Thursday, November 7, 2013

And then the teenage boy thought I was pregnant

Wake up calls come when you least expect them. Like, in the middle of a perfect grown up only vacation when you want to take home a souvenir sweatshirt and the biggest size they have isn't big enough. And you cry (and say a silent prayer of thanksgiving that you're wearing big sunglasses) as your family tries to make it better by talking about how sizing is weird and sometimes your teeny tiny soon to be sister in law takes a MEDIUM in stuff.

And then you shake it off as best you can and try to enjoy the rest of the trip. And you have a lovely dinner with your amazing husband (who agrees to try a cheese plate because he knows it will make you happy). And you're on the bus back to the hotel, standing room only, and a teenage boy kindly offers his seat, and gestures to your...pregnant belly. Except you're not.

And God that sucked. Don't get me wrong, the trip was amazing. The time away was exactly what I needed, what we both needed. We got to be grown ups, husband and wife. We enjoyed spending time with each other and with some of my family. We came home refreshed and ready to see our little dudes. But those moments started something inside me.

The reality is I have made zero progress on the weight loss front in the past year. I have followed the WW plan sometimes, but I've made many excuses. I've allowed myself many MANY cheats. I've manipulated the system. I've made excuses and told myself I was entitled to things because my boys don't sleep and because my husband travels. I've made too many trips through the drive thru. I've become too reliant on caffeine. I have wasted a year.

I can't waste more time. I had a meltdown/panic attack earlier this week that lead to the following realization: I have lost my self confidence. I used to be really good at making decisions. I used to trust my gut. I don't know when that changed, but confidence has been replaced by fear. I am afraid to do the wrong thing, to make the wrong choice. I am afraid to physically push myself (what if I get hurt?) I am afraid to stand up for myself (what if people don't like what I have to say?) I am afraid to ask for what I need and admit that maybe I don't have my shit together.

So, what now?

(I don't know. I've sat here staring at the screen for 5 minutes trying to figure out what to write next)

Changes are happening for me. I'm working on it. I've been to the Y for the past 4 days. I've been aware of everything I have put in my mouth. I'm making decisions. I don't know if they're the right ones, but I am trying to not let the fear of being wrong keep me from doing anything.

We'll see.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Hello, October

You are my favorite month.

The month I went on my final first date.

The month I married the man of my dreams.

The month we put the offer on our Wisconsin home. 

The month I saw two pink lines (twice).

The month I suffered a miscarriage and learned I could be strong when given no other choice.

The month of earlier sunsets and fiery leaves.

The month where we welcome the chilly nights and soak up every last warm day.

Hello, October.

I promise to cherish you and all the gifts you bring.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Thursday Things 09.26.13

my boys making the most of a sick day. Jammies for everyone!

  • Fall brings out some weird quirks for me. Like driving around with the windows down because I love the cold air, but the heat blowing on my feet because I refuse to give up my flip flops until it's snowing. Which will happen way sooner than I'd like to admit. 
  • Work has been insane. I am learning so much about myself and my strengths and weaknesses as a manager. I'm also learning that sometimes just saying, "I'm sorry" can change a person's attitude, even if the problem wasn't your fault and even if it isn't something that can be resolved. That's awesome. Sometimes that doesn't work. And those times are hard.
  • I'm going through a phase where I am acutely aware that AJ is growing up. We talked about fog and humidity this week on the way to gymnastics and I caught a glimpse of this grown up reflection in the rear view. He's not a baby anymore. 
  • 5 years ago this week I was injecting myself with hormones and subjecting myself to uncomfortable ultrasounds. 5 years ago this week I had talked myself into moving onto IVF once the cycle I was going through was a bust. 5 years ago this week God was preparing to blow my plans out of the water. 
  • I want to bake all the things. I blame the cooler weather and the open windows and that darn Pinterest.
  • Fall TV is back! Except I no longer have DVR. So I'll be watching all the things online. During nap time in the days following whenever the show airs. Which probably means Facebook is going to spoil it all for me. Ah social media. 
  • I am bad about waiting until just before a gift certificate expires to take advantage. So it could come as no surprise that I am just now cashing in the spa package Karl bought for me for our anniversary last year. It expires in 3 weeks. Lucky for me it's been a doozy of a month and right now is the perfect time for me to indulge in a facial. 
  • My mom heads home on Sunday, and unlike when she left in August, this time I don't know when she's coming back. This makes me sad and fills me with anxiety. I am a better mom when she's here. I'm probably a better wife too. And I know I smell better because I can shower whenever I want. We will all miss her. It will take time to get back into our routine of flying solo.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Belated Ode to Emily

My dear Emily's birthday was on Monday. On Monday I was knee deep in the kind of laundry and disinfecting one does when the stomach flu hits your house, so this birthday post is a little late. Somehow I think Emily, a new mom of THREE, will understand.

There is some debate about how long Emily and I have known each other, but that's not really important. It was pre-babies. Back when we spent more time scrapbooking and going on crazy adventures. We still scrapbook, and there are still crazy adventures, but in general they involve more planning, extra packing, and often the addition of at least one little person. There's a special place in my heart for the friends I have grown into motherhood with, because if you can change and grow with a person in monumental ways without growing apart? That's true friendship.

Speaking of motherhood, Emily is an amazing mama. Pregnancy is rough on Em and involves things like bed rest and NSTs and the "jug of shame" but she's never complained. She's even crazy enough (I mean committed) to birth those babies all natural! Emily takes her job as a mama very seriously, and I have so much respect for her. Oliver has no idea how lucky he is to be born into a family that eats meals out of muffin tins, makes popsicles all summer, and goes on many an adventure to the great state of Wisconsin. He's going to learn quickly from his big brother and sister about how awesome it is to be a Spahn.

Emily is one of my funniest friends and I think it's because she is able to laugh at herself. I have laughed so hard I've cried listening to some of Emily's crazy stories. It's not always easy to choose to laugh. But Emily takes life with a grain of salt. She's not one to wallow. Little things like Dr Pepper and Cadbury eggs make her happy. When we talk I know she's going to find a way to see the bright side. And she's always going to find a way to make me laugh.

