Monday, December 19, 2011

Why I'm behind on blogging

Pinterest. Nuff said.

Find me here.

Happy pinning!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Holiday Cuties

Today we celebrated 'our' Christmas before getting ready to spend a few days with family.

Second and First Christmases.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Check out this giveaway!

Check out Oh So Posh Photography on Facebook or her blog HERE!

On the plus side

Today has been rough. But instead of spiraling into an 'everything is crap' post I'm going to tell you why I'm thankful each of these less-than-desirable things have happened.

The bag of chicken leaking ALL over the fridge- Look now! My fridge is purged and SUPER clean!

My sweet baby screaming at me as I try to get him down for a nap- Taking time to stop and cuddle said babe, even though he was screaming, he eventually gave up and became a warm puddle of sweet smoosh on my shoulder. I must be crazy because I think even a little milky spitup smells heavenly.

The toddler who insists only on chocolate covered pretzels for lunch- He consented and ate an apple (but not a single bite of Yaya's homemade mac'n'cheese) and when he got the pretzels he had been begging for he told me 'Good job cooking, Mama'- cause melting chocolate and splashing it on pretzels counts as cooking in my toddlers eyes.

Eating 4 oatmeal cookies for my breakfast, and 3 for lunch, along with the uneaten mac'n'cheese- I may gain a few lbs, but after spending HOURS baking last night, they were totally worth it. If you ask REALLY nicely I'll type up the recipe. They are FANTASTIC, and I'm not really an oatmeal-raisin fan at all. To warn you though- the recipe is HUGE- I usually end up with at least 5 or 6 dozen.

But probably the most disheartening moment was when I forgot to close the door to the napping baby's room and the toddler burst in there yelling, 'HI BENNY!' who quickly woke up SCREAMING (which I would too if I was startled out of my sleep that way!). You know what though, I'm trilled he loves his little brother SO much, so yeah, I'm pretty lucky.

Happy weekend!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Reverse Schedule

Can anyone tell me why my 5month old is desperately trying to flip his days and nights? Am I really that much fun at 9pm, 10pm, 12am, 2am, 4am and 5am?

Here's to hoping it's teeth (that come quickly). On the subject have any of you tried the amber teething necklaces? Love  em? Hate em'? Where did you buy?

Any other 'I hope it's teething' tricks? Thanks!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Tuesday, December 13, 2011


People often ask (ok, two people have asked) what video monitor I have that works to monitor both boys' rooms. This is the one I have. And I LOVE it.

I had taken some pictures with my digital camera to post on here, but the camera is in the other room, so you'll have to click on the link to see it.

I bought another, ever so slightly, cheaper unit first (by Samsung) and quickly returned it as it automatically goes silent unless there is a 'noise' in the room if you turn the video part off. Ok, maybe some people want that, but I'm not big into a machine telling me what 'noises' are worth hearing. I'll trust my own ears thankyouverymuch. I much prefer the quiet, reassuring noise of my boys' sound machines running in their rooms.

Reasons this baby monitor is fantastic-

Video- while not stellar, the video is good, I can see what I need to see (though sometimes at night I have to ask Andy where Jackson is if he is hidden in his pile of stuffed animals. Obviously better the closer it is to your 'subject'.

8 second scan feature- the monitor scans each room every 8 seconds. While the neurotic part of me would love to have two monitors running continuously- simultaneously, I'm (mostly) sure this is the best option for monitoring two rooms.

Security- the way this monitor is set up, I don't think people just driving by (even with the same receiver) can pick it up. You have to have the receiver within a few feet of the monitor when you set it up, and even have to press a 'sync' button to pickup the signal. I feel moderately secure with this system (I think it's probably naive to think there is NO chance someone else could view the monitor, but this system really would make it VERY difficult.)

Talk feature/Pan and Zoom- You can 'talk' through an intercom on the monitor. I use this frequently to tell Jackson to 'Get back in bed!'. The look on his face is priceless as he wonders how I know what he is up to. The pan feature remotely moves the camera to view different parts of the room. It is great for 'finding' the toddler who is SUPPOSED to be in bed napping.

Easy to use/touch screen- all very simple and intuitive.

You can add up to 4 cameras.

Even the charger seems to be designed with sleep deprived parents in mind. There is no little cord to plug into a tiny hole. You just put it on the base and make sure it 'clicks' or lines up (easy to do with your eyes closed/in the dark) and you are good to go.

Yes, it's pricy, but totally worth it as an everyday use baby/toddler item TIMES TWO!


It all started with an innocent 'no computer day' on Saturday- it was wonderful. We went to Overland Park to spend time with my mom and sister, then snuggled up and watched a movie once we got home and got the kids to bed. Sunday was busy too, and by then I was outta the 'groove'. Just writing these words feels a little painful. Sometimes it is so relaxing? relieving? to take a break from looking at the computer screen. So, uh. I'm still here. Still going to try to finish the challenge I set for myself. Check back later today, and harass me if you haven't heard anything :)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Housewife Math

If there are 18 pieces of laundry in every load, and every load takes an hour and a half to wash and dry, it is noon now and I have approximately 120 pieces of laundry; how long is it going to take me to finish this pile of laundry?

