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A few weeks ago I Instagramed [new word!] a photo of myself walking into Target with an empty basket asking, “Do you think I can make it out of here without spending $50??” – Many people laughed, one even said, “I think they should just collect a $100 bill when you walk in the door!” As predicted I spent $62 when all I was planning to get was a birthday card. #fail

How easily do we all spend $50, $100 without even blinking. How about spending less than $40 on four toys that will keep your 6-12 month old happy and entertained? Here are four of Lyle’s favorite toys that he has been playing with for months and still loves them today, less then two weeks before his 1st birthday. [ahh!]

Melissa & Doug’s Triple Stacker – $13.50 

I found ours at Marshall’s for $9.99!

He cannot get enough of this toy. He is so good at it too, it’s kinda crazy. He doesn’t stack them in order at all, but he just takes them on and off and on and off and on and … you get it. Love. He also likes to put them on two of the stacks and then carry it around by the third. It’s heavy. I don’t know how he does it! It’s a freaking wood toy. Regardless, this one is such a winner and I know he is no where near done with playing with it! 


Learning Curve Stack Up Cups – $3.99

Lyle is OBSESSED!! At first he crawled towards them and knocked them over whenever we stacked them. Now he can stack them and sort them and bangs them together and he simply can’t get enough of them. It’s amazing, $4?! Get two sets! 


Soft Shapes Book – Trucks – $10.00

Also available in colors, counting, shapes, animals, & dinosaurs! 

Lyle is a book lover – YAY – although he still prefers board books to story books, we’ll get there soon – and this one is great because he can flip through it and pop out the shapes himself. We love to “drive” the cars around and he laughs whenever we say “vroooom vroom” and drive them on his legs. 



Fischer Price Rock a Stack – $8.79

(We actually have an Infantino Brand one just like it but I cannot find it online anywhere, it is hand-me-down from my niece and nephew so it’s a few years old)

Again, I know I have said it with the first three but Lyle loves this stacker too! He carries it around with him from room to room. This one he can accurately stack the right sizes in the right order. 



Little Tikes 5 in 1 Adjustable Gym – $40.00

And one bonus toy – this on is $40 all on it’s own – but Lyle has been playing with it since he was a tiny baby laying on his back underneath it, now he walks up and sits on it and pushes the buttons to play the music. Then he dances. It’s hilarious!  

Hope that you guys enjoyed that – I love to know what kids are playing with because although Lyle loves these toys I can already tell he is starting to get over them!  Any suggestions for a 1+ year old are welcome!


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New Normal

Week two of my new normal started out a little wonky. Yesterday, Lyle was up about 45 minutes earlier then usual. Then he took a super early nap and woke up barely an hour later. We managed to head out to the library’s story time and he enjoyed himself there but the trip to the park right next door lasted less then 10 minutes due to crankipotimus signing for sleep. So nap number two started before noontime, ooh boy it was going to be a day. Thankfully he woke up happy and we headed over to my aunt’s pool with Kiki for a quick dip to tide us over until dinner time and dad’s return home. 

So that’s Monday, but Tuesday, well this is where things get wonky on my side. For the last seven months I’ve been working in an office Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. We have sent Lyle to a wonderful daycare center that we love and he loves and thrives at. Recently, though, I stopped working outside the home. Well, I stopped ‘working’ for anyone but myself and my family. That’s great, you say, but here’s the strange part – we are keeping Lyle in daycare two days a week. Tuesday and Thursday he will continue to go for a full day of daycare. [We are looking into other options for a shorter day, but this center only allows full days and most places who offer 1/2 days the child needs to be 2.] So here I am on a Tuesday, Greg at work, Lyle happy at school, and me – well I’m at home and I’m not sure what to do with myself.

Now I know a lot of you probably want to punch me in the face. I know I am beyond lucky. I know I am beyond blessed. But this new normal for me is just so abnormal that I’m not sure what to do with myself. I really try make the most of our days together – playdates, outings, book reading, playing outside at the water table, everything is all about Lyle those days. Tuesdays and Thursdays are about doing errands, chores, preparing food for the week, organizing and planning our lives. Oh and they are supposed to be a little about me — and what about that second baby I’m growing? Yeah, him/her too. 

