Sunday, January 25, 2015

Being a party of five is a whole new ballgame...

Well, here we are... five months since my last blog post and the Sharktank is now a family of five.  I would love to say it was an easy transition, but the first few months were an adjustment for all of us.

In attempt to keep up with the blog as documentation of our family, I will try to give an accurate birth story (five months later ha). At exactly 40 weeks I was induced.  I really wanted to go into labor on my own, but I was extremely uncomfortable and being stuck at 3 cm dilated for over month was making me crazy.  Since I delivered NAS via c-section I was a bit nervous about attempting a VBAC with Mary Anne, but I was hoping to avoid surgery this time around. 

We went to the hospital and were ready to go by 9 am.  I did not progress very fast, so my doctor broke my water at about 1 pm.  Things started to pick up and by 4:30 I was ten centimeters and we were ready.  I was lucky to have my husband, one of my best friends, and a dear photographer friend in the room with us during delivery.  After only about twenty minutes of pushing Mary Anne Mae arrived at 5:02 pm. weighing in at 8 pounds and 14 ounces.

From the start Little Miss MAM was a bundle of energy.  She hardly slept (unless I was holding her) and the colic arrived at around three weeks.  Though, through all the crying, tummy aches, and spitting up I loved this little baby more than I could imagine.  I find it amazing how you never think you could love another human being more than your other children, but then you have another and the love is just the same!

Fast forward to three months later and we had a different baby.  The crying nights and endless tears left and a happy and relaxed baby showed up.  She loves her big brother and big sis and could laugh at them all day.  I would definitely say she is a momma's girl, but she loves when Daddy comes home and gives him a big smile every night! 

We are so thankful for our newest addition and love how she fits into our family so well.  Matthew and Natalie love her and are such a big help with her and we are looking forward to the future as a party of five!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Successful T ball Season for Matthew!

The Sharktank family is a sport loving group, so signing up Matthew for another sport this season has always been a part of our plan.  After playing on his soccer team didn't pan out like we thought it would, we just hoped he would enjoy the next sport he chose.

We sign Matthew up for sports through our local parish, so a couple of the kids on the team played soccer with him this past Fall. From the start of the first practice I could tell he was ready to play!  Matthew jumped right into the drills and practice rounds without hesitation.  Natalie did not mind going with me to practice either, since that meant she could run around and play her version of soccer and throw baseballs around for an hour.

The great thing about sports when kids are younger is that all most of them want to do is have fun!  The first few games we watched from the stands as they flocked like birds every time a ball was hit.  The entire team would run to the ball and try to "catch" it.  After a few weeks of consistent practice the players learned how to stay in their designated areas, but there were always a few instances when a player would get really excited and run clear across the field to grab a ball that was hit (Matthew is not excluded from this).  Towards the end of the season the boys had greatly improved their hitting skills, so the coach started pitching three times to them before adding the tee during the games.

Matthew before his first game

Not once during the season did Matthew say he didn't want to go to practice or his games.  We are still so proud of him for trying and enjoying a team sport. When Matthew is into something he has a great amount of enthusiasm that is hard for him to contain, which he showed a lot this season.  The Shartktank is looking forward to next year and watching him play again!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Fourth of July (almost a month late)

We are fortunate to live in a neighborhood with lots of families with young kids. As seen in previous posts, our children really enjoy playing with our neighbors next door to us and across the street.  Fourth of July this year was spent with our next door neighbors, "The Bushwacks."

The weather was unseasonably cool for Missouri.  We were blessed with temperatures in the 80's and clear skies that day.  Matthew is at the age where he thinks fireworks are the most amazing thing ever.  He had his own countdown going until the day we could do fireworks.  We live next to a residential area who is legally allowed to shoot off larger fireworks, so we are always guaranteed a decent display.

Our evening started with dinner at The Bushwacks.  Natalie had the chance to eat corn on the cob for the first time and I can honestly say I may now be a fan of pork steaks thanks to the fabulous ones we ate that night!

After dinner we had to wait for the sun to at least start to set before we lit up any of our holiday goodies.  Snappers kept the kids entertained for quite some time and I am thankful Mr. Sharktank purchased all the boxes he did.  I forgot how long it takes for it to get dark in the Summer!

