Monday, December 31, 2012

Another year in the books

Well it's the last day of 2012 and this year has probably been one of the quickest of my life. It's true what they say about having a baby...the days are long but the years are short. I'm not going to do an official 2012 recap because well...I don't have the time or frankly the motivation. That's the beauty of the archives.

If I had to sum up 2012 though, it would be the year of the baby. When I look back on this year as a whole I will think about how it was Hunters first year of life and my first year as a mother. Everything else that happened this year, to be honest, is a blur. I don't know if that's good or not.

The cool thing about having a New Years baby is that even though he's only one year old, as of tomorrow he will have been alive during 3 different years already. Granted he only got to experience a day and a half of 2011 but it still counts right? This year will most definitely be remembered as one of the most challenging, exhausting and happiest of my life. In fact the past two years have been fantastic, which scares me a bit, with every high there has to eventually come a low. But I'm hoping the low won't be 2013 and we'll continue to have our health and happiness through the new year. The past few years have been busy with getting married, buying a house, getting a dog, pregnancy and having a baby. I'm actually really hoping for no major life events in 2013. I just want to enjoy my little family and savor every moment.

And as for what my plans are this New Years? Well I can tell you it won't be anything as exciting or scary as last year when I spent midnight on New Years Eve in the NICU with my day old son. Though he's still my cutest NYE date ever (sorry Kristian).

After an exhausting week of FIVE Christmas celebrations and Hunters birthday party (which was far more work than I anticipated) and staying up late to watch the Redskins beat the Cowgirls I'm actually planning to be in bed early tonight. Yes I'm old and lame and perfectly okay with that!

Happy New Year Everyone!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

To my son on his Birthday

My Dearest Hunter,

Today you turn one years old. Everyday for the past 365 days, I have held you in my arms, covered you in kisses, told I love you and thanked God for you. I still so clearly remember the details of your birth-day, from the nervous excitement we felt on the drive to the hospital to the moment I woke up after you were born and saw your sweet face. Even though your birth did not go quite as I had hoped or expected at the end of the day I had a beautiful, healthy baby boy and that's what I remind myself of when I start to feel sad about missing your first few moments of life.

The past year has been the most challenging, exhausting, life-changing, rewarding and happiest year of my life. You have brought so much joy into our lives and it's hard to believe there was ever a time when I didn't know your face. Today brings so many mixed emotions; sadness that your days of being an infant are over, excitement to see what's in store for the future and relief that we survived the first year and with very few major issues.

You are by far the best thing I've ever created and I'm so grateful that God chose me to be your mommy because being able to call myself your mother is my greatest honor. Growing up, I used to try to envision what my future child would look like or act like but I never could have dreamed up a son better than you. You truly have made my dreams come true.

Right now you are too young to understand just how much I love you but one of my many hopes for you and your future are that you one day get to know the love a parent feels for a child. Please always know, that no matter what the future holds, no matter how many times we may scold you for doing something you shouldn't, or tell you that you can't stay out past curfew, or that you really do need to eat your vegetables that we are doing it out of love. Because, my sweet boy, we do love you completely and unconditionally in a way that only a parent can love a child.

So today at 4:51pm, the exact moment one year ago that you entered this world, I plan to hold you in my arms and kiss you and tell you how much I love you, that same way I have everyday of your life.

Happy Birthday Hunter Kristian.
 I love you to the moon....
and back.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

It was a Very Merry Christmas

We had a very busy and very merry Christmas starting Sunday night. Fortunately we were all feeling better by Sunday (though I felt a little sick Monday morning again).

Sunday night Kristian's best friend Kevin, who was in town visiting from Texas, came over with his new girlfriend and his son Parker. Parker and Hunter share a birthday and are exactly 4 years apart in age. It was the first time they were meeting and they had a great time playing cars together. I loved watching Kristian watch his and his best friend's son playing together for the first time. It was a very sweet moment.

