Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas and more!

We had a wonderful Christmas and hope all of you did as well. It actually was cold about 2 days before Christmas, so it felt more real to me. But then it got all Texasy again and went up to 80 degrees-what a rip off! The whole country is covered in snow and we can't even get a cold 50 degrees or anything! Here are some of our cold photos:

This is how they look when we went for a run! (Before the blanket went over them)

And this is the final product! Imagine if we still lived in Alaska!

But despite un-Christmas like weather, we had a truly wonderful day... But first we had to celebrate by getting a tree:

Our tree is from a Christmas tree farm in North Carolina!

Then we had a great Christmas brunch at my parents' clubhouse in Boerne. It was a fabulous brunch, balloon animals were made, and Santa was there. Markku would NOT sit on Santa's lap, but Suvi sure did! She loved him and all the attention she got. Markku barely held still for me to hold him on MY lap with me sitting next to Santa! Markku's balloon animal was a pink and purple butterfly-he picked it out (sorry Isa. He loves pink and butterflies, what can I say?!) Here are some photos of that beautiful day:

Look at that smile on her!

She loves her mummo (and the camera too! Is she a model or what?!)

Then we went to another town to visit a virtual winter wonderland (a water park in Texas-it is fake snow!) and all the Christmas lights-Markku loves the lights still!

Family photo and notice the fake snow on Suvi's head (soap bubbles!)

There were trains (Markku was hysterical leaving the red choo-choo. He had to be bribed with ice cream!) and here is an example of the light shows.

Now for Christmas morning:
Markku and Suvi actually slept late-until 8:15 am! We were at my mom's in Boerne and Santa found us there thankfully! Markku was sooo tired Christmas eve he went to bed when Suvi did and we didn't even have time to set out the cookies for Santa and carrots for the reindeer-or as Markku would say: "Ho Ho. Neigh, high in the sky." Which for those who do not understand, of course translates into: Ho Ho (Santa) is coming on a sleigh led by reindeer that flies high in the sky". You just can't beat the excitement of young children at Christmas! Suvi of course is too young to understand, but she sure got excited about all the wrapping paper, boxes and even some of the gifts.

Wow! A new loader! It even has real rubber tires and parts that move-virtually indestructible as well!

A new wagon that even Suvi is in love with! It has cup holders!

Suvi is eating a potato (play food). It proves she is Finnish. We had some doubts about Markku as he does not share her affinity toward the potato. This should make Mummo Laukkanen proud!

Suvi opening her presents with the help of Ukki

And the BEST present of all-Markku's new kitchen! (And an apron to match. He is shirtless as he had been getting dressed into his new PJ's that Kiri gave him-but he had previously opened the shirt way before Christmas, so it was in his suitcase, not the package. But he insisted on wearing the pants.

Suvi enjoys the presents so much!

And this is from before Christmas. His new favorite game is "Where did Markku go?" He hid under his crib for a good 5 minutes. A long time for a 2 year old!

And this adorable photo is the two kids in a bath for the first time together. They love taking baths!

So we have been busy, as I am sure many of you have been. Suvi is now 8 months old. She can army crawl all over-she is REALLY fast. She is trying to stand up on things-but is really shaky at this point. I am off to put Suvi back to bed-she is sick again and STILL not sleeping!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


So Markku's new thing is saying "Yes!". He says it for everything-even if he really means no! Want to play? Yes! Want to eat candy? Yes! Want to eat broccoli? Yes! (He won't eat that though!). It is really funny to listen to it all day.

He is starting to get frustrated when things don't go his way. I am discovering I really have to watch what I say and how I express frustration, anger, etc. as he does copy what I do (and what Heikki does). He yelled at Tillie the other day for having her head in the garbage (which was a good thing to stop her from doing that, but maybe not the exact way he followed through!) Poor Tillie gets the brunt of all of our frustrations! And boy does he get upset when Suvi wiggles over and steals his toys. "No baby! Argh! No!" But then if I gently remind him she only wants to play and can he give her something else to play with he does share his toys with her too. It is very cute....and her scream when he takes something away is not so nice, so I think it scares him into sharing as well!

He got to open some presents from his Mummo Laukkanen today (it said to open early on the package...). He was thrilled even to open Suvi's gifts. They were warm PJs that we need since we got snow over night last night and it will get even colder tonight! Thanks mummo! Who would think we would need them in Texas? Of course Markku hates the cold weather and runs back inside saying " Cold! House! House!"

Monday, December 8, 2008

More firsts....what a fun first year!

Well, since I want to use this blog as a memento of Suvi (and Markku's) year, I have to update you on some new stuff I saw today. She has been struggling to sit up from a laying down position for several weeks and I finally saw her do it today! I am not sure it was her first time, but it was the first time I is amazing to watch how strong babies core muscles are! I wish I could say the same about me!

