Wednesday, October 31, 2012


Let's just say that the costume was a tad too big and the B-man hated it. He doesn't even like it when we put on his clothes, so to think he'd want an enormously large costume on over his clothes and covering his face is pretty much laughable.

We got about 20 minutes out of it before the waterworks started. And then another 10 minutes when we went to Chipotle for dinner (hello $2 burritos).

For what it's worth, here is B's first attempt at celebrating Halloween.
I don't hate it yet, but don't you dare connect those two pieces of velcro. I will scream. 
shoe half off and the backside of a lion
Get. this. off. of. me. or you'll really hear me roar.
In true dork fashion, I tallied up how many trick or treaters we had this evening {98 between the hours of 3:30-6:30} and how many we had each hour. The 5-6 p.m. hour was a hot ticket and anything past 6 in our neighborhood was questionable. Also, my neighbor told me she hands out full candy bars, making me want to step up my game when B is finally reaping the benefits of trick-or-treating. Also, the older kids who wore lame costumes and were questionably too old to be going door-to-door got Mounds and Almond Joy candy bars. Because... um... those are the bottom of the candy barrel. Plus, they scared a little boy away and that made me sad. Punishment in the form of crappy candy.

Last year we didn't celebrate and went out to dinner instead. I couldn't deal with having trick-or-treaters and being pregnant with neighbors hounding me about the baby when all I wanted to do was crawl into a hole. We didn't buy pumpkins this year like we did when I was largely pregnant and anticipating our Andrew, but we did hang a little, blinking pumpkin on our door-- the only Halloween decoration we physically own. It's old school, circa my first apartment back in 2001.

We're celebrating this year, but only because of Benjamin. Holidays still suck the emotions out of me a bit.

Happy Halloween, everyone. Here's to hoping it's happy-ish wherever you're at.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

New Trick {or Treat}

Almost Halloween and I'm seriously sucking at this mom business because I haven't even tried B's costume on him yet. I know, ridiculous, right? We're only going to be passing out candy for a few hours anyway, so whatever. I promise I'll be more enthusiastic next year. We are eating plenty of Halloween candy and cookies, so at least we've got that covered.

Here's a fun video of B's new trick. It's not crawling or walking, but it's something! Warning: bare baby bum.

Also, I introduced some yogurt into his diet and it appears that was a bad idea. Waiting until a year old. Lesson learned. Ick. In other news, B is rather uninterested in crawling, but can roll like a boss and turn 360 like a spinning top. I know it will happen before long, but it's rather entertaining watching him pitch a fit when he can't get to what he wants. Before long, the joke will be on me. You don't have to warn me. :)

I may or may not be back tomorrow to share B's costume if it fits. Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Twelve Years

That's how long I've had my nose pierced.

A lot has changed since then, and it's left me debating how long I should keep this fashion trend going.
{Kind of like the toe ring I'm still sporting, despite my sister-in-law insisting that fashion trend ended a decade ago. Sigh.}

At the ripe age of like 18+3 days in October of 2000, I went with friends on a dark Friday night to the streets of San Pedro, California to create a statement. We jumped in my friend Josh's burgundy Acura Legend in Redondo Beach and hit the 405 to the 110 freeway and found ourselves at So Cal Tattoo and Body Piercing. Part of this whole decision was out of rebellion, being 18 and wanting to exert my rights as an official adult {My parents came around & I actually took my mom to get her nose pierced in 2006}. Part of my decision was based on my friend group being punk rockers and all having piercings of their own. But most of the decision was because I thought they were cute and California is flooded with regular beach girls (also me) with tan skin and nose piercings. {I regret the tan skin far more than the nose piercing--and frankly, I still don't regret it. That's reserved for ex-boyfriends, mostly.} Or tattoos. But I wasn't about to ink my skin because I still maintained my levelheadedness in knowing that I just might regret said decision later and taking out a nose ring would be a whole lot easier to manage than regretting a tattoo. That, and tattoos are just not my thing. They never appealed to me personally. So a nose piercing it was.

