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.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Jackson James is 18 Months Old - 1.5 Years Old

18 Months and Counting!
We survived the 18-month check-up and with only one shot. We were three days too early so we couldn’t get the third shot for Hep A so instead Jackson only had to get the flu shot. Man, I don’t like those things! So now at his 2-year appointment, he’ll have to get a shot.
Hanging out in our wall unit

Height: 33 inches
Weight: 24.1 pounds
Head: 50%
Diapers: Still in Size 3 but wearing Size 4 at night because he was peeing the bed otherwise
Potty Training: This has begun but we’re just letting him lead the way. He knows when he is peeing and pooping and will tell us. When we get to the potty, he doesn’t always do these things. He knows what’s going on. So we’ll say he’s “sitting” for now.
In short, his doctor said he’s healthy, healthy, healthy. Tall and skinny. As long as I hear the word healthy, mama is happy.  

Jackson’s Likes:

1.   He is obsessed with watching “Wheels on the Bus” on HooplaKidz. He could watch the video over and over and over again. He’ll point and say “bu” (for bus) once the video ends and will keep saying it until the video starts again. AND he FINALLY sat through an entire episode of Baby Einstein’s On the Farm. He even fell asleep in Karl’s arms. This has happened…umm….never. But he also has a cold so nap time didn’t really exist this past weekend.
Snoozing with dad!

2.  He loves climbing up the rope ladders and chains and anything scary looking [to me] when we get to a park. Very daring boy.

3.   Still enjoys sticking most anything in his mouth. However, he knows what garbage is because when we get to a park he finds all the trash and throws it in the garbage can. Very impressed.

4.   He loves sweeping and helping. If something is out of place or there is a crumb on the floor, he’ll run up to it and say, “uh-oh” and run and get his broom. He will unload and load the washer and dryer. He’ll grab a towel if there are water droplets on the floor and wipe them up. He is good.

5.   He loves Pumpkins. He can spot them miles away.

6.   He loves singing. I catch him singing “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” a lot. Adorable. So sweet.

7.   Animals. We went to Karl’s grandparent’s farm and he scooped up whatever kitty he could get a hold of. He’d squeeze and hug them to pieces. It was so sweet to see.

8.   Pointing out trucks and any bigger vehicles on the road. His vocabulary is growing leaps and bounds and he has no problem saying, “bus”, “dump truck”, “mobile home”, “cement truck”.

9.   Still loves balls and throwing them. He also knows when dad is drinking “beer”.

10. Babies. (uh-oh)

11. He loves loves loves reading books. He has a few favorites – “Kittens are Like That”, “A Light in the Night”, “Cars”, “Colors”, “Pop-Up People”, “100 First Words”, “Brown Bear, Brown Bear”, “Carl’s Birthday”, “Snuggle Puppy”

12. He loves playing the piano at Grandpa Jim’s and Grandma Judy’s.

13. Breakfast. He comes downstairs and climbs in his highchair. He is ready (just like me!) to EAT!

14. Turning the lights on and off in the house.

15. Sitting in my car and pretending to drive it. He’ll even grab the seat belt and try to put it on. I get in my car the next day and my wipers are going at warp speed and my air is on full blast. Fun.
Loves driving any vehicle. Varrooooom!

16. Locking my car via my keys and then closing the garage by pushing the button in our garage.

17. Still loving frozen blueberries, avocado and watermelon and peas and cottage cheese and pancakes. When he refuses these, I know he’s not feeling well.

18. Giving hugs. He hugs each of his stuffed animals and he’ll run up to my leg or Karl’s and squeeze. Best feeling hands down.
Loves Snoopy!

19. Being outside and running wild. This kid does not walk. Just runs.

Loves running outside! Here we're headed toward a raspberry bush

20. Sucking those first two fingers and stroking his pinkie. I’ve never quite seen anything like it.

Getting comfy with Gpa Jim and sucking those fingers

21. Graham crackers. Loves those things.

Jackson’s Dislikes:

1.   We’re working on the vacuum. He has no problem with smaller vacuums. It’s the bigger ones. We were told that at daycare he freaks out a lot and we need to bring out the vacuum more and tell him it’s loud but not scary. (I hate thinking of him crying at daycare and not being there to comfort him.)

2.   Seems like when he eats Sweet Potatoes he gags almost every time.

3.   When we have to wipe his nose.
No caption needed

4.   When we take something away.

5.   Not being able to do something on his own – getting overly frustrated.

Things to do with a Toddler in the Winter - 18 months

Winter Activities in Minnesota with a Toddler
Last year was the longest winter ever. And I mean ever. Can you blame me for getting nervous for the colder seasons ahead of us (it is 28 degrees out right now on October 22)? You bet I’m preparing for the cold, darker days (all 5-6 months of them) ahead, especially with a VERY active little guy (1.5 years) who LOVES being outside. And I mean LOVES. What to do?
Just hanging out in the hutch
We live south of the river (in Minnesota) so I am trying to stick to fun places closer to home (just in case we get nailed with a snow storm or ice or both).
I’m looking for activities Friday, Saturday and Sunday that won't break the bank. I work full-time Monday through Thursday.

