November 14, 2014

introducing The Mama Commons!

Hi everyone!

In case you've missed the social media storm that I'm trying to create, I wanted to share here a project that I've been working on for a long time.

I have finally launched my website, The Mama Commons! It is a place for women in all stages of motherhood to find educational resources, discussions of current events, lifestyle information, etc. and I'm hoping I can grow it into something wonderful.

Please go visit the site and tell everyone you know about it!

You can find the site here and you can find us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter as well (@themamacommons). Follow, comment, share! :)

Thanks for sharing in my news!

much love,

November 6, 2014

hello world!

Wow. I think this may be the longest time I've ever gone without a post on this sweet little blog of ours. it doesn't feel like it's been almost two months, but I trust my calendar :)

Since my last update, we have been busy bees! For a short list: we weaned from breastfeeding, Nick had his big committee meeting and has been working hard ever since, we had Halloween and Alden's first time trick or treating, spent a weekend with my parents in Alabama, we have done a lot of reorganizing and purging at home, I've been working like crazy to keep up with life, work, a baby, and a class, and tons more every day tasks.

Here's the run-down of life in the Wiese household right now:

Nick got permission from his committee in September to begin writing his dissertation and to prepare for a MAY 2015 graduation date!! We were really anticipating him finishing up next August so his committee feeling like he can be out by May was a (great) surprise. It's making things a little more complicated as far as planning for the next phase goes, but we are up for the challenge! This means he's now been working for a couple of months towards getting a manuscript (or two) ready for publication and preparing to start writing the introduction to his dissertation. Plus, he's been keeping up with experiments in lab and trying to get through a HUGE to-do list of science so that he stays on track for a spring graduation.

We are excited that he's finally in the final leg of this marathon but the timeframe is definitely tight. He will be working himself to the bone over the next 6 months to make sure everything gets done in time for him to defend. There's also the added pressure of looking for jobs at the same time. Most PhD students won't set their defense date or commit to graduating until they have a job lined up. Since most science graduate students are supported on a stipend while they are in school, this ensures that they can avoid going without a paycheck during transitions to new jobs. If he doesn't find a position in time for him to graduate in May, he may push his graduation until later in the year to give him more time. Either way, he's going full steam toward the May goal and we're prepared to take things as they come for a little while.

Also...I've been planning to pursue another graduate program for a while now but this potential change in Nick's graduation has forced some changes to my plans, also. It has made for a crazy couple of weeks to say the least.

Long term, I am hoping to get accepted to an ABSN/MSN program so that I can ultimately work as a midwife. These programs, Accelerated Bachelor's of Nursing/Masters of Nursing with a Nurse-Midwifery specialty, are not super common and are generally very competitive all around. Bridge programs like this allow for people who have degrees in non-nursing fields to return to school and complete both their Bachelor level nursing degrees as well as their Masters level nursing degrees in a much shorter time than both degrees would take on their own (like, 3 years vs. 7 years). The schools that offer these programs each have their own set of criteria and qualifications that would make you a good candidate and most of the programs have limited space with hundreds and hundreds of applicants. We are hoping that my experience and higher level degree in public health will make me an attractive applicant but who knows what will happen.

My original plan was to wait and not even apply to any programs until fall of 2015 since some of the programs have start dates in the early part of the year and we weren't planning on Nick being finished until August. Buuuttt, when we found out he would be finishing in May, it made applying this fall (to some programs) a possibility. I will spare you the confusing and boring details of why this makes sense and just say that I completed an application to one of my top choice programs in less than two weeks after we had discussed this new plan. I submitted it on Nov. 1 and won't know anything about it until mid-December, with the final decision coming in February. There's another program that has an application deadline on Dec. 1 that I may still apply for, also. So there's that wrench in the gears, too. We sure don't like to make it easy on ourselves, do we? ;)

As far as Alden goes, he's amazing :) He runs everywhere, no matter how small the distance. He is talking like crazy and using short sentences almost all the time now. He loves his gymnastics class on the weekends and he keeps us on our toes, for sure. We both talk about how much we love this age and how much fun we're having with him. It really is so great to be able to watch your child grow into the person they are and to be there to support them as they change and learn. It is such a blast! Although, that's easy to say when Alden has been sleeping well and there are minimal tantrums ;) Ask me on a day when he hasn't stopped crying, wakes up multiple times at night and is generally a terror and you'd probably get a slightly different answer-haha!

