Happy Easter!

Hello, and happy, blessed Easter to you all! We spent the holiday weekend with family at my parents' house.  It was fun, as always, and full of good food -- my mom and sister made ham, lamb and banana cream pies, while I impressed everyone with . . . a salad.

The Easter bunny was good to us, and we ended up taking a big sack of candy home. Ralph got some books, his very first toothbrush (so tiny!) and a little strawberry teether that buzzes when he bites down on it. I was hoping it would keep him occupied during church this morning, but no dice. I ended up taking him out halfway through and walking the halls till he fell finally asleep. During the last hymn. Church is hard.

Ralph also got a whole lotta love from his two older cousins, who are growing more and more curious about babies and all the stuff that goes with them. They're determined to figure out exactly what Ralph is doing when he lays on my lap under a blanket. Before we left today little Oliver looked up at me and bravely said, "Will you show me how he eats?" I was like, "Sure, kid, maybe sometime." But I think I'll let his mom explain how that works. :)

We're back home now, but our suitcases are still full and they smell like my mom's house. I'll unpack them tomorrow. I'm too busy stuffing my face with chocolate eggs and stuff.

Hope you all had a happy day!

52: a portrait a week | Week 12


Snips and snails, and puppy dog tails. That's what Ralph will put in his mouth if you let him. 
{23 weeks old, tomorrow}


this one goes out to a very special lady...

I have three sisters. Have I told you that? I know I've mentioned my sisters here before, but not nearly enough. And if I'm going to have any sort of relationship with you guys, my readers, then we're going to have to talk about three of the best ladies I know. So I've decided I'm going to introduce you to each one, on their birthday. Today we're starting with Liesl, the cutie on the left.

Yes, that's right! Liesl, as in Sound of Music, as in You Are Sixteen Going on Seventeen. Once, in grade school, a boy in my class was like, "You have a sister named Liesl? Like diesel? Like the gas?" And I was like, "Well when you put it THAT way, I guess." It's not the most common name, and I love it. Ever since I was a little girl, when I picture the name Liesl in my head, I see flowers.

Liesl is my third oldest sister. I'm the youngest, and she is three years older than me. She's got beautiful, thick brown hair, and gorgeous brown eyes. And, out of all the sisters, has always had the best skin and nail beds. It ain't fair.

I'm pretty sure we shared a room until I was in high school, which of course means I fought with her the most. :) But we loved each other hard. She was a senior in high school when I was a freshman, and whenever we passed each other in the halls we would high-five, which was probably the dorkiest thing ever, but it made us both feel good about ourselves. High school was rough, man.

One of the best things about Liesl is that she remembers everything. She soaks up information like a sponge, and is ready to spit it all back out at you at any moment, if you need it. Want to know what channel and time the so and so show is on? Text Liesl. Can't remember the name of the girl you took violin lessons with back in 4th grade? Liesl will remember! Want to know somethng about another sister? The quickest way to find out will be to call Liesl. The woman is amazing, and pretty handy to have around.

AND I am mostly sure that I have her to thank for my love of books. To this day, I can't remember anyone but Liesl reading to me when I was little. I'm sure my parents did, and my other sisters too, but I have no recollection of it. I just picture Liesl, sitting in a chair and holding a Berenstein Bear book in front of her like a school teacher would, while I sat on the floor listening.

Of course, she has so many other wonderful qualities about her, too. She's sweet and feisty and quick to forgive. Her heart holds so much love for her family. I think she's a pretty cool cat.

So there you have it. That's Liesl in a very small nutshell. Happy birthday to you, sister friend!

I meant to find a pretty picture of the two of us, but it's late and I'm tired. So please enjoy this photo of us from 1992 that I happened to have saved to my desktop: 26099_511640008417_125600644_30425411_2798918_n


march madness

March 21, 2013: Ralph discovers flowers.
The iris has bloomed.The daffodils from my mom-in-law bloomed just in time. Happy spring!
I am 100% more likely to buy clementines if the leaves are still attached.Baby swim shorts arrived in the mail today. (And I'm dying over them.)
photo (2)photo
The first day of spring happened yesterday, and I'm pretty sure the temperature hasn't risen over 30 degrees all week. Madness! What does one do when one has an extreme case of the winter yucks and can't stand one more day of icy sidewalks and bitter wind chills? 

Well, for starters, one buys lots of fresh flowers and fruit. Sometimes they're expensive and they always die, but for a few days (or weeks, if you're good with flowers) ((I'm not)) they help.

One also might go an entire day without socks. I tried putting them on a few days ago, and my feet were like, NOPE CAN'T DO IT. So I didn't wear them. My bare feet were freezing all day long, but I powered through it in the name of Spring.

I'm also trying to get Ralph into the spring spirit, even though the poor child has no idea what warm weather even is. His little swim shorts came in the mail the other day, and I let him wiggle around his crib with them on. Today I realized that, besides during baths, he hasn't been diaper-free for more than a minute or two. So I stripped him down, spread some towels on the floor and we aired out his buns. He LOVED it.

