Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Happy Holidays!

This really is one of the most wonderful times of the year. The holidays bring quality family time, the excitement of Santa, beautiful snowfalls and more importantly, my Grandma Boylen's annual Christmas letter. Each year I anticipate receiving her card in the mail and each year she ceases to amaze me! In these letters she gives the rundown on what each of her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren have been up to within the year.

While we send out a holiday card each year, I never take the time to write a letter - so I am now.

2012 has been a busy year in the Leschisin household. With each passing year our lives get more hectic and it seems no matter how hard we try, we continue to take on more. We would probably be bored without all the hobbies, projects and to-do's in our lives.

The biggest news is the addition of our second child, Will. Born on August 4th at 8 lbs. 2 oz. - he has completed our little family. He is very good-natured (as long as you feed him non-stop) and smiling all the time to show off his Ella-like dimples. He attends the same daycare as Ella and just learned to roll over. He is pretty laid back so far, which we appreciate and are hoping he will continue to be the Yang to Ella's Yin.

Ella is full of something! She recently celebrated her 4th birthday and has enough personality and attitude for a fourteen year old. She has a lot of friends at daycare and loves going on regular field trips. She attends speech therapy at the local elementary two days a week and basks in the one-on-one attention she receives. She loves every day life, but she might say one of her top events this year was meeting Bucky Badger!

In between golf outings, Joe has been busy crossing things off his project to-do list. We've lived in our home for over three years and in that time we have overhauled the landscaping, built a deck and fence and this year focused on finishing our basement. Recently he decided it was time to leave his full-time job to focus on Kella Design, the marketing business we started in 2005. His remaining time is spent working part-time at the Kennedy Communications, the advertising agency I have worked at since 2007.

My life is about the same as always, unpredictable. I turned 30 this year and have been adjusting quite well to old age. As I mentioned I'm still at Kennedy and was recently named the Chief Operating Officer over the entire agency. It's an honorable promotion and I'm grateful for the opportunity. I try to remain active by competing in a women's volleyball league each week and juggling the day-to-day chaos of our lives.

The world around us is complicated. Life gets busy and we all get wrapped up in the things that do not matter. Sadly, we lost Joe's grandfather a few weeks ago and while our hearts are heavy, its a timely reminder of what the holidays should be about. This holiday season, take the time to tell your loved ones just how important they are and stop focusing on all the material gifts and give the only one that matters - your love and attention.

Happy Holidays and a Festive New Year!


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Times Have Changed

I am embarrassed by how I acted as a child. I was wild, snotty, ungrateful and downright mean (not to mention, not very cute). I wish I could go back and change things, especially my hair - but it’s not possible. My saving grace is that I have a terrible memory and times were very different then. My parents didn’t own a camera, let alone one with video capabilities.Just think there could be more gems like the one below!
Ella on the other hand is not so lucky. I suspect she’ll look back at her childhood like I do – after all, we are very similar. The major difference though is that her entire life is documented. I have more than enough blackmail for the rest of her life and we haven’t even reached teenage years.

From photos, to videos, to this blog – every silly picture, crazy dance move and hysterical life story lives on the World Wide Web.

FacebookTwitterYoutube, the options for sharing are endless. Kids have to worry about so much more than the one-time naked bathtub shot or the baby photo in the senior yearbook. For better or for worse, kids today will be able to look back on their life and remember every. single. moment – whether they want to or not.

As my Newsfeed fills with updates from kids ranging from 10-18, I feel grateful to have escaped my college years sans Facebook - no one needs those moments shared with the world, especially potential employers. I know I can say that there is no way my kids will ever be allowed to be on Facebook at 10, but it's so hard to say at this point. I didn't have a cell phone until I was a sophomore in college and now every 8 year old has the ability to be reached at any given moment.

I understand the convenience aspect of it all and I know that growing up in a small town makes things easier, but what happened to kids being at a location they are told, when they are told - no questions asked? If you weren't there, you walked home.

As the mother of a four year old going on fourteen, I can’t begin to fathom what things will be like when she’s really fourteen. Don’t get me wrong, I’m extremely grateful to have amassed this digital scrapbook to look back on for years to come. My children have so many things worth remembering - but I'm sure at fourteen, they won't agree.

Who knows, by then maybe we’ll be lucky enough to live like The Jetsons. It could be worse - who doesn’t want to have a robot maid, get ready for the day by hopping on a conveyor line and have the ability to fly to work.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Birthdays


I am the mother of two, I have child-ren and …. I’m about to turn 30.

In one day I will be 30 years old. How did this all happen so fast? In 1982 I could have never imagined that this would be my life (mostly because I was a baby). I know this is cheesy, but I am so grateful for the way things have turned out. 

I graduated from college, I have a fantastic job, I married my best friend and as my first panicked statement already mentioned – I am the mother of two beautiful children. I am not overly religious but in my book, that’s pretty blessed.

I don’t particularly love birthdays. Everybody fusses over you because they feel like they are supposed to and it’s just a reminder that you aren’t getting any younger. Turning 30 though is a whole different type of birthday milestone that I’m not looking forward to.

Like most, I have a bucket list, but instead of the deadline of “in my lifetime” a lot of my to-do’s have the expiration date of “before I turn 30.” With one day to go, a lot of those items won’t get crossed off the list - Skydive. Learn to play the guitar. Sing in front of an audience. Leave the country. 

As I’m putting those things in writing, I realize that while I may not have reached my initial deadline – they’re all small goals in the scheme of life. They are all attainable and I still have plenty of time. My twenties were fantastic and I can only hope that my thirties are just as memorable.

Too bad we all can’t view birthdays through the eyes of a child – nothing more than an opportunity for cake and presents! I know this because we recently celebrated Ella’s 4th birthday. Again, I can’t believe I have a four-year-old daughter (not to mention a 4 month old son). While she and Will are the best things I have ever done – she single handedly kick started our lives. From the day we found out we were expecting, our lives have not been the same.

We grew up. We became selfless. We learned to sacrifice. We learned what love and family are all about. She did that. I’m getting emotional writing this because she frustrates us on a daily basis but I have no idea where we would be without her. There is no better feeling than to sit back and watch her head spin. It’s so full of imagination and creativity. Often times people say parents make kids who they are but in our case, Ella made us who we are. We are her parents.

I couldn’t be more proud of who she is. She is strong and brave. She endures and keeps going - without ever being phased. I admire her and am amazed at her ability to touch the lives of people all around her. I have the highest hopes of what she’ll grow up to be. No matter her decision, I know it’s going to be something great. She is going to do big things – there is just no other path for her.

Happy Birthday to my beautiful, spirited, little Ella Bella. Thank you for the best gift any 30 year-old could ask for - being your mom!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Goals

Those pesky little things that nag you when not reached. Sometimes I wish I wasn't so goal oriented, but as a friend told me recently, "that's just who you are!" One of my goals for 2012 was to blog more. I didn't set specific criteria, i.e. once a day, week, month, etc. I just wanted to do better each month compared to 2011.

