Monday, October 31, 2011

My Hopes and Dreams

My hopes and dreams for you are pretty simple:

I hope that you always follow your heart and listen to your gut.

I hope that you have big dreams.

I hope that you keep your innocent sense of humor as long as possible...don't become too jaded too soon.

I hope that your never settle.  You can do anything you set your mind to.

Most of all, I hope that you are happy....whatever happiness means for you.  Your dad and I will be there for you every step of the way.  If you fall down, screw up, or just have a bad day, you can always count on us to listen and help in any way that we can. 

We love you so much!!

P.S.  This topic reminds me of Tina Fey's "The Mother's Prayer for Its Daughter" from her book Bossypants.

Here is an excerpt:

Grant her a Rough Patch from twelve to seventeen.  Let her draw horses and be interested in Barbies for much too long, For Childhood is short - a Tiger Flower blooming Magenta for one day - And Adulthood is long and Dry-Humping in Cars will wait.

O Lord, break the Internet forever, That she may be spared the misspelled invective of her peers, And the online marketing campaign for Rape Hostel V: Girls Just Wanna Get Stabbed.

And should she choose to be a Mother one day, be my eyes Lord, That I may see her, lying on a blanket on the floor at 4:50 A.M. all-at-once exhausted, bored, and in love with the little creature whose poop is leaking up its back.
"My mother did this for me once," she will realize as she cleans feces off her baby's neck.  "My mother did this for me."  And delayed gratitude will wash over her as it does each generation and she will make a Mental Note to call me. And she will forget.  But I'll know, because I peeped it with Your God eyes.


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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Weekend Wrap-up

I had a 4 day weekend because my school had fall break on Thursday and Friday.  There wasn't much time for relaxing though...we definitely kept busy!

Thursday, Evie had a play date with a little girl from our church who is just a couple of months older than her.  I had 2 one year olds in my care for 2 hours and we all survived!   This girl's mom stays at home, and I've offered to take care of her little girl so that she could have some "mommy" time.  The girls played and ate a snack, and I realized once again that M and I are completely, totally, 100% not ready for baby #2!!

Friday, a mommy friend and her two kids (a little boy who is 3 1/2 and a little girl who is almost 2) came over for a play date.  The mom and I used to teach together, but now she teaches at a different district.  I see her pretty often because our kids go to the same daycare, but we rarely have time to chat.  Evie and her little girl are good friends at daycare, and it was fun to be able to see them play together.  It was also really good to catch up with my friend!

Saturday we had the wedding of one of my coworkers.  My sister (who lives nearby) babysat, my other sister (who lives 4 hours away in central Illinois) drove up to hang out, and two of my aunts (who live a couple hours away) also came to visit. So, there was a party at my house, and I wasn't even here.  I was kind of bummed about it, but the wedding was really nice.  The food was great, and there was cake...which is my favorite part of any wedding! ;)

This morning my sisters, my aunts, Evie and I all went out for breakfast before everyone had to head back home.  We cleaned up, took a nap when Evie did, and relaxed.

I felt like such a mom all weekend with all of the play dates.  I don't have a ton of friends that have kids that live nearby, so this was the first time I've done anything like this.  It was especially nice to talk to my friend about mommy stuff.  I've been having some daycare issues (nothing coming soon), and it was cool to hear another mom's perspective.  I need to do that sort of thing more often. 
But now my long weekend is over.  :(  Time to get back to work!!!

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Friday, October 28, 2011

The Resentment

Since Evie was born, I feel like M and I have had our highest highs and our lowest lows as a couple.  I'm fortunate to say that the highs have been more frequent than the lows.  Some days I just feel like we never see eye to eye anymore.  I know that both of us are to blame for these days, but it's easy to get caught up in the resentment.

During the summer I was surprised to find that I was more resentful of him when I had been home with Evie all day.  I think that I felt guilty that I couldn't do it all by myself.  I didn't want to ask him for help because he had been at his "real" job all day, and I was at home "doing nothing."  He never said that to me...not EVER.  I think I felt that way.  I thought that since I was home all day, I should always have everything under control.  The house should be spotless, supper should be on the table, and Evie should be stimulated and educationally entertained all day.  (This HUGE amount of stress and responsibility is one of the reasons I know I couldn't be a full time stay at home mom.) 

I was resentful that he had been at work all day without that self-inflicted stress.  If I felt like he even hinted at the fact that something around the house hadn't been done during the day (which I don't think he ever actually did), I flew off the handle!

