Sunday, January 31, 2010

Discovery

We have had a fantastic weekend! I just want to share some of the things that made it so great.

I got not one, but two birthday presents in the mail. One came from my sister-in-law Julia, her husband Greg, and my nephew Harry. They sent me a gift-card to Old Navy, which I am completely pumped about! I also received a sweater from my Aunt Lisa and cousin Natalie. They also included a bag of...get ready for this...chocolate covered potato chips! They lasted about 15 minutes and boy were they delicious! Thank you for thinking of me on my birthday. They were nice surprises!

On Saturday morning, Joe and I took the kids downtown to a place called Discovery World. What an incredible place! There were so many different exhibits to look at, ranging from the history of music to how a nuclear reactor works. There is also an aquarium open to the public as well. Joe and Ella were able to actually touch a few types of fish and Nathan enjoyed pressing his face against the tanks. As we walked along, there were places in the floor made of Plexiglas where you could see the fish swimming below. Nathan could not figure out what this was and would not walk across it. It was so funny! There was so much to look at and I think Joe could've spent all day there. Ella enjoyed the life-size model of a ship and had a blast climbing through it.

Nathan thought it was great walking up and down the wide halls and looking out the huge windows. I loved the views of the city and of Lake Michigan, and the big snow flakes falling were beautiful.

Discovery World is the perfect name for this place. Just watching Ella take it all in was amazing. You can just see the wheels turning inside her head. As the kids get older, it's becoming a whole new kind of fun. It's exciting being able to take them to new places and have them experience new things. Like "Disney on Ice: Princess Classics," which Ella and I will be attending this coming Saturday! I think I may be more excited than her.

On Saturday evening, we headed over to Nathan's Godparent's house. Brian and Jen recently got a new puppy named Becca. She is a miniature St. Bernard.

I'm pretty sure that is an oxymoron, but I swear it's a real breed. Ella and Nathan played nicely with her, and Becca was very sweet with them. Jen made a delicious dinner for us and Ella asked several times if she could spend the night at their house. We were all ready to leave her there, but then realized we hadn't packed any of her things. Oh well...maybe next time. Just kidding...we told Ella maybe when she's 4 or 5 years old. If Brian and Jen will have her...

After church this morning, we stopped home for a quick lunch, and then headed back out for a birthday party. Our friends Neil and Heather have a daughter named Kailey, who turned 3 years old. We went over to their house for cake and presents, and then went swimming at their condo's indoor pool. Ella wore her floaties and was able to stay above water without Joe holding onto her. Nathan had more fun walking back and forth outside the pool. He just goes with the flow. For two days, we messed up his nap times, but he didn't seem to care at all. He grabbed a cat nap here and there in the car, and was otherwise a happy camper. Sometimes you just have to be flexible with naps, otherwise you'd never be able to go anywhere or do anything!

So yes, we had a fantastic weekend, spending time together as a family and spending time with our friends. My wonderful husband even let me sleep in a little.


Thursday, January 28, 2010

My Little Man

Nathan is now imitating everything we do! Just the other day, Joe was scolding our cat, Bumpers, for clawing the furniture. He showed Nate how to shake his finger and say, "No, no." So what does Nate do when he sees Bumpers a few days later? He shakes his finger and says, "No, no." Joe and I laughed so hard! Another thing he started to imitate is snapping. Of course he can't actually snap, but he makes the motions. The following videos show Nate doing both. You have to listen and look hard. I love this little man so much!


video video

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Dinner Time

Joe went to a Bucks Basketball game with our brother-in-law Greg tonight, leaving me to prepare and feed dinner to our children. Here is how dinner time turned out tonight.



Looks thrilling, doesn't it?




Wednesday, January 20, 2010

My Skinny Husband

I am so proud of my husband. He has lost over 40 pounds since we started our diet about 5 months ago. 40 pounds! Joe and I got into the bad habit of eating fast food and eating in front of the TV prior to having children. Even when Ella was born, we were all about convenience, and we still ate in front of the TV! Once we moved to our house in New Berlin, we began to sit at the table, where the TV was out of sight. Ella had started eating "big people" food, and we wanted to actually sit down as a family to eat our meals. I didn't think too much about my weight, and thought it was pointless to lose weight if we were going to try to have another baby anyways. So we continued our bad habits...but at least we were sitting at the table, right? During my 2nd pregnancy, I didn't eat as healthy as with my first pregnancy. I basically gave myself free reign to eat whatever, whenever. I think Joe did the same thing. I felt like I had a free pass to eat and eat.

