Friday, December 28, 2012

Whew! I made it...

It is 2:10 mountain time on Friday, December 28, 2012.  Today is the last work day of 2012 for me.  My very generous employer is giving us a full paid day off on December 31 when usually it's only a half-day.  I'll take it! Especially because I can say that I survived 2012 without taking a single vacation day!

The past 365 days have been a whirlwind for us.

It started in January with three business trips and a baby shower.

February followed with a business trip, a baby shower, and an overnight stay in the hospital.

March was a little more quiet as we readied ourselves for Bryan's arrival.

April kicked off with my birthday and eleven days later the birth of our son.

May was maternity leave whereby I cried through dinner, cried on the phone to my closest of friends, learned about the witching hour and the value of a baby swing.

June brought maternity leave to an end and daycare to a beginning (including a change in providers).  It also marked the passing of my last living grandparent.  I feel so fortunate to have had Bryan before she left this world.  She stuck around long enough to make some really great blankets for our little Nugget!  Thanks, Gram!

July was filled with visits from family and friends, an effort to sell our house, a broken air conditioner and a lesson in friendship.  Thanks Christie and Alan!

August gave us our first babysitter for Bryan (Ms. Ashley, we really do love you!), the house off the market, estimates on finishing the basement and my first client meeting requiring a business suit.  Ill-fitting as it was, it still worked!

September brought us a long trip to MI for work and time with family.  It also marked my first night away from Nuggs.  It was harder on me than on him.  And I didn't sleep a wink that night.  But I made it!

October celebrated our anniversary and my brother's wedding (which I missed and am still sad about).  We learned that Bryan doesn't have asthma (at least not yet) but still needs breathing treatments.  But he can sit up by himself!

November was Chris' first night(s) alone with Bryan.  It was only one night, but it was two bedtimes.  They both survived!  Bryan's first Thanksgiving in Rowland style with my family, Chris' family, and my cousin and two of his buddies.  It was a perfect day!  With contractors in our house for 3 1/2 weeks to finish our basement, it was completed without a minute to spare. The day after completion, my parents arrived and stayed in the new Grandparent Suite!

December.  Two nights for Bryan and Chris to play, and two nights away for me.  There was some fun had, but I was as sick as a dog so didn't get to enjoy much of it.  Chris' birthday came and went while I was gone, but he survived.  Bryan cut his first two teeth early in the month and is cutting the top two as I type.  We are hoping it goes fast in that we are all needing a good night's sleep.

There is so much to be proud of in 2012.  It has been an adventure.  And at times mentally exhausting with no end in sight.  There have been lessons learned and puzzles solved.  Belly laughs and crocodile tears.  Aches and pains, and miles of accomplishments.  And through it all, I can say that I made it. We made it.

May 2013 be as tremendous and triumphant as 2012 has been!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

26 (point two)

This blog is not about how I feel about what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School.  It is not about guns or security or "what is this world coming to."  Nope.  If you are reading this, you are likely a close friend or family member and probably already know how I feel about all of it.  I am sad. I am mad. I am inspired.

How is it possible that I am inspired by any of this?  Well, that would be a complicated and quite lengthy answer.  And I am not even sure that it's one I can articulate today, or probably ever for that matter.  But the gist is that I am inspired to make the world I live in a better place. Better for me.  Better for my family.  And especially better for Bryan.  I want him to know the love I feel for strangers.  I want him to see the good in everything.  And I want for him to know that bad things happen to good people and it is up to the rest of us carry the torch and make things better.

This morning, I logged in to my iGoogle page (which is essentially an RSS feed of my favorite blogs) and my top two are Another Mother Runner and A Happy Little Family.  This morning, my favorite Mother Runners posted about the 26 acts of kindness and paying it forward.  And my favorite mother runner reader, Lisa posted an update to the Mother Runner blog.

Here's my contribution to the 26 acts of kindness.  And in typical Jenna fashion, it's a list!

1.  Between now and the end of the year, I will share 26 random acts of kindness with others.  My typical holiday giving will not count.  If you want to know what I am doing, you can follow me on Twitter.  Ann Curry (NBC News) has created the #26Acts trend on Twitter and just announced that those participating should take pictures and  post videos for Rock Center.  I will not be participating in that part.  I believe that random acts of kindness are not about the recognition you receive for being kind, but rather how you make another person feel.  I will  hashtag (that's the # in Twitter speak) my acts with #26Acts hoping that it helps add to the infectiousness of the trend.  Not because I want recognition.

2.  In 2013, I am registered for two half marathons.  That's 26.2 miles of long racing.  I will direct my "Braver. Stronger. Smarter." mantra to 20 children, 4 teachers, and the shooter's mother as I run one mile for each of them.  The last mile I will run FAST will be my way to demonstrate the need to put an end to violence.  The final two-tenths of a mile is for me.  To remind myself that one person can make a difference.

I guess it's a short list today.  That just means it will be easier to remember.

Merry Wooley and do something extraordinary today.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Merry Wooley!

It seems like Thanksgiving was last week.  Time is absolutely flying around here.  Between work trips and illnesses, we've been a little crazy around these parts.  There's been a lot of fun had.  And this weekend is no exception.  Saturday nigh we head downtown to see White Christmas and I am over the moon excited.  Here's hoping my cough will subside enough by then to not interrupt the performance!  I don't think I've ever had bronchitis before, but I gotta tell's a beat down.  With no time to spare in this last month of the year, my clients certainly aren't taking it easy on me.  But thankfully, this also means that by next Friday, I will be completely caught up and on easy street until January 2!

So, as we wrap up the Christmas preparations and let the excitement for the holiday build, I thought I'd take a time out and share a picture and a couple videos of our little Nugget. I am convinced he's getting cuter by the minute!

No, that's not a quirky smile you are's five seconds short of a full on FIT because he does  NOT like his new jacket.  He's getting used to the hat, however!

We've been having some fun with Puffs.  He really does not love them, but they dissolve quickly in his mouth so that he can get used to the chewing action.  Wait until the end.  Looks like he takes after Papa Doug with that shiver!  That means it's perfect!

There's been lots of this around this house.  Bryan had another ear infection the week I was in Dallas, and my ever-perfect little Nugget contaminated me once again (but I'll never stop kissing and loving on him!).  