Now that I'm back at school, I become frustrated when he is home from work by himself for hours before me, and then is angry when I ask him to do stuff for me at night.  I feel like he needs (and gets) so much more "me" time than I do.  I feel guilty asking for any time to myself at all, and I feel like he should feel that way too.  I know that this is not uncommon, but as a couple, we haven't found a way to work it out yet.  

It's another one of those things that you can't be prepared for before you have a child.  I know that we'll make it.  We both just have to work at it.

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - My Other Baby

I don't usually give Keeka much air time around here, but she was my baby before Evie was my baby.  She is the bossiest dog I've ever met.  This is her house, and she's allowing us all to live here.  

Because of her stubbornness/bossiness, I was worried how she would adjust after we had a baby, but she has done really well.  She can be jealous of Evie, but I also know that she loves her very much...and Evie is crazy about Keeka too!

Lazy dog after a walk

Dressed as a farm dog
Keeping lookout at the front window

Evie and Keeka's first picture together the day after we came home from the hospital

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Monday, October 24, 2011

15 months

Evie is 15 months old today.  It's crazy to think that at this time last year I was dreading the end of my maternity leave, and just beginning to feel like I had any sort of clue what I was doing as a mother.

Evie, 3 months old

Now, I still feel like I am just beginning to figure out this motherhood thing, but with a walking, talking (a little) toddler.  What a crazy ride this mom thing is!!

At 15 months:
  • Evie has several words, including most recently, "baby."  She is the youngest at her daycare and many of the other kids say "Hi baby" to her all of the time.  She has started saying "Hi baby" to everyone, including me and M!  So cute!!
  • Evie has said her first word in Spanish too.  She says "pato" to all of the rubber ducks in the bathtub with her. 
  • She is walking all. the. time.  It took her a little while, but I think she's finally decided that walking is more efficient than crawling.  Every time she walks across the room, I can't help but smile.
  • She loves fruit, spaghetti, tacos, cheese, my pal Scout, spending time with other kids, making loud banging noises with items found on the floor, dancing, "driving" her toy car, playing with the dog, hugging mommy, daddy, other kids at daycare, and pretty much anyone who will let her, and reading books.
  • She hates being put in the carseat, being put in the stroller, being told "no," having the remote control or a cell phone taken away from her, being picked up/being set down (depending on the circumstances), grocery shopping, and anything garlicky.

"Helping" daddy fold the laundry last week.

Playing outside a couple of weeks ago.

It's so crazy to see how much Evie changes and how quickly it all happens.  I can't imagine what she'll be like a year from now!

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Saturday, October 22, 2011

Mommy's Time - Beer of the Week

This weekend, I'm blogging with my beer in hand.  I'd post a picture of myself, but my appearance at the moment is not blog-worthy.   I'm wearing my glasses and my pajamas and my hair is pulled up with a headband on.  Basically, I'm in full relaxed mode and it's not pretty!!

My beer of the week is New Glarus Two Women.

New Glarus is a small town in Wisconsin with a strong Swiss heritage.  It's an adorable, campy place to visit.  They have a festival practically every weekend during the summer, including an Oktoberfest the last weekend of September.  The New Glarus Brewery is also a pretty well-known tourist attraction in Wisconsin, and around the mid-west.  Their beers are only distributed in Wisconsin, and they are VERY popular here.

Two Women is a little darker than my usual, but it's not overpowering.  It's good for a cool day outside and watching the Badger game, which is not going very well at the moment.  :(

I also like this beer because I'm completely immature, and I like to go to a bar and say, "I'll have Two Women."  Well, it's been a while since I've been able to go to a bar and say that, but it used to be fun.

I hope you are all enjoying your weekends as much as I'm enjoying mine!!  Now I'm off to cheer on the Badgers...hopefully that gets a little better, but at least I have the beer either way!

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Thursday, October 20, 2011


I saw this on From Two to Four a while back, and I thought it was kind of interesting.  

Fill in the blanks....
If I were to get pregnant again...I would be shocked.  It's not in the plans for a while (if ever), and while it wouldn't be the end of the world, it would take some getting used to.
If I could have any job in the world...I would teach part time, and stay home with Evie the rest of the time.  I love teaching, and I am not meant to be a full time stay at home mom.  
If I had a day to myself...sleep until I felt like getting up, clean my house, sit on my couch and eat chips and salsa.  Maybe I seem lazy, but that sounds like heaven to me!  
If I could get married all over again...I wouldn't change a thing!!
If I could live anywhere in the US...I'd stay right here in good old Wisconsin.  When I was younger, I never would have said that.  Now I realize that there are some advantages to being a car trip away from family, rather than a plane trip, especially when you have a little one.  
If my girl would have been boy they would have been named...Miller David.  It was the ONLY boy's name M and I could agree on.  
If I could have any talent in the world....I would like to be more artistic.  I can barely create a believable stick figure. 
If you met me in real life...You would probably think I'm pretty much the same as I am on my blog...just taller.  
If I could go back to school and get a different degree...I would get another teaching certification.  Probably in social studies, or a different foreign language. 

