Thursday, December 25, 2014


Do you have any holiday traditions?

I have always held a few traditions close to my heart when it comes to celebrating the holiday! With Nolan starting to come of age and show his personality and everything, it gets me super excited to continue them with him.

Just One Present
I always loved the charade of convincing my parents to let us open JUST ONE present on xmas eve. It always seemed like a struggle to get them to concede and allow us the one present but I think in the back of their minds it was the plan all along. So we'd spend all day salivating at the thought that we'd get to open on present. We were never structured on the time of day, although it probably was something we commonly did right before bedtime. Of course santa had our wish lists and we'd think of the top item on that list and hope that the present we selected to open was that big one! Whatever it was, it was always exciting to "break the rules" and open a present the day before we were supposed to. Probably because on xmas morning we had to go to church and spend like 4 hours there before coming home then having a huge meal with like 50 family members wait for everyone to finish eating and cleaning and THEN we'd get to do the actual unwrapping of everything else. The struggle was real!

Bonus X-Mas
The premise was that we'd open our presents that morning and then just totally be hyped up getting our new toys out of the packages and playing. While we were distracted in the basement or whatever more gifts would be put under the tree. I particularly remember my sister, Rachael, coming down the stairs and going "Santa forgot a bunch of presents, we have more stuff to open!" For context, my sister was probably old enough to know that santa wasn't real and was just playing along with it because she knew how fun it was for us to believe. But me and my younger brother basically flipped our lids hearing this. We'd fly up the stairs to find more presents with our names on them! OMGOMGOMGOMG we were DYING to open them. I don't believe we did this every year, but when it happened it was pretty darn phenomenal. And I 100% recommend doing it for your kids if you have any.

The Treasure Hunt
One of my favorite traditions of all was getting a group gift... usually something small and in a light box that was addressed to all of us kids. The gift contained a clue which ultimately became a whole house treasure hunt. Clues like "go the the place where the cookies are made" and we'd run to the oven where a clue like "flush away your holiday sorrows" or something cheesy like that would lead us to the bathroom (but which one!?). It would lead us to the BIG present. One year we got an air hockey table that was kept under our deck. Screaming ensued. What made this one great was that we had to work together to find the next clue and we'd be running all over the house to find it.

You better believe that these traditions are going to be practiced in my house.

What traditions did/do you have? Please share in the comments!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Sick Boy and Ugly Sweaters

It may interest you to know that my little man is having a crummy xmas so far. Monday and Tuesday he woke up with a fever over 100 degrees and has a terrible cough. 

I took him to the doctor on Monday because I didn't want whatever he has to turn into a big thing on xmas morning or something. Lungs clear, ears clear, throat clear... just a cold or maybe the flu she said. But given his demeanor, I feel like it's not the flu. If I give him a little motrin his fever goes away and he turns back into Mr. Happy Boy with a side of a hacking cough.

Here's hoping it all clears up before Friday! Because we're going to Omaha for the Salton side of the family celebration! We did a secret santa this year which is really the only way I like to do it anymore. We just send each other (copying the whole family) a short list of things that cost around $30 and then we have fun guessing who has whom. (Did I just use whom correctly? I have no clue)

Speaking of Santa... I had a little fun of my own creating an ugly xmas sweater for Brian this year! He gave his old VEST away and it had bells and everything. It was ugly for sure! But Brian really wanted to participate this year and instead of buying an overpriced ugly sweater (because everyone wants them now they are a hot commodity) I decided to make him a little something. 

Since the photo was taken from a distance, you might not recognize there are actual working lights on the tree! That twinkle! Another detail I'm really fond of is the Naught/Nice list that santa is holding with names of Brian's coworkers. 

He won most creative. Damn right! I can't make an ugly sweater!

Anyways, happy whatever you celebrate or don't celebrate this time of year! Hope it's great :)

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The CUTEST thing!

This morning as I was getting ready it was a "one thing after another" that kept getting me from actually leaving on time.

I finally was getting everything put together and realized I forgot something in the bathroom. I left Nolan in his room to play with a book he just found and by the time I returned he was gone. So I went to the master bedroom and bathroom and back down the hall to the other bathroom. I was in a white hot panic mode wondering where this boy had gone!

I returned to his bedroom again and thought to look behind the crib when I noticed that his entire lower body was exposed but just his head was covered by the curtain.

Yup, that green curtain right there... so just his face was covered.
It was without a doubt just a cutest thing!

So I felt relieved and played along with him giving my usual "where's Nolan?" until his little head peaked out from underneath.

It's one of those moments where I'm going to have to rely on my brain for the memory of that picture because of course it all happened so fast that there was no way I could capture it on my phone!

