11.26.2011

Thanksgiving Weekend

The holiday started out with some friends from the Marines at Chuck E. Cheese, celebrating their son Austin's 5th birthday party.  We had so much fun catching up with the Runkle's, playing games and chillin' with Chuck E.!


*****
Turkey Day started out with a breakfast casserole, cinnamon rolls and lots of R&R.  It was fabulous to just kick back and enjoy the day.  My assignments for dinner this year were pumpkin pies and the salad.  I baked the pies the day before and whipped up a salad in just 5 minutes.  It was a REALLY tough cooking day... NOT!  
We then headed over to my parents house and about two minutes away I got a call from my dad, just making sure we knew dinner was at 3pm.  In a very convincing and shocked tone, I explained that mom had told me dinner was at 5pm.  He apologized (as I could hear my mom progressively freaking out in the background)... I told him we hadn't even showered yet, so we would try to make it over as soon as possible.  The minute I hung up, Andrew and I were cracking up and knew my poor mom was probably stressing to the max.  When we pulled up to the driveway, we were soon greeted by my parents... glaring with hands on their hips.  It wouldn't be a holiday with my family if I didn't give my mama a hard time!  Love ya, Ma!

As usual, this day included lots of FOOD, FOOTBALL & FAMILY!


*****
On Friday, we had our 20 week ultrasound.  Seeing our baby's face for the first time was such a sweet moment.  I couldn't stop staring at the picture of his/her profile.  It hit me that there really is a 4th member of our family on the way!

The ultrasound showed that baby is right on track for size, weighing 13 ounces and dating a little bit earlier than our original due date at April 11th instead of April 14th... so somewhere around there.

Now I know what you're wondering... just say it already, is it a GIRL or a BOY?!

Well, you're just going to have to suffer and wait with us as we had the sonographer put the gender in an envelope to be opened on Christmas morning!  It will totally be worth the wait!

To tide you over for the next 30 days... meet the nugget...

The sonographer was so nice to give us a total of 12 photos, but this one is my absolute favorite.

Tiny hands...

Big foot...

Andrew got to feel baby kick with this little leg for the first time today!

The sonographer told us the ultrasound would take about 40 minutes, but baby was so active... squirming, kicking and flip-flopping all over the place that it took him 2 hours to get all of the measurements he needed.

*****
Now to top off an amazing weekend, my niece Emma turned 8 years old and chose to be baptized as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  
On Friday, I took my younger four nieces, my nephew and Lulu to Pump It Up Jr. to celebrate Emma's big day.  Pump It Up was awesome and all the kids had a blast!  Londyn loves her cousins so much.  I can't believe how lucky she is to have them to look up.

Emma & Sam

Kai-Guy

Jen, Lulu & Emma

Emma gets air!

Emma, Mary, Lulu & Sammie

The crew

*****
The best part of this weekend was spending time with the Mr. and little Miss Lulu-pants.  Londyn loves her daddy so much and having him home all to herself was a treat!


As Andrew raked the leaves into the street, Lulu made sure to sweep them back onto the sidewalk.
Such a big helper.


11.23.2011

Loves for Lulu

After yesterday's rants and raves, I have cooled down a bit and this morning, Lulu put everything into perspective.  When I opened the door to get her out of bed, the first thing she said was "I see baby doctor today, mama?"  She has not been able to contain her excitement for my doctor's appointment today and our "baby show" ultrasound scheduled for Friday.  

It hit me that I have a little blessing in my belly and although it is a lot of work to get His children here on earth, it is the most beautiful and lovely part of life.

Today I am so thankful for this little peach.  Lulu never stays mad at me, loves me unconditionally, showers me with kisses and hugs and makes me laugh every day!  She makes every day a joy to live, just because I get to experience it with her.  

11.22.2011

I JUST WANT TO SCREAM!

FYI: this post is complete and utter chaos, so don't say I didn't warn you!

This week is Thanksgiving and as everyone is roaming the grocery stores with warm fuzzies and preparing their annual poultry induced coma, I am sulking...with a numbing headache to boot.  This headache is not only physical, but situational as well.  You're intrigued, but you'll regret it when this is over.

