Nursery update

We got the crib together, the new dresser for the girls and the old dresser moved to the nursery. It's coming together and looking oh-so-sweet!

New slide

We've been really desperate for some fun activities to do outside, that don't require me to do a lot of lifting, pushing or pulling. We settled on the cute slide from Wal-Mart. The girls really like it.

When the weather warms up, we'll set up our new slide to go into our kiddie pool! Tons of fun at the Keller's!

Memorial Day Weekend

Jillian wanted to swing with me - I squeezed her on to what little lap I have left.

Big Momma on the swings - Jillian wanted to join in on the fun.

Dinner at Chipotle - the girls all held hands as we walked in the restaurant.

Jillian did really well on the "big girl" swing. With daddy close by, of course.

We had such a perfect Memorial Day weekend. The only downer was the horrible sunburn I got on Saturday. I sat outside during the girls nap and read, I put on sunscreen with an SPF 4, apparantly not enough for my sensitive skin.

We spent a lot of quality time with family and the weather was really nice.

On Saturday, we went to the park and met up with Jason and Shannon and Soph, for a fun time of playing. The fun was topped off with dinner at Chipotle and ice cream at Handel's. Yum!


Progress, progress

My mom graciously came over yesterday and volunteered to paint the baby room. It turned out so sweet. It is the perfect pink. It's exactly what I wanted.

Not sure if you can really appreciate the color in these pictures, but at least I can share that the room is painted and we'll probably put the crib and dresser together this weekend.

Jillian is my "helper"

Jillian and Lauren like to "help" mommy do things, but Jillian seems to especially like to watch me cook. She will hold the spices for me, or taste test as we assemble our meal. I love it!

The other day, she was "helping" me assemble this yummy enchilada lasagna, by tearing my tortillas into tiny pieces. Wow, Jillian! What a helper :)

Lauren and the laundry

This week, I did laundry. I folded it all and put in on the kitchen table so that we couldn't eat until we had put it away (sometimes we need a little motivation)(food is the best thing I could think of).

While I was changing Jillian's diaper, I peeked up over the couch to see that Lauren had pulled all my clothes from the table to the floor. It had been neatly folded and sorted into stacks... stacks no more... sigh.


Project update

The room is clean!

This is the paint color we chose (second from top on the swatch), it's called Impatiens Petal.

Here's the new quilt. So cute! It's called "Spring Flowers"

We're making progress on the baby room. We've purchased the dresser and crib, it's still in boxes in the garage. We're waiting until after we paint to put them together.

Last night, we scored a great deal on a crib and bumper pad, on sale a PB Kids.

Today, I spent some time sorting through all the baby "stuff" that has been in storage from the girls. It was a reminder that I need to brush up on a few things. In some ways it feels like yesterday I was caring for newborns and in other ways it feels like a long time ago. I'm sure my instincts will kick back in, but it doesn't hurt to be prepared, right?

Chuck E. Cheese

Yesterday, Grammy (Debbie), treated all her granddaughters to lunch and games at Chuck E. Cheese. We had a really fun time. Sophie rode the rides immediately and even some of the "big girl" rides with her mommy.

My girls took a bit to warm up to the rides, but once they did, they went again and again. I think their favorite part was putting the coins in the slots all by themselves.

With the tickets we won, the girls each got a Tootsie Pop and some bracelets. Grammy also bought them each a little purse with real cosmetics.

Thanks again for treating us all, Grammy!

Lauren loved the slide.

Jillian was patting Bob the Builder on the head during the ride.

This was a musical game. Basically, you just played the keyboard and hit the colored post (they made drum sounds).

Jillian in the "school bus"

Lauren showed her "Keller" side and picked the Tractor ride as her favorite.

Pop goes the weasel!

Jakey the snowman

Jakey (my nephew) was over about a week ago and was playing when he said, "Look, I'm a snowman!" He had taken to balls and stacked them and put his head on top. Pretty clever, I thought. He's a funny kid!


Last day of school

Wednesday was the girl's last day of MMO (Mother's Morning Out) or "school" as we call it.

They loved their teachers, Miss Amanda and Mrs. Vicky. They were always happy to go and excited to see their teachers every Wednesday morning.

They gave us a journal they kept of the girls throughout the year with pictures. It's amazing how much they've grown since they started their class in September 07.


The girls have recently shown more interest in coloring.

Mother's Day: Part 2

I guess it's time for part 2 of my Mother's Day reflection. Honestly, it's taken me some time to even want to write this, let alone think about what to say.

Times have been tough at the Keller house. It's been a hard phase for Jillian for the past 3 weeks. It's hard to think about how great motherhood is, when I simply am not happy with her behavior... the CONSTANT temper tantrums and crying fits, time outs and more time outs. And her negative behavior makes Lauren a whiney mess.

