Welcome to the Scharrer family's real life story! Most of our story is written for, and about, our four kids and the spice they add to our lives. It's our story of happiness, craziness, and sometimes ridiculousness. We've journaled through childbirth, the terrible two's, private school (and our public school experience), an autism diagnosis, medical school, residency, and long-term mission work in Africa.

Now we're following a new adventure, which involves a 45 foot motorcoach, homeschool, and as many ski slopes as we can go down in one year.

For posts from while we were living in Zimbabwe and updates about our future plans in Zimbabwe, please see our mission blog...

www.ourzimbabwejourney.blogspot.com.

30 May 2009

An Experiment in Diet

I decided to try Skogen with cereal this week. It didn't go as well as I had hoped, so I think that we'll hold off for a little while longer, but here are some pictures of the memory, anyway.Skogen was really excited because mom was really excited!
Then mom showed Skogen the food and told him that it was for him and a look of panic went across his face!
The first bite went in and it wasn't too bad until he tried to swallow it.
Then he realized that there was texture to what mom had put in his mouth and he was so miserably grossed out!


This was a totally different experience than what I had with Maida when I started her on cereal. I waited until she was five months old and she couldn't wait to get that food into her mouth. The very first bite she helped me shovel in! Here are some pictures from her big day, October 4, 2007...
Waiting for mom to give her the first bite.

Helping mom give her the first bite! She knew exactly what to do.

Upset that it was all gone! She ate an entire bowl and wanted more!

29 May 2009

Memorable Memorial Day *FREE* Hotel Stay

Erik got a free hotel room in the month of May because it was his birthday. We decided to use it on Memorial Day night because Erik didn't have school the next day. The thought of spending a night alone without the kids was intriguing - all I have wanted for the past two months is to have one night away from the kids - just one measly little night where I don't have to be responsible for anyone else but myself. Well, I couldn't convince my mom that she should come take care of them overnight, so we had to got to bring them with us.

I had high hopes of leisurely sitting in the hot tub, playing some quarter machines at the hotel casino (which I've never EVER done before), eating a nice, relaxed dinner, and then staying up late to watch movies with Erik. Well, we arrived at 4:00, checked in, unpacked the car, took Barkley! for a pee (yes, we had to bring him, too), swam for a half hour, showered ourselves and the kids, ate waaaaay too much at the hotel/casino buffet (with Skogen tied to my abdomen while he slept - making eating a challenge), and then had to put the kids to bed. After an hour of getting them ready for bed and in bed, they eventually fell asleep, but only after we shut all the lights and the TV off. So, there we sat at 10:00 at night, in a dark hotel room, unable to talk in fear of waking the kids. It was a loooooong night in which I just kept thinking of everything I could be doing at home, instead of just sitting there in the dark...

We all slept in until 9:30 the next morning and between waking up, and checking out at 11:00, we scrambled to try to get everyone dressed, ready, packed, and fed. I made oatmeal for breakfast in the coffee pot that was in our room because there was no continental breakfast.

Needless to say, a one-night hotel stay with the kids is a hassle. All in all, next time I think it will just be easier to stay home (unless we can talk Nana into coming up from Oklahoma to stay with the kids!!). I will admit, though, that it was a nice vacation from needing to have Erik study all the time. It was fun to be with him and the kids, laughing and having fun.

We did manage to take some pictures of our memorable Memorial Day hotel stay...

28 May 2009

Best Friends

It's an amazing thing that God just happened to lead us to this duplex two years ago when looking for a place to live before moving. Little did we know that next door was Maida's new best friend. Bergen and Maida have grown up together over the past two years, only being two months apart in age, they are pretty good playmates! Bergen came over the other day for ice cream and I snapped some pictures of the girls playing outside.

Favorite Videos of the Week

Here are my two favorite videos of the week.

#1: Skogen loves to scream. He screams all the time! This video was taken when we were at the park and Skogen was playing in his stroller.

#2: Maida loves to imitate her Bible School teachers. I videoed her out the window when she was outside playing one day and she had no idea that I was videoing her!

26 May 2009

Skogen's First Haircut

Last week I had finally had enough of the bald spot on Skogen's head. I always said pre-baby days that I would never let my child have a bald spot. Well, time got away from me and for a couple of weeks, Skogen sported a bald spot. On Saturday night, I convinced Erik to help me shave it. Now it looks so cute!

The only picture I could find of before:

We shaved the tuffs of hair off the back, trying to match the length to the bald spot, but left it long on the top and in the front. The after pictures:
Notice how bad Skog's cheeks are? I am just sick to my stomach every time I think about it. He is so tough. They look so painful. The rash actually goes on his eyelids and back into his scalp. Also down his shoulders on on his chest, too. We are going to try to convince the dermatologist tomorrow that he needs to see Skogen sooner rather than later. Our plan is to by-pass our family doctor since she is so hesitant to treat anything.

