About Me

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I am a Mom of two young lads, a fitness fanatic and wife to a die-hard Packers/Brewers fan. I worked in corporate america for 12 years. Now I am on a new adventure - raising my sons and working part-time in the fitness industry as a Personal Trainer and Group Exercise Instructor. I hope you stop by and read my updates- family, fitness, or life related!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Very Merry Christmas, Indeed.

It was a Hammond Christmas this year. We hit the road on Friday to Joe's hometown of Neillsville, WI. We returned Sunday mid-afternoon. Our weekend was spent with all of the immediate Hammond family members, and a bonus guest, Aunt Marge.

The stockings were hung. The tree was lit and all the holiday decor was up. Cousins played. Endless appetizers and cookies were on display for all to eat. Cards were dealed. Debates were had. Kids were tucked in. Football was watched. Drinks were served (and some shots but that was after I went to bed.) LOTS of pictures were taken. Presents were opened. We gave thanks to family. We gave thanks to Jesus. We appreciated the simple time together with no phones or computers to distract us. It was a nice weekend of relaxation and quality family time spent together. We returned home and unpacked everything. Santa came to our house on Monday morning since we were gone all weekend. We woke up with a wonderful squeal of excitement as Braden saw what Santa brought him- a Thomas the Train, his very own sleeping bag, a few play tools and some books. We spent the morning watching him play. Here are a few highlights of Santa's gifts:

When we got home from our weekend in WI, I took a jog outside to unwind. I thought about how Christmas has changed for me so many times over the years. From being excited about Santa's visit as a kid and guessing what could be under that tree (Did I get that Cabbage Patch kid?), to dealing with my first Christmas with my Mom gone, to sharing holidays with Joe, to now looking at Christmas through the eyes of a toddler. Sure, things change. There are joyous years and tough years, but the reason for Christmas never changes (the first five letters of the holiday say it all.) Also, the fact that we celebrate Jesus' birthday with our family never changes either. It may look different from year to year in some senses, but we are always with family.

I want to take this time to thank all of the special people in my life- family and friends. I appreciate all of the things that I have been blessed with this year, so many to list. I am happy to know Christ as my friend and even though I am not the most devoted Catholic, I still appreciate a relationship with Him and know He is always there for me. Many people get stressed out with the holidays, but I always try to push aside the stress of buying that perfect present or baking the zillions of cookies aside and focus on what really matters. Nobody is judging but our own critic inside. :)

What are you most appreciative of this holiday season?

Friday, December 24, 2010

15 months - you spin me right round baby right round!

Just a quick blog entry for Braden's 15 months. You can see what he is up to in this video! :)

I try to take a picture every month and list some of his milestones. This month he is working on those top teeth- the first one is entering slowly and we can see a few others working their way down. He is an expert walker- getting faster and faster. If we set him down in a store or basically anywere he takes off. He has no fear! He is turning into a social guy- saying hi and bye to everyone that passes. He waves to all the ladies...hmmm, already starting! He says a handful of words now: hi, bye, mom, dad, woof, stop it, no and hot. He is full of laughs and smiles. Everyday we have loads of fun watching him turn into a little man. He is starting to test what he can get away with and definitely is not very good at listening to "no". He sure can say it, but doesn't listen when we say it. Oh yes, the toddler stage has arrived.

We hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and we will post some Christmas photos later. We are excited to see if Braden gets into it this year, seeing as how last year he pretty much slept all the way through CHristmas.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Tis The Season

I am throwing a blog update in before I may have to go on a hiatus. Between Christmas shopping, spending time on my new part-time job (more on that later) and trying to figure out if we want to rent our townhouse out instead of sell it (another more on that later), I think I am going to be a little busy in the next few weeks. So, if you don't see a blog from me for a while, just know that we are all doing well and keeping very busy during this holiday season. Braden is as happy as ever and I caught him in this cute elf pose so I thought I would share it with you all! I hope it brings a smile to your face. Whenever I feel stressed out, Braden's laugh and smile can make it all go away!
My wish for everyone reading this is: a happy holiday season filled with love, health and happiness. No matter how busy or stressed we get, we have to appreciate all of our blessings - big or small.

