Gilles Family Adventures

fun times with Jesse, Hillary, Gabe, Claire, and the zoo 


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Farwell 6's

This past weekend we got to meet up with all of my old roommates and all of their new babies (and of course some toddlers too). Sadie was home from New York and Mel was home from Alabama, so it was fun to get all of us together for the first time in 4 years. Mel B and I got to have our baby girls meet Sadie's new baby girl, and of course Gabe loved to monkey around with Carter and Amelia as the "big kids".  Then Amy joined us a little later with Drew and we had more fun. With all the excitement, it was no wonder Gabe and Claire slept nearly the whole way home from Milwaukee!


left to right: Maelle and Amelia (Mel B's girls), Carter (Mel A's), Drew (Amy's), Gabe, and Claire.


Left to right: Hillary, Claire, and Gabe; Carter and Mel A; Sadie and Emma, Amelia, Mel B, and Maelle.

Before we left, I got a cute picture of me with both kids (yes, unfortunately Gabe is eating a hot dog in the picture - with a toddler, sometimes you gotta take what you can get!) 





Holding Out on You

I am aware that I am failing miserably at keeping you all up to date with the goings-on of Team Gilles. Being summer, there is a lot going on (as everyone seems to be finding), and while our little family has had a lot of beautiful moments worth documenting, there seems to be no time to get to the computer to share them with you. Unfortunately several of my favorites were also captured on other family member's cameras, so I am unable to share fully what we've been up to, but I've created another web album of our recent fun with the photos I had:

Some highlights: 

Collin and Nicole's wedding, which both Jesse and Gabe were in. Here is Gabe, posing in his mini tux. 

Claire is losing her hair but gaining the ability to smile and laugh, which she does more and more often, especially if Gabe is around. As her completely biased mama, I think she is getting cuter by the day.  One thing she isn't losing is weight -- she's up to 15 lbs and 24" long -- 4 inches taller and almost double her birth weight, and not even 3 months old!  We are no longer losing so much sleep since she started sleeping 6-8 hour stretches at night this week.   Now if only Gabe would go back to slleping all night, we'd really have a good thing going.



Country-fied Jilly

Lest you think that the chiddlers are the only thing we have been up to, let me tell you about another little project that Jesse and I have embarked upon. Our house came with a ready-made garden, which we are working hard to utilize to its fullest. We enjoyed the asparagus and rhubarb until we had our fill, and now it's raspberry time. After picking berries for  two days straight (that's how long it took to get through all the bushes we have), Jilly and I made a batch of jam after we got the kids to bed (at 10pm) the other night. It was the first time he had ever done so, and got such delight out of creating such goodness from our own garden. Here's him sampling the finished product.



Claire's Baptism & Other Fun

There's no question in my mind that summer is officially here, because we've been even more busy than just the busy-ness of a new baby plus a toddler. Over this past weekend, we went to the zoo, a baby shower, a surprise birthday party for my dad, and had Claire baptized with a party for her afterward at our house. That was after spending last weekend attending a wedding shower and staying a long weekend at the cabin with family right on the heels of my latest hospital stay. Yes, more recovery setbacks, but this time I should be finally close to 100% healed. I ended up needing a D&C again after this pregnancy, just like with Gabe. Luckily I didn't have quite as scary a time preceding it as last time.  

But enough about that. Gabe is continuing to grow into his "big brother" role, and has started asking to hold Claire and likes to adjust the speed of her swing or rock her carseat if she gets fussy before we get out the door. He's also continuing to grow into the "terrible two's" and can be quick to meltdown over things like not getting to eat "choco" or having to come inside to have lunch.His language skills are taking off and every day he says something new that amazes us.  And Claire is continuing to put on weight (she's starting to outgrow her 0-3 month clothes as she's over 11 lbs!) and spends more time awake, taking everything in with her big blue eyes. She still loves to be held and is quick to voice her opinion if she is unhappy, which is thankfully not very often.

Jesse put up two albums, one from Claire's baptism and one of fun stuff we've been up to over the past month. Go to to view what we've been up to.


