Friday, December 30, 2011


I can't believe Owen's already celebrated his second Christmas. And like many kids, he had to do what kids do best.

Get sick.

His stomach bug started two days before Christmas, actually. Just in time for him to miss his first daycare Christmas party and his cousin's birthday dinner. It was our first time dealing with Owen having the flu, so I thought we did pretty well making it to 14 months before ever having to deal with puke.

By Christmas Eve, he seemed better. And we had seemed to make it through without Dave or I getting sick. But he was having wierd spit up with a puke smell on the way home from church, so Dave took him home while I went to my parents for dinner. I missed Dave and Owen, but it's so nice of Dave to be willing to take care of Owen, so I could have some time with my family.

But that night, Dave came down with the flu. As did my sister, Stevie. So apparently we didn't escape the flu after all. Dave did make it down to the couch, so he could watch Owen open his presents (or me open the presents as Owen wasn't that into it). We skipped going to my mom's house for Swedish pancakes, but Owen and I went later for Christmas Day dinner.

And that night I came down with the flu. And so we had to cancel the family Christmas dinner at my house. My mom ended up having the rest of the family at her house, and Dave and I went over to celebrate while I stayed home in bed.

The stupid flu altered every single one of our Christmas plans. But while our plans didn't go as we wanted, it was hard to not be happy for all the blessings that I have. I have a wonderful son and husband and family. We got to celebrate Christmas without worrying about finances (although I admit that we got Owen's big gift second-hand. He won't ever know and won't ever care). We have health and love and laughter and stability. I couldn't ask for more.


Friday, December 23, 2011


Today, somewhere in the world (Haiti to be exact), little orphan children are waking up in their brand new beds. It warms my heart and brings tears to my eyes to think of it.

Two years ago was our first Christmas after our miscarriage. It was at that time, that Dave and I decided we wanted to help orphans somewhere in the world. We found ourselves parents without children, so we wanted to give to children without parents. It really helped me give a little bit of reason and hopefulness to our loss.

So we decided to help an organization called Healing Haiti. An uncle of an acquaintance of mine started the organization to help orphans in Haiti. They were building a new orphanage for the kids. As they built, they also provided food, water, education and love to those kids.

We've supported this organization when we could ever since. My parents and I attended a fundraising event, we've donated in honor of Chubby's birthday, gave after the earthquake. Anyway, today I woke up an awesome surprise.

The orphanage is finished! And the kids have moved in!

Here's a blog post by Krista giving her perspective of watching the kids arrive and how happy there were. "The children's screams of pure unbridled joy as they saw it were so loud they were heard in the vehicle that followed the bus. It was indescribable," she wrote. She also said that for the first time in their lives, they will get to use a toilet and end the day with a shower. Can you imagine?

And even better, here are pictures of the kids checking out and enjoying their new home.

Home. Can you imagine a better Christmas present?


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

20 minutes in the life of Owen

At almost 14 months old, Owen is still not walking. He's just not interested in it. As excited as I am for that list big milestone, I'm ok with the fact that he still prefers getting around on his hands and knees. Because I consider a crawler a baby. And a walker, my friends, I consider a toddler. And I'm ok with my baby staying a little baby a while longer.

And let's face it. Owen knows how to get around. Let me show you. And just so that you're clear -- all of these pictures were taken in no less than 20 minutes.

Feeding the dogs his snack

Playing with wrapping papger

Playing with his toy (standing!)

Grabbing the dogs' paws

Opening Amanda's Christmas present (sorry!)

Pulling an ornament off the tree

Eating the ornament

Trying to put the ornament back on the tree

And this is why I'm content with a crawler!


Thursday, December 8, 2011


No Thanksgiving post. No 13 month post. No quick updates. I'm not doing such a great job of chronicling the life of the Balow bunch, huh?

Life has been crazy busy -- but in a good way. And we dote on our little man as much as we can.

He's not walking yet, but why would he want to when he can scoot all around on all fours. One of the cutest things he'll do is the hypervenilating-sounding laugh if you pretend your chasing him. Oh the things I need to get on video. He also taught himself to go down the steps (he's already mastered going up.)

I did get this on video last night -- Owen eating his banana. He eats them so fast, but I actually bought the biggest bananas I could find the other days, since he usually cries when he's done eating it. So he couldn't squeeze half the banana in his mouth like he usually does.

Other things Owen is doing: talking. He's got mama, dada, banana (nana), bye, grandma, doggy and all done (complete with the sign for all done). Banana (nana) is his favorite word by far, probably because saying the word results in him getting to eat his favorite food.

Another cute thing he does: simultaneously scrunching his nose and breathing loudly through it


Monday, November 14, 2011

Owen's first sick day

I'm at home with Owen for his first sick day off daycare. He has a nasty runny nose, but no fever, but he just seemed sick enough that it seemed best to not send him to daycare. At home, he can have extra snuggles, he can nap better, he can relax more, he can't spread his cold.

As the day has gone on, he seems to be feeling a little better. He napped for 2 1/2 hours this morning, and is taking a good nap this afternoon. He hasn't had much of an appetite either, so you know he's not feeling well. This morning, he wouldn't eat eggs or cheerios. But he ate bananas, so I gave him two. At lunch, he struggled to get down a ravioli and a meatball, but he liked the applesauce.

It's been nice to get a day to stay at home with Owen. I just wish it wasn't because of the circumstances.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Owen is one now.

Seriously, I'm not sure where the time has gone.

