Friday, December 31, 2010

Where we were and where we're going

Where we've been:

We moved and had a baby and celebrated our first anniversary and Abby started a new school and made new friends and we visited Minnesota (not as often as I would like, but more than I thought we would have time for considering that one: it's hard to travel any distance when you're a billion months pregnant and two: it's hard to travel with a baby - but not as hard as one might think considering he was in MN 4 times in 6 months!). We celebrated a wedding and a college graduation.  We managed to stay gainfully employed in tough economic times and we avoided any major illnesses and broken bones.  We gained a new niece and lost one fine lady.

Through it all we have loved each other and our life with much gusto and passion.

I sat down a couple of nights ago to look through all of the pictures from this year, trying to summarize 2010, and I found that I had so many milestones to document each month that I had far more pictures pulled aside than I was going to have time to edit.  And it would have made for an awfully long blog post!  So, instead, I challenged myself to find one picture from each month that summarized our family the best.

And let me tell was. hard.  So much happens on a daily basis in our house - the kiddos change pretty much every time I turn around and we were busy this year.  So dang busy.  Some months we crammed more into 4 weeks than should be humanly possible without the aid of science. 

And I would not change any one moment - the good and the bad and the funny and the scary and the exciting and the terrifying - for all of the money in the galaxy.



Where we're going:

I am never very good with change.  It makes my stomach hurl and my toes curl.  That being said, I think that the adventures that 2011 holds for us are way beyond my wildest imagination and I am (semi) prepared to embrace the changes that are floating on the wind just beyond our finger tips.

I have some ideas for this blog that I'm going to try to implement this winter (I'm simplifying my own life and dropping a couple of baby pounds, and if I can help you along the way and share some things that work for me...then, hooray!  Because what are we here for if not to make life easier for each other, right?).  I planted some tulips that I'm going to watch bloom this spring and I have plans for a family vacation that will need to be finalized as the snow melts.  I've got a baby turning 1 this summer.  And by the fall, I'll have a girl solidly planted in the final stages of tween-hood and ready to dive into the throes teen-hood (Lord, help me!).   And I have a husband who I think might be easily swayed to take another mini-holiday with me before the year is over (I kind of feel like we started a tradition and I want to go with it.).

Come along for the ride, friends.  I think you're going to like where this is going...

Thursday, December 30, 2010

He's no E-Trade baby, but he's getting close.

A couple of weeks ago, we had some stuff to bring in from the car, so we put Finn in his crib with the mobile on to occupy him for a few minutes while we ran back and forth from the house to the outsides.

Let me clarify.  North to south...we put him in his crib with his little head at the top and his little toes at the bottom and his baby buns on the mattress. And then we left the room to scurry around like mice while he talked to the frog and the parrot and the monkey and listened to some Bach (I'm all about the idea that  classical music grows little brain cells).

When Uriah went to check on him a few minutes later, this is what he found:

Finn had completely turned himself east to west and flipped over on his belly.  Uriah yelled for me to come down the hall, and I, of course, immediately thought that Finn had gotten out of his crib and was surfing the web on the computer in his room (I fancy him the e-trade baby).

I squelched my disappointment that he wasn't trading stocks.  We stared at each other, astonished, because he'd never flipped himself over before regardless of the countless hours of tummy time (read: baby torture if you're somewhat lazy like my boy) that we subject him to on a daily basis.

I guess you have to crawl before you can walk (literally, in Finn's case) so, we'll work on the rolling over skill some more and then we'll move on to manipulating the mouse, perusing the web and trading stocks on the internet.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

We survived the holidays...

...Did you?

After 6 days of vacation and 19 hours in the car and one round of flu and extra inches of fluffy snow and an epic adventure of baby poop in an Iowa "restroom" and 11 adults, 3 kiddos, and 2 dogs sleeping under one roof, we made it safely back home last night.

Uriah unloaded a car stuffed with all sorts of kid toy-joy and I sorted mountains of laundry (which Abby is going to start for me today in between singing lessons with Selena Gomez via Wii Sing-It.).  There really isn't anything more lovely than falling into your own soft, sweet-smelling bed (because you were thoughtful enough to put clean sheets on before you left - Thank you, Self!) except, maybe, falling back into that soft, sweet-smelling bed at 4 am after the teething baby finally falls back to sleep (For the record, in case you didn't get the memo, teething sucks.).

