A Sunbeam to Warm you, A Moonbeam to Charm You, A Sheltering Angel, That Nothing May Harm You

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Enjoying our Vacation

We have been having a great time visiting with GG, Grandma Sharon, Grandpa George and Auntie Kimmy here in Chicago for the past 4 days. Johnny has really settled into his family here and has been showing them all what a good little boy he is and how amazying his personality is. The first night we where here Johnny ate a whole bunch of brocoli and really impressed GG. Since then he has been helping out around the house including cleaning up and making dinner and really impressing Grandma Sharon. When he eats like Cookie Monster and makes "nom nom" noises Aunty Kimmy thinks it is amazying and he has been playing catch with Grandpa George.





Monday Johnny, Daddy and I went to Navy Peer in downtown Chicago to play in Winter Wonderland, a huge indoor Christmas themed center with lots of rides and games for everyone...especially Johnny. He and Mommy and Daddy had a great time. We where very impressed with Johnny and how much he was able and willing to do and try. He loved the bouncy houses, just didn't understand when the time was up that he had to leave. He even got the point of standing in line like a good boy.



This was the first ride we tried, Daddy took Johnny up to the top and slide down with him. Johnny's mouth and eyes got huge and he laughed the entire time...not for one second was he scared.

These candy cane shaped tunnels where the frist step into the play area for kids his size, under 46 inches. At first he wasn't sure he wanted to go into them, but once Daddy chased him through once he got the point and did laps. I was so proud of how he was with the other kids. He waited his turn and stepped aside when other kids came running through. He didn't get upset when one of them knocked him down and he was mostly careful not to knock any of them down.

This was King of the Mountain and when I realized I no longer had a baby that needed me to hold his hand, but a big boy ready to try the world on his own. This was the first area Mommy or Daddy couldn't go into, and was just fine without us. He acually almost got to the top of the mountain, but loved how he could take really big steps on the bouncy floor and fall down laughing.

This area was Daddy's favorite. It was a snow ball fight with really light foam balls. You just go in and throw the balls, where ever. However Johnny loved to give the balls to other people.

Big bean bag pillows in the snow ball fight area.


The special treat of the day was this funnel cake sunday with strawberry sauce. Johnny only needed Daddy's help for this first bite, then he dug right in using a spoon like a big boy.




And Johnny's suviner, a blinkin binky. Of course it is not orthodonically approved, or safe really, but it is really fun for a few minutes at a time. Maybe not the best choice of toy for a toddler trying to get rid of his binky, but still so much fun for all of us!.

I have a video of the decorations around the Navy Peer that made this winter wonderland come alive, but it is kinda long and I having trouble loading it. I will try it later.

Yesterday Grandma Sharon and GG came with us to the big mall 45 mins away so Johnny could see Santa, but the line was at least 1.5 hours long, we waited for a little while, but Johnny wasn't really into it and he had already told Santa that he wants a new Elmo doll, so we let him play instead. This area in the mall was so cool, EVERYTHING was made out of super safe and bouncy foam, so the kids could climb on anything and run and play with little worry. Johnny really loves playing with other kids and trying new things...he is so amazying.





We are having a great time on our Christmas vacation and Christmas day gets closer and closer. We miss our family in Maryland and today is cousin's Wyatt's first birthday! We are sorry we aren't there, but we left some special presents for the little man. We love you Wyatt!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Change of Plans


Johnny saying hi to Lucas, Aunt Kimmy's cat, they really liked each other.

Johnny helping Daddy play Uno, as Daddy, Grandma Sharon, Grandpa George and Mommy spent about 2 hours playing these games.




This afternoon Aunt Kimmy took Johnny (and Mommy and Daddy) to Toys R Us to see what Johnny wanted for Christmas and discovered that Johnny likes bikes and look how big he is!

After dinner Aunt Kimmy and Johnny made a ginger bread train! It was all very cute and a lot of fun, especially eating the icing!




Though the train didn't want to stand up all the way, it still looked pretty good.

Johnny loves his family! Kisses for Grandma Sharon.

