Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Boden has been working hard at learning his alphabet.  He loves to write and is always asking how to spell things so he can write them.  The other day I decided to see how many of his letters he really knew. I gave him a blank piece of paper and called out the letters one at a time for him to write. 

I was impressed! He did a great job.  I only had to show him examples of I, J, K, Q, R, U, V, W, X and Z.  I thought that was pretty good for 3 yrs old.  So here's me bragging on my boy...

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The "Meggie-Van"

Once upon a time I said I would NEVER drive a mini-van...In fact, I think I was still saying that up until about 5 months ago.  I was confident that I would sail through motherhood without ever driving a mini-van, SUVs will do just fine right? When I was in college I used to say this (why I was thinking about mini-vans in college I have no idea) and my roomate always joked that one day I would get a mini-van and she would get me license plates that said "MEG E VAN".  I should have known to never say never :)

We have a 7 passenger Durango that I intended to drive for many more years of hauling kids around.  But I wasn't necessarily intending to need to have 3 kids in carseats at the same time.  When we found out about the impending arrival of #3 we started looking at how we were going to work it out in the Durango.  Boden is on the verge of being able to move up to a booster seat weight-wise, but I feel pretty strongly that he needs to stay in a 5pt harness at least another year.  Getting 3 seats across in the back of the Durango was proving to be a challenge, and climbing up there to buckle them in a challenge as well.  There's the option of using the 3rd row, but that creates a few more challenges.  In order to get to the 3rd row, one middle seat has to fold forward (so no carseat on that seat), and in order for that one to fold, the middle seat can't have a carseat in it either because it prevents the side seat from folding.  So, that means 2 carseats in 3rd row.  Challenge 1 - no LATCH hooks in 3rd row.  Challenge 2 - seatbelts in 3rd row don't "lock" allowing the seat to be tightened adequately.  And finally, Challenge 3 - even if I did get the seats installed in the 3rd row tightly, when the 3rd row up, it's impossible to put anything larger than an umbrella stroller in the trunk.  Not gonna work out well with an 18 month old and a newborn.... and  I love my Phil & Ted's double way too much to not use it.

So, all that to say - we have now ventured into mini-van land!  I was hesitant and kinda had a bad attitude about it at first.  I really didn't want to do it.  But, then when we really started looking at them and test driving them I was quickly sold.  They were just made for moms.  Every detail is well thought out for families with kids. And Boden was so excited to have doors that slide "just like Addie's!"
We went back and forth debating between a Honda Odyssey and a Toyota Sienna.  I think we test drove each one 3 times.  In the end, we went with the Sienna and I'm so happy with our choice.  It's crazy to think it, but I can actually say "I love my mini-van!" lol.  We've had it less than 60 days and already put 4000 miles on it!
Here's my favorite things about it:
 *Automatic sliding doors! This is probably my favorite thing about the van.  No more worries about banging into other cars while getting kids in and out, and I can open/close the door with the button on my keychain.  I'm thinking this will come in even more handy when #3 arrives and I'm juggling an 18mo old, a newborn, a toddler, stroller, and diaper bag.
* Boden can climb in and out by himself - Lifting a 35lb kid up into his seat was getting harder and harder the more pregnant I get.
*Tons of trunk space even with all rows up.
*Built in sunshades on all the back windows.  Even with tinted windows, sometimes the sun is still right in their eyes.  These were great on our roadtrip out to VA.  (we've had the stick-on kind before, and ours always fell off after a few months)
*The 2nd row seats are on a sliding track that allows us to move them closer to the front row, if we need more room in the back, or slide them further back for more leg room/space in the 2nd row when not using the 3rd row.  This was also a huge selling pt for us for the Toyota over the Honda - the 2nd row seats in the Sienna can slide forward, allowing kids to get in the 3rd row, even with a carseat installed on it.
*Back up camera - so helpful to make sure no one is behind me when I'm backing up my big 'ole bus!
*This particular van also has a blue tooth feature that allows me to use my phone hands free - and also allows me to stream music/podcasts from my iphone wirelessly.  So great on roadtrips.

