Monday, January 28, 2013

Snow Much Fun!

As January winds to a close, and the temperature dips into the single digits, here is the last in the series of posts from our holiday in Lyons:

During the week and a half we were there, we got about two feet of snow.  The girls were ECSTATIC.  And I'll be honest, I was pretty happy about it, too.  I love snow.  It just makes everything so pretty!  (At least, until it's driven on and turns into a gray, slushy mess...)

See?  Pretty, right?

In any case, we were expecting the snow and brought all of the girls' cold weather gear with us, so they got lots of good, snowy playtime, including some sledding!

Check 'em out:

True to her nature, Amelia was a little hesitant about this whole sledding thing at first, but she warmed up to it quickly and even went down a few times all by herself!  (Truth be told, I think she realized that she went more slowly without the added weight of an adult and felt more in control.)

Ramona, of course, expressed no such hesitation about hopping on a sled.  In fact, she actually wanted to sled from the top of the hill, like the big kids.  Keep in mind that sledding from the top involves bailing out at the bottom, so that you don't sled right across the (fairly busy) road.  Um, NO.  Sorry, Ramona.  (Sledding from the top makes ME nervous!) 

Come on, Pa, let's go from the top!

Louisa got all bundled up in her snowsuit for the first (and second) time to brave the snow, too.  Verdict?  She loves it, as long as someone is holding her.  Doesn't so much like being plopped down in it, although I did manage to catch one smiley picture of her in front of the mini pine tree before she realized she was cold! 

My little snow baby!

An aside: People have ALWAYS commented on how much I look like my mom.  Sometimes I don't see it... In the above pictures, though?  Definitely see it!

Some more shots of our snowy fun:

In other news, Amelia's heart surgery is scheduled for ONE WEEK from today.  Hoping for a quick recovery and some snow here in Boston when she's ready to get back outside!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

What a Way to Start the New Year

Our New Year's Eve was pretty low-key.  Much of my family had already left town -- back to Buffalo, Connecticut, Colorado -- but we got to spend some quality time with the rest of my family that lives in Lyons.

We spent a couple hours at my cousin Kelly's house in the morning, so that we could catch up with Kelly and Bryan and the girls could play with their little boy, Mason.  Mason's various car and train tracks were a big hit.

Who says cars are for boys?

Amelia, Mason, and Ramona setting up the tracks

Mason wasn't too thrilled with Louisa chewing on his cars

Dusty sitting on the bannister -- Ramona thought this was hysterical.

After the girls got up from their naps, we headed to Lauren and PeeWee's for a night of dinner, drinks, music, and games.

My girls in front of Aunt Lauren's Christmas tree, ready to celebrate New Year's Eve

We agreed to let the girls stay up until midnight, if they could, but put them in their pjs at their regular bedtime in case they didn't make it.  (Louisa was up a little past her bedtime, but there was no way she was making it to midnight!  She slept in the pack-n-play in Leah's room.)  While the adults played Mah Jongg and pool, Amelia and Ramona spent the evening watching Toy Story, playing games on the iPad, playing with their new toys, and bugging my cousins (sorry, Leah). 

Trying out the noisemakers
Amelia and Nonna counting down to midnight

And they both made it to midnight!  (They do not get their late-night tendencies from me.  I think I was probably in my teens, or close to it, before I actually saw the ball drop, as sad as that may be...)

... 3... 2... 1... HAPPY NEW YEAR!

  Wishing each of you the best in 2013!  I'm aiming for a year filled with laughter and faith. 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


Another fun event that we got to celebrate while in Lyons?  Grandma Anne's 80th birthday.

Grandma's actual birthday is Christmas Eve, and we celebrated it like we usually do: dinner at Aunt Laur and Uncle PeeWee's house, followed by presents and then the Christmas Eve service at the Presbyterian church.  Little did she know, her children (my mom and her siblings) had planned a surprise party for her to take place three days after her birthday!

My Uncle Tim told her that he was taking her to lunch at a local restaurant.  Not out of the ordinary, since he and his family were leaving the next day to celebrate a belated Christmas with (his wife) Kelly's family.  We left Grandma Anne's house a little before that, saying that we were headed out to Laur and PeeWee's for some sledding. 

Once we got in the car, we told the girls where we were REALLY going.  Definitely couldn't've told them ahead of time, they would have ruined the surprise!  They were a little bummed that we weren't going sledding, but perked up when they learned that there would be cake at the party (more on that momentarily).

Well, Grandma Anne really was surprised when she arrived for a quiet lunch, only to be greeted by roughly 70 family members and friends, including her almost-ninety-year-old brother, who lives in a nursing home up the road.  After lunch, Uncle Tim gave the party attendees an Anne Blaisdell history lesson, with corrections and additions from the guest of honor here and there. 

The emcee extraordinaire

Some old friends of Grandma's also shared stories about her, and there were some out-of-town friends who couldn't make it, but wrote lovely letters to her, recounting favorite events and wishing her a happy birthday. 

