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!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

18 Months...If Time Could Stand Still!

saying cheese for the camera!
New favorite toy!
Filling up with Unleaded!
Eating applesauce, big boy style!
Helping mom unload the dishwasher.
Making dinner, or rather a mess, next to Mom.

Braden turned 18 months old yesterday. Where has the time gone? I know many people say the 18-24 month old stage is their favorite and I have to admit, I wish we could just freeze right here for a while!

What is Braden up to at 18 months? Well, as you can tell by the pics he is quite the little helper. He helps to unload the dishwasher by handing me the dishes and silverware one-by-one so I can put them away. He also puts the laundry in and takes the laundry out of the dryer for me. When I make dinner, he makes his own little mess along side of me, also captured above.

He also got a new toy, the coup car, a hand-me-down that three Sullivan families have gotten to enjoy! The day he got it was like Christmas all over again. He could probably play with this car all day long, if we let him. His other favorite things to do are reading books, throwing balls, jumping in his ball pit, taking baths and playing outside.

Braden can eat applesauce all by himself out of the cup with a spoon. You can tell by the excitement on his face when I bring it out for lunch, that he either really loves applesauce or is obsessed with getting to use the spoon and feels like a big boy. He also does not sleep with his paci anymore. We wanted to wean him of it sometime after our move and before baby #2 arrives. One day I was telling him that he soon won't need it and Mom will take it away because big boys don't sleep with pacis. I asked him if he wanted to be a big boy that day and hand it over to me. After a lot of thought, he handed it over to me. I was amazed. He never looked back or made a fuss, amazing.

Our little man also says a ton more new words now: up, cheese, hippo, Elmo, pizza, yes, two, blue, applesauce, and three just to mention a few. He pretty much repeats most words that I say, so I can tell that he is really focusing on his vocabulary right now. He has a love for cartoons, I let him watch a show while I make breakfast and he doesn't flinch the entire time! He also could sit and watch an entire Disney movie - not sure if this is good or bad at this age. :)

He has lots of teeth now as well which makes it easier to eat a lot of different foods. We have a lot of kids in the new neighborhood, so it has been fun to watch him run outside and want to play with the other kids and do what they are doing. He is not afraid of most things and seems pretty curious/adventurous. I realize this could be scary later!

So, our little guy is growing fast and I am not one to get to sappy about certain stages or sad when they are over but I really wish this one could stay for a while. It's so fun to see his vocabulary increase as well as his overall understanding of what I say. He follows directions pretty good, so hopefully that stays, ha ha...not counting on it when we hit the terrible two's! :)

So Happy one-and-a-half Birthday to Braden and here's hoping this darn snow that just covered up our lawn can melt soon so we can get back to playing and exploring in our new neighborhood!

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Luck O' The Irish.

Braden's front row spot for the St. Patty's Day parade.
Gearing up for the party!
Our spectacular housewarming cake! A replica of our home!

Not only was last week one of my favorite holidays, St. Patty's Day, but while celebrating it I began to realize how lucky I am. Not lucky as in "The Luck Of the Irish" saying, but lucky because I have so many things to be thankful for right now. I'll tell you how and why I came to discover these things all while celebrating my heritage.

On St. Patrick's Day I woke up to a smiley son, which is a typical day. But I then got to surprise him with a donut covered in green sprinkles, a very special treat for him. Watching him lick the frosting off and say "hmmmmmm" made my heart swell a bit. Later that morning, we headed downtown St. Paul for the St. Patty's Day parade. This was Braden's second parade ever, the first being on the 4th of July when he was just 9 1/2 months old. Seeing his face light up at all the people, the horns blowing, and the dogs walking by was so fun. He was dancing to the Irish bagpipes and waving to all the people going by. He then realized that you are supposed to run out and get candy, so everytime he saw one hit the ground he would point at it and look at me for approval. I would cheer him on with a "yep, go get it buddy" or a "no, that's not candy Braden." We also watched the firetrucks cruise by and the irish dancers jig in the middle of the street. A couple hours later we were headed home. I turned around in the car and he was fast asleep. In that moment, I felt so lucky! Lucky to have a fun son to share these special traditions with. Lucky to be able to spend my weekdays days doing fun things with him. Lucky to have a toddler who can go with the flow and be happy taking in something new. Lucky that he had so much fun he was exhausted.

