Monday, July 1, 2013

Sleep Date

I mentioned in my last post here that Seamus is not sleeping through the night yet.  We're two very tired parents.  So, I asked my mom if she would mind taking the kids overnight so Bill and I could have an uninterrupted night's sleep.  Saturday morning I drove the hour and a half to my parents house and dropped off the kids, then turned around and drove the hour and half back home.  Bill and I then enjoyed a wonderful 24 hours of DINKdom. 

While I was driving Bill went to the driving range with our brother-in-law.  Then, when I got home we had lunch, and just relaxed on the couch watching a bit of television.  Basically, just relishing the fact that no one needed anything from us.  At 3:30pm we went to the movies.  We saw Man of Steel.  I thought it was good, but not great...kind of long for me; but it was still easily the best Superman movie I've seen.
The movie got out around 6pm, and we headed to dinner.  I received a City Tins set for Christmas, so we've slowly been making our way through the restaurants.  Wanting to avoid downtown Milwaukee due to SummerFest, we chose Maxi's Southern Comfort.  I have been there before, but it was a first for Bill.  We had a really nice dinner.  First Bill had a Mojito and I had Sparkling Wine.  Then, we ordered half a dozen of the Fresh-shucked Raw Oysters as an appetizer.  Bill had never had oysters, and it had been awhile for me.  (Bill actually googled "how to eat oysters" at the table so he would know what to do.)  I thought they were really good, but as per usual with oysters, gone too soon.  Next, we both had a cup of Tortilla Soup, a favorite of ours.  Then, for our entrees, Bill had the " Jambalaya 'Me-Oh-My-A' " (he never passes up Jambalaya on a menu) and I had the special "Turkey Po'Boy".  We both enjoyed everything.  The portions were so big though, that we each took half our entree home.

By the time dinner was over we were both getting tired, which was perfect for the last and main event of our date....SLEEP!  We were literally in bed by 9pm and slept 10 hours straight.  It was glorious!!!  We really needed it.  We also got to enjoy a lazy morning in bed...hadn't had one of those in forever.  We made a quick Target run before heading back down to Illinois to pick up the kids.  They had a really good time with my parents.  Seamus got up twice overnight, but my mom said it was no problem, especially since it was only the one night.  Thanks Mom and Dad!!

Friday, June 28, 2013

3 Months In

It's been over 3 months since we became a family of four, and it has been quite an adjustment (especially since we moved in there as well).  I knew things would be different than they were with Madeleine, but at the same time I thought they wouldn't be...does that make sense?  I guess I underestimated how much of Madeleine's behaviors were just how she was as opposed to us being awesome parents.  I now know that Madeleine was just a really good baby - not that Seamus is bad by any means, it's just a little harder the second time around.  I think Madeleine was definitely meant to be our first born because if Seamus was he probably would be an only child.  So, as we're starting to leave the infant stage behind and entering the chubby baby phase I thought I'd take a moment to let you know how the experience was different the second time around.
Madeleine - The biggest struggle I had with Madeleine the first week was breastfeeding.  It took her five days to figure it all out, and we fed her with a syringe until she did.  I also remember trying really hard to keep her up in the evenings so she would sleep more at night.

Seamus - Seamus spent his entire first week in the NICU at the hospital.  It was one of the hardest weeks of my life.  He was a month early, and his lungs were a bit underdeveloped plus he had a bad case of jaundice.  It was just heartbreaking to see him with a tube down his throat, IV's in his arm, and blindfolded under UV lights; but we knew it was for the best.  It was days before they would even let us hold him.  When we were at the hospital, there was literally nothing we could do but be with him.  We could touch him, and changed his diapers, but until day four that was about it.  When we did finally get to hold him it was always difficult with all the wires attached to him.  We were also exhausted from all the back and forth between the hospital and the house.  Every morning we would drop Madeleine off at daycare and then spend the day at the hospital.  Then we'd leave around 4pm, pick up Madeleine, and spend the evening with her.  After she went to bed I would go back to the hospital until my bedtime.  I never stayed overnight at the NICU as we figured he was in good hands, it would be better to sleep in our own bed, and we wanted to be there for Madeleine in the mornings.  I cannot tell you how happy we were to finally take him home with a clean bill of health.

Madeleine - Like I said, it took Madeleine five days to figure out the whole breastfeeding thing, but once she did it was smooth sailing for us.  I nursed her when I was home, but I also pumped so she had breastmilk for bottle feedings.

Seamus - Since he was early, it took awhile for my milk to come in with Seamus.  I pumped every three hours like clock work and gave what I could.  We told the hospital it was fine to supplement him with formula when needed though.  When I could finally try nursing him, he did pretty first.  Eventually he started to fight the feedings though.  He had (still has) reflux and would arch his back and writhe his head back and forth whenever I tried to feed him.  You could tell he was hungry, but he would not latch on.  So, I started pumping and using bottles instead.  He fought the bottles too, but with medicine and lots and lots of burping per feeding he's gotten better (he still has bad days sometimes).  Pumping was taking up too much time though.  He was eating every two and a half hours, and I could easily spend half that time with just the pumping and feedings.  I was tired and miserable, so I made the call after month one to just switch to formula.  It was a hard decision, but the right one for me.  I had more time to rest, which I needed, and be with my family.  Three months in, he's eating much better, but still occasionally has difficulties.

Madeleine - We had some difficulties getting Madeleine to sleep at night, but not much comparitively.  After her middle of the night feedings she would cry and cry when you put her down.  After two weeks we tried the "cry-it-out" method.  The first night it took her 45 minutes to stop crying and go to sleep.  It only took her three nights to learn to self-soothe herself to sleep.  At 7 weeks old...yes, 7 WEEKS OLD, she started sleeping through the night (9pm to 5am).  Actually, by month four she was sleeping 12 hours a night (6pm to 6am).  We were spoiled.

Seamus - Seamus does not sleep through the night yet!!!!  We are so tired.  Unlike Madeleine, he goes down to bed and falls asleep with no problems, however, he still is waking up usually between 2-3am for a feeding.  He eats quick and goes right back down, but the interruption to our sleep has been brutal.  We're getting there though...he actually slept very well the last two nights, so I'm hoping we're close.  He is an awesome napper though.  We quickly got him on a 2-nap a day schedule.  He takes a nap after his 8:30am bottle, and again after his 12:30pm bottle.  The best I think I did was get them napping at the same time.  They both sleep from about 1-3pm everyday. 
Madeleine - never wanted anything to do with them.  She also has never sucked her thumb.

Seamus - loves them!!  If he is fussy, it instantly soothes him.  We never leave home without it.  He recently started sucking his fingers too.  Basically, if the pacifier is not in his mouth, then his fingers are.

Madeleine - I don't remember that Madeleine had any problems with tummy time.  She would do it for pretty long stretches at a time.  She never minded hanging out in a bouncer, and would instantly fall asleep in a swing.

Seamus - Seamus hates tummy time.  He's usually screaming after 30 seconds.  He seems to really like our bouncer, and is now starting to reach out and play with the toys.  However, he really hates the swing.  If he's already sleeping, he'll sleep in the swing; but if you put him in it awake he does not like it.

Madeleine - Madeleine spit up a lot.  We always had a burp cloth with us, and she wore a bib all the time.  She also would have diaper blow-outs here and there.

