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 27, 2011

Christmas 2011







Well Christmas is over and boy did we have a good one. Braden was in rare form as he opened all his presents and saw what Santa brought him- a CHOO CHOO track! He had been asking for one for a long time. It even says, "All aboard, this is the Polar Express." He has learned to be quite the conductor! As you can see, he is in love with it and will probably not want to leave the house for months.

We had a wonderful Christmas in our new house. We traveled to Joe's parents for Thanksgiving and since we rotate holidays, we were home with my family for Christmas this year. We spent Christmas Eve night at my brother's house with all ten Sullivan grand kids running around. It is always so fun to see them play together. Then on Christmas morning we stayed at home and opened presents, my Dad and Pam spent the night so they got to join in the festivities. Then we headed over to my sister's house for some Christmas dinner and see what new toys her kiddos were excited about.

Right before Christmas we got to enjoy a little holiday party in our neighborhood- a sleigh ride and a chat with Santa so I had to include pics of that! It was also nice to get to see most of Joe's family during the broader holiday time- both sisters stopped by and his parents came to town for a night to celebrate Christmas. We bought both Joe's parents and my Dad a Skype camera for Christmas so we will get to be in touch more and they can see the boys more often via modern technology!!!

I feel so blessed to be a family of four this year and to live in our new house. It was so fun seeing Braden react to all the new toys. Liam is growing more and more by the day. He has been an even more smiley and fun little guy this week and has gotten to use some of his new toys, clothes, books already. My boys are growing fast! I truly appreciate the magic of Christmas and love getting to experience it from this side of a mother. I hold all of my Christmas memories of growing up near and dear to my heart. I look forward to making many more new memories with my boys. This time of year is absolutely amazing. I hope you all enjoyed!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Liam: Four Months



On this 22nd of December, Mister Liam is four months old! We are so excited to celebrate Christmas as a family of four. We will be home this year, celebrating with my side of the family and get to be in our new house on Christmas morning. Oh what fun!

Four months ago today, we welcomed Liam to the world. He barely made a PEEP the 30 hours we were in the hospital. I looked at Joe and said, "something is wrong with this baby." I also said, "There is NO way he is going to stay like this. It means we are in for it later."  Joe nodded his head in agreement and with wide-eyes. (Braden cried a lot at the hospital and then totally mellowed out.) In all due respects to my baby boy Liam, I was right. :)

Liam is putting my motherhood skills to another level (or is testing the right word here?) A level that I might say is extreme exhaustion. Since he has joined us I have come down with laryngitis, strep throat, and have had a mouth full of canker sores due to stress/lack of sleep and overall being run down. BUT, Liam is teaching me patience, to be strong and to keep working as a team to get him what he needs. Liam is a Spirited/Touchy baby. He is my sensitive boy. He is all smiles and coos when he is fed and well-rested. He is very vocal and puts up a fight when he is tired or hungry. He goes to bed crying and wakes up crying- maybe his way of not wanting to miss out or maybe waking up slowly like his Dad. :) The poor guy also suffers from silent reflux. He is a very strong baby- has a grip like no other four month old. He loves to stand and hates laying down. He flutters when he takes his bath, this kid will be swimming in no time. He loves company and his momma- if his back is turned to me and he hears me talking he will crank his head to find me. He already doesn't like to be far from me, he may be the baby to have separation anxiety- just a hunch here. He also loves watching/looking at his big brother which is so much fun.

It will be so fun watching Liam grow and showing us more of his skills and personality. I am guessing he will have a very strong personality, may be a vocal and independent child with his own opinions. I am also predicting he will be very active. I pray he does not keep me up all night long for years down the road, but for now it's just the way he is. It's my "new" normal to be up a few times with him when he gets upset in the night. He likes structure, routine and expresses his frustration at any changes. He is such a cutie. He is working on rolling from back to front right now- in no time it will happen. When laying on his tummy he tries to push forward in a crawl, so ones his arms and legs are strong enough I think he will take off.

Watch out world, Liam is growing like a weed (now is 15 lbs.) and I think I am a busy lady now with two lads. Once this little guy gets mobile, this will be an understatement I am sure! Liam, I love your smile and love watching you do new things. I love the way you watch your big brother- you are going to learn so much from him (all good things I hope- ha!) We look forward to showing you all the exciting and amazing things in this world.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Braden: 2 years + 3 months





Well, the 22nd of the month is here again. Time to give updates on our boys!

Braden is 2 years and 3 months old this December. He is constantly making us laugh. He also learns more and more words every day.  can't think of any words that he doesn't say. I think his vocabulary is at it's peak. He can even use "I", "Me" and "You" in the right context. He also is gaining a ton of independence. He is a good listener, a wonderful big brother and loves to try new things. His latest sayings are, "I'll be right back mama" (when he leaves the room to go grab something and "Watch me Momma" (like when he is showing me his dance moves). If something was broken and then it works he exclaims, "It's working, YEAH!" Having a toddler is so much fun.

Braden loves to run and show us how fast he is. He likes to sing (this is my  new favorite thing. Toddlers singing have the most adorable little voices.) He loves baseball and football (still, and yes- he and Dad play both in the house.) He loves to build forts. He has a strong love for cars. He is constantly asking "what is this Momma?" You cannot get anything past Braden, he notices when I put a new Christmas decoration up and says, "Did you do that?" I could write about 10 pages on all the new things Braden does. He is so full of life and energy. He wakes with a "Hi Momma" every morning. He likes to hold my hand as we cross the street (love this.) He has taken a new love to snow- wanting to go outside and play in it...even though it has only snowed like once or twice so far. He is still a good helper- likes to unload the silverware, help me vacuum (with his own vacuum) and anything that he sees me doing he wants to try doing it too. The funniest thing is if I workout in the basement, he starts out shooting hoops and then tries to join me doing what he calls exercises! It's hysterical.

