A Great Week, In Sum

Time is going really fast lately, and I think that’s great! I miss Jon SO much and it can’t go fast enough. I’ve been staying really busy, and I have wonderful friends who take the time to come visit me & hang out. It’s pretty great. Here is the last week in sum:

Monday: In the morning I ran errands and then in the afternoon McKenzie and I had our little photo sesh with the baby shoes to announce the sex of the bebe. She’s such a good sport, it took all of 10 minutes…but then I locked us out of the building. A kindly neighbor let us in, but I need to make a *mental note to get spare keys and give them to Madison friends.* I spent the rest of the afternoon editing the photos & letting McKenzie play. BigCollageTuesday: This was McKenzie’s first day back at school from Spring Break, and THE BIG DAY to find out the sex of the baby! The appointment wasn’t until 4:30, so I cleaned house and did TONS of laundry (long overdue) to keep myself busy. While McKenzie was at school I took a long, glorious nap. I have been EXHAUSTED lately…the kind of tired that makes your eyelids feel like anvils on a thread. If you’ve been preggo, you know what I mean. When 4:30 FINALLY rolled around, we went to the appointment at Baby’s Debut here in Madison. Some people have asked McKenzie’s reaction to finding out she’s going to have a little brother…and honestly, her initial response was “EWWW! A penis!” Oh my gosh, it was hilarious. But she enjoyed seeing the baby too, and of course I love it. I would have an ultrasound every day if I could. This is my favorite pic, I think he looks so peaceful like he’s sleeping. And the technologist said everything looks great, so that’s always nice to hear. 10 fingers, 10 toes, healthy heart. At night, I wrote Jon a nice, long letter to mail off on Wednesday.wpid-KUEHL-BABY-BOY-16-WEEKS_18.JPG

Wednesday: Oh geez, I went and got my military ID at the local reserve office first thing in the morning. The photo is HORRENDOUS. I think the lady made me look like a troll on purpose. Blah. She was not friendly. And it’s so embarrassing, I’ll have to use it all the time! Urgh. I was not pleased. Anyway, I’d also had all the photos of Baby Boy printed at Walgreens, so I sent off a letter to Jon telling him the news. I’d contemplated calling the unit and asking if they could tell him, but I think a personal with photos is a little more romantical. Ya know? Then, around lunchtime my good friend Stephanie came into town for a sleepover. She’s a music teacher at an elementary school, and she brought a ukelele for McKenzie to play with. She is a rockstar with McKenzie! They sang and danced SO much, so of course McKenzie was head-over-heels! Many adorable moments ensued, including this “You Are My Sunshine” duet. *melt* We went to the mall after McKenzie was done with school. then had a lovely evening, complete with pizza & a Disney movie marathon.

Thursday: Since we’d had a sleepover, we got some delicious breakfast at Monty’s Blue Plate Diner. The food was amazing, as always. Then Stephanie had to go home, and I took McKenzie to school…after which I had another long, glorious nap. Did I mention that the weather has been GORGEOUS? I’ve been walking the dogs to school when I drop-off/pick-up McKenzie and taking the long way back home. It adds up to 2.5 miles per day (1.25 round-trip, one way). Go me, that’s more than I’ve gotten in awhile. How sad. Darn Wisco winters. =/ I’m going to make a point of walking whenever the weather’s nice.

Friday: McKenzie has ballet Friday mornings, then after I quickly stopped into the doctor’s office. I’ve been having the most horrible itching…like widespread, horrible itching. Like, so bad it wakes me up. They were concerned it was early pre-eclampsia, but my blood pressure was fine, so they did some labs to test for something else that’s a little more scary. I should hear back about that tomorrow. After the short doc visit, our long-lost neighbor came to visit with her 2-year-old. What a handsome little guy! We got to chat while the kiddos played, and even took the dogs/kiddos to a nearby playground to get some energy out. She gave me a great idea for a future blog: balancing dogs & kids. It’s pretty rough some days, especially being alone lately. I feel so guilty sometimes, like I’m a terrible dog owner. =( Sooo, more to come on that another day.