I have 1.7 million pictures to go through and edit from our week in the Arctic Tundra, and a ton of stories to organize, but for now, let me share with you what Christmas really is all about:

{Christmas Joy | 12.25.10}
 Merry (belated) Christmas!   

Friday, December 24, 2010


We arrived just in time for the snow to start flying.

Our alarm went off at 4:00 am on Thursday morning and I rolled over and asked Uriah if we could pretty please just sleep for one more hour because my eyes wanted to stay closed.  As excited as I was to get on the road, I did not want either of us to fall asleep at the wheel (technically, I didn't want Uriah to fall asleep at the wheel because it's a stick and I don't drive it.).  It didn't take much arm twisting, so we snoozed a little bit longer and were on the road by 6:30 (after one small detour back home because I left Finn's diaper bag in his room.  Clearly, he woudn't be content to sit in his pee-pants for 600 miles.).

And now we are home (my Mama's house - no matter where I live - will always be home).  Finneaus has been smothered with Grandma-Grandpa-Auntie-Uncle love and is now napping from the shear exhaustion of it all.  Later, he's going to get his first taste of rice cereal...I can hardly wait!  Abby and Dane are outside sledding in the 4 inches of fluffy snow that fell over night.  Uriah is helping my Dad get ready to go ice fishing and I'm going to dig through some old family picutres (circa 1984!).

I love being home.  Love, love, love it!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Oh Christmas tree, my Christmas tree...

Who takes down their Christmas tree 4 days before Christmas?

This girl does.

It was a lonely looking little Charlie Brown with only lights on it and a tote of ornamnets sitting forlornly next to it.  We will be in Minnesota on Thursday and I know that between now and then we are not going to decorate that tree (because Abby is already with Emily and Jerad and I shopped today and tomororw I have to pack and and do laundry and Uriah has some last minute cooking to do.). 

Who am I's still depressing.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Dear Santa,

We have tried really hard to be good all year long.  It's not that fair, though, that Finn only had to be half as good as Abby because he was only around for half the year.  But, whatever, Santa; I'm just pointing out the facts.

Some days are better than others; please take that into consideration when writing your list.  There were a couple of temper issues and a hair issue and I know that you remember about the note that Abby wrote in school last year and there was that 6 entire week period that Finn did nothing but cry.  And cry.  And cry.

But we also did good things like give lots of hugs and kisses and empty the dishwasher and there was the whole sleeping through the night thing.  We promise to try really hard next year to do all the things that good little girls and boys do if you'd just bring us a puppy.

And Justin Beiber.

But mostly a puppy.

Abby & Finn

Friday, December 17, 2010

Curl up and dye (or die, you decide).

Abby is convinced...and I mean CONVINCED...that she can cut her own hair.  Not only that, but she is positive that she can cut hair evidenced by the hair cut that the neighbor girl got last weekend courtesy of Abby's Clip 'N Curl. 

I'm pretty sure she thinks that she is Paul Mitchell's daughter.

Sometimes (all the time) when I get frustrated and my buttons are not just being pushed, they are being jabbed. really. really. hard., I say things that I wouldn't normally even consider.  Last night was one of those nights and I think I may have told her to go ahead and cut her own hair, but that if it didn't turn out (pretty certain that cutting hair with a dull craft scissor is a recipe for disaster) she was stuck with it until it grew out.  Not only that, but I also told her that she would not be able to be seen in public with us until it grew out.  Nothing I was saying was getting through to her - not that fact that I was certain it would not turn out ("How the heck are you going to cut the back evenly?" I asked her.  "Don't worry about it," she replied - again with the eye rolling!); certainly not the fact that people who cut hair for a living actually go to school to learn how to do it.  I told her cutting human hair was not the same as practicing on Polly Pockets and she sure as heck could not practice on the neighbor girl ever again. 

She just looked at me like I was a huge moron, rolled her eyes and restated that she could definitely cut her own hair, stuck her hand on her sassy hip and said, "What if, Heather, what if it turns out great?  Then what?" 


So...HELP!  Should I let her cut her own hair (and learn her lesson the hard way)?  Leave a comment; it may help to talk me off of this ledge that I'm teetering on...because I'm just annoyed enough to let her go ahead and do it... 