Seamus - Seamus never spits I can count on one hand the number of times he has done it so far.  He never wears a bib either (although he is just now starting to drool a bit).  Other than being sprayed a few times the first couple of weeks, his diaper changes are not messy at all.

Madeleine - Madeleine was a great baby, and hardly ever cried.

Seamus - Seamus cries, but I feel that is more our doing than him.  With Madeleine, the second she started to fuss we were there to cater to whatever need she had.  However, sometimes Seamus has to just wait.  Madeleine has to go to potty, or she needs help with something, or I need to get her meal on the table - basically I try to get her set up first, so then I can hopefully deal with the baby's needs with less interruptions.  That sometimes means he has to cry five minutes longer for a bottle.  I will say though, that I think he interracts and smiles a lot more than she did at this age.  Madeleine was always content...Seamus is happy. 
In the end, that is what is most important to me.  He had a tough start, and some days are easier than others for him (and me), but he's really really happy.     

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

This and That

Ugh...stupid babies and work keep getting in the way of my blogging!!!

Here's a quick look at what I've been up to lately...

I cut my hair.  I think it is kind of too short, and am still getting used to it.  It's been really long for a while now.  (Also, I have no make-up on and look tired).

We've been enjoying summer the best we can with lots of family get togethers, walks, the park, swimming, and festivals.  Here's Madeleine dancing to the bagpipes at the Scottish Festival.
I also finally got the girl signed up for some classes.  I signed her up for some zoo classes and swimming lessons.  Here she is at her zoo class where they learned about the carousel.
Sometimes we just hang out and watch t.v. too.  I got hooked on The Voice. (I was rooting for Michele, but was okay with Danielle winning too)  I'm glad its over though.  Reality competition shows are too much of a commitment.  Thank goodness for DVR to cut out all the filler.  We essentially just watched the performances and last five minutes of the results show each week.
Photo Source: The Hollywood Reporter
Game of Thrones just ended and True Blood just started back up on HBO, so we've been watching those.  I know I said I probably wouldn't watch it here, but I also watched Under the Dome last night.  I was too curious to see how they would adapt it. I'm not sure if I'm going to keep watching or not yet.  I'll probably watch at least one more episode.  They changed quite a bit from the book.  We also watched a couple of movies: Celeste and Jessie Forever and Zero Dark Thirty.  Both were good, but Zero Dark Thirty was really good.
I haven't bought any new clothes, but I did pick up these shoes for my nightly (well, almost nightly) walks with the dog.
I tried out The Honest Co.'s diapers.  They had a free trial ($5.95 for shipping) for a 7 diapers and 10 wipe sample.  Besides being super cute, I actually liked them.  They aren't as bulky as regular diapers.  I signed up for their delivery service.  I did the math, and it is about equal to what I am paying now for diapers/wipes.  Plus they are so much cuter than my normal Pampers.
Let's see...anything else?  Oh yeah, Seamus smiles all the time now and I love it!!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Book Reports

I finished another book!!  It's been ages since I read a Stephen King novel too.  Both my sister and a friend liked this book, and I thought with the mini-serires coming up that looked pretty good (keep reading for more on that) now was the time to read it.
Under the Dome: by Stephen King
Basically, this book is about small town in Maine that suddenly gets surrounded by an invisible force field cutting them off from the outside world.  I told Bill I was reading it, and he said, "Isn't that the plot of The Simpsons movie?"  Why yes, yes it is, but I decided to read it anyway.

First off, this is quite a long book, but it reads really fast; so don't get turned off by that.  It's also very well-written (I actually broke out my Kindle dictionary quite a bit while reading it), and is a really quite interesting concept.  On the surface it's about the town cut off from the rest of the world, but in reality it's really about power struggles and how people react in extraordinary circumstances.

In general, I really liked the book, but there were a few things that I didn't like.  First, there are some really uncomfortable passages to read - let's just say quite a bit of violence happens under the dome.  Secondly, the timeline seemed a bit unbelievable.  The rate in which bad things start happening was so quick that I was constantly double checking the dates.  (Okay, the dome came down on Saturday, there's now this many people dead, and wait - it's only Monday!!)  The characters do address this quite a bit in the book - just as bewildered by it as me apparently.  Finally, there are so many characters that I sometimes got confused or couldn't remember who people were.  Although, Stephen King does provide a nice little town map and list of characters in the beginning to help with it all.

All in all though, I definately recommend it.

Now, for the bummer part, I thought the television adaptation was a mini-series, but it's actually a new weekly series!!  I was so disappointed.  I was intrigued thinking it was a one and done movie, but I don't want to add another weekly show to my roster.  Plus, I don't know how they could keep the momentum of the story going week after week, season after season - it's just people stuck in a dome after all.  I'm thinking I am not going to watch it, but if you do, let me know how you like it.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013


Madeleine's vocabulary has increased by leaps and bounds over the last few months.  She's still not quite in the full sentences stage, but I can understand her more often than not.  Although, she does still occasionally speak in some sort of gibberish that I swear might be Chinese.

Anyway, she recently has been saying two things that just melt my heart everytime I hear them.

1.  When she wakes up from naps or in the morning she gives me a hug and says...
I miss you, Mommy.

2.  Then the other day on the potty and then today again when I was helping her out of her car seat, she'll ask for a hug then say...
I proud you, Mommy.

It's absolutely adorable.  The "proud" one always makes me smile too.  I don't get told too often that someone is proud of me, so even though its coming from my 2.5 year old - it's nice to hear (especially on those days when I'm feeling like the worst mother in the world).
I love this girl!!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Book Reports

I knocked out a couple more books recently (although I'm nowhere near my 24 books for the year goal).  Here's what I read since the last Book Reports post.
Life of Pi: by Yann Martel
I remember this book got a lot of hype when it came out, and I remember mentally putting it on my "to-read" list without really knowing what it was about.  Needless to say, I never read it.  Then, last year I started seeing previews for the movie, and I was like - this book is about a dude trapped on a lifeboat with a tiger!  If I had known that I would have read it ages ago.  I wanted to see the movie too, so I finally got around to reading it.

I'm glad I read the book before seeing the movie, as like is most always the case, it was much better.  I really enjoyed it.  It was a really great story that moved along quickly enough to keep my interest.  The story on its own was fantastic, then you read the ending and it takes it to another equally fantastic level.  So, if you're one of the few people who have not read this book yet - I highly recommend it.

Sidenote:  Although I did like the book better, the movie was very good as well.  It was very visually stunning.

Next, I jumped back to non-fiction for a re-read of a book I've read multiple times before.
French Women Don't Get Fat: The Secret of Eating for Pleasure: by Mireille Guiliano
As a self-described Francophile, I grabbed this book when it came out years ago.  I've mentioned I am trying to lose weight, so I decided to re-read it for some inspiration.  I really like it because it is not a "diet" book.  It's really about a whole different approach to eating.  It stresses things like eating fresh and in season foods.  It describes how mealtimes (including everyday meals) should be events with a lot of care and thought going into them...eating on nice plates with cloth napkins, etc.  It talks about how we should slow down and really savor the tastes of things.  In addition, it discusses more weight loss type things like smaller portions, variety, and moving more.  However, the reason I like it is because it's not restritive.  It wants you to eat all the foods you love, but just be smarter about it.  Whereas in the past I mostly viewed this book as a novelty, this time around, I am actually trying to put some of it into practice.  I'm drinking more water.  I'm walking at least 30 minutes a day plus using the stairs instead of elevators when possible.  So, if you're looking to learn a bit more about French culture and pick up a few weight loss tips and tricks in the process (and recipes too, it includes a bunch of recipes) then I recommend this book too.

