December 31, 2010
Can't say it hasn't been great- it has been awesome.
We spent a whole overnight away from Jack for the first time ever.
I connected with a whole new Mom world thanks to the Internet.
I had successes.
I had failures.
I had great times with amazing friends.
I watched my little brother get married.
I watched my SIL fall in love, get engaged and get pregnant (all in the course of 2 months).
I rediscovered my love and passion for singing and music.
I got sick. A lot.
I have one day of PTO to rollover to next year. Potentially a miracle.
We finished our basement.
I gained 10 pounds (WTH???)
I watched my son play in a kiddie pool for the first time.
We went on bike rides and spent awesome family time together.
I read a few great books.
I watched my friends have a premature baby and am now watching him kick ass.
We wrote a letter of recommendation for our friends who are adopting- we get to meet their baby in 2011.
We continue to struggle with conceiving baby #2.
Probably the best part of 2010?
I watched my son turn into a toddler.
Happy New Year!
December 30, 2010
Even as a kid, my parents always had something fun for us to do on New Year's Eve. We always made nachos- chips spread across a cookie sheet, tons of cheese on top and all melty and gooey from the oven. I struggled with droopy eyes to stay up and watch the ball drop. I usually failed and was carried up to bed in all my exhausted glory. As we got older, my parents would either drag us to the neighbor's party or, much to their detriment, leave us kids alone while they went to the party. Most of the time we just ate way too many sweets and they had to deal with a neverending sugar high when they got home. I also discovered as a teen that babysitting on New Year's Eve was very lucrative. People were desperate for babysitters. Once after my sister got her driver's license, we took a ski trip to Wild Mountain on New Year's Eve- it was SO MUCH FUN. I distinctly remember jamming out to Milli Vanilli on the drive.
Once I got to college, things REALLY changed. I had a couple friends who would throw a huge (black tie optional) hotel party complete with renting out the ballroom, DJ, drinks, food... it was a $30 cover (plus the cost of the hotel room to crash in after) and it was the best of times. Me and my friends attended this party for several years and it always seemed that it got more fun year after year. We would always spend the afternoon shopping the sales looking for the perfect cocktail dress/gown to wear and then spend hours drinking and getting ready to get our dance on. Some of my best New Year's Eve memories were of these parties.
Post college started to get tricky. Serious boyfriends came into the picture and we were now having to find ways to divide our time between the two. We decided that we still get dolled up and go somewhere swanky to have drinks for a few hours before going back to our significant others. This went well for quite a few years. Here are a few photos of past New Year's celebrations:
Despite our girlfriend pact to always spend time together on New Year's Eve in some way, this changed too. Work obligations for some but for me: a child. It is no offense to my friends but I prefer to stay home now on New Year's Eve with my family. Jack will still go to bed at his normal time (and probably will until he's quite a bit older) but it has become a night for me and my husband to spend some REAL quality time together. No retreats to our separate parts of the house. We buy naughty food to fry up in the Fry Daddy, drink more than our fair share and play either on the Wii or find a board game to play. It might sound super lame to some people, but this has now become a tradition that I truly look forward to. However, in the spirit of the old days before kids and marriage broke down our former pact, I will get to do a little shopping with the ladies tomorrow but in a much different way: we are going bridal gown shopping for one of my dearest friends. We'll share a cocktail and a slice of pizza over lunch but most importantly, we'll get to share some time helping our friend get ready for her big day.
What a perfect way to ring in the New Year.
What traditions do you have for celebrating the New Year?
Got a New Year's tradition of your own to share? Link it up here!
December 29, 2010
|Opening presents with Daddy. Every single one was an "OH MY GOSH MOMMY!"|
|Chef Jackson cooking up a meal in his new kitchen from Santa|
|"I'm Oscar The Grouch! Now Scram!" (FYI... this trash was used for all of the wrapping paper... nothing gross in there. Promise.)|
|Cousins. Getting along. Again- Magic.|
|Jack and Cousin Miles- how cute is that arm around the shoulders?|
|Christmas is all smiles.|
|Cousin Blaine introducing my young child to the DS. We are in so much trouble.|
|Even Christmas pooped the dog out.|
|All he wanted to do was snuggle with his Zoobie Bee and Lotso.|
Hoping that all of you had a magical Christmas as well.