Em, I'm so lucky to call you my friend. I am thankful for all we share in common and all that makes us different. My life wouldn't be the same without our text messages and 3 am emails. I hope your birthday surrounded by three littles was the best one yet. I can't wait to see what the next year has in store for you!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Hello, Monday 9.16.13

Hello, hangover: It's true. We had too much fun this weekend. Or rather, we had the appropriate amount of fun, but said fun involved too much driving and running and going and...well, you get the idea. It's all left me facing a new week with a little less pep in my step. Okay, who am I kidding? There is no pep. We have ZERO PEP PEOPLE!

Hello, small victories: We spent a LOT of time in the car on Saturday and a certain little dude successfully managed to keep himself dry. AND we didn't have to make any frantic rest stops to make that happen. It took us so long to get to this point, and I still can't believe it. Part of me is tempted to just not buy more pull ups for bedtime when this package runs out. The other part of me fears extra laundry and more middle of the night wake ups. The scared and lazy part of me might win out for at least one more package.

Hello, fall (finally!):This is the season I fell in love with my husband (and the season I married him a year later.) This is the season I found out both of my boys would be joining our family. It's the season I signed on the dotted line for my first home. The season of open windows and college football and pumpkin EVERYTHING. Sometimes I feel like I get more excited about the impending arrival of fall than I do about Christmas. I love it. And I wish it lasted longer. Because one day soon I will wake up and it will be just a little TOO cold to sleep with the windows open any longer. And not long after that the unraked leaves will be covered by snow. Pumpkin spice will move over to make room for Peppermint mochas. And it will be "the most wonderful time of the year" for the rest of the world. And I'll embrace it too, because I'm not gonna lie, I do love me a good rendition of Oh Holy Night and some over the top Christmas lights. But for now, my fall loving heart is full.

Hello, tough decisions: I'm the kind of person who likes to say yes to new adventures. I've been conditioned to explore new opportunities. It's hard for me to say no. But part of being a mama to two littles is learning to say "no thanks" because sometimes the timing just isn't right. And those littles need me to make decisions that are best for all of us, even when it is hard to do.

Hello week in the life: I took the pictures. Now what? I set out on this project with no idea what I was actually planning to do with the pictures once I took them. Because let's be honest? There was a strong likelihood I would peter out by Wednesday and "two days in the life" doesn't really sound as cool. But I did it. All.week.long. And almost entirely on my iphone. Part of me thinks I might just throw it all into my project life album and consider this week REALLY documented. Or maybe I'll do something more. Who knows.

Here's to a great week friends!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

AJ lately

Oh little dude, so much is going on in your world lately. It feels like every day I wake up to a new, older, more grown up little boy. Sometimes it takes my breath away. Like when I can suddenly understand everything you are saying on the phone. Or how about the fact that you actually talk to people on the phone now instead of just sitting there silent with a smile on your face. You are growing and changing so fast and I am so proud of you. I probably don't say that enough. I need to remember to find a balance between catching you doing something wrong and catching you doing something good. More praise, less crabby sleep deprived mama.

Some things that are just so very *you* lately:

  • You are learning to talk about your emotions. "I'm very angry about loo, Mama" "Loo are not my best fwend" It is tough to be a 4 year old, I'm sure. (It's not always easy to be the punching bag of a raging 4 year old either, FYI) Even when they are not the words I like to hear, I am thankful that you are using them. Glad you are expressing your emotions with words and not tantrums and blind rage. 
  • Listening to your pretend play is one of my favorite sounds. You get so animated in your conversations with yourself. I can hear bits and pieces of Postman Pat, and Bananas in Pajamas and Fireman Sam. It seems you are always working on a special delivery or a rescue. You build elaborate towers with your mega blocks and then get exasperated when little brother comes through and knocks them down. You call him "Baby Sammy the Destroyer" and it reminds me that when you were about his age I started calling you Captain Destructo
  • You are potty trained and I am amazed that it finally happened. You are so proud of your "happycopter" that you finally earned. You often point out that Sammy is a long way from earning a happycopter of his own. (I secretly hope he'll be the easy one to potty train because he wants to do everything like his big brother!) 
  • You love your new classroom. So much that I wish we had the resources to send you every day. You are learning so much and loving the time with your friends. I hope we can find ways to have some fun together on your off days. I'm not ready for you to be done with hanging out with mama just yet. 
  • You have loved watching the show Wipe Out! this summer. I'm thankful the host's humor goes over your head, but there is no mistaking the belly laughs you get watching the contestants get slammed/knocked over/tossed into the mud. I love watching you watch the show. You're definitely a fan of the physical comedy. 
  • You still say loo instead of you and the day "loo" stop I just might cry. You have been on a jelly "sang-witch" kick of late, "but no peanut butter mama!" You now say bacon instead of "bay-ren," much to your daddy's dismay. Your food allergies make breakfast out anywhere pretty tough, but we've found one local spot to go on the weekends where the waitress already knows that you want "a side of pash-browns and some bacon" but she lets you order anyway because she thinks you are so cute. You also love to remind said waitress, "No coffee for me franks, I'm allergic!" The fact that you are cute and sweet kind of makes up for the fact that we're still working on the inside voice thing. 
  • You've been having nightmares lately and it breaks my heart. Wish there was more I could do to help you through them, but I think it's just part of this age. So we sit together and rock and I hold on to the fact that someday you'll be too big and I won't be able to make everything better anymore by just rubbing your back.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Ventage Tuesday: Birthday Wishes

Hey look, it's a Ventage Tuesday post...on a Tuesday! Wonders never cease!

Today I wanted to celebrate the one who, in my opinion, is the most fashionable, the most knowledgeable about make up application, the most gin-tastic of all us Ventage Girls: Angie! In honor of her birthday, I thought I would share a few reasons I am so thankful Angie is in my life (and the life of my littles!)

