Friday, June 26, 2009

Snapshots of Gage and Mommy's Trip Across Iowa

We're back! We had a great time, first in Davenport, then in Cedar Falls. We got to see both sets of Grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins galore!

We had lunch at Aunt Hannah's house. Grandma E joined us. Unfortunately Dalton was sleeping when we got the camera out.

Aunt Erin and Colin (3 months old)

Cole is checking Gage out. Cole and Colin are the same distance in age as Gage and his soon-to-be baby brother or sister!

Gage is checking Grandpa E out before he gets too comfortable.

Grandpa passed inspection!

Playing with Grandma and Colin

"I like this guy - I want to touch him!"

Having fun with GrandMary in Cedar Falls.

Who can bite the hardest??

"Grandpa Russ holds me up just how I like it!"

Spending time with Aunt Holly before we head back to Ames.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


I just love spontaneous decisions...the pack-your-bags-we're-going-out-of-town kind! It doesn't happen very often, especially now with Gage to think of, but when it does, it's exciting. Yesterday I made one of those decisions. Craig left early in the morning for a business trip in Chicago, leaving me with a teething baby, tears and heartache (that's probably a little over dramatic :). I called him a few minutes later and said, "What do you think about Gage and I going to Davenport and staying with your family for a few days...?" Of course he was all for it and so was his family, so the bags were packed and now here we are, enjoying Grandma and Grandpa, aunts and uncles and cousins! Why didn't we think of this sooner? But then it wouldn't have been a fun spontaneous decision now would it!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

What Has Taken Me So Long?

I feel a little embarrassed that it has taken me this long to figure out how to put a picture in our header! I have been admiring other blogs that have one and have wondered how to do that. Well today was the day that I would find easy it is!! I need to get an updated family picture, but in the meantime my favorite one so far will have to do!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Presents? I Have Presents?!

Craig's 29th birthday came and went with no eating out... but there were presents...

Craig informed me last week that he would be flying to New York for a day business trip the following Wednesday. I immediately said, "On your birthday?" And he said, "That's my birthday?" Leave it to a guy to not pay attention weeks in advance to when his birthday would be!

So off Craig went at 5:00am on his birthday to catch his flight. I did manage to sneak a birthday card from me and one from Gage onto his front seat. Other than that, he did receive a few happy birthday emails and phone calls throughout the day. When he returned home at 10:30 that night he was welcomed with our teething baby's crying from his crib. (I was thinking, perfect timing! :)

After the birthday boy was ready for bed we talked about his day. I finally asked, "So when would you like to open your presents?" "Presents? I have presents?!" It was about 11:00pm and I was thinking it would be sometime in the future, but oh no, he went and got them from the table where I had them waiting and brought them in the bedroom. I said, "Wait! I need to take some pictures!" But there would be no picture taking this birthday. At least he liked his presents! (a Dave Mathews Band cd, "Horton Hears a Who" movie, a Moorman Clothiers gift card and an Iowa State pull-over jacket, for all those who are curious! :)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Irish Twins

Not long ago I heard the term "Irish twins": two babies born to the same family within one year's time. I am sure I've heard it before but this time it takes on new meaning for me... Gage's Irish twin is on the way! (If you read all the way to the bottom of my "5 Years" post you already know...good for you for sticking with my long posts!:)

It truly is a blessing and a miracle! It took over a year and half of trying to get pregnant to finally be blessed with our little Gage. This time it took less than 3 months of not trying to get pregnant with Baby #2!

This is how Daddy found out...a picture of Gage revealing the test results:

We have kept our news under wraps for awhile, but now at 13 weeks we are telling the world! I have to admit, I have been so shocked and overwhelmed that I haven't allowed myself to feel the joy that should come with pregnancy. But over the past few weeks God has shown me that this is His gift to us, and how blessed we are to receive it. I am thrilled for Gage to be a big brother soon!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Gage's First Concert

Last night we went to a free Mark Schultz concert in Grimes. This is as close as I could get for a photo:

Gage loved it! I am realizing more and more that he is a people-watcher. As he heard the music, felt the breeze, and looked around, he just squealed with delight.

Friday, June 12, 2009

5 Years...What a Great Journey!

Today is our 5th anniversary! In some ways it feels like it should be our 10th - not because Craig is difficult to be married to, most of the time :), but because we have done so much in the past 5 years it seems impossible to have fit it all in! In looking back, God's goodness to us is so evident...

