Quality Time

So, for the past three nights W has woken up screaming inconsolably while pointing to our bedroom. The first night at 2 am, the second at midnight, and then last night... 10 pm. Not normal behavior for our Ferberized baby who has been an awesome sleeper. At first I thought he was cold, but we have a new theory now... Could it be that he misses me?

I know, I know, this is totally egocentric. But, seriously, I only saw the kid for about an hour total yesterday. I don't mean to give him too much credit, but is he starting to figure out that spending time with me while sleeping may be the only real time he gets with me during the work week? It's depressing, right? But, I think I'm right.

I chose to go to yoga last night, therefore forfeiting time I could have spent with the little guy. I felt a stab of guilt as Matt held him and I ran out the door. He watched and those big brown eyes fell as he pointed at me. No tantrums, no freak-out, yet the disappointment was written all over his little face. But, I stand behind my decision. I need that time. I really do. It makes me a better mom, person, employee, wife, and friend. Most importantly, I don't like living in my head quite as unbalanced as it gets if I don't give myself this class. Plus, it's only once a week that I really set aside time for myself. I don't have to justify it.

While I wrestle with the guilt in seeing that little face watch me dash out, I also see that it will benefit him more if I'm a better person. If that means I don't sleep well for a couple of nights while he is nestled in my neck, I'm ok with it. It's a small price to pay.


"Super Mom's" Normal Tuesday Morning

The person behind the idea of "Super Mom" is an ass. This is the normal morning of a full time working super mom: (Ok, so maybe it's been my morning)

12:00 am - William wakes up. I think he might be cold and decide he can share our bed. He spends the next five hours flopping around the bed, searching for his pacifier, and sleeping in insane positions. I spend that time watching him.

5:30 am - Wake up with kink in my neck from sleeping around child.

5:45 am - Notice I somehow sprouted a fantastic looking blemish between my brows over night. Awesome.

6:30 am - I go to put on my pants. (The nice pair for the meeting for which I should really be wearing a suit.) HUGE hole in the back pocket area. Freak out ensues. Not sure who to blame... Dry cleaner, Banana Republic, the junk in my trunk?

6:50 am - Put on back-up pants that are a little too short and a little too faded to be acceptable.

7:00 am - Put on intended jacket and find that the security tag from Nordstrom is still strongly attached. Luckily, back-up jacket works just fine.

7:15 am - Leave the house 15 minutes late without breakfast or lunches, because we have no groceries.

7:20 am - Realize cell phone is still charging AT HOME.

For the record, this is not intended to be a "poor me post." Instead, I wanted to document what a real morning is like when you're barely keeping your head above water.

To all the moms out there who put too much pressure on themselves to live up to the "Super Mom" ideal: DON'T. IT'S NOT WORTH IT!

It's hypocritical for me to say this, because I fall into this trap every minute of every day. But, I figure the more of us who are honest about what we're really going through, the easier it is to laugh at ourselves (after crying alone in the bathroom). Right?



Dear Time,

Where have you gone? We never seem to find enough of you and it's exhausting the way we chase after you... only to constantly face disappointment. You're such a tease.

Come on. We're really, really tired. And have a dirty house. And piles of laundry. And a treadmill collecting dust. And sweaters to pull out of storage. And a doggie that needs a grooming. And we're out of his flea medication. And he needs to go to the vet. And the stack of mail is a joke. And there are thank you notes to be written. And a printer that needs fixing. And a garage to organize. And mums should be planted. And we need to figure out what W will be for Halloween. And flu shots to get. And dentist appointments to stop rescheduling. And our car needs a bath. And some new oil. And we should really do something about the bathroom tile. And pay those bills. And unload the dishwasher. And visit my grandparents. And figure out what's for dinner. And we might be out of milk or diapers or wipes or all of the above.

We could get this all done, but we just can't seem to find you.

The Hannemaniacs



My most recent post on Chicago Moms Blog can be found here.

What if we all found a happy medium between being Kanye West and our fear of speaking our mind?

Check it out...