I think by now word has gotten around about the crazyness that was our trip to Chicago. We had plane tickets to leave Baltimore Saturday morning, but Friday as Mommy looked to check in on line we discovered that our flight had been canceled 24 hours in advance, because the forcast said it might snow. In retrospect Baltimore did get 16 inches of snow on Saturday, but on Friday looking at clear skies we where pretty annoyed. So after much talking and a lot of help from Grams and Pops we hopped in our car and the 12 hour car trip started. The entire thing was more stressful in thought then it was in reality. We stopped at Aunt Cookies in Ohio and had a nice sleep and then some quality time, then back on the road and made it safe and sound to Chicago. It has been nice seeing family we hadn't seen in a year. I will write more on the rest tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Decorating the Tree

Yesterday we finally got around to decorating our tree! The needles on our tree are really sharp, so Shawn and I did most of the work, but it was still a lot of fun.

Daddy had to put on a sweat shirt and gloves to put the lights.

Johnny found the hat I made him last year and it stretched really nicely so it still fit....and oh my god have you seen how cute this kid is!

Here is Johnny trying to put ornaments on the tree, he just did what we did, but he didn't understand that you needed to put the string around the branch. He broke one ornament by just holding it up the tree and letting go.

Playing with the garland...he just gets cuter!

Johnny wanted to see all of the ornaments everywhere on the tree, so here he is using Daddy as a step ladder to do just that.

The apple pictures are from today, but I just couldn't leave them out. Johnny has been growing up so fast! No longer does he need apples cut up to eat, actually he eats more of the apple if you just hand it to him and let him go to town. When I pulled out the camera to get a picture of him biting into the apple this is the face he gave me, immediately. My little ham!

There is the big boy eating his big boy apple.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Snow and Santa

Yesterday we finally got around to taking Johnny to see Santa at our local mall. Johnny has gained a little stranger danger, but did really well!!! He ran right up to him intent on giving him a hug, but then realized he didn't know this person and slowed down. Johnny told Santa he wanted an Elmo fro Christmas and that he had been a good boy all year long and Santa was VERY sweet!



I had wanted to use this picture for our chrismtas cards, but I didn't like that he wasn't smiling (since his smile is so amazying!) so we tried the below pictures at Grams and Pops house (since there decorations are always nice and the snow yesterday was beautiful) but all the pictures I got of him where he smiled where fuzzy...grrrr...but the picture with Santa is everyone's favorite anyways :)

After we introduced Johnny to the snow by trying to take a picture, he found it very amusing and wanted to play outside! He was almost baffled by it all, looking around and pointing to it telling all of us about the wet cold stuff that was falling from the sky.




As a side note we got our yearly family ornament...oh my god isn't it cute? Momma bear, Daddy bear, bump for unknown baby bear and a Johnny toddler bear! Aren't we cute?

Friday, December 4, 2009

15 Weeks Pregnant!

We made it...safe and happy and feeling much better in the second trimester! We are now more then 1/3 of the way through this! Mommy really is starting to feel much better! The morning sickness is starting the go down, energy and motivation starting to go up and life is looking pretty great right now! (really for the first time in a long time I feel like I have everything under controll) I have been having some headaches, but the midwife told me I can be taking twice the dosage of Tylenol as I have been taking, and it is nothing to worry about.

I had my monthly midwife appt today and it was amazying! We got the results back from our ultrasound and blood work and they where perfect! We found the heart beat right away and it was around 150 and sounded perfect and everything about this baby is PERFECT! It really made Mommy feel great, everyday it hits home more and more that there is a baby in there. It was disappointing to hear that we would have to wait until January to do our big ultrasound, which we where hoping to do before we left for our Christmas vacation next week, but having had the other ultrasound and blood work and hearing how perfect the baby is really helps to making the wait bearable.

There isn't much more to report, we are truly blessed with an uncomplicated pregnancy thus far and pray that it all just keeps being so normal.

Rice Pudding is HOT



At some point, on some food Johnny burnt his tongue, now he is very weary of anything "hot." For some reason now, Johnny doesn't trust Daddy to give him something new, as is evident here when he refuses rice pudding, and he explains his actions in his own words. He really has become very interactive and responsive....we have full conversations now....and we can even understand most of it!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Christmas has started

I am so sorry I haven't done a very good job keeping up with this blog lately :( But now that we are 14 weeks into this pregnancy I am starting to slowly feel better and getting back on top of the things that I should. I am determined to do the back log blog posts this week including our trip to Michigan at the beginning of November, our family trip to Deep Creek the week end after that and Thanksgiving! Be prepared for blog overload this week.

