Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Ventage Tuesday: 5 Sounds of the Season

It is fitting that today's topic among the Ventage Girls is Christmas music. I am quickly typing this blog post before getting my family ready to head to AJ's very first school Christmas program. I'm sure I will cry, because that's just what I do. I'll probably laugh too because if I had to guess, AJ will have some sort of antics while he is up on stage.

Music is a huge part of the Christmas season for me. Growing up there were Christmas concerts at school, sing a longs, and church choir. Some of my favorite Christmas memories are from midnight Mass on Christmas eve. The choir always prepared special music for the 45 minutes before the service began. I remember the Christmas of my freshman year in college I returned to sing with the choir while on break and we held our midnight mass outside (only in South Florida can you do that and not freeze your butt off).

Now, I'm sharing my love of Christmas music with the little dudes. Since the week after Thanksgiving, the minute we get in the car AJ makes the decision between "regular music" and "christmas music" and before we are out of the driveway we are singing. He won't tell me what they're singing this afternoon, so after the concert I might have some new favorites for my list, but for now here's a look at 5 songs that I couldn't celebrate Christmas without.

Oh Holy Night (Martina McBride):
This is the ultimate Christmas song to me. It feels like everyone records it, but there's something to be said for the quiet power in this version. No matter whose voice is singing though, I can never get through "Fall on your knees" without chills. 
Mary Did You Know (CeeLo Green)
 Up until just a couple of weeks ago I would have posted the Kenny Rogers version of this song. But then someone on facebook shared this one and it has fast become a favorite. Now that I'm a mom of two little boys, I feel like I look at Mary completely differently.
Tennessee Christmas
Oh, so hokey, but I can't help it. I've now lived in Wisconsin twice as long as I lived in Knoxville, but I can't help it, Tennessee will always have a part of my heart. Maybe it's because I feel like that's where I became an adult. My first non college apartment, my first job, where I experienced 9/11, where I made some of my very best friends. 
Elf's Lament
I love me some BNL. I also love Christmas music that makes me crazy dance. And this, this is a crazy dance in the car, freaking people out in the parking lot sort of song. And now that I'm spending the better part of my Target time working in the toy department, well it's even more appropriate. I make toys, but I've got aspirations!
Dominic the Italian Christmas Donkey
And the song guaranteed to not be on anyone else's favorite Christmas songs list! I love me some Dominic. This song is growing up on Long Island, spending Christmas Eves at my aunt's house with all of my cousins, going into the city to see the tree. And it makes me want a cannoli.

So, there you have it. Five songs that I will listen to a million times this month and then happily file away for another 330 days. Be sure to visit with Ang, Barb, Em, and Katrina to add a few more tunes to your December playlist.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Mama Loves You, Baby

I'm neurotic about it. Every single time I leave my little dudes my last words are "Mama loves you, baby." Whether it's when I'm dropping AJ off at school, or leaving the boys with Karl when I go to work. Whether I'm going to be gone for a few hours or a few minutes. "Mama loves you, baby" Because in my head (and my heart), that is the most important thing for them to know.

"Be kind. Use your listening ears. Mama loves you, baby."

Tonight, my heart aches for the parents who said those very words this morning and will never get to say them again. Or the ones who will now wonder what exactly their final words to their sweet babies were. What if they bickered in the car on the way to school? What if they were running late and the mom yelled? What if there was rushing and running and no goodbye hug? That morning will replay in their minds forever.

Mornings are not my favorite. I resolve every day not to yell. I try to do lots of prep work. I cling to our routine. But it rarely works. There is rarely a morning where the words, "Come ON! We have to GO!" don't cross my lips. We're always running late. I'm always exasperated.

How many of those 20 moms had that kind of morning?

There are so many things on my heart tonight. Many tears and fears and prayers.

"Be kind. Use your listening ears. Mama loves you, baby."

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Ventage Tuesday: But it's Tradition!

It's hard to believe it's Tuesday again. And not just any Tuesday! Two weeks from today is CHRISTMAS DAY!!! I'm a Christmas fan, no question. I love the music, the decorating, finding the perfect gift, the baking, and the eating, and that general giddy feeling. I feel like all of these feelings are amplified this year because AJ is old enough to *get it* and boy is he excited. He knows Ho Ho Santa. We have an elf named Boomer who's giving the big guy a daily report on his behavior. He LOVES the Christmas lights. I love experiencing this season through his eyes.

So in honor of that rapidly approaching holiday, the Ventage girls are sharing a few of our personal Christmas traditions. I'm a tradition kind of girl (in fact there was recently an email exchange with my girls wherein I confessed to feeling so overwhelmed by the need to start all these traditions with AJ now that he is old enough to be aware) so narrowing this list down to five wasn't easy for me.



1. Christmas PJs: This tradition is a carry over from my own childhood. As a child of divorced parents, my holidays were always split between two houses and two families. I spent Christmas Eve with my father and his family. Our tradition was to always open new Christmas PJs. Even though I'm now 33, my dad still mails me Christmas jammies every year and labels them so I know to open them first. And now that Karl has married into the family, he also gets PJs from the Andersons. I take special joy in picking out just the right jammies to carry on this tradition with AJ. And this year I was able to pick out MATCHING sets for AJ and Sam! How exciting to celebrate our first holiday season as a family of four!

2. Bakeapalooza: This tradition is a newer one (established in 2007), and one that reminds me that this holiday is just as much about our friends as it is our family. In fact, this time of year reminds us that some friends are the family we have chosen for ourselves. The Bakeapalooza tradition is on hiatus this year, do to scheduling issues, but I have faith that next year Barb, Em, and I will be back at it, armed with a ridiculous amount of butter, tackling a new list of recipes.

3. Visiting Santa: To be honest, I'm not a big fan of the Santa at our local mall. His attire leaves a little something to be desired, and his long beard kind of reminds me of an Oak Ridge Boys reject. BUT, it's tradition. We MUST make time to go see Santa and get that classic photo. AJ smiled during his first visit to the big guy at 6 months old. He looked stoned during his second visit at 18 months. At 2.5 he was sporting a hand wrapped in gauze and was quite proud to show off his stitched up boo boo. Now when we visit the big guy this year, AJ will show his baby brother the ropes.

4. Lights, Lights, LIGHTS!: Every year I find as many ways to squeeze in Christmas light viewing as possible. A trip to the Green Bay Botanical Gardens "Garden of Lights" display is mandatory. Some years we've even gone more than once. Last year when Karl was traveling a bunch, I spent many a night driving the neighborhoods so AJ could ooh and ahh himself to sleep. We also started a new tradition last year that I'm excited to continue. The local paper puts out a map of the best houses in the valley, so on Christmas Eve after church and dinner, we got AJ into his Christmas jammies, got him all snuggled up in the car, and set off to see all the houses for ourselves, listening to Christmas music all the way.

5. Annual Ornaments: Truth: My tree will never be one of those magazine Christmas trees. There's no theme or color scheme or any pattern whatsoever. But what my tree has that those magazine trees don't is memories. From Karl's first Christmas bell to the gold violin that's hung on my tree since I started playing in 1st grade. There are ornaments from vacations, from old jobs, and even ornaments to remember our sweet angel babies who never celebrated a Christmas here on earth. This weekend we added two new ornaments to our tree: one to document our new family of four, and the other to celebrate AJ's new role as big brother. Put all those ornaments together and they make one perfect tree!