A)     Forever (Yep, that’s how it feels.)

B)      3 days (Because who has time to switch out laundry when the buzzer goes off, and let’s not forget the load we leave in overnight that has to be rewashed.)

C)      10.5 hours (Who are you, and how did you have time to calculate my laundry time? Do you also have time to come help me do a load? Thanks!)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Birth Story

Sorry, I don't feel completely comfortable posting my birth story here. I don't know why. Just something about the 'once it's on the internet it's there forever'. BUT I'd love to share it with you. Really! But to warn you- it's LONG.
If you would like to read it, I'd love to share it with you. Leave a comment with your email or send me one at katherine.spiess (at), and I'd be more than happy to send it to you.

But for those of you just looking for the 'highlights':

My water broke around 1:30am, just a small leak (the exact same way as when I had Jackson, but ten days 'later') on my due date.

Went to the hospital at 7am (at my midwifes direction, had it been up to me, I would have waited). We made it to the L&D room at 8am and Bennett was born a little before 11am!

I hoped for a natural birth and thanks to a great birth team (husband, doula, midwife) and my birth plan, I was able to acheive it. I wouldn't have it any other way if I were to do it again.

Any questions? :)


Monday, December 5, 2011


Remember when I was complaing about my long list of 'To Do'. Make banana bread was letter e and got done the next day. I was feeling ambitious and invited Jackson to help me (along with everyone else as you can see- our dogs go BANANAS for bananas, seriously).

I love the chaos of our kitchen. I could pretend it usually doesn't look like that, but it does. For the record, though, I made two batches, hence the chaotic amount of bowls.

I think he had a good time, until he got distracted and I found him desperately trying to pry the box of baking soda open. When I asked him in exasperation what he was doing. He replied- COOKIES! pointing to the picture on the box.


Sunday, December 4, 2011


Which one do you like?

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Polar Express

I'm big into books, incase you haven't noticed. I usually buy the boys a book for birthdays and Christmas as 'gifts' and write their name and date inside the cover, sometimes with a small note. The two I bought for this Christmas were 'Twas the Night Before Christmas' and 'Polar Express'. Even though they are 'gifts' I have them out right now so we can read Christmas stories.
Jackson, at 2 years old, is infatuated with all things Christmas. When he saw the tree we got out tonight he was mesmerised. He first called it 'Santa Clause' but immediately caught on when we told him it was, infact, a christmas tree. Later, when he saw it lit up for the first time, his response was simply 'Wow' with a wide eyed look of toddler awe. Sigh. Anyone who complains about Christmas decorations being up too early or too late obviously doesn't have a toddler. Four weeks just doesn't seem long enough to bask in twinkly lights and talk about fat men in red.

Back to my story (yeah, I get distracted easily). I was reading Polar Express tonight to Jackson. Have you read it recently? If not, I REALLY recommend it. I don't know if I've ever really read it before. I mean I knew it was about a train, and Christmas (which it is). I'm not going to ruin it for you. But you might need a box of tissues. My voice caught so many times and I had to start countless sentences over to get through them clearly. Andy walked in an I quite literally had tears in my eyes (ok, running down my cheeks). Am I just hormonal? Anyone else have that reaction to it?

Hope you all are having a fantastic holiday season with your little ones. I'm pretty sure one of the best things about being a parent is seeing the world through your children's eyes.

Friday, December 2, 2011

More stories that probably aren't that interesting.

I went to Target yesterday. Did you see the 10 gift card w/$50 purchase? Yeah I had printed two of those. I needed to make two transactions, because spending 50 bucks at Target is nothing, right? (Don’t tell my husband I said that.) I got cash out of the ATM so Chloe could do one transaction- thinking this would simplify things. (Ok, I was worried they wouldn't let me do both transactions w/the coupons.)The ATM gave me brand new bills. I HATE brand new bills. Chloe pays but after she gives me the bills she didn’t use to pay with, I realize she must have given the cashier an extra 20. I tell the cashier so, but he’s already put the money in the register. He calls a manager. I suggest counting the register- while I realize this is a huge pain, it’s realistically the only way to know for sure. He tells me they have to review the video. I say, go for it. Did he think I was scamming them? And them viewing the video would scare me away? Because, you know, I REALLY wanted to be standing there having this conversation with a fussy baby on my hip and a toddler who I had been away from for almost 4 hours (yes, this is a crazy long time for me, and him). Anyway. The ‘video’ showed only 4 $20s. Right. Because a video was going to be able to show you stuck together bills. Right. After asking REPEATEDLY what would happen when the register was ‘over’ by $20 at the end of the night, he finally took my number to call me if that happened. This morning I was still fuming. Wrote a letter to Target but couldn’t find anywhere to send it to. I finally decided to call the store and talk to the general manager. As I’m dialing, 913-327 . . . .the exact number I was dialing popped up. Victory. They ‘found’ my 20. Who knew?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Did I ever tell you about that time I puked on a bus full of European tourists? No, ok.