1. She's fierce about family: Angie and I have shared some similar challenges in our roles as mamas. Challenges that I wouldn't wish on anyone, but to have someone who has walked the same road is such a blessing to me. From the "here's what you need to know about this process" message as I was experiencing my first miscarriage to sitting on her couch freaking out about bedrest and high blood pressure and potential NICU time for Sammy, Angie is amazing at balancing advice with empathy and it all comes from a place of love. She would and has done anything for her brood of kiddos and watching her inspires me to plow through exhaustion and find a way to laugh in the most ridiculous of times. I am a better advocate for my boys because of our friendship.

2. She's fierce about fun: Angie is one of favorite go to girls for bouncing off party ideas, because she's always game. Even when I was talking about a Bloody Mary Birthday brunch in 2013 when I was still pregnant in 2012. She rocks details like cheese plates and helping turn a bunch of cheap grocery store flowers into beautiful centerpieces. She makes light sabers out of pool noodles, invites Santa to her daughter's birthday party, and never makes me feel silly about my over the top embracing of a theme (like showing up to Dottie's princess party in a borrowed evening gown!)

3. She's fierce about fashion (and her not always fashionable friends): One of my favorite Angie adventures involved a trip to Ulta and Sephora and her throwing things into my basket and me just smiling and nodding. She's the make up guru who helped me embrace eyeliner after years of a lip gloss only beauty routine. She's given feedback on outfits, suggested purchases, and doesn't mince words. She shares my love of statement necklaces and my belief that polka dot pants are questionable on anyone over the age of 6. Living in a house of boys, I love having someone to talk girly stuff with.

Angie, I'm so very thankful that you're in my life. Thank you for being you. Happy Birthday!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Friday Five: 09.06.13

(while the littler dude naps and his big brother watches an episode of Busytown Mysteries on his tablet)

  1. I'm seriously thinking about taking on WITL this year. Even if I do nothing more than blog the pictures, I don't think I'll regret taking the time to take them. The last time I did a week in the life project, our house was on the market, AJ was 2 years old and nonverbal, and I wasn't yet pregnant with Sammy. I'd say our lives have changed a little bit since then.
  2. Nana Joan arrives tomorrow! And the boys have no clue. I'm so excited to pick her up from the airport tomorrow night (after the boys are in bed) and have them wake up to her Sunday morning. So thankful that she is able to be here to help us through the next couple of weeks when Karl will be gone on back to back week long business trips. These boys miss their daddy when he's gone, but I am thankful for the distraction of having a Nana to love on them, and skype dates. 
  3. I'm in a trying new pinterest recipes sort of mood. I'm actually utilizing a secret board on pinterest to do meal plans for while Nana Joan is here. (I like to try new recipes while she's here because then I'm guaranteed to have some help managing the boys while I'm trying to cook. She's also a rockstar chopper, so that always makes things easier). Hoping to find some new gems to put in the regular rotation. 
  4. Another bonus to having Nana Joan around?DATE NIGHT! Karl and I have a real honest to goodness date planned with other grown ups at a restaurant that I've really been wanting to try. So thankful that Mom is happy to give us some alone time.
  5. Monday starts the new session at the Y. I'm starting to get that twitch. You know the one that says "Maybe I overscheduled us again?" But the classes look so fun. Is it my fault I want to DO ALL THE THINGS? 
Happy Friday, friends. Make it a great weekend! 

Thursday, September 5, 2013


 artwork from French Press Mornings

This morning as I watched your brothers climbing all over your daddy in bed, I thought of you. How different our life would be if you had joined our family two years ago today. There would be no Sammy. AJ would not have a brother. I wonder how his relationship with you would have been different. A year closer together. A sister. Would I still have painted your shared room a dark dark blue? Would you be the girl who likes pink and dresses? Or the rough and tumble sort of girl running to keep up with her big brother?

I feel so lucky to have what we have today: two healthy little boys who love each other so much. But man do I wish you were with us. I carry you in my heart, baby girl. Always.


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Ventage Tuesday (on Wednesday): playing dress up

 In honor of back to school, the Ventage girls are doing a little window shopping this week. But not for ourselves! We're surfing the web for fresh looks for our best friends. I had the honor of picking something I think is totally Barb

Here's what I came up with:

This dress from Garnet Hill is a great color and is accessorized with two Barb staples: a scarf and a skinny belt.
I could see Barb rocking these beautiful boots as well.

And just for fun, I picked out a couple of Stephanie staples that I think would also look awesome with this dress to offer a different look:


This was fun! Hope you like it, Barb!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Friday Five: 8.22.13

    1. We have entered a time where no paper is safe in this house. AJ has become our little "tagger." His initials show up on everything from grocery receipts to a birthday card I started writing out to a friend and left unattended to change a diaper. It is my favorite kind of graffiti. 
    2. It is normal for kids to have an item they are attached to. For lots of kids it's a blanket or a stuffed animal. Sammy? Currently obsessed with a towel. A hooded monkey towel. He drags it around the house and cries if he notices me throw it in the laundry pile. 
    3. I made muffins this morning. AJ and Sammy friendly blueberry muffins. At 4 in the freaking morning because I was awake (thank you Samuel Frederick) The only people who ate said muffins? The adults in the house. Picky eaters seem to be a universal part of parenting. Feeding picky eaters with two opposing food allergies? For the love...
    4. Speaking of eating, here's a look into my weight watchers brain. I was craving a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. What I ate? A peanut butter and banana sandwich. Why? Because bananas are zero points. So clearly if I'm going to eat something like peanut butter that has a zillion points, I should definitely not spend an extra point or two on jelly. Crazy. I know. 
    5. I am the keeper of the calendar in this family. I write everything down. (because lord knows my sleep deprived memory can't be counted on!) So imagine my surprise when Karl forwarded me his flights for his upcoming trip to KY. And those flights? A week later than the week I have him out of town on the calendar. Oh, they changed the dates of the national meeting. Guess who didn't tell me? Lucky for me (and the aforementioned traveling husband), Nana Joan is coming to visit for 3 weeks in September, and so we will have childcare coverage for both the week Karl is going to be gone AND the week he was supposed to be gone. I swear, if I win the lotto, I'll keep my job and hire a live in nanny. I love working, but I do not love figuring out who will take care of my kids when I'm doing so. 
Happy Friday, friends. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

That one time...