I started off a little slow by only blogging once in January & February, which was the same as the year before. When March & April rolled around though, I was off to the races. I blogged 4 times in March and 5 times in April, compared to once in each month of 2011. I should have felt happy, right?

Nope. Just as I am goal oriented I'm also always pushing to improve and am never satisfied. So I looked back to 2010. I was so surprised! I blogged all the time when I started this journey, a total of 31 times for the year and I started in April.

Thus, my goals changed. I now compare to 2010. What is wrong with me? This blog is supposed to be enjoyable. It's not competitive, yet somehow I'm competing with myself! How is that even possible? This takes my competitive nature to a whole new level.

Being goal oriented isn't all bad I suppose. It's allowed me to build a pretty successful career, while also raising two beautiful kids & maintaining a happy relationship with my hubby (blah blah blah blah). I know I should blog when, "it feels right," but I do want to continue to push myself to write. Regardless of how chaotic things get this is an outlet that allows me to get some thoughts out of my brain & hopefully as I look back, remember this time in our lives.

Nonetheless, November 2012 is looking pretty good because this is my second entry for the month - which is better than 2011 & 2010!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Grand

/grand/
Magnificent. Splendid. Wonderful. Fascinating.

Grandparents really do add the grand feeling to parenting. My grandparents played such an important role in my life, I couldn't begin to imagine things differently.

Earlier this month we visited Joe's grandfather in the nursing home and as I watched them interact I was so overwhelmed by how much he loves him, which then drummed up feelings of how much I love mine.

I remember that feeling as a small girl, visiting my great grandmother in the nursing home and it wasn't grand. The opposite, really. I'm so grateful none of my grandparents are in that place now. I know it's hard on them but it nearly killed me to hear him ask over and over again to go home. A prideful man, who worked hard his entire life to provide for his family - begging to just go home.

This week, as Thanksgiving approaches I'm going to make sure to give thanks for my grandparents. I feel so fortunate to have so many fantastic years with them and even more appreciative of the fact that Ella & Will can too.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Time Flies

Today we went pumpkin picking and after we took our family picture I joked with Joe that if we looked back at the previous years, he probably would be wearing the same flannel. As I went back to gather the proof I was surprised, not only to see he wasn't wearing his trusty flannel - but how much we have grown over the years.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Going back to 2007, I would never have given the answer of, married with two children - that's for sure! It's crazy to see all the beautiful things we have brought into our lives.

Tomorrow the little man starts daycare. I can't believe that our time at home is over and I'm sad that our baby days are going by so quickly. I know he'll be in good hands, I just wish they were mine. I guess time really does fly when you're having fun!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Sweet and Sour

Tonight as I put Ella to bed we laid talking and telling stories just like every other night. In the midst of conversation I asked her what she wants to be when she grows up. She replied, "I just want to be a mom like you." Cute, right? She went on to say, "I want to be just like you. I want to dress like you, talk like you and be pretty like you," all while gently stroking my face. Talk about sweet!

It's not surprising, Ella is sweet. Everyone she meets instantly falls in love with her, even complete strangers. I was in a good friends wedding a few weeks ago and we let Ella attend the ceremony so she could see the bride in her dress. It was an hour long ceremony which required her to be silent for the most part. Afterwards a woman I had never met approached me at the reception to tell me just how great our little girl is and how much they enjoyed her during the ceremony. She was silent (with the exception of a drawn out Aaaamen)! How, in that short amount of time, could she have enough impact for this woman to take the time and seek me out to tell me about it? Her magic is crazy.

As much as she is sweet, she's just as sour! In the past, when thinking about my hypothetical children, I assumed I'd have more than 3 years before I heard my child say they didn't like me. I was wrong. I can't begin to count how many times I have heard "I don't like you and I'm not your friend anymore."

True to everything she does, Ella is the extreme on both ends of spectrum. When she's sweet she is very gentile, compassionate and complimentary. When she's sour she is aggressive, controlling and full of attitude. For now I will just remind mysef that even after all the sour times we have, she's still a sweet little girl!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Get What You Deserve

What comes around goes around. Do unto others as you would have others do unto you. Good deed brings fortune; bad deed brings misfortune. Karma's a bitch. The sayings go on and on and sadly they all apply to our life right now.

They say opposites attract but weirdly Joe & I are pretty darn similar, both as adults and especially as children. We are both outgoing, hard workers who grew up in small towns surrounded by family, loved sports & the outdoors and most importantly weren't the greatest of kids.

I never shut up; he was a loud mouth. He craved attention; I found a way to be the center of it. I hated to miss out on things; he was nosy. He had a hard time focusing; I was constantly on the move. I try to remind myself of these things every time I'm frustrated with Ella...it came from somewhere! I have said a million times over, "I have never seen a little girl act like this!" To which my mother responds, "I have...you!"

To this day we struggle to go out for dinner because Ella can barely sit down long enough for us to be greeted by the server. She's immediately standing in the booth to see what else is going on. I found myself asking, "who stands in the booth?!" Please see exhibit A--->

Ella gets excited about everything and I mean everything. I prefer this over the alternative of her caring about nothing however her jumping, screaming and shouting over the smallest things makes it a little challenging for Will's sleep schedule. As a child I was the same way and like Ella my excitement usually clouded my ability to make good decisions. I remember going to a friends birthday celebration once and I was so overcome with excitement that I sat on the cake when we got in the car! So embarrassing.

I'm still looking for photos of me misbehaving as a child, and I'm sure there are many to choose from but the moral of the story is - Ella is our kid. She has taken the "best" of both of us and blended it into one "special" little package. She is everything we deserve!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

In Good Hands

As I sit here today I am a mess of mixed emotions. My maternity leave has come to an end which means back to work and no more snuggle time with my little Will. The past 9.5 weeks flew by!

I love the people I work with so it's not that I'm not excited to see them but I'm sad because this was the last time I'll ever get to stay home with my babies.

Before my leave I worried that I'd be bored, but unemployment was quite enjoyable! We had visitors almost every day, lunch dates, play dates, quality snuggle time.. you name it! Who says your social life suffers when you have a baby?

At least I know he's in good hands. We have a great daycare that we've sent Ella to since she was 6 weeks old. I don't have to worry about that yet though. Joe is lucky enough to be staying home the rest of this week and all of next. I'm excited that they'll have this time to bond, but more importantly it means I have a week and a half full of lunchtime snuggles!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Minimalist Mamma

I suspect this post will not make me popular or be received with open arms. When I first started this blog, the idea of sharing my candid thoughts was an exciting and freeing thought. They say you should blog like no one is reading it. Two+ years later, the reality is that I still have to filter myself because people do read it and some things are better left unsaid. I started this entry over a week ago. I have read it and re-read it. This morning my daughter missed her highly valuable speech session because she threw a tantrum over a "thing" that I made her leave in the car. This blog is long overdue and is going to be a bit different so hold on...