Hopefully I'll get back here to post some fun photos of Halloween, talk about our weaning experience and do a quick photo post of all that Alden's been up to lately!

much love,

September 15, 2014

so now I'm 30.

Yesterday was my 30th birthday. I don't normally do much outside of our family to celebrate- my favorite dinner made by Nick, a pedicure, a day of hanging out with my boys. But this year I decided that since it was a big birthday, I'd have a little extra fun. We invited a bunch of our friends to brunch at Heirloom (quickly becoming my go-to spot in Athens) and spent a cool morning eating, talking, laughing, and chasing toddlers around :) It was a wonderful balance of my usual slow-paced celebrations and the fun of socializing at a birthday party. 

Alden got to see his BFF for the first time since they both changed schools and they were up to their usual mischief about 30 seconds later :) It's so fun to watch him develop friendships and to see them interact, especially now that they both talk so much more. 

B sneaking a look at me while Alden tries to figure out how to climb up the wall

playing at the table
My parents came in for the weekend to celebrate with me and I always love seeing Alden spend time with them. As soon as Mimi walks through the door, Nick and I basically cease to exist in Alden's eyes. Every few minutes we hear, "Mimi? Mimi?" because Alden wants her to do everything with him while she's here. It is so sweet :) Plus, we managed to grab a Mama Daughter pedicure on Saturday afternoon. It reminds me of all the times we would go to the nail salon together when I was still living at home and it's such a great way to spend an hour or so just us. I never realized how much I would miss time with just my parents after we had Alden. It seems like every time we see them now our time is so full of kid stuff that we don't get a lot of time to just hang out with them.

tickle monster! 
When you find yourself upon a milestone birthday, it's natural to think back on the years and evaluate where you've been. Whether you did all the things you wanted to, accomplished everything you wanted to, or are in the place that you had hoped to be by now. I can honestly say that while nothing has gone according to "my plan", I am so very happy with where I ended up.

I'm not particularly sad to leave my 20's behind. I'm really, really crazy excited for my 30's. I feel better about who I am, where I'm going, and the path that I'm on now than I ever did in my 20's. The last decade, for me at least, was spent doing a lot of self-searching, growing, and learning to follow my instincts. I spent a lot of time discovering my passions, learning to let go of things that weren't getting me anywhere, growing up, and adjusting to being on my own as a real life adult. I feel better about the surface things, too. I feel more confident in my style, I don't worry so much about the number on the scale or the labels in my closet, I can look at a trend and hate it and then feel fine about not embracing it. I can watch nerdy shows and read nerdy books and feel great about the fact that, somewhere, other people are enjoying the same things and that, in time, I will find those people and we will get along famously. I can walk into a room without knowing anyone, reach my hand out to a stranger, introduce myself, and feel good having a conversation with them. I can network, I can sell my skills, and I feel good about what I have to offer. Even better, I know that I haven't figured all of it out and that I can still get better at all of these things AND I feel okay about not being 100% there yet.

The pressure to find the job, find the guy, build the career, buy the house, etc., etc. is gone. I'm still working on some of those things but I don't feel like I'm racing anyone anymore.