If money was no object...we would travel non-stop.   
If I could meet one celebrity, it would be....I'm not really celebrity-crazed, even though I watch an exorbitant amount of television.  This is a tough one...maybe, the cast of Mad Men.  I have an insane crush on Don Draper.  ;)
If I could shop at only one store the rest of my life...Target.  End of discussion.  

If we were to get another pet it would be...someday after Keeka is gone, we'll get another dachshund.  We like them long and low to the ground.  
If I could go on a trip right now...I would go anywhere!!  I will see every continent in my life, so I can't be choosy now.  
If I had to choose between a house cleaner and a personal cleaner for sure!
If I had the option of plastic surgery...I'd get a boob job.  Breastfeeding has made me lopsided and saggy  :(

Monday, October 17, 2011

Mommy Fail(s)

In the past 15 months, I have been involved in several scenarios I never thought possible prior to becoming a parent.  Some of these aren't necessarily "mommy fails," but none of them would have happened if I didn't have a child.
  • The time my *male* principal unlocked and walked into my classroom (which has no windows) while I was pumping.
  • The SECOND time my *male* principal unlocked and walked into my classroom while I was pumping, this time with a *male* student following closely behind him.  (Don't fear for my student,  he saw nothing.  I'm pretty sure he knew what was going on, but I ducked under my desk as soon as I heard the key in the door.  They didn't see anything.)
  • The first time I tried to give Evie a bath.  I didn't have a clue what I was doing.  My sister was kind enough to help me out by taking pictures of what was supposed to be a relaxing bath. 
You can 't see it here, but she was screaming the whole time.
She was only a few days old, and I was pretty sure that I had scarred her for life.
  • The two times I brought Evie to Urgent Care (or called the nurse on-call line) because she was being SUPER fussy and I just needed to know that it wasn't anything serious.  Yeah, I overreact sometimes.  
  • The time I was changing Evie's poopie diaper in the restroom at a department store.  My sister was with me, and we were joking around saying things like, "Evie, oh my god.  That's awful.  Uuugghhh!!!"  When we walked out, we found out at everyone at the service desk right outside of the bathroom could hear us, and they were all staring at us.  (Yes, this just happened yesterday.)
Overall, I don't think I've done too many ridiculously stupid things since I've been a mom, nothing too serious anyway. My greatest shortcomings are mostly related to me not trusting my own instincts.  I'm a second-guesser to the core.  Having a child challenges my second-guessing nature on a daily basis.  I have learned to go with the flow and trust my gut a little more in the past year, but I think it's going to take a lifetime for me to truly figure it out.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

So frustrating!!

Well, it's about 6 p.m. on Sunday evening, and Evie has napped a total of 45 minutes this weekend.  All 45 of those minutes were from 3 until 3:45 this afternoon.  She has never really been a great napper for me, but this is unprecedented. 

Of course, she naps like a champ at daycare.  I'm not sure what I'm doing differently.  It's is BEYOND FRUSTRATING to try to get her down for a nap, just to end up fighting with her for an hour, and then she stays awake anyway.  We've trying to do the Ferber thing, but it's never worked for us for naps.  We had decent success with it for nighttime sleep though.

She was so tired last night that she nursed herself to sleep, which usually doesn't happen anymore.  Then, she slept for over 11 hours.  I just hopes she nurses herself to sleep and sleeps really well again tonight.  Wish us luck!!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Mommy's Time - Beer of the Week

On the weekends after Evie goes to bed, M and I enjoy what has become our date night.  We have a couple of beers and watch DVRed TV shows that we haven't had a chance to watch all week.  We usually stay up late (wowie, 11:00 p.m.!!), and watch things that I would feel dirty watching with Evie in the room like "Jersey Shore" and "The League." 

M works for a beer distributor and has access to a lot of beer.  He is encouraged to try new products as "market research."  He also gets a discount!  Since we try so much new beer, I thought it would be fun to do a post about what we're drinking this weekend.  I feel a *little* wrong about this since I would label myself as a "mommy blogger," but mommy has to have her time too, right!?!?!?

So, without further ado, my first beer of the week is...