We really love our new van, just like every one of my friends who drives one told me I would.  I kind of laugh now when I talk to a mom who says she'll never drive a van...not that everyone will, but they certainly aren't the enemy I once thought they were. Be careful what you say "never" about! Guess I better see about those liscense plates....

Thursday, January 20, 2011

It's A BOY!

Yep, Boden and Claire are going to have a little brother!  And we are all so excited!  This is probably old news to you if you saw my facebook status last week, but I thought I'd share it here too.  I finally found a Dr (well, actually a Midwife) and was able to schedule an ultrasound.  We've been waiting so patiently since we moved right in the time-frame when I would typically have had an ultrasound.  But, our waiting ended last Thursday. 

All 4 of us got to enjoy watching the little guy move around on the screen while the tech measured everything and checked to see that all was well.  He's doing great! Everything measured perfectly on track for our May 17 due date.  It was so amazing to watch him open and close his mouth and swallow, and watch his little heart beat.  Isn't life amazing? God is so cool.

When she moved down towards the legs it was so apparent that this little one was a boy - he wasn't hiding anything! lol.  Both Michael and I knew it right away without her even saying a thing.  I had a feeling this little one was a boy - I'm not sure why, but I've caught myself referring to the baby as "he" rather often. And when discussing names, I couldn't even think of one girl name that I really liked. I had this same feeling when I was pregnant with Boden. With Claire, I didn't have a clue.

Boden got such a big smile on his face and said "I'm going to have a little brother!?!?"  I'm so excited for him.  And I just can't wait to see what Claire thinks about him when he arrives.

I couldn't be happier with our new midwife.  I had originally planned to deliver at a birthing center I had read about online and had made appts there too, but when we toured and spoke to some of the midwives, it was obvious to me that it just wasn't the right place for us.  Thankfully, just before we left Missouri, one of Michael's relatives gave me the contact information for this midwife.  Her sister-in-law actually lives out here and she and several of her friends see her and love her.  Turns out her office is less than 5 min from where we are staying now and the hospital she delivers at is really close too.  And, I went to a playdate this past Monday and found out two of the moms have had babies with her and loved her as well.  Thank you Lord!  I was really discouraged after leaving the birthing center that night, but I knew that we had prayed a lot about where to have our baby and I realize that sometimes God has to shut one door so that we'll walk through the right one.  I'm so thankful for His guidance in everything I do.  And I'm so thankful for this precious new life!

Brown Bear Brown Bear

I think I've mentioned before that Claire has no interest in being read to.  I've tried...Michael has tried...the grandparents have tried...she just won't sit long enough to get through more than 2 pages.  This is so odd to us because Boden will seriously sit for HOURS being read to.  He has always liked being read to, even at Claire's age.

But, the other day we were playing and looking at a new book my parents got Claire for Christmas.  It's "Brown Bear, Brown Bear what do you see?"

She sat on the floor with me and let me read it to her, not only once....but 3 times in a row!!! This is major progress!  I think a lot of it (ok, all of it) had to do with the little secret windows that you open to see what the next animal sees, but still, I was so shocked and excited.  I love reading, and I really want my kids to love it to.  Maybe she's got a chance after all:)


and yes, I know her outfit doesn't match...at all.  I promise we didn't go out looking like that.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The moving truck FINALLY came!  It was such a long, drawn out process. I won't bore you with all the drama.  But, it was quite frustrating actually...mostly for Michael, he's the one who had to deal with them, and he had to help unload it all since the "crew" that showed up was actually just the truck driver.  There was definitely a point in this process where I was about 80% sure we would never see our stuff again.  The moral of this story is....there are some things you don't try to save money on....clearly moving companies fall into this category.

