Sunday, January 26, 2014

It's Off to Work I Go

I have been mainly a stay at home mom to H and B since they were born. There was a brief stretch of a few weeks when they were around 6 months old when I had to work in order to train a new employee. Some days they came to work with me, and other days they stayed home with Grandma. I've worked a few sporadic days since then, but usually when I go to work it's only for about 30 minutes, and they come with. Things are about to change. 

One of my employees put in her notice that she would be leaving. I have been very lucky to have found really great employees almost everytime I've interviewed. 4/5 is pretty good. Even with a good track record, I hate the hiring process. Instead of hiring someone new right now, I'm going to go back to work a few afternoons a week.  

Two of my new year's resolutions were to save money and get all of the financial paperwork in order for the daycare. You know the old two birds one stone saying, well that applies here. Plus, I really love seeing the dogs and owners on a regular basis. 

As of right now, the plan is to work until mid May.  I have a great seasonal employee who will be coming back to work around that time. Then I'll have the summer free for zoo trips, park trips, and of course lake trips. I won't have to hire anyone new until August, which I like the sound of. Of course all of this is dependent on how two little kiddos handle the new arrangement, and the availability of my amazing mother to watch them. Paying for daycare for H and B is far too expensive to justify the income I would be making from working.  

I won't get home until around 6 on nights I work, and H and B eat dinner around 6. That means my crockpot will be getting lots of use, and I have to start meal planning. Usually the kids and I will make a run to the store in the morning if we need things for dinner, but we won't have the time to do that very often anymore. On the menu this week: Vegetarian Sheperds Pie, Crock Pot Chicken and Noodles, Ranch Chicken Enchiladas, and Crock Pot Baked Potato Soup. Three of the four recipes are new, and I hope they turn out well. If not, we may wind up eating the same thing every week.  If anyone has good crock pot or freezer recipes, PLEASE SHARE! Or even make ahead and pop in the oven recipes. 

I am really looking forward to this week and seeing how things go. I am optimistic that this will be good for all of us. And if it's not, I'll be browsing resumes sooner than expected.  

I can feel the Nyquil starting to take effect, so it's off to snoozeville I go.  I hope you all had a great weekend and are surviving the cold. 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Mid Month Celebrationpalooza

I can't believe it's taken me a week to get to this post. The colds the kiddos have been battling for weeks finally took me as a victim. Today is the first day since Sunday that I've felt like myself.

The middle of January is always full of excitement for us, and this year it was extra exciting thanks to a surprise visit from my brother. Last Tuesday, the 14th, Tyson turned 8 years old. He got a new toy, a Kong Wubba, and some quiet time to himself. A perfect day for an aging boy with a playful streak. 

Wednesday Rob and I celebrated 9 years of marriage. We were married when we were both babies, he was 19 and I was 22. We've been through many ups and downs through our years together, but we've always had each other.  While at dinner on Wednesday, we both agreed that even though our lives haven't played out exactly as we thought they would when we first married, we are exactly where we are supposed to be. I am so blessed to have such an amazing best friend and partner on this journey.  

Friday morning I was greeted with a wonderful surprise.  My younger brother decided to fly home for the weekend. I hadn't seen him in 8 months and didn't expect to see him for another 8. Far too long. We all got to spend some quility time with him while he was here, but the weekend went by way too quickly. 

It was great that he was in town this weekend so he could help us celebrate Rob's birthday. He turned 29 on Saturday. 

Pizza and cake were had by all.

Sunday morning the kids and I visited with my brother before he left and Rob slept off the fun he had the night before.  Sunday afternoon and evening we watched football, or "ball ball" as Harrison calls it, and got in our Daddy time. It was a great few days that went by far too quickly, as they all do.  

Thursday, January 16, 2014

20 Months

Harrison and Brooke are 20 months old today. Our last month has been full of lots of fun, and not enough sleep. They've both been fighting a cold for almost the whole month which may be part of the problem. They are down to only one nursing session a day which may also be affecting their sleep, but they don't seem to mind drinking cow's milk instead.

We have started reading longer books and it seems like that's all they want to do anymore. They love crawling into our laps to read, as long as their covered with a blanket. They are still adding new words to their vocabulary, but neither of them are very willing to talk on their own. They are great at repeating a word if we ask them to. They also really love their teepee and coloring their Wonder Wows. 

We sing "If You're Happy and You Know It" to get them to smile for pictures. Harry is shouting hooray. 

Brooke's mullet in full effect.

They both have so much personality, and we love seeing them shine. I can't believe they are already 20 months old, and there are only 4 short months until they turn two. Happy 20 months, you little cuties.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Maybe Baby?

Last month we went to see our favorite doctor, Dr. Bopp, to talk about baby #3. A lot of people think since we have a boy and a girl, one pregnancy and we're done. Rob and I both feel that our family isn't yet complete, so we're praying we'll be able to expand our family. We have three frozen embryos from the IVF cycle we did to conceive H and B, and we plan use them.

