Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloweenie...Again!!!

As promised, here are more Halloween pics! We had all kinds of visitors today!! Grandma and Grandpa Davis, Grandma and Grandpa Mueller AND Uncle Adam!! I bet Addie wishes it was Halloween every day! She was the life of the party in her little SIU cheerleader uniform. Howie did pretty well too...but as you can more pics of him. He was OVER the lobster costume. It was a little small for him since he is a little heavier than he was when I bought the costume last year. But then am I. No judgement here Howard! 
Anyway, it was a fantastic Halloween at the Davis household. The weather was 70 degrees and couldn't ask for a better trick-or-treat night. I remember my mom bundling us in winter coats, hats and scarves for Halloween when we were kids. All the trick-or-treaters had it made this year. It is a lot more fun going from door to door when people can actually see your costume. Speaking of costumes...I had to laugh so hard at my mom tonight. There was a little girl walking around in a Hannah Montana costume and my mom goes, "Aww....are you Brittany Spears?" The little girl just sort of looked at her and said, in a sassy little voice, "I'm Hannah Montana". I was like "yeah mom...did the girl have a shaved head? No. Was she beating the crap out of my Envoy with an umbrella? No." Okay...enough making fun of Brit. I just thought it was funny that the little girl took so much offense to it :-) I gave her an extra snickers bar for being such a little diva. I should have given her my whole bowl of candy because I still have way too much left. I said I wasn't going to eat any more candy after tonight so I guess I better go pour myself a big glass a milk because I have a lot to get through before midnight :-) Happy Halloween everyone!!!

Happy Halloweenie!!!!

These are just the first of many Halloween pics to come today. It was a little early to put Addie in her costume, so she is just sporting her Happy Halloween spider onesie for now. But as you can see, I couldn't resist dressing up little lobster man. He is so cute!!!! He hates this costume more than anything and I know he won't let me put it on him later so I figured I better snap a few pics while I can. And since we were at it...I put my witch hat on too :-) Grandpa and great Great Grandma stopped by for the fun today so I made Dad pose for a picture. He is a "construction worker" for Halloween...and every other day of the year. So original :-)
Anyway, here is your first glimpse of our Halloween day of fun. There will be more pics to come.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Howie Gets a Costume Too!!

I saw fear in Howie's eyes today. He knows that Halloween is tomorrow and he is petrified of what I am going to dress him up in this year. The glow-in-the-dark skeleton hoodie he wore last year wasn't half as bad as the vampire costume I made him wear the year before. But if he was mad at me then...he is going to be REALLY pissed at me this year because I have a fabulous costume for him. I don't want to spoil the fun by telling you what he is going to be...I will just do my best to post pictures of him and Addison tomorrow when I get them all dressed up. Eric thinks I am nuts for dressing up a dog (and I probably am) but I think everyone should celebrate. I have a very cool witch hat that I can't wait to wear. I bought it last year at the end of the season and I have been dying to bust it out. Even though I could write all night about how excited I am for Halloween tomorrow...I will spare you the boredom and end this post now so that I can go watch some scary movies. I like getting all of that out of my system so that I can get into full Christmas mode the day after. I LOVE this time of year!!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Addie's Little Pumpkin

I like to call this pumpkin "Little Addie" because 1) it has her big beautiful eyes, 2) it has her cute button nose and 3) it has her smile (notice there are no visible center teeth yet). I am actually pretty impressed with my free hand pumpkin carving. I didn't take pictures of the other pumpkins because...well...they didn't turn out as cute :-) But here you go...Addie's first pumpkin!!!!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Look At Those Teeth!

I have to admit...yesterday's post is pretty hard to follow. I mean...I had celebrities commenting on my blog!! How cool is that? But what better way to follow a post like that then with a picture of the little peanut that makes motherhood so worth it :-)
As you can see, Addie is feeling MUCH better after her week of the sickies. We still have a stuffy nose but I think that has a lot to do with her teeth. And speaking of which...would ya look at those things! I posted a while back about how her top teeth were not breaking through in order and just as I suspected...she looks like a little vampire now. I guess she will just have to be a vampire/cheerleader for Halloween. We can just call her Buffy :-)

P.S. Auntie you like the Calvin Klein sweatsuit she is wearing? I wonder who bought her that??

Monday, October 27, 2008

Book Review: I Was A Really Good Mom Before I Had Kids

Do you ever have nights where you just plop down on the couch feeling totally exhausted and wonder what the hell you did all day? The dishes are still in the sink, the highchair still needs to be wiped down, there is a pile of laundry in the hallway and you are still in the outfit you went to bed in the night before. I know Eric must secretly wonder the same thing when he comes home from work and it looks I didn't do anything all day. I always try to justify myself by explaining that I paid bills, went grocery shopping, cleaned out the fridge, graded a few papers while Addie was napping, etc. I don't know why I feel the need to explain myself because Eric never judges me. He thanks me all the time for taking such good care of him and Addie. And deep down I know he means it. But there are times when I have had a long day and he will say something like "do I have any clean work pants?" It's a simple question and I should just answer him by saying "no...I didn't get to washing them today." But instead, I start getting defensive by listing off my daily tasks, which usually leads to a reminder about how I quit my job to take care of our baby. Once I say anything about being a SAHM, his response is usually "lots of moms would kill to be able to stay home with their children." And he is absolutely right. I am so lucky to have the opportunity to be home with Addie every day. I wouldn't change it for anything in the world. But I have to admit...being a SAHM mom isn't what I thought it would be. And honestly...neither is motherhood.