I'd love to hear what traditions mean the most to you this time of year. And don't forget to check in with Angie, Barb, Emily, and Katrina to take a peek into their holiday traditions!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Hello, Monday

hello, holiday hours. Because everyone needs to be able to shop at Target until midnight, right? I am torn. I understand that for some people, after the kids are in bed is the only time to shop. But for me, after the kids are in bed is time to SLEEP. And working until 1130 isn't allowing for very much of that sleep thing.

hello, princess party perfection: The lovely Miss Angie threw a perfect pink and purple party for Dottie the Diva this weekend. I wore a pink and purple satin number and a tiara (and a black cardigan because December is too cold for sleeveless!) I also took my two princes to the party solo and am eternally thankful that Auntie Barb was able to step in and keep me from losing my mind. Oh, and it is not at all easy to nurse a baby in an evening gown, just FYI. I may or may not have flashed a boob at both Angie AND her mom. Ah, motherhood. So glamorous.

hello, *that* kid. I have him. The one who blows out the birthday girl's candles and tries to unwrap her presents. Even though we talked in the car about it being Dottie's day and Dottie's party. It's a hard concept for a 3 year old to understand. Thankfully everyone laughed, and the birthday girl got a candle blowing do over.

hello, double duty. I had the best of intentions. I had Sammy's birth announcement designed back in June. Nobody got one. I never had them printed. Until yesterday. Surprise! Your Christmas card will also include a birth announcement for the kid who will be 7 months the day before Christmas Eve. I know Emily will appreciate that, right Em?

hello, snow. I can't help myself. I love it. I love looking out my huge back window at all of the bare trees now covered in a perfect blanket of white. I love peeking out front to see the neighbor kids scraping up every bit they can find to make a snowman. I love how AJ repeats every five minutes "It no-ing Mama"

hello, grown up snow problems. I get so caught up in the snow love that I forget the downsides. Like shoveling, and scraping, and waiting for the car to warm up. And those awkward first few walks on the slush and ice. It's like getting my sea legs every year. And it's especially fun to try to walk that slippery walk holding a 3 year olds hand on one side and a baby carrier on the other.

hello, little dude with a big bump. AJ learned about the hazards of winter walking the hard way this morning. I left him at school with an ice pack on his noggin. Wet shoes on linoleum. Forehead made contact with bench. Tears and wailing and an immediate bruise. Poor kid. He is so much tougher than his mama.

hello, Monday inspired by Katrina

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Ventage Tuesday: My 5 Favorite Barb Moments

 In honor of the lovely Barb's 33rd birthday, the Ventage girls are taking this week to share some reasons why we love our Barb. So, without further ado, five of my favorite memories with one of my favorite people.
 (Barb and Me at a Trats game in 2008. I remember nothing about this game except the McSteamy look a like sitting a few rows in front of us.)
1. Bakeapalooza: I think this was one of our original crazy schemes. A full day of nonstop baking, back before I had kids and could do such a thing with very little advanced planning. The first year was such fun that we invited others in subsequent years. One year we had way too much butter. One year I had to stay out of the kitchen for any recipe involving peanut butter because it triggered my morning sickness. One year we baked very little because of the addition of two distracting babies to our group. So many things evolved over the course of the years but what remained the same was Barb and her crazy organization. Each year she organized the recipes, printed us all copies, and (attempted) to keep us on track. We're not baking this year due to scheduling issues and it makes me sad. Is it too early to start planning for Bakeapalooza 2013?
2. I'll sell you to the Amish: It sounded innocuous enough. A girl's weekend full of scrapping in a city a few hours away. Angie was driving. I printed off directions from mapquest. We picked Barb up on our way out of town. And then it all went awry. We found ourselves on this ice covered county road in the middle of nowhere, unless you were Amish and then it was the place to be. Of note: if you're going to get lost in Amish country, do it during the day. That whole lack of electricity thing makes it hard to find your way in the dark. That whole trip was a comedy of errors. But there was laughing, lots and lots of laughing.
3. If you bring me dinner you can hold the baby: Barb takes her aunt duties very seriously. As such, she held AJ when he was just a couple of hours old. After a long labor this mama was very hungry, and the kitchen was closed. Barb came to my rescue with a bag from McDonalds (best french fries I've had in my life) and when she walked in the door the nurse handed her the baby. It was a win win for all and an example of the kind of friend Barb is. I was exhausted and unshowered and starving and it was probably close to midnight at that point and she took care of me. Come to think of it, I think over the years Barb has seem me exhausted and unshowered more than anyone else except my husband. You know the saying that you know you have a real friend when you don't have to clean before inviting them over? That's Barb.
4. The Bouef:  Another one of our hair brained schemes, this one inspired by the movie Julie and Julia. There was a lot of meat. And butter. And pearl onions (gag). And laughing. Always the laughing. I am sure Julia Child would have been laughing too. AJ joined us for the meal, though he ate hot dogs. And I'm pretty sure he fed some of those to the dog. Now that we don't live just a few minutes away, one of the things I miss most is sitting in Barb's kitchen, chatting over something yummy.
5.  Lottery Luck: For 3 years Barb and I had a standing Sunday evening date to see whatever show was touring through the performing arts center. Sundays normally involved dinner before the show, drinks in our special PAC approved cups, sitting in our nosebleed cheap seats and then laughing our way through the parking garage afterward. One particular Sunday was my very favorite though. We had our usual tickets to see Wicked, but we got to the theater early to try our hands at a special lottery where we could win floor seats. Excited at the chance to get out of the nosebleed section we entered our names and crossed our fingers. I never win anything so I was pretty surprised when they called my name. We were even more surprised when we saw our actual seats, so close to the stage that I thought the flying monkeys were going to drop into our laps. It was such an awesome night!

(please note: I know it's Wednesday. Blogger was being silly yesterday and I gave up before going to work last night. Let's pretend it's Tuesday, okay?)

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Because I don't want to forget

 

She was a middle aged woman, probably a few years older than my own mom. She said she had a grandson about AJ's age. She and her group of family or friends were just a few feet ahead of us taking in the Christmas light display when AJ decided to sing his own version of "Twinkle Twinkle" at the top of his lungs. The lights were actually supposed to be snowflakes, but I can see where he was going with that. We heard other groups around us laughing as I suggested maybe "Jingle Bells" would be more festive.

"You sure are a chatty little guy," she said. And I felt my eyes well up with tears.
"He sure is. And believe it or not he wasn't saying much of anything this time last year."

She told me boys tend to be like that, and I just nodded, because really what else is there to say? How do I make a stranger understand what the past year has been like for us? How hard we fought for those signs in the beginning. How the words finally came in single syllable approximations and we would celebrate every one even if you had no idea whether he was trying to say ball or bike or baby or banana or bye. "Buh!" was a sound worth celebrating. She doesn't know that I wrote down on my calendar the day he said "I love lu Mama" for the first time, because for a while I wasn't sure those words would ever come.

She called him chatty. There's still a few weeks left, but that might be my favorite Christmas memory of 2012.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Ventage Tuesday: Santa Shops at Target, Right?

Now that the turkey has been carved, the stores have been destroyed by Black Friday shoppers, and we've all gone a little "buy it now" happy on Cyber Monday, it only seems fitting that the ventage girls approach the topic of Christmas Wish Lists. I'll be honest, I'm bad at making a wish list. I never know what to say when someone asks me what I want for a holiday or my birthday. I feel like I am really easy to buy for, and I'm always seeing things I'd like to have, I just can't seem to translate that into list form. I even went as far as to create a pin board of gift ideas for myself. I think there's still only five things on there and I've had the board for a year now.

For the sake of this blog post, I decided to keep it simple. I've been spending a lot of time at Target lately, in case you hadn't heard. And in my travels I've stumbled upon plenty of things I'd like to take home with me. In fact resisting the urge to shop for myself during every shift is something I am really working on. So I put together my own little Target wish list for the big man. His red suit would fit right in among all my red and khaki wearing coworkers.

To wear on Christmas Morning: my boys will be wearing skiing santa monkey pjs, so I'd fit right in. And really, it is important to take such things into consideration for the purpose of photography and memory keeping.

To keep my feet warm all winter long: during 3/4 of the year I am barefoot at home, but come winter my poor toes get too cold. These slippers would take care of that. Don't forget Santa, I have been feet. Pick them up in a 10 please.

To bring a little sparkle to my day to day: Only the best for my iPhone, right? I'd be lost without it after all.

To stay connected without getting frostbite: Sparkly gloves in a lovely turquoise that are touch screen friendly? Come on Santa, that's a no brainer!

To inspire me to cook up yummy meals for my family: Our current collection of plates is showing serious wear after 8 years of daily use. I need a nice new white canvas on which to create some culinary masterpieces this winter. Bonus points for some nice deep white bowls just screaming out for a yummy soup!

To help with the not dressing like a slob goal: Can you believe I don't have a full length mirror? What's a girl to do? Especially a ventage girl with friends who like to share pictures of their daily outfits!

And because I am SURE Santa is shopping with a red card and therefore saving 5% on my wishlist, I think it is completely reasonable to request a few days here with my fabulous ventage girls. I can see us cooking in the kitchen, drinking (gin) by the fireplace, and staying up late having fantastic conversations. It says the cabin sleeps 12. Who wants to come along?