My twenties were this:

sorority meetings and greek parties
meals in the dining hall
late nights in the library with study groups
my dad having open heart surgery and me learning what it's really like to be scared
my 21st birthday with champagne, good friends, and a kiss from a boy I was just getting to know 
lots of dancing
staying up to watch the sunrise with friends and drinks and rooftops
lots of bars
lots of studying (undergrad, grad school, various classes in between...)
lots of papers, tests, and grades
getting engaged
graduating college
my first bout of unemployment
moving home
breaking off an engagement 
my first "big girl" job with benefits, retirement, and all that good stuff
buying my first car
meeting my husband
my first passport
my first trip abroad
getting engaged on a bridge in Venice, Italy
our wedding
a house with 4 dogs!
moving to Georgia
buying our first house
grad school (for both of us)
watching family grow up, get married, go to college
amazement at the terrific scientist my husband has become
internship at CDC
graduating with my MPH
my second bout of unemployment
saying goodbye to my sweet childhood puppy
welcoming our beautiful boy into the world
complete exhaustion
falling in love with our new family even harder than I thought possible
finding my calling
celebrating 5 years of marriage with my soulmate
our first nephew
and almost 2 beautiful years of watching our son grow and learn

If you had asked me 15 years ago what I would be doing at 30, my answer would have been SO different.

I've never been so happy to be wrong.

Although, I wouldn't mind going back to before I had these little wrinkles around my eyes and starting some miracle skin care routine that would prevent them from ever showing up. I'm not that well-adjusted ;)

finally got a little smile :) 
much love, 

August 29, 2014

my favorite Alden words

Alden learned how to take a selfie! 

As I walked around the house with Alden this morning trying to get him ready for school I thought to myself, "I hope I never forget what his little baby voice sounds like." I've had that thought a million times and a million times I've immediately followed it with, "I should really write down some of his words so I at least have a record of how cute they were."

Well, now I'm actually doing it :)

Here are some of my favorite and most notable Alden words:
*note: I have no idea how to correctly type pronunciations so just run with it

Open= o-po
Bug= buuh
Please= pwee (usually in rapid succession because he has no patience. haha)
Thank you= tay-tay
Pasta= pah-pah
Far Far= sha sha (Nick's dad. Far Far is Danish for Grandfather)
Lizard= zhh-zhh
Water= ahwah
Milk= mih
Outside= a-side
Airplane= eh-pane
Scooter= coo-coo
Mavy= maa-my
Brinkley= Bi-Bi
Buster (his real beagle)= Buh-Buh
Copper (his stuffed beagle)= cah-cah
Paci= pappi
Book= booh
Door= doh
Shoe= joo
Alden= A-do
Play= pway
iPad= eye pah
Phone= wohn
Mower= mow-mow
Stinky= teenky

He also says (in his own way):

All gone!
Bye bye (usually while waving and grinning like an idiot) :)
No! No! (while shaking his finger at whatever is displeasing him)
Go, go. (Especially directed at the dogs when they beg for food or, more recently, at the sun when it shines in his eyes)
Mimi (my mom)
PopPop (my Dad)
Grandma (Nick's mom)

Just thinking about his little voice makes me smile :) I try to get him talking on video all the time but when he sees the phone out all he wants to do is call one of his grandparents! (Can you tell he's a kid that's grown up with FaceTime?!) We hear, "wohn. wohn. Mimi? Sha Sha?"

One day I'll be telling him how cute he used to sound when he wanted something really bad ("Pwee! Pwee! Pwee!) and he'll just say, "Ugh. Mom." and walk away :) He'll always be my baby.

much love, L&N

August 27, 2014

a new season

Hi everyone!

I've been pretty absent from the ole blog for a while. Part of it was intentional and part of it wasn't. I go through phases where the internet gets overwhelming. I think anyone who uses the internet a lot in their daily lives (especially people who blog for a living or run websites) periodically need a break from the interwebs. I know I do and I don't even generate a living this way! There are times when I purposefully step away from the technology because while I love what technology and the internet have given us (helllooo, FaceTime!), it's also the force in my life that drives me to post a cute photo to Instagram, or check out Facebook, write a couple blog posts, or check in on Influenster, or look in on a few of my favorite blogs, etc., etc. Sometimes I like to step away from the "public-ness" of it all and just live my life with my family in our own world, without the rest of the world knowing or seeing our days. This is a completely new problem in the world and it's interesting to me to watch how other Internet-public people deal with the constant pressure to be connected and "out there" for everyone to see. I read about some of my favorite blog authors doing the same thing- turning everything off, getting away from the tech, and soaking in the sweetness of just being. I've been really embracing the just being lately and making a conscious effort to pause and drink in my life more often.