On Monday (Christmas Eve) we took Hunter to daycare for a few hours so that we could wrap gifts. Since we were sick over the weekend we still had all of our presents to wrap and even with the two of us it took 3 hours. We then picked Hunter up around 2pm and got dressed to head over to my sister-in-laws house for dinner and gift exchanging. 

In front of our tree before we left. 

My Santa baby

I think he spotted some food. He has that determined look on his face. 

Our first Christmas as a family.
Our 5th Christmas together.

His first gift from Aunt Michelle was a hit. 

We had a great time with my inlaws and we all got some really nice presents. Hunter fell asleep on the way home and the next morning woke up to find that Santa had visited. 

He didn't really get the whole opening presents thing but it was still a lot of fun. I think next year he'll be more excited. 

Trying to catch bubbles for the first time (you can't see the bubbles in the picture)

Santa thought I was a very good girl and brought me some blue topaz earrings (Hunters birthstone) and a Michael Kors purse. And some other odds and ends.

We then got Hunter ready for Christmas lunch at our house with my mom, brother and his girlfriend. 

Hunter trying to walk. He can take about 2 steps before diving into me.

Unfortunately I was so busy playing hostess that I completely spaced on taking pictures with my family. I was so pissed when I realized this after I left, I even thought of having my mom come back the next day to stage some pictures. I guess for once I was just living in the moment and enjoying myself rather than trying to take a bunch of pictures. 

After my family left we headed to Kristian's parents house to see some of his extended family and celebrate for the 4th time in two days. Hunter did pretty well considering how busy we were running around. 

Hunter is wearing one of Kristians sweaters from when he was a baby. 

Last year at Christmas I was a day away from my due date, HUGE, uncomfortable and anxiously awaiting Hunters arrival. This year I am busy chasing around my almost toddler and preparing for his first birthday. 

It's amazing the difference a year can make. 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Merry Sickmas

Well the nasty stomach bug that seems to be going around has finally struck our house in full force. Gotta love daycare germs. Thursday morning I went into Hunters room to find he had thrown up all over his crib and slept in it. Yet he never cried. So at 5:45am I was stripping his sheets and took him into the shower with me to clean him up. About five minutes after I got him out of the shower he had one of the nastiest poops ever. I decided I would just keep him home since I knew if I took him to daycare I would have to come pick him up early.

He had another few bad poops and not much of an appetite but other than that he was fine. Friday morning I woke up feeling awful. I took Hunter to daycare in the hopes he would be okay and I would be able to rest at home. Unfortunately he was still having ass explosions and I had to pick him up only an hour later. **Half of his class was out sick. Thankfully Kristian was able to come home early to watch Hunter while I went back and forth between the bed and the bathroom. It was a pretty miserable day.

I finally started to feel better around dinnertime and went to bed early. Around 1am I woke up to hear Kristian in the bathroom puking. He continued to throw up every half hour or so until morning. He definitely had it the worst and I kept telling him that I wanted to take him to the hospital. He finally started to feel a little better this morning and was able to actually keep some liquids down for a few hours at a time. I'm still not feeling 100% but definitely better than yesterday. I'm just praying that this nasty bug runs it's course and is gone by Monday when we have to go to my Sister-in-Law's house for Christmas Eve. I don't want Hunters first Christmas ruined by this mess.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


This week I'm saying SO What if:
-I increased the amount of money I spent on the gift cards for Hunters daycare teachers after the school shooting tragedy. These women not only watch my child for 40 hours a week but I know without a doubt in my mind they would risk their lives to protect his. I just wish I could have given them more.
-I was a little bummed when I got my first post pregnancy period this weekend. Not getting my period was definitely one of the benefits of breastfeeding and I was not looking forward to it's return after almost two years. The cramps were definitely worse than I remembered.
-The So What I just posted was TMI.
-I haven't wrapped any Christmas gifts yet. I plan to do that all on Monday while Hunter is at daycare.
-I kinda want to stay home with Hunter and Kristian on Friday just in case the world does actually end I would rather be with them than at work.
-I'm disappointed we haven't gotten more Christmas cards this year. I love getting fun mail instead of bills.
-I can't wait for Hunter to start walking (he's SO close) just so that I don't have to carry him all the time. He's freaking heavy. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Savoring the moments

