Friday, May 29, 2009

The Newest Addition to Our Family

I'm not talking about that sexy man in the tight work pants...that's Joe. He's not new here. We bought a used riding mower. Joe sure had a blast mowing the lawn last night! That's all...just wanted to introduce you to our newest family member.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Happenings and Such

If I told you that I actually jot down notes so I remember things to blog about, would you think that I was a dork? Well, that's what I do. Otherwise, I would be sitting here, staring at the computer screen, painfully trying to remember the events of the past week or so. This past weekend was wonderfully busy and filled with fun.

Every year, for the past six years, I have joined my mother-in-law and two sisters-in-law for a weekend of shopping, eating, drinking, and sleeping (now that I have kids.) We meet in Appleton, WI and start the weekend off right by going to Olive Garden. Yum! We had a cute waiter from Holland...not sure how he came to work at Olive Garden, but I digress. Julia and I (the mothers with babies) slept in until 9:00 on Saturday morning! It was amazing! A full night of uninterrupted sleep. Oh how I miss it. We spent the entire day shopping at the mall, and finished our shopping adventures at Kohl's. Guess what? Kohl's was having a sale! We had dinner at TGI Friday's and then saw a movie. There were slim pickings, so we went with "17 Again" with Matthew Perry and that kid from "High School Musical." It was predictable but cute. Joe and my brothers-in-law took all the kids up to Joe's parent's house for the weekend and then met us at the mall on Sunday. I was so excited to see my babies! I missed them! Ella had a bit of an adventure however. A tick decided to take up residence behind her right ear. Luckily, Joe spotted it and attempted to remove it right away, but was unable to get the whole thing, so they had to make a trip to Urgent Care. They numbed the area and then had to remove the tick with a needle. Ella was a trooper, according to Joe, and got a special treat from McDonald's on the way back to Grandpa's. I'm already looking forward to next year.

When we returned home on Sunday afternoon, we quickly unpacked and waited for our friends Gretchen and Mike to come over for a visit. Gretchen is completing her residency in radiology in North Carolina and her husband Mike works in editing for the show, "Jon and Kate Plus 8." I bet he has LOTS of good gossip! I didn't get a chance to ask him about it though. Darn! They were in town for a wedding and had a little time to stop over. Somewhere along the way, we didn't communicate well, and we ended up having a mini college reunion. It was a nice surprise! Many of my college house-mates came into town for the day, including Kathleen, Katie, Niki, Al A., Al B., Gretchen, and me, Al. M. Yep, there were three Allison's living in the same house. And we all go by "Al." It was a nice day, so we were able to enjoy the patio, and Ella was able to run around. I do not see those girls nearly enough. It's crazy to think how that at one point we were all living under the same roof, and now, only three of us live in the same state! I miss them.

We decided to pack up the kids and head over to the Elm Grove Memorial Day Parade on Monday morning. We actually made it on time, but were confused to see people walking the opposite way. We found a parking spot and started to unload, when a gentleman approached us and said, "You know the parade is cancelled, right? Someone was hit by a train." WHAT?!? Amazingly, no one was killed. You can read the whole story here. So we went home, ran some errands, did some stuff around the house, and went to the parade in downtown Milwaukee. Ella had a blast clapping and waving. She told Joe and I that she wants to be a baton twirler. We'll see Ella...we'll see.

The garden has been planted! I'm attempting to grow squash this year, since I've been making it for Nathan. Ella likes it too. Joe and I do not. I'm also trying to grow peppers, green beans, yellow beans, and cucumbers. I tried to organize the garden a little better this year and put down some pavers to make it easier to get in there once things start to grow. Aunt J bought Ella a "Dora Fairy Garden" and we planted it today. Ella was in awe.

And here is a short video of Nathan, just being cute.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

I was going to work out...

but decided instead to update my blog and drink a beer. Putting two screaming children to bed tonight just about put me over the edge. Anyways, I was trying to think about what's been going on since I last posted, and all I could come up with was:

1) My parents visit

2) My dentist appointment

3) Nathan's new tooth

Hmmm...which should I write about first?

My parents arrived last Thursday and were at our house when I got home from work. A nice meal was waiting for us, which is always a special treat! My mom makes the best "chicken pockets." (Well, actually my Grandma made the best chicken pockets, but my mom has taken over and does a super job!) Joe and I left the kids with my parents so we could sign A TON of papers for our mortgage that we refinanced. We got an awesome rate!

