Month: December 2010

The Evolution of New Year’s Eve

New Year’s Eve…the times how they change.

Even as a kid, my parents always had something fun for us to do on New Year’s Eve. We always made nachos- chips spread across a cookie sheet, tons of cheese on top and all melty and gooey from the oven. I struggled with droopy eyes to stay up and watch the ball drop. I usually failed and was carried up to bed in all my exhausted glory. As we got older, my parents would either drag us to the neighbor’s party or, much to their detriment, leave us kids alone while they went to the party. Most of the time we just ate way too many sweets and they had to deal with a neverending sugar high when they got home. I also discovered as a teen that babysitting on New Year’s Eve was very lucrative. People were desperate for babysitters. Once after my sister got her driver’s license, we took a ski trip to Wild Mountain on New Year’s Eve- it was SO MUCH FUN. I distinctly remember jamming out to Milli Vanilli on the drive.

Once I got to college, things REALLY changed. I had a couple friends who would throw a huge (black tie optional) hotel party complete with renting out the ballroom, DJ, drinks, food… it was a $30 cover (plus the cost of the hotel room to crash in after) and it was the best of times. Me and my friends attended this party for several years and it always seemed that it got more fun year after year. We would always spend the afternoon shopping the sales looking for the perfect cocktail dress/gown to wear and then spend hours drinking and getting ready to get our dance on. Some of my best New Year’s Eve memories were of these parties.

Post college started to get tricky. Serious boyfriends came into the picture and we were now having to find ways to divide our time between the two. We decided that we still get dolled up and go somewhere swanky to have drinks for a few hours before going back to our significant others. This went well for quite a few years. Here are a few photos of past New Year’s celebrations:

Despite our girlfriend pact to always spend time together on New Year’s Eve in some way, this changed too. Work obligations for some but for me: a child. It is no offense to my friends but I prefer to stay home now on New Year’s Eve with my family. Jack will still go to bed at his normal time (and probably will until he’s quite a bit older) but it has become a night for me and my husband to spend some REAL quality time together. No retreats to our separate parts of the house. We buy naughty food to fry up in the Fry Daddy, drink more than our fair share and play either on the Wii or find a board game to play. It might sound super lame to some people, but this has now become a tradition that I truly look forward to. However, in the spirit of the old days before kids and marriage broke down our former pact, I will get to do a little shopping with the ladies tomorrow but in a much different way: we are going bridal gown shopping for one of my dearest friends. We’ll share a cocktail and a slice of pizza over lunch but most importantly, we’ll get to share some time helping our friend get ready for her big day.

What a perfect way to ring in the New Year.

What traditions do you have for celebrating the New Year?

Got a New Year’s tradition of your own to share? Link it up here!

Christmas Memories

For all the scrooginess I endured early on, Christmas turned out to be truly magical this year.

Opening presents with Daddy. Every single one was an “OH MY GOSH MOMMY!”

Chef Jackson cooking up a meal in his new kitchen from Santa

“I’m Oscar The Grouch! Now Scram!” (FYI… this trash was used for all of the wrapping paper… nothing gross in there. Promise.)

Cousins. Getting along. Again- Magic.

Jack and Cousin Miles- how cute is that arm around the shoulders?

Christmas is all smiles.

Cousin Blaine introducing my young child to the DS. We are in so much trouble.

Even Christmas pooped the dog out.

All he wanted to do was snuggle with his Zoobie Bee and Lotso.

Hoping that all of you had a magical Christmas as well.

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A Little Wine Whine

I’m not sure if it is because I am a parent now or simply because I am getting older, but I pay dearly for an evening out with my girlfriends.

Once upon a time, I could go out until all hours of the night. Dance my booty off. Drink until I was crawling to my doorstep (via a cab ride home) and wake up the next day for work or school totally refreshed and ready to go on no more than an hour or two of sleep.

I cannot do that anymore.