Now don't get me wrong. Motherhood is SO much better than I could have ever imagined. I didn't know it was possible to love someone so much. There are little moments every day where Addie will do something adorable like crawl to me so that I can pick her up and when I do, she will wrap her little arms around my neck and press her face against mine. Moments like this make me close my eyes and thank God for this little peanut. And I know other moms can relate to these precious moments because moms are always willing to talk about the happy stuff. We all sit around telling these cute little stories and then with a collective "Awww" we move on to the next reason motherhood is so awesome. But late at night, when the babies are asleep and we are on the phone with our best friend...the truth tends to come out. Motherhood isn't always as rewarding or joyful as we like to say it is. Sometimes it is exhausting, overwhelming, stressful, confusing....I think you get my point. And when you are done letting out your feelings, you other moms feel this way? The answer is...hell yes they do! Trisha Ashworth and Amy Nobile's book "I Was A Really Good Mom Before I had Kids: Reinventing Modern Motherhood" is the result of an afternoon conversation that led them to the same question. And what they found is that ALL moms, at least to some extent, share a lot of the same feelings about motherhood. We all love being mothers, we just hate doing it.

"This is an amazingly honest thing to say--I love being a mom; I just hate doing it. And it's all the more amazing because it resonates with so many of us. Why?  We love our children, and we love being their mothers, but sometimes we just hate doing "it" because "it," as we have defined it, is an impossible job. We're not talking about the indignities of wiping up runny noses or runny diarrhea--we expected as much. We are talking about the crushing exhaustion, gerbil-on-a-flywheel feeling of every day. We're talking about the failure we feel when we can't bring ourselves to make a Halloween costume, even though that very day we rushed out of work early to make it to a Mommy & Me music class. We're talking about the sinking feeling we have when we finally get into bed at night, knowing that we've failed to perform competently (according to ourselves) on yet another day. Those parentheses are very important: we're labeling our own selves failures."

Now I don't want to make the book sound like it is all gloom and doom. It is SO not that kind of a book. It is just honest, and sometimes honesty can be gloom and doom. The authors realize this too and that is one of the reasons they decide to write this book.

"The hope is that we'll raise great kids and be happy doing it. And that means talking about the good and bad sides of motherhood. Because if we can talk honestly, perhaps we can lose the notion that we can and should do it all. And if we can lose that notion, then perhaps we can get a grip on our insane expectations. And if we can get a grip on our insane expectations, perhaps we can stop judging ourselves and other moms, learn to say no when we need to, embrace our daily lives, nurture ourselves and our husbands, and maybe, just maybe, relax and find peace. The ideal is to be true to ourselves, to make conscious choices based on our own value systems (and not others' expectations of us), and to live our lives in ways that serve our own best interests and those of our families. Only then can we begin to love motherhood as much as we love our children."

I don't want to write anymore about the book because it is so much better to just read it for yourself. I wouldn't exactly classify the book as "self help" because that label has such a negative connotation. But honestly...I think the book has helped me. It helped me realize that I don't have to be everything to everybody every day. I don't have to stress about a dirty pile of laundry and I don't have to feel guilty if I decide to order a pizza instead of cooking a wholesome meal one night. So if you are a mom looking for a little self help...or even just a good laugh...this book is for you! And if you decide to read it...I would love to know what you think :-)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Damn You WebMD!

It is now 9:00 p.m. and I have officially been awake for 39 hours straight. Okay...I did have one little 45 minute cat-nap last night but that is about it. As I said in my previous post, Addie and I are both sick. Addie caught a little bug last weekend, recovered, and then came down with a cold this weekend. Needless to say, she has been one miserable little baby. And now that I have a cold myself, I have been one miserable little mama. But that isn't why I didn't sleep last night. I didn't sleep last night because while I was researching natural ways to alleviate a baby's cold symptoms...I stumbled on to WebMD. I haven't been on WebMD since I banned myself from it a few years ago. As many people know, you can type in symptoms on WebMD and it will generate a list of all the possible illnesses you could be suffering from. No matter what you type in...cancer is always on the list of possibilities. Anyway, after diagnosing myself with two terminal illnesses last year over a headache and a bad case of indigestion...I decided it was best to stay away from that website.
But last night, after I typed in some of Addie's cold symptoms, WebMD came up as one of my google hits. I knew they wouldn't have what I was looking for, but I clicked on the damn link anyway. And there it was...a list of all the possible illness Addie could have with the symptoms I typed in (i.e. runny/stuffy nose, watery eyes, little cough, low-grade fever). I saw many common things on the list like a cold, flu, ear infection...but there was one thing on the list that sent me into a panic. Meningitis. I don't know what possessed me to click on the "symptoms of meningitis" link but I did. Idiot. 
The first thing I read on the top of the webpage was, "menegitis is often overlooked because the symptoms resemble those of a common cold or flu bug". Nice...JUST what I needed to read. So of course I go on and start reading the symptoms. Fever? Check. Watery eyes? Check. Cold hands and feet with a fever? Ummm......shit....I don't know!!! So I ran in to feel Addie's hands and of course...they were warm. Whew. I knew I should have stopped there but I didn't. I just kept reading and reading and panicking and panicking. I kept running in to check her forehead, her hands, I even busted out a mini flash light to look for any blotches or rashes on her skin. I was in total freak out mode. And as I sat in the kitchen frantically googling everything I could about meningitis....Eric slept peacefully on the couch with Howie. I remember can he be sleeping right now? Why isn't he googling with me? Isn't he worried? What a jerk! But then I remembered...he thinks I am just googling cold remedies for babies. He told me I wasn't allowed to go back on WedMD after an unnecessary late night phone call to my OB last year (long story). He would kill me if he knew what I was doing right now. But I couldn't help it! I had myself all worked up. I had already been reassured by my pediatrician...twice...that there was no need to worry. But here I was...worrying myself into a total frenzie. I mean...I have always been a worrier...but this is getting ridiculous! Do all mom's worry like this? Is this what I am going to be doing for the rest of my life...googling cold symptoms and staying awake for 39 straight hours just to make sure that my baby's temp hasn't gone up a tenth of a degree? Is this just part of being a mom? If any of you mamas out there know any good anit-anxiety meds I should taking? 