I have officially five books under my belt for the first five months of 2013.  My goal of 24 is most likely out of my reach now, but I'm hoping to at least beat last year's total of 16.  Right now I'm reading Under the Dome by Stephen King.  I'm hoping to finish it in time to watch the mini-series starting on June 24th.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Fancy Date

...or as Bill and I were saying in our Irish accents...Fuhncey Date.

It had been a long while since Bill and I had a date night...what with the new baby and the move.  I had mentioned in April that if Bill hadn't gotten me anything for my birthday yet, that I wanted to go to the ballet to see Swan Lake.  He already had gotten me something (a Kindle Fire), but we decided to still get the tickets.

So, last Saturday; we dressed up, dropped the kids off at Bill's sister's house, and headed to downtown Milwaukee.  First, we had dinner at Crazy Water - which I had never been to before.  I wasn't that impressed by the whole look and feel of the restaurant (it's just in a house in an odd area of town), but the food was fantastic which is all that really matters.  We started off with cocktails (Highball for me and Newcastle for Bill), and the evenings' special appetizer, soft shell crab cakes.  Then for our entrees I had the Beef Wellington with twice baked new potatoes, haricots verts and madiera sauce accompanied by a glass of Gascon Malbec wine.  Bill had the Pancetta and Goat Cheese Stuffed Bell and Evans Chicken Breast with wild mushroom pan gravy, gnocchi galette and haricots verts.  For dessert we split Three Layer Chocolate Mousse with raspberry sauce.  Like I said, everything was delicious, and I would totally eat there again.

After dinner we headed to the ballet.
Photo source:
This is the first time I have seen Swan Lake.  (Ever since I saw Black Swan a few years ago I have wanted to see it performed)  I prefer the more traditional ballets, so this was right up my alley.  The music was beautiful, the sets were awesome, and the dancing was fantastic - so I loved it.  Bill and I were both really impressed at the parts where the "swans" all danced together most.  As Bill said, "the best part of Swan Lake was the swans!"  It's hard to explain, but they really moved like a flock of birds and was very cool.

All in all, it was a fantastic (and much needed) date night.    

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Pin It - Did It!

It's been awhile since I tried anything I pinned on Pinterest, so I thought I would try a few recipes this time.  I tried two so far this week, and one was pretty good and the other one wasn't.

First, on Sunday I made these Sesame Garlic Green Beans.
I'm trying to get Madeleine and myself to eat more vegetables. Actually, I'm trying to get Madeleine to not only eat, but like vegetables.  Me, I'm trying to at least tolerate them - I don't think I'll ever actually like them.  Part of my problem, is I don't really know how to prepare them well, so I started looking for recipes.  I once had some green beans at a tapas place in town that weren't too bad (high praise from me), and this recipe reminded me of them.

The verdict - Bill and I ate them, but we didn't really like them.  How did Madeleine like them?  Well, she popped one in her mouth and then promptly spit it out.  I'm not exactly sure if I did something wrong or not, as the recipe did not have exact measurements.  Maybe I put two much of one thing or not enough of another, I don't know.  It tasted very nutty to me. 

We won't be having these again.  I think the green beans I enjoyed at that restaurant might have had a ginger sauce on them, and not sesame like these.  They definitely had an Asian flare to them - hopefully I'll figure it out.

On to recipe number two...

Last night we made Pasta with Fresh Tomato Sauce
As you can see, I'm trying to make healthier choices at meal time.  I love pasta, but usually always eat it with thick tomato or cream sauces.  This looked like a lighter option that would be good for these warmer months.  I loved that it was made with such fresh ingredients.  I felt so healthy chopping up the tomatoes and herbs (I did a course chop of everything and then put it in the food processor).  I told Bill I was going to call this "Summer Spaghetti".

The verdict - I really liked it.  It tasted fresh and light just how I hoped it would.  Bill liked it too, and asked if we could eat "Summer Spaghetti" in the winter.  Madeleine, however, hated it.  Seriously, she started crying at the table when I tried to get her to eat more of it.  She loves pasta, so I didn't think it would be a problem.  I could see her, over time, liking this dish too though.  The best part about this dish was that it was super fast - it's seriously only a 15-20 minute meal.

So, I guess (not counting Madeleine's tastes) we had a 50% success rate with these new recipes.  It's been awhile since I tried some new recipes, so I'm glad we found at least one that we'll make again.

Friday, May 10, 2013

The Name Game

When we decided to name our son "Seamus" I was a little worried that we would get some flack for it.  I was mentally preparing for lots of "You named him what?" type of comments.  Surprisingly though, everybody has thought it is really cool which was a big relief.  I am surprised though, by the number of people that don't know how to pronounce it.  It's pronounced SHAY-mus not C-mus.  I always tell people to think of the name Sean (as in Sean Connery) - the SEA in Gaelic makes the SH sound.

It's so intersting how/why people decide on the names for their children, so here's our story.  It starts way back in 2010 though when we first learned we were pregnant with Madeleine.  We actually had our names picked out almost immediately.

Basically, I loved the name Madeleine Rose.  I actually came up with it when I was a teenager.  Madeleine sort of came from two sources.  First, I love the children's book Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans.  I love all things French, so a story about a little French orphan girl and her adventures always appealed to me.

Secondly, at some point in my youth, I was watching movies like Young Frankenstein and Clue and fell in love with the actress Madeline Kahn.  I just thought she was so funny and beautiful.  It was around this time that Madeleine went on the list.

I thought that a three syllable first name should have a one syllable middle name.  I chose the name Rose as my confirmation name in high school, and it just clicked - Madeleine Rose.

I played around with the different spellings for a long time (Madeline, Madelyn, Madeleine) and decided I liked the French spelling best.

So, when we found out we were pregnant I told Bill if it was a girl I wanted to name her Madeleine Rose.  I loved it so much, that I didn't even give him a chance to say "yes" or "no" to it.  I basically struck a deal that if he gave me the name, if it was a boy he could name him whatever he wanted.  Bill wanted something very Irish, and chose the name Seamus.  I will admit I wasn't a huge fan at first, but a deal's a deal so I agreed.  I think we might have come up with Alan as the middle name together.  It's my dad's name, and it just sort of fit.

Then we found out it was a girl, and I was so happy I would have my little Madeleine Rose.

We always knew we wanted another child after Madeleine, so we talked a lot about when little Seamus would come.  So, I basically had three years to get used to the idea of the name Seamus, and eventually fell in love with it too.

Incidentally, there were a few other names on the short list for both of them.  I also really liked the names Alice and Agnes for girls, and Liam and Richard for boys.  Bill's girl name was Saoirse (SEER-sha).  I thought it was very pretty, but I was really scared of the spelling.  So, I'm very happy we got a Seamus and not a Saoirse.

We also get asked about nicknames a lot.  I thought for sure we'd call Madeleine, Maddie - but it's just not her.  The few times I've called her Maddie it sounded awkward and forced, so she's always been our Madeleine.  As for Seamus, we do call him Shea quite a bit.

So, there you have it.  That's how our baby names came to be. 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

I've Lost Something...

and that something is...MY SENSE OF STYLE!

Here's how the story goes.  In my twenties, I think I had pretty good style.  I tried to find a picture to prove this, but it seems I only took headshots back then - or I'm wearing a coat.  So, you'll just have to trust me that I dressed well. 