We've also been really busy. That's the other part ;)

August has FLOWN by for us. We started the month with a week long trip for Nick to Madison, WI for a conference and my mom coming to visit for a few days while he was gone. Then, Nick got sick basically the moment he touched down at the ATL airport. So he spent the week after getting home on antibiotics and sleeping on the couch to prevent middle of the night coughing attacks. Alden and I had a couple routine doctor's appointments back to back (plus one early pick up from school for a fever) in the same week that we had meetings with his new teachers because he moved to a new school! His first day was August 18th and so far we all LOVE it. We've been eyeing this school since I was pregnant and are so happy to have finally gotten a spot. Along with the craziness of Alden switching schools comes Mama going back to class, too. I'm taking an undergrad level Anatomy & Physiology class to use as a prerequisite for nursing school (yeah, I guess an update on that is due, too...). So Alden's first day was also my first day :) So far, it's going well for me. I've taken this class before and am only retaking it because nursing school requires that it have been taken in the past 7 years. Since my undergrad classes are skirting that requirement, I figured I'd go ahead and take it to reset the clock. I remember more than I thought I would and am enjoying being one of the oldest people in the room. Haha, they all look at me with a mixture of wonder and pity..."Why is that grown lady taking this class with all of us 19 year olds?!" On top of the fact that I have another huge project underway at the same time as all of this!

Nick has also had a busy month; starting with the conference and now preparing for his yearly committee meeting. This year's meeting is a big one because we may get word on when his committee thinks he can start writing his dissertation/get ready to graduate! It's been a long road for him and I think he's approaching this new chapter with both excitement and a little dread. Things happen quickly in his type of PhD program in the last year or so; once your committee tells you that you can start writing there's anywhere from 6 months to a year to get your dissertation done, set your defense date, plan for graduation, and find a job. Most of the time you only have about one semester to make everything happen so we're eagerly anticipating this meeting. Or at least I am...maybe Nick's not as excited to hear about all this extra work ;) Without a doubt, it's both nerve-wracking and exhilarating to prepare for our family's next big adventure!

Alden is growing and changing faster than ever. We can barely keep up with him! He's talking so much, running any chance he can get, learning new things every day, and generally being an active toddler :) He left the school he had been at since he was 9 weeks old, started his new school, started a weekend gymnastics class, had playdates and birthday party fun, went through a sleep regression (which is hopefully on its way out), and has seriously improved his tantrum abilities ;) I have tons of photos and updates to write on his 16, 17 and 18th months (since we're almost at 19!) and probably have a few other things we could include, too. I'm hoping to get back to those soon since I love having our "baby book" updated.

Overall, it feels like we are entering a new season for our family. Along with the cooling temperatures and falling leaves that are right around the corner, we're moving into a year that may hold a lot of changes and growth for us. Alden is firmly in the "kid" category now (no more baby around here!) and we're really loving all of the new experiences we have with him. I am turning down the path that is ultimately going to land me in my dream career while Nick is in the last leg of his PhD journey. So many things to look forward to and so many things to sit back and enjoy while we can :)

All this to say that we are here, happily chugging right along, watching our little man grow up and keeping ourselves busy! More updates to come soon!

much love,

July 9, 2014

love, people.

**climbs up soapbox**

I see so many young, educated, kind people in my Facebook newsfeed with such astounding beliefs that they support with their religious affiliations; e.g. "Abortion should be illegal because I'm a Christian and Christians believe that abortion is a sin," or "I can't believe a Muslim man has a position of power in our government because we were founded by Christians and our country should be based on Christian beliefs."