Last Christmas we went on a cruise. I booked the cruise in September. I was *hoping* I’d be pregnant, but it wasn’t looking like it because I hadn’t even gotten my period back at that point (TMI?). Anyway, that’s how I came to be on a cruise ship for the last couple of weeks of my first trimester.

Now I’m a motion sickness queen. Though I don’t get SICK often, I take Dramamine like crazy and chug Ginger Ale like it’s going out of style. I don’t do well on boats, airplanes, trains, or even cars! The cruise was REALLY rough. Adding morning sickness + almost a full week of motion sickness was painful. I have vivid memories of lying on the bed of our cabin trying not to puke, the sea violently rocking outside of the porthole, rationing out how much Dramamine and Benadryl I have left and when to use it.

Onto the bus full of tourists. We only took two ‘excursions’ (guided tours from the boat). There were 6 ports in all, and the other 4 ports we did on foot exploring the city. Our two excursions were Egypt, and Rhodes, Greece. The Rhodes Excursion took us to the Acropolis via a 45 minute bus ride. We ended up in the back of the bus (fail 1). Andy and I took two seats with 13 month old Jackson on our shared laps (fail 2). The bus was rough on the small Greek roads- especially in the back. Add a squirmy 13 month old, oh yeah and that morning sickness, and it was a recipe for disaster. Halfway through the trip I started to feel my stomach churn, the acid burning my mouth. I knew what was about to happen. I deserted my husband and baby and jumped two seats up where no one was sitting. Our friends who were on the trip with us (and their 14 month old) came to check on me/offer water or gum. I declined and tried to do some even breathing. The one thing that kept me going was knowing there was a bathroom on the bus, halfway down the aisle. Surely if there was an emergency I could make it that far. Not long after I knew I had to make my way up the aisle, quickly. It was getting bad. Really bad. I lurched up the aisle, hands to my mouth. I made it to the bathroom only to find out it was LOCKED, you know because it was such a short bus ride. Uhhhhhh, well, I didn’t make it. It wasn’t bad, but it was. I spent the rest of the day smelling like you-know-what. Thankfully I got mostly sympathetic smiles from the other English speaking passengers (especially after I gesture to my stomach and explain my small addition- pregnant women get away with almost anything :)

Sorry for all the graphic details. Maybe if you’re lucky I’ll tell you about the excitement on our excursion in Egypt too, which includes fog, TWO separate two and a half hour bus rides, a hands-y, gun carrying security guard and the Great Pyramids and Sphinx photo ops.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Lately we've been talking to Jackson about sharing. He doesn't really get the concept, and that's ok (according to our Parents as Teachers educator sharing is somthing that usually 'clicks' closer to 3 years). While he doesn't totally get the concept of sharing, he is starting to get the cocept of 'Bennett's Toys'. While I was wrapping gifts the other day, Jackson found one of B's toys- a tray for the Bumbo we already have. I told Jackson that we could not open it because it was for Bennett for Christmas. I don't really remember what happened after that. I went back to wrapping presents and a while later found this.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

What should YOU be doing?

Really it's what should I be doing. . .

a) laundry
b) emptying/loading dishes
c) brushing dogs
d) vacuuming
e) using over-ripe bananas for banana bread
f) christmas list/shopping
g) 'working out' aka playing fruit ninja on the kinect, which really ISN'T working out
h) finding a recipe for the chicken I have thawing


i) taking care of two grumpy boys who cut their naps short?

Yeah. This is my second post for the day. Done.

Looking for a good (board) book?

Well, it happened. We knew it would, I guess. I missed a day. Going to try to get two going today. I threw, ah, put together, a lit of some of our favorite board books (though it looks like at least a couple aren't 'board books' they still come in that version!). I love board books for little hands- they are so durable. Anything that can withstand uncoordinated little hands, dropping, throwing, being stepped on and bent backwards is a win in 'my book'. Ha.

Favorite (Board) Books.

Bear Snores On. This is Jackson’s favorite book right now. I like it too. I really like rhyming books, I just think they are fun to read. I got this one at the PX in Germany. I remember when Jackson was a baby I’d get a book almost every time I’d go. I’m so glad I did because it seems lately there are so many other things to get, often books aren’t at the top of my list.

The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and The Big Hungry Bear. This one we own isn’t actually a board book (but the link I included is the board version). Our copy was mine as a child! It’s really very short and simple. I remember it being one of my favorites, and Jackson loves it too. Especially the part where the bear STOMP STOMP STOMPs and SNIFF SNIFF SNIFFs. It’s all as fun as you make it!

Poke-a-Dot: Old MacDonalds Farm. Another Germany PX book that has been a big hit in our house for well over a year. This one has plastic dots you can pop. You pop them on one side, then turn the page and pop them back. The story is pretty lame (the lyrics to Old MacDonald had a farm), but the popping? Never gets old. I actually just had to replace it with another pop book because the binding on ours was trashed (re: toddler standing on books) but not because the pops wore out! Though the new book pops a bit louder than the one it replaced. I replaced it with the Monkeys Jumping On The Bed version, but think I prefer the farm version because each page has different animals.

