Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Christmas Recap

Um, I do know Christmas was over a month ago, but I still wanted to post some pictures. With my computer being broken and Travis leaving for Oregon we had a pretty busy December!

Scroll down if you want to see more recent posts and bear with me as I play catch up on the blog!

We spent Christmas at home in Britt this year. Usually Christmas Eve is a very busy day for Travis at work, but since he had put in his two week notice, he worked "regular hours" and came home early in the afternoon. It was great to have him home and so relaxed. First we made snowman cookies for Santa. Then we opened presents late afternoon which was fun. Travis made the girls a Barbie house...that is what they had both been asking for for months. The look on their face (and Trav's!) was priceless. They have played non-stop with it since.

On Christmas Eve we went to church with my sister Karen, her husband Chris (aka Minnesota) and my niece Grace. They were in town too and came over after the Christmas Eve service to our house. We ate and opened a couple presents. The girls were pretty excited and it was fun to see them together.

They could hardly wait to get to bed so Santa could come!

On Christmas morning it was just us and the girls couldn't believe Santa ate the cookies they set out. Madeline decided it was because she was such a good cookie baker. We opened stockings and Santa gifts and they were in awe. It is so fun to watch kids open presents.

My parents had gone to my twin sis Lisa's house but came back in time for lunch on Christmas Day. We all ate fondue at mom and dad's house. It was very fun and relaxing.

We had an early Christmas with Trav's family, and celebrated with my family a couple weeks before so it was pretty laid back which was nice.

I hope you all had a great holiday season!

Zella is 2!

Zella turned 2 on December 28th. It's hard to believe two years have gone by! Zella is a very happy, vivacious little girl. She has a very big vocabulary and a tiny, soft speaking voice. The combination of the two usually gets people's attention. (Well, and her unusual name and the fact she wears glasses. She is hard to forget!)

She is now in her "big girl" toddler bed and wakes up every morning happy. She throws her arms in the air and announces, "I'm awake! I love you! Let's go downstairs and play!".

Zella loves to look at books and play with the Barbie house her Papa made for his girls. She also loves the trike and helmet she got for her birthday. She is not as cuddly as Madeline, and if you ask her whose girl she is, she answers, "I'm my OWN girl!". Very independent and full of it!

She is such a joy in our lives and a constant source of smiles. Travis and I usually just shake our heads and laugh at all the funny things she says. Zella loves to sing and make up songs in her high-pitched voice. I'll try to get some on video to can't help but smile!

Zella also has entered her terrible twos. Just ask her cousin Grace (two months older than Z) who has to contend with Zella being a bully. She can tackle Madeline and knock her down. She is pretty tough!

Zella is very excited about being a big sister even though she is not 100 percent sure what that means. It has been fun watching her grow and we are so thankful that she is our daughter!

The pictures above are from Zella's birthday party. She wanted Elmo cupcakes and I tried my best. ;) She thought they looked like Elmo. Her favorite party was eating Elmo's gumdrop nose.

We had family who live in the area, plus Grandma "Marker" (Trav's mom) and Aunt Kate (so thankful they could make it!) for a small party at our house. It was fun to watch Zella open presents because she got so excited for each one. Her favorite thing to open were the clothes and she kept trying to strip down and try her new outfits on. Too cute!

Thanks to everyone for making Zella's birthday special.

In case you're wondering, Zella is wearing her old glasses in all these photos because I broke her new ones. First time that has happened! I stepped on them while trying to find them.

More later,

Pregnancy Update

Hello all. I will be 38 weeks preggo on Friday and am WILLING myself to have this baby before Travis leaves on Saturday! I had a doctor appointment yesterday and everything went well. I am dilated to 3 (too much information?) and my doctor thought it would be soon but you never really know.

I have been having a lot of contractions, especially in the evening when I'm tired. I can barely bend over (literally) and Madeline has taken pity on my and offered to pick things up off the ground when I need her too. ;)

I feel somewhat prepared for the baby, although I don't have anything hung up in her room yet. Clothes are washed, diapers are bought and a name is picked out. We are anxious to meet our girl!

If Travis isn't home when I go into labor, my mom is going to watch the girls and my brave sister Karen is going to fill in for Travis during the birth. Except she isn't as squeamish as Travis so I won't have to worry about her fainting (ha ha!). I am nervous about him not being here, but there is nothing I can do about it so I am trying not to worry. Mostly I feel sad that he won't get to see her right away. I think all of this will be harder on him than me because at least I will have the girls and my family here. So please pray for us!

(Almost) Four Weeks Down

Putting the blades on a wind turbine with a crane.

Travis 280 feet up in the air on a wind turbine.

I finally got my computer up and running again and wanted to update everyone. We made it through the first two weeks of Travis being gone for job training. It was a long couple weeks (especially for Madeline who cried every day for her Papa)! Thankfully my family kept us busy.

Luckily, Travis got to come home and do his first site training in Ventura. We are so thankful to have him home! I literally couldn't stop smiling for the first couple days and the girls were overjoyed!

He leaves on Saturday for another two weeks in Portland. Although it will be hard to say goodbye, we know he gets to come home Feb. 14th for a four day break in training. He might be coming back to Ventura for future site training, but we don't know yet. We are just so thankful that they made an exception for him and let him come home these last two weeks. They must have taken pity on an emotional 8 1/2 month pregnant woman! Thank goodness!

He learned a lot during his first two weeks in Portland. He is training with 15 other managers and they get along well which is nice. He was definitely getting tired of hotel living and eating out every day but enjoyed everything he was learning.