At one time, I loved it. While I don't dislike it still, I don't know if I care either way. When I first hopped on the bandwagon of having a cork shoved up my nose and a needle pushed through at lightning speed, I was a much different person. Having recently been back to So Cal, it's still definitely popular among the early 20-somethings.

That was twelve years ago, and part of me thinks it's time to move on.

I'm 30. I've had two children and been dealt a world of grief. The girl who went into that piercing shop 12 years ago was young, carefree, and didn't have much concern for anything. I was attending the local university and staying out late and being a regular ol' teenager/young adult.

Nothing could break me. I was invincible.

Six years ago. October 2006. Five months of dating my future husband and he took me skydiving in San Diego for my birthday. My parents asked him on the drive down what would happen if I didn't survive. I believe his response was, "Well then the drive home would be pretty awkward." Note: it was a blast, but there is no way I'd ever skydive again.

I guess it's me growing up, but somewhat wanting to let go of who I used to be, because what she was is no longer what is living within my body.

I've been taking it out for years-- when I interviewed for my first teaching job and every single day I taught. There were a few days I forgot, but I managed to pull the plug quickly enough before any of my fifth graders saw. I took it out for our wedding day and still take it out for every business dinner or gathering we attend. Except in Germany-- their culture is quite accepting of piercings and tattoos. While I don't find it personally offensive, we do live in the Midwest and this sort of thing isn't as accepted. California's culture is much different.

I remember first meeting my future in-laws and wondering if they would be accepting of me because I had a nose piercing-- like it was something I couldn't change. It was a bit silly, but they also live in a culture much different than the hippie, California lifestyle I'm used to. I was aware of the stereotypes and judgement placed on those who acted with such rebellion to mutilate their bodies. Surely I didn't think it was such a big deal, and it honestly wasn't, but I knew that others may view my decision with less-than-stellar appeal.

Recently, I took it out because I was blowing my nose about 3,004 times/day and didn't want to deal with having to adjust it each time. Since I've been asked this the last 12 years of my life, I might as well explain that blowing your nose is not a big deal... but the current one I have been using needs to be pushed back in each time and it's just. plain. annoying. So out it went. The cold is subsiding now and I haven't put it back in... yet. And might never.

It's kind of like throwing away that dress you bought and wore a thousand times and love so much... but that you know should be sent packing. It saw some great days of your life and some amazing memories were made while wearing it. And some sad ones, too. And yes, I was wearing my nose ring on the day each of my sons were born.

Just take it out and be done with it, already? Is that what you're thinking? It's a lot easier said than done! Anyone else experience a similar silly, yet monumental decision/change?

Friday, October 26, 2012


It's been awhile since my last Friday edition. Time for a recap of the last week and some change. The sumo wrestlers aren't slamming my head with bricks anymore, but my head still feels like 100 lbs. This post won't be nearly as witty as usual. Apologies.
Freebie birthday Venti Caramel Apple Cider in Nashville? Yes, please.
Cutest little cowboy eva.
My first son. Just not the kind of photos I'd ever thought I'd have. Ever.
Taken on the Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. Let our voices be heard.
We love our babies no matter how uncomfortable it makes others feel.
Airplanes. His second home. Ha.
Get. in. my. belly.
Delish California brew. Brooke agrees. She told me.
I love. 
He is so freaking beautiful.
4 days in California means I visit at least two Rite-Aid stores for Thrifty ice cream. Obviously.
This, my friends, is chocolate malted crunch. Uh-mazing.
That's the infamous packing list I use to pack our luggage.
3 highlighter colors = 3 trips.
3 highlighter colors = 1 exhausted mama.
Hello, old lady serum!
Rockin' the kicks
The key to our hearts. Chocolate.
My in-laws rock!
My attempt at Lomo Saltado. I already miss El Pollo Inka. And the Rohde family who are always our dates to that restaurant.
Bath time just got a whole lot more interesting. Mobile monster.
life rearranged

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Sick & Stuff

I am so happy to be home.