Then the weekend came and the celebrating of green continued. Joe and I had a date on Friday night to Mancini's. I have been talking about taking Joe here for years (I have been going with my family since I was a kid) and we hadn't gotten around to it yet. So, we were excited that we were finally going! Although we had to squeeze it in since his bus was late, it was still nice to have a nice meal, and some alone time together to talk without interruptions and responsibilities. In that moment, I felt lucky to have such a wonderful husband who I have so much fun with and we can laugh and have good conversation. I felt lucky to have great friends that live close by to watch Braden so we could have a date night. I felt lucky to have time away to re-charge as a stay-at home-mom.

Saturday the festivities continued. Our Realtor threw us a little housewarming party - the theme being St. Patty's Day of course. The house was decked out in green gear: beads, shamrock wear, green drinks, green food or St. Patty's day themed plates to hold the food. As people arrived, I felt so lucky to finally have this new house to entertain a bigger group. I felt lucky to have such wonderful friends who are excited to share this big milestone of moving into a new house. I felt blessed to have a generous Realtor to throw such an amazing party. I felt blessed to be so excited about a new house that I wanted to show people around. At the end of the night when I was cleaning up and a bit tired from standing on my feet all day, I was overwhelmed with how lucky I feel in life right now. AND not only do we have a new house, but we are going to be welcoming a new baby at the end of this summer. Wow, what a year for us!!

I know it's not just the luck of the irish either. I use the term "lucky" a lot above to go with my St. Patty's Day theme here. It just happens that over the Irish holiday weekend, I have spent a lot of time realizing how many blessings are in my life. I have a lot to be thankful for and I am making sure to appreciate all of it! I am giving lots of praise and thanks right now.

Are you taking time to appreciate all of the blessings you have been given? I hope so. It's easy to look at the "but I don't have this" or compare ourselves to someone else and what they have...but we must take the time to appreciate what we are given and live TODAY for what it is. You never know when it could change so we must be thankful.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Big Brother.

Wow, just typing those words seems crazy to me! Yes, Braden is going to be a big brother at the end of August. He will have a sibling almost exactly two years younger than him (minus a couple of weeks). I am having some serious deja-vu being pregnant at exactly the same time I was two years ago. Although I can barely picture our little man as a tiny newborn anymore, it also feels like it was just yesterday.

How does it feel to be pregnant AND have a toddler? I have to admit that although how I physically feel is somewhat the same, it still feels different. This time around I am chasing around a toddler all day long and often forget I am pregnant. It just can't be the main focus as it was the last time so it slips your mind. Back to that chasing a toddler around comment I already made, come the end of the day I am one seriously exhausted mamma with a bun in the oven on top of it. There's also not as much worry or questioning about my health or body this time around since I've been down this road (and not that long ago of course). I am very lucky both times around because I can say that I have never experience morning sickness. The one thing that is the most different this time regarding my health is that I don't have a thyroid issue. The first time around that caused some different symptoms for me. The normal thyroid this time around is prolonging the wearing of pregnancy clothes, so the longer they can sit in my closet the happier I am. :) he he. I am not going to lie, I had to cringe when I washed and folded them the other week. Why can't we just wear our normal clothes and maybe have a few bigger shirts when our tummys grow? I wish! :)

As far as how I feel about what is to come - I am excited, but honestly a little nervous for a new baby on top of having a toddler! I think that is a normal transition for anyone going from one to two...just as going from none to one. It's exciting yet the fear of the unkown is there. Right now, I am really good at getting out and about with Braden and I don't want to slow down! I love going to parks, going swimming in the summer, taking walks, being able to workout, having playdates and the list goes on! Things gets a lot easier now that he can run around and play on his own, so to start over with a tiny baby when they are constant work, makes me a bit scared. On the other hand, babies sleep a lot during the day and you don't have to chase them around! My other fear is, Braden is also such a good kid, so I am afraid that it's karma that I would get a really naughty one next! Ahhh, we'll see!

Anyway, I know it will be a lot of work having two in diapers and them being closer in age, but I know in the long run it will be nice for them to have eachother as playmates. Hopefully they will entertain eachother. Plus, I will be blunt and say I'd like to move beyond the child-rearing years now that I'm in my mid-thirties! :) So, I will get over my fears that I listed above and I know it will be great all around! I am sure once he/she is here I will master having two (hopefully) and then I will forget what life is like with just one! I also sometimes get sad for Braden that he will have competition, but at the same time I don't want too much time to go by with having him be the only focus. He loves other kids, so I know he will love the company. You just worry as a mom on how you will spread your love and time, but so many people do and my parents raised four of us and nobody was slighted! So, I know I will figure it all out when the time comes. Each change in life just comes with a mix of excitement and anxiety that you just work through!

