Sunday, December 30, 2012

iM Hooked

Like a little holiday wish the day before vacationing from my career for a week, my workplace issued we travelers the iPhone 5:

 Then Santa went bananas and spoiled me rotten with the iPad mini:

i'M hooked. Totally pumped. And geeking out over these gadgets. Steve Jobs: you are one mechanical genius changing this world one iDevice at a time.

PS: I pimped out (is that even cool to say anymore?!) the phone with this little sparkler:
Any unique tips or ways you use these iThings? Favorite aps? 

Here's to sticking to my no iDevices while the child is awake situation. Better put that on the resolution list for 2013-these things are addicting!

ATL Awesomeness

"Yah, I've got the saline spray, Pickles and his cars - let's roll," I said breathlessly, struggling to drag a 50 pounder with a 30 pounder on my hip. With our whole family stuck with the illness, a four-hour delay at the bland KCI and nap time nearing, the holidays not all the way planned and unfinished business at work and home, we weren't sure if the trip was off to a good start, but kept our spirits positive nonetheless.

Good thing we did because the trek and time there were simply marvelous:

Super trooper doing some iTime during 4-hour delay

Instantly bonding with Uncle Ryan

Laid back hours with the sis-in-law's delicious cooking. Warm hugs from my brother who I think about constantly, but could never see enough. Time with his in-laws who are incredibly warm, caring, sparkling and a reminder of what family really means. A run in with a faux Santa who'd had a few at the local pub, causing tears of laughter at our child's grimaces and threats of concern regarding his behavior. Balmy weather that meant no jackets in the brisk air as a soccer ball was kicked for hours and giggles heard during playground races. Watching my brother and SIL blossom into little parents, assisting, laughing and cuddling with our son. My first trip to IKEA (swoon!!!) where all my retail dreams unfolded right before me, and L2's nursery started coming to life. Laughs over the character-filled BearC pup that belongs to the SIL's family. Early wakings with waffles, scrambled potatoes and calm routines that came so easily as if our family did this every day. Even one night in a generously comfortable bed all to myself - it was all quite a treat. Easy, light traveling with little dude who we dubbed one of the greatest pre-school travelers around. Constant reminders of how important an uncle and aunt will be in his life.

Park fun - notice the short sleeves in December!

It was all magnificently magnificent. Ordinarily extraordinary. And a time we'll never forget.

Saying "see you soon!"

Thank you, Ryan and Erica and the Hein family for a holiday before the holidays and reminding us what it's all about. We love you!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Magic for the Wee Ones

Want to blow your little one's mind with a free, personalized video from Santa? Try this!

I can't wait to see his may be the best gift of all this season!

PS: you can see your house in a snow globe too. What will they come up with next?!

Merry Christmas Eve!!!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Tonight's Menu


Tonight marks one of my favorite evenings of the whole year - the cookie swap with the girls! Thanks to Pinterest, the above recipes (that align nicely with my non-domestic skills) will be my contribution to the festive feast. Can't wait!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Forever Moved

Days have passed and yet I still can't find the words, so instead I share this.

Still heartbroken. Still speechless. Still a mix of emotions that can barely be felt and must be left undescribed as I'm uncertain if there is ever enough healing, support or love that can conquer the loss of a child. Sure glad the good people of this world are leaning on higher spirits and trying though...

Forever moved.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

"L" is for...

Love. Baby love.

Oh, and Liam:

Liam Emory Choate, expected to arrive via stork (I wish) in April 2013.

Our first "L" is still working on how to pronounce it and prefers to just call him "Emily" for now (backwards?). Or some days it's Darth Vader or Preston...

We can't wait to meet you, Mr. Liam. You, your healthiness, acrobatic legs and all.

Rokuin' Round the Christmas Tree

During our recent visit to the ATL, my little brother learned more about "Curious George" than likely he ever intended, passing the morning hours until the sun poked beyond the Georgia horizon so we could head out and enjoy the balmy southern air. And it was all thanks to this little device:

The Roku. A streaming player that instantly downloads pretty much whatever you want to watch from movies to sitcoms, Pandora to new releases. Bottom line: it's amazeballs.

And the best part? Uncle Ryan had the hubs' name in the draw this year, therefore this little beauty is already nestled right in the TV center console. After owning it just one week, we've learned about Tinkerbell, Daddy has gotten into his gangster movies after hours and I jumped on the "Parenthood" bandwagon that was so hot on FB this week.