Good Night Moon. I’m pretty sure EVERY parent has this, right? If not, it’s a classic.

Hmmm. I debated on which book to list last, and came up with this one. We LOVE Dr. Seuss around here and I think Theres a Wocket in my Pocket is our tried and true favorite (board book). It also may be the very first book we read Jackson- it even served as an occasional teething toy during that first year.  As you can see, it is VERY well loved.

When I went to look for books to take pictures of, I ame across these two that I couldn't leave out either.

We LOVE Llama, Llama books, period. Llama, Llama Mad At Mama is our current favorite. This might sound a little crazy, but I don't *love* reading books to Jackson where the characters are generally being little butt heads. It's like I think that somehow if he doesn't see these characters acting like that he won't display that behavior? Ha ha ha. But I make sure to use it as an example of how NOT to act, and we talk about the little llama's behavior. One of the lines is, "Llama llama, that's ENOUGH" which Mama Llama is telling Little Llama after he throws a GIANT tantrum in the middle of the Shop-o-rama. We both practice telling little Llama that is ENOUGH, and remind him that we don't throw fits (a frequent conversation in our house). There is even a Llama Llama Holiday Drama, but I can't swallow the 15.29 pricetag at Walmart. Maybe it will go on sale after the holidays- though only so much rhymes with llama and I wonder if there is actually anything *new* ;)

Another is LOOK LOOK. When I was a first time mom, after reading how babies see high contrast colors best for a few months, I bought this book. You know, to make sure my baby would love books as much as I do. Ha. Jackson could have cared less, until recently. I don't know where it was hidden, but he found it and has made sure it's in the pile of books to read at bedtime. He LOVES it. There isn't even a story, but whatever. Bennett saw it last night for the first time too and was MESMERISED! So I'm including it here. I think at least one high-contrast book is a good addition to any library :)

What is your favorite children's book? Board or otherwise? We're always on the lookout for a GREAT one!!

Sunday, November 27, 2011


So it's already 8:24pm, and if you don't know me, I go to bed EARLY. I mean really early. So I don't have much for you today. I figured you were tired of hearing about bodily functions anyhow, and my next topic continues that trend. Potty-training. Jackson is, uh, mostly potty trained and it was quite the adventure. It's likely to be a long post, but one I want to write. Especially so I can look back on it in a couple of years before I decide to go through it all with B.

Here is a video of Jackson dancing at the bowling alley today. Sorry, you have to turn your head.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The things you don't see at 4am

Bennett is an inconsistent sleeper.

Some nights he's slept 11+ straight through, and for a few nights in a row. Then he'll quickly change it up to being up THREE times in a night, or even rarely 4. It's tough. It's tough to be up that much, but it's also tough when he starts sleeping through.

For the first couple of nights he doesn't get up, I'm up frequently (like every hour) after the times he's usually up. Just waiting, and checking the video monitor with an uncomfortably full set of milk makers, my mind and body are just UP. Eventually, though, they adjust and we all get a few great nights sleep.
But then. It's back up multiple times again. The latest catch is that B also uses this 4-5am time frame for his dialy poop. He doesn't poop any other time of the day. 4-5am. And if we're LUCKY he's done it before we go to get him. So we change, nurse and put him back to bed. On the not so lucky nights, we hear the grunting and pushing shortly after he's back in bed.

All this complaining and for what? It could be so much worse. Most of the time we get at least a 6 hour stretch (but not always) and I have an amazing husband who is able to function in his sleep, apparaently. I get it, this is what babies do, and I'm fine with it. Really. (As long as there is coffee in the morning!) Who wouldn't give up a few minutes sleep for this?

I wrote this post because I got a total kick out of seeing this the other morninig. I think we missed something MAJOR the night before! Eww! Parenting at it's . . .finest?

Friday, November 25, 2011

Do you like Kashi?

I LOVE Kashi. The Dark Mocha Almond Chewy Granola Bars are my FAV. Their 7 Grain Toaster Waffels are great, and their Go Lean Crunch Cereal is SO good!

Only one problem. The cereal, the Go Lean Crunch, gives me such and upset stomach I've been thinking I'm pregnant, because SOMETHING is not right in my stomach region.

Then I found this site.

Unless you've had the cereal, and had to Google, "Kashi Go Lean GAS", you might not find this link as funny as I did. I just skimmed the article. The comments is where the money is at. I DIED laughing. Oh my.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Linking up with Faith's Photography Challenge.

The theme? Gratitude. I think this picture sums up what I'm grateful for.

This picture embodies so much more than just the two beautiful boys I get to call mine. My family, my husband, our health and the life we've built together. . . the list goes on.
Happy Turkey Day!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Occasionally we affectionately call Bennett 'Momo' from the movie Madagascar. . .Cause he's BIG, he's CHUNKY. .

