Friday, September 22, 2017

Currently: The Beginning of Fall

Or is it? It's been in the upper 80's here all week and I'm over it. 

Eating: I made pumpkin muffins in spite of the freaking return of summer because I'm just ready. Also because homemade treats make early morning faculty meetings a little bit more exciting. Then I made this One Pan Mexican Quinoa dish. I made a few modifications because no jalapenos for me, and I added some chicken. But it was pretty tasty and any meal that can be cooked entirely in one pan is alright by me. 

Drinking: Cranberry Lime seltzer water. By the case. 

Watching: Friends. We are guilty of cycling through the same shows over and over--usually The Office, Parks and Rec, and How I Met Your Mother. Friends isn't really new but it's something different. 

Listening to: One of my goals this year was not to have the tv on so much when I'm home in the afternoon, so I've been listening to podcasts. I found one called Ask Me Another which is an NPR podcast trivia game show. I live for lame trivia and game shows, so it's pretty awesome. 

I've also been listening to My Favorite Murder but I had to take a hiatus because it freaked me out so much that I was afraid to be in my house alone. Maybe I'll be able to go back to it, but not for a while. 

Participating in: Two knit-alongs. I'm hoping the possibility of prizes will get my needles moving enough to meet a deadline and actually finish some projects. 

Wondering: Are my social media buttons messed up? When I look at my blog page it looks like something is wrong with them, but I can't click on them. Anybody know what I should do? 

Friday, September 8, 2017

The First Two Weeks and The First Sick Day

We are home on our first sick day. It's strange not being at school, and not being the one sick. My poor guy had started with a bit of a rash last night that has spread overnight. I suspect that it is Hand, Foot, and Mouth but we can't get in to the doctor until this afternoon to say for sure.

School started! Actually, I started school two weeks ago but by the time I have been able to sit down the last few weeks blogging just hasn't been on the top of my list.

So far this year I have only cleaned up one potty accident and have had no tears...except from a mom on the first day but that doesn't count because LEAVING YOUR CHILD FOR THE FIRST TIME IS HARD.

Yes, I cried when I dropped Jackson off at the babysitter on the first day. But the babysitter is less than five miles away from school so there wasn't much time to dwell in sadness before eight excited 3 and 4 year-olds were clamoring for my attention. The babysitter is wonderful and sends me pictures during the day to help mend my broken heart.

Preschool is fun. They laugh at everything and acting silly is a part of our daily routine. Also, dancing with them at music time and racing up and down the sidewalk totally counts as exercise, so there's that.

One morning this week a mom came in and informed me that her daughter had been trying to smuggle kittens to school in her backpack that morning, and now that is my favorite thing.

I still can't understand how, but Jackson is six months old today. Fortunately I cheated and took some photos yesterday, because today he is covered in spots. We are also spending the day in pj's while I vigorously wash everything.

That's all for now. It's time for a healthy dose of Gilmore Girls. Doctors orders.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

If We Were Having Coffee

If we were having coffee...
We would probably sit around the dining room table because that's where the best breeze is. As I poured I would tell you about how I bought this mug in London when Justin and I went there on a school trip in college, how devastated I was when I dropped and broke it shortly after, and how Justin bought me a new one--exactly the same--seven years later when he went back to England. There would be a drool and banana covered little boy sitting in his high chair mushing a stick-shaped piece of banana in his chubby fist and making high pitched squealing/screaming noises because he has just figured out how. Jethro will cautiously creep into the room and start rubbing his face on your legs and when Jackson sees him he will start kicking and giggling.

I would tell you how nice it was that we were able to go to church Saturday night and have Sunday morning free. Our church has four services--Thursday, Saturday, and two on Sunday morning-- and it's kind of nice to switch it up. Since I'm usually singing, ringing, or playing at least one service it was also nice to go as a family and be able to sit together.

I'd tell you that I listened to all seven episodes of a podcast called S-Town in a day last week and ask if you've heard of it. I would say that it left me with a lot of questions and feeling really sad.

Jackson would start to get fussy so I'd pick him up and tell you that it's just about his nap time. As I cleaned him up I would tell you that getting him to sleep has been such an ordeal lately and how when I take him upstairs he decides that it's his time to start practicing gymnastics. I'd lament over how he won't let me rock or cradle him anymore and that I'm not crazy about letting him "cry it out" so I'm just not sure what to do.