She is a crawling machine-but still an army crawl with attempts at getting up on all fours. I put her down on the carpet in the living room and in seconds flat she has followed me to the kitchen-across the cold concrete floors.

I was watching her play with Markku's toys while he was napping. She would pick up his balls and try to reach high above her head to the top of his ball tower to drop the ball in! It was amazing that she was cognizant of what Markku was doing just hours before, and wanted to repeat it.

We went back to Gymboree after 4 months off. Suvi had her first class-music. I enrolled Markku in music as well. It was fun, but unfortunately we were the only family there. They want us to try an earlier class, but it is during Suvi's nap time. We will see how that goes. She was a little overwhelmed by our loud instructor, but he is awesome. Markku really loved the DRUMS-and all other really loud instruments. He tried very hard to play them like the adults did. The triangle was probably the cutest of them all. Suvi just ate all the instruments.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Not so fun firsts...

We have had a most stressful week in the Laukkanen household. It started a week and a half ago with me up all night vomiting. Then all seemed quiet, until Tuesday night. Suvi vomited-projectile all over me while nursing her at bedtime. It was her first vomiting. Unfortunately it continued into Wednesday and early Thursday morning, then the horrible explosive diarrhea. I won't go into details, but we are doing lots of laundry here. I think the Colorado River authority will be investigating our water usage this month-with the laundry, baths and cleaning up we have been doing! Then on Thursday night Heikki started. I have never seen someone puke so much! Then inevitably, Markku. It was his first time vomiting as well. He was so perplexed by it! Too bad it started at night as we had to change bedsheets twice and use lots of other blankets and towels to help make cleaning up in middle of the night easier. After recovering from each vomit episode he would ask to go play! Then he would realize how tired he was and go back to bed. Suvi kept waking up whenever Markku did so I was up all night myself (Heikki was still recovering). Then on Saturday even though he still felt sick, Heikki went back to work (gee, I wonder if all the Suvi diaper changes had anything to do with that?!) So we are still in recovery mode with Suvi having vomited today and she is still refusing all solid food. I may have to make another trip to the doctor...
But I think they are better. Not sleeping on the right schedules yet or eating right, but we may be on the road to recovery. And that would be good as I am exhausted from not sleeping or napping for almost a week now! Now I am off to pay bills and catch up with household chores as I FINALLY got the kids to bed I think!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

6 months old-1 month late!

Suvi was a star for her photo shoot.
She got this lamb from mummo and ukki from New Zealand! It is so soft-she just loves it.

She can obviously sit up now-and wave. She lifts her arms to us when she wants to get picked up. She cries if we don't!
I love this shot of her playing with her sleeve. What a grown up she looks like in this outfit!

Look at those cute toes!
Next up are our Christmas photos-I still have to schedule them! Hopefully we will get them out before next year!
Additional news, I left Suvi and Markku with mummo and Ukki for 3 nights this past weekend. It was my first time leaving Suvi and the longest I left Markku. I am not sure they really missed me-they did very well! Suvi almost slept through the night one night...but has yet to do it again! Mummo and Ukki had lots of fun. One time Mummo set Suvi down on the floor in the living room. She stepped out to the garage to throw away a poopy diaper-and when she came back Suvi was gone! She ran to their bedroom assuming my dad had her, but he was in the shower. She ran back and searched again-she had crawled away and hid between the couch and chair!
She made these really extravagant cupcakes with chocolate butterflies and sunflowers on top. Markku loved them so much he pretty much refused all other food! Grandparents!
We had fun too, but I missed them a lot. We stayed with our friends Neil and Liz in NJ. Ava, their daughter, is Heikki's goddaughter. We have only met her one other time when she was about 3 weeks old. Boy has she grown! She loved Heikki so much-Uncle Hicky she called him. She wanted him to do everything for her-something only reserved for mom usually. Poor Neil! It was quite cold there compared to body was not accustomed to that weather. Markku thinks it is too cold to go out when it is less than 60 degrees. He would have been frozen. What if we still lived in Alaska?? He would never go outside!
I am off to celebrate Thanksgiving dinner with Mummo, Ukki AND Isa for a change. Hopefully we will get a new camera soon so I can get you more photo updates.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Enough about Suvi...

So I started this blog just before Suvi was born. Poor Markku-his early days are not blogged. So, after I was looking through old photos, I decided to write one about his early days...he was a cutie! The above photo has always been one of my favorites.

This was his 20 week ultrasound Dec 21 2005

May 12,2006 Markku's birthday and his happy new parents!

Doesn't Heikki look so proud and happy to be a dad?!
Markku traveled lots as a baby. He went to Washington/Oregon, Alaska, Pennsylvania and NY all before he was 5 months old!