Let me say here: I DO NOT UNDERSTAND THIS. We are not a Christian nation (governmentally) any more than we are a Jewish, Hindu, or Islamic nation. (aside: this is true regardless of my religious affiliations or beliefs)

This is not complicated.

If you believe that abortion is a sin, don't get one. Taking it further: Don't patronize a physician who offers abortions to their patients. But for crying out loud, don't publicly shame a woman with different beliefs than you or commit an act of violence against that physician.

If you believe that the Islamic religion is heresy, don't practice Islam. Don't assume that every Muslim is "out to get you" or vandalize their sacred house of worship because you disagree.

If you disagree with gay marriage because it contradicts what you believe to be true, then don't support gay marriage. This does not automatically mean that you have the right to live in a country that outlaws gay marriage. Not everyone here believes what you believe. WE DON'T MAKE LAWS TO KEEP INDIVIDUALS HAPPY. We don't do this because it's impossible. Because everyone's happy is different.

If you want to be able to go to your church and worship without someone arresting you, shaming you, or physically attacking you, then accept the fact that you must, in a free society, be willing to allow others those same freedoms. Just get over it. Not everyone practices the same religion. Not everyone believes the same things. IT'S OKAY. The world is not going to end just because there's someone living in your neighborhood that believes different things. We probably all love our children the same, love our partners the same, and want to be happy the same.

I am tired of seeing my beautiful, intelligent, and full-of-brilliant-ideas friends acting like ignorant bigots. I am tired of wondering what kinds of conversations I am going to have to have with my son on the way home from a barbecue at your house after he has heard hateful, intolerant things come out of your mouths. I am tired of being sad at how my peer group views our country and the world.

I don't have to agree with you to love you, have a beer with you on the porch in the summer, or enjoy some time in the pool with you and our kids. If we agree, awesome. We can toast to being on the same page. If we don't agree, even better. Talk to me about it. Tell me what you believe and why and I'll tell you the same. Maybe we raise our voices or get frustrated because we're passionate. Maybe one of us changes our minds, maybe not. Maybe, if nothing else, we know each other a little better and are a little less likely to judge someone of the same ilk the next time we cross their path. Or we go home and we Google what we were talking about and we read and learn and we become better, more educated, more tolerant and more understanding people. And then we can start that cycle all over again the next time we find something that we disagree on. We show our children that we can be different and still be friends. We show them that we can raise our voices and be passionate without it being the end of a relationship. That we can love people who think differently or worship differently. And that we can do all of this without the world coming crashing down at our feet. That different is NOT SCARY.

Or, alternatively, we decide to stop hanging out. Even this isn't the end of the world. Here we teach our children that it's okay to walk away from influences that they don't feel are healthy, inspiring, or enjoyable. I can think of a lot of worse things that we could be teaching them.

I respect your right to whatever opinions you have. But I do not respect those opinions existing in a void. I don't respect someone who hates others simply because it's easy to hate. If you disagree, then spend all the time in the world disagreeing. But don't hate. Don't spread your negativity into my world. And learn! Learn about why you disagree. Learn enough so that you can explain to me, in human and kind words, why you believe what you believe. I will respect you even more for giving me the opportunity to understand someone else a little better, even if I walk away firm in my opposing beliefs.

As long as your beliefs aren't endangering the health, well-being, or safety of those around you, we're cool.

Because, here's the thing...

Everybody thinks that their belief is the right belief. Christians wouldn't be Christians if they didn't believe in God as their supreme being. But, Muslims wouldn't be Muslims if they didn't believe in their prophet Muhammad. Your beliefs are heresy to everyone else but you and those like you. THAT'S OKAY. It's okay for you to find your path in one place and another to find theirs elsewhere. You wouldn't stop hanging out with someone just because they hate the color green and it happens to be your favorite, would you?

My son is a wonderful, bright, kind person full of promise, curiosity, and love. I am doing everything in my power to make sure that his love and promise and curiosity isn't overshadowed by the negativity, hate, and intolerance in our world. It would be wonderful if you would help.