Jackson's nap would be far too short and the pot of coffee would run out. I would thank you for coming, wish you a good week, and hope that you will come again.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Stream of Consciousness

I bought a new water bottle yesterday. Not because I needed one, but because it was on sale at Target and I wanted one with a flip top but no straw. Some people buy a lot of shoes, or purses, or whatever...I buy water bottles.

Why are water bottles top rack-dishwasher safe but never fit on the top shelf of the dishwasher? I have not yet found a decent water bottle that fits in the dishwasher. 

Target's dollar spot is a bummer this year. I've gotten a lot of good stuff for my classroom there the past few years but found nothing this year. The end of summer is sad, but I always love rearranging and redecorating my classroom, and it's even more exciting when I can get cute stuff for $1. I do have an order from Oriental Trading coming that's pretty exciting, though. 

I really need to downsize my wardrobe. I've been reading a lot of things about having a minimalist wardrobe and how we can get caught in these cycles of indecision leading to buying more stuff which leads to more indecision. If I only have basic things in my closet that are all able to mix and match there will be no more struggling to figure out what to wear and whether or not it goes together. Also our families seem to have 873 new outfits for Jackson every time we see them, so I may just need to surrender my dresser to baby clothes.

Jackson and Jethro are suddenly very interested in each other. Jackson is starting to grab everything in arm's reach and gets really excited whenever Jethro comes near him. Jethro, however, has learned to keep a safe distance.

There is a lot going on in our neighborhood right now. The people in the house behind us are getting a new roof. There is one guy working on it and he is out there all. the. time. Two houses down there is a new driveway being put in and there have been a ton of huge trucks taking up our street and super close to our driveway for days. Our neighbor across the street does woodworking in his garage. I don't know what he's working on right now, but it's freaking noisy. And finally someone, somewhere near by has been lighting off one, single, booming, loud firework each night for the past three nights.

Me: "I really should start eating healthier. We haven't been eating very well the last few weeks"
Also me: "I wonder if we have all of the ingredients to make cookies..."

Tonight is our school's "Back to School" orientation night, which pretty much signals the end of summer, even though I have a little over a week before school starts officially. Jackson and I might spend one of our last mornings of freedom taking a long walk. To the yarn store. And the coffee shop. If it's not too hot.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

The Week I Was On My Own

Justin just got back from England. He was gone for ten days. Ten. Long. Days. Here are some highlights of my week.

I decided that I needed to throw myself into house and school projects to keep busy so I wouldn't get bored and lonely. (Then I remembered I have a five-month old baby and there is no such thing as bored...) I cleaned out closets and dressers, put together bins of things to donate, and made a curtain for an ugly cabinet in our entryway. I didn't get a lot done at school, but did meet with a potential new family. While wearing a shirt covered in pee thanks to a leaky diaper.

I really needed some company one night so I invited some church friends over for dinner. I made a super easy chicken dish that made it look like I have my life together, and we sat around the table drinking lemonade and talking well into the night.

Justin and I were able to text, but because of the time difference there was a very small window of time that we were able to actually have a conversation. One afternoon we tried to video chat. Jackson was super grumpy so I should have known it wasn't going to go well. First my audio wasn't working. Then Justin's video went out. We ended up trying a different app and were able to talk for maybe five minutes. By the time we hung up, the baby and I were both in tears. I ended up packing Jackson up in the car and driving around so he would calm down. That ride may or may not have included a stop for ice cream once he fell asleep. I needed it, guys.

Then we had our church picnic. I played keyboard for a set with the worship band. We were on a stage in the sun from 12:00-1:30 and I forgot sunscreen. And by the time we were done playing they had put all of the food away so now my skin was on fire and I missed out on good old Lutheran potluck. I soothed my sorrows and burning skin with a bottle of aloe lotion, an episode of Scandal, and a nap when I got home.

My parents came the day before Justin came home. They woke up with Jackson and took him for a walk so I could sleep in a little bit, then we spent the day exploring some random antique shops around town. I had to pick up Justin at 1:30 in the morning so it was nice not to have to pack Jackson up and bring him along.

We survived. It wasn't that bad, and it was only ten days, but I'm really glad Justin is home. Although I am a little bit sad that I had to give up the cozy nest of pillows that I built for myself in the middle of our bed.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Some Baby Rambling and Some Pictures

Do you know that according to Wonder Weeks there is a developmental leap that happens around 19 weeks? Also, do you have any coffee?
This boy woke up around 3:30 this morning. He went back to sleep at 5:30. We spent two hours playing "I'm going to pretend I'm asleep in your arms, but then pop my eyes open and roll around in my crib as soon as you put me down". I dragged myself back to bed and turned on an episode of The Office when I couldn't fall asleep and finally drifted off half an hour later or so. My adorable little alarm clock was ready to rock and roll again at 6:30. After a diaper change and a bottle, he was happy as can be and bouncing around in his exersaucer while I held my eyelids open with one hand and clutched a coffee mug with the other.