  • that one time when I went to drop AJ off at daycare in my fuzzy slippers and didn't notice until I saw my reflection in the door. Had to change my whole plan for the morning because running errands in said slippers is frowned upon. So Starbucks drive thru it was. Never has an Iced Caramel Machiatto tasted so good.
  • that one time when my second solo shift was full of all of the calamities I worried would happen during my first solo shift, and in the end when I was wracking my brain and on the verge of tears I realized I was having a panic attack because I didn't see a minus. Added the minus and all was well. If only all my problems were so easily solved. 
These are the things I will laugh about some day. Who am I kidding? These are the things I am laughing about right now. If you can't laugh at yourself what can you laugh at? 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Hello, Monday

Hello, early. After a stretch of somewhat reasonable wake up calls from Sammy, it appears we are back to the oh dark 30 start. Silver lining: extra quiet time to sit in the dark with my laptop and my coffee. And the coffee is hot. (Thank you Keurig auto timer!)

Hello, heat. Weirdest summer ever. Last week I woke up shivering because we had left the windows open on a night when the low dipped into the 40s. This week? Our forecasted high on Wednesday is hotter than the high in Central Florida. Not a fan. My only hope is that this heat wave FINALLY ripens the tomatoes I have on the vine.

Hello, project life. I gave myself the day yesterday to play a little bit of PL catch up. Just me, my stuff, and the work room at Archiver's. (And a dollar beverage from McDonald's if I'm being completely honest.) When they locked the doors and kicked me out at 5 last night, I was working on the first week of AUGUST. As in, I'm only a couple of weeks behind. (We'll just overlook the mess of mostly empty page protectors that is February-May.) I really love this project. And this weekend I finally fell in love with my cameo.There are two spreads I completed yesterday that don't have a SINGLE THICKER. Gasp!

Hello, weight watchers. I am, once again, back on the wagon. Summer *should* be an easy time to focus on clean healthy eating. Lots of grilling and salads and time outside. This summer? We grilled and ate salads and I drank too much gin and iced beverages from Starbucks. And Dairy Queen. Last weekend I stepped on the scale and started fresh. I approached this last week with a menu plan, and a fridge full of good choices. Result: down 3.6lbs.

Hello, planning for fall. Registration opens at 6am this morning for the fall session at the Y. My program book is highlighted and I've made my little grid. I am ready! The boys will enjoy swimming and music and gymnastics, and mama will enjoy a couple of water classes of her own. 

Here's to a great week, friends.

Monday, August 12, 2013

On My Mind: 08.12.13

  • Our new hardwoods were totally worth a sleepless overnight at the hotel. 
  • I should buy two pairs of slippers this winter to last me through the year. It's not easy to find cute slippers in August!
  • I can only control my own behavior. This is a hard lesson that I have to learn over and over again. 
  • Sometimes you need a good cry, but sometimes hysterical laughter can serve the same purpose.
  • I'm so thankful for my job. I love it. I love the people I work with. And I love that it's just enough time away to make me happy to come home to my dudes. 
  • I am ready to hire a sky writer to proclaim "I ONLY HAVE ONE CHILD IN DIAPERS!" 
  • Conversely, I think AJ is ready to give up his nap and I just might need to rock in the corner when that happens. 
  • My Project Life album is so reflective of my life in part because it's incomplete. Why would the album be perfectly put together and organized when my life is...well, not. 
  • It is not easy being a girl who loves to cook and eat who is also trying to return to a healthy weight. Why can't I love running or yoga as much as I enjoy spaghetti and tiramisu?

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Around Here

Just a little blog silence around here lately, no? Ah, Summer. You rock my world year after year. A few things going on in our world lately:
  • I'm wearing a fleece on July 25th. We've had a few days of absolutely gorgeous windows open sleeping weather this week. I love it. It just makes getting up at 4am with a certain littler dude a little on the chilly side. This weekend the highs are only expected to be in the 60s. My fall loving spirit is overjoyed. Not trying to rush through the seasons, as I know fall leads to a few too many months of winter for my liking, but man is it nice to get a little taste of autumn. 
  • There's a very big and very heavy pile of boxes in the corner of my living room. Yesterday Karl and I drove up to Green Bay to pick up our new hardwood floor! Said floor won't be installed until the first weekend of August, as that's the next time I'm off of work and can whisk the kiddos away on a little staycation while Karl does the install. I cannot even tell you how excited I am to say goodbye to dirty old builder grade carpet in our living space. 
  • I'm experiencing a little bit of anxiety about my mom returning to Florida after spending the last few weeks with us. Life is just so much easier with an extra set of hands. I've gotten used to having help with silly things like loading and unloading the kiddos for all of our summer activities. I've enjoyed having someone to help me prep meals and try new recipes. And man has it been nice to do things like take a shower in the middle of the day without worrying that one or both boys is doing something that could land us in the ER. I'm so thankful for the time we've had with her, but I am definitely not looking forward to the difficult transition we'll have as the boys get used to having to share just one set of hands. 
  • We are reminded how great our neighbors are. Last night I took the boys for "a walk around the block" that turned into a 2 hour playdate in the neighbor's yard. While the boys took turns driving a power wheels escalade into nearby trees, decks, and random other stationary objects, us moms spent time discussing the crazy balance that nobody ever feels like they are successfully balancing. Is it normal to want to lock yourself in the bathroom? How come the second kids seem to grow up so much faster? Wasn't it nice when at least one of the kids was content to hang in a stroller or carrier? Why is it so hard to schedule a moms night out? 
  • AJ's full of questions these days, and sometimes those questions make me wish the ground would swallow me up. Case in point: yesterday as we were leaving the locker room at the Y, AJ noticed an older woman waiting on the elevator. AJ has a slight obsession with elevators and I've been working on explaining to him the benefits of taking the stairs since we have "strong legs that work well" So OF COURSE AJ just had to approach the older woman and ask in an accusatory sort of way that 4 year olds do so well, "Why loo take the elevator? Are loo legs broken?" Awesome. Even better that he continued to question me about the elevator riding lady all the way up the echoey staircase. "How about we focus on your strong legs little boy and get a move on?" 
And on that note, both boys are awake and demanding breakfast. Happy Thursday friends! 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Ventage Tuesday: Love/Hate