Be sure to check in with the other girls (you'll find their blog links to the right) and leave them some wish list love.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Hello, Monday

 Hello, healthy?: 2012 will forever been known as the Thanksgiving we had the flu. Or norovirus. Or whatever name you want to give to that evil bug that makes you camp out on the bathroom floor and vow to never ever eat anything again. Try as we might to contain it, it spread like wildfire through the Homburgs and those visiting us for the holiday. The baby was spared, thank you breastfeeding. I would really really like for this to be our only big illness of the season. Dear Santa, please?

Hello, goodbyes: After 8 days of out of town family, we are once again flying solo. The past week went by so so quickly and I don't feel like we did nearly all the things we had hoped we would do while everyone was here (see the aforementioned flu bug). Mrs. P said the little dude had a couple of meltdowns in school this morning, complete with tears. I'm not surprised. Poor little guy has been living in a whirlwind. It's hard to get back to normal.

Hello,holiday hours: I've been initiated. I have survived my first black friday weekend in retail. 14 hours at a cash register on Friday followed by 2 days of roaming the sales floor, attempting to put back together the store that bargain shoppers (almost) destroyed. Truth? I kind of loved it. Even when I was pulling a display tree down off the shelf to prove to the (very) crabby couple that it was in fact 4 feet tall. Even when I was assigned to zone (that's Target for reorganize) the toy section on a Saturday afternoon when 90% of the store guests were in that section and NEEDEDMYHELP RIGHTTHISVERYSECOND!! My back is sore, and my knees are sore, and my feet are sore, and my voice is still a little raspy, but I had fun. And for the most part, people were awesome. Thankful for the help, and patient with the hiccups, and apologetic for the behavior of those shoppers who were clearly raised by wolves (in case there was any question, it is NOT okay to leave your starbucks cup on the nearest shelf when you are done with it).Will I still love this job come January? We'll see.

Hello, Star: I dropped AJ off at school this morning to find a large yellow posterboard in his cubby. It appears someone has been chosen to be the star of the week. He (read: me) has to decorate this posterboard with all sorts of things that represent him what he likes. Lucky boy, his mama has a few scrapbook supplies that might help.  He also gets to be the line leader and the calendar helper and he gets to flip the pages when they read during storytime. After a week of lots of grandparent time, I think the little dude will enjoy some special attention at school  :)

Hello, Monday inspired by Katrina who was inspired by Lisa.


Saturday, November 17, 2012

30 days of Thankful catchup

November 7th: Leah: You know that saying about the cobbler's children not having shoes? The same sentiment applies to photographers. Sure I have plenty of pictures of my boys. But pictures of all of us together? They exist in self portrait attempts inside my phone. They're not very good. But thanks to Leah's skill and patience, we now have a real portrait of our family of four. So very thankful!

November 8th: Mrs. P: AJ loves his "new school" with his "new teachers" and his "new friends."He likes to sing me the Goodbye song, and tell me how "Mrs special" (AJ's approximation of his teacher's name) does the hand motions for Wheels on the Bus. I am thankful that he's in a good place, with a teacher who is learning how best to reach my little dude. Also thankful for the days when she tells me that he had "no TOs" (time outs) and especially thankful for the days when she comments on his desire to be a big helper.

November 9th: Steve: My brother has the uncanny ability to send me a text message exactly when I need it. Sometimes it's a picture of his pumpkin spice latte to make me jealous, other times it's one of those silly animal pictures you see on the internet. Whatever it is, I love it, and seeing his name pop up makes me smile. Hate that we are so far apart, but thankful that we have modern technology to keep us close together.

November 10th: For Facebook: Sometimes life as a stay at home mom is incredibly isolating. My mornings are spent running AJ to school. My afternoons are spent managing nap time, running errands, and figuring out what in the world these people in my family are going to eat for dinner. Sometimes, especially when Karl is traveling, Facebook is my only "connection" to the outside world. I'm thankful for the chance to catch up with old friends around the world from my little phone screen!

November 11th: For Veterans: I am continually blown away by those who make the choice to serve our country. That kind of bravery, not just from the soldier, but also from those who love him or her enough to support the decision, is just amazing to me. I look at my boys and wonder if that's a decision they will ever make and I pray that I will someday have the strength to support them if that is their dream.

November 12th: My Row: These girls have been sitting with me every Monday night for almost 2 years. In that time, I've had 3 pregnancies (resulting in one amazing Sammy) and they've been kicking butt and taking names in the weight loss department. Mary is down over 125lbs. Katie and Karrie are both in the over 75lbs lost range. They are faithful friends who are there to laugh with me, cry with me, and mutter "mmm donuts" when someone else in the meeting mentioned the opening of Dunkin Donuts nearby

November 13th Barb: What can I say? Really? We lived 5 minutes from each other but didn't actually meet until I walked up to her at CHA with a totally awkward "Are you Barb Novak?" She's been the first person (other than medical professionals and Karl) to hold both my babies. She once stored fertility drugs in her fridge for me. She brought me cinnamon rolls when I threw my back out and cupcakes at the hospital when I was finally free of the gestational diabetes. We've cooked up many schemes. We've channeled Julia Child. We've baked our way into a sugar coma. We've gone on adventures. We've snickered through yoga classes. We've been patrons of the arts (and dinner). The fact that she isn't living five minutes away anymore breaks my heart, but also makes me so proud of her for wanting better for herself. So very thankful for the years we had as neighbors and so very glad we are still close enough to plan dates.Like breakfast on Saturday!

November 14th: For Nap Time: It doesn't happen often, but on the rare day that the stars align and both boys decide to close their eyes at the same time? The angels sing and this mama is a happy, happy girl. My favorite nap days are when I can pretend there aren't things I should really be doing with that quiet time and sleep a little bit myself. Today was one of those days. And it was definitely something to be thankful for.

November 15th: For Netflix: several episodes of Army Wives were watched today in between runs to the bathroom and restless sleep. Thankful for the distraction of a pretend world when real life sucks.

November 16th: For Health: also known as thankful that 24 hour bugs only last 24 hours. Thankful for hot showers to wash off the sickies and the hot cycle on the washing machine to disinfect the sheets. Thankful for immodium and gatorade and saltine crackers. Thankful that as of this moment I was the only one in the family to catch the bug and thankful that as a whole I very rarely get sick. And to be filed under: silver lining: I'm down 6lbs in 48 hours. Certainly won't stay that way once I'm rehydrated, but man was that a shock to see.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Ventage Tuesday: Betcha Didn't Know...


This week the lovely Angie challenged us to dig deep and pull out 5 random/interesting/fun facts about ourselves. We Ventage girls are very good at talking about some of the most random things in addition to the important stuff. As a result of these conversations I know that Angie and I share an affinity for Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and that Barb, Katrina, and Emily prefer their crushes of the skinny slightly grungy hipster variety.

1.My senior superlative was most likely to sit on the bench of the Supreme Court. That was back before poli sci and pre law turned to broadcast journalism. Now the closest I will get to a courtroom is watching law and order marathons. I do kind of hope I'm called for jury duty some day. Yes, I know that makes me weird.
2. I didn't own my first car until the age of 25. I took public transportation all through college and when I moved to East Tennessee I found an apartment 2 blocks from the tv station. Having a car paymeny and insurance was not in the "fresh out of school getting paid crap" budget. To this day I wish I lived in a city where I didn't have to drive.
3. I used to have an extensive collection of fun socks.One particular English teacher in high school would make a point to comment on them daily. Now I hate socks. My least favorite household chore is sitting down to match socks up and put them away. Maybe I would like this chore more if I still had all those crazy socks?
4. I have really weird taste in music. The first concert I went to was The Bangles (hello child of the 80s) and Weird Al was their opening act. I've seen more country and blue grass concerts than any other genre. I have a personal connection to Billy Joel and still love him even though I'm weirded out by the fact that his latest wife is younger than me.
5. I have a soft spot for old people. Any senior with a story to tell will do, but I have a particular soft spot for veterans. Oh how I love a good war story. That could explain why I have watched the band of brothers series countless times and can't change the channel if I come upon a marathon. When my boys are older, I'd like to volunteer to be an escort for an Honor Flight. 