This past weekend was an emotional one for sure, after news came out Friday about the school shooting I just sat at my desk in tears. I've never wanted to leave work so badly to see Hunter and just hug and kiss him. Now that I'm a parent these kind of tragedies hit so much harder. The thought of something horrific like that happening to my child is absolutely terrifying. It's heartbreaking that he has to grow up in a world where something as simple as going to school isn't even safe. It really made me so grateful for every little moment I spent with him this weekend.

I wanted to do something happy and Christmasy so we took Hunter to see Santa for the first time. When we got there our neighbor who has a 20 month old son wound up in line right behind us so that made things more fun. Hunter did great, he looked at Santa a bit (more specifically his beard) probably wondering who the hell this hairy guy was but then just went with it. We didn't get any big smiles out of him but at least he's not crying or looking terrified so that's a win. Next year we may not get so lucky. Our neighbors son Fa-Reaked out which I must admit was a bit funny to watch.

Hunter has been a VERY good boy this year.
Afterwards we just walked around the mall a bit, only buying a few gag gifts for Kristian's dad and uncle.
That night my mother-in-law came over to watch Hunter so that Kristian and I could have a much needed date night. We haven't gone out alone on a Saturday night in months because Kristian has been out hunting every Saturday for the past 3 months. We had a very nice dinner and actually got to relax and have an adult conversation which shockingly did not revolve around our son. We then drove around looking at Christmas lights and listening to Christmas music. Nothing exciting but just a nice evening with my husband.
After what happened on Friday spending Saturday doing fun things with my little family was a much needed distraction and something that I savored every minute of.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Kitchen Renovation- Before and After photos

After month and MONTHS of talking about and planning and then finally doing the kitchen renovation I'm finally posting pictures.

Just as a reminder this was a total gut job. Pretty much everything was torn out and replaced during the renovation. Also, we didn't do any of it ourselves. I'm sure that Kristian could have done parts of it but neither of us had the desire to try to tackle any part of this ourselves. Fortunately Kristian is friends with a contractor and he was able to cut us a great deal. I'm not one to discuss money but I know there will be people that are curious of the cost. I don't have it broken down to the penny but I can tell you it was in the $13K range. That includes everything from appliances (which we got a fantastic deal on), tile, granite, fixtures, cabinets, electrical, paint and of course labor. When it comes to the cost of most kitchen renovations I think we got a helluva deal and it was worth every. single. penny.

As for the time frame, we were originally told two weeks, which I never believed would actually happen. And it didn't. Took almost exactly a month. Part of the delay was due to having two of the cabinets ordered in the wrong size and needing to wait for the new ones to deliver. Needing to wait for the tiles to set and grout to dry and then just other typical unforeseen delays. It was quite annoying but again totally worth it.

I've posted this photo before but here is the inspiration photo that Kristian found online (I apologize but I don't know the site it was pulled from. He google imaged townhouse kitchens). We basically wanted our kitchen to look exactly like this and as you can see from our After photos we got pretty damn close. To be honest I like ours better :)

Inspiration Photo
Now here are the before photos of our super small, no counter space, circa early 90's kitchen that we both hated.

This was taken after we had emptied everything out prior to demolition. We did have new appliances that we gave to our contractor to use in one of his flips and he used that towards some of our labor costs.

You can see the doorway that lead into our dining room. We closed off this doorway and added a pass through instead. This was the best way for us to get extra counter space.

The one good feature of our kitchen, the large window.

Here is the other doorway that leads to our entryway. This doorway stayed.

Here is a photo after the demo took place. They left the refrigerator for us to put in the dining room so we could have that during the reno.

Here's another view. The cat loved to photobomb all my pictures.