Now It's Mommy's Turn!

I know...I have been a very bad blogger this weekend. But I have a good excuse! Not only is Addie on her second cold this month, but now it seems that I have it too. Boo! I knew it was only a matter of time before I caught something. It seems like everyone I know is sick. Even though it is sunny and beautiful outside, I plan to stay in my bath robe and keep Addie in her sleeper and watch  the Disney channel all day. I think half our problem is that we are just two busy little bees and we need to take it easy. So that is what I am going to do today...take it easy. If my brain starts to function later, I will try to post something more exciting. But for now, at least you know where we are. Happy Sunday!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Well...It's A Tie

I appreciate everyone's help in making my decision for the perfect advent calendar to start my Christmas tradition with Addie. Unfortunately, it was a tie and I am still at square one. Just my luck :-) But I did give it some thought last night and I think I am going with the Land of Nod calendar (despite the friend who said I was a silly mama for buying it :-). I chose this calendar for 3 reasons. 1) It is a more reasonable size and I won't have to dedicate an entire wall to it. 2) The removable pockets are cute and it makes the countdown more obvious and 3) Free Shipping! just can't beat free shipping. Land of Nod is always very good about offering deals like that. So while I was browsing around the Free Shipping section , I found a really great stocking stuffer for babies! They are Trumpet Christmas socks and you can get them in Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah. SO CUTE! And at only $5.95 (plus free shipping), how can you beat it!!! Anyway, thanks for all the help friends!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Christmas Advent Calendar...Help Me Decide only took one comment and a couple of hours to talk myself into buying Addie her first Christmas Advent Calendar. Glad I took some time to think about it :-) But now I need some help. Before purchasing the calendar, I decided to check out Pottery Barn Kids just to make sure I wasn't missing anything. Well wouldn't you know...I found another adorable advent calendar! This one also has pockets for stashing little gifts and candy, but the pockets on this one are bigger and the calendar itself is in the shape of a Christmas tree. VERY cute. So now I don't know which one to get!!! Here are the pros/cons for both:

* Pockets are bigger for stashing larger gifts and candy. That can be both pro and con, since bigger gifts can mean more $
* Christmas tree shape is VERY cute, but it is big and will take up a larger space on the wall. 
* Depending on where you hang it, kids might need step ladder to get to the top.

* The calendar is a great size for hanging. 
* Pockets are small so it can only include candy, a tiny gift, or a note. 
* Pockets come off so there are pieces to keep track of.
* This calendar has Free Shipping :-)

Overall, both calendars are adorable, cost the same (aside from shipping) and can be personalized with our last name. The size and shape are really the only differences between them. I just don't know which one to pick!!!! So why don't you help me by voting (see right column). I appreciate your help :-)

I Have the Christmas Bug

I know, I know...Halloween isn't even here yet and I already have the Christmas bug. I get this way every year and I have to remind myself that Halloween AND Thanksgiving come first. But who cares right? This is my baby's first Christmas so I think I am allowed to jump the gun a little. I know Addie isn't going to grasp the whole concept of Christmas this year, but that doesn't make me any less excited to celebrate it with her. I have actually been contemplating a purchase. It is a Christmas Advent Calendar from Land of Nod and I think it is just ADORABLE! Each day you remove a little pocket, which you can fill with a little present or piece of candy, and the kids can count down the days until Christmas. I just think this is such a fun way to celebrate each day of the holiday season. If I had it my way, I would start the countdown the day after Halloween...but I guess December 1st will do :-) I know it is a bit pricey and Addie really won't understand it until at least next Christmas....but I would sort of like to start the tradition now, even if I have to fill each pocket with Gerber Puffs :-) What do we think?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Scary Stuff

This is the view form my dining room window. It looks out over our front yard, where I just put up my favorite scarecrow. The wind blew him over about 20 times last year so I decided to prop him against our tree this year. Well I am not use to him being there so every time I look out the window I jump because I think someone is standing there. You would think after doing this about 5 times, I would remember that it is just my scarecrow. But early this morning (when Addie woke up for the third time) I went to the kitchen to get some water. When I glanced out the window I saw Mr. Scarecrow man...although at 3:00 a.m. it looked like a homicidal maniac watching me through my window. I jumped, choked on my water....and sadly enough...I peed a little. I really think it is time to move the scarecrow. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Jeans Friday