As you know we have been struggling with Ella's behavior for quite some time now and continue to try various tactics to get it under control. The uphill battles are so numerous it feels like we are climbing a mountain and the longer the issues continue, the more creative the solutions we drum up become. In a recent post I mentioned we have; changed her diet to eliminate excessive sugar intake; been diligent about getting to bed on time; purchased teething jewelry to keep her mouth occupied; let her chew gum to help her focus; and purchased a potty watch and training undies. In addition we have tried almost EVERY parenting tactic known to man; punishment, reward, ignoring it, talking it out, praising her, etc. Despite all of our efforts, NONE of it has successfully crossed a single issue off the list.

When we decided to change her diet I worried it was going to be really hard on our lifestyle but it turned out to be a pretty smooth transition. Our newest idea though will most definitely be the most challenging - and not on our end. This is where my popularity diminishes..

This new change might be a bit hard on Ella at first, but the truth is - the grandparents will have the toughest time adjusting. I have felt this way for a very long time, but after a lot of research we plan to focus on Ella living a minimal lifestyle.

In our research process this article aligned with the things I have been saying all along, but did nothing about because I felt like I couldn't get the message across and it was easier to continue as-is. Growing up my brother and I didn't have a lot of "things." Did we have toys? Absolutely, but it wasn't to an excessive degree and what we did have-we played with. Otherwise we were outside; riding our bikes, catching night crawlers, exploring nature, making up games. It sounds ridiculous at the ripe old age of 29 to be reminiscing about the "good ole days," but it's true-it was a simpler time.

Ella has SOOO many toys that it not only lowers her quality of life, but mine too. Seem dramatic? I spend at least two hours every single day picking up her things that have been scattered throughout every room in our house. That's 13,140 hours over her lifetime that I could and should be spending with her. Yes, I like a tidy house, but this has become more about safety these days. If I didn't pick it all up we wouldn't be able to get around without the risk of tripping on something. I can't tell you how many times she has been hurt already and I say, "that's why it's important to pick up our things!"

Not only has she collected a million "things," she is also very possessive of them and not in the way of sharing (yet). Even if she never plays with the item she has to know where it is at all times making it another full-time job for me to keep it all organized and accessible upon command. We spend 10-15 minutes every morning helping her find and gather at least ten different items that have to accompany her on the five minute car ride. As you can imagine long road trips require even more preparation.

We joke about her undiagnosed ADD but she moves like a tornado from one activity to the next, because she can - never fully dedicating her attention to any of it. She wants to read and before we can finish a book she says, "actually I don't want this anymore" and is off. I ask her to color me a picture and I get a few scribbles and she's done. Dress up consists of more time changing in and out of costumes than the actual time role playing.

It has gotten out of control and as her mother and the one who is supposed to be laying a solid foundation it's going to stop. No more! The amount of "things" she has is going to be drastically reduced and strict rules on acquiring more will be put in place (popularity drops again).

Unless her toys meet the following guidelines, they will be donated or tossed:
1) Inspire Ella to use her imagination.
Colors/art, dress up, kitchen set-will make the cut, but the junky Mc Donalds kids meal collection is gone.

2) Aid in her development.
Books, puzzles, blocks, music-but the blinking lights and noise makers are out the door.

3) Played with on a regular basis and in good shape.
The baby dolls are a staple toy, but the dirty ones must go and maybe she'll learn to take better care of them.

4) Be original.
I don't mean that it needs to be some grand gesture or unique item. I just mean she doesn't need to have backup items of every single thing she owns. She doesn't need 38 pairs of sunglasses or 30 purses (I'm not exaggerating). This might help her understand that she needs to take care of her things because when they break she can't just swap it out.

I know that the gifts come from a place of love but she gets so many things at the same time she doesn't appreciate or utilize any of it. She has been trained to think its normal to receive numerous gifts every time she sees someone. More importantly she values attention much more than gifts. I'm sure she'd give it all up for some one-on-one time!

So this is serving as my public plea. Please stop giving Ella "things." We're doing our best to raise a stand up kid and like the article states, this change will help her take care of her things, become more resourceful, increase her attention span and build her creativity.

Let the purging begin!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Wedded Bliss

This past weekend I was fortunate to stand up in one of our dear friends weddings. Their event was absolutely beautiful and they couldn't have asked for better day!

As I was driving home alone in silence (never happens) from their rehearsal on Friday night I realized, just over one year ago this was me - as Joe & I celebrated our anniversary on the 17th of September! Our wedding day was amazing and I couldn't have hoped for it to have turned out any better. Leading up to the day felt like a ton of work and lots of stress, but now looking back it was so worth it and I'd do it all again. To be surrounded by all of the people who love & support you is an indescribable and humbling feeling. As a guest at many weddings I never realized just how important my attendance was until I looked out over the crowd that day and saw all of the most important faces of our lives smiling back at me!

While we only celebrated our one year anniversary, the past seven years have been the best of my life. I never thought that day in the Chippewa Valley airport that we'd be blessed with such a beautiful life together! Two dogs, one cat, a fish and two amazing kids later-we've surrounded ourselves with things only some can hope for.

There is no way I'd ever be able to survive this crazy life without Joe, for I truly did find my best friend. He's the one person I love to spend every day doing absolutely nothing with. Whether it's our countless drives through the countryside, our endless conversations scheming up the next big dream or watching football on Sundays-he's the perfect fit! Through all of our trials and tribulations, I'm happier and more in love today than when we first met.

We are a team. We work hard. We are good people. We raise beautiful children. We are lucky. We make each other better.

I can't wait to see all the things we accomplish together. Here's to 50 more years babe!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Ella & Everyone Else

I started writing this post on Monday, but it's been such a long week I had to take a break to deal with everything else that was going on. Five days later, I'm finally getting around to finishing it.

Monday night Ella walked in the door from daycare and I immediately heard Joe bark, "To your room - now!" There's nothing better than spending your day with a fussy baby boy, to then follow it up with a night full of naughty little girl.

When she left the house that morning she was told for the one millionth time that she needed to be a good girl; listen to her teachers, not pee her pants, be nice to her friends and take a nap. You can guess that the day didn't go that way, however to her credit - she did nap!

We spent the entire night with no television, videos or pictures (she likes to looking at photos on Facebook) and instead talked about the bad choices she had made that day and how she needed to correct her actions the next day. If she chose to not listen again on Tuesday she would have to pick one toy to get rid of and after dinner go directly to bed.

After all that talking she had to be better the next day, right? After all - we had beat the proverbial dead horse. Nope - she strolled in the house after daycare and this time no words from Joe were required. She walked directly to her room and returned with the toy she had to forfeit and after dinner went to her room with minimal fighting. That day she not only disregarded the rules mentioned above, but she also bit two of her friends. She was bathed, fed and in bed before 7 p.m. (our typical bedtime starts at 8).