Girl's Club

This is officially the year of the baby girl. Claire was the first of 4 baby girls I know that were born to our other friends pregnant at the same time as I was. Rounding out the club are Reese Susan, born May 8 to Abby & Ryan; Maelle Jo (Amelia's baby sister), born May 12 to Mel and Tim; and now Emma Grace, born June 10 to Sadie and Justin (who thought they were having a boy!). We have two cousins who are still pregnant -- one of whom knows she's having a girl too -- so clearly girls rule.



Back to "Normal"

Today was Day 3 of Mama vs the Double Team, and I think it's safe to say the score is 3-0 in favor of Mama. I've been pleasantly surprised at how much a newborn + toddler is nearly identical to just the toddler, and how helpful Gabe continues to be. (I'm relishing the quiet time before Claire starts crawling, Gabe gives up his naps and the real chaos starts!)

Claire had her two-week checkup today, where she measured in at 9 pounds, 2 ounces, and 20 1/2 inches long -- an additional pound and another inch more than her birth size. In my opinion, she's also grown cuter in the looks department as well - her features are getting more pronounced as her own, not just that of a newborn.

Not to be outdone in the cute department, Gabe continues to grow and amaze us with his antics. He has started to recognize letters and can name M, G, I, and O consistently.  He also gained the words "mine" and "cute" when Claire came home (go figure). He always wants to know her whereabouts and likes to tickle her, (as illustrated in the photo) but that's the extent of his interest for the moment. So far I think he's doing a great job as a big brother.  

As for my recovery, I had a small setback over the weekend when they discovered I had a uterine infection and a UTI (probably due to taking prednisone for my rash which suppressed my immune system) but thanks to the miracle of antibiotics, I now feel very nearly back to normal. It's so nice to be able to keep up with Gabe again, and I even got into the garden a little bit to pick asparagus. Pregnancy has its perks (hello, seconds on ice cream) but I'm happy to be getting my regular body back - I have a feeling I'll need it to keep up with these two over the course of the summer!


Good Times

EWe've been home for nearly a week, and things are still going much better than I anticipated. Despite her night owl tendencies, Claire has settled in to the chaos of Casa de Gilles, and though Gabe tends to run a tad high energy (!), he has shared several tender moments with his little sister as well. My rash is nearly gone, as is Claire's jaundice, so that's a bonus too. The hardest thing for me at this point is dealing with the lack of stamina to keep up with both kids' needs. Gabe is pretty good about staying out of trouble while I feed Claire, and she sleeps so much that Gabe's routine is essentially unaltered by her needs. If I could just get used to such short bursts of sleep at night and no longer taking the afternoon naps I got accustomed to in the last weeks of pregnancy, things would be perfect. :)

In case you were worried that this blog is now going to be all about Claire, don't worry -- here's a great Gabe story for you. My dad wanted two things for his birthday - a tool chest and a ride-on Tonka Truck for Gabe. Luckily my mom is a great gift giver and he got what he wanted - here is a shot of Gabe on "Boppa's Present" last night.  (the above pic is Claire and Gabe snuggling during "Cheech" time before nap one day.)

More fun on the Picasa album too -



Only a few hours after my last post, the baby decided to hurry up and come out - just 2 hours after my water broke at home, Claire Catherine arrived. I never saw myself as a no-drugs-delivery sort of mama, but because of the great rush, that's exactly what happened.  Now, after the fact, I am grateful for the way things went, because I feel very close to normal already.  Claire has taken to nursing with great gusto, yet another welcome change from Gabe's birth experience. Almost everything seems to be 100 times easier than the first time around, and for that I feel very blessed.

Claire and I each have just one small glitch: she is a bit jaundiced, so they sent us home with a "bili blanket" to help bring down her bilirubin levels (but at least she got to come home with us -- a new and novel idea to us as parents!). As for me, the rash that started in my stretch marks has developed into all-out hives covering my hands, knees, and is spreading by the day. My OB diagnosed it as "pregnancy herpes" - a condition that he's only seen 12 times in 20 years of practice.  Apparently it's not a true herpes, but an autoimmune response. My treatment includes prednisone and benadryl, which coupled with the lack of sleep that comes with bringing home a newborn is a little challenging. With all the things that could have happened, I'm more than happy to be dealing with an itchy rash and a light blanket. It feels great to be home with our new family, and both Big Brother and the beasts have accepted Claire into the zoo. Life is beautiful.  