Finally it got dark enough to bust out the sparklers, ladybugs, bottle rockets, snakes, and whatever else the Dads purchased.  Natalie was not into the lights and noise of the Fourth of July the previous year, so we were not sure how she would react this year.  The snappers were a success with her, so she was very ready to try a sparkler.  She loves our neighbors, so her only request was that she do her first one with Mr. Kirt.  

Matthew was ready to do the sparklers days before the holiday, so he jumped right in and "wrote in the air" right away!

I am thankful for a place to document all of these memories.  The images are still fresh in our minds today, but I know years from now The Sharktank family will love having a place to go back and look at all of the fun times we had!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Family trip to Chi Town

Back in June (yes, more than a month ago) we took our first family trip to Chicago.  We took trips in the past, but never planned a trip for the four of us just for fun. So, at the beginning of the month we packed up our car, boarded up the dog (we finally found a place who would take him), and made the road trip up north to where the Mr. and I used to live.

Our first stop was in the suburbs to catch up and spend the night at a friend's home.  We both were pregnant at the time (she has already had her beautiful baby girl), so we got the chance to catch up while our kids played in the backyard and the men enjoyed some beverages.  Have I ever mentioned how fantastic Summers in Chicago are?  I don't miss the Winter weather, but the Summers are beautiful up there (compared the usual of constant humidity and high temperatures of Missouri Summers).  We were blessed with perfect weather the entire time we were up there!

The next day we took the kids to their first game at Wrigley Field.  Mr. Sharktank and I love going to games there, so he thought it would be a great idea for the family to finally experience a game together.  Matthew was very excited to finally see the Cubs play in person.  The day was a great 82 degrees, no rain, mostly sunny, and we lucked out with great parking.  The kiddos were very excited walking to the stadium and observing all the craziness that makes Wrigleyville so much fun.

Mr. Sharktank found a great deal on tickets to the game.  We purchased seats that were covered, but we still had a great view of the field and were close enough to get a good look at the players.  Anyone who knows us knows that Matthew has been to his fair share of baseball games at Busch Stadium. We were lucky enough to sit about thirty rows behind home plate every time we went, so unfortunately Matthew thought that was our usual place to sit at every baseball game.  Once we arrived to our seats at Wrigley we noticed our little man getting upset and he started to cry.  We asked him what was wrong and he proceeded to throw a fit telling us he wanted to sit closer and in the sun (pretty much behind home plate in seats that are just not worth paying for when you have two kids with you).  The fans around us chuckled telling us, "Yeah kid, I want to sit there too," but not really understanding why Matthew was so confused.  Here is Matthew in the middle of his fit...

After he realized our seats were actually pretty decent and he could still see the players, have ice cream and soda, and still see all of the action he calmed down.  The kids made it to the seventh inning and we ended up at On The Border restaurant in time to see the game end for a Cubs win in the thirteenth.  Turned out to be a perfect day for the kids to experience their "first professional baseball game," as Mr. Sharktank says.

The kids were all smiles!

The next day Mr. Sharktank took Matthew to Legoland in Schaumburg.  Apparently, he was a little overwhelmed at first, but once he got comfortable he enjoyed it all.  They learned how to make legos, rode rides, and explored the magnificent work of lego building.  We thought Natalie was a bit too young to enjoy Legoland, so her and I stayed in the hotel room and watched Frozen for the millionth time lol.

We rounded up our trip in Chicago and headed to Indiana to see Mr. Sharktank's family.  We made a stop to visit his grandparents and some of his aunts, uncles, and cousins before we headed to stay with his parents.  Quite a few of them live on a lot of land, so Matthew had the time of his life riding all sorts of equipment.  His favorite vehicle was a real John Deere tractor and Uncle Tom even let him help drive!.  

Our trip ended with a stay at Mr. Sharktank's parents' house.  We are lucky to have his parents very involved in our lives and they live close enough that we can hop in the car to visit.  The kids (and the dog) always enjoy their large yard and the fact that their cousins live a short drive away.  We stayed a night there and left with full hearts and bellies.  Mr. Sharktank's mom is quite the cook and I am constantly eating at their home thanks to her cooking!