Happy Holiday season to everyone!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Winter Wonderland!

Getting on our snowpants for the first time!
Outside w/ Dad.
Our little snow man!
Making snow angels.
Back inside with rosy red cheeks!

We had our first big snowfall this past weekend in Minnesota. The snow started Friday afternoon and finished in the early hours Saturday morning. Joe was in Dallas, set to return on Friday night, so thankfully he was able to fly home and was only an hour late or so. Lots of flights after his were cancelled.

Before the snow started on Friday, we had a last-minute showing. I cleaned like a mad woman and somehow managed to get Braden out of here a tad early (and even packed his lunch). Phew! We headed over to the mall for a little shopping and to eat our lunch. Showings are a good thing, I am not complaining but I was amazed that I pulled it off with time to spare. At least we have had enough showings by now where I have the same routine of what I need to do. It's hard on short notice with a little guy who messes up everything that I clean, but I am so thankful for his flexibility. He may make it more challenging to clean the house, but he never puts up a fuss when we have to suddenly run out of here right at lunch or nap time or when we have to be gone for hours during open houses. What a good little man!

So after that excitement on Friday, we hunkered down for the rest of the day on Friday and watched the snow fall and waited for Joe's arrival home. Saturday we were too busy to get outside and play in the fresh snow- swimming lessons, nephew's hockey game, dinner with family, etc...so Sunday morning we made it a priority to get outside. This was Braden's first time playing in the snow. I thought he would put up a fuss in the cold, but he got used to it and even helped bury Dad in the snow and make snow angels. We look forward to more winter fun with our little man!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Toothbrush Addiction

Braden has a few addictions. One is grabbing as many toothbrushes as he can from the upstairs bathroom cabinet and shoving them in his mouth. It is hysterical. Every time we go upstairs this is almost always the very first thing he does. He goes for the electric toothbrushes first and then grabs the regular ones too. We have been practicing brushing his teeth for months now, but I had no idea how much he liked it. I wonder if this means he will become a Dentist in the future?? :)

Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving Recap

Since we rotate holidays, this was a Sullivan Thanksgiving. We headed up to my brother's cabin just outside the wonderful Balsam Lake/Amery/Turtle Lake, WI area (about an hour and a half drive for us). Braden took a short snooze on the way up there which turned out nice because we were set to eat at his normal naptime and I figured it would be interesting to see him without any nap for the day! We arrived around 12:30 and let him catch a few more zzzs and at 1:00 we woke him up for the festivities. We sat down for dinner once Braden was up and running, but he did not. He wanted to explore the cabin while we all ate. I didn't bring his highchair so we couldn't confine him and off he went! He did manage to taste a little turkey, mashed potatoes, bread and corn when I could catch him. It was a great holiday with all of the Sullivans present. All nine cousins got to play together, the meal was wonderful and it was nice to catch up with the adults. Even though we all live in the Eastern MN/Western WI area, we still don't all get together very often. So, I was thankful for all the Sullivans being together - sharing a wonderful meal, laughing, watching the kids play and just hanging out. We will be with Joe's side of the family for Christmas, so knowing that I wouldn't be with mine made me appreciate the holiday even more!

The morning of Thanksgiving I snuck away while Joe and Braden got ready for the day. I took a little jog around the desolate streets of Edina at a mere five degrees above zero. It was my time to reflect and start the day. I thought about how thankful I am for my wonderful husband, my happy and good-natured son, our health, the roof over our head, the meals that we can eat, all of our wonderful family and friends, and how we are able to have me stay home right now and raise Braden. In the past year, I have learned so many valuable life lessons. I am thankful for the opportunity to have learned more about parenthood, children, marriage, myself and what is most important to our family. (I will probably turn this into a future blog entry.)
What are you most thankful for this year? Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family and/or friends!