6 months ago, after I had stopped breastfeeding, and pounds slowly started adding up and Joe and I realized we needed to do something about it. I decided to try Slimfast and Joe decided to try it along with me. At first, we followed the plan to a T. We bought the meal bars, snack bars, and meal replacement shakes. We signed up with the Slimfast website and tracked all of our calories and exercise. We made recipes suggested. And guess what? It worked! We started seeing results after the first week, and just kept on going. Now we feel comfortable enough to substitute some things so that we don't have to keep buying all of the Slimfast products, which can get expensive. What is comes down to is watching calorie intake and exercising daily (or at least 5 times a week.) And not eating fast food so often. Sure, we splurge every now and again...I think we have to, or else we'd go crazy restricting ourselves.

Joe has needed to buy all new pants. His old pants were literally falling off of him. Since he is so tall, he has to order them online, but luckily has found that Old Navy carries the right length...and at a pretty decent price. Fortunately, and thankfully, my parents got Joe a nice gift card to Old Navy for his 30th birthday and then he got another one from his parents for Christmas. So at least we haven't had to spend too much money on replacing his wardrobe! Yay for birthday presents!

Joe might get angry with me for posting these pictures, but the difference is amazing. And if you see Joe often, it's hard to see the little differences, but man, it's obvious now! Way to go Joe! I'm so glad we decided to change our eating habits together. We support each other and encourage each other on a daily basis. It's pretty easy to stick to the plan when you have another person doing the same thing. Thanks for cheering me on, Joe.



The top picture is from August 2009 while on vacation on Lake Michigan. The 2nd picture was taken at Kelly and Tom's wedding on October 31st, 2009, just 2.5 months later.


Monday, January 18, 2010

30 and 6

I turned 30 on January 15th. I celebrated by coloring my hair to cover up the grey. I did. Seriously. My parents are in town searching for a house (which they found...more on that in a different post!) so my parents cooked me an excellent steak dinner. It was amazing! My parents bought me a pair of Keens, which I have wanted for a long time. Now I just have to wait until it is sandal weather. I DO NOT wear socks with sandals...nobody should. I just want to thank everyone who called me on my birthday or sent me a card. It was much appreciated. Yeah, e-mails and "Facebook" are nice, but the real deal is always better. I mean, even my bedridden friend, Christine, was on the ball and sent a birthday AND anniversary card. Impressive. I think we forget about "snail mail" and phone calls in the new age or texting and e-mail. Sometimes the old-fashioned way is the best way. I am very thankful for everyone who remembered and for the thoughfulness!

My parents were saints and stayed with the kids on Saturday through Sunday, so Joe and I could celebrate our 6th anniversary.


We went and saw "The Blind Side" and then went downtown and checked into "Aloft" hotel. This hotel just opened last month and was super trendy and modern.


It was also right across the street from the restaurant where we enjoyed a delicious dinner. I had lobster. Enough said. The view from our room was pretty neat...a perfect picture of downtown Milwaukee.


We ended the evening with a drink and dessert at another restaurant and then relaxed the rest of the night. It was a wonderful evening!

So, now I'm 30. I'm in my 30's. It sounds weird, but I think I'll get used to it. And Joe and I have been married 6 years. We got married when I was 24, had Ella was I was 26, had Nathan when I was 28...and the story continues.




Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Please Pray

Please pray for my friend Christine. You can read her story here. She's pregnant with twins and she's in the hospital at only 25 weeks. Their family needs your prayers. Thank you.


Saturday, January 2, 2010

Happy New Year!