I can't even explain what a good big brother Braden is. I am so proud of him. He brings Liam toys. He runs over and says "Hi Liam" when he comes downstairs in the morning and Liam is already up. He gives Liam gentle pats on the head, yes I said gentle. He moves his toys over so he can play next to Liam while Liam lays under the little gym. He gives his brother kisses before bedtime. He will not leave the YMCA daycare without his brother. I am so amazed at how wonderful a two year old can be as a big brother, wow am I lucky. He has been so patient as I have had to spend a lot of time consoling Liam when he is crying. Braden will play independently until I return. I was in Liam's room for an hour one night, and I checked on Braden a couple of times only. I came out and he was reading books, brushing his teeth and watching cartoons - that is IT. I was expecting to see a tornado inside the house!!

I am so excited to see how Braden reacts to the magic of Santa on Christmas morning. We have been talking a lot about Santa and I think he really gets it. He even sat on Santa's lap and seemed excited, no tears were shed at all. When Santa asked him what he wanted he whispered "a car." I will let you know if Braden's wish comes true. Our boy was a good boy this year, hopefully Santa can handle bringing him a car. He sure is curious about all the presents under the tree. He keeps saying, "Let's open it." I tell him he has to wait 3 more days so he tries to fool me by telling me "It's Christmas today Momma." He is already way too smart! Scary...

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Babe Ruth Hammond

What can I say? Our little 2 year old likes to pitch the ball and even says, "Good Hit" when you make contact with one of his fast and furious pitches. Too bad his Dad has taught him to play ball in the house. Oh well, we will just make sure it's not with REAL baseballs or near windows.  Oh, and it's Mom's rule to not throw or hit the ball against the fireplace and guess who can't seem to listen to her own rule? (well, not on purpose, it's just where I seem to hit the ball.)

I am sure come summer Braden will be out on the pitching mound cranking his pitches to us.


video

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Pacifier Free So Far!

Well it's been 48 hours and we have been pacifier free here! The first day was rough. We had two episodes (one in the middle of the night and one during a nap) where Liam screamed for an hour before he crashed and fell asleep. The other times it took about 15-20 minutes to get him to sleep. The first night he woke about 4 times- so even a bit better than with the pacifier. Day 2 he settled after about 5 minutes. Last night was even better yet...get ready for this. For the first time EVER, he slept from 7pm to 3:00 a.m. I fed him a bottle at 3,  and then he went right back to sleep until 6am! This is the first time that he and I got a night of good sleep in 4 months. I can't even explain how happy I am. I also can't explain what this feels like since I have been a zombie for 4 months now. I am not getting excited that this is a trend in fear of jinxing it. So we will see if it happens again. I think God (and Liam) knew I was at a breaking point. I am starting to feel sick from the lack of sleep and stress- swollen glands, white on my tonsils, headache, etc....I so needed the night of sleep so that I can stop myself from getting sick.  Moms do not have time to be sick! So, I got a good night's rest and can tackle today with bright eyes for once!

So hopefully from here on out we will remain pacifier free and stick to our guns on healthy sleep habits. I do know that seeing Liam at 6am after a good night's rest, he looked and seemed more alert and happy too. It was a hard decision to take away the pacifier from the little guy. I even shed a few tears on that first day knowing that I was the one causing him to be so upset, but with the support of Joe and our Pediatrician I knew it had to be done. A couple of times I thought about giving in to avoid the screaming and tears, but once I started the process I knew I couldn't stop! Sometimes as a parent you need to make decisions that are hard, but you know it's in the best interest of your family. When it comes to parenting, everyone has different opinions about what you should and shouldn't do. It's hard not to feel bad or get wrapped up in what everyone else says....the various "do this, don't do that" or "this is what I did" just confuse you even more. However, I am so glad that I stuck to my guns on this and didn't let anything else influence me. No matter how hard this week is on Liam, on me, and on our family, we will be happier in the long run. And you can all stop hearing about my endless nights of no sleep! It's getting old isn't it??? :)

I do have to say there is no way I could have done this process without Braden being such a good toddler. He is so patient. On Monday I was in Liam's room for an hour trying to soothe him, and I would pop my head out every 10 minutes to check on Braden. He was quietly sitting in the loft area watching cartoons, reading books and brushing his teeth. What a guy we have. I could have come out to colored on walls or who knows what....and his sense of humor and silliness have made me keep it together on hard days! What a lucky Mom I am. These boys are amazing.

Someone once told me that having children was like having your heart outside of your body. Your heart is out there, walking around in the form of a little one. I totally agree with this. When they say or do cute things your heart melts. When they are hurt or sad, your heart strings are tugged. You want to protect them from all the bad in the world. You also feel so guilty when you have to make decisions that might make them sad, frustrated or angry. Although it's the most rewarding and fulfilling experience of my life, sometimes it is just plain ol' hard to be a Mom (of course I mean a parent in general, I am not dissing the Dads out there- just speaking from my side.) :)
I am learning so much as a Mom of young kiddos. I am sure so many more lessons to come!

Monday, December 12, 2011

There's no "I" in team!


There is no "I" in TEAM! Liam and I are going to work this week on getting rid of his pacifier addiction. :) I can't do it alone, and neither can he!

