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, July 31, 2012

Another year gone by

 Cycle class showered me with surprises 
 Momma and little man
 Big boy B, wanting to wear swim goggles all day.
Blueberry Mojito at Shanghai Bistro- I highly recommend!

I am a very lucky lady. I turned another year older this Saturday and was blessed with so many fun surprises! On Friday, my cycle class surprised me with balloons, cake, a card, a sash, candy, a birthday  hat and a sweet toast at the end of class with sparkling juice. What a thoughtful and fun group I get to share my Fridays with. They sure know how to make an instructor feel loved and appreciated! I may have had some tears in my eyes during the toast!

On Saturday, my boys showered me with gifts when I woke up. Then I got to spend the early portion of the morning getting a haircut and coffee. My, how peaceful Grand Ave. is at 7:45 am. Then for lunch, our family of four had a picnic at the park. We ate, played, and ran around. (Well, less running and playing for Liam and I- he has to be confined at certain parks due to wood chip consuming.) Later that evening, I got to hit the town for a night out with my hubby. Thank you to my lovely sister for watching the boys and taking them back to our house and putting them to bed. I didn't have to worry one bit, and they had so much fun. It was a fantastic night- consisting of drinks on the patio, dinner with friends and strolling along the streets of Stillwater on a nice summer night. I couldn't have asked for a better day. Oh, and the swim goggles that Braden was obsessed with wearing around the house, magically appeared after losing them- so that was a bonus bday gift!

So, how old did I turn? Many of you may already know. Those of you that don't, I will make you guess. I made my Tabata and Cycle classes guess how old I was turning- they guessed 28 and 29. I will just leave it at those two guesses considering that is more how I feel, than my real age. Age is just a number. I work hard to stay "feeling" young. Hope it helps me in the long run. :) I am a lucky lady. I am blessed with good health and have a job that I love (two of them). I have two healthy and fun little boys in my life, a great hubby, and awesome family and friends.

July is outta here, now onto Joe's bday just a few days away.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Braden John: 2 years + 10 months

There is a lot of talk about someone turning three soon in this house, and along with that milestone comes many changes. Braden just started sleeping with one side off his crib, so we call it a "big boy bed" since he can get in/out himself. This was so exciting for him (and us). He even listens to the rules- we stay in bed once we get in, we go to sleep, if we get up early we can read books until we see the door open and then we can come out on our own. Phew, who knew the transition would be so easy. (I am sure it will not be that simple with Liam.) Braden will also start pre-school in the fall so we talk a lot about going to school- wearing a backpack and eating lunch there. We are also trying our hardest to rid ourselves of two sets of diapers by the end of summer, but it is going SLOW...so we will dial it back for a while and perhaps try it again when he is closer to three. Boys have their own agendas and timing I have learned! They can't be pushed.

Braden is at a really fun age. He is really beginning to do more big things - like swim on his own in the pool or lake with a life jacket on. He can pretty much climb up anything at the park, even the climbing walls (ok, Mom still stands behind on that one). We are increasing our baseball and running
time, so he gets more and more active. This summer has been extremely fun, even though it is really hard to take both boys places on my own because they are at such different stages (one crawling and not sitting still and one running). But, I have been trying to get out as much as I can because I know this age for Braden is so fun and he needs to get out and experience the world. In a nutshell we have done the following in the past few weeks: Saw Madagascar 3, went to the Children's Museum, went to the waterpark, went to a splashpad, went to McDonald's playplace, went downtown Mpls two times, saw the Puppet show at the park, swam numerous times, went jumping at SkyZone and the list goes on. There aren't too many things on my list left to do this summer. I am checking them off!

It's crazy, the closer he gets to three the less I can trick him as he catches on to everything and is becoming way too in-tune with things. He knows how to get places in the car, he will say "is that a good idea mom" or "let's do it Mom" (when he gets a good idea) which both make me laugh. His current favorite things are: baseball (of course), singing ABCs before bed, running, movies, jumping, playing trains, swimming, and doing anything water related.

It is a blast watching Braden grow. He seems like a little man to me even at the age of "almost" three! There are a lot of good questions and he is very perceptive. He is a social guy, but now around new people he tends to be a bit shy and need to warm up. We are having so much fun with Braden.

Liam Jude: 11 months

Say it isn't so! Liam will turn one next month? Time sure is flyin' by. It is crazy to think that last year at this time I was in the last month of pregnancy and hadn't even met Liam, let alone knew the gender of our second baby. Now he is here, crawling at full speed. He is pulling up onto everything, including pulling things down on top of himself. He loves stairs and will make a bee-line to them if they are ever in his sight. Another new favorite thing to do is open and close doors, trying to climb into the shower and refrigerator. He says a few words now, in addition to mama and dadda, he has added ball, bye-bye and an occasional hi. He is obsessed with balls, so we spend a lot of time rolling balls back and forth and chasing them. It's funny how with the second child you seem to skip a lot of phases. Right now, Liam plays with all of Braden's toys too. So, at 11 months he can put cars down ramps and throw balls just like big bro. Forget the little plastic baby toys that entertain them in the first year!

