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.

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!