Saturday: We finally got McKenzie a big girl bed! She was definitely outgrowing her toddler one, and she LOVES it. I had been looking for one for awhile, and finally settled on this one…and I’m SO pleased. It’s solid wood, very sturdy, and it was on sale for $189 when I bought it. Compared to some “standard” white twin bed frames I was looking at it was a steal! Plus, it’s a space saver, and she loves using the ladder. But I spent the ENTIRE day putting it together by myself and rearranging her room (although I’m not satisfied with the layout yet). The bed took 2 hours, but it was extremely easy. We don’t have the mattress yet, but I ordered the special 6″ bunk-bed mattress, so she’ll still have ample railing space still to prevent any rolling accidents, as per suggestions in the reviews. I do love that it’s not too high for her (chest height), so I’m not too worried about her falling. I would’ve loved a bed like this when I was a kid! I think I might put up a tension rod & some curtains underneath to make the “fort” even cooler.

newbed

Sunday (today): We had a lazy morning…McKenzie slept in until 9! It was amazing. Around 1, we headed over to a 1st birthday party for my BFF’s identical twin boys! It was so cute, and her decor was awesome. It’s been so fun to watch them grow up the past year! And of course, McKenzie had fun playing with all the balloons. And there was pulled pork…the same to-die-for pulled pork recipe that I’ve posted. Yummm. Then McKenzie and I went to run some errands: a quick trip to the grocery store, and a successful trip to Michael’s (craft store)… To elaborate, I have been eying these adorable Easter Baskets at Pottery Barn Kids for the past 2 months, but I absolutely could not justify spending $30-$50 on an Easter basket…no matter how cute, even if it’ll be used every year. Anyway, at Michael’s all the Easter stuff was on clearance for 70% off, and I managed to score this Easter basket for a grand total of $5.60 (originally $16.99). I was pleased! It might not be *as* cute, but I think I can trick it out a bit. Either way, it’s definitely a cute upgrade. =)basketAll-in-all it was a great week. Finding out we’re having a BOY was definitely the highlight though. I look at those little ultrasound pictures every day. Sometimes it’s still hard to believe I’m even pregnant since I’m not that big yet! Soon enough. I’m sure I’ll be eating those words in a month. Lol. Today I am officially 17 weeks, but here is my 16 week photo since I forgot to post it last week. And no, I am not angry (as some FB commenters noted)…that is my straight face. Yes, I have an angry-looking straight face. Thanks for noticing. Haha. 16weeks.words

This week, we’re looking forward to going to visit Grandpa Jeff for a week in California. There is sure to be lots of yummy food, boat-riding, and dolphin-watching! Have a great week everyone. =)

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Happy 237th Birthday USMC.

First of all, happy 237th Birthday to the United States Marine Corps! Especially my favorite Marine, my wonderful husband, Jon. 2 Iraq combat deployments as a machine gunner, and I was so happy to have him home. I can’t believe it’s been 5 years since he got out…he’s grown so much. And now he’s about to graduate from a top tier university. I’m so, so proud of him and I wouldn’t have wanted to spend the past 10 years with anyone else.

Anyhow, this weekend we’re going “Up North” to visit Jon’s cousin. It will be so fun! They have a 2 year-old daughter and I’m sure she and McKenzie will get along marvelously. More “life” updates to come soon. =)

Girl’s Night Out & A Birthday Weekend

The past several days have been so fun! On Thursday, I had a “Girl’s Night” with my friend Anna. We had a delicious Italian dinner and then went to the comedy club! It was a blast…and long overdue. I LOVE the comedy club. It was really fun, although I’ve seen better comedians. He was funny, but a bit of a misogynist…I mean, I can enjoy a vagina joke here and there, but seriously, his entire routine was about vaginas. (Actually, I lie, there was one joke about an uncircumsized penis looking like a snuffaluffagus. Classy.) It was entertaining, but it’s just got old after like 10 minutes. But we still had fun (in part, thanks to the 2 drink minimum)! Ha.