And now that we're better acquainted, why don't you share a random fact with me and then go see what the other girls are revealing!

(ps: I still have my thankful list going, just need to do a big catchup blog post!)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

30 days of Thankful: For Gretchen and For Angie


November 5th: Blog world, meet Gretchen. Gretchen and I have a standing date on Monday nights. She started off as my Weight Watchers Leader and has become a great friend. We have celebrated successes together, we've talked through the struggles, and she's been there with a hug when I've needed one. There are weeks that our Monday night meeting is standing room only. That's all Gretchen. She was one of the first people to know that I was pregnant with Sam and kept my secret for weeks when I kept going to meetings because I was so afraid if I stopped going I would suddenly not be pregnant anymore. And when I finally did leave the meeting for the second half of my pregnancy, she sent me post cards and went out to dinner so I wouldn't have complete Gretchen withdrawal.

November 6th: Since it's Ventage Tuesday, it was only fitting that I pick a Ventage girl to be thankful for today. There are so many reasons I am thankful for Angie coming into my life. (Did you know that the first time we met in person it was for me to lend her martini glasses? Did you know she still has those martini classes 6 years later?) I think I am most thankful for the way Angie gives advice. I'll be honest, I'm sometimes not the best at taking advice. But some things you really just need to hear from someone who as been there. As it turns out, life has handed Angie and I some of the same crappy things over the years. I wouldn't wish miscarriage or sick babies or speech delays or even morning sickness on my worst enemy, but the fact that I have a friend who has been through those same hard times is such a blessing to me. I can only hope that I can give back some of what she has given to me in our friendship.

Ventage Tuesday: Hey Mr. DJ

This week, Barb challenged us to list 5 favorite songs. I immediately felt like I needed to narrow that theme down. There's no way I could possibly pick five FAVORITE songs of all time. It would be like picking favorite friends or family members and worrying that I'm leaving someone out.

So my own personal mini theme this week is 5 favorite songs on the radio right now:

1. It's Time by Imagine Dragons: This song just makes me happy. And car dance. And scare people just a little bit when I tap the beat on the steering wheel a little too forcefully. Favorite line "The path to heaven runs through miles of clouded hell"

2. The Fighter by Gym Class Heroes : this is my "who cares that you got zero sleep and you smell like spit up you can still be a badass" song. There goes a fighter, indeed!

3. I Won't Give Up by Jason Mraz: So I'm sure Mr. Mraz meant this to be a love song, but I have a habit of taking love songs and making them into songs about my kids. This one is for me and AJ. I mean, really, "And when you're needing your space,to do some navigating. I'll be here patiently waiting to see what you find." Yup. That's me and my boy.

4. Everybody Talks by Neon Trees: I haven't checked in with the other girls yet, but I'd imagine this made at least one other list. We're all having a bit of a love affair with this song of late. My favorite part is that the only lyrics AJ knows is "It started with a whisper" and he literally SHOUTS them from the back seat. Exact opposite of a whisper, friend.

5. T.H.E. (The Hardest Ever) by Will.i.am (with Mick Jagger and Jennifer Lopez): And the award for most ridiculous song on this list goes to... I call this my Office Space song because I have been known to jam out to this like the "Damn it feels good to be a Gansta" scene and then feel absolutely ridiculous. And in case you are wondering I totally make up alternate lyrics when the boys are in the car. :)

And see, even making my five favorites right this very second list still makes me feel guilty. There's no Lumineers on the list. And no Mumford and Sons. And what about the Phil Phillips song that I posted lyrics to last week. Don't make me pick!!

Be sure to check out the other girls for more songs to add to your own personal playlists!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Hello, Monday

hello, fall back hangover. I used to love this weekend. In fact, 8 years ago my wedding day had an extra hour in it thanks to the end of Daylight Saving Time. But alas, then I had kids. Little boys do not understand clocks, or falling back, or really anything that relates to good sleep habits. So very tired.

hello, retail madness. Forget Black Friday, the crazy shoppers are already out. They come for the clearance Halloween candy and leave with a cart full of stuff. They certainly kept me busy yesterday.

hello, election eve. SO glad I early voted. SO glad the ads will stop tomorrow night. SO hopeful we can all go back to life without a giant line in the sand and mean words on social media. I hate that the right to vote and choose our leader brings out hate in some people. I really believe at the heart of it all we all want the same thing. We just have different plans to get there. I'm thinking about running in 2016 since I'll be old enough by then. My platform, "Just be nice to each other. Take care of each other when you can. And when you can't, then leave each other alone."

hello, early morning phone calls. While I could do without being way at oh dark thirty, I do love that it allowed me some chat time with Barb this morning.

hello, red cups. If the scale has good news for me today, my reward is my first red cup of the season. How's that for incentive to make sure I pee before I weigh in? :)

hello, rug doctor. I still wouldn't call our carpet "clean" but renting that bad boy this weekend makes me feel better about hosting Thanksgiving. Builder grade carpet just doesn't hold up to the messes a young family makes. My apologies to a certain littler dude who will have to learn to crawl amid stains and worn fibers. Someday we will have hardwoods. That will be a good day.

What are you saying hello to this week?

Sunday, November 4, 2012

30 Days of Thankful: For Home and For Target

 November 3rd: When we closed on this house six years ago, most of the lots in the neighborhood were empty. Only one floor of the house was finished, but since we only needed 2 bedrooms at the time, we saw the potential. And we LOVED the lot. Six years later there are a handful of things I wish we could change, and I really wish we hadn't bought at the peak of the housing bubble, but man am I thankful we took the leap and made this house our home. I love our house. I love my handy husband and all the hard work he's put into finishing it the way we want. I love our neighbors and the built in posse of friends AJ and Sammy have. This place may not be perfect, but it's perfect for us!
November 4th: I was thankful for Target before I donned the red and khaki for the first time, but now that I'm an employee I love the bullseye for a variety of new reasons. This job has been good for me. Good to have adult conversations. Good to interact with the public. Good to see other children behaving badly in the store and remind myself that every parent faces the same challenges. Good to get positive feedback and be appreciated in a work environment. And the discount. Man I am thankful for the discount. (Ask me if I'm still thankful after Thanksgiving weekend. My first experience in retail during the holidays just might do me in!)

Friday, November 2, 2012

30 Days of Thankful: For School

I remember being so full of fear when I dropped the little dude off for his first day at "school" in April. It was the right decision for our family, with a new baby on the way and a high risk pregnancy meaning lots of doctors appointments. And it was right for AJ to get him around kids his age who weren't speech delayed. But with his food allergies there was such fear there, to let him out of my sight and trust that other people would take his allergies seriously and keep him safe. We chose this particular daycare because they had an RN on staff. It eased my mind... a little bit.

We were hopeful school would speed up his language development. And we were right. SO right. The child who held my hand walking through those doors almost 7 months ago had maybe 10 words and 20 signs. He didn't know about circle time. He wasn't a fan of getting his hands dirty for arts and crafts. He had neighborhood friends but no clue how to really play with them.

Today he is a social butterfly. He's the friendly kid who says hi to everyone. He calls everyone he sees "friend." He likes to show new kids how to do things. He transitioned to the older classroom better than I could have expected. He talks a ton. And his teachers have been amazing. They embrace the things that make him unique and work to help him learn how to control his crazy energy. We are so lucky to have him there 2 days a week in addition to his speech therapy program. It's made all the difference.

So today, as I spend my day with just Sam and a long to do list of things I can only get done when the toddler tornado isn't around, I'm thankful that we took that leap back in April and that we continue to be a part of the SS family.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

30 Days of Thankful: For Karl

Hold on, to me as we go
As we roll down this unfamiliar road
And although this wave is stringing us along
Just know you’re not alone
Cause I’m going to make this place your home

Settle down, it'll all be clear

Don't pay no mind to the demons
They fill you with fear
The trouble it might drag you down
If you get lost, you can always be found

Just know you’re not alone

Cause I’m going to make this place your home

I am not an easy person to live with.
I get crazy ideas. I'm impulsive.
On a good day you'd call me disorganized.
On a bad day, I'm a slob.
There are more bad days than good in that regard.
I'm kind of bossy.
And really emotional.
And sometimes I think things are funny, or sad, or ridiculous, and I will hold it against a person if they don't feel the same way. 
I'm also a little bit of a worrier.
Except there's no little bit about it. I'm a BIG worrier. And when it turns out I had valid reason to worry about something that makes my worrying even worse.