We have seen so many wonderful places together! Boston, Cape Cod, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut, La Crosse WI, Portland OR, Atlanta, Chicago, Colorado, San Francisco, Hawaii, Galena IL, San Diego, Seattle...

We built a home together! Our first year of marriage was spent in a nice house on a not-so-nice street...It was perfect for bachelor Craig who started his business out of the basement there, but I was unhappy with all of the college students living in the townhomes across the street. We decided to put it on the market and build a home in Huxley.

Oh what fun it was! We had a wonderful building experience. We actually agreed on most decisions, and those we didn't we both easily let the other have their way! Our home was completed just a few days after we closed and moved out of the other. We were so happy with our new home. We just wanted to be there all the time.

We have been through hard times. Who can ever foresee God's ultimate plans for you? His plan was not in our plans, and we had tough lessons to face financially. A year and a half after we were living "the high life" in our beautiful home, amidst our wonderful travels, devastation struck. Craig was caught in an ugly lawsuit over the sale of his first company, his "baby" that he started while in college, and our world was turned upside down. Our house sat on the market for two years and the bills were piling. We had never had as many "disagreements" as we had during that time. But our relationship was stronger than the battles we faced and God was good to us. Craig made the biggest, most mature and honorable decision he had ever made in his life. He was the bigger person and he settled outside of court, taking a huge loss on the sale of his company. I was so proud of him! After that decision, instead of loss, we saw blessing after blessing. The first was... Our house sold in the summer of '08! We would finally be free of that huge financial burden. What a long awaited answer to prayer.

The second blessing was...on May 8, 2008 we found out we were going to have a baby! After a long year+ of trying to conceive God blessed us with a miracle. What perfect timing, so much better than our own.

In the fall we said goodbye to our beautiful "big red house with a wrap around porch" in Huxley and said hello to our new home...a 3 bedroom split-level duplex in west Ames. It was a very bitter-sweet move, for me anyway. I am a sentimental person so of course I shed some tears for all of the memories we had in that house. But we were looking forward to a new start!

Later in the fall another blessing fell on us...Craig sold his second company, which meant we could finally be completely debt-free! Hallelujah! Craig still had basically the same position in the company, just without the headaches of ownership. A very good situation!

On January 4, 2009 our biggest blessing of all came to us in the form of a beautiful baby boy...Gage William Engelbrecht was born at 10:41am after 17 hours of labor! Those 17 long hours melted away completely as soon as I held my long awaited baby in my arms.

On April 20, 2009 our next blessing...we found out another baby is on its way! (December 24th may not just be Christmas Eve at our house...) Two babies in one year - whew! Just as Gage came to us in God's timing, so would our next baby! A big surprise to us, but we are thrilled and trust in God's continued hand in our lives. Gage is going to be the best big brother, and I can't wait to see Craig holding our next precious gift!

So that, in a nutshell, is our journey over the past 5 years. How clear it is to me that God's hand has been in our lives, our marriage. What a wonderful outlook for the future that gives us! I want to say to my sweet precious husband: Of these past five years, I wouldn't have had it any different. I love the journey and look forward to 50 more years as your wife. I love you!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

To Blanket or Not to Blanket...

...that is the question!

I have been a believer in having nothing in the crib since we stopped swaddling Gage. But lately I have found that Gage likes to snuggle up with a blanket while he sleeps, and he even sleeps longer when he has one to snuggle. I have been letting him have one during naps where I can check on him, but just started putting one in with him at nighttime too...I know he loves it but I can't help but worry about the what-ifs.

Oh what to do! I really don't think he would smother in a blanket at this point since he is very good at turning, rolling and using his hands. But I know freak things can always happen. So do I put him in the crib by himself, alone and miserable, making it more difficult to soothe himself to or back to sleep, or do I give him a blanket to snuggle and he's happy but I'm worried?

Just look at this:

How can I deny him such a comfort??

I am sure this is a divided topic, but please let me know your thoughts!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Fun with the Weaver's, Part 2

Yay! I am finally completing the story of our trip!

We returned to the Weaver's on Saturday night after time spent with the Chovil's. It was great to see Tim and Jo, Annie and Noah again! On Sunday we went to church with them and afterward enjoyed Godfather's lunch buffet, per my request! (I just love that place and we no longer have one in Ames!) After lunch we went to the Tacoma Zoo. It had such a beautiful view from the entrance! We saw a fun bird show and then had about an hour and a half to see the rest before they closed.

On Monday, Memorial Day, we drove onto a ferry and enjoyed the half hour ride to Seattle. We, or I should say Craig and Tim, cleverly worked out a plan to experience the ferry and be most cost-effective at the same time.

