Friday, December 28, 2012

A Month in the Making

Our new computer has arrived! Which means there are no more (good) excuses for not blogging. Here is what you missed in the past month in photos:

There was a strong interest in arts and crafts. Painting, Coloring and Playdough! Oh My!

Playdate with Tillie's BFF: Eila!

The First Big Snowstorm!
Matilda learned how to walk in the snow...

Eat the snow...

Make a snowball...

And catch a snowflake on her tongue.

She was also a big helper in getting the Christmas decorations up...

Other than that, you missed about a solid 2 week window where Nate, myself or Matilda was sick and those are pictures no one wants to see. 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

In Check

Parenthood doesn't provide you with any certainties except that just when you think you have something figured out, it is certain to change.

We have always been so incredibly lucky to have a very good little eater on our hands. I still maintain it is luck, while Nate likes to take some parental credit for her palate. I think the reason I prefer to take zero credit is because when she turns into a picky little monster like I was (and I promise you she will some day), then it isn't a failure on my part. It is with great care that I always say "Matilda will eat any steamed vegetable for now" because I know my time before the full-on mouth lockdown is limited.

This weekend, Matilda was the unfortunate recipient of my terrible viral infection and went on a full-on hunger strike. Saying "no" to literally any food or liquid we would put in front of her. The child had to have been starving. I often forget that she is, in fact, a human. And I haven't wanted to eat anything in a week, so why would I expect her to?

Anyway, for the past year since Matilda has been eating food, we have taken care to pack a fruit and vegetable for every single meal, hoping to ward off future pickiness, and as I mentioned--to date--have been successful.

As I watched her adamantly decline food option after food option, I quickly realized the utter desparation that parents whose kids don't like to eat must feel, because you just want them to eat something. ANYTHING. And if Matilda said no to every thing we put in front her except for fig newtons, my guess is we would become stockholders of the Fig Newton company.

It's always good to have these parenting moments that keep you in-check, grounded to reality and appreciating what you currently have in the moment. Sure, our kid continues to wake-up at a god forsaken hour in the morning, but we haven't (yet) had to have all-out food fights for every meal (for now). So I will be grateful for that, and keep my fingers and toes triple crossed that when Matilda recovers from this cold, so do her tastebuds.

But I will say, if Baby GH can read this blog through my womb, I will make her eat a little less cauliflower in exchange for a few more winks of shut eye.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Scrumptious LIttle Moments

The Toddler years....
equal parts amazing and pull-your-hair-out tiresome.

But for some reason, there have been so many small reminders this week that have come across my computer screen, eyes, ears, etc that life is short and to make the most of it each and every day. I struggle with truly embracing the here and now because of the plan ahead nature of our lives.

But for tonight, I pause and soak up all the greatness that is Matilda Mae at this age.

...watching her 'hide' and then sneak looks at you while you are looking for her

...listening to her expanding vocabulary which grows every day (night night, banana, all done, star, moon, and snow all came out in the past week)

....seeing her 'read a book' to herself for the entire car ride into work, and then not want to let it go so we carry it all the way into daycare.

...her saying 'bye-bye' the second she sees anyone putting on a coat or shoes

....the excitement she has while trying to hide her bath toys from us and then act all surprised when she 'finds them'

...her wanting to 'ring around the rosey' with everyone, as much as possible. Even including her stuffed animals.

...every night when I pick her up from daycare, she immediately reaches for her daily sheet, and wants her litle lunch bag, and then proceeds to carry them through the entire building and out to the car. (note--this can sometimes be both amazing and frustrating..:) )

....she will snuggle into our laps and read books forever. And when we close the last book and go to put her down for her 'big sleep', she rests her head on your shoulder and gives you a last snuggle for the day.

That last snuggle is the best. The one that says "I love you, Mom." even though she can't say it yet.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

A Very NYC Christmas

Our household continues to be computer-less. Well...I mean, personally computer-less. Which means that I continues to be picture-less for the blog.

And I have been despairing as I want to share lots of great pictures of Matilda, some recent recipes we have tried, and most importantly of the great trip I took with some friends last weekend.

