Saturday, December 30, 2006

New Year's Golfing

Wow - another atypical December day, sunny and moderate temps. I was driving through town and saw Maple Hill golf course packed with golfers. I guess it's cool, they'll be able to say they golfed on December 30 (and maybe 31 too, if it stays like this). How often does that happen?

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Cassie, Come Home!

Our guest has returned to her happy home. The owner had not updated the tag, because she was planning on registering the dog after all the paperwork transfered. She lives on Riverbend... the dog hadn't gone too far.

The dog was rescued by a guy from a breeder. The breeder keeps lots of Scotties in tiny pens, and even though Cassie is only 5 years old, she has already had 9 litters. The cages have to be large enough for the dog not to touch any side of the cage, hence the stubby tail. They trim the tail so that the dog will be just barely not touching the sides (which goes to show you how small the little cage must be!)! She was just taken out to breed and deliver, and the rest of her time was spent in the tiny cage. So it's a good thing she was rescued by these people! Poor thing! What a way to spend 5 years... I imagine she has suffered psychologically as well as physically. I mentioned that we thought it might be a schnauzer because of the stubby tail - that's when she explained about the practice of cutting it shorter. I thought declawing was cruel!

Anyway, I'm glad she is back safe at home. And now we don't have to wonder what will become of the min-pin. He ran home after we picked up the terrier!

"God Loves a Terrier"

Here's our new house guest.

Ron and I were driving back from my parents' house and at the intersection of Riverbend and Butterworth, we saw two dogs trotting along, both with collars w/ tags. Ron stopped the car and called to them... the little one (looked like a mini pinscher) ran off, but the Scottish Terrier jumped right into the car like we were old friends. It's tag had a phone number for a humane society in Lenawee county (Adrian, MI... east side). I called the number, but since it was after hours I only could leave a message.

We drove to the Grandville Police dept and spent a little while there, while the on-duty officers tried calling every number they could think of to find out where we could bring her. Even all the "back door" numbers, as they put it. No luck. I said that it was getting too late (10:00 PM) to be dealing with this, I had a baby in the car and we had to get home... I said I'd just take her over night and call the place in the morning, during business hours.

Didn't have to - they called me right at 8:00 and told me the name and phone number of the owner - and the name of the dog: Cassie. The man lives in Lansing, but I am hoping he will return my call and come pick up the dog tonight. We can't have another pet. I am also not sure how long the dog has been on the run, but we can't take any chances with anything it may have "picked up" along the way. So, we're keeping her more or less seperated from Killian... but when they are around each other they get along just fine. Just checking each other out.

I'm just glad we have a big fenced in yard, and a breezeway (where she slept last night). It makes it a lot easier to babysit someone else's dog.

I wish we could have caught the other dog. I think they were traveling together. I hope that someone is able to capture him (or her) and contact the owner. I am happy we were able to get Cassie before she was hit by a car or attacked by an animal. This dog is incredibly sweet and obedient, well trained (sit, stay, come, all that)... so I am hoping the owner is excited to hear she is okay and in good care.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


This is not the photo we used for the Christmas card. This was taken the next day, and I didn't see how good it was until we had already had our cards printed. She just looks really pretty here, so maybe we'll have to get a print of it sometime. I still love the picture we chose for our cards.

Here she is playing in the Exersaucer. She's actually too young for it, but I stuffed a couple blankets around her body to keep her more "upright". She always seems to enjoy her time in there, and I think it's good for her!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Come All Ye Faithful - and don't forget the cookies

I really enjoyed his editorial this week. I do every week, but thought I'd share it here...

by Garrison Keillor

A child is singing in the next room, calling on the faithful to come and be joyful and triumphant, as she watches a light-up snowman whose hands and feet and eyes turn green and blue and red and purple. A Santa perches on the mantle over the fireplace and two manger scenes cohabit the side table, a standard King James one and an American Indian one in which the Holy Family is gathered in front of a teepee and one of the Magi looks like Sitting Bull. There is talk of a Christmas tree.