We were all ready for lunch by the time we docked so that was first on the agenda. Craig and I love seafood so everytime we go to a coast we take advantage of it. Well, the waterfront restaurant we ate at offered a "shrimp feast" that Craig and I thought we were sharing. We had clam chowder, clams, mussels, salad and lots of varieties of shrimp. We couldn't get over how much food it was and thought we were smart for sharing. We were really getting our money's worth! Then the bill arrived and our bubbles burst...we were each charged for the feast resulting in about a $70 lunch! Yikes! We were ready to yell at the waiter, "We told you we were sharing!" (not really) and looked at the menu again. There we saw in big, bold wording what we missed the first time...each person was charged the listed price, so basically no sharing! Oh well, we got our delicious seafood and enjoyed it immensely!

After lunch we went back to Pike Place Market. If you've ever been there you know that there is a lot to see so we could easily go twice in a week!

We enjoyed the famous doughnuts and bought some souvenirs.

After that we walked to the monorail which took us to Seattle Center, where we could see the Space Needle and lots of other fun stuff! The monorail ride itself was fun! Tim and Jo's bunch took Gage while Craig and I went up the Space Needle. It felt so strange to be without him.
We enjoyed the view, then caught up with the Weaver's at the Children's Museum. By the time we took the monorail back we were ready to drive home.

Over the next two days we introduced Tim and Jo to Redbox, Jo and I enjoyed another lunch just the two of us, and we went to Northwest Trek, a wildlife park. We rode a tram through trails where we saw moose, elk, deer, etc. Then we walked around and saw more animals such as wolves, porcupines, eagles, etc. It was such a beautiful place and such a beautiful day for it!

Thursday morning came all too soon. When Annie said goodbye to Gage and me before leaving for school, a big lump formed in my throat. I couldn't help but think the next time we could spend time together like that again she and Gage would both be so much bigger! I couldn't hold it together when it was time to say goodbye to Jo at the airport. Thank goodness she is coming back to Iowa in a few weeks and I get to see her again!

We had such a wonderful trip. I am thankful to Craig for so selflessly arranging it. He said all along that the most important purpose of the trip was to spend time with Jo. I told him the first night that I got the best of both worlds...time with Jo and time with him!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

5 Months Old!

Dear Gage,

Today you are 5 months old sweet boy! You are doing so many more things in just one month's time, you are amazing!

The biggest change is that now you are rolling over constantly. We put you down on your back and the next thing we know you are on your tummy!

Although you seem very proud to have accomplished a roll, you have a hard time getting back to your back, or anywhere at all, which frustrates you after awhile. We help you back to your back and you roll right over again! In that position you look like you are ready to crawl - I would not be surprised if that will be happening soon since you are such a determined boy!

We can no longer call you our Squealer since you squeal much less these days. Now you make more of a low-pitched "uhhhhhh" sound, especially in the car and especially right before falling asleep in the car. This month we're affectionately calling you "little booger" because you are not napping well and are showing the slightest of temper. I am sure you are teething since you are constantly drooling and wanting to chew chew chew. You still prefer soft things like your burp cloths and stuffed animals over teethers.

You just took your first trip on an airplane! We flew to Seattle, WA to visit my good friend Johanna and her family. You were an excellent traveler, I could not have been more proud. Johanna's little girl, Annie, just loved you to pieces! She loved to hold you and play with you and give you new toys to keep you happy. You loved her too! You would always smile when she was around.

You had your first cold on our trip. Daddy brought it home and gave it to Mommy and between us we gave it to you. It made me very sad to hear your stuffy nose and cough. You were such a trooper though, and before we knew it you were all better and that pesky cough was gone.

While we were gone I spoiled you and held you to sleep everytime since I didn't want you to cry with your bad cold. Now that we're home I can see that you've gotten used to that. You are not falling asleep very easily on your own anymore so we're starting over. It is very hard for me to hear you cry. But today it only took 10 minutes...and help from Mommy with a pacifier and a push over from your tummy to your side..and then you slept for almost 2 hours! That is the problem with you rolling to your tummy and not being able to roll keeps you awake and unhappy!

