Friday, July 31, 2009

And then there were TWOS

(Celia at the Green Food Bluegrass Festival on her birthday weekend)

The day has come and gone: Little Miss Celia has turned TWO!

We had her party on her birthday, the 18th, at a local park in 57 degree weather! With coats donned, our families braved the chill, eating pizza and salad and cake with a little swinging and sliding in between.

Since Celia was born on the 18th, we have decided to list the 18 things Celia is doing or loves at this age of TWO mixed in with pictures of her birthday party:

1. POTTY TRAINED! She started it almost on her own the week Miles was born and although I thought it was horrible timing, we went with it and now she is almost 100 percent, even out at the store! I LOVE not have diaper boxing 101 with her.

2. FULL SENTENCES! It amazes us and cracks us up to hear her finally speaking and chattering on so to, well, anyone that will listen. Her biggest sentence has been, "Mama, Miles, upstairs taking bath."

The sandbox from Nana Char and George

3. MAMA CELIA. She has very much taken to her new little brother and has clearly watched her own Mama and mimics her with her stuffed duck, "Quack Quack", and stuffed lion, "Mama Kitty."

4. SHE KNOWS HER BOOKS. She has started to memorize stories and can tell you what each page is saying and even what certain words are.

5. BOUNCER! This kid can't stop bouncing. After 2 falls off of the big parents bed, she has been demoted to floor jumping until now. For her birthday mama and daddy bought her a bounce house.

6. MILES' BIGGEST FAN. She has to kiss Miles goodnight and good morning and if Miles is awake she will take any chance to run over and touch his nose with her nose.

7. TEMPER WITH A SWEET TWIST. You wouldn't think parents would enjoy a temper. But we must be honest, it cracks us up sometimes. Sometimes she'll scream what she wants, ("MORE CHERRIES! MORE CHERRIES!") and if we say, "Celia that is not the way you ask." She'll scream back, "MORE CHERRIES, PLLLLLEEEEEEEAAASSSE!"

Andy Sheneman and Riley

8. FOOD EXTRAORDINAIRE. She still to this day will try anything. This must be how she likes kalamata olives, fish with mayo and radishes.

9. SLEEPER. She sleeps so good and is like clock work. A patterned Mama LOVES this. 11 hrs at night and 3ish for a nap! Our payment for not sleeping through the night until she was 10 months old.

Cousin Breanna, Grandma Carol, Riley and Nana Char with Celia

10. GARDENER. She loves to pick things in the garden and eat them, dirt and all!

Ariel LeBlanc.

11. PHOTOS. She loves to look through photo albums and name everyone!

12. NANA CHAR AND DADDY RULE. J's hypothesis on why Celia is taking to Miles SO well is because of these two. She is so loved and has such love for these two that busy Mama doesn't feel like such a loss to her because these two are as much of a light as Mama ever was.

13. UNDERWEAR AS HATS It is so funny, but we let her wear her underwear and her shorts as hats on her head. Why not!?

14. FARM TIME. Celia loves going to the farm. She'll stand and watch the cows and is always on the look out for "Kitty" whom she met in June.

15. RIVERS AND LAKES. Celia LOVES water! She asks to go to the river by our house every walk and she just wants to sit there and stare at it. And she loves lake Michigan.

16. FANTASIA. Our goal was to not have TV around Celia for her 1st two years of life and then minimally after that. We succeeded except she watched Pooh during her illnesses and has now become fascinated with Fantasia. She can tell you "Beethoven" wrote her favorite part with the "hoe-see's." (horses)

17. RILEY. Celia loves her cousin Riley. "Ra-Ra" and Celia play almost weekly and I think may have a Jeannie and Sunny thing going on in their future.

18. CHALK. She has taken to drawing and painting. She can get lost for a good 30-40 minutes.

Celia lady, we love you so.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Unfolding of Miles

We guess it would be appropriate to first start off with an announcement!

BORN JUNE 8, 2009
6 LBS 9 OZ
19 1/2 INCHES

Miles, although 3 days old as we begin the writing of this post, already has a story. Yep, they're getting baggage early these days.

We thought that perhaps this birth would be a much more uncomplicated post then the birth of Celia. Something more along the lines of, "He's Here!" or "Meet New Baby!" But you all know the Vollers... could a day go by without a seemingly normal event becoming a little complicated? Ha. You know it's true.

And so the unfolding of Miles... his birth decision, the outcomes, and of course his NAME. We know if nothing else you are wondering THAT!

Miles birth unfolded to us before it even happened.