But Today is all about starting our Christmas season. The past few years have been so strange for us, in 2007 I was pregnant and living with my parents while Shawn was in Iraq and last in year we were again living with my parents while we transitioned to live in Maryland. My parents are amazying people who always have made Christmas come alive for me, but this year it is wonderful for the Bransons to have their own Christmas. We are starting new traditions and celebrating as much as possible.

Yesterday we went with Grams, Pops, Aunt Natnie, Uncle Tommy, Ella, and Sam to Applewood farm to cut down our own Christmas Tree! Johnny has had an iky nose and needed a nap and then had a poopy right in the middle of the field, so he didn't enjoy it as much I would have liked him to, but it was still a good time all around.


All ready to go, that is my Christmas Monkey!


Johnny's favorite part of the day, feeding the goats right out of his hand!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

12 Weeks, Ultrasound and Screening

I am not sure what this one is, but that baby sure is cute!

See baby head, chest and arm? You kinda have to look close.

There he/she is...laying flat in Mommy's belly with his/her feet up in the air and little arms curled in tight!

Today I got to see our baby...looking like a real little person! He/she played with toes and had the hiccups!!! It was really amazing.

The screening today was to look closely at the baby's spine and some of my blood work to see our risk for certain birth defects. The dr and tech didn't say much to me about the results, which I took as a good sign. We will know in a week or so. But I have little fear (there is always some fear) about the results. No matter what I am carrying this baby and having her/him.

I was just so relieved to see the little heart beat and to see our baby move around inside me! It was an amazing and overwhelming experience. Lately it has been hard to accept that there is a baby on the way. I know I feel sick, I know I am pregnant...but I don't feel like I did with Johnny, connected to the baby. I am never not thinking about it, but at the same time reality is just that I feel sick and can't drink or eat certain things, having a baby, another child hasn't really hit home yet, but today helped...a lot! all of a sudden the tiredness and sickness was gone (or at least didn't matter) and a real little person was inside of me and became center stage. I think about what double stroller we will get, how we will rearrange the extra room, or what crib we will use...car seats and bottles...but it is still all very distant...the baby in general is very distant, but seeing it move and watching the heart beat really helped bring it a little closer.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Grams Minus an Appendix

It has been a strange day and we are all happy that the end of the day has come. This morning Grams started to vomit excessively and started having very bad pain in the side of her abdominal. Eventually in early afternoon Pops took her to the ER since the pain became unbearable. Immediately we all thought of appendicitis and a CT scan confirmed it.

Around 5:30 this evening they took her appendix out. The surgeon said it was great that they did it and got there just in time and before it ruptured. Before the surgery her white blood cell count was very high so they will be keeping her until Thursday to make sure she gets a full round of heavy antibiotics. She got settled into a shared room and Pops and I left her at 8 pm for the night. (new flu regulations will only let visitors between 12 pm and 8pm and NO one under 12, which means to grandchildren to visit) But her nurses all seem very sweet and attentive and she seemed as comfertable as she could be.

She was in good spirits and just kept saying how stupid it was and how strange it all was, and asking about the grandkids and her facebook farmville.

But she is healing GREAT and we all expect a quick recovery. Call me for more details or her room number, I am sure I am leaving something out, sorry.

Friday, November 6, 2009

11 Weeks Pregnant

PICKLES!!!
That is the word of the week, Momma loves pickles!! I went through three jars this week, then had to take a break before I wore them out. Nothing else new Mommy wise, still sick to my stomach, still really tired, still having head aches and still having trouble sleeping. BUT there is only ONE week left until we hit the 2ed trimester! I should start really showing soon too, so we will start to do the weekly pictures again next week.

We saw the midwife today and it was a really quick appt. I havn't gained any weight, and we were able to hear the baby's heart beat with the little Doppler!!! Twice she found the heart beat, though the baby kept running away, and it was right in the 160s, which it really healthy! It is much higher then it was during the 7 week ultrasound, but that is normal and just fine. It was a wonderful morning, Mommy cried.

