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!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Holiday Fun!

 The tree is up!
 Downtown at Macy's display
Liam loving the giant Target dog at Dad's work

 Date night:  Cross Country Skiing
Mom and Braden date: Giant pizza and Disney on Ice
Christmas Eve 2013
We sure kept busy this month, packing in all the holiday festivities and activities we could. We got the tree up right after Thanksgiving and set up all the holiday d├ęcor. I took the boys downtown Minneapolis to see the Macy's Christmas display and visit Joe at work. Braden and I got to see Disney on Ice one Sunday afternoon. We had the Johnson cousins over for a sleepover. We got in the van one night in our PJs and had hot cocoa and popcorn and drove around to see Christmas lights. We snowmobiled in the field behind our house. We went sledding. Joe and I dropped the boys off at the YMCA for Parent's Night Out and we went Cross Country Skiing in the woods on the lit up trails during a nice snowfall. (Next time, we will remember to wax the skis that have been sitting around for 20 years.) We spent Christmas Eve with the Sullivans and had a quiet day home on Christmas Day. We went to the movie Frozen on Christmas night and out to dinner (breaking out of the traditional Christmas norm). Post Christmas, Joe had a sleepover with the boys in the living room and took them to SkyZone for some jumping during his time off. Phew, did all that really happen in just one month? That wasn't even the normal day-to-day stuff like work, preschool, etc.. :)

Now we  are getting ready for a smaller Hammond celebration this weekend and then New Year's with some friends next week. What a busy and fun month! I have taught a bunch of classes to keep people moving all through the month. Joe has logged in lots of hours in his new job, in hopes that he is getting the hang of his new gig now. We are super blessed to be surrounded by good health, love, family, friends and happiness this holiday season. We also made new memories and kept old traditions going. This holiday season is a memorable one for us. The boys are a little bit older and can appreciate all the excitement and magic of Christmas. We have enjoyed watching them get involved in decorating, and just showing excitement for each and every holiday outing or activity.

We hope all of you had a Merry Christmas and that your New Year is filled with happiness, good health, and so many blessings for you and your families.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Circus Circus

A couple of weeks ago, the Personal Trainers at the Woodbury YMCA had our Holiday outing. Once I heard "Trapeze" as the theme of the outing, I knew I had to attend. I looked at the website that was sent to us and quickly glanced over the details. It sounded fun, adventurous and something I probably wouldn't do on my own (without a little nudging anyway).

Little did I know that I would be coached into a series of trapeze swings that would end with this as my grand finale! And boy, was it up a lot higher than I thought it would be. :) I accomplished some fears that night for sure! It was scary at first, but amazingly awesome and fun. What an adrenaline rush! This place is right in St. Paul if you want to try it out! It's called Twin Cities Trapeze.

Here's a picture of the stairs to get up to the "small" platform. :)

A picture of my entire Trapeze team that night.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Braden John: 4 years + 1 month & 4 years + 2 months

Braden is just a bit over four, but somedays I think he is about 10. He catches things that I miss, he remembers names really well (unlike me) and he also corrects me if I get a minor detail wrong. Sounds just like someone else in our household, hmmmm. :)

The best things about Braden (if I had to narrow it down) are the following: He has a pretty laid-back demeanor but likes to stay busy, he is always up for anything, he is easily excited about little things (I hope this lasts a bit longer), he listens fairly well, he doesn't typically put up a fight if he is mad about something (less tantrums for me and just a "oh man" instead). I also like that he likes to be challenged, choosing the seek-n-find books everynight for his bedtime book. I also love how he gets a big smile on his face when he is proud of himself - like when he writes his name right.

Even though Braden and Liam are now into a lot of the same things, Braden is a good big brother showing his little brother how to do things or helping him (and me) out. Of course there is plenty of fighting, but I am sure it's hard to have someone smaller taking all of your stuff. I laugh when I find "secret" stashes of toys around the house. The big milestone as of late, is Braden moved into n official big boy bed- a step up from his "little boy bed" (crib with the rails off). He now sleeps in a twin bed and looks like a tiny little boy. I prefer him this way than hanging off the crib size mattress! :)

Braden attends pre-school two days a week and loves it. He will have one more year of pre-school since he has a fall birthday and has to wait another year for Kindegarten. I hope to keep him challenged and busy that last year! Right now it's a bit hard when we have to be home for Liam's naps. I can't blame him as I like to be out and running around a lot too. Hopefully this winter I can keep him moving and busy despite the cold! (May not be a problem as you can see in the shoveling pic above).

