That time my three-year-old gave away the secret(s)

I had Maximus help me wrap Christmas presents this year. It was wonderful and exhausting at the same time. He figured out the process really quickly, but wasn’t always quick about applying tape. I enjoy wrapping presents and it was fun to have him involved. We talked about who the presents were for and what they were. {He wasn’t with us when they were bought.} When it came time to wrap my dad’s gift, I told him it had to be a surprise. I was a little concerned that he would spill the beans the next time he saw him.

Christmas at my parent’s house is a little chaotic. My siblings each have three kids, add our two, adults, and all the gifts. We open youngest to oldest, which meant that Maximus got to open two gifts each time. You know, because he didn’t think Quinten could do it himself. About halfway through the gifts, one of my nephews was opening his present from us when Maximus shouted out, “Oh! Ethan it’s your shirt and shorts!” The room burst out laughing as he opened his box to find a t-shirt and two pairs of shorts. I reminded him that it was supposed to be a surprise. I was amazed that he even remembered! After that Bryan gave him the nickname little rainman. {I pulled him on my lap when my dad opened his gift and I repeatedly said, “Don’t tell grandpa what it is. It’s a surprise.”}

Bryan’s birthday is this weekend and Maximus helped me hide his presents in Quinten’s closest. You see where this is going, right? 🙂 I told him it was a secret and we couldn’t tell daddy that we were hiding them. He helped me shut the doors and I was fairly confident that he understood me. It’s a secret, don’t tell daddy what we got him, it’s a surprise. Bryan walked in the door 15 minutes later. As soon as he shut the door, before taking his shoes off, Maximus burst into the entryway. “HI DADDY! WE PUT YOUR PRESENTS IN QUINTEN’S CLOSET!!!! IT’S A SECRET!” And then I remembered that he ruined the surprise at Christmas and I probably shouldn’t trust my three-year-old with secrets too big. We’ll see if he can hold the rest in. I suppose this is a good test for Bryan, too. Especially since they are too big to wrap.

Brain dump: my boys, my night out, my ideas, and my days

I had the opportunity to sit next to Maximus tonight and just stare at his profile. I was in awe of his milky skin and soft features. I marveled at the fact that he is growing up so fast, but in that moment he looked so much like a baby. His features looked like they had a soft overlay to them. His face is speckled with freckles and he parts his mouth slightly when he’s concentrating. I watched his eyes dart back and forth as they tried to take everything in. I watched as his eyes turned up and the tiniest smirk showed on his mouth. It was a moment of peace and innocence. I wanted to scoop him into my arms and smother him in kisses, but instead I stared at him with wonder. I looked at his feet, getting bigger with long toes. I watched as his hands wrapped around a remote, fingering the buttons as his eyes never looked down. His legs are getting longer and he’s looking skinnier. He has tiny little muscles in his calves and that’s when I feel like he’s really growing up. He’s almost three, but he seems so much older, yet not that old in the same moment.


Saturday night I’m going to a New Kids on the Block concert! I’m pretty excited about seeing them and Boyz II Men! Both were favorite bands of mine growing up. I think the audience is going to be a funny mix of 30 somethings and young girls. Or, I’m off-base and “kids these days” don’t think these bands are cool. In that case, it’s going to be an awesome group of 30 somethings enjoying a night out reliving their childhoods. As excited as I am for a night out and a trip out-of-town with a fun group of girls, I feel guilty for leaving Bryan home with the boys. Not that he can’t completely handle it, I just feel bad that he has to do it alone for a day and a half. Mommy guilt is a weird thing. It makes me feel anxious leading up to the trip. I’m sure I’ll have a ton of fun while I’m gone, but right now it’s hard to get too excited. Quinten is almost 7 1/2 months old and this will be the first time I’m away from him for a night. Of course it comes after he’s hit a streak of waking up during the 4 am hour. That makes me feel even worse. I hope it’s one of those times where he knows I’m not here so he sleeps.


