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!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Sprinting to the One Year Marker

Cruising with his push toy, getting better each day.
Loving the feel of rocks sliding through his fingers.
I hoped my dancing skills would transfer to my kids!
Crawling in the zero depth pool, won't even stop when it's over his mouth!

In the past couple of weeks we have noticed Braden growing and developing by leaps and bounds. He is turning one in a couple of weeks and I think he is sprinting to get there! I will explain to you what I mean.

Literally Braden is growing. Last week, I had to move up to 12 month shirts - he was still wearing 6-12! His famous summer hat that has kept his bald head from burning is now getting too tight! And, last week I moved him to one nap and now he takes a 2-3 hour nap at about noon, instead of two shorter naps. This is like heaven to me, I can get so much done and we have a bigger chunk of time in the mornings to have play dates or go do stuff.

It's hard for me to believe, but Braden is busy and as active as ever (who knew that was possible?). As you see from the above pictures, he must have been a fish in his past life because his love of the water is amazing and he has no fear. He also has taken a liking to dancing recently. Every time he hears music he bounces up and down-it is one of my most favorite things to watch him do! Last Friday Katy Perry was on the Today Show and once she came on singing he scooted up to the tv to dance close up and pound on the tv at the same time. :) Hysterical! So, I signed us up for a music class this fall. Should be a blast.

Our park visits have changed a bit lately too. He doesn't like to swing too long- last week he stood up in the baby swing and flipped out of it! Thank goodness I was right in front of him and caught him as he landed. He climbs up the slides and stops half way and slides down with laughter. He picks up rocks and lets them fall from his fingers and repeats over and over. There now is less eating of rocks thank goodness.

He also is pushing this stand up toy better and faster each and every day. He has stood up on his own a few times but once he realizes that he is doing it on his own he sits down. I am not sure when he will want to take his first steps, but everyone says it's any day now. I think he might hang on to mom and dad a little longer, but we shall see. I also have noticed he is more vocal, yesterday he babbled constantly all day. I wish I knew what he was trying to say, but it's so darn cute to hear that baby jibberish.

It's amazing how fast they change at this age...we are approaching the one year milestone very shortly. I just can't believe it is going so fast and he is becoming a little man in front of our very eyes. Oh what fun!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Stop and Smell the Roses!

The face that people compliment.
Braden holding a picture of my Mom- I am thankful each day for our angel up above.
Even entering "off limits" corners of the house, I am still proud of his curiosity and determination.

Today was a great day. Braden and I enjoyed our daily breakfast together. I was sipping chai tea and eating oatmeal, my favorite breakfast. He was babbling, pointing outside and periodically throwing bananas on the floor when he thought I was not watching. We then headed to Lake Harriet at about 8:00. The rain last night cooled everything down and the air was crisp, but yet it was a beautiful summer day. As I jogged a lap, I admired the calm morning water and the peacefulness of the trail. Braden admired the dogs that passed by and he pointed at the weed trimmer that was cruising along the edge of the lake. In that lap around the lake, I was thankful to be able to spend a weekday morning out enjoying my son, nature and my physical health.

The second lap we met up with a friend, Rachael, and her kids Eli and Eve. I took a moment to appreciate the ease of our conversation and the good company that was by my side. I stopped to show Braden and Eli the little troll that lived in the tree on the south side of the lake. As I explained how kids stuff hand-written letters behind the door for the troll to read, I was reminded of the fun traditions/stories of my own childhood and a smile came to my face.

We then turned off the lake and headed to a coffee shop. I ordered a latte, and relished each sip, noting that I may not appreciate this treat if I got to have one every day. There was a tiny play area in the coffee shop that Braden immediately cruised over to. He grabbed a race car and began pushing it beyond the play area. Two older gentlemen smiled when they saw him cruising their way and told me how cute he was. Another lady stopped typing on her laptop to wave to him and big smile came across his face. A man in mid-conversation stopped to ask how old he was and told me that he was adorable. In that moment at the coffee shop, I felt so proud to call him my own.

We ended the day by going to the Edina Aquatic Center for the first time, just Braden and I. I have been meaning to take him there all summer. We began in the zero-depth pool where Braden crawled like a mad man, to the point where water was up and over his mouth so I had to block him from going any further. He pointed and said "oohhh" to the waterfalls. We then checked out the dry playground and Braden climbed around. Later, we headed to the big pool where Braden was in awe at the kids going down the zip line and doing flips off the diving boards. He pointed at the lifeguards, seeing them for the first time sitting high above in their chairs. His eyes grew as he saw the two giant waterslides on the west side of the pool. He was so in awe with the world and the new environment that he forgot to swim, he just took it all in as I held him in the water.