Monday, November 22, 2010

14 Months and a Master Walker!

It was two weeks ago when I posted the last video of Braden's walking where he was camera shy. Now, two weeks later, and at 14 months old, he is perfecting his walking skills and isn't as camera shy. Sure there are some falls here and there and his steps are still small, but he definitely can go a long ways walking now and is loving his new view of the world (as you can tell by the video above.) He could stay outside all day, except for the fact that he hates mittens and shakes them off and then starts screaming because his hands are frozen. Wish me luck on the mitten thing, but needless to say, if I let him roam outside all day he would!

What else is Mister Braden up to at 14 months? He can say: ma, da da, ball, hi, bye. He makes animal sounds- mostly "woo woo" for dogs, and then he has pig, cow and monkey sounds too. He loves reading books - he turns the pages and points at all the pictures. He is a typical boy- loves cars, trucks, anything that makes noise (like seeing an ambulance or bobcat), and he fetches and throws balls. We also have a lot of giggle fests- he loves being chased around the house, playing hide and seek, being tickled and jumping into pillows. This past week we went to an indoor park in Edina. I took him into the jump house and he hysterically laughed as the big kids would bounce him around with their jumping and he would fall over. So, we are fully enjoying this age (and before the terrible two's hit!) Playing and keeping up with a 14 month old sure helps us feel young again, or rather helps us stay young (I hope anyway)?!?!

Here are a couple more 14 month pics:
Happy boy on his elephant chair.
Showing off his new winter bear hat and sucking on mom's chapstick.
He thinks it's funny to do this wierd twisting motion with his upper body!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

My Heart Melts

I swear, this walking business has made Braden an even happier little man - if you can imagine that. He walks all over the house with a big grin holding different items, grabbing new toys and comes to check in on me if I am in the kitchen or another room. It is so flippin' cute. He has mastered the walk in only one week. He can even walk and drink now. I knew he was waiting to do it until he could give it his all, 100 percent...weird, his Dad is the exact same way. I am in trouble, two perfectionists in the house might drive me mad down the road. :)

Everyone keeps saying that the age from 12-18 months is their favorite. I can see why. Braden is loads of fun. We spend most of our days giggling, smiling and playing now. If you tell him to go get the "Packer football" he will go pick up the right ball. I swear it's true, our kid is wicked smart already! (disclaimer- yes, I said "Packer football." To all you MN people: I cannot win this one, our house is filled w/ WI sports memorabilia and consequently Braden will be forced upon much green and yellow until he has the right to choose his own teams.)

So, the point of my blog entry today is the little almost 14 month old man that we are honored to call our own, melts my heart on a daily basis. He has such a sunny disposition. He belly laughs, he dances, he claps, he does the downward dog, he throws the ball and pushes cars around the house. He says "wow" to the first snowfall. He loves big trucks, bobcats and buses driving by. He is so lovable and gives hugs and what we call "smooches". My heart overfloweth!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Toddler Fun

First time with crayons
Yep, they went in the mouth of course! Note the blue on his chin.
More toddler fun, climbing in mom's shoe box.

I just realized that I am a Mom of a toddler. Holy cow, where has the time gone? Last winter I was walking around with a baby in a fuzzy snowsuit strapped into the baby Bjorn (which seems like yesterday I may add). Now this same baby (er, Toddler) is walking, saying a few words and even understands when I tell him to go get his Bobcat toy. Yikes. This growing up business must slow down. It's getting out of control!

I have been trying to think of new things to do with Braden, you know, with his newly found toddler skills. I have no idea what toddlers do besides push toys around, open cupboards and get into everything around the house. I did buy some crayons and coloring books for the first time. Thank goodness I bought the washable ones, they were all over his face. So, all of you experienced moms out there - any ideas of fun things for my little (almost 14 month)man to do? Something a little more creative or artsy than climbing in a shoe box. :) I haven't been brave enough to attempt finger painting yet but I'd love any suggestions especially now that winter is approaching and we will be stuck inside more. uggg! I need some creativity to keep him entertained and learning new things. I am trying to think of things for his Christmas list that would fit into this category too. The only thing I can think of is more toys for the bath and maybe the magnetic alphabet for the fridge but I need more activities for our days inside.