Last night, I had the chance to hang out with a friend from Chicago who was in town for one night only. I met up with her after work to do a little window shopping in Downtown Minneapolis grab some dinner and drinks and simply catch up on life. I haven’t seen her since about July and with only a few Facebook comments back and forth, there was PLENTY to catch up on. I LOVE this friend in so many ways. She has unique tastes in food and is always willing to try something new. She usually doesn’t let the cost of things bother her or keep her from trying a new cocktail or enjoy an expensive glass of wine (although… I will confess that I thought the $17 9oz glass of Merlot at BANK was pretty excessive for myself). She loves to shop, and by shopping, I don’t necessarily mean buying things. She is the person who lives a life that I often envy. She used to work in a corporate HR job with a large company that relocated her about once every 2-3 years and required travel all over the country. She did it with zest and energy, making friends wherever she went. Most recently, she has permanently set up roots in Chicago and told that corporate job to shove it. Again. Envy. She started work as a realtor, which seems crazy in these uncertain real estate times, and is totally kicking ass at it. She would certainly not mind having a man and love in her life, but she doesn’t let it define her and she embraces the single life. Quite simply? She. Amazes. Me.

Needless to say, I always have a great time hanging out with her. We have great conversations over great cocktails. I had such a great time last night and know to the core of my very being that I need to get out and hang out with my friends from time to time in order to feel like a human being. Even though I was home by 10pm and after a brief catch up with the husband, I was in bed by 10:30p. Even though I didn’t drink to the point of stumbling drunkness (it was a very slow wine-sipping kind of evening), I slept horribly. Getting up at 5:30a, I was still in a state of coma-like exhaustion that only a cold shower could fix. Tonight, there is no rest for the weary. I will pick up my toddler after work and we will struggle through dinner (he’s going through that fun toddler picky stage) and we will play and laugh until 7:30 rolls around and it is time for jammies and bedtime. Will I go to sleep too? Nope. I’m sure I will find plenty of reason to stay up until 10. Dishes, toy cleanup, DVR catch up… etc etc etc.

I hate feeling like an awesome night out with a great friend has to cause me so much angst the next day. Doesn’t seem fair does it? Us moms, we need these nights out so desperately yet pay for them so dearly. Not fair at all.

So the question remains: Is it worth it?


More Than a Resolution

I just packed up my bags to go back to work tomorrow- they include a plethora of leftover cookies and treats that my husband and I simply do not want around the house anymore. How do you say no to


In our world. We don’t. We eat them. We have no willpower. Therefore, they must go.

This lack of willpower over the last couple years has officially caught up to these 30-something year old bodies and it is time to make a change. Remember that wedding I was in back in November? I just saw the pictures. Oh dear god. Wake up call much? Not to mention I have TWO more weddings in 2011 that I will have photos immortalized of me up on a mantle somewhere. One wedding that was moved up and is now just 5 little months away. More than anything, I just want to feel more energetic. Better. Proud.

I set my first goal. 15 lbs by March 31st. I have no idea if it is possible, but gosh darnit if I’m not going to try. I’m back on the program (WeightWatchers that is) and am about to load tunes on my new iPod Shuffle (a little Christmas gift).

The most important bag that I packed tonight? My gym bag.

Wordless Wednesday: Best Christmas Card Ever

I love getting Christmas cards from all of my friends and family near and far and even the ones I haven’t seen in a hundred years.

This year the best one came from someone really special.

Wishing a Very Merry Christmas from our family to yours.

Hello Christmas Spark

I have voiced my opinion about how crabby I get during the holidays, but as Christmas Eve draws near, I can already feel my excitement growing.

Today, I am exchanging gifts with my team at work (there are just 3 of us running this marketing train). With so many highs and lows at my job over the past year and a half, I feel like this is a moment to just take a deep breath and put the negative vibes to the side. So, even if it is just for today, I’m burying all that negativity for the sake of Christmas. I have Pandora kicking out the Christmas Station. I’m in good spirits with only tomorrow left to work before a nice long Christmas weekend. How can a person not be happy about that?

Another part of my happy feeling is that for the first time maybe ever, we didn’t have any family fights over where to go this year- it all magically fell into place. Surprisingly, everyone is coming to us and yes, in possibly an insane moment, we are hosting our two families in two days. I’m not even stressed! WTH! I’m excited to bake fudge, cookies and Chex Mix. All the presents are wrapped and under the tree. We have enjoyed teaching Jackson about who Santa Claus is and what he is all about and teaching him that he has to wait until Christmas to open the presents. I’m excited that my husband isn’t begging to open presents early- for some reason, he gets crazy excited to give me my gifts and in the last 8 years has NEVER been able to wait until Christmas. I’m especially excited that on Christmas Eve morning, just the 3 of us will open our gifts together. I love that Jackson is old enough to get excited and it makes my heart burst with love and anticipation for all the wonderful years of memories to come.

Despite the snow, the crappy commutes and the huge failure the MN Vikings turned out to be this year I’m feeling the Christmas spark. Are you?