A quick recap for those in the dark. We were attempting to have a VBAC with Miles. (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean). We have come to the calming assurance that the C-section for Celia saved both her life and J's. Yet, we know life is mysterious, childbirth topping that list of cosmic conundrums. Being forever seekers of the this mystery, this hero's journey that is life, we wanted to attempt to avoid the C-section with high hopes that the red carpet would roll out in our favor.

As we waddled into the late 3rd trimester, our physically breezy pregnancy started to act up and get a little 'tude, if you will. The seemingly benign discomforts of late pregnancy started throwing their hips around and wagging their fingers at the healthy J. Now, if you'll remember, J had toxemia and preeclampsia in Celia's pregnancy. It is rare that women who get pregnant a second time and the daddy is the same guy (and oh yes, it is) that these two things would occur again. So, we're in the clear! Well...

Headaches, stars, and fluid, Oh MY! J woke up in the night and could no long twirl her wedding ring around her finger. It was completely stuck beneath a finger so full of fluid it put Bob Evans to shame.

J's face started to puff that next day as well. The Pillsbury Dough Boy look isn't what you want to see in the mirror after a night of heaving and hoeing a 41cm belly around from side to side trying to catch a few zzz's. (although when I asked Steve, he smartly replied, "Oh honey, you're pregnant and you look great." And maybe I did look a little yummy)

It appeared that J was on the path to a repeat performance of the late and great 2007 series starring Celia Scarlet. A C-section was planned in hopes that we would be one step ahead this time of the little green toxemia men.

Much fear and confusion surrounded this decision for J who had nothing but bad memories about the previous c-section. The nights got long. The mind went to the corners, dark and bleak. The heart reached into the vast spaces of fear. The morning of... I felt completely at peace... completely in the know... a calm assurity that this was the right thing for everyone.

Arrival at the hospital made that even more clear as an elevated blood pressure reading told me, "Good thing you are here today."

And so off we went. I have to say the team at Spectrum Health is seriously stellar. We had 4 people come into the room to talk to us before the birth and they went through every aspect of the process, let us ask questions, listened to our story. Just a short, "You got very sick last time with your daughter's birth," made me feel so cared for. They bothered reading my chart? Sometimes western medicine is such a disappointment -- more often than not. This day, I was never more humbled and grateful for it.

The birth of Miles, then No Name Baby, was fast, so fast that Dr. Martin with anesthesia said, "You guys are done already?" Steve and J took pause from their quiet duet of Andy Partridge's Everything Will Be Alright to hear Baby Boy Voller suck in his first breath and let out that squalling newborn wail. I had conjured up all that would go wrong and it all went perfectly, and there he was. Long chicken legs to love, piano player fingers, and a swollen ball sack to make any dad proud... our son. (I explained to Steve that they all look like that when they come out, but he would hear nothing of it.)

"What's his name?" J called out to Steve as he cut the long pearly cord that had connected us for the last 10 months.

"I don't know!" Steve exclaimed. "What's your name buddy? Are you Seth? Are you Luken?"

Ok, let's back up. This conversation was taking place in the wake of a comment from just 2 nights before our scheduled birth. Steve walked into the living room, "You know what I just can't get around? Seth is just so popular. I love the meaning, but I just... I don't know, I wish it wasn't so common."

"Honey, if you are still really on the fence with this, we need to talk because I don't want you to ok a name just because I like it, I want you to love it to."

"It's just with Celia, we absolutely knew that was her name, the perfect name, and I don't feel that way with Seth."

Mac the LapTop came out. Names, Names, Glorious Names filled our brains each one better than the first. Hmmm... Ander was nice... what should the middle name be instead? Hmmm.... Luken, meaning Light Bringer... LOVE that. (All who know Steve know he was hooked just by that. "It's Goethe from the grave!!")

We went back and forth and finally J looked at Steve and said, "I don't think I can do this anymore. When he comes out Monday, you look at him and you name him. I'll be fine with whatever you choose."

"Really? You want me to name him?"

"Absolutely. You get to decide."

But here he was and nothing was coming to Steve. So, he was just Baby for his first day of life. Once we got to our room, Steve kept staring at him and throwing names out.

"It's storming outside, maybe it should be Soren."
"If the sun comes out then it should be Luken."
"How about Wolfgang? Mahler? Johann?" (and more composers he loves)
"He looks so wise, like Yoda... how about Yoda backwards, Adoy?"
J stopped listening to him around then.

A few hours went by and Steve blurted out, "How about Miles?" J still wasn't listening. "Really, Miles Andrew Voller. That's awesome! Oh, but you don't like the name Miles."

