Travel Often

“I see my path, but I don’t know where it leads. Not knowing where I’m going is what inspires me to travel it.” — Rosalia de Castro

Love Deeply, but Laugh Along the Way

"Happiness is only real when shared." - Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild

View Marriage as an Adventure

"Love is a flower which turns into fruit at marriage." ~Finnish Proverb

Fuel your body with GOOD (It's the only one you get)

He who has health has hope; and he who has hope has everything. - Arabian Proverb

Open your Soul to Motherhood

A Grand Adventure is About to Begin - Winnie the Pooh

A New Kind of Love is Born

Mothers hold their children's hands for a short while, but their hearts forever.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Life as New(er) Parents - Month 9

I thought I'd kind of recap what our life is like now that we have a 9 month old... as Jackson naps.

Here we no particular order:

1. I type fast these days. VERY fast (you'll note more grammatical errors in my blog - yes, they kill me too but can't help it sometimes) because I still don't know what kind of nap out of the two I'm going to get from Jackson. Sometimes it's a 2 hour nap, and sometime it can be as short as 30 minutes. When we get really lucky, we get TWO 2-hour naps. Score!!!
Mom's happy...I'm happy! That's how we roll around here.

2. I'm actually getting more comfortable leaving Jackson for DATE NIGHTS, or for a couple hours while I hit up the gym, or if I have a baby shower to go to or whatever. Yes, you read the first part right. Date night.

Karl and I went to a wine tasting event last Saturday. 55 wines. Can I get a whoa? Can I get an AWESOME??? Because that's pretty much what it was. AWESOME. Hell yes I'm still breast feeding, but I'm smart when it comes to drinking. I don't need to get wasted (i.e. try all 55 wines), nor do I want to because I need to be alert at all times and can't afford to feel like dong (especially when I bring it upon myself). I still had a blast. Lil' sip here and there and I felt like Karl and I were two kids just having a grand ol' time. We went out for dinner after and I left feeling like I had one of the best nights in a long time. My sister-in-law and brother-in-law watched Jackson. I had absolutely no fears because they are SO good with Jackson and love him to pieces and...well...sis-in-law is a nurse. That helps:)
Date night! Can I get a wha? wha?

But we're back to going to our weekly wine tasting events and Karl is back to bringing home craft beers for us to try. I find this fun. Hey, it's the little things. He's entering a couple of his own home-brew in a contest as I type!

3. I still don't get my 3-5 workouts in a week. Boo. Yes, I hear you. I could get up early, but Jackson is getting up between 3:00 and 5:00 a.m. still. This mom chooses sleep. I get maybe one or two workouts in during the week, BUT when I do workout, it's serious business. I feel like I workout hard enough that I don't spaz when I only get 1 or 2 workouts in a week like the old Christie would. I'm sure my heart is begging for more, but with the weather 0 degrees right now, I can't take Jackson out. I tell myself winter is a time for reflection and rest. I have all spring, summer and fall to get crazy outside. It's still pretty dark when we get home from work right now. So I chase Jackson around the house and count that as a heart pumping good time. Plus, I try to laugh a lot...makes me feel better. We do a lot of going up the stairs around here! And squats.
Better known as the "star" child
Working on my tool bench here. No big deal.

4. Still a HUGE advocate about healthy eating. I think this helps me not be so hard on myself when I can't get a workout in. I'm fueling my body, as well as my family's, with really good food. I'm learning more about all the good foods out there and what their benefits are and so on. I love educating myself on all the great healthy options out there. Yep, still making ALL Jackson's foods, though I'm starting to step away from only pureeing foods. He's now feeding himself broccoli, kiwi, avocados, pees... Are you seeing a trend here? He has a thing for GREEN food. OK, so we broke apart one of the homemade cinnamon oatmeal pancakes we made and Jackson devoured it. For some reason he doesn't totally enjoy chopped bananas and apples, but loves them in his porridge. Speaking of porridge, I did make some super porridge for him (organic brown rice and green lentils blended and boiled). I mix in kale and spoon feed that to him. We tried adding tahini (sunflower seeds that a word?). OK. I'm all about healthy foods, but that stuff is kind of gross tasting. An acquired taste for SURE. I don't blame Jackson for turning his nose up to that one. Uff-dah! 
Warning: Healthy Food Ahead