Have I ever talked about my friend Jenn? Jenn and I worked together about a million years ago and we have managed to keep in touch (via the internet of course because Jenn lives in Milwaukee now). Her and her fabulous husband Rob were just married in September and now that all the wedding planning is done...Jenn decided she needs a few new hobbies. Her choices: Photography and blogging. I mean honestly...who isn't blogging these days :-) Anyway, I think her new blog Jeans Friday is very cute and since Jenn has some awesome potential with her other hobby (photography) I thought you might want to check it out. Plus, it is always fun to read about life after you say "i do". Love and miss ya Jenn!!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Product Review: The Perfect Gate for Wide Openings

Now that Addie is crawling and into EVERYTHING, I decided it was time to corral her in a centralized location so that I don't have to chase her around the house all day. My family room seemed like the obvious choice because it was easy to gate off. However, after noticing Addie's desire to climb the fireplace repeatedly, I figured the living room might be a little safer. The hard part about this room is the large opening. I searched everywhere for the perfect wide opening gate and luckily...I found just what I was looking for. We bought the Sure and Secure Custom Fit Gate by Summer Infant and I absolutely LOVE it. This is pretty much the only wide opening gate that extends up to 12 feet! It does have to be mounted into the wall, but it only takes a few small screws. What I love most about this gate is that it has a swing door so that you don't have to climb over it every time you need to go into the room. Climbing over gates isn't a big deal until you try to do it early in the morning. I don't think I need to go there :-) Anyway, now that I finally got the gate installed, Addie has a fabulous play area that's big enough for her to crawl and climb around in. As you can see, she lives climbing the gate :-) I love that I only have one room full of toys now, instead of finding them all over the house. I also feel safe enough to run to the bathroom or throw in a load of laundry without being worried that she is banging her head against the glass fireplace doors :-) The link above will take you to The Right Start website where you can purchase this gate. You get free shipping for $100 or over orders. But if you would rather buy the gate in person, I found ours at Babies R Us for a pretty reasonable price with a coupon. 

Sicky Baby Update

Okay...we are back from the doc and all looks good! They are sending her urine sample off for a culture just to make sure it isn't a UTI but we won't have that back for another day or two. But because her fever is finally gone...the doc is pretty sure it was just a virus. Yay!!! I am just so happy the little peanut is feeling better today. She is so sleepy...I guess she needs to catch up from all the sleep she has lost the past few days. Mommy could use some catching up too :-) I feel like the walking dead....and look like it too!!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sicky Baby

Sorry for the lack of posts this weekend. I have had a sicky baby on my hands. Grandma was watching her on Saturday morning while I was teaching and Addie just wasn't content. She is STILL cutting two top teeth so we just figured she was not happy from that. My mom tried everything she could to relax her and I am not sure how or why she deiced to put Addie in a laundry basket...but it worked! After she got tired of pushing the basket around the living room, she attached a belt to the basket so that she could pull it like a wagon. Addie LOVED it! She must have pulled her for an hour all over my house. Grandma to the rescue again! Unfortunately, she was still pretty fussy the rest of the day and night and after discovering she had a fever, I knew it was time to call her Pedi. She thinks it is probably just a virus (since there is a lot of that going around right now) but since Addie had a UTI when she was 6 weeks old...I am always concerned about that. Luckily, Tylenol has done the trick today and we have an appointment tomorrow morning. I always feel better when the doc can check her out. Poor little peanut...I hate seeing her sick. I wish I could make it all better with a kiss and a cuddle. I will be sure to post after her appointment for a quick update. Guess I better get some sleep while she is. Nighty Night!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Davis University

As a stay-at-home mom, I often get asked the question, "Don't you ever get bored at home all day?" If I don't have the time to explain, I simply answer "Hell no." But if I do have the time and/or I am just annoyed enough to make the time, this is how I explain myself.

Since I work in education, I will try to explain my new role as a SAHM in terms of running a college because it is surprisingly VERY similar. Lets break it down by department shall we?

Business Affairs
Like the business office at most institutions, I am not responsible for making any money, but I am responsible for overseeing where it is coming from and where it is going. I write the checks, sign the checks, deposit, withdraw, balance, save, invest...I think you get the point. I have to have excellent filing skills, bookkeeping skills and money management skills (still working on that one). If the check book is balanced, I get a smile and a nod. If the check book isn't balanced, I am sentenced to an eternity in hell. I will always annoy the carp out of everyone who has to deal with me but that's just what I have to do keep this department up and running.

Human Resources
Like the business office, the human resource department doesn't make any money, but is responsible for paying everyone else. In my case it is Comcast Cable, Nicor, CommEd, GMAC Mortgage, T-Mobile, the guys who spread our mulch every spring...I think you get my point. Also, I am in charge of understanding our health benefits. I mean, it takes a 3 ring binder just to explain our deductible so obviously this is a pretty overwhelming task at times. But unlike the HR departments at most institutions, I don't have a quick connect button that I can hit when I need to call these people. I have to listen to Kenny G for 45 minutes just to get to the menu where I select 4 for a live person. And remember...I am also in charge of getting everyone to their doctors appointments. Most HR departments don't drive you to the doc. But if paying everyone else AND coordinating benefits were not enough responsibility for one department, I also have to be concerned about team morale. When everyone seems stressed about their job, or in my case, when everyone feels stressed about life, I have to be ready with team building activities. When Addie is upset because she is cutting a tooth, lost her favorite bug rattle AND pooped her pants...I have to talk in my silly voice and sing Itsy Bitsy Spider while I crawl on the floor and find a new toy for her to play with while I change her diaper. When Eric comes home after a long day at work and is stressed about the long hours and our "lack of alone time", I have to forget about my long day and pretend like I want to play "dirty school teacher" and rub his shoulders. Seriously...I have a new found respect for this department.