And still, he loves me. He indulges me. He talks me off the ledge. He makes me laugh.

8 years.
2 states.
3 homes.
2 years of infertility treatments.
4 pregnancies.
2 angels.
2 amazing little boys.
Thankful for him.


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Ventage Tuesday: In the Bag

This week the Ventage girls are discussing the contents of our trusty handbag (or diaper bag for those of us in that stage of life). I'll be the first to admit that before I started my job at Target, my go to bag was *always* the diaper bag. What was the point in moving things to a purse when most of the time I was going to need to have wet wipes, pacis, and fruit snacks in my possession anyway? But, the diaper bag doesn't fit in my red locker (and my under 21 coworkers would probably look at me weird) so I pulled a fun purse out of my closet and I've made a concerted effort to carry it with me.

Behold: the bag

(this ledge by the baby gate is where everything that must go out the door lives in the morning in the hopes that it will keep me from making dozens of trips in and out of the house. never works!)

And the contents:
1. Keys: to my car, and Karl's (both Fords so that can be a little confusing), to the house, 2 other keys that I have no idea where they go, a few coupon club swipey cards, and the key fob to get me into AJ's daycare. Oh, and an expired gym card.

2. EpiPen and Benadryl: Allergy mamas don't leave home without them. Thankfully I've never had to use the EpiPen, but it's there if we need it. There's also one at both of AJ's schools, one in our kitchen cabinet, and one in the diaper bag.

3. Glow Bracelets: What, you don't have glowsticks in your bag? Why not? I believe I picked these up at the dollar store one day last week and in an attempt to be green I told the cashier I didn't need a bag. And they've lived in my purse ever since. They'll come in handy in the coming weeks when it is too cold to go outside and I can toss AJ into the tub to play in the dark until the water gets too cold and his fingers get to shriveled!

4. Weight Watchers Record: So, yeah. If someone stole my purse they wouldn't not only know my (fake) weight on my drivers license, but they would also know my weight for every week for that past 16 or so weeks. Nice. But if I don't keep it in my bag I lose it or forget to bring it to the meeting.

5. Target Vibe Notes: There are some very "corporate culture" type things involved in working at Target. Lots of names for stuff and acronyms. It's kind of overwhelming and maybe sometimes I think it's a little silly because working in news is the opposite of corporate. But the one thing I will never blow off is positive feedback. My past workplaces bordered on toxic, so being in a place where I can walk past a whole wall of encouraging notes left by fellow coworkers and managers is pretty darn awesome. Those three notes were left for me in the past week by three of my managers. Warm fuzzies that will eventually make it to my project life album, but for now are hanging out in my purse,

So, there you have it. You now know more about the contents of my bag than my own husband who refuses to go in there even when I give him permission. Be sure to check in with the other ladies to see what Angie, Barb, Em, and Katrina are toting around day to day.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Hello, Monday

hello, sleep deprivation. Not long ago I was celebrating Sam as our prize for surviving AJ's (still) terrible sleep habits. And then, we hit a growth spurt. Or teething. Or sleep regression. Or a full moon. Whatever it is, we're not sleeping. And it sucks. Nothing like having a 5 month old and getting less sleep than you did when said 5 month old was a preterm newborn and had to be woken every 3 hours around the clock to eat.

hello, snuggle bug. I'm thinking this whole "Mama has a job now and isn't always home for bedtime" business is sinking in for the bigger little dude. Suddenly he is all about the cuddle time. "Mama I nuggle wif lu?" is a constant refrain these days. My favorite was when he demanded to snuggle right after he walked out of his classroom. Asked me to sit down in the hallway and climbed into my lap.

hello, dragon drama. After AJ changed his mind about being "Ho Ho Santa" and "A Scarrrrry Monster" for Halloween he settled on "I be a draren, mama. And Sammy be a baby draren " So when it seemed he hadn't changed his mind on the costume for a few days, Mama went shopping and located both a "Draren" and a "baby draren" costume on Old Navy's website. Added a couple of items to my order to use a coupon code and get free shipping (see, I HAD to buy the cardigan for myself!) and checked "halloween costumes" off my to do list. That was on 10/13 in case anyone is keeping track. So imagine my surprise when today...NINE DAYS LATER...I received two emails from Old Navy. The first was a "yay your order shipped" email. The second was a much less enjoyable "Oops, we said we had that costume in stock when we let you purchase it NINE DAYS AGO but we lied and we don't have it." WHAAAAAAAAT? So now, I need to locate a "baby draren" STAT. Oh, but Old Navy was kind enough to offer me a coupon code for my inconvenience. Not even a good code either. Grumble grumble.

hello, family photo anticipation. Saturday marked our first official shoot as a family of four. Also the first time we've used a photographer I wasn't personally friends with before the shoot. So now, I'm just like every other client out there...waiting to see if the photographer was able to work magic in the midst of chaos that is 2 adults trying to keep the infant from crying/spitting up/drooling while also bribing the 3 year old to cooperate with fruit snacks. For the record: it is ten bazillion times easier for me to be behind the camera. No question.

hello, fall. We've had our pictures taken. We've been to the pumpkin patch. I'm getting shocked a million times a day because the air is dry. My skin is dry and my hair has permastatic. My little dude has a forever runny nose. It's getting dark early. I think it's safe to say fall is really here. Honestly? I'm kind of ready to hibernate. Bring on the long winters nap!  




Thursday, October 18, 2012

Thursday Confessions

Confession: I forgot to send my Grammy a birthday card. And I forgot to call. I am officially the worst granddaughter ever. My oversight is made worse by the fact that my brother remembered. That would be the brother whom I normally have to remind of said things. I bought a belated birthday card that says "I SUCK," and I do. The hardest part of this for me is that Grammy can no longer hear on the phone, so calling to apologize for not calling or sending a card on time isn't going to cut it. And all of this just reminds me that people we love get old.

Confession: I had cinnamon toast twice for dinner this week. Karl is traveling and my desire to prep real food kind of goes out the window. I cook for the little dude, try to clean up while he is eating, and then once he is in bed I scrounge up something for myself. Toast has been winning out this week.

Confession: I had to spell cinnamon three times before I got it right and the little red squiggly line stopped mocking me. What did we ever do before spell check? And why isn't there an autocorrect for typing on the laptop like there is on the phone. Though that might be a case of be careful what you wish for. Autocorrect gets me into enough trouble as it is.

Confession: I like sleeping alone. Really like it. Not that I don't love my husband. I do. And I appreciate a good cuddle. But when it's time to go to sleep? Get on your side of the bed and leave me the heck alone! My desire for space in the bed is why I can say with all confidence that I will never be a cosleeping mama. I understand the benefits, and we do room share for the first few months of baby's life, but I know myself and I know I won't get the sleep I need if there's a baby all up in my business all night long. It's bad enough when the little dude wanders in at 3am. I love you buddy but I don't really want to share my pillow.

Confession: I feel more self conscious when I'm trying to dress nice than I do when I'm doing school drop off in jeans and a hoodie. I made the effort this week and couldn't shake the feeling that people were wondering why I was "trying so hard." Maybe I'm just out of practice.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Makes Me Smile

  • yesterday's happy mail: a fabulous thank you card from a fabulous friend
  • an impromptu "why won't our boys nap?" playdate with a lovely neighbor
  • waking up at 3 am with a 3 year old cuddled next to me and no recollection of how he got there
  • hearing AJ hit the ground running (literally) this morning and that little voice "Hello, Mama!"
  • sugar free pumpkin spice creamer
  • those few hold out trees that are still full of blazing red and yellow leaves
  • an email gratitude chain and knowing my girls are having good mornings
  • skinny jeans and ballet flats and feeling a little less like a hot mess
  • Sammy wearing an outfit I loved on his big brother
  • a wave from one of AJ's non verbal classmates (and eye contact too!)
  • getting the trash out before the garbage truck hit our street
  • dinner plans with a bestie, even if it will be our last for a while
  • hitting the half way point in Karl's business trip and we're all still alive
  • a good forecast for our family photos this weekend
  • a running dishwasher and washing machine and 10 minutes to write this blog

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Ventage Tuesday: Around Here

It's Tuesday again and that means another round of blog fun with my very favorite girls:
Ang
Barb
Em
Katrina

This week we're talking about home. I love having people in my home. I wish I could have all of the Ventage girls over for a cup of coffee every morning instead of doing our venting via email. The thing about guests though? It means cleaning. Unless of course your guests are the kind of friends who have seen you at your worst, and love you anyway. Then? Well then you invite them over for dinner and inform them as they walk in the door to NOT take their shoes off because you really need to mop the kitchen floor.