We're posting more and more photos by the day to Jesse's web album, so check back often:



False Alarm with a Side of Progress

Last night turned out to be yet another exercise in futility as once again, the baby started contractions that ceased to be "productive". Here's what happened: contractions started up, the strongest yet, midafternoon. By Gabe's bedtime, I was convinced that it really would be "Go" time, so Mom, Dad, and Erni came to pick up Gabe so we could get some rest before we went into the hospital. By 2am, the contractions were within the doctor's guidelines (more than a minute long and 5 minutes apart) so we called the hospital and they said to come in. By 4am, I was pretty much the same as I had been when I got there, so they sent me home with sleeping meds to sleep through the contractions that were still going on.

When I woke up to go to my weekly checkup, I was pretty bummed to find out that a whole 16 hours of contractions off and on hadn't resulted in any change. However, the good Doc did throw us a bone and said since I'll be 39 weeks this weekend, we can induce labor on Saturday if I haven't gone into full labor on my own by then. Finally --a light at the end of the tunnel! 

Who knew that two babies from the same mama could be so different? With Gabe, I was barely having contractions, but went to the hospital assuming they would stop labor, only to have it be the real thing; yet with this baby, I've had multiple signs of imminent labor, but find out that it's not time after all.... Just goes to show you who is in control when you have kids (hint for those of you without kids: it's not you.)


Not Yet

Apparently we have been the topic of much discussion among our friends and family, but most people are afraid to call or email and find out how things are going. Nope, no baby yet. Yes, we are making progress -- as of Tuesday I was dilated to 2 cm, but the doctor was reluctant to promise me I would deliver by the end of the week. He said he wouldn't be surprised if I did, but he didn't want to have me mad if I ended up at my appointment next week with no baby. At least he said it should be a pretty easy labor since I've gotten a lot of the early labor stuff out of the way already, and that it's probably not a huge baby (though tell that to my belly and bladder! I think my stretch marks have stretch marks, I'm so huge.) 







For your enjoyment, a picture of the "little" family before we become a "big" family. Shot 1 was taken while trying to get Gabe to sit for the camera. Shot 2 was taken after he was bribed to 'say cheese' with a mini Oreo. (Can you say, Owned by a toddler?!) I think you can tell how big I am from the photo without posting another unflattering profile shot.

Stay tuned to see how the rest of the week goes..... we'll keep you posted. (If you are dying to know and haven't seen anything new on here, you can always call Jesse or me and ask, too! We won't bite your head off if you are curious!) :) 



Daddies Need to Nest, Too

All weekend while I was having contractions on and off and generally lying around and being crabby, Jesse was busy as a bee getting projects checked off his own to-do list. The Heckers happened to be up this weekend, and they willingly got roped into the action. While Jesse and Hecker were putting in a new wall outlet for the computer nook, Gabe got out his toolbox to help out. I couldn't resist posting this cute picture.


Hurry Up and Wait

I was happy to get past Gabe's gestational birthday with Baby G2 on April 12, and even happier to hear from the doctor a few days later that I was out of the danger zone for premature delivery, and that the baby had already dropped and I was mostly thinned out, but not dilated yet. As of Tuesday, he said the baby could come anytime, or take as much as another month. Either way seemed ok with me -- I celebrated the good news (and the end of tax season) with a girls' shopping afternoon with Mom and Erin.

Then on Wednesday night, I started having contractions - not terribly strong and randomly spaced, but real contractions nonetheless. When we went to bed that night, Jesse and I both thought for sure that we would be getting up sometime before sunrise to go to the hospital. But sunrise came, and the contractions stopped. Early Sunday morning, I started having contractions again -- this time stronger and closer together than they had been on Wednesday, so I thought this is it for sure. We were about 5 minutes short of leaving the house for the hospital when once again, they stopped. This time I had gotten really pumped up about actually having the baby, so needless to say I was pretty disappointed to once again put my bag away and go back to lying on the couch like a beached whale. 