I have a million personal ideas floating around my head for artwork I want to create, posts I want to write, and even a book idea. I’m having a hard time focusing and prioritizing them. I had this grand idea of working in 30 minute chunks of time throughout the day (morning, lunch, after the boys go to bed). That hasn’t worked out very well because my motivation and focus comes at other times. I even thought about getting up early every morning and writing. I like sleep too much to do that, but I feel like it’s a good idea because I would be fresh. Or, it wouldn’t work because I wouldn’t be awake enough to write. Maybe if I start going to bed earlier I can attempt an early morning writing session …


At the beginning of every month I tell myself I’m going to do an exercise challenge. Earlier this spring I was going to do a plank challenge. I did it for a couple of days, but then I was too exhausted at night that I’d just go to bed. That’s pretty pathetic considering I stopped before I had to do it any longer than 45 seconds. When Quinten hit six months I dropped some weight, which is pretty common for nursing mothers. I decided a core challenge wasn’t a priority. My next idea was to do an arm challenge. I want to get some tone, which will hopefully also help my hitting. I kind of already have an arm challenge because Quinten weighs 21 1/2 pounds, so that’s helping me when I don’t pull out the weights. For the record, I have done some arm workouts for the past three days. I know, it’s pretty impressive. 😉


I have a bad case of the days and weeks running into each other. Summer is my favorite time of the year and I always feel like it goes by so quickly. Bryan and I both play softball on different nights during the week. Unfortunately we haven’t been able to go to many of each other’s games because they are too late. I don’t think he cares at all, but it bothers me. I grew up at those softball diamonds and I love the game. It’s hard for me not to be there when I have the opportunity. I’m a social person so I’m happy to have things to do at night, but with kids it makes it so much harder. It’s a rush to get home, feed everyone, get enough food for myself, and then get to wherever I or Bryan needs to go. I think I’d rather have plans than not, but when my day is full of meetings it just adds to the craziness of the overall day.


Who knew I had 900 words of randomness floating around my head. Maybe I can refocus a little more now.

Brotherly love

We’ve been soaking up life at home. Carrying on conversations with Maximus like he’s an adult. At supper we try to talk about our days, teaching him to talk to your loved ones. It kills me when he rests his chin on his hand and says, “daddy, what you have for lunch?” It usually turns into a game where he tells us he had the same thing we did or that he had a meeting too. Nonetheless, it’s hilarious.


He’s starting to pay a little more attention to Quinten. That basically means we have a 50% chance that he’ll get mad that I’m holding Quinten or a 50% chance that he’ll want to talk to or play with Quinten while I’m holding him. Toddlers are a lot like storms, you never know what they’ll actually do.


So far, my favorite part of having two boys is seeing Quinten light up when he sees Maximus. Quinten has three favorite people in his life: mommy, daddy, and Maximus. He loves everyone and is very friendly to anyone who talks to him. But, we’ve got special places in his heart. I can tell by his reaction whenever he sees one of us, even if we aren’t talking to him. It melts my heart when he see Maximus and his little face lights up. I think he’s looking up to Maximus already!


I promise I’m taking REAL pictures of my kids. I just don’t have the time to take them off my camera.

I also promise that we’re going to get Maximus’ hair cut. It’s a little wild right now!

We’ve been waiting for this

Spring is starting to show in Iowa! I’ve lived here my whole life, but every year the winter gets to me. I don’t do well with being cold. It makes me want to hunker down under sweats and a warm blanket and be lazy. Spring and summer, well, they motivate me. I want to be outside in the fresh air and sunshine. I want to soak it all in. {Note: if I want a picture, I will use it even if you ruin it. Ah-em.}


Temperature ranges this week have been 20s in the morning to 40s in the afternoon. We’ve got high hopes of hitting 60 in the next few days. My excitement is hard to contain. I can feel it in every step. The happiness is bouncing around in my head. There is so much excitement and anticipation. So much that I keep wondering what exciting thing is happening during the evenings. Then, I realize nothing is on the schedule. It’s the weather that is doing that to me! After a bad winter, a weekend of 50s and 60s doesn’t seem possible. Playing outside! Sidewalk chalk! Walks! Bikes! Grilling! There’s so much to look forward to and we can’t wait.


