Monday, January 24, 2011

Back to work we go


Are Mondays hard for you guys too, or is it just me?  I can not think straight on Mondays.  Today I called my counterpart at least 4 times to "run something by her." Because, for real, I can't form a coherent thought.

Keaton takes his work very seriously.  Collin told him he had to wear this hard hat anytime he builds his train track.  And that (toy) chainsaw was from a garage sale.  Best $1 ever spent.  He LOVES that thing.  He watches Collin and Papa cut wood so he also cuts wood...our firewood... all over the living room floor. 

The downside of having a fire going all winter long means there is alot of wood being hauled inside the house.  And alot of wood chips being dropped on the floor.  We have to vacuum on a daily basis.  Except we don't.  Which means wood chips on the floor.

I did not mean for this to be another brain dump post but I guess it is. 

While we're brain dumping lets talk about tv shows.  Is anyone watching Hawaii 5-0?  I love that show.  I think it is my favorite new show of the year. Oh wait.  There's also Mike and Molly...hmm...I'm not sure I can choose between those two.  I'm also watching Paula's new dance show.  And I'm ticked they didn't send Twitch on last week.  I'm a huge ballet fan, and I really like White Tree Fine Art, but come on! Twitch got 3 gold stars (WTFA did not).  I think that the decision came down to the two of them and the experts picked WTFA because they figured America would vote in Twitch.  I hope they are right, but I'm not sure that's the right way to go.  What are you guys watching right now?

Okay, that's it for me tonight.  I'm off to bed because in the morning it's back to work we go. 

Sunday, January 23, 2011

This and That

I've been doing alot of bitching lately about how I have no. time. to. blog.  But then when I do have time I sit down, look at an empty screen and I've got nothing, usually because I'm too tired to try to form a thought and sometimes because although I have a bazillion post ideas running through my mind it never feels like the right time to tell you about the children's cd that is rocking our house right now or the google searches that have landed people here.  And so instead of writing anything new I just read other people's posts and continue bitching about how there is noooo. tiiiime.  You know, real productive whining, instead of like, I don't know, sitting down and WRITING! So I'm starting today with a brain dump of random stuff and hopefully it will get the juices flowing so I can give you a real post soon.

Have I told you about my feet?  Ever since giving birth to Hutton my feet hurt.  Like really, really hurt.  Especially in the morning or after I've been off of them for awhile.  They feel, I kid you not, like they are broken.  Every morning I start out with a limp and people have commented on it at work when I get up from my desk after sitting for awhile.  My thought is that my arches are shot but I don't really know, has anyone else experienced something like this?

My view from here includes cloth diapers hanging in the window, a burp cloth slung over the dining room chair, a sippy cup and snack cup on the table, two boxes of toys strewn across the living room floor, pump pieces on the kitchen counter, and wooden blocks on the entertainment center that spell out 'Go Pack Go.'

Like how I snuck that Packer reference in there oh so subtly.  Yeah, there's a big game today and as much as I don't want to mention it....I can't help but mention it! 

My parents are here for the game.  My parents are Bears fans.  You see where this is going...

Okay, okay, enough football talk. 

Go Pack Go!

Okay, now I'm done.  Promise.

My mom just got done cleaning my dining room floor and all the floors in the basement.  I don't know how she does it but she can be here for one day and get more done then I do in a week. I've come to realize I don't like cleaning which is why I spend every Saturday morning in a huff. I know how much I need to do but I DON'T WANT TO!  I still think we need to hire a cleaning lady.  We've talked about it numerous times but we just don't have the extra money right now. 

I think I've had 4 cups of coffee this morning. Or maybe 5.

Keaton and I made something for the birds last weekend (one of the blog posts on my mind) - Collin tells me there are no birds around here during the winter but I call bullshit because yesterday when I opened the garage door to throw away a dirty diaper I heard birds chirping.  I swear I'm not making that up.

Speaking of diapers, we started Hutt on veggies this last week and today is the first day we've used cloth diapers since he started eating them.  I don't have a diaper sprayer.  I'm kinda dreading the first poop where I have to go ring the diaper in the toilet.

Collin took these pictures of the boys back in November and I've been meaning to post them since then.

I love these boys.  I was really short with Keaton yesterday morning, he's a typical two-year old who is into everything and I was moody because of the cleaning (see above) and I snapped at him a couple of times.  Then Hutt fell asleep for his morning nap and I told Keaton we were going to pick up the living room and without skipping a beat he started putting his toys away and getting his vacuum out.  I wish in those moments of frustration I remembered this side of him. He is such a good boy, even if he spreads wood chips all over the living room floor, spills the dog's water in the kitchen, and leaves a general path of destruction with every step. 