23 May 2009

Just For Fun

I always thought that naming a baby would be one of the best things about having a baby- boy was I wrong! I struggled with this when we were pregnant with Maida. I didn't like anything we found, and if I did like it one day, I hated it the next! And if I happened to like something for more than a day, someone else would tell me how much they hated it and we'd be back at square one. Anyway, a friend sent me this website and I thought it was fun to look up our names and see how common they are and how many there are in the US with the same name. The website is: http://www.howmanyofme.com/ and I have no idea how accurate it is, but here's what I found out.
There are 490 people in the U.S. with the last name Scharrer.

There are 62,827 people in the U.S. with the first name Kara.
There is 1 person in the U.S. named Kara Scharrer.

There are 104,200 people in the U.S. with the first name Erik.
There is 1 person in the U.S. named Erik Scharrer.

There are 3,065 people in the U.S. with the first name Maida.
There is 1 person in the U.S. named Maida Scharrer.

There are FEWER than 1,532 people in the U.S. with the first name Skogen.
The estimate for the name Skogen Scharrer is not absolute. There may be fewer people with this name, or none at all.

21 May 2009

Last month I had a short blog entry about a baby named Stellan. Stellan is the baby of a fellow Minnesotan, who had a very risky heart ablation, in which Maida, Skogen, and I all wore orange on surgery day to remember to pray for Stellan. I was surprised that not only did the orange remind me to pray for Stellan that day, but it also had complete strangers asking me why we were all wearing orange. That gave me a chance to share the prayer request, and my faith, with others, which was a cool thing to experience. This week one of our local news stations had a follow-up story with baby Stellan's family. If you are interested in watching or reading about the story, the articles are here.

I'm posting these articles, not because I'm an avid reader of MckMama's blog, or because I think everyone needs to hear Stellan's story. I'm posting this article because I think MckMama is a great example of how we can share our faith with others. Talking about God to complete strangers is a hard thing to do, and often a surprise when someone else talks to us about God in public. I think of our good friend Scott, who is going through cancer treatments in Philadelphia, who just wrote last night on his Caring Bridge site, "One of the blessings that Bonita and I have encountered here at CTCA is that PEOPLE TALK ABOUT GOD. Isn't that amazing? They aren't embarrassed to share their faith. We get to see God working every day and being glorified. God is acknowledged here as a part of the healing process. It is refreshing and uplifting!"

It is my prayer that I can get the courage to talk to more people about God - even if it is just one of my siblings, or even one of my best friends - that I can talk about God and not be ashamed, embarrassed, or afraid; and that I can teach my kids to do the same. Just today my friend, Hannah, blogged about her little girl sharing Jesus with one of her friends and it showed me how our children can actually be an encouragement to us! Hannah wrote, "It was a little lesson to me. If only I could be so bold, I could enjoy heaven with more people. No wonder Jesus loves the little children. They are so innocent and pure of heart and have no ulterior motives for what they are doing. They just simply want good for others." That was a lesson to me, too! Go read her post here, it's cute - and encouraging!

18 May 2009

Skogen's First Campfire

Weekend Highlights + a Public Letter

first house inspection
We had our first house inspection on Friday afternoon. It was a blast to see the house again. Erik and I get so caught up in our dreams of what we want to make this house into, that we forget that it isn't quite ours yet. There is so much paperwork to be done! We continue to pray that we will be blessed with this house and we will keep you updated as things progress.
skogen in his "hot tub"
He loves to kick back and relax in the dish washing pan! It's so funny how he'll put his feet up. If I move them down into the water, he puts them right back up there! What a silly boy!
Notice how good his cheeks look? I did some research in one of Erik's books ("Clinical Dermatology") for school and came up with my own little treatment plan. I mixed hydrocortisone cream with some vanicream and applied it twice yesterday. After the first application, he already looked a TON better. This morning when he woke up, I hardly recognized him without the flaming-red and bumpy cheeks! He looks like a whole new baby. I just hope this continues to work!
maida singing her ABC's and Jesus Loves Me
Maida has started to sing us real songs now. For about two months she has been able to sing tunes, but the words weren't there. Now she's put the words with the tunes. I tried to get her to sing for the camera last night, but she gets so silly when the camera is on her. She is also very easily distracted and has to remember to focus on what she's doing!
to the person got into erik's car and went through the glove box:
I have been praying for you. I have no idea what compels a person to do something like that. I can't imagine what you found in that glove box besides some sunflower seeds and maybe a tube of chapstick, but what you really need to find is Jesus, and I'm not sure you'll find Him by going through cars that aren't yours, in the middle of the night. I will continue to pray for you. Oh, and just so you know - don't try to break into my house. Barkley! will make you regret it.

