Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Do you ever feel discouraged?
Like the world is closing in around you and you don't know how to dig out?
I've been feeling that way a lot recently.

I'm not depressed (I don't think) but I'm not exactly happy either.
These are the thoughts running through my head at any given moment:
I can't seem to keep on top of my housework... my laundry... myself.
I can't seem to find the patience needed for Ben
I'm not crafty enough.
I don't have enough friends.
I don't do enough
I do too much

I just... some times I just want to throw my hands up and say "I can't take this anymore".

There's never enough money.
Something else is going wrong.
Ben is throwing another fit.
I lost my temper again and spoke too harshly.
I'm not getting enough sleep.
I don't have enough "me" time (and then again, some times I feel like I take too much "me" time).
I'm not creative (I have to steal all my ideas).
I'm a terrible housekeeper unless some one is coming over.

I'm lazy.
I'm a procrastinator.
I can't find balance.

That's my biggest struggle this year: finding balance.
Every time I think I might be getting on the right track, something else happens that makes me lose that focus.

I long for balance. Not perfection, just balance.
A happy medium.
My house to be reasonably clean, my mommy time to be reasonably spread out, my alone time with Nick to be spent well and it's quality time, my finances to be comfortable.

Instead, we overindulge, put on blinders to the world and again and again are slapped in the face with reality.

When will this stop?

I know the answer. When I make it stop.
What will make me make a change?

I have no idea.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Oh, Ben, we had a good time this morning. We took a break from our Mama Vs. The Bink War (more on that in another post) and had some fun painting. On Saturday I stopped at Hobby Lobby and picked up a good sized canvas and some acrylic paints. I chose red, blue & green paints. Yesterday afternoon, I worked out how I wanted the phrasing to be cut with my Cricut and after you went to bed, I cut it out on some vinyl. Daddy helped me get it transferred over to the canvas and this morning we painted!

Mama found the inspiration (Katie at Explanation Required) for this project on Pinterest and I marked it as something to do later. As I said before, I picked out red, blue & green paints but when we got out the paints this morning, I chose 3 different blues and a green. I didn't realize just how similar our painting looked to the inspiration painting until just now, when I re-visited the blog so I could link to our inspiration. Oops. Imitation is the best form of flattery? Ha ha.

I set out the canvas for you on some old ads and squirted some paint onto a paper plate. You very delicately dipped one finger in the paint and smeared it on the ads, rather than the canvas. I got you to start making marks on the canvas but it was slow going. I decided to ditch the finger paint route and got out a sponge brush for you to use - you really liked that. You also liked it when I painted your hand (I guess it tickled, ha ha) to leave your hand print on the canvas as well.

I love the work you created! Mama only helped a very little bit. While you were washing your hands in the sink, I peeled off the vinyl lettering to reveal the white spaces beneath. I love it! I can't wait to hang it in your room. :)


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Fall Wreath.

Ahhh my beautiful front door {sarcastic font} - it desperately needs repainting {and you can see from my paint chips that I've been considering a red - those have been up for over a year. I'm leaning more towards a nice apple green now...} So our front door always is in need of sprucing up until we decide what color to paint it and actually get it painted.

I made a grapevine wreath last year out of some of my neighbors vines that trailed over our side of the fence. As I was trimming them back, I thought I'd keep the vines and make a wreath. I'd never done so before and it was a bit of a learning process.

This year, we made another wreath. Actually, my husband did the same thing I did. He got bored of cutting back the vines and took a break to make a wreath. Gotta love a guy who will stop and be crafty all on his own! After looking at his and looking at mine, I realized they'd look so much better if they were combined to make one beefier wreath. We cut more vines, twisted them all together and stuffed it in the garage to dry out.

Yesterday I dragged it out of the garage and set to making it pretty. I raided my closet and pulled out two tee shirts that I never wear anymore - a brown and an orange one - and set to cutting them into different length strips to make rosettes. Then I raided my very tiny fabric stash and found some nice fall fabric with acorns & pumpkins and made a few rosettes out of that as well.
I knew I wanted to be able to remove the decorations from season to season to re-use later, so they're actually attached with some left over floral wire I had laying around. They're not on there super sturdy, so I'll have to play with it more and see if I can't get them on just a bit tighter - they're a little loosey goosey right now.
Next I found some nice fall paper and cut out some triangles with my Cricut. I hot glued them to a piece of twine and tied it on the branches.

