Thursday, December 13, 2012

Little Moments with Easton

Now that Easton is almost 11 months old, he’s gotten to be a pretty funny guy. He learns new skills almost daily and I’m constantly texting Joe about some crazy trick he’s picked up.

Here are some of my favorite funny moments/ tricks from the past several weeks:

- Easton recently learned how to sign “all done.” He started by doing it when he was done eating, which is when I typically would sign it to him. Now that he’s got the hang of it, he pulls it out any time he’s unhappy and wants to stop what we’re doing: during diaper changes, when I try to put him down for a nap, in the store when he’s sick of riding in the cart. Sorry bud, it doesn’t always work.


- Joe taught E how to scream a few weeks ago. Yeah. The two of them would shriek back and forth and then burst out laughing. Unfortunately, Easton hasn’t forgotten this trick. Last week at play group he spent most of the time practicing his screams. Anytime it would start to get noisy in the room he would scream at the top of his lungs for a good 10 seconds at a time. Luckily the other moms thought it was pretty cute!

- Easton loves pushing his walker toy around to practice walking but now he thinks EVERYTHING is meant to be pushed. I keep finding things like his tabletop toy or empty boxes abandoned in the middle of the hall.

- When he rides in the cart at stores he insists on turning around so he’s facing out. He’s always strapped into the cart and his legs are in the holes so his body is twisted like an S. It looks uncomfortable but he stays that way the whole time.


- He likes giving kisses but always does it by opening his mouth as wide as it goes and then sucking/biting your face.

12-9-12 (5)

- I’m starting to feel like we have a dog in our house. Every time Joe or I sit down with food or a drink, Easton is right there at our feet giving puppy dog eyes and reaching for it. It doesn’t matter if he just finished his own snack or hates the food we have, he still insists that we share.

- He started saying “mama” recently, but half the time it comes out as “momop.”

- Easton loves to play with phones and remotes. Somehow whenever we have the TV on, he manages to find the remote, turn the channel and record a program. We find the weirdest shows listed on DVR. The funny thing is that 9 times out of 10 it’s a kid’s show that he’s recorded!

- He thinks paper and cardboard are the best snacks ever. We have to be really careful about leaving any sort of paper within his reach. A few weeks ago I caught him munching on a page from Joe’s textbook.

- The other day Easton was playing on the floor in just a shirt and diaper while I was flipping through a book. I glanced over at one point and saw his cloth diaper laying on the floor. Before I realized what had happened, a naked butt came streaking past.


That little guy makes life hectic these days, but I don’t know what I did without him!

Monday, December 10, 2012

The First Big Snowfall

This weekend brought a huge snowfall here in Minnesota. While I’ve never been a big fan of winter, even I can appreciate how beautiful the trees and houses look right now with a thick coating of snow.

We packed our snowy weekend full of Easton-friendly winter/Christmas events. On Saturday morning we went to a children’s Christmas party put on by Joe’s work. The business he works for is pretty huge and they had activities set up throughout the building for kids. When we walked up, we were greeted by a few of Santa’s reindeer. We didn’t risk setting Easton too close for a picture (we didn’t think he’d be too thrilled about that), but I did sneak this shot of my two boys taking a peek.

12-8-12 (2)

Inside the office there were cookies and milk, crafts, face painting, balloon animals, a magician, a musical performance and a few costumed characters wandering about. Easton was too little to partake in most of the activities, but we had a good time watching all of the excited kids. Of course the big event was getting pictures with Santa! The line was huge but we couldn’t resist getting Easton’s first photo with the big guy. We ended up waiting for 20ish minutes (which seemed long for a work party!) before we were led into a little maze where Santa and Mrs. Claus were waiting. We thought the secretive set up was a little odd, but eventually realized they had planned it that way because there were multiple Santas! It was pretty funny but it definitely worked to keep the line from moving too slowly. We sat with Easton so he didn’t seem to mind but he definitely wasn’t impressed by Santa either. The pictures are supposed to be posted on a photo site this week and I’m anxious to see how ours turned out!