Changing Up the Routine

For at least the past year, we’ve had a great run of good sleeping. So good in fact that it is hard to recall a bad night. I’m sure there have been a couple with nights of ear infections and croup, but the good nights have definitely outnumbered those awful ones. We have most definitely been blessed as I have heard horror sleep stories from many a mama.

When we have those bad nights though… wow, they are bad. Last night our little monster was up at least every 2 hours crying. We never really pinpointed the reason why. Let’s face it- a 2 year old can certainly answer your questions, but does he really know what we’re asking in the first place? So at 11:30p last night (round 1) we asked him:

Does your tummy hurt? No
Do your ears hurt? No
Does your throat hurt? No
Are you hungry? No

So, we invited him into bed to watch a round of Homer (don’t judge… our kid loves The Simpsons and he has zero interest in sleeping in our bed- he tries to escape) and despite his attempts to bribe us out of it, he went back to bed kicking and screaming. Every 2 hours after that the crying commenced. My husband had some mercy on me as he is on vacation all week whereas I had to be up at 5:30p. It was definitely a 3 snooze morning and a bad hair day.

My husband and I in all of our glassy eyed glory discussed the situation this morning in obvious fear that this was going to be a nightly occurrence. Turns out Jack confessed this morning that he was crying because he had scary dreams. I’m not sure exactly how to fix toddler nightmares but we decided that the first step was going to be eliminating any television before bedtime and switch to a more quiet and relaxed bedtime routine consisting of bathtime, jammies, quiet lullabies and a book or two (or… for my kid… just ONE MORE mommy). While I’m sure this sounds lovely to all of you, we already foresee the sheer disaster this is setting up to be. He has been falling asleep with us in the living room since he turned 1 and we said goodbye to the bottle- once the jammies were on he used to just zone out and pass out while we watched what we wanted, but the older he got, the more he would request specific programming (Homer, Wipe Out, Shrek, Toy Story…). The more he requested, the less he was interested in going to bed. I know… TV at this age… what were we thinking? Again, don’t judge. All parents live and breathe the words “You gotta do what you gotta do.”

Starting when they come home from the hospital, these little people go through so many changes so quickly. I remember a time when we were feeding every 3-4 hours and he would “go to bed” the same time we did. He now goes down at 7:30pm leaving mom and dad with plenty of “us” time. Like I said, we’ve been blessed with a fabulous sleeper, but it is clear that it is again time for another change. I hate these changes. They usually consist of tantrums, screaming and me feeling bad and guilty like I am torturing my poor child or something. We are hoping this will only take a few nights before he gets into the new groove and hopefully provide him with more comfort and reassurance when going to bed and in turn, less nightmares.

Moms- what has been the hardest change in routine you’ve had to make with your kiddos? 

Wordless Wednesday: Fighting My Inner Grinch

I’ve talked about it before- how cranky the holidays make me. Here is how I have managed to fight my inner Grinch and make the best of the holiday season.

First there is my shopping woes. I just got this e-mail today which is adding to my crabbiness:

And as I mentioned in a previous post the disaster that was ordering online from ToysRUs. I didn’t get the shipment in time for my nephew’s 5th birthday party. I’m still cranky and disappointed over it and annoyed that I had to buy something else by physically going to a store during holiday madness time. However, no matter what I got for him, my nephew was happy:

I finally received the shipment yesterday and will be donating his original gift to Toys For Tots.

I’ve learned some lessons from all this: If you are going to shop online for Christmas presents, just pay the extra money to ensure that you have your shipment quickly and if all else fails, suck it up and just go to the store.

 Despite all of my shopping and family drama, I have a soft spot for Christmas. Every night, I also get to look at my pretty tree and it makes me smile in anticipation for all of the love and celebration that is to come.

MN Blizzard. The Aftermath.

I asked my husband tonight for a blog topic. Just to see what he’d say. The first suggestion was the usual sarcastic reply: Stinky Bodily Functions (followed by a loud fart).

Um. No.

The next wasn’t half bad though: Bad MN Drivers.