So whether you need to treat yourself or find the perfect gift for just about anyone in the next week, Roku is the answer. Rock it around your Christmas tree!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Sweater Scenes

 Five years of ugly sweaters. Three rooms filled with rockin' friends. One lifetime of people we adore, appreciate and love to celebrate with.

Cheers to Ugly Sweater 2012!

It happened. We've reached the point of welcoming the double chin, recognizing the bedunkadunk could be considered a double-wide, and falling even further in love with accessories because they're the only things that fit.

Which is why I returned from Chicago with four new pair of shoes. Oh, and what was probably more than six pounds of buttery, carmely, cheesey deliciousness the windy citians call Garrett's popcorn (likely one of the culprits that help aided above situation).

Speaking of finds, whether you're preggo or not, hitting the GAP is a wise choice if it's your kinda style. As one of only three outfitters serving the knocked up of the world, I was delighted to find that some new items had rolled in and given their push to hit the black during the holiday season, incredibly on sale. With not a penny to spend on such frivolous items such as clothes that fit and are comfortable at 20 weeks, I managed to score four dresses and a sweater for $110 bucks.

Seriously, a steal. And they're all the GAP comfort and quality you've loved since your years of wearing flannel and ripped boyfriend jeans in middle school.

So fall in to the GAP - you never know what finds you'll find.

Word of the Week

Truth be told, there’s been a fair share of sh*t that’s gone down in our household this week, from hosting a party, Elf on the Shelf phobia, a variety of illnesses, doctor visits, intense deadlines and preparing for a trip. Toss in round 4,875 of nausea (seriously, half way through and we’re still doing this?!), and a newfound love of waking every two hours and we’re operating at about a five on a 10-scale. So, a few complications, but it’s all good.

And let me be clear about one thing: though things got a little sh*tty for a few moments over the course of the last six days, we never talked about it. And we certainly never used the word. Which is why I was slightly surprised to hear the latest report from Miss Julie on how using our sight words at circle time went down this week:

“Ok, friends, which of you would like to come up and doing rhyming with one of our site words this week?”

Our son eagerly raises his hand being the good student he is.

“Lawson – come on up.”

So up he pranced and she doled out the word he was to rhyme with, which was “sit.”

You can imagine the outcome of this. Really Miss Julie – you were asking for it.

Stifling a laugh she played it cool as if the imaginary words the rest of the kids were making it up (adding syllables to real words, etc. – a three year old’s playground), they moved on without so much as one five year old even noticing. Shocking really.

Then the teachers had a good laugh in the lobby. I can only imagine the kind of parents they think we are now, particularly given I told her the recent golf ball sized lump on his head was a mosquito bite and didn’t sign off or (gasp) leave the dosage for the saline nose drops.

Hey, at least the kid can rhyme with the word of the week, yes?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Meeting the Big Man, v4.0

"Two wands - one pink, one purple...oh, OH...and a Star Wars one. Merida doll, Barbies, and two, BIG, FAST, yellow race cars. And maybe some chocolate."

He'd been practicing for weeks, responding to adult prodding on just what he wanted for the season of merry and bright. Together we walked through the drill of seeing Santa, what the place would look like, the red suit, his warm laughter and even contemplated on the realness of his beard, curious as to what would happen if he tried to tug on it. A promise of a candy cane, some strong listening ears from the Big Man himself and a bit of a bribe to wear "handsome clothes" and we were off.

"I don't know - he seems pretty comfortable and excited this year - do you really think he'll do it?" I whisper excitedly to the hubs as we made our way out south toward our favorite Santa site. We giggled at the previous experiences: first, a newborn tucked soundly in Santa's arms, uknowningly having his picture snapped except for our gasps when St. Nick nearly dropped him with the aid of his slippery white gloves. Year two, pretty decent with some curious stares and the distraction of a book. Third year: hell to the no with tears, fears and finally a dog toy in the photo that finally led to the closest thing we could call a shot. To this year:

Perfection. Magic. Joy, Smiles. Interaction. Character. Charm. And so much love.

