Tuesday, January 27, 2015


oh, austin. how i love your 72-degree days in january.

jb is out of town this week (left this morning), so we decided to bike the kids to the park after school yesterday.

feeling better.

i still have a voice that sounds like i've been chain smoking for 42 years, and hollis is still a wee bit snotty, but other than that we are basically better. whew. i never get sick and i don't do well with it. i think i've gotten sick more times since i had kids than the entire rest of my life combined.

anyway. this weekend was gorgeous and it was so amazing to be feeling better and not contagious and get out of the house. i stayed home with hollis on friday so we could have one more day to convalesce. i was still fairly sick that day, so since i was sticking close to home anyway, i kept him with me. we did have a hot date to whole foods while our housekeeper was there and that was nice, even if it involved driving around town in the pouring rain.

friday night we took it easy, but saturday morning we had a birthday party for one of our neighbor's kidlets. they had a fun jump and cupcakes, so the kids were in hog heaven. hollis discovered tee-ball and we realized we have not been exposing our kids to enough sports. 

both kids took great naps on saturday since hollis had had a rough night the night before. i used that time to rest a little and straighten up the house. when emme got up, she helped me clean the porch, which is always fun - i love to do projects with my little helper. 

saturday evening we went to one of my co-worker's house. his family has two girls on either side of ek's age, and they also have all the toys, so the kids were in heaven. i always feel like we have way too many toys, then we go to other peoples' houses and i feel like we are depriving our children. sigh. 

sunday morning we woke up and walked around the corner to cate's house (after some quality burrito time, of course). it was marathon day (the half i said i was going to run and then never did distance training for...), and their house is on the route, so we had breakfast and half-watched the runners. the kids are obsessed with cate's house. 

and we ended the weekend with friday night meatballs (on sunday) since i didn't feel like anyone should be exposed to our germy house on friday. emme loved having buddies over - this is her friend oliver, the sweetest boy ever. 

yay for good weather and wellness! 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

things i hate about the flu.

3/4 of us got the flu shot this year, and 3/4 of us have the flu right now. it's super fun. emme got the shot and does not have the flu, but our rad pediatrician put her on tamiflu as a prophylactic measure anyway, so i hope she stays safe. hollis and i are plowing through - it's not as bad as it could be, i guess. they said we will likely have a milder and shorter case since we were vaccinated and hooked up the tamiflu in short order. i am not messing around with sickness.

i hate feeling insanely tired and energy-less, and i hate it even more when it's accompanied by an inability to get sound sleep. hollis barfed last night (i think it was from coughing so hard - poor dude) all over his bed, so he came into our bed, jb headed to the couch. sleeping with a toddler is like having a magnetized bowling ball with toenails in your bed. he's an insane person, for real. my jawbone wrist band thing told me i was up at least 6 different times during the night, and i feel like that's a conservative estimate.

i hate when i'm sick too because my need to deal with all the germs by washing all the things falls to me, but i feel crappy and want to just lay on a couch.

i hate the achy body stuff because i know my kidlet is feeling it in his little body and that makes me super sad.

i hate that i'm not "working", but i'm also not doing anything productive.

i hate coughing. hate it.

is this enough whining for today?

Sunday, January 18, 2015


when we woke up a couple days ago, there was frost on the roofs and in the grass in our neighborhood. emme walks justin out when he leaves for work every morning. she ran inside (still in pajamas):
"mommy! mommy! there's icing everywhere! there's a lot of icing on miss faye's house and a little bit of icing on the other house and even some icing in the grass."

