Monday, April 29, 2013

And Then There Were Four


Liam Emory Choate
April 25, 2013
7:54 a.m.
9 pounds, 6 ounces

And then there were four - three boys I didn't know could encompass a whole world of love and beyond. 

Welcome to that universe, Mr. Liam. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Listening For Her Footfall

"If tears could build a stairway and memories a lane, I'd walk
right up to heaven and bring you home again."
~Author Unknown

"Breathe. Listen for my footfall in your heart.
I am not gone but merely walk within you."~Nicholas Evans

There are no words that can provide understanding, comfort or healing when a child is lost. So therefore, T&H family, we pray. We sit. We weep. And we hear her footfall within our hearts, where she will walk with us always. We love you.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Monday Momfessions - 4/22 Week

1. I'm still pregnant. And yes, it feels like freakin' Groundhog Day, the movie. Out. O-u-t. OUT!

2. Over the weekend my little brother visited and it was heavenly - not only because he rocks, makes me laugh and is an all around good egg, but this mama needed all hands on deck to help out at this point. I swear it was like having a manny. Gorgeous.

3. A day past due date, I visited a midwife/masseuse who specializes in naturally inducing labor. I described it to my husband as experimental, felt great and included going into a stranger's house, removing my clothing and sticking herbs under my tongue. He said it sounded more like a college experience. Regardless, I hope the voodoo coupled with the rain showers works. PS: What was he doing in college before he met me?!

4. Little dude is becoming quite the comedian, causing me to have gut splitting giggles. I'm really diggin' it and love watching his personality shine through, even if it involves bouncing off the walls or nude booty shaking from time to time (him, not one needs to see that).

5. Around four boys all weekend, I began to grow fearful my life would be clouded with...farts. Yes, farts. Is flatulence a fad for dudes or what? I anticipate many long walks in the future for me and Ellie (yes our dog, the only other female in the house) in the future.

6. Moms make everything and do everything just a little bit better. Mine volunteered to come over and assist with some nesting and sprucing on Saturday when I needed just a few hours to get organized and collect my thoughts and just MOP. So, so grateful. I guess we can go back to calling this place a "home" vs. "dump" again. PS: how does she get everything so sparkling using the same tools and products I do?!

7. I'm attempting to walk the fine line of letting our child fight his own battles and wanting to give small 3 yos a piece of my mind when they steal his ball from him immediately upon entering recess. Warning: Mama Bear on the loose. Increase in hormones this season. Watch.out.

8. I can't recall the last date night the hubs and I spent together and secretly want one of those. I'm not sure what we'd talk about, but I imagine our next one will be breast milk, missing sleep and money management. Also, I'd probably still be sporting maternity wear and flats. Le sigh.

9. I not so secretly wonder if I'm raising a good little dude. How do you KNOW, you know?!

10. In the throes of darkness, I've been spying on our little man, marveling at how he's grown. Even though his mouth hangs open and the atmosphere is that of snores, he's the most remarkable being I've ever seen and I still marvel at how deep a heart can love. This week particularly, I'm anxious as to how this dynamic could change, but hope the heart can grow four times bigger, Grinch style, to manage all this love.

Bonus: I let our child skip TWO naps this weekend and stay up until 10 one night. So much for the sleep progress, eh?

What shenniangans have you been up to this week, dear friend and Mom?

The Case for Crazy Uncles

"Ahhhh - you're here! Little dude is SO EXCITED - let's go snag him from school!" I said excitedly after a warm embrace, my not-so-little brother tossing his luggage into Mom's spotless car. For days we'd been conducting the countdown until he arrived and alas, here he was:

Uncle Ryan. Silly. Smelly. And a whole lotta fun.

Though his arrival was intended to support our little arrival that ahem, has YET to make his entrance, we delighted in all things ordinary from home cooked meals, conversations patio side, hours of sports in the soft green grass, shmoozing with the pup and lots of bonding time between uncle and nephew. Needless to say, Uncle Ryan was soon the center of little dude's every affection, begging him to play and putting him up on a pedestal.