I think back to a year ago (which I've been doing a lot lately) when a little baby that would curl up into my ball on my chest. Then I realize, that little infant isn't here anymore. I now have a boy who will barely sit still in my lap long enough for me to read two pages from a book. I love that boy so much.

It's absolutely amazing to me to think of how far we've come in the last year. People quit commenting on Owen's small size a long time ago. But some things haven't changed yet. Most people still think he looks like his mama.

Owen's disposition hasn't changed too much either. Most of the time he's a really good-natured, laid-back kid. Except when he's hungry. That's when he gets crabby.

He's getting close to standing on his own and walking. He actually will stand on his own -- until he realizes that he's doing it.

This video is a must-see. It's my favorite. Owen was giggling like this for 5 minutes, so this is just a snippet. I love seeing my baby boy have so much fun with his daddy. It's the best. thing. ever.


Monday, October 17, 2011

The details are in the fabric

Recently I've noticed Owen likes to point. Mostly when he sees himself at the mirror. Or he sees his picture on the wall at daycare. Or he sees his pictures that are framed at home. I'm sure he can't help but notice himself; he is so handsome. But he likes looking at baby pictures too. He loves his baby books with photos of babies. Opening up a book to a baby playing peek-a-boo or clapping for Owen to look at provides the best chance I have at getting him to sit still long enough for a diaper change. Owen not only likes to look at those books with baby pictures, but he also likes to tell me about those babies. I can't understand what Owen's saying, but I think it's the sweetest thing that he mimics reading books already. Yesterday, we went to my aunt and uncle's house for lunch. Owen loved eating egg roll. I'm so glad he likes Vietnamese food. He's definitely his mother's son. Speaking of food, I had to ask Owen's daycare teacher to feed him a little later in the afternoon, so we can have a little time to prepare dinner for him when we get home from work. He's old enough that baby food isn't cutting it anymore -- which is a shame, because it's so easy and convenient. One night last week he ate three jars of babyfood plus puffs and some other finger food. I'd swear that his tummy is Mary Poppin's carpet bag. Owen loves laying across my back with his head hanging off the side. It's the perfect position for tickling his neck, and boy, does he errupt in giggles. It's the best. We call him a monkey. Less than two weeks until Owen's first birthday! J.B.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Don't want to forget

All of a sudden it seems that Owen is learning A LOT.

I need to blog more, so that I can kep track of these milestones. I don't want to forget when he started doing what. And I know I'll love looking back and re-reading these posts. Even if I keep them simple, they'll definitely job my memory and bring a smile to my face.

Owen is finally crawling on his hands and knees! Last Monday, he was just in his diaper, and we were in our kitchen. I guess the tile floor was cold on his belly. It was just enough of an issue to force him to figure out how to crawl on his knees. He still army crawls, but is definitely crawling "normally" more and more.

Owen loves pulling himself up and standing. And he's constantly finding new places to pull up -- the stairs, the couch, the bin that holds dog food, the humidifier in his room (not all of these are good to climb, obviously), and worst of all -- the crib. Owen used to be so great at falling asleep. Now, he just pulls himself to standing and starts crying, which causes his paci to fall out of his crib. It's cute and annoying all at the same time.

The cutest thing of all happened the other night. I was on the floor playing with Owen and I told him to go get his daddy. He got on his hands and knees, crawled over to the chair and pulled himself up to see his daddy. Sooo cute!

On Monday, Owen was diagnosed with an ear infection. His second. Dave and I were so much better at noticing the symptoms, so we got him into the doctor (with a regular appointment -- not a 9:30 p.m. urgent care visit) before he was in too much pain.

His 5th and 6th teeth are starting to come in!


Friday, September 23, 2011

Owen's first summer is officially over. :(

I can't believe it's fall already. It's the season we'll celebrate Owen's first birthday! My boy should not be that big already! He had been battling a little cold this week and I've never seen Owen so cuddly. It's so sweet to get all the snuggles, but I want him to feel better.

So what are we up to this fall? Here's what I'm looking forward to doing with my family.

  • Go to the apple orchard and pick apples (we've already done this. lol.)
  • Celebrate Owen's first birthday! Eat cake!
  • Volunteer in the church nursery. (It's Owen's first job!)
  • Play with leaves
  • Go to ECFE class (that stands for Early Childhood Family Education). I did pre-natal yoga with several of the moms, and we did BYOB (baby) yoga, infant massage and other ECFE classes, so it's fun seeing all the babies that are Owen's age grow up alongside him.
  • Run (maybe I'll finally use the jogging stroller for it's intended purpose)
  • Vacation with Dave (DONE! We had an awesome vacation to Washington D.C. last weekend).
  • Camp (DONE! We did this a couple weeks ago and it was really fun).
  • Dog park (it won't be long before it's cold and snowy, so we need to do this a couple of times this fall).
  • Go trick-or-treating
  • Go to North Carolina for Thanksgiving and Lillian's 2nd birthday (tickets are bought, so we're going!)
  • More zoo visits
  • Children's museum? I think Owen would like the baby room, so we might try it out...although I think he'll get more out of it as he gets older.
  • See Owen take his first steps? Each day he's getting better at pulling himself up and standing...but it seems that walking is still a ways off. But it's probably not that far off, since he's one in October, huh?
I think that's a lot. Hopefully, I blog again before I report in on the results of this list, but the chances are pretty slim. lol.


Thursday, September 1, 2011

How'd we do?

Randomly as I was driving back to work, a blog post from earlier this spring popped into my head. It was a list of things I was excited to do with Owen this spring and summer. I wanted to check in and share how we did on completing the list.