Here's the proof: B @ 2 months

I'm pretty sure my boys have made it so I have a love for ALL shapes and sizes of babies. Ok, this might make me sound like a total asshole, but I used to feel bad for people with giant babies. Because weren't they missing out on the itty bitty baby thing? Now I know, your baby is your baby no matter how big (or small). It really makes NO difference. Because unless you see them next to a same aged/smaller baby, they are still 'small' and just as sweet and cuddly! I love this big guy every bit as much as I love his 'little' big brother. I wouldn't trade these two for anything.
The sweet, little, furry ones, and the big, soft, squishy ones.
J @ 3 months                                     B @ 4 months

I could have sworn those were the same jeans, but looking at them now it sure doesn't look like it. I do know they are both pairs of 6-12m because we actually don't have any smaller 'jeans'!

**Dena- I totally just realized the double meaning here. How funny!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Adult interaction and my knight in shining armor

Mondays are always a little rough. Coming off the weekends are usually a bit of a letdown. There is plenty of cleaning and catching up to be done, and getting back into the swing of things with just me taking care of the boys can take it’s toll.

Yesterday Andy texted me at 4:30 telling me he was still in class (meaning it would be a while before he would be home). I’ve been working on our Thanksgiving shopping list and KNOW it’s going to take at least two trips to the store, if not three. So when Jackson woke from his nap in a pleasant mood I knew I needed to seize the opportunity. I got everyone dressed and headed out the door. I always park near a cart rack and use a cart to carry everyone inside. No luck today. ALL the racks were empty. Jackson very obediently held my hand and I lugged Benny and the diaper bag on my other arm.
Once inside we wandered the Christmas aisles. (Anyone who complains about the Christmas decorations out too early obviously doesn’t have small children.) We stopped to smell the holiday candles. Jackson enjoys doing this too and even names the colors (Orange! Green! Purple!) that he wants to smell. I chat with a lady with a toddler in her basket too about how whenever you ASK them to name a color they look at you like you are from Mars. I’m generally not a ‘chatter’. I’m just not good at it and unfortunately often keep on moving without making eye contact. Something I’m trying to do better on. Trying to be more ‘present’ in life. Later I ran into another mom with THREE boys. You know how you keep ending up in the same aisle with people sometimes? And you feel like you get to know them (as crazy as that sounds)? We kept running into each other and I stopped to ask about her THREE boys. She shared that she did also have a girl and another on the way! I love big families. I don’t know why, I just REALLY do. And there really isn’t much of a point to this story other than that it’s funny how sometimes exactly what you need is some ‘adult interaction’ in the form of a shopping trip to Walmart J
As the often do, things quickly started to turn downhill. Jackson was getting a bit cranky and Benny was getting restless. Or maybe Benny was getting cranky and Jackson restless, I forget. I quickly hit the produce section and made my way to the checkout. The first one I got to was the 20 items or less. I quickly estimated I had ‘about’ 20 and stood in line. While standing there I start counting and realize I may be over, but only  by an item or two. At this point I made the decision to stick it out, overage and all. I manage to get everything up on the counter. Jackson is ‘helping’ me unload and Bennett is getting fussy. REALLY fussy. I’m starting to stress, trying to find my credit card to pay and someone comes up quickly behind me, touches my back, and approaches my kids. It took a second to process, but it was my dear husband, who had come home from school, realized we must still be at Walmart and drove the couple of blocks to come ‘rescue’ us. He helped me load the kids and groceries into the car and then met us back at home. Could I ask for anything more?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Back to blogging.

Yeah. I want to come back. I just don’t know how.

I was looking through my old ‘comments’ trying to find a friend, and fellow blogger’s email address and came across this post. (It’s the one where I carefully outline why I’m POSITIVE I’m having a baby girl.) How fun is that? To look back on months later (knowing how wrong I was), hilarious! It’s always so fun to look back.
So I’m back to blogging, because I want to remember this crazy time, with two little guys, a fantastic husband (who got up with the kids this morning so I could sleep in), and two nutty dogs here in Kansas, of all places.
So here it goes. My own 30 day challenge, I'm going to blog every day for the next 30 days, and if I never write another word after that, so be it, but I think I can make it 30 days, right?
Some of my favorite blogs are short, sweet, and to the point. It’s no longer all about the kids. Ok it is, because isn’t it ALWAYS about the kids? But I’m not going to stress about it, no worries about documenting every fun thing we've done, complete with uploaded pictures, and witty comments, because really, I just don't have the time. (But maybe I'll recap some of our favorite things I've never blogged about). I'm just going to write.
I know this is a big undertaking with the holidays fast approaching and I'm sure there will be days I don’t even proofread. But I’m going to give this a try, and maybe you all can throw me a comment or two and keep me going.


Friday, September 30, 2011

 Ok, so I totally suck as a blogger. However I AM still reading. Blogger hasn't been letting me comment lately so here are a couple of shout outs and urge to find me on facebook! Christy- you are a fantastic looking prego, can't wait to see your new little one; Em- your boys are PRECIOUS- wish we lived closer and I could help you out. And Nat- you always inspire me to do more: cooking, reading, activities with the boys- I have no idea how you have it all under control, but you make it look so easy! Ok that was probably kinda lame and awkward, but I wanted to say those things, and I've tried multiple times to post on your blogs but it's just not working. . and I currently lack the time to figure it!