December 28, 2010
Once upon a time, I could go out until all hours of the night. Dance my booty off. Drink until I was crawling to my doorstep (via a cab ride home) and wake up the next day for work or school totally refreshed and ready to go on no more than an hour or two of sleep.
I cannot do that anymore.
Last night, I had the chance to hang out with a friend from Chicago who was in town for one night only. I met up with her after work to do a little window shopping in Downtown Minneapolis grab some dinner and drinks and simply catch up on life. I haven't seen her since about July and with only a few Facebook comments back and forth, there was PLENTY to catch up on. I LOVE this friend in so many ways. She has unique tastes in food and is always willing to try something new. She usually doesn't let the cost of things bother her or keep her from trying a new cocktail or enjoy an expensive glass of wine (although... I will confess that I thought the $17 9oz glass of Merlot at BANK was pretty excessive for myself). She loves to shop, and by shopping, I don't necessarily mean buying things. She is the person who lives a life that I often envy. She used to work in a corporate HR job with a large company that relocated her about once every 2-3 years and required travel all over the country. She did it with zest and energy, making friends wherever she went. Most recently, she has permanently set up roots in Chicago and told that corporate job to shove it. Again. Envy. She started work as a realtor, which seems crazy in these uncertain real estate times, and is totally kicking ass at it. She would certainly not mind having a man and love in her life, but she doesn't let it define her and she embraces the single life. Quite simply? She. Amazes. Me.
Needless to say, I always have a great time hanging out with her. We have great conversations over great cocktails. I had such a great time last night and know to the core of my very being that I need to get out and hang out with my friends from time to time in order to feel like a human being. Even though I was home by 10pm and after a brief catch up with the husband, I was in bed by 10:30p. Even though I didn't drink to the point of stumbling drunkness (it was a very slow wine-sipping kind of evening), I slept horribly. Getting up at 5:30a, I was still in a state of coma-like exhaustion that only a cold shower could fix. Tonight, there is no rest for the weary. I will pick up my toddler after work and we will struggle through dinner (he's going through that fun toddler picky stage) and we will play and laugh until 7:30 rolls around and it is time for jammies and bedtime. Will I go to sleep too? Nope. I'm sure I will find plenty of reason to stay up until 10. Dishes, toy cleanup, DVR catch up... etc etc etc.
I hate feeling like an awesome night out with a great friend has to cause me so much angst the next day. Doesn't seem fair does it? Us moms, we need these nights out so desperately yet pay for them so dearly. Not fair at all.
So the question remains: Is it worth it?
December 26, 2010
In our world. We don't. We eat them. We have no willpower. Therefore, they must go.
This lack of willpower over the last couple years has officially caught up to these 30-something year old bodies and it is time to make a change. Remember that wedding I was in back in November? I just saw the pictures. Oh dear god. Wake up call much? Not to mention I have TWO more weddings in 2011 that I will have photos immortalized of me up on a mantle somewhere. One wedding that was moved up and is now just 5 little months away. More than anything, I just want to feel more energetic. Better. Proud.
I set my first goal. 15 lbs by March 31st. I have no idea if it is possible, but gosh darnit if I'm not going to try. I'm back on the program (WeightWatchers that is) and am about to load tunes on my new iPod Shuffle (a little Christmas gift).
The most important bag that I packed tonight? My gym bag.
December 22, 2010
This year the best one came from someone really special.
Wishing a Very Merry Christmas from our family to yours.
December 21, 2010
Today, I am exchanging gifts with my team at work (there are just 3 of us running this marketing train). With so many highs and lows at my job over the past year and a half, I feel like this is a moment to just take a deep breath and put the negative vibes to the side. So, even if it is just for today, I'm burying all that negativity for the sake of Christmas. I have Pandora kicking out the Christmas Station. I'm in good spirits with only tomorrow left to work before a nice long Christmas weekend. How can a person not be happy about that?