Oh! And. We filled out our brackets for March Madness. It was a lot more exciting for me this year because Ryan finally explained what the numbers next to the name of each team are for. Which means I actually used a strategy this time, as opposed to picking teams based on where I'd rather live. And now our brackets are practically identical. Although, I did pick Michigan and Wisconsin to go all the way, because I have a sentimental heart. Anyway, Ryan is so excited about these basketball games. He came home from work all pumped up about the Marquette game, and then he found out we were having meatloaf and mashed potatoes for supper AND HE WAS BOUNCING OFF THE WALLS. Boys are weird.

That's all. It's still winter here. Still. What's going on with you?

52: a portrait a week | Week 11

Five months old tomorrow.



over the weekend

Birthday flowers from the boys.
It was my birthday on Saturday! I turned 25. It was the first birthday I've ever had where I felt kind of old. I think it's because I asked for a pair of real, good shoes that are NOT from the clearance shelf at Target, and some anti-wrinkle cream for my saggy baggy mom eyes.

Ryan and I had a little celebration on Friday night, just the two of us, since we had plans to be with family for the rest of the weekend. We had chocolatey peanut buttery ice cream and caught up on Jimmy Fallon episodes. (It was Justin Timberweek, did you watch?) Then I forced Ryan to take some pictures with me to remember my last night as a youthful 24 year old.
On Saturday we drove up to my mom and dad's house to spend some time with them. Ryan's family came over for lunch and Ralph got lots of attention from both sets of grandparents. We got tickets for the 7:00pm showing of Ryan's brother's final high school play performance, Our Town, and the plan was to leave Ralph with my parents and sister while we went to the play. ("I'm taking you to the theatahhh!" was how Ryan put it.) We did the whole nighttime routine with Ralph, then we nervously kissed him goodbye and drove away with this image burned into our brains:
Doesn't that just break your heart? Oh my Ralphie!

I was so anxious, but I managed to relax enough to sit through the entire play (with my phone on vibrate, tucked under my thigh) and actually enjoy myself. I'd never seen Our Town before, and holy smokes it was good! Ryan's brother was adorable as George Gibbs, and the whole cast did a fantastic job. I was strangely proud of all of them, even though I only knew a handful of kids. But then it got really, really sad? And then the curtains closed and the lights went back on, and everyone looked around going, That's how it ends? Are you crying too? Ok good.

Ryan's mom and dad sweetly offered to take us out for ice cream after the play, but we were like THANKS, NO THANKS, and sped home to our Ralphie, who was sleeping like an angel in my sister's arms. According to my mom he had a slight meltdown when he realized the lady that's been nursing him to sleep every night wasn't around, and cried for about 20 minutes. But once he was asleep he stayed that way until we got home. I was so proud of him when we got back, and proud of us for managing to get away for a while. And I also felt sad that for 20 minutes of his little life he was crying for me and I wasn't there. 

But, as soon as I was able to pull off my coat, I scooped him up and held him. He sighed in his sleep and dropped his heavy head on my shoulder, and my world was right again. A few minutes later he woke up and gave us all some sleepy, blinky smiles, like nothing had ever happened.

And then Ryan and I broke all the rules and slept with him in our bed that night. Happy birthday to me.

PS: I should also say a little thank you to my mom, dad, and sister for watching Ralphie for us. I honestly don't think I could have left him for the first time with anyone else. AND another little thank you especially to my sweet momma, who threw a small birthday party for me. It's nice to know that, even when you turn 25, if you come home for your birthday, your mom will still make you pretty little cupcakes.


52: a portrait a week | Week 10

He rolled from his back to his tummy for the first time today. I think he had a little help from gravity, and it probably won't happen again for a while, but we cheered and clapped all the same. Such a big boy.

52: a portrait a week | Week 9

Ralph has a tooth! A toooooth!

I'm a week late on this, I know.

But I have a fantastic excuse, and it's called Ralph grew 2 teeth and it was painful for the entire household.

Poor baby was so sad, despite the happy look on his face.

So, portrait number nine gets an instagram photo one week too late. Oh well.

this is what happened this morning.

IMG_3992 IMG_3989 All the bad things that have happened today can be traced back to postpartum hair loss. A middle finger to you, postpartum hair loss!

Ryan woke up this morning to a flooded kitchen.

Our shower drain had been running slowly for days, and we both knew it was because giant clumps of my hair have been swirling down the drain every time I shampoo. Then, yesterday, I noticed our kitchen sink was running slowly. By evening it had completely stopped draining. Two trips to Home Depot and one dirty, smelly, silty sink later, we gave up trying and resolved to call a plumber in the morning.

But then Ryan showered this morning, and we're pretty sure the giant hair clog that was hanging out somewhere in the pipes decided to make sure nothing was going to drain AT ALL. So, all of his shower water came up the kitchen sink, and overflowed onto the floor and the counters and even into some of my cupboards.

And we were like, Aw man, postpartum hair loss. This is your fault! Middle finger.