Everyone that meets Liam says that he is full of personality. He looked exactly like his big brother from birth to at least the first half-year of his life. Now, Liam is starting to take on his own look- maybe a little bit more like Mom than Dad (at least Mom's baby pics). He does have more hair than Braden as a baby. Liam has two teeth (bottom). He loves to eat, swim (or splash I should say), and loves watching and learning from his big brother. Liam is full of energy. He is very expressive and vocal - making noises all day long and shaking when he's excited. He doesn't want to miss a thing- lately it takes him 30-45 mins to fall asleep at night and he plays in his crib (no matter how tired he is.) He is all smiles and is very silly. He is already wrestling (or flinging himself on you if you are laying on the floor), dancing, waving, pointing and loves learning and seeing new things everyday. Current favorite sights are waterfalls and windmills. He also does not like to be out of sight of me- which means it's difficult to use the restroom or take a shower as he freaks out if there is a door that seperates us. I am sure that is just a stage, Braden went through that too.

We can't imagine what life was like without Liam, it feels like he was always here. We look forward to celebrating the big "one" next month!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Boy meets monkey

We went to the Children's Museum today. The current exhibit at the museum is Curious George, one of Braden's favorites. He was pumped when I told him that we were going to the museum since it was raining today. Not only did Braden get to play in the George exhibit, but before we left we saw George walking around in life-size form. Braden chased him down and said "Hi George" as he waved furiously. George waved back a few times and then vanished into the elevators. Braden asked me where he went. Mom's response was "he probably had to take a break and go eat some bananas."  So all day I have been asked, "Is George done eating bananas now so he can come back and see me?" Seeing George must have made his day. Along with meeting his favorite cartoon character, he said he also loved playing in the water, getting a hole-in-one during mini-golf, making play-dough, driving the bus and doing his own face painting. It is fun to put a smile on little one's faces with the things we get to do each day together. Braden finally got to meet his buddy George. It is so fun seeing them enjoy things and getting so excited.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Dinner for Three

Tonight I took my little dudes to dinner tonight. Joe was at an event and it was tempting to find a reason to not eat at home. So here's what I came up with. It was: a.) too hot too cook and b.) I only have two more weeks to use my free birthday bucks. So, that decision was easy and we headed to Bonfire. People may think I'm a bit crazy taking a 2.75 year- old and 11 month-old to dinner, but to me it's a little bit of a break. I don't have to cook, they usually behave well and it's a change of scenery for them too. My theory is the more they get used to sitting down in public to eat the better it will be for us down the road. Also, Braden does pretty good out to dinner and Liam gets really squirmy after an hour, but if he is eating he is content. An hour is usually long enough for me to eat anyway. :)

Here's to momma and little dudes date night. I hope you are all staying cool. We have been spending a lot of time in the water- splash pads, pools, etc...it's crazy to think it's mid-July now. Some of our July highlights so far have been: taking Braden to Madagascar 3, trying out a new splash pad and hitting McDonald's playland for the first time (B loved it), 4th of July fireworks in our neighborhood, our nephew's grad party at the lake, and lots of swimming We have a busy rest of the month and that continues to at least mid/end of-August. I will try to post pics of our fun events as we go! Happy heat wave to all.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Ice cream as big (or bigger) as your head.

What on earth is a little guy doing with ice cream this big? Well, this is the CHILD'S SIZE serving which appears to be bigger than Braden's head. Only at Nelson's in Stillwater, my hometown, can you get ice cream this big (and it only costs $3.50). I took the boys there one night and between the three of us, we still had a lot of ice cream left. So, next time you are in Stillwater you have to stop by Nelson's, just up the hill from downtown right across from Just For Me Spa. Tons of fun flavors to pick from, old fashioned ice cream store style. Beware though, on a hot summer night the line is long. We usually go on a weeknight a little earlier or later than the crowd, or around lunch time. Oh, how I love summer for all the tasty summer treats you can eat on hot summer days!

Before our trip to Nelson's that night, the boys and I hit Teddy Bear Park and had a picnic on the water over looking the St. Croix River....ahhh, it's good to be close to home again (even though I do miss certain things about Mpls/Edina area, there are a lot of pro's to the east-side too). You can't beat Stillwater in the summer, so much fun.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

When Mom Is Not Looking!