This Boy Loves His O's

After we put W down tonight, Matt and I found ourselves watching old videos of the boy. Old as in taken months ago. But, it felt like years ago and yesterday all at the same time.

Videos of a giggling six month old trying to gnaw on my face brought me back to that moment. I remember exactly how holding him felt in his soft, velvety sleeper. I remember watching him roll around on a blanket. Eating his first cracker. Screeching. All of these moments we luckily captured on video... And then we came across this video from June, just about four months ago. He was obsessed with cheerios at the time. He still loves him some o's, but his obsession has lessened.

Granted, this video is not current, but I will say it's grounds for W to be the next Cheerios spokesbaby. (I have a special prize for anyone who guesses the number of Cheerios shoved in W's mouth.)


Can I Get a Hell Yeah?!?!

I really don't mean to brag, but I have had a BIG night. I'm just so proud of myself. I've been waiting for a night like this for ages and I've finally accomplished something so extraordinary.

What happened? You must be wondering, thinking this has to be something major, right? Well, here it is.... I worked out AND cleaned the bathroom. And if that wasn't enough. I also prepared tomorrow's crock pot and now I'm making sandwiches for both of us for tomorrow.

I know, I know, it's too much. Again, don't mean to brag about how awesome I am, just wanted to mark this day in history.


Reasons I Love Fall

Pumpkins. Apple Cider. Big pots of soup on Sundays. Mums. Sweaters and light scarves. The sound of fallen leaves crunching under stroller wheels. College football. Oktoberfest beers. Cranberry orange scones. Crisp morning air. Tights and boots. Crock pots. Tailgates. Corduroy. Roasted vegetables. Zucchini bread. The color brown. Leaves burning. BBQ in the cool evening. Spiced lattes in warm coffee shops. Red wine in big glasses. An extra layer. Little ghosts. Candles. New books. Taking advantage of every last minute outside.

Fall is almost here. I'm happy.


Four Years of Hannemaniac Bliss

This past week was the anniversary of our 4th wedding anniversary. WOW, right? So, we planned to celebrate on Saturday. I'd like to take us on a little history tour of how we have celebrated this date in the past four years.

1st Anniversary: Trip to Italy for 10 days. Rome, Florence, and some time with my grandparents.

2nd Anniversary: Returned to The Belvedere, where we were married, and enjoyed the finest meal you can have in Saugatuck, Michigan.

3rd Anniversary: First dinner out since the birth of William, who was three weeks old. We enjoyed sushi, it was kind of a big deal.

4th Anniversary: Went to dinner at an Indian restaurant in Evanston and strolled around for a while. Had plans to see a movie afterward, but didn't feel like it. Stopped at a wine bar instead, but I was too cold to sit outside, so we bought some wine to drink at home. Home by 9:15. By 9:30, we fell asleep on the couch as we were discussing what we should do with the rest of the night. I'm pretty sure Dateline was on tv, not sure who fell asleep first. (No photo available.)

I don't mean for this to be a cautionary tale of romance dying at the 4th year. Instead, after giving this careful thought, I had a realization.... The two of us are constantly running around. Every weekend is overbooked and our nights to relax together are few and far between. So, of course we celebrated this way! This is the first time either of us have gotten that kind of sleep in ages.
Happy Anniversary to us! The Hannemaniac turn FOUR!


New Bathroom?!?!

Guess who is getting new bathroom tiles? WE ARE!!!

Guess who was planning on getting new bathroom tiles and therefore worked it into the financial and time budget? (Here that silence??? Now crickets...)

When we bought our little old ranch we made a LONG list of to-do's and I have to proudly say we've been checking them off the list one by one. It's taken a lot of our spending money, but it's made an incredible difference, so I'm cool with it.

Re-tiling the bathroom was maybe #15 on the list. Yes, it needed to be done. No, it was not an emergency. New kitchen was much higher on the list, as was sealing our dirt crawlspace and the roof on the garage that needs to be replaced... As usual our poor little priority list continues to get its ass kicked by our house. Everything seems to get bumped by some issue that pops up and surprises us. The latest: Our bathroom.