Then, between 2006 and 2010 I gained about 35 pounds.  I'm not proud of it, but it happened.  Then I had babies, and my body changed again.   

SIDENOTE - I did lose the baby weight with Madeleine, but not the additional 35 pounds.  I have about 11 pounds to go from this last pregnancy yet.  I have a goal to lose this last bit of baby weight, plus the 35 pounds I gained - but that's another post.

What I'm trying to say, is that I don't know how to dress my current body.  I don't know my size.  I don't know what stores to shop at.  I don't know what looks good on me anymore.

In addition, psychologically, I still expect to see the "skinny" me in the mirror.  So, when I'm out shopping and trying things on I automatically think I look fat because I don't see the body I used to have.  It's not the clothes though, I am fat.  Not morbidly obese by any mean, but overweight, yes.  The term pleasantly plump comes to mine, but it's not feeling so pleasant.

Shopping for clothes is no longer fun, but frustrating and emotional.

So, that needs to change.  I am going to continue to try and lose weight, but I can't put my wardrobe on hold in the interim.  It's pitiful how little clothing I own anymore.  (I only take up about two feet of space in our closet)  I love fashion way too much to give up on it.

Before I go shopping though, I have to figure out what my style is now.  First off, my casual look.  Unfortunately, I have very little reason to dress up anymore.  I always loved buying cute dress clothes for work, but recently they started allowing us to wear jeans everyday.  Even when I was thinner I didn't have much of a casual wardrobe, so I've been lacking in this department for some time now.

Television is one of the best places to look for style inspiration.  Right now, I'm really loving the wardrobe of Ellie Torres (played by Christa Miller) on Cougar Town.  I think she does casual chic just awesome.  She is almost always dressed in jeans or khakis, but her tops are usually silk, have lace accents, or are nice knits (lots of color block and stripes).  She also rocks lots of blazers.  So, even though it is casual, it comes off as very sophisticated and professional.  There's a bit of a masculine quality to her clothes too, but she always softens them up with jewelry, color, and the fabrics.

So, next time I go shopping, I'm going to keep my eye out for "Ellie" tops.

All images above from Possessionista.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Best Laid Plans

You can prep and plan all you want, but sometimes the universe has other plans for you.  Like when your water breaks in the middle of the night a MONTH before your due date!!

Yup, that's what happened, and why I've been MIA for the past month.

So, without further ado, I present SEAMUS ALAN!

He had a bit of a rocky start, and had to stay in the NICU for the first week of his life for some lung issues, but we've been home now for three weeks and everybody is doing great.

Friday, March 1, 2013

March - To Do

March is here...onwards toward Spring.  We sold our house!!!  The baby is coming soon!!!  So, much to look forward too.

Key Dates
March 22nd - Brother-in-law's Birthday
March 17th - St. Patrick's Day
March 31st - Easter

Take Pictures of the House - Since the house is still all nice and clean from our open house, I want to go through and take pictures of all the rooms to remember the place.
Make Video of the House for Madeleine - I also want to take a video tour of the place, so I can document a few things like where Madeleine first crawled and did this or that.
Send Birthday Card to Brother-in-law
St. Patrick's Day - Since Bill's Irish, we usually do something.  Not sure what we're going to do this year though.
- Color Eggs - I think Madeleine is really going to enjoy doing this this year.
- Prepare Breakfast - We have a tradition in our family of doing a cold breakfast Easter morning.  I love it, and have to go around to all my little shops to get everything we'll need.
- Basket Blessing / Church - After I have everything for the breakfast, we put it in a basket and have it blessed by our church.  I'm pretty sure it's an Eastern European thing - my family is Polish.  We also have to make sure we actually go to church on Easter.  We've definitely become Lapsed Catholics over the years.
Start Packing - closing is not until April 25th, but whatever we can pack, move, or sell now I want to get started on.
Have This Baby!! - I'm not due until April 7th, but with the plethera of birthdays we have in our family in April, I'm kind of hoping for a March baby.  Plus, I'm done being pregnant already.  It actually went by really fast, but now that it's so close I just want to meet my baby boy!!

P.S.  I didn't have to put give Banshee her meds on the list because Bill did that already this morning!!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

February - Status Update

Well, February completely flew by, but it is the shortest month of the year.  I think I got everything done on my To-Do List.

Give Banshee her meds.  I completely forgot, but thankfully Bill remembered.
Send birthday card to Brother-in-law.  Done
Valentine's Day.
- Do something crafty or bake something fun with Madeleine.  It wasn't much, but I found some break and bake Mickey Mouse Valentine cookies at the grocery store.  She loves Mickey right now...or just the "Mouse" as she calls him.  I thought she would love them, but I don't think she really cared, and they actually weren't very good.  So, this one was a bit of a bust.
- Get Valentines & candy for Madeleine's daycare group.  I picked up some Valentine's and lollypops from Target and put these together on time.  
- Date night with Bill.  Madeleine's daycare had a Parent's Night Out on Feb. 16th, so we had free babysitting from 4-8pm.  We went to the movies and saw The Hobbit.
Finish any outstanding House Fix-its.  Done.
Find a plumber.  Done.
Continue the Big Purge.  Done. 
Put the house up for sale!!  Done.  It's been up about a week now.  We had quite a few showings, a successful open house, and got an offer!!  We countered and are waiting to hear back.

It's been a very busy month, but we accomplished a lot.

I didn't take any pictures, but for Valentine's Day we also got Madeleine some candy hearts and chocolates.  Bill sent a lovely boquete of flowers to my office, and got me some candy.  I gave him a card, and as a joke put $5 in it.  I told him he could spend it on whatever he wanted.  Seriously though, are wives supposed to get their husbands something for Valentine's Day?  I'm always happy with flowers, so there's really no male equivalent to that. 

Then, something that wasn't even on my To-Do List that caught me completely by surprise was Mardi Gras!!  It was so early this year, but I remembered the Monday before.  I usually like to get us a King's Cake for fun, but I forgot to order one.  A quick trip to the grocery store though, and we had ourselves a little celebration.
I was going to take another picture of the cookie without her hand, but this one is much cuter and more accurate as to what was happening while I was trying to take a picture.
We all enjoyed the cookie, it was actually really, really good.  Madeleine kept singing "Happy To You" which is how she sings "Happy Birthday".

So, essentially, that was our February.  How was yours?  Did you do anything fun for Mardi Gras or Valentine's Day?

Monday, February 25, 2013

Book Reports

One of my "hobbies" that I do not get to do enough of anymore is reading.  Picture me using my fingers to make quote marks when I say hobbies because I sometimes think reading is more of a personality trait than a hobby.  I think there are readers and non-readers out there.  I'm definitely a reader, and have been my whole life.

Last year I had hoped to get through at least 24 books, but only ended up reading 16.  Besides not having enough time, my choice of book sometimes slows me down too.  There's usually a non-fiction book here or there that I like to read, but although they're interesting, I don't usually devour them like I do fiction.  Then, on the fiction side, I like to occasionally read a classic here or there, and they also tend to take me awhile to get through.  So, I kind of felt bad that I did not even come close to reaching my goal, but I'm trying not to worry about it too much.  This is definitely one of those things that should be quality over quantity. 

It's funny too, the differences between readers and non-readers.  When I mention to each that I read 16 books last year the reader response is "only 16?" and the non-reader response is "wow, 16 books!!"