Sounds like a serious addiction, huh? It actually is. Now that his reflux seems to be under control with new medication, I am ready to tackle the next sleep issue- he wakes every 1 to 2 hours screaming for his pacifier. I am sure we created this problem when we were trying to find ways to soothe him when he was in pain during the night from reflux. We would plug in the pacifier as one way to try to get him back to sleep. Now that he seems to be pain-free, he is relying on this little soothing mechanism to keep him asleep. It's 4 months in and I am ready to get some sleep...so wish  me luck. I am going cold turkey as of today. His first nap he screamed for 10-15 minutes while I stayed in the room and patted his chest and did a little shushing noise and then he crashed (I learned this trick from the Baby Whisperer). He now has been sleeping for 1 hour and 15 minutes now. Usually by now he would have woken up crying looking for his paci...so this is a very good thing. Hopefully the days naps will get easier and tonight will be better, but we shall see. I am prepared for the worst in hopes that in a few days we can all be sleeping again around here. What would that even be like?

I need to be strong, as this is a true test of my motherhood patience and strength. I don't want to give in if it gets hard, knowing that I will have to do this eventually anyway. Let's get 'er done before the holidays so wish me luck. Oh the joys of motherhood, it's always something with these little ones isn't it? I feel bad that I am doing this to him (and it's hard to see him scream himself to sleep), he really likes his paci...but I know he will get more solid sleep without it and I just don't want him to be mad at me for taking it away. Everything pulls at your motherhood strings! I just keep re-assuring myself that he won't remember this and hopefully I won't either!  Hopefully the 10-15 minutes this morning was the hardest....I was expecting it to be a ton worse. Fingers crossed. I am even forgoing my Monday morning hour at the gym so I can work on this. It's all about dedication and determination! Hopefully he gets on board, learns to sleep without it and still loves his Mama when we are all done. :)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas




It's hard to find time to decorate for the holidays with two young kiddos, but we succeeded and it looks great around here (I think anyway)! This will be our first Christmas in our new house. We are excited. The fireplace is decorated, the tree is up and the outside lights are up. Well, I should clarify- they WERE up. We had some huge icicles this week hanging from the garage. I was trying to be a good Mom by knocking them down one day so none would fall on top of Braden when he was playing outside. Well, the icicles were actually stuck to the lights so the entire strand of lights above the garage come a tumblin' down. (Sorry Joe for all your hard work! At least it will be 37 degrees tomorrow so you can put them back up in nice weather.)
  My favorite part of each day during this holiday season is when Braden comes down the stairs each morning and sees the tree and yells "It's Christmas." He loves looking at the decorations and always asks to turn the lights on. Liam loves seeing the fireplace lit up. Liam now belly laughs, blows bubbles with his lips and yes, we are starting to get some sleep here. We got him new reflux meds and they are starting to kick in. I also have been doing a little sleep training- so with a combo of those he only has woken up 2 or 3 times a night the past couple of nights versus the 10-15 times before. I am starting to feel like a sane person....starting to but it might take a bit longer! :)
 What a fun time of year. Most mornings we are out/about though between classes at the Y, ECFE and some errands. BUT some days it's too chilly to venture out far (and honestly it's a TON of work bundling up two kids and hauling all of their stuff around), so we may stay cozy in the house and find things to do instead of our fall days of venturing to the park in the morning. On days like this, I am lucky to have this space instead of being cramped in the townhouse like last year. Christmas parties, seeing some family and friends, cookie exchanges and a visit with Santa are all things coming up for us in the last couple of weeks before Christmas. Not to mention shopping, wrapping and all that other good stuff!

I hope you are all enjoying the holiday spirit. It sure is a busy time of year and most everyone gets stressed out. We really need to focus on not getting so consumed by the pressure of making Christmas "perfect". Take time to enjoy the little things- the lit tree, the kids getting excited, the smell of cinnamon and gingerbread.  Simplify if you need to and try to enjoy the special time with family and friends. After all, it only comes once a year and we are blessed to be healthy and here to enjoy it! I am excited to spend Christmas here in our new house as a family of four!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Sleepless in Woodbury

We are into the third month, going on fourth and yes, we are still sleepless over in Woodbury! Maybe because I blog about the lack of sleep that is why it's not getting better. Ha! Or maybe you will all get sick of me talking about it and send some positive sleep vibes this way!

Before Thanksgiving, things were improving in the sleep department (I think, or maybe I just can't remember). We then traveled to Joe's parents in WI for three days over Thanksgiving and Mister Liam did pretty good. I kept him on a good routine hoping that would translate to good night sleep, especially considering the house was full of people and us four were sleeping in the same room. He did wake up a few times per night still and would have a hard time settling back down in the wee hours of the morning, which when then wake Braden up by 5:45 each day. This seems pretty normal when traveling with little kiddos though- you don't expect to get much sleep!

Since we have been home from Thanksgiving though, Mister Liam's sleep has gone a bit wonky. He is hard to settle down for each nap and at night he has these episodes where he is flailing in his crib, arching his back and spitting out his pacifier and we can't get him to settle back down- this happens a few times per night now. So, needless to say we are sleepless in Woodbury. One night Liam's screaming woke Braden up two times, so I was running back and forth from room to room trying to get both kids back to sleep. Yikes. I now know a new form of the word exhausted. I am averaging 4 hours a sleep a night this week- and that's not even four hours straight. Hopefully things will iron themselves out soon. I know we had a busy week- I subbed a few classes and we were out and about each morning...so Liam hasn't been on a routine much in the mornings but it's too hard to stay home everyday, well it's impossible really! I do know that I heard this guy's first deep belly laugh this week which is my favorite! So he is growing up fast and I know this time will just fly by and I will look back and barely remember the sleepless nights...(right??)
Two peas in a pod!