I'm closing this post with a couple of my favorite pics from the inlaw's backyard.  They have a fabulous tree that the kids love to hide behind (and makes cute pictures).

Friday, June 13, 2014

Our wild child is 3!

At the end of May, our little Natalie turned three years old.  Being our second child we knew what to expect with her when it came to caring for her, but we had no idea the personality that would start to show from this little girl!  She has grown up in three short years to be our spunky, wild, and carefree little girl.  Natalie slowly came out of her quiet and observant shell and she now loves to talk, role play, sing ("Let it go" anyone?), dance, tell stories (of true events and made up happenings lol), and pick on her big brother.  Her favorite things these days include my little ponies, her "special baby" (an American Girl Bitty Baby doll), bubbles, her Dora big wheel, necklaces of all sorts, the Disney movie Frozen, and stickers.

Since we don't do big birthday parties every year we let NAS have her first sleepover with a friend to celebrate.  She chose to have our dear Addison come over for the evening to go to dinner and spend the night.  Natalie choose where she wanted to eat (El Maguey, which is the usual Sharktank dinner spot) and then we came home for cupcakes, movies and popcorn.  Both girls had their own sleepover baskets complete with popcorn, necklaces, nail polish, movie tickets, candy, and balloons.

The girls had to dress of for the special occasion, of course!  Both Natalie and Addie love their dresses and pretty things :)

The night was a success and the girls were asleep by 9:15 after a Strawberry Shortcake movie and bowls of candy and popcorn..  The 6:05 am wake up call came really early, but the kids were excited for their favorite of bagels and cream cheese from Panera.  Natalie is already looking forward to the next time she can have a sleepover!

Happy 3rd year to our NAS!

Friday, April 18, 2014

More bows and dresses...

About a month ago I decided to have a secret ultrasound done to find out the sex of baby Sharktank #3.  My inlaws and godson were coming into town, so I knew it was a perfect time to surprise Mr. Sharktank.  In the over ten years I have known him, I have never been able to pull off a surprise of any sort! I would be lying if I said I was not excited to have an early peek at the baby and find out what we were having.  Women often say you feel the baby move around earlier with each child, but I guess I am an exception to this.  At 16 weeks I had not felt anything! No kicks, no punches, no turns, and no "flutters" as we pregnant people call the early movements of a baby in the womb.  Needless to say, I was very anxious to have a look and make sure all looked good with baby #3.

My dear friend, Sara, met me at our house in the morning and we told Mr. Sharktank that we were going to pick up photo props for her photography business (Sara Beth Photography... you can find her on Facebook).  I had to grip the steering wheel the entire drive to the ultrasound location, since my hands were shaking so bad.  I am the type of mom who gets extremely nervous before every ultrasound.  Knowing there is a life inside of me, knowing how the little one should be growing, and being aware of all the things that can go wrong during a pregnancy puts this pregnant lady on edge.

We went to Ultrasona and I have to say the office was fantastic.  The room was almost spa like with a comfy place to lay, dimmed lights, and a clean environment (but not "sterile" feeling like a doctor's office).  I almost expected to hear sounds of a waterfall or peaceful music lol.  The ultrasound technician took her time with me, explained what she was seeing, and was very careful to not reveal the sex of the baby to me.  I wanted to find out with Mr. Sharktank and the kids, so Sara was the only one to find out at that time.

That evening Mr. Sharktank came home and was greeted surprised by this sign on the garage door:

After explaining to him what was going on, we proceeded to the deck to pop black balloons.  I filled one set of balloons with pieces of blue tissue paper and another with set with pieces of pink tissue paper.  Sara made sure to give us the bunch of balloons with the correct color of tissue paper inside according to what we are having.  The two of us wore blue that night, only to find out (after we popped the balloons), that we should have worn pink.  Mr. Sharktank was shocked, as was I.  Matthew was just excited about the confetti like tissue flying around, and Natalie is still not enthused about having a sibling yet.  I am sure she will grow to love her sister just like she loves Matthew though :)

We also had baby MaryAnne's (that will be her name) anatomy scan this past week.  All her measurements looked good and although we were hoping for some good pictures, all she would really let us see were her feet and stomach.  The little baby just wanted to cover her face with her hands the entire time.  We were lucky to get one good profile shot though.

