Sunday, January 22, 2012

Note to self.....

.....don't try to make a pretty awesome thing more "awesome".  Just accept the awesomeness of the pretty awesome thing.

Take, pancakes for instance.

Yummy, delicious, pancakes.  Always made from scratch in our house.  A special treat on a Sunday morning when this mama actually has the time, patience, and energy (??) to make them.  Pretty awesome, right?

Except then I got this crazy idea that I would hike up the awesome-ness of these pancakes and add a few chocolate chips.  I mean really, who doesn't love chocolate chip pancakes?!?

Apparently, my kid.

See, here's the troubling thing with toddlers.  C loves pancakes.  C LOVES chocolate chips.  Being the self-proclaimed semi-intelligent person that I am, I figured.... he might like chocolate chips IN the pancakes.  Um..... not so much.  And SO much "not so much" that his whole world pretty much ended for roughly 20 minutes.  I haven't seen the kid scream like that since he was maybe 4 months old.  He broke out in a rash from the continuous screaming.  He appeared to almost be hyper-ventilating.  He was rambling something in toddler-speak that his dad and I couldn't even come close to deciphering.  He didn't want to be held, he didn't want to be put down either.  He didn't want me but he didn't want his dad.  Or any of his animals, his toys, or his food.  He was 100% inconsolable.

I think I was patient with him for about ten minutes, then it just became apparent that he needed to work this out on his own.  I clearly, was not going to be able to help him.  And obviously, he eventually calmed down, ate a plain pancake, then a second, drank his milk, (then exclaimed, "No Spilling!") and happily began playing with his toys.

But the lesson learned from this?  Well, I think I just need to be okay with a pretty awesome thing.  What do I need to prove by making that thing even better?  Nothing, for the moment.  Maybe when we're finished with these toddler years, then I'll go back to shooting for more awesome.

Monday, January 16, 2012

One of those days...

... that you just want pour into a bottle and save for later. 

I need to honestly admit that sometimes, I don't really get that excited about weekends.  Now, don't get me wrong-- I love weekends as much as anyone else, but weekends with a toddler are just a little more... predictable?  Basically, the things I used to love about weekends have completely gone away.  Sleeping in, slowly drinking coffee, staying in my pj's 'till noon, taking a long hot shower, possibly going to the mall/ Target/ Barnes & Noble, knitting, reading, grabbing a bite to eat, taking a nap, throwing in a movie (or two) and staying up late--only to sleep in again--- you get the picture!  These things don't happen when  you have a little one-- unless you maybe choose one or two and hire a babysitter.  Boo. 

And while I love playing with C, usually by the time weekend naptime comes, I'm exhausted.  I'm ready to nap but I never do because I don't want to sleep through my precious "me time"! 

Okay, so whatever, you get the picture.  But this weekend was SO just.... perfect?  Dare I say it?  Here's our recap:

Friday:  M & C home alone while I scrapbooked.  (I wasn't in the mood though so I just painted my nails and mostly jabbered.  Oh, and I ordered a fried tenderloin with tons of fries and dipped them in tons of Ranch.  And it was awesome.)

Saturday:  M worked, C & I played all morning.  We played in the snow-- C LOVED getting all dressed up.  Especially fond of his "big boots". 

C had fun when Daddy pulled him in the sled.... until he took a corner too fast and dumped him face first into the snow.  C is still talking about it.  "Daddy really fast!  In the snow! Arlie towel.  Cold.  Mama do it."  (I love the last part)

Nothing special that night-- lots of random singing though.   And an impromptu Skype session with the Spencer grands. 

Sunday:  Early morning donuts (how can a day go wrong when you start off with donuts?!)  Then sledding!  We had the hill to ourselves and the weather was gorgeous.  Took some super cute videos which I'll try to post later.  C had a BLAST.  I realized I am way way out of shape as I pulled that 32 pound sled up the hill a few times.  After nap, headed to the Phelps Youth Pavilion in W'loo.  C loved all the exhibits and was quite the ham up on the stage-- singing away under the lights.  He also enjoyed the mini golf course (all artist-themed). 
I found our footwear arranged near the door.  Mama, little boy, monster. 