We are super excited for Christmas this year. Braden is already picking out things he wants and he actually listens to me when I tell him that Santa is watching so we must be good! We love watching Braden grow and learn each month, he is slowly becoming a little man - one that makes us so proud to call our own.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Liam Jude: 2 years + 2 months & 2 years + 3 months

So I am a little behind in my monthly updates on the boys. I am not sure where the time has gone. Work has gotten a bit busier for me, Joe has been extremely busy with a new job and travels, and the boys are keeping active as ever. I am not sure how I keep up!

Little Liam is growing into his two's! He is funny, smart, full of energy, has full conversations and can be loving one minute and throwing a tantrum the other minute :) Liam is doing whatever he can to do exactly what his big brother does. He has started potty training somewhat. He speaks in 6 or 7 word sentences telling me "Mom, I am done sleeping now can I get up?" as an example. He  loves to go places, but after some time will say "Can we go home now please?" He is my little homebody. He is also obsessed with puppies and Lightening McQueen. He asks for the Cars movie everyday. He wants to wear his big brother's Car slippers. He jumps up and down when he sees Mater or Lightening McQueen toys at Target. His obsession with puppies has grown greater and greater each day. Liam wants to wear his puppy shirt everyday, sleep with his puppy costume in his crib every night and he has a stuffed puppy that he sleeps with as well. It takes some wrestling and a few tantrums just to get the puppy shirt in the washer. :) I think he is a man of comfort, opinions and security.

Liam will also be the kid that screams at Target at the top of his lungs or takes off running and doesn't come back. He is a bit of a rebel, does quite a few time outs a week, but at the same time will give me lots of hugs daily, holds doors open for strangers and says please and thank- you often. He is quite the character. It is so fun to watch Liam grow and grow. His personality is spunky and funny. He likes to trick me by hiding behind the curtain or putting something on his head and trying to balance. He knows how to play games on the Iphone (yikes) and will ask me, "Mom do you have class tonight?" and say "oh, ok!" when I respond. He just gets everything now. He cracks us up daily and we cannot wait to watch this two-year-old grow and grow as we are sure there will NEVER be a dull moment.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Halloween 2013

Our little guys had quite the Halloween this year filled with candy, costumes, running from house to house, and playing with neighbors. We had a Batman and a Puppy. Liam was supposed to be Spiderman, but he fell in love with this Puppy costume he found at my sister's over a week ago. He has barely taken the thing off. Here it is two days post-Halloween and he is still wearing it. I managed to sneak in a wash, but the thing comes to bed with him so he can hug it. Man, he loves his puppies. I hope you all had a happy and safe Halloween. For us, it gets a little more fun each year. Braden did pretty well and Liam got a little chilly and only wanted to go to a dozen houses or so which was perfect for him. We didn't manage to capture a family photo, but the little ones are the only ones anyone wants to see anyway!

Braden also had a preschool program that day, so we got to go see him and his classmates sing in their costumes. Boy are they cute!

Also, earlier in the week Bapa Sullivan had a pumpkin carving  and spaghetti party. All 10 cousins were there for the fun. It's always awesome to see them together as they range from 20 to 2. We had a super fun Halloween week. I also dressed up about four times at the Y for our big Jillian Michael's BodySHRED launch and I always like to dress up the week of Halloween to make class festive along with Halloween songs. I think we will all sleep good this weekend now that the festivities have calmed down. On to November now- can't believe Thanksgiving is just a few weeks away. This year is flying by!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Fall Fun

Fall is absolutely gorgeous in MN. Although I am a Summer gal, it's impossible NOT to love fall with the awesome things that come along with it like: colorful mums, apples from the orchard, red and orange leaves, boots & jean jackets, pumpkin flavor anything (chai tea or coffee), pumpkins and the cool running weather. I had to take a picture of all my favorite fall things on display.