So, we've got our bed (hallelujah!), Claire's crib, our couch, tv, fridge, AND the power cord to my sewing machine (which I've been almost as excited about getting as I have my bed).  When we packed up in November I kept out two bins full of projects I intended to work on and my sewing machine...but somehow packed the power cord/foot pedal of my machine in a box that went with the moving truck. big bummer.  Thankfully my mother in law was kind enough to let me borrow hers so I could finish up a few christmas presents and my mom let me borrow hers when I was visiting so I could finish a few projects there and hem my new maternity jeans.  Yesterday I whipped up a little bubble skirt I've been wanting to make for awhile.  I've got lots of ideas for Claire's spring wardroble so I'm excited to get started.

Speaking of maternity clothes, I must stop to say how much I love H&M.  They actually understand that pregnant women still like to be fashionable but most can't afford to spend $60-80 for a shirt or $125 for a dress. And their maternity jeans?! genius. You know the little pull tabs with buttons inside the waist of little kids jeans? They put them inside the waist of their maternity jeans.  I LOVE IT! The only maternity jeans I have ever worn that I'm not constantly pulling up.  One of the highlights of our trip to NYC was going to the H&M there that carries the maternity line (unfortunately the St Louis stores don't carry it, the website said it wasn't at any of the stores in here in VA, and they don't sell it online in the US).  So it was a wonderful surprise for me when I walked past the H&M at one of the local mall here and noticed the sign said they have maternity!!!  YAY!

The real reason for the trip to the mall was letting the kids burn some energy at the indoor playground there.  We went with a friend and her son.  They just moved here from North Carolina to join the staff at the church as well.  It's been so nice to have a friend in the same situation as we are.  The mall had a great playground - Claire found a fire truck that she fell in love with and claimed as her own.  Seriously, any kid that tried to climb on it she immediatly started trying to push them off of it.  We're beginning to see what having an older brother does to a little girl!  She has no problems standing up to 3 yr old boys who get in her way.  We're working on being a lady. :)

We've had a few playdates in the past couple weeks and it's been great! It's been so fun to meet families with little boys!  We love our friends in St Louis and all their adorable little 3 yr old girls, but Michael was so excited to hear that Boden played with trains, garbage trucks, and firetrucks last week rather than playing dress up in princess dresses! Everyone here has been so friendly and warm to us - we feel so blessed.  God is really taking great care of us and helping us get connected with people right away.

The other day we burned some energy at Kangaroo Jac's - and indoor bounce house playground.  The kids loved it.  Claire was probably a bit young to really enjoy the bouncers, but she still had a blast running around and watching Boden.



So, we've been keeping busy around here, but we've slowed down a bit the last two days - Claire has a cold.  It started as just a runny nose, but as of today she's got a pretty rough cough, kinda sounds like croup and is coughing herself awake alot tonight. The YMCA has a prenatal yoga class once a week that I was really looking forward to going to tomorrow, but I'm guessing we will be staying home and keeping our germs to ourselves again.  Hopefully next week.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Burning some energy

We've been looking for ways to burn some energy around here...Boden is practically bouncing off the walls and needs to RUN!

The second day we were here in VA we joined the YMCA.  We are so excited about all the fun programs they have, especially for Boden.  Two mornings and two evenings each week they offer a GEKO (Group Exercise for Kids Only) class for 3-5yr olds that is 30 min long and he can go to while I work out.  We drop them off in the Stay & Play area and then the teacher takes them to and from the class and I just pick him back up when I'm done.  We've taken him a few times and he loves it....well, except for the sit-ups part, I was watching last night and they were doing 10 sit-ups....Boden did like 3 and then told the teacher "this is hard!"...and then proceeded to watch the rest of the kids finish their sit-ups. ha.  We had a talk later about perserverence and how sometimes things are hard, but you have to keep doing them to get good at it.  He pretty much just stared at me and then said "but....sit-ups are hard, mom." Yes, honey, I know, I know.
One day I saw them playing a game where they scattered things all over the gym and then pretended to "pick up the trash" and had to run around and put the things one at a time in a hula hoop, another day they were doing relay races across the gym (yay for wearing my kid out!), and today I saw them playing on little stilt things (you know, the plastic cups attached to strings? what are those called anyway?),
and my favorite is probably watching them do jumping jacks....ever watch a group of 3-5 yr olds try to do jumping jacks? it's pretty entertaining.  Boden just jumps up and down and flails his arms all around. so cute.
They also have a parents night out on Sat night that you can sign up for once a month - they will watch your kids from 6-9:30 and you can go out, at no extra cost (its included with a family membership).  That's exciting to us, since we don't yet have babysitters here.  And twice a month they have a parents morning out that Boden can go to for 3 hrs and do "preschool" stuff.  I think he will love that!  They have an awesome outdoor pool and splash park as well as a nice indoor pool.  I'm excited about getting the kids in swimming lessons next month.  I had wondered how I would be able to do a mommy & me class with Claire while having Boden with us - but since it's at the Y, he can go to stay and play while Claire and I swim.  Perfect!