We had plans to join some friends for the big holiday parade Saturday evening but it fell through. Instead Joe ended up having a late dinner with his friends and Easton and I stayed in and had Chinese take out. I was a little disappointed that I had to miss the fun so I could put Easton to bed but we had a fun evening together and, of course, he’s always worth it!

Late that night was when the snow really started to fall. By mid-afternoon Sunday there were already 6+ inches of snow on the ground. I was so excited to take Easton out for the first time to experience his first big snowfall. We bundled him up in his snowsuit, boots, hat and mittens and brought him out onto the snowy deck. His reaction was too funny to describe, so I’ll let the pictures do the talking!

12-9-12 (9)

12-9-12 (25)

12-9-12 (7)

12-9-12 (6)12-9-12 (13)

12-9-12 (15)

12-9-12 (17)

Apparently he’s not the biggest fan of winter either. Winking smile

Friday, December 7, 2012

5 Years Later

Today is a special anniversary in our home. Five years ago on December 7th, Joe got down on one knee and proposed. We don’t actually celebrate this anniversary, but I didn’t want the day to pass by without acknowledging it. After all, if that proposal had never happened, we wouldn’t have the life we do today! So in honor of this day, I’m sharing one of my favorite stories; the story of how Joe and I met, fell in love, and got engaged. *Cue sappy music*


Joe and I met the first week of college. At our school, first year students were required to take a class called "first year symposium" (or FYS) that is meant to help improve your reading/writing skills and get you acquainted with college life. Joe and I were in that class together.

There is a “legend” that you will meet your future spouse in FYS. I don’t know how often that has actually happened, but it did for us. According to Joe, he was thinking about that legend on the first day of class and scoping out his classmates, trying to decide which he would hypothetically marry. Now I can’t verify if this is true, but Joe swears that when I came in the room he decided I was the one.

I noticed Joe on our second meeting a few days later. I was sitting in my first biology lab when Joe sat down at my table. He, along with two others, ended up being part of my lab group for the semester. I remember thinking he looked familiar, but I didn’t realize he was in my FYS class until a few days later.

Anyways, we bonded over microscopes, a goofy lab partner, and an unusual professor. We became friends really quickly, which is strange for me because I’m a relatively quiet person and it usually takes time for me to become friends with someone, especially a guy. We started spending more and more time together, and it quickly blossomed into a relationship.


The first picture of Joe and I at 18.

Early in our relationship, our FYS class had to do a project that involved being assigned to small groups and putting on mini plays for the rest of the class. Our class met one evening for our performances. When we were all finished, our professor broke out refreshments, including gingerbread cookies (it was almost Christmas). Afterward, Joe walked me back to my car (I had to drive to the other part of campus). We chatted for a bit and then Joe leaned in for a kiss-- our first kiss. I told him that he tasted like gingerbread, and he laughed. From then on, every time we ate gingerbread, we reminisced about that night.

Fast forward 3 years. On December 7th, 2007, Joe came to my apartment to hang out. He brought a gingerbread house for us to set up and a big white box tied with a red ribbon. I asked what was in the box, but he refused to tell me, saying it was a surprise for later. We worked hard on our gingerbread house for an hour or so (it still turned out a mess, we’re not very artistic).

When we finished, Joe told me I could open my surprise. When I did, I instantly saw that it was gingerbread people that looked like us (our hair color, eye color, etc). I smiled, noticing how cute the curly hair was on the "me" gingerbread girl. Then I stepped back to take in the whole picture and instantly noticed what I had stupidly missed. The "Joe" gingerbread boy was on one knee and in his hands was a ring... a real ring! Once I caught on, Joe picked the ring up, got down on one knee, and asked me to marry him.

My answer was "OF COURSE!!"

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Biting my Tongue

For the past few months Easton and I have been going to a baby play group every Tuesday afternoon. The program is a drop-in play time for babies 0-1 that’s run by our local school district’s Early Childhood program. There are a handful of moms and babies that are there each week but there are also typically 2-3 new moms each time. We all sit around and chat while we play with our babies in a big room filled with toys. I’m not usually one for situations that require forced conversation with strangers (I’m so not an extrovert) but it’s pretty relaxed and low-key and there are usually only 4-6 moms at a time so I kind of like it.