We have been keeping busy this holiday season. We have been enjoying decorating the house for the first time for the holidays. The stockings are hung, the outside lights are strung and the wreath is on the door. We are going to buy our first real Christmas tree tomorrow. We also have been reading "The Night Before Christmas" every night- it's a recording of my Dad's voice. I am excited to start some holiday traditions with our boys. Braden seems to somewhat understand Santa, so we will see come Christmas morning. He knows he needs to be good or he won't get any presents from Santa. I also have been busy subbing a lot of classes lately. Today I am headed to a training to learn a new format of a BootCamp class. Braden and Joe have been going to swimming lessons every Saturday. Tonight we have an Ugly Sweater party. So, we are keeping busy among the sleepless nights. Keeping our fingers crossed for some better nights ahead! I really want to spend Christmas as a happy camper instead of a grumpy one! Please, no more sleepless nights in Woodbury. We have done our time!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Liam: Three Months





Wow, Mister Liam is THREE months old. I can't believe how fast he is growing. I had to put away the newborn clothes already and some of the 3 month old ones too. He has started to wear some 6 month clothes- this boy is getting big!

What does Liam like at 3 months?
  • His family, he smiles so big when he sees all of our faces
  • When you sing songs or play peek-a-boo
  • His paci (he's probably addicted, hence all the night wakings...yikes!)
  • Being close to you so he can see you
  • To move around (this guy is BUSY and strong)
  • To sit in the exersaucer (yes, already..I prop a blanket behind him since he wobbles a bit.)
  • Taking baths
  • Waking up early, or waking up a lot in the night and early in the morning!
  • Smiling and giggling
  • Talking (he has a lot to say, even in the middle of the night)
  • His hands, he has found them
What doesn't Liam like?
  • Sleeping more than a few hours at a time- yikes! :)
  • Loud sounds
  • Bright Lights
  • Being overstimulated
  • Any disturbances while he's eating
  • Getting out of the bath
  • Being alone for more than a few minutes or being in the same position (gets bored and lonely easy)
Liam's personality is starting to shine. He is a smiley and giggly little boy. He definitely lets you know when he doesn't like something, or when he's tired or hungry. He loves to watch Braden and wants to be a part of the action. I predict this one will be a busy and active boy- more than Braden even! He tries to stand and takes little steps when you hold him...he may be an early walker. Watch out world, here comes Liam. It will be so fun to have our newest addition here for the holidays this year!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Braden: 2 years + 2 months

Making brownies (or eating them) with Mom.
First official haircut at the Barbershop!
New haircut = smiley boy!

It's that time again, time for the boys' monthly updates.

This month Braden is two months past the big TWO! He is still amazing us everyday with the things he says and does. Braden is speaking full sentences now which is so much fun because we can have full conversations. He is very eager and is always asking, "what is this mommy?" and of course his favorite question, "where are we going?" Whatever I am doing, he watches closely and says "I try it now."

Braden is loads of fun. He loves his sports (of course baseball and football are still his true loves)- but he has added basketball and hockey to the list now that it's winter. We have two different basketball games in the basement, so he asks to play that everyday. We went to open gym time the other week and he loved playing hockey for the first time. He also loves to run (just like his Momma). With the nice weather this fall, he and I would do sprints out on the front sidewalk and run around the bases at the baseball field up the street. Other than sports, he loves to color, play with play dough, build towers (and knock them down), play cars, play Lego's, laugh at his little brother and he loves his teddy. Lately he wants to bring teddy everywhere, but we have made sure to just keep teddy housebound. If we lost him it might be the end of the world! He also can do somersaults and loves dancing. With the first snowfall this weekend, he has been obsessed with wanting to go outside. This weekend he helped Joe shovel and put up lights. He also took his first trip down the hill in a sled. This winter will be tons of fun. We got him a new winter coat and boots so he is all ready to go! The holidays will be so much fun for him since everything is still so new and exciting for him.

I'm sure like any other toddlers out there, Braden's eating habits perplex me a bit. He turns down things that every kid would love- like PIZZA. He often doesn't eat meals and we have to fight him to get him to take bites. He will inhale certain things and other things that he would normally eat he suddenly refuses. What really cracks me up is the stuff he really likes and eats on a regular basis: green olives, avocados, tomatoes, mandarin oranges, and grapefruit. I love all of those things and ate them while pregnant too, so maybe that's where he gets it from. So funny that he eats non-typical kid food but turns his nose to things like burgers, chicken or pizza. Oh well..that is probably why he weighs 24 pounds at 2 years old!

We are working on teaching him manners, so I get a lot of "oh, thank you's" throughout the day but then get a "get it" when he chucks his water. I must have spent too much time on the thank-you's and not as much on the pleases! ha!