Not like I've ever done that before. Nope, never. Right, Barb?

So, without further ado, a quick look around my house, home of the unfinished project!

1. AJ and Sam's Room: My husband is incredibly handy. I love that about him. What I don't love is that he travels a lot for work, and I'm working weekends now, so this project might not be done until AJ graduates high school. Eventually that board and batten will be white, and AJ's bed will go up against the wall, and I'll update the art, and Sammy will move in, and...and..and..you get the idea. Unfinished.

2. Dining Room: I love that we have this family photo gallery. Up until this summer the gallery was just a couple of frames full of pictures of our little family of three. Then, Sammy arrived. And I bought more frames. And Karl demanded we hang them even though I haven't printed photos. Empty frames on the wall. Unfinished.

3. Living Room: Not going to lie, my living room looks like this for at least a portion of every single day. AJ is not good at putting his stuff away. We're working on it. Add in the addition of huge baby entertaining type stuff and it makes matters worse. Be glad you can't see much of the carpet. It's awful. Toy organization? Unfinished.

4. Laundry Room: The ultimate in unfinished projects lives here. Is anyone ever caught up on laundry for more than a couple of hours? If so, I'm not sure we can be friends. I love my laundry room. I love the color. I love the custom cabinets Karl painted. I hate what goes on in there. Unfinished.

5. The Guest Room: With all of our family living out of state, it only makes sense for us to have a place for them to stay when they come to visit. This room was my mom's home away from home for nearly three months when Sammy arrived. But when they're not here? It's the room where I can work on stuff and then close the door and nobody has to see it. Currently this is where I am attempting to reorganize the bins of AJ's old clothes so that we can reuse them for Sammy. Have I mentioned I'm working weekends? Yup. Unfinished.

So now that I've aired my unfinished dirty laundry (literally) on the internet, I guess I can invite you all over for coffee. Just know I probably won't have time to clean before you arrive!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Hello, Monday

(Should I call it Good Night, Monday since it's almost bedtime? Are there rules?)

Hello, sick day. Nothing like hitting the ground running only to change plans abruptly when a certain 3 year old starts his day by vomiting all over his unsuspecting mama. The good news is he wasn't really sick. Just dealing with a hacking cough (allergies) that caused him to cough himself to an upset tummy. Funniest moment of the comedy of errors that was my morning? Taking a photo of the pukey little dude passed out with his head on the toilet seat. Here's hoping he doesn't wind up in that same position on his 21st birthday.

Hello, uninvited guest. There's a mouse in my garage. Actually, one of my neighbors has suggested that the mouse is probably not on a solo mission. The thought sends shivers down my spine. I'm fairly certain if I didn't have to drive AJ to school tomorrow I might just refuse to go in the garage until Karl returns from his business trip.

Hello, goodbye. What do you do when the person who's lived a couple of miles away is now moving a couple of hours away? What do you do when there will be no more "Karl is out of town come eat dinner with me" phone calls? My current strategy is to pretend it's not happening, but I'll be honest, I'm not so good at pretending.

Hello, UPS. The doorbell rang and scared the crap out of me at 8pm. Who knew the men in brown were in the road that late? In that unexpected delivery: Two cardigans, two tanks, and a lovely pair of brown boots. Add that to my haul from my Barb driven shopping adventure from last week? Well, let's just say my Ventage girls are rubbing off on me. And I fully intend to blame them when the man in brown returns next week with another package.

Hello, 20! I weighed in a few hours early today since Karl's travel schedule will keep me from attending a weight watchers meeting this week. My reward for not just taking a break from the scale this week? TWENTY pounds gone. 1/3 of the way to my goal.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Ventage 5: On Fashion


Disclaimer: Me writing a fashion blog post at this time in my life is laughable. I am knee deep in Momville, often unshowered until after noon, covered in spit up or something else unsavory, and wearing something that is either stretched out because I wore it while I was pregnant or a tad too tight to breathe comfortably. I'm at a stage in my life where I'm very uncomfortable in my own skin (working on fixing that) and I often feel like it's a waste to spend money on myself when my life is spent at home with littles who love me regardless of how I look. Not to mention, it's so much more fun to spend the time and money finding cute things for them to wear.

BUT, I have these friends, the Ventage Girls. And we're kind of known for pushing each other out of our respective comfort zones. So, over the past few weeks we've been discussing fashion (among other completely hysterical and random topics) and it's been fun to see how everyone is making their closet work for them. So today we're all sharing our "top five fashion must haves." For the other girls (Ang, Barb, Em, and Katrina) these lists are things they actually own. I'm approaching this list a little differently and presenting 5 things I'm looking to include in my new "Stay at Home Mom of Two Cute Boys" fall/winter closet.

1. Cute Ballet Flats: I may not like the rest of my body these days, but my feet never let me down. And while back issues preclude me from wearing heels, I can rock the flat. Lately I've been filling the bottom of my closet with Mossimo Supply Co. Ona flats from Target. They're cheap (cheaper with my team member discount!) and fun (leopard print anyone?) and they make me feel better about retiring my flip flops for the long winter ahead.

2. Unique Jewelry; I haven't worn much in the way of jewelry lately, primarily because of grabby little hands, but I really want to add a few new necklaces to my collection. This one from Lisa Leonard is beautiful and I love that her pieces have stories behind them.

3. Funky Outerwear: I live in Wisconsin. It's getting cold and it's going to stay that way...until April (if we're lucky). And since my new schedule involves transporting the little dude to and from two different schools five days a week, lots of people will be seeing me all bundled up this winter. I think this means outwear is a good investment. Right now I have my eye on this peacoat from Old Navy. Not sure I can pull off the yellow, but that hot pink is mighty cute too!

4. Jeans that fit: Jeans are something Angie is passionate about and I agree. I've spent the better part of the past year living in jeans with an over the belly panel, and while they were comfortable at the height of my baby belly days, I am happy those days are over. I don't have a link to share for the jeans I have in mind, because that's going to take some work. I imagine I will kiss a lot of frogs before I find the prince that will make my post baby butt look great. I might even venture away from my beloved boot cut in favor of a pair of skinnys to pair with long sweaters and tall boots this winter!

5. Boots: Yes, my list starts and ends with shoes. I'm okay with this. I'm thinking these from Target look warm and cuddly but also fashionable. I'll probably be trudging through snow at some point this winter and these will work better than ballet flats on those days.

So what's missing on my list? I'm always open to suggestions, as I find my way to a new and improved closet, so if there's a must have on your list that you wouldn't mind sharing I would love to hear it!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Exhale

I keep writing blog posts in my head. Trying to remember all the things I want to share here.

Things like how fun AJ is right now, all the crazy things he says (and how often I ask myself "Where did he get that?" and then answer that question five minutes later when I find the words coming out of my own mouth).

Things like Sam's 3 month stats, which would be out of place here since I've yet to document his one month or two month stats in blog form.

Things like my decision to take on a part time job and all of the guilt/drama/freaking out I've got going on as a result. I haven't even started yet and I keep wondering if doing this is inviting too much chaos into our lives.

Things like registering AJ for the early childhood preschool program where he will continue his speech therapy. I had to go school supply shopping for the first time for anyone other than myself (though mama got a couple supplies too!) and I may have had a mini panic attack in the Crayola aisle.

Things like worrying. A lot. Should AJ take the bus to his new school? He's starting at a new school 4 days a week and moving to a new classroom in his other school all at the same time. Too much change all at once? Or is it like ripping off a bandaid?

Things like tales from the scale. Remember when I used to do that? WW is going well this time, but I am way more of the tortoise than the hare this time around. Slow and steady is how it goes when you're trying to lose weight while also serving as the sole food source for a growing littler dude.

And there's more. Vacation plans, and changes for Karl at work, and parties coming up.
And...
And...