Thursday, January 15, 2015

how to blurb a blog.

this is a DIY post. what what?! it's mostly for emma, but i thought maybe there are some other people who might want to do this too.

i've been making our blog into a book since 2010, so this year's will be our fifth book. it's awesome. it is totally the best/easiest way for me to record/keep track of our lives (mostly) and have something pretty and nice to show for it. plus, i think it will be a nice thing for the kids to look back on in years to come since, let's face it, it's mostly about them.

so. here's a brief tutorial on what's worked for me. i use blurb's booksmart application and have loved it so much/been so pleased with the results, i haven't tried anything else.

step one:
go to blurb.com and click on booksmart under the "create" tab.

step two:
download booksmart!
step three:
the booksmart app will launch and you should choose "start a new book". one of the best things about this software is that it auto-saves your project so you don't have to freak out if things are buggy. i will say the software can be kind of slow/buggy, but just give it a minute...it's going to space.

step four:
slurp your blog! i use blogger and just enter my email address and pw for that and click continue.

step five:
choose the blog/blogs you're making into a book. i have a second random blog that i don't publish from or talk about, so i de-selected that one and clicked continue.

step six:
select all your entries. this is awesome the first year (select all! yay!) and less awesome in subsequent years. i choose select none and then manually check all my posts for the year i am documenting. click continue!

step seven:
get coffee or tea while photos are importing. this can take a while, especially for a whole year.

step eight (optional):
if you forget a post or posts, you can highlight them in the left tool bar and click "add to book" and it will add them. make sure you have selected where you want to add them (chronologically or whatever) in the book or it will be a pain to move the posts. this year, i started the 2014 book in june and uploaded the first half of the year then and just added the rest of the year. it may help to batch-add posts (highlight 5-10 at a time, then click add, and so on) if you have lots of posts because it is pretty slow during this part.

if you are uploading everything at once, it just takes a while, but you shouldn't have to use the "add to book" feature - you'll just select your template and go from there. i always use the viewfinder template/theme because it's simple and clean and i like it. but there are some other nice ones too.

you'll get some warnings/heads up stuff from blurb. they'll tell you your book has 9 million pages and you'll need to pare it down. duh, you haven't even started editing yet. just click ok and move on. cool your jets, blurb.

step nine:
edit! you really will need to go page by page. editing is neither quick nor painless, but it's also not awful. the drop downs under each post have the text and pictures separated so you can move them when you pick the layout you want for the post. i use the text layouts for my pages of wordiness and then throw in cute montages from all the picture layouts usually at the end of the word parts of my posts.

possibly the best thing in booksmart is the edit layout piece. it's helpful to start with a layout that looks close to what you're looking for, then edit from there. you can adjust picture sizes, text boxes, etc. then, you can save your layout and use it again and again by going to "my page layouts". this is especially great for stuff like instagram photos which are square and don't fit into the pre-fab photo templates in the existing layouts.

and that's basically it! i usually do my covers last and i delete extra pages as i go. my 780 page book will likely be pared down to about 120-200 pages. at the end, you select what type of pages you want (matte, glossy, etc). i think i've always done matte on standard paper and been totally pleased with it, though i'm sure the premium paper is a lovely upgrade. 

good luck and let me know if you have any questions!

Thursday, January 08, 2015


it's ultra cold here today. for us. 25 this morning, which for my midwestern and new england friends probably isn't anything crazy. but i don't own a winter coat that fits me, so...it's cold.

emme crawled into our bed around 6 or so and i didn't even feel it because i was super sleepy from being up in the night with hollis. "mommy hold you!" at 3am.

anyway. as we were waking up sloooowly (how hard is it to get back into a weekday routine? super super hard.), she said "mommy, you know where we haven't been in a long long time? the splashy pad! we should go there after school!".

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

two year stats.

just got back from the doc with my dude. all is good. he's a shrimp, which i knew, and super stubborn, which i also knew.

height: 33 inches - 15%
weight: 28 lbs. - ~25%

apparently he was 3% for height at his last appointment (i must have blocked this out), so he's grown a little, but it's slow going. i asked if it was related to food consumption since he's so obstinate about eating, but she said height is really a genetics thing at this point. plus, dude breast-fed until 22 months, so there's got to be something to be said for that.