Monday:  Day off!!  This is always a snow makeup day and we NEVER actually get it-- so this was a treat!  C woke up a bit cranky (is he going through something?  Who knows...) but was sidetracked with his mother's awesome scratch pancakes.  (Mama's favorite too) We played, danced, pulled out Jack LaLanne juicer (C loved the apple/grape/ clementine mixture), did laundry, and had friends over.  C napped, I knitted, Daddy came home, I headed off to Yoga (think I fell asleep again during meditation--oops), home in time for play/ bath/ brush teeth/ books/ books/ books/ a few more books/ bedtime. 

And now I'm sitting here just reflecting on how good it was.  Ah, it was sooooo good. I wish I could bottle this feeling.   And in a tiny way, I think these posts will do just that. 

Sleep tight everyone.  Looks like this guy is.  

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Yogi Karah

In the fall of 2005, I began practicing Yoga.  A grad student taught it through our "YMCA" which is housed in the High School.  I had tried to do Yoga in my living room but taking a class was really how I discovered Yoga. 

My teacher was amazing.  She had a great positive energy and really followed her students and their interest/ abilities well.  She took a group of people who had not really had much exposure to Yoga and gave them a taste of what it was and how beneficial it could be.  Basically, she got me hooked! 

I bought the necessary gear (comfy clothes and a mat!),  subscribed to online journals, and even bought a couple Yoga books.  At the time, I had a great little Yoga space to practice in our basement.  Although I wasn't advanced by any stretch of the imagination, I could see progress in my strength and flexibility.  And honestly, I just loved the relaxation and peace of mind that came with Yoga. 

But, eventually, my Yoga teacher moved away  (as most grad students tend to do) and nobody was certified to teach.  I actually took classes at UNI to become a Yoga teacher and earned a little certificate after the two weekend course.  (I have no idea where that is or what it actually allows me to "do")  However, I never really had the chance to teach a class-- and honestly, I'm not really sure that I would  have wanted that at the time. 

I continued to practice in our basement, but then our basement flooded and we had to tear out the floor and "dismantle" my little area.  Then I kind of started doing more strength conditioning rather than Yoga.  And before I knew it, years had passed since the last time I even stood in 'Mountain Pose'. 

So last night, I attended a Yoga class at our Y.  Although it was much different from the classes my previous teacher provided, I found myself easily moving through the poses and quieting my mind.  At first I found myself thinking, "This feels great! I remember this!" and "I'm not so rusty afterall!"  But after about 15 minutes and holding 'Chair Pose' for a few breaths, my muscles were starting shake and my breathing was picking up.  After 30 minutes I was sweating and having a hard time focusing.  My mind kept jumping around and I felt like I was constantly "scolding" it.  And when we did our guided meditation at the end, I'm pretty sure I fell asleep for a little while. 

But at the end, as we said our "Namaste" to our teacher, I knew I'd be back for more.  Not only did it feel good to stretch my body and (try to) quiet my mind, but it felt good to do something for myself again. 

And I also really want these pants..... and can justify buying them if I'm taking a class.  :)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Small Demands

I ran across this on Pinterest (yes, I'm trying to figure it out and love it as much as everyone else) and thought it just summed up the mantra I find myself chanting so many times.

Oh give me patience when wee hands
Tug at me with their small demands. 
And give me gentle and smiling eyes
Keep my lips from hasty replies.
And let not weariness, confusion, or noise
Obscure my vision of life's fleeting joys. 
So when, in years to come my house is still, 
No bitter memories it's room may fill.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

I'll take waffles with a side of milk, please.

Yesterday morning when I dropped C off at daycare, he pulled off his (adorable) little hat, unzipped his jacket, then went over to the corner and picked up "his" booster seat.  He lugged it over to the "big chair" and started propping it up.  As he's doing this, he is placing his breakfast order--  "Arlie waffles?  Arlie waffles?"  "My milk?  My milk?"