Ryan took a half-day from work so he could help me clean up, and once the plumber left we actually ended up having fun while we washed piles of drippy wet dishes and bleached the floor and counters. You know, the kind of fun where you're totally annoyed at the same time. Thankfully there were only a few losses, like the cardboard box our garbage bags came in and a box of swiffer sheets, which, for me, is quite tragic since I use those suckers every day to wipe up millions of hairs. (MIDDLE FINGER.)

The upside of all of this is that we're going out for supper tonight. I've done enough dishes for one day.

And now you've read an entire blog post about a drain clog caused by postpartum hair loss. I'm sorry.


what's happenin'.

1. I've been a serious winter grump the past week or two. Turns out all I needed was three solid hours of uninterrupted window shopping. Ralph and I hit up Michaels, Target, and the party store today, and that sweet wee babe of mine slept the whole time. I got to browse the makeup aisles, ponder the new hand soap scents (Mrs. Meyers radish??) ((It's good.)) and put numerous bags of Easter candy into my cart. And then put them back on the shelf. And then put two bags back into the cart. Peanut butter eggs and Cadbury minis made the cut.

2. Guess what else I saw at Target. An old man in the bleach aisle, holding onto a big container of animal crackers. The kind that come in the big plastic teddy bear tub. Isn't that the sweetest thing?

3. As I write this, Ryan and I are sitting on the couch with that bag of Cadbury minis between us. We're watching The Artist. I like Peppy Miller the best. Ryan likes the dog.

4. Ralph has grown two little teeth this past week. The first one popped out last Thursday and the second one showed up yesterday. I knew it was coming, since he's been drooly and chewing on everything he can get his hands on lately, but I was still completely shocked when I felt it for the first time. He's been so sad about it all, and I can't say I blame him. I'd be annoyed too if people kept putting their fingers in my mouth.

5. Lately I can't stop thinking about our little life just a year ago. I think it's the changing of seasons. Last year at this time it was spring in that little apartment.

6. Can you tell it's the middle of March? This post has nothing to do with anything. Eh. I'll be back tomorrow with something more interesting. Hopefully.


Ralph giggles, and all is right with the world.

I remember it being around the 6-8 week mark of Ralphie's little life that I started to experience a slight case of the baby blues. I was so tired, and all Ralph did was eat, sleep, and cry. I was sort of afraid my baby didn't like me? And then, suddenly, finally, he started to smile. That was all it took for the chaos in my new mom brain to level out. His gummy grin boosted my confidence, and I did everything I could to get him to do it again and again and again.

Yesterday was dumb. It was the kind of day where nothing was going right. I was stressed, and Ralph was fussy and didn't want to nap. By the time Ryan got home I was totally crying. He kindly took over the fussy baby situation so I could have a minute to myself and clear my head -- and then I heard Ralph's first real belly laughs coming from the living room.


{I was on the phone with my mom when this happened, so please enjoy listening to me try to explain to her what was happening, while also trying to watch my baby laugh for the first time, while also trying to record the whole thing on Ryan's phone. I say AWWW a lot. It's totally fine.}


the weekend

Boooooo it's Monday. It hurts extra this week.

We had such a good weekend. Our days were full and we got enough done that at the end of Saturday and Sunday, Ryan and I both felt we earned a spot on the couch with a beer and a brownie. Oh yes, don't mind if I do eat a Reeses peanut butter egg after that brownie, because I walked my buns off today. That sort of thing.

On Saturday we went to some thrift stores and other shops we used to frequent when we lived downtown. We grabbed lunch and some good cheese at the public market, and Ralphie had a nice people/ceiling watching session from inside his stroller. Ryan put Ralph inside his coat while we walked outside for a quick second, and then the kid fell asleep in there, so Ryan had to walk around everywhere looking like a shoplifter.

Sunday was full of little projects around the house. I baked some banana bread. My recipe makes 4 loaves, but I only had one banana, so I asked Ryan to cut down the recipe to only make one loaf. But, turns out, HE MADE A MATHEMATICAL ERROR AND I CAUGHT IT. But not until after I had followed the recipe the wrong way, so we both looked like fools. After it all happened I yelled to him, "I'M GOING TO TWEET ABOUT THIS!!" But then I forgot, so I'm blogging about it instead.

And now it's Monday. Another big snow storm is on it's way, which means more staying indoors, and I'm counting on the flowers on my table to prevent me from going completely bonkers.


52: a portrait a week | Week 8

Ralph at 18 weeks::

Likes: his ball, his swing, a warm bath, getting his diaper changed, playing with dad, squealing, music (kid's got a beat, for sure) covering his eye with his pudgy little hand while nursing, eating, and sucking on everything.

Dislikes: his carseat, getting out of the bath, getting a diaper put back on (I think there's gonna be a lot of bare bum time this summer) and don't you dare try and stick his arms through the arm holes in his shirts, or you will hear from him.

Tricks: reaching, grabbing, rolling over, scooting, giggling, sleeping allllllmost through the night, and being the sweetest, ever.