And just in case I don't get a chance to blog again before Christmas, I wish you all a very Merry Wooley and am very much looking forward to seeing most of you in February! We will be in MI for two weeks!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


It's the theme of the Rowland house this December.  Busy.  It started on Saturday, December 1.  On that day, my sole sister (Lisa) and I were finally able to lace up again for the first time since August 2011.  Between my pregnancy and baby and her pregnancy and baby, we overlapped enough to be out of it for more than a year.  Lisa had her third baby (a little girl) seven weeks ago and was just given the green light to start running.

We managed to limp out three and a half miles together.  We ran one and a quarter, walked one then ran the rest.  It was a wonderful day and we are both so glad to have our Saturday mornings together every week from now until half-marathon day in May with only a few exceptions.

Saturday night, Chris and I went to a University of Denver hockey game.  It's not the Red Wings, or even the NHL, but at least it was hockey.

Monday (yesterday), Bryan went back to the pediatrician and has another really bad ear infection.  So, last night was a big fat bummer.  He finally settled down around 11:30 pm and slept until morning.  Poor little guy.  And my poor washing machine.  The antibiotics will cause several blowouts daily.  I guess I'll have to go buy more onesies.  I refuse to scrub those suckers anymore.  It's just gross.

Today I am getting my ducks in a row to leave tomorrow for Dallas until Friday.  Oh, and Chris' birthday is Thursday and he's not happy about it.  Apparently caring for our son on his birthday while I am out of town did not make the list of "best birthday ever" criteria.  I don't really blame him, I guess.  So, to make up for it, here's what I am doing today:
I just finished baking four dozen of his favorite cookies
This afternoon I am making lasagna with a homemade bolognese sauce
I have to run to the store to pick up a bunch of birthday cards because I am hiding little gifts all over the house for him to find.  Gift cards to his favorite places so he can have breakfast, lunch and dinner at the places he loves.

I am also headed to the Carters store to buy more PJ's for Nuggs.  He has only two jammies that fit him and even wearing them each twice doesn't leave a lot of room for error and/or forgetting to get the laundry started.

I get home on Friday afternoon and on Saturday morning, Lisa and I are running the Ugly Sweater 5k. And Saturday night, we are headed downtown for Chris' birthday dinner.

Next Saturday we are going to see White Christmas at the Buell Theater downtown and on that Sunday our neighborhood is hosting a cookie exchange (ensue more banking) and then on the 21st Chris' parents fly in for the holiday.

I'll sleep in January, I guess.  But not on Saturdays when Lisa and I run and Nuggs has swimming lessons!  Holy catfish.  Why am I starting to get the feeling that weekends will be like this for the next 18ish years?  But I love every second of it!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

16 days in pictures...sort of

It's hard to believe it's been 16 days since my last post.  Time is flying.  Everyone here is happy and healthy.  So glad to report the healthy part!!  And we are pretty sure Bryan is teething.  I can see the little bumps where his chompers will be filling in soon.

Work is crazy busy right now so it's been difficult to find the time to blog.  And since most of you see my Facebook status, you know we are all doing well.  So rather than posting lots of words, I thought I'd post the update in pictures.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

What's the date today?

Seriously?  It's November 13?  That can't be right.  I mean, really...that's not right!  I have realized that as I get older, time goes by faster. Even on those days when it seems time is standing still.  The hours can seem long, but the days pass so quickly.

Today, one of our client support reps emailed a client of mine in an effort to fix a technological hiccup the client was experiencing.  It was a list. I quickly thanked the support guru and let him know how great I thought the email was...especially the list part.  His response to me was, "Sometimes people just need a list or it all looks like a heavy fog of crazy, so they don't know where to start."  Brilliant!

With that, here's the list of Rowland happenings in the past week!

1.  My business trip went really well. I left with strep throat and returned with a double ear infection.  I was a mess but the presentation was outstanding.  In my boss' words, I "knocked it out of the park!"  That will make me feel better all day long!!
2.  Bryan is totally on the mend.  I actually think the antibiotic for his double ear infection helped with the chronic cough.  We see the pulmonologist on Thursday and are hoping for a clean bill of health!
Sleeping in his swing. We've learned that if we give
Nuggs a blankie, he will cuddle up and sleep!
3.  Chris and Nuggs survived their first night home alone together.  And by survived, I really mean that it was business as usual for Bry and Chris got a taste of the routine.  Next up, two or three nights for my company Christmas party.  Maybe.
4.  Bryan is 7 months old today.  Seven months.  How is that possible?  This week he's found his voice and is working on perfecting the most ear-piercing scream/screech you've ever heard.  Super cute, really funny and somewhat annoying all at the same time!  And I love every second of it!
5.  Our basement and office conversion projects will be finished on Thursday.  Yes, Thursday as in the day after tomorrow.  Holy catfish!  The bed and stuff will be delivered on Friday.  I can't believe how incredible it's looking.  In approximately 48 hours, there will not be strange men jumping in and out of the window wells in our basement anymore!  No more Russian Boris and his Johnny Cash music.  No more electricians with wicked senses of  humor (I think this guy's been zapped a time or two!), no more painters who think they communicate better with bi-lingual employees by talking loud enough Helen Keller could hear them.  Seriously.  Spanish is not a synonym of deaf.  I promise. Look it up! 
6.  My parents will be here on Saturday and my in-laws on Tuesday (a week from today).  They each get three nights in the new Grandparent Suite.  How cool is that?  We are all so excited we can hardly stand it!
7.  I am listening to Christmas music.  Because I can.  If the hours are long but the days so short, I want to enjoy every one of these "first Christmas with the baby" days.  And if that means I get a few extra, so be it.  Besides.  Christmas music makes me extra happy.

Happy 7 month birthday, Nuggs! Abby was too tired to play.

Monday, November 5, 2012

It's time...