Since my pregnancy with Gabe ended more than a week ago, gestation-wise, this is uncharted territory, and you know I'm not great with waiting. Coupled with the facts that only about 5 shirts still fit my ginormous belly, and that everywhere I go, people look at me like I'm a time bomb, is making me anxious for the baby to be out where I can see and hold it, and go back to being a "normal" person.


Introducing... the nursery


The Gilles painting elves were hard at work this weekend, helping to complete the office-to-nursery transformation. While there are some smaller things here and there to finish up (new rug, a custom blanket for baby, hanging pictures, etc) I think the room is in great shape in case the baby decides he/she is ready to make an appearance. Two years and two months ago tomorrow is when Gabe was born, so in our book the baby could be here any time. We haven't quite narrowed down final names yet, but other than that I think we're nearly ready to meet the newest member of the family

Also, call us superstitious, but there will be no more "belly shots" until after I've crossed the 37-week mark. We took a photo at 35 weeks when I was pregnant with Gabe, and I went into labor the next day. We're not willing to risk it until we're out of the premie danger zone! Suffice it to say that my skin is stretched past capacity, and the baby is high enough to be causing plenty of heartburn and breathlessness. Adding to the fun, I've been very itchy, and my attempt to soothe my skin with an oatmeal bath was an exercise in futility, to say the very least. I wasn't able to get my full belly under the water, and maneuvering around the bathtub without the use of my overstretched stomach muscles was extremely challenging. Let's just say I won't be attempting that again anytime soon!

In lieu of a picture of me, here's a fun one of Gabe and Auntie Kate, when she was home during her spring break. We were at a fun indoor playspace called the "Giggle Factory", where kids can climb, slide, and maneuver around a big obstacle course without parents having to worry about them falling out and breaking a limb. I am way too big to fit in there with him, but luckily Auntie "Kaaay" was up to the task.


Never A Dull Moment

The crazy monkey is at it again. Today we learned that Gabe can get into the bathtub himself after Jesse left Gabe half-dressed next to the tub as it was filling for bathtime. He came back, after literally less than a minute, to find Gabe in the tub playing with his cups, still wearing his shirt and diaper. Being the veteran parents that we are becoming, this time Jesse called for me to bring in the camera, instead of leaving him alone again. We couldn't let the moment go by without capturing it -- gotta start building up the embarrassing graduation photo arsenal sometime!



Happy St Patrick's Day

I think the words on his shirt pretty much say it all..."Wee little trouble maker". 

And after a week of beautiful almost-spring weather, we woke up today to... more snowing. What a rotten trick for the little leprechauns to play on us.



Splish Splash 

It's the return of the green boots! Now that we are experiencing our spring thaw, Gabe was totally pumped to put his beloved green boots on and get outside some more. I was totally pumped that he could put them on himself now! They are pretty snug, so we'll have to graduate to a new pair of green boots, but him putting shoes on himself couldn't come at a better time, when I can barely get my body bent in half to get my own shoes on.  




Rounding the Home Stretch

I'll be 32 weeks (8 months) on Saturday, and I'm starting to really feel like the end is near. (At least, I hope it is.) Here's the most recent belly pic. I'm having a little bit of a hard time because I feel mentally very busy, constructing tons of to-do lists, yet physically, my body is tired so I am having trouble just keeping up with Gabe, let alone doing anything above and beyond the ordinary. Add to the lethargy that I am having braxton-hicks contractions when I move around too long and it makes a mama not want to get off the couch. It seems like it will be a long 4-8 weeks, but the alternative, an early labor and another NICU experience, is something I'd rather not deal with again if I can help it. On the plus side, I am excited to meet this bouncing, active baby. It is extremely busy -- more than I remember Gabe being. 


Gabe's Other Faves

Reading over my last post, I realized that it may seem like I've let all my standards go and turned Gabe into a TV junkie. While he does get to watch more TV than I'd like, he has gotten numerous new toys for his birthday that are even more captivating than Wallace and Gromit or George. 

Here are some of the newest fave's: 

  • a tractor that sings "Green Acres" that Gabe loves to race around the living room; 
  • the kitchen set that makes noise as it fries eggs or you run the microwave; 
  • a cool puzzle with 3-D tool shapes; 
    • foam fish that came with a fishing pole that enhance bathtime.  
    • "Curious George's Big Book of Curiosity", his new #1 bedtime request. 