I mean, the Uncle even brought him a hat from the Masters. Like Tiger wears. Totally baller.
As usual the moments flew by too fast, not enough intimate conversation exchanged, but the time over brews and feet propped up greatly appreciated. I mean, the boy even held doors for superpreg, ensured I was comfortable and relaxed and kept our active pre-schooler engaged and enamored. I'm thinking an every weekend visit system is in order...

There's always been magic in having a brother, and our family: the lucky recipients to having such an amazing one. I think L said it best as we pulled away from the concrete drive, extending his hand through the tinted window with a frown between his brows and corners of his mouth:

"But I don't want Uncle Ryan to go."

We hear ya buddy. Never far and always in our hearts - cheers to crazy Uncles. We love you Ryan!

Tumbling Upon the Perfect Gift

"Alright gals, what ideas do you have on what we get her for the big day- or do I reach out to the hubs?" I asked over fish and chips, our skin soaking in the rare rays via the rooftop bar. 

After some discussion and lots of gossiping, we landed on a dish or cup item that would be perfect for our gal pal's newfound commitment to the Paleo diet and increase in water intake:
Group pic coupled with a quote, all against her favorite paisley background
You already knew the Tervis Tumblers rocked, but did you know you can customize the bad boys?

Well priced, hugely diverse in design and perfectly suited for your car cup holders and maintaining temps, this was a little dream come true.

And have you spotted the kid ones? Too cute!

Happy customizing!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Coping Skills

Look a little like this right now as I just received my progress report from the doc. Or should I say "Lack of Progress" report?

"Lord grant me the patience..."

"Serenity now..."

Or just pass the damn shake and I'll dip my fries in it and try to be thankful. Love, Megan

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Birthday Fit for a Cowgirl

"Ok, so it's cool if we celebrate a bit early? After all, doesn't everyone deserve a birthday month?" I asked my colleague whose name I had drawn in the work birthday lotto. After wholeheartedly agreeing every woman deserves 30 days to party, I got to work with limited time and budget for our cowgirl on the team with a big heart. Here's what the rodeo looked like:
Easy to bake and delicious to consume "hay bales" aka Rice Krispy treats (courtesy of Pinterest)
Some wildflowers to brighten up her desk

Cowgirl clipart with space on the right for each team member to share what they appreciate about her; posted on her door for Friday morning arrival and delight

And some hanging flower garland from her ceiling and that was that! Oh - and an iTunes gift certificate to download her favorite country album of choice before hitting the road on her new work trip.

Simple, fun, affordable and fit for a cowgirl. Happy Birthday M!

Monday Momfessions - 4/15 Week

1. This is a day late and a dollar short. Guess we better get used to it, huh? With two kids and over $2k monthly in child care, it's going to take practice. And we all know practice makes perfect.

2. On Saturday, I ate two packs of my child's favorite graham crackers. As if that wasn't bad enough, I also hollowed out the "Skittles Rewards" fun. Yipe. I paid a pretty penny for that one - no bargaining tool for staying in your bed until 6:45 a.m.!

3. During one late night Mommy call, I pretended to be asleep. Gulp. What, like he (the hubs) hasn't done it before?! Though he has mastered that snore more than I have...

4. I straight up did a Target run with no bra. To be fair, I had a fleece on to conceal the weapons and it was a five dollar vs. $50 trip. Get in, get out and don't get caught. No I'm not sure what I would've done if my water broke at that point...

5. Speaking of water breaking - when the hell is that going to happen? My rose colored glasses have cracks in them. I'm not so torn on wanting the baby to stay in vs. get OUT. I find myself sometimes rocking in a corner spelling the word o.u.t. Time to provide him his eviction notice.

6. Before backing out of the driveway three times in the past week, I had to ask L if I had buckled him in and also do a quick swivel to check given the reliability of three-year old reports. This is a new low on the brainpower front.

7. For two meals this week, I skipped offering the fruit AND vegetable. Also, I let three morning teeth brushings pass. Is this the start of the downhill slide?! (PS: I mean for the kid - come on, I haven't sunk THAT low yet).

