a stupid post about decorating


Ryan and I painted the living room all weekend long. We started super early on Saturday morning, and we were still painting window frames after the Oscars had started on Sunday night (painting window frames is a big fat pain in the butt, fyi.) But it's finished! And it's really, really white! And I liiiiike it.

But now it's kinda making me want to get rid of everything we own in the room and start fresh. No, not really everything, but some of it. We have a lot of old garage sale finds and hand-me-down furniture that's making the room feel stuffy. 

I had a dream the other night-- we were on a walk through the park near our house, and suddenly there were these huge elk and reindeer skeletons scattered everywhere on the grass. HUGE. Like, dinosaur bones huge. And all I could think was, Quick, let's carry all these antlers home before someone else finds them and decorates their house with them first! Isn't that stupid? I don't even know if I want to decorate this house with giant elk antlers, but that's how much I'm thinking about decorating lately. And I know I'm thinking about it TOO MUCH, but then again, I spend most of my time in these rooms. I might as well make them pretty.

Right now I'm thinking wicker baskets, lots of fresh flowers, some good art on the walls, and the perfect striped rug. Bare wood, lace curtains, green plants and a really big mirror for Ralph to leave sloppy kisses on when he's old enough.

Tomorrow I'll probably be thinking something entirely different. But until I figure it out, you shall find me glued to pinterest. 

The end.


a new routine, and happy weekend!


Our evening routine used be a mad dash of dinner prep, shoveling food down as fast as we could, bouncing Ralph, clean up and bath time. By the time we had Ralph lotioned and dressed, he'd be exhausted and angry, and Ryan would be like NURSE HIM, QUICK! And when it was all over, Ryan and I would plop down on the couch, frazzled and totally pooped.

It took us an embarrassing amount of time to realize this stupid routine wasn't working for anybody. 

So now when Ryan gets home from work, we ignore everything else and the three of us have a little family time. We play and chat and tickle fat baby chins. Ralph gets an earlier bath that lasts longer than 2 minutes and includes a rubber duck. And then there's books and songs and prayers and kisses. By 7:15pm, he's out. It is THE best, even if we are eating dinner at 8pm.

And I don't know, it just feels really good to figure things like this out. Being first-time parents isn't easy, so when we have these little victories we're like, high five! We're okay at parenting!

I just wanted to tell you that.

Anyway, it's Friday! And Ryan came home from work early so we could do a little bit more birthday celebrating this weekend. Aka, we're painting the living room. 

Happy weekend!


Happy Birthday, Ryan!

IMG_3584 Ryan turns 25 today. That's a whole quarter of a century, the old geezer! I'm allowed to say that, since I am, for 25 more days, still his young 24-year-old wife.

This day is very special, and not just because the man I love was born 25 years ago.

Bbbbbzzzzzzzzzerp: let's rewind 365 days.

February 20th, 2012. Ryan woke up in the sun-shiny bedroom of our old downtown Milwaukee apartment on the sixth floor. I probably rolled over and said "Good morning" and "Happy birthday." (It's been a year, I can't be sure.) Ryan walked to the bathroom, and got in the shower. Halfway into his shower, I crawled out of bed and called to him, "Should I take a pregnancy test?" He responded with something like, "Sure." or "I guess." or "If you want." (Ryan is akin to a grizzly bear and a man of few words in the morning.) So, anyway, I took the pregnancy test. It was the second or third test I had taken after losing our first baby, and each one had been negative. My hopes were up, but not too high. I set the test down on the sink and went into the kitchen.

Five minutes later, and I had already (mostly) forgotten about the test. I was standing by the stove in my pajamas, frying up some birthday eggs, when Ryan walked in. He stood there in a towel (wolf whistle!) with the test in his hand and a big smile on his face.

And that, my friends, is how we met Ralphie.

My whole point is, it's been a year since we've been a mom and dad to Ralph. A year full of excitement and happiness and a lot of worrying. And Ryan has been so wonderful through all of it. I had known for so long that he would make the best dad, but actually seeing it happen has been the sweetest thing. I married a really good man, you guys.

Plus, he's cute.

And he's really funny. (That's my favorite part.)
So, from now on, February 20th will be a day of celebrating both of my boys. Neato, am I right?

Happy birthday to you, my Ryan. You're wonderful.



Someone recently commented on one of  my posts and questioned why I only showed photos of the left side of Ralphie's face. I know I've mentioned Ralphie's little birthmarks here before, but I haven't gone into any detail about them. This commenter wanted to know if the birthmark on his cheek was a sensitive issue for me, and in a way, asked if I was trying to hide it.

And it made me feel so sad.

Because the last thing I want to do is come across as ashamed or embarrassed of my baby. The truth is, there's a little bit more to it than just a tiny round birthmark on his cheek. 

Let's start here: Ralph has not just one, but five birthmarks. They're called strawberry birthmarks (hemangioma is the medical term.) They usually appear on babies around 3-4 weeks of age, grow rapidly until around 6 months, and then gradually fade away, most of the time leaving behind no mark. Usually, by the time the child is 2 or 3 years old, the birthmark is completely gone. They're painless, harmless, and fairly common. But because of the number of Ralphie's birthmarks (five, instead of the usual one or two) and the location of some of them, there's a greater risk for other, more serious complications in the future. Ralph's doctors have told me that the chances of these complications are slight. But they're there. And that's the part I've been struggling with.