This is what happens when someone thinks Mom is not watching. :)

Lately, the boys are becoming more and more active. I don't know how I am going to keep up. It seems it will just get crazier and crazier from here on out. Braden is gaining lots of independence (i.e sleeping in a big boy bed), and he has a new found energy as you can see in the video above. He always wants me to pitch baseballs to him or we spend lots of time coming up with games that include running and jumping. Liam is full of spunk and gets into everything, especially putting foreign objects in his mouth when I'm not looking. On these hot summer days, we are trading off between swimming and staying inside the a/c playing (now that it's working again, thankfully). With both of them at very different stages, it makes outings on my own a bit difficult. Liam wants to get down and crawl/explore (no more sitting), while Braden wants to be as active as an almost-three-year-old can be.  At our neighborhood pool, Braden wants to swim in the big pool (versus playing in the toddler pool). This is a challenge on weekdays when I am there with them by myself. I have to hold Liam in one hand while he is splashing madly and trying to swim away and then tend to Braden swimming with his life jacket on or jumping in the pool from the side. It brings multi-tasking to another level! I spend a half hour getting ready to go to the pool and then we only make it for an hour or 90 minutes. I sometimes wonder why I go to all the trouble, but seeing the huge smiles on both of their faces as soon as we hit that water reminds me why. They LOVE the water. Here's to some naps for Momma this summer when the boys are napping, as they are keeping me BUSY. I should get a Do Not Disturb sign for the front door from 2-4 each day.

PS- It may be a while until I can post pictures. Our camera is broken and my phone camera won't let me send pics to Facebook for some reason (and I could save them and post them on my blog.) So, hopefully it won't be too long without pics.....sorry!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Summer Slide

Painting the entire interior of our house just wasn't enough (ha), so a few weeks ago I started working on outdoor projects. I can't be stopped when I am on a roll with getting things done.

We bought two unfinished Adirondack chairs (above) and I stained them. I couldn't decide if I should paint them black or something fun like red, but in the end I decided on the more rustic look. Little did I know that staining would take FOREVER, and a lot of patience. :) But, they turned out pretty good and either way it would have taken a while. I have wanted these chairs on our porch  since we moved in, so now we have a cute little sitting area in the front. I also finished adding some plants to the front so our landscaping is all filled in and we put in some nice dark brown mulch. Things are shaping up around here. I did some plants in the back too and we have some new furniture in the back, but of course forgot to take some pics. Next up, we want to add some ceiling fans and tile our fireplace to make it look brick or stone, but with unforeseen purchase of a new air-conditioner last week it probably put some of these future projects on hold a bit. Yikes. Oh, and I'd love to do some garage entry-way storage someday too. For now we will enjoy the summer and perhaps pick up more projects come early Fall. So, yep I am on my summer slide...gonna relax and have fun and not pick up a paint brush for a long time! :)

Oh, and how I dare forget this little project that I decided to do the weekend of Liam's Baptism- a little chalkboard wall next to our refrigerator: (this is my last painting project until I decide to do the spare bedroom, I promise.)

Happy Summer to all!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Sweet Home Chicago

 Not a bad view for the weekend
 River taxi
 Beach, right next to downtown
 Ready for a night on the town
 Minneapolis friends celebrating in Chi-town

Millenium Park

Although I can't call Chicago "home" like the song goes, I do feel somewhat at home when I visit. About 12 years ago, a good friend of mine moved back there from Minneapolis and when flights were cheap I would go every other month to visit her. So, in a sense Chicago does feel like home to me. I would say I have been there about 20 times or more.

Since having kids, I haven't been to Chicago at all (not including the time I was pregnant with Braden). Last weekend, I had a much awaited girls weekend to the Windy City. I can't even tell you how excited I was to return to the city that I used to travel to so often.

I arrived last Friday morning and got to spend a day at the beach with my friend Maggie and her three adorable girls. Then us Moms said good-bye to the little ones and headed downtown late afternoon and arrived at our weekend destination, right behind the Sears Tower. The weekend was filled with tasty dinners, drinks outdoors, and great conversation. We took a river boat taxi on a gorgeous summer night. We did Zumba in Millenium park with a huge crowd of others. (This actually felt like a flash mob.) We went on hotel rooftop bars, walked Michigan Avenue, went to the spa and even hit the beach adjacent to the skyscrapers. We got to dance a little, laughed a lot and have zero responsibilities. I got to catch up with a high school friend and ran into a friend from Minneapolis and got to celebrate her birthday with her. What a fun getaway. I came home tired (my own fault since I can't sleep in anymore and stayed up a bit late), but had such a wonderful time. Chicago, you feel a little like home to me when I want a big city escape.

It's harder to be away when you are a Mom, packing up yourself and getting everyone else ready for your departure for a couple of days. However, being away makes you a more refreshed Mom - having your own time and being able to do things on your own schedule is a nice break. I was ready to see my dudes again after three days. It took me a while to catch up on rest (old lady), but of course it was worth every minute! I soaked up all the fun I could have in three days.

So, to all those Moms who are afraid to leave your little ones- do it. If you start now, it gets easier and easier to pick up and go. Other people are happy to help out (hubbies included) while you are gone. Nothing will go crazy while you are away.We often put so much pressure on ourselves to be present at all times, but Moms need breaks too. Or sometimes we think it's too much work to leave because we have to list out schedules, teach people routines, etc...but trust, me once you get to your destination it is worth it. It is healthy to do something for ourselves so we can come back feeling rejuvenated and tackle it all again. Everyone in the family benefits if Moms can have a little "me" time and do something for themselves. It doesn't have to be a long extended stay, short breaks help too!