The mood came on suddenly, and it may have been something we inhaled driving by that house on a side street of St. Paul last night. There in the midst of modest homes was the Caesar's Palace of Christmas, blazing white-hot in the dark with reindeer, shepherds, snowmen, angels, elves, radiant beams, etc. Not my taste, but Christmas has something for everyone.

You like to cook? Try roasting a goose. Anyone who can accomplish that is qualified to run for public office. If you like to shop, here's the world championship event. Want to practice charity? The needy stand before you. Are you a drunk? Welcome to Alcoholics Unanimous. Art and decoration: be as gaudy as you like. Want to feel close to people? Come to church and sing. Whether or not you believe that the Creator of the Universe came to earth in the body of a child, the day itself is an enormous gift.

There are people who feel "excluded" by Christian symbolism and are offended by the manger and the angels and the Child, but there have always been humorless, legalistic people. Complaint is an American art form, and in our time it has been raised to an operatic level. To which one can only say: get a life. When you go to France, you don't expect a stack of buckwheat pancakes for breakfast or Le Monde to print box scores. You're in France. Now you're in America. It's a Christian culture. Work with it.

The essentials of Christmas are few, in my book, and a big wad of cash is not one of them, nor do you need a 99.44 percent pure heart that is filled with faith. You do need Christmas cookies. Thin gingery ones in iconic shapes with sugar sprinkles and a dab of frosting. You need candles. And you absolutely need carols.

You could make Christmas just out of the Three Cs, though it would be nice to also have city streets with shops with an array of gifts in the windows, perfumes, model trains, wind-up animals that do backflips, woolen gloves and scarves, pens, and leather-bound diaries with a lock and a key. It would be good to have cold and snow so that you can haul yourself and a toboggan to the top of a steep slope and shove off into the dark so that the primitive thrill of falling shoots you full of adrenaline, which makes the cookies taste better. And you need "Silent Night" just before midnight on December 24 when the lights dim and everyone in church stands up and sings, and tears well up in your eyes, and all of your Christmases meld into one.

The little girl singing in the next room is blissfully happy at this moment, but the life of a little girl is very dramatic — it revolves around (1) jumping up and down and squealing, (2) collapsing in tears, (3) collapsing in laughter, (4) rapt adoration, and (5) hopeless frustration. Sometimes in rapid succession.

So it is with Christmas. You can go straight from pure bliss to desperate remorse in less than a minute. There are dead friends that one does not ever quite forget, and there is the great wound of divorce which, even though 30 years in the past, can come open and bleed and almost break your heart. You walk to church and she's waiting for you in the shadows, asking, "Why did you do that?"

Christmas is an artistic performance, and art, by and large, is not made by contented people. It is made by wounded recluses, freaks, the absurdly self-conscious, the haunted and guilty, the humiliated, the outcasts, and we create this, first and foremost, for our children. To rise up out of confusion and dismay, with ghosts whispering to us, and bake cookies and light a candle and sing "Silent Night" — I can do that for my child, and if your children want to join us, they are most welcome


Poor Lucy had to get 5 shots today to protect her from a whole variety of diseases... she got 1 in her arm, and 2 in each leg, plus a vaccination given orally. She screamed and her face turned so red, I felt so bad for her because there was really nothing I could do. She quickly calmed down though, and fell asleep on the ride home. She was definitely tired because she hadn't really taken a morning nap, and I think getting those shots probably wore her out a little bit too.

I was wrong about her weight - she is not over 14 pounds. She is 13 lb. 8 oz., 24 inches long. She's a little above average size, but with how long she is, she is proportionate. She's also really healthy and happy, likes any food I give her, and smiles and coos more and more all the time.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Snow Day!

So 2 days later we have an instant Winter Wonderland - and an extended weekend for Ron, since most area schools were cancelled today. That's the one kind of phone call we're happy to get before 6:00 AM.

So, today Lucy is 2 months old - wow! She is growing a lot, and the other day I was packing away some of her newborn clothes and was amazed at how tiny she used to be... those clothes were huge on her at one point (well, 8 weeks ago, to be exact). Maybe in a few years I'll get to use them again.