Then, on Friday we made the 5 hour drive to Minneapolis to visit my sister (Jessica) & her family for my niece (Abbey’s) 4th birthday party! She and McKenzie are exactly 2 months apart. We went to the Mall of America for dinner and McKenzie and Abbey went on a carousel ride. Then on Saturday we went to Abbey’s Halloween-themed dance class…McKenzie dressed up like a princess, and Abbey was a fairy. They danced and frolicked. It was so much fun to watch. *Mental note: Get McKenzie into classes of some kind.*

On Saturday afternoon we went to Jessica’s in-laws for Abbey’s party. There was an obscene amount of presents. And an ice cream cake from Dairy Queen (yum!). McKenzie got some “un-birthday” gifts. That was always a tradition in our house when I was little…because once I cried when I didn’t get any presents on my sister’s birthday. It’s like the song from Disney’s “Alice in Wonderland,” get it?…”A very merry un-birthday to you!” Anyhow, McKenzie got a walking/barking puppy, dress-up clothes, a puzzle, and a painted glass project. Fun! She loves the puppy a lot. She named it Snowball, since it’s all white.

Then on Sunday we went to their cabin. It’s always so fun! They wanted a photo session there, to which I happily obliged…although, Dan was not a willing participant (*cough, cough*), so it’s not my best work. Haha. Buuuut, I love that my sister always poses for me! She’s such a good model, and helps me get my portrait practice! I told her that when she publishes her first book, I get to take the photo for the back cover. =) Other than that, McKenzie and Abbey played in the leaves, and our dog (Logan) followed us around on the ATV. Then we drove back to Madison. Long day, but a very fun trip! I always love to watch McKenzie and Abbey play together.

There’s no place like home…

Oh man, there’s nothing quite like sleeping in your own bed. McKenzie and I had a great trip to California…but there were definitely ups and downs, and I’m pretty relieved to be home. We had a lot of fun seeing seals and dolphins on Grandpa Jeff’s boat, and she had a wonderful birthday. Boy, did she get spoiled! New Barbies, a new toy phone, dolls, some new clothes, and even a Disney princess suitcase…traveling home would’ve been impossible without it!

So a little recap of the trip is in order: Since Grandpa Jeff was working on her birthday (and had no food in his house), we went to the Cheesecake Factory in Mission Viejo, CA for lunch. The servers came and sang “Happy Birthday” to her, and she got a mini birthday sundae…she thought it was pretty cool to be the center of attention! And she loved it…so of course I did too. ;)

On her birthday evening, some local Cali friends came over. McKenzie had a blast playing with Sadie and Sophia (4 and 9-years-old, respectively). They played Barbies and had tons of fun. And I  just didn’t have time to make my famous Dirt Cake…darn it! She loves it every year and it’s so much fun for kids. I figure I’ll make it for my birthday this Saturday and we can have a combined mini-celebration together so her Daddy can watch her blow out candles too. I was so sad he wasn’t with us on her birthday this year. =(

Anyhow, while we feasted on some Domino’s Brooklyn Style Pizzas, Grandpa Jeff was the hero and ran to pick up a last-minute cake. He got the most delicious Caravel ice cream cake, and it was perfect. She got her second chorus of “Happy Birthday” for the day, and shortly after, we called it a night.birthdaycakecollagecrop

Now, Grandpa Jeff always spoils us and takes us to yummy restaurants, and this trip was no exception. We had delicious dinners every night, and we walked to watch the sun set over Dana Point Harbor. It was stunning view from up on the cliffs. I didn’t happen to snap a picture, but while we were there McKenzie was being quite a little goofball, so I was certainly able to snap a few of that…look at that attitude!nightcutiecollagecrop

Anyhow, our flights home were uneventful, and I had 3 separate people tell me that McKenzie is a “great traveler.” So I suppose that’s good for me! Haha. But seriously, it was a really long day, and it was great to come home and see Jon. We missed him oodles. And I took a looooong nap in my own bed while McKenzie showed Daddy all the new goodies from her birthday.