Some other tidbits...
- You have just started to eat cereal! You don't like it very much yet but are getting used to it more each time.
- You are taking 7 oz. of formula now in bottles with medium-flow nipples. Your feedings are much faster now and I think you love it! Even though you're not a usual thumb-sucker (yet anyway) sometimes I catch you sticking your thumb in your mouth along with your nipple - silly boy!
- I find you sleeping on your side a lot. That just shows me what a big boy you are becoming!
-More and more we are getting comments from strangers on your beautiful blue eyes. Of course we agree!
-You are very ticklish and we get you to laugh a lot by tickling you, and by bouncing you and throwing you into the air.
-We have been putting you in the exersaucer over the past month and you love it! You get so happy when we help you push the music buttons.
-You are now reaching for everything! Whether it's my nose, chin, hair, computer keyboard, or our food, you want to have it!

I think I could go on and on but I better stop with that. We are so proud of how you are growing and are showing such a delightful personality. You bring us such joy Gager, our lives are so much brighter with you in it.

Loving you always,

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Time for Cereal!

Gage has been more and more interested in our food when he sees us eating. He reaches for it, drools over it, gets very excited about it...
I wanted to hold off as long as possible before introducing solid foods, but Gage has let me know that he is ready! So last night he had his first experience with rice cereal.

He wanted to suck on the spoon as I fed him. The more he ate the worse the faces got. I don't think he liked it very much. It wasn't quite as messy of an experience as I expected.

I am wondering if he will learn to like it or do some babies just don't?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

A Reunion with the Chovil's

Three years ago in July, Craig and I took a dream-come-true vacation in Hawaii. We did so many fun things, one was going on a lively dinner cruise where we met a really neat family, Ken, Lisa, and their sons Taylor and Nash. We ran into them again on the beach and enjoyed them so much we started planning things to do together during the days left of our vacation. It was the first time Craig and I ever made friends on vacation! It was so fun and made our trip that much more special. When it was time to say goodbye we left it at "If you ever make it to Iowa come see us and If you ever get to Washington be sure to look us up!" Well, we finally made it to Washington so we looked them up! (Lisa and I have stayed in contact through email and Facebook so it wasn't too difficult.)

The Chovil's live about two hours north of Seattle in Bellingham. We made arrangements with them to meet in Seattle on Friday, then go up to Bellingham to stay with them overnight and take a boat trip on Saturday. We met on the Seattle waterfront and spent a few moments hugging and catching up in Starbucks. Then we made the trek up to Pike Place Market and enjoyed walking through. It was a challenge with a stroller since it was such a busy place!

Ken bought a large salmon at the Seattle Fish Market and grilled it for us that night. It was the best salmon I've ever had!
After we had our fill, we left downtown Seattle for the Ballard Locks, a lock and dam system just outside of Seattle, that allows local boats to go from one body of water to another. We ate lunch at Ray's and then went down to the Locks. It was so cool to watch all the different boats go through! It really makes you want to own a boat...a big boat...!

The next day we took their boat out and enjoyed the beautiful day. When we first talked about taking their boat out I was a little nervous about having Gage aboard. But when I saw their boat I saw how silly it was to be was a 40 ft houseboat! We ate lunch on board and enjoyed a 3 hour cruise around the bay. Gage slept the whole time! He started out in the pack and play and then fussed a little halfway through, then slept the rest of the time in Daddy's arms. Must have been just too relaxing!

We headed back to Puyallup that evening. It was sad to say goodbye, knowing it will be a long time before we see them again. How blessed are we to have such good friends...with a big boat! :)

Monday, June 1, 2009

Fun With the Weaver's, Part 1

We made it to the Seattle airport at about 5:30 pm on Tuesday, May 19. Johanna and Annie were there to greet us. We drove the 45 minutes to Puyallup and spent the evening catching up, with Tim and Noah too. Annie is 7 and Noah is soon to be 4. Annie just loved Gage! It was so sweet to see her interact with him.

On Wednesday we checked out the Puyallup mall and later had dinner at The Spaghetti Factory in downtown Tacoma. I enjoyed my spaghetti and Gage enjoyed drooling over my ice cream! I was holding him and didn't realize he was doing it until he was leaning so far over it was hard not to notice! Poor guy has a little while to go before he gets any.

On Thursday Craig watched Gage while Jo and I went out to lunch. Annie was at school and Noah at preschool. We went to a very delightful coffee and gourmet sandwich place that had a beautiful view of Mt. Rainier. It was so great to be able to catch up with Jo for a few uninterrupted hours!

That night Craig was a very lucky guy...he got to go to a Seattle Mariners game with Tim! It is such a joy for him to see a professional sporting event since he lives in Iowa! The Mariners lost but they still had fun, probably because they had some awesome chili cheese dogs at the game! :)