Wednesday, September 29, 2010

happy in the sad

It was a sad day. I believe you know Ralph?

My Ralphers, the Ralphinator, the little orange cat I adopted after graduating college while I was living at home and planning my wedding and interning at a shelter (which was kind of like a drunk interning at a bar)? The Most Tolerant Cat In The Universe, who moved with us from Madison to the Northwoods to Texas and back again without skipping a beat and allows Anderson to use him as a pillow and pull him 'round the room by his tail, for a few seconds anyway? Well, he's missing. He went out Monday evening, and I haven't seen him since. And my heart is breaking a little bit more each time I look out the door or window and don't see his fuzzy little face staring back at me. He's wandered before, but never for 24 hours, and never since we've moved up to the woods.

So it's been an emotional day for me. My pets are a part of the family, and it's heartbreaking having part of my family out there where I can't protect and love him. Even Anderbug is concerned. His first sleepy words this morning as I changed his diaper were "Walph? Waaaaaalph?" :::sob::: We've been out walking and out driving and called the shelter and I'm just not sure what else there is to do but wait and hope and pray (and thank my lucky stars I thought to update his tags last week). I just want my Ralph back.

But in the midst of my sadness, there were happy things. Which I will share. I'm a sharer.

There was a surprise birthday delivery from The Lisa, who has managed to become even more dear to me with a billionish miles between us. Clearly, she knows Bug all too well, because beating the hell out of this new toy brought him a TON of satisfaction and made him forget for, like, a whole half hour that he's in his TERRIBLE TWOS and REALLY NOT HAPPY ABOUT IT, AT ALL. He didn't even try to bite me this afternoon! I hid the other gift she and her husband sent until tomorrow so A's head didn't explode.

BabyLegs on my baby's legs. I may be obsessed with BabyLegs and might be on a self-imposed ban after a manic episode where I bought, like, ten pairs. Or so.

Our new playroom soundtrack, You Are My Sunshine by Elizabeth Mitchell. I'd been looking for some kiddie music that didn't make me want to rip my ears off, and I'm really digging this album. It got Bug boogying around and made Miss Vivi clap her hands. Happy.

An impromptu game of hide and seek. So what if he only has one hiding spot in his bag of tricks? It's a REALLY GOOD ONE.

Okay, this was last night, but my movie date with Jackie. Who is my FCIL (Future Cousin In Law), I guess you'd say? FOMC? (Fiance Of My Cousin?) Whatever, she's marrying my cousin. And she's very funny and sweet and a perfect movie companion who is totally down with sneaking in a sippy cup of Riesling on our next date. Rock on, FCIL/FMOC/girl who is marrying my cousin. And for the record, we saw Easy A and I do recommend you see it too. 4.5 stars. I would have said 4, but then I remembered (HOW COULD I FORGET?) that Penn Badgely takes his shirt off. +.5!

The completion of "baby bathroom project". I'm so thrilled to have a bathroom that is solely the kids', so I can kiddy-fy it shamelessly. Finding something not too pink and not too blue was a bit of a challenge, but I bet you can guess who came to my rescue. That's right, PBK. Obvi.

The End. Except, if you've got any 'Come Home Ralphie' dust lying around, send it all my way. I miss my punkin.

Monday, September 27, 2010

happy birthday, mom!

Happy birthday, mama.
You are so loved. For your kindness, your humor, your thoughtfulness, your advice, and for your smiling, whole-hearted acceptance of everyone just as they are. Let's not forget your beauty and your grace and your random sarcastic cracks that take us off guard then make us laugh our asses off.

Happy birthday.