I also wanted to stop back in and share my top 5 quarterly photos. I totally couldn't just post 5, but the stars are the ones I have tagged as my favorites, for now :).

Link up here!
Click It Up A Notch

Friday, July 29, 2011


Just wanted to say thank you ladies for all your sweet comments. Look, you've even inspired me to post more! Here are a couple of pictures of the boys.



Sunday, July 17, 2011


Our little BOY made his appearance on his due date, 7/11. If you don't remember, I was COMPLETELY convinced he was a girl. . .

Here is a pic, but if you find me on facebook, there are a few more :). (though that is NOT a current email, you can search for me that way.)

I'd love to keep up with you all, and unfortunately looks like I won't be blogging much.

Friday, July 8, 2011


So we are mostly settled here in Kansas. As settled as you can be when still living off of only the things we brought in our suitcases (and have bought, or borrowed). We do have a nice little house in Leavenworth, just waiting, waiting on our things to get here. (We are super thankful to have family in the area. I can’t imagine this move, at this time, if we didn’t have them here.)

Speaking of waiting. . . We are still anxiously waiting on our newest family member to make his/her appearance.

With Jackson I don’t think I ever started thinking too seriously about labor. When my water broke, it was a Thursday evening and Andy was off for the next four days. The house was stocked with food for the weekend, and my husband had just opened a beer, ha. Not to say I wasn’t planning some of those labor-starting activities (long walks,  . . .) that weekend, but I actually expected the baby to be born after my due date. My water started leaking and it took me a while to be sure. When I finally told Andy I *thought* my water had broken, he shrugged it off and didn’t really understand the situation until I told him I was *really pretty sure* my water had broken (I’m not the type to get all hyped up unless I’m sure, but I’m also not the type to say anything unless I’m pretty sure, so just me mentioning it meant that I thought we were on the road to meeting our little guy). Andy says he didn’t really believe it until we went to the hospital and the doctor said, yep, that’s your water.

Anyway back to this bundle. Around 36 weeks we were pretty stressed. Andy was just in from Germany and we were trying to sort out where exactly we would be living, and generally getting settled. In the evenings I’d have a lot of pressure and just not feel ‘right’. I had to go in to the doctors office to ‘confirm the pregnancy’ because, you know, it wasn’t obvious at 36 weeks that I was growing a baby. Anyhow, the nurse practitioner I saw told me I was having a ‘real contraction’ and it all kind of clicked. I started thinking this babe would be coming sooner than later. I took it easy all weekend, because I really wanted to make it to that 37 week mark. Over the next days the ‘contractions’ slowed down and weren’t nearly as strong- back to what you’d expect for Braxton hicks. Then all through 38 weeks things were really quiet. In life, and in my uterus.

 This baby has decided to stay put.

Ever since 10 days before my due date (the number of days early Jackson was) I’ve started to get anxious. Well intermittently anxious and relaxed. I often think, will this baby EVER come out? Does my body really know what it’s doing?. . .mixed with a larger dose of relaxed, This baby will come when it is ready. Waiting is good, and exciting. There is nothing like the weeks before you deliver. Often wondering if ‘today’ could be the day. Right now I’m feeling zen- and KNOWING my body and baby will start labor when they are ready. Excited for the moment when they clue me into their plan.

And now I’m off to browse things to do tomorrow- because while tomorrow might be the day, it’s just as likely (if not more) that it’s not, and I’m soaking up my days (and nights) with just one baby. . .who sleeps through the night J

Friday, June 10, 2011

Life Lately

Wow. The past two weeks have flown by. We’ve been in Kansas for a little over two weeks now, and just today Andy is driving here (from Chicago) with our two giant dogs in tow.

What’s that? You didn’t know we were planning on moving? Neither did we. Less than a month ago Andy got an email asking if he would like to take an open spot at Ft. Leavenworth. It really is a great opportunity for him, and the fact that my mom and sister live about 45 minutes away from that base, made it something we really wanted to do.

However, we were planning on moving in September/October. NOT May/June. We were planning a relaxing summer. We were planning on having another sweet little German baby. . . . but, as is Army life, things change quickly. My first call was to my OB to see how late he would let me fly (I was already 32+ weeks). After getting the ok to fly before hitting the 34 week mark, we spent the next weeks anxiously getting all the Army paperwork sorted out and starting the process of moving all our people, things, and dogs 4,000 miles from Germany to Kansas.

I flew with Jackson by myself (something I had sworn not to do again anytime soon after our trip this spring) on the 10+ hour flight from Munich to Chicago. It wasn’t great, and it wasn’t awful, but we made it safe and sound. I was thoroughly convinced EVERYTHING would be fine, we were in the US, we spoke the language, what could possibly go wrong?

When landing in the US you have to go through passport control (did you know there is a military line at O’Hare?- military friends- use it!) and then pick up all your bags and clear customs (basically push it through the magic door to the ‘US’ and then drop it back off). But to add to the challenge- do it with a cranky toddler, and make sure you have no less than 3 large suitcases, a giant carseat, and a stroller. . .Eek.