5. I'm starting to learn that Jackson would much rather play with household items than toys. I gave him an empty oatmeal container and he played with that for days. Measuring cups = awesome. Paper towel rolls and empty wrapping paper rolls = let the fun begin. Pulling every single Ziploc bag out of their boxes = sweet. HE LOVES watching me cook. I think it's the sounds, smells and steam that really pull him in.
Love this oatmeal container!
Any way I can make noise around here, I'm in!
Future drummer maybe?

6. I think one of the hardest adjustments for me was not getting to spend as much quality time with Karl as we once had. We did everything together. Spent tons of time together. And never got sick of one another. How does that work??? We were simple. As in simply loved doing NOTHING together and making the best of it. Or we'd go on these amazing trips around the world or country and had a blast together. We could be anywhere, do anything, and have the best time ever. But a baby kind of throws a wrench in all that. A good wrench though! There's been a lot of balancing our time and schedules and Jackson always comes first. I wouldn't want it any other way, but it's hard to carve out time to talk about our days or maybe one of us gets the spotlight for the night and gets to talk about their day at work and the other doesn't. Keyword here is: talking. MUST COMMUNICATE.
I run this house! You have a problem with that?

Our Karl and Christie evening starts around 8:30. The thing is, I start to crawl into bed around that time. I'M STILL trying to catch up on sleep. BUT, I feel like we're getting some evenings to ourselves again and I LOVE that. The other night I got a little sad when I looked at the time and thought, wow...we get all but an hour together. Yet, I made the BEST of that hour in my mind. I lived in the moment and soaked up as much Karl time as I could get.

Once a baby comes, every single aspect of your life and how you once operated, changes. But, I promise...all for the better. The reason I say this is because I remember when it was just me and Karl. We'd have our set television shows to watch and our weekends planned out - the friends we were going to hang out with, family we were going to see, trips we were going to take, etc. Yet, things kind of always felt predictable to me. Not to say that was bad by any means. Maybe comfortable is the right word? I knew what to expect and over time there was just a little piece missing. Like I KNEW there needed to be something more there or else we'd get too used to each other or our routine. But wasn't totally sure how to get there... And then came Jackson. There was that piece that made us whole.

Challenging. Crazy. Insane. But all the while awesome. Get what I'm saying here?

In short (OK...not so short): Sometimes we get caught up in the insanity of life. No, there is never enough time to catch up. To have it all together. But there is something bigger going on in our lives. I call it the big picture. And sometimes we just have to throw up our hands and let things fall into place. Yes, we have free will. We get to make choices and decisions daily, but sometimes we're lost. We don't know what to do. We're frustrated. We're at our whits end. What are we supposed to be doing? Are we doing the right thing? Can't time just slow down and we get this sh*t figured out before the next event is thrown in our face? The answer is no. And once a baby comes, those events are slapping you in the face daily, sometimes hourly. They are beating down your door.

My guess is most of us want to try to control everything. I know I do. But it's when we FINALLY put our trust and faith in the words...everything will work out in the end, we BREATHE for a second. Our shoulders fall. Our jaws loosen. And we live in the moment. We've done it before. We can do it again. When have things not worked out? Or if they didn't, it was probably for the best. Right? Or at least, there was a lesson there. We grew... Maybe spiritually, emotionally, etc. The keyword here is WE GREW!

7. Oh, and I went to Target WITH Jackson. High fives and fist pounds, folks. Just took me 9 months to do it. But I did it. Jackson was in shock. Said "Ohh" to everyone and everything, but I left with an extra hop in my step. I DID IT.
Mom. Where the heck are we?? I've never seen such a place!

