Monday, December 31, 2007

Sunday, December 30, 2007

more pictures from the honeymooners...

my cutie pie
...and we do still have a son :) Zack got a roaring, stomping, ugly-as-sin dinosaur from his mischevious Papa. He loves it. Thanks, Dad.

Whoa, Papa, you are so cool!

The new, improved Whitakers...hopefully some better family pictures to come

I know Dad did this a lot with me when I was a baby--it was fun to see it in person.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

She's Here!

Claire Cheryl Whitaker
born on
December 26, 2007
7 lbs. 9 oz.
20.25" long
Our little girl has arrived!

I woke up at 3am on Wednesday morning feeling pretty consistent contractions. Hmm, interesting, I thought. Since I was induced with Isaac, I had never gone into labor on my own, and figured it was probably just a false alarm. But 4am came, and then 5am... I wasn't sleeping, and the contractions weren't stopping. I started to panic. I had childcare set up for every day up to week 42...starting on the 27th. Perfect timing, I thought, as I lay awake trying to figure it all out and time my contractions.

Vance talked me down out of my tree when he woke up at 6:30, reminded me that everything would be all right, and rubbed my back to help me fall asleep until 8. Wonderful man, my husband. But at 8 the contractions were still going, and now only 3 minutes apart. I decided to go to my doctor's appointment at 9:15 and see what they would say.

My midwife checked me, said I was dialated 4 cm. "Have you leaked any amniotic fluid?" she asked as she was doing my exam. "No," I said. Then whoosh, my water broke. "Mmm, that's not supposed to happen," said Deb, looking a little sheepish. She told me to get Vance over here. I told her I had the car, asked if I could go back and get him. She told me in no uncertain terms that I was staying, and that I better not sound too calm on the phone, because Vance needed to get over to the hospital right away. I checked in around 9:30.

God provided childcare mercifully, and Vance got over to the hospital in record time. My labor was so much better than when I was induced with Isaac. We walked and walked and walked. By 11 my contractions started to require some focus to work through, by 12:30 I was dialated to 6-7cm, and by 1:50 I was complete. By 2:10 our sweet girl had arrived!

So far, she's been an easy baby (I know, I know, she's only a day old, it could all change). She loves to be touched, she hardly cries, and she meows like a kitten instead of hollering like a banshee when she's hungry. She's got Vance wrapped around her little finger, and we're so glad to have her here!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

We went to get our tree in the middle of a snowfall, which was very picturesque, and very fitting for Our First Family Tree. This is the winner, which fulfilled the qualifications of being a) small, b) skinny, c) symmetrical, and d) cheap. I was amazed how easy it was to find one to fit our list!
Isaac had so much fun running around, looking at the trees, and climbing up and down the steps.

Zack was having so much fun after getting the tree that we let him stay up late to enjoy the snow. When we first got back from NC, I took him out to enjoy the snow. He flipped out. It was too strange, and my OCD son couldn't handle the snow on his mittens. This second attempt went better. I taught him how to clap the snow off his mittens. Oh Joy! Plus, there was the shovel, and the trees, and staying up late...he had a blast.

Thanksgiving Pictures

Sorry I don't have more pictures...the only other ones I have are of bathtime with the cousins...and they aren't G-rated :/. So you'll have to enjoy Isaac, Dad, and Vance spending a little time with Skipper.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Thanksgiving, Part Two

Sorry it's been so long since I've posted pictures.

We had a wonderful trip to NC to see the families, celebrate Thanksgiving, and put Isaac into Toddler Overdrive. It was so much fun! We took a direct flight (bless those!) because of my impending due date--about the worst thing I can imagine is going into preterm labor in the Chicago airport.

When we got to Vance's parents' house, Dad decided to take Isaac out to see the tractor. I thought that was pretty strange, because it was 11pm, but hey, grandads are grandads. Things got stranger when no one answered the door, and after repeated knockings and a doorbell ring, the door mysteriously popped open without a greeter on the other side. I was confused. Vance and I went into the kitchen: no one there. Then he said, "come sit on the couch with me," and I realized what was going on....

It was November 27th. The fourth anniversary of our engagement. And Vance had recreated it. There was a fire in the fireplace, a dozen of my favorite roses, and champagne (okay, sparkling, but still). We sat on the couch just like last time, and Vance proposed again, and I accepted again. So congratulate me! I'm engaged! And just as thrilled to say yes--actually, more thrilled because I know how wonderful married life is--as I was four years ago.