Lucky for me, my friend Summer also blogs, and her version of our trip will be far more entertaining and better written than what I could have done myself. I'm sure I have written about this in one of the past recaps of our two 'everything-holiday-NYC-trips' but every time we go, I can't help to stop to think how fortunate we are to have fate bring us together with new people in our lives.

Summer was the person that hosted me the night before my interview for the General Mills position (almost 8 years ago to the date), and we instantly bonded over our love for the holidays. And it is amazing to me to think that two weddings, four kids, and lots of life that has been shared between friends could start because of such a small shared interest. And every time we are in NYC, I can't help to think back to that night, and that I was so focused on the interview the next day, that I didn't realize I was sitting across from a future lifelong friend.

Anyway, I digress. This trip holds a very special place in my heart because of the spirit of the holiday and spending it with friends you love. Everyone should have this type of tradition, and if the holidays aren't your thing, find your thing and do it with friends.

Check out Summer's recap of NYC 2012 here:

When we went in 2010, I was about 12 weeks pregnant, threw up once in the hotel room because we went like 15 hours without eating.

The 'without eating' problem didn't happen this trip, but I will say being almost 24 weeks pregnant this time around brought very sore feet, and a weird racing heart one day every time I stood still. Nothing a little grapefruit sorbet couldn't cure (thanks for finding Marie!!).

And once our computer gets fixed (i.e. we buy a new one) and we get our old hard-drive tranferred ( and by we I mean Nate), I will share the pictures that Nate was sending me, because he took full advantage of his daddy/daughter weekend. And it melted my heart.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


Uh-oh #1
Has it really been a week since my last post? Shit.

Uh-oh #2
Our computer is literally fried--i.e. when you try to turn it on you get a black screen with 6 sharp beeps. So any photos to be posted of Matilda, or my amazing girls weekend in NYC this past weekend, is not happening.

Uh-oh #3
And the reason for this post---my friend from work whose son attends daycare with Matilda sent me this picture today:

This is not supposed to be happening yet. Nate has not had a chance to go through years of extensive training from my father on how to become "Skeletor" and scare the boys away. I am here to tell you that he is not ready to play that role.

And the technique you see here is frightening. Eyes closed, head slightly lifted up as to play hard to get. Tillie going in with her arm for some extra bodily contact.

Here is the good news. The fellow Tillie decided to 'make nice' with is a fellow Badger--score major points. Is a Packer fan--additional points. Like to play with Tillie and I when I go to visit. Excellent. And he is pretty cute. :)

Now, if only she could pick just one, because word on the street from her daycare room--she is the kisser/hugger, and most recently 'back-rubber' since she sees Nate giving my backrubs a lot. Although, her backrubs are a little aggressive and may be actually look like she is pushing kids down.

We are working on gentle. Clearly, we also need to work on personal space bubbles as well.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Hot and Cold

This year, Thanksgiving started out with unseasonably warm temperatures that left us milking every last ounce of daylight possible out of the day. From a long walk, to park-time--we made the most of it.

This included Tillie 'moving rock' from the front of the house to the bottom step, then to the top step, then to the doorway entry, and then finally putting them back where she found them. Basically, all without any direction.

One by one. Rock by rock. I would love to know what was going on in her head. I fear she is going to be OCD some day.

It was fitting since Grandpa was sitting with her on the front stoop while this was happening, and he is the one that tells the tall tales of 'picking rock' as a young child (i am sure in his mind he was a mere toddler himself when he had to do this)...

 We also spent lots of time in the garage, or the outdoor play pen (i.e. the boat), as Matilda got her own fishing pole and tried it out for the first time.

And there was food. Yummmm. Yum. Food. My Mom said it was untraditional, but I don't see a world where a turkey that looks like this isn't traditional...combined with twice baked potatoes/sweet potatoes, and broccoli and pumpkin pie. 

And then.......

It got cold. Real cold. As in a almost 50 degree drop. Just in time for the highlight of the Thanksgiving weekend: the Twinkle Parade.