Libraries are FREE!!! Story time on every third Thursday in Savage at 6:30 p.m.

This is what I have so far:

·         Lots of libraries – fun books, toys and space to run around. Some have story time. Or even Barnes and Noble in Burnsville. I hear there is a cool train.

·         Michael’s Craft Store – find crafts and take them home to do

·        Play areas at Burnsville and Eden Prairie Mall  - trying really hard to get past the germs (I know, I know)

·         Bundling up and sledding to a nearby park
·        Walking around Mall of America (will take willpower not to buy anything…)

·        Open swim at Life Time Fitness – obviously I pay for this in my membership, but in my mind it feels free

Under $10

·         IGM Gymnastics in Burnsville ($8) 

·         Eagan Community Center in Eagan ($4)

·         Good Times Park in Eagan ($8)

·         Edinborough Park in Edina ($7) 

·         Children’s museum in St. Paul – ($9.50 – doesn’t include parking if needed) 

·         Jumps and Downs in Shakopee – ($7)

·        Shakopee Community Center Playtime – ($1) Bring clean trikes, balls, riding toys and enjoy the big space from 10:00 - 11:30 on Fridays.

·    Playworks in Prior Lake – ($4.50)

·    The Works in Bloomington – ($8.00)

More than $10

·        Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley ($18 – under 2 is free) -

·        Nickelodeon Universe at Mall of America in Bloomington ($18.99 – I think there are only a few rides that little people can go on) 

·        Water Park of America in Bloomington ($30+ and I think that’s per person) 

·        Underwater World at Mall of America in Bloomington ($12 for MN residents (online) – kids under 3 free)
·       AirMaxx Trampoline Park in Eden Prairie ($13) on Friday mornings

·      Safari Island Indoor Water Park in Waconia ($8 per person)

Weekend Getaway

·      Arrowwood Resort Center  in Alexandria ($160 a night)

What am I missing? What is a must do? A must see? Please either comment below, comment on my Facebook page or email me at christie(dot)koester(at) 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Week in Review - 17.5 Months

As of today, Jackson is a year and a half.
Say what!? BUT, I’m going to post a recap of last week and that means lil man is still 17.5 months in this post. We had a fun week. YAY! I kind of begged Karl to stay home this last weekend just because I want him to have fun too and we miss him. I know he's swamped at work. It gets tough juggling it all. I know this! It's hard being a working parent but it's also hard being a stay at home parent. I get it. I do.
Hayride with mom!
The weather is getting cooler but last week's weather was AWESOME Monday through Thursday. I even went running during lunch on Thursday and came back a new person. I wish I could do that all the time, but I work by two huge trucking companies. The honking gets annoying and same with all that exhaust. Plus, there aren’t showers here so I feel bad for my coworkers. Not really (sorry guys), but I can't say it's very professional on my part if I come back smelly and sweaty. I’m really trying to figure out a new system to fit in a few workouts a week and I’m having a really hard time. I REALLY don’t want to get up at 4:30. There has to be another way.

Me and my little jogging suit! Getting ready for a run with mom!

Fridays are now vacation days for me. My company won’t allow me to work from home anymore due to insurance purposes and owed me some vacation time. So now until January, I get to have Fridays off. I KNEW I would LOVE this schedule. I KNEW IT. I love love love love it and can’t seem to give it up. I’m in big trouble now. BIG TROUBLE.
Anyway, Jackson and I enjoyed the weather on Friday morning. We took a long walk to a park a couple miles away. We even broke for a science lesson and checked out the plant life and bugs.
Loves looking at all the "bees" close up.

Exploring plant life
Letting the fuzzes blow in the wind!
The clouds rolled in (boo) and the wind blew HARD. The cool thing about having Fridays off now is being able to go to places without the crowd. I love that. We headed to Peter’s Pumpkins in Shakopee. Besides Peter, we were the only ones there. I mean, he even decided to mow his grass while we were there. Felt like we fit right in.

I put Jackson in one of their wagons and we went hunting for pumpkins! Super fun. He liked the ones with all the bugs oozing out of them. (Of course.) Right now all bugs are “bees” to Jackson. So cute.
Pumpkin hunt!

Found a real good one! Had the entire "patch" to ourselves!