Total cost? Free. My favorite amount.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Happily Ever After.

This is an oldie but a goodie. I made this frame after being inspired by Lisa at Moore Minutes (inspiration here). I took a plain dollar store pine frame and sprayed it with Oil Rubbed Bronze. After that dried, I went over it in plain white. I sanded the edges (perhaps a bit early, my sanding is some what smudgy, but I like the way it looks). I removed the glass and covered the back with scrapbook paper.

I had just purchased my Cricut and all I had was the George & Basic Shapes cartridge, but it was perfect for this craft. I cut a tag at 2 1/2" on some pale peach cardstock and then tea-stained it a deeper color. Once that was completely dry, I carefully taped the tag on a piece of printer paper and ran it through my printer (the font is Larger Mime, found free here).

Once that was finished, I measured out my brown ribbon and fiddled with the placing of the tag. As you can see, the tag itself isn't centered, but the tag + ribbon is. Then I dug through my button stash and found several cute little buttons that matched the colors in the scrapbook paper and added those to the corner of the tag to pull it all together.

The frame sits on a faux shuttered window in our master bedroom and when life starts to get really hard, I look at that frame and remind myself that it could be a lot worse.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

21 Months.

Hey Benny Boo,

Today you are 21 months old! Holy cow, can you believe it? You are turning into a honest to goodness little boy and are leaving behind everything baby. Just in the last few days you've started to say "thank you" all by yourself, with no prompting and you almost always say it at an appropriate time. We're working on your "please's" - you almost always have to be prompted for that one. ;)

Trucks remain one of your very favorite things. You have quite a collection of tiny cars, trucks, SUV's, RV's, trains, garbage trucks, ambulances, police cars... you love them all and play with all of them equally. You continue to be captivated with Elmo and Ernie and I can be a super bad mama and bribe you for 15 or 20 minutes with a Baby Einstein (Baby MacDonald is your super favorite) so I can get dinner made.

You love to play outside and ask to go out often. It's hard to resist after you've brought me your shoes, helped put them on, then go and find my shoes and help me put them on, and then run to the back door asking "side? side?" so we go out often. I hope the snow captivates you as much as your sand table does once the weather gets colder. You love the park, and I love that you love it. You will only swing if daddy holds you on his lap, but you love to slide.

Another of your loves is books. You have your favorites - the doorbell Elmo book, From Head To Toe, The Big Red Barn, the Truck book... but you're glad to listen to any book mama or daddy chooses off your shelf. We love our trips to the library where we pick out 3 or 4 new favorites and those special trips to Barnes & Noble where I let you loose in the kiddo section to pick out a few to bring home. Some times we get something extra, like the new Elmo friend you cuddle with at night.

You're favoring your daddy a bit more right now, but he's been taking care of you a lot since mama's been sick with her surgery. I really miss our cuddle times and I look forward to getting back in to our old routine. We're having a bit of a stumbling block with your temper and aggression. It's calming down some but you hit far more often than I'd like. I think that by reminding you that good boys don't hit, and you're a good boy (aren't you?) has helped.

I'm very excited for Halloween next month. I picked out a very fun costume and have been gathering the parts for it. I thought I came up with something clever and unique but you know how it goes when you get something new - suddenly you notice that thing every where? In any case, I think you'll be adorable and I hope you enjoy your costume (I know I'll enjoy the future wear you'll get out of two of the main pieces ha ha). We're going to take you trick or treating this year, but probably just to the houses in our cul de sac.

We can't believe that in just a few months you'll be 2 years old. It's crazy. You've grown so much and change a lot from month to month. Just last month I talked about the size 6 shoes we bought for our special trip to Chicago and how they were a little big. Your toes already reach the tops now. It won't be long before we're moving you up to size 7's. I measured you against the wall the other day and you've grown a solid 2 inches since the last time we measured in July. We don't have any doctors appointments for you until your 2 year check up, but I know they weighed you at the dentist in August and you were 27 pounds. I wouldn't be surprised if you're 30 pounds or more now. The 24 month stuff that was sort of too big last month fits perfectly now (well, most of it - you have room to grow in your sleepers).