The daycare teachers are beyond frustrated with her and I don't blame them. I can't imagine handling Ella and 20+ other 3-4-5 year olds. At this point there are two teachers in the room at all times and usually one is solely dedicated to handling Ella, while the other has to deal with the remaining 20. I asked if they had any other kids like Ella and they replied, "We have elements of Ella in a lot of the kids, but we don't have one kid that has them all like Ella." 

As you can imagine, Joe and I were at a loss on what to do with this child. We have tried every parenting tactic - calm talking, reward methods, punishments, etc. - with little to no success. She is definitely smart enough to know what she is doing because when asked she will tell me the entire list of things she needs to do in order to be a good girl. I've said all along - she hears, but doesn't listen.

One of the things we hadn't thought about and seems obvious now was changing her diet. One of my good friends vows to feed her family real food vs. processed things loaded with chemicals and sugar. After doing some research and examining our pantry it was obvious that our snacks are most likely contributing to the behavior issues.

We came across an article that said kids Ella's age should consume 12.5g of sugar per day. In our morning routine Ella has consumed 3 times that amount and we're not even out the door! The ingredients list on her fruit snacks was very long and full of things I had no idea what they were.

So I cleaned out the closet and we went shopping. I replaced her fruit snacks and granola bars with things like dried fruit, pretzels, organic yogurt and products from Plum Organics, Clif Bar and Larabar. Am I all of a sudden a "Granola Mom?" No, but I do think it's important to be aware of what goes into our bodies and to make an effort for those things to be as natural as possible. And if it helps - then I'm all in!

It's only been a few days but it seems to have made a difference. Sure there is still sugar in the things we bought but much less and the important part is to keep track and be aware. If she eats a Larabar with 9g of sugar and is still hungry then we opt for some fresh grapes instead.

Another change we have made that has made a difference is to let her chew gum more often. Ella seems to have an oral fixation and even at the age of almost 4, puts everything in her mouth-to the point that it's dangerous and quite frankly, gross! We first introduced gum when she was younger and going through her biting phase to keep her mouth pre-occupied. Not only has the gum helped to keep her from chewing on other things, but her daycare reports that it seems to help her focus and sit still more often. We use Trident so it's sugar-free and contains Xylitol, which helps fight cavities. All in all another win for us and Ella.

The last thing we've changed is picking our battles. Ella is very rambunctious, therefore there are a lot of opportunities to scold her for various things; stop running, not so loud, get off the coffee table, don't climb on the chair, eat your dinner, etc. The list could and did go on and on and on. She heard us telling her to do something so often that it just became noise. So together, Joe and I decided the things that are most important and will only focus on those for now.

I think a common misconception today is that parents with the naughty child aren't trying hard enough or aren't parenting their kids. Sometimes that is the case but in our household it's quite the opposite. Ella makes us better parents. She makes us exercise creative parenting and to think outside the box for solutions that aren't the norm. On the bright side, when we find something that works for her it makes parenting more rewarding!

Ella has always been our one of a kind, "spirited child" and there will always be something we need to tackle with her. Wether it's peeing her pants, slamming doors or sneaking out of the house - it's a guarantee that we'll be battling with her until the day we die. Lets just hope the saying, "This too shall pass" applies and it happens sooner than later.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Work to Live

A follow up to all the television I've been watching on maternity leave, House Hunters International has been a consistent go to. The show has made me really want to pick up and move to a foreign country to experience new adventures and enjoy beautiful weather year round.

More importantly, foreign countries typically place less value on work and more on living. There's a saying that Americans, "Live to work" while foreigners, "Work to live."

Will was fortunate to be born without a cleft lip or palate so everyone I know was worried that I would be bored on this maternity leave. They all said I would have a hard time slowing down -and I agreed.

Despite the amount of television I've consumed - we were all wrong! Im not bored and I have slowed...almost to a halt! In the beginning I was a bit worried because my motivation was no where to be found, but since then I have embraced the slower pace.

I love leisurely mornings with Will- in bed with a cup of coffee and Good Morning America. There are a ton of things I could do, that I've been meaning to get to and yet I don't.

Why don't we all do this? Instead we value our worth and who we are based on our job. Someone asks you to tell them about yourself and it goes something like this, "I'm a mom of two and work at an advertising agency."

Those two things aren't even in the same league when it comes to importance, yet almost everyone would respond with something about work. Instead it should go something more like this, "I'm a mom of two beautiful, energetic children, the lucky wife to an amazing husband, own 3 crazy wild pets, have the best family & friends a girl could ask for and love to be outdoors enjoying the warm sunshine!"

We probably value ourselves based on our jobs because we place so much value on our things. Our house, cars, clothes, jewelry, etc.- all say something about who we are. I will admit I'm a bit of a car snob, but I could be content in this starter home forever. Besides a bigger house just means I have more to clean - and it wouldn't mean anything without friends and family to fill it!

Before I had kids I was guilty of all of these things. My career path was at the top of my priority list and my life goals included fancy cars and gated communities. That's not who I am! I wouldn't even fit in living in McMansion Neighborhood.

Now my only dreams revolve around the family we've built. We need a roof over our heads, food in our bellies, clothes on our back and a vehicle with wheels.

I might not be able to uproot my family to move to Barcelona, but instead of living to work, I'm going to work to live!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Money Makes Memories?

I have probably watched more television during my maternity leave than I have in the past five years put together. Today on The View (which I don't actually like all that much) a topic of conversation was whether it's better to have kids young when you have the energy to keep up or wait until you're older and have the money to raise them. The ladies were split in their opinions - Whoopi had a baby at 18 and was happy with her decision, while Elisabeth felt it was important to wait and have the money to provide a proper upbringing.

It's no secret that we didn't plan Ella's arrival and even though I was 26 years old, I felt very young at the time. That being said, I wouldn't change a single thing and tend to agree more with Whoopi than Elisabeth. If we would have waited until we actually had the money to raise children - we would still be childless and dwindling our earnings on dinner and drinks.

We try our best to give Ella as many new experiences possible, but the most expensive doesn't necessarily translate to the most memorable. Some of the best times are moments like last night - as our neighbors watched us playing "Bears" outside after dinner. To paint the picture - Joe was up in a tree, I was hiding behind our fence and Ella was chasing us, roaring as loud as she could. She didn't care how much money we have - our house, our cars, our "things" - did not matter. All she needed was our time and attention - to play and to love.

However, while I typically disagree with most things Elisabeth says - she has a point. Having kids is something that you'll never be fully prepared for. They change every aspect of your life; your relationship with your significant other/spouse, your friendships, your career, your social life, etc. So the more steps you can take to try and prepare yourself - especially financially - the easier the transition might be.