Shooting across the parking lot, he caught Santa's eye from his marketing poster, marveling that we had found the North Pole and anticipating all that lay behind those glass doors. Heading straight for the line and even avoiding the toys, he danced around with slight patience, taking every chance he could to peek behind the curtain, unphased by the younger ones that shouted their concerns of "where the hell am I and who is this bearded man?!" He talked non-stop, plotting where he was going to perch, what he was going to share, how he was going to smile and more (who says setting expectations doesn't work with 3yos?!). Then, just as his aptitude toward calm for the big moment prepared to cease, his name was called and he walked in with the confidence of a superstar preparing for his opening act.

Up on the lap he went with little instruction from Santa, the two of us disappearing in the background as we choked up at his hilarious antics we get so much of at home as Santa did his best to sort through what it all meant. Ticking through his list perfectly and providing clarifying points for Santa, they read together, chatted and even (gasp) hugged, creating the magic of Christmas you always hear of that exists for young children. We soaked in each little moment, from his expressions, his tumbling words, his relaxed body language and the ease and comfort in which he looked directly at the Big Man himself and shared what was most important to him in the entire world at that point of time in his universe.  Though we had no expectations, desires or push for how this interaction would go, it couldn't have been more perfect.

So maybe three is the magic number for Santa and more? Regardless, Santa v4.0 was the best yet. We can only hope the magic and real reason for the season lives on in his little, precious heart for many more years to come.

Here's to you and yours and finding your own jollies with St. Nick!

Bonus: a sneak preview of his goofy version of his Christmas program content. Goofball!:

PS: One word of warning: if you go this early, prepare to answer 100 times per day the inquiry as to when exactly that Star Wars "wand" will appear under the tree. But use the trick of answering a question with a question? Totally worth it to have the darling photos displayed around your house for the whole season!

For Your Virtual Reading List

It literally brings me to tears each time...and when I say tears I mean laughter-induced ones. Seriously funny stuff, and likely exactly how toddlers think in their mini universes. I'm not sure who the author(s) are, but I'm certain they're either pre-school geniuses or just really smart parents. The latest posts on school and sleeping had me reeling and I've likely scanned them five times each. This from the girl who goes ahead and catches the last few pages of a book first or breaks up with one if the first 10 don't cut it.

Regardless, it's an absolute hoot and entertaining read. Add the blog to your 30-second weekly read list, won't you? Because laugh lines are the best to have anyway. Plus, it will remind you how normal you and your children are just when you begin to doubt it...

Friday, November 23, 2012

Crave It

My heart, our unborn kiddo and my taste buds are very happy.  Not to mention my wallet for paying two-something a box versus one-something for one at those chocolatier places. Or botching the recipe myself because I have an affinity for messing anything up with more than two ingredients...

After picking these up at 1 a.m. during a Black Friday binge, the box is nearly halfway gone.

Crave! Consider keeping these full-time, won't you Nabisco?!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Naming Baby

"Mommy -is the baby coming TU-DAY?!" he said with a slight huff in his voice, the whisk of his padded feet hitting the shag carpet a welcome sound to our mornings together.

"Not yet buddy - we have to wait until nearly Easter," I said, using our benchmark of holidays as the passage of time versus numbers and hands. It's a bit like women and directions...keep it to landmarks instead of that whole east west thing...

"Well, can we at least name...wait a second. Mom. Is it a boy or a girl?"

"We'll find out in three weeks buddy - are you excited?"

He dapples in another topic for awhile, sprinkled in with requests for waffles and Oswald the cartoon, then reverts back to baby. Since I won't give him the gender, he goes with:

"Let's do the baby's name then, okay Mom?"

We exchange dialogue as I grow more excited as to what will stumble out of his mouth, anticipating a favorite teacher name, friend in class or Elmo. Instead, he firmly insists on:

"Sunshine" and "Princess."

And in case you were wondering, Sunshine is the girl and Princess is the boy. You know, because this is the same little dude that desires a purple and pink wand and Merida for Christmas. Done. Wrapped. Because that's how Santa rolls. I gotta admit I like his free spirit and the warmth associated with each, despite it may just be because it's the same tune I sing him nightly and Disney's latest focus for marketing.

So, since we have no list of names we can agree on at all and it's pure torture waiting another few weeks until the gender reveal, Sunshine and Princess it is. After all, they make for killer backups. And won't it be fun when we have to explain our yuppie vs. hippie selves to others when they ask the origin and we say it was the first born's idea?

They'll totally get it then.

What are your favorite baby names right now?

This Year's Contribution to the Feast

That and a whole lotta love for the ones we'll share the table with and the hubs' endless talent in the kitchen. It's every preggo's dream.

