Thursday, February 24, 2011

Dear Keaton: 2 years

Dear Keaton,


It has been almost two months since you turned two years old. I’m not sure why I haven’t sat down to write this before now. I’ve thought about it a bazillion times but the truth is summing up your second year, the person you are, and the person you’re becoming at this tender age in just a few paragraphs seems daunting. There are so many little details I don’t want to leave out and yet putting into words all that you are is, well, impossible, really. So I guess I’ll start with the basics. At your two-year check up you weighed in at 26 lbs 12 oz (25-50%), were 34 inches tall (25-50%), and your head circumfrence was 50 1/2 cm (90%).


Photos by CaSondra Shim Photography

If I think back to December 2009, when you had just turned one, it seems like light-years ago. At that time you were not yet walking, you were still pretty bald (except for that Mohawk patch running down the center of your head…..sorry about that kiddo, I’m not sure what we could have done to change that), you were sitting in a highchair and feeding yourself finger foods. I remember a time in probably March of last year when we went out to eat with your Aunt Jenny and Uncle Matt and your cousins. Your cousin Aiden, who is just 18 months older than you, was sitting in the booth with us eating dinner, while you were at the end wearing a bib and tucked in a highchair. I remember looking at Aiden and thinking, ‘I can’t imagine Keaton sitting at the table with us in just a year or so.’ Guess what you are doing now? At first you started protesting the highchair, so we pulled out the booster seat. A couple of months ago you started protesting the booster seat. So now you sit right at the table with us, propped on your knees, using regular utensils. Yes, today you are not only walking, but running, jumping, and climbing, you have a full head of hair, and you have a chair at the dinner table.

Photo by CaSondra Shim Photography

The biggest thing that happened in your life this year is you became a big brother. I could not be more pleased with how you’ve handled this change. Before Hutton was born we were around Mama’s friend Ember and her baby girl, Lucy. You loved touching Lucy’s hands and feet but when I held her you showed some signs of jealousy. I was a little afraid of what might be in store of us in the next couple of months. But once Hutt was here and you had Mommy home with you it didn’t matter that there was another baby; we were still able to spend more time together than when I was working. And so you transitioned into the big brother role very easily. And you love that little brother of yours. You stand right by my side when he’s in the bathtub, you tell us when he is crying or has spit up, and now you love to feed him. But. Of course there is a but. You don’t really like him playing with your toys. That’s something we’ll have to work on. For Christmas you got a Frosty the Snowman stuffed animal that plays music when you lift his hat. A few weeks ago you and I were snuggling on the couch and you were just about to fall asleep when Daddy and Hutt started to play with Frosty. You heard that music go off and you instantly jumped up and shouted “No Baby!” The thing I love though is that when you see Hutton playing with one of your toys you start to shake a little and then (usually) frantically find him a replacement toy, one of “his”, that you hand to him while you rip your toy out of his hands.


Photos by CaSondra Shim Photograhpy

It’s all the little things I want to remember the most about you at this age though. Like the way you flap your arms like a chicken when you want something opened, hold up your two pointer fingers when someone asks how old you are, and fold your hands at the dinner table and make the sign of the cross before eating (your cross usually hits your forehead and chest and then sometimes your armpits or your back, but last night you touched each shoulder perfectly), or the way you encourage yourself during the day saying, Tee no, no nuk. You’re learning your letters and numbers but when you count to four you always skip the number three. You’re talking more and more each day but you refuse to say train or choo choo, it is still dee dee. You also prefer to call your brother Baby rather than Hutt and you call yourself Tee. But the names I love most are those you’ve given your grandparents:

Busha = Mama Boo or Mama Boosh
Papa = Pa Pa, said just like that with a pause in between each syllable.
Grammy = Mimi
Grandpa Grizz = Pop Grr

And speaking of names, I have a little bone to pick with you…what happened to Mommy?? You have gone straight to calling me Mom. Thankfully I still get Mama when you need snuggles and loving.

Photo by CaSondra Shim Photography

You still love being outside, even in the dead of winter, and you have designated a few tasks around the house as “yours.” These include feeding the dog and letting her out to go potty. We put olive oil on Maia’s food in the winter to help with her dry skin and you carry that bowl first to the mud room to fill it up and then straight to the oil. And if we forget you definitely remind us. You also love letting Maia out the back door to go potty. I think what you love most is opening and closing the door, but Maia gives you a reason to do it. Last week you were napping but must have heard Daddy open the door to let her out because we suddenly heard you bellow from the back of the house “No! Tee!”