And happy 30th anniversary to the both of you. Thanks for showing us all how it's done.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

a sunday post

Your comments on my last post were so kind, they made me blush. And it's not like I actually built the place myself or DID anything worthwhile at all really, unless sending my parents on a relentless house hunt (thanks, parents!) and signing some paperwork = doing something worthwhile. But thank you for being so complimentary. We certainly lucked out getting this place, it was one of those "right place at the right time" deals. You're all welcome to come stay (in Anne & Kim's sparkly pink bedroom, not pictured), unless you're a creepy stalker person. Then you are very NOT welcome, and you should know I'm a great shooter person and my cats can KILL with their KILLER CLAWS. Or something.

So it's Sunday. And without a Packer game to watch today and with church and errands out of the question due to two cases of the sniffles (the everything-in-their-mouth babies, obvi), we're just kind of puttering around. J's finding excuses to use power tools, babies are (sorta) napping and destroying the playroom, I'm whipping up some baby food and wiping runny noses and fighting off a weird tummy bug of my own. Nothing remarkable, just one of those Sweatpants Sundays that make us look forward to Sundays. (Minus the boogers and tummy ache, I mean.)

Vivi's been busy scooting all around the house. No crawling as of yet, but I'm thinking she may be one of those "never really crawled" type babies who goes straight from her belly to her feet. Scooting suits her just fine, and I'm going to start taping a Swiffer thing to her belly so she can be a little more productive.

And the boy? He sure does love his (grandma's) dog.

Mulligan The Great. He's in our care for a few weeks while my parents do some traveling, and he's certainly not helping my mild case of big-dog-fever. It's not that I need or want another (drooling, pooping, feed-needing) creature to take care of. No, certainly don't need that. But there's something very reassuring about owning a dog so big he could eat the boogeyman if need be, you know? (You know we love our Griffin. But remember the burglar episode? He stood at the door wagging his tail. Being protective isn't his thing.) Still, there's no big dog in our near future. Because I'm not potty training three littles at once, that's why. So for now, we enjoy our rent-a-pup while we've got him.

Could you say no to those eyes? Anderson couldn't.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

the house

Welcome to the new place!
(Decorating in progress.)


Living room.


Dining room.

Laundry room.

Playroom. I've got lots of black frames waiting for hanging. Any volunteers?

Vivian's room.

(Tree from Etsy seller SimpleShapes. LOVE. )

Anderson's room.

Loft. Future study/kids' TV room. Current 'random furniture collection room/place where the cat sits'.

Loft view.

Notice I didn't share any pictures of that closet I was salivating over pre-move? Why? Because at the moment, it looks like I'm auditioning for an episode of Hoarders. (No decomposing cat corpses, though. I promise. Both kitties are accounted for.) There's also a finished basement with "man cave" written all over it- a bar and a wall where J plans to put up the biggest TV in the whole wide world.

So there you have it! Our happy home in the woods. I love it. Like, a lot. And I know I'll only love it more as we continue settling and memory making here. And with that, I run. Sesame Street is winding down and I hear the littler little stirring in her crib. From her NAP. Because when you get up at 5:55am, you take naps that start at 7:15am. It's going to be one of those "thank goodness for caffeine" kind of days around here, methinks.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

more normal

We're three quarters of the way through September, and finally, after all the days jam-packed with excitement and big moments and go-go-going, normalcy is finding its way back into our lives. You know, those quintessential SAHM days where my to-do list says "play with littles, cook some food, get the mail if you're feeling ambitious". Or an evening like last night, where J and I grabbed blankets and hit the couch and just watched TV. Didn't unpack anything or move a single piece of furniture from one room to another ... just sat and watched TV. Like normal people do on normal Monday nights. Much as I've enjoyed all the bigness of September, relished in all the moving in and task accomplishing and celebrating and reacquainting, it's nice to be getting back to a quieter, calmer place. A place where naptime doesn't mean I'm organizing a closet while on hold for 20 minutes with the mortgage company/utility company/insurance company and wondering which one of the 10 boxes out in the garage might contain my freaking crock pot (still MIA). Instead of all that, I'm sitting on the couch, blogging. It feels nice. Indulgent. But nice.