This is his first hike in the Alaska Wilderness (Sept 2006)

Traveling in style with Isa-in downtown Anchorage

Pastor Larry baptized him. We traveled all the way to Alaska for his baptism. I loved our church, Amazing Grace Lutheran Church and our Pastor (Larry Jorgenson).

His happy grandparents in Boerne, outside of San Antonio. The one with Ukki is his first football game. He fell asleep! He had to be held all the time-so we used the baby bjorn lots! And once again he was sleeping. If I didn't remember correctly, I would think he always slept! Look at this cute yawn:

But we used to try everything to get him to sleep through the night-even swaddling! Sound familiar-I guess my kids don't like sleeping!

Mummo Laukkanen and Markku-the perfect wedding date!

First concert in Zilker park-Blues on the green (July 2006) and first dance with a bride (cousin Katri Aug 2006)

First movie Pirates of the Caribbean (July 2006) and first airline flight (in the cockpit even-Aug 2006)
First train ride (Oregon Zoo in Portland)

I just always liked this photo. I wanted him to wear everything people gave us at least once. But cousin Katri sent these outfits too late (Markku was also a big boy) so I could barely squeeze him in this when it arrived. So we took a picture right away. She also made him this awesome hat he wore in Alaska to keep warm. Boy did we laugh at first since it was 100 degrees out when it arrived in the mail!

Snow?! In Texas? Fake snow in Boerne for their Christmas fair!
Ok I could keep going on and on...and maybe another day I will. It is great to relive these memories! I am too tired tonight and we are only 6 months into his life!!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Not just another week...

One more week is over. It was an exciting week with the election of our new president (Yeah!). Markku and Suvi of course do not understand the significance, but hopefully someday when they are in college that we can afford, because Heikki and I did not go broke paying taxes and health care premiums, they will be learning about life before Obama and how worried we all were...OK just me dreaming now but at least there is a chance for those things to happen. I am not unrealistic. I know it may take the entire 8 years or longer to enact the change Obama talks about. I just now have hope it can and will happen. Just like I hope Suvi will sleep through the night someday soon. (That is not me being sarcastic. Every night when I lay down to sleep, I think, it could be tonight! Then when I hear her stir and start to cry, I think, maybe it is 6 am already. I turn and peer at the alarm clock...darn! It is only 11 pm, or 1 am or 3 am or whatever other time comes before 6 am when Suvi inevitably wakes me up!) So how many of you are saying "What a sucker she is! Look how naive?!"? I can always hope (even more than ever now that Obama won!) that someday is at least one day closer!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

6 months old, Halloween and sleepless nights! Oh my!

I sit by myself!

Swinging at our park! Weeeeeee!

Suvi was 6 months old on Oct 20. She is getting to be a very big girl...19.38 pounds, 27 inches tall which put her in 95% and 90 percentile. She is sitting up, really trying hard to crawl (she gets up on her hands and knees and rocks back and forth, pulls herself forward like she is crawling under barbed wire) and LOVES to bounce. She swings at the park and with help goes down the slide. She is eating 3 real meals a day now. She eats her rice cereal, bananas, peaches, squash, sweet potatoes, carrots, peas, green beans, apples. Markku has fed her real apples and veggie hot dogs as well-they didn't go far before I caught them and swiped her mouth clean! She is a happy content baby for the most part. Except at night....see below on sleepless nights.

Happy Halloween (see lollipop we used to bribe him?)

For Halloween, Markku was a bee and Suvi a ballerina. It took 3 parties (refused to get into costume) and bribing with lollipops to get Markku into the bee costume but he finally did it in time for trick or treating! Suvi is pretty easy to just put in her costume. She loved eating her tutu as well. Just to show how big she is, her tutu was sized at 18 months! Heikki was out of town for Halloween so mummo Frederick came up to celebrate!

Bouncing around to swan lake!