So, here we are in 2013, and although I didn't make a formal resolution to read 24 books again, it is my unofficial goal.  I'm three deep so far.  This is what I've been reading:

Bossypants: by Tina Fey
I thought I would kick off the new year with something light and fun.  I have been meaning to read this book forever, and as I had to do that 3-hour glucose test at the hospital one Saturday morning I downloaded it to keep me busy.  I finished about 90% of the book during that 3-hour span, and then finished it up a few days later.  So, it is definitely a quick read.  I was expecting it to focus more around her childhood/struggling young adult stages, but a lot of it was actually her more current SNL/30 Rock stories.  There were also a few parenting and relationship stories as well.  It jumped around a bit more than I thought it would.  That's not a bad thing, it just wasn't what I was expecting.  It was all very funny and well-written though which is the important thing.  I gave it 3 out of 5 stars, which for me equals "I liked it"
(1 star - didn't like it, 2 stars - it was okay, 3 stars - liked it, 4 stars - really liked it, 5 stars - loved it)
Next up was another non-fiction...
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking: by Susan Cain
As a self-described Introvert, I was drawn to this book when I started seeing it pop here and there.  It took me a month to get through it (like I said, non-fiction sometimes slows me down), but it was super interesting.  I think everyone should read this book.  It discusses Introverts in all sorts of various settings, and looked at them from all different scenarios.  For example, in the Introverts in business section it touched on the "extrovert boss - introvert employee", the "introvert boss - extravert employee", and the "introvert boss - introvert employee" scenarios.  It talked about the best environments for Introverts to work in and how each of these types of bosses could get the most out of their introvert/extravert employees.  There's a section like that for teachers, parents, and relationships.  The parents and relationships sections were the most interesting to me.  Bill is definitely an extravert, and I'm thinking Madeleine is following suit, but it's hard to decide that quite yet.
It also describes how none of us are really 100% one way or the other, and how Introverts can literally flip a switch and be extraverted if the situation really calls for it, but how it drains them and eventually they'll need to retreat to their natural Introvert state. 
I just found the subject matter fascinating, and helpful.  If you're not an Introvert, you know someone in your life who is; so I think the information pertains to everyone.  I definitely recommend this book.  4 out of 5 stars.
Finally, I just finished up my first fiction book of the year...
Gone Girl: by Gillian Flynn
This book, essentially a missing person/murder type mystery novel, had me hooked from the beginning.  It's broken up into three parts.  I devoured the first third super quick...then the major plot question gets answered.  After that, it slowed a bit for me, but I kept reading part two with more of an "okay, where is this going?" frame of mind.  Then, that question got answered.  Part three kept me intrigued as I really wanted the satisfaction of a certain ending, but then that didn't happen!!  It actually ended so abruptly that I was literally flipping the pages going, "wait, where's the next chapter, this can't be it."  But it was, to which I said "boo."  I definitely liked this booked; I just wished it had ended differently.  So, only 3 out of 5 stars for this too.
That's what I've read so far this year.  I have no idea what to read next, so send me recommendations!!     

Monday, February 11, 2013

Winter Fun

We finally got some real snow here in Milwaukee, so I made sure to let Madeleine play in it a bit last week.  Madeleine playing in snow consists of stomping around, brushing snow off things, laughing at the dogs playing in the snow, and eating the snow.  Seriously, I could not get her to stop eating the snow!!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Resolutions Update

Since it's February now, I thought I'd check in on my New Year's Resolutions to see how I was coming along.  I heard on the radio that most people abandon their resolutions within 45 days of the new year.  We're closing in on that timeframe, so it's the perfect time to check in and keep the momentum going.

1. Record those memories - I've fallen a little behind on a few of my, for lack of a better name, memory projects. I need to catch up on these, and make sure I'm on top of it going forward.
- 2011 and 2012 Photo Books  I've been going through photos and picking/editing ones for the photo books, but I'm only through September 2011. 
- Madeleine's Christmas Memory Book  I typed this up before I forgot the details, but haven't made the time to handwrite it into her book yet.
- Madeleine's Baby Book  Nothing.
- Purchase Baby Boy's Baby Book  Nothing.
- Figure out a video storage system and edit videos  Nothing.

2. Get in shape - I debated making this one public or not, but it is what it is. I need to lose a few pounds. This one is obviously on hold until after the baby is born, but come April I want to lose the baby weight plus an additional 20 pounds.  Nothing, but I'm happy to report that I have not gained nearly as much weight this time around as I did with Madeleine.  I still have a few months left, but hopefully I'll be starting off in a better place than last time.  My super healthy friends in AZ have got me thinking about my eating habits, and the habits I want to instill in my kids too; so I plan to start working on changing those to be more healthy.  That's something I can start now too, and don't have to wait on.

3. Take better photos - I'd like to learn more about how our camera works. In addition, which I think will make an even bigger difference, I really want to learn how to edit the pictures I take. My editing skills consist of removing red eye and clicking the "autocorrect" button in Microsoft Office 2010. That's it. I'd like to start learning Photoshop or some other editing software.  Nothing.

4. Make music - I grew up playing the piano and violin, but I never do that anymore. Bill also gave me a guitar a few years back, that I've really only toyed with since then. I'd like to learn one or two songs on the guitar, and be able to play them well and from memory.  Nothing.

5. The Big Purge - I mentioned this one already here. It's going to be a big project, but I'm actually looking forward to it. This one is coming along actually.  We've sold quite a few things, and have donated a ton.  We've even brought a few car loads of items we know we won't need for awhile, like holiday decorations and seasonal clothes, to my father-in-law's condo to help declutter the house for staging purposes.

6. Work on my style - I feel like I've lost my sense of style in the last few years. Between my weight gain and becoming a mom; I don't know how to dress my body anymore, and even if I did I'm not exactly sure what my style even is anymore.  Nothing, but I've been thinking about it.  I think I might extend this one to make it a family goal as well.  I've been thinking a lot about how I want Madeleine and Baby Boy to dress too.  I think Bill knows his style pretty well, but his wardrobe could use some revamping too.

7. Go Green - I definitely want to start being a bit more eco-friendly. I don't see myself setting up a worm compost system in my basement or anything, but I'd like to start making some small changes here and there. I especially want to start switching some of our cleaning agents to more green options. I don't want my family exposed to a bunch of chemicals anymore.  We used cloth napkins for dinner one time.  I'm still hoping to make that a regular thing, but I keep forgeting!!  I've also switched laundry detergents from Tide to Seventh Generation.  I've used Tide my entire lift, so this was pretty big.  I wish I could say I did some research on Seventh Generation and made an informed choice, but I didn't.  It says "Natural" on the bottle, so I thought I'd give it a try.  I'm not sure exactly how much more "green" it is over Tide, but I have no complaints about it so far.  It cleans just as well as Tide, and the cost is about equal as well.

8. Learn to sew/crochet - I've been wanting to learn to both sew and crochet forever!! My mom gave me a brand new sewing maching like 3 or 4 years ago, and I've literally never even turned it on; crocheting just looks really fun to me. So, I'm hoping to add these new skills to my repetoire this year.  I had one crochet lesson!!  I took Madeleine to my sister's for a play date with my niece, and while they played my sister taught me some basics.  She showed me how to make a chain, single, and double stitches.  She also gave me some supplies and books to practice.  Unfortnately, I haven't picked it up again since that day, but I plan to this week.  My fingers were pretty awkward holding everything, but I think with a little practice I can probably get pretty good at crochet.