At two years old you still love trains (especially the coal car), airplanes, and cars. You love listening to music and dancing. I love watching you dance; you take it very seriously and pump your arms like you’re in a marching band. You like to color and scribble and make art projects and you love pretending your cutting wood, like Papa and Daddy. You are super sensitive and hard working, always pulling a chair up to the counter to help me wash dishes or cook. You don’t always follow directions but when we send you to time-out you rarely protest and usually stay still until we say it’s okay to get up. You aren’t a picky eater but we’ve had to institute the “2 bite” rule with your veggies. You are adventurous and passionate. You love with all your heart and I love you with all of mine.


Create your own video slideshow at animoto.com.


This has been a wonderful year, Stink, and I look forward to all the next has in store.

Love,
Mama

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Brothers

A couple of weeks ago I was cleaning up the kitchen table while Collin was pouring glasses of milk.  The boys were already sitting at the dining room table, ready for dinner, when I heard Collin whispering loudly from the kitchen: Kate! Kate! Get the camera.


I turned around to see Keaton feeding his brother.


I remember a time when I was newly pregnant with Hutton worrying that adding another child to our family so soon might not be fair to Keaton.


It has been so obvious lately that not only was it fair, but it might have been the best decision we've ever made. These two are so close.

Keaton might not always like to share his toys with his brother, but he loves helping out in almost every other way: feeding, bathing, holding him, etc.


And Hutton copies everything his big brother does.

Every night since this first feeding Keaton has requested to feed his brother: Tee feed Baby.  And every night we have let him because it makes him happy.  And it makes Hutton happy. And seeing these two interact makes us happy.


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Things I Love: Munchkin Food Grinder

Each time I read one of Kira's "favorite things" posts I think, I love these!  And also, I should write a few.  And then I go about my day (week) and each time I use something I love I think, I'll write about this!  And then I never do.  I had those thoughts so many times this weekend that I'm forcing myself to sit down and write about it. 

Picture from Munchkin.com
We used our Munchkin Food Grinder with Keaton but not until we had mashed way too many bananas by hand.  Hutton had his first banana a week or two ago and guess what I used to mash it?  That's right, a spoon.  Again.  And I instantly thought, where is that grinder?  And then I searched the boys room and I looked in the cabinet and it wasn't until last Wednesday that I finally got serious about finding it so I drug a kitchen chair over to the counter, opened the cabinet, climbed up on the chair, moved a bowl, and ta da!  there it was.  Behind one stinkin' little bowl! 

I'm so glad I finally drug that chair out though, we've used it ever day since.  For bananas in the morning and avocados at night.  Speaking of avocados can I just tell you how thrilled I am that his kid likes avocados?  Keaton did not like them, they were the one food he outright refused.  The first night we gave them to Hutt he was skeptical and I thought he might turn them down on the second try but nope! on night #2 he dug right in.  Makin' Mama proud.

Tonight I made butternut squash for dinner, intending to make half of it for Hutton.  I usually puree baby food using my blender but since the squash was nice and warm straight from the oven I decided to try sticking it through the grinder instead and it worked like a charm.  So good in fact that instead of pulling out the blender after dinner to finish up the task Keaton and I grinded all of the squash and froze it for Mr. Hutt.

I read the reviews on Amazon and I'm a little surprised at how negative some of them were, complaining about them needing to use a lot of force and it leaking out the bottom.  While I could see a very liquidy food leaking out the bottom I've never had that problem.  In our experience this grinder has been easy peasy and so much slicker than mashing bananas by hand.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Dear Hutton: 7 Months

Dear Hutton,


You recently turned 7 months old. And by recently I mean like 2 weeks ago. Such is life these days, hectic, hectic. On the bright side though I started a new job this week and we’re hoping it is going to give us a little better balance with the work/home life. Last night I logged off at 5:33 pm and walked out the door to see you and your brother. I think I can count on one hand how many times I’ve seen you and Keaton at 5:33 pm in the last several months. This is a big move for us and we have high hopes.


This month has been a big one for you. You started eating rice cereal last month and this month you tried your first veggie, green beans. You have been so interested in food, grabbing at our plates and smacking your lips, that I expected a big fan fare over your first “real” food. I was wrong. You liked them, oh yes, you love your food, but there were no big smiles or kicking of feet. There was just you, opening your mouth, eating your green beans. You were unphased. It was as if you’d been eating green beans all your life. Your Daddy commented the other day that you were “ready for a chicken wing” and I think that about nails it.