Another part of my happy feeling is that for the first time maybe ever, we didn't have any family fights over where to go this year- it all magically fell into place. Surprisingly, everyone is coming to us and yes, in possibly an insane moment, we are hosting our two families in two days. I'm not even stressed! WTH! I'm excited to bake fudge, cookies and Chex Mix. All the presents are wrapped and under the tree. We have enjoyed teaching Jackson about who Santa Claus is and what he is all about and teaching him that he has to wait until Christmas to open the presents. I'm excited that my husband isn't begging to open presents early- for some reason, he gets crazy excited to give me my gifts and in the last 8 years has NEVER been able to wait until Christmas. I'm especially excited that on Christmas Eve morning, just the 3 of us will open our gifts together. I love that Jackson is old enough to get excited and it makes my heart burst with love and anticipation for all the wonderful years of memories to come.
Despite the snow, the crappy commutes and the huge failure the MN Vikings turned out to be this year I'm feeling the Christmas spark. Are you?
December 20, 2010
When we have those bad nights though... wow, they are bad. Last night our little monster was up at least every 2 hours crying. We never really pinpointed the reason why. Let's face it- a 2 year old can certainly answer your questions, but does he really know what we're asking in the first place? So at 11:30p last night (round 1) we asked him:
Does your tummy hurt? No
Do your ears hurt? No
Does your throat hurt? No
Are you hungry? No
So, we invited him into bed to watch a round of Homer (don't judge... our kid loves The Simpsons and he has zero interest in sleeping in our bed- he tries to escape) and despite his attempts to bribe us out of it, he went back to bed kicking and screaming. Every 2 hours after that the crying commenced. My husband had some mercy on me as he is on vacation all week whereas I had to be up at 5:30p. It was definitely a 3 snooze morning and a bad hair day.
My husband and I in all of our glassy eyed glory discussed the situation this morning in obvious fear that this was going to be a nightly occurrence. Turns out Jack confessed this morning that he was crying because he had scary dreams. I'm not sure exactly how to fix toddler nightmares but we decided that the first step was going to be eliminating any television before bedtime and switch to a more quiet and relaxed bedtime routine consisting of bathtime, jammies, quiet lullabies and a book or two (or... for my kid... just ONE MORE mommy). While I'm sure this sounds lovely to all of you, we already foresee the sheer disaster this is setting up to be. He has been falling asleep with us in the living room since he turned 1 and we said goodbye to the bottle- once the jammies were on he used to just zone out and pass out while we watched what we wanted, but the older he got, the more he would request specific programming (Homer, Wipe Out, Shrek, Toy Story...). The more he requested, the less he was interested in going to bed. I know... TV at this age... what were we thinking? Again, don't judge. All parents live and breathe the words "You gotta do what you gotta do."
Starting when they come home from the hospital, these little people go through so many changes so quickly. I remember a time when we were feeding every 3-4 hours and he would "go to bed" the same time we did. He now goes down at 7:30pm leaving mom and dad with plenty of "us" time. Like I said, we've been blessed with a fabulous sleeper, but it is clear that it is again time for another change. I hate these changes. They usually consist of tantrums, screaming and me feeling bad and guilty like I am torturing my poor child or something. We are hoping this will only take a few nights before he gets into the new groove and hopefully provide him with more comfort and reassurance when going to bed and in turn, less nightmares.
Moms- what has been the hardest change in routine you've had to make with your kiddos?
December 15, 2010
First there is my shopping woes. I just got this e-mail today which is adding to my crabbiness:
And as I mentioned in a previous post the disaster that was ordering online from ToysRUs. I didn't get the shipment in time for my nephew's 5th birthday party. I'm still cranky and disappointed over it and annoyed that I had to buy something else by physically going to a store during holiday madness time. However, no matter what I got for him, my nephew was happy:
I finally received the shipment yesterday and will be donating his original gift to Toys For Tots.
I've learned some lessons from all this: If you are going to shop online for Christmas presents, just pay the extra money to ensure that you have your shipment quickly and if all else fails, suck it up and just go to the store.
Despite all of my shopping and family drama, I have a soft spot for Christmas. Every night, I also get to look at my pretty tree and it makes me smile in anticipation for all of the love and celebration that is to come.