"What? Why would you think that? I wanted to name Celia Myles with a "y", " I said.

"No, when I brought it up you said you only liked it with a "y" for a girl."

"No, I never said that!"

"Oh well, I love that name."

"You know that's pretty popular as well," J says.

"Yeah, but I don't care. I don't even care what it means. I think it's perfect."

After the Adoy suggestion I still figured he was blowing smoke and I said, "You name him."

Time went by and I could tell in Steve's complex, always working, always analyzing, always churning brain that he was unfolding Miles and trying it on for size, And then my family came to see the baby.

My mom brought up Celia and my dad and step mom Marie came by at the same time I was on the phone to our good friend, Jen. Steve decided to test the waters. Not only did everyone explode with love for the name of Miles Andrew, my DAD, MY DAD of all people said he loved it and went right ahead and wrote it on our dry-erase board for all to see.

You know my dad right? It's not that he's hard to please, he just knows what he likes, knows what he thinks, and there's not much discussion after that. All other names had gotten the Larry poo poo. I think this of all things may have sold Steve.

Oh and here's Celia meeting Miles for the first time: This is Celia's way of kissing -- CPR style:

And so there you have it. Steve just pulled a name out of his behind the night Miles was born and that was that. It took J a good 3 days to call him Miles. J still thought Steve would change the name even after getting the birth certificate with the typewriter like punching of M-I-L-E-S on the line above these little black feet.

And so we sent out our announcements -- all are HEALTHY! We bursted with joy that this birth was not having the outcomes that Celia's did for J and we were sure that making the decision for the C-section earlier than planned was our saving grace. And then we got a visitor.

Dr. Leazenby, surgeon master, came in and simply said, "So, everything looks really good, but your hemoglobin and platelets are very low."

"Ok, what does that mean?"

"Well, I don't really get it. The surgery went perfectly. It didn't seem like you were losing alot of blood. I really don't get it. It seems as if your blood just disappeared. How do you feel?"

J, lying a touch, "OH fine!"

J was trying not to make a big deal of the fact that ever since the birth she felt like I had just gotten off a merry go round, but clearly she wasn't thinking straight, and didn't understand how bad it was.

Without bothering with the long story, we'll just say that although not "symptomatic" at the hospital, once we got home, we had another story. Extreme vertigo, nausea, dizziness and headaches accompanied J to the point of it seeming as though a blood transfusion was going to be necessary. Curses to the little green men!

So J was put on strict bed rest with a diet of toxic levels of iron pills and protein. (well, toxic to normal folks with a hemoglobin count of a hearty 16 -- J, being half that at an 8, was just soaking up the flavor)

Without Steve home (seriously, my husband puts most men to shame he rocks so rockingly) my mom staying for a week (she really does wear a cape, I'm convinced, I'm just waiting to catch her in it), Matt Rose finishing our bathroom renovation and Jen coming over to check on our garden, I do not know what I would have done.

Here we rest, J and mild mannered Miles, who is so peaceful and just loves to sleep that we think that J gave birth to the Dalai Lama the 15th or perhaps the male equivalent of Mother Theresa.

If I haven't learned it before I now know, "it is part of what it means to be human, to have the darkness just as much as the light -- that in fact the dark parts make the light visible; without them, the light would disappear." true. (Anne Lamott)

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Dichotomy Dialogue

"You didn't gain any weight."

Good Sign.

"So he's stopped moving around so much?"

Good Sign.

"You're not hungry anymore."

Good Sign.

"You're not sleeping at nights."

Sorta Good Sign.

"You're measuring 41 centimeters."

Big Baby and Good Sign that cooking is completing.

Let's Check Under the Hood:

He hasn't moved.
He hasn't dropped.
You aren't effaced.
You aren't dialated.
I can't strip the membranes even.
You were only measuring 38cm with Celia at this time.
You're having headaches everyday?
Not sleeping?
Seeing stars?

I need advice.

He needs to come out.

How soon?

Next week. We'll see what we have open.

Inside my head:
Did I fail?
Am I taking the easy road?
Am I in danger?
Is baby in danger?
Will we both be in danger if we wait longer like we were with Celia?
I can't really take much more.
Am I messing with Mother Nature?
Everything hurts. I wake up each morning feeling like I can't take another day of pain and exhaustion.
But I do.
This has got to be divine intervention speaking.
June 8th.
Wow, so soon...

I really feel we can't wait. I think you've been having troubles longer than you should even at this point. I'm definitely ok with Monday.

Just please go. I don't want you to tax your body in labor again and end up with toxemia.

You know you need to be around for these 2 kids.