The pot rack was pretty much the only thing that stayed.
I decided not to post all of the progress pictures because that's probably very boring to look at but I did take them and did post many of them on Instagram during the process. If you want to see them you can follow me on IG (SEP0522)
And here are the AFTER photos. It really is hard to believe it's the same room.

This is the view from the doorway which is to the right after you walk in our front door. We got brand new stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, travertine tiles and espresso colored cabinets.

This is the view from the wall with the window. As you can see the second doorway is now closed up and we have the pass through which I love. You can now see into the dining and living room while cooking which is good for keeping an eye on Hunter and you can also see the t.v. from here. We made the counter part of the pass through large enough so that we can sit food and drinks on there when entertaining. As you can see we now have so much more useable counterspace than before. We also have a much larger refrigerator which the freezer on the bottom (I'm still trying to get used to that).

We added cabinets and a counter underneath the potrack. This is where we store a lot of our food since we don't have a pantry (one thing I wish we had but there was no room for). This also gives us additional counter space.

We added under the cabinet lighting on a dimmer switch which we both love. This is a photo taken at night. Halpert loves the new countertops as well.
Now for some close ups.
Here's a better shot of the granite and the tile design.

Here is our new larger, deeper sink and our "sexy" faucet. Kristian insisted on this $250 faucet because he said it looked "sexy". He's weird. But it is a nice faucet.

This is a better shot of the top of the cabinets as well as the new recessed lighting in the ceilings. This lighting is also on a dimmer switch. We're basically obsessed with having dimmer switches and most of our lights have one. I should point out that our cabinets are really high up which is hard for me being vertically challenged and all. Fortunately Kristian does most of the cooking and it gets me out of putting away the dishes :)

Here is our new tiled floor with a Moxie photo bomb.

We added a glass front cabinet for all of our glasses and to break things up a bit.

We also spray painted a glass frame to create a chalkboard so we can start keeping a weekly menu or grocery list.
You'll notice I didn't post a photo of the wall with the window and that's because we are still deciding what to do with that wall. We've talked about adding some sort of bench under the window so there is a place for Hunter and I to sit and watch Kristian cook. We also need to get new blinds and maybe some artwork. So no big changes on that wall yet.
I think we did pretty well with recreating our inspiration photo. We are thrilled with our new kitchen and love cooking in it now.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Here we are again. Another Wednesday which means it's time for another round of SWW.
This week I'm saying So What if?
-The billion (okay maybe four) pregnancy announcements (including Mrs. Dew herself!) that I read yesterday made my uterus ache a bit. #donttellmyhusband
-My companys holiday party isn't until January. Everyone is so busy in December it's better to have AFTER the actual holidays.
-I'm counting the minutes until my week long vacation from work over Christmas.
-I'm not actually going anywhere for my vacation. I plan to send Hunter to daycare everyday (except Christmas of course) so I can actually, finally get some shit done around the house and maybe take a nap or ten.
-I haven't wrapped one Christmas gift yet and probably won't until next weekend.
-I ordered a second set of Christmas cards after I realized that I didn't like the design of the first ones as much once they arrived. The second set are so much better and my MIL even called me last night to compliment them. (I'll post a picture later this week once they've all delivered).

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Our days

I'm always interested in reading about other people's daily schedules, especially if they have one or more kids. I know those type of posts can bore some people but I find them interesting and will often get ideas on how to better manage our schedule. I also like getting a peek into how some of these super busy mamas fit everything into their days. So in an effort to maybe help out another mama and just for my own memory sake here is a basic weekday schedule.

5:30am- Kristian's alarm goes off. Sometimes he hits snooze several times before getting out of bed (which annoys me greatly) other times he's up and out the door in 10 minutes (men have it so easy).

6:00am- my alarm goes off. Since Hunter has a tendency to wake up anywhere between 6-6:45am I try to quickly get my shower in before he wakes up. I take the baby monitor in with me so I can hear him if he wakes up and then I know to hurry it up. If he's already awake when I shower I've started letting him crawl around the bathroom and entertain himself with my hairbrush. Super mom right over here.