The other big thing you started doing this month is rolling. And when I say rolling I mean, rolling. Gone are the days that we can lay you down on a blanket in the living room and run to the kitchen to get something. Once you mastered rolling from your back to your front you were off. You prefer to roll to the left so I like to combat this new skill by setting you at the farthest point to the right in the room that I can. It gives me an extra 30 seconds or so to go pick you up before you roll smack into the hearth. I don’t mind you rolling; it’s actually pretty fun to watch you get around, but the downside of this is that diaper changes have been….hmm…how do I put this? Interesting lately. You refuse to lie on your back, instantly flipping to your tummy and inching your way to the end so you can play with the tags on the bottom of the changer. I am not exaggerating when I say it feels like I’m wrestling an alligator while changing your clothes. I’ve had to actually pin you down by putting one elbow on the other side of you to keep you in place. I would like to know what happened to my lazy little boy who would lie so patiently while being changed. The roll monster seems to have taken him.


My favorite thing you started this month is this pose that you do while getting a diaper change (when you’re not flipping over.) You stretch your legs out as far as you can and cross them at your ankles. You look like you’re drinking a cold beer while lying on the beach, so nice and relaxed. It is the most hysterical thing and it cracks me up each and every time. I have yet to snap a picture of it, which reminds me, I better do that soon, before you give it up.


At 7 months you are still a smiley, happy baby with an infectious giggle. You love bath time and play time and everything still goes straight into your mouth. You love your brother most of all and will do everything you can to see him and touch him. You’re still nursing and waking in the middle of the night, usually once to eat and once to fuss to be put back into the pack n’ play. Oh, yes, the other big thing that happened this month, we finally moved you out of your bassinet. We should have done it awhile ago as you were clearly getting to long to fit in there. You’re still drinking about 5 oz. bottles and wearing 3-6 month clothes.


I look forward to all this next month brings.
Love you buddy,
Mama

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Valentine's Day

I intended to write this post on Sunday night but we had a really busy weekend and the kids didn't go to bed until late and by the time they were finally asleep I was wiped.  Then I was going to put it up last night but I didn't end up getting home from Milwaukee until 8 pm and as soon as I got out of my work clothes I crashed on the couch.  So, it's a little late, I hope everyone had a great holiday!

***
The thing I remember most about Valentine's Day growing up was making homemade Valentine's for the family.  Each year my mom had a new design and we would make them for all of our Grandparents and Aunts and Uncles.  This is a tradition I want to carry on with our kids.


With Keaton still being quite young I wanted to do something simple this year so I had him color some cards and then I cut them into a heart shape and then we decorated them.  He took more interest in this project than I had expected, which was pretty awesome.  With each card he colored we talked about who it was for and if they had sent us a picture Christmas card he pointed them out on the fridge.  When he was done coloring we put the person's initials in the corner so we wouldn't forget whose was whose. 


After I cut them into a heart shape Keaton helped me decorate them.  We started with glitter and quickly decided that was not the greatest idea.  I apologize to those who got lots of glitter.  One lucky family had to have their card mailed in a sandwich baggie because there was so. much. glitter.  (Sorry Jill! We had a little glitter mishap with the kids' card!) After deciding that we should put the glitter away we went to felt hearts.  Keaton picked out which hearts he wanted on each card and then we addressed them and glued a picture of the boys inside.


Our first Valentine.

***
I've talked before about my mom and her decorating for holidays.  Her house is always so festive, it's hard not to be in the spirit of Christmas, or Valentine's Day, or Easter, when you are there.  We are still building our holiday decor and I've decided that each year I will buy one decoration for each holiday so that hopefully in a few years we have a home that is festive for each season. 

When I went downstairs in mid January to pull out my Valentine's Day decorations all I came up with were two of these door hangers.


Looks like we need some Valentine's Day decorations.

I did have my mom make me a new bow for the grapevine tree and I added some red berries to make it a little more festive, but that was about the extent of our decorations this year.


Until I found these place mats on Sunday at Kohls (on sale! woo!) (I bought 6 just in case we (hopefully) have a couple more kids.)


It was perfect timing for our Valentine's Day celebration on Sunday night (we celebrated early since I was going to be gone for work on Monday).

My original plan was to have homemade waffles with strawberries on Sunday morning for breakfast but the boys ended up spending the night at Papa and Busha's on Saturday and we didn't pick them up until afternoon.  So instead we had our breakfast for dinner and we're going to have our traditional Valentine's Day dinner (seafood alfredo and asparagus....I have no idea why but this is the meal we've made almost every year since we've been together) tomorrow night.


Keaton loved helping me make waffles and was pretty excited about dinner.  And then I surprised him with strawberry milk.  Mee. Mee. Mee muk?  Mee muk?  Peas. (More. More. More milk? More milk? please.)