Yesterday’s session was a little different. There were 11 moms with babies in the room this time, which was the biggest group I’ve seen so far. At any given time there were at least 4 different conversations going at once. I spent some of the time talking with the two moms that are there every week and chatted with some new faces but, as usual, much of the time was spent wrangling Easton. While I was occupied with him, I happened to overhear a few moms near me talking about getting their kids to sleep and the conversation made my blood boil.

Now, I’m clearly no expert on getting babies to sleep. Far from it, in fact. My 10 month old has not slept a stretch over 3 hours in the past 8 months and still has never spent an entire night in his crib. But I have some very strong opinions when it comes to parenting. I know how I want to care for my child (when it comes to most topics, there are still some that I’m unsure of) and while I truly don’t judge other moms for having different ideas, I get irritated when I hear them put down my style of parenting.

Back to those two moms. One woman said that her 5 month old son still doesn’t fall asleep on his own and she’s trying to start sleep training. Mom #2, who had a 6 month old, went on to tell her exactly how she should go about that in a way that implied that her way was the only “right” way. She told Mom #1 that she had implemented the program when her son was 3-4 months old and he became a good sleeper almost right away. She instructed her to put the baby down in his crib and leave him to cry… for up to an hour. The second day, she was to put him down and let him cry… for up to TWO hours.

Now I’m the first to admit I do not like the cry it out method at all. That being said, I know that it works well for some moms to put their babies down and let them cry for increasingly longer periods. However, I have NEVER heard someone suggest leaving their baby, at just 3 months old, to cry alone in his crib for 2 hours. Ugh.

I’m not one to jump into conversations and offer my opinions when they aren’t asked, so I didn’t. But boy did I want to. I just couldn’t fathom giving out that kind of advice and then criticizing mothers who choose not to let their babies cry it out. Maybe using that technique would be the solution to getting to sleep for more than 3 hours at a time, but there’s no way I could listen to Easton’s heartbreaking cries and do nothing for so long. Maybe I’m crazy, but I think I’ll stick with bags under my eyes for now.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012



Over the last year our family’s church attendance has been pretty awful. At first we took several weeks off because we were nervous about having an unpredictable newborn in church. Then there was the problem of Easton’s nap. He typically takes his morning nap around 9 or 9:30. Our church has only one Sunday service at 10:00. That means Easton either has to take a really early, really short nap or has to wait until we get home and go to church sleepy (and as anyone who is familiar with kids knows, a sleepy baby= a crabby baby).

When we actually did make it to church, Easton HATED it. It turns out that being stuck in our arms sitting still on a church pew was not his idea of a fun time. Our church does have a nursery, but they don’t take babies until they are 9 months old so we had no choice but to keep Easton with us. We tried several times but it was always the same thing. Within 15 minute he would be fussy and I would spend the rest of the service pacing around with him in the back, barely aware of what was happening in the sanctuary.

Then in mid October, Easton turned 9 months old, which meant he was finally old enough to go in the nursery. We were out of town the next 2 Sundays in a row but then I kept making excuses to stay home. The truth is I was so nervous to put my baby in the nursery! The people working in there are actual paid employees who have plenty of experience with children, so I had absolutely nothing to worry about. Still, I wasn’t used to leaving Easton with anyone. Since I stay home with him full-time Easton has never been in daycare or stayed with a babysitter. The only person who had ever watched him aside from Joe and me was my mom, and that only happened one time. Still, I really felt like I needed to start going to church regularly again and I knew that bringing Easton in with us would be 1000 times worse now that he loves to crawl, climb and scream.

This past Sunday I decided it was time to give it a try. Easton woke up that morning at 6:30, which was an hour earlier than usual. When he started to get crabby around 8:30, I tried to put him down for a nap but instead he got a second wind and just wanted to play. So we all got ready for church, knowing that Easton was already overdue for that nap, and just hoped for the best.