Braden's biggest milestone this month is his first REAL haircut. I have trimmed his hair quite a few times...but it was starting to get a bit crazy so today I took him to the barbershop. He did so good. He didn't move one inch the entire time. He did exactly what the lady told him to do, didn't make a peep and was happy to watch cartoons. They even shampooed his hair and gave him a mini massage. He was such a good boy. It feels like our boy is really growing up in the past few months. I wish I could freeze this age for a while!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Life With Two

I often get asked, "How is life with two?" My current response is, "it's interesting" which evokes strange looks from people. I am just not sure how else to describe my life right now. I would not describe it as anything negative - I mean I have two wonderful and healthy boys and feel very blessed. I wouldn't say it's easy and stress-free either though. AND I most definitely wouldn't say it's a vacation- ha! For all you Moms who have been through this before, I have hit that stage where you say, "Holy *#$!". I am busier than ever. I am tired, or rather exhausted on a daily basis. I feel like I have 10 arms and need 10 more. I have NEVER multi-tasked this much. I never knew that I could! I wish I could be in two places at once. I wish I had time for myself (to shower in peace or read a magazine) or to do things around the house. I have to spend most of my days caffeine induced just to get through it. I have now become ONE of those moms who people feel sorry for in public. You may see me wheeling a huge stroller through a skinny hallway with a screaming baby riding in it, while holding onto 3 bags, AND holding the hand of a crying toddler because he wants to stop and get a drink from the drinking fountain and I don't have free hands to hold him up. Yikes. Sounds glamorous huh? :) No, it might not sound glamorous. I might wear spit-up on my clothes or not have time to take a shower until before I go to bed. I may have dried and cracked hands from changing too many diapers. But it's my life right now. It's my new normal. It might be insane most days, but I wouldn't trade it for anything. These boys are worth it. I will look back at this stage and hopefully laugh about the sleep deprivation and double diaper duty days. HOPEFULLY is the key here folks! :) Sure, this stage feels long when I am in it, but I know I will look back and wish it was back again...especially when my boys are at school and growing so fast.
What people have told me all along is true! Life with two kiddos is not twice as busy/crazy/hard, it is more like five times! Just when Liam is crying or needing to be fed, Braden then wants me to play or wants a snack. He has been pretty patient for the most part, but there have been more tears over my lack of attention to him in the past few days. I try not to be hard on myself but sometimes I do feel like I can't fully be there for either of them. Liam wants to be held all the time and doesn't like to be alone. I want to play with Braden and give him one-on-one attention, but he doesn't get much of that these days fro me. BUT I am doing the best I can. I just wish there was more of me to go around (like all Moms). I wish I could attend to a crying baby and play cars with my toddler at the same time. I wish I wasn't on edge and feeling frazzled when I am tired and have a hungry baby and a toddler meltdown to deal with at the same time. I am with them alone 12 hours a day and going places and doing things is exhausting, but I enjoy getting out of the house so off we go anyway and by 1 or 2 o'clock each day I want to drop over. I teach classes at the YMCA to have one little outlet, something that I enjoy and love to do. It takes me an hour and a half to get everyone ready and out of the house just to get to class on time. I still want to do it though. I love that one hour that I get to inspire and motivate others while releasing some stress myself.

Don't get me wrong, life with two is amazing. These boys are my pride and joy. I am so blessed and thankful they are healthy and they are mine. They amaze me each and every day. Being a Mom is wonderful, but it is definitely hard work. Especially when they are just two years old and three months. Bottom line, they need mom for everything right now. So, for now if I seem frazzled, have an extra dark circle under my eye, or can't remember things- you probably know why. I may even order the second glass of wine when I have that rare night out, just because I need to relax. It's just the stage that I am in right now. It sure is "interesting" for lack of a better word...but these cuties are worth it and I am glad they want to be with me so much right now! Soon enough they will be telling me to "go away Mom". Yikes. Stay small for a while buddies, but just let me get some sleep so I can remember this current ride better. :)



Saturday, November 12, 2011

Imagination Nation

So the day has come. I have been waiting for this moment since Braden's birth. He is now into pretend play. This is by far my favorite! He stands behind the little plastic counter at the park and asks me "what would you like to order?" I say what do you have today? He says, "donuts". I politely order the ones with sprinkles and he gives me my imaginary donut, takes my imaginary money and says, "thank you have a nice day." This melts my heart. I am REALLY good at toddler imaginary play and I can't wait to do it more. Now when we are in the car he even asks, "Mom, I'd like to order." So even though we don't have the little plastic counter in front of us, he still wants to play. I give him options from cheeseburgers, hot dogs to hot chocolate and donuts. What he orders depends on the day. It is a lot of fun to watch Braden grow and learn about the world. He is really able to hold conversations and understand everything I say. It is so much fun.

Mister Liam is growing in leaps and bounds too. He is such a smiley, expressive and STRONG boy. He kicks and talks loud. He grabs onto things. He dances in the bath and splashes around. He still is not sleeping so good at night, but what can you do. I keep telling myself he is only 12 weeks and I had it too good with Braden. We will hopefully get to a good sleeping place SOON. Please, oh please I ask. :) We had a really busy week this week- the Eagan community center for some gym time, a trip to MPLS to visit Joe and meet his co-workers, trips to the Y as I had to teach a few times, and I had an all-day training today where I had to take three cycle classes in one day. Needless to say, I am one tired Mama.

November is flying by. Thanksgiving is soon approaching. I hope you are all enjoying the pre-holiday time as it is soon going to get a little crazy!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Trick-or-Treat




So Halloween has come and gone. It was a great one for our family. Joe arrived home early enough to help get Braden ready into his costume. We lit the pumpkins and put our candy into the bowl. We came up with our plan of attack, who would stay back and who would take Braden out. We decided to take turns- Joe taking Braden out first and me staying back handing out candy with Liam. That plan didn't work out so well, because by the time Joe and Braden made it back from round one the little monkey was too tired to continue (and maybe a bit scared of all the masks). Oh well. Maybe next year I can see the kiddos run from house to house. My end of the deal wasn't so bad- I stood outside on the neighbors driveway next to the fire, with a glass of wine in hand and watch the kiddos come by and grab candy out of the bowl I set out. Now that's a great Halloween strategy if I do say so myself. So, we had a great first Halloween in our new house and look forward to many more.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Pre-Halloween Festivities: Out and About

Hammond boys with Grandpa and Grandma H!