Mama and daddy love every little bit of you, Ben. We love how special and unique you are and we're thrilled with the little boy you're becoming. You're curious and adventurous and loving and kind. We'll get through this naughty phase, because at the end of the day: you're still our sweet little boy, just testing the limits right now. You adore your cousins Hannah & Emma to pieces and spent your very first night away from mama & daddy with them last night. You did great and we look forward to allowing you to spend more time with your family. We're so lucky to have a big part of our family just a cars ride away. Maybe one day all of our family will love closer together, but for now we like looking at pictures of Nana & Granddad, Shea, Ruby, Auntie and Uncle in Florida - and you love chatting with Nana on the phone.

xoxo, mama & daddy

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Scrappin' Saturday.

Here's a layout I made recently. I actually made eight copies of this layout; I'm attending a scrap-swap at the end of the month. As you can see, I haven't added photos yet, but I have quite a few picked out. Some of Ben's favorite things that I'll be documenting are: trucks, dip (like ranch for his nuggets), grapes, his sand & water table, and Elmo.

Aside from the ribbon and the accent pieces, I used my Cricut entirely for this craft. Using my SCAL2 software, I cut the bracket frame journaling tags (free .svg file found here). I also used SCAL2 for the lettering, using sf Natalie font (found free here ).

I did a three part layer on the ribbon. The base ribbon is a stretchy blue gingham ruffle ribbon that I centered a plain green grosgrain ribbon on top of and then a sunny yellow rickrack ribbon on top of that. I glue dotted each layer together and cross stapled at the ends.

I found these fun ribbon embellished paperclips in the scrapbook accessories aisle at Hobby Lobby. I loved how they picked up on the polka dot theme of the background paper and tied in to the whole color scheme.

The paper mats are actually from way outside the scrapbook aisles. As I was making my layouts, I realized I didn't have enough of any one color card stock to make all the mats for eight layouts. I started doing multi color - I had enough card stock to do each of the five mats per layout a different color.... I just didn't like the way it looked. By the time I changed my mind, Hobby Lobby was closed but I was too impatient to wait. I went to Target and wasn't impressed with their card stock options. I was inspired to match the mats to the lettering background - which happened to look like kraft paper (it's actually card stock). Well, Target ended up being sold out of their rolls of kraft paper. I thought "lunch bags!" and off I went only to discover Target's lunch bags are not, in fact, brown - they're blue & red. As I was headed dejectedly away, a stack of yard leaf bags caught my eye....

I brought them home, trimmed 'em to size and they look perfect.

*updated with pictures:

Friday, September 16, 2011


These are some things I want to do but don't want to do on my own. Is any body (seriously) interested in being my buddy for any of these?
  • Taking a sewing class. I have a sewing machine and I have some basic knowledge of how to make it run, but I'd like a refesher class and maybe learn some new tips and tricks. I have so many projects I'd love to tackle (or finish) but I need some sewing machine help.
  • Take a cake decorating class. Fairly self explanatory.
  • Batch cook - either get together with a group and we pool our money to share the cost of the food and we all prep/cook at the same time or do a meal swap were you come with several batches of the same dish to swap. For example: 5 people come - you'd prepare 5 of the same dish (ideally freezer friendly) and swap with the others so you leave with 5 complete meals.
  • Christmas craft night. I have several projects on my "to do" list that would be fun to do as a group (like DIY ornaments, headbands, tee shirts, etc)
Anyway, those are just a few of the things I'd like to do but would love a friend (or friends) to do them with. Am I alone here or is any one else interested in these things as well?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


So I thought I'd blog about my amazing journey with my gallbladder. (<-- if there was ever a use for a sarcastic font, it would have been that sentence...)

For 30 years my gallbladder and I had been on great terms. I didn't bother it, it didn't bother me. Then one night, very randomly, I awoke with pain in my tummy. At first I thought I was just hungry, so I got up, drank a glass of water and forced down a piece of bread. That didn't help. So I took some Tums, wondering if it was just a random bout of indigestion. That didn't help. Apparently I wasn't being very quiet in my uncomfortable-ness and I woke up Nick, who suggested Pepto. So I tried that. At the time, I wasn't sure if it had just run it's course or if the Pepto helped. Eventually it subsided and I went back to sleep and forgot all about it.

The next night, immediately after dinner (that we had company over for, mind you), I got that feeling again. I rushed straight to the bathroom for more Pepto, hoping it was my lucky cure and that would be that. Within 2 minutes, I was doubled over in pain, sweating like I've never sweat before and I could hardly breathe from the pain. Thank goodness my dad was here and he stayed with Ben while Nick took me off to urgent care (I would have gone to the ER but the UC is literally a block & a half from my house and I was in such pain, I wanted help NOW). I have never felt pain like that before - even when I was in labor and they put my epidural in wrong, I've never been in more pain in my life.