Marketing and Communication
This is the department I have the most fun with. I sort of look at this blog as my family website. Anyone wanting to know what's new in the Davis household can come here to find out. I update this blog regularly so there are no complaints :-) I also like to brag about my family, which is really what marketing is all about isn't it? If a college has a beautiful campus...they sell it. If a college has an excellent graduate program...they sell it. If a family has the cutest baby on the block...they should sell it. Just as I do. Hahaha!
As far as communication goes, if it weren't for me, everyone in our family would think we fell off the face of the earth because Eric is SO not the communicator. He would go a week without calling anyone and then look confused when everyone wonders where he has been. Now don't get me wrong, he is an excellent communicator at work and I am sure all his colleagues would agree. But at home, I have to decode everything he says. For example, if Eric says "I am going to Joe's house to watch the Bears and have a beer or two," I know to ask if by "Joe's house" he means the bar, if by a "beer or two" he means 7 and if by "watching the Bears" he means watching every NFL game on TV that day. Luckily, I know to ask these questions so when Dana calls looking for her husband, I know how to report back :-)

Institutional Advancement and Planned Giving
I am always looking for creative ways to bring in family income without having to go back to work full time so for the sake of this explanation, I will refer to this department as Family Advancement. I would love to advance us into the next tax bracket without having to work an outside job. When I figure out how to do that, I will report back.
As for Planned Giving, we are not quite at the fundraising stage in our household yet. However, I know I am only a few years away from Addison going to school and joining clubs and dance teams and that means a mountain of cookie, candle and wrapping paper order forms that I will have to solicit to every family member, friend and neighbor I know. And you bet your sweet ass I will be stopping by the home of EVERY person who has ever dropped off a girl scout cookie order form at my house. I mean...who needs 17 boxes of peanut butter patties in one year. I mean...I ate them...but I wasn't happy about it!!

Academic Affairs
This is actually a very important part of being a SAHM. Addison isn't in day care with lots of other kids participating in fun educational activities every day. It is up to me to create fun activities that will keep her attention for longer than 25 seconds. And that is a LOT harder than you think. Luckily, Addie has lots of babies to play with each day because my sister-in-law and cousin-in-laws all stay at home part-time or full time with their kids. We try to schedule at least one or two play dates a week. I think it is good for Addie to get out and socialize with other kids, even if they are family :-)
Another important part of academic affairs is planning a curriculum. Trust me, I have a LOT of experience with this in the academic world, but I have NO experience with this at home. Do I let Addie watch TV or not? What toys are educational and which aren't? Do I sign her up for baby music or baby sign language? Will too much exposure to the Disney Channel give her ADD? So many things to think about! And she is only 7 months old!!! Did I mention that I also have to grade freshman English papers and create lesson plans during my free time?

Food Service
The "Jen Cafeteria" is open 24 hours around the Davis household since I am still breastfeeding. Luckily, there is only one menu item for Addie to chose from so at least she can't be picky. However, we are on solids now too so after I prepare three organic meals a day for her, I also have to nurse her. Its an all day job. And in addition to feeding her, I have to feed myself and a picky husband. I have never been a very good cook, but I am learning and getting better each day. I plan meals now, just like the cafeteria at my old school, and if anyone doesn't like what's on the menu...they can make Ramen Noodles in their dorm.

Speaking of dorms, before I moved in with Eric, his old house looked like a dorm. He was using a microwave stand as an entertainment center, he had a Christmas tree still up in his living room in April and he had a missing kitchen cabinet door...still not sure about that. Also, the only food in his refrigerator was a jar of pickle relish, a few packets of Arby's sauce and an old take-out container from the dinner down the street. Poor guy. So that's when I had to step in and turn that house into a home. And honestly, I loved every minute of it because in case you didn't know, I LOVE to decorate and redecorate my house. Home Goods and I are BFF :-)

Where do I begin. Between grocery shopping, stocking the pantry, stocking the bathroom, stocking the nursery, getting my oil changed, taking out the trash, recycling, doing the laundry, scrubbing the floors, scrubbing the toilets, vacuuming, decorating the house, watering the plants and flowers outside, etc...its a wonder I am able to accomplish my other 200 tasks each day!!! This alone counts as one job, in my opinion.