Potosi's Steamboat Shandy

Steamboat Shandy is brewed in the tiny town of Potosi, Wisconsin on the Mississippi River.  It's very close to where M grew up, so we've visited the brewery too.  It's a really neat place with a lot of history. 

I first tried this beer at the Great Taste of the Midwest in Madison in August, and I LOVED it immediately.  It is probably the smoothest beer I've ever had.  Shandies are lemon-flavored beer (I know it sounds weird if you've never tried it, but it's very refreshing), and they are usually only available during the summer months.  I had M snag as many as he could before it went out of stock!

Tonight after Evie goes to bed, I'll be kicking back with one of these and watching dirty TV.  Do you and your significant other have any new rituals like this now that you have a baby?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Book Review - The Tudors

I'm a sucker for a good historical novel, or pretty much anything history related.  If I weren't a Spanish teacher, I'd probably be a social studies teacher.  I've also been known to go off on the Mexican (or Spanish or South American) history tangent in my class from time to time.

When they began replaying all of the episodes of "The Tudors" TV shows on BBC America, I was hooked.  I DVRed all of them, and over the course of a couple of months worth of nighttime feedings, I watched the whole series.  That was last spring, so I was still Tudors-obsessed at my birthday in June.  M got me The Tudors by G.J. Meyer as a present (along with Bossypants by Tina Fey, which I reviewed here).

The Tudors is incredibly informative and detailed.  I was amazed by the depth of the author's description of the royal family and all of its foibles, and also by his wonderful illustration of the times in which the Tudors lived.  In between each chapter of historical narrative, he depicts an aspect of daily life for either the royals, nobility, or the commoners in 16th century England, such as the role of religion in their lives, or even what they ate.

While it was very interesting, at times, the amount of detail was overwhelming.  The historical chapters had the tendency of reading as a textbook.  There is a reason I'm writing this review now: I began the book at the end of June, and just finished it at the end of September; it was a slow read.  I'm not sure that this could have been avoided.  All of the detailed are necessary to understanding how much England was changed by these 5 rulers, whose total reign spanned only a century and a half.

The "in-between" chapters with their focus on daily life in the 1500s were the highlight of the book for me.  I would recommend The Tudors to anyone who is very interested in this time period, or in royal history.  Someone with only a slight interest may be bogged down by the amount of detail included in the book.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Enjoying Autumn

Cheering on the Brewers
Playing outside

Hey Mom, look what I found!! (More playing outside)

No really Mom, what is this thing?!?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

My growing girl

I love how you can look at the world as though it's one big mystery to be solved.  I love how you study new objects as though they are from a foreign planet.  I love to wonder what you must be thinking.  Your dad and I like to narrate for you.  :)

I  love your determination.  When you fall down, you get up and try again.  We something seems out of reach, you reach farther. You inspire me to work hard to reach my goals too. 

More than anything else, I love the person you are becoming.  Your sense of humor, spirit, and personality amaze me everyday.  I hope you follow your dreams and always stay true to yourself. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Spinach Basil Pesto

I am not known for my cooking greatness (read here), but I do like to try to new things in the kitchen.  Since Evie has started eating what we eat, I feel compelled to make a wholesome, homemade meal each night.  I like to try out a new recipe every week or so. 

I decided that I would try to make fresh pesto.  Evie loves noodles, M like Italian, and I just want them both to eat what I cook!  This one actually worked out pretty well. 

1 1/2 cups baby spinach leaves
3/4 cup fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup almond slivers (you could also use pine nuts, almonds are cheaper)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 cloves of garlic
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

 Put all ingredients into a blender or food processor.  Blend until almost smooth. 

I mixed the pesto with 16 oz of whole wheat rigatoni pasta.  It was enough for dinner for the three of us on Sunday, and leftovers for lunch for me on Monday and Tuesday!

M and I really liked it.  Evie wasn't so sure about it.

What is this green stuff, Mom??  I'd rather eat grapes!
She didn't eat a ton of it, but kids are finicky.  We'll just have to try it again sometime!


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Sunday, October 9, 2011

Teaching vs. Parenting

I began teaching fresh out of college at the ripe old age of barely 23 years old.  I learned a lot in my first few years, but becoming a parent has taught me more about my job that I ever thought it could.  I'm sure that as Evie begins school and I have to deal with teachers from a parent's perspective, I'll learn even more. 