We've been having such a great time with him this winter, as you can undoubtedly tell from the funny stories I've been posting. I posted a web album of other fun moments that you can view here:




Gabe's New Fave







Gabe has a new fixation -- Wallace and Gromit, which he calls "Sheep" because his favorite episode is "A Close Shave". For any of you out there who have not seen it, Wallace and Gromit is a British Claymation cartoon from the 90's - it's pretty clever, and apparently contains enough doggies, trains, planes, and other critters to entertain a toddler besides. Not that it has replaced "Cheech" by a long stretch -- but it is a welcome diversion from the nonstop George viewing. 



Happy 2nd Birthday Gabe!









We weren't even unpacked from our trip before we had another milestone to celebrate, Gabe turning 2 today! Our families came over Saturday to help us celebrate. I think the highlight of the party for Gabe was blowing out the candle and digging into the frosting of the dump truck cake. As you can see, once he got a little sugar into him he turned into the frosting monster and tried to goob up anyone who stood in his way. It was quite a lot of fun, as are most things we do with Gabe these days.  I can't believe my baby is 2 -- there's not much "baby" left in him...  

I must say I'm pretty proud of my handiwork with the cake, which was completely excessive for a 2-year-old's party, but my creative juices needed an outlet. It was a marble cake with a layer of chocolate pudding and crushed oreos, topped with chocolate frosting and a dump truck with oreo wheels and mini oreos in the bed of the dump truck. On the side, we had - what else? - cookies and cream ice cream. I think I may go have a piece now to remember just how delicious it was. 



(Mel's) Sweet Home Alabama 


Gabe and I just got back from our "brave" trip to visit Mel, Chuck, and Carter in Birmingham, AL. I must say that my fears were unfounded, as Gabe was a model travel companion. Our "Thing 1 and Thing 2" were quite the pair -- it was crazy to see how much alike our boys are, and being at such a fun age, they enjoyed our outings to the zoo, a science museum, the park, etc. The only slight setback we had was dealing with a quick incident of carsickness as we pulled into the parking lot of the zoo - and after we got him cleaned up, Gabe was totally fine to run around after his fellow monkey, Carter.

Mel has some great pics you can access here:



Happy Valentine's Day!

Lots of love to all of you. Being in the stage of pregnancy where food is almost constantly on my mind, I am celebrating my love for my boys in a traditional way -- through their stomach.  I caved and let Gabe pick out some ridiculously sugary donut holes with red and pink sprinkles at the store yesterday, and Daddy is getting a homemade raspberry-chocolate pie. (The bonus of both of these gifts is that I get to enjoy them too!)

This morning Gabe got really into coloring a valentine - it was so cute I have to share it. It's probably the novelty factor and not my artistic genes, but he gets really into coloring with markers or playing with play-doh, which of course I'm all too happy to encourage. Hey, we can't play with trucks all day! :)

In other news, Gabe has graduated to a "big-boy" bed! He decided about a week and a half ago that he was done sleeping in the crib, and wouldn't settle down unless we let him sleep on the mattress in his room (which we had been using as the reading corner/wrestling mat). After 3 successful nights on the mattress on the floor, we graduated him to the twin bed frame we just got from the Enwalds, and he's been sleeping like a champ there ever since. It's a big relief to stop having the midnight sleep battles - now when he wakes up and asks to watch "Cheech" in the middle of the night, we just have to tell him George is sleeping, and he settles for a few minutes of mom or dad snuggling in bed with him before going back to sleep. Ah, blissful sleep. We are trying to get our fill of it now before the new baby comes and sleep goes bye-bye.




Gabe and I were all packed and ready to go to Alabama when calamity struck - we were blindsided by the flu. Wednesday night Gabe woke up puking, and spent the next several hours heaving every 20 minutes until 5 am, but was fine by the next morning. (Mama was pretty wiped though.) Then he had a minor setback of puking Friday night, which made me nervous to get on a plane with him the next afternoon. Fortunately, I didn't have to make the call of deciding whether to go or stay. Unfortunately, it was because I picked up his bug Friday night and spent a restless night vomiting as well. Luckily we happened to have purchased travel insurance, and I was sick on the weekend so Jesse was home to be mama/daddy/nurse. Then just when it looked like things were improving, Jesse got the bug too, and was down and out through Saturday night and Sunday. What a sucky way to spend the weekend. 