**climb down soapbox. hugs anyone who stayed to listen.**


July 3, 2014

VoxBox: TLC

I received the following products complimentary from Imfluenster for testing purposes. All opinions are my own. 

I was so excited to get my TLC VoxBox from Influenster and see what kind of goodies were waiting! This VoxBox was full of products made for Moms who need a little TLC of their own.

So many great products in this one!

A quick rundown of all the fun stuff I got to try:

Neo to Go by Neosporin
I love these little sprays by Neosporin! I've always kept one around and I even took one on our trip to Europe way back in 2008. Good thing because I ended up cutting my hand open while lugging my suitcase across Venice before sunrise to catch a train & managed to get myself all doctored up while sitting on a curb in the dark :) And now I'm loving having them around again, especially with a toddler in the house. Toddlerhood means lots of little bumps and scrapes and the Neo to Go is the perfect size for the diaper bag or my purse!

Breyer's Gelato Indulgences
Oh my! This stuff is delicious. Nick and I were pretty happy to see the coupon waiting for us and we were not disappointed. We got the Tiramisu flavor and spent a happy night watching Game of Thrones and munching on yummy gelato. We did not finish it in one sitting, I would like to add, but we certainly could have! We keep drooling over the Raspberry Cheesecake flavor and can't wait to try it on one of these hot summer nights.

yep. we ate it right out of the carton :) 
Ivory Bar Soap
I used to use Ivory soap when I was a kid because it was the only soap that didn't irritate my skin. Somewhere along the way I stopped using it and now that I've started using it again I can't imagine why! It worked out that my bar of soap was just about gone when the VoxBox arrived so I could start using the Ivory bar right away. I love it! It keeps my skin soft but makes me feel so clean. I'm really picky about feeling like I'm actually cleaning my skin and not just smearing oily goop around (like most body washes end up feeling like). I have very sensitive skin and the Ivory works wonders. I have definitely found my forever soap!

AVON Anew Reversalist Express Wrinkle Smoother
I'm new to the aging skin product world but have recently felt the pull to dip my toes into the pool of the wrinkle improvers out there. In a few short months I will be turning 30 and I'm definitely seeing the evidence of those years around my eyes and mouth. Needless to say, I was excited to see this product in the box. It's a translucent balm with a cream-to-powder finish that helps to blur the look of wrinkles around the eyes and on your forehead. It actually works! I can tell a difference when I'm wearing it and even though it's not like you just had plastic surgery, it does minimize the look of wrinkles and helps your makeup smooth out your skin even more. You can get 15% off an order of $50 or more on with the code ANEW15. Go get prettier skin, ladies!

Puffs to Go
These tissues are with me at all moments. With allergy season is full swing and a toddler smearing peanut butter and jelly all over me at any time, tissues in my bag are a must!

Shell Fuel Rewards Network Card
The Shell Fuel Rewards Network just makes sense. We all (well, most of us) buy gasoline so why not save some money in the process? Joining this reward network lets you accrue points with every eligible purchase (not just gasoline!) and then use those points to save on gas purchases. For a limited time, you can even save 25 cents per gallon on your second fill up after joining the program. If you've gotta buy it, save some dough while you're at it :)

Can't wait for my next VoxBox!


June 27, 2014

15 months!

This update is really late. We're only a week away from the 17 month mark so I guess I should get some posts done :)

Month 15 was a whirlwind but that's no surprise, right? It seems like every month is a whirlwind with a fast-growing, busy-bee toddler in the house! We are officially approaching big boy territory, that's for sure. Alden has started getting really interested in self-care activities like bathing, combing his hair, putting on his lotion and powder, and is starting to have some interest in the potty. He knows all of his main body parts (arms, legs, eyes, nose, hair, etc.) and will point to them when you ask. It's really adorable :) Especially since he refuses to point to his belly unless he also lifts up his shirt. I guess it's not really his belly unless it's uncovered ;)

He loves to be outside but is not usually a fan of the hats and sunscreen involved :) This was the first day we actually got him to wear his hat for more than 3 minutes!