The next morning, Zack woke up in adrenaline mode. "Nana nana nana nana! Papa! Papa! Papa Fwank! Dog! Nice dog! Albert dog! Seth! Baby Seth! Nana! Nana! Nana!" etc, for most of the rest of the week. It was hilarious. He's not usually that excited to be alive, but then again our little 700 sq feet of heaven doesn't house grandparents, a cousin, an aunt, an uncle, a horse, a Big tractor, a toy tractor, and a dog.

We also went to Raleigh for a day to see my family and celebrate Dad's birthday. It was short, but sweet. Isaac took a shine to Uncle AJ right away (I think they look a lot alike and even share some weird traits, like their aversion to creamy things).

Sorry I don't have more pictures--I forgot to recharge my battery before we left! Right now blogger won't let me upload pics, so I'll post a couple later.

Our second Thanksgiving was wonderful, but I was also relieved to be back and within driving distance of the hospital. Of course, knowing my luck, baby girl will decide to hibernate until the bitter end....

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Thanksgiving, Part One

This picture comes with a story. Really, this picture wasn't supposed to exist at all. We were supposed to be in North Carolina for Thanksgiving this year. Unfortunately, I was under the mistaken impression (don't ask me why) that Thanksgiving was November 29th. Much to my chagrin, I realized a few weeks ago that Thanksgiving had the audacity to come early this year--on the 22nd. Sooooooo, after calling Northwest and finding out that we could change our tickets to the correct week for the low, low price of $1300, we decided to keep our tickets and go home a week late. Sorry, everyone.
Actually, apart from the inconvenience we've put everyone under (and the blow my repuation has taken in the family), it has turned out just fine. We had some new friends over for Thanksgiving, enjoyed our celebration here, and now we're headed to NC to have a second celebration on Friday.
We had Ole and Anna over, who were unable to make it back to Seattle or Alaska to be with their family, since Ole has a new job and they need the insurance for their baby coming in March. Shannon is a new visitor at our church, but when we realized that he was planning on eating Thanksgiving dinner at Cracker Barrel, we decided he was coming over too. We had a great time of fellowship and conversation. Sometimes the random Thanksgivings turn out really well.
I'm getting better at putting on big dinners in my tiny kitchen, and with Anna's help, it really wasn't a big deal at all. It's just during clean up time that things get hairy, with no room to put anything anywhere (I should have taken a picture of that wreck!).
I decided to make my first foray into the world of Black Friday this year, since money is a little tighter and I wanted to get a good deal on a few Christmas presents. Isaac and Vance had a great time without me, exploring Zack's newfound love of duplos. He's getting pretty good--but I think Vance is really enjoying his opportunity to "help" as well :).

We're headed home to NC today, hooray!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Book Launch!

Well, I had my big party on Sunday night. Sorry it's taken so long to get the pictures up. We had a lot of fun! I didn't really know what to expect, not having been to a book launch (or for that matter, even know anyone who'd been to a book launch). But it was very encouraging to have so many friends there to support me. I was nervous about speaking, mostly because I felt like everything I came up with sounded so much more insipid than I felt--and missions is something that I feel strongly about, so that was frustrating. I honestly don't know how I did, but even if it wasn't the greatest, hopefully people will get the thrust of what I wanted to say through the book.

It's exciting to have the book out, but it's also a little nerve-wracking. As soon as I let something out of my hands, I want it back because I think of thousands of ways to improve it. Same with this book--especially with this book. But it had to go to press sometime.
The folks at the Overflow were very helpful, and their coffeehouse was perfect for the launch. We gave away free coffee with every book purchase, and had lots of desserts, so hopefully people left well-fed and happy. We, at least, had a great time!

signing...trying to be meaningful but brief (what about yearbook signing tricks? TTYL! BFF! Never change!)

Attempting to speak coherently about why and what I wrote...

Isaac started to scream when I started talking (can you say adios, composed speech, hello mommy brain?!), and Aaron graciously took him outside so I could try to put my thoughts together with some degree of sanity for the sake of our guests.