This week's theme was inspired by an email chain started by Angie, who was trying to shake off a case of the Mondays. I'm a list girl by nature, so I jumped right on the chance to make another list of things I'm loving (and a few I'm hating) these days.


backyard fires
farmers market flowers
instagram selfies
snarky hashtags
summer thunderstorms
gin and ginger ale
inside jokes
months that start on Mondays
getting rid of stuff we don't need


summer frizz (every summer I consider shaving my head )
the glorification of busy (if it's important to you, you'll find the time)
4AM wake ups (I'm looking at you Littlest Homburg!)
east facing bedroom windows (see above. the child is light activated.) 
our trash and recycling schedule (two weeks of recycling does NOT fit in our bin!) 
long distance family and friends (why can't all of my people live HERE?!?)
shameless self promoters (look at me!!! look at me!!!!)
carpet (or shall I say carpet that has been used and abused by my dirty little boys)
potty training (but not as much as I hate having 2 in diapers STILL!)
going to the dentist (guess who needs to make an appointment)

For more fun love and hate lists, visit Angie, Barb, Em, and Katrina

Monday, June 17, 2013

Hello, Monday

the best shot from our annual Father's Day photo shoot.

Hello, birthday week: Cue the madness! The joint birthday party for the boys is Saturday, which means my to do lists have their own to do lists, and I'm looking at the pinboard I started months ago with a general feeling of "Seriously?!?! You really thought you could do ALL of this?" Will the weather hold out? Will the long list of AJ's classmates who have not RSVPed show? Who knows! What I do know is by this time next week, the party will be over. I will be Seussed out. And I'll probably be thinking about a theme for next year. Because I'm nuts like that.

Hello, family: Nana Joan arrives Thursday. Uncle Steve arrives Friday morning, bringing with him (soon to be Aunt) Amanda. The Homburg Grandparents roll into town Friday evening. My boys will be wrapped up in lots and lots of love this weekend. Not having local family is pretty much the only thing I don't like about where we live. (Well, except maybe for snow in April and May, because that's just wrong!) I'm so very much looking forward to having everyone here this weekend. It will certainly add to the crazy, but that's when the best memories are made.

Hello, hoarders: I feel like I need Neecy Nash. How the heck is it possible that in the two months since my mama's last visit we've managed to fill the guest room with crap again? I swear every time she comes I vow that I will not let the guest room get cluttered again, but it quickly becomes the home for all things that don't otherwise have a home. That's what happens when you have a room you don't use every day and said room has a door you can close. If you need me during naps this week, I'll be downstairs clearing a path to the guest bed.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Ventage Tuesday (on Wednesday): A Very Pinteresting Summer

Last month I created a new Pinterest board entitled "Camp Homburg." I know summer simply isn't long enough for me to do all of the things I've been pinning to this board, but I like having a place full of kid friendly recipes, crafts, and learning activities to draw from this summer. If the last week is any indication, AJ is going to need to be kept busy and challenged or we are going to hear a LOT of "I'm bored!" and "What we going to do now, Mama?"

So here are five things from my Camp Homburg board that I am looking forward to trying with the dudes in the coming weeks:

1. Tin Foil River: I love this idea from Camo and Bows and I think the boys are both at good ages for this. Our back yard has a pretty decent slope, and lord knows we have our fair share of rubber duckies! Maybe we'll even experiment with making our own little boats to float down the river.

2.  Painting with Marshmallows: I really hope this summer is the year AJ learns to love crafts. He seems to enjoy them at school but never really is too keen on doing them at home. Last year we tried painting with ice cubes on an exceptionally hot day and he wasn't a fan. Maybe he'll enjoy painting with marshmallows this summer? Fun a Day used campfire colors as part of the marshmallow roasting/painting theme. Maybe we can tie this in to a campfire night.

3. Popsicles: I am totally stoked about this list from Buzzfeed. It has both grown up popsicle and ones that I can make to be AJ and Sammy friendly. I was very jealous of Em's new popsicle every week tradition last summer and I'm hoping we can start something similar (but slightly less ambitious) here.
4. Squirt Bottle Art: The blog post from My Little Princess World shows this craft using water guns, but I think we will give it a try with spray bottles we have around the house.

5. Fun with Books: I've got library story time on our weekly agenda this summer, so I was excited to find this list of activities to go along with popular kids books. Even if we don't make it to many story times (Let's be honest, the little dude isn't the best at sitting quietly and listening), I'm still hoping to use this list to inspire some fun hands on stuff.

So there you have it. Here's hoping some of these pins end up being among our favorite summer memories. For more pinspiration, check out what Angie, Barb, Em, and Katrina have planned for this summer.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013


When I look into your eyes
It's like watching the night sky
Or a beautiful sunrise
Well, there's so much they hold
And just like them old stars
I see that you've come so far
To be right where you are
How old is your soul?

Well, I won't give up on us
Even if the skies get rough
I'm giving you all my love
I'm still looking up

And when you're needing your space
To do some navigating
I'll be here patiently waiting
To see what you find

'Cause even the stars they burn
Some even fall to the earth
We've got a lot to learn
God knows we're worth it
No, I won't give up

I'm fairly certain Jason Mraz didn't intend for this song to be about parenting, but from the first time I heard it I couldn't help but think about my love for A.J. He is the one who challenges me to the point of insanity, who makes me laugh harder than I ever thought possible, and teaches me something every day. Nothing is ever easy with him. Every day is an adventure and I am just along for the ride. Maybe that's why I can't help but tear up when I hear:

And when you're needing your space
To do some navigating
I'll be here patiently waiting
To see what you find

How lucky am I to be trusted with this blessing? 4 years ago today he did more than make me a mama. He changed who I am and who I will be for the rest of my life. Being his mother has taught me so much about myself, about my capacity to love, and how much I am willing to fight for what is right for our family. 