Today is November 5, 2012.  I have had this week on my calendar for nearly seven months.  Since before I went on maternity leave.  Tomorrow marks the first non-Nana-assisted overnight business trip for me.  I am headed to Peoria, IL for the night.  And because you all know I love a good list, and because I know you all love to ready my lists, here's the list of reasons that I am having so many mixed-emotions about this trip:

1.  Bryan goes to what we call "school" every day.  And really "school" is just a nice way to say "daycare/petri dish."
2.  Bryan is fighting something and is FULL of buggers, the non-medical term for nasal mucus, and his cough is worse than usual.  And he's been up a couple times the last two nights.  I am hoping he's just teething, but based on how I feel, I don't think we will be that lucky.
3.  I am pretty sure I can guess what Bry's coming down with in that what he gets, I get.  And my throat hurts, my nose is runny and my ear is stuffy.
4.  Chris has only gotten up with Bryan at night once, and that was back in April and he only lasted in the room long enough to say, "Jenna, come help me or I am going to break something."  He didn't mean the baby, of course.  But let's just say that because there are no rules, he finds parenting to be quite difficult at times.  Just ask my mom about the game at Christmas and how Chris had to quit because the rules were too vague.
5.  I have to fly American Airlines into Bloomington, IL.  There is a sub-list in that statement for why THAT's a problem, so I will sum it up with this:  McFarlane luck + Airline in bankruptcy = delayed and cancelled flight guarantees.
6.  I get a night to myself.  No cooking, no cleaning, no diapers, no toys to trip over, no dogs to let out and feed.  But in return I get no fish face, no splish-splash, no feedings, no singing, no reading, no rocking, and no goodnight kisses.  That sucks.
7.  The ways in which this will be good for Chris are almost infinite.  Not only will he better appreciate what I do every day, but it will also be a critical bonding experience for my boys.  Bryan spends the mornings (after I have done all the no-fun stuff) with his Daddy.  But the evenings of feedings, baths, books and bedtime are where the real bonding happens.  And now Chris will get to feel how incredible it is when Nuggs looks up at you and touches your face, which I am convinced is his way of saying "thanks, Momma. I love you."
8.  If Nuggs gets sicker while I am gone, I have no idea how Chris will handle it.  What if school calls tomorrow or Wednesday and says Bry has a fever and Chris has to go get him?  They are both screwed if that happens.
9.  The idea of this business trip makes me think I need to look for a job that doesn't require any business travel.
10.  A job in an office requires a commute, a new wardrobe, more money spent on gas, more time spent away from home and my family, significantly less flexibility, office gossip, and a second petri dish to bring into the house.  This goes into the category of SO NOT WORTH IT.

Friday, November 2, 2012

All new meaning to "Rat Race"


Approximately 90 minutes after I wrote this blog, Mayor Bloomberg cancelled the New York City Marathon!  While a difficult decision, I believe it to be for the greater good.  And while I understand that thousands of New Yorkers were planning to run the race and are now disappointed, there are millions of New Yorkers who are grateful they are not.

--------------------------------------------------------------begin original post.

If you are a regular reader, you know that I am a runner.  I am slow. Very slow.  But I run.  As often as this post-childbirth pain ridden body will let me.  And up until I was pregnant, I ran daily including two (well, almost two) half marathons in the summer of 2011.

I have two friends living in New Jersey, one in Queens NY and family in New Hampshire.  Thankfully all three of them escaped Sandy relatively unharmed.  One lost their car, a few trees and many belongings. One lost their roof, two cars, and most of their house.  The other two managed to avoid loss all together. I am not sure about the cousins in NH, but the friends in NY/NJ are still without power, no generator, and just enough gas to get them far enough away that they may be able to find some food and gas.

September 11, 2001 was the most devastating day in my 36 years of history.  The shock, the tragedy, the loss, the aftermath, the cleanup, the surviving, the rebuilding.  While the death toll from Hurricane Sandy is only a fraction of the 2011 tragedy, the loss is significantly greater.

This weekend marks the 42nd running of the New York City Marathon.  Nearly 50,000 people, a third of whom come from other countries, will descend on the Big Apple to run 26.2 miles through each of the five NYC boroughs.

I am a firm believer in all the cliches:  rising above, making lemonade, silver linings, pulling up by the bootstraps, and it takes a village.  And I agree that the city stands significant financial gains for hosting the race.  And that every racer with a heart will make a donation on top of their race fee to help the victims of the hurricane.

Here's the problem with all the logic:
There are hundreds of thousands without power through the tri-state area.  NYC alone is still half-dark with power restoration estimation being about 10 days.
Headlines read:  Man pull gun after cutting in line for gas and NYC taxis running out of gas as lines grow
Stores are out of food
People on Staten Island are devastated and the death toll is rising

If I were a hungry New Yorker who had lost my home in the storm, was out of gas and/or didn't have a generator, here would be my perception:
The generator they are using to power the media tent can provide electricity to 400 homes
These crazy people running 26.2 through our sand-covered streets are worried about carb-loading before the race...I am worried about finding food for tomorrow.
Because some of these runners will need assistance on the course, there will be fewer cops to stop the looting and fewer paramedics to help with search and rescue/recovery
There's a winter storm brewing in the Atlantic that's shaping up to be a Nor'easter.  I am wondering where to go from here and now comes the snow.  And you think I care if you finish your 26.2 to say that you did it?

If you are running the NYC marathon, it's not your first marathon.  If you are not a contender for one of the spots that pays a prize, how about helping a neighbor instead of crossing an item off your bucket list?

Hey, NY Road Runner Assoc.  Why don't  you offer your shuttle service to the non-contenders so they can do something more fulfilling with significantly greater impact on society.  Bus them to a Borough and let them lend a hand (and foot) and offer to give their race entry fee and the expense of the goodie bag to the American Red Cross.  I know you are donating $26.20 for each runner, totally just about $1 million for relief efforts, but that won't rebuild the Jersey shore, Staten Island, or even fix the damage on Liberty Island for Pete's sake.  Maybe you should postpone the marathon, or let racers defer their entry to next year.

Runners are a loyal lot of wonderful people.  We are a family who looks out for each other.  We run together in different places at different times, but we are all runners and share that eternal bond.  I would like to think that those running NYC this weekend can find a creative way to use their endurance training in a way that will benefit those who have lost everything from this storm.

Just my thoughts.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Over the ... and through the... to ...

Did you mentally fill in the blanks for me?  I'll bet you are't singing the same song we are these days!  While we love "over the river and through the woods to Grandmother's house we go..."  These days we are singing "over the baby gate and through the zipper to get to the front door..."