And her amazing Daddy had one more birthday surprise for her, too…she walked into her bedroom to find this beautiful flower arrangement. She’s been asking for “fake flowers” for months, and I think Jon did a pretty darn good job making his first flower arrangement all by himself! It’s perfect on her bookshelf…and I’m so glad to be home. ♥

Airplanes & A Birthday

First of all: Happy Birthday to McKenzie, the most genuinely kind, smart, and fun little kid I know! As I mentioned in a previous post, we’re spending her birthday in California to visit Grandpa Jeff, who she hadn’t seen since Christmas. We’re having a little party for her tonight, (with her annual dirtcake!) so I’ll let everyone know how that goes later.

We got to Cali late last night (well for her it was like 9pm, an hour past her bedtime…but it was only 7pm here). Traveling with an almost-4-year-old is so much easier than even 3. She hadn’t been on a plane in a year, so she was pretty excited, and we lucked out and got the window seat on both flights. She was SO good and pretty much just watched movies on the iPad the whole time. She has TV restrictions at home, but definitely not when we’re traveling…I’m not trying to make my life miserable. Haha.

Anyhow, she wore this outfit for the plane ride (pictured above). Layering is perfect for travel because if if kids get too hot, just take off the jacket (which did actually happen this trip…the plane was like a sauna). Needless to say, I was very glad she wore this outfit. Oh, and I would never use those air vents that blow in your face to cool off…I hate those…not only do they dry out my contacts, but they make me paranoid I’m blowing other people’s germs in my face. And I’m no germaphobe. Recycled air just grosses me out, okay? Haha. ;)

  • Jacket: $4.99 (Children’s Place, thrifted from Children’s Orchard)
  • Dress:  $9.99 (Oshkosh, clearance at the Johnson’s Creek Outlet Mall)
  • Shoes:  $1.99 (Old Navy, thrifted from Goodwill)

It’s Almost Birthday Time!

It’s almost McKenzie’s birthday! I can’t believe she’ll be 4. Time is running away, and I just wish it would slow down. She’s such a sweetheart. She’s seriously the most genuinely kind little kid I know. It’s hard to believe that 4 years ago right now I was ridiculously pregnant waiting to pop. I was nearly 2 weeks overdue when she made her arrival…who knows how long she would’ve waited! But she was born on Sunday, August 24th at 7:54pm. And our lives have never been the same. ♥

SOOOO anyway, I just learned how to do collages with Photoshop (I have CS5). I used this tutorial. It’s so much easier than I thought! What a relief. I was sick of the tiny pictures. Haha. I took these photos last week Friday before our trip to Milwaukee. I love this outfit! And it was super-reasonable too, around $18 total:

  • Hoodie: Oshkosh, $9.99 (on sale at Target)
  • Undershirt: Thrifted, $1.99
  • Jeggings: $3.98 (on clearance at Target). These are a little short on her because they’re 3T, but if you cuff them at the bottom–voila! You now have Jegging-capris.
  • Shoes: Thrifted, $1.99 local Goodwill. I always throw shoes in the wash and they look brand-new!

This year for her birthday McKenzie and I are flying to visit Grandpa Jeff in Laguna Niguel, California. Sadly, Jon needs to work so he’s staying behind in WI. We’re gonna have a little shindig at Grandpa’s place with a few local friends. It should be fun. Birthdays are always fun when you’re little! Then on the weekend we always go out on his boat in the ocean and see dolphins and seals…she’s gonna have a blast. AND he has a pool and beautiful playground at his community center.

Lemme just say: McKenzie has improved SO much at swimming this summer. We have a pool here at our condos, and she’s a little fish. Last year she used those ridiculous little arm bands with a circle-floatie. They were nice and cheap, but I definitely did not feel safe having her more than an arm’s reach away. When we were at the pool one day another kid had a Puddle Jumper…they are seriously the BEST! She has so much more confidence in the water when she wears it. Now we never go to the pool without it…and it’s Coast Guard approved, which makes me feel good too. Granted, she still goes under if she jumps in, but it brings her right back up (but doesn’t like going underwater anyway). I don’t know if it’ll fit in our luggage for our trip to California, but I might just buy one there since they’re cheaper than a baggage fee! ;)