16 May 2009

4 Months Old

Dear Little Skogen,

Changes...

I've always thought that the changes that happen in a baby between birth and the one year mark are just amazing, but I didn't realize just how amazing they really were until I had your sister and you. Watching these changes happen daily has been so fun for me. As I type this, you are sitting in your exersaucer, holding a toy in each hand, and talking at the top of your lungs. You are also watching your sister prance around the room - you have always found her fascinating to watch - and now as she approaches you every-so-often, it's different than four months ago when she approached you. Now as she gets close enough, you reach out and grab a hand full of her hair and pull as hard as you can, while sticking out your tongue with a grin, and spitting all over the place. As your sister yells, "Yuck! Gross!" and tries to pull away from you, you giggle as your grip on her hair is too strong for her to get away and I have to come fish your hand out of her hair.

Changes...

Here are some other things that have changed in the past month...
- You can sit up by yourself for short periods of time, as long as we have some pillows to catch your fall.
- The eczema on your cheeks is SO BAD and I'm so sorry about this. I'm trying to find the right combination of creams and medications and I'm also trying to get you into a dermatologist since our family doctor doesn't want to be too concerned about it.
- You never cry. However, you threw a temper tantrum the other day for the first time. For no reason. You cried and screamed and kicked and arched your back, for no reason at all.
- You are experiencing many firsts! You went house shopping with us (it was our first time, too!), you were with us when we put in an offer (and counter offer) on our first house, you went swinging with your sister at the park, you had a picnic, you tasted an apple (which you hated), you rolled over, you went to your first softball game and your first Just For Kicks show, you took a shower, you put your toes in a hotel swimming pool, you watched one of Daddy's soccer games (which you loved and didn't take your eyes off the ball once!)... I'm sure there are more that I'm forgetting to document. You are growing and changing way too fast. In fact, your feet are almost as big as your sister's feet. You are one BIG guy, Skogen.
Here's to many more changes!
I love you, my Skogie Bear,
Mommy

14 May 2009

Mother's Day 2009

I have really enjoyed reading all about what other blogger mothers got for Mother's Day and what their husbands and children did to make it so special. It is fun to see how mothers are honored on that day and neat to share in their smiles.

This year, my Mother's Day was unforgettable.
I didn't get flowers for Mother's Day, or even chocolate.
Instead, I got my very first HOUSE!!!

It's still in the works, but we found and started to make an offer on a house on Mother's Day (which was counter offered the next day, and ended with our counter offer the day after) and after we have a few inspections and complete some a lot of paper work, we hope to be home owners!
Of course I'll share more information about the house later, once we know more about whether or not it's actually ours, but in the meantime maybe you could help us pray that everything goes through okay, that we are able to move at a good time, and all that good stuff.
Needless to say, this Mother's Day was one of the best ever!

Speaking of Mother's Day and how special being a mommy is, today I was presented with a neat opportunity to help other mothers.
(>>>WARNING: Please stop reading here if you are uncomfortable with me writing about breast feeding.<<<)
I was asked by a good friend of mine if I would be willing to donate some breast milk to one of the local midwives here in town. She keeps a stash of it for mothers and babies, and I am so excited and honored to serve others in this way. This has been a dream of mine since I was breast feeding Maida, because I have always had so much milk (and healthy milk, too!). I feel so good knowing that I'm going to be helping these moms who aren't able to produce any milk and plumping up some babies, too! :)

13 May 2009

Describes her perfectly...

Another mother at ECFE today told me that Maida is so "self expressed" and that "she has this look on her face, and carries herself around, like she always has this inside joke with herself."
That totally describes her.
She's always up to something within that head of hers.
I just wish that I could tell what she is thinking...

Or maybe I'm glad I don't know...

12 May 2009

Rolly Boy Rolled

Skogen rolled over last night for the first time. He went from his back to his tummy and once he got to his tummy, he looked around like he wasn't sure what to do then! Super duper cute. Erik, Maida, and I were all there to witness it. It was a happy time. There are a lot of firsts that Erik has missed (and will miss) because of his busy schedule, so it was pretty special to have him there for this.

07 May 2009

Maida's Second Birthday

Maida was so excited for her birthday this year. We actually celebrated three times! The first time was with her cousins at Grandma and Bumpa's house, then she got to open a few presents early that she got from family in Oklahoma, and the official celebration was on her actual birthday. She still asks us several times a day if she can have another "happy birthday." She'll be looking forward to next year's all year long!
Here is a video that I put together of all of the birthday pictures and videos. Enjoy!


04 May 2009

Keep Trying, Little Buddy!


