Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Happy Birthday Stella!

Stella Patricia Sheldon

Born: December 30, 2007
Time: 3:30pm
Weight: 8.02 ounces
Length: 20 inches

Stella was the Christmas gift of 2007....also our blessed tax break. She was due January 4 of 2008, but I was very ready to have her when I did. During the last 2 months of my pregnancy a terrible respiratory infection sent me into coughing fits...which ultimately dislocated my bottom right and left ribs....ouch. Nothing you can take. I was huge, hormonal, still working, and miserable.

Stella Fun Facts:
Eye Color: brown (finally)
Hair Color: brown...but still waiting for the rest to grow in
Name: Peter's great aunt Stella & Peter's mother Patricia
Disposition: Easily the happiest baby on earth.....always smiling
Nicknames: Stell-Bell, Stell-Stell, Little Star, Little One
Words: Mama, Dadda, Aaaaghhh!! (She mostly says the last one)
Favorite Pastime: Climbing!!! Headbutt-ing people
Favorite Bedtime Item: White fluffy blanket with satin trim 
Favorite Person: Sofia!! Always smiles for Fia & tries to keep up
Favorite Food: She eats just about anything, but loves cookies!!
Favorite Toy: Cooking utensils, old infant Tylenol bottles, and remotes
Tooth Count: 2 on bottom (middle), 2 on top (fangs....she looks like Dracula!)

- Began smiling and laughing very early (5 weeks)
- Rolled over (3 1/2 months)
- Sat up (by herself) & crawled in the same week (about 6 months)
- Started walking (10 1/2 months)


Still in the womb....about 3 1/2 months developed....did I mention that pregnancy turns me into an ugly and very angry green monster.

1 Day Old - Where is her hair?!? Blue eyes?!? What's going on? She looks almost exactly like Peter's baby pictures....I will have to tell people she is not adopted.

The day she came home from the hospital....the days she was a great sleeper....not so much anymore.

March 2008 - 3 months - So pretty!

April 2008 - 4 Months - Meeting with Grandma Feyen

May 2008 - 5 Months - The happiest baby ever....eyes still not brown

July 2008 - 7 Months -  No YOU Stop!!
September 2008 - 9 Months - Gotta love her dimples

October 2008 - 10 Months - Stella Bella Bumble Bee....oh, the things we do for free candy

October 2008 - 10 Months - This face summarizes Stella's personality
November 2008 - 11 Months - Climbing is a favorite....actually I think danger is more an accurate assessment of her favorite things

November 2008 - 11 Months - More Climbing

December 2008 - 12 Months (almost): She only wants to do what Fia does....good thing Fia is such a great sister and a great example

December 2008 - Just loves to be tickled

Stella has brightened our lives with her never-ending cheery disposition and ever-moving feet.  I can't believe she is already 1 year old....how time slips through our hands without us even knowing.  Unfortunately she is sick on her first birthday so we will have to post-pone the silly birthday hats and cake-face-smashing till next week. We love our Stell-Bell!!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Family First

Peter has encouraged my blog from the beginning as it gives me an outlet to express my pet peeves (yes, I have many) and keep an online journal of sorts.  Sometimes he likes to tell me "Its like you have a friend!"  Blogging has become an "addiction" of mine and I find myself eager to do several posts a day.....pace yourself Rach....pace yourself.   

I've been away for several days because my family health status got worse.  More fevers, ear aches, coughs, and vomit.  We finally brought Fia to the ER on the 24th with a ongoing temp of 104.5  It was a terrible experience.  They did chest X-rays, urine samples, and took her blood.  They didn't find anything.  But tonight my father-in-law (who is a physician) listened to her lungs and definitely heard something in her lungs.  He spoke with her Pediatrician and they both concluded that she has pneumonia.  Poor baby, she is exhausted.  Hopefully now we can give her the right meds and she can start to feel better.  

Stella is also still not doing well.  She has a double ear infection and the antibiotics don't seem to be helping.  She too has high fevers and coughing fits that send her into spurts of vomiting....awesome.  On the flip side....she is now the cuddliest baby alive.....a totally 180 from her normal behavior.  I hate that she is visibly uncomfortable and in pain, but I will admit that I LOVE that she just wants me to hold and cuddle her.

There are so many things I want to post about in my blog, but caring for my family has occupied my time and energy.  The past 2 weeks have been sleepless nights filled with coughing, fevers, and vomit.  We just moved our clan over to my in-laws to get extra help from Pati as the lack of sleep is taking its toll.  On the positive side....all vomit has forced me to wash the sheets, clothes, and blankets several times a day.