Determination? Probably gallbladder related.

Say what? Gallbladder? What? Traitor.

So the doc gave me a shot of something completely wonderful that helped with the pain, took some samples from me to run tests and wanted me to follow up with an ultrasound on Monday. I called my own doctor on Monday and she asked questions and said she tended to agree - it was probably my gallbladder. She sent me over to St. Luke's for an ultrasound and we'd go from there.

From there was I referred to a surgeon at Boise Surgical Group. Apparently my ultrasound showed lots of stones. And I won the lucky pool of being a woman, of child bearing age, had in fact, born a child, was white and overweight. Ding, ding, ding, ding! I fit all the requirements for a faulty gallbladder. The surgeon so nicely told me, it wasn't a matter of "if" I had another attack, at this point, it was a matter of "when". We discussed our already arranged plans to go to Chicago and booked my surgery for our return.


I ate cautiously. Timidly. I want to say we were fairly good eaters before. I'm sure there's loads of room for improvement, but we don't eat a lot of fried or processed foods. Sure, we eat out, but far less than a lot of people, and even when we go out, I feel I try to choose more healthy options. Certainly I know the cobb salad from Red Robin isn't that great when you add in the bacon, the hard boiled egg, the cheese, the blue cheese, the ranch... but it's got to be better than a double cheeseburger, right? Right? Anyway, I digress.

We went to Chicago. I ate a lot of salads. I ate a lot of sandwiches. Apparently I got too lazy or the combination of eating out so many meals, so many days in a row caught up with me, but I had another attack the Thursday before we left. Poor Ben. We had just gotten to the park, there wasn't a soul around and he was running and playing and having a good time and bam. It hit me. I got him back in the stroller as quick as I could (despite his athletic back arching to try to get out of it) and practically ran back to the hotel, trying not to cry, apologizing to Ben with each gasping breath and made it to the hotel before I barfed up everything I'd eaten that morning.

While my little boy watched.

And said "whoa"

Being a mama doesn't break for being ill. I spent most of the rest of the day recovering from my attack, apologizing to Ben for wrecking his day of play and being scared to eat anything else.

So home we went and I made it another week without any other problems. I had my surgery on the 9th and now I'm waiting to feel better. I thought I'd have Saturday & Sunday to start to feel like normal, but I was so paranoid about being in pain from surgery (my very first surgery, by the way), that I was on the dot to take my pills. I think it was either the dose or the frequency, but something did not settle right with me and I spent all of Saturday and some of Sunday puking about every half hour or so. I finally let Nick take me to the ER Sunday morning-ish where they gave me an IV to replace the fluids I hadn't been able to keep down, took some x-rays to make sure my surgery was healing well and more samples for yet more tests.

Determination? Probably a reaction to my pain pill. Both doctor & nurse were confused why I wasn't also prescribed an anti-nausea pill with my pain bill, but they hooked me up right & tight and I've been feeling better ever since. I actually have an appetite now, have been able to keep everything I've eaten down and I'm starting to get back to normal.

Today Nick went back to work and I had a regular day with Ben. By his nap time, I was exhausted and spent the next 3 glorious hours on the couch with my new book (sooooo good). I made dinner, had snuggles with my kid and except a tenderness in my tummy and achiness where my incisions are, I feel pretty good.