Like I said. It's the little things. Pretty sure this mom is going to make it!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Jackson in 9 Months Old

January 15! Jackson has almost been out in the world longer than he was in my womb!!

Big boy here! Ohhhhhh

9 months and growing!! We don't go in for his 9 month checkup for another couple of weeks but we know this little man is growing. Currently he is wearing 12 month clothes, some 9 months and even some 18-24 month.

Hey ladies! Taking numbers for the Prom soon:)

Jackson's personality is really starting to show. For one, he is very independent, especially when he's eating. He is now only using me and his sippy cups - no more bottles. It was his decision to go on a bottle strike so we went with it. He gets super excited when he's handed a sippy cup so he can drink all by himself. He likes when I cut up avocados, bananas, or apples, or soft carrots or cottage cheese and he gets to feed himself. The reason I know this is because he's quiet and happy and busy. When I only give him his puffs and spoon feed him, he starts getting crabby and whiny and screams. He moves all over the place - arms a swinging.

These past couple weeks he's tried okra (both Karl and Jackson gagged), cottage cheese and grapes. Yum!
Love my sippy cup!
That's right man...don't mess
I love feeding myself!

Jackson is very curious. Very. He has to touch EVERYTHING.

This car is neat

Must figure out how it works

Ah-ha! That's how!!

He isn't a huge cuddler either, which is a bummer. He will at certain times, but for the most part he likes moving around by himself - he likes to crawl around and explore. He only wants to be held for a second and down on the floor he goes. He will crawl to me and sit up on his knees and pull on my legs. He's been working on saying "up". Right now it's more of a whisper, but he moves his jaw and lips in a way where I know he's trying hard to say it.
Love these cups! I could do this all day long.
look at me! Where did that remote go again?

We're pretty sure he said "da-da", but obviously doesn't know what it means. I might have heard a "ma" in there but for sure a "ba-ba". We are getting there!

He's in full-on explore mode. And loves pulling himself up to stand. With that comes some hard falls...especially on his head. Ugh. Not a fan of this, but he is quick and there is no stopping him, unless I held him ALL DAY LONG but we know he wouldn't want that. He's been working on squatting down so the falls aren't so fast, but had to learn the hard way. A head hitting a hard floor is loud. Poor guy:(
Standing man! Army Strong!

Pretty sure those eyes are going to turn completely brown. There is still a little bit of blue around the edges but we're talking mostly brown! Cute as a button though!

Love love love this little guy. He has our hearts.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Jackson is 8 Months Old (really 8.5 months)

Jackson is really 8.5 Months old now!!
He's growing SO fast.
I'm a big boy!!! I'm almost 9 months old!

As you can tell, it gets a bit harder to find a whole lot of extra time to blog because Jackson is on the MOVE. And when he's napping, I'm trying to get through a list of stuff that needs to be done around the house. Here's the latest...

Smooches all around!

Went from belly to sitting up. Karl and I both looked at each other like...wait, did he just sit up on his own?

Jackson pushes himself up and pulls on things to try and stand (he officially pulls himself up non-stop in his crib so we now lowered the mattress).
Just a tiny bit cute...

Had a temperature of 101.4. on Christmas Eve. Whoa. Talk about a rough few days. Short cat naps and super crabby and warm. Not sure what was going. He refused to eat solids and would get really upset with anything we did. It was a LONG few days. He ended up getting a pretty bad cough and runny nose, but now is feeling more like himself.
Did you check out my sweet ride?

Has tried kiwi, celery, broccoli and peaches for the first time. He also has tried stickers, paper and cardboard too. He likes to swallow these in one gulp. He is fast.
I'm bad ass

Still teething, but no more teeth to show for it (I'm OK with this because I can't imagine getting bit by those sharpies!). We can't really feel those top teeth coming through but when he gets tired, I don't know if his teeth start to hurt because he'll face-plant into anything hard...the floor, his toys. Not sure I get that...