I went back and forth on whether I would blog about the process as we go through it, or just do a summary after. I know that it was helpful for me to connect with other women who were going through the same things I was before, during and after our IVF cycle. I love the Inspire boards for connecting with women cycling at the same time as you, and I also found great reassurance reading the blogs of women who were experiencing the same things. 

I've always been open about our journey and that it wasn't easy to get where we are. As much as I wish adding to our family was as easy as a few drinks and a fun night in bed, it isn't and never will be. And I'm ok with that. When I look at Brooke and Harrison, I know things happen for a reason. We were meant to have them when we did, and not a moment sooner. Sharing our journey as we try for #3 seems like the right thing to do. If sharing helps even one person know that they're aren't alone in what they're going through, then it's worth it.  

After talking to our baby doctor last month, we decided we would try a single embryo transfer. I have one procedure I have to have done first, a SIS or saline sonogram, and I get to spend my morning tomorrow doing it. If all goes well during the sonogram, we'll start ordering drugs and preparing for a sFET, single frozen embryo transfer.  

At somewhere between $4000-$5000, all out of pocket, for a single attempt at a FET, we're praying the first attempt takes. Any extra prayers are greatly appreciated. I plan to share, but hopefully not over share during the process. If you have any questions please feel free to comment or email me, and I will answer as thoroughly and honestly as possible. A quick summary of our IVF cycle is available here.

On a lighter note, I hope everyone is having a great weekend.  We're looking forward to some more football this afternoon and hopefully watching the Broncos win.  Happy Sunday!

Drinking milk in their toy bin. You know, the usual.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Snowed In

We are on day 4 of being snowed in thanks to our good friend Hercules. I had to drive to and from the daycare while the city was in a state of emergency. The roads progressively got worse, not better. Technically we could get out, but the roads are a sheet of ice and I have no desire to put the kids in the van and drive on it. So here we are, day 4, stuck at home. 

When all the snow was falling on Sunday it was warm enough to get out and enjoy it. Enjoy it, we did. Brooke didn't like touching the snow, but she liked being outside and playing. Harry loved everything about it. 

The dogs loved it too.  

Harry watching football in a big boy chair drinking out of Daddy's cup. 

The temperature started dropping Sunday night, and by that evening it was so cold the dogs refused to be outside for more than 30 seconds.  So we've been inside since then.  We read lots of books. Our new favorites are the full versions of Go Dog Go and Hop On Pop as well as Put Me In The Zoo and 10 Apple Up On Top.  

We've done lots of puzzles, played with Legos, even watched a little Sesame Street and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. We've taken full advantage of the Wonder Wows from grandma and all the coloring supplies from Santa. New toys and games have been a lifesaver.   

Our favorite new activity is our Roll & Play game by Thinkfun. It's a soft cube you roll, and each color corresponds to different cards with actions on them.

Some of the actions include: Give 1 hug, quack like a duck, pinch your nose, find something red, make a surprised face (aka the Macaulay Culkin). The kids love it and I do too.  It keeps them entertained for a good 30 minutes. 

Brooke giving Harrison a hug.  

Now that we're past the -45* windchill
and back to positive temps, the roads should be clearing up today. I'm hoping we'll get out this afternoon and if not, definitely tomorrow. Meijer is calling our name. If we don't get out today, I may have to pull out some Pinterest magic and make rainbow spaghetti noodles or glitter goo. We're all getting cabin fever and need a change of scenery. I'm glad the polar vortex is on it's way out. Maybe spring will come in its place.  

Tell me, how do you handle cabin fever?

Monday, January 6, 2014

Introducing, Jules

We have always been a multiple dog household, at one point we had 4. When Layla passed we went back and forth on if we should add another dog to our family. Rob was all about it, and I was very much content having just Tyson.  

A month or so after Layla passed it became very obvious that Tyson needed a friend. We contacted a breeder, talked to our local shelter and started looking on Petfinder. A few weeks into our search we found "Lucy." She was being fostered by one of our local rescue groups.  She's an 8 month old, although I think maybe a bit older, brindle boxer girl and as sweet as can be.  

Meeting her at the pet store before her adoption. 

We decided on Jules for her name, too many Lucys at daycare. She was in love with Tyson from the start, and he tolerated her but was not a fan.  We had a few scuffles, but they are getting along really well after a couple weeks. 

She has been great with the kids from day one.  They can play in her crate, take her bones and toys and crawl all over her.  She doesn't care, she just insists that in return they tolerate her constants licks to the face. 