I was offered the H1N1 flu shot today, I didn't get since I have had a runny nose and a little bit of iky stuff this past week, want to be super strong before I get this new shot. I am still a little nervous about getting it, Shawn assures me it is just like the normal flu shot, just a different strand. But that is a debate I prefer to stay out of.

This afternoon Mommy and Johnny are headed on a plane ride to Michigan to see our good friends Tara and Tim for their daughter's first birthday! It promises to be a fun filled week end and I am really sure I will have TONS of pictures when we get back :)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Biker Boy

Papa got this jacket for Ella a couple of years ago, you can't tell me that isn't the cutest thing you have ever seen :)


Tough monkey!
He has been feeling a little iky lately (fever comes and go and a runny nose hangs around) so this is the only smile I got this morning, not even quite sure what it was for.


Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween 2009

Our Halloween this year was a busy one! But super super fun!!!! We started at a local shopping area that had free trick or treating around the local businesses. Papa came with us and it was so much fun to see Johnny get excited about going from place to place....he knew he was getting candy, and before he got tired he would run, laughing.

His tail is fuzzy in this picture because as he walked it waved back and forth and was so so cute!

But Daddy we need to go to the next store...they have dum dums!

Running from store to store :)And picking out his own candy at Kohls. The only funny thing was that his costume had mittens for claws and made it hard for his to pick things up with one hand, by the end of the day he figured out how to hold something with both hands.

After two hours of trick or treating around the shopping area (and hitting every store) Johnny had a nap at Grams and Pops house and woke up to a party going on at Aunt Natnie's and Uncle Tommy's house! They threw the coolest Halloween party ever! We all had a great time!

This was Johnny's favortite part! "bobbing" for apples. At first he put his entire hand in the water, mitten claw and all, so we rolled up his sleves and he spent 15 mintes picking up and putting back the apples, he didn't care that they had prizes inside!

After the bobbing, we all sat down to decorate pumpkins! At first Johnny was sure what to do, but when we found the glitter paint pens he would have painted that pumpkin for hours!

Johnny especially loved Uncle Tommy reading storys. Johnny was such a ham, making noises and standind up to act out the story for everyone, and they all loved him too.

But then as the kids went looking for stuffed pumpkins, Johnny discovered these Halloween beach balls. This is Johnny after he attempted to carry 5 of them, but he had a ball. hehehe

Uncle Tommy and Daddy tried to scare Johnny by dressing Daddy up in this wolf man mask and gloves. Johnny (who had played with this mask and gloves the night before) knew it was Daddy right away and started moving the mask around to dig him out. (though Daddy did scare some other kids at the party, then let them throw balls at him to make up for it.)

We had to take a dragon break so Momma could clean it and get it dry for trick or treating, but smartly Grams and put Johnny super man pajamas on under his costume. By day a dragon, by night he is SUPER MAN! answering a call from the mayor to save the world again!

Here is Uncle Shawn (a knight, Grams made the cloak and shirt) and little Samantha a tiny little monster!

Super Man needed a break from saving Metropolis and have a snack. Aunt Natnie made this yummy and cute pumpkin cheese ball! Johnny really liked it, he would take the crackers and dig right into it, then lick of the cheese and dip again, until we showed him he could eat the cracker.

I just thought that the dragon playing the piano was pretty cute.

Daddy made the mistake of laying on the floor, Johnny enjoying crawling to him and then jumping on him!

After the party it was time for trick or treating. Johnny started the evening by helping Uncle Tommy give out candy. He did GREAT! I was so proud at how well he gave to others, he knew he had a big bowl of candy and he enjoyed putting it in the bags of other kids.

We took the candy and animal crackers we bought for the trick or treaters to Uncle Tommy's house since we knew we wouldn't be home all evening, he very wonderfully gave it all out for us, with Ella's help.

"grrrrrr, Godzilla does not give candy to kids without a costume, grrrrrr!"

After a little time of giving candy out, it was Johnny's turn to get some. He was a great little dragon and everyone loved him! We only did about 2 blocks, then Johnny was just tired! It was a busy day!


Just a little flash back, here is Johnny last year, at 7 months old on his first Halloween as a little stinker :)

Hope your Halloween was as fun as ours!