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!