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Thursday, September 27, 2012

have you heard the Buzz?! - a birthday story

My nephew Atticus turned two a few weeks ago!
TWO! As in two fingers held up, not one. Craaa-zy.
I remember holding him for the first time when he was born.

Proud aunty, after staying up ALL night waiting in the hospital waiting room for this little man to arrive!

My adorable nephew lives in New York now, so we headed there recently for his Buzz Lightyear Toy Story themed birthday party. After bugging my sister for months before the party for what theme they wanted, she finally told me Toy Story ... to which I said, "Um, OK I can do that, however I've never watched the movies yet, will that be a problem?!" ha! 

I'm obsessed with planning birthday parties, thanks to my dear friend, Pinterest.

So even without seeing the movies (which I promise I will, soon, I swear, just haven't yet), I was able to come up with some very cute ideas for his party, again all based on Pinterest ideas. Here they are!

An activity station at the party, "Let your imagination take flight and COLOR away!" with FREE coloring pages from online. Google - type in "free Toy Story coloring pages" and tons come up!

Grab bags for the kiddos at the party - with little trinkets inside, my sister found at Target or Wal-Mart.

Banner from the store, easy!

My sister made the Buzz blanket before the party so then used it for the presents area. 
Little man Atticus, TWO YEARS OLD!


Sign my brother-in-law printed out for the presents area. 

The desserts! Gluten free cupcakes with little Toy Story cupcake picks in them (Target special!), and an awesome cake my sister's friend made!

And onto the delicious treats... all Pinterest and Toy Story inspired!

Pizza Planet = pizza! (so easy, right?!)

Slinky Dog's Mac n' Cheese bites - these were so delicious!  Used spiral pasta and the hot dogs to act like the character the dog in the movie.

My favorite find of all - Rocket Ships = Capri Sun juice boxes, with Buzz stickers added on to them.
Love this!

Woody and Jesse's Toy Chest = cheese and crackers.

Mr. Potato Heads = chips!

Moon Pies = Oreo cookies!

OK this was another favorite find ... Alien Juice = Green Hawaiian Punch with blueberries!

To InfiniTEA & Beyond = iced tea!

Rex's Dinosaur Garden = veggies and dip!

Part of the food and party was inside, part outside, but this was one of our main tables,
"Buzz's Birthday Buffet."

I made all of these signs really easily on Microsoft Word, using clipart of spaceships and aliens. Very easy. We used the color scheme of bright lime green and bright blue, which were easy to find balloons at the grocery store for. My sister was lucky that this theme is pretty popular and she found most items at Target already.

From the tired happy look on this guy's face I'd say he looooved his Buzz party!

A little cousin LOVE from O to A!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

STEPPED to it - second 5k complete!

I finished the Couch to 5k running program! A second time. 
The first time was after my son turned a year old (two years ago +). Now, 5 months after my second child, Addisyn, was born, I've completed it again. YAY!

I ran the 5k (which really was more than a 5k because it was 4 miles!) this past weekend. 
I was so nervous. I mean, REALLY nervous. Almost cancelled the night before because I didn't physically feel prepared (see last blog post). But I went and did it. So proud of that. Conquering fears is what we mommas are all about, right? 

Here I am below, 15 minutes before race time, feeding the baby while my husband took my son to potty! Once a mom, always a mom ...

The nerves were definitely setting in here.I felt like I was going to throw up, and pee. I always have to pee when I'm nervous. TMI, I know. The nerves got worse after a woman walked by us as my husband was taking my picture and laughed, saying, "Oh, and taking the picture in front of the ambulance, hope it's not a sign!" Grreeaaat, thanks. 

BUT, I had a cute running outfit on, so it's all good. (My shirt is from the first 5k race I did a couple of years ago on Mother's Day, so it's kinda special like that.)

Before I ran I was mom.
I changed the most disgusting poopy diaper from my daughter.
I fed my daughter a bottle.
I explained to my husband where my son's snack and water cup were, and how long before he'd probably need to pee again.
I reminded him that the stroller was in the trunk to get out and walk around while waiting for me.
I calculated the time before my daughter would need to eat again and when I'd need to empty out the girls in the chest.
Always a mom... even when trying to just be me. It's all good!

Here I am run-ging, as my son calls it... blurry and all.

Post-run, almost passing out (no, really, I was fine!) with my boy who was SOO excited for me, saying "Yay Mama, run-ging! Good job, Mama!" 

Me and my "two monkeys," as my son refers to them. They are why I run and try to accomplish goals. 

I SURVIVED! Yay and scary!
I didn't run really fast. I didn't finish first or even third or tenth. But I did it. I did the whole thing. I completed a HUGE goal of mine, proving to myself I'm more than just a mother. I'm me, too. And that's OK to be, to be me again sometimes. Learning that lesson, well that is awesome.

Yes, I will take a silly picture of me all strong and stuff, because it's what I did after I ran the last race. I AM all strong and stuff, so there! There is reason to celebrate after being pregnant 10 months and then recuperating from a Cesarean section surgery for a second time (my fourth major uterine surgery!). To know that your legs work again and your heart pounds normal again and you CAN do something for yourself - well, YES, it's something to celebrate.