Remember that super inspired post a few weeks ago about Andrew's last drill and how much I love the Marine Corps?  Well, my feelings have become a little mixed since that time.

Three months ago, I made a call to our health insurance through the military regarding our post-reserve status options.  Since I am pregnant, I wanted to make sure that our ducks were in line before we were out of the Marines.  They assured me that we would then qualify for a Continuing Healthcare Benefit Program and to call when the time got closer so that we could transfer to the new plan.  
Now fast forward to Thursday, November 3rd.  I place the call to our insurance again to enroll in the new plan.  The "customer service" representative proceeds to explain that I must have been misinformed because I in fact do NOT qualify for any continuing benefit and they currently do not offer anything for reservists after their contracts have completed.  Of course, this was only two days prior to our coverage end date.  I was devastated and gave them the benefit of the doubt by calling and speaking to several other representatives, crossing my fingers for a different outcome.  Ehh- WRONG.

Instead of totally flipping out, I started making calls.  Well first I had a diet coke... and then started Google-ing every possible medical insurance company, followed by organizations that assist Veterans and their families.  Long story short, all of these sources had the same response.  "We can't do anything for you because you are pregnant.  We're really sorry but please make sure to call us AFTER you have the baby and we can help."

Last option?  The Oregon Health Plan aka state insurance.  Hands down, we have no problem qualifying financially but they are making it literally impossible for us to achieve coverage.  I am at the point where I have lost almost all hope in my case worker.  I mean c'mon, my husband served 6 years in the US Armed Forces, deployed to Iraq for 7 months... is now working his butt off in school to create a stable future for our family... we're both working to put food on the table, which isn't easy and have a 2 year old and another baby on the way in just 5 months!  We are not trying to milk the system in every possible way.  We just really need medical insurance.

My parents always raised me to know that medical insurance is an absolute must.  No IFS, ANDS or BUTS... medical insurance is worth whatever you have to sacrifice to be covered.  More now than ever with this economy, medical bills can really ruin a person or a families future.  We have been so lucky to make it this far without debt or credit issues and I hope that this is not the beginning of a new direction.

After applying for OHP, I received a call within 24 hours to schedule a phone interview with a case worker.  On November 7th, I had that interview and once that conversation was over, I was overwhelmed with a list of documents they needed from me to determine eligibility.  After spending an entire day and a half gathering all of the necessary items, I e-mailed them to my case worker.  This was all followed by intense waiting and more waiting.  After leaving two messages on her voicemail, I finally heard back from her 11 days later... to let me know she had not received any emails.  I then confirm the correct e-mail address and send again.  Nothing.  After waiting 4 more days and one message left, I get a call back from her and she has still not received anything.  I tried again today... hopefully she will get them when she is in the office again tomorrow.  Even if she does, she said she cannot look at my case until next week as she has a full schedule of appointments tomorrow.  Seriously?  I had sent everything she requested to an e-mail address that she apparently no longer uses... over 2 WEEKS AGO... and my case has yet to be evaluated?!

To top all of this off, I went to fill my prescription today for a medication and because my prior insurance is no longer active, what used to be a monthly payment of $22 is all out of pocket and now 250 bucks.  Of course, I can't pay that... so here I sit with said headache caused by withdrawals from a medication that is supposed to keep me from riding the crazy train... which I am intensely experiencing at this time.
  I want to scream, cry and eat buckets of ice cream ALL AT THE SAME TIME!  

Deep breath.

So... if you're still reading this, which I'd be surprised if you still are... today was not a good day and all of this venting was more therapeutic and for documentation sake than my usual posts that are filled with rainbows and smiley faces.    

The end.

11.21.2011

Hey good lookin', whatcha got cookin'?

I have been obsessed with the cookbook that our ward recently released.  We have so many talented women in our ward that really know their way around the kitchen.  I really appreciate that all of the recipes are doable, family-friendly, and for the most part contain ingredients that I usually have on hand.

So far, I have tried cheeseburger soup, taco soup and today- chicken pillows.  I can honestly say that all of these dishes were delish!