Well...I hope I made my point. Being a SAHM isn't always as easy (or as boring) as people think it is. I use to be a workaholic too. I worked a full-time administrative job, commuted 2 hours a day AND taught freshman English. I know what it is like to love to work and I also know what it is like to leave the job you love behind. I don't feel like my day or my life is any less chaotic then it was when I was working a full-time job, but it is certainly more rewarding. Even though I do get a little overwhelmed from time to time with all the "departments" I must oversee in this new role, I still remember what my old college president use to say....its all about the kids. And in my case...its all about Addie :-)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Our Day at The Pumpkin Farm

What better way to spend a beautiful fall day then at the pumpkin patch! Dana and I decided to take the girls and the grandmas out to Dollinger's Pumpkin farm today. Dana and I have a lot of the same taste when it comes to dressing the girls so when we realized that we both bought them striped leggings with a polka dot top from Gymboree, we just HAD to dress them alike today. Don't they look so cute?!!! Addie was also sporting the new pumpkin hat grandma knitted for her. She only had it on for a few pictures though because Nia thought she would help Addie out by taking it off for her after every picture. So cute :-) I love watching the girls play together. I know it will be even more fun when Addie can walk. She can't quite keep up with Nia right now. Although, I am not sure how many babies can keep up with Nia. She is a little ball of energy! I wish I could borrow some of it :-) We were only at the pumpkin farm for an hour today and it felt like I ran a marathon. I think I am just still recovering form our busy weekend. But all work aside, it was great to get out to the farm today. We took lots of adorable pictures, I bought some mums and a few jars of apple butter (yummy), we played with the girls in the hat AND we let them pick out their pumpkins!! I am so excited to start this new tradition with the girls (and some day with the rest of our kids). Fall has always been my favorite season and this is just another reason to love it :-)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

My Japanese Tree

When Eric and I moved into our house last year, we realized there was a TON of landscape work to be done. The people who owned the house before us sort of let things go. There were tons of dead bushes and plants that needed to be pulled or trimmed down. Eric couldn't wait to break out his electric trimmer and start the destruction. But while Eric was on his destructive rampage pulling bushes out of the ground with his truck, he almost pulled my favorite tree! He calls it my "Japanese Tree" because it looks like...well...a Japanese Tree. He thought it was in an awkward location and wanted to pull it out with the rest of the old stuff. But at the time, I was a tired, pregnant, hormonal woman who he did NOT want to mess with. So when I said I wanted to keep the tree...he let me keep the tree. And I am so glad he did because it is honestly the most beautiful tree in our whole yard! Just look at it! Right now it is a shade of almost every fall color and I just can't stop looking out the window at it. Even Addie looked out the window with me today. I mean seriously...can you believe Eric wanted to rip this out of the ground with his truck? Silly boy.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Happy Birthday Aunt Diana!

Addie and I just want to wish a Happy Birthday to my fabulous sister-in-law Diana!!! We didn't do a very good job of taking pictures at our joint birthday celebration last week because we were all in our PJs :-) So hopefully this picture of her playing with Addie will do the trick for now.

Diana is off to the Covered Bridge Festival this week and I know she is so excited. I hope they have pumpkin icecream for you this year! Bring some back if you can :-) Have a great birthday Aunt Diana! We love you!!

Little Saluki

I was going through my pictures form the weekend and realized that I never posted my favorite one of my little Saluki! This is a shot Uncle Ryan took of us waiting for the game to start. Addison was cheering and shaking her pom pom for everyone walking by. It was the cutest thing I have ever seen. My cousin Jill (sitting next to me in the pic) is an SIU student right now and she really had a great time showing Addie off to all of her friends. Unfortunately, Addie wasn't in the greatest mood when we visited Jill's dorm and she fussed most of the time. I think Addie did it on purpose though so that all the college kids walking by could see what happens if you don't use birth control :-)

Monday, October 13, 2008

My Hero Finished the Race!

A few weeks ago I posted about my BF Amy, who was training for the Chicago Marathon, and I just wanted to say CONGRATS ON AN AWESOME RACE! Amy finished the marathon Sunday...all 26.2 miles. I am just in awe of this accomplishment. I know she has trained so hard for this and I am so proud of her for finishing. She actually made it through the marathon without walking or shedding one tear. I would have been walking...and crying...after about the 5th mile. Oh who am I kidding, I would have been walking and crying after the first mile :-) But I am sure the feeling of crossing the finish line made the whole experience worth it. I think Amy describes those emotions best so I highly recommend checking out her blog. She has a great re-cap of the race, along with a few additional pictures. I just stole these two pictures because I wanted everyone to see how stinkin cute her two little boys are! Ryder and Jac made mommy a great big sign and I am sure it warmed her heart when she ran past them. I am so proud of you Aims!!! You are my hero!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

A Weekend In the Life of Jen

It's no secret that I tend to have bad luck. Anyone who knows me can probably count at least twenty accidents or other bad luck situations that I have been involved in. In just the past few years I have fallen down a flight of stairs at work, slipped on ice twice, tripped and fell in the mall, scratched my cornea AND broken my toe twice (it makes the shape of a J now. I call it my "J toe"). And these are just accidents that didn't result in ER visits. I have now had 3 of those this year. The first ER visit was in May when I had an allergic reaction to a tanning bed and broke out in head to toe hives. I was tanning for my trip to Florida which ironically was the location of my 2nd ER visit this year. I got a breast infection from a clogged milk duct and spent my second night on vacation in the Ft. Myers Beach hospital. Awesome. I honestly thought my bad luck with traveling and hospitals would end at that point but nope! Turns out 3rd times the charm! 

