Sunday, February 6, 2011

On Hiatus

It has been an embarrassingly long time since I posted an update here. It's not that we haven't been doing tons of fun things or that the boys don't continue to amaze me, it's just been an insanely crazy month! I started a new job, and while it's off to a great start, I'm completely overwhelmed with tons of new faces and new information every single day. By the time I hit the sheets at night I feel like my head is going to explode. It's all good, but keeping things together at home and at work is going to take everything I've got for the next few months.

The other part of having a new job is having a bunch of new equipment. My new computer is like Fort Knox, so old standbys like Picasa and Gmail are no longer an option. I had no idea how much I loved my old Blackberry until it was gone. I can hardly make a phone call much less upload a photo on the fly. Yes, I sound like a 90-year-old, but it's the real reason why there aren't any photos with this post. Sad, but true.

We also continue to be plagued by colds and had a very rough round of the stomach flu which happened to coincide with a broken dryer. It also coincided with my first week of work, so I spent a fair share of my second day with my head in a toilet at work. Not exactly the way I had imagined starting my new job.

But on the bright side, January is behind us and winter should be wrapped up within the next two months. We've been surviving by doing lots of fun things on the weekends -- Children's Museum, swimming lessons, Stages Theater, Mall of America (MOA is actually an overpriced hell on earth, but we still had fun), and plenty of snuggling on the couch.

Elliott is starting to truck around the house with his cart and it puts a huge smile on his face every time. Sam continues to entertain with his one-liners and his elaborate imaginary games.

So all in all, life is good. Getting another two hours of sleep every night and having a photographic memory would be hugely helpful, but neither is likely, so I just keep on drinking lots of coffee and kissing the boys constantly. Both miraculously keep me afloat.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Goodbye 2010, Hello 2011

2009 ushered in lots of changes by way of a pregnancy and a new baby, but that was no match for 2010. Change was the name of the game! Steve got a job offer in early April and our move back to MN was instantly set in motion. A month later we had said goodbye to Chicago and hello to South Minneapolis. It’s been a whirlwind since then – settling into a rental house, exploring new and old neighborhoods, and just generally getting the hang of our new normal in Minneapolis.

It’s astonishing to me how little changed in the seven years that we were gone. Most days it feels like we never left! And as much as we loved Chicago, Minneapolis has it beat in terms of a place for raising kids. We love our yard, the lakes, the pools, the parks, all of the free and accessible parking and of course, the proximity to our families. On the other hand, we have been reminded that the mosquitoes definitely cut summer nights short and the snow is an all-around pain in the rear. There’s absolutely no arguing that winter is harsher in MN than Chicago.

Overall, life has been incredibly good to us in the past 12 months and I speak for us all when I say we are grateful for our good fortune.

In a nutshell, here are the highlights and lowlights:

--Watching Elliott learn to smile, eat, crawl and say Momma. Up next? Walking and talking!
--Starting Sam off at school in September, and watching him discover the joys of learning (he also fell in love with birthday parties and Santa Claus, which was a lot of fun too)
--Cracking the code on potty training. One down, one to go!
--Being able to pop in to see friends and relatives on short notice.

--Coming home from vacation to find that the garage shelves had fallen on our newly-purchased car while we were gone. So much for saving some dough by buying used!
--Our house in Chicago was sold....for about five days. And it's STILL on the market now.
--10 ear infections that culminated in tubes on Dec. 27. So far it’s been smooth sailing, so hopefully we’re headed for a turnaround!
--Sam’s dog bite right out of the gate in February. I’m really, really hopeful that is the only time we’re forced to visit the ER.
--The six weeks between Nov. 1 and Dec. 15. We were plagued with colds, ear infections and stomach bugs. YUCK.

Here we are ringing in the new year at the Rose Bowl.
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Monday, December 27, 2010

So Fun, Santa!

Christmas has alrady come and gone and it's safe to say that it's been restored to its rightful place as one of my favorite holidays. Last year's Christmas pretty much imploded so my expectations for this year's celebration were not particularly high. Lucky for everyone involved, everything went smoothly and fun was had by all.

The highlight was definitely Sam's reaction to all of the hubbub. He was absolutely getty with excitement and loved it all - the candles, the music, the packages, the cookies, the countdown calendar, and especially Santa. Santa's looming arrival had him on his best behavior at bedtime for weeks, and the arrival of Elf on the Shelf on Dec. 23 made it all the more exciting.

Elliott went along for the ride. Like any other one-year-old, he was just thrilled to be surrounded by smiling faces and lots of new things to pick up and touch. I was so relieved that he was healthy for all of the celebrations, and in fact, I think he was the healthiest he's been in months.