In other baby news, the pediatrician gave us the go-ahead to start introducing solid foods. We are doing something called Baby Led Weaning, so no baby food or purees or spoon feeding. Just soft, easy-to-grab, finger foods cut to about the size and shape of a french fry. Of course, he is still getting his nutrients from formula so at this point he's just exploring things. We started by keeping him in his high chair at the table with us instead of taking turns eating while the other one took care of the baby. We let him have a spoon and fork on his tray first, then gave him some banana pieces that he could grab. He got the spoon right into his mouth, but isn't quite sure about the banana thing yet. Next up is sweet potatoes.

He's been enjoying sitting up straight. Like in this swing. Or on the couch, modeling the socks I knit for him last Christmas. He likes to sit in the stroller part of the stroller instead of the car seat attached to the top, and sitting up in the high chair instead of leaned back. Rolling over is new. Not from tummy to back yet, but from back to tummy. Then he gets stuck and mad that he can't get back. 

The best thing though, is that he has started laughing. Which means I now spend my time making silly faces and sounds trying to get him to giggle because it's my favorite sound in the world. 

Tuesday, July 11, 2017


Remember a couple of weeks ago I posted three times in a week? I have a bunch of ideas for posts that I was going to write ahead of time and schedule written down in a notebook, but they haven't happened yet. So here's a "currently".

Watching: I tried watching The Keepers but I had to stop because it was too disturbing for me. So guess what--we're watching The Office again.

Listening to: Dear Evan Hansen. I want to see this musical so badly.

I've also found myself listening to podcasts more than music lately. Particularly Anna Faris Is Unqualified. I think Anna Faris is hilarious and a great actress. She has all kinds of different guests and after a few different "getting to know you" segments, they take callers with relationship issues and give them their advice...unqualified, obviously. Some of the episodes can get pretty vulgar but for the most part it's pretty entertaining.

Enjoying: Jackson is starting to roll over. It's awesome and hilarious. I love watching him pull his legs up and just kind of fall to the side before he pushes himself onto his belly. He's still working on getting from his belly to his back.

Excited for: One of my oldest and closest friends is coming to visit this week. I haven't seen her since her wedding last year and I can't wait!!

I'm also excited to get back into my classroom. I have a lot to do but I'm looking forward to being back. I bought a fresh new planner and ordered a bunch of classroom stuff which is always fun. Ask me again in August.

Trying: To wean Jackson off of being swaddled. So far it's going okay (knock on ALL THE WOOD!!!). The sleepsack swaddle thing has been amazing for transitioning.

Surprised by: I did something very unlike me last week. I'm an introvert supreme, and introducing myself or starting any kind of social interaction has never been my thing. Anyway, there's a lady who has started coming to our church that I recognized from two of the childbirth classes that I took at the hospital, so I went up and introduced myself and started a conversation with her. What?? Who am I?! It turns out that her baby was born just a couple of days after Jackson and she was in the room next door to us while we were in the hospital.

I also went to knit night at the yarn shop in town. I packed up one of my projects and walked into their little knitting group and asked if I could join them. I sat with them for an hour or so just knitting and chatting. It was a lot of fun and I'm looking forward to going back again.

Maybe next week. I need to recharge after all of that socializing.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Red, White, and Birthday

Justin's birthday is on the 4th. Apparently he experienced a lot of patriotic parties and gifts when he was young and as an adult, he's kind of over it. If only he didn't have a wife who said -- "LOOK! Someone's setting off fireworks for your birthday!" -- every single year. This year we made plans to go to the Brewer's game on Tuesday with my brother-in-law and a friend of ours.

It started off innocently enough at a barbecue at my in-laws' house on Saturday. My brother-in-law joked "One of us should wear red, one of us wear white, and the other wear blue and see if Justin notices". Then we texted our other friend who was going with us, and he was totally on board. And it all spiraled out of control from there.

When we got to the stadium and started setting up our tailgating stuff, the boys and I brought out flag-themed napkins, plates, cups, can coolers, bubbles, necklaces, a party hat, glow flags, bandanas, and scarves. We listened to patriotic music while we had burgers and then sang happy birthday to Justin so he could blow out his red and blue candles on top of his red, white, and blue brownies. Before the game started we slipped away and made a happy birthday poster to hold up during the game.