Yum, yum, gimme some!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Gender, Revealed!

I don't know about you, but I'm totally digging this trend to really hoop it up about one's baby to be and it's gender. Seriously, I almost, ALMOST created a board just for gender reveal ideas,  but then got tired of my husband showing his scroogedness of these fun events. I mean, the man doesn't even have a Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest account - what fun is he anyway?! Here's a look at his cousin's big reveal last weekend:

The welcome entrance that illustrated her symptoms and you grabbed your voting
 clothespin  to let others know where you stand

Yum! And how cute are those plates?

The answer is inside!

It's a boy!
How fun is that?! Congratulations Erin and Zach! We can't wait to celebrate and support you on your journey ahead.

We may have a little something up our sleeves Dec. 12 ourselves (thank you Wise family!). Though nothing as elaborate and delicious as this, we're pretty darn excited.

So what do you think, are you into the gender trend? I'm guessing ultrasound techs aren't so much as they've had to add cake ordering, envelope stuffing and professional photography to their job descriptions with no title or pay advancements. If only they saw all the pinteresting ideas we have and the joy it brings afterward...totally worth it.

Head Shots

First, my apologies for the super un-stellar pictures of pictures and my still inability to figure out how to rotate the damn things.

Second, how BIG is he?!

Love you Superman...happy headshots, pre-school November 2012.

Dog Gone Mad

"Don't get me wrong, I love her dearly, but some days I just want to throw open that screen and let her wander out to another loving family," I said with exhaustion in my voice, clutching my stomach, balancing a tray of cheese and apples and dragging a pre-schooler with the opposite leg.

We watched as our six-year-old Golden stared longingly at her food bowl from across the wood floors, her salivating mouth indicated she wanted it more than anything, but her shaking limbs telling a different story.  She stood near an invisible line she created, never to be crossed, for the fear of what I'm unsure, but it's definitely bad because that dog doesn't pass up morsels of anything. Like, ever. (note T. Swift reference here.) Her hair wild, her eyes intense and a low groaning whine constantly stuck in her throat, Miss Ellie was in serious need of some doggie Zanax. Too bad all we have is Benadryl in the house. Maybe the Epi Pen would work. Or one of those Unisoms...

It's been nearly a month since her entrance into lunacy, our efforts to switch food bowls, change the location of her dining spot or moving the spooky, evil trash can and nothing has worked. Suddenly her water possesses that of a zombie fit to audition on the "Walking Dead" and her food bowl so full of fear it must be that abyss the main character on "666" slipped into last week. I mean, the hound even left ham...straight up deli her bowl she was so nervous to cross the threshold.

She? Is a hot mess.

The only thing we can think of that may have caused her to slip into this downward spiral of anxiety is we added a leaf to our dining table in anticipation of girls' night, Thanksgiving and Christmas. And we all know how deadly table leaves can be...

I don't know just when the fear will pass but I do find myself oscillating between deep bouts of sympathy to complete intolerance of everyone but me, the crazy preggo lady, falling apart around me. Maybe this could be a good job for our fat, lazy cat Sully - it's about time he started developing others.

If you have any tips for this dog gone mad, pass 'em along. Because there's just not enough Zanax to go around this household right now and I can't drink wine.

So tips, please. Yes, tips. And don't try to blame that innocent face on the left and my growing belly for all this. Hmmmm....

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Because You Asked...

Yes, I voted today.

I'm 16 weeks preggo.

And no, I didn't bother doing my hair or makeup as it seemed really hard at 4 a.m. 

Happy election 2012! 
And first belly shot of "Sprout..."

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Becoming Big Brother

Twenty eight years ago, it's hard to recall what it felt like becoming a big sister - the memories foggy besides all the laughter, tiffs, bribes, shennanigans, joy and what seemed to be a minimal change in love and affection from our parents. And then there was the "Glow Worm" that was given in compensation for my little brother's arrival from the hospital. Perhaps I shouldn't be so surprised that little dude has chosen THIS creature among all his others to begin brothering in a way that seems to natural to him. Nurturing, patient, kind and welcoming, I'm astounded by what he comes up with daily. And all with no prodding or reminders from us as our goal has been to keep his life as untouched as possible until the day grows nearer. Here are some examples:

Returning from a business trip two weeks ago, he unexpectedly embraces my belly and in a sing-song, unfamiliar voice says: "Hi baby, I missed you!" He completes the movement with a kiss right to my belly button.