My very favorite moment was when Sam opened a package from Santa and kept muttering, "he got my message, he got my message!" That alone made all of the prodding and planning worthwhile. What a genuinely sweet reaction.

I can't wait for next year!

Here's Sam spying the tree decked out with gifts for the first time. We knew that the wrapping paper would not withstand Elliott's eager hands, so we waited to put everything out until Christmas Eve.

Here are Elliott and Sam testing out the kitchen set from Santa. It's a big hit with both of them.

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Monday, December 20, 2010

Deck the Halls

Christmas prep is in full swing at our house! We trimmed the tree weeks ago and we've been counting down the days since the first snow fall. This weekend we made the requisite trip to see Santa. It was a fun outing -- Macy's auditorium that depicted a day in the life of an elf was very well done, but Santa was down-right creepy. He had a real beard, which I think is a real faux pas and he wasn't the slightest bit jolly. I think if you're going to sign up to be Santa you need to be prepared to do it all -- a big full fake white beard and a deep "Ho, Ho, Ho" are mandatory.

Lucky for us, Elliott is too young to know the difference and it happened too fast for Sam to get a good look (they ushered us out in record time when they saw that we brought our own camera).

Nevertheless, the big day is drawing near and I think it's safe to say that Santa (the real Santa) will be good to all the boys in our house (and Mommy too, I hope!)

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Thursday, December 9, 2010

Birthday with a Side of Yuck

Elliott's first birthday came and went, and unfortunately it was marked by yet another ear infection. He was diagnosed with his ninth by 10 a.m. and spent most of the day in bed. We postponed his celebration until Saturday,which worked out well because Sam started puking at about 3 a.m. Sunday.

Illness aside, Elliott (and Sam) were thrilled to dive into the cake and rip into the gifts. The celebration was smaller and quieter than anticipated, but still very fun and memorable.

Now that Elliott's ear infection is on the mend, he has been hit with his second bout of the stomach flu since Thanksgiving. He and I spent much of the day covered in puke, which pretty much says it all when it comes to how much I love this kid.

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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Staring Down at ONE

I just read a story about a journalist’s accidental home birth and it has me thinking about Elliott’s first birthday on Friday. I can’t believe a year ago we were scouting locations to buy a bassinet so he’d have a place to sleep when he arrived home from the hospital. It was such a crazy time – I was completely anxiety ridden about becoming a mother of two and every time Sam had a tantrum I’d burst into tears too. Thank goodness those days are over!

As it turns out, the first two days of Elliott’s life were by far the most peaceful. Delivery was a breeze and I remember thinking that our time at Northwestern felt like a vacation. In retrospect it truly was! Since then it’s been a complete whirlwind of a year. It’s been chock full of ups and downs including 8 ear infections and a big brother who can’t grasp the concept of personal space. Elliott has been a real trooper throughout and I’m not-so-secretly hoping that his even-keeled attitude over the past twelve months is a window into his temperament overall. We’ll see.

So our baby days are quickly coming to an end. In no time at all, Elliott will be walking and talking and the teeny-tiny diapers and the miniature clothes will be a thing of the past. I’ve come to peace with that, but I keep finding myself trying to soak up all of the “babyness” he has left. I kiss his squishy cheeks incessantly and I’m constantly touching his perfectly soft hair. He still has a yummy scent and at least a few times a day I catch myself trying to breathe it in and commit it to memory.

But I’d be totally lying if I didn’t say that a part of me is a little relieved to see the treacherous first year come to an end. I just love to sleep, and the first six months in newborn land are brutal. But for all of the angst I had about having a second son, Elliott has been nothing short of magnificent.

Here is Elliott at 11 months as well as a couple of other good shots from this month...

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Friday, November 19, 2010


Sam is three! We spent last weekend celebrating – when all was said and done, he had five birthday celebrations! It was great fun to watch him revel in all of the attention, but by the time all was said and done, I was exhausted. Three year olds really know how to party!

We had his well-baby check on Wednesday and he checked out as a completely normal kid. He’s growing just fine, and he’s now in the 60th percentile for height and 75 percentile for weight. Potty training is the only major hurdle we still need to overcome on his road to becoming a little kid. We’ve owned a potty since he was about 20 months old and we’ve been talking about it for what seems like forever. We started training in earnest this week, and so far, it’s been ups and downs. A couple of big accidents (including one in the doc’s office), but a couple of big victories too. I’m focused on making it work and will have five celebrations of my own when we finally crack the code.

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