anyway. i know the percentiles are just numbers - it's a spectrum and it doesn't even really mean anything. he is slight right now but could totally have a growth spurt and shoot up like 6 inches any day now (emme grew 5 inches in 2 months between age 2 and 2.5). and just because he's little now doesn't mean he'll be little forever. etc. etc. and it's a stupid thing to even worry about, of course, but i default to wondering if i'm doing something wrong even if all evidence points to the contrary.

other than that, he was on a talking barrage in the doc's office. she said it was obvious he was showing off and also said we can skip the 2.5 year check-up since he's already hit all the milestones she would be checking for then. so that is amazing.

she also said we should be feeding him what we're eating and trying to cut back on the carby junk food he gets for snack at school. so i'll be working on that. maybe if i serve him veggies 9,000 times, he will eventually try them again. it's just so weird since he ate them until so recently. oh well.

so thankful for healthy, happy kids. even when they can be ornery, picky little monsters :).

Monday, January 05, 2015

look who turned two.

my sweet baby turned two yesterday. two! people freak out about the first year, but the second is what really gets me. suddenly this little human is talking and laughing and full of opinions and just so not nearly a baby anymore. of course, as i tell his big sis all the time, they will always be my babies (sappy sap sap), but still.

hollis has really turned into quite the little lover. he's very much the capricorn that he is - stubborn, somewhat moody, for sure, but also sensitive, smart, and deliberate. he says hilarious things all the time. when someone gives him something, he says "thank you! i welcome!". he uses anything pointy as a sword and says HI-YA! with gusto. when we're putting him to bed at night, he asks for a hug and a kiss, then "'nother hug! 'nother kiss!" several times before he says "i luh (love) you tooooo". my dude.

he adores his sister above anything and everyone else. the rest of his family isn't far behind, but he is all about emme. yesterday morning, he slept until after 9 (the kids went to bed waaaay too late for most of the break), and i went in there to check on him. he's been sleeping in ek's room and he was on his crib mattress on the floor. when he saw me, he waved and said "hi mommy! happy new year!" and then immediately sat up and looked at emme's bed and said "good morning emme!". she wasn't in there but she came stampeding in the room moments later and they gave each other a huge hug. i love their relationship and i hope they can maintain their closeness for the rest of their lives. 

 he also loves trucks and trains and anything that can facilitate locomotion. if there is a way to make a vehicle make noise, he will find it and employ it.

it's hard to say this without knocking on wood, but hollis is turning into one of the easiest toddlers i've ever met. sure, he is intense when you ask him to do something he doesn't want to do (wear socks, go inside, etc.), but really...his independence and ability to self-entertain are miraculous in my world. he will disappear for super long stretches of time and we'll find him reading or playing by himself, perfectly content.

food is a bit of a battle, but we are working on it. his stubborn streak serves him very well in this department - on christmas eve, we were baking cookies for santa. i told him he could have a cookie if he ate a single bite of broccoli. and we're not talking a big bite...this was a dime-sized bite. i just wanted him to try something he used to love and bribery seemed the way to go. well, he was having none of it. so, any advice on getting an extremely headstrong toddler to eat a veggie or some sort of meat would be greatly appreciated...

seriously, we relish this kid. he is a magical and delicious part of our family and we are so lucky to have him. 

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

new pet.

"mommy. i want to get a wolf as a pet. but not like a big, mean grown-up wolf. just a little baby wolf."

looking back.

we're two weeks in to the new year, so i thought it was high time i back-date a post and reflect a little bit on 2014.

2014 was pretty crazy, but i guess that's every year. we rolled into the year in a new house, bought a new car the last day of 2013. hollis turned one. emme turned four. we left the school the kids had been at since the beginning and started a new adventure at a new school. i took a new role at the same company in august. we traveled to louisiana a few times, to colorado once, and jb made some solo excursions to san diego, new york, wichita, and d.c. (maybe more?). we lost one of justin's uncles in a car accident. we fired our financial advisor for being the worst person ever. we had a bizarro scenario with a chair. i started running again (kind of), we ate out too much.

it was a fast year. so fast.