This picture below is Braden demonstrating his acting skills. I think this is borderline inappropriate as far as toddler toys go, but it's kinda funny. :)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Walker Texas Ranger...or something like that.

As you can see from the video above, Braden is fine tuning his walking skills every day now but he is a bit camera shy.

He took his first series of steps around the 21 or 22nd of October, but since then he has been pretty timid or scared of walking. This week however, he has gained confidence and his walking has increased a ton! I have been empowering him to walk places like out to the car, to his high chair, to get a toy, etc... We talk about it a lot too- how big boys walk, so I think he feels better about it. I am not trying to push him but just make him feel more secure in practicing and teaching him that it's ok to fall. I think he has preferred crawling because he knows he's good, fast and there's no falling involved. But the more he walks the less falling there is so he is trying it more and more. Today he walked from our front step all the way to the neighbors front step, which is I don't know like 20-30 feet or so.

I have been trying to take video of his zombie walk, but when he sees the camera of course he won't do it. This is the best I could do. He's getting so good that he can now walk and hold a toy in his hand or his mouth. Go Braden go! :) I love seeing his big smile after he walks. He is proud and so are Mom and Dad!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Sick Monkey

I haven't blogged since Halloween but I know you have already seen pictures of Braden in his monkey suit. We spent Halloween with the Johnson's. We had an open house that day so we headed over to Woodbury for the day. Trick-or-treating started right after dinner. Braden wasn't feeling super hot that afternoon so he stayed in the stroller or our arms until we got up to each house. Then he was eager to reach into the candy bowl to pick out his prize - or mom and dad's prize rather since he isn't eating candy quite yet. :) He took in all the costumes and wasn't even scared, but just stared and pointed. Next year will be a lot more fun, but we still had a good time seeing all the kids and taking Braden out.

That night we awoke at 2am with the flu symptoms, so needless to say on Monday we were all in a vegetable like state with Braden feeling the best. It was hard to all be sick at the same time, nobody could really play with Braden and we would have to take turns making him meals because every time we got up we felt sick. So, the flu is going around so we hear! We hope you all can avoid it, but it only lasted one full day for us thankfully.

Hope you all had a wonderful Halloween and the beginning of Nov. (yikes) is treating you well!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Phone Home

Braden has this fake phone that he keeps putting in the back of his head (way past his ear usually.) Then he will pretend to talk on it. I have no idea where he got this from. Sometimes when my cell phone rings, he puts his fake phone behind his ear and says hi...or if I say hi, he will grab his phone. Again, I have no idea where he got this from. Usually they model the behavior they see, but I never talk on the phone.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Halloween Sneak Peek

Braden the monkey.
The three amigos sans costume...or are they the three stooges? (can you guess who is Larry, Curly and Moe??) :)
Wondering when he can eat that banana that's hanging out of his pocket.
Two monkeys hanging out - the skunk (Max) ran away.

Last Sunday we got to kick-off the Halloween festivities a little early with two parties. The first one was hosted by the Fultz's - full of animals to pet, jump houses, candy galore, hay rides and games with prizes. Oh what fun. The next stop was at the Sprout's where the three amigos got dressed up in their gear - two monkeys and a skunk. We had a soup making contest and it was a perfect fall hangout. Last year Braden was a pumpkin (oh and a banana I guess) and this year a monkey.

It has been a busy past week for us- showings and open houses. It has been interesting to say the least, cleaning this place so many times with a little guy around and then scooting out of the house either during dinner, nap or close to bedtime. I am sure there will be a lot more of it to come, so I am trying not to get stressed out or too sick of the madness yet. :) It will all be worth it I keep telling myself! Hopefully...... the showings and open house so far have been good and we have received great feedback. Time will tell I guess. Buyers just are not in a rush because there are so many options out there and prices are falling everywhere, so it will take the right person to snatch this great place up!