It's all good. Just keep swimming.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Hello, Monday

Hello, big boy! AJ decided this was his weekend to hop on board the potty train. Funny enough, we'd planned to do a little potty boot camp starting on Saturday. He beat us to it and announced his desire to "go poppy" Friday morning. I'm happy to say we've had minimal accidents thus far. We'll see how things go once we try to actually get something done around here besides hang out in the bathroom.

Hello, two months! How is it possible that two months ago today I was chilling in a hospital room waiting on the arrival of one Samuel Frederick Homburg? The time has both flown and dragged. I really can't remember things before him. And things since his birth? Well they're pretty foggy too. But we laugh a lot, which is a good thing, even if sometimes the laughing is of the "if I don't laugh I'll cry" variety.

Hello, sleep deprivation. This weekend, I attempted to make coffee in my keurig without putting in a kcup. Worse yet, I didn't realize my mistake until after I had added creamer to a cup full of nothing but hot water. And, it was my second cup of the day. So in theory I should have been a little more coherent. I think I'm actually more tired now than in the beginning. It's catching up to me now that the newness has worn off.

Hello, Christmas in July. This probably makes me a big geek, but I'm kind of stoked to do some Christmas crafts with the little dude on Wednesday. Just something different in the midst of this hot, hot, hot. What will we do? I don't know. I do know the idea will come from pinterest and it probably won't go over as well as I hope. And I know I'll take pictures. Because that's what I do.

Hello, Project Life? The pictures are piling up. In my computer, because lord knows I haven't printed them. I've got some "stuff" saved too, but if you ask me where any of it is the best I can do is gesture at one of 20 "piles" around the house. I *want* to do this. But when? Maybe when sleep doesn't seem like the only possible thing I should do with any of my free time.

Hello, Tales from the Scale. First weigh in tonight. I feel like it's been a good week. Could have been better, but that's the story of my life. Will report back later.

(Hello, Monday inspired  by Katrina, inspired by Lisa)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Pinterest Fail

Painting with ice cubes on a 100 degree day? "Too cold, Mama!"

Monday, July 16, 2012

Hello, Monday

Hello, 98 degrees. No, not the boy band. Our forecast high for today. I live in Wisconsin for a reason. If I have to put up with ridiculous wicked winters, I should at least be able to enjoy comfortable summer temperatures. Comfortable? 80. NOT 98.


Hello, 2am dance party. Oh, Sam. You're so very lucky you're cute. Now please learn Mama means business when it comes to night waking. You wake up. I change your diaper. Nurse, burp, prop up for 30 minutes (stupid reflux) and then BACK TO SLEEP. Your eyes are beautiful but when the sun is sleeping I would prefer to see them closed.

Hello, pinterest projects. Last week we made gak. This morning I have "paint cubes" in my freezer in the hopes of creating a masterpiece after nap this afternoon (please GOD let there be a nap. See also: 2am dance party). The gak project was fun, but very very messy. Hoping that taking the paint cubes outside will translate to very very fun with just a little mess.


Hello, (and goodbye) to Magic Mike. When I walked into the theatre with Barb, I wasn't expecting much. My biggest fear was that I'd fall asleep (hello, comfy chairs in a dark air conditioned room). I did not fall asleep. Instead I stared at the screen for 2 hours in a "this is such a train wreck I can't look away" sort of fashion. Except I *wanted* to look away. If I wasn't already kind of grossed out by the whole "Matthew McConaughey doesn't practice good hygiene" thing, I am most certainly scarred for life by watching him "dance" around in a banana hammock with a stragetically placed tassle. Shudder.


Hello, Weight Watchers. Time to face the music. And the scale. As I told Karl last night, the pregnancy party is over. I'll weigh in for the first time in 9 months tonight. Time to return to healthy choices. And maybe some form of physical activity. But not until it's not 98 degrees outside!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Hello Three

All the things you treasure most
will be the hardest won.
I will watch you struggle long
before the answers come.
But I won't make it harder,
I'll be there to cheer you on.
I'll shine the light that guides you down
The road you're walking on
.
--"The One Who Knows" Dar Williams

I've always felt like The One Who Knows describes my feelings about being a mama. Tonight, as we celebrate the little dude's third birthday, this verse seems to sum up our journey this past year. One year ago, AJ had no words. None. He didn't even use his first sign until 2 weeks after his second birthday. We were three months into "speech coaching" and I wasn't sure anything would ever make AJ speak. I wondered and worried. I stressed and I shed tears. And I loved him. Fiercely.

Today, I lost track of the number of words the little dude used. I know my day started way too early with "Way up Mama PEEEEES!" and just a few minutes ago as part of our bedtime routine we did a little "Wheels on the Bus, Twinkle Twinkle, You are my Sunshine" medley. He's still behind his peers. He still struggles with his frustration level when he isn't understood (don't we all). We've uncovered some new issues along the way. He will receive therapy through the school district in the fall. We have worked HARD to get where we are. And I am so very proud. 

Happy 3rd Birthday, Anderson James Homburg. I am so lucky to be your mother. Thanks for teaching me something new every day. Here's to another year of adventures.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Ten on Tuesday: Things Smokey Needs to Know

Dear Smokey,

Ahead of your scheduled arrival tomorrow, I thought it would be only fair to give you a quick rundown of life here on the outside at this moment. The list is by no means exhaustive, but well..you're a newborn and there's no sense in overwhelming you with the crazy that is our life all at once. There's *plenty* of time for that.

So here we go: Life as a Homburg 101


  1. What you need to know about your dad: he's amazing. he's smart and handy and funny and patient with your mama and your big brother. He has an uncanny ability to take Mama's vision (or rather a piece of furniture ripped out of the Pottery Barn catalog) and make it happen. With his own two hands! And for a much smaller price tag! You'll appreciate this skill when you're sleeping in your new crib. Don't blame Daddy for the fact that the crib isn't ready yet. My last minute bedrest sentence kind of messed with the timeline a bit. One other thing to know about Daddy: he's a pretty sound sleeper. So you'll want to cry really loud in his general direction in order to spend some quality time with him in the middle of the night. 
  2. About your big brother: he, like his daddy, is also amazing. He can make anyone laugh. He gives really good hugs. And high fives. He's also going to be pretty darn confused about your arrival. And probably pretty jealous. But don't worry, he loves you. He's just not so sure about this mama sharing thing. 
  3.  About your mama: I cry. A lot. Especially when I'm not getting much sleep. And you probably can't tell the happy cry from the tired cry or the stressed cry, but I promise, I'm really happy. And even if I grumble at you when you wake me up at 3am, I'm still thrilled that you're here. We've waited a long time for you and the road hasn't been easy. I'll tell you the story some day, but there's no rush. We've got plenty of time and many many middle of the night feedings to spend together.
  4. About your aunties: Mama doesn't have any sisters, but don't worry you are *not* missing out in the Auntie department. There is a slew of amazing women just waiting to get their hands on you! Be prepared to be snuggled. Those aunties play a big role in keeping Mama sane on a daily basis. So when you see Mama staring at her phone or a computer screen and giggling like a maniac, it's all good.
  5. About your family: You may not have any really local relatives, but you still won the grandparent lottery. They'll be here to visit plenty and you'll learn quickly to adapt to car trips and plane flights. And not every kid has a Grandpa who lives around the corner from Mickey Mouse. You're a lucky little Smokey!
  6. About our neighborhood: we scored big time on this one too! Your brother has a whole posse of playmates his age and now you're joining a new group of little brothers and sisters. You're not going to be able to get away with anything when you get older. Because all of those kids? Well, Mama knows their parents. And parents know how to tattle. 
  7. About food: your big brother introduced us to the world of food allergies. Please don't feel like you need to follow in his footsteps okay? We have had PLENTY of ER visits. Every family needs a human garbage disposal, so if you want to take on that role? Totally okay with me!
  8. About sleep: now if you are looking for a way to be *just* like big brother? Well sleep is your best bet. AJ was a rockstar sleeper as a newborn. He probably spoiled me a little bit. I'm sure he can give you some pointers. 
  9. About pictures: your parents are photographers. And some of your mama's best friends are crafty creative memory keeping types. In short: you're hosed. You'll be overly documented. Get used to it. You'll also be a fixture on Facebook long before you are old enough to have your own account. I'll try to keep the really humiliating stuff just between us, okay? 
  10. What you need to know above all else: you are loved. By me. By your dad and your brother. By your family. By friends near and far. So many people are so excited to meet you, teach you, and learn from you. It's going to be a wild right, and I for one can't wait!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day: Bedrest Edition

Mother's Day 2012 will forever be labeled nontraditional. It feels silly to say we have Mother's Day traditions around here, since this is only my third year celebrating, but for the past couple of years every Mother's Day has involved a trip to the green house to pick out flowers for the front yard and then an afternoon spent outside planting those flowers.