I've recently been able to take a break from the medicine I take for low blood pressure. Perhaps I can thank Jillian for her natural remedy, because many times I can literally feel my blood pressure rise.

All I can think is I want my sweet Jillian back and please God, BEFORE I have a third baby.

So, now, I'm forcing myself to step back and reflect. I think it will be good therapy.

Truth is, being a mom is a job I felt like I was born to do. I've wanted this job my whole life.

I treasure my girls and love that they are mine. As they grow and I watch their unique traits emerge and develop, I think about them as little girls and the "talks" we'll have about life - faith, love and relationships.

I dream about the women of God that they are destined to become and what an impact they will make on their world. And I'm in awe of the responsibility Andy and I have to mold and shape their little minds and hearts, so that they can become the best that they were made to be.

Motherhood in itself is a miracle and one of the best things God created, in my opinion.
So, this Mother's Day, I want to honor all the moms in my life..
My mom, Sandy, is one of my best friends and I love her ability to listen and coach. I simply cannot imagine life without her.
My mother-in-law, Debbie, who gives so generously and always shows me respect and love.
My Grandmas - Delores, who epitomizes love and compassion and Joyce, who lives her life surrendured to God.
My sisters-in-law, Shannon Poe, an amazingly supportive wife, mother and friend, and Shannon Pongratz, who always strives to become better in all her roles in life and is always real about her experience.

If I had more time, I would list ALL my friends too, because there are so many things I admire about you.

Happy Mother's Day and here's to another adventurous year!
Family Photo - Mother's Day 2008 (Lauren and Jillian: 19mos., Me: 30wks prego)

"Keller" Women - L to R: Merrie Leigh, Debbie, Shannon, Me

"Poe" Women: L to R: Shannon, Gma Joyce, Mom, Me


"Happy" Mother's Day

This year, my Mother's Day reflection is a two parter - this is 1 of 2.

I was really looking forward to this Mother's Day. I knew Andy would make it special for me (and he did) and I was hoping the day would be a nice time to reflect on the joy of being a mom. It turned out a little different.

In fact, this is only my second Mother's Day and so far, I'm not building a very strong track record.

LAST year on Mother's Day "Eve" Lauren was still undergoing "sleep training" where she had to "cry in out" to help her learn to sleep better (and I'll out claim with confidence that it is well worth the agony, just VERY hard in the midst of it)(another topic, but I'm definitely an advocate)(Anyway...). Mother's Day "Eve" was her final night of crying before she "got it" and she cried for 90 minutes! It was horrible and I laid awake agonizing the entire time.

So, on Mother's Day, I felt like a zombie.

THIS Mother's Day "Eve" we put the girls to bed. Jillian was having a rough night. And by "rough" I mean, she's getting her molars in and also starting to show that she has a bit of a strong will. Combined? It's pretty ugly.

So, between 8pm and midnight, Jillian cried out 15 times (yes, I counted). When Andy and I finally went to sleep, she cried every 30 minutes, waking us from sleep. When she cried at 1:30am, I could not fall back to sleep. I laid awake from 1:30a to 4a and finally went downstairs to the couch, where I slept a whopping 4 hrs, until Lauren woke up for the day.

So, on Mother's Day, I felt like a zombie. Again.

Maybe my day was just the epitomy of what it's like for a mother. As I lay awake in the middle of the night, I'm thinking "Seriously, God! Is this a cruel joke?" This is supposed to be a special day for moms. A day to think about all the wonderful things about being a mom.

Instead, I spent the morning trying to get my head on straight, making potato casserole for our family get-together, getting the girls dressed and ready, trying to look cute myself, wrapping presents for our mothers, signing cards and packing the diaper bag for an entire day's worth of celebrating.

So Mother’s Day was not the ideal day I pictured in my mind. It was the kind of day that I had to show my mommy gumption. Suck it up, face the reality that caring for young ones is no small task and choose to make the most of a less-than-perfect day.

That’s the realistic view of my Mother’s Day. I’ll post more about being a mom in Part 2. But, sometimes facts are facts. And I just needed to vent a little.


Good hair day

I just had to take a picture of Jillian's hair yesterday. It was beautiful. And, seriously, all I did was wash it the night before, she slept on it, I brushed it and put a clip in it. And voila! Beautiful volume, perfect curls - with no effort.

I've NEVER had a hair day like that. Thank the Keller genes for these lovely locks!


Getting big

As much as I want to deny it, my girls are getting big. I see it more in pictures than in real life, which makes it much easier to deny.

My mom and I took them this week to get their pictures taken at JCPenneys and I couldn't believe how big they looked as I reviewed the shots. I'll have those pictures to share with you soon.

But, this is an example of the "big girl" look I've seen lately...

Lauren was looking for Daddy in the garage. I love her legs in these tights!

Winter hats in this weather?

No. We're not still wearing our winter hats. The girls found their hats in a big pile of clothes I recently was sorting through. They both wanted to wear them when they woke up the other morning.