Friday, December 12, 2014

The Rut Report

I've been doing the same thing for quite some time now. Drop Nolan off at daycare, go to work, pick Nolan up, go home, make dinner, put Nolan to bed, watch TV, go to sleep.

It's getting really boring.

So I'm trying to get out of my rut by shaking things up a bit!

Yesterday, since it's so cold out (and dark), I decided that Nolan could use some indoor playing! So I took him to the mall and let him play in the little activity area they have. Nolan got creative and started sliding down the stair part of the slide. When he first did it I thought he fell and I ran to help him up but when I got him he was giggling!

That little stinker.

He did that on the stairs probably 5 or 6 more times laughing all the way down.

It was nice to shake things up a bit. By the time I got home, Brian was ALMOST home from work, and I started dinner and I think Nolan and I each were flying high from the fun time at the mall.

And as I type this I realize I forgot to mention that we did a photo booth too! And of course they give you strips and I took it out of my coat so I can't scan a picture for the blog. Nolan didn't enjoy the photo booth as much as I did though so it's not like you're missing much.

What he really enjoyed though was the "rides" that they offer. In particular, there was this spaceship that had buttons and joysticks to play with. I didn't even have to put money in the machine for him to love it!

My little astronaut!
It helps to get out of the house when you're in a rut like I was. So I'm thinking of making this trip to the mall a weekly thing! Just to get us both an option to see what's out there. And I'll try not to shop too much ;)

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

My Fiverr Report

Ever had a picture that has something that you wish were changed?

Like this perfect picture I have of me and ~5 month old Nolan... it would be perfect if it weren't for that binky leash!

I look good, Nolan is totally adorable (what else is new). But that binky is kind of taboo as far as "perfect pictures" go. No respectable mother would put a binky in her son's mouth (I laugh at those people who say such silly things). So to appease their annoying ramblings I paid a whopping $5 for this:

I have to admit, my thumb/hand looks a little weird. But if you're not paying that close of attention - you're looking more at our smiling faces and not the binky leash hanging down from your son's shirt.

OMG I just want to hug that little boy! He's gotten so big since then...

Monday, December 8, 2014

Cleaning Lady Report

I'm going to get back into blogging full swing by offering you my report on a few things that have been going on recently. Hopefully I can think of something to write about every day this week! Stay tuned.

So a few months ago I reported on our new found decision to hire a cleaning service to come every other week. I have to admit that it's going well but it has it's positives and negatives. We'll start with the positives. (Note, because I hate blogs without pictures, I'm throwing some pictures on here from the Realtor photos from before we bought the house. This isn't what it looks like now.)


  • I am able to forget about thinking of the things I need to clean. When I have a spare moment I don't have to feel guilty that I'm not vacuuming or scrubbing toilets. Because that will be done within 2 weeks.
  • The entire house is clean all at once. So at least twice a month I come home to a spotless house that has the toilet paper folded to a point and a nice little card saying "relax, it's done"
  • Additionally, the house usually smells really nice when they're done too. They mix it up but lately it's smelled like cinnamon in our house!
  • I don't have to worry about Nolan picking up little things in the carpet... and eating them.
  • Regular vacuuming has kept the spiders at bay since there are fewer little bugs crawling around for them to eat. BARF.
  • Since our house is cleaned regularly, we find it easier to keep up the cleanliness on a regular basis.
  • We're giving someone a job. In any economy you can always feel good about being the source of income for a person!
  • We clean for the cleaning lady. I cannot state this enough as a negative. Unfortunately we can't just leave the house in it's normal condition and let her have at it. We have to clean up our clutter so she can do the vacuuming and scrubbing. She'll organize toys and such but if we don't put it away ourselves we might notice that things are misplaced.
  • It's expensive. I'm trying to get over this point because right now the cost is worth it. But if we're in a tight spot financially this will be the first thing to go as it's 100% a luxury.
  • Sometimes the details of how I would like things cleaned aren't met - like there have been times when garbage bags aren't replaced or when a phone charger has been damaged (not to the point of it not working, but making the prong bent)
So overall, I feel like having a clean house is worth paying this rate. We initially started the cleaning service because I felt like the person doing everything at home. Since Brian works such long hours I've felt that the burden of cleaning always fell to me. This became a point of contention between the two of us from time to time and honestly I had enough of coming home to a dirty house after working a full day. 

And the way I figure it, I would LOVE to be a stay at home mom if I could afford it. If I were, I would do my very best to keep the house in order since I would be there most of the day. Because I'm a working mother and I bring home the benefits I feel like it's worth it. I offset my salary with the cost of a cleaning service and it doesn't sound as terrible that way. 

Ultimately, I love being able to do the bare minimum with my cleaning efforts. I recommend it if you can find something you can afford. 

[Posting these room photos makes me want to steal Kate's idea of doing a house tour... after cleaning lady comes tomorrow I'll take photos!]