Ron cleared the driveway, and we're still hunting for our box of gloves/scarves/hats. Somehow they've been misplaced in the not-so-organized basement. Why am I not surprised. They'll turn up sometime in April, I'm sure...

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

In the 60's!

I can't believe this weather. I was reading back in my journal and saw an entry from mid-October, the weather was in the 50's and I was like, "oh we won't have a day this nice again for several months". I guess I was wrong. It's supposed to start cooling off after today though.

I went to the mall yesterday to help my mom pick out some new clothes for her trip to Chicago. Lucy slept the whole time. She seems to do that whenever we're out and about, so I guess I shouldn't worry too much about running errands with her. However, if we're out too long, she sleeps through her feeding time, and it sort of throws her "schedule" off. I think that is why all the holiday partying messed her up a little. At home, things stay fairly routine. It's weird how that works...

I got molasses and am going to attempt gingerbread cookies in a couple of weeks. I tried once, years ago, and they burned. I discovered that they burn very easily, so it's crucial to monitor the cookies closely while baking... they go from raw to ruined in about 10 seconds. At least that one time I tried... maybe the recipe you use makes a difference. Either way, I got snowflake shaped cookie cutters and I am going to pipe icing on to make the designs. I'll do my best and hopefully have better luck this time.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Napping Again

Okay, after the holiday weekend, Lucy's nap schedule was all but completely dismantled. She would become over-tired and cranky at night, doing everything in her power not to fall asleep. After a decent night (10:15-3:30-7:30) she is a much happier, more alert little girl. I even have her down for a morning nap (usually don't have success at that till closer to 11 AM). She'll wake up and want to eat again, and hopefully the cycle can continue like this. If she stays well-rested, she will generally have better sleeping habits, and hopefully soon be sleeping through the night! I would sure love that! I can't believe that for the last 8 weeks I have been essentially functioning on naps, with a couple exceptional nights of 6-8 hours of continuous sleep. It's a good thing I have gotten my taste for coffee back. I think I figured out what the challenge of parenthood really is... it's not the caretaking tasks, or even the emotional giving that takes its toll. Those things come very naturally. What is difficult is the fact that there really is no end of the day... it just keeps going! That's why a night away here and there can do wonders. I miss her so much when she's not with me, but I am grateful for a chance to think about something else. It's good to have her back though.

I can't believe this weather - it's late November and in the mid-50's! I almost wish it would snow so it would feel more Christmasy, but I'm sure we'll get our fair share soon enough. I'll just enjoy this warm spell for the time being and maybe even take a walk this afternoon...

Monday, November 20, 2006

couldn't resist

The other day I was taking tons of pictures of Lucy playing on the floor. She was looking really cute and happy. There are more at our photo site.

Happy Holidays (already!)

I know this is a bit early for some people, but I have started getting ready for the holidays around our house. I put the green pine garland on the front porch, with red bows at each post. I think it looks pretty nice (and I am glad it's done, and I didn't wait until a snowstorm to put it up, like the last 2 years).

I also put up and decorated the small tree in the dining room. The big tree (for the living room) may not go up until after Thanksgiving, but we haven't decided for sure. The greens with little white lights are up above the kitchen windows (that's easy.. and it was time for the fall leaves to come down).

Yesterday was the big Thanksgiving dinner at the Hiddemas. I was smart and didn't stuff myself. Lucy slept almost the entire time. Afterward we went to the Wnuk's for a party they were having (for the last NASCAR race of the season... but I really am not into NASCAR, so whatever). Lisa took a picture of Lucy and Lauren in the crib at her house... I am waiting for her to e-mail it to me so I can post it :). They're only 9 days apart, so they're about the same size... it was really cute to see our little girls laying in there... again Lucy slept almost the whole time we were there (which in turn made her stay up a bit later than usual, but the night was just as easy as any other). We finally met Keith's girlfriend Shannon... she seems really nice. I'm happy he found a good girl who appreciates him. I hope things work out for the best. I have a feeling they will...