Ok, ok, I've done my best. I've done all I can do.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Long Long Winter

Oh my, oh MY!! This Michigan Winter has been a BEAR!!! Do I hear a hup hup?

This winter has been so long for us, SO dark, so cold, and did I say sooooooooooo long! I have not been inspired to write one little tidbit... no not one... I guess you've noticed.

If I can pictorially recap our winter in one post then I will figure myself caught up and get back on the writers train. Do I hear a toot toot?

Celia decided to toss of the constraints of winter and began enjoying running around naked with jewelry on and an oven mit. Maybe she'll settle down in Spain when she gets older so she walk around the beaches like this all of the time.

She turned into quite the girl, loving to have her hair look pretty, loving to carry bags and purses, and also just really enjoying dancing and being graceful. This is all with a mother that does not wear jewelry, hardly ever showers or dresses in anything other than comfy pants and pregnancy tops.

I took a dairy class from our farmer that we get our milk from and low and behold, may I present BUTTER!! I also made yogurt by myself too :)

Celia enjoys quiet time and nooks. She is very independent and at times solitary.

We ran into a bunch of problems at the same time this winter -- a HUGE car repair bill. A shower leak. And a realization that we needed two family cars. Here Celia is helping Steve tear out the shower. Oh, and Steve and Celia... inseparable. He is her favorite!!

She also helped Mama pick out tile and new fixtures and sink for the bathroom renovation.

Celia also had multiple bouts of the same illness all winter. Having only been sick 2 times up to this point, we were confused and exhausted by the end of it. Thank goodness for juicers for sicko's.

More happened and more pictures and videos were taken, but we'll leave it here for now and move forward!!!

Till next time... sooner this time.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


Well, it's a phrase I'm used to saying.

After all, you can't go to The University of Michigan and not already be versed in screaming...

GO BLUE!!!!!!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Turkeys North Ho!

Well, there is much to give thanks for this year.

Not only did we make it to week 12 with Baby Embryo, but Baby Celia is thriving, healthy, funny and sleeping sooooo good! We deserve and need some good sleep for the next 6 months before the sleep deprivation train makes it stop at Vollerville in June. We have our Elle pup, we have a warm house, we have cars that start up in the morning when it snows, Steve loves his job, J loves bartending, we have amazing families, and tis the season for chocolate and pie. Could things be any better!?

This year, we decided to go up for Thanksgiving to Petoskey to spend the day with friends. J was originally planning on doing a whole Thanksgiving dinner here for just our family, but once the pregnancy set in, exhaustion and stomach yucks made that sound like a bad idea. But we had a bird from Lubber's Farm, we had sweet potatoes, russian banana potatoes, pumpkins and brussel sprouts all from our garden waiting for the celebratory feast! So we decided to shake it up this year, and north we went.

Our partners in crime were Ann and John Stebelton with their children, James and Molly (and Issac due next month!), as well as Jen and her beau Drew. Thank goodness this was a collective cooking event! Were our moms and grandma's NUTS?! It is official. They were and they are! This was all of our first entire Thanksgiving dinners that we made on our own and after an entire day of cooking, washing dishes, washing more dishes, trying to keep our children happy, trying to time everything, and trying to frantically read recipes we have all decided our ancestors were nuts.

So Ann and J went to turkey land that morning. Looking good so far!

Jen and Drew were on potato detail using Voller garden spuds:

And Drew bravely made pumpkin pie from our pumpkins: Although the consistancy is not the same when you use real pumpkins we were all proud and impressed at the finished product. A new male domestic god in our midst? Yes! We could use some more!

Here the clan is working hard together! Steve and John entertained kids while Ann made cranberry sauce and J peeled sweet potatoes, which Steve later prepared into a yummy treat.

And at the last minute Ann steamed brussel spouts while J and Ann assembled crossiants and the children decided to find their chairs:

Steve began the honors of carving the turkey:

Everyone was poised in their chairs sniffling the fragrant air madly when oops! We suddenly realized that when the oven turned off, we had forgotten to check the temperature of the turkey before we took it out.

Here we were -- it was 4pm, everything was hot at the same time, the table was beautiful, the water glasses dripped slightly with condensation from the cold water, and we discover our turkey was not done.

HA!! Not too bad for a first try.

We ended the day sledding (Celia's first!!) and playing Quibble once our young ones were in bed.

We had a lovely time and we are grateful -- grateful indeed.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Video Mania!!!

A few old vidoes:

The first is Like Mother, Like Daughter -- My family knows this is a replica of me circa 1978!

The second is Celia booging

The third is our new spoon keep away game!