To finish off our holiday we bought each of the boys the Sports Illustrated Packer Super Bowl addition.  


My Valentines.

I hope you all had a Happy Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Baby Boom'd

There are two movies I remember watching religiously as a young girl.  The first I assume most people are probably familiar with, if not the 1961 original than the 1986 2nd addition, The Parent Trap. (For the record, I'm a fan of the original.)  What I remember most about watching this movie is insisting that I always watch it with a bowl of Velvetta Shells & Cheese (btw, that is still the best mac 'n cheese around.)  The second one, Baby Boom, I've found people don't know as well.  What I distinctly remember about this movie is watching it and thinking, when I grow up I want a job where I can work from home.  Rereading that summary of the movie I have to laugh at how many similarities this movie has with my life (Diane Keaton is the star), or my dreams for life.  Since having children I've thought of this movie and that thought many times.

***

Last Monday I resigned from my job.  My job of 9+ years.  The only job I've ever had, I started there as an intern my senior year of college.

Friday will be my last day.

***

It always amazes me that some of our simplest actions can set off such a grand chain of events.

It was a Sunday afternoon in early January.  Collin was playing with the boys on the floor while I was flipping through my email on the computer.  I usually delete those notices from the various career websites but this one I opened up.  There was a posting for a financial analyst position at a nearby hospital, if I were to leave the industry I'm currently in, this would be my dream job.  I decided I had to at least submit my resume and give it a shot.  So over the course of the next few days I got my resume updated and had Ember look it over.  It was Thursday when I finally had it ready to turn in and I planned on submitting it over the weekend.  I asked Em if I should contact my references now, or wait to see if I even got an interview and she said go ahead and contact them, get them lined up.  So I did.

The first person I talked to was an old boss of mine from my current employer.  He left the company shortly after I switched departments and is now at another, smaller, company in the same industry. Ironically, 5 other people I used to work with in my early years, all of whom I greatly respect, have also recently left my current employer to join this company.  I hadn't talked to him since I was pregnant with Keaton and so we spent some time catching up and then I let him know why I was calling.  He said sure, he'd be a reference, but then asked "do you want to come work for us?" I kinda laughed, I knew they didn't have offices in this area, but he said "no, work remotely (from home)." Umm, YES, I told him.  And he said, "okay.  You can still turn your resume in if you want but I think we can move pretty quickly on this."

I was in a state of shock when I hung up the phone.  I instantly jumped on G-chat and told Em, "Holy Shit!!  You will not believe what just happened!  He asked if I wanted to work for them, from home!"  I went home that night and told Collin the same thing.  I felt like I was living in a dream.

Over the weekend Collin and I talked and we decided that I wouldn't turn in my resume for the other position just yet.  With this new opportunity a possibility the thing I realized most is that I don't want to add a 40 min. commute to my already hectic day. Although my commute is only about 20 min. right now I'm rarely home before 6-6:30.  Our night time routine is: shove food in everyone's hungry face, get jammies on, try to get the boys to sleep by 8-8:30.  Okay, 9.  And I'll tell you this, it's not working very well.  There's a lot of stress around here and it mostly stems from me not being home enough. The thought of working from home, getting done at 5:30 pm, walking out the den/office door and having dinner on the table by 6 pm would be a dream come true.

A week after our initial conversation they called me back and we talked some more and a week after that I went down to Milwaukee for a "chat" - which consisted of lunch and talking about everything from their company and where they hope to go with this new line of business to potty training, as these guys also have young kids.  Their parting words to me were "well, we'll be in touch.  No one knew this was going to fall in our laps."

I went home that night feeling like maybe this would happen at some point in the future and if it did, that would be awesome.  So you can only imagine how shocked I was when my phone rang at 8 pm that night and he said "okay, we want to make you an offer."

Like most big decisions in life there were some things about the offer that were sweeter than my current situation and some things that...how should I put this?  caused a little heartburn.  In the end though Collin and I decided that the positives definitely outweighed the negatives.

I gave my notice last week but I'm not quite sure all of this has really sank in yet.  Next Monday, on Valentine's Day (which is funny because I started my current job on Halloween), I will be in Milwaukee getting my computer set up, learning new systems, and meeting my new co-workers.  Next Monday we're all embarking on a new adventure and if all goes as planned I will be able to balance home and work a little more effectively and things will be less stressful around here, especially in the morning and at dinner time.

Of course I'm a little nervous, change is always a little hard for me.  But I'm also excited.  Excited about being home with the kids more, excited about a new challenge, and maybe mostly, excited about staying in my pj's all day, every day. 