It will be fun to take Braden out to see the trick-or-treaters on Sunday, hopefully he is not scared of the costumes. I think we will head to my sister's since their neighborhood is really fun to go around and it's fun for cousins to hang out. Obviously Braden is still a bit young to get into the Halloween spirit officially, but we still have to go out and show him what it's about! Can't wait to fill you all in. Have a great and safe Halloween.

Friday, October 22, 2010

13 Months and Taking Steps!

Posing for his 13 month picture. (sort of)
Braden chasing a squirrel with his push toy.
Taking those steps- arms in the air and so proud!

In my last post just two days ago, I said I would update the blog if Braden was walking. Well, yesterday he took five steps a bunch of times and then one long stint of TEN steps. So, he isn't officially walking I would say since there is still crawling but we are making big leaps! I think he realizes that crawling is much faster, so that is still preferred. But, if he's already standing up he gets this look on his face like he might try it and if there's something he wants to reach or go for, he will take the steps to get to it. It's fun to see him take those steps for the first time, what a big accomplishment. I am always there cheering him on so his confidence can build up until he's ready to do it more.

Today marks 13 months for mister Braden. He is full of energy, smiles and fun. He has been such a good sport through my numerous trips to Target to get storage bins, or being tossed in the car or stroller for showings or picture taking. He goes with the flow, and is a happy little guy. He definitely is starting to get more of an opinion of his own these days - things he likes and doesn't like. He does not like laying on his back. He wants to feed himself with the spoon and if you don't let him he will let you know! He is so curious about animals that if he sees anything from a squirrel to a dog outside he will follow it and if I try to re-direct him another way he will scream at me! It's crazy how independent they get at such an early age.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Slowing Down?!? Not Really....

Cousin Dan's wedding- Braden's first wedding. He loved the music and the DJ lights.
First Burley ride with friend Cam.
Big leaf pile...and of course a football!

Well, I thought I would be blogging more now that our house is on the market and my projects have ceased. But wait, I now have to keep this place clean "just in case." Darn. Well, I will try to update the blog more in the future. We did have a showing this week and the feedback was good. Our first open house will be on Halloween.

I am putting some pictures up of some more fun fall activities we have been partaking in which I haven't blogged about yet - including Braden's first ride in a Burley, his first leaf pile and his first wedding.

What is new with us? We continue to keep busy this fall but not too busy. We have music class and mostly we are enjoying the nice fall weather with lots of park time and walks/jogs. Today we went to an indoor park to change things up a bit. Braden got to jump in a big jump house for the first time (with my help of course.) He thought that was so fun. He still is not walking. I did get him to take three steps yesterday though. He just doesn't seem to have the desire. He can run with the push toys and turn it around corners now. He can push the tall garbage cans across the parking lot too. :) He can also walk holding just one of my hands, and he can stand for minutes at a time. I know he could walk, but he just doesn't want to. He seems anxious when I try to get him to take steps on his own, he just sits down immediately and pouts. So, he will walk when he is ready and he is just not ready yet! I will definitely let you know when the time comes!

As for the rest of us, I am teaching three classes this fall (one Kettle bell Community Ed, kickboxing and bootcamp), and Joe's new job remains as busy as ever but he is really enjoying being the buyer of ice cream at Target. Who wouldn't enjoy getting to taste test ice cream for a living? :) It is much harder than that of course, but that is one obvious perk! I had a girls weekend this past weekend w/ my college friends in Stillwater which was a lot of fun. Joe and Braden had great bonding time- what did they do? Football games of course! :) We all have been a bit sick but seem to be getting better now- eye infections, cough, congested...so hopefully we got that out of our systems for a while!