Watching him be a big brother is amazing. We worried so much about how he would transition, if he would feel jealous, if he would regress or act out. I wish I could have that time back, when I was so worried. He was made to be a big brother. He is an amazing teacher. He shares almost everything from his toys to his room to his mama's lap. He somehow knows when Sammy is really testing my patience and knows just when to pull out the "I love loo mama" that seems to make it so much better. 

I have no idea what this next year will hold for us, where we will go, what we will do. But I do know I'll be back here next year, writing about how lucky I feel to have this boy in my life and how I can't believe how much he's growing and changing. 

I won't give up on us
Even if the skies get rough
I'm giving you all my love
I'm still looking up 

Happy 4th Birthday, Anderson James Homburg. You are loved more than you could ever know. 

Friday, June 7, 2013

Friday Five

1. About AJ: Man this kid is funny. He is becoming such a smooth talker. "Doesn't that sound like a good plan, Mama?" and "I did a good thing! So we should do something fun!" My favorite from last weekend: "I do a good job, Mama. I only drive loo a little crazy." Reminders that he is always listening, always watching, always thinking. (And a little worry on my part that I probably don't set a very good example sometimes for things like patience.) He's also increasingly interested in the schedule. "What's next, mama? What we do after breakfast?" I better get a head start on those "Camp Homburg" plans or I have a feeling we'll have one very bored little boy on our hands this summer. Kind of blows my mind that he's old enough to really express boredom. A year ago he was just really starting to talk in 2-3 word sentences. I swore when he was a late talker that I would *never* ask him to be quiet. Sunday, after an especially trying morning of trying to get everyone dressed and ready for church, we were in the car and he was doing his "Mama? Mama? Mama?" and I responded with "Can you please stop talking for just a minute???" The words were out of my mouth before I even thought about it. And then I spent the rest of the morning beating myself up about it.

2. About Sammy: He had his 1 year check up this week. Graduated to the 10th percentile for weight and 12th for height (he was in the 3rd and 10th at his last appointment). For a boy who doesn't yet walk, he was certainly trying to escape my lap for the bulk of our time waiting in the exam room. He received his chicken pox vaccine. For those keeping track, that's the one that landed us in the hospital for an IVIG infusion with AJ. (They are not the same kid. They are not the same kid. They are not the same kid!) He is so very close to walking, but only does anything about it when we make him. He's an expert climber, though. I went to the bathroom the other day and came back out to find him on top of the toy box. IN HIS SLEEP SACK. Upper body strength anyone? A few times this week he's slept through until 4am. Except then he's decided 4am is time to start his day. So what's worse: interrupted sleep or a day that begins an hour before sunrise?

3. About Karl: He was just named lead engineer in the contract that's being signed for the Canada job he's been working on for the past year. It's kind of a big deal. The kind that means great things for his career and maybe crazy things for our family. I'm really proud of him. And trying not to worry too much about things that are out of my control. I'm also super stoked that having my mom in town for six weeks this summer means we'll actually get to spend some alone time together without going into debt to a babysitter. There's even talk of a double date or two with my favorite Green Bay Ventage girl and her hubby.

4. About Me: I'm up to my eyeballs in lists for the upcoming joint birthday party and baptism weekend. So many pins, so little time. Oh, and now we're adding an engagement session to the agenda because my brother and his new fiancee will be in town. So yay for that. But boo for the insane amount of prep work I need to get done in the next couple of weeks. Like sending out the invites that I've had printed for weeks. GAH! I'm struggling to get back on the Weight Watchers wagon after a couple of weeks that were heavy on the birthday celebrating. I'm definitely eating better than I was but I'm consuming more than my fair share of coffee. Back away from the Starbucks drive thru, Homburg. Oh, and I'm way more giddy than I have any right to be about the fact that Project Life is now available at Archivers. You know, the place where I work. The place where I get a discount. (I don't need more stuff. I don't need more stuff. I don't need more stuff.)

5. About my 35 before 35 list: I've made the bed 7 out of the last 14 mornings (Progress!) I tried a new recipe this week (Pasta with Roasted Broccoli totally amazing!) I'm potentially going to a hotel to sleep this weekend. And I dropped off the first batch (245 family slides!) to be scanned yesterday. Hooray!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Ventage Tuesday: We've got your back

Today is a big day for one of our own. Not the kind of big day we dream about or look forward to, but a new beginning nonetheless. And while we can't all be there to share a group hug and and round of Ventage girl approved adult beverages, we're all together in spirit. My friend, we've all been angry on your behalf. We've been sad with you. Today, we remind you that you've got this. And you've got us. And we love you.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Throwback Thursday: One Year Ago This Week

I hate that we had to be at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin Fox Valley one year ago this week, but I'm so thankful they are here. Thankful that I was able to stay with Sammy the whole time. Thankful that the hospital is close enough that Karl could be home with AJ when he was needed there. Thankful that our stay was short, and even more thankful that we haven't been back since those first few days of Sammy's life. That was our third visit, the first two in AJ's first year. While two years had past, many of the faces we saw were familiar ones, doctors and nurses who had helped us deal with AJ's seizures and ITP were now talking us through what it would take to get Sammy home again. It sucks to have a baby who is sick, but it's so reassuring to be greeted over and over with friendly compassionate faces, to know that our whole family was in good hands.

Since AJ's first Christmas, we've used the holidays and birthdays as a chance to give back to Children's. We'll do it again this year, collecting board books and teethers at the boys' birthday party, and then making a trip up to the pediatric unit to deliver the loot. Our boys don't need more clothes and toys. We are very blessed and our house isn't big enough to hold much more. So, we'll use this birthday as another chance to talk about how we can "make the sick friends happy." Sammy won't understand for a few more years, but AJ is getting there. I can't wait to see where this tradition takes our little family of four in the coming years.

(And I silently pray that the only time we're ever back at the hospital is for those happy gift drop offs!)