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

8 Hours!

Lucy's face is already clearing up! Don't know if it's the vinegar, keeping her face up while she sleeps (using rolled cloth diapers to stop her from laying her cheek on the bed), or if it's just time working things out, but it looks much better today...

Last night she had her usual "fussy" time around 9:00 PM, so instead of trying to ride it out and get her to take a nap (which is almost always impossible.. I get her all calmed down, she appears to be asleep and I lay her in the crib.. only to have her wake up screaming 2 min. later.. so...), I just gave her another small bottle. We almost always "give up" and give her one anyway, and by then it usually has been about 2 hours since she last ate (which isn't long, but it's not like she JUST ate)... so anyway, there is a definite pattern to this, and I think she just needs to eat a little bit more to settle down for bedtime. For whatever reason, it works... and she was asleep around 9:45 or 10:00 PM.

Around 3 AM I heard her making little whiney groaning noises, and I thought she was waking up to eat. I went downstairs and got a bottle ready, and went into her room to get her up. I saw that she was sound asleep! She must have just been in a light sleep phase, and drifted back off... no complaints here. I put the bottle in the fridge and went back to bed. Around 5:00 I woke up again and couldn't believe that she was still sleeping. So I did the stupid thing that apparently everyone does at some point: I went to check on her and see if she was still breathing. She was, of course, so I went back to bed for another hour. She finally woke up around 6:00 AM... so between 10:00 and 6:00 = 8 hours of sleep. That's sleeping through the night! Hope she keeps it up, but even if she doesn't, at least the capability is there, so that's a good first step.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

What's that I see? Oh yes, it's that light I keep hearing about.

Our 1972 Chevrolet Nova, that I have been restoring for about 3 years now, is almost finished. The final coat of paint is on the car finally, and all that remains on the body work is some buffing. By buffing the paint, it'll bring it to a very nice shine, plus it'll get rid of any overspray that might be present. All that remains is to clean the chorme, such as the bumpers and door handles, assemble those, then finish the engine. That's it! I'll be sure to give an update on here as it progresses, but you can also follow the entire restoration by clicking here.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Strength Training

Here's Lucy during her 'tummy time' - she is getting pretty good at picking her head up, and turning it from one side to the other. This photo doesn't show that, but it does show how her legs go up while she's trying to lift her head. There are other pictures on our photo page, but I liked this one because it looks like she is really working hard! She holds her own head up more and more each day - like when I'm burping her, etc. It's fun to see her making progress...

Thursday, October 19, 2006


At the hospital the on-call pediatrician heard an extra little sound in Lucy's heartbeat. Then Dr. Joe heard it, but said, "it's nothing to get excited about". But today we went to the pediatric cardiologist he sent us to, and they did an EKG, and an ultrasound. The doctor said she has a tiny pinhole in the septum between her left and right ventricles. This is called a ventricular septal defect (VSD). That hole makes a little whistle sound when blood crosses (some oxygenated blood is getting over to the side that is not oxygenated yet), but it's not causing her any harm. He thinks it will close up on its own within a few months, almost definitely by 1 year. I am not worried about it, but it sure sounds dramatic - our baby has a hole in her heart! She's thriving so it's not having any adverse effects. I feel better knowing what it is that is making that little sound, and glad that the medical professionals aren't concerned (so neither should I be).

I also finally mailed the birth announcements that I made. I have to make a couple more for a couple people, but I sent over 50! I would not think we needed to send so many, but I hate to leave people out. It's only been 2.5 weeks so I think that's pretty quick to get them out.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Lucy Helena Denning

We had our baby!

Saturday night, September 30, we went to the hospital... I was having contractions 5 minutes apart. We arrived around 9 PM and I was already about 6 cm. At 10:10 the nurses broke my water and I progressed to 10 cm by the time the epidural was being put in... around 1:00 AM. Then it was time to push anyway, and at 2:04 AM October 1st, Lucy was born! She was 8 lb. 3 oz, and 20.5 inches. She looked great and was very alert, loud, and flailing. We've been a little busy lately, but when things settle down a bit, I'll update this more often.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Lauren Pictures

No - this isn't ours! We visited our friends Lisa and Dave on Monday to see them and their new baby Lauren! Here's a few photos:

Saturday, September 23, 2006

One Small Step for Nova, One Giant Leep for Nova-Kind ...