Here it is (view original post)

Family walks! This is near the top of my list. I can't wait to resume our ritual of evening walks with Dave and the dogs. And this spring, Owen gets to join us.

Recap: We've done this, but not as many times as I would have liked. Owen requires 12 hours of sleep. In order for him to get his full night's sleep and wake up on his own in this morning, he goes to bed shortly after 7 p.m. each night. I don't get home from work until 5:30 - 6 p.m. That only gives me an hour and a half at most to play, feed, bathe, and get Owen ready for bed. It's not a lot of time, so unfortunately most nights we don't go on walks. I'd rather spend as much as that time as I can playing with my boy than pushing him in a stroller.

The zoo! We have two great zoos nearby our house. I can't wait to take Owen, so he can see all the cool animals. His first trip to the MN Zoo will be coming up soon, when we go see the baby animal exhibit with my sister and nieces. We just need to plan the date.

Recap: Done! We got a Minnesota Zoo membership and have been there a couple of times. Owen loves the tropical fish, penguins, bears and seals the best. We might be due for a trip this weekend!
Swimming! This won't happen for a couple of months yet, but we have a community swimming pool in our neighborhood. I hope Owen enjoys playing in the water.

Recap: Done! Owen loves swimming. Sometimes it does take a minute for him to get used to the water, but he really likes splashing and swimming with mommy and daddy.

Dog park! Owen's going to love watching Otis and Cooper run around at the dog park. It's been one of Dave's and my favorite pastimes, and now it'll be one of Owen's too.

Recap: We've done this a couple of times. Again, not as often as we've done in the past. The month of July was super hot, and we spent more time inside than we usually do.
Playground! Owen's a little small for most of the playground equipment right now, but there is a baby swing with his name on it.

Recap: We've done this one too! Not too many time though. The black baby swing and the hot sun don't mix well, so we have to be strategic when go to make sure the temperature is just right.

Play dates! There are a couple of kids in the neighborhood close to Owen's age that he hasn't met yet. It's about time Owen gets to know the kids on the block, who will likely be some of his best buddies in the years to come.

Recap: He's met the kids on the block. We haven't played too much yet though. It really seems to have been the summer where schedules don't match. But this is something that we can continue to do in the winter and fall, and it'll be more fun as the kids interact with each other more.

Easter! Is Owen too young to dye Easter eggs? Maybe. But I'm still looking forward to putting together an Easter basket together for him, on behalf of the Easter bunny. And buying him a cute Easter outfit.

Recap: This one didn't really pan out. No Easter basket or cute outfit, but Owen did get some books. My grandpa's funeral was the day after Easter, so we spent Easter weekend traveling to New Jersey.

Twins Game! Although we don't have tickets yet, Owen is bound to go to a Twins game this spring/summer. He's prepared. He has two Twins hats, a Twins jersey, a Twins bib and at least three or four Twins onesies all ready to wear to the game. Not to mention other numerous baseball-themed clothes in navy blue and red.

Recap: Believe it or not, I've only been to one Twins game. And Owen's been to none! With aunties wanting to babysit, it was easier just to leave him behind. He's too young to get anything out of the game, and chances are we would have had to leave early because of a crabby baby. Maybe next year...or in five.

Vacation! Owen gets to go to the beach in 33 days! We're heading to North Carolina for Anthony's first communion. Even better, Owen will get to meet his cousins, Auntie Diana, and uncles Ed and Brian. If spring doesn't get here before then, well, at least Owen will get a taste of warm weather in North Carolina. (Dear God, please don't let me have jinxed myself. We need warm weather stat.)

Recap: Done! We had a blast in North Carolina! Awesome weather. Awesome company. We got to meet some online friends in real life. We also got to enjoy the ocean, the river, go on a carriage ride and eat at some yummy restaurants. It was great to be able to support Anthony in person for his first communion (and one of his baseball games).


So I think we did pretty good with this list. There wasn't anything that we completely missed. And we did some other fun stuff. We went to Illinois to visit some friends, I went to some concerts, went to a lake, went to a parade and a few weddings.

This was fun. I think I need to make another list for fall!

Sunday, July 31, 2011


Just days prior to his 9-month birthday, Owen started crawling. He's got this adorable army crawl going on where he has to use all his strength to move his whole body with just his arms. You can see his determination. At first he'd only crawl for things he really wanted -- cell phones and TV remotes. But now he's crawling for toys, dogs, cords. The madness begins! He's Owen crawling!

Take 1

Take 2


Friday, July 29, 2011

9 months

We've made it 9 months! It's been an amazing 9 months. I've basically been in a state of awe for 9 months now. And I don't think that state is going to change any time soon as I know Owen is going to hit several milestones in the next few months. Crawling. Walking. Saying Mama. Whoa.

A couple days ago, Owen was sick with his first ear infection. I was sitting on the edge of the spare bed in his room, watching his daddy rock him in his arms. For a moment, Owen fell asleep between his sobbing. In that moment of silence, I remember looking at Owen in Dave's arms and thinking about how big he looked. It was really the first time that I saw with my own eyes how big Owen his getting. His body no longer just fits in his daddy's arms. His legs stick out and hang out -- like a big boy. I know that this is just the first of many times that I'll be thinking, "Wow, my kid is big now."

Life with Owen is getting more and more fun. He mimacs our facial expressions and the sounds we make. He laughs so easily. He is so inquisitive about the things around him. He loves stroller rides. He loves swimming in the pool. He loves his mommy and daddy and Gracie and Otis and Coopy. I think his greatest love may be eating. He loves to eat.