Poopin out a pumpkin! Love how Jackson says "up-in" for pumpkin
Peter’s wife, Carmen, cans her own pickles. And I can tell you, they are AMAZING. I’m addicted. I’m SO addicted that I brought Karl back to Peter’s Pumpkins the next day so we could get another jar since Jackson and I ate almost the whole jar. Oopsy. Also, Peter gives FREE hayrides on the weekends. YAY! I'm all about doing anything FUN and FREE right now. We need to save as best as we can if we ever want to buy a house. The weather was cold and cloudy Saturday but we still wanted to make it outside. We all enjoyed the hayride and more picklesJ

My obsession right now. SO SO SO GOOD.
One thing Jackson LOVES helping me with is making guacamole. He LOVES eating it too.
My handsome boys having fun at Peter's farm!
My Grandpa Harry Powalish would be so proud. He used to work for International Harvester in Chicago.

Me and my sweet boy!
I want to eat them BOTH UP!
The three of us went to church Sunday. I was excited about this; however, Jackson couldn’t keep quiet this time so Karl took him out in the narthex. Hey, we made it and that's what counts. After we got home, I clipped apart our big basil plant and froze the leaves into ice cubes so I have fresh basil whenever this fall. Yum.
Cubes of frozen basil for the fall

The weather was really great on Sunday and I was able to squeeze another run in during naptime(yay!) and Karl and I took Jackson on a 7-mile bike ride when he got up. He's wearing his helmet finally. I think he sees us wearing it and knows it’s a must now. This is a battle I will win.
My boys. I love these two with all I have.
Cute man.
Serious about safety! Look at those baby browns!
The tantrums have started (ufdah!) so I’m trying to choose my battles wisely otherwise things can get exhausting and the days get REALLY long!!

Toyland Ad came in the mail. Jackson LOVED pointing to his faves. One being the toy vacuum cleaner.

After three weeks of chronic diarrhea Jackson now knows when he’s about to poop. He points to his butt, and says “poo-poo”. We went ahead and bought a potty chair later in the weekend as he would climb up the stairs and head for the bathroom to go “poo-poo”. This is VERY early so we’re not banking on anything. We just know he’s aware and are going with it. I’m sure this is normal and another phase will find its way into the mix of things.
Hey everyone, hanging out on the potty!
I’m just fascinated by how quickly Jackson picks up on things and how observant he is. I hug his stuffed animals and then he has to. I pretend to feed his doggies cheerios and he does the same, days later. It’s just so cute to me. He’s starting to sing too. I love it. I love everything about this little dude.
See you next week!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Probiotics Work Wonders on Toddler's Tummy - 17.5 Months

Tummy issues? Buy Probiotics for your Toddler.

If you read my last post, you saw that we had quite the adventure going on at our house the past three weeks. We actually took Jackson in for his chronic diarrhea to get his stool tested. I thought parasites for sure.

Then all tests came back negative. Thank God! But how could a toddler poop that much for three weeks?

Doctor thinks either teeth or some wild crazy virus.

I was in panic mode on Saturday - even thought my child was septic. Let's just say my brain is crazy. My sister in law helped put me at ease and had me call her good friend who has two little girls. She swears by probiotics. Then I thought, I take them every day so why isn't Jackson?


I ran over to Wal-mart (I really did run - it's across the street) and picked them up. I'm not kidding you, within 24 hours things started changing for the better. And within 48 hours, Jackson was back!!! And he's been great ever since.

These probiotics deserve a post. AMEN!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Week in Review - 17.5 Months

All over the place
I just shared with a friend that my brain is all over the place right now, and it’s only Monday. Oh boy. I’ve had back-to-back crazy, insane weeks. There just hasn’t been that moment to collect my thoughts and get some air, regroup. I told my friend it’s almost like I need someone to slap my face or stick my head under water and tell me to snap out of it. I even made it to the gym on Saturday for a hardcore workout thinking that would make things all better, and that didn’t even do it. Shoot.

So the two major things bothering me:

1.   Jackson has had the runs/squirts for THREE WEEKS now. I have no idea what’s going on other than we are flying through about 13+ diapers a day. Two weeks into this he’d get sick for 24 hours get the WORST diaper rash and then be done. Then it hit two days later. This happened three times UNTIL last Saturday. It’s been going on for a week straight. NO breaks. I’m at my whit’s end trying to figure out what is going on. I've tried everything. BRAT diet, probiotics, limiting dairy. I'm taking him in today though. Trying to avoid the doctor, but I think it's time.  Jackson is acting fairly normal, however I noticed he gets super irritable out of the blue.