When we first walked into church, a sweet older woman was standing at the door to greet everyone. She took Easton’s hand and said good morning to him and he burst into tears. Joe and I just gave each other a look, both wondering if we were making a bad decision. But we kept on and got Easton signed in to the nursery and ready to go. When I handed him over to the woman in charge, he burst into tears again. So Joe and I came in, sat down on the floor with Easton played for a few minutes. Once he was distracted with toys, he seemed fine. So we both gave him a kiss and headed out. We peeked through the window in the hall for a minute. Easton seemed content playing with one of the nursery workers so we took our pager and headed into the sanctuary, placing bets on how long it would be before we were paged.

We made it through the opening songs and prayers and the pager was still quiet. As we listened to the announcements and sang a few more songs, Joe and I were both getting nervous and started glancing at the pager every few minutes. We were sure Easton had been crying since he noticed we were gone and we couldn’t believe they hadn’t called us back to get him yet.

Amazingly, we made it all the way through the sermon, communion, the offering, and the closing prayer and never got our page. As soon as the service ended, we dashed off to pick up Easton. When we got to the nursery, I peeked through that hallway window again to see what Easton was doing without us but I didn’t see him playing anywhere. Then I looked right under the window where one of the teenaged girls working in the nursery was rocking a baby. I did a double take and realized that the silent, sleeping baby in her arms was Easton!

When we picked him up, we were told that he had fallen asleep almost right away and stayed that way for the entire hour! I was absolutely stunned. I couldn’t believe that my kid—the one who fights sleeping every time we try to get him to nap, has only been away from both of us once before, has never been left with a stranger, and cries when we leave the room he’s in for more than a minute—had spent his first day in the nursery sleeping in a stranger’s lap!

Here I had been avoiding church for so long because I didn’t think Easton would tolerate being away from us and he did better than we ever could’ve imagined. It must be God’s way of telling me that I need stop making excuses and stop worrying and put my trust in Him. I’m going to do my best to do just that. So from now on if you need me on Sunday mornings, I’ll be in church listening to God’s word and not staring at that pager too much.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

It’s Still Christmas


Every Christmas when I was a kid my dad would take my sister and I to go pick out a Christmas tree together while my mom stayed home and dug out the holiday decorations. We weren’t cut-your-own-tree people but we always bought a real tree from one of a few small places in town. My sister and I would wander around looking at every tree they had while taking in that wonderful evergreen scent that just screams “Christmas is coming!” After browsing for way too long my dad would start to throw out suggestions until we all agreed on a nice tree. M dad would pay for the tree and then my sister and I would watch from the car while he painstakingly tied the tree to the roof with frozen fingers. We would bring it home, pop it in the stand and groan when we were told we had to give it a day to settle before we could decorate.

My husband’s family did things differently. When he was 4 or 5 his family’s house caught fire while they were away. They lost a lot of their possessions and had to move. They ended up building a new house and moved in near the end of the year. By the time they settled in to their new home, Christmas was coming soon. The artificial tree they used to put up was one of the things they lost in the fire so Joe’s mom went out to the store and bought the first fake tree she could find. It was a small, spindly tree but she figured they would just use it that year and then buy a bigger, nicer one the following year. But that never happened. Every year they would talk about getting a new tree, but in the end they always wanted to use that same scraggly tree.

When Joe and I spent our first Christmas together in our little apartment, we were both excited to get our first tree together. I had visions of wandering through stores smelling of pine and choosing a cute little tree with long dark needles. Joe, on the other hand, was dreaming of going to a big store, looking through the display of artificial trees, and choosing the one that we would put up year after year. When we realized how different our visions were, we were surprised. I couldn’t imagine Christmas without that real tree smell. Joe couldn’t picture getting a tree every year just to throw it out at the end of the season. We went back and forth for weeks but in the end my stubbornness wasn’t a match for Joe’s laid-back attitude and he gave in.

Joe still didn’t like the idea of throwing the tree out every year and he hated the way the needles fell off everywhere but he did come to like the tree. Every winter after that we continued the tradition and picked out a new real tree.