Last night was a little crisp, but we ventured out on our first walk of the season. As we talked on the way home from daycare, Maximus got really excited about taking Wrigley for a walk too. As soon as we got home, he got Wrigley’s leash and hopped in his cart (aka, an umbrella stroller) and off we went.


If I was a really good Pinterester and we had a mission statement for our family, it would read: Must Go On Walks. It’s our center. It brings us down from the stresses of every day life. It quiets the mind and mouth (and tears!). It’s a breathing period for us all. We share it together, but it’s also a chance for us all to reflect and start again. It’s what keeps us all sane and happy.


It’s springtime in Iowa. The days are getting longer and the weather is getting warmer. You’ll surely see my family walking the streets. The dog zig-zagging his way down the path. The toddler waving at cars and yelling, “hi cars! bye cars!” The daddy protecting us from big dogs. And, the mommy wearing the tired baby bear who can’t keep his eyes open.

It’s springtime in Iowa and we can’t wait to get out there and play!

Champagne, babies, and technology

We rang in the new year family style. After a disappointing bowl game loss for our Cyclones, we turned on Dick Clark’s Rockin’ Eve and cuddled into the couch. Supper was pb&j because we’d all had too many cheese and crackers during our tailhome gate.

Maximus was fast asleep by 8:30 with no idea that a new year was hours away.

Bryan and I toasted to a better 2013 just after 10. Neither of us knowing if we’d be awake at midnight but vowing to try to make it to the New York new year.

We did! We moved our party to the bedroom and chuckled that it was the lamest bedroom party. Quinten was put in the pack ‘n play and we crawled into bed.

And then I fell asleep before midnight. Oops!



We started working on our family goals for the year. They include lots of family time, less technology, and some home projects as well as financial goals. I hope you rang in the new year with style, whether that’s with family or friends at home or out on the town.

I wish my friends health and happiness in 2013! May the next year be an improvement on the past.

Christmas 2012 recap

Christmas 2012

Christmas wasn’t as hectic as I thought it would be. Sure, one day Maximus went to bed at 9:45 instead of 8 and the next day he skipped his nap all together and went to bed at 8. There was also that first day that people {my family} kept feeding Maximus cookies and he was literally bouncing off of people and shouting for hours on end and helping everyone open their presents. Then there was the next day when he barely ate his lunch, probably because of all the sweets he’d eaten the night before. So it wasn’t much different from what I anticipated. He didn’t have any major meltdowns and had a good time with family.

Christmas 2012

Opening presents

Concerned with his little cousin stealing his gifts

Quinten didn’t really care where we were. As long as he had his mommy, little else mattered. He stuck to his eating schedule and woke up every two hours to squeak about food. Then promptly fell back asleep after his belly had been filled. We had our first baby wearing experience on Christmas day. I plopped him in the Moby Wrap and he was content as could be nestled into a warm, cuddly ball of newborn-ness. And I was immediately taken back to an earlier time with a baby Maximus turned non-walking youngin. We’re past toddler wearing days because he’s just too busy. I’m hoping that Quinten enjoys it and lets us wear him for a good two years!

Christmas 2012

Mommy, Quinten, Maximus

Bryan and I exchanged a few gifts. Nothing extravagant, but the fact that we did was different from previous years. I got him a new Iowa State basketball shirt and a new thermos for his tea. He got me Flickr Pro for my photos, a new MomAgenda planner, and some super cute legs warmers. {I guess I’m not linking to anything today. Thanks, WordPress.}

Christmas 2012

Grouchy old man baby

Santa came and brought Maximus some new puzzles and a new water bottle. Santa skipped baby Quinten this year. Even though he was extra good and arrived early, he’s too little to get gifts. We didn’t explain Santa, but Maximus knows who the big guy is and we visited him at the mall.

Christmas 2012

Running out to see what Santa brought!

