Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Although the historically incorrect Pilgrim/ Indian story drives me crazy, I am thinking that I should at least pause and acknowledge what I'm thankful for.  So here are my sincere, truly thankful acknowledgments:

Of course I'm thankful for my family.  Everyday I feel fortunate to have a healthy little boy, who is turning into such a cool little person.  I'm thankful for my husband--who puts up with my typical womanly mood swings and loads the dishwasher in addition to completely manly tasks too.  I'm thankful for my parents, grandparents, sister, and in-laws-- and that they and their families are well & healthy too. 

My friends-- Seriously, some people are lucky enough to have one amazing friend--true friend-- in their life.  And honestly, I have more than one!  (I know, can you believe it?)  I love them all in different ways-- and can't imagine being who I am today without being shaped by most of them.

My job-- I love that I get to keep my professional foot in the door & do the job I love, while devoting every afternoon to my family. 

Our house--especially my big kitchen and our finished play room downstairs

Our community-- Okay, I'm being tricky here b/c Grundy isn't necessarily my favorite place but I'm very thankful for it.  I love feeling safe, I love the small town atmosphere, and I love raising my kid here.

All of the above are true, but here are some more..... shallow (?) things to add to the list:

*Electric Blankets
*Starbucks Drive Thru
*Pony tail holders on windy days
*Audio Books
*Smart Phones
*Fitting into my pre-pregnancy clothes
*Nursing (so that the above was even possible)
*Dove Chocolate
*Spahn cottage
*Sirius XM Radio
*Town Parks
*Washing Machines (who is going to invent an ironing machine?)
*Treadmills & Bike Trainers (not that I use these things anymore)
*Relax Reisling & New Age Wine
*Digital Cameras
*Summer Vacation, Winter Vacation, Spring Break
*Pumpkin Pie (on Thanksgiving) & Creme Brule (on date night)

Happy Thanksgiving! Gobble Gobble!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Let's Get Our Scrap On!

Two weeks ago was my "big scrapbook weekend" as M has begun to lovingly call it.  Where "the black bag society" packs up tons of "supplies" into "totes" and heads of to scrapbook.  What started as a one time get-away, has become something of a tradition-- a girls crafty/ scrapbooking weekend that gets inked into the calendar a full year in advance.

I absolutely love that weekend.  It's two days of sorting & organizing pictures, cropping them, scrutinizing paper and page layouts, meticulously cutting out tiny embellishments, punching tiny brads into tinier holes, adding borders, mats, stickers, ribbons, and glitter to make a scrapbook page beautiful (in the owner's eyes anyway).  It's using vocabulary words that our husbands might not even know the meaning of.  Words like: brads, Xyron, tearing tool, self-healing mat, cartridge, sticky dots, grommets, Cricut and Silhouette are just a few. 

I love having individual time to work on C's 1st year scrapbook (of course it won't be finished by his 2nd birthday-- who do you think I am?) and our 2009 trip to Washington DC (not sure if that will ever be finished either).  And every November, I try to scrapbook the photos from the previous December (hey, better late than never, right?) But for me, it's more than the scrapbooking.

I love that I can look forward to one weekend with some awesome women.  Two of my favorite college friends are always there, and I always leave feeling like I connected with someone new.  This year, another gal and I burned the midnight oil by chatting until 3:00 am.  Now remember people, I have not willingly stayed up until 3:00 since WAY before C was born!  But it was so great to connect with such a neat person.  I love that while I miss C like crazy, he and I both know that we'll be okay for a weekend apart.  I love that my parents get some un-interrupted and un-chaperoned time with their grandson.  (I know things like ice cream before bed and donuts in the morning are happening and I love that too.) And I love that M gets to enjoy a little bachelor weekend at home where he can lounge around watching his DIY and gross man shows without my complaints, eat cereal for every meal, and leave the kitchen messy--before he completes several household projects and tidies the house up on Sunday.

This year I felt a twinge of guilt as I packed up for the weekend-- feeling like I should want to take a day off to hang out with C not my scrapbook friends. But as soon as I saw him dive into the toy boxes at his grandparents' house, I knew that this would be a fun & exciting weekend for him as well.  I'm hoping this tradition continues because it seems to be a favorite for everyone involved.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Are These the Golden Years?

I don't know how to start this blog any other way than to say that I think I'm basically obsessed with my kid.  I've become the mom I didn't think I would ever be.  I think it's finally "clicked"-- I feel totally and completely 100% in love with C almost all the time.

So here's the thing:
I'm worried about losing this feeling!  