I usually only cook full meals a couple days during the week and then of course, Sundays are strictly crock pot meals as we have church until 5pm.  During the week, Andrew is either at school or work until 9 or 10pm and making a meal for myself and Lulu just takes too much energy.  I'm not proud of it, but often times we are eating cereal or mac n' cheese for dinner.

Today was one of the few week days that I decided to cook.  These are Chicken Pillows -chicken, cream cheese, celery & mushroom stuffed crescent rolls, topped with yummy gravy.  It was super easy and so yummy!  Definitely a comfort food.  I paired the pillows with bread stuffing and steamed broccoli.   


 Lulu ate every last bite and then asked for "more, pwease!"


Please forgive the finger-in-a-light-socket hair... I had just taken out her piggy tails, hence the mad scientist look she is sporting.  Yikes!


Just another day at dance class...

Almost every day that Londyn has dance class, I can't help but take pictures.  One of the best parts about being a mom is watching my daughter learn and have a blast doing it!  Dance is just that for her.

The studio is offering Princess Camps in November, December and January.  They each have a different princess theme and are filled with 2 hours of fabulous girly fun!  Of course, we are doing all three camps!  And the best part?  2 hours of ME time!  LOVE it!



11.16.2011

Veterans Day

Last Friday was Veterans Day and we got to celebrate with our very own veteran!  We went to Olive Garden, where Andrew received a free meal and a $10 gift card for his next visit.  We then went across the street to Applebee's and got another free meal to go!  It was perfect because he had to work that night, so his dinner was free too.  


We love and appreciate all veterans and active service men and women that do so much to protect our nation.  

Happy (belated) Veterans Day!

11.15.2011

The best things in life are FREE...

Londyn has been going to dance class since September and absolutely loves it.  We live right next to the dance studio and pass it daily when we're out driving.  Every time she yells "Dance class, YAY!"  If we could swing it, she would take dance every day as she practices whenever and wherever there's music on.  

Last week we tried a new class and she loved everything about it, including the teacher.  She will now be taking two classes each week and as of January, she will be enrolled in three classes - hip hop, tap and ballet. I am always amazed when watching her in class because she listens so well and follows her teachers' instruction.  If only I could get Teacher Rachelle or Teacher Lisa to get her to listen at home!

This love for dance has inspired me to consider getting back into the dance world.  I have been dancing since I was 2 years old and it's all I've ever known when it comes to athletics or hobbies.  Since I am almost 5 months pregnant, taking classes for myself is out of the question and teaching would be tough since I would need to take some time off.  So, I decided to find out if the studio needed any help in their office.  When Londyn is in class, I spend a few hours each week helping in the office.  In exchange, Londyn gets to dance for free!  It's a win, WIN!  After I have the baby, I'd like to teach and take classes of my own- anything I can do to shed the prego pounds!  

Here is my little helper!


She loves to help me make copies and spends lots of time coloring pictures while I'm getting things done.

Sleepy Time

After the recent bedtime drama and sleepless nights, I am happy to share that we are back to a solid routine again!  Londyn sleeps 8am to 8pm (most days) and takes 2-3 hour naps every day.  The transition to her "big girl bed" is still taking place as she prefers to sleep on the her fuzzy rug on the floor, topped with at least 3 blankets, her pillow and a bazillion animal friends around her.  Can we say high maintenance?  But hey, whatever works to get us all some sleep- is fine with me!  If you ask Londyn about her big girl bed, she will respond with "I sleep on ground". 


I'd like to think she is just getting in touch with her Korean roots, finding comfort in sleeping on the floor... just like I did as an infant!

11.10.2011

"Cocoa Cream"

For some reason, Londyn calls ice cream, "cocoa cream".  Like most things with Lulu, I have no idea where she came up with this.  When I gave her some Greek yogurt with her lunch today, she was so excited because she thought it was cocoa cream.  It was a pretty big helping and she managed to down it all!


FYI: I really do put clothes on this child... but her favorite outfit is her nude-y pants.  She loves to take her clothes off and run free.  I'm pretty sure she gets this from her Daddy because he was known to strip and streak outside when he was her age.  Like father, like daughter.



