm sure.

Honestly, I'm still not used to her in glasses. I still love seeing her baby face in the tub and when she's sleeping without her glasses. But I'm proud and amazed by the way she's handled this. I'm so happy and relived that we discovered this so quickly. I'm blessed that this has changed her life in such a positive way. We are so lucky to have only something so minor and so easy to deal with. I know there are lots of little ones out there struggling with much more than what we are.

So that's the story. And I thank many of you  who have listened to me share my emotions with over this journey.

And finally...here's the true Annie. She can give a pretty good stink eye now!

Also, apologies for the long winded post. As I've said before, this is as much of a place (if not more) for me, as it is our family and friends from around the country that follow along with us. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Birthday - Part 2

As I mentioned, we had lots of fun activities over the weekend. Of course, any weekend that we don't have a whole lot going on in the summers, we love to do this. 
Yes, float on aligators, but mostly hit the beach. We've made so many fun memories at the beach, boating with friends, and bouncing on a tube this year. Makes my heart happy!

Tasha hosted a BBQ with some of their neighbors and friends for Nick's birthday, so immediately after jumping off the river we pranced through the sprinkler!

Happy Birthday Nick and G!

On her birthday we went to birthday breakfast with the Bothuns, and then Grace went to daycare (which is a treat to her!), then Daddy picked her up early and they went to Guadalajara's for dinner with Great Grandma and Great Grandpa!

Happy Birthday song!!!

Everyone got to try the hat!!!

I think all in all the little Blondie had a pretty special day. She even said it was the "best birthday ever." Warms a Momma's heart that she's so happy!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Grace is 7!

My first baby. My blondie. My girl with the sassy attitude, but a kind and tender heart. She's a friend. A sister. A daughter. And a granddaughter. She's a student. A teacher. She's our G.

Grace turned 7 today! We love celebrating her birthday in the summer, it always means lots of beach days and BBQs! We spent the whole weekend at the beach, Grace and I ran in the 5K color run, we had a BBQ at the Bothuns on Sunday, a cookout at the Larson's on Friday, and Saturday we ordered pizza and watched a movie after the beach! So much fun!

Today, we celebrated bright and early at Perkin's for the Annual Birthday Breakfast! As I've mentioned before, Nick and Grace share a birthday, just a year apart. I love this tradition that we have, and the kids do too. It will be fun to watch them grow and see how their friendship develops. I told them this morning we'll be doing this until they old - in their 30s!

Look at how they've grown!

Tasha and Anni

Annie was taking care of the check with Daddy!

I'll be back soon with the remainder of our birthday festivities! We went to supper with Great Grands at Guads, Grace went to the Discovery Center with Daddy, and today we're heading to the new waterpark in Huron with Grace's friends! It's a great week!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Bierman Weekend cont.

Oh sweet summer. You've been so good to us so far. We are almost done with July, can't believe it! That means my sweet littles will be turning another year older soon!

I haven't gotten around to updating the blog in awhile...sorry, we've been soaking up the sun with friends at the beach. So, I'm back again with the final update from the Bierman Family Reunion weekend from June. I don't get to see my extended family as much as I would like to, being the only ones in South Dakota makes it hard!!! The rest of the crew is all in Minnesota or Wisconsin.

As I mentioned before, just the girls and I were able to make it and we drove over to Mom and Dad's on Friday night and then met up with the rest of the Bierman crew on Saturday morning. We had a great day at the farm, and lots of fun with cousins. I remember making many, many memories with my cousins on these very grounds. It was fun for me to watch my children make memories with their second cousins in the same places, and amazing to make new memories with my cousins as adults in the same place we did as kids.

To start things off right, Grace picked some strawberries from Aunt Joan's patch. I will always remember all the delightful things my Grandma made with her garden produce. There was never a shortage of produce, she could feed the entire county I think!

Poppa and his girls

and Chad and Grandpa

Grace and Elyse spent much of the day playing together - and Evie was always trying to catch up. Grace and Elyse set up a shop in the barn and were selling us all kinds of goodies! They had a ball playing "shop" together. 
The girls had a blast hanging out with each other, and of course, loved ranger rides from Chase and whomever else they could convince to take them for a spin!

Grace and Char playing ladder golf together!

 And it's not a Bierman Family Reunion Weekend unless there is clay shooting involved! We tend to get a little (okay, a lot) competitive with each other. Callie took some of the boys out right away in clays, and I may have been getting a little overly confident in bean bags!

It was also fun to have some extended family around too! Some of Dad's cousins and Aunt's and Uncle's showed up! Everyone had a great time relaxing and visiting with one another. We don't all get together but once or twice a year, so there is lots to share!

It was the perfect day to play some bean bags! With a drink in hand and kids throwing water balloons at you, there isn't much to beat it!

Ms. Lyndi was kind enough (ahem!) to bring a water balloon filler, and boy did Grace and Elyse have fun with it! They found me, Chad, Chase, and a few others as targets that would play along with them...it was a blast! They recruited grown-up (and wanna be grownups, like Nate) to help them fill!

Eventually, Karl got involved as the most sought after target. And let's just say he got WET!!! And I mean head to toe drenched! Thanks for playing along Karl!

Bierman gatherings are not complete with cards too - plenty of competitive spirit in this category also!

The evening wrapped with with glowsticks, cards, and a great presentation of slide photos from back when my Dad was just a baby! Fun to see some of those old photos.

As always, it was a great, beautiful weekend. Thanks to the cousins and aunts and uncles for always making me smile, laugh, pray, and remember where my roots lie. You are all wonderfully kind people who I miss very much! 
**by the way, thank you cousin Emily for sharing some of your photos with me to use!