6-6:45am- shower and get dressed, on a good day Hunter will still be asleep so I can do this in peace. Otherwise I have to keep one eye on him crawling around and getting into EVERYTHING and one eye on my makeup/hair.

6:45-7am- if he's not already awake I will go wake up Hunter and nurse him in my bed then go change his diaper and get him dressed for daycare.

7-7:30am- head downstairs and put Hunter in his pak n play while I get my purse, pump and his bottles all together. I also load the car with everything first since I can't carry him and everything else at the same time. If I'm ahead of schedule I will play with him for a few minutes before heading out.

7:30-8am- drive to and drop Hunter off at daycare. He LOVES daycare and all the teachers there love him and will often fight over who gets to hold him first.

8-9am- drive to work, if there's little traffic and I have time I'll run through the Starbucks drive-thru

9am-5pm- Earn the big bucks (ha)
**I typically pump around 10:30am and 3:30pm. After Hunter turns one I plan to stop pumping since he'll be able to drink whole milk.

3:30-5pm- Kristian picks Hunter up from daycare sometime in this range depending on when he gets off work and they hang out and play until I get home. Depending on the schedule and what we plan to eat sometimes Kristian will start cooking dinner early.

5-6pm- I drive home

6-6:30- get home, go through the mail, go through Hunter's daycare stuff (any dirty clothes, read his report of the day) and I will usually take Hunter upstairs with me while I change out of my work clothes. Kristian will start dinner if he hasn't already and I will play with Hunter.

6:30-7pm- Dinner. We always eat together at the dining room table and lately we do it while listening to Christmas music. Hunter now eats what we eat and I spend most of dinner giving him more food because he eats it all so quickly.

7pm- Clean up. We try to do this together but if Hunter is being extra fussy I'll take him and go play and Kristian will clean up. Yes he will often cook and clean so I can spend time with Hunter. Yes I'm very lucky.

7-7:30- Every other night I give Hunter a bath. I don't do it every night because his skin will get dried out and irritated, unless of course he's really dirty and then he'll get one regardless. On non-bath nights we just play in the living room. While I do this Kristian finally gets to relax a bit. After the bath, it's PJ's and I try to read a book to Hunter but he spends most of the time trying to eat it. So sometimes we'll just play.

7:30-8pm- brush his teeth and give him his bottle and put him to bed. He usually sleeps straight from 8pm - 6am or later.

8-8:30pm- clean up the toys and start catching up on DVR

8:30-9pm- pump while watching t.v. and internetting on my iPhone. Then clean and prepare Hunters daycare bottles

9-10pm- watch t.v. for a bit then start getting ready for bed

10pm- In bed.

Yes we go to bed at 10pm which probably seems early to most but by that point we are both exhausted and even if I'm still not tired I like to try to go to bed when Kristian does.

Our weekdays are pretty much the same from day to day but routine seems to help us all much better. You will notice that chores like laundry and major house cleaning don't really take place during the week, I typically will do that kind of stuff on the weekend. You will also notice a lack of the word "exercise" and that's because I really don't do any, other than carry around my 26 pound monster baby. I would have to work out either at 5am or 8pm and that's just not gonna happen right now.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Parenting Solo

This past weekend was my first solo night with Hunter since he was born.  In close to a year neither myself nor Kristian had spent a night away from him since bringing him home. The main reasons for this are that to be honest, I'm not ready to spend a night away from him (especially since I still nurse him first thing in the morning) and I haven't really wanted Kristian to spend the night away either. The fact is I don't sleep well in general when he's not home, every little sound freaks me out and now with Hunter it's just harder to do everything on my own.