We put Suvi's tutu on Markku! He wouldn't wear the bee costume and in his leggings and shirt he looked like a male ballet dancer. He was actually kicking and screaming to get it off!
Sleepless nights are currently what is happening in our neck of the woods. As I type, Suvi is screaming her head off and resisting falling asleep. As soon as she dozes off, she jerks awake and starts screaming all over again. We started sleep training Ferber style about 12 days ago or so. The first few nights weren't too bad and I thought we were home free. But then Suvi started waking up more and more and not falling back to sleep on her own. Here was my night last Saturday:
8 pm : Suvi to bed. Fell asleep within 5 minutes of putting her to bed. Not bad...
9:15 pm: wake up, starts crying. Don't go in for 10 minutes as per Ferber...and have to get Markku out of tub, dried off, lotion on, teeth brushed, in PJs, read 2 books, and him to bed, all the while saying "hurry up, I have to go to baby! Shhh! Don't let baby know we are right here!"
9:35 pm: Suvi hysterical. Pat her on the back. She is shrieking and kicking her arms and legs.
9:37 pm: leave room almost in tears myself
9:55 pm: Suvi still shrieking. Go back in, rub her back, leave
10:05pm: still crying, getting quieter. Go in her room...starts shrieking again. Damn! leave room.
10:20pm: I think she is sleeping.
10:50 pm I am in bed.
11:50 pm: Suvi starts crying again. Leave her for 15 minutes this time...She is shrieking.
I go in and out of room every 20 minutes for 1 hour. Finally asleep again (it is 1 am).
2:00 am: awake and shrieking again. I am crying as well. Don't go in as it only seems to make her mad and I am delirious and tired.
3:15 am: I am awake and she is still crying-or if she stopped she is now awake and crying again. I am not sure as I am really tired. I go and nurse her as it is passed the 7 hours my doctor said to wait between night feedings.
3:40 am: She falls asleep in my arms but I am to wake her up so she sleeps better (are you *??!*!* kidding me????).
4:30 am: still crying.
5:00 am: still crying and I am up reading my Ferber book. It says if not working within 7 days (it is day 6 for us) then need to stop and reassess what sleeping problem is. (Yeah, no shit!). Read chapter on dependence on nursing to fall asleep. Ferber says that although a 6 month old does not need to eat at night, if they are accustomed to it it is cruel to stop cold turkey and should wean off. So first of all, Ferber who is known for being hard (many people think his methods are cruel) and letting babies cry it out, is saying that what I am doing is cruel! (I was listening to my pediatrician) Second of all, why didn't I read ALL the chapters before starting sleep training????
6 am: up for day....if you can call what we are doing as being awake!
So then I tried to gradually increase the time between night feedings. But she is still waking up every 2 hours. Now I am not to feed her and she gets hysterical and takes 1-2 hours to cry herself to sleep. But if I nurse her, then I am continuing her dependence right? Well, everyone needs sleep once in awhile. So I nurse her...Even if I nurse her now she wakes every 2 hours. Even if I let her sleep with me she wakes every 2 hours. Or worse, she wakes every hour. I hate night time right now. I think Suvi does too.

It is 9:45 pm and Suvi has cried herself to sleep (I have gone in once) after 1 hour. She went to bed at 8 pm and has already woken up once and cried for an hour! See how fun our nights are? Poor Markku. He sleeps in the room next to her. Heikki is miraculously gone 6 nights this week--how did he arrange that schedule??

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Suvi's baptism

On Sunday September 28, 2008 we had Suvi baptized at our church, St. Martin's Lutheran Church. Pastor Craig baptized her for us. Suvi's sponsors ("god parents") were our friends from church-Anita and Scott. It was a really great day spent with family and friends, with the exception that Suvi was diagnosed with a really bad ear infection the Friday before and had explosive diarrhea from her antibiotics! I was so afraid her dress would get ruined. My mom had her baptism dress (yes, from 1950!) and we had to alter it slightly as it had some small holes in it, but it fit Suvi perfectly! We had another party dress for afterwards as well. It is so fun dressing up little girls! Here are some photos of our day:

Suvi's baptismal dress (Mummo Ginny's)

Pastor Craig and Suvi

Suvi, momma, Isa and Markku up front at church

Suvi's other party dress!

Markku's berry cheesecake face

And our friends and family:

Jesse, Rachel, baby Nina, Markku & Mummo Laukkanen, Kiri and Suvi

Ukki & mummo Frederick, Markku, Isa, Suvi & Momma
Mummo Laukkanen with Isa & Suvi

We had a beautiful day. We did not however get ANY photos of Scott and Anita (Suvi's sponsors). Keep in mind my camera is broken and I had to get photos from mummo's. They were all so focused on our family that we missed many of our friends! Also, I was a little consumed by Suvi's illness (ie diarrhea blowouts every 20 seconds!) and lack of sleep (she got me up every hour the night before)! We will have to get a picture at church next week! I feel really bad!

Also, Suvi has sat up all by herself! She did it Sept 24 while I was at work (of course) and now will sit by herself for several seconds! She can also get up on her knees and kind of throws herself forward-almost a crawl. She rolls every which way and gets all over the floor or her crib.

Suvi and Markku get into screaming matches for fun (their fun, not ours!). They take turns screaming back and forth! Markku loves to play with her and she she loves her jumperroo. Sometimes I hear it making so much noise I yell to Markku to stop shaking her bouncy seat-but then I hear Suvi laugh and it is her jumping to the ceiling!

Heikki goes back to work tomorrow after 40 some odd days off! It will be strange not to have him around again and I know Suvi and Markku will miss him as well. He is not too excited as he will be a first officer again. At least we get to pick his schedules and not have him on call. He should be home more often. He has been babysitting for both kids when I go to work on Wednesdays also. He is getting pretty good at it.

Lastly, I rode my bike to work yesterday and today! Finally!