We've seen his first signs of stranger anxiety. My heart can't help but melt a bit when he reaches up for his mommy when he's uncertain about his surroundings.

Owen sleeps a solid 11-12 hours at night. But since he has to wake up at 7 a.m. to get ready for daycare so I can go to work, it means that Owen goes to be between 7 and 8 p.m. during the week. It's hard to only get a couple of hours in the evening with my boy before bed. It's a weird feeling to be missing my boy when he's sleeping upstairs and I know he's close by, but I feel that way every night. But I try not to think of working as a sacrifice, especially since so many people don't have jobs and want them. My job provides us with so much. And Owen will grow up knowing that we have to work hard for what we get. I think that's an important lesson. And Owen loves daycare. All the daycare kids love him too. He got no less than 5 or 6 hugs (from just two girls) when I dropped him off this morning.

Owen had a good visit with the doctor this morning. Although she won't declare his eye color yet! He's in the 84th percentile for height and 33rd percentile for weight. Tall and lean. I'm actually surprised that he's only 33rd percentile for weight. He feels so sturdy to me and doesn't look too skinny. He's definitely healthy and has a happy disposition. And that's what matters.


Thursday, June 16, 2011

We got a tooth!

Owen's first tooth made its appearance this week!

Owen is a teething jump thus far, we didn't even know he was teething. He wasn't drooling more than normal. He wasn't crappy. No fever. No sleeping problems.

He's such a tough little guy.

We only noticed he got his tooth, because I was checking his gums to see if I could feel any teeth trying to poke through. I was pleasantly surprised to feel a tooth!

He caught his daycare provider off guard with his new tooth this week too. He bit her.

Hopefully, I'll be able to get a picture of his tooth soon to share.


Thursday, May 19, 2011


So what would you do if you were in a meeting with the CEO of your company and three of the other top executives and you found a wood tick in your hair?

That's what happened to me yesterday. True story.

I seriously contemplated for five minutes about what to do. Should I risk looking rude and walk out of the meeting? Should I start shrieking and ask the person next to me for help? Should I ignore it and wait until the end of the meeting to find a way to get it out? Should I just pull it out of my hair right then and their and maybe play with it on the table?

I was going to just ignore it, but then I realized I was most likely going to be sitting in that meeting for another hour. Meanwhile that tick would continue to suck my blood and although unlikely, give me Lyme's disease. So I ended calmly leaving the conference room and then sprinted to a co-worker's cube. She bravely pulled the tick out of my scalp. I went back into my meeting and no one was ever aware of the real reason why I left the meeting.


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

6 and 1/2 months!

We've surpassed the 6 month mark. Crazy. Owen is closer to his first birthday than he is to being born. At his six month appointment, he weighed 17 pounds and 27.3 inches -- 41 percentile and 77 percentile, respectively. A long and lean boy. He gets neither of those qualities from his mama. lol.

I think Owen's most advanced skill is his vocal skills. He's been making raspberries for at least a month. Owen's doctor said that is an 8-month-old skill. Within the last week, he's even started rolling his tongue. He sounds like a bird chirping away. He's also learned to shriek. Very. Loudly. He is constantly babbling. Ahhing and Ooohing. Giggling too. His giggles are the absolute best sound in the world.

Speaking of giggling. Otis and Gracie make Owen giggle. Otis with his licks. Gracie with her fur. Anytime Owen touches Gracie and Otis he laughs. These days Otis and Gracie will take attention from whoever they can get -- even Owen. It amazes me how gentle they both are with him.

What about Cooper? He still stays away from Owen. He sniffs Owen every once in a while, but really has no interest in our little boy.

While Owen just celebrated his 1/2 birthday, Dave and I recently celebrated our actual birthdays. Owen's gift to me on my birthday was rolling over from back-to-stomach-to-back for the first time. Owen's gift to Dave was sitting on his own -- even if it lasted mere seconds, it happened. In the days since, Owen's definitely gotten better at this skill. He can now hold himself long enough for me to take a picture on my phone.

I think I can honestly say the past six months have been the best of my life. It amazes me how much joy Owen has brought into my life. Love you so much, little man!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

What a week

I'm still here, but am doing horribly on my lent blog challenge. Things have been a little crazy in the last week or so. All within the same week my dog died, my grandpa died and Owen started daycare. Had it been any normal week, starting daycare probably would have been difficult. But dealing with my dog's and grandpa's deaths made daycare seem like no big deal. My heart is heavy. I know I'll blog more about these things eventually, because blogging helps me. But I'm still sorting my thoughts.


Monday, April 4, 2011

Car rides

One early summer June evening in 1996, my mom and I took a car ride. We headed to Wisconsin to pick up our new puppy. Nels. We had picked him out at the farm weeks earlier, but we needed to wait to bring him home until he was old enough.

I was so excited. I always loved dogs and always wanted one of my own. Miraculously, my sister and I had finally convinced my parents to let us get a dog. He was a black tri-color Australian Shepherd. I picked him, Stevie named him.

He was finally old enough, so my mom and I drove out to the farm and picked him up. Still just a puppy, he sat in my lap as we drove home. Nels cried. He cried and he cried and he cried. My mom and I cried. We felt so guilty tearing him apart from his puppy family.

One would have thought that this pup would have disliked the car for having taking him away from his mom and dad and siblings. But we quickly became the family he knew and loved. And he loved the car. If you said, "car ride," he would go crazy, wagging his tale and run towards the back door. If he ever got out of the house and wouldn't come back when you called his name, he'd meet you at the car if you told he he was going for a ride.