One thing I do know about this new normal, is that I need to learn to focus and accomplish things or this time is going to fly by without me even knowing it. Only 6 more months until our somewhat stable lives are turned upside down again by another little life – now *that* will be a really new normal! 


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Relationship Advice

As someone who didn’t date much post college I try to avoid giving my single friends relationship advice. I met Greg during college (we dated briefly) and then “grabbed dinner” after I graduated and have been together ever since.  So clearly, I’m not good at the “should I text him?” “should I sleep with him?” “why did he say I love you if he didn’t want to move in with me?” type of questions. Because of this, I don’t like to say “well you should do xxx” or “he shouldn’t be doing yyy” … but I do have three pieces of relationship advice that are really general, but in my experience pretty darn accurate.

1) You cannot be happy with someone else until you are happy with yourself.

2) Boys are stupid, girls are crazy. (This is the start and end of every single argument in ANY relationship. Seriously, stop and think about it. I bet you would agree that any argument you’ve had with a significant other was either because he was being stupid in some way, or you were acting all sorts of crazy.)

3) Don’t have a long engagement. (Greg and I had a 20 month engagement. It was torture. You need 1 year, or less. It all gets done, I promise.)

So those are my go-to statements … any other gems I should keep in my back pocket?


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I took so many photos while in Montana and didn’t want to attack your twitter/instagram feeds so I thought I’d write a quick post. Apologies in advance for writing this from my phone!

Ergo *love* – can’t travel without it!


Lyle in his fishing outfit! (Even though his dad went without him!)


My strong man trying to take the lid off his sippy.


The views are just unreal.


The resort where the wedding was held – an hour outside of Bozeman.


Cute family photo (I need to teach Lyle and Greg where to look on the iPhone apparently!)


View from the drive through Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming.


Lyle on a bear skin — yup — a real one!


Two grizzly bears playing at “the grizzly encounter” a grizzly bear rescue / zoo type thing. Very cool to see them in an enclosed area!


Just chillin in the big bed with the remote and no shirt — like a man.


My new favorite – what a smile!!


Annnd passed out the next morning on dad on the first flight home.


Okay Mama! I’m DONE with this traveling thing … don’t worry L, I am too!

PS (two teeth!!)


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30 things a day for 30 days

I need a jump start. I need a fresh start. I need to lose this weight. I need to feel better about myself. I need to be more productive. I clearly need and want a lot of things. Starting Saturday I will be doing 30 things a day every day for 30 days. (I have a mini surgery on Thursday so I am giving myself Friday to recover before starting.) 30 days to create a habit. Blog post for accountability.

  • 72 oz water
  • exercise (20+ min) (walking counts!)
  • eat a fruit
  • eat a veggie
  • skinny girl cleanse
  • log into my fitness pal
  • take a vitamin
  • NO diet coke
  • NO alcohol
  • 10 minute meditation(quiet time, quite music, snuggle with a sleeping Lyle)
  • 10 minute read (pleasure reading time!)
  • 1 hour no phone/comp (1 hour straight during the day with no connection to a device!)
  • 1 hour or less TV (1 movie / day on the weekend)
  • “I love you” Greg (was going to be kiss but I realized he is traveling, so an I love you will have to do on days I can’t kiss him!)
  • kiss Lyle
  • make Lyle laugh
  • sing a song
  • dance to a song
  • my365 photo (take on iphone and post to app)
  • get dressed (some days when I’m home all day this is tough!)
  • brush teeth
  • weigh myself
  • brush hair
  • lotion face
  • lotion hands
  • bio oil belly (silly stretch marks)
  • make the bed
  • email/text a friend
  • wash countertops
  • no clothes on the floor (in the bedroom, my bad habit!)

Okay so from January 21 through February 19, I can do it, right?


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weverb11 day 1

More info on weverb11 here. 

Choose one word.