I never thought those words would come out of my mouth. But here we are.

My body decided it would hold off getting sick until the very end of our journey. Literally, 20 minutes before we touched down in Chicago from our California visit, my ear plugged up entirely. I thought it was just the cabin pressure that caused it to stay that way, but now we're going on 4 days and the other ear is now plugged as well. Along with flu symptoms and a nonstop running nose and the whole nine. It could just be a massive head cold, but it's bad. Thankfully, no fever.

Knock on wood, but the resilient 8-month old-- yes, EIGHT-- is still free of sickness as his obsessive mom is washing her hands 3.2 million times a day and sanitizing up to high heaven. B also had his flu shots (2!), but so did I. So much for that investment.

Wanna see a picture of the 8-month-old I speak of? Thought so.
This is what happens when I sit him down. Crankypants x10.
Took a little break, had some milk and now he's just copping an attitude.
You thought I'd keep this thing on? Riiiiight.
This will be in my mouth in approximately .5 seconds. Just so you know.
Notice the shoes. They're new. I'm probably more excited about him wearing shoes than anything I've ever bought him. Who would've thought they'd look so cute? I certainly didn't.

I am anxious to get back into cooking. I have a few recipes in the queue that I cannot wait to tackle when I don't feel like 10 sumo wrestlers are slamming bricks into my head. Until then, we're crock potting over here with yellow split pea soup (who knew there was a yellow variety?), bread, and frozen delicacies.

I missed a picnic with friends yesterday in unseasonably warm fall weather because of this stupid cold and watch... next week's going to hit freezing temps I'm sure, casting me inside for months to come. I'm determined to get B outside for a walk today.

Ever since we've been home, he's been a champion sleeper. Maybe he's making up for the sleep he lost while we traveled? 12+ hours at night with no wakeups and 2-3 hours naps. I'm not bragging... just beside myself at the change. Perhaps it's the non-drowsy Sudafed I've been taking that somehow makes it into my breastmilk and makes him drowsy? Taking care of a kiddo while you're sick is no simple task, but one I'm so freaking fortunate to have.

On our flight home from California on Sunday, he was Senior Crankypants and we thought it was just because he'd been off a normal schedule for so long. That could be a contributing factor, but then I discovered on Tuesday that he had broken through his first top tooth! Ah, so that explains things. I am the skeptic who is never quick to blame teething on his behavior changes, but this time, it really was the case. Those poor souls on the flight home with us. At least he's a cute little crankster.

I've been thinking of Andrew even more than usual lately. It's the seasons changing and being just over a month from his 2nd birthday that is still baffling to me. We're in talks of replacing his unfitting urn with one that fits. I think we'll make it happen around his birthday. I've even thought it would be nice to donate our former urn (is that gross?) to the funeral home for another family who may have lost their child and it be a good fit for them. We will be discussing our concern about them not notifying the family if the remains do not fully fit before they come to pick up their deceased child. Kind of a heavy topic for this post... not intended. Apologies for the abruptness of it all. It's just how my brain works nowadays living as a mom to one living and one passed. Not a whole lot of option in that reality.

Today is a whole lot of R&R around these parts. I'll post about Nashville and California soon. Off to make some dragon noodles for lunch.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Canada, Oh Canada

We heart you, Canada. As we were there, Ray was telling me that he could definitely live there. I agreed with him, but we were both quick to admit that it's because they're quite similar to the U.S. with some added, lovely European touches. We'd been to Canada before (and here), but up through British Columbia and never near the East. However, they do need to get more Targets and Chipotles ASAP. They're working on it. I saw the big red bullseye in construction. It was a lovely thing.

We spent the first few days on business travel and the last few days having fun with some pretty freaking awesome friends I met through blogging. Let's just say that we're so happy to have met that we'll be setting dates to meet on an annual or bi-annual basis.

The drive was 8 hours, which is about our max on driving in one day, but totally do-able! We drove through during the fall leaves changing in Michigan and that was quite lovely. And I know it's hard to believe, but B didn't cry at all during the entire 8 hours back home until about 1 mile from home. I know. Awesome.