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Baby, it's cold outside.

It snowed over the weekend, so now, in addition to honestly and truly retiring my flip-flops for the season, I have to bundle the baby up to take him outside (even though the snow is gone, it's still dang cold out!).  He borrowed this sweet snowsuit from Cousin Dane - it's made for the car seat; see how the buckle goes right through the little hole in the bottom?  Nifty.  And convenient.

It's not his favorite thing in the world because I have to cover his little hands up; he likes to suck his thumb, so that goes over like a ton of bricks (and the reason for the pacifier stuck in his face that I said I would never give to my kid.  I have a whole list of nevers that I've already done...never say never, I suppose.).  I have to stuff his little arms and legs into his car seat and his wiggle room is sorely limited.  He looks like a blue baby sausage.

Actually, he sort of reminds me of the little brother, Randy, from A Christmas Story, "I can't put my arms down," and then the mom says, " can put your arms down when you get to school."

Now if only I could find him a pink bunny costume...

Monday, December 13, 2010


{Abby, 11 years old | 12.10.10}
Eleven years ago I was a sophomore in college.

I was living in a two bedroom apartment on a tiny campus in the middle of the prairie with three other girls.  We waited in line to get a number at the end of our freshman year in order to be put in a pool to get one of the on-campus apartments because we couldn't stand to live in the dorms for one. more. year.  I was so excited to move into that apartment; what freedom it would bring after a summer of living at home and following (most of) my parents rules.  I worked the entire summer for a horrible woman to be able to afford my first car - a sweet little "previously owned" Corsica.  I was in the off-again stage of an on-again-off-again relationship and I was thinking about switching schools after spring semester.  I had the world at my fingertips.

And while I was making my winter break plans, who I was going to see and what I was going to do and the all important New Year's Eve Party Plans (because it was going to be the year 2000 - hello!); while I was reveling in being 20 and having the luxury of going to college and making plans and being concerned only with myself, somewhere a few states south, a little girl was being born, and that baby girl would change my life. 

{Abby & Uriah, Union Station | 12.10.10}
If someone had pulled 20 year old me aside that December, after my finals were over and my books were sold back and my Corsica was packed up with my stereo and my Doc Martins, and said to me: "A little girl is being born this month and someday you're going to be responsible for her and you're going to help raise her and you're going to ensure that she gets everything good that she deserves out of this life," I probably would have laughed at that person. 

And then I would have kicked them in their privates. 

Because eleven years ago, the heck if I was going to fall in love with someone who already had a kid...too much trouble, I would have said, too much drama.  Besides, when you're 20, you can make bold assumptions about the rest of your life, because the rest of your life is so far away.

But the rest of your life isn't eleven years from now.  It isn't even tomorrow.  It's today.  Now.  It's this moment.  You don't choose who you fall in love with.  You just fall, knowing that you've picked someone you want to hold hands with the whole way down and that you'll be together at the bottom. 

And when I finally fell, I was holding Uriah's hand with one and Abby's hand with the other.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas Spirit

{First Snow | 12.11.10}
I used to decorate for Christmas right after Thanskgiving.  I would put up my tree and light my Christmas candles and listen to Christmas music (yes, I have a Celine Dion CD.  And it. is. AWESOME!) and get in the spirit of the season.  

This year I am having some trouble getting into the Christmas spirit.  My spirit, it seems, is overwhelmed and heavy. 

Last week, when I was driving home and thinking of all of the things that need to get done and the lists that I've been making in my head, and the New Year's resolution that I really want to stick to this year, I realized how my actions and my not being in the moment, were affecting those around me.  I also realized, driving along a dark road with no snow, that I was taking out my lack of Christmas cheer on my family.  I was so overwhelmed with all of the things going on - things that will be what they will be no matter how much I obsess over them or stress over them - that we hadn't put up our tree, yet, although Abby had asked repeatedly when we were going to.  And I found myself snapping at her; telling her we'd get to it when I was good and ready, all the while having no intention of really getting to it any time soon.  I had a couple of decorations out, but the majoirty of them still sat in totes downstairs. 