8. I tried to play tennis with my eager 3yo on an extremely windy day in ill fitting maternity clothes, then nearly fell to my knees in prayer when 10 minutes later he proclaimed it was too windy and we needed to pack up and head home. Thank you sweet baby Jesus.

9. I stayed late at work one night this week because it took less energy than coming home to my rambunctious household. So.guilty.

10. I'm delighted my husband's new approach to our son's sleep challenges are working, but I'll never tell. Especially since my last 10 in six months have failed. Gah bless him, his patience and endurance and may this continue with our big transition ahead.

So what are you fessing up to this week Momma? No judgement of course - this is a safe place.

Last week's Momfession

Sunday, April 14, 2013

39 Weeks

Yep - and you bet your hiney I'm counting.

Cravings: sugared cereal, carrots, brownies, corn dogs and Arnold Palmers (the ones sans vodka. Or if I were to be truthful, the ones with vodka, but that just isn't appropriate now, is it?)

Most frequently heard comments: "What are you still doing here?!" (at work); "Whoa - you look like you're going to pop!" "So, I bet it's any day now, right?!" "Let me guess - a boy!" "You look tired/miserable/exhausted."

Moments of guilt: waking and thinking: "oh drat - I'm STILL pregnant?!" as if I had magically delivered in the night. Also when my temper is shortened with my loving boys at home due to lack of sleep, energy, discomfort and what I anticipate to be the evilness of hormones.

Latest checkups: all is brewing well in there! Though I never thought I'd commit to it, the induction date is set for April 25. More than half my family is bummed on their due date pool already!

What's awesome now: the antcipation, excitement and picturing a fuzzy little head burritoed in my arms as the two men I love the most are by my side welcoming our littlest dude. Also, hearing L dream of how he'll engage with his brother once he arrives: "I'm going to show him my guys Mommy - and hug him, and rock him and love him. But Daddy can change his diapers."

What's currently rough: the largeness, breathlessness, inability to be a true BoyMom to our busy son, sleepless nights for seemingly no reason at all and bathroom breaks every 20 minutes, particularly when you're at your local park with a 3yo who is not so understanding about the pressure kicks. Also, missing my perky self up for anything and could make small talk with a wall. Honestly, everything is kinda tough right now, but if you see the what's going on at this point in pregnancy, I suppose it kinda makes sense. Bonus: I'm still grateful for every moment, event the ligament stretching, nothing fits, I'm wearing Asics everyday ones.

How the nursery is coming: the sheets are on and the curtains hung, the storage well stacked with diapers and wipes, car seat installed and most of his laundry done and unpacked. That counts, right?! Oh - and I have boobs that I think will work for feeding and the co-sleeper set up next to the master bed. Good enough? Plus this will give me some creative Etsy shopping time once he arrives!

How the boys are feeling: anxious, excited, nervous, scared, eager and ready. Truth be told, they've both been acting out a bit (yes the 33 yo and 3yo one) with all the uknowns of moving to a family of four. L's plan is to get a job to help out with daycare costs while Daddy promises to do all the stinky diapers. Therefore, I believe there is hope.

Our friends and family: are eagerly awaiting his arrival and we are overwhelmed with their support, graciousness and love during this remarkable time. I don't know how we got so lucky, but we're going to cherish it every moment.

Though I'm still in disbelief (or is it denial?) some moments and overjoyed the next, things at work are nearly packaged as well as they could be and our home is...meh...ready enough to welcome our second son. After all, John Lennon said all you need is love, and we have plenty of that just waiting for our littlest dude.

So let's make it this week, shall we?

