Saturday, August 28, 2010

To Answer the Hair Question

I think our babies are getting gradually hairier.

Exhibit A:  Olivia
Not bald, but nearly.  (And it took FOREVER for that child to grow some bangs.)

Exhibit B:  Naomi
A little more hair, especially above the ears, in lovely old man fashion.
Mimi was not the most attractive newborn.  (She's gorgeous now, so I feel okay posting that publicly.)

Exhibit C:  Annabel
Certainly a fuzzy baby, and her hair was distinctive in that it refused point blank to lay down.

Exhibit D:  Madeline
Hairiest baby ever.  I need to take some more pictures because she is much cuter now.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Introducing. . .

Madeline Susanne
Born 8/22/10
10:33 p.m.
6 lbs 12 oz
20 inches long

Having convinced myself that I was going to be overdue with this child, I was unprepared to go into labor (on my own--apparently my body is actually capable of that!) on Sunday.  I had contractions all Saturday night (annoying, but not really uncomfortable), contractions all through church (uncomfortable, but liveable), contractions as I sent John out to his moonlighting assignment (45 minutes away), contractions on my Sunday afternoon walk with the girls (quite uncomfortable), contractions when John came home and I was cooking dinner (I couldn't talk through them very well by that point).  I couldn't emotionally set myself up for disappointment by considering that I could be in labor EIGHT DAYS EARLY.  I was trying to tell John that he was going to be fine a) going in to deliver his patient who was laboring in the hospital, and b) completing another moonlighting assignment in the ER that night.  Fortunately, John was better able to contemplate the possibility, and he set up contingency plans for his responsibilities.  
Lucky he did.  By 7:30, I was pacing the rooms during contractions (in John's words) "like a caged animal".  We hurriedly set up child care for the night (thank you, Larisssa!!) and were admitted to the hospital by 8:30.  Even as they were putting in my IV (with me jumping off the bed every time a contraction would hit, trying to move my way around the pain), I couldn't believe that I was actually going to have a baby that night.  I got my epidural at 9:45 and finally believed it.  Also, I finally relaxed.   Ahhh. . . epidural.

Relief lasted 35 minutes.  Pushed two? three? times with the assistance of my lovely nurse, Cheryl. . . 

. . . and met Madeline.  My doctor had said, during one check earlier in the process, that this baby was probably going to be bald.  He was almost right.  :)

Her sisters love her.

We all love her.  

What a lucky family we are.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

When Uncle Pete Comes to Visit. . .

. . . we:

1) promise a trip to the big, fun neighborhood pool, but arrive after closing.

2) have so much fun anyway, even in just our little tiny kiddie pool because Uncle Pete makes everything more fun.

3) discover that three little girls and one 6'3" uncle fit perfectly in the world's smallest pool.

4) love that there is someone much more willing than mommy to snuggle, hold, and carry the (sometimes grouchy) two-year old.

Monday, August 23, 2010

When Baby Quinn comes to visit. . .

. . . we:
1) are delighted to see him.
 2) take him to see our favorite turtle statue.
 (which we also allow Uncle Dave to see.)
3) show him how to pet those turtles who wander around and around and around right at the edge of their fence.  (Do you wonder if they put two or three of the tortoises on fence patrol every day?  "You, you, and you, check to see if this is our lucky day.  Maybe today those dang zookeepers have forgotten to complete the full circle of wire fencing.  If so, jailbreak!")

4) take his picture (so photogenic!)
 5) visit Touchdown Jesus (Yes, Lauren always dresses that cute.)
6) watch him as he dashes again and again to the highest set of stairs he can find.  (He crawls up, but he tries to walk down.  Highly dangerous for someone so new to two-legged mobility.)
7) have him watch as we make Uncle Dave toss us up in the air again and again.

 and 6) hold him so tight because we never want him to go home.
We are so lucky to have had so much family visit us this summer.  Dave and Lauren, you guys are fantastic guests.  Please come again.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

When Baby Ruth comes to visit. . .

. . . we:

1) take her blueberry picking (tucked into the wrap with a little bonnet on her head).

2) take her to a rainstorm/triathlon.

3) snuggle her until we can't stand it anymore.

4) laugh when she pukes on her mom's face.

and 5) sit around and talk and talk and talk.

Baby Ruth is the newest member of the Anderson family, and she brought her dad (my brother Mike) and mom (Kelly) to visit us in late July.  We had a marvelous time.

Saturday, August 21, 2010


South Bend Parks and Recreation puts together the most amazing Kids' Triathlon every year. The kids swim 25 meters, bike 1-1/2 miles, and run 1/2 mile. Last year, Olivia was eligible to participate, but being the cautious soul that she is, she was not excited about the prospect. However, since Mimi could join in this year, the two sisters were triathletes-in-training through June and most of July.
I was incredibly grateful that my brothers Mike and Pete and my sister-in-law Kelly could join us for the day of the big race because John was on call, and my 8-month pregnant self was almost incapable of getting three kids and two bicycles to the race site, to say nothing of helping the two girls transition between the separate parts of the race. With Pete assigned to help Mimi, and Mike on Olivia duty, we were set. All I had to do was document the event.(Unfortunately, I got so caught up in the "cheer like a Mom" part of spectatorship that the "take pictures and videos" part of my duties were somewhat neglected. Poor John didn't get much of an idea of the excitement from what I snapped. )
We arrived at Potowatomi Park at 6:15 a.m. And the rain was a-pourin' down. We were soaked after just putting the bikes in the racks and returning to the pavilion at the pool. SOAKED. As evidenced below.
But the weather cleared up just long enough for both of my girls to swim-bike-run without too much dripping on their little heads. (It started pouring again as we were heading back to our van to go home, so it was perfect timing for us. Not so perfect timing for the 13- and 14-year olds that were still competing at that time.)Mimi was in the first heat of swimmers. She's not very large, but there was an even tinier little girl in the same heat that ended up winning the 5-6 division.
The rules kept parents at one end of the pool while the kids lined up to swim. Mimi chatted with her guide. . .
. . . and slipped casually into the pool.
She was determined to be in the "no-lifejacket" category of participants, and I had some concerns about her making it the full length of the pool, but she (in typical Mimi style) was determined and trimphant. (At this point in the post, I need to disclaim that all these videos are terrible.  If you are not a grandma, you may not wish to subject yourself to the pain of watching them.  However, everything was moving so quickly that I didn't take both stills and movies, and so this is all the pictorial evidence I have of the triathlon.  Too bad.)