When we were about to leave, my son exclaimed that he wanted to run in his own race ... so, we found a police car across from us and yelled and clapped as he ran his hardest - like toddler boys tend to do anyway - toward the police car and back, screaming on his own, "Yay, Owen! Go Owen, run-ging race!" It was pretty cool.

Running inspires my son; running makes me a better mommy. Life is good.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

step to it weeks 8, 9, 10 ...

What a Journey
It's been forever since I've updated the steppin' to it part of my running life in doing the Couch to 5k program that I started this summer. I apologize to those die-hard readers (ha!), but returning to work after 5 months off with my maternity leave and 2-year-old and 5-months-old... well, you know how that goes, nothing gets done anymore once you're exhausted and working and packing daycare bottles and diaper bags and attempting to fit into some work clothes again!

BUT I have been running! Yay! 

However, no, not as much as I was this summer or as much as I wanted to be running. I have not kept up with my program as well as I did just 3 weeks ago. It started when I hurt my ankle. I had to take a week off from running. Then when that felt better I was ready to run again, but got a horrible ear infection, which put me out another week. I felt TERRIBLE. I was on some steroid medication, it was serious, told to do nothing but rest (yeah right, with two kids and going back to work that week!). So that week I walked, but could not run.

Then I've been back to work, with zero energy because my daughter is teething and has her first cold and has a growth spurt to boot! SO that meant up at least once or twice a night every night for two weeks. Can you say no thanks I have no energy to be diligent with running!?!

So yes, I've run (yay! any amount or running deserves a YAY!), but it has not been what I hoped it would be these last 3 weeks. 

I've dreaded posting this because I feel like in a way I've failed. I did not accomplish these last three weeks of running diligently according to the program. I've run each week, but not my route, not my fastest, not my longest. I can't check it off on my program list that I completed that exact session as it's written. That bugs me.

And yet, here I am, posting this for the world to see. And the reason? Because this blog is all about being REAL. A REAL Mom does not get it all done all the time. A REAL Mom does not get "me time" as much as she wants to. A REAL Mom does not have energy and is completely exhausted to even think, let alone get up and lace her sneakers sometimes. A REAL mom does fall short sometimes of her goals and ideals. It's just how it goes.

It's not because we don't want it bad enough or don't try. We do try. We pump before we put on the sports bra so it hurts less. We make sure our running clothes are at the top of the 10 loads of laundry so they are ready for the next run. We wait until the babies are asleep and ignore the really mess living room and kitchen so we can run. We try to put ourselves first, something that does not come naturally to us as mothers. We do try. I tried. 

So, I'm still proud of myself. I really am. 
I ran 7 straight weeks according to the program, and 3 more I ran every single week and found I was still in shape a few times a week. I found I could still move and breathe - that's gotta count for something.

I have learned that moms HAVE to put other things first sometimes. I put the need to sleep first - instead of waking at 4 a.m. to run before my family woke at 5 for the work day, I chose to sleep because if I did not sleep I'd be really crabby with no patience for my kids or work day. I chose to rest my body when it was sick and hurt ankle instead of pushing it and being out for the count longer. It's about choices, sometimes that's just how it is. 

Next up is the 5k race! Do I feel ready for it? HELL NO. 
BUT I'm going to attempt it. And if I end up walking some of it, WHATEV.
I'm going to repeat to myself while trying it - "I am a mother. Mothers can do whatever we set our mind to. And yet I'm NOT Super Mom, I can't do it all. I can just try, that's all, and see where my strength, determination and courage get me."

If I could survive pregnancy - twice! - and birth C-sections - twice! - and sleep deprivation - twice! - then I CAN DO THIS. There are so many important reasons in my life why I can attempt this, and if I don't succeed how I hoped to ... well, at least I'll know that I'm someone who tries real hard and who my kids can be proud to call M-O-M.

Thursday, September 20, 2012


I love fall. I LOVE fall! I love FALL! 
No matter how I scream it, it's just plain true - fall is the best!
I look forward to apple picking with my son each year. OK last year was the first time we took him, so this year makes the second time. But still. It's totally becoming one of my most favorite memories and traditions with him.

This is how adorable and little he was last year, 
with his baby curls still attached (we cut them the following month!) ... 

and me with his baby sister in the belly, just newly forming in there.

We returned to the same place this year - McDougal's Orchard in Springvale. LOVE IT. Goats to check out. Tractor wagon ride. TONS of trees and different types of apples. The most delicious apple donuts and pumpkin donuts and chocolate ones, too, fresh out of the oven, still WARM! SO delicious. I don't even like donuts, but devoured at least 5 of those teeny tiny but oh-so-yummy donuts. They are honestly worth the trip to go apple picking! A huge barn full of other yummy treats like apple jelly and maple syrup and apple cider. All kinds of fun to be had here. I highly recommend it.

We had so much fun!

me and my babies!

Apple orchards in the fall make for the BEST photo ops!

Oh, the simplicity of toddler life... My son probably devoured at least 20 of these apples! And by "devour" I mean took two bites out of them and stuck them in his apple bag... yes, I bought them all and cut around the edges to make our family's apple sauce! Oh, toddler boys.

apple man on a mission!

See why this is my most favorite memory and tradition so far?! So much innocence and total childhood fun. Love it. I hope these are the moments my son remembers someday - sheer apple picking joy!

Next up? PUMPKINS! Can't wait for October!