Construction has commenced on two life-changing (and home value increasing) projects in our house.  Today is day five of a revolving door of contractors and strange music.  I listen to music while I work too.  But when the Russian electrician, Boris, started jamming to Johnny Cash, I knew it was going to be a LONG three and a half weeks!

As I type this, the inspector is here walking through for "rough-in inspections."  Making sure that the electrical stuff is up to code, the insulation is good to go, the studs are in the right place, and the cable hookups are correct.  In about an hour, the plumbing inspector will be here to make sure the water stuff is alright and the bathroom hookups are complete.  

In 2 1/2 weeks we will have another bedroom, a 3/4 bathroom, more living space and a formal office in our home. I have a feeling we will be in this house for a very long time!  I am so excited.  We will have a new suite for all the grandparents that come to visit!  

Pictures to come!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Jumping and Squash

There is NOTHING cuter than a baby in pajamas jumping up and down!!!

Except maybe a baby in a Bumbo eating squash!

Monday, October 15, 2012

On the right track

In the past week, it seems like Bryan has grown much more quickly than in the 24 weeks leading up to this point.  He's almost sitting up unassisted now and is rolling all over the place.  One day he was SOOO close, and the next day there's no stopping the little guy.  Maybe he's finally on the mend!  Or maybe the fish face breathing treatments are making him feel so much better that he's willing to do more stuff. Regardless, we could not be happier and we are all having so much fun!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Happiness is...

A crisp fall Saturday morning in sweatshirts with coffee.  

A snowy fall Saturday afternoon with family time and college football.

Being at home enjoying the endless smiles and coos from the sweetest little boy ever born.

Capturing on video your child getting (this) close to reaching a major milestone!

So maybe he's not the perfect specimen of health, but we believe you'd be hard pressed to find a baby happier than our little Nugget!  

Friday, October 5, 2012


I know I haven't blogged in a while.  I find it difficult to put feelings into words when the feelings are sadness, frustration and exhaustion.  And there's been a fair amount of all those emotions around here lately.  

But through it all, Chris and I have been strong.  A unified front. Lovebirds with our own little duckling. And not a day goes by that I don't thank God for everything we have.  We are blessed with a happy baby that will endure just about anything.  In his 22 weeks of life, our little Nugget has had chronic reflux, three colds, an ear infection, croup, a stomach virus and a cough that just won't stop.  And you'd never even know it.  

Since he was about six weeks old, he's been on at least one medication for the reflux (for the past several weeks, it's been two medications).  I know that not everyone agrees with pharmaceutical intervention for infants.  But I don't believe in infant suffering when there are medications to help.  The pharmacy techs know us by name now and tease us about "another med for Bryan."  Whatever.  I want my son to be healthy as badly as I want to NOT fill a prescription for several months in a row.  And we'll get there.  Or at least we hope we'll get here.

I don't know if we just got lucky, if we did something very right or if he's just learned to roll with the punches, but Bryan is the most amazing baby.  Through all this, you'd never even know there was something amiss.  He smiles and coos and plays and puts everything in his mouth like a very typical almost-six-month-old should. 

Last night we had to start nebulizer breathing treatments for him and it's heart wrenching at the least.  We both know that these treatments will help (eventually) and at this point, we are willing to do just about anything to help our little Nuggs stop coughing.  We know he does not have CF but have no idea why he coughs to the point of waking (all of us) up several times each night.  His crib is elevated on one end.  We use a nasal aspirator with saline every night and every morning.  We've switched his formula to help control the reflux and to be gentle on his sensitive tummy.  And one variable at a time, we have eliminated everything except allergies and asthma.  Chris and I both have allergies, and Chris has asthma.

Bryan sat peacefully with the fish mask on his face for 15 minutes last night and this morning too.  With his momma in tears and his daddy making funny faces and rattling toys, Bryan smiled behind his fish mask. Especially during peek-a-boo.  Who does that?  How is it possible that he's OK with all the medications I've shoved in his little mouth and now this crazy fish mask I hold to his face?  Regardless of the how and the why, I find it all downright amazing.  

So does Chris.  Last night, after the first breathing treatment, I gave Nuggs his splish-splash (that's what we call bath time), rocked, read and put him to bed.  When I got downstairs, Chris was obviously upset about something.  He said that seeing Bryan with the fish mask on, and hearing the nebulizer turn on brought back some horrible memories of his childhood and his own breathing treatments.  He was upset the he had "given this to Bryan."  How do you convince him otherwise?  I tried. And I think he's OK.  But you could still see the sorrow on Chris' face when we gave Nuggs his treatment this morning.  

It's going to get better.  We all know that.  And we are in very capable hands with our pediatrician who is prepared to send us to any specialist necessary to get Bryan well.  In the meantime, we will just keep our happy faces on, go about our daily routines and continue to be amazed by our little Nugget.  

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Toughest kid on Earth

It's true.  I think we have the toughest baby on Earth.  And maybe the happiest too.  Since early-July, Bryan has been sick.  It started with his first cold right around the Fourth of July.  We rushed him to the pediatrician because we have no clue what we are doing and it was supposed to be our first date night since he was born.  As any good doctor should, they gave Nuggs a thorough check up and told us he had a cold and he'd be fine and that it was best if we DID take our date night.  We'd all be better off for it. The date was great, and dropping him off at school for Parent's Night Out was like ripping off a band-aid.  He was fine and we were happy to have a couple hours of alone time.

After a week or so, the cold had gone, but the cough persisted as it often does with babies.  By the end of July, we sensed another cold coming on.  This was the cold Bryan had the weekend our air conditioner died and we tried (unsuccessfully) to stay in a hotel.  By the 25th of July he had white spots on his tonsils and a little fluid in his hears.  A round of antibiotics seemed to kick it right out of him.  But the cough persisted as it often does with babies (are you noticing a theme here?).

Although our little guy had been sick for the better part of a month, he was still happy, smiling often and finding new joys in the world around him.

Then we headed to Michigan for ten remarkably perfect days of family and river family and friends.  Except that Bryan caught a cold from the 10-month-old son of my BFF.  Oh well.  What's another cold?  Certainly  not the end of the wold.  It's just a cold after all.  Bryan snuggled significantly more than usual with all of us and sneezed gobs of snot out his nose that could rival the dog from the National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation movie (his name was Snots, in case you were wondering!).  This cold made the cough even worse than it had been, making for a minor deficit in the sleep department for me and him.  But through it all, there was smiling and laughing and cooing and an endless supply of raspberry blowing with very little fussing.  Even on the flight home he was perfect. No fussing, no crying, just sleeping and smiling.  And now that we are over the cold, the cough persists as it often does with babies.  Sigh.