On a side note, has anyone ever had the flu when 6 months pregnant? Let me tell you, it is a strange sensation to be trying to calm your just-heaved stomach when the baby is pinballing around going "what's going on in here?"

You can thank me for not taking (or posting) pictures of "sick camp" - the living room at casa de gilles - or of any of the 3 of us over the weekend.



Babies on Board

During the past two weeks, I have learned that the number of pregnant people I know has more than doubled from 3 (counting me) to 7. Since I'm not sure if all of them have announced it to the world, I won't list names, but if you prego mamas are reading this, congratulations to you -- you are in for a wild, amazing ride. A couple are, like me, becoming moms of 2 -- hopefully we can share tips because I know it's going to be a bumpy road at first. Today Gabe threw a tantrum while we were in the kids section of the library because I made him share a toy that he likes there with a 9-month old who could barely pull up to stand. Not cool. 

So, in thinking about all of these prego mamas, I realized that I have yet to photograph the belly in the "pregnant profile". Sorry baby. So here we are, at 22 weeks. It's not a great shot, but it's at least accurate. Hopefully we can get in a prenatal/family photo session with Amy this time to document the changes more beautifully. (Amy, are you and your boys interested in a road trip to the Northwoods?)

Speaking of babies on board, in a few weeks I am taking my babies on an adventure -- Gabe and I will be flying to Alabama to visit Mel and Carter. Since I have not traveled on a plane - A) while pregnant or B) alone with Gabe - it should be quite an experience. I guess I'm either really brave or really stupid -- we'll find out which after we get there. If any of you out there have tips on coping with either A) or B) above I welcome hearing them.  I'm so excited to go, since Mel and I basically live parallel lives several states away. It will be really fun for us to go hang out with our "twins" for almost a week, plus you can't complain about getting away from the cold of WI either. 



Monkey Antics

Saturday morning, I woke up to the usual "Mommy? Daddy? Cheech? Cup? Mommy? Daddy?" questions of Gabe. But when I went to get him out of his crib, I burst out laughing. Somehow, he had gotten his arms out of his sleeper without unzipping it, and was wearing it around his waist like a wrestler pulls off his singlet between matches. He wouldn't stay in the crib long enough for me to get the camera, but he would allow me to shoot a picture of him while he was on the couch (watching George, of course). Enjoy our silly monkey! 





Happy New Year!

We had another successful Gilles New Year's Rockin' Eve! this year. Even though we now live 4+ hours from the usual "party people", we managed to have nearly everyone make it, so it was a blast, to say the least.  Luckily, the 2 toddlers (in their matching PJ's) slept through all the noise, once they stopped racing around and finally went to bed at 9pm.

Notable moments included a race between Ian, Carl, & Richie that started with jumping off the deck and running around the house in the foot-deep snow (in socks), a 2am sled trip into the ravine to "show 2008 who's boss" by Heck & Richie, and Jilly making it through the entire party to the cleanup phase at 3am, instead of sneaking off to bed from too much champagne. 

A big thank you to all you attendee's for travelling so far to join us - I hope it was worth the trip to you. We couldn't have asked for a better time (or for better friends). 

Check out Jesse's album at

or Heidi's more thorough, wilder album at

There were a couple of particular hits of the party that people asked for the recipe of: Jesse's Tom & Jerry Mix and my Bruschetta. Click the links to download the recipes as Word doc's. 


Happy Endings to the Christmas Story

I'm happy to report that we had a beautiful, fun, and somewhat even relaxing Christmas.  The puking incident earlier last week turned into what Dr Kate diagnosed as a bout of Rotovirus, unfortunately with vomiting and diarrhea both. Fortunately, it had mostly subsided by Christmas Eve, so we were able to enjoy Christmas with both families after a very rough weekend. 