It's days like today that I am so thankful for my life. Today, I stopped to smell the roses. I am not wishing my life away or thinking about the next stage. I am not worried about if our house will sell when we put it on the market soon. I am not going to stress about if we should stay in the South Mpls area or move to Stillwater. I am not thinking about whether I will go back to work sometime in the near future or maybe find something part-time beyond fitness classes. Today, I am just thankful to have this time with Braden. I am thankful for our health, and our amazing family of three. I am blessed. I think too often we worry about the next step in life, the next house, the next car, or promotion. Sometimes it's important to just appreciate what is around you and not be in such a rush to move on to the next thing. Life is too short to not stop and smell the roses. My Mom helped me to realize this, and I thank her for that gift.

Monday, August 23, 2010

11 Months Young!

Braden turned 11 months old yesterday- August 22. We cannot believe that these 11 months have just flown by. It's amazing to look at his newborn pictures and see him now as such an active, full-of-personality little boy.

We took Braden to the MN Zoo yesterday, on his 11 month milestone. We weren't sure how he would react to all the animals but he pointed and said "oooohhh" to each and every one. The highlights included watching him pet a goat and get really scared at first and see his expression turn to excitement. It was also fun watching eat his first popsicle. The day was extremely hot! We had a blast and can't wait to take him back when he can run around and really enjoy the zoo even more as a toddler.

So what is Braden up to on his 11th month? He is clapping his hands, pointing at everything he sees and throwing his arms in the air. He plays patty cake, he gives high fives. Other than mama and dada he has only really said the word "hot" once, but makes a ton of new noises. His new favorite is "oooohhhh". He is still furniture cruising and crawling, but he did stand on his own this weekend for about 5-7 seconds. Walking might not be too far away. He loves to pound his hands on things to make music or take two toys and clank them together. He is into everything in the house- from pulling out all the DVDs, to finding everything with a cord, and he is trying to scale the baby gate and his crib- yikes. He is very motivated! He will stack toys or shoes in order to climb things- yikes, way too smart already! He still absolutely loves swimming and gets better each week- he has dunked his head a few times. His favorite toy is his car garage which I chose for his 11 month picture pose above. He pushes these cars around all day long and plays with the elevator.

As of today, he still takes two naps, but we are gradually moving towards one (it may take a while, I am not sure.) He is eating lots of people food along with just three bottles a day which will slowly diminish by the one year mark. His favorite foods (I would say) are: pancakes, cheese, avocados, strawberries, cinnamon or apple fritter toast, bananas, homemade pizza and of course any treat that he gets to try like ice cream cake. :)

He was sleeping through the night beautifully for months, but on our week long vacation he began to wake up a few times (not sure why). Now that we are home we are still not back on track, so hopefully I can get that kink worked out soon - for all of our sakes! :) He is starting to get some hair - finally. When he wears hats you can see the little hat hair after I take it off. He has two teeth on the bottom. He knows how to drink through a straw and is very proud of himself for doing that. He could sip water all day long! He also loves to dance, he bounces up and down everytime there is music on in the background. This is one of my most favorite things (that and watching him push his toy cars around the house from room to room.)

I cannot believe that next month Braden will be one! He is such a happy baby who is full of energy and is constantly making us smile and laugh. We could not be more proud! What a fun time in our lives to watch this little guy grow before our eyes. We are so blessed to have him, and love his happy and sunny disposition.

Girls Outing - 2010

I blogged about our vacation, but I neglected to write about a girls' outing that I had the very last weekend of July. I have dinner once a month with a small group of ladies who are married to Joe's friends from St. Olaf. I call this group the "St. Olaf Ladies." :) (not to be confused w/ my own college roommates who I go on a yearly outing with.)

Instead of a dinner for the month of July, I threw out the idea of doing an overnight. We landed on a date and I volunteered to arrange the plans. We hit Stillwater (my lovely hometown) for this 24 hour excursion since it's close and has everything we were looking to do.

We started at Just For Me Spa which I highly recommend. We arrived early to take advantage of the hot tub before our services started. I had an amazing one hour massage and the other ladies had a small facial and massage. We then all met up in the pedicure room and picked out colors for our newly polished toes. After the spa, we went to lunch at Nacho Mamas and sat out on the patio. The Mexican food and beer hit the spot. We then did some shopping, hit a wine bar and then checked into our hotel. We got ready and headed back downtown for a stroll along the river and then dinner at The Kitchen, followed by drinks at the Mad Capper to end the night.

What a great little getaway it was. I am so lucky to have these ladies in my life. We all returned as refreshed moms and we can't wait to do it again!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Hammond Family Vacation 1.0

I am calling our trip "1.0" because we hope it is the first of many!

Last week we headed up to Rhinelander, WI for a week with Joe's family. We stayed at Brekke's Fireside resort. We were not sure what to expect from this resort in the north woods of Wisconsin, but once we arrived and checked it out it seemed to have everything we were looking for.