Yesterday I got the dreaded mid-day call from "School."  While we were in Michigan, a crazy terrible stomach bug spread through the baby room at school.  We were hoping that we had dodged a bullet.  But as it turns out, that bug was just cooking away in one of the teachers (who also happens to be Bryan's favorite and our go-to babysitter) until she got sick and was sent home on Monday afternoon...after she had played with Nuggs all morning.  By Tuesday at 3:00 pm, Bryan was projectile vomiting all over everything, had gone through the two spare outfits in his diaper bag and one the school let him borrow.  Then came the diarrhea.  Which could also classify as projectile if not covered properly.  And he never cried.  By the time I got to school to pick him up, it was almost 4:30 (they didn't call until 4:00), his coloring was almost green and he smelled like vomit.  But he smiled and cooed and laughed when he saw me.  What a remarkable little guy.  Even with how terrible he felt, he never stopped smiling.

The vomiting has subsided but the diarrhea persists this morning.  As does the cough.  The same cough that starts around 4:30 every morning and lasts until he's been upright for a couple hours.  Maybe after this bout with the stomach bug, the poor kid can catch a break?  Please?  Not sure what I can do to fill his Karma bank for him, but I donated a HUGE box of clothes he's outgrown to school so other kids can have something to go home in that is less nasty than the totally disgusting and stained onesie he came home in yesterday. Maybe that will help build his good Karma.  Or maybe I need to pray more.  Lots more.  I just want Bryan to have one healthy, cough-free month.

But in the meantime, while the coughing and colds and other cooties are no fun, I have a happy baby that seems to make friends everywhere he goes.  He smiles so much and it starting to find his voice and laugh out loud.  I can't even imagine how happy he'll be when we finally figure out how to get rid of this darn cough.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Two more darks until...

...Bryan's first plane ride
...My first non-maternity leave day off since 2011
...Bryan meets his Uncle Garren and Aunt Shannon
...Grandma Penny and Grandpa Doug (I think we need to call him something different, that's weird) see Bryan laugh in person for the first time
...We get a much needed change in scenery

So to tide everyone over for two more darks, here are some recent pictures of our little Nugget!

He loves his toys! Especially Sophie the Giraffe  that's made for chewing. 

Sophie and smiles while in NASA (that's what we call his bouncy thingie)

Bryan hearts Sophie!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Cereal smiles

There are no words that will express how much I love this video.  I hope you do too!  Enjoy...

Thursday, August 23, 2012

A letter to my little Nugget

WARNING:  Tissues may be required to proceed.

Hi Nugs, it's Mommy.

I have so much that I want to tell you today.  You've been out in this big world for a day short of 18 weeks now and have grown so much.  We all have.  You have been sleeping through the night for eight of those weeks, with a couple of exceptions from your coughing, cold, and immunizations.  But every morning you wake up smiling and cooing and showing us your "happy feet."  Nothing warms my heart more than when you kick your feet like crazy, smile and make spit bubbles when you see us first thing in the morning.  You are weighing in at just over 15 pounds, and are already almost 26" long!  You are taking your bottles like a champ most of the time and for almost a week now, you have been eating cereal from a spoon as if you've been doing it since day one.

You are smiling all the time now and this week we heard you giggle for the first time.  You are such a good baby and all of your teachers just love you to pieces.  You come home from school every day just as happy as you were when I dropped you off.  Thank you for loving your friends, school and teachers so much that I can go to work knowing that you are happy.  If you aren't happy, I'm not happy.

Now on to the mushier stuff.

Everyone who has children will tell a pregnant woman how you can't even imagine how much you will love your baby as soon as you meet them.  I knew they were right, but couldn't even begin to imagine what that love would feel like.  And now I know.  Every day I love you even more than I did the day before, and the day before, I didn't think it was possible to love you more.  Before you go to sleep, I always tell you that "I love you to the moon and back, all the time, every day, no matter what."  And it's so true. But even that doesn't seem sufficient enough to convey how much I really love you.  I love you so much that I just want to be with you all the time.  I kiss your face so much that you may have permanent lip balm marks on your cheeks and head.  My cup runneth over, Nugs.

And with all this crazy love we have for you, your Dad and I have begun to plan for your future.  Which includes some really scary thoughts that really upset me to even think about.  But first, the fun stuff.  The month after you were born, your Daddy and I opened a savings account for you that will hopefully have many thousands of dollars for you when you turn 18.  This week, we opened a whole-life life insurance policy for you that will be all yours when you turn 21, and will have a pretty decent cash value.  Until that time, we get to control that money.  And when you turn 21, you get to decide what you want to do with it.  Maybe you'll cash it out and  buy your first house.  Maybe you'll travel through Europe for a year.  Maybe you'll start your own business.  Or maybe you'll be super responsible and frugal like your Dad and keep it. Or maybe you'll need it for the therapy you'll need because your Mom showered you with WAY too much love as a child.  Regardless.  It will be your money, and you can decide how to use it.

Now the scary stuff.   We have also made some plans for you for "just in case."  It breaks my  heart to even think about, so I won't get into much detail.  But, God forbid, if something should happen to Mommy and Daddy at the same time, we know where you will go, who you will be with, how much you'll be loved and how you will be raised and cared for.  And even though breaks my  heart to even think about it, I am also very happy because I know you will be with family and will be loved to the moon and back, all the time, everyday, no matter what.

Now back to fun stuff.  Two weeks from today, you will take your first plane ride to Michigan and will get to meet your Uncle Garren, Aunt Shannon and your cousins, Ashton and Adrianna in person for the first time.  You'll also get to meet your Auntie Angie and Miles, and the entire River Family.  You'll understand the idea of the River Family more when you get a little older.  There will be lots of kids, and some very fun boys for you to play with and some very cute girls for you to chase when you grow up.  Michigan trips will become more and more fun for you as you get older!  So fun, in fact, that I think your Dad and I, with some River Family help, will be building a replica of the Great Wall of China down the middle of the Chippewa to prevent you and the other boys from sneaking across the river in the middle of the night to see the pretty girls on the other side.