Our plane ride to Chicago had been an extra 45 minutes due to a change in the flight route because of ash still spewing out of the volcano in Iceland- meaning, of course, that we missed our connecting flight. As I push my stroller and heavy, overloaded push cart with all of our luggage, a United (we almost always fly United) worker stopped me, told me I was going the wrong way, and that I needed to stop so she could help me. I’m a bit stubborn and almost never, ask for help. The combination of the fact that it was after midnight Germany time, 34 week pregnancy hormones, and general exhaustion of travelling with a toddler led me to break out in tears. Which actually helped (and eventually hurt) our experience over the next few hours.

Remember the day of all those tornados in KC? And all up the Midwest to Chicago? Yes, THAT was the day we were flying. Many, many flights were cancelled and it was next to impossible to get on another flight that night. Somehow the worker who offered to help me (and pull me to the side so I didn’t have to stand in the HOURS long line) got us two seats on the 8:05 flight to KC.. Relieved, we only had three hours until the flight.

I bought outrageously priced snacks and we waited for our flight. About 30 minutes before our scheduled take off our flight was cancelled. I raced to the ‘rebooking’ line to wait and see what the next step was. After watching person after person get told there was nothing they book them on tomorrow but that they could do standby or get a connecting flight somewhere else and then try to get to MCI, I approached the counter already on the verge of tears (now after 3 am Germany time) and told the lady that I could not fly stand by, and needed a direct flight. She told me they didn’t have anything the next day (Thursday), but they could get me on the Friday morning flight. I said fine, as long as I could get a hotel. She told me that wouldn’t be a problem (with hesitation in her eyes?) and gave me a number to call for discounted hotel prices that you can use when your flight is cancelled.

I think, this is good, Jackson and I both desperately need to sleep and we can just spend a day at the hotel relaxing before coming back to deal with all the craziness. Before I left the counter another worker came over and started telling people that the airport was going to set up cots in terminal C.


Terminal C?

I look doubtfully at the United lady in front of me and leave to call for a hotel. I dial the number, a recording prompts and tells me there are no discounted hotel rooms left in Chicago. What? None?

Up until this point I didn’t honestly understand the extent of the storms in the Midwest, or the fact that O’Hare had cancelled HUNDREDS of flights that day.

I’ll sum up the next bit as best I can, first of all telling you my Motorola RaZr (which my sister constantly makes fun of) I’ve had for 4 years has a pretty much dead battery. So I couldn’t use it unless it was an emergency, because the call would cut out and the battery would die pretty much right away. I was all alone in the Chicago airport with (almost) no phone, and no idea where we would be spending the night. Terminal C?

Two of my fellow passengers offered help. One man was going to drive to Kansas City and said I could ride with him. . .a lady offered her hotel room to share. Neither good options, but both were better than Terminal C, where I was guaranteed to not get much/any sleep with my big, uncomfortable belly and adventurous toddler. Eventually I got pointed to an information kiosk with local hotel ‘hotlines’ that I could use for free. Of course EVERYWHERE was booked, I finally found a hotel about 30 minutes away. I took the room, and went to get a cab.

Another great thing about cancelled flights? You don’t get your checked luggage. OR car seat if you checked it. . .

We get in the cab, who has never heard of the hotel we need to go to. Told that it would be fare and a half because it was out of his ‘area’. There is rain pouring down. I have my toddler on my lap. He repeatedly turns on the overhead light to check directions. We get (slightly) lost. Finally we arrive at the Doubletree in Wooddale, IL. The give us cookies and a room with two full beds (I was told we would get a king, but would have taken the room regardless). Jackson has a great time taking a bath (5am Germany time, 10pm Chicago time) and we quickly crash into a fitful sleep. I literally wake up EVERY hour. At 4am Jackson wakes up too. I get up and call Andy while Jack watches cartoons. Andy encourages me to call United and see if there is anything open for that day. I’m discouraged, and think, there can’t possibly be anything- they would have booked it yesterday! But I call, and wait 32 minutes to talk to someone who insists I must talk to the International line, for a flight from Chicago to Kansas City? Really. The international part is over (can you imagine all this had happened internationally? OMG, we totally would have been sleeping in Terminal C!). The lady says she can have me on the 8am flight (it’s almost 5 by now. Still in our pajamas we call for a taxi, throw our things in a bag, get to the airport and hold our breath until the flight boards, and thankfully takes off.

Jackson slept the entire flight, and making it safe and sound to MCI made me pretty much not care about anything else. It was my mom’s lunch break before she could come pick us up, but I was MORE than happy to hang out at the airport that was in the right city.

We’ve spent the past two weeks buying a sweet new ride- pictures to come. And trying to figure out the insurance/hospital/having a baby thing, which I think is finally sorted out. Andy will be here this evening and our next step is to find a house!

I’m going to go ahead and post this without pictures or proofreading, because if I tried to include either of those things, this would very likely never get posted! Just wanted you all to know we are safe and sound!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Feeling thankful this Mother's Day. For both amazing women I get to call 'Mom' and for both amazing beings I get to call 'Baby'.