 Picasso!
 Halloween fun
The Great Pumpkins
The end of last week and into the weekend we were constantly on the go. Thursday night we carved pumpkins at my sister's house with all the kids (well, some painted). It was great cousin fun. My Dad came to teach the kids a lesson in Pumpkin Carving 101. Then, Friday morning we had dentist appointments for Joe, Braden and I starting at 7am (not sure why I thought this was a good idea 6 months ago when I made the appt), I had to race to teach spin class and then Joe's parents arrived Friday afternoon for the weekend. Friday night we had a date night. Saturday morning we went to a family-friendly Halloween bash at the Fultz Ranch, Sat we went out with friends and Sunday was all about the relaxation! Wow, I haven't had that busy of 4 days for a long, long time but it was much needed!

 It was so nice of them to come and help take care of the boys so Joe and I could get out for the first time post-Liam's arrival. Friday night we went to dinner at Shanghai Bistro in Stillwater- for sushi, Chinese food and drinks. I highly recommend it. In the summer there is an awesome patio with cabanas and couches, and in the winter there is an ice bar....brrrrr, not sure how I feel about that! Anyway, we had a nice time just chilling out and having some drinks for the first time together in about a year! Cheers to that. It's amazing how much you appreciate just a couple of hours of getting out together without any responsibilities. It's probably something we take for granted pre-kids.

Saturday we also went out with some friends to Mancini's Char House. Again, it was the first time in oh, so long that we have gotten to go out with friends. I think the last time was around the 4th of July. Anyway, even though it was an exhausting weekend to stay out a little later and be up with a baby in the middle of the night, I am so glad I forced myself to do it. It helped me realize there is an outside world still- ha! It's easy to not be proactive and make any plans with a newborn baby because you are so tired and it's hard to find people to watch such a little one AND a 2 year old...but I am thankful for in-laws who love to spend time with our boys. I am thankful that I forced myself to get out so I can feel a bit refreshed this week since I had some time for myself! I am hoping to try to do this at least once a month going forward. Any interested babysitters, please contact me. :)

So here's hoping there are more outings in my future, and that I don't wait that long again before getting in touch with life on the outside- ha!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

What the Heck is a Spirited Baby?

This does not appear to be a so-called "Spirited" child? No?

Yep, I am totally one of those freaks that researches things on the Internet that may be so easy for others to figure out on their own...for example, like how to calm my screaming baby down during one of his shrieking episodes that occurs frequently? I mean why not look to the experts when everything is just a click away now. Or maybe I am just one tired momma who has tried every trick-in-the-book and still can't quite figure this baby out completely.

I give myself a pat on the back for figuring out that Liam had reflux and taking him into the Doctor for that. One positive check for Mom. Well now that he has been on meds for a few weeks and the reflux appears to be better, I am perplexed at why these screaming episodes occur anywhere from 3 to 7 times a day? It doesn't appear to be colic since it's not all-day and it's not totally inconsolable. It does seem to be when he gets sleepy (I have concluded after 8 weeks of trying everything else out). So is there anyway to reduce these episodes so I can perhaps cook dinner in peace and not burn it, or attend to the needs of a 2 year old and not have to run back and forth and pick up a screaming baby...and most of all, if I can't figure out how to get him to stop do I really have to keep putting him in the car seat and turn the dryer on (yes, I do this) or bundle everyone up and go for walks outside at the bewitching hour of 5:30 everyday? I don't mind the walks- but really it's going to get cold out so that is only going to do the trick for so long! I guess there's always car rides!

So, yesterday I did some brief research on the Internet in my spare time of oh, about two minutes. Here's what the experts on babies are telling me. I may have a "Spirited" baby on my hands. Ok, what the heck does that mean anyway? (The other categories are: Angel, Textbook, Touchy and Grumpy.) Who knew babies could be categorized by their behaviors at such a young age? In a nutshell, my answers to their behavioral questions on babies looked like this:

  • His scream is the same for all needs (hunger, tired, etc..)- at the top of his lungs
  • He shows no signs of being tired and then immediately his mood changes the second he is sleepy
  • You can't let him "cry it out" because he only gets more worked up- face turns red, gets sweaty, face scrunches up
  • He cries at loud noises (when I sneeze, yell for Braden in the other room or when I have the blow dryer on)
  • He cries when he gets his clothes changed or as soon as he comes out of the bath
  • He is sensitive to light (won't drink his bottle under bright lights but will chug it under a dimmer light)
  • He is active, strong and has jerky movements
  • He has to be swaddled because he flails his arms all over the place
  • He has to be put into his swaddle when he is still calm, and be put to bed when he's calm and drowsy or he will bang his head and kick his legs (sounds fun eh?)
  • He likes to be held and likes familiar faces (he is the happiest, smiliest baby when I am close enough for him to see me)
  • When drinking a bottle he tries to grab or hold it
These are just a sample of traits of a "Spirited" baby which basically go on to explain that these babies are more high-needs, sensitive, require more structure, will have a hard time going to strangers, has a hard time being overstimulated, fights his sleep and needs extra assistance to fall asleep and stay asleep (yikes, how am I going to explain this to future babysitters). They also say that growing up he will most likely be very independent, have separation anxiety that could last up until 1 to 5 years (holy **@$), need a lot of physical contact, will have disrupted sleep, will not take direction on simple everyday tasks such as brushing teeth, buckling car seat, etc... and the list goes on. Ok, can you really tell this will be your child's behaviors based on what they are like as a baby?