I'm not sure why I was so amazed-- I mean, the kid climbs up into his chair at home, he brings me diapers when he needs to be changed and he throws garbage in the trash can--so it's not like he never does "big boy" tasks, but this tiny independent act just kind of startled me.  I'm starting to feel like time is slipping by just a little quicker than I would prefer.  Yet I LOVE these moments and cherish the changes. My baby is turning into a little boy right before my eyes-- and honestly, it. is. awesome.  Seeing his personality develop and watching him grow is the best.   I wouldn't keep him a baby for anything.... but someday I'll probably wish I had somehow managed to slow time down just a bit. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

12 in '12

Happy New Year!!  

So I can't really decide if I'm a "resolution-y" type of person or not.  Probably more on the "not" side-- can't you tell as I've already procrastinated 3 days in trying to come up with some resolutions? But I'm trying to reflect on 2011 and come up with some goals/ hopes/ resolutions/ whatever for 2012.  Here's what I have come up with.

2011 was a pretty dang good year for me.  I feel like I "came to" when it comes to parenting.  (I've morphed into the perfect mom with the perfect kid--you know how it goes). I know I don't have everything figured out in that department (and god knows I won't ever come close) but I do feel like I became much more patient, confident, and understanding as a parent.  I really started to enjoy being a mommy this year and I daydreamed about C heading off to college far fewer times than the year before. 

I also feel like things are really good with M and me.  Things weren't ever "bad" with us, but I don't think I ever fathomed how stressful a newborn could possibly be on a marriage.  It feels good to have "us" again. 

So I'm thinking about this year and I don't have a ton of resolutions.   
But I think I can get better at the following: 
1.  Staying calm  (Stupid $hit tends to freak me out.  Like the damn rainbow circle on the computer.  Seriously!!  Augh!)
2.  Play more music in the house  (The three of us LOVE singing-- I'd like to have more music and less TV on in our home)
3.  Give pats on the the dog too  (she IS a part of this family, remember?)
4.  Give my husband attention.  (This will be very easy if he agrees to a monthly date night--wooing me at a restaurant like CU in W'loo)
5.  Find "healthy" toddler snacks-- or at least cut down on Teddy Grahams and marshmallows (which reminds me-- this afternoon we made "Banana Milk"-- a huge and yummy hit! How come I can't think of these things?!)

And now, here are my 12 things I'd like to do in 2012  
(in no particular order): 

1.  Scrapbook regularly -- I meet with some ladies once a month and it has become something I really look forward to.  Plus, even though I only get about two pages finished at those things, I hope that I might actually finish a book for C someday.

2.  Train for a race.  Ideally I'd like to do another sprint tri with a friend of mine, and run another half marathon.  (My last half marathon was 63 seconds over my 2 hour goal-- I MUST change that!!)

3.  Organize my iphoto library/ old photos.  Okay, this is super scary! But I really want to get my photos & videos off my computer and onto flash drives/ CD's to store.  But everytime I start, I get overwhelmed and quit. 

4.  Work on my children's book illustrations.  (Long story--I'll keep ya posted)

5.  Learn how to knit a Christmas stocking (Something like this).  Then knit said stocking.  Then post pictures of the stocking.  And take/post pictures of other previous knitting projects. 

6.  Help someone in need.  I'm not exactly sure what this will look like/ entail but I feel like I need to start giving back a little more.

7.  Take a vacation.  A real one.  With my husband and possibly some super awesome friends.  (you all are invited!)

8.  Learn how to use my dslr camera and Photoshop.  Thanks to a high school friend, I am going to do this on January 21st!!  Yay!

9.  Spruce up the guest bedroom.  In other words, make it look less like a big closet with an ironing board and more like a picture out of Pottery Barn.  Or somewhere in the middle. 

10.  Write more letters.  I LOVE mail-- so does everyone else, right?  So I'm hoping to write maybe once a month--just something short and sweet.

11.  Play weekly golf in the summer.  I have wanted to do this for years and it never happens-- but I'm really going to try this year!

12.  Take the 2012 goodreads reading challenge again!  Last year I surpassed my goal of reading 20 books-- hoping I can do that again this year. 

Monday, January 2, 2012

Small Town Mama

When I was a kid, I wanted to live in Maine.  In a log cabin with two golden retrievers.  I wanted to write books--ideally, they would be as super awesome as "The Babysitter's Club".