I can't believe it's 2010! It seems like just yesterday everyone was up-in-arms about "Y2K." And here we are, 10 years later. Joe and I both had to work New Year's Eve day, but we were able to celebrate with friends later in the evening. Our very good friends Paul and April, and Brian and Jen, joined us for dinner. I tried my hand at roasting a whole beef tenderloin, and surprisingly, it turned out quite well. It was medium rare and so juicy! I also made peppercorn sauce to go over top of it. I was a little nervous about cooking tenderloin, since it's a little expensive, and I didn't want to ruin it. I looked up several recipes, and they all said that tenderloin is supposed to be served rare, but I didn't think my guests would want it that bloody, so I went for a more medium rare, which after a second round in the oven, came out just that way. It was definitely a treat. April made some yummy appetizers and Jen (and Brian too!) brought some delicious desserts. After the kids went to bed, (Paul, April, and Jackson spent the night) we brought out some games. We had some good laughs playing "Mad Gab" and "Taboo." We watched the ball drop and rang in the new year together. It was a great night!


Ella received a "Lite-Brite" from Auntie April and Uncle Paul. It's the new "flat screen" version. Remember the old school Lite -Brites?




Now they look like this:
She also got a custom-made tutu, created by Auntie April, along with a tiara, wand, and bracelet. April decorated a hat box for Ella's outfit, with a big "E" on top. She is so creative and talented!
Nathan got a Leap Frog caterpillar that teaches letters, colors, sounds, and plays music. Gotta love the educational toys! Uncle Brian and Auntie Jen got Ella "Dancing Dora" which Ella was just thrilled about! Nathan got a pull-along container with Mega Blocks, as well as some cute outfits for later this year. My kids got spoiled! And they absolutely loved it!


Speaking of my kids, which is what this whole blog thing was supposed to be about...Nathan is walking! He still crawls about 50% of the time, but he's increasing his walking distances every day. He continues to say "Kitty" appropriately (like when our cats enter the room) and is imitating sounds and syllables. He waves consistently now, which is just too adorable! He goes to bed just wonderfully, and is sleeping through the night, most nights. Still, at almost 15 months old, he wakes up crying some nights and needs a little visit from mommy or daddy.

Ella is a handful. We are working very hard on listening, which is quite the challenge. She is a smart one though. She plays on the computer all by herself, controlling the mouse with ease. Just yesterday, Joe and I watched her as she clicked on all of the right letters to spell her name during a game. Joe and I just looked at each other in awe. She says the craziest things as well. Today in the car, Ella said, "When Nathan dies, can I have a baby sister?" Joe and I looked at each other and tried are best to quiet our laughter. We tried to explain the best we could. Then a few minutes later she said, "In lots and lots of years with Nathan die?" I told her yes, that everyone dies when they get old, in simple terms. She replied, "Then can I get a baby sister?" I gave up trying to explain it at that point!

I am now reading the 4th book in the "Twilight" series. I am hooked. The books are huge, and I can only get through one chapter a night, but they are addicting. I never thought I would like books about vampires, and I never wanted to get into the books because of all of the hype, but I finally gave in, and I'm glad I did!

Joe and I are going to continue our diet this year. Joe has lost nearly 40 pounds! I am really proud of him. Living with someone and seeing them everyday makes it hard to see the changes, but as I was looking through a photo album earlier today, it was very obvious! I have lost around 15 pounds, but it fluctuates. My goal would be to lose about 5 more pounds. The holidays were hard...eating more than usual, and eating foods not that good for you! Working out was also put on the back burner during visits and travels. But I'm confident that we will get back into the swing of things and keep our healthy habits going in 2010!

I took Ella to see her first movie in the theater! We went to see "The Princess and the Frog" on New Year's Day. (FYI: It's SUPER crowded on New Year's Day. Didn't know that.) Ella got a kiddie sized popcorn and drink, and once the previews started, she whispered, "I like my first time at the movie theater!" I probably looked goofy with the huge grin on my face. It really was a special adventure and I'm happy that I got to experience that with my daughter. As funny as it may seem, it was a bit of a milestone, I think.

And last but not least, I finally took a picture of the incredible gift that Joe got me for Christmas. A heart-shaped pendant with my birth stone, Garnet, with the children's birthstones hanging off the bottom of the heart. Ella's birthstone is Sapphire and Nathan's is Pink Tourmaline. I absolutely love it!


My big 30th birthday is less than 2 weeks away, so that means you have less than 2 weeks to go shopping. Gift cards are ALWAYS accepted here! :) Just teasing...


Happy New Year to everyone. I hope it brings joy and laughter, health and happiness.