So, there you have it.  I'm plugging away at a few, and reminded myself of a few others.  Writing them down is definitely key.  I think the more you keep them on your radar the better chance you have of achieving them. 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Babymoon...Sort Of

Bill and I just got back from a quick weekend in Arizona.  I actually had to go for work, and since we have good friends down there Bill decided to tag along.
I flew out Wednesday afternoon, and landed in Phoenix around 7:30pm.  I met my two best friends Dawn and Lauren (identical twins) for dinner at Four Peaks Brewery in Scottsdale.  I've known these gals since the 8th grade, so we pretty much took off just where we left off.  We joked that it felt like we were just getting together for dinner like we do it all the time even though we haven't seen each other since last May.
Thursday morning I headed to the office.  I mentioned here that my company merged with another company recently.  Well, the headquarters are now located in Scottsdale, AZ.  So, my boss and half my team are all located there.  This was the first time I got to meet most of them.  Everyone was really nice, and it helped to calm some of my nerves about my new job.  I'll probably have to go to down there every couple of months for the forseeable future as well, which is fine with me because I love it there and get to see my friends. 
Bill flew down Thursday, and met me at the hotel around 5:00pm.  That night we went out with my friends again, and Dawn's husband Jason joined us as well.  We went to Mia Francesca also in Scottsdale.  I had awesome ravioli with scallops.  It was delicious.
This is really the only picture we took all weekend.  Even the one above is from a previous trip.  We were too busy just hanging out I guess.
On Friday, it was back to work for me.  My new boss graciously gave Bill a ticket to the Phoenix Open that was going on in Scottsdale last weekend.  He got to hang out at the famous 16th hole for the day.  I'm glad too because I wasn't sure what he was going to do all day.  After work we met up with Dawn and Jason again.  Lauren headed out to San Francisco for the weekend to meet up with her boyfriend.  Dinner tonight was fancy pizza at Caio Gratzi followed by ice cream at Sweet Republic.  Again, excellent food.  We capped off the night hanging out at Dawn and Jason's house for a bit.
Saturday we packed up and checked out of our hotel.  Bill and I decided to go for a drive and check out the area a bit.  We headed South and drove through Mesa and Gilbert a bit just taking it all in.  Lauren texted us that morning to let us know she got engaged!!  Her boyfriend in San Francisco surprised her with a trip to Napa and then proposed.  After our little jaunt we headed back North to meet Dawn and Jason for lunch at True Food Kitchen.  Dawn and Jason are super healthy eaters...seriously they do things like substitute broccoli for french fries.  This restaurant was super healthy.  We ordered vegetable crudite as an appetizer.  I don't think I've ever done that in my life, but it was good.  I had the turkey lasagna for lunch, and it was also really yummy (I'm running out of adjectives to describe good food!!).  After lunch we drove around and then ended up back at their house again.  We watched the premier of that new show The Americans starring Kerri Russel.  We all thought it was really interesting, I'm going to watch again.  For dinner we went to Tom's Thumb Fresh Market (and gas station??) for barbeque.  It was an odd little place, but the pulled pork was fantastic.  We topped it off with fruit cobblers for dessert too.  After dinner we watched American Reunion before calling it a night.
Sunday we weren't there for long.  I made eggs for Dawn and I, and she made fresh squeezed orange juice from oranges a friend of hers grew in their yard.  We headed to the airport around 10am and were back home in Milwaukee by 5pm.  It was a fun little trip.  We didn't do too much, but we sure ate a lot!!!  We were both so excited to see Madeleine though...we sure missed her.  My flying days are numbered, so I think this is the last trip for us until the baby comes.  Only 8 1/2 weeks left!!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

February - To Do

I can't believe it's almost February.  January went by so fast!!

Here's what's going on in February.

Key Dates
February 13th - Brother-in-law's birthday
February 14th - Valentine's Day

Give Banshee her meds.  - here's hoping we go 2 for 2 so far this year.
Send birthday card to Brother-in-law.
Valentine's Day.

       - Do something crafty or bake something fun with Madeleine.
       - Get Valentines & candy for Madeleine's daycare group.
       - Date night with Bill.
Finish any outstanding House Fix-its.
Find a plumber
- our upstairs bathroom is leaking through to the room beneath - ugh!
Continue the Big Purge.
Put the house up for sale!!

That's right...we are moving!!  Where to...I have no idea!!

Basically, we know we don't want to stay in our current house.  It's actually big enough for our expanding family, but I'm not fond of the public school system there.  It probably would be okay for elementary school, but I wouldn't want to send my kids to our public high we'd have to go private if we stayed.  I'm not sure I want to do that either.  So, we want to move somewhere that has really awesome public schools.

Besides that, we've really gotten to the point where it doesn't make sense for us to put much more money into our house.  We won't see a return on it.  I'm not even sure if we'll see a return on what we already put in.  The house is far from how we would want it, so we'd never really be happy in it knowing we couldn't do all the upgrades we'd like.

Finally, this was our first house.  We went from a 700 square apartment to a 1700 square foot house, so it was all very new and exciting.  However, after living there for 4 years now, I realize there were things we didn't consider before we bought it.  Things that didn't even cross our mind.  Now, I have a much better idea of the type of house that will work for how we live.  Things like layout, yard size, privacy, etc.

So, hopefully we'll have it up for sale by the end of the month, and we'll see what happens.  We're actually not going to look for a new house right now either.  Bill's father, who lives in California, also owns a 2-bedroom townhouse condo near my work here in Wisconsin.  He comes up every couple months or so, and stays for about a week.  So, essentially, it is vacant probably 10 months out of the year.  After the house sells we're going to camp out there for awhile to save money while we figure it all out.

It's a bit of a crazy plan, I know; especially with a new baby coming in a few months; but we've thought long and hard about it and are ultimately really excited about this change.  We have a lot of work still to do on the current house to get it ready though, so here's hoping for a very productive February.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Fixer Uppers

I've pretty much completed my January "To-Do" list.  There are a few stragglers, but I still have a couple of days left yet.

- Give Banshee her meds!! 
- Put away all Christmas decorations.
- Send birthday cards to all Brothers-in-law.  We still need to write Bill's brother a little note while he's at basic training.
- For the inlaws (who are divorced), figure out a small gift and/or schedule time for a visit and/or dinner for each of their birthdays.   We did a nice dinner at his mom's house.
- Buy gifts (if necessary) for Little Christmas.
- House Fix-its.  95% complete 
- Start the Big Purge!! 

We did go from talking about the house fix-it projects, to actually accomplishing almost all of them.  And when I say "we" I really mean Bill, because I hardly did any of the work.  He's pretty awesome that way. 

There were five mini-projects to complete:
1.  Paint the front door.
2.  Paint the back door and kitchen closet door.
3.  Patch the holes in the upstairs hallway from the pipe we removed.
4.  Patch the crack in our bedroom closet.
5.  Fix the guest bedroom door that was coming unhinged.

I didn't really take before and after pictures of everything because 1) I am a bad blogger, 2) most of this stuff is not too exciting, and 3) this is not a DIY blog (at least not yet), so there will be no step-by-step tutorials.

I do have a few pictures for Projects 1 & 2 - painting doors.