On a cool, rainy Saturday morning he tucked the modern glow worm doll into my arms and gave step by step instruction on how to shoot a basketball. "Now baby, you just have to bend your knees. Not too much or too little, but about 90-degrees. Focus your eyes on the net. Then shoot!" This next one is sure to be a pro with this little athlete around to coach.

A quiet, Sunday morning before the sunrise, he insists on waking me and says the baby is hungry. He finds a toy that looks remarkably like a bottle, pretends to feed the glow worm, then replicate the sound of a burp. "You can go back to sleep now Mom - the baby has eaten. Oh, but I haven't. Can I please have waffles?" So kind to think of his brother or sister first!

When someone, including Daddy, gets a little too close: "That's MY baby!" with authority and protection in his tone.

In choosing just the right treat from the Halloween bowl for the day, he offers one to baby, then quickly withdrawing it, stating: "Oh oh baby, that one has peanuts in it. That will make you sick. Let me get you some taffy instead." So thoughtful. And cautious.

Other frequently heard questions: "Can the baby come out today and play? Will the baby like that I share X toy with her?"

Of course he has his moments of "I'm going to kick the baby! I'm going to smash the baby! I'm going to sit on the baby!" Sibling rivalry, right?!

Though many of my moments are filled with fear in how the love dynamic will change around the home, how my heart will ever expand to love another little being so deeply (combust?!) or just how we'll manage the logistics and finances of it all, I know deep down it will be the most magical, amazing journey our family of four will ever take together.

I think the Glow Worm thinks so too.

As long as it's not in the sitting/kicking/smashing portion of the brotherly events...

Saturday, November 3, 2012

A Smashing Hit

For parties, colleague consumption and teacher gifts. And super easy too (gah knows if I can do it, you can). The recipe makes a ginormous batch so you can spread the love with one work effort- enjoy!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Falling in Love Again

"You think it will never happen...that your heart will expand to love another little being as much as your first. But it will. I promise."

And you know what? They were right.

Maybe it was the spa music or the friendly techs and nurses that felt like my best friends. Perhaps it was the 25 minutes they spent inspecting every inch of our little sprout. Or it could have been the gentle movements baby made to brush her cheeks, give us a rear view and cross its legs in which I secretly hope is a lady-like style.

But regardless, another piece of my heart shattered away, gone to the winds of love I've never known before.

I can't wait to give the shards to you, little Sprout, to grow, nurture and love like we never thought possible.

This is finally real. And exciting. And this level two sono a few weeks back? Left me real excited. Like I'm falling in love all over again.

Phat Pants

On a normal day, a woman of substance such as myself struggles to find a pair of pantelones, fighting the woes of pockets sewed on hips, the waist to booty ratio or just giving up and resorting to Mom jeans. Don't even get me started on the denim for these divas and deirrieres. Add pregnancy to that list and it's a whole new ball game of self hatred, deep sighs as she pours through the skinny jeans (for maternity, what?!) and a whole loss of perspective as you just try to dress for that upcoming business meeting. That's why I was pumped to find these on this go round of expanding our family:

Trousers from GAP - no awkward pockets; demi and full panels, the perfect length, and wash up great with a bit of flare to balance those child bearing hips

GAP's Long and Lean jeans; just the right amount of stretch, full panel for maximum slouching and lounging around and that beloved flare to balance out the pear

And for the expanding "girls," I received a recommendation from my well endowed, knowledgable gal pal who happens to work at a lingerie store to hit Soma. Here, I fell in love with the Embracable full coverage bra, and at only $40, it was just right to get me through until I hit that good ol' nursing stage.

Because if you're going to celebrate while enduring the symptoms, you might as well be comfy and cute, right?!

Thank you, GAP, for fat pants that work. Cheers!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Why's the WEEK Hafta END?!

Wrapping up a successful meeting with the Radiology Directors

Snagging a mani at the new Hoopla Studio with a beloved gal pal

Picking up the love of my life early on a Friday after three days apart

Attending an annual Halloween party with the neighbors...with "Magic Mike" himself

Scoring some mother/son time as Daddy recuperates from above party

Pumpkin carving and E.T. watching to get in the spirit

A quiet, leafy walk among gorgeous colors and two men who have my whole heart

How was your weekend?