While I was writing that Collin was in the living room telling Keat to 'stop biting my foot, it is not a toy!'

Happy Weekend, Everyone!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Dear Hutton: 6 Months

Dear Hutton,

You recently turned 6 months old. I put off writing this letter until we had your 6-month well baby visit so I could include your stats…well, at least that’s what I’m telling myself. The truth is I’ve been meaning to write this for a couple of weeks now but the cold winter weather means that we always have a fire burning and a fire burning means that I’m usually on the couch snuggling under a blanket and falling asleep by 10 pm every night. We did finally have your appointment last week where you measured in at 44 ½ cm for your head circumference (75%), 15 pounds 13 ounces (25%) in weight, and were 25 inches long (5-10%). Compared to your big brother you are 7 ounces heavier and ¾ of an inch shorter than he was at 6 months; which is almost identical to the difference between you two at four months.

When the doctor walked into the room at your appointment he looked at us and said Hi guys! You looked back at him and shouted Ahhhhh! To which he declared, looks like someone has found his lungs! Yes you have buddy and as a result you are constantly squealing and babbling, just to hear your own voice. Your favorite sound though is an open mouth Ahhhhh! which is usually done at the top of your lungs and then you draw your hands to your mouth, shrug your shoulders and giggle or smile at the person who you were talking to. We have yet to find a person who doesn’t smile back when you talk to them, you’re just so happy and have a way of lighting up everyone around you.

The biggest thing that happened this month is you started eating rice cereal. We hadn’t planned on starting you before 6 months but you just seemed ready. You were constantly reaching for our plates/bowls/food and you would smack your lips together whenever you saw anyone eating. The final straw though was one morning when you were about 5 ½ months and we were all sitting together eating oatmeal for breakfast, you were perched on Daddy’s lap and he jokingly put a spoonful in your direction and asked “Hutton, do you want a bite?” I’d like to say you looked like a little birdie with your mouth open waiting for your Mama to drop a little worm in your mouth, but truthfully, you looked more like jaws. You whipped your head around so fast; your chompers just waiting for some action that I gasped because I thought you were actually going to get that spoon in your mouth. When Daddy pulled it away you were t.i.c.k.e.d. and so we decided that even if we had no plans of leaving the house that day we’d be making a special trip into town to get you some rice cereal.

You also started rolling from your tummy to your back this month. You’re close to going from your back to tummy, but haven’t quite mastered it yet. And I don’t think you really care. When I went back to read your brother’s 6-month letter I’m reminded again at how very different you are. While he was busy, busy, busy at this age you continue to be much more laid back. You roll up on your side, almost get yourself over and then decide, ah, oh well, it’s nice here. We’ve also found that you are very content sitting in your highchair watching us make dinner as long as you have a few toys to bang around and stick in your mouth. Oh, that mouth, everything goes in your mouth these days. Toys, burp rags, wash clothes during bath, our hands,  the sign for your 6-month picture, anything you touch really.

On the day you turned six months you found your toes. At this age you continue to prefer being held but don’t mind floor time or exersaucer time as long as you can see your brother. We also have a feeling you’ll be able to hold your own against him sooner rather than later, you love it when we make you “tackle” him and you have started to grab at him, or push him away when you’ve had enough. You love it when we blow on your tummy or tickle under your arms. You’re getting so big that your legs hang off of me when you nurse and are you’ve pretty much grown out of the sling in your bathtub. On good days you take two long naps and on bad days you won’t sleep for longer than 30 minutes at a time. Oh, and you’ve decided that you need to wake up and scream between 11 pm and 12 am each night. This new little development Mama could really do without, okay Mister? Your bottles are still about 5 ounces and you’re still wearing 3-6 months clothes. I don't know how, but you earned the nickname Meatball this month. What I do know is that you are a joy to be around and I feel blessed to be your Mama.

I love you Hutter Butts,

Sunday, January 16, 2011

With Thanks, New Years Resolutions, Packers Win!, and other Random Stuff

Some of you may have noticed that just before Christmas My Merlot got a face lift.  I'd like to take a second to give a shout-out to Ember, my wonderful, amazing, and talented friend, who designed the new masthead. Thank you, thank you, thank you hon! I love it so much!

I'd also like to send a big Thank you to CaSondra, my awesome sister-in-law, who took all the photos in the masthead as well as the ones on my About page.  I recently updated the About page with new pictures from the boys' 2-year and 6-month photo shoots so make sure you check it out.

I love you both and am so appreciative of your work!


I wasn't planning on making a New Years resolution this year, I mentioned before that we had written our goals for the year and that was all I was planning on doing.  But then last weekend as we were preparing for Keaton's birthday party I did something that I hadn't done in a long time and I forgot how good it felt.  I turned up the music and I danced.