At 3:30 a.m. on Saturday, the morning of my birthday, I woke up with a terrible back pain. The minute I started to feel nauseous I knew EXACTLY what it was...a kidney stone. I had one 3 years ago and the pain is unforgettable ( is not as bad as labor, but pretty damn close). I laid in bed for about 45 minutes praying I was wrong. I mean seriously...a kidney stone...on my birthday? While I was out of town? Sure enough, the pain got worse and I couldn't take it any
more. So I rolled over and woke up my mom (yes...we were sharing a king size bed in a hotel room that looked like it was straight out of The Shining. But that's another story for later in the post). Once she was up she called my Aunt, who was also in town for homecoming, and she came right over. We all hopped in the Envoy and drove straight to Carbondale hospital. I was sure there would be a long wait, what with all the drunks stumbling in to have their stomachs pumped after a long night of boozing, but luckily I got right in. I had to give my date of birth at least 6 times and every time I said "10-11-1980" the nurses and doctors wished me a happy birthday with a "sucks to be you" look on their face. I sucked to be me that morning. But I am trying to look on the bright side. My stone passed through my kidney and made it to my urethra (a.k.a. pee hole) pretty quickly and the pain died down to just an uncomfortable burning. After a little pain medication they were sending me home to tough it out. The stone didn't pass until 1:00 a.m. the next morning. But despite all this drama, I still managed to have a pretty great weekend in Carbondale!

After my ER visit, I went back to the Quality Inn to relax. First of all, let me just say that our hotel was anything but quality. Like I said, the decor looked like something out of a Stephen King novel. I kept waiting for two creepy twins to walk down the hallway chanting "Redrum". It also smelled like a nursing home and I managed to set off the smoke alarm with the 2 watt hair dryer that was built into the wall. Oh, I forgot to mention that when we left for the hospital at 4:00 a.m., there was a kid passed out face down in the hallway. Ahh....only in Carbondale.

So once I was able to get a little R&R, it was off to the game. I am not sure what the weather was like in Chicago while I was gone, but it was about 120 degrees in southern Illinois. We were roasting!! Normally, my friends and I would just cool off with a couple of cold beers. But since my BF Mandy and Kerri and I are mommies now, we had little ones to tend too. Even though the kids look pretty content in this picture, let me just tell you that they were OVER IT! All of us were suppose to live out our glory days and perform the school song with the dance team at half time but when we looked at the scoreboard and realized it was still only the first half, we decided to to bail out. We felt bad about leaving and not performing, but the kids just weren't going to make it. And honestly, neither were the mommies :-) Luckily, Mandy and I got a very cute picture with our kiddies and all the SIU Shakers. It is hard to believe we use to wear outfits like that :-)

After a long morning in the ER and an even longer afternoon in the heat, it was nap time. We all came back to the The Shining Inn and took one. Once we woke up, it was time for a shower and some Quatros pizza (my favorite SIU pizza joint) before heading out for a night on the town. My mom was nice enough to watch Addie while Ryan, Meg, my cousin Jill and I all went to my old hang out. We met some of my dear friends (and fellow bloggers) Mandy, Jeff and Nina. It was so nice to catch up with them and chat about old times. I so wish we all lived makes me so sad to leave. I promise to be back soon guys! I love ya!!

And while I am on the subject of old friends, I also got to see my old boss (and very dear friend) Jen and my grad school BF Casey. I worked at Pier 1 for 6 years while I was in school and I can honestly say that place was like a second home to me. I really miss my work buddies (and my freaking awesome employee discount) so I had to make sure to stop in and say hello. It was just like old times. The three of us were laughing and making a scene in the store. I just love these girls to pieces :-)

Needless to say, it was a very long, fun, crazy, fabulous weekend in Carbondale and all drama aside, I am SO glad we went. I learned some very important things this weekend that I have to take into consideration before my next road trip. 

1.) Bring extra batteries for the light-up mirror hanging in front of the carseat, especially if it is the ONLY thing that will occupy an antsy baby. That, and track #4 on the Charlie Brown Christmas CD. Don't ask.

2.) When traveling anywhere outside of Will County, be sure to pack insurance card and personal hospital gown.

3.) Never make reservations at a hotel that has a claim like "Quality" or "Comfort" in the title. 

4.) Add 10 degrees to any weather report for southern Illinois and minus 10 for any weather report in northern Illinois.

5.) Be sure to take lots of pictures because trips like these go WAY too fast :-)

Thursday, October 9, 2008

SIU...Here We Come!!!

Well...I have a pretty big task ahead of me today. I have to pack for not only myself, but also a 7-month-old baby. I can't believe how much stuff one little baby needs for a weekend trip. I almost lost a finger this morning trying to figure out how to break down and set up her pack-n-play. Damn the Comfort Inn for not having a crib!!!! I was able to do a little packing yesterday and I already have 3 bags sitting by the door...and those are just for Addison! I have never been a very good packer. Even though I try to plan each outfit so that I am not taking extra, I always get to my destination and wish I had packed an extra pair of jeans or a different shirt. So I tend to overcompensate by bringing half my closet. Better safe than sorry!
But this time, I am trying really hard to be more strategic about what I want to take, especially since I am only going to be gone one weekend. I already know that Saturday will be SIU apparel day. As you can see, Addie has her outfit all picked out. But since you couldn't pay me enough to wear my old spandex dance team outfit, I am opting for an SIU tee and jeans. I also have to remember to pack my Baby Bjorn carrier. Uncle Ryan and Aunt Meg bought it for me for my shower and I think Ryan is secretly excited to get to carry Addie around in it this weekend. And that's fine with me! I else will I be able to hold her, a hotdog AND a beer at the tailgate? Just kidding. Okay...maybe I'm not.
Anyway, I suppose I should get to my packing instead of sitting here blogging all day. I might not have the opportunity to post this weekend with all the homecoming activities we have on our agenda, but I promise to post a very exciting recap of the weekend when we get back on Sunday! Until then, say a little prayer that Addie learns how to fall asleep in her car seat again. Otherwise, it is going to be a long 5 hour drive. we come!!!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Seriously...How Talented is My Mom?