But we went. We bundled up. Brought blankets, and were quite honestly pretty happy that we actually made it through dinner since last year found us tending to our screaming child, and me ultimately leaving to go home about 15 minutes into the meal.

The cold got the best of Grandpa Twiggy as he was concerned about Tillie. 

To be fair, she did start crying, but it wasn't until too late that we realized she wasn't crying because she was cold, but rather had dropped a breadstick she was still working on.

What can I say? The girl loves food.

Next year, I am confident Matilda will make it through the entire parade. Me and/or Nate with this unborn child--still TBD. 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Thick as Thieves

As my sister says, Leo and Matilda will one day be 'thick as thieves".
They are only 9 months apart and every time we get together, their age difference seems to get smaller.

We were together last weekend to celebrate Thanksgiving early, and while you can certainly tell that they will indeed be partners in crime in the very near future, there is a 'love in you theory, not in practice' mentality right now as sharing, by either one of them is not a priority.

Leo loves Tillie as long as she doesn't touch his 'tee-tee', fishing pole, or food.
Tillie loves Leo as long as he doesn't touch her food (or try to steal back the tee-tee she just stole from him).

But they had some fun moments together.

Leo teaching Tillie how to run the cash register....

Playing Horsie on Nate....

And again on Nick....

Going shopping with Grandma's baskets...

And just playing together with books and 'cash' in hand.

Can't wait for Christmas to see this Dynamic duo in action!!!

Monday, November 19, 2012

One Night a Week

I can't even begin to explain how excited I am for Nate to be done with school. I know he is quite excited as well, as he is over saying "see you tomorrow" to Tillie two mornings a week, seeing her for only a few hours during the work week, and having to put together homework/papers/group projects during naptime.

And I, too, and also very excited to have my husband back fulltime.

Except for one small thing.

My one-night-a-week guilty pleasure dinner. No cooking. No prep. No muss. No fuss.

We cook a lot and we really enjoy it. And I wouldn't change it for anything. But I do love that one night a week I can have a non-dinner dinner.

Chicken Nuggets and a pan full of kale chips.
Cereal and fruit
Cereal and toast
Tilapia filet with side salad

Or in tonight's case: beef jerky, an apple and a red pepper.

No seriously, that is what I ate for dinner. And it was awesome. Don't judge.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Disco Bath

Since daily life can take on a little monotony  despite our best efforts, I have been seeking, searching and dreaming up small ways to change up the daily routine to bring some new smiles and wonderment.

Enter: Disco Bath Time.

I had read a fellow mom-blog who gave the idea of glow-in-the-dark bubbles.
Well, I couldn't find those--or should I say never randomly came across them.

But i DID find a bunch of glow sticks in the $1.00 spot at Target.

$1.00 later....viola!

A bathtime that was a little different.
A little more fun.
And a lot more glow-y.

Matilda got a kick out of it. I'm guessing the glow sticks will make another appearance some time soon.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Down with Daylights Savings Time

I will spare you my deep-seeded hatred for Daylights Savings time. I have a length rant about why, but it boils down to this:

My kid doesn't care that you switched the clocks.
And this kid has been up at 5:30AM or earlier every day since last Sunday. And I emphasize the earlier, because that has only happened once.

Nate and I lay in bed and offer up promises, prayers and gifts if she just goes back to sleep. But alas. She does not.

And so we get up, meander around like Zombies, and get a lot done before most people consider getting out of their warm and cozy bed.

We paint at 6AM...

Eat paint at 6:15 AM...

Take a long sudsy bath to get the paint off at 6:30 AM

Then we snuggled, read books, at breakfast and were out the door to our first adventure to the MN State Zoo, of which we were among the first to arrive for the 9AM opening.

Tillie loved watching the fish. I cringed to see her kissing the glass and thinking about all of the hands/mouths/god knows what that had preceded her. But this is how we build immunity? Right?? That is why I am telling myself anyway.

On a tip from my friend, Marie, we got the Zoo Membership pass. They open at 9AM (even on Sundays!!) and a big portion of the zoo is indoor. I am guessing we will see more of the zoo in the winter than the summer.