I pray we all get healthy before the new year.  

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Tis the Season

I hate complaining about colds, but our entire family has been sick for over a week. We just can't seem to get better. We've got ear aches, sore throats, sores in our mouths, hives, fevers, eye infections, sinus infections & drainage, and coughs. I hate calling the doctor for common cold, but after this long I finally gave in. Last week I finally brought both Stella & Fia in to see their Pediatrician to get some antibiotics. I think we (me & the girls) are finally all starting to come out of it. Peter, unfortunately, might be a day or two behind. We have all this medicine out on our counter and I decided to take a picture because we look like a local pharmacy. I had to keep a journal to track who was taking which medicines at what time. I'm pretty sure we'll all be 100% by Christmas. Tis the season!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Friends, Trillium, & Christmas

Peter has always been interested in real estate development. He has worked for two local real estate developers and has always talked about being involved in a development company with some friends. So Peter, Dan Meyering, and Kyle VanderKodde created Trillium Ventures MSV. To say they sacrificed many late hours and hard work to get it started seems like gross understatement. I am very proud of all three men and look forward to 2009. Last weekend, we all went out for a dinner date to celebrate 3 things: Friendship, Trillium, and Christmas.

The Men of Trillium:
Peter Sheldon, Dan Meyering, Kyle VanderKodde
The Wives of Trillium:
Tricia VanderKodde, Rebecca Reames (fiancee), Rachel Sheldon
When I mentioned that they put in lots of late hours and hard work.....I wasn't kidding. Their first 4-unit was a real fixer-upper....some serious sweat equity. They did their own drywall, painting, floors, bathrooms, kitchens, and even a new roof. Here is a before/after picture of just one of the rooms....hardly recognizable.
What excites me most about Trillium Ventures is that Peter is finally involved in something he is both interested in and passionate about. I believe the same is true for his partners. God has blessed us in 2008.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Don We Now Our Gay Apparel

Hopefully this makes someone giggle.
Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Fun With Boxes

About 3 weeks ago our friendly neighbor Tammy bought a new dryer and felt the gigantor box should not be wasted. So she called me up and asked if I was interested....uhhhh.....YEAH!!! Make a door, cut a few windows, secure it with duct tape.....and we have ourselves a playhouse....fit for anyone who's sister is also his baby's mama. Awesome. No but seriously....Fia loved it. She brought in a stool (table) and reading chair and used it as a reading house for several weeks....even though Stella terrorized her neatly stacked books on an hourly basis. Other uses included a kitchen, a terrible hide & seek spot, a fort, and an escape from Stella....which was not effective as Stella just shook the entire box like the big bad wolf. After 3 weeks of fun, we've finally decided that we must retire the box and reclaim the space in our tiny apartment. Thanks again Tammy!!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Like Mother Like Daughter

Sofia always likes to remind me that singing is "not my gift". It's true, I can't hold a tune and have no intonation. Well....turns out she has inherited my singing inability. She loves to sing books to me. I sway back and forth as if I'm dancing, but I am really trying to muffle my laughter. But then it occurred to me that perhaps this is what I sound like.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Lose Lose

This was originally posted on my friend Ba's blog...and now I am copying him and posting it on mine. Its absolutely hilarious.

I started thinking about the validity of this video. Every man (I'm sure) at one point of his life has been in the doghouse. I feel bad for men when it comes to gift giving. Expectations are always high.....even if the woman says the opposite.

WOMAN: "No really....I don't want anything big or special...don't worry about it" or worse "Don't get me anything at all"

TRANSLATION: Please (you better) surprise me with something spectacular...as I will be silently devastated by a random non-thoughtful trinket and probably cry myself to sleep as I convince myself that I am married (or dating) someone who does not think the world of me.

Women have almost no pressure at all. Even if our gift is terrible (and sometimes we know it is) then we always have the option of saying the man is "insensitive" and doesn't care about the gift.... so they lose....twice. First, they are stuck with a crappy gift. Second, now they are in trouble because they didn't love it. Men are faced with this constant pressure to exceed expectations during holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, Valentines, etc. And even if they do a good job during these times....woman can always throw out "Why don't you ever get me something (or do something) special for no reason at all?" It is a lose/lose situation.....sorry.