Friday, December 5, 2014

Reddit Secret Santa Gift Exchange

I am participant number 29,320 out of over 200 THOUSAND people doing the 6th annual Reddit Secret Santa gift exchange.
So basically it's just like this... over 200,000 people are randomly matched up with people all around the world, given a few details about that person, and they can look at their reddit message history, and go from there to buy a gift for their giftee.

Here's what I know about my guy:

  1. He's a college student
  2. Among other things, he likes Star Wars and The Godfather movie franchise
  3. On his bucket list, he wants to visit USA
  4. He lives in GERMANY
I really wanted to give him something that has a personal touch, so I'm having all the things I buy for him delivered to me (because I'm an online shopaholic). So far this is my big ticket item for him:

Basically it's a map of the US that has a scratch off component so when he finally does visit he can mark off the states he's been to. (No one can hate on this gift idea even if you think it's stupid because I already ordered it and wrapped it in Justin Bieber wrapping paper)

It'll look like this when scratched:

So now I'm trying to come up with other little nifty gifties that I can wrap and put in the gift box before I ship. The deadline is December 19th for the ship date so any suggestions before then would be fab!

My only other thought is going to the comic book store and finding something Star Wars-y for him that would be unique. But I don't want to spend a fortune... Also, I don't want whatever I ship to be heavy, cuz you know... shipping internationally = $$$

Happy Friday!

Thursday, December 4, 2014


Hey everyone! Remember me? Sorry it's been quite some time since my last update... I blame work.

Anyways, how was your thanksgiving? Mine was awesome, spending time with my sisters, mom, brother in laws, and my niece/nephews. We went to my sister's place in Iowa City and there was a lot of card playing, drinking beers, and trying to get my little man to take a freaking nap already.

Nolan has been doing great! Honestly, I feel more and more thankful every day that he's mine and even more thankful that he was born healthy and that any health complications he has are easily remedied. Case and point, he just got his first ear infection.

It was actually last Monday night. Nolan woke up screaming bloody murder which, unfortunately, isn't uncommon for him. We usually bring him into bed with us and try to get some sleep that way. He hasn't responded well to sleep training when it comes to MOTN wakings. We deal with it and thankfully we have a king size bed so he fits in with us easily (it's a little more difficult to co-sleep on your nephew's full sized bed, just sayin').

But poor little man was screaming from about 11pm-4am which is THANKFULLY unusual. I figured it was an ear infection because nothing could console him. I called first nurse around midnight to see if they thought we needed to go to the ER and she said no. It wasn't until around 3:30 or 4am when I called again because Nolan had a solid fit of over an hour without the ability to be consoled. So when I called first nurse the 2nd time they said to take him to the ER.

So I got him loaded up in the car (which I got a new car btw, I'll have to take some glamour shots when I think of it next) and before I knew it he was asleep in his car seat. I figured since he was able to finally get some rest it didn't do either of us any good to take him to the ER so I drove around for about 20 minutes to make sure he was really sleeping.

I was able to get him to sleep until about 7am that morning (lucky me) and I called in sick - actually I emailed in sick. Does anyone actually "call" in sick anymore? I just sent in an email... whatever.

So I called the pediatrician and she was able to see him at 10. Thankfully we were able to get him in before too long. I didn't have to wait for an afternoon appointment. She identified him having an ear infection immediately after he tugged at his poor little ear for her. Such a smart boy, knowing how to show the doctor what hurts!

Tonight is his last dose of amoxicillin - HOORAY! And next week we have a follow up to ensure that his ear infection is truly cleared up.

I'm truly thankful for modern medicine.

I once again am just so thankful that Nolan has been an extremely healthy and happy baby... ugh toddler (he'll always be my baby).

I draw a lot of my thanks for his health from a friend/former roommate of mine who's son was born prematurely at 24 weeks. They've made a private facebook group detailing the struggle and triumphs of their little boy and he's growing bigger and bigger. Just recently he hit 8 pounds after being born at 1 pound and a few ounces. My heart goes out to them every single update because I don't know that struggle and I'm so thankful for it. I know that might come across as heartless in a way but really I'm just trying to say that I'm so glad that Nolan was born full term (and even a few days late thankyouverymuch) and that we were able to take him home after the standard stay in the hospital. I don't have to worry about the struggle of having a premature baby and I just wish that no one ever did have to worry about it. I'm glad to see that their little boy is well on his way to getting out of the NICU and going HOME! It's a long time coming and I certainly can't wait until that little man gets to see what his room looks like and to sleep in his own crib without tubes attached to him. Until then, I hope everyone keeps their little man in their thoughts and that he gets to go home soon!

This post was brought to you by the word "thanks"

Until next time, here's my boy playing with toilet paper...