2016 - A Look Back

I know it has been far too long since I have written on this blog. Considering, preparing for and actually carrying out a move is hard work. It takes up a ton of time and almost doubles in time when you're sick and pregnant. If I only would have figured out the caffeine was making me feel terrible, maybe it would have gone a little faster. Who knows, because while it was making me sick, it was helping me stay awake to pack. What a double edged sword. Hopefully the caffeine aversion is only for the pregnancy and not for life. I don't think I could handle two children and no caffeine. So here are some big things that happened to the Wollenberg family in the year 2016 (not in any specific order).

Quick Thoughts: Life is Insane Right Now

Hey everyone! Our life is insane right now so here are a few things to update you.

  1. Nate has accepted a call to be the pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Hoyleton, IL. So, we're moving! It is 50 minutes east of St. Louis. More details to come. :)
  2. Zoe has started to use the phrase, "isn't it?" at the end of sentences. It is cute but you have to say, "it is," or she won't stop saying it. 
  3. Zoe will be having a procedure/surgery to correct her bladder reflux next Thursday, provided her urine is clear and she isn't sick. Please pray that we are able to have this done next week and that it goes well. You can read more about her procedure plan here.
  4. The Cubs are in the World Series. I don't care how long it has been since they've won. It will never be acceptable for them to win the World Series.
  5. Zoe is all about snuggling right now. Every morning she wants to sit next to me on the couch, share a blanket and eat her breakfast. It is magical. I have trained her well.
  6. Seven days away from mommy is too long. Nate took Zoe to Connecticut to visit his family for a week. I had a very nice mommy staycation, but by night six I couldn't sleep because I missed her. Zoe also doesn't let me out of her sight much now. Absence made the heart grow fonder.
  7. Nate and I packed an entire room today. I feel like we climbed a mountain. 
  8. The thought of packing my kitchen is so overwhelming I can't even think about it. I also realize that this is all of my fault because of my love for kitchen appliances and gadgets. "In the Kitchen with David" on QVC is dangerous for your wallet and lovely for your kitchen.
  9. Moving while pregnant has its pros and cons. Pro: I'm not allowed to lift much. Con: Switching doctors in the middle of your pregnancy.
  10. I'm looking forward to a chilly Christmas. 
We'll keep you posted on our move and Zoe's procedure.

That's all for now! God is good!

Zoe has an Important Announcement!

Zoe would like everyone to know...she is going to be a big sister! That's right. We are expecting baby #2 on April 14, 2017! Can anyone guess what also happens to fall on that date? Good Friday. This kid already has great comedic timing. Needless to say, Nate is going to have a busy Easter season on his hands. Zoe was very excited to make the announcement at church but you could probably guess that she doesn't really understand what is going on. On some days she knows that there is a baby in Mommy's belly.

We'll keep you posted on baby #2 as he or she grows! We won't be finding out the gender so you'll have to be surprised with us!

That's all for now. God is good!

Six Weeks of So Many Things

So many things have happened since my last post. I will try to keep this post brief, but that most likely won't happen. It has been a crazy six weeks.

School has started again. This means that ministry at St. Paul is going 110% again. Nate is teaching religion class for the 7th and 8th grade again this year. That means early mornings again. I am working in the library part-time still. We have a new DCE named Inese! Now that Inese is at St.Paul, Nate will be passing some responsibilities off to her and focusing on some different parts of ministry moving forward. Nate recently was extended a call to be a Senior Pastor in Fort Wayne, IN. After a lot of prayer and consideration, we decided to decline the call. Pray for your pastors if they are ever experiencing a call process, while it is a blessing to be considered to be another church's pastor, it is a big decision and takes a lot of prayer and consideration. It is an emotional process.

Who is Teddy?: The Story of a Girl and her Bear

As some of you may have seen a couple of weeks ago, Zoe and I brought home a new friend by the name of Teddy. Teddy was a gift from Aunt Vivi, she's the best.

I know you are dying to hear more about the arrival of this large sweet bear in our home. While we were in Wisconsin we stayed with our friends, the Kelms. Chloe Kelm has a giant Panda and the first night we were there, Zoe fell in love with this Panda. We went out for lunch for some friends and to get her back into the car seat I said, "We're going to go back and see Chloe!" and she responded to me, "And Panda?" She loved this Panda.