Wow ... what a relief! After years of having the Nova up on jackstands, I finally got it off of the jackstands about a month ago. Since then, I've been prepping it for more prep work, so I can paint it. That time has finally come.

Today, my father-in-law Larry, and I towed the Nova over to his barn. We started to sand the areas of the Nova body that needed some attention. It'll be a lot of work, but if I spend a couple of hours each night sanding the body of it, it should be ready for primer before next weekend.

So, weather pending, next weekend the Nova should be completely primered, and possibly even painted. It might not be painted by next weekend though, since I'll be spending a lot of time wet sanding the primer, paint layers, etc. This also depends on the weather, because with all of the rain we've been getting lately, it can add a lot of humidity to the air, which is not a good thing for paint. I can get away with primering it in high humidity levels, since I need to sand it anyway, but I do need to be careful when I lay the paint down.

Once the paint job is complete, I'll start on the motor. I picked up a 1992 Chevy 350 from the Detroit area. I probably won't do a major rebuild to it, but I will replace all of the gaskets, add a new intake, starter, alternator, etc, etc.

Well, that's the update on the Nova. I'm very excited for the restoration being where it is. It's been a long road with a lot of work.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Lauren Mae Wnuk

Early this morning our friends Lisa and Dave had their baby girl, Lauren Mae. She was just 5 days late. Even though Lisa had been having some contractions for a couple days, nothing was really "happening". Last night they started coming a little more regularly and they went to the hospital. She was at about 4 cm, so they broke her water and then things really got going... thank goodness for modern medicine, because she was able to get pain relief and rest for a while during much of her progression. Around 3 AM it was time to push, and less than an hour later her daughter was born, with a full head of dark hair. She was 8 lbs. 2 oz, and 20" long - just perfect! We are so happy for them and excited to meet the little girl. I will add a photo soon.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Second Ultrasound

This photo of the feet won't give away what the baby looks like!

This afternoon Ron and I went to get another ultrasound (routine to check baby's vitals, size, position, amount of fluid, and a dozen other things)... and this included another 3D (4D Real Time) view of the baby... it was really interesting to see the face again, and try to guess if it's a girl or boy! We had the chance again to find out, but figuring we've made it this far...

So the technicican saved a lot of pictures to a CD for us, and also printed several. Ron even videotaped some of the "moving pictures" on the screen with our digital camera... not something typically allowed, but she said, "technically it's not a video camera, so I don't have a problem with it." Well, we're not advertising the fact that we got to do that, but we're really glad to have that as an additional keepsake. How many people get to have video of their unborn baby! Baby was moving around, and even opened his/her eyes a few times. Everything looks real good again.

I'm not posting any facial photos yet. We'll consider that after the baby comes. Hopefully that's not too long from now!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Goodbye (sad)

Late last night (actually, we were already in bed) Ron and I decided that we had to take Marley to the emergency animal hospital on Plainfield. He had become sick very quickly, and researching what was wrong, and talking to a veterinarian on the phone, we knew there was nothing we could do for him. He was clearly suffering and I knew that his time was running out. We thought we'd wait and see how it was in the morning, but not long after getting in bed we just started worrying that he'd die in the middle of the night... I hated the idea of that. So we threw on some clothes and drove to the animal hospital... Ron filled out the paperwork and we spent some time with him in a little room, just holding him and petting him, I guess trying to make him feel safe and "normal". After a little while it just seemed like it was time to let him go (when is it ever a "good" time?), and the lady came in the room, and I handed him up to her... they went into another room and I think that by the time we got into the car and started it, he was probably gone. I just sobbed all the way home.

I am starting to get accustomed to him not being around, but I still get really sad thinking about him. I keep expecting to see him, and we've been remembering all the cute little things he used to do. I know it's just a cat, but Ron and I are both devastated about losing him. It'll get easier and easier each day but when we're at home, we can definitely feel his absence. I know we gave him a good home, and 2 more years than he may have had, so we try to use that as consolation. We'll never forget him!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Twins = 1 Year!