The babies are settling in nicely as well. The whole thing unnerved Bug a bit more than I would have expected. Turns out toddlers thrive on predictability, and nothing says predictability LESS than a cross country move, leaving the only house he'd ever known, and temporarily disrupting his entire routine. Or his mom trying something crazy like leaving him at the YMCA's childcare center so she can hit the StairStepper. NOT OKAY AT ALL, turns out. But now, as the new becomes normal, he's settling and thriving once more. He's mostly back to his old self these days. You know, insisting on a taco shell for snack time and removing his pants for no good reason at all. He thinks his new house is pretty neat. He's figured out which turn is the turn before our house, and as we round that corner, he'll scream "HOUSE! HOUSE!" and clap his hands when home comes into view. He is definitely enjoying having grandma and grandpa nearby. He's especially thrilled that grandpa is on TV every now and then (commercials) and will drop what he's doing and scream 'BAHM-PA! BAHM-PA!" at the TV, then clap his hands when the 30 seconds are up. Pretty sweet. And Miss V, she didn't really seem to care much about the move. She does care a LOT about the tooth cutting its way out of her top gum this week, and lets us know about it. Often. And loudly. And VERY PERSISTENTLY, especially at night. Anyone who knows me will be very shocked to hear that Miss V is not lacking in persistence.

Oh, I'm working on taking/uploading some house pictures, for those who have asked. It's still a work in progress decor-wise, but it feels unquestionably like home. Now if only our former home in Austin would become unquestionably someone else's home, we'd be all set! Any takers? Anyone? Hulloh? Call me. I'll throw in a crock pot, 'cause I'm pretty sure mine is still in there somewhere.

Happy fall, yall!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

a party for our boy

Now, he's officially two. He blew out the candle.

And he partied his pants off yesterday. He cruised around the house with a bouquet of balloons tied onto his belt loop, played football in the yard with the big boys, and ate that cupcake like he'd been doing it all his life. Unlike last year. (Oh! He was such a munchkin!) He kept on keeping on right up until the last guests drove away, then he promptly crashed face down in his crib. Sugar coma.

Just a few of the 150ish pictures I took yesterday.

Friday, September 17, 2010

he's two

Two years ago today, this happened:

And in that moment, I was changed. Breathless, sobbing, so gosh-darn overwhelmingly grateful to see that chubby bright pink baby screaming and flailing under those bright white lights. Seeing the awestruck tears in my husband's eyes as he reached out, tentative and trembling, and pulled that baby close to us. A firstborn son, our love, our heart ... wrapped up in an 8 pound, 15 ounce bundle.

My boy, you are joy. You are dreams come true, challenges overcome, a wonder. You are silly, you are tender, you are shy smiles and shrieking laughs, you are a challenge in your two year old ways. You are boundless energy, you are a blessing, you are everything your mommy and daddy ever hoped to have in a son. And we are honored, sweet boy, to have the privilege of kissing your boo boos, of teaching you right from wrong and to look both ways before you cross. To raise you big and strong and to bring you up right, to be a kind man, an honorable man, a man who dreams big and grabs ahold of each day like it's the last one he'll get. And most of all, little one, we are thankful to God that we're entrusted with this task, that your little life was sent into ours, that we get to know you and hold you and send you off to change this world. And wherever you roam, little man, we'll be here for you with love and encouragement and support. Forever.

Happy second birthday, Anderson.

Monday, September 13, 2010

i'm a little verklempt

You know how some moms dream about the moment they see their baby girl in her very first prom dress, when they'll be by her side, all breathless and fighting tears of pride, clicking away with the camera so the moment will be remembered for always?

This was that kind of moment for this northern girl and her newly-northern girl.

Hello, Uggs. Welcome to Vivian's world.