Aunt Lez reading a letter to the guest of honor

Highlights included a great slideshow that ran throughout the party and centerpieces (seen above) that incorporated many other photos from the past 80 years, as well as the sweet (pun intended) now-and-then cake below. 


I said there was a story about the cake... What you can't see from this angle are a couple of child-sized finger swipes through the frosting on the left side.  Aunt Lauren saw Amelia do it, and told her that she wasn't supposed to do that.  When she was caught with a fingerful of frosting for the second time, she was reprimanded, resulting in a fit of tears and a trip to the restroom to calm down.  Come to find out, though, another adult at the party (who shall remain nameless) had encouraged her to stick her fingers in the frosting!  When faced with two conflicting directions about frosting, which do you think the four-year-old is going to follow: the one that lets her eat it or the one that doesn't?  Yeah, that's a no-brainer. 

In any case, the party was very well-attended (despite all of the snow) and a complete surprise to Grandma Anne.  Impressive that no one slipped, as it had been in the works for months!

Party planners

Grandma Anne with all of her children

Happy 80th birthday, Grandma!  We were so happy we could be there to celebrate it with you.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Heart Surgery Update: The Pre-Op Appointment

We interrupt our backlog of holiday season posts to bring you this message about Amelia's upcoming heart surgery.

Last Monday, we took Amelia to her pre-op appointment, and spent about three and a half hours at MGH, talking to assorted people.  The whole thing was a little overwhelming, and a lot exhausting (for us and Amelia), but we came away from it feeling better prepared.

It was great to be able to speak with both the surgeon and the anesthesiologist.  Each explained what he would be doing on the day of Amelia's surgery so that we would know what to expect.  On the day of the surgery, we'll report to MGH at 6:00 AM, and they should put her under around 7:30 or so.  The actual surgery will begin around 8:30 or 9:00, and should be completed by noon.  (While it's amazing that they can repair a heart in a matter of a few hours, I have a feeling that those hours are going to be agonizingly slow in passing...)  She'll be on bypass and intubated during the surgery, and they'll keep her sedated for a few hours afterwards.  I found the anesthesiologist's description of the various IVs and catheters that they'll place to be particularly helpful in preparing myself for what Amelia will look like post-surgery.  (Will it still make me cry?  Probably.  But at least I know what's coming.) 

The surgeon also was very honest with us, which I appreciated.  He walked us through the potential complications, like infection, etc., and explained that there is a small chance (less than five percent) that the sinus node, which is the natural pacemaker tissue in the heart and is very close to where Amelia's defect is located, could be affected during the course of the surgery.  If that were to happen, she would need to have an artificial pacemaker.  Odds are, however, that Amelia will be completely fine after this surgery.  Her surgeon has been performing these kinds of operations for about thirty years and so this is pretty routine for him, which is encouraging.

In addition to the surgeon and anesthesiologist, we also talked to a cardiology PA, who walked us through the logistics of the day of surgery, a child life specialist, who will be on hand to help put Amelia at ease before and after the surgery, and a woman from social services (I guess to ensure that she has a safe environment to continue recovering after she's released from the hospital).  Amelia also had to have a chest x-ray (which she handled beautifully) and a blood draw (which she did not handle very well).  Definitely a long day! 

We got the results of Amelia's bloodwork at the end of last week, and everything looked good.  Now, all we have to do is keep her healthy between now and then, which is easier said than done!  She actually came down with a cold in the middle of last week (undoubtedly from something she touched while at MGH), but is just about over it.  If she has anything more than a runny nose leading up to her surgery, it will be rescheduled.  Not the worst thing in the world, but we've gotten to the point where we just want to get it over with, so fingers crossed that she stays healthy.

In just three weeks, Amelia's surgery will be over and she should be on the road to recovery! 

Our little cardiac patient, three weeks pre-surgery

Saturday, January 12, 2013

A Month of Many Milestones

December was a BIG month for Louisa.

She celebrated her first Christmas.

Oh, it's lovely weather for a sleigh ride together with you

And her first New Year's Eve.  (Didn't make it to midnight, though.)

Fancy girl!

She was baptized!  At First Presbyterian Church in Lyons, NY.  The same church where her big sisters and Uncle Grant (and many other family members) were baptized, and where her Nonna and Pa (and many other family members) were married.

Beautiful baby

Enjoying her post-baptism party

She started sleeping without being swaddled.  And turned into a stomach-sleeper.

She started to wave!

She clapped for the first time.  (But doesn't do it very often yet.)

She added some variety to her diet (apples, bananas, carrots, and avocados) and started feeding herself finger foods (so far, just puffs).

She figured out how to get from her tummy to a seated position on her own.

She became increasingly mobile.  We hesitate to say that she's crawling, because her forward motion is infrequent, but she spins herself around and slides backwards with ease, and is all over the place already!

On the move?  Almost...