Maximus was so much fun this year. I knew it would only get better each year, but we all loved the joy and excitement that he brought to the holiday. Although I’m sure the sugar can be attributed to it also! 🙂

Christmas 2012

Assessing the situation
From our family to yours, wishing you a happy holiday season and a blessed new year!

Family love

Having a baby at the end of a calendar year means I go into my maternity leave with no vacation. That’s because our new vacation calendar starts January 1. While it sounds amazing to take vacation the week before a new baby arrives, it just wasn’t practical. Not practical in the sense of never actually knowing when said baby will arrive. Even with a scheduled c-section, no one can really be sure when that baby will make his debut. If he’s anything like his brother, it’ll be on his terms. So, I’ve been using up my vacation in November and the beginning of December. Giving myself short work weeks so I can both get things finished at work and at home. I’ve also been enjoying the extra time with Maximus. Although, Mondays have proven to be very emotional for the toddler, we’ve both enjoyed the extra long weekends that a free Friday provides.

This Friday started out with no plans and went well until mid-morning when Maximus decided he wanted to see Papa. He wanted to see him or go to his house, either would be fine. Except Papa and everyone else we knew were working. Try explaining that to a two-year old. I finally stopped trying to distract and plopped down on the couch and watched him whine. In a last ditch effort, I sent my dad a text. “Maximus is throwing himself on the floor. He wants to go to Papa’s house or at least see him.” Twenty minutes later {and some distracting plus more whining}, I got a text back. “Be there after work.” The next time Maximus whined about seeing Papa, I told him he’d come over after work. It was the best I could do, even though it was six hours away. During lunch, my dad sent me a text of him at work. Maximus kept asking to see Papa at work. The best I could do was send him one back of a crying toddler because he didn’t want to take a picture, just wanted to look at Papa’s picture.

I am so thankful that a quick text message can change the course of a day. Whether it’s Maximus wanting to see them or them wanting to see him, everyone feels much better after a couple of hours of fun. When the end of the night came, Papa told Maximus to come over on Sunday and help him work. I forget how much he’s grown up in the past few months. On Sunday morning, I told him that I needed to get dressed and that he needed a sweat shirt, hat, and his shoes before we could go to Papa’s house. The next thing I knew, he’d gotten a hoodie out of his closet and was standing in front of me trying to put it on. We got him dressed and he went and got his water bottle and blankets so he could take a nap at Papa’s house. We faced a little whining when we started to leave him at their house. We were all surprised to see him start to get upset. It was then that I realized that since we hadn’t gone inside the house, he thought we were taking him home. Off he went into the house with Papa and Grandma, quickly waving and telling us bye-bye. He enjoyed a full day at Papa’s house and even took a 3-hour nap on the living room floor. {Up until now, they’ve watched him at our house so he could nap and sleep in his own bed.}

It was nice to have toddler-free hours to spend as much time as we wanted strolling the aisles at the local hardware store. We came up with our Christmas lists and finished up the Christmas decorations. The only thing holding us back was literally my back. My physical “condition” dictated how quickly we moved, not a toddler. It was basically bliss and we topped it off by going to a movie! I feel less guilty knowing that Maximus went over to my parent’s house and they didn’t lose a day. While he was there all day long, it worked out for everyone. But, I’d be lying if I didn’t tell mention that he had a meltdown when we left that night. All day wasn’t long enough. And he doesn’t forget either. He whined and stomped his feet Monday night because he wanted to go to Papa’s house.

I love that our families are close by and can be a consistent part of Maximus’ life. While he talks about Papa a lot, he loves everyone else just as much. He squeals with delight with everyone he sees and gets mad when people leave. It’s such a blessing to know that he has so many people who love and adore him. Little brother will soon learn that as well. I just hope Maximus is ok sharing his favorite people with his little brother! I do have comfort knowing that if he’s not adjusting well with sharing mommy and daddy, I can easily call up a grandparent to help him feel as loved as he does now.

20121203-193737.jpg Reading a book in my old rocking chair at Papa’s house.