The little sweater dress Addie is wearing in this picture is one of my mom's latest knitting projects. If you disregard the drool...isn't it one of the cutest sweater dresses you have seen this season? Baby Gap has nothin' on my mama. Addison is so spoiled to have a grandma who spends all of her free time knitting handmade hats, sweaters, name it! I tell my mom all the time that she needs to sell these things and she always says to me "if I had the time to knit for babies other than Addison, I certainly would." That is the hard part about is so time consuming! And for a full-time working grandma, time is precious. But if you would like to keep up on my mom's latest projects (or offer to buy one form her) be sure to visit her blog. Thanks for another cute gift grams! You're the best :-)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Addie is 7 Months Old!

Can you believe this little peanut is already 7 months old!! This was a big month for us! We went from rolling to crawling to standing!!! Addie loves to climb right now and she already has a bump on her forehead to prove it :-) She cut two new teeth this month and has two more on the way. We also had a doctors visit last week so she could get a flu shot and she weighed 20 pounds and was 28 1/2 inches long!! Needless to say, she is still one healthy little baby :-) We are embarking on our first road trip to SIU this weekend and I can't wait! I just hope she grows out of this "I hate my carseat" attitude before Friday. 7 month high maintenance :-)

Tuesday Morning Coffee Play Date

My sister-in-law Dana was nice enough to invite Addison and I over for her Tuesday morning Coffee/Play date. Her and a few of her neighbor friends get together with their kids Tuesday mornings to have coffee and muffins while the kids play together. Today was Dana's turn to host so I got a special invite to join them. We had a great time! Addie and Nia had their pick of about 6 boyfriends...but the boys were more interested in the toys. Typical :-) I love the first picture because the kids were actually all sitting together eating their breakfast! How cute is that? Us mommies were drinking coffee and gossiping in the corner...also typical :-) The second picture is one I took to show Eric. As you can see, Addie is surrounded by all the boys. I just want to prepare him for the years to come :-)

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Ryan and Meagan Are Getting Married!!!!

Woohoo!!!! My brother finally popped the question!!! And obviously .... Meagan said yes!! He took her on a romantic date last night and asked her when she least expected it. Ryan asked me to be his ring consultant over a month ago and I have been living with this secret for what feels like FOREVER!!! So today, when we showed up at my brother Adam's house for a joint birthday celebration for my sister-in-law Diana and I, Ryan and Meg had some news to share with us!! We are all SO excited to welcome Meagan to our family. We love her dearly and can't wait for their big day. Now comes the fun part...planning!!! My friends don't call me JLo just because of my big ass...I am also a secret wannabe wedding planner :-) What a fantastic early birthday present...another sister!!!! 

By the way...this picture doesn't do Meagan's ring is GORGEOUS in person! Nice pick Ry ;-)

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Addie and Maddie

Addie had a play date today with her friend Maddie! It seems only appropriate that my friend Deanna and I both have daughters that are 7 weeks apart and named Addison and Madison :-) We tried so hard to get the girls to take a nice picture together but now that they can both crawl, one of them was always darting for the camera. This was my favorite picture though because Addie is holding on to Maddie's shirt and if my damn camera would have taken the picture fast enough, you would have seen Maddie holding Addie's hand ( all the Addie and Maddie getting confusing?) Anyway, it was a fun day for the girls. Hopefully we can get together again soon.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Look What I Can Do Mama!

Remember when I said that Eric and I needed to lower Addie's crib because it was only a matter of time before she figured out how to stand? only took a week. This is what I found this morning when I went in to get her out of bed. Little stinker! She was just laughing away pulling on the bars and when I went to lift her, she grabbed onto the ledge like she didn't want to get out! I am glad she likes being in her crib, although now I am not sure how much sleep she will get in there since she looks at it like a big toy to climb. I know I say this ALL the time, but I just can't believe how big she is getting! She turns 7 months next week and she is already crawling AND standing. I hope we can take a little break before the walking starts. Mama is tired!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Look Out Rufus...There's a New Doggie In Town!

When we were at my inlaws house the other day, Grandma decided to pull out one of Daddy's old toys...his Pound Puppy! Does anyone remember Pound Puppies? I know I do! I had a couple of them. I even carried one with me to school for a while (don't worry...I had the mini pound puppy that fit in my backpack). I am not sure what happened to all my old stuffed animals...I think my dad might have tossed them during one of his cleaning rampages while I was away at college. Anyway, Addie was ALL about Nanuk (that's what Eric named him when he was little). She kissed him and hugged him just like she does with Rufus. Addie is definitely becoming a dog lover. And now that she is crawling, she has been even more interested in real doggies because she can chase them. Look out're next!