What the Freak?

Lets see some creativity from the readers, what caption could possibly describe this photo?.....

I'll give you a starting hint about the situation, it took two hours of our morning to undo the curiosity of Eliza...

Merry Christmas!

Erin and her pink flamingos at the Festival of Lights

We had a wonderful Christmas. This was our first year away from family and it felt odd not to have the commotion of family dinners and get-togethers. But we enjoyed starting our own family traditions and getting some time to spend together as a family.

Erin was prime age for Santa this year, she was so excited and it provided great leverage in the weeks leading up to Christmas. When we asked her what her favorite gift was, she replied….” I love them all!”.

We hope you all had a Merry Christmas!


Hopping on the baby train….

I think everyone we know is pregnant (that’s what happens when a hurricane hits and there is no electricity for two weeks).

Yes the rumors flying around are true, Little Renshaw the Third is well on his/her way. I don’t know if anyone caught the 2.5 kids on my blog header. Its been up for a month, but then again, maybe I just blog to myself.

I am about 12 ½ weeks along and am due at the end of June. I had my second appointment with my midwife today and everything looks great. We are very excited to welcome one more into our family!

We’ll find out at the end of January what we are having. I love the surprise of not knowing, but it drives Jared nuts, so after Erin we decided to find out. Plus my nursery had a big purple Gerber daisy on the wall, not real masculine :)

For namesake lets hope it’s a girl. Erin is determined if it’s a girl we are naming her Isabella and if it’s a boy….Cheese. What can I say, Iowa blood still runs through her veins :D We will be happy with what we get.


The Upgraded Christmas Tree

Our First Christmas Tree in all its glory
(stop laughing! Its called living within your means :)

Our tree this year
(it does not look that crazy, the flash just picks up the silver of the fir needles)

We decided to hang in Houston this year for Christmas. 1. to finish up Ike repairs, 2. Ike killed out travel budget and 3. I am becoming a Texas weenie and I am pretty sure if I am exposed to -20 temperatures my thinning blood might freeze and I will die.

This year we actually splurged and got a real tree (of course a fir tree since we live on fir tree). Unlike our childhood escapades of trudging through crotch-deep snow in ten degree weather wondering if your lower extremities would need to be amputated before Dad found the “perfect tree”, we headed down to Houston Garden Center, located a mile from our house and picked a pre-cut one off the lot and some guy even carried it to the truck (much easier, less painful).

This is the first real tree we have had since our first Christmas married and its 1. larger, 2. less prickly, and 3.doesn’t look like its been violently tortured. But every tree there is a good story. Our first Christmas tree made Charlie Brown’s tree look like it belonged on Rockefeller Center ….

Jared and I were married in September of 03 during our senior year at college. Like all college kids we were broke (of course most were broke because they were buying beer…we were buying health insurance). We went home to visit my parents and talked about getting a real tree, but could not fork out the $25.00, plus our attic apartment has no room for a kitchen table, let alone a tree.

Before leaving my dad suggested we go out to the farm pasture and cut one down (part of his woody invasive management program). We searched the pastures at dusk, finding a small red cedar that would suffice. We cut him down, and tied him to the back of our 94 achivea and started the 3 hour trek back to our apartment in Ames. We stopped in Waterloo only to find that our securing skills lacked and our precious little tree had been dragged down I-20 for unknown miles. We franticly tied it back to the trunk as the winter winds pierced through layers of clothing…..and the guy in the nice SUV next to us watched, laughing hysterically.

It made its way to Ames in the sub zero temperatures, hooked to a car not much more valuable than the tree itself. We quickly put it in water (in a juice jug because tree stands cost as much as the tree), but between its miles of contact with the frozen pavement and being ripped from the clutches of its native habitat, the damage had been done.

Its sad branches were brown and flimsy, but were enough to hold the two ornaments we owned. Jared pouted all that week that our tree sucked. So five years later I granted Jared the privilege of a “real Christmas tree”. So far it has survived both kids, is still green and smells soooo good!


Eliza's ears

I took Eliza to the ENT specialist yesterday and found out she has mid range hearing loss. Luckily they think its temporary due to a large amount of fluid in her ears. They put her on 6 weeks of an antihistamine in hopes that meds can alleviate the condition. If there is still fluid present at the end of January they will put in tubes and possibly remove her adenoids. She did awesome at her appointment! Her ENT and audiologist were really good with her.