And while I don't think kids care how much money you have - especially when little - I do think that as adults we stress most about finances. If you don't have to think about those issues, your relationship with your significant other/spouse won't be nearly as strained - and your kids will notice and appreciate that.

We definitely need the extra energy to be able to keep up with Ella, but having enough money makes it easier to be stress free, give 100% of our attention and climb the tree!













*Make sure to check out our super talented photographer, www.DontBinkbyErin.com

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Shine vs. Shadow

This past Friday I was lucky enough to spend some time with an old friend who came to meet Will. I was happy he could make the trip since he's been a big part of Ella's life from the start - I'm convinced our weekly lunches are one of the few things that kept me alive during my maternity leave.

While in one of our many conversations that twists and turns into tangents, we talked about how grateful I am that Will is such a chill baby. I stated I was going to soak it all up because I was sure he wouldn't always be this way, especially since he'll grow up with Ella.

My friend replied with something that really got me thinking. He said, "Unless he just gives up." He went on to explain that as the younger brother of a sister and a mother who never stopped talking - sometimes he just gave up because he got sick of fighting to get a word in.

I can easily see how Will could be overshadowed by Ella's large personality and while I greatly value this time where he's quiet and calm - I want him to have the chance to shine too.

While I was home this weekend and surrounded by family, I was comforted to know that Will should have no problem. Even though there are tons of large personalities within our tight knit group, we all find a way to shine. None of us give up. Family gatherings consist of all of us shouting over one another to be able to speak our piece and while that may seem overwhelming to most, I'd like to believe we're all stars.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Mamma Bird

When I named this blog I didn't intend for my children to actually act like little birds, but it seems that is what's happened.

My maternity leave has been pretty smooth sailing thus far but as of the past few days my little man has become a bit fussy. We try to console him with his nuk, but from the time he was born he's been kind of weird with his pacifier and acts like a little bird when we try to give it to him.
Pinpointing the issue has of course not been that easy! It's no secret that I have struggled with breast feeding, both due to excruciating pain and lack of production. Why don't people tell you how hard that beautiful, natural bonding might be? Perhaps they realize there is no way you will try if you know going in that your nipples might just fall off (if you're lucky) during the process.

Since it was so painful to let him feed directly I have been trying to pump and bottle feed exclusively. Initially it was going well but now I'm unable to produce the 4 oz. I need for each feeding. A few feedings I gave him 3 oz. and he acted as if he might eat his own arm. Maybe he's hungry?

This morning I supplemented with formula for the first time and while it was only 1.5 oz - maybe he's gassy? I can't remember the last poopy diaper I changed and typically he's always dirty. That being said, as I'm writing this - I heard a few toots so maybe the bicycle legs we did earlier helped him to finally work it out.

Parenting is hard, but we must be doing something right because when we went to the two week check up, Will had gained one pound and two inches in a week - weighing in at 9 lb. 3 oz. and 21" long!

Lets not forget about our other little birdy, Ella - she's really more of a turkey though! She's currently with Gma & Gpa Stevenson and her cousins camping. We thought she might miss her little brother too much to go, but she got over that quickly. While we miss her when she's gone we are also looking forward to the break from her 13-year-old attitude. Lately she has been so sassy that she has completely defeated both of us and our parenting skills.
This past weekend we went to Badger Family Fun Day so she could finally meet one of her favorites - Bucky Badger. She was naughty beforehand and probably shouldn't have been allowed to go at all, but when we got there she was a pretty good little girl - especially considering we stood in line for an hour and a half to meet Bucky. As soon as we got back to the car to go home, she went right back to being her diva self and when asked if she had a good time responded, "I did not have a good time and I want a new mom and dad."

She's 3! If we're already experiencing her tantrums and slamming doors, what are we in for when she's actually 13? Pray for us.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Full House

August 4th, 2012 marks the day that our family changed forever - as we were blessed to welcome our little boy into the world. At 5:15 a.m. William Robert Leschisin joined our family, weighing in at 8 lbs. 2 oz. and 19 inches long. We are officially a full house; 2 boys, 2 girls, 2 dogs, 1 cat and a fish.

We feel so blessed to be given this new little bundle of joy and more importantly the chance to really enjoy a new baby. Although my labor and delivery was similar to Ella's, the overall experience has been very different.

I didn't realize just how different the experiences could be until the moment they laid him on my chest. Everyone tells you about the immediate connection you have and how you're overcome with sheer joy and sadly we didn't have that with Ella.

Looking back I think we were just so scared - about becoming parents, an unplanned pregnancy, a baby with special circumstances, etc - that we weren't able to focus on the beauty of childbirth. They whisked her away to the NICU so fast that we barely had time to even hold her!

With Will there were no worries. For the most part, I didn't have a pregnancy filled with 3D ultrasounds and stress tests. I didn't spend 9 months wondering what people would think of my baby and the number of surgeries he'd require.

When they laid him on my chest - I was proud. Proud of myself, proud of our new little man and more importantly proud of the family we had built. I was overcome with emotion. We were lucky enough to get to just lay there with him. No doctors rushing in and out, no whisking away our baby - just us bonding with our little boy and no thoughts of anything else.

To no fault of her own, Ella was a very challenging baby - the cards were stacked against her. She was colicky and her cleft caused her to take in even more air. She cried for 6 straight hours every day. We had a million doctors appointments. I was doing it alone (Joe started a new job 6 days before she was born). We said numerous times that we weren't sure if we'd be able to handle having more kids. Everyone reassured us that things would be just fine and that children typically are very different from one another and that the second one could be our "easy one."

Even though Joe & I were convinced we weren't capable of producing a calm and quiet child - it turns out, so far those people were right. Will has been amazing. He rarely cries, eats well, sleeps well - the model of a perfect baby. Don't get me wrong, I'm appreciative (that's an understatement) but I also feel like I'm somehow cheating on Ella.

At the time I thought maybe our experience with Ella was normal (I had just pushed out a watermelon with no drugs) but, now that I have something to compare it to, I feel like both Ella and I were cheated. I love her just the same and have even more respect for all the things she has gone through but I wish that we had that immediate, worry-free time with her. I wish that my maternity leave could have been anything but painful for both of us.
Speaking of Ella, she couldn't be more proud of her baby brother. We have been pleasantly surprised by her reaction to him! She wants to hold him all the time and help in anyway that she can. Last week she wanted to take him to Show & Tell at daycare, so despite all the germs we obliged. She was so proud and beaming with joy, which made it all worth it for us!


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Cousins

Seneca, WI = population 893

There are so many things that I appreciate and value about where I grew up, but it all comes down to the family that I was fortunate enough to be born into. My cousins were like my siblings and since we all lived within 5 minutes of each other we were best of friends. We made so many memories growing up and I wouldn't trade them for anything in the world. 