I feel grateful and blessed that this dream is coming true.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Hutt's first veggie was....

Green Beans!!!

Congratulations to Geri, who is our winner! And an honorable mention goes to Jill, who also guessed green beans.

I have to be honest, when I uploaded that picture I looked at it and thought, I'd totally guess that was peas.


And of course after I made the green beans I was reading in my baby cook book and it said to NOT have beans be the first taste because they can be gassy.  Ummm...oops.

No one guessed Hutt's reaction and I felt kind of bad because it was sort of a trick question, so I'm giving out a prize anyway.  So what was Hutt's reaction?


I would call it "unfazed."


It was as if he'd been eating green beans all of his life.


He had the same reaction to his 2nd veggie (zucchini). I think Collin hit the nail on the head when he said "this kid is ready for a chicken wing."



**
When I was thinking about what I should do for a prize I decided that the timing was perfect to do a little something for Valentine's Day.   Geri, watch your mailbox for a set of Gail's homemade Valentine's Day conversation heart soaps.



That was so much fun I might do it again in time for St. Patrick's Day!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Go Pack Go!


These blocks have been on our entertainment center since the NFC Championship Game against the Bears.


I could have taken them down but I'm superstitious.  Even though I don't believe in being superstitious.


It's almost 10 pm and this kid is still awake.  But we're giving him a pass because it's a big night around these parts... 


Super Bowl Champions!!!  Woo!  So proud of the Packers.  So proud to be from Wisconsin.


(PS Hutt's first veggie winner announced tomorrow!)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

For the birds

After the holidays are over we usually put our tree in a pile in our back acreage.  It acts as shelter to some rabbits and other animals during the cold.

Okay fine...if I'm being perfectly honest our tree usually sits in a heap right outside the back door until the snow melts and we are able to get it to the back acreage.  Last year I don't think it even made it off the deck.  But! once back there it does act as shelter for some of our woodland creatures.


This year, instead of just tossing it out the door I asked Collin to sit it up by our deck because I had a little project in mind.



One Sunday afternoon while watching football Keaton and I worked on making a little something.  A little something for the birds.


Keaton thought this was about the best project EVER because it involved one of his most favorite things.  Popcorn!


Side note: Several years ago Collin's parents got him this stove top popcorn maker for Christmas and it has been sitting in our cabinet all this time. We finally dug it out for this project and have now used that thing almost every weekend since.  Homemade popcorn is the best.  Mmmmm.  Keaton asks for it by looking at us with big eyes, pop? pop? as he shakes his hand back and forth as if he is moving it on the stove.

When we were done with our popcorn garland Keats and I bundeled up and took it outside.


We made two strands that night. 

Just a little something for the birds.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

First Veggies (and other updates)


A few weeks ago I finally put everything aside and made Hutt his first veggie.  I forgot just how much I love making baby food.  It's still a dream of mine to start a business with Kira.  I really think we have a good plan, I just wish putting something like that in motion wasn't so difficult and time consuming and in need of a monetary investment.  Ah well.  Maybe someday. 

Hutt has now had his 2nd veggie and I plan on making his 3rd this coming weekend.

Can you guess what he had as his first taste of real food?

First person to guess Hutt's first veggie AND his reaction to it will get a little prize from me :) 

I'll post the answer this weekend.

Here's my favorite little sous chef.  And his toys.


***

I've been absent around these parts lately because something big is going on around here.  Something I haven't been able to stop thinking about but also that I haven't been able to talk about.  Within the next couple of days I should be able to tell you what it is.  The past couple of weeks I've felt like I was living in a dream.  Can't wait to share more soon.

***

Enjoying Today is finally back!!  At the beginning of January my cell phone carrier switched to a new company.  If you live around here I'm sure you've heard of all the heartache it has caused people.  I was without a fully functioning phone for over 2 weeks.  In the end I had to get a whole new phone because my old one (which was in perfectly fine condition!!) wouldn't support their software changes.  I finally got a new phone but I still haven't been able to get everything working properly (ie. I can't get the Facebook app loaded.)

Anyway! I usually take my Enjoying Today pics with my phone since it is easy and accessible when we are doing random things with the boys during the day/evening but because I wasn't able to email any pictures from my phone I haven't been taking any.  But today it is back and I hope now that my phone is working again I can keep the page updated regularly.

***

Collin you are not eligible to win the prize mentioned above. 

(As I was writing this Hutt woke up from his nap so I went to get him and Collin sat down and read the beginning of the entry.  When I walked into the kitchen he says: I know Hutt's first veggie!!  Where's my prize?)