when the year started i wanted for it to be slower. or for us to be slower? it's hard to know how to begin to make that happen in this day and age...but i still want to try again, since i don't really feel successful. i think 2014 was the year i finally started to come out of the postpartum funk that i denied i was in after hollis....and that was positive. but i think i need to capitalize on that a lot more in 2015. my goals/plans for '15 are a separate post, but a lot of them are similar to what i wanted when 2014 began...and i don't feel like i/we achieved everything we wanted to.

it's easy to get complacent, to make excuses. we are busy. the kids are little. we work a lot, our jobs are demanding, the kids need us constantly, the house requires a lot of work and thought, and etc. etc. etc. but somehow we have the same number of hours each week as everyone else. and we found time to sit and watch the entire breaking bad series, to read some trashy YA novels, to nap and ignore chores and leave the house in a state of disarray for days on end. all of that is ok, but i think it's time to stop putting off what we really want (in the long term) in favor of what we want right now.

here's to a fresh start.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

happy birthday daddy.

justin's birthday goes by the wayside a lot. not entirely, because we always do something...but having a birthday four days before christmas when there are small children in your house and work schedules, etc. to contend with is a recipe for less than amazing bday action.

anyway. this year jb turned the big 34. officially mid-30s land. the kids and i woke up and tried to let him sleep in a little bit. we picked up a bagel and a gingerbread latte to bring him in bed. then we loaded up the kids and pups and went to explore allen park - a hiking trail on 10 acres right around the corner from our house that we never knew about. it was rad. it was kind of a dreary day, but we made the most of the fresh air. then we went to trudy's for some lunch and headed home. the kids napped and we rested and then i sent justin on a mission with the kids to get away from the house. he strolled them to the park and i told him they had to be gone at least 45 minutes.

while they were out, i scrambled around to get everything ready. i packed wine and water and tea lights in mason jars and brie in puff pastry, along with lots of other yummy snacky/dinner items. when they got back, miss crystal arrived to babysit, and i brought justin down to auditorium shores. we laid out our blankets on a hill overlooking downtown all lit up. it was pretty chilly and windy, but we made the most of it and it was nice to be outside and get a chance to visit without being interrupted 94 times each minute.

after "dinner", we went to uchiko for some fried milk for dessert. it was heavenly, as always.

someday we'll do something really spectacular to make up for all the mediocre years of daddy's birthday. until then, we're really lucky he's such a good sport about it all.

name calling.

"mommy. how about today i call you monty? and you can call me callie. or maybe we can call you miss shireen."

Monday, December 29, 2014

holiday pageant.

the kids' school put on a holiday pageant where each class got up on stage and sang songs. it was super cute. the teachers worked really hard to get everyone ready and we loved the whole process of them practicing at home every day leading up to the actual event.

hollis was not thrilled at all to be on stage. the festivities started at like 4:30 and by the time we got to that point, he was basically done. he lasted all of two minutes before one of his teachers rescued him and returned him to my arms. sigh. maybe next year.


emme, on the other hand, really embraced the experience. she had a lot of stage fright at her dance recital last year, but maybe because she is really comfortable at school, she was all about it for this performance. she knew the songs and was super enthusiastic with the hand gestures and moves. i was just so proud that she had so much fun up there and we loved watching her.

at the end, santa came up on stage to hand out gifts to the "big" kids. they did a kind of secret santa gift exchange thing with their classmates, so that was really cute. ek said she was going to hug santa, but when the time came, she wasn't ready for it. she did accept her gift graciously and tell santa thank you, though, so that's a big improvement over her santa reactions from previous years (which are treasures we hold dear).

'tis the season.

the kids (and we) have loved the holidays this year. between reading all the christmas books we have (the grinch and the polar express and the elf book are faves this year), doing the activities in our advent drawers, drinking hot chocolate, baking desserts, getting ready for the holiday party (more about that later), and wearing christmas jammies, it's been a really fun season.

justin cleaned out the shed and it's a constant dance party. 

performing their own rendition of the ballet while watching the nutcracker on tv.

icy blasts for the whole family. Are are

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