In the meantime, if anyone has any good tips for getting their little monsters (said lovingly of course) to sleep past 5AM, we are open to suggestions....

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Second Time Around

Up until a week ago (where I was hiding my pregnancy and hadn't yet popped), there were literally days that being pregnant didn't cross my mind, where I would have to remind myself as I was swearing trying to stuff myself in my pants because no, I am not just getting fat...oh yeah! I'm pregnant.

Much different than the first time around. Where every day you think about it, plan for it, cherish it, overanalyze it.

The reality is this:
I have no idea what 'fruit' or 'vegetable' my baby is this week.
I have no idea what is going on with the baby--are it's fingers formed? Does it have eyelids yet?
I have no idea where this baby will sleep, and have thought about it for about 5 different fleeting seconds.
I am more worried about this child screwing up Matilda's sleep than I am labor. (*although Matilda is barely qualifying as sleeping these days---4AM wake-ups all week---shudder...*)

But now that I am "out", I am getting all the typical preggo questions, of which half I haven't actually dwelled on, but I will try now to answer.

How have you been feeling? Great. I cannot complain. I am so incredibly fortunate to have had two very easy pregnancies. Didn't throw up at all this time around. Minor nausea on a few mornings.

Have you been tired? No more tired than any other day. The tiredness from baby #1 hasn't really every wore off yet.

Any weird food cravings? No. Early on I craved salt, but perhaps that is because I was training for and di Hood to Coast about 9 weeks pregnant. Yeah--remember this? I did this pregnant. And my body wanted salt as a reward.

Any food aversions? First pregnancy I couldn't even consider Mexican food for about 12 months. This pregnancy I dont' have anythign that specific, but lord help me--somehow I got on some terrible Pinterest board on avocados where my entire newsfeed is ALL AVOCADO, and it Ugh. Note: normally, i adore avocado.

Are you going to find out the gender? Yes.

Do you have a preference? Umm. Obviously we will love any child. But if we have a boy, I hope he loves wearing girls clothes, because we have a lot of them.

Are you crazy? Ok, no one has asked me this. But I ask myself this almost every day. Verdict is still out (which means yes, I am debating with myself, which I suppose answers this question...)

Sunday, November 4, 2012

And Baby Makes 4.....

We are expecting.
We are Pregnant.
We are also Nervous.
In slight denial.
Ok MAJOR denial for me.

When Nate mentioned in June that he really wanted to start trying for a 2nd kid, I wasn't sure he was serious. But he was. And since it took us almost a year to get Matilda, I was game.

About 3 weeks later, I found out I was pregnant.
Hence the denial.
But as the due date creeps closer (March 28th, 2013), 
the nervousness wanes a little bit and the excitement waxes. 
And this week is the big half-way point for the pregnancy and also the week we find out if this little nugget is going to be a boy or a girl.

So that is the news. And I am working, re-working and thinking about a post that tries to capture all of the emotion of adding a second that I was totally unprepared for (like most things in motherhood).

BUT, in the meantime, I thought I would share the favorite moment of this pregnancy so far: telling my family.
Let me set the stage:

We had all just arrived up North for a week long vacation where the cabin is literally a revolving door of who is going fishing, for a boat ride, up to the Corner of Knowledge (i.e. the bar), etc.
So I tell everyone: "Let's get a big family picture before the chaos ensues."

And since we had all just gotten together, they all complied.
Although my Mom tried to get me in the picture, and my sister admitted to thinking I was a little 'johnny on the spot with the picture thing."

Then I told everyone "SAY CHEESE!" and this was the outcome:

One more, but this time I said: "Everyone say Matilda's going to be a BIG SISTER!"
And cue the best photo responses (all within like 10 seconds) one could capture for baby #2's baby books:

The "What did she just say" look...

The "Did we hear that right" look...

The "Grandpa has decided he DID hear right, but Rebecca still isn't sure" look....

Rebecca and Nick are in disbelief look

The full-out excitement look...