While Madison is full of endless opportunities for Ella, small town life allowed me to do things that Ella will never understand or experience in the big city. A large part of that is that she isn't 5 minutes away from the rest of her family. I wish we lived closer to everyone, but we're 2 hours from Seneca, 4.5 from Clayton (where Joe grew up) and 2 + from La Crosse, where her only cousins live. Joe & I are continuously trying to find a balance between providing her with as many opportunities possible but also offering a taste of how we grew up. 

That's why this week is not only an exciting time for Ella, but for me too. With our next addition set to arrive any day, my brother and sister-in-law were nice enough to offer to take Ella for the week. They have three little girls of their own already so I was hesitant to ship her off - I wanted to make sure they knew what they were getting themselves into. After they assured me that they wanted the extra addition, we drove to meet them this past Sunday. With the car packed with her swimming suit, bicycle and endless dress up clothes - Ella's excitement could not be described. She was pumped and I was grateful that she would get the chance to build memories with her family like I did. 


We decided to meet midway at a park, which was nice because then we were able to see everyone for a bit. The girls all played on the playground and when it was time to pack up Ella ran to their van and was settled in without even considering giving us a hug and kiss goodbye. 

When Joe and I got back home it was eerily quiet and at one point I found him laying in Ella's bed. Typically we go to bed super late, but at 9:20 p.m. he decided he could no longer handle the boredom and was off to bed. Turns out Ella might be the only excitement in our lives!

So it's been almost 4 days together and after just checking in, I'm happy to report - they're all still alive! I can barely believe it. I knew this before but, my sister-in-law Heidi has the patience of a saint and has yet to ditch them all for a bottle of tequila and a trip Mexico. Not only are they alive-but they have had a week full of activities; swimming, red light/green light, duck duck goose, barbies, runway/dance party, walk, ice cream, feeding the ducks, baths...the list goes on and on.

She is having the time of her life and I feel extremely appreciative. Appreciative to have some adult only time before the baby arrives but more importantly, appreciative that Ella can strengthen her relationships with my brother and his family. Hopefully the experience will be just as positive for them!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Revel in the Moment

The windows are open, the house is silent and everyone is sleeping.

There are three of us (7 counting pets).

With less than 2 weeks to go in this pregnancy, I just realized - instead of focusing on the negatives of carrying another large human, during the hottest summer on record - I'm going to take the time to revel in the moment. The time for just the three of us is almost over and for better or worse, things will never be the same again!

More importantly,we have decided that we are done having babies so this could be the last time I will ever experience these feelings again. I'm not a typical mom who will go on and on about what a beautiful miracle childbirth is, but I can say that the time you spend carrying the baby is truly something to marvel and a bond that could never be described.

Soon enough I will be the mother of two, trying to juggle dressing Barbie while changing dirty diapers. So for now I will be patient and focus on Ella and the beautiful flower she continues to be.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

If You Can, You Should

Being pregnant has really gotten in the way of my social life as of late. I know I know, just wait til the baby is actually here! However this past Tuesday, I was fortunate enough to meet up with old friends for dinner and I must say we waited far too long.

Not only did we eat great food, but it was so nice to be a part of adult conversation. While discussing the general "goodness" of people, my friend mentioned that her mom now carries on a saying that her grandmother once said - "If you can, you should!"
I haven't heard something that has resonated so strongly in quite some time and I too plan to carry on not only this statement, but way of life - even if I'm not family.

If you can, you should - sums up exactly how I try to raise Ella. I can't express how important it is to not only take care of your family and friends, but to think about those who are less fortunate and truly NEED the help. There is no better feeling!

On another note - please ignore my rather large belly (also seen here). I am currently 37 weeks, only 21 days to go and feeling larger than life. My belly hurts it's so tender! Yesterday I spent the entire day outside at Miller Park for a work outing and I'm pretty sure I was literally baking this child. There was sweat in places I didn't even know was possible. On a brighter note, today was the first day this month that it was under 87 degrees and I have thoroughly enjoyed the much needed relief!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Sacrifice

sac·ri·fice/ˈsakrəˌfīs/ : motherhood

With exactly one month to go I am starting to experience some major aches and pains in the final days of this pregnancy. I'm trying to remain patient and positive, but to top it all off I'm sick right now too. My glands are so swollen I can barely swallow, I'm pretty sure my tailbone is broken and this little man is so low that he is pinching my sciatic nerve preventing almost all walking.

Since my mother taught me a good bath will solve anything, I thought I'd give it a try tonight. I slowly crawled into the warm bubbly water, began to sink down in and just closed my eyes and in came Ella crying because she had hurt her toe outside. Of course when she saw that I was thinking of enjoying a bath without her she immediately stripped down and wanted to come in. Since that's the only way we could make her toe feel better, I let it happen. We then spent the next 30 minutes maneuvering around each other - her to play with her 1,000,000 toys and me trying to relax with a Barbie jammed into my side.

When she said she had to go to the bathroom I coaxed her out of the tub to get ready for bedtime. I proceeded to let the now chilly water out of the tub and refill it with clean, hot water. Just as I was about to sink back down to hopefully eliminate some of the swelling in my neck - my husband strolls in and has to use the restroom. For those of you who don't know - our bathroom is not big and the tub basically sits on top of the toilet. At least it was #1 vs. #2 but lets just say he left me with an odor that was anything but calming.

As I lay there looking at him (he was oblivious and I'm sure will appreciate this blog) I realized - I can't remember the last time I have enjoyed a bath, or anything for that matter - uninterrupted. There is no ME time. There is time for work, family, pets, cleaning, errands, projects, etc. Almost everything I do is because someone else needs me to get it done. I can't sit down on the couch and read a magazine without Ella bossing me to read her a book or watch her latest dance routine.

Currently I can't bend over long enough to paint my toenails, without experiencing a lot of pain. Soon enough I might be cooped up in this house with a new baby that prevents me from going out in public. Therefore, I vow to go and get a pedicure at some point this week. I hope to report back before the weekend that I have crossed it off MY list, wish me luck!

Speaking of lists - as I mentioned I'm due exactly 30 days from today (I'm currently dilated to 2 cm) so we have been in project overload. This past weekend we were able to divide and conquer and got a lot of things accomplished. On Friday we traded in our old ride for a new one (Toyota Highlander) that is bigger and offers third row seating. So far we love it! On Saturday I was able to touch up all the painted stripes in the nursery. It was a long and tedious project that I am VERY happy to have behind me, but they look great! Joe put the finishing touches on the changing table so we were able to finally start putting the room together. We also ran some errands and bought some necessities that we didn't have. At the end of the night I sat in the glider and looked around and realized how surreal it is that we will be welcoming a new little addition into our lives so soon! Motherhood may be a sacrifice, but one that is worth EVERY. SINGLE. SECOND. 



On that note - I'd like to welcome one of my dearest friends to motherhood, as she welcomed her baby girl Bria Lynn this past week. Isn't she precious? I can't wait to squeeze on those sweet little cheeks.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Roller Coaster Ride

Slowly but surely you inch up the steep incline and just as you're about to admire the view from the top, you plummet to the bottom of the trenches again - right back to where you started from. It happens so quickly that you don't even get a chance to take it all in.