Mmmm, feels good!

As he explores around the house, we notice he loves these things:

  • The little dooly thing (door stopper?) attached to the bottom of doors.
  • The broom
  • The Swiffer broom
  • Stairs (he goes up two flights in just a few minutes. And he loves doing it over and over and over again.)
  • Cords
  • Our blinds in the kitchen
  • Looking under every single rug
  • Shutting doors and swinging them open
  • Pulling himself up on our coffee table
  • Pulling himself up on the couches
  • Pulling himself up in his crib
  • Pulling himself up onto his swing and then leaping into it head first (we'll probably be taking this down soon)
  • Hanging off his mobile in his crib (yes, like a monkey)
  • Pulling himself up on EVERYTHING 
  • Playing with our plants and all the dirt... oh boy
  • Loves slapping his hands on the floor in the kitchen or playing with our watering cans...or plastic containers.
What's under there?
Love making noise around here!
Crawling is my favorite thing to do!

He can't get enough of this stuff. And trust me, we're not letting him play in the dirt or do most of these things, but he is exploring. We are on our toes all the time.

Now when he plays in his round-a-bout, he leans really far back like Joe Cool or else he hangs out of it, so we're not sure how much longer he'll be able to play in this.
Did someone say box?
Love these things!!
I will concur you soon!
Ah-ha! I will show you, box!!
Yeah, who's got you now, box?

Jackson has been saying "ohhhh" a ton. We haven't really heard any other words just yet, but we'll see what that first word is going to be sooner than later! He is trying to say "uh-oh" and "yeah" but those words still come out, "ohhh" but with a little more inflection. He's getting there.

In his 8.5 month existence, Jackson has slept through the entire night maybe twice? As in 12 hours straight... Otherwise he's usually up anytime between 1:30-4:30. We're getting there... Right? I feel like my body is used to it, until I'm up with him a couple times during the night. When that happens, I'm TIRED. But it's usually a 15 minute feed and then he's out again.

He's a lot of fun and super cute. He crawls over to me and climbs up my legs so I pick him up. Sometimes he'll put his face super close and give me a wet kiss out of nowhere. Or else we rub our noses together and he laughs. He is just the cutest little guy ever. Warms my heart.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A Look Back at 2012 - Happy New 2013!

Hello 2013 - Goodbye 2012

2012 was quite the year for both me and Karl. In short, we both learned how important communication is, how deeply one can love, the true meaning of sleep deprivation and a whole lot about the miracle of life.
Have to say this was my highlight of 2012

Here I've been giving myself such a hard time for not being involved in a whole lot in 2012, but what the heck am I thinking? Here's a recap...

January, February and March
These months were full of baby showers (four to be exact) and baby preparations. I busied myself by sticking my nose in every pregnancy book I could get my hands on (silly girl), trying to educate myself and preparing for this thing they call motherhood. What I didn't know then was nothing would or could prepare me for what I was about to endure. Nothing.

We worked on putting Jackson's nursery together and watched my belly grow. If I could go back, I think I would have SLEPT more and just enjoyed my pregnancy more. Meaning, I would have sat still and simply listened to Jackson grow inside me. But life is always...rush, rush, rush. It blows my mind on so many levels that he, the little guy I now nurse and cuddle and hold, started off as something so small and grew into something SO amazing.

Trying to figure this crib thing out...

Karl and I also took a family trip to Vegas in January to celebrate my younger brother's 30th birthday. We both had a blast (as much as you can have fun without drinking). It was nice to be with family.

April 2012
The month Jackson arrived and the day our lives changed forever. The crazy part is I don't quite remember the pain. Yeah...I can't believe I just wrote that. I just know I wanted to throw up that last push and I told them to bring out the tray if I was forced to push once more. The pain was so intense that my only next option was to throw up. But there was Jackson! I survived and out came the most amazing little boy. I can't quite explain what goes down in that delivery room but I swear God IS most definitely present and the experience is mind blowing.
Amazing little miracle

Three days after Jackson is born, he and I develop a ritual of going on walks outside as often and much as we can because it's the one thing I have a little bit of control over. Karl can't understand why I chose walking over napping. I can't get enough of the fresh air and endorphins and the amazing early spring weather we are blessed with. I already start to dread going back to work...
Walk time!!