Niagara Falls. I'd visited the U.S. side back when we were dating with Ray and his family, but this was my first time on the Canadian side! No socks. Go ahead, judge me. ;)

Notice the jacket. And the rainbow. And the other {human} rainbow.
Large waterfalls? Whatevs, Mom.
You wouldn't believe he was screaming his head off in the car about 3 minutes before this picture, eh? Niagara on the Lake is stunning,! Who knew it would be so cute with tons of wineries!?
We fully intended to visit the Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest that boasts being the second largest to Germany, but babies weren't allowed in the festivities. Ray ended up going on his own with work colleagues and I spent my 30th birthday having dinner with a fab friend and her incredibly cute chiquita. I spent the majority of the time trying to prevent B from screaming and had more hummus and turmeric stains on my clothes than I'd like to admit, but it was wonderful.
The next day while Ray was working again, I headed to visit Laura and Grace. B took over the toys like no one's business.
We stayed over at Laura's for two days and had long nights of dinner and drinks and overall awesomeness with them. It was so much fun and we were so sad to drive home. This day we headed downtown and had lunch at the top of the CN Tower at the 360 restaurant. Here we are in the Distillery District in front of some disturbing creature.
At a chocolate factory in the Distillery District and B is checking Laura out. My son likes hot ladies... what can I say?
Laura's taken? I guess I'll drool {literally} over this little baby-love.
Baby dangler at the top of the CN Tower.
Friends and Rainbows.
Two very gorgeous boys that I love.
Yes, that is a crazy paparazzi taking photos that will likely be posted on the internet in Asia. And maybe in magazines. And newspapers. Our husbands don't seem to mind parading our children for the World to see.

We seriously had such a good time. Ray was nervous as we pulled up to their house and I explained that he's met many of my friends and their husbands before... and he countered that he has met many, but never stayed at complete strangers' houses two nights in a row! I'm pretty sure more words were spoken between Ray and Scott than between Laura and myself, so that apprehension was quickly nixed after just minutes into conversation over dinner. We also discussed that it was just nice knowing that they get us on all levels. We have an unspoken (or spoken!) understanding that we have sons that are no longer here and that we miss them. There was nothing taboo and nothing uncomfortable about it. Cannot wait to head back to see them again!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Day 2012

That's today.

Carly wrote a post not long ago about making a prayer flag for our babies we miss.

While I'm not crafty in the least, I knew this was something I wanted to do for Andrew, mostly because I never get to do anything for him. I schlepped B along to Joann's to find some felt and some embroidery floss to make a flag that would then be sent to Australia to be hung in a ceremony for our babies today.

Here's what I made for Andrew.

 And off it went.

Loving and truly missing not only my own firstborn, but all the babies of so many of us families that will never be fully complete without them.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

...They Say it's Your Birthday...

It's no surprise that I love freebies. I'm a couponer that started once I quit my full-time teaching gig to be a stay-at-home-mom to save us some cash. I wasn't willing to give up the vacations, so I decided we would live more frugally at home and still enjoy trips and travel. I actually don't physically cut many coupons, but utilize the amazing deals from our local Safeway affiliate that has them all online with a swipe of my card at the store. I love it most for produce deals because obviously coupons are most often for processed foods that we try not to eat all that often. And for other things, I just stalk what I want like prey until it's on sale and then scour the internet for the best deals and coupons to match my purchase. I then use affiliates like ShopatHome & Ebates to score cash back on purchases I make. It's down to a science, my friends. And I'll admit... in a geeky sort of way, deal hunting is sort of thrilling. I told you it was geeky.

In order to make my thirtieth birthday feel like less of a sting (and no, this is not a plea for regards and well-wishes), I've been receiving coupons like MAD in my email for about 2 weeks now. They really start hitting exactly one week before the actual day and then it's a mad dash to print out and head out to revel in all that is free. I cook less in October-- known fact. Why? Because we're eating out at 50% off and that's pretty good to me.