After two horrific days of commuting in the MN Blizzard aftermath, I couldn’t agree more. The road conditions are a complete crapshoot from city to city. It is bitterly cold which means black ice. By the way, you can’t see black ice so you don’t really know when you could hit a patch which means if you are driving like a total moron and make me hit the brakes and I hit said black ice, I’m going to end up going on a 360 spin that I don’t particularly care to do when driving across the Bloomington Ferry Bridge. By the way? Mr. SUV Big Ass Truck drivers? Your 4 wheel drive is not going to save you on a patch of black ice so SLOW THE HELL DOWN! Okay? Thank you. Not only are the roads scary, but how about those giant snowbanks? They are scary huge and frankly, they make me feel a little claustrophobic as I’m sandwiched between that and the jerk SUV Big Ass Truck driver that oh so desperately had to pass me. Right hand turns are scary with the big giant snowbanks because you can’t see around them and you can’t see who is coming until it is far too late anyway and your big giant front end is sticking out in the middle of the road. I also can’t appreciate a commute that would normally take 30 minutes (45 on a bad day) is suddenly taking double or triple the amount of time. Sucks.

Now, I know this is Minnesota. This is what we sign up for by living here. I’m not sure I have ever seen the conditions this crappy though. Are we really not prepared to deal with this? It’s kind of pathetic. Now we are scheduled to get more snow in the next couple days and we have barely begun to pick up the pieces from this blizzard.

Will I ever move away from here? Nope.

Here are some of our pictures from the big Blizzard of 2010.

Our Buried Front Steps

My almost buried husband- this is the sidewalk next to the street- can you see either?

Our neighbor’s giant snowdrift.

Insomniac Rant

For 10 days, I haven’t been able to sleep. I couldn’t really understand why because I LOVE to sleep. Nobody understands and treasures their sleep more than a mom. We are fortunate that our kiddo is an awesome sleeper, but it wasn’t always that way. So when it comes to a full night’s sleep? I don’t take it for granted. Then, I was struck by this horrific bout of insomnia. As in full on staring at the ceiling trying to will the sleep to come. Last night was the worst. Sleep never came. I dozed off around 4:30am. My alarm went off at 5:30. I was a wreck today. Wandering like a zombie. Now I’m home. The kid is in bed. Here I am. Awake. Blogging. I must be insane. I’m going to fight it tonight thought- there is a Unisom upstairs in my bedroom with my name on it. After doing some digging at 2:30am last night I found that my antibiotic, Levaquin, for my neverending sinus infection is the cause. I didn’t notice it listed in the side effects all this time, but there it was. As bold as can be. I have no idea when it will wear off, but I hope soon. I miss being able to fall asleep within minutes of my head hitting the pillow.

I’m going to switch directions, because that’s what the Mixed Bag of Rant is all about. It is sleep related though. My “friend”, you know the one who somehow assumed her newborn daughter would be a perfect sleeper, still isn’t sleeping. Her daughter turns a year old in a little over a month and they have yet to sleep through the night. She says it is because she is sick (seems she has been sick for the past 11 months). She claims she has tried everything and that her daughter is just stubborn. She has not tried crying it out though. I warned her that at this age, her daughter has taken control of mom and dad and that she should try the Ferber method as it is the more friendly version of crying it out. She said she didn’t think she could do it and then mentioned her Pediatrician suggested the book “Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problems”. I chuckled and said, “You mean the book by RICHARD FERBER?” I didn’t mean to do the invisible mama eye roll, but I couldn’t help it. She was SO convinced that my way was wrong. I’m not saying my way is the right way. I know that Ferber or full on Babywise crying it out is not right for everyone, but don’t say you’ve tried everything when you haven’t. Ferber was the only thing that worked and the last thing we tried. It was hard. I literally sat outside the door to his room with a death grip on the video monitor watching him in agony as he cried. Without the video monitor, I couldn’t have done it. He is a GREAT sleeper now and the persistence paid off. Now that he’s 2.3 years old? He’s discovered the “Just one more mommy,” begging. He screams when he goes to bed for all of about 30 seconds, grabs his puppy, pulls his blanket over and goes to sleep. Even at 1 to 2 years old these little kiddos are smart. If you give them an inch they will take a mile and it will only lead to super hard habits to break down the road if you keep giving in. Do I like hearing him cry? NO!! I hate it and cringe every night but he needs to know that we are the ones in charge- mom and dad call the shots and he more than understands what is going on- otherwise he wouldn’t give up so quickly. He knows.  In my crazy incoherent rant,  if I can offer any mommy advice here- it is to start a nightly routine as early as possible and stick to it.

I warned that this would be an insomniacs wicked wild rant! Did any of it make sense? Ha! Didn’t think so. Going to work on my sweet dreams now.