So yesterday, when I was sitting at work, stewing in my own Grinch-y-ness, I decided that no matter how many excuses I could make for not decorating and not getting into the Christmas spirit...we're going to be gone for Christmas this year, there's too  much stuff to have out with a baby in the house, it's cold downstairs and the totes are really isn't about me this year.  Or any year, for that matter. 

It's about Abby's needed to maintain the traditions that we started with her a couple of Christmas' ago. 
And it's about Finn's first Christmas.  His FIRS CHRISTMAS!  I am missing out on the excitement and the newness and the making of memories for him because I can't shake my rain cloud.

And that's pretty shitty, right? 

This season is about my family and I need to shove aside those dark little thoughts and focus on just what is happening right in front of my face.  I came home yesterday and Uriah had put the treee up, so I put lights on it and lights in the windows.  And while the totes aren't competely unpacked, they are upstairs sitting in the middle of the living room where I can't miss them.  I have Christmas cookie dough in the refrigerator and it snowed last night.  Real, honest to goodness snow on the ground.

I feel the flutterings of my Christmas spirit in those tiny snowflakes; I'm being careful not to melt them.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Mama's Day Out

{We had to make up for lost time last night.}
I did it.

I took Finn to daycare yesterday.  On my day off.

Dang it I had stuff to do.  I had to go to the dentist (Don't get me started on how much I thoroughly dislike the dentist, which explains why I leave it for the end of the year.) and I had to get some shopping done - the Christmas and grocery kind - and it is just not conducive to productiveness to carry around a 16 lb wiggle worm when lists are involved.

So, I dropped him off to play with his pals and I headed to the torture session (yes, I really don't like going to the dentist even though he's a really nice man.  My mouth doesn't care.).  And then I procured a few new items for myself (read: no more maternity pants!!) and I picked up some Christmas presents and Christmas wrap and everything on my grocery list and I took my sweet. ass. time.

I was not at the mercy of someone fussing.  Or pooping his pants.  Or needing to be snuggled (in the middle of the ethnic food aisle of the grocery store).  I did not have to stuff my bag with baby toys, pacifiers, pacifier wipes, a bottle, formula, bottled water, diapers, wipes, a change of clothes, an extra bib and a blanket (I know, get a diaper bag right?  My purse actually fits all of that.  Don't judge).  Instead, I carried a huge purse with lots of extra room - and a ton less weight.  I was able to look at everything in Target.  I walked through the men's section.  Because I could. I haven't been missing much, actually, so it was kind of a waste of time.  But I had time to waste!  I was able to look at everything in Marshall's - and I didn't have to maneuver a cart in either store through tight aisles and around hordes of other Christmas shoppers.  And at the grocery store?  I did not drop one jar of salsa because there was a baby seat in the cart and I had to shove everything in the fold out seat for kids who are bigger than mine.  Not that I've ever done that.   Okay, yes, I've done that...salsa and shards of glass were all over the floor and my tennis-kicks.  And I was carrying Finn in his baby carry pouch and pushing a cart and feeding him at the same time because he was 13 seconds old and I figured, "Hey, look at me, world!  Just because I had a baby one minute ago doesn't mean I can't still multi-task!"  You should have seen the looks I got.  Clearly, I could not still multi-task. 

Lesson learned:  Feed baby or get groceries.  Do not do both at the same time.

So...yesterday I had a Mama's Day Out and I have two new pairs of pants, three new shirts and one ginormous bra to assuage the guilt of leaving my son at daycare when I should have snuggled him up next to me.  But, by God, it's good to be out of those maternity pants!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Sugar and spice and everything nice.

{Miss Ava-Rose | 11.25.10}

I love having a baby boy...but sometimes, for the briefest of moments, I long for a baby girl.

The bows.
The pink.
The hearts and flowers and sparkles.

Those sweet moments that you can only have with a daughter talking about things like Barbies and Ramona Quimby and nail polish.  That adoring look little girls have for their mamas.  The cooking together.  The buying of the fluffy dresses for holidays.  Baby dolls and easy bake ovens and Disney Princesses...

And then I think about periods and friend-drama and braces and acne and feelings of not fitting in and hormones, oh the wild hormones...and the feeling passes.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Hello, Monday...

So.  It's Monday.

After a full-on weekend of family and cooking and birthday parties and getting the baby holy, Monday showed up this morning with the alarming speed of a freight train.