As for activities this Fall, we have been keeping busy. I took the boys to an apple orchard, we had a family wedding, Joe took the boys hiking, we took a train ride on the Osceola Railway, we have spent many afternoons at parks with the 70 degree fall weather, we have visited the Humane Society a couple of times to play with the animals and the list goes on. It has been an adventurous fall as the boys get older and more and more fun. I am keeping us all very busy in fear of what is to come this winter when we are a little more cooped up. For now, I'm hanging on to fall for dear life.

 Jess & Adam's wedding
 Osceola Great Norther Railway
Fun at Afton Apple

The chillier weather is starting to set in now. I am relishing the colorful trees while they are here. I hope everyone is having an amazing fall just as we are!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Liam: 2 years + 1 month

I'm a little late on Liam's monthly update. It happened to fall on the same day Braden turned four. Better late than never, so here it goes:

Liam Jude cracks us up. What is he up to this month? He is pretty hilarious, as you can tell by some of these pictures he is quite a ham. As I type this he looked over and said, "Hi Mom". He can speak like crazy now- using huge words like "awesome" understands everything. He often asks me what things are or what is that kid doing? Lots of questions! I love how the number of verbs he can use has multiplied by hundreds in the last month. During meal time he will say, "my toys stay right here, Ok brother?" Clearly, he is worried his brother will take his toys. The toy stealing happens a ton in this household by both boys!

 Liam is the guy that can play toys on his own, but if I leave the room he will come and find me within five minutes. He does do some independent play, but doesn't like to be left out of sight. He has been trying to learn how to bike, getting a little better each week. It's still slow, but he can reach the pedals and turn and go for a minute and then hits the breaks to stop. That's about as far as we have gotten, but Mom has been trying to be patient and we just need to practice, practice, practice.

Liam is our good eater. When Braden leaves food on his plate, Liam will ask if he can have the leftovers. :) Liam is somewhat of a brute - even by looks he is shorter and stalkier. He is constantly dancing around, jumping off things and talks to himself. I would say he is quite jovial. The Irish temper has decreased slightly. He seems to shake things off a bit more, but saves the crying for when he's really mad now. I do hear "Braden hit me" quite a few times a day though. He also is a very stubborn and take-your-time kinda guy, perhaps like his Dad a bit in that. Ha.

Every Tuesday, Liam and I have the day to ourselves when Braden is at school. We go to parks, run a couple of errands sometimes, or just play. It's really fun to watch him on his own when his big bro isn't influencing what he does. When big brother is around he just wants to do everything he is doing. When by himself, he could stay at the park all day going down the slide, or watching the ducks on the pond and enjoying nature. He always makes me laugh, especially with his silly faces or silly dances.

Liam is really into books lately. He opens them and talks about what is on each page. He is also our guy who could stay in the bath all night long if we let him. Liam is growing and growing. He is a blast to be around, that devious little laugh gets us all the time! Can't wait to see his new tricks in the next few months. Two is a ton of fun!

Monday, September 30, 2013

Braden is FOUR!

Low and behold, our oldest guy turned four on Sunday, the 22nd. I can't believe that
just over four years ago we had no idea if we were having a boy or girl, or what parenthood would have in store for us. It has been an amazing journey. One that I can't even explain in words. I have learned more in my job of "Mom" than in any job I have ever had. I would like to write Braden a note, so he can someday read this and see what life was like at four through my eyes.

Sept. 22, 2013

Dear Braden,
  Today you are four, which means that four years ago today you entered this world and into our family.  What an amazing day that was, a day that we will never forget. Our family of two became three. You entered this world pretty gracefully and I would say you are still just as graceful. You catch on to things so quickly- both physically (the way you can throw or hit a baseball) and mentally (with the way you can recite a lyric or the Brewers line-up after hearing it only once). Before you entered the world, you did flips in my tummy at bedtime and bounced around when you heard loud music. I laugh because this still holds true at age four- you bounce around when you hear music and at bedtime you are running around asking for more books or jumping on the bed. :) You are full of life and energy! You don't miss a beat with all of your questions and eagerness. I admire that.

You have been in our lives for only four years now but it also seems like forever you have been with us. I cannot imagine life without you. I look forward to your "hey Mom" every morning when you run into my room. I adore your smile and laugh. I am so proud of the little man you are becoming- the way you say please and thank you, the way you hold the door open for people when we are out and about, and how you greet people with a big "Hi"- ok, well this is usually people that you know but I can respect that you don't like to talk to strangers. :) Although you are at the stage in life where you still need my help, I try to give you independence to learn and grow on your own. I love how you like to be around people and you don't want to miss out on the fun. You are always up for any adventure I throw your way and you always show your excitement.