She loves to snuggle and is in constant need of contact. She walks well on her leash when it's just the two of us, but goes crazy when Tyson and the kids are with us. On more than one occasion I have caught her standing on the kitchen table. She is super fast and loves to tear around the back yard. From what her foster parents said, and what we've seen, she doesn't seem to be a runner which is great, because Tyson isn't either, yay for off leash play. She has gone to daycare a few times already and is doing well, but she does get a little too over excited. She has already learned her name, the hand signal for sit, and almost has down perfected.

Harrison and Brooke can both already say her name, although it comes out missing a consonant or two. "Ju" as they call her, is a perfect addition to our family. I am so glad we decided to get another dog, and glad we adopted an older puppy. Welcome JuJu Bee, we love you already!

She sleeps like this all the time!

Friday, January 3, 2014

New Year's Resolutions

Today I am linking up with some great ladies to talk about resolutions, goals, and making 2014 count.

What is something you want to change, or a goal you want to set for the New Year & what is your plan for making it happen?

My goal is part of a two year plan. In 2015 we would like to buy a house. We'd like to buy a house that will be the home our family will grow in and where Rob and I will grow old. We'd also like not have to pay PMI, which means it's time to really start saving for that down payment. 2014 needs to be the year of saving.

It's no secret that I like to shop. It used to be for shoes and purses. Now it's for every cute thing that Brooke and Harrison have to have. I want to only buy the things they need and not the things I buy just because they're cute. Brooke doesn't need 20 summer dresses like she had last year, and she doesn't need more headbands, and I don't have to buy Harrison that cute sweater that coordinates with Brooke's dress, he already has more than enough. It may be time to limit the purchase to once a season instead of once a month.

I also need to get finances in order for the daycare. I used to be really good about entering in every purchase right after it was made. Now I have shoe boxes full of receipts and bank statements all piled up. I pushed all of the accounting b/s to the back burner when the kids were born, but I need to get it taken care of this year, and before April 15th.

Aside from curbing spending habits, I have a few smaller resolutions to share.
  • Cut back on the caffeine. 3 cups of coffee in the am used to be essential for survival. Now that I can get enough sleep at night, I want to cut it back to 1 cup in the am and only an occasional afternoon pick me up.
  • Put down my iPhone. Maybe even just leave it in the other room. Too often I'm checking Instagram or Facebook when I should be watching Brooke do a puzzle or laughing at Harrison while he plays with Tyson. I really want to make every second with them count, and that means the love affair with my phone will have to wait until nap time.
  • Cook dinner more often. Some weeks I'm really good and I make dinner 4 times and other weeks the kids and I snack for dinner or pick something up on our way home almost every night. I want to get a homemade dinner on the table 4 nights a week and have leftovers or carryout the other nights.
To join the link up, head to any of the blogs listed below and follow the instructions.

Tell me, what are your resolutions for the new year? How do you plan to make it count?

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Goodbye 2013, Hello 2014

We had a great 2013. I thought it would be fun to do a little year in review post. It was so much fun writing this post and looking back at all the pictures from the past year. 

January is always full of milestones for us. Tyson turned 7. Rob turned 28. Rob and I celebrated 8 years of marriage. The kids became little fish and started their first swim lessons and I decided to start paying attention to my much neglected blog.

In February we celebrate the kids' first Valentine's day and they had a fun mini photo shoot with their dogs.

March was a fun month full of snow, the kids' first St. Patrick's Day and their first Easter. It was also when the kids' made the transition into their own beds.

In April the kids got to go to the park for the first time and we visited the lake for the first time of the year. Brooke also took her first steps in April.  

In May we took a long weekend in Chicago and celebrated Mother's Day. Harrison and Brooke turned one and we celebrated their birthday with a milk and cookies birthday party. Harry, never one to be left behind, started walking in May so he could keep up with his sister.  

Layla turned 7 in June. The kids got a water table which meant we spent a lot of afternoons in the back yard. We all attended my cousin's wedding. It was H and B's first wedding.

July was full of popsicles and trips to the zoo. We celebrated the Fourth of July with a cookout at our place and a trip to the lake for swimming and sun. We also had family pictures taken.

In August I turned 31. The kids got their very own chairs. We spent a majority of our mornings at the zoo, and our afternoons inside staying out of the heat.

In September we helped close the lake cottage for the summer and we spent every free moment at the zoo. (See a trend here?)

In October it was all things fall and Halloween. The kids and I dressed up as Mario, Luigi and Peach for Halloween. They got to Trick-or-Treat for the first time.

In November we lost our sweet Layla girl to what we assume was a brain tumor. We celebrated Thanksgiving with family and friends, many of whom were visiting from out of town.

December was all about the holiday season. We started traditions with family and soaked up every minute of the joy Christmas brings. We also added a new member to our family.

I can't wait to see what 2014 has in store for us. Every year seems to be better than the last. I'm not sure how we'll be able to top this past year.  Happy New Year, everyone!