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Ventage Tuesday: Long Weekend Hangover Remedies

This weekend. Wow. Epic. But really, how can a weekend with its own hashtag NOT be epic? We ate. We drank. We laughed. We ate some more. We spent time getting "glamorous" together. We answered a 3.5 year olds repeated question, "What are you guys doing out here?" Most of all we just enjoyed the fact that we were all together.

Now? The party is over. The hashtag is being retired. And while Sunday morning my girls and I sipped cocktails out of mason jars at a table decorated with burlap and fresh flowers:

 this morning my boys took 5 minutes to turn my living room into this:

From epic fun to epic mess. And a long weekend hangover of epic proportions. So, what does one do to recover from the post long weekend blues? Here are some things I plan to try this week:

1. Coffee: This morning I traded my mason jar for the big smiley face mug. It's part of my fake it until you make it mantra. I am feeling neither energetic nor smiley. Coffee will help.

2. Water: While most of my post weekend blues are mental, my body is definitely feeling the effects of this weekend of indulgences. I'm drinking lots of water today and working on a meal plan heavy on the fresh fruits and veggies and a little light on the cheese and alcoholic beverages.

3. Dance Party: We danced it up in the car this morning. A little Thrift Shop. A little Pitbull. A little Neon Trees. My boys are excellent dancers and head bobbers. It's hard to be in a bad mood when there is an almost 4 year old in the back shouting the only lyrics he remembers "It started with a WHISPER!!!"

4. Emails: Katrina wasn't even at the airport before the Ventage girls emails had resumed. It is what we do, after all. We can nurse our long weekend hangovers together, virtually.

5. Planning the next adventure: I'm a "What's next?" kind of girl. It's a character trait that I struggle with sometimes because I need a reminder to enjoy the moment I'm in. But when I'm bumming after a weekend of fun, it's handy to have something to look forward to. We're less than a month away from the Thing One and Thing Two party for my little dudes. So, my attention turns from brunch recipes and bloody mary bar pins to Cat in the Hat quotes and kid friendly snacks.

So there you have it. My long weekend recovery plan. Be sure to check in with the other ventage girls for their tips, though it might take a while for us all to get back into the swing of things.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

And Then I Turned 34

I'm not sure I can even explain HOW amazing my birthday weekend has been. I feel like this has been one of those weekends I will look back on during the days when running away to join the circus with Angie sounds like my only viable option. I will think about this weekend when I've seen 3am on the clock for the millionth straight day and I'm fairly certain I can and will die of sleep deprivation. I will think about this weekend when I'm wondering if there is anyone in this world listens to me because my kids sure as heck don't. I will think of this weekend and fill myself up with the memories of "getting glamorous" at Angies, or discovering Gin and Ginger ale and fried brussel sprouts. I will remember instagramming an obscene amount of pictures, showing off my ability to rap with the Fresh Prince of Belair, and almost losing my eyebrows in an unexpected bar fireplace lighting incident. I'll get through the not so fun days by remembering how awesome it was to hang out with friends old and new and laugh...a lot.

The past few weeks I've been compiling a list of things I'd like to do in this 34th year of mine. There's something big to me about turning 35 next year. Mid 30s. I don't feel old. I don't think a number can define you. But I do remember not too long ago feeling like 35 sounded like an age where one has their crap together. 35 is grown up. I still feel so very far from grown up. Maybe that's why getting into the habit of making my bed is on this list. 35 year olds make their bed, don't they? I'll need a year to practice that.

So here's my list, in no particular order. I'm hoping I'll get a chance to document at least a few of these things as I cross them off the list. And I hope when I'm looking back on my 35th birthday this time next year I'll feel like I really enjoyed this crazy ride.

  1. Drink Bloody Marys with my ventage girls for my birthday
  2. completely potty train AJ 
  3. complete a 1/2 marathon
  4. Go to the Neenah Pool
  5. have a fun kiddo day with my two, Emily's 2.5, and Angie's 3.
  6. Go on a Trader Joes/PF Changs/Make up shopping adventure with Angie
  7. Visit Barb in Madison
  8. Visit Emily in Chicago
  9. Epcot Food and Wine Festival with Karl
  10. Go to the farmer's market
  11. get a pedicure (or 10!)
  12. go to the drive in 
  13. get in the habit of making the bed
  14. 20 dates with Karl
  15. See Wicked! again 
  16. Send 12 cards to friends and family "just because"
  17. Try 34 new recipes
  18. Play mini golf
  19. See a football game at Lambeau Field
  20. Spend a night in a hotel by myself and SLEEP
  21. try a new class at the Y
  22. have a weight that starts with a 1
  23. find a new cocktail 
  24. bake bread from scratch
  25. Plan a girls weekend
  26. find a way to volunteer for Honor Flight
  27. take a brothers photo every month
  28. frame and hang the art for AJ and Sam's room
  29. start converting family slides to digital media
  30. introduce my boys to their Great Grandma Ellie
  31. blog more frequently
  32. take pictures of some of my favorite people
  33. go to a concert in the park
  34. Have fun on Project Life (even if I'm a year behind by this time next year)
  35. Master eye liner! 
Stand by for many many more pictures from this weekend. It was epic. 

Friday, May 24, 2013

And then you were one

Dear Sammy,

I knew who you were long before May 23, 2012. I knew from the moment I saw that first positive pregnancy test that you were a little baby boy growing inside me, and I even knew your name would be Samuel Frederick (though it took me a good 9 months to convince your daddy that I was right.)

Being pregnant with you wasn't the easiest thing. You made me sick a lot, and because of the hard times we had before you came to us, I worried a lot. A LOT. There was diabetes and blood pressure and bed rest. And worrying. Lots and lots of worrying.

But we made it. You grew big and strong and I managed not to lose my mind. Those nine months were good practice for this first year. You growing big and strong and me working daily not to lose my mind. You are such a happy guy, capable of smiles at 4 in the morning on very little sleep. You are teaching me daily just how much I can do on minimal rest.

I love watching you with your brother. You love him so much, and the feeling is mutual. He brought out your first real smile and he makes you giggle like nobody else. I watch you two play together and can imagine what the next 15 years will be like with you two under our roof. We have so many adventures ahead.