Meals on Wheels

The last few weeks have been exciting with three of our dearest friends welcoming second children into their hearts and homes. And as you know, this requires lotsa love, support and! Whether it's an excuse to hold that sweet smelling bambino or provides an outlet for your domestic thumb, it's rare a meal drop-off goes unappreciated. Our go-to for meals on wheels for babies, support for the ailing or recently deceased or heck, a closet cleanup has been my Mom's famous sloppy joes:

Combine in a pan and simmer 20 minutes:
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp prepared mustard
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1 cup ketchupp
- 1 to 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

Next brown and drain 1 1/2 lbs ground beef plus 1 onion chopped (optional). Add beef to sauce and simmer an additional 30 minutes and wa-la...scrumptious sloppy joes.

A bit unconventional outside of the tasty chicken enchiladas, pasta dishes and even favorite restaurant cards, but simple, low-key and easily coupled with a cold pasta salad, potato chips and a batch of brownies. Perhaps it's because it's one of the rare meals my Mom cooked in our growing years, but it always screams "home" and fills a little space in my heart and a big one in my tummy when this hits our dining room table.

Other favorites we've had delivered here from our amazingly gracious friends in the past: Honey Baked Ham, pasta tetrizzini, white chicken chili, pasta stuffed shells and more. But you'll have to hit up one of my craftier friends for those recipes because this Momma can't go much outside the scope of what I shared above.

And don't forget, when helping out family and friends in this way, use the SignUp Genius tool, a fast and easy way to enable others to choose dates and times that fit with the family's schedule that even sends reminders and is a great communication tool in organizing all the giving.

Meals on wheels - an easy way to show someone you're thinking of them and giving back the way they always do for you. Oh - and a sneaky way to make your own double batch of brownies and eat them all without anyone really knowing...

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Sprinkled With Surprises

"Whoops - I forgot to print the agenda...wait...WHAT is all this cuteness?!" I exclaimed, having wandered into the board room expecting CRM and staffing updates versus the festive goodness that lined the blinded walls.
After gushing for several minutes and making googly eyes at the donuts just feet from where I had chosen a leather chair, I was overwhelmed at the generosity, thoughtfulness and care from those I spend 40+ hours a week with, not only for making a Momma feel special as her day grows nearer, but for who the are day in and day out. Swapping labor horror stories, sharing funny child antics and curious questions made for good conversation, and I marveled at how blessed I was to have landed here eight years ago.
Three teams and four job roles later I still feel at home, delighting in the work I have the opportunity to engage in daily and for the smart, sassy, successful women around me.

Thank you, colleagues and friends for this and so much more...and spoiling me rotten with this surprise.   Baby Liam is one lucky dude and his Momma? The luckiest yet. Oh - and for scoring the last item on my wish list and deciding for me - the bronze diaper bag!


I Wanna Rhea Lana

"So I'll grab the wipes and meet you there -deal?!" my Mom said excitedly, practically losing her breath as she strategized what we could potentially score at one of the largest kid consignment sales of the year.

"Deal - I'll see you then," I replied, half-listening, half-strategizing a response to the ever-growing inbox that seemed to eat away at my soul knowing maternity leave was around the corner. I was also loving the idea of donating wipes and diapers to get your shop on early was a great idea and felt a bit more honest than the first time expectant Mom gig I was trying to pull to get in early. Guilt erased.

More than an hour later I see her near the entrance next to a pile of frantic grandmothers, wipes in hand, already thumbing through the play list of how to be successful inside. As we divided and conquered, I immediately nabbed the most spot-free Arms Reach Co-Sleeper, sporting a price tag of only $45 from it's original $200+price. Perfect to have at Nana's or replace the ginormous pack n'play that was already assembled near our bed. Though we aren't quite the co-sleeping type, it also serves as a cozy little nest when the wee one comes home.

Second, I spied a bassinet that closely resembled one leant to us when L first came home, helpful to have in the family room to avoid romping dog legs and a resting spot when that meal needed preparation and the swing just won't do. Plus the thing had vibrations and lights - score!

An hour in I took a break, praying the rickety plastic lawn chair beneath me wouldn't shatter with my growing weight as I watched YouTube videos of how to assemble some of this stuff while Mom waited in line. Spotting two of my best friends, we gabbed excitedly and they too were off to unearth their finds.