Love at First Sight

Snuggles with Panda

McAllen, St. Louis, Milwaukee: Vacation 2016

Well we are back from vacation. We were gone for almost 3 weeks and traveled over 3,000 miles. Nate was gone almost an entire month and logged more miles than we did.

For this trip I was the most prepared I have ever been when it comes to packing for a trip. We have done 2 big road trips with Zoe in the past and this would be our biggest yet. I wanted to make sure that we were really prepared. I packed up snacks, new toys, a great deal of technology and many other essentials. We had a mountain of bags ready to go the night before.

Dancing Machine: Zoe Wollenberg

It's the middle of June! This is very exciting for our small family because things are finally starting to slow down a little at church. It has seemed like things have been busy since Christmas. Advent and Lent were very close together this year, then once Easter was over, we had school events, confirmation, graduation parties, a youth gathering fundraiser and lastly, VBS. It has all come to a close and we have about two "normal" weeks before we head on vacation.

VBS went great. We averaged just over 100 participants throughout the week. We had even more people helping make dinner, leading children around, taking pictures, leading crafts and music, and watching the little ones so their parents could volunteer. VBS is a huge undertaking every year. It requires many hands to pull off.

Another Zoe First!

The close of the school year has been a very busy time for us, mostly for Nate. We have been in the call process for a new DCE at St. Paul and he also has VBS coming up soon. Because of his crazy schedule, he took his day off on Monday the past couple of weeks. We decided to do something with Zoe that we hadn't done before; we took her to play on the beach. I had avoided taking her to the beach for a few reasons. The biggest reason was that with her condition we have to avoid bacteria getting in her diaper and need to keep her dry as much as possible, plus her prophylactic antibiotic makes her more susceptible to a get a sunburn. The other reasons were not as dire, such as: Zoe eating sand, lugging a million things on the beach, having to change her clothes/diaper and such at the beach. Those are normal parenting beach woes that I didn't want to handle on top of her condition. Since we got a good report at the last urologist appointment and she is listening to directions a little bit better these days, I felt comfortable to try it out. I also was okay with only spending a couple of hours on the beach as a trial run.

An Update on Zoe's Condition - Spoiler - It's good news!

Many of you know that Zoe has a bladder condition called Vesicoureteral reflux. Vesico-ur-whaaattt? Basically her ureters from her bladder to her kidneys are kinked and that makes urine travel back up into her kidneys, collect bacteria, and cause UTIs. Zoe was diagnosed with this at about 3 months old. You can read about all that here.

Well, about a month and a half ago we took Zoe to her urologist in San Antonio and they did a test to see what the status of her condition was. She underwent two tests and performed like a rock star! We received good news right away from the radiologist that Zoe's condition had almost completely resolved itself on one side and the other side had decreased from a 5 (the worst) to about a 3.5 or 4. This is superb news. When she was diagnosed there was only a 10% chance she would grow out of it. She is now up to about a 60% chance. Now, if she has another UTI at all she will have to have surgery. The good news is that the surgery would be a less complicated procedure. That being said, we are still praying for her to grow out of this. We appreciate all of your prayers as she continues to grow, that she may completely grow out of her condition and stay infection free.

On our way back home, our tire blew. Thankfully, Nate was driving and calmly got us to the side of the road. It was pretty scary.

And just because...

That's all for now. God is good.

The Best Mother's Day Gift

Last night, Nate was getting Zoe ready for bed and I was making a very late dinner for Nate and myself after traveling back from Austin. Full disclosure, I've had better days. Zoe ran to me in the kitchen and I picked her up and for the first time she said, "Mommy, I love you." *Tears for days* That was the perfect Mother's Day gift.

Quick Thoughts

Hello! So many things are happening this week! Time to discuss! Do any of you remember "Deep Thoughts with Jack Handy" on SNL? That's what this title makes me think of, however, these thoughts will not be like Jack Handy's. If you don't know what I am talking about, do a quick Google search. You won't be disappointed. My inspiration for this post comes from my friend/fellow pastor's wife/she was a teacher at my grade school, Shelley. She does this on her blog and I love the idea so I'm going to try it out. Also, her blog is super fabulous. She has five kids and she totally rocks the mom thing. You can check out her blog here: mammamilk.blogspot.com.

Spring has Sprung!

Spring has sprung! Temperature wise, it is summer or spring weather year round here in the Valley. April is a nice month for us. Lent is over. Lent can be a rough time for the Pastor's family. It is very busy and toward the end we are all pretty tired. Easter is such a glorious day, Christ is risen and Lent is over. Easter Sunday is the best Sabbath. The Sunday afternoon nap on Easter Sunday is the best one. It is refreshing and the start of a new season.