Side Note: If you are a man and think you want to use gift giving unfairness as an argumentative tool against women...then I would suggest you hold your tongue as this would not be a wise choice. Not only will you most certainly be sent to the doghouse....but you make yourself a target to estrogen-enraged open fire by all womankind about topics such as childbirth, menstruation, and weight gain. So don't do it.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Christmas Miracle

I am terrible at keeping houseplants alive. I usually don't even try. My brother once gave me a bonsai tree (a really cool gift) and I tried so hard to not kill it....but alas, my genuine efforts proved futile as my already doomed tree met its fate. About a month ago, my super creative friend Debbie hosted a baby shower and gave us all plant bulbs. "So easy....just fill the jar up with water to here [she points] and it should grow and bloom about the same time Lisa has her baby!" Okay, so I did exactly that and......nothing. Once again, I proved my plant-keeping skills to be terrible. One last ditch effort before I tossed it and.........a Christmas miracle!! I can't remember when I have been this proud of myself.

I would like to point out that there are 4 green stalk thingys coming out of the one bulb and 2 flowers. This is probably normal, but for some reason it gives me a great feeling of pride....as if my kid just won first place at some important competition. I am so pathetic.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I Want Eight Arms

Both my girls have not been feeling well. Fia woke up at 4am this morning with diarrhea on top of a bad cold and has been whining all day....which I don't fault her for. Stella, my usual tornado of energy, is docile and lethargic. She too has the same terrible cold and infections in both eyes. Both girls are hardly eating, not sleeping, out of sorts, and completely off schedule. The problem is that I am only one person and both girls want to be held and snuggled at the same time. I should really enjoy this, but unfortunately I am also suffering from the same ailments as them.

This is just one of many times when I think eight arms would be awesome. It would be much easier to care for my sick girls and oh, how much more efficient I could be! After having kids, there are so many tasks that just seem to require 8 arms. The top two for me are.....
1. Grocery Shopping
2. Carrying things to/from the car - I usually have to make 2 trips

Monday, December 8, 2008

White Chicken Chili

The other weekend our church had a chili cookoff fundraiser for Habitat for Humanity. My entry was a white chicken chili. I received 2nd place by a very small margin. I should also mention that my in-laws "happened" to forget their donation/vote this year because they "happened" to be out of town....a likely excuse. ;o)

This recipe is super easy because you just add the ingredients in the crockpot and......"Set it and Forget it!!"

4 boneless chicken breasts (raw....diced into small pieces)
8 oz salsa (I use hot)
2 cans northern beans (w/ juice)
2 cans white corn (drained)
16 ounces pepperjack cheese (cubed)
1/2 cup white wine
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
salt to taste

cheddar cheese (for sprinkling)
bacon (for sprinkling)
sour cream (a dollop if you'd like)
green onion
tortilla chips

1. Add chicken, cheese, beans, corn, wine, and spices to crockpot and set on medium
2. Stir a few hours in to make evenly cook chicken
3. Fry up some bacon (the real stuff)
4. Wait 4-6 hours (total) and Enjoy Chili!

I like cheddar cheese and real bacon bits on mine....and eating it with tortilla chips....mmmm. This recipe can be thicker....most recipes call for only 8-10 oz cheese, but the extra makes it oh-so-much better!

Smiles with Santa!

We went to Rivertown Mall to get some Christmas shopping done today and decided to get a picture with Santa. There was no line and this particular Santa was awesome....with a real belly and real beard. Fia told him all the things she wanted for Christmas and Stella...well, her face didn't change the entire time. AND he didn't mistake Stella for a boy....like everyone else does.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Hurray for Snow!!

Fia has been excited to play in snow since last year. This weekend was the first big time snow fall for us this winter. So we got bundled up and took advantage of the fresh snow. I don't have snow toys.....but my pasta strainer seemed to work as a great shovel.

Pet Peeve #16

Quiz Time!
Please read the question & find answers below picture

When you see this, you think.....

A. Awesome! Sledding, snow forts, snowball fights....let's go!!

B. Brrrr....warm blanket, hot cocoa, and Christmas movies!!

C. Perfect! I'll grab my running shoes and go for a jog!

Answers: Both A & B are appropriate.

People who are delusional enough to think that jogging in blizzards constitutes as a good time or even a good idea deserve to get the flu or at least a horrible cold.