I can't explain in words how proud I am to be your Mom. I don't probably tell you enough how proud of you I am, often I stand back and watch you with a big smile (you have no idea I do this). I am not one to brag about my kids out loud, so I will do it in writing. I love how when we go to parties that you immediately blend in and only come to me when you need something. It doesn't matter if you are hanging out with a 10 year old or a 2 year old, you just blend right in. You are so easy to be around. I love your laid-back manner, although sometimes I hurry you through breakfast when we are running late, I still appreciate that you take time to play and that you are enjoying life. I wish I could protect you from all that is bad in the world, but I know that no Mom can do this. I wish for you to stay strong and true to yourself. To be kind to others always, to follow Dad's advice on being a leader and not a follower and to respect people. I want you to have your own opinions and make decisions, but not to affect other people's opinions or decisions. I hope you stick to your passions and are always confident in who you are and how much you are loved. You are an amazing, special boy and we are so glad to have you as ours!

You are our first born, our oldest "little" dude. I love how you show your little brother how to do things and help him. When you ask him to come with you to go get your toothbrush (or whatever else), it shows me that you always like company and you like being connected. I know it's easy to fight with your brother, especially when he takes toys or he has something you want, but he's your only brother. I want you to always remember that family is your rock and your foundation. We are always here for you. Life will have it's ups and downs, but family will support you through it all. I want us always to be grounded and focus on what is important in this world. I can speak from experience that life can change in an instant. I don't want us to have any regrets- I enjoy all our memories and look forward to making them more and more with you each day!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Summer RECAP!

We had a fabulous summer. I can't believe how fast it went. Of course, the weather wasn't officially "summer" like weather until the end of June here in MN, so no wonder why it felt so short. Anyway, I wanted to recap some of the highlights:

  • T-ball and Soccer (Braden)
  • Outdoor Bootcamp classes (Mom)
  • Summer Fun Days or what I call "camp" (Braden)
  • Trip to Chicago (Mom)
  • Fishing and Golf outings (Joe)
  • Como Zoo (animals and rides) for Liam's Birthday
  • New Job (Mom)
  • Endless hours of swimming at the pool
  • Squirt guns and water table fun
  • Birthday Biking Happy Hour (Mom)
  • A few days at the lake for fishing and boating (Sullivan family) 
  • 20th Reunion (Mom)
  • Family Vacation to the North woods of WI (Hammonds)
  • Boys' first Drive-In to see Monsters U (for Dad's Bday) 
  • Parks, parks and more parks!
  • Teddy Bear Park and Nelson's Ice Cream
  • Playing tennis
  • Afton Summer Festival
The list goes on. I am sure I forgot a handful of things, but these were some that came to the top of my mind. We had an awesome summer. We ate plenty of popsicles and ice cream. We took spontaneous adventures. We stayed close to home some days and just went exploring to throw rocks in ponds or look for ducks. The boys were super fun and adventurous. I am holding on to this stange in their lives where they appreciate the small things and are easily entertained. Now fall is here and we are relishing all the sunny days to play outside.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Braden: 3 years + 11 months

Well the end of August we celebrated Liam turning two, but I can't forget to do my monthly update for Braden as well. Braden will be the big FOUR next month, so he just keeps growing and growing into a little man before our eyes. Today he said to me, "do you recognize this?" and "is this familiar?" so I think he is trying to be a really big boy as he nears the four mark. Geez. Braden had a wonderful summer- the highlights include: fishing, parks, tee-ball and soccer, overnight with cousins at the cabin, Hammond family vacation, ice cream at Nelsons, Teddy Bear Park a couple times, Como a couple times, couple of movies, swimming and more swimming, a few day camps and the list goes on!

Braden is our go-with-the-flow guy and is up for anything, anytime. He is a little pokey sometimes, so the mornings when I work I spend a good amount of time telling him to get moving, ha, but he is a pretty good listener and good helper. His energy surprises me, he doesn't nap anymore and is go-go all day long but then seems to crash pretty hard at night which is good. He is full of life, energy and humor. He wants to run with me and play any sport imaginable (other than his favorites even)- from golf and tennis to volleyball and basketball. He really improved on his swimming this summer- wearing goggles and throwing toys into the little pool and diving in for them and staying under for a few seconds. He is a determined little guy. He watches others do things and then wants to do them on his own and will practice until he can do it. I admire his determination at such a young age.