December 14, 2010
The next wasn't half bad though: Bad MN Drivers.
After two horrific days of commuting in the MN Blizzard aftermath, I couldn't agree more. The road conditions are a complete crapshoot from city to city. It is bitterly cold which means black ice. By the way, you can't see black ice so you don't really know when you could hit a patch which means if you are driving like a total moron and make me hit the brakes and I hit said black ice, I'm going to end up going on a 360 spin that I don't particularly care to do when driving across the Bloomington Ferry Bridge. By the way? Mr. SUV Big Ass Truck drivers? Your 4 wheel drive is not going to save you on a patch of black ice so SLOW THE HELL DOWN! Okay? Thank you. Not only are the roads scary, but how about those giant snowbanks? They are scary huge and frankly, they make me feel a little claustrophobic as I'm sandwiched between that and the jerk SUV Big Ass Truck driver that oh so desperately had to pass me. Right hand turns are scary with the big giant snowbanks because you can't see around them and you can't see who is coming until it is far too late anyway and your big giant front end is sticking out in the middle of the road. I also can't appreciate a commute that would normally take 30 minutes (45 on a bad day) is suddenly taking double or triple the amount of time. Sucks.
Now, I know this is Minnesota. This is what we sign up for by living here. I'm not sure I have ever seen the conditions this crappy though. Are we really not prepared to deal with this? It's kind of pathetic. Now we are scheduled to get more snow in the next couple days and we have barely begun to pick up the pieces from this blizzard.
Will I ever move away from here? Nope.
Here are some of our pictures from the big Blizzard of 2010.
|Our Buried Front Steps|
|My almost buried husband- this is the sidewalk next to the street- can you see either?|
|Our neighbor's giant snowdrift.|
December 13, 2010
I'm going to switch directions, because that's what the Mixed Bag of Rant is all about. It is sleep related though. My "friend", you know the one who somehow assumed her newborn daughter would be a perfect sleeper, still isn't sleeping. Her daughter turns a year old in a little over a month and they have yet to sleep through the night. She says it is because she is sick (seems she has been sick for the past 11 months). She claims she has tried everything and that her daughter is just stubborn. She has not tried crying it out though. I warned her that at this age, her daughter has taken control of mom and dad and that she should try the Ferber method as it is the more friendly version of crying it out. She said she didn't think she could do it and then mentioned her Pediatrician suggested the book "Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems". I chuckled and said, "You mean the book by RICHARD FERBER?" I didn't mean to do the invisible mama eye roll, but I couldn't help it. She was SO convinced that my way was wrong. I'm not saying my way is the right way. I know that Ferber or full on Babywise crying it out is not right for everyone, but don't say you've tried everything when you haven't. Ferber was the only thing that worked and the last thing we tried. It was hard. I literally sat outside the door to his room with a death grip on the video monitor watching him in agony as he cried. Without the video monitor, I couldn't have done it. He is a GREAT sleeper now and the persistence paid off. Now that he's 2.3 years old? He's discovered the "Just one more mommy," begging. He screams when he goes to bed for all of about 30 seconds, grabs his puppy, pulls his blanket over and goes to sleep. Even at 1 to 2 years old these little kiddos are smart. If you give them an inch they will take a mile and it will only lead to super hard habits to break down the road if you keep giving in. Do I like hearing him cry? NO!! I hate it and cringe every night but he needs to know that we are the ones in charge- mom and dad call the shots and he more than understands what is going on- otherwise he wouldn't give up so quickly. He knows. In my crazy incoherent rant, if I can offer any mommy advice here- it is to start a nightly routine as early as possible and stick to it.
I warned that this would be an insomniacs wicked wild rant! Did any of it make sense? Ha! Didn't think so. Going to work on my sweet dreams now.
December 10, 2010
I typically love Cyber Monday. I started doing the majority of my Christmas shopping about 5 years ago and loved the opportunity to take advantage of the many deals and perks that online shopping has to offer. The main perk is no crazy shoppers and no lines. While that still holds true, I have found that as Cyber Monday has blown up to mass proportions, there is a lot more frustration when trying to do my online shopping. Many sites simply were not prepared to handle the capacity. Some sites didn't work properly and items would mysteriously disappear from my cart. If you don't checkout fast enough your items get removed from your cart. What used to be the easy way to do my shopping is slowly becoming more of a pain in the ass.
I'll start with the FAIL. I've never been a big fan of ToysRUs. I'm especially now not a fan of their website, my online shopping experience with them and now, customer service. I ordered gifts for my nephews on Cyber Monday. Nothing crazy or big or that would sell out- I was merely taking advantage of decent pricing and free shipping (to an extent... don't publish free shipping when it's not really free because that is super annoying). I even removed the large Step2 kitchen from my "cart" because we found it cheaper with LEGITIMATE free shipping directly from the Step2 website. Nearly 2 weeks have gone by and I have yet to even see that my items have shipped let alone be pulled from their shelves (by the way I got that huge Step2 kitchen within 4 days by buying direct from Step2). One of the gifts was to be a birthday gift for my nephew. His birthday party is tonight. I had to go to Target to buy him a new gift since ToysRUs obviously failed me. Contacting ToysRUs has proved to be impossible as well. So, I did what any socially savvy pissed off mama does. I took it to Twitter and told the world what a piece of crap ToysRUs is. As if I wasn't crabby enough about the holidays, they made me go into the madness to buy a last minute gift because I guess timely shipping isn't important to them. Or apologies. Or having customers in general.
I want to end on a high note, so let me talk about a huge online shopping WIN! Shutterfly is seriously one of THE BEST web companies out there. I love their website, their tools and most importantly the customer service is second to none. This post was going to be dedicated only to Shutterfly but I wanted to make sure that I got the chance to talk about both a horrific and an awesome experience. I was going to write this post to Shutterfly to get my free 50 cards for writing a blog post about them (which is just ridiculously awesome in and of itself) but I don't even care about getting something free. I simply want to talk about how great they are. Every year, I shop around to see if there is a better way to go about doing my Christmas cards but I always come back to Shutterfly. Uploading my pictures is easy. Dropping them into my design and customizing my cards is easy. Changing my design over and over and over again (because they are all so darn perfect) is easy. Easy. Easy. Easy. Isn't that what all busy working moms want during the holidays? In a word. YES!! Here are a couple samples of what we were considering:
And the winner design for our 2010 Christmas Card:
I got an amazing price on these not to mention cute matching labels to go with them, also at a massive discount. There was little wait time for them to arrive- even with the standard free shipping deal I got them quickly. I have done so much with Shutterfly over the years including my son's beautiful birth announcment:
Even going back to our wedding- we used a Holiday Shutterfly Card for our Save the Date:
I just cannot say enough about Shutterfly. I use them for all my photo gift needs- there are so many creative things you can do. Bloggers- you can rave about Shutterfly awesomeness and still get 50 free cards but today is the LAST DAY to register so HURRY!
I hope your holiday shopping brings you only happiness and good feelings!
December 07, 2010
Are we too old for Jingle Ball? Maybe. The beer line is certainly short. But you know what? Despite being surrounded by loud, shrieking and sometimes rude teenage girls we always have a blast.
Here are a couple treats from the evening:
The incredible, fantastic Sara Bareillis covering Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It):
One of the best moments of the night was courtesy of Enrique Iglesias. Besides just being smokin' hot Enrique, he invited a couple teenagers up on stage. The first thought is that these girls were going to be some pretty little numbers that all of the girls in the audience would be jealous of. Much to everyone's surprise, he picked two not so perfect gals to come up on stage. It was probably the moment of their lives and so fun to witness. Not every day you get a slow dance with Enrique! Lucky girl. He really is that gorgeous from the 9th row by the way.
December 06, 2010
I feel privileged at the chance to get to do it all again with my son.
Milestone #1: Sledding
Next Milestone: Skating on the pond. Mommy isn't quite ready for that one yet!
How do you make the best of winter?