Mama knew there was a reason to keep those Mardi Gras beads! 

He's independent and opinionated as always and surprises us every day with the things he's learning and doing. The tantrums come and go in phases, with a few days of pretty much non-stop whining, crying, tantrums and then a few weeks of wonderful little normal Alden. I'm sure the weird days are linked to developmental growth, teeth (his canines have been trying to come in FOREVER!), allergies, etc. but, man!, they are no fun. We have taken to calling him alien Alden on days where he's just out of sorts all day. It feels like we have a different child in the house sometimes :/ Most of the time, though, he's such a fun little guy to be around. He's playful and loving and curious and I just love watching him grow up.

His nighttime routine has become more smooth with less fighting before he goes to sleep. We still have some rough nights but overall he's doing really great! We are living proof that, for some kids, no amount of sleep training or sleep techniques or tricks will work. Some kids just aren't great sleepers and they take a long time to get there on their own. I feel like we can finally say we've gotten through the worst part but the kid may sleep in his crib until he's 4 since I'm imagining hellish scenarios of trying to get him to stay in a toddler bed. Haha! I know there are a lot of families whose 18 month olds are already transitioning to a toddler bed but we are definitely waiting as long as possible for that leap. We've only really figured out a good routine to get him to sleep in the past few months so I'm not messing it up for a while ;) He sleeps with a stuffed animal (a beagle named Copper) every night now and we're really starting to notice him get attached to it for comfort as well. I had a blanket for far longer than I should admit publicly (yes, I still have it in my dresser drawer) so it wouldn't surprise me if he ended up with a long-term comfort item.

He sleeps in such big boy positions now! *
*strange side note: We have, on numerous occasions, looked at the monitor to see Alden and Copper in the exact same positions (evidenced above). We're not talking simple similarities here, we mean the same legs crossed at the same angle, head facing the same way, etc. It's strange and weird and we kind of love checking each night to see if it's happening again...I wonder if Alden is doing it on purpose & we just haven't caught him ;) 

He's a good eater but we have started to see some evidence of the infamous toddler pickiness. There are some nights where he just won't touch what we give him, even if it's something he happily gobbled up the day before. This should be a fun journey! :) We can always get fruit in him, though. The boy would survive on fruits if we'd let him.

We also had some time to squeeze in some fun activities this month. We had a blob day with some friends and their kids that was a total blast! If you're looking for something fun and pretty easy to do with small kids, check out this backyard water blob. We had so much fun!

blob day! 

hanging out with my bud Kilby Ann
We also went over to Lake Lanier for a day to hang out with friends and get some sun one weekend. Some dear friends of ours had rented a lake house to celebrate their anniversary and invited a ton of us up for the day to eat, drink, and play on the lake. Alden had great fun!

Alden loves to climb and wrestle and is almost running. He keeps learning new words and there are quite a few that he consistently says but that we just haven't figured out yet. It's so frustrating for all of us when he's clearly trying to tell us something and we just can't get it :/ At his 15 month well visit, he weighed 23 pounds 8 ounces and was 32 inches tall. He's in the high percentiles for height (like usual) and relatively lower percentiles for weight (like usual). So our string bean is still nice and stringy ;) He's wearing 18 month shirts (except for some that are still gigantic on him) but is still wearing mostly 12 month shorts! He's got such a long torso that we have basically abandoned any kind of onesie or john john and 90% of the time he's wearing separate shorts and shirts. It's the only way we can find clothes that fit! I would like to make a plug here for someone to standardize clothing sizes. It's absolutely ridiculous that we can buy the same size clothes from two different stores and them fit completely differently. At least we've found a couple brands that fit him well so we can always find him something that we know will work :)

now that he can get on the couch by himself easily, he like to play with the remotes while he relaxes :) 

getting to ride in the big carts at Publix for the first time :)
he's a professional mess-maker but I love him anyway

Nick's parents were in town for a short visit and we got to enjoy some Lowe's time and yummy breakfast at Mama's Boy.

3 generations of Danish genes :) 

I also got around to doing some things around the house. Since the time change, Alden has had a hard time falling asleep in his bright room. It was high time for some blackout curtains. We bought the patterned panel at Target and I just grabbed some blackout fabric from JoAnn and sewed them together. This photo is from before I ironed it all so it looks a little wonky but it already makes his room feel more grown up! I wasn't sure whether his window (and room) was big enough for two full panels on the window but I've definitely decided that we're going to add another full panel to fill out the look. I'm also going to add a broad strip of bright green fabric to the bottom to add length and a pop of color. Maybe I'll get some better photos when it's all done :)

Then, we finally got started on our Alden wall! We had started collecting frames and photos to put up of Alden's first year but couldn't figure out where to put them, then my mom suggested creating an Alden wall on a short section of our hallway. We, of course, thought it was a great idea and set out to get some of those frames hung! They will eventually all be white, black, or silver because the hallway is getting repainted in a pretty gray and I like the way those frame colors look against gray walls. For now, I get a little smile on my face every time I walk past and get a glimpse of my little man :)

his birth day shadow box

the first artwork he brought home from school
It was a good, busy month! Good weather, good friends, family, and lots of fun. Exactly what summer should be!

much love, L&N

June 23, 2014

Father's Day

According to Nick, we had a wonderful Father's Day :) It was relaxing but fun and we managed to check off everything on Nick's list! 

We started out the morning letting Daddy sleep in while Alden and I played a little and then I made him his breakfast. When Nick woke up, he headed out to grab us his Father's Day breakfast-of-request, McDonald's and a coffee from Starbucks. Yep, you heard that right. He wanted to eat junk food for breakfast :) (Don't worry, we have maybe had McDonald's breakfast once in the past year leading up to this so we're not going to have a heart attack tomorrow or anything...)

After we ate we got everybody sun-screened up and we headed to the splash pad at one of our local parks. We've had so much fun at the splash pad this summer so far and Nick wanted to do something that he knew he and Alden would have a lot of fun doing. We packed Alden's lunch picnic style and hung out at the park, playing in the water, eating, and climbing on the playground until it was time to head home for little man's nap. 

running in the water
spinning on the water fountain

While Alden slept and Nick relaxed on the couch I made a lemon chiffon pie (SO DELICIOUS!) for dessert that night. Nick loves lemon desserts and had sent me this recipe a few weeks prior after he ran across it online so I decided it would be the perfect summer Father's Day treat.

And then, after all that work, this happened...

Alden decided to taste it ;) 
We saved the handprint for last because we thought it was too cute to eat right away. It may go down as one of my favorite memories :)

Even though Nick was "supposed" to be relaxing, he ended up getting fidgety and went outside to trim the bushes in the front of the house instead :) I was in the kitchen and he came up to me and said, "I know I'm not supposed to do anything today but I really would just like to go get the bushes trimmed." It made me laugh and I told him that, technically, he was supposed to be doing whatever he wanted  to do and if he wanted to trim the bushes, then he should get to it!

After Alden woke up from his nap we made smoothies (Alden's first!) for a snack and then headed to Lowe's. It surely wouldn't be Father's Day in our house without a trip to Lowe's. Nick got to look at whatever he wanted and I didn't even make him wait for me to drool over paint colors ;)

first smoothie went over very well!

loving the lawn mower (mo mo, in Alden language)

We stopped by the grocery store to grab some steaks and headed home to get them on the grill and the kiddo in bed. Nick grilled the steaks up nice and yummy and we picked up salads (our favorite Blue Cheese and Pecan Chopped) and some grilled shrimp from Outback.

All in all, I had a wonderful day celebrating the fantastic father that I share my home with and I think he had a great time, too!

I still may try to pin Alden down for a little belated Father's Day crafting but we'll have to see if I can get him to sit still :)

much love,