Tonight we went to the birthday party for Garrett and Ian, who turn ONE year old this weekend. It was a lot of fun - we got to see EVERYONE again, including Steve's parents, and Debbie and Jason, and.. everyone. A lot of kids running around! There was pizza, cake and ice cream. The boys were so cute when everyone sang "Happy Birthday" to them, and they had their little party hats on. I don't think they knew what to make of the whole ordeal. They each got a little cupcake and basically crumbled them up on their high chair trays, maybe a little got eaten! Ian had some blue frosting in his hair, but otherwise it wasn't too messy. I can't believe it's been a year already... They're getting to be pretty big, and actually seem tall for their age.

I also got some more stuff from Heather and from Julie, so we're starting to accumulate lots of clothes (despite not knowing the baby's sex) and also feeding supplies. When we have the baby and know if it's a boy or girl I am sure the hand-me-downs will start really coming in!

Tomorrow: party at Hiddema's. It's a busy weekend.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Fruit Shortage

Somehow our grocery shopping has fallen by the wayside and we have not kept up on my fruit supply. I have to admit I haven't really had too many moments that I would call "cravings" ... I think a craving a really strong need for a certain something, not just "oh, that sounds pretty good". However, right now I am craving citrus fruits. I ate a medium sized bag of blueberries that were partially frozen, and that was good... but I could go for some pineapple or an orange right now. I know fruity cravings are usually a sign (old wive's tale) of a baby girl, one of many old wive's tales I match up with - even though they should be taken with a grain of salt. I'm really starting to obsess about the girl or boy question, and about getting the house clean and everything ready. Today I washed all the wood floors.

Tomorrow is Lisa's baby shower - finally! One week before she is due! I got her a really nice assortment of gifts, I think, and I hope she likes them. Most were from her registry ... so I'm sure she will. She got us some nice gifts too, so it's the least I could do. I can't wait for her baby to come and I hope everything goes well with her labor and delivery. I bet she's getting very anxious.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Time to Pack ?

Yesterday Ron and I had a meeting with the pediatrician - Dr. Taylor. We just talked about general things to expect during the first few days/weeks of the baby's life. He was very laid-back about things, and it made me feel good about the decisions Ron and I have made and will make after the baby comes. Bottom line: trust your instincts. Of course if there is ever a situation where I am at a loss, I can call him or someone at his office and get help. There are so many over-the-top precautions new parents are pressured into taking... but many of them are unnecessary. We're relying on common sense combined with modern knowledge.

At this point I should start thinking about putting some key items in my hospital bag. It's hard to pack everything (I can't go without my toothbrush for 4 weeks), but I just want the day to arrive and somehow I think (illogical as it is) that if I pack now, I'll be "closer" to having the baby. Well, I think it can wait. Even when it is time, I'll have a chance to throw the last-minute items together. No need to panic. I'm just anxious for the day to come.

Today is my mom's birthday - she turns 50! She doesn't seem 50... I don't think she looks 50. Anyway, we're going over there for dinner tonight to celebrate. Nothing fancy, because she doesn't want that kind of thing. Then tomorrow night (Friday) Ron and I are going to see a Second City performance at the Knick in Holland. We have seats near the front, toward the right-hand side. It should be pretty funny. Maybe we can find a way to work a dinner into the evening, but we're a little short on cash lately...

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Starting Over... New Blog!

This is our new blog... we'll see if Ron and I can keep up on this one better than my old one, which I deleted after 1 year. I figure with a baby on the way soon we'll have plenty to write about, and we can share this blog with family and friends. Ron is back to school today, and it's strange to stay home, knowing that I will not be returning to GHS to sub anymore. Actually, it's a huge relief, and I can't wait for the baby to arrive so I can fill my day with taking care of her / him, and taking care of our home. I think the baby will force me to be up and busy all day, and I'll be a lot less likely to sit around and watch game shows...

5 more weeks, give or take, and we'll know if this is a little girl or boy...

These pictures were taken back in early June... but this is what we have to go by for now!