Me and my man, who emceed for me, carried boxes of books, helped me plan, set up, and watch Isaac--all with lots of joy and excitement. He made it all happen.

me and my (little) man, who stayed up past his bedtime with the help of our favorite parenting apple.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Early Austen Fan?

Isaac has always liked to read, but lately his repertoire has become a little more sophisticated. Last week, "Runaway Bunny" and "Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You See?" were his top picks. This week, it's Persuasion. I think he wants to join my book club.

Occasionally, when he's playing by himself, I'll sit by him and read my book. This usually doesn't last for more than a few minutes, but I get a little reading in. Now, however, he'll come up to me, say, "please," and take whatever book I'm reading. He then heads for the recliner, and proceeds to gaze intently at the book for several minutes. I wonder if he thinks he's getting as much out of it as I am. :)

And for those of you who are wondering if Isaac has good taste or not, I would definitely recommend Persuasion. I don't like all of Austen's novels, but Persuasion probably comes second to Pride & Prejudice, in my opinion.

Thursday, November 08, 2007


Another thing I love about the cities....the chance to be pretentious and feign culturedness. Right down my alley! :) On Saturday I went with my friend Bethany (who is an art major) to see the Frida Kahlo exhibit at the Walker. I didn't know a lot about her work, but I knew enough to be interested, and know that she was worth going to visit.
We went early because the first Saturday of the month is free, and therefore busy. Really, even for an uneducated non-artist, the exhibit was amazing. Disturbing, yes. Depressing, yes. But evocative and descriptive. I left the Kahlo exhibit amazed at her rawness and her courage to look her difficult life in the face.
Some of my art-high must have been pretentiousness, though. I tried to come home and explain to Vance what an amazing artist Frida was, and he looked at me like I had grown three heads. "Her life sounds awful and depressing," he said. "I'm glad I didn't go."
I guess I'm glad he didn't, as well. Don't get me wrong--I love my husband and I love doing pretty much everything with him. But I don't think he would have enjoyed that experience, and I'm glad I got to.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

witty comeback...or not

I was in the grocery store today, loading up my groceries (here in the Midwest we have to bag our own) when I heard a strange voice addressing me.

"I'm so glad you're here," a bland, middle-aged man in a plaid shirt commented to me.

I glanced up and gave him a quizzical, friendly, but somewhat detatched look.

"I'm just glad that there's someone here with a bigger belly than me!" he said.

A multitude of thoughts raced through my head at that moment. What should I say back?

"Not for much longer, I hope." or
"Potbellies of the world, unite!" or
"I exist to make you feel better about yourself" or
"At least my belly is temporary!"

In the end, thinking those responses were too rude, I ended up smiling congenially and saying something really noncommittal, like, "Glad I could help."

I wonder what would have happened if I had said what I really thought. :)

Sunday, November 04, 2007

It's Here!

My book arrived on Friday! Isaac got the first peek before I came into the room...
I was actually nervous about opening the boxes up. I've spent a lot of time working on this book, but had never held it in my hands.

The finished product.

My best promo for the book so far.
We ordered a bunch of books for my book launch/signing on the 18th. The planning for that is underway, and I'm getting excited about having a party. There's a lot to do--magazine articles, press releases, bookstore signings, etc., and I'm trying to get it all done before baby comes.
I'm sure I'll put up more information about the book later, but you can order it at . Just type in my name or Yesupadam, and it should come up.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Fall Festival

We had a busy weekend (our social calendar tends to fill up quickly due to our extreme popularity:), and wrapped it up at the Darlings' fall festival. We played touch football--well, I didn't, but hopefully next year!--bobbed for apples, carved pumpkins, talked, ate, and played games until late at night. It was a lot of fun.
It was a costume party, and we decided to take advantage of the Belly. I--or rather Baby--was a basketball, Vance was the hoop, and Isaac was the basketball star. Hopefully you can tell that just by looking at us! :)

Taking a time out to forage for grapes...mmmm

I generally consider apple bobbing to be an unhygenic activity, but due to a) not being much of a germophobe, and b) being a sucker for dares, I got roped into competing against Vance in the bobbing contest. He won.
Below is my first attempt at posting a video. Vance takes on Mike in a heated race for an apple. If you can hear the sound at all, you may pick up my laughter and Isaac's freaked-out screams. The sight of people dunking their heads into a metal bin and the raucous screaming of everyone else was too much for him. But he had a sick fascination with the whole thing, and couldn't stop looking. Hopefully he isn't scarred for life.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Ice, ice, baby