And, one last thing.  I am going to start recording a podcast for your ears only.  That way, when I am old and gray, or worse, when I am young at heart and totally annoying, you can listen to the messages and hopefully understand where I am coming from and why I do what I do for you.  Or to you.  It will depend on how old you are when you listen.

Well, that's it for today.  Mommy and Daddy love you so much, Nugs.

No matter what.  Love,

Friday, August 17, 2012

Word to Your Mother

So, if you know where I got the title for this blog, you'll  like what I am going to post.  If you need the following explanation, well, you may not be interested.

"Word to Your Mother" is a lyric from the song "Ice, Ice Baby" by Vanilla Ice (1990).  It was clean rap music for its day.  And occasionally will make my iPod play list.  I don't proclaim it to be good music, but it's fun.  And reminds me of the first time I ran two consecutive miles when I was in high school because I really wanted to fit into my purple jeans.  Who knew that almost 20 years later I'd have the same thought, only the jeans are red. I don't own them yet, but I've got my eyes on the prize!

Anyway, my incredibly wonderful, perfectly awesome, babby-daddy, husband sent me a link today with the note, "This one's for you!"  I thought it was going to be a bikini-clad beer commercial, but OOOOO NO!  It was this mother of a rap!  Happy Friday!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Kid at heart

It's no secret that I am a kid at heart.  I love adventures, giggling, trying new things, making new friends, being silly, and anything Disney related.

And that hasn't changed now that I am a mommy.  Bryan and I have about 15 minutes in the car every morning.  He coos and plays with "the bug" attached to his car seat and cries at stoplights unless there's music on the radio.  It works out well since I am a chronic channel surfer in the car, always looking for that "sing along song" or a new upbeat song to add to my running playlist.  But sometimes my "kid at heart" music selections are of the not-so-kid-friendly variety.

There are a couple of fun songs right now that are featured in pop culture.  One is in an M&M commercial ("I'm Sexy and I Know It") and the other is a viral YouTube video that our hometown hero and Olympian, Missy Franklin and the US Swim Team ("Call Me Maybe") recorded on their way to London.

If you listen to the songs in full (not in the above links) the lyrics are NOT suited for children.  It got me thinking...maybe it's time to reprogram my favorites.  I do have a little country saved, as well as the Symphony channel, but that's not always what I am looking for in the morning.

I was actually a little embarrassed as I caught myself singing along to the song by LMFAO (the above "Sexy and I Know It.")  and if you have to ask what LMFAO is, it stands for "laughing my f-ing a-- off."  The lyrics include "I'm sexy and I know it" and worse, "I have passion in my pants and I ain't afraid to show it."  Ugh.  Unsave that station for sure!

Then, Manic Mommies blogged a video yesterday!  YAY!!  Where can I buy that CD?? Check out these  new versions:  I'm Elmo and I Know It, and my personal favorite, Share it Maybe

Friday, August 3, 2012

It's pouring

When it rains, it pours and right now it is really pouring!  Mom and Dad left on Tuesday, and my in-laws arrived yesterday.  It would be nice if we could find a way to space out their visits a bit better, but when a date works for our family, we will never say no.  In the midst of all the visiting family members, we are still showing our house like crazy. Thank goodness we have an adaptable child and dogs that don't mind car rides.

While Mom and Dad were here, I snapped a few pictures.  One of them is from the 4th of July, but you'll be able to pick that one out pretty easily.  So, happy August!  Here's hoping the "normal" temperatures will return for all of us soon!!

Is our little Nugget cute or what?

Loving on Grandpa Doug

Bryan loves Grandma Penny

Gram and Grandpa Mac fun!!

it could have been perfect if Bry had looked at me!

so this is what I got instead.  Oh, well!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


With all these house showings, we've spent a lot of time in the car lately.  When Bryan starts to get a little antsy, I jump in the back seat and entertain him by saying stupid things and taking lots of cell phone pictures. Here's the result:

Bryan's cooing sounds a lot like "aaahhh-goooooo."  I pretend that means "I love you" in baby.  We say, "I agoo you" a lot around here and always get a little smile or two.  And sometimes an "agoo" too!

Monday, July 23, 2012

A humbling life lesson

This weekend was not what we would consider normal, typical, interesting or even fun, really.  But it was absolutely humbling.  I am not great at asking for help.  Some may call that stubborn, I call it a combination of genetic personality traits, independence and with self-sufficiency.  Others will know that I get this wonderful blend from both sides of my family.

Friday morning began the blur of events.  In the wake of the tragic events in our neighboring town, the entire metro-Denver area mourned the loss of twelve individuals and prayed for the recovery of  the 59 wounded.  It's all our local media covered for two days and because it was so close to home (and I have momma-bear blood now) it was difficult to focus on anything else.

Friday afternoon, our house was listed for sale and went live in the MLS listing (we love this house, just need a little more space for Nugget to play and Chris to work).  I needed a little fresh, albeit hot air so decided to water my flowers on the back porch. As I was running from the wasps that have apparently taken a liking to my cute plant with pretty pink flowers on it, I got to the edge of the deck and thought to myself, "Huh.the air conditioner sounds funny."  But quickly forgot about it as I retreated into the house, avoiding any further confrontation with the wasps.  By Friday evening, it was 79 degrees in the house.  By 3:00 am, it was 84.

Our A/C went kaput.  So, our house is on the market, we have seven showings scheduled for Saturday, temperatures are in the upper 90's and we have no A/C.  We quickly picked up the house, took the dogs to PetSmart to board them for the weekend, packed plenty of stuff for the baby, left a note about the A/C for the house hunters and vacated. Thankfully we have a wonderfully happy baby that seems to adapt to weirdness pretty well.  So well that he sat playfully (no crying, or anything) at Champps Sports Bar and  Grille for three and a half ours as we lunched with friends in town from San Antonio, TX.  After that, we did a little driving, hanging out at the neighbors house and were finally able to return home at 6:30 pm. That's when the HVAC guy told us the motor in the unit had burned up and he'd have to replace it on Monday.