I thought I'd share the emails I receive (minus the links to sign up because I'm lazy) in case you want to sign up for the email flood once your birthday arrives. 

Jersey Mike's: free sub and fountain drink on actual b-day
Firehouse Sub's: free sub on actual b-day (no coupon required! Just ID)
Coldstone Creamery: BOGO ice cream
Steak 'n Shake: free double Steakburger and fries
On the Border: free dessert with meal purchase
Boston Market: free dessert with meal purchase
Fuddrucker's: free 1/3 lb burger 
Arby's: free shake
TCBY: $3 off any purchase
Baskin Robbins: free scoop or soft serve
Which Wich: free sandwich
Starbucks: free drink of any size
Panera Bread: free pastry/sweet
Noodles & Company: free meal
Qdoba: BOGO burrito/meal
Flat Top Grill: free stir fry
Red Robin: free burger + fries
Vera Bradley: free $20 on anything in the store (I actually don't get this one because I'm too lazy to sign up in-store.)
World Market: 15% off home decor or 10% off food items & non-alcoholic beverages

I most definitely do not use all of these... more likely only 30% of what I listed, but it's fun to have options. I'd use more, but they have short expiration dates and I can't always make it on time. Anyone know about any amazing birthday freebies that I didn't mention? 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Leave(s) Me Alone

Not a fan.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Insta-Friday - Germany Edition

I took a good number of Instagram photos on our trip to Germany that were never actually published. Now I'm going to share some of the never before seen footage. ;)

{read: too cheap to pay the international fees to post every single picture. Also, for a tip, turn on airplane mode and you can shoot away! Each picture will "fail" to publish but will still save with the cool filters to your phone. I learned that from Pinterest.}

This one was actually published just before boarding our flight over the Atlantic. He was dressed for bed as we attempted to keep him on the schedule he usually has, at least for the flight over.
View from a room at Dad's work in Germany. Looks peaceful, except the part about me holding a wriggling baby who will. not. go. to. sleep in my arms. Hellooooo time change!
Off on a walk to the bakery...
The beauty of Dresden
More Zwinger photos in the Dresden Palace.
Bakery bread, water, and the stroller.
Typical German cookies at markets... this one found at a fall market in Dresden. Reads: I love you.
The husband just couldn't resist another sausage. This one purchased while filling gas.
This is the small town we lived in for 6 months. The thought of them having a monster truck rally is hilarious to me.
Perfection. A pretzel and Apfel Schorle. It's basically 1/2 sparkling mineral water and 1/2 apple juice. Yum-o.
Just sitting down to dinner in Nuremberg.
Mmm... beer condensation. See the grip he's got on that glass? Yeahhhh. Proud parents.
The brew.
May I help you?
The kid has good taste... what can I say?
Last night in Germany. A sink bath.
Airplane eats. Anyone know if this is available in the U.S.? If so, I'm buying a case.
Sleepy chunk on the airplane.
Not-so-sleepy chunk on the airplane.
Sleepy chunk once again. Jet-lag + time change = passed out 
Post-lunch squirrel watch session while Mom washes dishes. Possibly contemplating the meaning of life as well.
Omg Mom, what are these green and yellow things all around me?
It's wake-up time! Baby legs are now arm warmers as they're perfect for fall weather to use with his cute, but Mom's not ready to ditch all his short-sleeved, onesies. Also, Dad may have banned Baby legs from being worn on... legs.
My fave pasta in my fave pot. 
Handsome lunch date at Which Wich on a Wednesday. Alliterative what?
I can already foresee the weekend activities at our house. Leaves, leaves, leaves.
And hey, how about a video? It's just over a minute, but around 55 seconds, he proves that sippy cups are no longer made by lucifer and, in fact, are actually quite awesome. He's been doing this for a few days now, after months of coaxing him with sugar on the end of the straw and washing it everysingleday to practice. Victory!
That's about 2 tablespoons of prune juice + water in case you were curious.