Back in 2011 we painted all the trim on our first floor white, but for whatever reason we never finished painting the doors.  I know we didn't paint the front door because I wanted to just replace it, but for the back and closet door I have no idea why we never finished.

I did manage to find a shot of our front door from 2011 when we were refinishing the floors, so here's the before of that:
It was stained on the inside, and painted maroon on the outside.  It also had a very gross sheer curtain on the interior covering up the windows.  It was ugly, but offered privacy, so we kept it.  Now it looks like this:
Bill painted it back - both front and back, and we removed the ugly curtain.  I still would prefer to have a solid front door, but I'm getting used to the openness of it.  Oh, and like I said, this is not a DIY blog, but I will tell you that we used Glidden Trim & Door Paint.  I had seen a commercial for it awhile back, and had wanted to give it a try.  I really like how it turned out.  It's high gloss, and looks really sharp in person.  A few things to point out though, is that this is an oil based paint and also it is not low-VOC.  I would defintely use this product again though.  (Oh, and Glidden did not pay or sponsor this...I wish!)
We also painted the back kitchen door and closet white to match the rest of the trim in the kitchen.  It took four coats (probably why we put it off so long).  I did two (this paint was low-VOC) and Bill did two.
You can see them both in this picture.  Basically, they were wood toned and now they're white.
As far as the other items on the list...
Last year we removed a pole that was in our upstairs hallway.  I don't remember now what was venting through it, but when we re-did our downstairs bathroom we rerouted whatever it was.  The pole was no longer needed, so we had it removed.  We were left with about a 3" diameter hole in the floor and ceiling.  No more though...Bill patched both the holes.  We still need to slap some ceiling paint on the top, and cut a piece of carpet to cover the bottom; but we're almost there. 
Also last year, we noticed that water was leaking into our master bedroom closet.  The closet is part of a small edition that was added to the house at some point, so its roof is not the main roof of the house.  Basically, the roof of the edition was gone (animal and wind damage), so we had it more leak.  However, we never patched up the cracks left from the water damage.  Bill has since patched and sanded them, but we still need to paint.
Finally, the guest bedroom door is coming unhinged from the doorframe.  Bill has his plan to fix it tonight actually, so this one can be marked as done too.
So, there you have it.  Again, props to Bill for tackling all of this.  After each project gets finished or near all we keep saying to each other is "why did we wait so long to just get this stuff done?"  Are you guys tackling any projects that are long overdue?  Do you get 98% of a project done, but then run out of steam?  I know all these little projects are easy to procrastinate on; especially when there is not a big "wow" moment after finishing them, but it feels really good to have them done.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

I'm Just A Tad Stressed At The Moment

It's time like these that life starts to get in the way and the blog gets pushed to the super far back burner, and I start to wonder if I should even keep this blog going.  Ultimately, I like blogging though, so even though I doubt anyone even notices when it has been quite a few days between posts (cause hardly anyone reads this thing) I still feel bad about it.  I already knew that I can't be a post a day blogger...that is unless anyone wants to pay me to do  Okay fine, but, I was hoping to be able to keep up the two to three posts per week schedule.  However, even that is proving difficult right now.  I'm going to keep at it though, and hopefully times like this will be few and far between.   

So, that was my long winded explanation to let you all know that I'm STRESSED OUT!!

"Why?" you ask.  Well...

1 - Madeleine is potty training.  And frankly...she's rockin' it.  We started about three weeks ago, and it is going really well.  The first two days she had a couple accidents.  Then she went about two full weeks with no accidents at all.  She wears underwear all day (no pull-ups), but diapers still for naps and overnight.  I think we got a little over confident this past weekend though and were a little lazy.  We were taking her 15 minutes after she drank anything, then about every 1.5 to 2 hours regardless.  I was thinking she was okay to just tell us when she had to go now, but she still needs the schedule.  There were quite a few accidents over last weekend because we waited too long to take her.  I still think she is doing awesome for a 26 month old, but this is all new too our routine and takes some getting used to.

2 - Work is crazy.  Last November we were told that our company was merging with another company, and that there would be redunancy lay-offs in the new year.  So, for the last two months I wasn't even sure if I was going to have a job come January.  Thankfully, I did not get laid off, however things are different.  I was pretty much running on auto-pilot and now, in some ways, it's like I have a brand new job even though it is with the same company.  I have a new boss as well.  I'm hoping it all calms down in the next few weeks, but it's a lot of change in a short amount of time and it is draining me.

3 - I'm sick.  I've had a terrible head cold for the last week.  Since I'm preggers...there's not a lot I can take for it.  The worst part is that I can't sleep at all.  For the last five nights I wake up around 2-3am, and just can't get back to sleep.  I am so tired, and I'm starting to get irritable really easily.

Between all this, being 6 1/2 months pregnant, and all my normal day-to-day things I'm responsible for at home it's been a little much.  I literally want to do absolutely nothing when I get home from work.  I try to at least muster up enough to be there for Madeleine and Bill, but even that is tough sometimes. 

The good news is...I'm starting to see the silver lining.  I asked my OB today if there was anything I could take to help me sleep at night, and she said I could take Benadryl.  I'm going to try that tonight and hopefully get a good night's sleep finally.  My cold seems to be on its way out as well.  Every week at work seems to be getting a little better, so hopefully I'll get used to the new normal there soon.  Even Madeleine's potty training, although different, is going better than I expected.  As long as I stay on top of things I don't see any issue with her not being completley potty trained soon.

So, basically, by the time all this stuff is not stressing me out anymore will be just around the time I have this baby, and then I'll have brand new stuff to stress me out.  Ooh, it's a vicious circle.  I'm just trying to take it one day at a time, and hoping that old adage that God does not give you more than you can handle is true; because don't think I can handle too much more right now.

I actually have in the midst of all of this done a few things that I'll be posting about soon, so stay tuned.   

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Cool Beans! A Liebster!!

I wanted to thank Amy from Anthologie for nominating me for a Liebster award!  This sounds like a really cool way to give small blogs (or microscopic ones like mine) exposure, so I'm pretty excited! 

What is a Liebster Award? A Liebster award is given to blogs with less than 300 followers as a way of making them more well-known. The rules for the acceptance are:
1) Visit and thank the blogger who nominated you
2) Acknowledge that blogger on your blog and link back
3) Answer the 10 questions posed by the blogger who nominated you
4) Select 3 – 5 bloggers for the award
5) Pose 10 new questions to the new nominees
6) Post the award on your blog

Here are my questions from Amy:
1) Why did you start blogging?
Although this is a new blog for me, I actually started blogging back in 2007.  My first blog was a movie review blog of all things.  Later I switched to a more lifestyle type blog.  This was all prior to Facebook, so I guess I started blogging to just talk about things that were going on in my life or interested me.
2) What are your blogging goals?
I've struggled a bit since becoming a mom with keeping up with everything...including blogging; so my blog now is focusing a lot on organization, time management, and making the most of what little time I get to spend with my family.  I use my blog as a tool to keep me motivated and organized.  I hope it helps those who read it do the same.
3) What is your favorite article of clothing?
I'm 6 months pregnant, so clothes haven't been on my radar much these days.  Normally though, I really love coats.  I own more coats than anybody could possibly need.
4) What is your favorite blog that you read?
Right now it's YoungHouseLove.  It's a can't miss for me.  I find those two crazy DIY kids so inspiring.
5) Facebook or Twitter?
Neither!  I was on Facebook for awhile, but I gave it up a few months ago and haven't looked back.  Don't miss it at all.
6) What is something that currently challenges you?
Lately I seem to be having more challenges than not.  I struggle with time management and organization.  I struggle with balancing work with my home life.  I struggle with being a good mom and wife.  I feel like I could go on and on.  I'm just taking it one day at a time, and doing the best I can.
7) Paper calendar or electronic?
Definitely paper.  I use my outlook calendar only for work meetings; otherwise the whole families' schedules/appointments are on a paper calendar in our kitchen.
8) What is your favorite cosmetic?
I'm terrible at make-up, so I don't really have favorites.  If nothing else, I put on foundation and mascara everyday though; both are Maybelline.
9) As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I don't really remember if there was something funny from when I was small, but as I got older I really wanted to be a book editor.  I liked the idea of reading manuscripts all day.  Actually, it still sounds pretty good to me.  If I had to do it over again I would probably pursue that, or get my PhD in British Literature.  I would love to be a professor at a university and teach Jane Austen.
10) What is one of your goals for 2013?
I actually have a few goals for this year, and you can read about them here.