It isn't often I'm away from Jackson. No real reason, other than I don't want to be away from him often, I guess. Today I went to a baby shower to celebrate one of my good friends who is an adorable mommy-to-be. I was gone for a few hours and had a great time sipping punch, munching on 'shower food', and trying not to say the word 'cute'. When I got home I was greeted with the BIGGEST grin and a running hug from my little man. Oh, sigh. Does life get any better?

Happy Mother's Day to all my wonderful 'Mommy Blogger' friends out there. I hope it is fantastic. (Especially my friend Emily who's precious twin boys are home celebrating with her! Thinking of you!)

Sunday, May 1, 2011


So I wrote this earlier in the week planning on coming back to it to spruce it up but I have not yet, so here is a terribly unexciting recount of our trip :)


Ok, we are back. Have been for 3+ days but I've been recovering. Three countries (or does Germany make it 4?) in 8 days really, REALLY took it out of me. BUT I knew you all would want an update so here it is (sorry I'm making you go to the photo blog to see pictures. . . but I know you'll do it for new 'bump' pictures. . .right?

We drove the "6" (ahem, 8) hour drive to Paris uneventfully on Saturday morning. We checked into our FABULOUS hotel and were quickly out the door to master the metro and check out Notre Dame. This is when we learned our first lesson "all subway stations are not created equal". I assumed we could just hit whichever was closest and it would get us home (relatively) easily. Ha. 3 change overs later we got back, had some dinner and hit the hay.

Sunday and Monday we spent sightseeing. Hitting up the Eiffel Tower, Louvre, Sacre Couer, Arc de Triomph, and I'm sure there are a few I forgot. Paris is HUGE and even taking the metro everywhere there was a TON of walking. We didn't make it up the Eiffel Tower or into the Louvre, but we enjoyed a lot of time outside wandering the various parks and river walks. Much more our speed :) We even ran into some friends from where we are stationed by the metro at Sacre Coeur! Crazy! (There was also some minor, ahem, major, drama when I realized I had forgotten my camera charger! Thankfully we found a professional camera shop Monday morning, but it was a long weekend of worry!)

Tuesday drove the short (3 hour) drive from Paris to Bruges. Bruges is a beautiful medieval city in Belgium. The plan was to explore Bruges the first day and take a train to Brussels the second. I started having HORRIBLE foot pain on our last day in Paris and we quickly realized it just wasn't going to work. We ended up taking our time Thursday and enjoying the perfectly sized city. . .and all the Belgium beer (for Andy!) and chocolate we could handle. :)

Friday we drove 2 hours to Keukenhof gardens in The Netherlands. The flowers were beautiful and it was HOT. Unfortunately we got there right at nap time so Jackson was NOT in a good mood. It was a little rough, but definitely a once in a lifetime experience!

We continued on to Amsterdam, in rush hour traffic (really bad timing this day) and found our way-less-than stellar hotel. I made sure we had a quite room so you can imagine my surprise when a little after 7 am I started to hear a loud THUMP, THUMP, THUMPing sound. Eventually (15 minutes later?) I called the front desk and asked what the deal was. Of course, we were located just over the butcher shop! UGH. But was promised it would stop soon. I won't complain about the hotel any more, but it wasn't good. We did, however, enjoy seeing Amsterdam. It is a beautiful city with tree lined canals and streets FULL of bicycles.
We hit up the Ann Frank House, Dam Square, and oh yes, the Red Light District. The whole city was a great experience with a huge variety of people, not just the pot-smoking-hippies I expected :) **Nothing against pot smoking hippies :)
We were ready to go the next morning and once I saw the sun peeking from the curtains we hit the door (trying to dodge the thump, thump, thump, of the butcher shop below). Our drive home was easy as well (thank goodness for portable DVD players)!

And that about sums it up. I'm not sure I conveyed well all the WALKING we did. It really was pretty much non stop all day-every day (ok, except for nap time). But for what was possibly our last trip before we leave Germany, it was pretty awesome.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


When did this little guy get a mind of his own? And finally being able to communicate it? Oh boy.

Lately Jackson is requesting bedtime books be read over, and over, and over again. And if I try to read it when it's 'Dad's turn' I get a resounding 'no, no, no' which just makes us all bust out laughing.

He has also started communicating via computer. . .well at least AT his 'computer'. I don't know if any of you have this VTech computer but when you close it makes a noise and says, 'Goodbye'. . .Jackson responds accordingly with a 'bye' and blowing a kiss. I find it hysterical.

I loove having a toddler in the house. His giggles and pattering feet are some of my favorite sounds. He loves to play with his dogs and loves his dad even more. To the point of throwing a fit when he leaves for work and constantly asking about him and pointing to all the pictures of him in the house throughout the day. Though he's started to get tired of my kisses and cuddles (because, hey, he has things to do), he'll tolerate them every once in a while. I have a feeling in a few months when he has a younger sibling to compete with he'll come back around ;).

We are off to Paris, Bruges and Amsterdam later this week! Wish us luck, and good weather!