Encapsulate the year 2011 in one word. Explain why. Imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2012 for you?
Without question the word to describe 2011 is buoy.  Buoy is defined as both a noun and a verb, and for me it can also be defined as a baby.
The baby story was told here. Greg wanted a boat. We both wanted a baby. I wanted the baby first … so our baby-to-be-born was nicknamed buoy.
As a noun buoy is defined: An anchored float serving as a navigation mark.
           It is nice because our anniversary is January 2 – so each new year is a new year to our marriage. Easy to remember the date and easy to keep memories straight. 2011 was our second year of marriage. We didn’t have a “bad” first year (2010) but it was definitely crazy! We moved into our new house, which promptly got flooded (twice), we went to a whole bunch of weddings and flew all around the world (Greg even got stuck in Germany due to that ash cloud, remember that?). We had visitors galore and went through a short stint of trying to conceive.  Some people claim the first year is the hardest year of marriage and for us it was a happy whirlwind. With that said 2011 was more solid. More this is where we are. This is where we are staying. Sure it was still a little crazy as I was pregnant for most of it, but I think it is a better way for us to define what our lives will be like. Yes, we still traveled, but not as much. We spent time with family and friends, but also with each other. I hope 2011 is a good “navigation mark” because it was a pretty amazing year.
As a verb buoy is defined: Keep (someone or something) afloat. 
            Greg kept me afloat throughout my pregnancy and labor and delivery. He was there for me supporting me, boosting me up, keeping me from drowning in my pregnancy hormones. The idea of our little man Lyle also helped to keep me moving and motivated to live life to it’s fullest. I think Greg would agree that we spent a lot of time this year staying above water. Work for him has been intense and I think I have kept him stable and helped to remind him the important things in life. Lots of things came on our plates but we managed them all by helping each other stay afloat.
To look back on 2011 I hope the word that will describe the year is successful. Greg has a big year ahead of him with work. I too am heading back to work at the start of 2012 and hope to successfully manage working 3 days and staying at home with our little man 2 days. I want to be successful in all aspects of our life.

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the induction that wasn’t (birth story part 2)

I had a feeling in my gut all weekend that I had kept to myself. I just had that mother’s intuition they talk about. I knew that my baby wasn’t being  born on Monday. We hadn’t talked directly to the doctor after the appointment. A nurse scheduled us for this induction – now she had been a fabulous nurse my entire pregnancy – SO awesome – but for some reason I just had that feeling. All weekend long we were happily telling people who asked “oh wow when are you due?” – “Monday!!!”  But in the back of my mind, I just knew it wouldn’t be happening.

Five am Monday morning came and we were up and jumping in the shower. Running around the house packing things and re-packing things. Happily talking about how our baby would be born this day. We took one last belly shot and a video of Lyle’s bedroom before he officially arrived. Off we went.

We arrived right on time at 7am, checked in with all the paperwork, were directed to our labor room, got changed into the gown and met our nurse. She asked a bazillion questions and I finally started to think to myself, this might actually be happening. Around 8am everything was set and we were told the doctor would be there soon in order to get things started. I had been told I would go straight to pitocin and they explained how it worked. They would slowly increase the amount of pitocin by 2ml every 15 minutes. We texted close family – woohoo here we go!

Then the doctor arrived.  Mind you this was not my doctor but someone else in the practice, I knew that it wouldn’t be my doctor that morning but I wasn’t concerned as my doctor was supposed to be on in the evening and I knew full well this was going to take all day – She asked a few odd questions – “what was the reason for the early induction?” “what exactly did Dr. K say to you?” “who scheduled this with you?” – Long story short because reliving it kinda sucks – we were too early for a non-medically necessary induction. Though there was a chance of shoulder dystocia and he was measuring very big – it still was not medically necessary and the hospital (and the practice) do not do inductions before 39 weeks. The nurse should never have scheduled me.

Yup – the nurse should never have scheduled the induction. Remember that mother’s intuition? No induction. Cue tears. So many tears. I had already told work I wasn’t coming back. I had told everyone I saw/texted/called/breathed next to that I was having a baby on Mondaaaaay! Oh it was the worst to get BACK in the car with all of our things, with our cute-as-can be car seat … empty. Huge let down. Speaking of huge, I was huge and uncomfortable and ready to have a baby. So ready.

The only good thing to come out of Monday was that while the doctor was waiting to hear directly from my doctor (just to be sure she wasn’t missing something medically necessary) she stripped my membranes. This was an experience. Imagine your typical cervical exams, but about 7 times worse. But as you’ll come to find out … the stripping did it’s job to get things started …

(how’s that for a cliffhanger!)

and because I can’t leave on such a sad note …


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