I put them on and grabbed the camera. Before I could take the picture, Lauren wanted hers off. And being the totally cruel mom that I am, I forced her to put it back on so I could get a picture. She wasn't too happy, as you can see. I swear she was loving it like one minute before this picture was taken.

The project

I hit the 30 week mark yesterday, so I decided now would be a good time to actually start getting the new baby's room in order.

I thought I'd share with you what the room currently looks like, so when I finish you can fully appreciate with me what a great improvement it is.

Right now, the room is full of boxes of baby supplies that came from the move out of the girl's closet. I also have bags and bags of little girl clothes. Most of the job will be sorting and organizing.

The pack and play will move, too. This is where Jillian naps right now. She doesn't seem to mind the clutter. I'm not sure how she'll feel about her new napping spot once the baby comes (it will be our closet), but I'm fairly confident she won't complain.

The glider and ottoman will stay. That's the one thing that we can check off the list.

Baby's crib and dresser arrived this week, so hopefully soon we can start putting things together, painting, etc.
I'll keep you posted!

Menu Monday

It's another pasta dish, people. But, I'll tell ya, if it's a winner with my girls and with my husband, it's worth sharing with you fine folks.

Also, I've been using a new type of mulitgrain pasta that does NOT taste multigrain, so it's a win all around. The pasta is Barilla Plus. A 100g serving (about 1 cup uncooked) contains 17g of Protein, 360mg of Omega-3 and 7g of Fiber. Not too shabby.

I loved this recipe because it had TONS of fresh veggies and used lower fat cream cheese and still tasted delicious. I thought the red pepper in the dish added a lot of flavor - even though red pepper cost a fortune. My opinion - they're worth the investment in this dish.

Another tip - use your biggest skillet. This recipe makes a ton of food. It says six servings, but I think it's more like eight.

Creamy Pasta Primavera

3 cups penne pasta, uncooked
2 Tbs Light Italian dressing
1 1/2 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch chunks
2 zucchini, cut into chunks
1 1/2 c cut-up fresh asparagus (1-inch length)
1 red pepper, chopped
1 c fat-free reduced-sodium chicken broth
4 oz Neufchatel Cheese, cubed
1/4 c grated parmesan cheese

Cook pasta as directed on package.

Meanwhile, heat dressing in large skillet on medium heat. Add chicken and vegetables; cook 10 to 12 min. or until chicken is cooked through, stirring frequently. Add broth and Neufchatel cheese; cook 1 min. or until cheese is melted, stirring constantly. Add parmesan cheese; mix well.

Drain pasta; return to pot. Add chicken and vegetabe mixture; toss lightly. Cook 1 min. or until heated through. (Sauce will thicken upon standing.)

Jenni's tips: I didn't have Light Italian dressing, so I used another olive oil based dressing - I think it was Romano Basil Viniagrette. The dressing just adds a little kick to the flavor - so don't run out and buy a whole bottle of Italian, if you have some other kind of olive oil dressing in your fridge. I also used a little more thank 2 Tbsp of it. There so many veggies, it seemed like a little more would enhance their flavor.

The instructions don't say to drain the liquid before you add the chicken broth and cheese. I would recommend it. My veggie and chicken mix was really watery before adding the broth and so the sauce never got as thick as I had hoped, even after I added more Neuf. cheese than the recipe called for.

Again, use a really big skillet or pot for this one. And be prepared to eat leftovers.


Shan-Shan ran-ran the Mini Marathon!

The girls and Grammy, taking turns jumping off the "cliff."

Jillian and her Uncle Jason. She was laughing so hard. It was super cute.

After the race, Shannon was all smiles. I think I would have been throwing up after 13 miles, but she seemed energized enough to run another 13!

This pictures shows off our Fan Club shirts - they say "Shan-Shan we know you can-can do it!", "Aunt Shan-Shan, I'm your #1 fan-fan!" and "My sister Shan-Shan ran-ran the Mini! (I'm real proud!)"

My other sister-in-law, Shannon Pongratz, ran the Mini Marathon, a 13.1 mile race that is a really cool Indianapolis tradition.

It was quite an accomplishment and I was inspired by her commitment to train and compete in this event.

We unforunately didn't catch her when she ran by, but caught up with her after the race.

Andy, the girls and I all made t-shirts as official members of her fan club!

Shannon - Decorator Extraordinaire

My sister-in-law, Shannon Poe, was recently featured on a local morning news station talking about the fabulous kitchen she designed for the Decorator's Show House. The kitchen she designed is really cool. Watch the interview.

Shannon likes to fly under the radar, but has continually been honored with awards and opportunities to design kitchens for events like this. Her work speaks for itself.

If you need a kitchen remodel, Shannon works at Carmel Kitchens and she's the best in the biz!

We're proud of you, Shannon!