I think the YMCA is going to be great for us - after just 5 visits Claire finally quit crying through the whole thing and yesterday she actually went right into her class on her own. It's a great break for me during the day to get a chance to workout without children under my feet and what mom can complain about getting to take a shower while someone else entertains your kids?  That in itself is worth the cost of the membership!

**Pics are a little fuzzy, I know - they were taken on my phone

Saturday, January 8, 2011

All Things New

Happy 2011!  2010 was an exciting, change-filled year for our family, and I hope it was for yours too.  When 2010 began, I never could have anticipated all that it would bring.  I was a terrible blogger in 2010....terrible.  Two kids, pastoring a church, family, friends, vacations, the loss of a dear friend, weddings, morning sickness (better yet, all day sickness), packing, moving, etc, etc - I just couldn't find the time to sit down and write about it all.  Looking back, I wish I had.  I know there are small moments I have forgotten, and cute things the kids did, my feelings, frustrations and joys about motherhood, an all of the inbetween that I would have liked to have documented.  So, here's my fresh new start, and quite a long review of what happened in the rest of 2011....

Wanna know what's new with the Brueseke's?  Kind of alot, actually....

Boden turned 3 in July.  Often, when talking to him you would think he was 9, he is so funny, logical, imaginitive, and bright.  He loves to color, is doing quite well at staying in the lines, and gets excited about doing "school work" - he has learned to recognize all of his letters and is now learning their sounds and learning to write them. 
He has an excellent memory - he has done great with memorizing any scripture I give him.  Earlier this summer he learned the entire 23rd Psalm in less that a week.  Mostly just by listening to me recite it to him while he played with toys.  This Christmas we taught him Luke 2:10-11.  Watch below for the clip:

Most of the time he is a delight - but that doesn't mean that strong will of his doesn't rear it's head once in awhile.  A rather common converstation with the strong willed Boden goes something like this:

Mama: "Boden, you can either take a nap in mamas bed, or in your bed today, but you ARE taking a nap.  You have the option, what do you choose?"

Boden: "Well, Mama....Actually....I don't wanna take a nap, Soooo, I can play in my room or watch cartoons...that's MY option."

It's also interesting as a parent, to have your child speak to you the way you speak to them.  Sometimes humorous, other times, downright scary to know that's what I sound like!

Miss Claire is now 14 months old!  She celebrated her 1st birthday on October 27.  We had a party with family the weekend before her actual birthday.  My sisters and I made a catepillar cake that coordinated with the birthday outfit I had so much fun making for her. 
She has been such a fun child - she started taking steps around 10.5- 11 months and she hasn't stopped since! When she's awake, she doesn't stop moving - in 14 months I think I've read her a total of 5 pages of a book while she was sitting on my lap! She loves to be up running around and exploring - and chasing her big brother, but when it's time to nap, there is rarely an arguement.  She lays down and is out for a few hrs twice a day.  And at night, just lay her down and she's out for at least 12 hrs.  She and Boden are like night and day in the sleeping aspect...I'm not sure he has EVER slept 12 hrs at night!
Claire had a lot of trouble with ear infections in her 2nd 6 months.  She had 5 ear infections throughout the year, and then starting in October, we just couldn't get rid of them.  She was on antibiotics continually for Oct and Nov and finally got tubes put in just before Christmas.  She has been much happier since.  She signs: eat, more, please, thank you, bye bye, sleep/night-night. She says: mama, dadda, ball, sometimes she says eat, and hi.  I think her speach was delayed a little by her constant clogged ears - we've noticed her really picking up more and following directions very well in the past month.  A couple weeks ago I asked if she needed to go potty and she turned and went straight for the bathroom and banged on the toilet.  I was so excited, thinking "this is going to be awesome! she'll potty train herself!" I got her all undressed, set her up on the potty, and what did she do? she flailed and screamed like I was pulling her leg off or something.  ah, well, at least she knows what I'm talking about, right?