One of my biggest pet peeves is when people tell me, "Oh just wait until......"  This has been going on from the moment I announced that we were expecting.  

"Oh, you're not getting morning sickness?  Just wait until nothing sounds appetizing."
"You're still feeling fine?  Just wait until you're nine months pregnant!"
"You want to have a drug-free birth?  Just wait until you're in the most pain of your life!"
"You think having a 4 month old is bad?  Just wait until they start crawling!"
"You think crawling is bad?  Just wait until they start walking!"
"You think things are good now?  Enjoy it because wait until he's three!"
"You think he say's 'NO' now? Just wait until you have teenager who talks back!" 

But honestly, as C has gotten older, he's been much easier to handle.  Maybe my view is skewed because he was such a fussy baby--so any toddler fit pales in comparison to 4+ hours of evening crying.  And I've come to realize that when I tell people that things are going well, then they're going to point out that I better cling to this feeling because surely it is fleeting and bound to get about a thousand times worse at some point in the near future. 

Up until now, I've LOVED watching C transition from phase to phase.  It's been so much fun to listen to his vocabulary expand and to see his comprehension really start kicking in.  I love watching him become  a little person and honestly, I've welcomed each new phase with open arms.  I've been excited to watch him grow up and get bigger and become more independent so I don't know why I should stop that now---I think it's just because I'm hearing so many negatives about "what's to come". (People want others to be happy.... but not "super happy")

The bulk of my job relies on me developing relationships with children, and maintaining them so that (hopefully) they feel like they have at least one advocate in the school building.  Of course, there are many other things I need to do in my job, but I see building relationships as my #1 priority.  And, I feel pretty confident in doing this.  But, I think a lot of teachers would feel this way and I also think most would say "it's different with your own kid".  So my question is, "Does it have to be?"  How can parents and kids come to know each other and respect each other as people --before the kid is 25 (I think that's the age when I finally realized my parents were actual people).  How do I keep my cuddly little mama's boy from turning into a sassy, rude, teenager? How do I teach him that it's okay to be sensitive and emotional but still be a rough & tumble little guy?  How do I encourage him to hang out with his family--even when he's at a point in his life where his peers are the most important to him?  Am I really going to look back on his toddler years as the best years of "us"?  In other words, "Is this as good as it gets?"  Or is it actually possible for us to grow together--to get to  know each other as individuals and hopefully enjoy each other's company every now and then?  

So right now, I admit that I'm kind of feeling "super happy" when it comes to C.  He's at such a great phase.  He is so curious, he's such an explorer, and he definitely has his own thoughts and ideas!  (This can, at times, be maddening as I pretend to be a detective and decipher the meaning of his words using his limited vocabulary) I love so many things about being a "toddler mom" but I'm just a little apprehensive that this tiny moment of parental bliss will be gone before I know it. 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Sneakers and Santa Hats

June 19, 2009 was the last time I really participated in exercising.  Two days after that, I found out I was pregnant and that was that.  Oh sure, I walked and swam right up until C was born, and went for tons of walks after C was born, and even took the jogging stroller out a few times.  But I haven't "trained" for anything since then.   And while I'm honestly not really missing it, I feel like I should get back in the loop.

I'm a little hesitant because training now will require me to either

a) get up super early to run outside (like 5:00 ish)--- this is NOT a desirable option to me


b) jog on the treadmill during C's nap-- this is NOT a desirable option to me either.

I don't mind getting up early, but then I MUST take a nap.  Remember, I'm a mandatory 8-hour sleeper (thus the reason the first five months of baby phase were excruciating for me).  And I don't really mind jogging mid-day during C's nap but I detest running on the treadmill.  (Plus our screen is broken so I can't even stare at the seconds ticking by or watch the little dots light up around that imaginary track)

However, I realize that I MUST just do this.  Before C, participating in (I don't want to misuse the word "compete" because I clearly do not compete with anyone during these things) races was a pretty large part of my life.  I love having something on the calendar to work towards, I love being held accountable for exercising, and most of all, I LOVE race day.

So...... I am very tempted to dust off my running shoes, don a Santa hat, and sign up for the annual "Snow Shuffle" in Cedar Falls.  This would give me about a month to go from zero to 5K which may be a bit ambitious but I think I could at least finish.  Since I haven't even gone for a jog in a year, I have yet to state a formal goal-- but I think it would need to be similar to my 2004 marathon goal-- finish the race.  However, as the cold air begins to settle over the midwest, I'm also a little tempted to just spend that training time under a blanket with my knitting needles or a good book.  I know I SHOULD just sign up for that race, but...... can I?  Will I?  Do I really want to?  Augh! I don't know-- and I really need to get off the fence.  If anyone wants to join me,  I'd love some merry companionship!!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Oh Mexico!