May, June, July
Karl and I learned what life is like going from two lovebirds who spent pretty much every minute together when we weren't at work and getting up and going wherever when we wanted to giving all our time to Jackson, and learning what life is like as first-time parents. I had three months off from work and enjoyed every last minute of it (even asking for an extra week). Karl flew out east to take his Orthotics exam on Mother's Day and ended up passing! We also experienced a lot of visitors coming and going and wanting to meet Jackson.
You gonna sleep anytime soon?

Six weeks after giving birth I pick up a volleyball and play sand volleyball with my old team! Setting, passing and slamming down the ball...just like old times! Why wouldn't we take first in the entire league? Boo-yah!

Karl and I still managed to squeeze in some of our own fun time. We visited a couple wineries in Minnesota, made it up to the cabin a few times so Jackson could experience his first boat ride, and made a road trip down to Illinois so my family could meet him. Jackson was also baptized in June.
very special moment
First boat ride!

August, September, October
I spent these three months adjusting to being a working mom. These were some hard three months. I spent a TON of time reflecting (mostly in the bathroom as I pumped at work), wondering if I was doing the right thing because I felt incredibly guilty leaving Jackson every day. However, we found wonderful care for Jackson and I also developed a very VERY amazing friendship with Jackson's daycare provider. As I look back now, I know there is a reason for all of this - the timing of everything has been unbelievable, to the point where I know there is something bigger working behind the scenes. It's amazing how far we can push ourselves and how strong we really are (and we have no clue until we're faced with some tough stuff).

I started cooking all Jackson's food, which has made me very conscious of what we're putting in our own mouths and I learn to appreciate my body more and more.

Jackson went on his first airplane ride, as we made a trip out to Arizona to visit family. Travel takes on a whole new meaning with a baby... We also made a couple more trips up to the cabin and my parents came up to watch Jackson as well and same with my younger brother and sister in law. Karl's parents started watching Jackson once a week - win-win for EVERYONE.
First swim!

Jackson dresses up as Mr. Mustache Man for Halloween thanks to his crazy dad (who we both love very much).

Mr. Mustache Man Saves the World

November, December
More trips up to the cabin and a trip down to Illinois for the Thanksgiving holidays. Lots of germs flying around but Jackson has managed to catch four colds total since he's been born. Karl has had about (knock on wood.) Average is around 11 illnesses throughout the year for babies.
Hanging out with Great Grandma Powalish

My parents come up to watch Jackson for an entire week and we celebrate Christmas up here. The Koester's have us this year for the Christmas holiday and we travel between houses. Jackson loves the wrapping paper more than the actual presents.

Jackson goes on his first sledding ride and isn't sure how he feels about the huge snow flakes in his face. We ended up getting 12 inches of snow the first weekend in December.
Sledding rules!

We ring in the New Year by staying up until 10:30 and toasting a happy, healthy and exciting 2013. Not sure how it will top this past year, but my guess is it will. Every year keeps getting better and better.
Wild man!

As much as I vent my emotions and feelings via my blog, I will say this: I feel very lucky. Very blessed and hang on to every day like it could be my last. Sure, I wish some things were different, but for the most part, I wake up every single morning with the love of my life next to me and throw those covers off , eagerly waiting to see Jackson's smiling face in the next room. What could be better than that? Another one maybe?!?!??! He, he, he.

Like a friend wrote on her Facebook post... "I prefer the New Day's resolutions which occurs every 24 hours and can start over at any time. Lower expectations, less stress. Higher awareness, more peace. Happy NEW DAY everyone."

Each day is TRULY a blessing. Enjoy what YOU have.