So far, here are a few examples:
  • I don't sweat the small stuff as much as I used to.  (This one is a work in progress.)
  • I feel more confident talking to my students' parents because now I am a parent myself.
  • I am more organized.  I have to be.
  • I know how my students' parents must have felt about them when they were babies.  This makes it easier to be compassionate.
  • I am not as quick to judge my students' families.  I truly believe that every parent is doing the best they can with what they have.  I have to trust that each family is doing the right thing for themselves, even if I don't agree with their choice, or it's not what I think I would do. 
On the contrary, being a teacher did have a impact on my choice to become a parent, and also how I will raise my child.  I imagine that everyone thinks, "I'll definitely do/not do fill-in-the-blank  when I have a kid," but teaching has shown me that it doesn't always work out that way.  No one can control anyone else, even (or maybe, especially) his/her own child.
  •  Teachers (or coaches, etc.) can give you a fresh perspective on your child.  I mean this both positively and negatively.  Some parents have a jaded view of their child as an angel or a devil.  If a teacher tells you something unexpected about your child, go home and talk to your child about it.  You might be surprised.
  • Evie is fortunate to have everything she needs, two loving parents, and a stable home.  This helps when it comes to education, but it doesn't equal a ticket to the ivy league.  She is not entitled, nor does it mean that she will automatically be a good student.
  • I know what to expect if Evie is eligible for services for exceptional needs.
  • I will speak to her teacher as though they are the expert in their own classroom.  If/When we disagree, I will be respectful of him/her as a professional.  
  • I will try to be realistic in my expectations of my child.
I'm proud to be a public educator, and Evie will attend a public school.  We're still not sure if it will be in the district where I teach, or in the district where we live.    I hope that being a teacher will help me have a balanced outlook on her education, and I'll probably even learn a thing or two about my own job in the process! 

    Saturday, October 8, 2011

    Saturday in the Sun

    It's was a beautiful day here, and Evie and I spent most of it outside.  I want to enjoy these last nice days.  Once it's cold in Wisconsin, it doesn't warm up until April...or March if we're lucky.  :)

    We went to a play group lunch.  After her nap, we went to the park, and then played in the yard for a while.   It was a relaxing day. It was exactly the type of day I've needed since going back to school. 

    She figured out how to push her car by herself.
    I was tempted to sit in it and let her push me for once!

    ...and she figured out how to get into the car by herself.
    Days like today make me wish that I could be home with her all the time.  I am fortunate to have the opportunity to be home with her during the summer, but since the school year has started, I've been wishing that I could stay home full time.  I love my job and I know that our finances could not support me staying home, but it's fun to dream.

    Oh, Mom, stop taking pictures and play with me!!
    The grass is always greener on the other side.  M and I get along better when I'm working.  I think I need that outside contact.  Sometime I just feel like I'm missing out.  I guess that's the way all working moms feel at some point. 

    I hope the weather holds out for a couple more weekends and we have a few more days like today.  

    Friday, October 7, 2011

    Confessions of a Reality TV Viewer

    For the first time, I am publicly admitting my love for reality television.  Since the beginning of the fall TV season, our DVR has been full of terrifically terrible shows that I can't wait to watch.    From "Jersey Shore" to "Millionaire Matchmaker" to "Sister Wives," I watch way too much TV right now.  It's currently in its off-season, but I also watch "Teen Mom"...both of them, and "16 and Pregnant." I'm actually a little ashamed of that one.  At least I can say that I've never been sucked into any of the "Real Housewives," and I only dabbled in "The Hills."

    Currently, M and I have a standing Friday night date with "Jersey Shore."  We put Evie to bed, and watch the show from the night before while M has a couple of beers and I have some wine to keep it classy.   ;)   We watch quite a few sit-coms too.  We have been into "The Office," "30 Rock," "Parks and Rec," and "The Big Bang Theory" pretty much since they began.  We don't watch many dramas, but we do like "Mad Men." 

    I used to use Evie's nighttime feedings to clear out our backlog of DVRed shows.  I'd nurse her and watch whatever TV was available to me.  It sure beat Magic Bullet informercials!  Now that I don't feed her at night, our DVR has been so full I have been missing shows....maybe we have a problem.

    I guess the first step is admitting it. 

    Oh, and one more thing: I vote for DVR as the greatest invention in human history.  Sure, the wheel and electricity are great and all, but seriously, DVR rocks my world!

    Wednesday, October 5, 2011

    Wordless Wednesday - One Year Pics

    A co-worker friend dabbles in photography as a hobby, and she's always looking for new subjects to photograph.  She has taken Evie's one month, six month and one year pictures.  (The one year pictures were taken more around 13 months...oops!  Oh well!)  I couldn't be happier with the pictures she's taken of Evie over the past year!

    Here are a few of my favorites from her one year pics.

    This one is my favorite of all of them!!  I LOVE the face she's making!