December 03, 2010
Today marks a month that I have been dealing with an ongoing sinus infection. I know it doesn't sound like a sinus infection should be all that horrific, but let me tell you, after having one for a month, it is. Your face hurts, your head pounds, your ears pop in and out and even your teeth hurt. The exhaustion is overwhelming not to mention the fever that comes and goes and makes every ounce of your body screech in agony. Did I mention how sinusitis throws your equilibrium off? Yeah, that's fun on an icy sidewalk. The stuff that is draining is causing a cough. A cough so annoying that you are ashamed to be at work because of what its annoyingness is doing to those around you.
I'm not contagious and getting rest does not help, so I continue on with a full day of work, annoying everyone around me with my coughing and my nose blowing. After a full day of work, and I'll be honest, I start dreaming about my recliner, my giant snuggly blanket, the dog at my feet, a giant mug of hot tea and my remote to catch up on my DVR. I do get to enjoy these things, but not right away. Dinner needs to be made, the kiddo needs to be fed and played with, the dishes need to get done, floors swept, counter and tabletops wiped down... and my husband doesn't let me forget that this life goes on regardless of how miserable I feel. He's had zero pity. He's not trying to be cruel. I think he is just as frustrated as I am with how long this infection is dragging out. I'm not sure he understands the intensity of it all and how it has drastically reduced my quality of life- how truly miserable I am. He's making fun of me, but it isn't funny. I actually think he thinks that I'm faking this. I cried myself to sleep last night over this lack of understanding. I don't want him to serve me soup at my bedside or anything, but I want him to understand why I'd rather crash out on a recliner than do the dishes. Is that so much to ask?
I'm not faking here folks. 3rd trip to the doctor in a month and I HATE going to the doctor. I am on my 3rd antibiotic. It's a strong one that will likely make me sick in other ways, but I am desperate to feel better- not just for myself, but for everyone around me. If it doesn't work, I will be brought in for a CT scan and referred to my ENT. Like a mantra, I am telling myself over and over how this is going to be my magic antibiotic and even imagining how wonderful my life will be again once I am feeling better.
I would like to take this moment to apologize. I know it isn't my fault, but I know that my being sick has affected so many people around me not to mention my work. I don't enjoy feeling this way. It isn't an excuse. It isn't me just being lazy. I don't wish it on anyone.
Stay healthy everyone!!!
December 01, 2010
This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of GlideTV. All opinions are 100% mine.
I have to confess. I'm not a big fan of watching online videos. Mainly, I don't have the patience to sit through them and wait for the punchline not to mention I quickly bore of them. My husband and 2 year old son however LOVE online videos. I have been easing into the online video world through Hulu and Netflix- we're even changing our Netflix subscription to only having one DVD sent to our house and the rest streaming.
I came across the opportunity to check out and review What's On. What's On is a free online service that brings online videos into one easy place. It is a visual guide to online entertainment where users can browse a video wall of TV shows, movies, news and sports that are available across the entire web. The video wall, organized by category and genre, is much more natural for living room use than going from web site to web site scrolling through lists of available videos. You can browse by type of content, genre, free content, etc not to mention you can get news about celebrities, new music, and information from various social media networks. It is a great tool for connecting with pop culture. You can even search the most popular videos, movies, sports and news people are watching on the web right now. “What’s On” is a great way to browse and access NetFlix streaming content other than within the NetFlix browser.
My geeky husband will attest that when you get your computer hooked up to your TV it changes the experience immensely. I have to admit... I agree with him. He just did this in his office and the video experience is so much better- bigger and much more crisp in appearance. What do I like about "What's On"? It takes a couple elements of impatience out of the equation for me: 1) It does the searching for me for the most popular video content, 2) It puts it all in one central location taking away the need to have a million different browser tabs open.
It really is pretty cool and from a reformed online video hater, I highly encourage you to check out "What's On" for yourself. I have a feeling this will be my next big internet addiction.
Did I mention the sweepstakes? GlideTV has a sweepstakes on their Facebook page, www.facebook.com/glidetv to win a Navigator to make the "What's On" experience even more awesome. Be sure to check it out the sweepstakes for your chance to win!
|Even though we're having a huge dinner, I still need a snack.|
|Look! I'm in a house just like Sadie's!|
|Playing with my new cousin and her Zhu Zhu pet. Mommy can I have one of these?|
|Giving thanks is tiring. I couldn't even eat my 2nd snack.|