Evidently, Abby was operating in slow-mode this morning, even though Uriah made breakfast for her.  She was standing in front of the tv in her bare feet with her shirt un-tucked watching The Today Show and grass grow when Uriah reminded her that the bus would be coming and she needed to head outside in about 5 minutes to meet it.  Commence a flurry of activity and wails of, "I am going to be so late!"  It was 19 degrees this morning but we had to remind Abby to zip up her coat and put on a hat even though she looks at the temperature gauge every morning and comments on how warm/cold it is outside

Finn threw up on me and himself, so just as we were about to walk out the door, both of us required a shirt change.  Then he fell asleep in the car on the way to daycare (puking on yourself is exhausting.) and I felt so bad waking him up to take him from the warm car into the cold.  Talk about a jarring wake up!

I dropped the baby off and got to work with minimal traffic delays.  My desk was a little full from leaving early on Friday...the schedule was a lot full.  In the middle of juggling it all, I got a phone call from the school nurse.  Abby, apparently, was feeling "crampy and dizzy."  So the nurse gave her some pain reliever but left me a message asking that I call her back to "discuss what else to do." 

You have got to be kidding me. 

Abby has this habit of visiting the nurse when she needs some extra attention.  It is an on-going battle.  When she first moved in with us, we had to sit her down, after multiple phone calls in one week from the nurse, to tell her she could only go to the nurse if she was bleeding and needed to go to the hospital.  Or if she broke a bone.  Or if she threw up.  Otherwise, the nurse's office was off-limits.  Today I figured Abby just needed to eat lunch (considering it was noon when I got the phone call).  Luckily (and I say that sarcastically)  she and the nurse figured out what her "problem" was....she has gym before lunch and she eats during the last lunch period, so it's a really long time between breakfast and lunch, and they figured that she was probably just hungry.  Really?  However, Abby went on to tell the nurse that she feels dizzy every single day.  And it just happens to be during gym class (her least favorite class, surprisingly enough). So the nurse told her to come to her office any time she feels dizzy, for a carton of milk.  I see this going terribly wrong for the nurse.

I'm going to have to nip this in the bud.

I told Abby to eat lunch and when she gets home this afternoon, to take it easy and rest.  Then I called Uriah and told him that raising a girl is hard work and I need a raise.

Saturday, December 4, 2010


Uriah and I took a little holiday last much of a holiday as you can toting a 4 month old, that is.  It was nice to have a break from the hussle and bussle and to be able to have deep and meaningful conversations about things like, should we watch ESPN or HGTV?  We don't have cable in our house, so these kinds of conversatins are imperative to keep the peace when on holiday.  We drove back home through a snow-storm, which made me thankful yesterday for the ability to wear flip-flops in December.

And now the weekend is upon us.  We had a surprise birthday part for Abby last night, although her birthday is technically next weekend.  Today is the baby's baptism and tomorrow my Mama and Pops and Sars leave to go back to the great white North, where we will be in a couple of weeks.  Before that, though we will need to celebrate Abby's real birthday, more surprise await her next weekend, and we need to decorate a tree and put up some Christmas goodness and make some cookies and buy some presents.

You know...hussle and bussle.

With all of the lists that I've made and things I need to get done, and timelines to do it all, I really wish my biggest decision still involved whether to watch TV downstairs in front of the fireplace or upstairs, in bed, in front of the fireplace...

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


{Baby Hefter | 12.01.09}
It's hard to believe that a year ago this little dude had been growing for only about 8 weeks and in that short period of time, he turned our world upside down. 

Uriah and I laid in bed those first weeks, with our secret between us, and imagined the little bean baby that we couldn't feel.  Who was he going to look like?  What he would act like?  Would he have dark hair like Uriah or be a blondie like me?  What color eyes would he have?  Would he have our (dry and inappropriate) sense of humor?  Would he be OCD like me or laid back like Uriah?  Would he be tall or short?  Uriah's metabolism or (God forbid) mine?  Would we be able to teach him to love to read as much as we do?  When would he start moving around?  Will he like us? 

Mostly, though, we were content to revel in the fact that nobody knew, except the two of us, that we were going to have a baby...and for a little bit, he was exclusively ours.

{Finn | 12.1.10}

Isn't it incredible what a year can do?