I never knew babies had to work so hard to roll over! It took Maida so long to roll over that when she eventually did, she just did! It wasn't hardly any effort at all. Skogen, on the other hand, tries and tries and tries to get over. He always tries to go to the right and from his back to his tummy. His favorite time to practice is when he's naked, so when I put the diaper on him earlier today and tried to video, he wasn't trying as hard as he had been. It's still cute to listen to him grunt and get frustrated...



03 May 2009

You know you need to work a little harder on losing the baby fat when...

your belly jelly got stuck in between the car seat and the car seat base when you snapped your baby into the car. What's even worse is you didn't even realize that your pudge muffin was stuck and tried to walk away...
Two years down the road and I'm still stuggling with the baby fat.
Maida is TWO YEARS OLD today!!!
I can't believe it.
Seems like just yesterday she was still in my stomach and I was trying to figure out if that was a girl or a boy that was punching and jabbing me. I actually bet that it was boy at some point during the pregnancy, however, I had a dream three nights before she was born that she was a girl, and believed it enough to tell Erik that we needed to find another girl name because I didn't like the one we had picked out!
I remember her birth like it was just yesterday, and still thank God that she was alive and healthy after our scare immediately after birth.
I have tried to remember and cherish each and every moment that I've had with her in the past two years, but it's just too hard. I know that there are already things that I've forgotten.
She's such a little princess and fun to be around every day. I have no idea what I would do if I had to wake up without her here. I can not wait to see where her life takes her! The possibilities are endless.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, PRINCESS!

02 May 2009

Heck with posting about the kids' firsts...

Last night before going to bed, I grabbed the wrong tooth brush and three minutes into my nightly brushing routine, after thinking the toothbrush tasted a little funny, I realized that I was brushing with Barkley!'s toothbrush.
Let's just hope that wasn't only the first, but the last time I use Barkley!'s tooth brush.
Puke.

01 May 2009

Complex Content

I fear putting too much content on each blog post, as I might lose readers if things get too complex, but this is just one of those posts...

On Wednesday, Erik had his last day of his first two years of medical school. This marks a very special thing as from now on, Erik's time will not be spent in the classroom, but in the hospital doing rotations. I know that he is very excited for this new change, but at the same time, sad not to be in class with the 50-some other students friends that have joined him every day. Wednesday night there was a Farewell Banquet held for the second year medical students that we attended. Erik, being the president of the first and second year class, handed out some awards and also gave a speech. I was able to attend the dinner with Erik, but upon talking to our babysitter right before Erik's speech, Skogen had been screaming and crying (not his usual), so I had to leave. To say that I was devastated that I missed Erik's speech would be an understatement. I was so proud of him and wanted to be there to support him and to smile at him while he was up there. I actually cried all night and all day the next day. It was a hard thing for me to miss... not to mention that I had to walk about a mile *alone* downtown, in the pouring rain and 30 degree temperature, with a knee-high skirt and open toed shoes on, in the dark, to get to our car to get home, all because Erik wouldn't pay $3.00 for parking (gotta love his tight personality!)... but I won't mention that! Erik has done such a great job these past two years balancing medical school, family, intramural sports (he played every one!), volunteer work, church, the Army, and much much more. He is a very talented person and I'm confident that he will make a great doctor someday. I am so honored to be his wife! What did I do to deserve this?!

Erik and his "right-hand-girl," Vice President Sue. They have worked very closely together over the past two years. I know he's sad to not have her around next year.

****

Last night Erik and Maida had a camp fire in our back yard. They even ate dinner out there! This was our first fire of the summer, and maybe our last since we're moving, so I thought that it was worth documenting.

****

As if missing Erik's farewell speech the other night wasn't bad enough, I have to miss his birthday this year, too. He is 28 years old TODAY and left this morning at 3:00am for his Army drill weekend. Before arriving on base, he needed to shave all of his hair off, so he let Maida shave his head last night. She did a great job!

While Erik was in the shower after his hair cut, and I was cleaning up the kitchen, Maida decided to put some of Mommy's makeup on! Why she put it in her hair, I have no idea!
****

To end, I would like to ask for some advice. Skogen's got a rash. I know, I know - he's got Maida's sensitive skin! However, Maida never had this:
I have been thinking that it's just eczema, but there is nothing that will make it better. These pictures don't really show the intensity of it. It's actually on his eyelids, too, and have little raised-up, puss-filled, spots besides the redness and sandpaper feel. I keep Aquaphor on it all the time (hence the greasy pictures). I even wake in the middle of the night to apply more cream. It just keeps getting worse and worse. Anyone have a baby with anything similar? When I'm out in public, people always stare at his face and then give me bad looks. I know that it looks just terrible, like I sunburned my baby's face! Anyway, we are seeing the doctor next week, but thought I'd ask blogland, also, if anyone else has had experience with something like this.

We write to taste life twice, once in the moment and in retrospection.”
~Anais Nin