We were brave and decided to go out to dinner, kids included. We survived and actually had a really nice dinner. Nathan sat in a high chair, munching on Baby Mum-Mums and chilling with his new Podee Bottle. I just realized that the name sounds like "Potty Bottle." Oh well. If you live in the Milwaukee area, I highly recommend the Delafield Brew Haus. Good food, good beer, and nice and loud, so taking kids isn't a problem!

My mom made us wonderful meals, my dad helped with some yard work, and they both played hard with the kiddos. It had been a long stretch between our last visit and this one, and luckily, our next visit is in a few short weeks. At that time, I will attempt to drive 6 hours with two small myself. Ahem.
The past two days have been just beautiful. Sunny and in the mid-80s. Love it! Ella, Nathan, and I went over to my sister-in-law's for a play date with she and cousin Henry. We walked/rode bikes/pushed strollers to a nice park. Nathan took a short nap, reclined in the stroller, with the warm breeze blowing on him. He looked so cute and so peaceful!

Since Joe had to work late (again) and my three babysitters were unavailable, Liz came over this evening with her two boys, to watch Ella and Nathan while I went to the dentist. I think I had a relatively new hygienist...she was way too gentle!

Speaking of teeth, Nathan has been teething like crazy, and has been cranky for the past few days. It looks like one of his top teeth will be pushing through any minute.

Ella has been sleeping horribly. She cries and tries to manipulate us when we say goodnight. The sticker chart isn't working, so if anyone has any advice, I'll take it. Please! Help me!

Some fun things I'll be posting about in the upcoming weeks:

1) Girl's Weekend in Appleton, WI (this coming weekend...eating, drinking, shopping with my sisters-in-law and mother-in-law, and NO KIDS!)

2) Six Flag Great America on the 31st with our friends Kelly and Tom, from Indiana.

And of course, here are some pictures of my lovely children and company!

Oh yeah, one more thing...on my way to the dentist earlier this evening, I passed a church with this message on their sign:
"Got Weeds?
Let us Spray."
Seriously? Did they really put that on there? Wow.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Best Day Ever!

Just had it. The best day ever. My wonderful and thoughtful husband presented me with an amazing Mother's Day gift yesterday. After making delicious waffles and sausage, Joe handed me a beautiful card. Inside was a piece of paper that read,

"You are cordially invited to Neroli Salon & Spa for a relaxing morning of pampering."
Yes! I read further down the page,

"You will receive the following:

Elemental Nature Facial: a tranquil, aromatic and customized approach to restore tone and balance to the skin. Your customized facial treatment includes essential oil aromas, deep cleansing, moisturizing of the skin, a purifying facial mask and massage techniques (approx. 50 min.)

Elemental Nature Massage: a personalized massage experience based upon the Aveda Elemental Nature philosophy and your favorite Aveda aromas. This full-body therapeutic massage will increase circulation, eliminate toxins and reduce stress ( approx 50 min.) "

And it got even better. Joe had previously arranged with our daycare provider to have the kids go an extra day this week, which meant I had the ENTIRE day to myself.

After helping Joe get the kids ready this morning, I went back to sleep for a couple hours, which was heaven in and of itself! When I arrived at the spa, I was offered coffee, tea, or water with lemon. I eagerly accepted a cup of coffee (which was excellent) and was then shown to the "changing suite" where I changed into a plush robe and sandals. Then I was taken to a dimly lit room with a fire place where a warm foot soak was awaiting me. I sat there, drinking my excellent cup of coffee, thinking to myself, even if this was all I did today, it would be perfect! But no! The best was yet to come! The descriptions of the facial and massage above say enough. They were amazing. After my 2 hours of pampering, I was given some water and asked if I wanted to take a steam shower. Um...OKAY! I'd like to purchase a steam shower. I've been fighting a cold the past few days and the steam really helped my congestion. I sadly left the spa and decided to eat lunch at a restaurant called "Loaf and Jug." I enjoyed a peaceful lunch all by myself. And then I did what any woman would do with extra free time...I went shopping! Now I am home, blogging for a few minutes, and then my day will get even better when I go and pick up my two beautiful children, whom without this day wouldn't have even happened! Now I have to think of a Father's Day gift to top this. It will be hard to do!

Ella and Nathan made me gifts at daycare.

The hand prints are Nathan's, stapled to pipe cleaner and stuck in a pretty vase. The flower pot has a picture of Ella on it and then she also painted it. I got tears in my eyes when Ella handed it to me and said, "Happy Mother's Day, Mommy."

Ella said to me the other day, "I wish I had a motorcycle." I told her to ask her Daddy. So she did later that night when he got home. She doesn't forget a thing! It's almost scary.