Braden is also our guy who loves constantly being around people. He asks to play with neighbors or friends all the time. If he sees someone from afar (that he knows), he wants to go say hi. Although he is sometimes shy around new people, he is not shy at all around those he is familiar with. Hmm, sounds a bit like Dad to me. :) Anyway, Braden loves playing with other kids and at parties or gatherings I will not see him the entire time as he is immediately adjusted to the pack of kids.

Our oldest guy is growing before our eyes! He amazes us with his eagerness to learn and try new things, although in the food category that is not so true. Ha. Braden is smiley and inquisitive. He loves to read and do his I spy books at night. He is still our movie buff. Braden is one of those kids that you can take wherever and he will fit blend right in with everyone. He constantly has a toy or two in his hands. I can't believe how old he is getting, so that is the very reason I do these monthly blog entries so I can keep track of it all!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Liam is TWO!

Our littlest dude turned the big TWO on August 22.  The day before, I took both boys to Como because Liam told me he wanted "rides and cake" for his birthday. We saw some animals first, and then we hit the rides. We had a great time, the highlight was me almost getting sick on the teacups and the boys laughing as we kept spinning around. :) They had a blast on the rides and were giddy and happy. I had a lot of moments where I sat back and watched them with a big smile on my face. It's amazing how fast they grow, and how fun they are in this stage.

On Liam's actual birthday, what a riot he was. He woke to a balloon drop in his crib and more balloons hanging all over the ceiling in the kitchen. If you know him well, you can imagine the expression on his face since balloons are one of his greatest passions in life. :) Hopefully I captured a few of his happy Birthday moments in the pictures above. The day was also filled with donuts, lunch outside, a puppy cake, pizza and presents when Dad got home from work. He coincidentally also got to see both Grandpa's on his birthday- what a treat!

As our littlest man turns two, a lot of things come to mind. First of all, it is crazy to see how fast he has grown. He speaks in full sentences now and is as independent as a two-year-old can be by always saying "I do it myself Mom" or "I got it." Liam brings a lot of joy to our family with his spunk and energy. He is a very sensitive little man and wears his emotions on his sleeves- whether happy, sad or mad. Liam is our blondie, he often gets called our little surfer dude with the two really blonde patches on each side of his head. He looks just like I did as a toddler- but of course he has the brown eyes like Joe. He is sporting quite the summer tan. He is really into imaginary play right now, I love listening to him play and zooming planes up and over his head saying "coming in for a landing." It's just too cute - I love this stage. Liam is a fun little guy to be around. He loves to dance, still loves puppies and balloons, he and his brother are starting to play more together which is nice (plenty of fighting of course), and he is my guy that could stay and do anything for a long time and gets mad when I pull him away. He plays on his own pretty well- zooming cars, trains or talking with little figures. He comes running to Mom when there are loud sounds (sensitive ears too), and I can hear him talking away in the morning before I go in and get him out of his crib. He often asks, "where did Braden go?" when he doesn't see his big brother in sight. He is constantly still doing and saying whatever big brother does. Liam Jude is a happy-go-lucky little guy who constantly keeps us on our toes and makes us smile and laugh. Happy Birthday little guy! We are so proud and amazed by you!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Hammond Vaca 2013

Since vacation, I've been a bit too busy to blog. So, here's to some catching up!

We had the Hammond family annual vacation a couple of weeks ago. The weather was a little chilly up in Rhinelander for mid-August but we made the best of it. The highlights include: paddleboarding, kayaking, fishing, a birthday party for 3 little dudes, a trip to the winery, a visit to the candy and toy stores in Eagle River, morning bootcamp, peaceful jogs around the lake, tennis, family dinners on the deck, cousins playing, happy hours and frozen drinks, the world's largest bloody mary, bonfires, relaxing on the dock, cards and conversations. I am sure I missed many things, but those are the top of mind memories and it was great to spend a week in the north woods of WI with the Hammonds, making more memories. Here are some pics other than the ones I have posted on Facebook I think: