Thursday, February 27, 2014

I'm not saying I have the cutest kids ever...

Ok, that's actually exactly what I'm saying.

If you follow me on any of the social accounts at right (Ahem. You totally should be.) most of these pictures will be old hat to you because the nanosecond I saw them I mad published them everywhere I had a login and password. Because the world needed to see them.

Yesterday was "Super Hero" day at Aunt Jane's Daycare. COME ON WITH THESE PICTURES.

It was also "Bring a Stuffed Friend" day. Alex brought Cody, his Pillow Pet Dream Lite; and Harper, of course, brought her Hippo.


Once you get over the cute (and how Alex looks 17), can we all, for a moment, relish in the awesomeness that is our Aunt Jane? I'm not sure there are even words to express how special she is to our family and how blessed we are to have found her. To have someone you love and trust like family to, in theory, be an extension of yourself, is just incredible. We love our Aunt Jane!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

It's working.

I've wanted to type an update on my progress with the Barre classes, but honestly, my arms have been too sore to pick up my children, let alone go to town on the keyboard.

What I'm saying is that they're working and doing exactly what they're supposed to do. But can the pathetic part of me just whine in the corner and say "ouch" for a minute? I'm definitely seeing (and feeling!) some great results. I can't really stress enough how equally important the verbal motivation of the instructors is to the routines of the classes themselves. Yes, we do arm combinations until I can't feel my hands; and yes, my legs shake so hard during the lower body sequence that I sometimes think I will fall over; and yes, I can only press my navel to my spine in the plank position so many times before I realize it's not actually possible...but more than all that--the sweat, the shakes, the soreness--is that I'm getting stronger. The instructors are great about reminding you why you're there. That you chose to walk through those doors. I need that reminder, sometimes...don't we all? So I choose to use the hour to thank my body for all it does for me by making it stronger. And I'm proud to say I'm getting there!

And...more good news: if you're out there reading and still want to try Barre Bee, here's your chance! Barre Bee Fit recently established a standing partnership with Athleta at The Somerset Collection in Troy and will be hosting a free in-store class once a month! The first class is on March 16 at 11 AM. Check out their Facebook page for more information.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Please take the internets away from me.

Confession that should shock approximately none of you: I am a reality TV whore. I love all the Real Housewives, Kardashian nation, the Zolciak/Biermanns, Blake & Adam's bromance on the Voice, and all the Bachelors and Bachelorettes.

Currently, Juan Pablo has my eye as El Bachelor. He's a hot, Latin mess of ego, swag and poor English and my reality-loving-self simply can't get enough. I can't stop Googling and reading all the spoilers. Sometimes I find myself wishing I knew Reality Steve in real life so that we could get lattes and wedge salads and talk trash shop somewhere under a canopy in LA.

Keep in mind that my problem is not just a matter of reading spoilers--I'm actively going out and searching for spoilers. And thus, I now know all the things and I can't un-know them. Sad face. 

My bestie is furious with me, as we normally have virtual reality television date nights where she drinks wine from her couch in DC and I drink tequila gingers from my couch in Michigan and we text reactions to one another as the show progresses. Now that I know all the things, I can't offer my opinions because I KNOW WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN. I'm the worst. Anyone else have this problem? We should start a support group. I'll meet you under the canopy. You can buy the lattes.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014


Lest you think I was kidding about Harper's general state of happiness yesterday, here is every single photo I took during our time with the Hippo. She's. Always. Happy.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Harper and the Hippo.

To say that this girl is the happiest child on earth is probably the understatement of the century. She is so loved and so special. Just this morning, we had her in the bassinet while we were getting ready for work and Alex wheeled her into his room for "special brudder/sister time." I went in there about 10 minutes later to check on them and he was sitting next to her and reading her a book. She also had 7 blankets on her because "babies like to be warm and snuggly, Mom." My heart is so full.

So, Miss Harper, what are you up to at 4 months?
  • You've started laughing--and it sounds like a strange combination of donkey noises and coughing on a hairball, but it's cute in its own way.
  • You're eating 4 oz. bottles every 3-4 hours and are still in a size 1 diaper. Your clothes have mostly transitioned into the 3M stuff, but you can still wear some NB things.
  • You still sleep through the night - about 9pm-5am straight through. We moved you into your own room and crib when I went back to work and you transitioned like a rock star. Daddy gets up with you at 5 every day because he is an angel and Mommy loves her sleep...but I also know he just treasures that special early morning time with just the two of you.
  • You love discovering your voice. When you hear yourself you get louder and louder with your "talking" until you pretty much scare yourself into silence. Your brother swears you say his name, and maybe you do, but to us it just sounds like you're raving at a baby Metallica concert.
It's such a wonderful feeling--completeness. Every night at the dinner table when it's just the four of us eating whatever cereal, leftovers or actual meal that we've had the time and energy to prepare, I am in disbelief that this is my life and these are my people. I know that's probably very cheesy and somewhat annoying to read like "blah blah blah her life is so perfect" but I can assure you that it's NOT perfect. It's my perfect. We have our fair share of drama, crazy, disappointment, fights, tears and general life situations, but every day the good outweighs the bad and we move onto the next, choosing to find joy in the simple things.

And speaking of "nexts" and simple things, have I mentioned recently that Alex turns 5 in pretty much 2 minutes? GAH. He wants bunk beds for his birthday, and considering the fact that he looks like an overgrown adult sleeping in his current race car toddler bed, I think we're going to need to make that happen. Bunk beds. Stay tuned for that adventure.

P.S. - If you're curious, here's Alex & The WIPpo at 4 months. Basically, he's a bald Harper. Or, she's Alex with hair. We only make 1 model of baby.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Happy birthday, Samuel!

Two exciting points of note in this post...

First, my sweet Samuel turns THREE today and I'm wishing the happiest of birthdays to my best blonde boy. I'm so proud to be your Aunt--you are sweet, smart, funny and such a good cousin to Alex and Harper.

...and one more thing I know to be true as evidenced by the last picture of you with Harper is that you will be an amazing BIG BROTHER! Yes, that's right folks. BOTH of my sisters are pregnant! *squee* I will be an Aunt again in June (Kyle & Jill's baby) and in August (Kelli and David's baby). My cup runneth over!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Send wine, Tylenol PM and Spanx.

"A change will do you good," they say.

"They" can suck it.

So I went back to work last week, but what I failed to mention is that I came back to a new job. Same company, new boss, new department. All good stuff, but my brain is nowhere near capacity to hold in everything I need to learn and do, as it's been mostly turned off for the better part of 4 months. Sometimes it hurts to think.

I've also gotten real sick and tired of my current state of health and wellness, so I've started eating better and working out (see also: Barre classes). This means I cannot stress eat and consume all the wines and cheeses while I whine about work, life, sore muscles and moderate to severe starvation. Ugh.

In related complaints, it's still winter. Still snowing. Still cold. And the kicker is that I'm usually a lover of winter, but at the moment I would do very unsavory things to click my heels and be on a beach in 2.5 seconds. Sigh. Spring, come quickly!

And if all of that weren't enough, we did this last night:


Kindergarten roundup for Alex. I'll give you one sec to digest the fact that that sign reads "Class of 2027," and then you can join me over here in the corner ugly crying about it. I know he's ready. I know it's time. I know he'll be awesome. It's just SUCH a milestone, you know?

And yet, one unrelated bright and shining star throughout all of these moderately overwhelming life situations has been the discovery of REVERSIBLE tights (black/grey and black/brown) that are also Spanx. THEY EXIST. For the record, they are only $18 at Target but the online product link is broken. You're welcome.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

What doesn't kill you makes you...