Four years ago, one of my best friends married an awesome person on the beaches of beautiful Mexico.  The wedding came just two months after my own beachy wedding, and nobody had to twist my arm to take two vacations in one year.  Unfortunately, M couldn't attend the wedding due to his busy work schedule, but my best friend in the entire world jumped at the opportunity. Let's call this friend "Duet" (she's a pianist, and my choice of partners if I ever was in a duet with someone)

So "Duet" lives in Phoenix and decided to meet me in Mexico.  Our planes arrived a few hours apart and we both took separate taxis to the resort.  (I'm not sure I would do this in 2011 though)  We were only gone a few days (I think we flew out on Thursday and came back on Sunday--I only took off one day of work for this trip!) but it was the best "girls trip" ever.  We were a couple for the weekend-- and it was awesome.  Being in a beautiful tropical location with your best girl friend--amazing.

Here's the two of us during our night on the town: 

Now, Mason and I have gone on two "big" vacations and while he is the love of my life, and my best best best deepest loving friend, a best girlfriend is just.....different.  When Mason and I have gone on vacation, we talk a lot, but don't spend endless HOURS of non-stop conversation.  We laugh and chuckle, but don't find ourselves having belly aches from a memory that is so absurd and random and hilarious.  We admit that we feel bloated after indulging in too many cocktails and rich food, but we don't compare stomach rolls or flabby thighs.

I'm not saying that I would rather go on a vacation with my girlfriends than my husband because there is nothing better than getting to spend time with M away from home.  But our Mexico trip opened my eyes to the importance of keeping friendships with girlfriends just as alive.  When Duet and I were in Mexico, we vowed that we would take a similar trip someday-- even if we had children--we would make it happen.  Of course, neither of us really "got it" when it came to what that meant-- and now that we both have little ones, it's easier to understand how people gradually put these kinds of promises on the back burner.

But as I think about that vacation four years ago, I have a deep thankful feeling for the amazing girlfriends in my life.  I hope I'm lucky enough to spend many more years with them and create many more memories.  And now after this trip down memory lane, I have something stirring in my belly to round up my girlies and head somewhere warm-- or at least somewhere with a heater, some cocktails, and maybe an indoor pool.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Heap-a-Week Challenge

So this friend of mine has organized a "Heap-a-Week" Challenge via facebook.  The goal is to organize your life one "heap" at a time.  And, by pacing ourselves throughout the year, the idea is to sort through and organize 52 heaps of junk in your house. 

Since I'm a sucker for organizational tasks (I was always the kid in elementary who loved when we got to stay inside for recess to clean out our desks) I had to jump on this opportunity.  However, truth be told, I don't really have TONS of "heaps" to organize.  I LOVE to throw things away!!!  Unfortunately, this has gotten in the way a few times when I've inadvertently tossed things I didn't mean to.  (The worst was the day I took my dry cleaning to Goodwill--- sad sad day-- and some lucky gal hopefully found several pairs of $90 Express pants on the $3.00 rack---I think I did lose sleep over that one but lesson learned!)

Anyway, I decided to participate in the task.  I haven't finished making my list, but here is my start.  I won't clutter up my (oh-so interesting and entertaining) blog with descriptions of every heap, but here are a few:

* mail storage
* "games" shelf in basement
* scrapbook shelf in basement
* small file cabinet (I have NO idea what is even in those two drawers!)
* "technology" drawer-- every possible cord, camera, charger, random manuals, etc.
* large storage shelf in laundry room
* laundry room cupboards
* jewelry "baskets"
* bathroom drawers/ medicine cabinet
* kitchen medicine cupboard
* kitchen placemats/ reusable bags/ misc drawer
* cookbooks
* knitting yarn
* guest room closet
* old letters

I decided to begin today with the jewelry one.  I usually wear earrings and a necklace, and end up taking them off in random places-- thus, there are earrings in lots of drawers, on top of the coffee pot, next to the sink, on the arm of the couch, etc.  The necklaces tend to get tossed in a bathroom drawer when I'm getting ready for bed.  But here is the before & after--

Before--baskets of random jewelry.... and perfume (that's probably another heap)

And after-- (used my new Lia Sophia boxes to organize long necklaces, & chunky bracelets)

I love how it feels when something is newly organized!  Now if only I could keep it this way--