Today Nels is just weeks shy of his 15th birthday. He his old and weak. His health is deteriorating. He lived a good life and will be greatly missed.

Today Nels is going on his final car ride. This time I'll ride along side him in the back seat. This time he'll need help getting into the car. He can't just jump up like he used to. This time there will be tears, but they won't be his.


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

5 months

My baby boy is five months old. These months are going. so. fast.

Owen's not so much a newborn anymore.

Each day with Owen is more fun than the previous as he gets more interactive and keeps learning new tricks. He laughs at the funny noises we make. He's proven to be a future trumpet player the way he puts his lips together and blows. He loves sitting up (assisted) and looking around the room. He's so observant of everything around him. He can grab and pull the bird that dangles from his carseat handle. He's tried oatmeal, rice cereal and avocado.

On Friday, Owen will begin a new adventure. He's starting daycare. Owen, Dave and I have all loved having my mom take care of Owen. My mom and dad have liked it too. I know for me, I loved the opportunity to take care of my nieces everyday for a couple of months when I was in college. I felt a bond grow between us that is still there today. I hope my mom will be able to say the same about the last two months she's take care of Owen. It's the sweatest thing to walk into my parent's house at the end of the day and seeing my mom rocking a sleepy Owen or seeing my dad on the floor playing together. Having my mom take care of Owen has been a really nice way to transition back to work. And now that the transition is complete, it's time for Owen to go to daycare. I think he'll like the opportunity to interact with kids everyday, especially now that he started enjoying people watching.

And of course, Owen continues to grow like a weed. I weighed him this morning, and he's approximately 16.5 pounds now. He's down to his last few size two diapers and the box of size three is waiting for him.

My love for Owen is unreal. He is pretty much the highlight of my day every day. I knew I'd love being a mom, but I love it more than I imagined. Owen is a great boy and I'm so thankful that he is my boy.

I think month five will be a good one for Owen. I know he'll continue to grow and change right before our eyes. Will he get a tooth this month? Will he be able to sit up on his own? Will he learn how to say mama? I'll be back next month with a full report.


Monday, March 28, 2011

What a girl wants...

For today's blog challenge, we're supposed to share three things we want. Anything. And not feel guilty for wanting it.

So here's the first thing I want.

A house. A single-family house with a backyard. And this particular picture is the model home for the particular house that I found that I want. It's gorgeous. At the moment, it's the house of my dreams. But it's just barely beyond our reach. This house has been consuming me. All day long I dream about living here. Room for Owen. Room for the dogs. Room for guests. Room for future children. Not to mention the model has one of the most beautiful gourmet kitchens I have ever seen. The three car garage seems big, but hey, we actually have three cars in our possession right now. So maybe this house isn't so way too big for us after all.

Since selling our current house isn't an option at the moment, I guess I'll pick one thing I'd like to do to our house.

Bathroom remodel! Fixing up anything in our house right now wouldn't be the wisest use of our money either. So the bathroom remodel is another dream of mind, just beyond my reach. I just kinda grabbed this picture of the world wide web, but now that I'm looking at it, I kinda like it. And it actually fits with the layout of my bathroom. It's like fate is trying to intervene here, and tell me that this bathroom needs me.

So for the third item, I'm picking something that I actually desperately need.
Jeans! Wearing my favorite pair of jeans through the first 4 months of my pregnancy, and squeezing back into them not even a week post-birth, caused some crazy stretching to my jeans. I swear, if jeans could get stretch marks, my jeans would have more of them than I do. And for the other jeans collecting dust in my closet, well, they just don't fit right anymore either. Pregnancy seemed to have caused my thighs to get smaller, while my hips grew. The net effect is pretty much a muffin top combined with a saggy butt look. Not flattering. Let me know your favorite brand of jeans. I don't even know where to start the search for new jeans.

Now for my runner up.

A closet like this would make my clothes look so beautiful. I might even look forward getting up in the morning, knowing that I would have to go into my closet to pick out something to wear. And in a house like mine -- with very little storage space, I think a closet organizer would be a smart use of what storage space we have. So we're not only looking at something beautiful here, it's practical too. A new closet is something I've always dreamed of having, so this was a close third. Especially, since I had a great home-related theme going. But the jeans are something I actually need, so they trumped the closet makeover.

It was fun picking out stuff I want. But it is making me feel like I need more in my life, which I don't. So now, in an effort to make me feel better, I just want to say that there is already so much that I'm lucky to have. And how all the things I do have don't even matter. And that all of the things I have could be swept away in a tsunami (Ok. It'd have to be a really big one to reach me.) The point is that I don't need those things pictured above. I already have more than enough. Because all I need is love. And I have a lot of that in my midst right now.


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Operation meatballs

We had our meatball contest today. Dave made his cheesy meatballs with shredded cheese while I made mine juicy lucy style. And I made some cheeseless ones that I could actually eat. Dave was the judge.

The verdict.


I guess when you use the same ingredients, no matter how you build it, you get the same net result. Cheesy meatballs.

We had fun with our little contest and plan on tweaking our meatball recipes to make them both even tastier.

And now, for your viewing pleasure. Owen pics!





Saturday, March 26, 2011


Food. I love food.

I love finding recipes and making new meals for Dave and I to try.

But not lately.

Lately, nothing sounds appetizing. I can't figure out what I want to eat. And the odd thing is that I feel like I'm always hungry. Hungry, but not knowing how to satisfy the hunger -- not a great combination.