Monday, September 12, 2011


  • I have a new appreciation for how many tummy muscles are required to laugh
  • I have a new appreciation for modern medicine and nurses with both good humor and good sense
  • I have a new appreciation for my awesome husband who not only had a peek into my day to day life as a stay at home mom, er, dad, but also bent over backwards to take care of me
  • I did not spend 09/11 in deep reflection of the attack on our country - I spent most of the day vomiting or in the ER. I haven't forgotten. I remember Nick & I were still asleep - we both worked retail and weren't due into work for several hours. My mom called us up and told us to turn on the TV. I remember being so confused, watching the planes fly into the towers - I had to call my dad and ask "are there passengers on those planes?" my brain just wouldn't compute. Watching the towers fall, hearing the news of another plane flying into the Pentagon and then another going down... it was so bizarre. I couldn't make sense of it. When I went to work later that day, most of my co-workers had no idea. We couldn't keep flags or anything red, white & blue on the shelves. I bought the last of the red, white & blue ribbon from JoAnne's and spent all that night making ribbons - it seemed a small thing. Seeing our skies empty of planes was weird... seeing planes start to fly again was even more weird. I remember watching every plane, waiting to see what would happen.
  • A word of caution to our neighbors: no, we're not abusing our child. He's choosing to tantrum. We're choosing to ignore him while he does. This too shall pass.
  • Halloween costume has been chosen for Ben. I'm way excited! It's simple and easy but should be very cute.
  • Birthday theme has been chosen! Now I just have to decide who I want to invite, how many of those invitees might come and where I want to try to host it.
  • I'm nearly done with the scrap swap project I've been working on. I have the lettering to do on 4 more pages and I'm done. As proud as I am of my pages, I know I'm going to feel very insecure about them when compared to every one else's. I hate that about myself.
  • I'm not loving 2011. I've gone from thinking "it can't get any worse" to "what will happen next?" - I'm hoping 2012 is much better. My mom can't die again... so I have that going for me...
  • I'm anxious to get back to normal and start participating in my mommy groups. So many lovely women to get to know and new friends for Ben to make - we can't do that from home.
  • I started Ben in a new tumbling class - I enrolled him in Tumble Time instead of Little Gym. I'm not sure how we feel... well, okay, I feel like a cheater. I feel like I'm cheating on Little Gym with Tumble Time. I miss the instructors and the familiarity. I don't think Ben cares either way. We'll stick it out the semester, but we may switch back.
  • Nick's only been at his job a week (and missed two days because of me and my dang gallbladder...) but seems to really be enjoying it. Being home all day without him isn't as hard as I thought (especially since so far Nick's been coming home for lunch). He should be assigned to an actual project soon and that will eat up more of his time.
  • I think that's it! I feel like I've been out of touch with reality for ages, but it's only been 4 days :)

Thursday, September 8, 2011


Friends of ours are house hunting (and they've put in an offer - good luck!) and every time one of our friends starts looking, talks about moving or whatever, I always get a little jealous. Not that I hate our house or I'm in any hurry to move, but it's so much fun to plan and dream, isn't it?

So to start, I like our house. It suits our family fairly well. We bought our home with the intention of being able to start a family in it. It's big enough for the 3 of us and we could fit a 4th if that happens before our time in this house is through. Our yard isn't fantastic (it's oddly shaped) but it's got a nice fence for the dog and our kid. We're in a great neighborhood (I hate our current neighbors, but they're renters and hopefully they'll move soon) and I think a good school district (I really should start looking into that...I'm thinking of a Montessori preschool but that's a post for another day).

In any case, I've got the bug to look. And every time some one mentions "new house!" I start compiling a wishlist in my head. In our first house, we were so excited of the idea of a house and we were very naive about house buying, we didn't think to consider things like closets. That's right. Closets. Our 1st house had.... ONE closet. In the WHOLE house. We also didn't have a dog when we moved in so our unfenced yard was totally fine.

When we moved to Idaho, we had a more defined wishlist. Okay, we actually had one. We had no list, no idea of what we needed for our family, nothing with our first house. So we moved here and we had a better idea. We knew we wanted at least 3 bedrooms, at least 2 bathrooms, a fully fenced yard, sprinklers and an attached 2 car garage, air conditioning & forced air heat (our prior house had neither - imagine freezing cold winters with only wall mounted space heaters for each room that some one's anal wife refused to turn on because space heaters are dangerous). We thought a fireplace would be nice, but not a deal breaker if the house didn't have it.

Now that we're living here, in addition to the requirements above, we'd like to upgrade to:
  • at least 4 bedrooms (one for us, one for Ben, one for future kiddo and a guest room) with an optional bonus room for office/crafting area)
  • 3 bathrooms (one for us, one for the kiddos and a guest bath and/or a powder bath)
  • a tankless hot water heater
  • a pantry in the kitchen
  • some sort of stone countertop (really anything but laminate would be great)
  • upgraded flooring (some carpet, some hardwoods, some stone - again, anything by laminate would be great)
  • a nice, square backyard with adequate seating space :)
  • NO CUL DE SAC homes - never, never, EVER again
  • an attached 3 car garage with keyless entry
  • a sunroom (not a deal breaker)
  • windows with integrated blinds would be fabulous
  • 2 stories would be sweet, but I'd have to kiss outdoor lights at Christmas bye-bye as I have a hard enough time convincing Nick to climb a ladder to do lights on a single story home...
  • and on the "this would be so fantastic to have rather than to do ourselves" list: a farmhouse sink, quartz countertops, all stainless steel appliances, gas range, a double oven, a trash compactor, a beautiful, railed front porch with room for a couple of rockers....
So then I take my little wishlist and I plug it in to the internet with our price range and dream.