Until this year.

This year, something changed. This year I have an almost-toddler who is into absolutely everything. I knew that I would be spending my day trying to keep him out of the tree’s water and stop him from eating the needles he pulled out of the tree. I knew that the living room that he spends much of the day playing in would soon be full of pine needles that would jab him in the hands and feet (and if you’ve ever stepped on one, you know those suckers hurt!). I just couldn’t justify doing that this year.

When I told Joe I was leaning toward getting an artificial tree, he was thrilled. The next day the three of us headed to the store to pick out our tree. We browsed through the small selection, chose the perfect tree and loaded the box into the car. We came home, put it together and decorated it with lights and ornaments.

And you know what? It still felt like Christmas. In fact, there were some advantages to a fake tree. We didn’t have to stand outside trying to tie the tree to the roof or fit it in the back of the car. We didn’t have to wait for the tree to settle before decorating it. And best of all, after vacuuming up plastic needles once (right after decorating) there hasn’t been any upkeep. No more vacuuming and no watering! I do miss that pine smell, but there are always candles for that!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Finding my Community


Today I’m linking up with Becky at From Mrs to Mama. I just started following Becky’s blog a few weeks ago but when I saw this link up, I knew I had to join.

I started blogging back in 2009 a few months after getting married. I was the first of my friends to get married and I longed for a community of other young newlyweds who would understand what my life was like. It took a few months to get the hang of blogging regularly and soon after I found a bunch of great newlywed bloggers to follow. I loved having this new group of women to interact with and, let’s face it, the snoopy side of me loved getting these little glimpses into others’ lives.

I blogged there for over two years before I started having trouble keeping it up. I was busy working, going to grad school, moving into our new house, and planning for our coming baby. While a lot of other bloggers I followed seemed to make it work despite being even busier, I just didn’t make blogging enough of a priority and it started to feel like a chore. So last August it was with a sigh of relief that I closed up my blog.

My son Easton was born on January 16th, 2012 [edit:I just had to go back and change this date after I realized I listed my due date and not his actual birthday! Oops… that’s embarrassing!]  (I can’t believe he’s nearly one!) and soon after I found myself wishing I still had a blog. Not so much because I wanted to document his life (though that was also true), but because I longed to be a part of that community again. Just like I had been the first in my group of friends to get married, I ended up being the first to have a baby. I still loved my old friends but wanted to connect with a group of women like me again. After debating for awhile, I started blogging here. I’m still trying to find balance in my life so I have time to sit down and blog but after nearly a year of motherhood, I’m starting to make it work

So who am I?

I’m a 26 year old Minnesota girl. I love living in the Midwest but hate the snow and cold weather.

During my 10 years in the workforce I have been a lifeguard, office assistant, nanny, personal care assistant, substitute teacher, and summer school teacher. I am passionate about education. I finished a graduate degree in Special Education last December and was excited to use it this fall. I ended up falling head over heels in love with my new son and decided to stay home with him instead. I definitely made the right decision but I still look forward to being a Special Ed teacher one day.

I love love love to travel but I’m also a serious homebody.

I am a major type-A personality. I love organization, budgets, and schedules and I am easily stressed.

I have one sister who is my polar opposite in nearly every way. We were really close as kids though we’ve grown apart as adults. We live 5 hours apart and only see each other 4-5 times a year. Our lives are completely different which makes it tough for us to relate to each other. Still, I love her to death and I hope that one day we’ll be close again.

My parents separated two and a half years ago and eventually got divorced. I’ll be honest, that really sucked. I’m mostly over it now but it makes life really stressful around the holidays and my sister and I still get caught in the middle a lot.

My husband is my best friend. We met during our first week of college and he quickly became my first and only boyfriend. We were engaged at 21 and married at 23. People used to question how I knew he was “the one” when he was the only person I ever dated but I never had any doubts. We’ve been married 3.5 years now and we still do almost everything together.

I have ups and downs in my life just like everyone else, but overall I feel so blessed. Life with my two boys is (as my blog title says) imperfect and unpredictable but I wouldn’t have it any other way!