Shortly after my last post of 2010 we had a whirlwind of life happen.... 

We took a family vacation with two other families to Destin, FL.  It was beautiful, fun and relaxing....for most of us.  Poor Michael was miserably sick the whole time.  He tried to have a good time, but just didn't feel good at all. 
Then in September, we made the decision to take a new position at a new church....all the way across the country!  Michael had been connected with the pastor of this church for several years, he had been one of Michael's professors at Regent University during his Masters Program (which he finished in Aug '10!!!! Yay Michael!) and they had gotten together whenever Michael was in the area.  This past summer, the opportunity arose for Michael to join Pastor Jim and the team at Western Branch Community Church, in Chesapeake, VA as the Discipleship Pastor.  After lots of prayer and discussions, we were confident that was what God was calling us to do.  While very exciting, it was also very scary.  We've both lived in the midwest our entire lives, and always relatively close to family.  This move would put us at least 16 hr drive from Michael's family and 22 from mine!  I've gotten used to being able to make the 6 hr drive from Missouri to NE to see my family with just me and the kids whenever Michael is out of town, or when family events are occuring and Michael can't get away, and had I definitely gotten used to Michael's mom watching the kids for me one day a week so they could get some "Bubbe" time while I got some "me" time.  We also love our church family in St Louis, and will really miss them all.  It was such a difficult decision to leave, but we had so much peace about the decision, we knew it was God.  And we knew that God would make it all work out.

Shortly after that decision was made, and we began preparing to move, we got another surprise we were most certainly not expecting!  Baby #3!!!  I remember very vividly having a phone conversation with my mom on Thursday.  Here's basically how it went:
Megan:  Mom, I've got some news!
Mom: You're Pregnant!!???!???
Megan: Are you crazy? we are getting ready to pick up and move across the country where we know no one.  I couldn't possibly also handle being pregnant through all that.  No, I'm not pregnant. If I were pregnant Mom, I imagine I'd be crying right now.
Mom: well, what's the news then?
Megan: I was just going to tell you we decided what dates we'll be visiting for Thanksgiving....

And, then...that night I didn't sleep at all! I have never had that happen, but it was so weird.  I got up and cleaned for a couple hrs, tried to sleep again, then got up and knit for a few hrs, and then read, and finally around 5 am I fell asleep.  Friday morning I felt so awful.  I assumed it was from not sleeping.  We went to the dentists office and I almost had to leave because I thought I was going to vomit from them smell.  I told Michael we needed to get a pregnancy test just to rule that out so I would feel better.  I remember the look on his face when I said that, it was like "Are you crazy?" haha.  So, later that afternoon, we sat on our bathroom floor staring at a positive pregnancy test - both  in complete shock! Thinking "Seriously, God? Did you not think we had enough going on right now?  How do you expect us to do this too?"  I didn't cry like I thought I would though - I was excited - even though I was shocked and completely freaked out - I was excited.  How could we not be?  Obviously, God knows what we don't know - and he's a much better judge of what I can handle than I am.

So began the awful "morning" sickness - which was actually mostly afternoon and evening sickness.  Which actually worked out rather well.  I survived the day until naptime with the kids, and then Michael would get home and take care of the kids and make dinner for them while I spent the evening in bed or vomiting.  It was pretty awful this time around.  I got weekly migraines through the first trimester too.  Not alot of fun - I'm SO glad that is behind me now. The 2nd trimester has been much better to me.