This past weekend we went on our family trip, a time for the three of us to enjoy one another before our life is turned upside down by a fourth addition. The trip was fantastic, I couldn't have asked for a better vacation. We stayed at a cabin in the Wisconsin Dells, which was the perfect setting to relax and still have some activities to entertain ourselves. The beach front offered a great opportunity for Ella to swim in the river and fish (or catch worms) with her dad. We grilled our own meals, enjoyed the nightly bonfire (s'mores) and even fit in a Duck boat tour and water park visit. 

Considering Ella's recent behavior, I had my hesitations for the trip and just prayed that she would be a good little girl...and for the most part, she was. There were no tantrums, she listened and was even appreciative for the trip! We thought that we were in the clear and that just maybe the vacation reminded her that even though we are excited for the addition of our little man, she is still important and our favorite little girl in the world. This would be the top of our roller coaster ride. 

Then we came home and returned to normal life. Her Monday at daycare was terrible, to say the least. She peed her pants FOUR times today, was forced to sit out of some fun activities and struggled at nap time. When I arrived to pick her up, with a smile on her face she proudly said, "Mom, I peed my pants today!" This has become a regular update from her so I wasn't all that surprised, but I thought she had only had one "accident." Then she proceeded to march over to her cubby where she counted out her three separate pairs of wet undies. This would be the point where we're plummeting towards the bottom of the coaster again. 

Our car ride home was in silence, which didn't phase her and when we got home she said, "Ya know what I'm going to do tomorrow? Piss my pants!" So, I guess we're back to inching up the steep incline, once again looking forward to the view from the top and hoping when we finally get there, that it lasts long enough to take in the scenery. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Not So Brief, Brief

I last wrote 9 days ago and at the time had a lot I could have talked about, but instead chose to highlight some of the Super Parents I know. Now less than 10 days later, I feel like I still have one million updates in our life that are worth mentioning, therefore this brief just might not be so...brief.

Ella's life is in full transition; dance ended, swim began and each day that goes by marks one less day where she gets 100% of our attention. With Summer upon us, I wanted to meet with the school district to determine the best course of action for her speech development. Sadly we will not be going back to Phonology Clinic, but will be making changes to our IEP for more one-on-one sessions when the school year resumes. Her behavior issues have seemed to calm a bit, but we still haven't gotten her potty issues under control (not for a lack of trying).
We had our last 3D ultrasound and everything continues to look great, minus the fact that the doctor predicted our not-so-little Will already weighs 5 lbs. 2 oz. Needless to say I am a bit panicked. I met with my OB this week and she says that those predictions can be off by up to 15%. She also said that over the next 7 weeks Will stands to gain another 4 lbs! Even if the prediction is off a bit...where I am going to fit a 9 lb. baby? The poor little man is already so smushed in there that we could barely see his face. His poor nose is going to take some time to adjust once he is finally out.

All this talk has us feeling like we should probably be prepared in case he decides to make his debut a bit earlier than August 9th so we're trying to get the project list wrapped up ASAP. Therefore, we didn't spend our Father's Day weekend relaxing and grilling on the deck. Joe was able to get the crib refinished and set up in the nursery while I finished the tedious paint striping. We are definitely making progress - I ordered his mobile, looked at art to adorn his walls and began to sort through some of his clothes - but we still have a lot to accomplish before he is here.

Before Ella was born we went on a Babymoon to spend some quality time together before 2 became 3 and I wanted to do something similar before 3 became 4. Originally I had wanted to try to go somewhere that required a bit of travel because Ella really wants to fly. Of course time got away from me and that's not really an option now so we are going on our family trip this weekend to the Wisconsin Dells. I wanted something that was relaxing but could still offer plenty of things to entertain us if we felt like it. We rented a cabin at a place Joe and I stayed when we first started dating and I think it's kind of cool to take Ella back there now. I bet back in 2005, neither of us thought that 7 years later we would be going back as husband & wife, with our 3 year-old daughter in tow and our soon to-be-son on the way.



Monday, June 11, 2012

Super Parents

I have said 1,000,000 times before that parenting is hard-but it's probably not enough to get the message across, so here I am again-it's really, really hard!

To make it better, no one ever tells you that you're doing a good job. They have no problem criticizing your decisions but when you're juggling a thousand things at once and trying your best - no one stops you and says, "wow, I think you are a great parent! Keep up the good work."

Lately it seems like I just can't keep up with life and I realize that this is the slowest our life will ever be. Soon we will add another little monster and have one more person to run to daycare, get to doctor appointments and provide for. I try to remind myself that so many other parents are going through the same thing and in most cases dealing with even more. I know a lot of great parents but a few stand out and they should know just how exceptional they are.

My friends Brooke & Shane do so many fun things and provide their two boys with a new adventure almost every weekend. Whether it's Twins games, Badger hockey games and even trips to Disney World - they never make an excuse about why they can't go do something and just do! They drive all over the place with boys in tow. I like the idea of taking Ella somewhere but in the end usually opt to leave her at Grandma's so Joe and I enjoy a trip to ourselves.

(Ella's first Brewer game; attended with Brooke, Shane and their son Cameron ---->)

I graduated high school with a girl who is now a single parent to three beautiful girls. A lot of times she posts her daily schedule on Facebook and I'm always amazed at how she can juggle so many things at one time. Not only does she balance having a full-time job, but she also attends school and still finds a way to go above and beyond for all of her girls. Her recent post talked about working 10 hours, attending one of her girls ball games, tending to their garden, sharing a bowl of ice cream and to top it all off - getting up the next day at 5 a.m. to take them all to the Dairy breakfast before going back to work again. The impressive part is that she ended it with ♥ LML (love my life). I can't imagine having three children at all, let alone trying to raise them primarily on my own and yet she can somehow juggle it all and then say LML. So many others would end that with FML (f*ck my life).

One of our latest parenting challenges is getting Ella prepared for this new addition. Might be a coincidence but I swear everything in her life has spun out of control at the same time. Speech is regressing, potty training is back to square one and tantrums are an hourly occurrence. I think instead of stressing about it I'm going to follow the mottos of the super parents mentioned above - no excuses and live life to the fullest.

Therefore, I'm off to plan our baby moon vacation...with Ella this time!



Friday, June 8, 2012

Sh*t My Kid Says

It seems like every single day I have at least one story about Ella that is worth sharing. Everyone always asks if I am writing them down to share with her later on. I do my best to document them all - like this one, but sometimes writing an entire blog post is too much work.

I'm sure you have all heard of the guy who started the Twitter handle @shitmydadsays - where he tweets all the hilarious things his dad says- like one of my faves, "Any idiot can get lucky once. Takes a special idiot to get lucky twice."  His success (3,057,875 followers) led me to claiming @shitmykids says, but that was taken obviously. I thought @shitmymonstersays was more fitting, but that was too long. So I settled on @monstersqotd (quote of the day). I haven't done much with it yet, but yesterdays story has once again inspired me to keep better track of all the crazy things that the little monster comes up with.