This year? No flowers. And almost no outside time for me until I convinced Karl I could "cheat" on my bedrest for just a couple of minutes. I enjoyed the perfect weather via the open window in our bedroom, serving out Day 3 of my complete bedrest. The boys went to the park for a while and Karl was kind enough to email me a couple of pictures of the fun I was missing. Something feels wrong about not spending Mother's Day together as a family. But Smokey needs some extra time to bake and for whatever reason my body has decided to mutiny this pregnancy. So bedrest it is.

No matter how the day was spent, I feel lucky to celebrate. Lucky that for the first time this year my sweet boy can call me Mama. (Even if most of the "Mamas" I heard today were of the "see Mama? Mama sad. So sad Mama" variety) Lucky that we are God willing just 10 days from meeting the baby that will make us a family of four. Lucky that we got another chance after our two losses. Lucky that I haven't lost my mind completely. Lucky that motherhood has brought me closer to many of my friends and brought new ones into my life. Lucky to be sharing this parenthood journey with a man who steps up when I need him most (like say when the dr calls and puts you on bedrest immediately and you've got an almost 3 year old) and who calms me down like no one else. Lucky that next year I will be trying to finagle Mother's Day photos with two squirmy little ones in my arms.

 2010
 2011
 2012
and a bonus because this is real life in my house these days...

 
this is what bedrest looks like with an almost 3 year old.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

10 on Thursday: Random Thoughts Edition

  1. When we first put AJ in daycare two days a week, I thought it would be fun to have control of the television again, to choose something other than Nick Jr, Sprout, or PBS Kids to serve as background noise. You know what? I think I prefer silence. There really isn't anything that great on tv during the day and the political ads do bad things to my blood pressure. So quiet it is. 
  2. I just spent 140 dollars at the grocery this morning on meat. Nothing but meat. One of the stores I don't often shop at was doing a one day only meat sale. So I dropped AJ off at school and headed over in the monsoon to see what I could find. $140 later and our chest freezer is full. I'm hoping that little trip will make meal planning post baby a little easier. Obviously I'll still have to grocery shop, but if I know what I'm working with, it should be easier to plan, no?
  3. My favorite AJ-ism of late? "I okay!" I currently hear it no less than 100 times a day for everything from your typical trip and tumble (someone often runs faster than his feet can carry him) to the catastrophic crash of something falling off the counter (or a tv falling off the dresser, but that's another story). Sometimes it is said for my benefit. "I okay Mama!" as he stands up after eating it on the way to his room. Other times it is clearly an affirmation to himself, "I okay" as he inspects himself for any bumps or bruises that might need a kiss before he carries on. 
  4. I could really use a confetti cake blizzard right about now. Another reason it is better to keep the tv off. Commercials make me hungry. And never for things I should actually be eating. 
  5. Friend visits are good for the soul. Loved spending a few hours with the magnetic Miss Angie and a very sleepy little Charlie. It is somehow less scary to say the things you are worried about outloud than to keep repeating them in your head. 
  6. My house is not clean enough for Week in the Life. I don't think it ever will be, at least not until the kids are old enough to be slave labor. I know Ali would probably say something about embracing imperfection and it being "Okay", but really, when I look at the daily photos she posts I want to know where the clutter is. Because if I set my camera on the kitchen table and did a self timer shot do you know what you would see? A pile of dishes next to the sink (because the sink is full and the dishwasher needs to be unloaded) and a stove that could use a good scrubbing. 
  7. I would like to buy some cute shoes. I can't buy cute clothes right now because of Smokey. But shoes? I would like some. Now if only my feet weren't so swollen. Flip flops are not appropriate for every situation. 
  8. Do I need a double stroller? If I buy one will I want to use it or will it be so overwhelmingly huge and heavy that I'll just want to stay home instead? 
  9. How come 8 hours at home trying to entertain AJ passes so slowly, but 8 hours with him at daycare and me trying to accomplish a few things off the to do list seems like not enough time? 
  10. I'm more scared of labor this time than I was with AJ. Fear of the unknown has nothing on fear of the "holy crap I remember how much that hurt I'm not sure I want to do it again."

Monday, April 30, 2012

hello monday

hello last day of April. I could have a baby next month. Woah.
hello insomnia. 9 straight nights of being awake from at least 3-5am.
hello indecision. Why must choosing a paint color be so hard?
hello cankles. Pregnancy swelling is so unflattering. Stupid blood pressure.
hello jug of shame. See above re: pregnancy swelling. I am no longer a 24 hour urine test virgin.
hello terrible threes? Someone is testing his boundaries more now than ever.
hello early intervention. AJ's evaluation for services through the school district is Friday. Standardized testing for an almost 3 year old. hello ridiculous.
hello mid 70s in the forecast for this week. And thunderstorms. Bring it on!

hello monday inspired by Katrina

Saturday, April 21, 2012

I am...

Saw this on Becky's blog recently and thought it would be a fun thing to do every now and then. 

i was … just watching my belly shift around as Smokey stretches.

i am … currently procrastinating cleaning out my car. It's been a long time. It's really gross.

i think … I am a little too excited about getting a Sonic Cherry Limeade when I go visit Angie next week.

i wonder … what I will do different as a mom the second time around.

i wish … my friends all lived close enough for a weekly coffee date.

i save … my favorite flavor popsicles for last.

i always … fall asleep with my foot poking out from under the covers.

i can’t imagine … what it would feel like to live in a house that is clean most of the time.

i believe … I would be a happier person with more sleep.

i promise … someday I will get caught up with sharing my project life posts.

i love …the look on AJ's face when he comes out of his room post nap. He's still half asleep and has to take a moment to survey his surroundings to see what we changed on him while he was resting.

i scrap …best at Archivers lately. After a discussion with Barb recently I realized it's the absence of wifi that makes me most productive. I can't go "surfing for inspiration" and get sidetracked. I just do it.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Hide and Seek


Oh, Smokey. Still 5-7 weeks until we meet you and I already know you are on track to be just.like.big.brother! Hiding from the ultrasound tech, kicking the crap out of me on an hourly basis, using my bladder like a trampoline, and most of all...the cheeks. I've seen those cheeks, that nose, and those pouty lips before. Almost exactly three years ago.

Today's ultrasound wasn't full of the kind of news I wanted to hear. Nothing *bad* really, but not the "everything is perfect, your baby is completely average, we don't need to watch you like a hawk" kind of news I was hoping for. What I heard was things like head circumference: 96th percentile, abdominal circumference: 89th percentile, estimated fetal weight: close to 6lbs at 32 weeks. I've been rejecting that whole "second babies are bigger than first babies" theory for months, but apparently Smokey has other ideas.

And once again I am reminded that none of this is in my control. I can eat right and watch my sugars and still have a ginormous baby. So, bring on the monitoring. Whatever it takes. Even if what it takes means a csection. But just for the record: I don't have to be happy about it.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A Big Day

Hey Little Dude,

You know, I used to write letters to "my dear sweet Baby A.J." That was a long time ago, back when you weren't quite so "active" and took much more reliable naps. These days your naps are few and far between and when you do finally crash, my quiet time is normally spent addressing the destruction left in your wake.

That is going to change today. Today you are going to school. You're going to have such an awesome time with your new friends and I know your teachers are going to have fun teaching you some really neat stuff and learning about what a cool little dude you are. It's going to be different for you to follow someone else's schedule instead of making your own routine, but it will be worth it.

It's going to be different for me too, being here without having my little shadow. It's a good thing I have a list of a million things to keep me busy until I can pick you up to hear all about your day! This is going to be good for both of us.

Love,
Mama

P.S.- Please don't eat anything that's going to make you itchy and sick, okay?