Except for a few weeks in February, I haven't had any dairy since the middle of December. Owen has an intolerance to the dairy protein, so that means I can't have it.

And I think that's my problem. I feel like I've tapped the dairy-free recipe well dry. I don't mean to complain about not being able to eat dairy. For the most part, it hasn't been hard. But it's been a long time now, and I miss cheese.

Tonight Dave and I had a great dinner idea for tomorrow. Meatball juicy lucies. We both had different techniques to try, so we're going to have a little competition. His idea is to use shredded cheese. My idea is to use cheese cubes. But we have to make plain meatballs as well just so I can eat some. And that means Dave gets to do the judging of our little meatball juicy lucy contest. As if he won't be biased.

I'm looking forward to the day I can eat dairy again. And hopefully, the appetite flood gates will open wide.


Thursday, March 24, 2011


Yesterday morning, I opened the garage to see Mother Nature puking snow everywhere. Yes, at this point of the year, I'm sick of snow. Therefore, in my opinion, it's the equivalent of puke. It's spring. I'm ready for warm weather! Sadly, the extended 10-day forecast doesn't show any temps above 50, so instead I'm going to blog about all the stuff I'm looking forward to doing with Owen this spring. (And thanks to Erin for suggesting this topic!)

  • Family walks! This is near the top of my list. I can't wait to resume our ritual of evening walks with Dave and the dogs. And this spring, Owen gets to join us.
  • The zoo! We have two great zoos nearby our house. I can't wait to take Owen, so he can see all the cool animals. His first trip to the MN Zoo will be coming up soon, when we go see the baby animal exhibit with my sister and nieces. We just need to plan the date.
  • Swimming! This won't happen for a couple of months yet, but we have a community swimming pool in our neighborhood. I hope Owen enjoys playing in the water.
  • Dog park! Owen's going to love watching Otis and Cooper run around at the dog park. It's been one of Dave's and my favorite pastimes, and now it'll be one of Owen's too.
  • Playground! Owen's a little small for most of the playground equipment right now, but there is a baby swing with his name on it.
  • Play dates! There are a couple of kids in the neighborhood close to Owen's age that he hasn't met yet. It's about time Owen gets to know the kids on the block, who will likely be some of his best buddies in the years to come.
  • Easter! Is Owen too young to dye Easter eggs? Maybe. But I'm still looking forward to putting together an Easter basket together for him, on behalf of the Easter bunny. And buying him a cute Easter outfit.
  • Twins Game! Although we don't have tickets yet, Owen is bound to go to a Twins game this spring/summer. He's prepared. He has two Twins hats, a Twins jersey, a Twins bib and at least three or four Twins onesies all ready to wear to the game. Not to mention other numerous baseball-themed clothes in navy blue and red.
  • Vacation! Owen gets to go to the beach in 33 days! We're heading to North Carolina for Anthony's first communion. Even better, Owen will get to meet his cousins, Auntie Diana, and uncles Ed and Brian. If spring doesn't get here before then, well, at least Owen will get a taste of warm weather in North Carolina. (Dear God, please don't let me have jinxed myself. We need warm weather stat.)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Poor little man

So it turns out that nothing can make you pity your child more than seeing him sick. (In my experience. So far.)

Last night was great with Owen. He ate his food. Still seemed hungry. Ate a little more food. Gave him a bottle. Still seemed hungry, but decided to wait until bed time to give him more. He loves to eat and makes this cute grunting noise the whole time we're feeding him, because we literally can't. feed. him. fast. enough.

He was laughing and giggling. We even found a new way to make him laugh. (By copying the grunting noises he makes while he's eating. There won't be any videos of me grunting. Sorry.)

So anyway, per our usual routine, I gave him another bottle right before bed. And even though it was only an hour and a half or so after he last ate, I had Dave make a four ounce bottle instead of two. (See previous paragraph. He still seemed hungry after the last feeding.)

So he's laying on me, drinks up his bottle, dosing off. So I put him on my chest to burp him. The biggest burp/spit up ever is all down my shirt. So Dave takes him and puts him to bed, so I could get cleaned up.

Per usual, he makes noises that we can hear through the baby monitor as he's falling asleep. But then he starts crying. So I go into his room and reach into his crib to turn his musical seahorse back on and put his pacifier back in his mouth. It was dark. I reach in and. EWWW. Wetness all over. I turn on the light just in time to see more puke errupting out of his mouth. Instinctively, I reach in and turn him on his side to let it out. He was soaked. His crib was soaked. By now he is sobbing.

Our poor little baby. Dave and I felt so bad for him and just wanted to cuddle him all night. He was exhausted. He slept on us and then would wake up heaving and puking and then would cry again. My heart was breaking. Thankfully, the puking didn't last long. We were able to put him back to bed an hour or so later, and he hasn't puked since then. He slept straight through the night until 5:30 a.m. this morning and was back to his normal cheerful self.

So it seems that Owen gave us a preview of what sickness is like. I know its inevitable that more experiences like this are to come. But hopefully, those experiences will be few and far between.


Also, check out my new blog header! Katie made it for me!

Also, thanks for the emails wondering where my blog posts are. I love that I'm being held accountable for blogging. :)


Saturday, March 19, 2011

Good friends. Good times.

Thank you to everyone who left comments on my last post. You did good. And so, here I am posting today! Complete with pictures!