Gabe was much more fun to watch open presents this Christmas, and the day after Christmas was even funnier, watching him try to decide what to do first -- draw on the magnadoodle, drive one of the many new trucks around, vacuum, do a puzzle, color in the Curious George coloring book at his new art desk, or ride his new rocking horse or trike. Thanks to Grandma and Grandpa Gilles, Nana and Boppa Traynor, Auntie Erni, Auntie Kate & Uncle Heck, and Aunt Nicole and Uncle Collin for such lavish spoiling. (Aunt Carol, I have a bone to pick with you about a certain Elmo Guitar....) :)  








Now we're gearing up for a fun weekend of friends visiting that will culminate in our new house's first party, "Gilles New Year's Rockin' Eve!" Stay tuned to find out what hilarious antics ensue when intelligent adults and Wild Turkey mix.


The Whole Thing Makes Me Want to Puke... Literally.

While I enjoy being a parent to no end, there is one thing I've had to deal with that I could do without, and that is cleaning puke from a car seat. I can handle the spontaneity with which vomiting seems to happen, I can handle cleaning up the crying child and the accompanying laundering, I can even deal with finding and cleaning it out from under my own fingernails, but the one part I cannot handle is getting it out of a car seat. 

Since this wouldn't be a true blog unless I provided useful information as well as endearing anecdotes, I would like to share my "fun tips" for removing puke from a car seat. Since today was my fourth time in six months to practice the skill, I feel I have some valuable insight in how to deal with it. 

Since my description is quite lengthy, I've put it on its own page, viewable here. It is not for the faint of heart, but it is for those with a good sense of humor, or those who have had to clean up puke that came from someone other than themselves. Hope you enjoy a good laugh at my expense. :)   



It's A...Baby!

It was exciting to go to the Doctor today, because today was ultrasound day! Jesse and I marveled that our baby had everything going for it that it should at 20 weeks - a 4 chambered heart, full spine, normal sized head, 10 toes, 10 fingers - and we held fast to our "wait-and-see" decision, even when the doctor told us to turn our heads so he could check out the baby's genitalia. (Sorry Kath and Mel -- I know you are dying to know.)  :)








I know that ultrasound pics are not the clearest to interpret, but wanted to give you far-reaching friends and family a glimpse of Baby G2 nonetheless. Unlike Gabe, this baby is seemingly shy, since it kept putting its hands by its face when the doc tried to get a 3-D portrait. However, like Gabe, it is a bouncy, active baby - and it's motions are strong enough that Jesse can already feel them, too. We better get a start on picking out names - at the rate this pregnancy seems to be going, the baby will be here before we know it!  


Snow Fun

Gabe and Paddington had a blast outside this morning -- it was sunny and not too cold, so it was prime winter playtime. Thought you snowbirds in Alabama and Florida might enjoy a glimpse of what you are missing. 






Welcome Max and Mac!

Two of our good friends in Milwaukee expanded their families with two new babies in the past week. Maxwell Henry Enwald joined Matt, Sarah, Ben, and Grace on November 7, and Mackenzie Jaime Wooten joined Jaime, Matt, and Madeline on November 12. Both were about 7 lbs, 11 oz, but the funny thing is Sarah was three weeks ahead of her due date, while Jaime was two weeks behind her due date! But from the looks of things, both babies are thriving and the big sibs are taking the newbies in stride. 

Mackenzie (with big Sis Madeline)






We had the honor of becoming Max's godparents at his baptism ceremony on Sunday. Gabe had a blast playing with the 'big kids' Ben and Grace, and jumping on Kate and Heck's 'trampoline' (the blow-up bed we slept on).

It was fun to visit Milwaukee again (it's been a few months) and are looking forward to another trip when we can meet Mackenzie and see other friends that were neglected this trip.  



Trick or Treat

Happy Halloween! As you can see in the pictures we got into the Halloween spirit this year. Gabe went as (what else) a monkey, after his hero Curious George. In keeping with our monkey theme, he also helped me to carve a pumpkin on the gorgeous Sunday we had here. We also tried our first run at trick-or-treating, with stops at Great Grandpa and Grandma Gilles', then Grandma Becky and Grandpa Rod's, and a final stop at Grandma Claudia and Grandpa Mike's. We'll try to get up some pics of the evening fun, but for now enjoy Gabe's solo costume parade and the pumpkin carving experience. 