I know that having a blog means I share a whole bunch of stupid stuff going on in my life with a lot of people I don't know. But I sure don't have to share everything, especially the parts about my baby's medical issues. I've been writing this post in my head for a long time, going back and forth, trying to figure out which parts to share on my blog, and which parts to keep private. Ralph's birthmarks and the way they look aren't a big deal to me. I love them. But, like I said, there's more to it than just a few birthmarks and I was waiting to share that part on my blog until I had the right words and more information. The thing is, I'm afraid that while I've been figuring this out, I've come across as secretive or ashamed of Ralph's birthmarks to some of you.

So, are his birthmarks a sensitive issue for me? No, not really. Of course, I'll admit that it was alarming to watch them grow so rapidly over his perfect newborn skin. I fretted over them, and there were days where I worried over what people would say. I don't anymore. Am I ashamed or embarrassed over them? No. No no no, not ever ever ever. I love every inch of my baby. 

Duh. Who wouldn't.


Happy Valentine's Day!

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Hey dudes! Are you celebrating? I just put a few decorations up on Tuesday to make the house feel festive-- some hearts and candles and a few vases of baby's breath, which always feels romantic to me since my wedding bouquet was a big bunch of those tiny fluffy flowers.

This morning I made our favorite pancake recipe in the shape of some lumpy hearts for breakfast. It was the least I could do, since Ryan's lately been letting me sleep in so late, I'm barely awake to croak a "see ya" before he leaves for work. We also exchanged little gifts-- Ryan got a new thermos (filled with Reeses hearts) and I got a big heart-shaped box of chocolates, which is precisely what I asked for. And now our house has a disgusting amount of chocolate, which should safely last us until Easter candy hits the shelves. 

For a split second, I thought about having my sister watch Ralphie so Ryan and I could go out. But, as pathetic as it might sound, I'm just not quite ready for that yet. So, once we put our fat cherub of a baby to bed, Ryan and I are going to make a homemade pizza (in the shape of a heart) and maybe catch up on a few episodes of Downton Abbey. And I secretly plan on trapping Ryan into giving me a foot rub. IT'S VALENTINE'S DAY HE CAN'T SAY NO.

And now I'd like to wish all of you a Happy V-day, because I love you guys too. Thanks for being such sweet readers. Smoochy smooch.

PS: Here's the post from last year's Valentine's Day. I guess I'm making heart-shaped breakfasts a tradition in this family. Also, now I'm really wishing I could eat one of those cupcakes.

PPS: Happy Birthday to my sweet mom-in-law! We love you!


52: a portrait a week | Week 6


Ralphie turned 16 weeks old on Monday.

I loved the newborn stage-- I loved his tiny-ness and his new-ness. But, man, 16 weeks is good stuff. He's still soft and sweet like a newborn, but now he's solid and heavy and so, so squishy. When he's sleepy enough, he'll plop his head down on my shoulder and fall asleep nuzzled up to my neck. When that happens, I feel like I could just die.

He still likes to be bounced when he's upset, and is turning out to be a thumb sucker. He's starting to babble a little bit, too. He likes to let out a big sigh and say, "geeeeee..." which is what he's doing in this picture. I almost can't handle the cuteness.

Can you tell that I love him? Oh my gosh, do I ever.



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Am I really writing another post on winter and staying indoors and having the worst case of cabin fever ever?

I am.

It snowed again today. All the news reporters said it was the biggest snow of the season so far. Ralph and I put on our warmest clothes and padded around the house, occasionally peeking out the windows to watch the neighbors shovel and the dog next door stand up and bark and lay back down again, allowing the snowflakes to cover his furry coat while he napped.

By noon we were bored of it all, so we hung out in the nursery and read books on the new rug that came in the mail a few days ago. When we got bored with books, Ralph talked to the ceiling while I made lists and dreamed up blog posts. When we got tired of that, we went on You Tube and danced to Teddy Bear's Picnic four times in a row.

And when we got bored with that, we bounced and bounced and bounced until Ryan came home.

We ate soup for supper. We gave Ralph a bath. I nursed and snuggled and patted out the bubbles. Then I put a limp, sleepy baby in his bed, and thanked God a million times for him.

And I'll do it all over again tomorrow.


52: a portrait a week | Week 5


We worked on our Valentines, and I got a good shot of the bald spot on Ralph's Charlie Brown head-- a successful Tuesday so far.

<3 <3 <3


from the weekend.

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1. Saturday morning. | We woke up to a fresh coat of snow
2.3.4. I cleared off the table and snapped some pictures of the tulips we bought at the grocery store. | I'm glad I did, because the table accumulated stuff just hours later, and the flowers are starting to droop.
5.6. Roll-overs are happening left and right now, and kisses are being administered after over-zealous rolls result in head bonks. | We need a rug.
7. Ralph is learning how to fight naps, so into the wrap he goes. | He'll fuss at first and then zzzzzzzzzz.
8.9.10. Playtime with Dad. | Evidence of the junk that collects on the table in the background.
11. Dressed and ready to get out of the blasted house. (Hurry up, Spring!) | The little grey pilot cap from Auntie Gretel finally fits, and I LOVE IT.
12. When dads wear the wrap they do it backwards, and in their pajamas, and they let the baby stay up late to watch the Super Bowl.