I love you littler dude.
Here's to many many more birthdays

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: 8 days

How is it possible we will celebrate your birthday in a week?

Ventage Tuesday: Ask Google Anything

This post was my idea. Actually, I think it was Angie's idea initially, but when I took a look at my own personal search history I KNEW it would be something fun for each of us to share. I turn to Google for *everything*. It's almost embarrassing. But Google never calls me stupid. Google is always patient, and mostly right. Except if you Google anything medical. DO NOT TRUST DR GOOGLE. He will tell you you have Cancer. Or worse, that your KID has Cancer. Even if you have a hang nail. Just don't do it.

Here's a little Who/What/When/Where/Why look at my recent Googling.

1. WHO: Who is Billy Chambers? (Scandal, anyone?) Who rents bounce houses? (my old bounce house source is out of business!) Who sells sunscreen for sensitive skin? Who teaches gymnastics in Appleton?
2. WHAT: What is whatever craft weekend? (answer: something I want to go to!) What is Whole 30? What time is it in Scotland? (having international friends is hard on my brain)What keeps wasps away? What is the Powerball Jackpot? ( a girl can dream!)
3. WHEN: When is teacher appreciation week? (Snuck up on me this year) When is Epcot Food and Wine Festival? (Anniversary trip for Karl and I, mayhaps?) When does Despicable Me 2 come out? (AJ's first non dollar theatre movie trip this summer?)
4. WHERE: Where did John King start in TV? Where to have brunch in Appleton (when I started panicking about my birthday plans) Where to buy modest swimsuits
5. WHY: Why is coconut oil good for you? Why won't 11 month old sleep? (Yes, I really went there!) Why is soy in everything? (A little frustration after Sam's Soy protein intolerance diagnosis) Why is my Keurig so slow? (also: how to clean Keurig)

Be sure to check in with the other girls (links to the right). Who knows, maybe you'll find we're all bugging Google with the same questions!

Monday, May 13, 2013

May 11, 2008

I don't have a picture of myself on May 11th, 2008. I can't tell you what I did. But I can tell you I was sad. Heartbreakingly, hopelessly sad. The kind of sad that comes with cycles of unsuccessful infertility treatments. Many days were hard that year, but May 11th, Mother's Day, was definitely one of the hardest. I felt alone and frustrated and confused. I had a lot of questions about what the future would hold. I just wanted to be a Mom.

One year later I was 34 weeks pregnant on Mother's Day. A fertility treatment success story, just one month from meeting our first little dude. It didn't feel real then. I was blessed, but not ready to celebrate. I was thinking of, and praying for, the women who were still waiting for their babies to find them.

Sunday, May 9th, 2010 was my first real Mother's Day. And on that day we began a tradition of taking pictures after dinner.

with A.J. 2 days shy of 11 months old
May 2010

with A.J. almost 2 years old
May 2011
with AJ almost 3, and on bedrest to keep Sammy baking at 35 weeks
May 2012
And yesterday, just as sleep deprived as that first Mother's Day photo but this time doubly blessed
with AJ, almost 4, and Sammy, almost 1

Becoming a mother wasn't easy for me, and being a mother isn't easy either. 
But it's worth it.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Ventage Tuesday: Throwback Edition

 I love the internet. I love Facebook and Instagram. I love daily emails with my Ventage girls. I love reconnecting with old friends. I also very much love the fact that I didn't have to deal with this technology growing up. It can't be easy to have your socially awkward phases broadcast on everyone's newsfeed.

This week the Ventage girls are digging deep in our own personal vaults to share some of our photographic highlights from years gone by. Bonus points awarded for bad hair and poor fashion decisions.

Without further's my life in photos:

We begin our story in 1979, when much like many other babies,I arrived into the world looking like a little old man with a slightly crooked nose and no hair.

 Fast forward a year or so and the nose is no longer crooked, but the hair? Still noticeably absent. My mom used to say it was because "grass doesn't grow on busy streets." My stepdad calls this my GE Lightbulb look. As in my head was shaped like a lightbulb. Thanks, dad. 

Oh look, First grade! When I wore a romper and tie for picture day. And apparently took the "sit with your hands folded in your lap" instructions very seriously. 

Ah, 5th grade. I'm not even sure what to say about this. Shall we discuss the hair? Or the glasses big enough to eat my face? Or maybe we can talk about that vest. Yeah. Wow. 
This little gem was posted on facebook by one of my elementary school buds. That's me in the black New Kids tshirt. Please note I am still wearing the awful glasses. Also note that I'm wearing two pairs of slouch socks. 
The early 90s brought a move to Florida, me learning to take off my glasses for pictures, teasing my bangs, and rocking the french braid. 

2001. Contacts! Shorter hair. Spending my very first Christmas day away from my family because brand new tv news producers don't get to go home for the holidays. So instead I celebrated with a college friend and her sister. Because we all hailed from South Florida, we ate paella and plantains served several different ways. 

2003. Longer hair, sporting a walkie talkie that says "I'm producing a road show, don't mess with me." This picture was taken minutes before I met Dolly Parton. Too bad I can't find that picture!
But I did find this one. This is my boyfriend. You know him as The Rock. I measured his bicep that night. He smells awesome. 
Okay, you got me. The Rock isn't my boyfriend. THIS was my boyfriend circa 2003-2004. He became my husband about 6 months after this photo was taken. Please note I am not sure I have ever been happy with my hair. In this picture the red isn't quite right (box color at home by myself) and it's in that frizzy wavy state of annoyingness. 
2008. Familiar faces. Crazy scrapbooking girls taking pictures and talking loud and drawing faces on fruit. Another poor attempt to make my not straight yet not truly curly hair conform to a straight hair cut.

2009. More familiar faces and the beginnings of the next generation of the Ventage crew. This lovely shot was taken at Em's baby shower for the baby later to be known as Mirielle. I was 3 months away from meeting AJ. Speaking of kids who will grow up in the age of social media... 

Happy Tuesday friends. I hope this post inspires you to do a little digging in those old albums and find something to laugh about!