At seven months:

Louisa is learning new things on an almost-daily basis, and it's always great to see her latest trick.  This stage is so much fun!  We can't wait to see what she'll do next.

Friday, January 11, 2013

10 Years

Ten years (and two weeks) ago -- on December 28, 2002 -- I woke up super early, at five-something in the morning.  I was anxious and excited, and just couldn't sleep any more.

After spending a couple of hours with my mom and my best friends, having my hair curled and doing my makeup, we headed to church.

You'd think that it would have been cold outside -- it was December in Colorado, after all -- but it was 65 degrees and sunny!

We had pictures taken with family and friends, but not each other.

Music began, people took their seats, and our family and friends preceded me down the aisle.

Then my dad and I stepped into the sanctuary and we walked down the aisle.  I saw Chad.  He cried.  My brother cried (a lot).  Pretty much EVERYONE cried.  Well, everyone except for me and my dad.

We said our vows.  We exchanged rings.  We kissed.  We were married!

We took more pictures, together this time, then headed to the reception.

We ate, we drank, we danced, and we laughed, with (just about) all of our family and friends.

We said goodnight.  (We watched the Buffs lose their bowl game.)

We were so young!  (He was 22, I was 21.)  We were out of college, but just barely, and weren't yet finished with school.  Chad was in the middle of his massage therapy program, and I still had three years of law school ahead of me. 

Then... and now!

Ten years, three kids, four addresses, many jobs (mostly Chad's), one house purchase, and one car purchase later, here we are. 

And I wouldn't change a thing. 

Happy TENTH anniversary, sweetheart!

I love you.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Christmas in Lyons

Wow, I guess I kind of fell off the blogosphere, there, didn't I?

We spent a wonderful ten days in Lyons, which included six straight days of celebrating various events in the middle -- Louisa's baptism, Grandma Anne's (my mom's mom) 80th birthday, Christmas, and Chad's and my 10th wedding anniversary -- and then New Year's at the end of our trip!  I promise to post more on the other events later, but for starters, here are some pictures from Christmas Eve, Christmas #1 (with the Lunney side of the family), and Christmas #2 (with the Blaisdell side of the family).

The girls left out milk and cookies for Santa and carrots for the reindeer. 
Amelia dictated the note to Santa and signed it herself!
This picture was taken post-Santa's visit.

A picture of our stockings, also post-Santa's visit

As has been our practice for the last few years, we all piled into Grandma Anne's two spare bedrooms.  Grandma Anne is always so nice to let us invade, and the girls just LOVE playing with everything there: the bear table, the dollhouse, all of Grandma Anne's figurines, and her cat, Ruby.

On Christmas morning, the girls tackled their stockings and opened their gifts from Santa.

Amelia was SUPER excited that Santa brought her the kite that she asked for!

Yes, Louisa was generally happier about the paper than the toys!

After showers were taken and seasonal attire was donned, we met up with my dad's side of the family at Aunt Kathy's house. 

Aunt Steff and Louisa

My cousin Kelly's little boy, Mason, fixing his car.  He's quite handy with his screwdriver!  :)

My cousin Alex's car collection was a big hit with the girls.

We usually have Lunney Christmas at my grandparents' house, but my grandfather took at bad fall a couple of months ago and is still recuperating from that.  So Christmas Days #1 and #2 also included trips by assorted family members to the Wayne County Nursing Home, where Gramps is resting and rehabilitating his hip.  Somehow, I failed to get any pictures of him during our trip...  Granddaughter fail!

Blaisdell Christmas took place in two locations.  First stop was Aunt Lez and Uncle Steve's for brunch and some present-opening.  

Nonna and Louisa in the kitchen

Aunt Lez and Aunt Laur and... their new Mah Jongg set!

Amelia twirling in her new tutu (thanks, Cole and Jay) with her new doll (thanks, Coleton)

Present-opening and picture-taking

Timmy and Wes manning the garbage bag

Leah and Aunt Steff helping Ramona with her new kaleidoscope

Getting accustomed to the giant family she didn't know she had...  Merry Christmas, Louisa!

After that, we headed over to Aunt Laur and Uncle PeeWee's for some sledding, followed by more food and more presents! 

Ramona sledding with Pa

Nala chasing Amelia down the hill

Timmy flying down "Rocket Run," as the hill is affectionately called 

Leah had the most finesse out of the sledders.

Me and my baby girl, all decked out in her snowsuit for the first time

Jenna and Penny, ready for more presents

The girls were absolutely worn OUT after two days of nonstop festivities and no naps (for the older two), but they had so much fun spending time with all of my extended family, in particular my "baby" cousins (who are now in middle school and high school -- yeah, THAT makes me feel old) and are just the most amazing people ever, according to Amelia and Ramona.  (To be fair, Leah, Timmy, and Jack are pretty great.)

Yep, I'm pretty sure the girls enjoyed their Christmas in Lyons.

More from our visit to be posted soon!