My parents arrive this Thursday for a long weekend visit. I am looking forward to the extra help, and spending time with them, of course! :)

Here are some pictures from the past week or so, when the weather was sunny and warm.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Harry's Party!

The 4 of us piled into the van Saturday morning and drove to Green Bay to attend our nephew Harry's "welcome picnic." He was a little shy at first...

But he came around...

The picnic was held at a park overlooking Lake Michigan and it had a wonderful playground for the kids. It was a bit chilly, but that didn't seem to bother the kids at all! (It never does, does it?) Our friends Paul and April, and their 6 month old Jackson, were able to make it to the picnic. Even since they moved from Milwaukee to Appleton, we don't see them nearly enough. We enjoyed our time together, taking way too many pictures of the boys (born only 10 days apart) and seeing if they would both fit into a swing at the same time. They did!

It was nice to spend some time with family and friends, and especially with my little guy, Harry. He and Nate are only 4 months apart, so I hope that they will be good friends growing up.

On Monday, my friend Jessica came over to help me make a plaster mold of Nathan's hand print. I had tried, very unsuccessfully, to complete this task a few weeks ago, but I failed miserably. The project ended up on the floor after Nathan grabbed a handful of plaster, instead of laying his hand down nicely...jeez...does he think he's 6 months old or something??? Luckily, Jessica is an Art Therapist and a genius at these sorts of things. Here's how it turned out:

So what if it looks like my kid is from Star Trek. At least it's not in pieces on the floor!

Wanna know what made Joe completely excited and thrilled this week? No, it's not because I am now officially a graduate from Pole/Lap 1, it's because he purchased FOUR rain barrels! Yippee! So now we have FOUR bright blue barrels around our house to catch the rain and then use the water to shower. Just kidding. To water plants, grass, the garden, etc. I would like to do this to the rain barrels, to make them look like art work, rather than FOUR drums of oil, or something like that. Jessica, Art Therapist and genius, would you like a side-job? :)

Friday, May 1, 2009

Rummage, Garage, or Yard?

Sale, that is. What do you call it? I call it a garage sale. Either way, I went to one with my sister-in-law, Liz, on Wednesday. Let me paint a picture of how we must have looked, traveling to the garage sale.

Me: Ella...Ella!!!.....ELLA!!!!! STOP! (She was flying down the street on her big wheel, not listening to me, as I'm running with the stroller, trying to catch her. Poor Nathan...he was taken for a ride!)

Anyways, somehow we made it, with 2 toddlers riding bikes and one 6 month old in a stroller. My awesome find of the day was this Dora doll house. Retails for nearly $50 new. I paid $7.00! Here's a picture of Ella with her new toy.

Speaking of Dora, her cousin Diego has a pretty neat show as well. I happen to enjoy the music very much, especially when "Rescue Pack" comes on. Click here and get your groove on.

Getting back to rummage/garage/yard sales, I must mention my love for consignment shops specializing in baby and children's items. On Thursday, I went to a HUGE consignment sale called, "Just Between Friends." My mother frequents similar sales called, "Mom to Mom" sales. I got all of this for roughly $25.00. Most of it still had the original tags on it.

My wrist hurts and I don't know why. I am "borrowing" a splint from work and trying to ice and stretch it, hoping I can just treat it myself...I'm a therapist for God's sake! However, it's getting worse and I think I'm going to have to see a doctor. My guess is that it's an over-use or repetitive motion injury, most likely from carrying Nathan's car seat and holding him in certain positions...probably from my manual breast pump as well.

Ella is doing so well with potty training. In fact, I do believe she is 95% trained during the day. She still wears a diaper at night and probably will for a while. Her behavior sticker chart is working...some days. We decided to try getting 3 stickers in a row, instead of 5. She did get 3 in a row, and got to pick out a prize at the Dollar Store. She picked a plastic baseball and bat. Some nights are better than others, and I think we just need to stick with it and be consistent.

Nathan is doing awesome with sleeping! As a matter of fact, he slept through the night last night. Lately, he'd been getting up consistently around 3:30am to eat, but last night he went to bed by 6:30 with no crying and woke up this morning around 7:00am. Needless to say, I was thrilled!

You may notice on the left hand side, a picture that says, "Praying for Stellan." This will link you to a blog I've been following. It's really an amazing story about this little boy, Nathan's age, but it's also a great blog in general. The woman is an excellent writer and very funny. Check it out!

Last but not least, I've made up my mind to get back on the work-out wagon. I've worked out every day this week, which was my goal, so I'm pretty proud of myself. My goal is to work out 5 out of 7 days a week. And I count pole/lap dancing as a workout. And I graduate from "Pole/Lap 1" next week. I think I've found my calling.