On my way home from Pati's house this morning I saw three people jogging in blizzard conditions. They all looked completely miserable and I felt no sympathy. I don't think myself to be an unreasonable person. I just ask for people to use common sense. If snow is falling down at such a rate that a runner's tracks are completely covered up 10 feet behind them, then its time for the overdue light bulb to flicker on. Go home and do some indoor squats.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Saved From Cinnamon!

We got an advent calendar this year and we like to use it to discuss the meaning of Christmas with Sofia.

Question: What is this calendar for?
Answer: To count down the days till Jesus' birthday

Question: Why is Jesus important?
Answer: Today I told her that she needed to answer the questions by herself before she could eat her chocolate. "Jesus is important because He saves the world from cinnamon!!"

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Hazards of Hoarding

Stella has this new thing where she needs to hold on to as many things as possible. She hoards them like a little squirrel collecting nuts. She's still wobbly on her feet and sometimes she falls because she's holding so many objects. The hazard is that she is unwilling to let go of the objects and lands on her knuckles....and then looks at me like "Did you just see what happened? I landed on my knuckles....that hurt!" I wish I could get her those brass knuckle things because I think she's gonna start bruising! It doesn't really matter what the objects are...although she is partial to markers....which will stop as soon as she learns to take the tops off!

For some reason, she also loves socks....weird.

Christmas Chains

Elf (the movie) was on tv the other night and I got inspired to do those tacky Christmas chain decorations with Fia. Just strips of paper and tape. Fia actually did quite a bit herself. She had a blast cutting the paper and taping the loops. So easy....so cheap.....so entertaining....and oh so tacky!
I decided that we will keep adding homemade tacky decoration collection every week until our tiny apartment looks like a chintzy wonderland. We've also started paper snowflakes...one each day till Christmas. Popsicle stick ornaments are on the schedule for next week. YES!

Easy Logic

For a few months I had to keep very close track of my temperature. There were days when I was taking my temp every 1/2 hour. Sofia loved this job. We have a digital thermometer and so she would press the button, put it in my mouth, wait for the final beep, and then read the numbers. It was really quite helpful. Yesterday I told Peter that I wasn't feeling very good and she immediately ran into the bathroom and came back holding up the thermometer yelling "I have yer Mommy-ter!!" She told us it was for mommy and therefore called a Mommy-ter. Peter asked her if daddys had one too and she told him "No, they are only made for mommies."

We didn't feel like correcting her on this one because it just made too much sense. If only everything in life were so logical!!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A Fleece Noose For Fia

JoAnn Fabrics is having a crazy sale and so I thought I'd take advantage. The scrap fleece was on sale for 1/2 off so I let Fia pick out something. She always wants to wear a scarf, but they are too bulky and long. So I curled the end around, sewed a straight line, and cut frilly things on the end. Its basically like a noose. Now she can put a scarf on herself and its a perfect size. I spent $1.50 and had enough to make 3 scarves and a pair of mittens.
We had extra, so we traced her hands and made mittens. They are by no means great, but they keep her hands warm.

Illusions of Good Luck

The other day I was driving around trying to find a parking spot somewhat close to the door as it is snowing and I have 2 kids....not to forget that I will soon have two kids plus groceries. I pull around the corner and my heart leaps to the sky....Am I actually going to be one of those people who gets the close spot right next to the handicap spots? I wheel around to make a wide turn (yes, I have a van) into the spot and....what?!?....another car has stolen my excitement and turned it into fiery anger.

Why oh why, stupid short compact cars, do taunt me by not being visible? Everytime I wanna say "Yes! Things are comin' up Rach....awesome to be me right now!" my dreams turn into torment as my illusions of good luck reveal a bitter reality. Sorry Rach, you will have to park in Row Z, spot 14.

So, if you are the owner of such vehicles....do the world a favor and don't pull up so far when you park! Then you won't have guilt of ripping away the joy of finding a great spot from other unsuspecting drivers. Thank you, that is all.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Good Idea Rach

I promise that I will stop posting pictures of Stella climbing on things after this...unless its extraordinary. But this girl keeps amazing me everyday - and certainly keeps me on my toes. She used to just walk up to her chair and use it like a mini-table because it was at her waist....until she figured out it would be more dangerous to climb it...and then climb higher.
Solution: I turned the chair away from the table so she couldn't climb on it. Sweet Rach, I'm awesome....GREAT idea!!

I've considered constructing a giant clear hamster ball for her. Or just wrapping her in lots of bubble wrap....which Fia would love because she pop her all day.

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