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, October 31, 2011

Pre-Halloween Festivities: Out and About

Hammond boys with Grandpa and Grandma H!

 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!