Are you guys watching Paula's new show?  Did you watch last week with Austen and Bev and Hap?  I've got some mad moves and I'd say they are a mixture of Austen's crazy sporadic body whips and Bev and Hap's, well, what do you call their moves? A wiggle?  Shake? All I know is after watching those two routines I looked at Collin and said, I could be on this show!!

I decided this week that I'm making a New Year's resolution after all, I'm making a resolution to dance more.  When I declared this to Collin he said 'you must have felt good after last weekend?" 

Felt good?  Well, not exactly, I actually woke up in the middle of the night that night and thought I was dying, my whole body ached from moving like an idiot.  But I did feel happy.  Really happy. And since my little crazy show Keaton has been running around the house and shaking his arms when he hears music.  And the smile that spreads across his face when he does it is priceless. 

So this morning Collin slept in and I got up with the boys and Keaton and I made pancakes and then we watched Charlie Brown Valentine and then we put a cd in and we danced. And danced. And danced.

And then I made another New Years resolution.

No dancing in my nursing bras.  Must. wear. support.


It is a good night in Wisconsin.  After a rocky start to tonight's game The Pack came back to defeat.  No, that's too generous....BLOW OUT Atlanta.  I'll be the first to admit that tensions were high in this house before the game.  We were a little worried and with the way the game started we were getting scared.  But thankfully they got their crap together and WOO! Packers Win!!! NFC Championship game next weekend!

I'm feeling slightly guilty for not going to the Packer party we were invited to tonight, but we've been so busy lately that we both really just wanted to stay home.  We made popcorn for the Steelers/Ravens game, ate fajitas in between games and had snacks during the Packer game.  It was low-key and perfect.


I can't remember what the other random stuff was that I was going to write about. 

I know there was something.  And I'm sure it was important.  But it's almost midnight and we need to go to church in the morning so, Goodnight for now!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Soul in the Season: Winter 2011

In my mind winter starts the day we flip the calendar to December.  Actually, scratch that.  In my mind winter starts the day after Thanksgiving.  Yes, a few days before December. The last Thursday in November is all about turkey dinner, crisp fallen leaves, gourds and pumpkins, the colors orange, brown, deep yellow, and burnt red. But once Thursday ends and Friday begins my mind is full of twinkling lights, snowmen, Santas, and nativity sets, and the colors red and green.  This year was no exception.  That Friday after Thanksgiving was the beginning of winter to me and it got off to such a quick start that I am just now, a whole month later, finding the time to sit down and think about the things I want to do this season to appreciate and enjoy all that it has to offer. Some of the items on my list are things we've already done, but I'm writing them down anyway because they fulfilled what this seasonal exercise is all about, energizing my soul.
  • Enjoy an afternoon/evening/sometime when the kids are sleeping by the fire reading a book.
  • Take Keaton sledding.
  • Do something special in celebration of St. Nick's Day, St. Lucia, and Valentine's Day.
  • Go snowshoeing, pull the kids behind us in a sled.
  • Go cross country skiing
  • Make hot chocolate.
  • Make white chicken chili and corn bread for a weekend dinner.
I'll be adding this list to the Soul in the Season page.  For now I'll be leaving the fall list there as well, I haven't decided yet if I'll delete these as we move into another season or not, so for now it stays. 

What are you doing this winter to soak up the beauty of the season?  If you write a post let me know and I'll link to it on the Soul Season page. I know winter can be a difficult season for many people, the lack of sun, the cold frigid temperatures, the snowy/slushy road conditions...all of those things get to me too, but what I love about it is the slower pace, the beauty of new fallen snow and ice covered trees, the sound of a crackling fire, and having time each evening to cuddle on the couch. These are the things that make winter so special to me.  These are the things I want to enjoy now, while they are here.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Birthday Celebrations: 2 and 31

I haven't decided if it is good or bad that within two weeks of Christmas both Keaton and I celebrate our birthdays.  On one hand we don't have the typical post-holiday blues because in this house the celebrations just keep going, but on the other, hoo boy! by January 10th I'm exhausted!

On December 30th Keats, The Stink, Keaters, Bruske, our (oldest) baby turned 2.  I remember when I was in college it seemed like time went so much faster than when I was in high school because it was measured in semesters rather than weeks. I didn't think it was possible but since having kids time goes even faster, because now everything is measured in years.