2.   My dear dear dear dear friend has brain cancer. As in the friend I worked with for two years. The friend who made my garter at our wedding (my something blue). The friend we drink home brew with every year at their annual party. The friend I told I was pregnant with Jackson before ANYONE else because we were riding to a baby shower together AND SHE JUST KNEW. It's not like I'm a good liar either. Let’s say it’s the kind of brain cancer you do not want. I’m crushed. And with all this poop, I can’t get over to see her. I can't even imagine. I can't. Why is this happening????

I’m just bumming out. Trying to make sense of things and trying super hard to let go. Trying to figure out how to fix things, when I know I can't fix it all.  

Anyway, our week in pictures!
Jackson reporting for duty! Even with all this pooping, Jackson seems to be his playful self.
My parents came up and saved us! We couldn't take Jackson to daycare because of all the poop. THANK YOU PAPA AND Grandma!
Of course we were SAD when my parents left:(  Come back soon!
Lots of baths for this guy. We've tried oatmeal baths too to get rid of the diaper rash. Poor guy!
Having fun with dad! Dad was a CHAMP at changing diapers. SO NICE to have Karl around!!!
We HAD to get out. I couldn't take it anymore. I brought lots of diapers just in case, but we MADE IT! WHEW!
Fall colors ARE BEAUTIFUL. The sun came out for a couple hours and we did what we could to make it outside. Then the rain fell most of the weekend. Boo.  

We even made it to the Twin Cities Marathon to cheer on Jenna and some of our other friends. A huge part of me kind of wished I was running. I know. 26.2 miles? WHY??? Karl even mentioned a little interest in running it some time. Yeah, I almost fell out of the car too. How fun would that be to run it together!?!?!  

Praying for a better week and that the doctor has some insight for us. See you next week!!!


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Week in Review - 17.5 Months

Super fun, but fast week.
A LOT going on but we still managed to survive with lots of smiles! That's always a successful week in my mind.  I've started to get the hang of Karl working his longer hours. I know. Just 17 months LATER. WHEW. What a journey this has been. Or maybe I've finally accepted it? Ha.

I hope that when we start trying for Baby #2 and then baby arrives, maybe Karl will be able to get home by a reasonable time during the weeknights AND be home more on the weekends? Lots of hope here. Don't laugh, but I can't help and think that perhaps it'll feel more like a vacation to me with two kids because he'll be around more?? Am I dreaming here? Just comforting to think this even though that would be a perfect world and well, we don't live in that trype of world all the time, do we? He, he.

I still send out my positive energy that things WILL change for the GOOD! A good attitude and positive thinking really DOES work wonders.

I was talking to our neighbor and she was saying that even if her hubby is home (but busy doing other things), it still FEELS like her family is complete. I agree. It's just nice KNOWING Karl is there when he is.

I never knew things would be the way they are - with him working so much - but I keep telling myself maybe the outcome will be worth it. And NOTHING stays the same for long. I think we're living in a world where we expect things right away and need things to be perfect right away. And they aren't always that way. We have to work hard to get there. OR maybe things are actually pretty darn good but we're so focused on the negatives that we forget about the bigger picture or even the good that is sitting RIGHT IN FRONT OF US?

I've been reading a lot about being GRATEFUL for what we do have. Karl and I really do have a lot and I'm focusing on that. I mean, I can't help but squeeze him to pieces when I see him. I love the man to death. AND I always go back to our health. I am VERY grateful for our health!! VERY. VERY. VERY.

Anyway, enough babble... here is our week in pictures!

Daycare drop off was worth it when I was able to pick up Jackson's photos!

Friday was a bit cool and rainy but we made a morning trip out to the Apple Orchard in Jordan, Minnesota. SO MUCH FUN! Only cost $20 for a BIG bag of apples. Eesh!
Jackson loved picking the apples and eating them. He also enjoyed eating them off the ground.
We took a tractor ride around the apple farm and came across the largest tractor EVER! Jackson was in heaven!

Jackson loved the goats
The guinea hens kept playing around with Jackson
Karl and I FINALLY ran a 5K TOGETHER!!!! I was SO excited!!! The 5K was for his company. We ran together the whole time and ran in 33 minutes. Pretty good for a guy who ONLY trained three times before the race!
I was so inspired during the race! Lots of Hanger patients shared their stories and then RAN with their prosthesis! AMAZING! I'm PROUD of Karl for being so passionate about his career and helping others... With that said, I guess all those hours are worth it just to bring someone else HOPE and a BETTER LIFE!

My parents are up visiting so that meant SHOPPING with my mom. Of course I needed a NEW pair of running shoes for the race! I was torn between these two. There are SUCH fun shoes out there right now! These are at Kohl's ON SALE and I had a 30% off coupon! SCORE! Thanks MOM!
My church sent me this picture! Jackson and I are trying to make church every week. VERY important to ME! It's been great for the both of us! WE LOVE JESUS:)

Crazy Uncle Mike comes too when he's around!

See you all next week!