I spoke with a speech therapist today and she had some really good tips about communicating with her and stating some basic signs. She’ll start with the speech therapist at the end of January. She can hear us talk, but the doc said it like trying to hear someone in the next room with the door closed, very muffled if it comes thorough at all.

The good news is it sounds like it could be a quick fix and they don’t foresee any long-term hearing loss. As for now its just an adjustment for everyone.


Winter Wonderland

Yesterday morning…..

I woke up today to a chilly 34 degrees and a stiff rain beating on the windows. This is unusually cold for this time of year (it was 75 a few days ago, the dramatic temperature makes me feel like I am back in Iowa).

We are staying her this year, a feeling which is bittersweet. We are excited to start our own family traditions, but as the day draws near I long for the big family gatherings in warm homes as the bitter wind howls and a layer of pure, seamless snow blanket the earth.

Last night:

Some wishes are fulfilled. I went to mutual tonight and we were planning on a hayride caroling excursion through town. When we arrived at 7pm it was about 35 degrees and sleeting and we were debating about going (30’s is really cold for the kids down here). The youth were arguing if it was sleeting or hailing (they really have not see either to know the difference) when a little girl came in and said “its snowing!”. We went outside and flurries were in the air. We jumped on the wagon and headed through some neighborhoods. It was great caroling because the snow was actually accumulating and dozens of people were out in their yards playing in it.

On the way home I watched the roofs turn white, then the lawns and finally the side streets. I was a bit nervous about driving, Houstonians have no idea how to drive on icy roads and they were a bit slick. They have no snow equipment down here, no salt or sand trucks, so even a little snow can make it treacherous.

I got home about 9:30 and we bundled Erin up and went out in the front yard and made a 5ft snowman (it took almost all the snow in our front yard), made a snow angel and played for a while.

. It snows like this maybe once every 10-20 years. Just a few counties received snow. It was just a freak collision of a wet and cold front off the coast. But it was a welcomed introduction to the Christmas Season for all!


Erin's Snowman
Neighbors palm tree

Getting gas :D



I can't believe it! It snowed enough tonight to make a snowman (granted it took all the snow from our front lawn). Very cool :)


My Life

Things I've Done. To participate just copy and paste in your own blog, and bold all of the things you have done. Thanks Wanonie....

1. Started your own blog (obviously)
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped (but I have gone cliff diving)
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen an eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee


Christmas Parade

Last night my friend Melissa and I took the girls out to the League City Christmas Parade. They have a huge parade at night and a carnival with lots of little food and craft vendors. Jared and Zoran were both hitting the books so we decided to take the kids and give them some time to study. The girls had a blast running after candy at the parade and we picked up some yummy caramel apples. We had to park about 1/2 mile away and the three of them were not up for walking, so Eliza kindly shared her stroller. Eliza thought it was hilarious that she was squashed between Erin and Melina. I thought the wheels were going to fall off of our single stroller, but it held up well to the 80 pounds of laughing cargo.

The $5 desk

Now that Erin is in school her crayons and papers are strung across the house. I picked up this little desk at a neighbors garage sale for $5.00 last week. It was a bit rickety and needed a new finish. I got it sanded down and purchased some "L" bracket braces and I hope to have it primed and painted in time for Christmas.

I love working with old furniture, but sometime I realize that a $5.00 desk is really only worth $5.00 :) We'll see if I still have a magic touch.

Well check!

Erin and Eliza both had the well checks and we are happy to say that Erin officially hit 50% for height and 50% for weight! She was not even on the charts until she was two years and she is finally growing well! Erin's heart sounds good and Eliza is doing well.

The only hiccup is Eliza's hearing. She just turned 18 months and only says about three words. She communicates very well through gestures and expressions, but lacks language skills and rarely responds unless she is looking at you. Its actually pretty cute, she sounds like a little E.T. They ruled out autism (which was not even a concern for this little social butterfly). They checked her ears and there was a large amount of fluid behind them. So we see the ENT in a few weeks to see about the possibility of tubes and start seeing a speech therapist sometime this month. Her pediatrician was not too worried that it was anything more serious than that.

Weight: 35lbs - 50%
Height: 41 inches - 50%

Weight: 20lbs- 25%
Height 31 inches - 50%