And no, we are not going to find out the gender again this time! We love that surprise!

So this is an exciting year with alot of change for us! Our new house couldn't have come at a better time! Here's hoping I can still keep up with Braden until the end of August, and I can still teach my classes up until my due date. Teaching really gives me an outlet and helps me stay in shape during pregnancy so I don't want to give that up. It's crazy to think that just a few months after our three year anniversary this year, we will be a family of four! I know my Mom is watching out for us and sending lots of blessings our way. Thank you Mom for being our angel!

Sunday, March 13, 2011


Ava and Braden looking suspicious in the ball pit, how'd all the balls get outside the pit?
Ah ha, balls were originally in the ball pit!

Cousins in serious thought, watching cartoons on Sunday morning.

It's a backpack parade through the house!

So we've been in the new house only three weeks, but it feels like more to me. I think that is a good sign. It feels like it has been home for a while!

We have been doing some entertaining each weekend, making up for the lack of it in the townhome I imagine. Last weekend we had our niece Ava for the weekend while my sister and her hubby had a quick weekend in sunny Arizona. We had a three toddler playdate one of the nights she was here- pizza and a movie with Ryne, Ava and Braden. Braden and Ava played well together for the weekend and Braden liked having a little playmate around. Their favorite activity? Well that's obvious, playing in the ball pit in the basement. :)

This weekend, another toddler playdate with Cole. So, hopefully the entertaining will only get better and better as the weather gets nice...grilling and chilling outside in our yard. Wow, we will have an actual yard this year, not just an enclosed patio! Oh how fun! We can't wait. Spring please hurry so we can see what our yard actually looks like without the snow coverage!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

All Settled In...

picture as you enter from the front door. Dining room to left, kitchen straight ahead, living room in back.
Living/Family room.
New TV and our first fireplace! Eventually we want the TV above the fireplace, just not sure how to secure it up there yet.
Dining area to the left of when you walk in the front door.
Braden's bedroom.
Braden's bathroom.

Master Bath, my favorite- the large tub!
Master bedroom, could use some decor/color and new furniture. :)

Here are some pictures of our house!

We have been here for two weeks and are pretty much settled in. The boxes are unpacked (not including what I call "storage" in the basement), the pictures are hung for the most part and everything has a place. In time I am sure we will want to do some painting, more decorating, and buying of new furniture but for now we are settled in! I am sure it will take years to get it all fully decorated so I am keeping it very basic right now.

Braden is officially used to the new house (I think anyway). The first week was a bit rough like I explained in the last post, but now is playing by himself, running circles around the center island and throwing balls from room to room. He also likes to sit on the bench in his room and look out the window for airplanes or trucks driving by. He loves jogging down the driveway but I have to caution him about running into the street!

I'd say my favorite thing about the new house is the big, open kitchen. I enjoy cooking more with an open and spacious kitchen. I also like that the kitchen opens up to the living room, so Braden can play close by and not be in a totally seperate room. I also like the big tub in the master bath! I have used it, oh a handful of times already. Joe has his new TV set up in the living room and the big 52" TV downstairs ( that the previous owners left behind in the basement (aka "man cave") now has cable. So, he rotates back and forth between TVs...that might be his favorite part of the new house, or the fact that we don't have to share or debate over who gets to watch their show. (ok, maybe that's another favorite part for me- ha!)

We are excited to actually entertain people now, since the townhome pretty much prohibited us from having more than two people over. I can't wait until spring when everyone is outside grilling and playing and Braden can play with neighbor kids. I have met two neighbors with young kids so far that seem very nice. One made us cookies and tomorrow we have a coffee/playdate across the street. We feel welcomed! I also love seeing people walking and jogging on the path that goes throughout the community. This seems like a very active neighborhood.

We were both nervous how it might feel being a bit further out of the city and away from some of our favorite things. However, we are really loving the house, neighborhood, being close to my sister, and feeling a little more out in the country with more open spaces, woods, trees and some quiet roads. It seems peaceful here, but close to everything that we need!

All in all, it feels like home!