We called Chris' parents to tell them the news and they gave us hotel points to stay a couple of  nights at a Hilton Garden Inn.  There was another showing schedule at 6:45 so we had to hurry, grab enough stuff for us for over night, the pack & play, tons of baby stuff, and skedaddle before the next group showed up.

Turns out that Bryan's reflux was acting up Saturday night.  We had been up with him all night to keep him from crying in that the walls were so thin we could hear the neighbors' TV.  We were certain we were going to get kicked out of the hotel so at about 4:30 am, we packed up and came home, checking out a day early.  If we aren't going to sleep, I'd rather not sleep at home.  Home to an 87 degree house.  Sigh.  Thankfully Sunday brought only a couple of showings.

Sunday night, we had some friends offer up their guest room and guest bath to us and we humbly and graciously accepted.  It was their wedding anniversary, and they have two kids of their own.  Not to mention that Bryan had been a little fussy because of his reflux and he also has a cold.  The heat in our home was unbearable by 6:30 pm (thermostat read 89), so we packed up and headed over.

We pulled in their driveway just in time to watch Air Force One fly over their house and were quickly reminded of what is most important in life.  It's not air conditioning.  It is a modern luxury that we have grown accustomed to and while it's more comfortable to have it, we don't really need it.

As Chris and I dozed off to sleep, I couldn't fight back the tears as I counted my blessings.  A happy baby that was peacefully sleeping in unfamiliar surroundings (and slept through the night too!), wonderful friends who opened their door (and a bottle of wine) for us to get a good night's sleep, and even more importantly, for our little family of three and our chronic knack for biting off more than we can chew but always managing to find a way for everything to work out.

It's good to be me.  Even when I am hot, sweaty and cranky.  Thanks, Turner family for the laughs, the wine,  the room and the air conditioning.  You are our Colorado family and we are so grateful for your friendship and hospitality.  We love you guys!!

Friday, July 20, 2012

My rant for today...

I don't talk about politics outside my home EVER, and I refuse to engage a friend when the conversation somehow moves in that direction. My political opinions are just that...opinions that belong to me that I will never expect anyone to share or understand.  But not today.  I guess you could say that the straw has broken this camel's back.

I come from a family of cops and hunters.  Both of whom carry weapons for very good reasons.  The former, to keep the bad guys in check and the later to hunt food for the family.  I believe in our second amendment right to bare arms.  However, I think it's time that we take another look at the second amendment and maybe update it to be more applicable to the twenty-first century.

Our enemies should never be better or "more" armed than our police officers.  And I can think of NO reason that a civilian would need a multitude of weapons...especially of the automatic variety.

Today we slept in (on accident) and woke up to dozens of emails asking about what happened.  We quickly turned on the local news to learn that our wonderful city and its suburbs had suffered yet another massacre.  A "very deranged" gunman walked into a theater and opened fire, injuring 59 and killing 12.  My list of reasons for being so upset about this is long (why was a 4 month old baby at a movie...let alone at midnight!), but I will try and stay on topic.

This guy walked in with tear gas, two 40-caliber Glock handguns, a single-barrel shot gun and an AR-15 assault rifle and opened fire.  Surely, and ironically, he must have had a screw or two loose.  I don't care if he was getting his PhD in neuroscience...the guy was a little "off" to say the least.

I will never object to walking through a metal detector, anywhere, anytime.  But it is increasingly providing a false sense of security.  This yahoo was in the theater, slipped out the emergency exit and managed to reenter through that door wearing a gas mask and Kevlar vest and carrying more artillery than the Denver PD, Aurora PD or any other agency carries at one time.

I understand the argument that some have for carrying handguns.  I can't tell you how many times I've heard someone say, "when that a-hole opens fire, if I have a licence and a concealed handgun, I can take him down."  I never respond, but today I will finally say what's on my mind when I hear that.

Here's my response:  "Really?  Because in the Saturday afternoon class you took that gives you the right to have that gun, did they teach you about staying calm in a crisis situation?  Is your aim so spot-on perfect that in a crisis you could be guaranteed 100% to only hit your target, and would need only a single shot to do so?  And because you are allowed to carry that handgun, that a-hole who just opened fire that you are planning on taking out is also allowed to carry weapons but his are bigger, better, faster and stronger than yours.  The only difference between you and him is the size of the gun, a Kevlar protective vest and a few brain cells."

Whew.  I feel slightly better.  Handguns aren't our problem, nor are hunting riflfes.  It's the availability and legality of bigger, more powerful weapons I have a problem with.  I am not an activist.  I won't start a march or a protest or even write a congressman or senator.  It just bugs me.  A lot.

The only thing I will do is raise my son to be a good man.  To understand right from wrong and respect the life we are each given.  That every person he meets will be someone's son or daughter, sister or brother, niece or nephew.  And that everyone deserves to be loved.  That sometimes good people do bad things.  And very rarely is a person a truly bad person.  I will raise my son to have educated opinions and know it's always OK to have an opinion as long as he can articulate why he feels that way.  That there is NEVER a good reason for taking the life of another person.  I will teach my son about stranger danger, how to be aware of his surroundings and what to do if he sees something suspicious...all without making him afraid of everything.  And God willing, I will never have to explain to him why some a-hole walked into a place my son feels safe and opened fire.

And that's all I have to say about that.  Because this is my blog and today I am just ranting, I have turned off the comments for this post.  I am sure you can do a simple Google search and find far more passionate and educated stances on this issue than I have made here.  I am also certain you could dig up just as many with differing opinions that are far more passionate and educated.  But this is just one humble woman's cursory opinion on a very politically charged issue.

I am noting here in very fine print that I am pretty sure most of my family disagrees with gun control legislation and that if this blog were to fall in the hands of SOME of my family members, I may be stripped of maiden name.  But hey, what's a family gathering without a good heated discussion where there is no absolute right or wrong?  Just a whole lotta Mac-opinions! 

Also note, that I don't advocate for so much regulation that we aren't allowed target practice, skeet shooting recreation, hunting and a little red-rider fun.  I just don't see the need for automatic weapons to be allowed in civilian hands. 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

An open letter to the housing market fairy

As of midnight tonight (or tomorrow, depending on your perspective), our house will officially be on the market.  And as of midnight tonight, Chris and I will not allow anyone to check our respective blood pressure at any time until further notice.  With that, here's the letter!  