She made it, and Pete helped her get her helmet, shorts, and sneakers on quickly to start on the next leg of the race. (Which I videoed quite poorly.)

I ran to check on Liv, waiting for her heat to be called. As we were standing there, I saw five- and six-year olds finishing the bike portion, so I ran to cheer Mimi through the end of that part.

Then I ran (awkwardly--again, remember the 8-month pregnant part, and I was carrying Bella the whole time) back to the pool to watch Olivia swim. Olivia is really a good smooth swimmer, and I knew this would be the best leg of the race for her. However, again in my excitement, I took no still photographs, and only captured about 5 seconds of her swim. I didn't even get the moment when she won her heat, and was the first out of the pool. I nearly cried I was so proud.

Mike took Olivia to the bike transition area to get her started on the next portion, so I dashed over to watch Mimi (through the fence) finish up her run, with Uncle Pete at her side. This video is the only clip I caught perfectly.

Bella and I jogged up to watch Liv finish up her bike ride (again, documented so very poorly--this is almost funny).

Then we met up with Pete, Mimi, Kelly, and Baby Ruth and sauntered down to be in position to see Mike and Liv finish their run. Which they did with panache.

I learned a couple things:
1)There are some hard-core parents out there. I'm naturally quite competitive, but I didn't even rate on the scale of some of the crazies there. I vacillated rapidly between thinking, "They should really calm down and just enjoy this race," and "Should I be more intense? Should my kids have slip-on running shoes and triathlon number belts?"
2) On the flip side, however, I learned that my kids are capable of great things when they are given the opportunity. I was worried when we were practicing that they weren't going to be able to complete the race (Mimi would usually lay down in the middle of the high school track after one lap, complaining of utter exhaustion.), but they did a great job in the end. Maybe I need to give them more opportunities to stretch themselves.

Friday, August 20, 2010

At least it's not quite a soccer ball

Is imitation really the sincerest form of flattery?  I'm not entirely sure I'm flattered that this is how my two big girls chose to become like me one Sunday afternoon.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

When An Amish Trailer just isn't streamlined enough. . .

Sorry for the quality.  We had to snap this photo quickly as we passed this Amish buggy in our van.  But isn't that trailer awesome?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Soccer sticks?

We are not a particularly athletic family. In fact, "not particularly athletic" might just be mega-understatement when applied to this Wells-Anderson combination. My junior high volleyball coach would honestly laugh whenever she put me onto the court.
And considering John's open antipathy to most organized team sports, we are lucky that our girls acknowledge sports exist at all.
However, when an evening of beautiful weather is combined with free baseball tickets and a hot dog dinner, we are in. Which is why we were found at a South Bend Silverhawks game, hosted by Memorial Medical Group.
We ate some chicken and hot dogs in a box (A box!), and then we headed down to find some seats to cheer our team on to victory. (As a note, I want to point out that I love to watch baseball. It's not too fast, like a basketball game. It's not SO SLOW, like football can be. And--this is really the clincher--it's absolutely chuck full of numbers. Numbers that they flash all over those Jumbotrons. So many fun numbers.) This is where I was struck again with our athletic incompetence. Because, when Mimi asked me "Which team is our team?" (a perfectly reasonable question), she added "Are we the guys with the soccer sticks?"

Yes, Mimi, we are the guys with the soccer sticks. Except we call them baseball bats.
This is how a crazed new reader cheers for the "Silverhocks." (Because a crazed new reader brings a notebook, pencil, and crayons wherever she goes.)
And this is one of the ways an almost-two-year old entertains herself during a baseball game. (Actually, she alternates laying on the concrete and coloring with bugging the blond teenager ahead of us by patting his back and calling him "Uncle Dallin.")

We were lucky to meet our good friends the Masons while we were watching the game itself.

And four little girls can enjoy at least six innings of a baseball game by making repeated trips to the bathroom and drinking fountain.
So, for all you non-athletes out there, don't pass up trips to the ballpark.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Olivia got some real caterpillars for her birthday in this fun butterfly house kit.  Those little caterpillars ate and ate and ate, and produced enormous loads of "frass" (caterpillar poop--vocabulary word of the day.  Incidentally, John loves to insert the word "frass" wherever he can fit it into conversation now.), and then turned themselves into chrysalises (chrysali?).

We watched those little cocoons intently until they all hatched into Painted Lady butterflies.  Excitement!

We fed them yellow-tinted sugar water.

And then, because their life span is only about two weeks, we decided to let them fly into the great loveliness of our backyard.

We thought they'd possibly hang around for a bit and let us enjoy them, but they took off immediately as high and as fast as they could.  Do you think they were traumatized by the three weeks they lived in a house with three little girls?