Justin was definitely surprised and I'm pretty impressed with all of us for keeping it all a secret from him. Our seats were awesome, the game was great, the Brewers won, and aside from a red-hot sunburn on my legs I don't think the day could have gone better. 

Friday, June 30, 2017

June Things

June is over. Here are things I have enjoyed in June.

These sandals. I got them from Target last fall on clearance because I needed gold shoes for a wedding I was in. I've been wearing them pretty non stop so far this summer. I wear cheap Old Navy flip flops pretty exclusively in the summer but these are just as light and comfortable while looking a little nicer.

Klarbrunn sparkling water. We got a huge pack of this in lemon and lime at Costco for super cheap and it's delightful. It only comes in lemon and lime that I could find, but it's good.

Convicted podcast. Sometimes when I'm driving by myself I like listening to things where people are talking, like a morning show or the stand-up comedy station or a podcast, rather than music. I started listening to this podcast while driving Jackson to appointments, and I'm hooked. It's about a man who is in prison for the murder of his daughter in the early 90's. The host is working closely with a lawyer and digging into his case.

Iced chai lattes. Teachers get a lot of Starbucks gift cards. I use mine on iced chai lattes.

Halo sleepsack swaddle. We got a fleece one from the hospital when Jackson was born and when it started to get too hot for it we bought a cotton one. Best baby product ever.

Twitter. I started a twitter account years ago and never really got into using it. I don't write a lot of tweets, but it's an enjoyable mindless thing to flip through when I can't sleep at night and there's nothing new on Instagram.

So there are some June favorites. Anything you liked or tried in June you want to share?

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Adventures in Parenting: Blowouts

This post is not for the faint of heart. This week has been one for the books in regards to diapers.

Sunday we met friends for brunch at a nice restaurant. Jackson was dressed in my favorite outfit; a blue striped polo shirt onesie and khaki pants. We had been sitting down for less than ten minutes and were enjoying our coffee when Jackson started to get fussy. The second I picked him up from his seat everyone at the table joined in a collective gasp. I was met with a resounding "NO! Don't!" as I was about to pull him close to me and put him on my lap. Then I saw the large spot on the backside of his pants.

As I scooped up the diaper bag and plotted my route to the bathroom, I started to sweat. Not only was I about to face a gnarly diaper situation, but I was now the lady with the screaming kid trying not to hit people with the diaper bag (or the poopy baby) as I squeezed between tables. The bathroom was, thankfully, a one person bathroom but was unfortunately located near the front counter and next to several tables so everyone could hear my boy continue to voice his discomfort about this situation.

I threw the changing pad from our diaper bag down onto the changing table and gathered my supplies. As soon as I started to remove the soiled khakis the diaper sludge started to leak onto the changing pad. The cloth changing pad. WHY oh WHY is a diaper changing pad not made of a wipe-able material? As I mentioned before, the blue polo onesie was my favorite. What I did not mention was that it was incredibly hard to put on and take off. I yanked and tugged as Jackson continued to yell and make it as difficult as humanly possible for me to free him from his onesie prison. Several wipes and a few tears later I managed to get the boy clean and wrangle him into a new clean outfit. I stuffed the dirty clothes into a disposable bag (double bagged because, gross...), hoping against hope that they would be able to be salvaged. I emerged from the bathroom victorious with a calm, clean, content child and my head held high. Only to find that everyone else was just about finished with their meal as mine sat at my spot cold and uneaten.

The pants survived the day, but we sadly made the decision to let the polo go.

Fast forward to the next day.

I was upstairs putting away laundry and enjoying a knitting podcast. Jackson was sitting happily in his bouncy seat, smiling, chatting away, and loving life. When he started to quiet down and the clock struck nap time, I laid the swaddle out on our bed and went to retrieve him from the confines of the bouncer. When I lifted him up my heart sank as I realized that he had filled not only his diaper, but also the soft white cloth of the bouncy seat...with poop.

I held him out an arm length away and rushed him to his room down the hall. Thankfully I checked for a diaper before I got the changing table involved, because there were none in the room. We keep the pack and play set up downstairs with the changing table attachment on and a stack of diapers nearby. Much like the day before, I set him down and gathered my supplies. The damage to the clothes didn't look bad and I was hopeful. As any mom of boys knows, the window of time that your baby boy should be without the cover of a diaper is very small. The moment that I opened the diaper he started to pee. I scrambled to get both Jackson and the changing table cleaned up and get the new diaper on him before the chaos spread further. After a quick wipe bath and a cuddle, I wrapped him up. He was asleep before we had even gotten up to his crib, leaving me to clean up the quite literal sh*t storm he had left behind.