We had three cabins to split among the 13 of us. Joe, Braden and I had the smallest cabin so we had one to ourselves. This ended up being nice because Braden still naps so we didn't have to worry about anyone having to keep quiet, and he also for some reason was waking up a couple times a night so we didn't have to worry about waking everyone up.

The highlights of our week vacation were:

1. We all took turns making a dinner so you only had to cook once (and everyone made delicious meals.)
2. The lake was great- not overly big or small, great swimming, no weeds, not too cold or too hot, not crowded at all, and a nice 5 mile jog around it (I did that once).
3. You had your choice of anything to do beach side- float on a raft, swim to the swim dock, lay on the cozy chairs and soak up the sun, fish, sit in the hammock, build sandcastles, play bean bags, kayak, paddle boat and the list goes on.
4. The people were so nice- both the owners and the other resort attendees who all go to Brekke's every single year that same week (we were the only rookies)
5. If you wanted a break from the beach you could play tennis, volleyball, shuffleboard, teatherball - or you could golf or go into one of the nearby towns.
6. I got to teach a Bootcamp class twice during the week and got many family members to partake- it was a blast! (the third day of class we got rained out- boo hoo!)
7. I loved seeing Braden explore the outdoors, become even more comfortable and active in the water and try all these new foods and point to every single new thing he saw.
8. There was a bar on sight that opened up at 8:00 each night so we had many ping pong games, songs on the jukebox, Frogger and pinball.
9. We rented a pontoon one night for a two hour cruise for Cooper's Birthday.
10. I am sure I am missing something- but it was very relaxing, the weather was nice and it was nice to spend the week with the Hammonds because we don't all get together very often!
11. Oh, we went to town one day and I got to go to a winery and taste delicious wine made in Three Lakes, WI. Who knew?!?! :)

The only one negative thing were the nasty misquitos!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Now it's back to reality, oh how I love vacations!!

Saturday, August 7, 2010


I think my indecisive skills (as of lately) are spreading to Braden. Some days he puts his head in the toy bin and can't decide which one he wants. So, if you can't decide which one you want, why not just make it easy and sit in the toy bin so you can see them all close up??? :)

We are headed out for a week vaca w/ Joe's family. We will post many pics when we return and also let you know how we survived for one week in the north woods of WI w/ a 10 month old. I'm sure it will be a great time and who knows, maybe he will learn to walk when we are up there or some other milestone!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Mom - 14 Year Anniversary

August 3, 2010

Dear Mom,
Today is the 14th anniversary of your arrival in heaven. Every year, I look back and can’t believe that it has been this long since I have seen or hugged you. I started these letters on the 10th anniversary; that year I told you I met Joe. The next year I told you I was engaged. The following year I told you I was married. Then, last year I told you I was pregnant. Well, this year I have been a Mom for 10 months now- the best months of my life.

I have to tell you that this year, I feel closer to you than any other year that you have been gone. I see you shining through and working your magic in my life each and every day.

On the day I gave birth to Braden, I felt your presence. I brought a photo of you in your scrubs (posted above). I told the nurse that I pictured you in the room. You are the reason (I think) why I was able to deliver Braden after only 40 minutes when he was faced the wrong way. You gave me so much physical and emotional courage that day; what an amazing gift!

I see you in Braden with his big smile and his bubbly demeanor. I see you in the butterflies that appear out of nowhere and aren’t in a hurry to fly away. I see you in the cardinals that now visit our bird feeder – your favorite bird. I see you working through Joe when he tells me he thanks you for raising such a wonderful daughter and being such a great role model. I see you in myself as I felt so natural becoming a Mom; one who is warm, caring, compassionate and fun-loving. I see you when I am reminded each day that family is the most important thing in life and that no time spent with family is time wasted. I see you when I am reminded how amazing a mother’s love is for her child. I see you when I sing silly songs to Braden and make him laugh because you have taught me (along with Dad) that humor and fun create the best memories. I see you when I acknowledge the fact that this time with Braden is priceless and my career and aspirations will always be there. I see you when I tell Braden I love him; you taught me the importance of a mother’s affection. Mostly, I see you as I thank you each and every day for watching over me, guiding me, and blessing me with the gifts of a wonderful husband and an amazing son. I know that somehow you had something to do with how my life has turned out. You are STILL an amazing mother from up above.

I told you last year that I would strive to be as good of a mother as you. With each challenge that I face in motherhood, I know I could not get through it if I didn’t have you constantly in the back of my mind.

Thanks for being my angel, my role-model and everything I aspire to be. You are greatly missed - this year especially because I know how much time you would want to spend with Braden. I hope you keep working your magic in our lives so I can continue to feel your presence always and forever.

Your Pina Colada