I have NO idea if any of this is true or not, but I am no expert. I have had one child so far who was pretty darn easy and laid-back and still is. THANKFULLY! The one thing I do know is that Joe and I both agree that Liam's temperament seems opposite of what Braden was as a baby. Yikes. What does this say about my future as a Mom who would like to stay sane (because right now I border on insane most days)? If you have any idea if this is true, or if you have had a so-called "Spirited baby" please give me some insight! All I know is until some of this shakes out, I may need to teach as many classes at the YMCA (for stress-relief) and make sure my house is stocked with wine and will need to line up babysitters to keep in touch with outside life. Booya, welcome to motherhood of two!

Jokes aside, if this indeed the case, I will get through it! If Liam keeps up the "Spirited" label into his older years- I will learn to work with and appreciate him for who he is. Afterall, this is just a label and it sounds to me as if "Spirited" could be interpreted down the road as:  creative, keen, eager, full of energy and courage, and having a strong assertive personality. You always have to look at the positive side. We'll see what holds true for Mister Liam. For now, please help me through the ups/downs!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Liam: Two Months

The Two Month Old.

It is hard to believe that two months ago we were in the hospital welcoming little Liam into this world. Although the time has gone fast, it also feels like he has always been with us.

At two months, Liam is growing! The last time he was at the doc (for his reflux a couple weeks ago) he was 11 pounds! His two-month check-up is tomorrow so we'll see if he's any bigger than 11! I am guessing maybe he is 11.5 or 12 by now. We will also see how he does for his first set of shots.

What else is Liam up to at two months? He is one STRONG boy (I'm not bragging, just observing). He stands up on his legs when you hold him under the arms. He looks around the room and even whips his head around. He busts out of his swaddle at night (and did at like 4 weeks old). He grabs on to my hair and I can't get him to let go. I think his massive strength is my fault- I taught BodyPump, Kickboxing and did cycling classes all through my pregnancy and of course I ran the entire time too. :)

 Liam's reflux seems to be under control, we finally found the correct dosage that works for him. He is eating like a champ (5 ounce bottles about 6 times a day). He is sleeping better too.  His night wake-ups are about 1:30/2 a.m and then again at 5:30/6 a.m (a couple of pacifier plug-ins in there too as well). His sleep schedule is a HUGE improvement from before he was on Zantac!

When Liam is awake, he is kicking, cooing and he has the hugest smile - it's almost a laugh. I don't think I have seen a happier baby before (at this age.) I can tell he recognizes my face which is so much fun. The funny thing though is he is happy one minute and without any warning will start into a blood curling scream and you can't calm him down for about a half hour. As Joe and I like to put it, Liam has lungs and he likes to let you know he has them! :) I have observed these episodes for 8 weeks now (trying to figure it out) and have finally just started to recognize a pattern. It seems as though even though he's only two months old, he is already falling into a routine for sleeping, eating and awake time (or maybe I am just figuring it out much sooner this time). He can handle about one hour of awake time and then he needs to be swaddled and laid down. So his pattern is: sleep a couple hours, eat, awake time for an hour, and repeat.

Liam also LOVES his bath. He kicks and wiggles in the tub. He loves the warm water. He hates getting out though. When I dry him off and lotion him up he also screams and is hard to calm down. I don't blame him, I hate getting out of a hot shower and into the cold air as well!
He likes to watch what his big brother is doing. He likes playing under his gym, looking at the mirror and kicking or grabbing the little alligator. He likes looking at the pictures on the wall and the colors on the TV. He also does not like to be left alone for too long. I think he just likes to be a part of the action and doesn't want to miss anything.

Time is flying by with these two boys. We are so lucky to have healthy and happy sons. Liam is a joy to have in our family and we cannot wait to watch him keep growing before our eyes and see his personality shine.
 Gym time!
 I captured that laughing smile of his!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Braden: 2 years + 1 month

What 25 month old doesn't love binoculars?
Uncle Todd would be proud.

Braden's first hike - already a natural!
Every hiker needs a walking stick!

Who knew a 2 year + 1 month old could grow a moustache!

Since both boys were born on the 22nd of a month, I am going to have to do their monthly updates separate. So, on the eve of the 22nd here is Braden's update!

"Where are we going Momma?," I heard as I was driving to the YMCA one morning this week. My eyes grew wide and I had to turn around to make sure it was Braden that said it (versus some stranger.) Low and behold, it was our two year old that formed this complete sentence out of no where. I seriously am not sure how OVERNIGHT his vocabulary changed. Then, all week he began asking things like "what happened here?" and "What is this?" and "I want it" and "I like it." Joe even said tonight that he thinks Braden has said about fifty new words this week. One night when Joe got home he asked Braden what he did and he replied, "Cone at McDonalds." Yes, I was totally busted taking my son out for my favorite treat. Man, I cannot keep anything a secret anymore. Long gone are the days of being able to say and do things without getting into trouble.

Braden is also busy learning how to spell his name and learn colors. I think we have read the book "How to Make A Rainbow" about fifty times this week so he can repeat "red, orange (ornj), yellow (lellow), green (ga-rrrrreen), blue (ba-due), and purple." He loves to write "E" "B" and "R" for his name. They may not always look like the actual letter, but the E comes pretty darn close sometimes.