And then I take my dream on a road trip and I look at what we could buy in other areas of the country.

And some times I look at houses in New Zealand. :)

And then I close my searches and am content in our little house until the next time some one mentions they're moving. Then I start alllll over again.

But now that I've thought it through... we never intended to stay longer than 5 years. We're on our 4th year here.... hm... maybe it's not unreasonable that we'll be looking for a new house next year? I just got all kinds of excited... !!!



Today is the opening day of the regular season for the Packers. Nick, Ben & I are heading over to the house tonight to eat brats, drink beer and watch the game with dad. Well, Nick & dad will drink beer :) Ben & I won't.

Today is hard. I didn't know it would be. I didn't plan for today being rough. It's just another day of football - the first day that marks the next 4 or so months of my weekends interrupted for Packer football. I wish you were here for it. I wish you were here to help me watch Ben during the game, to yell at the refs, to scold the players for stupid penalties and look to see what color Sharpie Mike has under his hat.

Ben & I came to visit you today. I brought you some really pretty yellow & green flowers (Packer colors, of course). Sorry Ben stepped on you ;) I didn't think you'd mind. The Packers romper you bought Ben last year fits perfectly this year. He's wearing it today and looks fairly handsome, if I say so myself.

I miss you, mama. :( This year has been so hard. So much has changed since we lost you. So many things are happening and changing and I'm scrambling to keep up. I'm trying to be so open minded and accepting and I'm doing a pretty good job but occasionally it sneaks up on me. I have to go in for my very first surgery tomorrow to have my gallbladder removed and i sure with you were here to comfort me through it. I know it'll be okay and I'm not that worried about it, but I'd sure love your reassurance and knowing that you were here to help if we needed it.

I packed away a lot of Ben's outgrown clothes this past weekend and so many of them were things you bought him. The sweet little robot jammies and the baseball ones that were so huge the waist nearly came up to his chin. :) The hooded Packer tee you brought home from Lambeau Field. The North Boise onesie I made him for our trip to California to watch Connor play in the Little League World Series. He still wears the Bearly Sleeping jammies you got him for Christmas and it makes me smile when I pick those out for him to wear.

We have your picture hanging in his room and we say good night to it often. Some times Ben wants to hold it and give you a kiss. I hope I can keep your memory alive for him. I know he's probably forgotten the times you spent together already, but I can tell him stories about how you got him to sleep during Packers games when he's older.

I'm having a hard time with Ben recently and some aggression that's coming out. Some of it is just his age and some if it is my fault. I could use your guidance on how to get through it, so if you're near - give me a gentle nudge in the right direction.

Love ya,

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


We seem to have left our sweet little boy in Chicago. I'm not sure what tiny monster got on the plane with us, but I'd like my son back.

Clearly the 12th and final day was simply too much for Ben. Our flight home was at 8:15 and check out for the hotel was supposed to be 11:00. Nick was going to be at work til 4:00 and I simply didn't know what to do with myself and my kid (would most definitely would not have been getting a nap if we checked out at 11:00) for several hours, so we paid a little extra and got a late check out of 2:00. Since Ben had been waking up at 6:00 nearly every morning, I knew he would be able to go down for a nap earlier, so I put him down at about 10:00. That was great, because he did go down pretty easy and slept nearly 3 hours. The problem was, he napped too early. Even though he was tired and benefited from the nap, he needed that benefit later in the day and it simply wore off.

Nick ended up getting out of work early (2:30, I think) so we met in the hotel and took Ben to the park. We let him out of the stroller and he played and had little minifits when we'd make him mind. The meltdown started at about 4:00 and lasted til well after we got home. There were several intermissions, but the cab ride to the airport was a challenge. Once we got to the airport, he was mostly fine. My HUGEST mistake of the night was having him fall asleep before we got on the plane. He drifted off really quickly, stayed asleep as I got up and moved to get in line, as we gave our boarding passes to the ticket agent, as we made our way down the ramp and onto the plane. He woke up as I sat down.