Busier than Bees

I've been partly insanely busy and partly a slacker, but after enjoying yet another round of photos by my other blogging friends, I decided to get back to it and share what Gabe has been up to. Our crazy monkey is almost 20 months - past time to tell his age in months, probably - and does so many funny things. 

To share a few of my favorite moments:

* He started trying to "jump" this past weekend and also works on perfecting his somersaults, thanks to the "jungle gym" class we go to in our new hometown;

* He's still huge on running around in the yard outside, despite the dropping temperatures, and continues his apple-a-day habit.

* He is obsessed with Curious George, in any form. We now own the movie, several cartoon episodes, a few 'George' books, and even some new shoes with Curious George on them. Gabe calls him "Chi-Chi", or "Cheech" for short. (Which is also what he calls the TV, since that's all he wants to watch, all the time, including at times in the middle of the night.)

* Second to Curious George is TRUCKS, or as Gabe says, "Cucks". Giving a girly-girl like me a boy who is all-boy like Gabe must be God showing his funny side. To help encourage his inner artiste, we did pudding paintings the other day, which were a lot of fun and a huge mess simultaneously. He loves chocolate, so I guess he does take after Mama after all. :)

* Gabe also likes to entertain us with all the animal noises he can do, like a dog, cow, cat, sheep, monkey, and zebra (don't ask me how he picked up that one).

My friends have some pretty cute kid stories going on too -- check out Carter, Drew, Amelia, and Leif on Katherin's page to view some other fun kid photos. 



Beach Bums

The "Farwell Girls" had one of our semi-annual reunions last week, this time at the Terry-Andrae park (and beach) in Sheboygan. Now that all the kids are mobile, we had a (messy) blast playing in the sand and surf. Amy even did a mini-photo session with each mama/baby combo - they turned out completely adorable. 

Check out all the hilarious shots at



Camping Fiasco

True adventurers, Team Gilles joined the Atkinsons for Gabe and Ryan's first camping trip. Pre-kids, we always had a great time camping with Ian and Monika, so who better to test out Gabe's camp-readiness than them? The daytime hours went pretty well, with wagon rides the the playground and lots of digging in the dirt, but nighttime was another story. Gabe woke up a few hours after we put him down, and it took another 3 hours (and 2 car rides) before he finally fell back asleep - not in our tent, but in the guest room of Kath and Carl's house, which was luckily only 10 minutes away. 

In the morning, we drove back to our campsite and resumed the fun with the well-rested Atkinsons. The moral of the story: camping can work, just be sure that a backup plan is nearby. 

Earning a gold star for excellent camp-readiness was Paddington, who behaved like a model camper - chilling out by the fire, and sleeping well in the tent. Ryan, too, did great - roasting his own hot dog and sleeping in his own sleeping bag - for 10 full hours. What a difference 10 months makes!

To view the full collection of photos, visit



Foto Fun

The results are in from our latest photo session with Amy! We had a blast with Amy, and as you can see, she really captured the monkey-ness of Gabe the toddler. What a change from the first session when he was only 3 months old! 

Check it out at 



Probably the Coolest Person I Know

Obviously, I'm referring to Gabe, although unfortunately, I can't claim that I coined the phrase. It was Jesse who vocalized what we were both clearly thinking the other day as Gabe once again amazed us with another newly-developed skill. While his behaviors are by no means original, they are nonetheless remarkable to us. How is it that only 6 months ago he was barely crawling, and now is coordinated enough to climb up the ladder of his Little Tykes slide, transition his legs to the right direction, slide down (fast!) by himself, then get up and run around for another round?? 

Our DVR is probably full of all the TV shows we used to watch - now all we do is gape in fascination at our amazing little man -- probably the coolest person we know. 





Fun & Games in Our Nation's Capital

We just got back from a family vacation with the Traynor clan in Washington DC, and Williamsburg, VA.  Joined by the Boston crew - Aunt Carol, Uncle Ken, Cousin April, her husband John, their two kids Ashley and Nick, and Cousin Kenny and his fiance Michelle, we had a great time both staying busy and doing nothing at all. 

Our camera only caught a few of the priceless moments on the trip, but what we have is fun to look at here: Picasa Web Album- DCWilliamsburg 2007


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