Some friends are just in your lives for a period of your life. Other friends come into your life and never leave. Even though there are ups and downs, struggles and carefree times, for some reason you just stick together through it all. Tonight, I hung out with two such very important people in my life. At one point, I think we were just kinda in awe over how much has changed in our lives since junior high. The fun part of the night of course was watching Owen and one of his girlfriends. This little girl is two months older than Owen, and he's definitely catching up to her in size.

Owen's 4 months old and his girl is 6 months old

And the good ol' days when they were little babies. Owen was just a couple of days old and she was almost two months old.

And here's one from earlier in the day. Just because I think he looks cute. Notice the drool.


Friday, March 18, 2011

It's like any fad diet.

So no less than a week into my blogging challenge, I miss a day. That didn't take long, huh?

Trying to blog is becoming a bit like dieting or exercising. I start with great intentions and motivation to do well, but after a couple of days that motivation starts to slide. Next thing you know I'm skipping a day here and there, and soon I'll have completely lost track.

Oh well. Can't say that I haven't tried. Don't worry I'm not giving up my lent/blog challenge quite this fast.

I think I need something from you dear readers. I know that there is at least three of you loyal readers out there. I need your encouragement.

Excercising and dieting is so much more fun when you have a buddy doing it with you. Words of encouragement keep the motivation strong to put on those running shoes when all you want to do is to curl up on the couch.  The same is true with blogging.

Help keep me motivated! Leave a comment. Let me know you still read the blog. Or just started. If there is anything specific you want me to see or read on my blog, let me know. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

To share or not to share. That is the question.

Today's topic: When you blog, what's off limits? Why?

I thinks it's easiest for me to start answering this question by explaining why I first started this blog. This blog was started as a challenge between my sister-in-law who lives in North Carolina and myself. We both started blogs because we wanted to chronicle our lives and make it easy for family on the other side of the country stay current with what we're up to. Soon after, my other sis-in-law and some friends (here and here) started blogging too. Even my husband and dad and father-in-law blogged for a short while. (And yes, I'm linking to all of your blogs to guilt you into updating them.) :)

That said, the purpose of my blog is to update friends and family on what's going on in my life. But there is a lot of life that I don't want to share with them. I don't blog about fights with my husband. I don't blog about breastfeeding struggles. I don't blog about many personal issues. I don't blog about work either. And with the lack up updates I've been posting lately, I haven't been doing a good job of sharing the stuff I want to share either.

Sometimes I think I want to blog more about my private life and struggles. Lots of people do it, especially in this world of reality TV and mommy bloggers. I think it would breath new life into my blog and I'd probably attract more readers. But I've never made that leap.

The one thing that I've been fairly open about was my miscarriage. Writing about that experience helped my heart heal. And I love that my words on my experience has resonated with other women, and dare-I-say even helped them deal with their own similar issues. But even then, I didn't share the physical side effects, because really, who wants to know how bad the cramping was and how long it lasted. (If you want to know, talk to me privately. But I don't need to put it out there for the whole world to read.)

Sometimes I think I need to be more private. I use my husband's and my son's names. It's pretty obvious what my last name is. There is a lot of info that the wrong person could learn about me and my life, if they wanted. I actually have pseudonyms picked out for my family and an idea for a new blog name, but it's a huge project to go back through four years of blog posts and delete all references to our names. Maybe someday when I get some free time. lol.

So I guess in the end, my blog is a little lot lame. It's a balancing act of wanting to share more and being cautious of what I share, and I guess I'm tend to stay on the conservative side of sharing my life story. But it still getts the job done -- well, at least it gets the job done when I get around to updating it.


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Look how he's grown...

From this (just born)...


To this (1 month)...


To this (2 months)...

To this (3 months)...

To this (4 months)...



Monday, March 14, 2011

My dreams

Little did I know that there is a daily theme for this blog challenge. So I don't have any excuses for not having anything to write about.

Today's theme: What was your big childhood dream? Are you still pursuing it? If yes, how? If no, how did you reconcile that within yourself?

I had a lot of childhood dreams. I wanted to be President of the United States of America. I wanted to be an astronaut. I wanted to be Joan Lunden on Good Morning America. When I went to college, I thought I wanted to be a doctor. I had a lot of interests and a lot of ideas, but there wasn't any one dream that consistently stayed with me throughout my childhood years.

Well, there was one consistent dream.

I wanted to be a mom.

Thank you, Owen, for making my dream come true.


Sunday, March 13, 2011


"The laughter of a child is the light of the home."

Giggles and laughs is something we're hearing more and more around our house. And I love it. I'm not sure anything could warm my heart more than hearing my little man giggle when we play. He's happy. I'm in heaven.

Owen and Daddy

Owen and Mama


Saturday, March 12, 2011

A little challenge...

I'm partaking in a little blog challenge. To blog every day throughout lent. Yes, lent started a few days ago, but I just learned about this challenge. I have no idea if I'll be able to complete this challenge -- chances are pretty slim, in fact. But imps blogging. And writing is a stress reliever for me. It clears my head. And I can use a lot of stress relieving and head clearing these days. Life and work continues to be pretty intense, and I don't see any signs of things slowing gown.

This. Moment. Is. Perfect.

I just want to soak it up. Owen woke up crying pretty hard from his nap a half-hour or so ago. I scooped him up and came downstairs to cuddle with him on the couch. So now I have a sleeping baby in one arm, and the iPad on my lap. The news is on. Cooper is laying on the other side of the couch. Dave is in the kitchen making dinner and Otis is supervising (or waiting for scraps of food.) Gracie is sleeping somewhere. It's a perfect, relaxing way to spend mtg Saturday afternoon.