Then, in the end of September, we woke up in the middle of the night to a shocking phone call.  Our dear friend, Renee Ploen, had passed away suddenly.  Just sitting on the couch at home, her heart stopped.  She was just 56 yrs old.  Mike and Renee have been like family to us - Our friends, mentors, another set of parents.  I will never forget that night in the hospital or the days following.  Nor, will I ever forget Renee. I have never met anyone quite like her - she loved the Lord so much, and everyone who knew her, knew that.  She was so honest, always told you like it was, even if she knew you weren't going to like it.  And the way she did it was with such love, there was no way you could be mad at her.  I loved that about Renee.  She never tried to make me feel better by sugar coating things - if I was whining to her about something and I was wrong, she let me know it!  And man, when she prayed....watch out!!! She was a prayer warrier - especially when she was praying for her family.  Oh, and she was funny - I smile everytime I think about her, she always had me laughing when I was with her.  Espeically her famous Walmart parking lot story.  Those of you who know that story are laughing right now just thinking about it, aren't you?  I miss Renee so much.  She taught me a lot about marriage, life, family, and being a pastors wife.  Renee's death caused me to examine my life and really think about how I spend my time and what is really important in life.  I am so thankful that God brought the Ploen's into our life when He did.  This is one of my favorite pictures of Renee because it is exactly how I remember her - always laughing and so full of life :

At the beginning of November, we began our "family tour."  Michael finished up his position at Destiny Church and we decided to wait to move until after the holidays.  We rented out our house to a lovely family, had movers pack most of our stuff and haul it to storage until we have it moved to Virginia, and moved to Sullivan, making Michael's mom and step-dad's house home base giving us the opportunity to spend time with Michael's family in the area.  We also made a weekend trip to Branson and Silver Dollar City with Michael's dad and Rocky, spent a couple weeks with my family in Nebraska around Thanksgiving, a trip to New York City with Michael's dad & his new wife, Rocky, another trip to Nebraska to celebrate Christmas and also my cousin's wedding, then back to Missouri for Christmas...and then packed up everything for the road trip to Virginia!  (There's so many pictures from all of these, I'm not going to try to upload them all here - but I do have a lot of them posted on Facebook, and will be posting many more in the next day or two, so I would love for you to check them out over there.)

Those two months were quite challenging for us to be always living out of suitcases, in someone elses home, and our kids totally off-routine....but, I wouldn't change it.  I'm so thankful to have gotten to spend so much time with family and friends before we left.  Saying goodbye was hard, but we are excited about what God has planned for us in this next season.

So, Here we are in our new home, Chesapeake, Virginia!  It was a long 2 day road trip to get here, but the kids were awesome.  They may have watched more cartoons in those 2 days than they usually do in 2 weeks, but hey, we do what we have to do to survive, right?  We are still living out of suitcases (sort of) since our moving truck is a *little* delayed, and we are still living in someone elses home (which I cannot complain a bit about, we are so blessed to have been provided with our own semi-apartment area where the kids have their own space to play) until we find our own place, but we ARE working on getting into a routine!

Michael is excited to jump in to his new role at the church, and we are both excited about meeting new friends and getting to know our new church family.  Excited to find out if our new addition will be a little brother or a little sister (which we will hopefully be finding out VERY soon), excited to find a new home for our family (that will hopefully be big enough for lots of visitors!) and excited for the weather to warm up so we can spend a little time at the nearby beach!  We are EXCITED about all the new things to come in 2011!


**The family pictures you see here in this post and on my new header were taken by my beautiful friend and amazing photographer, Heidi Keene. She did an amazing job even though Claire refused to crack a single smile the entire time (turns out she wasn't feeling well and she spiked a fever that evening). Check her work out at http://www.heidikeeneblog.com/ and if you are in Nebraska - I highly recommend her!!!