I took the day off of work so we could celebrate (and can I just say how grateful I am to have a boss with a young child.  A boss who totally gets taking a random Thursday off so you can open gifts and have cake with your two year old on their special day.)  Like any good birthday celebration we started the day off right....with present opening! This is sad but Keaton hasn't even gotten his big gift from us yet.  Collin was sick in the days leading up to his birthday and didn't have a chance to set it up and with getting the house ready for his party... well, it still hasn't gotten done.  Maybe this weekend.  On his birthday he got an old fashion top that has a train that goes around inside and the Goodnight Train book

Following presents we sang Happy Birthday and let Keats dig into his (store bought piece of) cake.  I felt a little guilty for not making something for him but I don't think he really cared.  He had fun blowing out the candle and digging in.

That afternoon we headed to Chuck E. Cheese.  I know it sounds kinda crazy, but it was actually the perfect choice for him.  He's still too young to really care about all the games and prizes but he is hold enough to love running around, going down the kiddie slide and riding those little quarter machine thingys.

A week later I celebrated my 31st birthday.  I know alot of people complain about celebrating another birthday, it means you're getting older and all that.  But I'll tell you what, I wish my birthday was every day.  The day before my birthday was not my best day.  I blew up at the dinner table, right in front of the kids, over money.  Not only was it not my best parenting moment, I think it was my worst.  After that little outburst I was feeling pretty down when I woke up the next morning.  But Collin got out of bed early and made me pancakes before work and it wasn't 7 am before the calls, emails, texts, facebook messages started pouring it.  It was seriously the most uplifting day...maybe ever. And it came at the perfect time.  THEN! I came home that night to awesome cards and gifts in the mail. I think what made it so perfect is that it was all very unexpected.  Now, I can't say it surpassed my 27th (a/k/a The Best Birthday EVER!) but it was pretty darn close.  Thank you everyone!

The grand finale of our birthday celebrations was this past Saturday at Keaton's Choo Choo party. We couldn't have pulled this off without the help of our parents and Amanda, who watched the kids, helped Collin finish the basement, helped clean the house and prepare the food.  Special thanks to Amanda for making this amazing birthday cake!

Keaton LOVED it!

And also a special thanks to everyone who came to help celebrate!  I think we had a little over 30 people here.  Keaton might still be a little young to understand, but it meant so much to Collin and I to have our friends and family here.

We decided this year to go as simply as possible with food so we had a pizza party with salad and other appetizers.  It was shortly after we ate that my mom walked up to me holding Keaton, who had his head on her shoulder.  He was about ready to zonk so I rushed downstairs and told Collin we needed to to cake and gifts pronto or we might not be doing them at all.  So we all sang Happy Birthday and Keaton got to blow out his candles (okay, Mama might have helped him a little..)

The train cake was perfect because there were enough cars for each of the kids to pick their own while the adults had the extra chocolate cake.

My plan was to snap a picture of each of the kids with the train engine Collin made, but it got a bit chaotic during picture time and that didn't really work out.  I did get a couple of the birthday boy though.

To finish up the day we opened gifts.  Keats got so many great gifts and I'm so shocked that with all of the train stuff he got between Christmas and his birthday we didn't get a single duplicate.  And of course, he loves them all!  My favorite part of gift opening was when he opened some new summer clothes from my aunt and uncle and he got up from his spot on the floor and immediately took them to his room to put them away.  

After gifts he crashed pretty hard but he made sure to get up that evening and help himself to TWO MORE train cars.  This is why we call him The Stink.

Now that our holiday and birthday celebrations are all over we are looking forward to a quiet couple of months spent at home in front of the fire. Relaxing as much as possible is on the docket.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Welcome 2011

It’s exactly 12:00 am on New Year’s Day as I begin writing this post.  Welcome 2011.  This is the time of year that we do a lot of reflecting on the past year and make grand plans for the year to come.  2010 has been one of the best of years, with the addition of our littlest man, Hutton, and one of the worst of years, with our accumulating medical bills, the continued decline of the economy and the still depressed real estate market.  2010 has tried to kill us financially and at times I’ve been afraid we were at our breaking point but somehow, someway, we have found the resources to chug on, make it one more day, one more month.  These are things I don’t talk about here because, well, frankly, I try to come here to forget about those woes.  Also, talking about them usually results in my yelling, crying, or both.  But I can’t look back at this year without recognizing them.  2010 has beaten us down in many ways but we’re determined to make it though, stronger as a couple, stronger as a family.  So instead of spending our evening in reflection we’ve spent it looking forward to the hope and promise of what a new year offers.  I think it is less important to make resolutions and more important to work towards our resolutions so tonight Collin and I wrote down our goals for 2011.  Financial, fitness, family, and personal.  There are a number of things we want to accomplish this year.  We may not hit every one but if we at least put in the effort to work towards each of them I believe at this time next year we’ll be able to look back on the year and smile.  Here’s to 2011.  May it bless you with peace, hope, and happiness.  Happy New Year, everyone!