I need more days just like this.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Waving my white flag...

Last week I had to surrender. I broke down and had to admit that I couldn't do it all. Mom. Student. Employee. Too much stress. Too much guilt about not giving my son enough of my time.

And so I dropped the class I was taking this semester. I felt like I was one of the teen moms on 16 and Pregnant, unable to balance work, school and family. Part of me felt like a failure, because I couldn't do it all. But actually, I didn't want to do it all.

What I want to do is soak up every moment I can with my little boy. What I want to do is to be able to continue to breastfeed him. And I was worried that if I went to school this semester, I wouldn't be able to give Owen those things.

I can manage being away from him while I'm at work as I know it's necessary so we can pay bills and save money for a new house that we hope to buy one day. But last week, school didn't seem like it was necessary. And it was the one thing I could let go of for the time being.

I am still committed to finishing my masters degree. And in a couple of months, I will go back. But I'm still transitioning into working full-time. And Owen still wakes up to eat around 3:00 a.m. every morning. And I'm still breastfeeding. And that in itself is a job. So in a few months, while it will still be hard to go to school, I will do it.

But tonight, I'm going to go home and hang out with my boys.


Thursday, January 20, 2011

It's off to work I go...

...and other random updates

Tonight my maternity leave comes to an end. Tomorrow I go back to work. Auntie Katie is here and will be babysitting. Starting Monday my mom will babysit for two months and then he'll start daycare in April. I'm sad to have to leave him, but I haven't cried yet. I know he'll be in good hands. When I'm having conversations with adults, I'll be missing cooing along with my little man. I know what I'll be looking forward to tomorrow -- getting off work to go home and snuggle with Owen!!

Owen is now 12 weeks old! He sleeps in his own crib and is great about falling asleep on his own. He generally sleeps 5 or 6 hours and then a couple of 3 hour stretches. He loves talking. He's rolled over from tummy to back a couple of times. He likes to clasp his hands together. He's just about in size 3-6 month now. And tonight he started wearing size 2 diapers. He is more fun every day.

Last weekend we went to Duluth to visit friends. Owen got to play with Vivian and Jameson who are almost 1 year old now. It's so fun that we have friends with kids close to Owen's age. I know it'll be a lot more fun when they actually play together and get into trouble.

This week Auntie Katie is visiting us. She's getting some snuggle time -- and of course, she'll get lots of time with him tomorrow.

And it turns out that Owen was the second most popular name in Minnesota in 2010. Of course! But even knowing that now, I wouldn't change my boy's name. His mama's name is Jennifer (most popular name the year I was born), so it fits that Owen's name is popular now too.


Monday, January 10, 2011

Baptism Day

Dave and I grew up in different religious denominations. He is Catholic while I'm Presbyterian. Our faith has always been important to both of us and even before we got married we had discussed how we wanted to teach Owen about God and help him develop his own faith. Neither one of us wanted to give up our faith tradition, and we decided that neither one of us had to do that. One of the things we decided was important was that we're all in this together. Whether we're at a Catholic church, a Presbyterian church or any other church, what matters to us is that it is an experience we're sharing as a family. Another thing we decided that was important was recognizing that faith is more than just practicing a denomination's religious practices. Although we will teach Owen about both of our religious traditions, what is most important that Owen knows that Jesus loves him, that he has the opportunity to develop his own faith in God, and that is accepting of all people -- regardless of their faith. A third thing we decided was important is the faith community. We want Owen to know that the people in his faith community love him and support him. We want people at church to know his name and for Owen to have peers that he'll grow up with to learn about Jesus (and have a little fun together too). All the talk over the years about what we wanted was good, and now it's finally time to start putting our thoughts into action.

Yesterday was Owen's baptism. I didn't truly realize how much his baptism would mean to me until it happened. Our pastor did a great job of making the whole church service special for Owen. He didn't cry during the baptism -- he actually smiled as the water was put upon his head. His is loved by his family, his faith community and of course, by God. May Owen always know the love and support we have for him.


Friday, January 7, 2011

Time is going too fast

Owen is 10 weeks old now....and that means there are only two weeks left of my maternity leave. I have loved every minute being home with my little boy. I just wish I could stop time right now so I could stay home with him a little longer. This week the realization that my days of spending every single minute of every single day caring for my little man hit with full force as we had to make a the biggest decision in Owen's life thus far --  where to send him to daycare.

On Wednesday Owen and I were going to back to visit one of our potential choices and she called me to say she filled her spot. I freaked out because that meant I only had one person to choose from. I just didn't want to choose someone because they were my only option. So I spent the whole day searching for in-home daycares and then not getting any results, I started calling daycare centers too, even though I knew it would be unlikely we'd send Owen to one. Between voicemails and emails, I reached out to more than 25 places that all supposedly had infant openings...20 of which were phone calls. I got like three more potential leads although I found out that basically all daycare centers have openings. It's difficult with a capital D to find infant openings in a family daycare setting.

Sending your child to daycare is difficult. We're not even there yet. But we did make the decision today on where Owen will be going. And after looking at many different options, I'm satisfied with the choice we made. He'll be spending his days with a woman named Jenny. Not this Jenny though. I wish I could stay home with him, but it's just not a possibility right now. Maybe it's something I could do in a couple of years after we have another child. It's definitely something I would like to do. I've known all along that Owen would have to go to daycare. I think he'll like it. The separation at first is going to be harder on me than it is on him. But I'll make it through...and at the end of the day my boy is coming home with me. I know I'll be looking forward to the end of the workday more than ever.