As I have mentioned, we have been having some behavior issues with Ella lately - including peeing her pants after being successfully potty trained for about a year. I have tried a lot of different parenting tactics (bribing) in hopes of getting it to stop, but so far haven't had a ton of luck. Everyday when I pick her up from daycare I ask whether or not she had any accidents. If she can make it through the day she gets a treat on the car ride home and a sticker for her reward chart. She was doing great and had stickers marking each day since Sunday.

When I picked her up yesterday and asked the daily question, she hesitated to answer. I felt her bottom and it was damp, but it's always hard to tell if it's pee because they play with water a lot and she has brought home one pair of dirty undies per day due to filling them with wet sand in the sandbox. As disgusting as it may be, the only way to really know is to smell them. (Yep, the life of a mom is pretty darn glamorous!) I asked her again if she had gone potty in her pants and she said, "No." I double checked with her teacher and she confirmed that she hadn't had any problems that day.

Great, right? Wrong. As I went to put her into the carseat her undies were soaked. Not only had she peed her pants, but now she was lying about it too! She didn't get the treat that I had brought for her and I told her that until she told me the truth of what happened in her undies I wasn't going to talk to her. She hates when I don't give her 100% of my attention so I thought I would be able to get her to tell me the truth by withholding conversation.

Wrong again. It did bother her that I was not talking to her but she held out almost two hours of the night not talking to either Joe or myself. Then she wanted to go outside so I told her until she could explain what happened in her undies, she had to stay inside. As much as she loves talking and my friendship - she loves being outside more, so she caved!

I asked once again, "Tell me what happened to your undies. Why were they all wet?" She put her hands up in the air, looked me straight in the eyes and said - "I don't know, maybe I pissed them...."

I was shocked and replied, "Excuse me? What did you say? Where did you learn that? That is a naughty word and we do not say that!" She responded, "I don't know. Sometimes you say that!"

I had to hold back my laughter and while extremely frustrating, she was right. Apparently my promise to not swear isn't going so well.

Hey, did I mention she and Joe started a band....named by her? Check out a sneak peek of Shock & Wally:

Sunday, May 20, 2012

T_R_ I _ _ _ 3's

I love weekends! Even though they are usually filled with 1,000,000 projects - the fact that I don't have to go to work and am able to spend the entire time with my family, makes them pretty fantastic in my book. Especially considering week nights are so short-lived; by the time we finally get home, eat and give Ella a bath - we barely get any time with her.

This past weekend was a bit different. Yes, we still had a million things on the to-do list, to name a few: move the 5 yards of mulch to finish landscaping, buy and plant flowers, tape and paint the stripes in the nursery and buy & assemble Ella's new bed and dresser. We got most of them accomplished so that's a win, but spending time with Ella was painful to say the least. 

The title of this post could either be Terrific 3's -OR- Terrible 3's and unfortunately I believe we are amidst the latter option. In all honesty, it's impressive that we made it through the weekend and we're all still alive. Not only does she not listen, but she sasses, bosses us around and completely defies EVERY. SINGLE. THING. we say! Tantrums are a regular occurrence and she makes this whining noise that I'm almost positive makes my ears instantly bleed.

Most of the time the frustration comes solely from me because she is usually pretty well-behaved for Joe however, that has changed also. Part of me feels a bit of relief that he finally understands the struggles I go through on a daily-basis, but the other part of me just wants her to listen to someone at this point.....anyone, really!

How bad is she? Well, she REALLY wants a big girl bed and is so proud of, "Getting bigger, to become a big sister." So - we have been bribing her that IF she is good and acts like a big girl, we will buy her the bed she has been waiting for. As you read above, today we finally caved and just bought the bed. This baby is inevitably coming and we need to get his nursery set up, which means we need the crib from her room. At this point, it seems there is no light at the end of the tunnel - so we just bought the stuff today since it was all on sale.
<---She is tiny in her new bed. If only she could be this precious while awake!

Even after giving in - she was still naughty while at the store making the $500 purchase. I tell ya what! I have no idea what we are going to do when there are two children to battle with. For now I will pray that she somehow gets her act together by the time Will is here. Wish us luck, we have 81 days to go!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Busy Bee's Part 2

I know my/our life is always crazy hectic and typically I'm able to manage, but as of late it feels like there are too many balls juggling in the air...and they just might drop! Maybe it's the second pregnancy that does that to people.

It started two weeks ago when I had to travel to Kansas City for work and it seems like it's been spinning ever since. To make it even better, I just caught the bus to Milwaukee and I'm currently sitting in an airport waiting to catch one of six flights in two days time for even more work travel. I first fly out to Orlando for one day and then off to LA the next. I get back late Wednesday night only to begin preparing for our neighborhood garage sale. I want to skip it but I think our house may literally explode if we don't get rid of our stuff! Joe seems to think its no big deal but he has never had a rummage and I'm pretty sure doesn't know what goes into the process.

This past weekend we participated in The March of Dimes, March for Babies. It was a little chilly but there was a great turnout and we were able to raise $575 for a good cause. We had some great family and friends walk with us and are hoping to get a team of at least 20 people next year. Go Team Cleft Awareness!

We had a follow up 3D ultrasound last week to ensure the little man is doing well. Even though the doctor didn't show up we were still able to conduct the scans and see him. He was/is super active and everything looked great! His lips and nose look perfect and we didn't see any signs of a cleft palate. He currently weighs 2.5 lbs and is in the 75th percentile-all great news! Since we didn't actually talk to the perinatologist we set up another follow up appt at 32 weeks. Even though going to the hospital is kind of a pain, any excuse to see him is fine by me. We also double checked to make sure he is actually a boy before we sell all of our girl stuff. The tech showed us his goods so lets hope they are right. If not I guess she will be naked and sleeping in a blue, orange and grey nursery, there could be worse things!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Cheesy Magic

This past Thursday marked 25 weeks pregnant - 15 weeks or 102 days to go. Everyone says pregnant women have a glow about them that makes it impossible to miss. I always thought that was kind of ridiculous - I mean, who is really glowing amidst the nausea, back pain, weight gain, etc.?

I don't know if I am glowing this time around or not, but I can say as I near my third trimester - pregnancy really is magical. Every time I feel this little man move it amazes me. I could sit and watch my belly jump around all day.

I am more excited than I expected to bring another little human being into this world. I think I appreciate the gift and it's miraculous qualities much more this time around.

Maybe it's the fact that because of Ella, I know just how much this can change our lives for the better. Even during the most trying days - Ella has made our lives so much better than I could have ever imagined and this new little boy will be the same, if not better because we will get to witness Ella experience being a big sister also.