During his site training he has been job shadowing different people, including the lead technicians who actually go up in the wind turbines to fix them. Yesterday he climbed another wind turbine (as you can see from the pictures above).

We want to thank everyone for being so supportive! This 90 days of job training is obviously not at the best time for us with a new baby coming, and he really couldn't have accepted this position without the help of everyone. So thanks especially to my family and friends who have pitched in and helped me/us out. We are so thankful!

I'll try to update more!

Friday, January 9, 2009

One Week Down (Almost!)

Travis left last Sunday for training and it was very hard to say goodbye. The weather was awful and my dad was kind enough to drive to the airport in Minneapolis and back. A 2 1/2 hour drive turned into four hours on the way there, and three hours on the way home. Thanks for helping a emotional pregnant lady out, Dad!

It was very hard to walk away from Travis in the airport. At least I got to go home to our girls! I think in a lot of ways this separation will be harder on Travis than on me. He made it to Oregon safely and started his training on Monday.

The training is going to be very intense but he is looking forward to the challenge. There are 15 new hires (for management) that are going through the training at the same time. Travis probably has the least experience amongst them but he enjoys being the underdog. :) He is looking forward to learning more about wind technology. He is also excited to go to a mini version of crane school (he is a little dorky too, huh?).

Trav's first cousin Stephanie and her husband Aaron recently moved to Oregon. They live about an hour and 20 minutes from Portland. Travis is spending Saturday with them and driving to the coast to see the ocean. Can't wait to see pictures! He told me he needs to study all day Sunday.

The girls and I have had a long week. Madeline seems to be taking his absence a little harder than I thought. (Well, I thought she would take it hard, I just didn't think it would be the first couple days.) Zella seems to be doing okay. I am missing him terribly, especially at night after the girls go to bed. Like I said before, we are not meant to be apart.

My family has been keeping us busy this week...THANK YOU! I really appreciate all the support and prayers we've received. I have a whole new appreciation for military families who have to be apart!

I'm trying not to get my hopes up, but there is a possibility that Travis could do some of his training in Ventura(18 miles away). When he told them I was 8 months pregnant they suggested he do some of the training at the Ventura site. We are hoping and praying but don't know for sure yet. Send good thoughts our way!

I'm still trying to get my e-mail working properly and everything reinstalled on my computer. Hopefully I can get things fixed and share pictures soon!

More later,

Friday, January 2, 2009

New Year, New Changes

Every new year has a fresh start, and 2009 is no exception. But for our family, 2009 will bring lots of changes in our household.

Travis got a new job. An incredible job! With incredible benefits! Too good to be true almost! Except for this one really terrible thing...the training for this new fabulous job takes place in Portland, OR, and other sites around the country, and it lasts for 90 days. So he is leaving this Sunday and will be gone for 45 days, home for 5 days, and gone again for 45 days. He will probably not be able to be here when the baby is born, but you never know.

He will be an Assistant Site Manager for Vestas, International. He will be starting out in Ventura, and then will oversee the building of the Hampton wind turbine farm. He will manage the Hampton location and probably be transferred back to Ventura over time.

The job is an incredible opportunity in an exciting field and we are very thrilled. We were even more excited to hear about all the great benefits (free health, vision and dental insurance for our entire family, company vehicle, four weeks vacation the first year, and on and on). The job would be too good to be true...if it wasn't for the training. Travis will learn so much during the training, we just wish it wasn't for so long (and wasn't during my due date).

Travis leaves on Jan. 4th to fly to Portland for two weeks of "classroom" training in their leadership academy. He will then fly to an unknown location (he find out Monday where) to have on-the-job training for two weeks. Then back to Portland for my classroom training, etc. etc. He does get to come home on my due date, Feb. 13th, for 5 days of a break. For the first time I am praying that I make it to or go past my due date!

After the break he heads back to Portland for another 45 days of training and "graduates" from the program March 27th. In all he will spend 7 weeks in Portland and 5 weeks at wind turbine sites across the country or Canada. It will be an amazing experience for him!

It is a lot to sacrifice, but we agree it is the best decision for our family's future. We know from experience (um, truck driving anyone?) that sometimes you have to sacrifice big things to reach your goals. So we decided to go for it.

We both have a lot of mixed emotions...we are incredibly excited for the opportunity, AND incredibly sad that we have to be apart. We are so thankful that I have family nearby (mom and dad, sister Karen and her husband, Aunt Gayle and Uncle Louie, cousins, etc.) to help me through the last month of this pregnancy and the first 6 weeks of our little girl's life.

We have prepared the girls as much as we can, although it is incredibly hard for a 3 1/2-year-old and a two-year-old to understand that Papa will be gone a long time. He will get a company cell phone and laptop right away and we are planning on talking and e-mailing lots!

And because I am me, an incredibly emotional and hugely pregnant hormonal woman, I need to take a minute to gush about my guy. I am so very proud of him! He has worked so hard for our family so that I can stay at home with the kids and I am so thankful. He has put in a lot of long hours for years at his previous job (his last day was today) and it is awesome to see him get a great job that he deserves. Despite lots of tears of sadness on my part, I am so thankful and joyful about this new opportunity.

Please keep us in your prayers, especially on Sunday when we have to say goodbye. Travis and I aren't usually apart (remember when we lived in a truck together for YEARS?) and I know it will be hard. But our family will be stronger for this experience.

My new year's resolution is to make it through the first three months of this year with my sanity. ;)

Happy 2009!