Braden is also a very active little man. He loves throwing balls, climbing all climbing structures at parks, and running. We went for a hike this weekend at Afton State Park and besides the steep stairs, he walked for most of the 2 mile hike. I wish that every day I could give him that much exercise because sometimes he doesn't fall asleep during naptime. It's not a huge deal, he still stays in his crib and plays or talks but I know he is still too young to stop taking naps (which is evident at dinner time on the days he doesn't have one). Today, I had to bribe him that if he took a snooze I would take him to the park- yikes, I am already bribing my two year old to do things he should be doing- ha! I think he just needs to be physically tired so I will try harder to make him run around. I also learned in ECFE that it's common for them to go through this at 2 when cognitively there is so much going on and they can't get their mind to shut off- hence the increased vocabulary probably.

Braden is also a brave little soul. During our ECFE class on Wednesday, us moms leave the room for an hour and he is the only child that doesn't cry. He even was comforting another girl in the room by saying "it's ok." He is also a very good big brother- he plays next to Liam, he brings him his paci when he's crying and he gives him kisses before bedtime.

Braden also has a great sense of humor at the mere age of 25 months- not sure who he got that from Mom or Dad or neither depending on who you ask. :) He is silly and makes us laugh constantly.

25 months have flown by and we love watching all of the new things that Braden says and does. It just gets better and better.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Double Trouble

Sometimes I get a little freaked out thinking about:

1.) 2 boys = double trouble.

2.) 3 guys + 1 lady in the house = momma has no chance winning any battles (such as using the remote control)

3.) Heavy Testosterone Levels + Minimal Estrogen Levels in the house = mom will be the only one to ever stop and ask for directions, or to cry when her feelings are hurt (maybe), and will for sure be the one cleaning the bathroom floors and the dirty uniforms....and the list could go on!

I say all these above things truthfully, but most importantly light-hearted. I think it will be fun being a mom of two boys. Yes, it might be double trouble. Tthere will be some ganging up, but I am hoping that Braden and Liam will be best buds since they are only 23 months apart. Of course there will be some sibling rivalry and some healthy competition, but truthfully I am content having two boys.

The reason why I bring this subject up is because I get asked so often "are you going to try for a girl?" I think this question is hilarious (and disturbing when asked the week I just had a baby). News flash - you CANNOT try for a certain gender (unless of course you are one of those people that believes if you stand on your head or follow certain instructions that you will conceive a boy or girl.) I truly believe you have to want a certain number of kids. So, there you go- my answer is..no, I am not going to try for a girl (my luck I would get twin boys) and I am content with two boys. Plus, I think it's strange to share my family plans with people that I don't know very well.

 There are definitely pros for ME having two boys (I am not saying this applies to anyone else). 1.) It's all that I know 2.)  I am a sporty, active, busy and not-overly-emotional mom (I think anyway) so it fits me well. 3.) I have tons of girlfriends to go shopping or get pedicures with. I have five nieces to buy girl things for. 4.) I will enjoy my time alone when the boys want to go do some male bonding activity. 5.) Yes, boys are BUSY in the young years, but everyone says they are less emotional in the teenage years.

So, there you have it. I am good with double trouble! If you have any witty responses for when I get asked "are you going to try for a girl" or "were you hoping for a girl?" please leave a comment. I might want to shock someone with a witty response someday when I'm in a spunky mood. My typical answer is, "Nope, I am good with two kids. I just wanted healthy ones, not a certain gender." :) 

In conclusion, you get what you get and you can't change it. You have to look at the pros and be content with what you have. It amazes me that in our society today we tend to focus on what we didn't get or what is next versus what we have and appreciating it. I am happy to be blessed with two healthy kids, and that is what is most important!


Sunday, October 2, 2011

Thank You Zantac


I brought Liam to the Doctor on Friday to investigate about reflux after weeks of being suspicious about his tummy troubles. Low and behold, it is looking like he has it- so the Doctor gave us a week prescription of Zantac to try out. It's only been two days, but the little dude seems less fussy and is sleeping a wee better. Ok, a lot better! Last night he slept six straight hours, versus the 15 minute increments he slept on Thursday night. This six hour stretch might be a fluke, but it's nice to see the little man feeling a bit better and resting better.

So, thank you Zantac for making me feel like a sane and normal person today, versus the walking zombie that I was on Friday. It's like having an out of body experience when you get no sleep and have to keep up with a two year old all day (on top of attending to the needs of a somewhat fussy and non-sleeping newborn). Here's hoping that Liam feels better here on out and I can continue to be a sane and normal person.. for everyone's sake around me, really!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Braden's Second Birthday- Recap

Well, Mr. Braden had a wonderful second birthday. It was four days of straight celebrating for the young lad! Here's a quick recap of the four days of festivities.

1. Birthday Eve- Bapa and Pama came to hang out, and also presented Braden with his very first BIG WHEEL!
2. Birthday - Donuts and juice with Mom, and neighbors Judy and Jake. A trolley ride in Stillwater, and when Dad got home we had birthday cake and opened presents.
3. Post-Birthday- Dad took the day off! A trip to Como Zoo and lunch at Sonic (drive-in style).
4. Birthday Weekend-  Off to Grandma and Grandpa's house for monkey cupcakes, presents and hanging with the cousins.

As you can see, we were very busy and had a lot of fun! Two years have passed us by in the blink of an eye. Here's hoping the terrible two's skip us! :)



 Present from Mom and Dad- A Scooter
 Dad and the Birthday Boy!
 Fun at Como Zoo
 Hammond Grandparents and Grand kids
Hammond Cousin hog pile! Braden = WINNING!