MaryAnne's profile.  I love cute baby noses!

Momma Sharktank at almost 23 weeks.  This shirt has made it through three babies.  I'm surprised it is still holding up!

In other Sharktank news... Matthew starts t-ball tomorrow.  He has his first practice with his new team. Some of the players were on his soccer team, but we are hoping he enjoys this sport a bit more.  We let him pick out his shoes, get a new bat, and Daddy took him out to practice last week when we had great weather.  He really enjoys watching the Cubs games on television and seems to understand the purpose of the game, so we will see how it goes.  Mr. Sharktank and I are praying that he does not want to quit and will at least give it his best effort and keep playing the entire short season.

Tomorrow starts our weekend of Easter celebrations.  I am so thankful we have family and lots of kiddos to share the festivites with.  I am sure our children will really enjoy hunting for eggs due to the beautiful weather we are suppose to have Saturday and Sunday!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Matthew is Five!

These past few weeks have been busy here at the Sharktank!  First, Matthew turned five on February 24th, then we had his birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese, and then we had his kindergarten registration a couple days ago.  Our first born is already five years old and will soon be preparing to ride the big yellow bus to go to school every day.

Matthew woke up on his birthday to find a special set up at our kitchen table.  I recently bought a helium tank to make sure we can have balloons at any time (I mean what kid doesn't get excited about floating balloons... I still do?!).  So, his chair at the table had balloons tied to it and his place setting had birthday plates, an early morning gift, and cupcakes for after breakfast.

We have told Matthew that he could have a real birthday party when he turned five years old, so when it came time to pick a place to host the festivities he chose the glorious Chuck E. Cheese.  I remember as a kid enjoying my time at the local Showbiz Pizza (now named Chuck E. Cheese), but I also remember the crazy number of kids, the lights, the noise, and the madness that goes on in that place lol.  Mr. Sharktank and I made the reservation for his party, although we knew we would be leaving his party exhausted that day!

Overall, the party was great for the kids!  Matthew loved it all and the fact that we did not have to do any prep work at our house was fantastic!  The birthday boy was given a crown, a birthday medal, tons of tokens and tickets, and chance to grab as many tickets as he could in the ticket blaster machine.  Neither of our children had ever been to a Chuck E. Cheese before, so their excitement about the day was wonderful to see!  We were so happy with the number of friends and family who could come to his party!  On our way home Matthew told us his birthday "was the best birthday and day ever!"

My loves before the big birthday party! 

NAS was clearly not a fan of the giant mouse!

The birthday boy ready to play games and win some tickets!

Matthew blowing out his candles on his rock star birthday cake! 

Grabbing his tickets in the ticket blaster!

Matthew's kindergarten screening went well.  He was super excited about seeing his new school and was very eager to show the Parents as Teacher testers all he knew.  I was not surprised to hear that he did great with his number and letter identification, but I was shocked when I was informed he did not know how old he was!  We just had his birthday, as well as a party, and he was so excited about turning five that I did not understand why he told everyone he was still four.  I just chalked it up to him getting overwhelmed with all the questions at his screening, until we were at home the next day and Matthew was choosing not to listen to me after I asked him to help me clean up the puzzles he was finished playing with.  I had asked him three times to help me clean up his puzzles and he just sat at the table looking at me.  He finally said, "I am not going to do it."  Trying not to get mad I replied by saying, "Yes you are.  You chose to play with these, so now that you want to do legos you have to clean up these first.  You are a big five year old who can make good choices, so help me and we can get out the legos." Well, I was not ready for his smart response.  

"Mom, I am not five years old.  I am four.  I don't always listen and have to make good choices, so I am four.  I am not kidding... I'm not!"

That kid can leave me speechless. I had no idea what to say, so I walked out of the room to collect my thoughts and not laugh.  I did of course return shorty to try and convince him to clean up, but I am pretty sure I am not going use the "you are a big five year old" line anymore!

I am ending this post with a baby picture of Matthew (as I plan to do every time the kids turn a year older).  I am looking forward to watching this boy of mine grow up even more.  He surprises me every day with the way his mind works and how considerate he can be of others and their feelings.