When I was a teenager, I wanted to live in a hut on the beaches of Hawaii, California, or anywhere with some big water.  I wanted to "live off the land"-- or sponge off other people and surround myself with weirdos who were "cool".  I wanted to "express myself" (insert eye-roll here).  

When I was in college, I wanted to live in Chicago.  In a brownstone by myself that had an eclectic collection of "vintage" and "shabby" decor-- straight out of the Anthropolie catalog.

When I moved to Grundy Center, I wanted to live in Cedar Falls.  or Des Moines.  In a house or apartment that had a Target and Hy-Vee within 5 minutes.

Now, I don't know what I want.  I love/hate Grundy Center.  But I'm afraid that I'm loving it more than hating it these days.  (shhhhh!)  Here's why:

Example #1:  Grocery Store

The other day I was buying groceries in P'burg.  The kid packing up my bags asked me which car was mine.  I told him and he carried the bags out to my vehicle, set them inside, and helped the next person in line.  Now, this tiny act implies several things:
1.  The cars in the parking lot are unlocked  (and possibly running if it's cold outside)
2.  This is his job and no tip/ gratuity is expected or accepted
3.  The only thing he will do when putting the groceries in the vehicle is put the groceries in the vehicle.  Even if (hypothetically speaking) the driver has left her laptop, Kindle, ipod, checkbook, and cell phone on the passenger seat--not to mention probably $50 worth of kid toys in the backseat.

Example #2:  Library

Over break, C and I had a little lunch date at Pizza Hut and then went to the public library for a few minutes.  While he happily played in the little wooden fire truck in the kid section, I scanned the adult fiction and movie shelves.  I kept an eye in his general direction but he was kind of on his own as I did my thing.  And I never worried about his safety.  (Although I did worry about the future of the toy fire helmets that he finds so fascinating)

Example #3.  Purple Park (well, you can tell the picture is of  "Yellow Park" but just picture the same thing in purple)

A couple days ago it was just gorgeous here.  I think the temperature was almost 50 degrees outside so C & I spent 90 minutes outside.  We headed to the Purple Park-- where there were 4 kids playing with their grandfather.  Usually the parks are empty-- and having to share the equipment with 4 other kids seemed so BUSY!  As we played, Maddy happily ran throughout the park.  I never worried about cars or her running into people, as we were basically the only ones there.  I love having parks to myself!

Now that being said, there are things that drive me bonkers about living in a small town.  Mostly they revolve around running errands (most people can "run to Target after work" or "exchange that on my way home" but because everything is a 30 minute drive just to get to the town, errand running becomes a HUGE task).  But lately I'm feeling like I can deal with those things.  It's kind of worth it to me that our pace is slower and more laid back than the rest of the world.  I can get my old-lady fix of small town life and thanks to the internet still be a hip, in-the-know mother (ha!) who would secretly someday love to own a pair of Louboutins.

New Year New Look

No, I don't look any different (although I do have fresh highlights!!) but I have wanted to change the look of this blog for awhile.  It's not exactly where I want it, but it's a start.  My photo files are too big to add to the layout so I'm sticking with the template for now.  But someday, I'll try to get this looking a little more original.  In the meantime, enjoy the new look in the New Year! 

Sunday, January 1, 2012


1.833--------That is the average number of books I read each month in 2011!!  YAY! 
 (Check out the sidebar to see which titles I read)

.416 is the average number of books I read each month in 2010.  Can you tell which year I got my groove back?  Is it obvious which year I had a newborn? 

So, I'm looking back at the books I read and here are my top five six (because #5 & #6 are kind of a tie):

1.  The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes
2.  Room
3.  The Midwife's Confession
4.  The Hunger Games
5.  The Lincoln Lawyer
6.  Heart of the Matter

I'm looking forward to reading the following in 2012:
1. Sugar Cookie Murder (currently reading--does that count?)
2.  Season of Passage
3.  Sarah's Key
4.  The End of Everything
5. The Great Gatsby

And now, as the wind literally howls outside our window, I think I'm going to pick up the cookie murder book and hope to sneak in a few chapters before C wakes up!