After the cleanup, I couldn't resist going to peek at him while he was napping. I don't understand how such a tiny person could create such a scene, but looking at this sweet little face reminds me that I will willingly clean up any pooptastrophe that comes along with it.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Date Night

There is a very sweet, kind, wonderful couple at our church that we have gotten to be good friends with since we moved here. Their kids are our age and they had their first grandchild the week before Jackson was born. Last week we got a text from them with a list of dates saying that they were free any of those nights and that they would love to watch Jackson for the evening while we went out. We took them up on their offer and decided to go to dinner and to see a show.

It was Friday night so we decided to go for a fish fry, as you do when you live in Wisconsin. We slurped down a spicy, delicious, gingery Moscow mule and ate our food in about ten minutes so we could make it to the theater to see the local production of Man of La Mancha.

As is my luck, my seat was directly behind a tall old man who had white hair that stuck out in every direction, similar to Albert Einstein. I enjoyed the first half of the show very much, despite having to crane my neck to see around Albert's hairdo. While browsing the program during intermission, I discovered that Jackson's pediatrician was playing in the pit orchestra. You can bet that's going to come up at our four-month checkup. Also during intermission we saw not one, not two, but three people that we knew who were also there to see the show. When everyone headed back to their seats, Albert and the lady next to him decided to switch spots so that I was now sitting behind a short, little, old lady whose hair was a normal size. The rest of the show was great, and made me wish I had done more theater in school, and even made me want to get involved in community theater. But then I remembered that I'm afraid of people so...

Jackson was sound asleep when we went to pick him up--as he should have been--but I was afraid that all hell was going to break loose when we tried to put him in his car seat. I don't know what kind of magic they pulled on him, but he didn't even flinch. Okay, but what about getting him out of his car seat and into his bed at home? Surely that would be a struggle. No. He stayed asleep. The. Whole. Time. And slept through the rest of the night until almost 6:00 the next morning.

I did not cry dropping him off, I did not spend the whole night checking my phone, and I spent the rest of the weekend singing "The Impossible Dream". All in all, I'd say it was a pretty successful child-free night.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The First Ramble: Travel Tales

Welcome to this new little adventure! After several painstaking hours of tweaking and trying to get this page exactly right, I finally feel like I'm ready to just get going and post something. Go ahead and follow me on Bloglovin'!

Currently my house looks like an episode of Hoarders because we recently got back from a whirlwind week vacation and things have not slowed down since we got back. I'm choosing to ignore the disaster and tell you about our trip.

We went to visit my family for a few days (many of them were meeting Jackson for the first time), celebrated two beautiful weddings, and spent a day/night in Chicago with friends. Here's what I learned on our travels.

Travel at night. We decided to leave from Jackson's orthotist appointment since it is already a little over an hour into our nine hour trip. We didn't officially get on the road until after 4:00 but since a lot of the driving was at night, Jackson slept most of the way. We came back in the day time and it was harder for Jackson to be in the car seat for long stretches during the day.

Just sit in the back. After a couple of incidences where we had to pull over so I could get in the back and either feed or comfort Jackson, I finally decided that it was just best for me to sit in the back right from the start any time we were in the car for a significant amount of time (which was a lot) on this trip.

Bottles are awful and awesome. Jackson has been exclusively formula fed for several weeks now and sometimes trying to plan travel with formula and bottles is so frustrating. But on a long car trip it was so nice to just whip out a bottle and feed him in his car seat without having to take the time to stop and get out for a feeding.

Air BnB. I wasn't familiar with this until we decided to plan our excursion to Chicago. The other family that we were traveling with have a toddler and we decided with our kids it would be easier than trying to get hotel rooms. We ended up staying in a great apartment just a few blocks from the train station. There was plenty of space for all of us to spread out and hang out, and splitting the one apartment three ways was definitely more cost effective than all of us getting our own hotel rooms. I will definitely look into using Air BnB before booking a hotel next time we travel.

Find the free. While we were in Chicago we went to the Lincoln Park zoo (pretty great for a free zoo!), Millennium Park, and Navy Pier. With kids along it wasn't worth it to spend a lot of money on admission to something they weren't old enough to remember or appreciate. We had a great time!

Our car was packed as full as it could be, we were exhausted coming home, and the whole week seemed to fly by, but I overall our first major trip with a baby was a success! (Note: I am okay not taking any more trips any time soon.)