He screamed. For nearly an hour and a half straight. I have NEVER seen him behave that way.

Arching his back.

Pulling my hair so hard handfuls of hair were coming away.



Tossing his head back and just screeching.

I know he was tired. I know he was exhausted. I know he was overwhelmed. I know he's teething. I was still MORTIFIED & hurt (both physically with the hair pulling and my feelings were hurt). We both cried, a lot. Me, silent tears out the window and Ben, loud wracking sobs that I think the pilot's heard.

Every time he'd drift off to sleep, the dang captain would come on the speakers LOUD and wake him up. Nick would shift. Of our 3 hour and 24 minute plane ride home, I think he slept about an hour of it.

Once we got home, I attempted to put him to sleep like normal - meaning I put him down while he was still awake and left. He's been putting himself to sleep for over a year now.


Huge wails.

My heart cracked and I rocked him to sleep. The next day we had more abuse. He's chasing Sadie around the house, grabbing her fur or throwing things at her. He'll randomly come up to me and yank my hair. If he's not getting his way, cue the slaps and pinches.

What the heck?

I let the rocking to sleep happen a few times. I thought it would help him transition to being home. I rocked him to sleep the night we got home, the nap the following day, that night... and then he woke in the middle of the night. And it wasn't as simple and rocking him til he fell back asleep and laying him down. This process now takes HOURS. Every night since we've been back, he wakes for about 3 hours of Nick & I taking turns trying to get him back to sleep.

Last night we said enough. We're revisiting sleep training. And let me tell you what. I thought it was rough when we first did it? I thought his little cries and occassional screeches were bad? That was NOTHING. N-O-T-H-I-N-G.

Hearing your baby cry out "mama! daddy! mama! daddy!" over and over is awful. It's wrenching. It's SO hard to know you're doing the right thing, even though it feels like the wrong thing.

I wrestle with myself EVERY time. I say to myself "you're his mother. it's your job to cuddle him, to protect him, to soothe him and make it all better" and then I say back "he's got to learn to fall asleep on his own. Cuddling him doesn't help him in the long run and it doesn't help you now". It's awful. I hate it.

Mostly I just don't understand this violence. Where has this aggression come from? Why is he hitting and biting and pinching and pulling my hair? How do I curb it? Time outs aren't working. He isn't connecting the time out with the poor behavior (or he simply doesn't care). Ignoring it isn't helping.

I don't know what to do, but I'm drained.

That 2 weeks in Chicago was so difficult. After it's all said and done, I don't think Ben & I should have gone. It was awesome to see Chicago, and I'm glad we got to see and do the things we did. It was wonderful having Nick as support, even if it was only 2 hours a day. I know Nick loved having us there when he came home from work. But at the end of it all - I think it was detrimental to both Ben & I. I think we might have been better off just doing it on our own at home.

I'm hoping it doesn't take much longer to get Ben back to his routine and his normal and for his behavior to mellow out. Have any of you been through anything like this before? Do you have any tips for me?


Excuse me while I go off on a personal rant here. I know the common opinion by much of you is that I'm an over-sharer, but really I only share the mundane crap that no one cares about but me. I don't really talk about a lot of deeply personal things (often) but today I am.

Not that this is necessarily deeply personal, but I'm mad enough to chew glass right now and I yelled at some poor customer service agent who was still being trained (I apologized - more on this later) and I haven't calmed down yet.

Maybe if I post it all out there, I'll feel better. I'll feel better yet if I get some comments that you agree, this is stupid, we're not wrong, Wells Fargo sucks and blah, blah, blah.

So here's what happened. I'll back it up a few months to the beginning of the year. We have our home mortgage through Wells Fargo. It seemed every month we were scrambling to make our house payment and always just barely getting it in before we had to pay a late fee (it's due on the 1st and late by the 16th). With our tax return money, we decided to set up a Wells Fargo checking account and put in enough money to cover the following months house payment. Then, that current month, we'd put in half of the house payment with our first check of the month and the other half of it with our second check of the month. This way, we were always at least half a house payment ahead and it wasn't such a struggle.