And I love the huge grin Nate has on his face the whole time.
The one Finn is emulating even though I am pretty sure he has no idea what is going on.
And how absolutely, Tillie has no clue what bomb has just dropped in her world.

The Hanson Family becomes 4. 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Meow-olloween!

Halloween is quickly becoming one of my favorite holidays after having a kid. 
There are so many fun Halloween activities planned, hosted and sponsored that are very family friendly.
We checked out our neighborhood Halloween festival this year, and Tillie pretty much just ponied up to the play-dough table the entire time and was pretty happy just playing there.

She also got her first balloon animal, was pet numerous times by little girls (apparently they couldn't resist the fuzziness of her costume) and WE found a neighborhood girl passing out babysitting business cards (SCORE!).

Tillie was tuckered out by the end of it.

Halloween night came, and Tillie donned the ridiculously cute costume that my Mom made again and showed off her slender thighs.

She is still struggling with her teeth so she teethed on a package of Twizzlers most of the night.

She did so well carrying her little bucket. My favorite part of watching her trick or treat was that the two houses we made it to in 30 minutes (you think I am kidding, but I am not), she just walked right inside and made herself at home like she was going to stay awhile.

And both of those houses had big bowls of candy that they set down so Matilda could pick one.
Little did they know her favorite game in the world right now is "transfer something (anything really...) from one container to the next, so she went to town"

Meanwhile, I was promising them we wouldn't actually keep that much candy.

Good thing she is cute, because I don't think they cared.
And when we got home, she crouched down and inspected each of the four pieces she had acquired.

I smell a future candy-sorter, just like her mama.

And at the end of the night, overtired and overexcited, she let me know that she really did NOT want to say goodbye to any of the trick or treaters that came to the door.

And she would rather be outside with the pumpkins and fun than inside with me.

Happy Halloween All!!!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Get to Work!

We capitalized on the great weather Saturday and got out side to rake up the millions of leaves that were in our backyard. Matilda is quite fond of being outside, and we are happy to spend any time we can out there before the weather turns ugly.

I was sad to learn that the rake was maybe just a little too heavy for her this year. 
Maybe next year....

As we go through parenthood, I feel like so many fellow parents talk about being able to see through the long days to really enjoy short weeks. And I am trying so hard to capture this past week in my memory, to bolster myself for rough days or nights that may be ahead, because this week might be the single best week of parenthood so far.

Smiles, snuggles, hugs, independent playing, more words, giggles that last for longer than you think is safe.

Tillie is really working on lots more words, and sounds. 
Duck, Ball, Block, Pumpkin (which sounds nothing like pumpkin when she says it).
On Tuesday she put two words together for the first time:
"Bye bye, Dada"

This weekend she was busy cutting a molar--to the point that there was blood all over one of the little containers she was biting on. She woke up early from her nap, snuggled in with me and slept for another hour in my lap.

Typically a major 'doesn't happen' in our house.
But such an amazing moment for me.

Nate gets the most giggles out of Matilda. He created a leaf train which included Matilda as he was schlepping leaves from the year to the garden. I am pretty sure she could have done that all day long.

Other big things in the past few weeks that I want to make sure I capture so when I look back on this some day I will remember that she was indeed once this little, innocent, and precious:

- Starting to have to watch the garbage as Tillie is turning into quite the helper. Picking up anything she perceives as trash and walking it to the garbage.

- Open and closing the doors. Incessantly.

-Saying "Up. Down" and raising her arms up and bringing them down.

- Taking to walking like she has sitting and crawling. A late 'starter' but full on walking with very little 'toddling', falling, etc. Matilda is an observer, cautious in her approach, but sure of herself before she starts. Not a bad thing at all. I hope she is this cautious when it comes to picking guys to date too... :)

- When she is hungry, one item just will not do. She wants BOTH hands to have a piece of cheese, have a cracker, or otherwise.

--Finally, I was in Madison for Recruiting with work. And, when I came home, Matilda gave me the biggest, longest hug she has ever given me. It was one of the best moments of being a working mother to date.