11.09.2011

Baby Show

Ever since our first ultrasound, Londyn has been obsessed with the sonogram photo on our fridge.  She talks about the "baby show" on a daily basis.  To tide her over until our upcoming 20 week ultrasound, I decided to show her some videos on youtube of other baby ultrasounds.  Here was her reaction...


I'm not certain what "muck" is... but it doesn't sound good.

Cheeeeeeese

These photos literally speak for themselves... I have THE cutest child alive.

Lately, Lulu's "cheese" face has turned into an eyes shut, all pearly whites BIG grin.  


She is such a sassy ham.



Oh how I love her so.

11.05.2011

Lulu's Wowie

Whenever Lulu gets hurt, she calls it a "wowie" and today she got a BIG wowie.  We were all hanging out in our room and she was dancing to some music.  She lost her balance and smacked her head on the nightstand.  I wasn't too concerned because she tumbles about a bazillion times every day... but this time I was wrong.  The poor thing was crying so hard and when Andrew went to check her head, there was blood running from a cut right in between her eyes and down her face.  The Mr. was calm, but I freaked out!  He cleaned her up and calmed her down, but I still thought we should have Dr. Grandpa take a look at the gaping hole in my kids head!  He came over and examined the "wound" but said it should be fine.  Phew!  She will definitely have a scar but the trauma of stitches and potentially looking like Frankenstein's spawn would be a lot worse.

She was such a trooper, but every once and a while would say it hurts.  Poor baby girl!




The Last Oo-rah!

Yesterday was Andrew's last drill and birthday ball with the United States Marines.  Monday, November 7th will mark as his 6 years of service in the Marine Corps.  Although I have not been with him since the beginning of his journey with the Marines, I have known him for close to 4 of those years and it has been such an eye opening experience for me.  I will never know what it is like to be in training or combat for war, but just being married to someone who does has given me so much respect and gratitude for those who have and continue to fight for our nation.  

{Last time seeing Daddy in his camis}

Andrew has countless memories, friendships, hardships and sacrifices from his time with the honorable corps and it will forever bless our family.  Every year, I look forward to attending the Marine Corps Birthday Ball in November.  Not only because I get to dress up and see my man in his dress blues, but because the event is always inspiring.  The speakers always leave you feeling like you are part of something big and that these men and women of the Marine Corps are making all the difference in the world around us.  

Last night's ball was no exception.  The messages were amazing as they highlighted the current state of the corps and memorialized the events of Pearl Harbor and 9/11.  The food was fabulous... why?  Because it involved my absolute favorite word, "Buffet"!  Yum yummmm yumm-o! And that wasn't even the best part!  When they started the music for dancing, only one older couple was out on the floor.  Andrew stood up and grabbed my hand to dance.  It was the first time that we got to dance since our wedding 3 years ago!  I loved how it was a couple oldie slow songs.  Then, the fast songs came on!  Now Andrew doesn't usually like to dance to fast music, but I saw a whole new side of him and we did the twist, conga line and even the Jersey fist pump with all of his friends.  We had a blast!

{236th Marine Corps Birthday Ball at the Portland Marriott on the waterfront}

It was a nostalgic evening with all the hugs, handshakes and goodbyes.  I don't think the change will really sink in for Andrew until that dreaded drill weekend approaches and he won't have to worry about writing emails or making phone calls, packing his gear, missing school, missing work and getting up at the butt crack of dawn to work his tail off all weekend!  

I am so proud of my husband and excited for this new freedom he has to fully focus on his career.  He has known what he wanted to do and be since he was 15 years old and now he will finally be able to do it!  
Congratulations Andrew!

Love, 
Lulu & The Mrs.

Sweet as Pumpkin Pie

We had such a perfect Halloween night, especially because Andrew was able to get home early to take Lulu trick or treating for the first time!  

Earlier in the day, I got an ambitious kick and decided to try making pumpkin pie for the first time.  I was so proud of my pies that I decided to share the tasty treat.  We took them over to my parents' house and had pie and ice cream with Gma, Gpa & my sisters' girls.  

Check out my pies ;)



Andrew and I took the girls out to trick or treat.  Londyn had so much fun with her cousins and could have gone all night!  She made out pretty dang good in the candy department.