Two hours later we left with the large ticket items in hand, a few adorable could-never-afford-them-but-can-in-consigment outfits later and unique toys, and we were off, surviving the winding cashier line and dreaming of the calzone we were about to stuff ourselves with.

Wait - maybe that was just me.

Regardless, the night was a success, and there weren't even any all out brawls over a BOB or anything. So I wanna Rhea Lana again next year and recommend you do too!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Monday Momfessions

1. I sifted through 22 of my child's plastic eggs to unearth and then consume the goodies that were inside that aligned with my cravings. Kids don't need sugar anyway, right?!

2. Bathing on Saturday evening meant an unexpected bubble bath with three Ninja Turtles that scared the bejeezus out of me when the jets catapulted them my way.

3. Dishes were not cleared or cleaned for two days. Come on, it was nearly 70 degrees!

4. One mile away from the home on the way to brunch I realized I left little dude's Easter basket at the dog's height near the fireplace and didn't turn around out of sheer laziness, er, I mean to make our reservation. Again, that sugar crap isn't good for...anyone! Including a large Golden Retriever that is now littering our yard with pink foiled rabbits.

5. I let my kiddo hit the park with a slight fever...but day three of antibiotics!!! Four days of strep and no one there...totally fair, right? Right?! Augh, the shame. Note this is how he got it in the first place. That or the way he inserts his mouth OVER the drinking fountain at school. To make up for it, I replaced his toothbrush for reals this time.

6. During these four days of strep recovery at home, I let little dude use his bathroom words 40% of the time quite frankly because I didn't have the energy to correct, be consistent and find the consequence. The poor kid paid dearly when he returned to school today and Miss Julie was on it like white on rice.

7. The hour of basketball I played with little dude meant consistent contractions for two days - yikes. But his smile was worth it and when all else failed, there was Tylenol and no too-early birth.

8. I literally ordered a non-alcoholic Mimosa at Easter brunch. The server looked at me as if I were crazy and likely she's right. I don't know what was in it (soda water and OJ?) but it was the best faux buzz ever.

9. I listened to Neyo, JayZ and Justin in the car with no shame and made up white lies as to what some of the words meant when little dude asked. I anticipate having a lot of explaining to do at pre-school in the near future. Note: at least they were the clean versions.

10. A sick day with little dude who was low-key and snuggly was like one of those 24 hours I always dream of a utopia life being like when there is no work to attend to, the house is mostly clean and the two of us are in perfect synch.

What'd you screw up or try to get away with this week, Momma?

The Excellence That Was Easter

Between the peacefulness of the spring wind whipping around the corners of our home longing for a touch of its season and a weekend to just be a family, this Easter was one to remember:

Great Grandma broke out the spoils again with a delightful snail mail package
A boy who identifies with superheroes themed his eggs as such
A jaunt up north to the Zona Rosa parade meant big smiles, puddle jumping, candy collecting, animal feeding and a
private concert by Mr. Stinkyfeet himself

And the anticipation of Easter meant a 4:45 a.m. wake up call that could not be coaxed back to sleep for anything, leading to a 5:15 a.m. hunt of goodies (that were by the way then consumed by one said Golden Retriever hours later while the family brunched)

The "basketball guys" (aka cake toppers" this guy has been dreaming of came true in a jelly bean filled reality
Endless amounts of food and laughter were shared table side with family at Gaslight Grill

Until the 4 a.m. wake up call caught up with him and a 15-minute mid-morning snooze was in order
Practice with a beautiful new baby (cousin Carver) was in order while we enjoyed time, another egg hunt and delicious eats with wonderful family
Including cousin Caiti, who little dude believes is just the cat's meow
Most of the weekend was spent counting blessings, being abundantly thankful for the amazing people in our life and sprinkling in the Hallmarkesque pieces of the holiday that make it so fun too. I couldn't help but wonder if it's one of the last weekends it will be just the three of us in our little utopia, but grew excited and anxious with the thought, thankful this Easter was one to remember. May yours have been filled with magical moments and all you'd been wishing for too!