Saturday was a fun date night for us. Our wonderful neighbors (and their two boys) took Isaac with them to a nature center festival at 4:30 and watched him for the rest of the evening so that Vance and I could have a date night. We've had a lot of coffee dates lately, so the chance to get away before dinner and enjoy a lesiurely evening together was really exciting.
We went to our new-favorite Chinese restaurant for dinner, where we met a very chatty elderly couple who were rabid U of M athletics fans. They were decked out in all the paraphenalia. For a while I was afraid I wasn't going to get a date with my husband! :) But after they left we got a good chance to talk and talk and talk.
Then we went to my first hockey game. It was so fun! It was a preseason game, but still amazing for a non-hockey initiate to watch. For those of you who've never watched, I highly reccommend this very entertaining sport. Guys are crashing into each other everywhere, doing the craziest moves on ice, and when they're bad, they have to go to Time Out in the penalty box. As a mom of a toddler, it was too funny to watch these college guys dutifully trudge into their isolation station and wait out their two minutes. We had a great time.
And by the way, the U of M's chants don't hold a candle to NCSU's. Any chant that includes spelling the entire state of M-I-N-N-E-S-O-T-A just loses some of the momentum for me, especially when it's concluded with a rousing, "yaaaaaaaaaaaaay Gophers!" at the end. Give me the good old Wolfpack any day.
This also cracked me up. Iceleaders? Cheerskaters? I don't know, but I'd never seen them before. :)

Yes, we are dorks. We took our picture on our date, and we aren't even in high school. We were just having so much fun, we had to commemmorate the event!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

the unexpected

Since we've been married, Vance and I have been (trying) to keep a pretty tight budget. We tried to live on just his salary when I was working so that we could save up for kiddos. Now we live on his graduate student income plus my small contribution as a part-time piano teacher. We try to be good, really we do, but it's amazing how much money gets spent! But over the last three years, I have been amazed at how faithful God has been to us financially.

Little things, big things--blessings all. Like someone leaving a bunch of organic groceries on our doorstep. Another nameless contributor bringing by some produce when I was just stressing about the food budget. Checks that came in the mail from friends we didn't even talk to that much. Gift certificates from other dear friends. Extra gas money from piano students. The list goes on. Like it says in the psalms (can't remember the reference, sorry), "I was young, and now I am old, but I have never seen the righteous man forsaken, or his children begging bread." It seems that just when I am about to start worrying about how we'll cover the next big expense, God shows his faithfulness to remind me that he is in control.

That happened again this weekend. On Saturday night, Vance and I worked on the finances. Vance pointed out that we were overspending on entertainment, and that we should try to cut back. I hate cutting back on entertainment, because that's our date money. But we figured we could try to do more free/cheap things.

The next morning at church, a close friend came up to us with a gift bag. We had helped her with some yardwork over the summer, and she had come to say thank you. She had two gift certificates to some fun restaurants in the area, plus four movie tickets. That's four dates, people!! We were so thankful--both to Beth, for her generosity, and to God, for knowing our desires and choosing to bless us.

Then this week, Vance's advisor gave us tix to the next U of M hockey game. 6th row seats. I've not been to a college hockey game before, but they say hockey in the Midwest is like basketball in the south. Should be fun--another adventure, and another free date.

Just another kiss on the head from a Father who is so faithful...

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Terri, Terri, quite contrary, how does your Baby grow?

...with peanut butter, dark chocolate, and tubs of ice cream all in a row! ..or something like that :)... 29 weeks and counting. We're both getting BIG!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

the many faces of Hazel

Yesterday was (yet another) rainy day, but it was brightened by a visit from Bethany and baby Hazel. Isaac is fairly interested in babies right now, so he enjoyed rocking Hazel in her carseat and touching her nose. Mostly, though, he enjoyed spending time with Bethany. I have a ladies' man on my hands.

It wasn't the greatest day for taking pictures, but I wanted to practice on a baby, so that I can get better before I'm taking shots of my own sweet girl. I'm realizing that babies are easy to shoot because they don't move, and hard to shoot because they don't do much. Most of you don't know Hazel, but I thought I'd share some pictures of our little friend anyway.