Zoe is Two!

Well, our little Zoe turned two on Tuesday! What?!?! Wasn't she just born yesterday? She isn't doing a very good job of following Mommy's instructions of staying her baby forever. I feel like that's it, tomorrow she will be asking me for the keys to the car and next week she will be moving out to go to college. How does this all happen so fast?

The Terrible Twos Are 10 Days Early

As most parents, Nate and I are very proud of Zoe. We are proud of her counting and her talking and her many other skills. One thing that we are not really thrilled about her being ahead of the curve on is the "Terrible Twos". They are here and they are real. Zoe is still cute and smiley most of the time, but when she is in a mood, you do not want to cross her.

A couple of days ago, she didn't want to get dressed. Nate undressed her while I was getting ready for work and then she was still naked when I left. Later on I received the text below.

Dear Post Office, Please Build a Drive-Thru. Love, Moms

Today I needed to go to the post office to mail a package. Before I had my sweet girl, I didn't mind going to the post office. Yes, I may have to wait in line, but usually it was some great people watching time, so I didn't mind. After having a child, the Post Office is a place of frustration and here's why.
  1. The Parking Lot. The Post Office is a place where people are constantly coming and going. This makes the parking lot, The Wild West. McAllen's is especially terrible because the parking lot is one way and only has slanted spots in one row. It's not really a lot. It's more like where you park at a Sonic Drive-In Restaurant. People are whipping in and out of the spots like race car drivers and they terribly impatient. The stroller is not an option for the Post Office because I would surely die trying to get it out of the trunk.

Snowbug and her Many Travels

As many of you probably saw online, Zoe and I took a trip to visit Nate's family in Connecticut last week. Nate's parents and grandma were gracious enough to give us this last trip before Zoe turns two. Once she is two she doesn't fly free anymore. The well traveled Zoe will be grounded from flying in less than a month. Flying three people makes my wallet hurt so much I can feel it through my purse. Anyway, we had a great visit to the North.

We flew from Harlingen to Houston to Hartford. The Triple H trip. I didn't realize the triple H factor until just now. That is probably better for everyone, there would have been a lot of highly cheesy hashtags for the Triple H trip. Anyway, with the help of modern technology in the form of an iPad, Annie's Organic snacks, and a very nice gate agent moving us to a seat with an open seat next to it, we survived our flight out there.

Live with Kelly and Michael (and Katie in the Audience)

Many of you saw on Facebook that I visited the Live with Kelly and Michael Show. It's true, I was privileged enough to be able to be in the studio audience on Tuesday, February 2. You may say, "How could this be? How do you get tickets? Those tickets must cost thousands of dollars because this show is simply fantastic. You live in Texas, that was quite the trip!" I am happy to answer the questions that I made up on your behalf and magically, I know all of the answers for said questions.

Nate's family lives in Connecticut. They invited us to come out to visit before she turns two (her last free flight) and get some family time in. One of the coolest things about having relatives in Connecticut is that New York City is within a two hour reach by car or train.

Parents: Protect Your Food!

Toddlers are weird about their food. Toddlers will eat things based on what plate they come from. They will refuse a food one day and eat something the next. Zoe goes to daycare 8 hours a week. I have found out that things that she won't eat at home, she will it at daycare. It is maddening.

New Year, New Look

Happy New Year! I hope that you all had a wonderful and safe New Year's Eve and are looking forward to all that 2016 brings.

I wanted to let you all know about some exciting changes that have come to my blog. I have given my blog a makeover. It has a brand new look. It also has a brand new name. I started this blog when Nate and I were first married. It was first called "Nate and Kate in the Show Me State" because it was about us and we were living in Missouri. I changed it to the "Lone Star State" when we moved here. Many things have changed since I started and named the blog. We are living in McAllen and now we have our little Zozo. The blog and life isn't just "Nate and Kate" anymore. The blog is actually mostly about Zoe these days. 

So I decided to change the name. The blog is now called "A Blessed Mess" and you can find it at ablessedmess.net. The name just reflects my life. I am a wife, mom, daughter and a bunch of other things which makes me a mess. However, in being all of those things I am very blessed. I also changed the domain name because nateandkatewollenberg.blogspot.com is really long.