I hope you are all enjoying October and gearing up for Halloween.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

It's Go Time!

Well, it's official...our place is finally on the market as of today! It looks like the past six weeks of me basically re-decorating this place has paid off. I am very happy with how it looks in the pictures! I hope to relax a bit now, but we'll see how relaxing keeping this place in tip top shape can be with a one year old! Not to mention any showings or open houses in the future, but it's all good stuff. We are headed in the right direction and only time will tell if this place will sell. Here is the official MLS listing so you can see for yourself! (you might have to cut/paste for now because I can't get the actual link to post!)


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

My Boy Can Dance!

You have to pay close attention because I only captured Braden's mad dancing skills for like the first five seconds of this video. I have been trying to teach Braden to dance since he was a newborn, and boy has it worked. Every time there is music on, he bounces up and down and puts one arm in the air. Hmmmm, wonder where he gets that from?! You got it- he is a dancing machine. I can't wait to see if this continues into his older years. Maybe he will be doing the worm by his next birthday. :) he he.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Tip Top Shape!

The living room.
The patio- fall style!
The kitchen, de-cluttered and newly painted cabinets.
The dining area in the kitchen- table is set, new lighting, new tablecloth and flowers.
My favorite- our new bathroom!!!
Braden's crib- moved to opposite wall, corner. Moved rocking chair from downstairs. Added initials on wall.
Other wall in Braden's room - all re-arranged.
Our bedroom.
Our new front door- freshly painted by yours truly. Joe scraped off the old paint and re-painted the trim around the windows. Added a new welcome mat and fall colored flowers. :)

I am finally kicking back tonight (sort of) and relishing the fact that all of our house projects are done. Let the maintenance and keeping this place clean begin! We have a remodeled bathroom, painted doors and trim, de-cluttered rooms and closets, bought and used lots of storage bins, new front door, moved a bunch of things to my sister's house, washed windows, cleaned screens, and we have it staged!! I think I've recapped most of everything but you get the point. The past six weeks have been exhausting but now I am done!!!

Anyway, the Realtor will take pictures on Tuesday and it will be officially on the market by mid-week. I am excited and nervous. Our first open house will be on Halloween. Pass on the word to all of your friends- we have a great town home in a spectacular location (right by Southdale Mall, Galleria, all the great restaurants in Edina, parks, 3 miles from Lake Harriet.) It has 2 beds/2 baths. It has a private patio. It is an END unit so we have a nice big yard on the side and only one neighbor! Don't forget about the pool in the summer too! Have I sold you yet?? he he.

I am happy with how things look, so hopefully the right person comes along to snatch this place up. The pictures above are a tribute to all the hard work! Let the showings begin!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Just Chillin'

I couldn't resist this adorable elephant camping chair. I went to the hardware store to make copies of our house key because we got a new front door, and sitting outside was this adorable chair. Braden climbed in and stayed sitting - and it was only $15, so home with us it came. :)

Braden's new morning routine is to climb in it (in only his diaper), chug his milk (with legs crossed) and watch a little Dora the Explorer. What a big boy he is. Also note the laptop in one of the pictures. He is already thinking of things he can invent so we can become millionaires and travel the world! It's good to start them working so young!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Fall Fun

This weekend we went to Aamodt's Apple Orchard in Stillwater (my lovely hometown) with some friends and their kids. It was a beautiful fall day. The kiddos got to pet the goats, take a hay ride and of course eat some delicious apple orchard food. Oh wait, maybe that was the adults! Things that were consumed were(not by just one person of course): apple turnover, apple cinnamon cookie, cinnamon ice cream, apple cider donut, hot cider, apple wine, hot dog, and caramel apple slices. I think I got it all! I personally indulged in the apple turnover, caramel apple slices and apple wine - all were delicious. It was fun to see the little guys hanging out together since they are all within three months of eachother and one big brother who they look up to. What a fun fall day! I hope everyone is enjoying the fall weather- wether it's leave changing in the midwest or the extended summer of California!