Don't worry, mama wasn't left out of the new shoe excitement, because my long-awaited and forever-backordered Toms finally meandered their way up to the northwoods. It was one of those afternoons where I wanted to kiss the UPS man, because what brown did for me was make my freaking day week.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

7 months

Different room, different state .... same pink chair, same sweet baby Vivi. 7 months old today.
My baby girl, she's a'changin. She's saying "mama" all day long. She's snail crawling from one end of the house to the other, she's rocking on her knees, she pulled to her feet last week (SO not ready for that one, so here's hoping it was a fluke). She let us know today that she's no fan of sitting through church service, though being clunked in the head with an offering plate probably didn't better her experience (oops). She sleeps well at night, going about 12 hours and waking once around 4am for a dry diaper and a bottle. She's quick to smile her crinkly nose, full body smile ... except today, when she fought her naps and gave me a bunch of these shots instead:

Happy 7 months, Princess Sparkles!

(Thanks, Sedore family, for the adorable dress! Would have loved to use the coordinating hair bows, but, well .... yeah.)

Friday, September 10, 2010

hello from the north!

So, it turns out, moving? Across the US? With two littles? And three pets? A LOT OF WORK. Even when you have the 24/7 assistance of your parents and assorted other family members you can rope into babysitting and carrying furniture and breaking down 1,000 cardboard boxes. We're pretty much settled in now. Oh, there are (many) pictures to be hung and TVs to mount and boxes of random crap to be unpacked, but the kids' rooms are intact, the kitchen is fully functioning, and we have TV, phone, and internet ... so that's about all you really need, right? The rest will get done. I hear there's a long, cold winter ahead where I'll have all the time in the world to tackle the mystery boxes in the basement.

The move? Best. Decision. Ever. I do miss Austin. Certain things, anyway. Some things (read: sweet southern friends, Super Target) more than others (read: YappyLittleShit, torturous heat). But overall, this is one of those "OMG, why'd we wait so long to do this" type moves. J's home right now (it's 7:30pm) and has been home for over an hour. People, do you know how HUGE that is? He walked in the door just as I was strapping the kids down for dinner and I finally got a glimpse of that elusive moment my mommy friends talked about that I'd not been fortunate enough to experience - that moment where daddy walks in the door and the whining and screaming and sippy cup slamming of day-end tired littles is replaced with big huge smiles and "DADA!" squeals from Mister A and Miss V wiggling and giggling in her high chair as daddy kisses her banana smeared face. Better yet? He did the bath thing while I cooked dinner, and then, we ATE together! Like normal people. Amazing.

And then there's the room to roam, the hours upon hours of this week I (and/or my mom!) have spent walking alongside A, V in the stroller or in our arms, taking in the fresh air and amassing stick collections and stopping to admire a bald eagle floating overhead. Let's not forget J's enthusiasm for his new position. Or the cherished time with my parents, better known as "Bahm-ma" and "Bahm-pa". Or the house. Oh, the house. I love me the house. Expect pictures to come soon when it's looking a little more Mandie-ized. But even in its current transitional state, I love it. And I loved the catnap I took this afternoon, bedroom window open, lulled to sleep by the cool breeze and sound of the trees rustling in the wind. Ahh, sweet semi-seclusion. I missed you. Almost as much as I missed the Uggs that pretty much haven't left my feet in a WEEK.

And now, some random pictures of the past week.

The babies and I did some mommymobile test-driving.
They're wearing hats.
In September.

Then this happened.
And my heart, it exploded with love.

Ralph is happy to be home.
He's a native Wisconsite, yous knows.

We decorated the mantle.

... and explored the great outdoors.

... and sat on the front porch looking ridiculously adorable.

Then, the moving truck arrived!
But it was too big to make the turn onto our road.
So they shuttled.

And hauled in.

And grandma did the lunch thing.
A jarred thing and a Happy Meal. Convenience ruled on this day.
(Also, don't call CPS. That Bumbo-way-up-high thing was a one time thing, since the high chair was MIA.)

And now, we work on settling.
Into new spaces, new routines, our new Wisconsin life.
So far, so good.