This has been working perfectly until this month. This month Nick changed jobs. We knew we were going to be out of town and we gave ourselves permission to spend ahead of our check (meaning we borrowed from our house payment money to cover us on vacation until we got home). Nick got two checks at the beginning of the month - one as his final pay from his old job and his first check from his new job. Those came on Friday the 2nd. We also returned home from Chicago on the 2nd, but not til nearly midnight.

Knowing our regular bank wasn't open for deposits on Saturday, we decided to deposit one of his checks into Wells Fargo so we could have access to the money right away. Pay our house payment, buy some groceries, etc.

So we did and off to the grocery store we went. My swipe at Winco went through no issue. We stopped at Starbucks to buy some coffee for the house and our card was declined. At first we shrugged if off, figuring it was just a swipe error at the counter. Then I get online when we get home to pay our house payment. My account has no money in it, though it shows a deposit for 09/06 (that's today). Well, that was surprising. So I looked at the deposit information available on Wells Fargo and learned that if you deposit money after hours (meaning, after the close of a normal business day - even if the bank is open - or on the weekend - even if the bank is open), they won't process the deposit until the next business day.

Well, Monday was a holiday. That was really annoying and we were upset, but whatever. This morning, I took Nick to work and headed to the store to pick up some things we forgot about. On the way, I checked my account to be sure my deposit went through yet. Nope. Still showing a zero balance.

So I called. And I was told that the deposit wasn't going to be processed until 8:30 tonight and would made available to us tomorrow morning at 8:00. Are you kidding me? That's not the next business day. That's two business days later. I expressed as much to the poor guy on the phone (and then apologized - I told him I knew it wasn't his fault and it was only doing what he could with the information he had but I was frustrated - I have bills to pay and I have money I put in the bank that I can't touch).

Seriously? Why is this okay? Why would no one take a few minutes to let Nick know when he put in the deposit? Couldn't they have said "hey, to let you know, we'll take your check but you won't have access to it right now - we won't process it until Tuesday night and you can have it Wednesday morning". Generally if one is making a deposit, one anticipates being able to use one's money - correct??

The other check I deposited into our regular account was made available to me to use right away. I've paid all my bills (except the house payment - get this - before we had a Wells Fargo checking account, I had an online account where I could log in and pay my house payment using a credit card (which was actually just my debit card) - this feature is NO WHERE to be found now. I can only (apparently) pay from one of my Wells Fargo accounts), grocery shopped, etc. If I had put a check in Wells Fargo this morning, would I have been able to do the same? Or would my check be held until 8:30 tonight and made available to me tomorrow morning? What if I had taken that check into the bank on Saturday and requested to cash it? Would that have worked? Or would they have said "sorry, no"?

Why is it okay for a bank to take your money and essentially hold it hostage?

Friday, September 2, 2011


Dear Ben,

Living with you in a roughly 12x12 room 24 hours a day for 11+ days has been an experience. We're used to more space. We're used to running around, exploring, going out side, using the potty like a big boy. We're used to our own spaces but still lots of snuggle time.

I will miss crawling in to bed after you and kissing your beautiful sleeping cheek.
I will not miss hugging the edge of a king size bed to accommodate your sprawl or waking up at 5:45 every morning to you wallowing on my head.

I will miss seeing how excited you get to ride the elevator.
I will not miss having to ride an elevator. ;)

I will miss how excited you'd get when we'd drop a postcard in the mail chute on our floor and watch it disappear under the carpet, and how cutely you asked for "more" to mail.
I will sort of miss having a cool mail chute to drop mail in.

I will miss how excited you'd get to go to the pool and how you loved it when daddy would toss you in the air.
No alternate to this one - we'll have to join the Y or something when we get home so we can have plenty of pool play.

I will miss how much you love to go through the revolving doors.
I will NOT miss having to do a revolving door for nearly every business we go into.

We've had our ups and down. Night time has been a battle for the last week. It seems every night it takes roughly an hour to get you down for bed. Nap times are a piece of cake, 5 minutes max. You've been very patient with the stroller. That patience is wearing off as you'd like to be in it less, but generally once you're in it - you're good to go. I loved watching you explore the fish at the aquarium. I sure wish Boise had one.

I love watching you charm every one we meet - especially the older "grandma" types. :) You are a huge flirt and you know it.

I'm glad we took this trip (even though I've been ready to be home for about a week now - and so have you). It shows me how well you travel, how well you adapt and how long is too long (and more than 7 or so days is too long).