Well after telling him no over and over I finally gave in when he asked if he could go on a last minute hunting/camping trip with his buddy and his buddy's son. He planned to leave Friday morning and come back late Saturday night. I figured I've handled getting Hunter from daycare, giving him dinner and putting him to bed on my own many times as well as spending all day Saturdays with him alone while Kristian is off hunting so this shouldn't be too hard. Plus Hunter has been sleeping through the night for months. Easy Peasy.

But of course my child decides when daddy is away he is going to turn into devil child and drive his mother UP THE WALL. Basically he said "easy peasy my ass". He decided rather than sleeping through the night he was going to wake up THREE times (he hasn't done that in months) and then wake up for good at 6:30am. Normally I can nurse him back to sleep for at least another hour on weekend mornings.

He also normally takes great naps on the weekend; 1-2 hours in the morning and another hour in the afternoon. Again, he said "naps? what's a nap?" I desperately tried to put him down for a nap in the morning only to have him break into screaming fits. He finally took a nap around noon for a whole 30 minutes. Oh and did I mention he was being a total fuss monster the whole morning? Because he was.

After lunch I decided we both needed a break and took him to the happiest place on Earth. Target! He did great at Target. He loves to just sit and people watch so that was a blessing and I took advantage of a little (read $150) retail therapy. He finally fell asleep in the car on the way home and I carried him in his carseat inside where he continued to sleep for an hour. I actually got to sit down, eat and read a magazine. It was bliss. After his nap he was finally in better spirits and the rest of the night was fine but when Kristian came home I was not in the greatest mood and just exhausted. Not sure I will be letting him leave overnight again anytime soon.

Of course he slept great Saturday night, took his normal naps and was all around a pleasant kid again on Sunday. I guess he was just upset that daddy was gone. I know the feeling.

Friday, December 7, 2012

The halls have been decked now we just need Santa to visit.

So here is the obligatory Christmas decoration post. I actually don't mind reading other peoples Christmas decorating posts because it will usually give me some really good ideas or just make me insanely jealous of their more Martha-like decorating abilities.

Here is the outside of the house. Since we live in a townhouse without any big trees or bushes out front we don't have much to decorate. But given that we're only one of two houses with lights on our street I think we're doing alright.
Our entry way with our advent calendar hanging on the door. Hopefully we'll get more than just two Christmas cards this year!

The pass-through from the dining room into the kitchen.
Our dining room.

We actually put our Christmas tree in our dining room because it's really the one place we have room for it. Plus it's easier to keep Hunter away from it if it's not in the living room.

Here's the tree with the lights off. Yes I realize our angel is crooked. Unfortunately our new fake tree doesn't have a good top for the angel to sit on so she keeps leaning to one side or the other.
Instead of doing a tree with just certain types or colors of ornaments we decorate using ornaments we've collected or had since childhood. I personally prefer having a tree with meaningful ornaments that bring back great memories than a department store looking tree.
This is what it looks like from our dining room looking into the living room.
Some of my favorite ornaments this year.
I ordered this ornament from Annie and just love how sparkly it is.
We got this one last year as a gift when I was pregnant. Our little snowman family.
We also got this as gift last year in honor of buying our first home together.
I ordered this one in honor of Hunters first Christmas. This is one of his newborn photos.
Here is one of our floating shelves decorated with the JOY letters we spray painted. Glitter spray paint may be my new favorite thing.
Here is the other floating shelf with my new favorite Hunter Christmas photo.
Our mantle.
I'm in love with the berry wreath we found at Michaels for 60% off. Kristian hung it using fishing line and a hook (of course) so it looks like it's floating.

We also spray painted the white NOEL letters with gold glitter spray paint. The angels on either side were my grandmothers.

The stocking on the right is the one I've had since I was a baby that my aunt made for me. When Kristian and I got married she made him the one on the left ( a camo boot) and then last year made the one for Hunter in the middle (in VA tech colors).

And here is the view from our kitchen. I just love all the lights. I always get sad when we take the decorations down and the house seems so dark again.
And here is my other FAVORITE Christmas photo of Hunter and Moxie inspecting the Christmas tree. Does it get much cuter than this??