Last night I attended my first in a series of Barre Bee Fit courses on the road to a better me post-baby (I alluded to it here). For what it's worth, I was scared out of my mind to go, because let's all be very honest with one another here...baring your jiggles, wiggles and weaknesses in front of 20 other sweating strangers is the fastest way to board the insecurity train, and I'm the engineer. Group classes with hot and toned 20 somethings sporting Lululemon and tankinis? Not my jam. Sweating alone in shame in my basement? Sure.

I think that's a thing for most women--especially new moms. And it's something we should absolutely NOT be ashamed of, but rather empower one another to be stronger in both mind and body. So what if my body has a little more give and take here and there and everywhere? It's AMAZING, and has done amazing things for me.

And that's what was SO cool about the Barre Bee class, and why I think I'm hooked. I honestly didn't know what to expect going into those 60 minutes of doom (as I referred to them all day leading up to the class), but here's what I know now:

  1. The facility - First and foremost, this is a VERY cool place to work out. It's a modern facility, and yet it feels so fancy. There are crystal chandeliers and I'm not even kidding! The locker room area is equipped nicely with a shower, changing stalls, free lockers (with keys you take into class with you!) and the mirrored sink area is even stocked with things you might need post-workout like hairspray, tampons, etc. These girls thought of everything! As for the workout space, it's state of the art. They use an iPad app to run/sync the lighting and music throughout the class and I overheard someone saying the floors are made of something that's used in Nike shoes, so it's soft and gentle on your joints (did I mention you do the workouts in socks? So fun!).
  2. The staff - The girls at Barre Bee know what they're doing. After giving the newbies a tour of the facility, they geared us up for the class and things started right on time (always nice when that happens!). 
  3. The class - I attended the Barre Bee class, which is considered "the original". As I mentioned before, there are 8 classes to choose from, providing a nice variety and also the opportunity to try new things, work new muscles, and not get bored with the "same ol'" workout routine. The Barre Bee class, in my opinion, was the perfect place to start, because it gave me a good feel of what to expect in other classes. We used a combination of resistance bands, hand weights, the barre and floor exercises during the 60 minute class, so no muscle group was left untouched. What I really enjoyed in this class was the combination of traditional things (like weights and cardio intervals) with resistance bands and stretching and strength on the barre. And boy, am I feeling it today!
  4. The journey - I think this is the most important piece of living by the Barre Code. The Barre mentality is something I can get behind because it empowers and strengthens women to love their bodies and give back to it in thankfulness. Throughout the entire class, Lindsay, the instructor, was so positive with her words and inspiration to get everyone to always give a little more, to push themselves harder. And it wasn't done in a cheesy way--she really pushed us to the limits with accountability. What totally connected with me was when she said, "Your body does so much for you every day, this is your chance to give back and make it stronger and thank it for all it does."
That hit me right over the head like a 5 lb. kettlebell. I've never really thought of it that way because in many ways, I'm mostly happy with my body. Sure, there are places and things I'd love to change, but I love it and Joey loves it and that's really all that matters. But think about it: my body is AMAZING. (Yours is too!) Over the last 6 years, mine has carried 5 babies--three of which were miscarriages and two were delivered by C-Section. That's something, isn't it? I've labored over 24 consecutive hours. That's a LOT for a body to do! In addition, it has provided over 700 meals to my babies and carried them more miles than I could ever count. Its taken many falls (I'm a klutz!) and gotten up every single time...stronger, better.

I don't know what motivates you to work out and to push yourself to your limits, but the Barre Bee mentality worked on me in an instant, and I'm excited to be a part of it. Instead of being angry and dreading the pain and suffering of working out and sweating like I usually do, I spent those (very hard) 60 minutes thanking my body for all that it does for me by pushing it to the limits, and appreciating the time I had to reconnect with my own personal strength.I'm excited to see progress in the weeks to come, and I'll be sure to share it here!

I'm headed to another class on Saturday, and I'm really looking forward to it! More to come on my journey...