Now for my nominations!  This was kind of tough because a lot of the blogs I read I know have way more than 300 followers.  Here's three I like though that I'm hoping don't.

1)  Emily Style - Emily is a very active San Franciscan who loves biking, fashion, and the opera.  She seriously does more in one weekend then I do all week.  Oh, and as her blog name suggests...she has great style.  I especially love her determination to entertain with real silver, china, and cloth napkins!!

2)  Anthologie - Amy nominated me, and was recently nominated herself; but her blog is still one I  enjoying reading.  She's actually a blogger friend turned real friend.  I can relate to a lot of her posts on parenthood and Milwaukee, plus she has terrific style and is a really good crafter.

3) Toadfrogs and Elephants - I met Holly through a book club, and have enjoyed reading her daily blog about her life and two young sons since.  Her and her husband are pretty awesome DIYers too.

Here are my questions:
1) Why do you blog?
2) Do you have any pets?
3) Where is your dream vacation destination?
4) What is your favorite blog that you read?
5) What is the best book you've read lately?
6) Who is your celebrity crush?
7) What would be your dream job?
8) What did you do on your last date night?
9) What is your favorite food?
10) What is one of your goals for 2013?

Friday, January 11, 2013

January - Status Update

I feel like January is halfway over, and I've barely started my To-Do list!!

Here's what has to be done...
- Give Banshee her meds!!  I actually remembered, although she got them on 1/2 instead of 1/1.
- Put away all Christmas decorations.
- Send birthday cards to all Brothers-in-law.  Almost done.  I sent 2 out of the 3.  For my brother-in-law, Eryk, who is in basic training right now, we were told not to send him a card or acknowledge his birthday. Apparently, they make the new recruits do extra work to get them.  I was told writing a normal letter is fine though, so we still need to do that.   
- For the inlaws (who are divorced), figure out a small gift and/or schedule time for a visit and/or dinner for each of their birthdays. Halfway done with this one.  We hosted Bill's family for his Dad's 65th birthday.  We had 12 people over on a Thursday night for pizza and cake.  Now we have 10 days to figure out something for his mom.
- Buy gifts (if necessary) for Little Christmas.  Didn't even have to do was a gift free Little Christmas this year. 
- House Fix-itsWe've talked a lot about what needs to be done, but haven't started anything yet.  Hoping to knock a few off the list this weekend. 
- Start the Big Purge!!  I started, so I guess I can cross it off the list.  I'm making my way through Madeleine's room right now, and hope to start our bedroom next.  It's slow going though.

Since I like posts with pictures best, here's a quick pick of all my nieces and nephews (minus 2 that life in Las Vegas) from my father-in-law's birthday.  It's an interesting mix on Bill's side with the age range spanning 2 months to 21 years, but they're all awesome!!

Monday, January 7, 2013

It's Back!!

What's back?   Why, Downton Abby of course!!!
(Warning...this post contains spoilers.)

I tell you, after the weekend we had I was looking forward to nothing more than parking myself on the couch for two hours and escaping to 1920's England for awhile.

To give you a quick recap, when I woke up on Saturday morning I stepped downstairs to see Bill holding Madeleine in the kitchen, her crying, and blood.  She was wearing one of her Princess skirts, and must have tripped on the hem of it or something.  She fell and split the inside of her bottom lip wide open.  It seriously looked as wide as the Grand Canyon to me.  We thought for sure she would need stitches, so we headed to the ER.

Turns out, we might have slightly jumped the gun, as by the time we got there and settled in it had already started to close itself up.  The doctor checked her out and declared no stitches were needed.  Yay!  We were in and out in about an hour.  So, classic overprotective parenting on our part; but I figure better safe than sorry.  I would rather have gone and had it been nothing, then not have gone and had her lip be permanently scarred or something because we did nothing.   

Later that day we made the 2 hour drive to my parents' house for their annual "Little Christmas" party.  I got to catch up with some Aunts/Uncles/Cousins that I don't see very often.  We were back home by 8:30ish.  It was fun, but all that driving in one day takes a lot out of you.

As if this weren't enough craziness for one weekend, in the midst of all this I have been dealing with a pregnancy symptom I never had with Madeleine...round ligament pain.  Has anyone ever had this?  It's seriously a bitch.  The "round ligament" encircles the uterus; and you can, I guess, pull it like any other muscle. (That may not be exactly what happens, just my interpretation)  Anyway, I've had a sharp stabbing pain on the right side of my body below my belly, but above my groin since Friday.  It varies anywhere from a dull ache to crippling pain where I can hardly walk, so yeah, that has been fun to deal with.  The best could potentially last the remainder of my pregnancy!!

But back to Downton Abby.  Did you watch it?  I thought it was really good. Although I was quite surprised that Matthew and Mary got married in the first episode!!  I totally thought they would be engaged for awhile, and maybe end the season with their wedding. 
So, with that out of the way, it looks like this season will be focusing on whether Downton Abby will be saved or not.  The Earl has lost everything; while Matthew just inherited a fortune...a fortune he doesn't feel entitled to.  (I get his reasons, but I'm with Mary on this one...SAVE DOWNTON!) 
They showed scenes of Lady Edith in a wedding dress.  I didn't pay attention if that was scenes for next week, or just happening sometime during the season.  I predict she's going to marry the old guy, but he'll die shortly thereafter.
Lady Sybil is pregnant and her chauffeur turned journalist husband is finding it hard to fit into the household he once served.  Although, it seemed like he was making a bigger deal out of it than any of them were.  They all seemed very welcoming.
Not too much changed for the downstairs staff.  Anna is working on freeing Mr. Bates from prison.  Mrs. Hughes might have cancer (of the breast, I assume).  There's a new footman.  Other than that, it seemed very business as usual downstairs.
The best parts, as always, were Dame Maggie Smith's scenes.  Her character is hilarious, and seeing her going up against Shirley Maclaine was great.
I think my favorite part of the episode was the running joke around the men's jackets...tails or no tails; white tie or black.  It was so funny.
And speaking of clothes, I'm looking forward to seeing the ladies wardrobes transform as the 1920's progress.  The daytime wear for the ladies yesterday was very drab, but there were still lots of sparkle and beads on their evening dresses.  All of it was very shapeless though.  I would look horrible in those styles.
All in all, I thought it was a really great start to the season, and I'm looking forward to watching the rest of it! 
Photo Source here