Dear Housing Market Fairy,
We have a new baby in this house.  He's super cute and we want to give him everything we possibly can.  Including great play space inside and out.  So, we need a new house.  But because our little Nugget is only three months old, and we have two dogs, vacating our current house in two hour blocks of time on weekends is going to be tough.  We know we have to do it, but if you could pretty pretty pretty please with a chimney on top, send the right buyers to look at our house quickly, we would really appreciate it.

Thanks tons.
C.J. and Nugget, et. al.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

My wish for today...

I wish I had superhero powers.  The last week has been nuts, and its about to get nuttier than a peanut factory around here!!

About a month ago Chris and I decided that we need a bigger house.  This stemmed from the fact that we want more comfortable space for grandparents to come and stay, and even more importantly, Chris needs a better office.  Working in the unfinished basement just isn't cutting the mustard anymore.  We thought about finishing the basement, but our Realtor advised against it in that we are already the largest floor plan on the block and finishing the basement would price us out of the neighborhood.

So, now that we have our daycare straightened around (not an appropriate story for a blog...let's just say that a switch was made due to some concerns that we had), I am working full time, de-cluttering and packing unnecessary stuff, cleaning, cleaning, cleaning (damn dogs), and staging the house to be appealing to anyone who walks in the front door.  All of these things must happen while Bryan is at "school" in that he only takes two 30-minute naps per day.  So when he's home, NOTHING gets done!!   That means lots of hustle from 4:30 pm to 5:30 pm when we leave to pick him up.  And while it doesn't sound like much, I am managing the cooking, cleaning, house prep, baby loving, bath time, working full time, and being a wife all with a pinched nerve in my neck that's causing significant pain and also making 40% of my fingers totally numb and tingly all the time.  It's awesome.

Mom and Dad will be here two weeks from today, and three days after they leave, my in-laws will be here.  Did I mention NUTS???  When it rains, it pours.  But we love every second of it!

The result of all this nuttiness is an awesome looking house.  Combined with a little creativity here and there, and we have a house that anyone would want to buy.  But, in all honesty, our greatest accomplishment in all of this chaos is a VERY happy baby.  Tragically, he doesn't like to have his picture taken.  We go from cooing to frowning the second the camera comes out!

So, here are a few pictures of what we are most proud of:

4th of July, practicing sitting up.

I got a smile!!  Thanks for the onesie, Kim!  Gnome sweet gnome!
Bryan gets Daddy time every morning.  So sweet!
And because we had to get rid of the pictures of grandparents in Nugget's room, I had to find something for the wall.  I  couldn't find anything I loved.  So I made something.  Cool, eh?

Friday, June 29, 2012

I've been infected

...with Momma-itis.

I think it'something you catch during pregnancy and childbirth that turns your world upside down.  The symptoms include:  the overwhelming urge to speak in a sing-song voice, constant conversations about poop and other gross things, hearing so keen you think you hear a baby crying all the time, unquenchable thirst for playtime with your baby and an insatiable yearning for toothless grins.

But the most recent symptom caught me completely off guard.  I wasn't quite sure what to do about it.  It struck suddenly upon waking this morning and has been nagging persistently since 6:30 am.  This may be the worst of all the Momma-itis symptoms... There are six garage sales on our street and I feel an overwhelming need to check them out to see if they have any great kids stuff.  Seriously.  I must have it bad.  Until April 13, 2012, I DETESTED garage sales.  Now I am seeking them out.

I think the diagnosis is stage (almost) three (months) Momma-itis.  Apparently it's incurable and only gets worse with time.  I can think of worse things to suffer from :-)   Happy Friday!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Baby Love

I wish I had taken is bib off first! 

Mommy does all the work.  Daddy has all the fun!

Monday, June 18, 2012

The rumors are true

Time really does fly when you have a baby.  I know that before I know it, Bryan will be asking for a cuppie of something while I think to myself, "jeeze, wasn't it just yesterday that you were drinking formula from a bottle?"

In two months time, we have gone from this:
Bryan on day 2
To this sparkling-eyed, toothless-grinning little nugget:
Bryan at 2 months
And today, he went to make friends for the first time.  It's official, Bryan is at daycare.  Or the babysitter, or whatever term we want to use.  Violy is a kind, nurturing, loving woman and I trust her to the nth degree.  There are three other children for Bryan to get to know.  One is only nine months old and is crawling everywhere!  I think Nugget will love that little boy!

While I know the socialization will be great for Bryan, it still breaks my heart a little (ok, who am I kidding, it was A LOT!!) to drop him off.  I know it was harder on me than on him.  Just thinking about it yesterday had me in tears.  And I was fine this morning until Violy said, "Oh, Bryan! We are going to have so much fun.  Say goodbye to Momma" which caused me to immediately burst into flooding tears.  I was tempted to grab Nugget from her loving arms and run back to the car as fast as I could and lock us in the house and play as a family forever and ever.  I will spare you of my list of a million reasons why I know that won't work and is a fairly terrible idea!  

This is really good for all of us.  I can't not-work right now and Bryan needs the exposure to other loving adults, and very fun children.  So, I will just sit here and think about him all day.  I get to pick Nugget up in 3 hours and 30 minutes.  Not that I am counting.  Ok, maybe I am.  A little.  (wink wink!)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Looking up...

Time is passing so quickly and Bryan is growing like a weed!  It's hard to believe he's two months old today.  Happy mini-birthday, Nugget!  In honor of Bryan being two whole months old, and a celebration of me no longer being pregnant, I thought I'd just post some pictures for you.

So, here's Bryan between six and eight weeks old.
Bryan loves light fixtures and ceiling fans...when he looks up like that, it's hard to not look too!
This is one of my favorite pictures of "Looking Up!"

Somewhere there is a picture of me with a much bigger bear...but we look like twins!

So deep in thought

Nugget LOVES his bath

After we wash his head, we cover it up so he doesn't get cold!

He already looks smart

Can't help but wonder what he's thinking

I think that's almost a smile!!

He really wants to suck his thumb but can't seem to find it!

thumb search and rescue, take 2!

Abby the Beagle HATES it when Nugget cries.

Two words:  Cutie. Pie!

is there anything sweeter than tiny hands?

Working out those neck muscles with a little tummy time!