Our toilet sprung a leak. We noticed the grout between the tiles was a little darker, but thought that maybe the toilet was sweating due to the heat this summer. Then the tiles around the toilet seemed to raise and buckle. We started to realize there was a problem, but agreed to deal with it "later." Well, "later" arrived the morning that Matt stepped on a cracked tile and water came up through the crack. Awesome. The plumber was called.

Turns out our toilet seal was leaking. Not even sure what that means in technical terms, but this is what it means to us: Sub-floor and tile have to be ripped out and replaced. Not something we were planning on. Not something we can afford to pay someone else to do. So, guess how Matt is spending his weekend??? We've learned that buying an old house goes along with dealing with the unexpected and feeling like you're bleeding money, yet feeling cozy and warm when you look around and know your home is your own and you've worked to make it the place you want to be... Whether you know what you're doing or not.


The Diaper Change Struggle

Dear New Moms With Children Younger Than Mine,

You may still be at the point when changing a diaper is relatively easy. You lay the kid down, remove a hopefully not too messy diaper and then replace with fresh diaper. Simple enough these days, right? Enjoy this time, mom. Take advantage of that little smiling face staring at you. If you have a child like mine your days are numbered.

We frantically try to change William's diaper as fast as possible as he screams from the torture, rolls over, sits and then stands up, kicks his feet, and completely loses his mind. It's incredibly stressful. Who knew 23 pounds of kid could put up such a good fight?

So, consider this your warning, mom. Be prepared for looks like this when the fight is over:

This is yet another thing that no one warns you about when you're a first-time mom. Consider yourself warned.


Covered in Poop


Meal Planning: Yes, I Can! (hopefully)

Meal planning. Not quite my scene as it means I have to do a couple of things I really don't like to do:
1. Grocery shopping
2. Following directions/sticking to a plan
3. Making lists

However, it's time. Working full time and trying to push back William's bed time past 7:00 means we've been eating dinner at 8:30. Things need to change. Not to mention Gala season is just about to start, which means the hours I spend at home will become precious.

Anyway, friends of mine without kids are even meal planning these days. It's all the rage, so I'm joining the club. It doesn't hurt that my new favorite blog encourages crock pot use, which is speaking to me these days.

So, I made a list today and went shopping. Here it is:

Monday: Salsa Chicken and Black Bean Soup (from 365 Days of Slow Cooking) and salad
Tuesday: Leftovers (my bikram yoga night, so I usually grab a quick bite with Britt afterward)
Wednesday: Baked chicken and spaghetti squash
Thursday: Crock Pot Chicken and Brown Rice Casserole (from 365 Days of Slow Cooking) and broccoli

Why am I putting this up here???? Because I can't wait to see what I actually make and I know Kari is dying to see how this turns out for me. Let's see if I can stick to it.


Reflection of Myself

I really find it fascinating when people who choose not to have children claim that they aren't interested in having kids because they think it's selfish and narcissistic to want to bring a miniature version of yourself into the world. Blah, blah, blah.

As a parent, people are always looking at your child, trying to determine which parent or aunt or uncle he resembles. Then you start to do the same thing, comparing his photos to your own. And then you find one. You find the photo that you can actually see yourself in. Wow, we do look alike. I get it now. But, that photo could be one similar to this:

This is the first photo of William that I really think looks like me. I don't think it's because it captures our shared appreciation for food or because Matt may have to hold down my plate every now and then too. It's just something in his eyes. They're my eyes. I've seen that expression. Hell, I invented that expression!

So, to those people who think that others just want to see a reflection of themselves in their children: Is this the kind of reflection you mean?


Be Glee-ful!

Did you watch Glee??? Well, I would hope so, because it's pretty fantastic. If you have the opportunity to watch the pilot as well, you really should. It's great.

Glee was created by a guy I knew in high school and is still very close to my BFF (see, I'm back in high school!). So, I've known this show was coming for a while now and have been excited to see it since it's also loosely based on my high school. Our Glee Club was called Mixed Company and, yes, the former coach is now doing time for some inappropriate action with a student. I was not a member of said club. (Seriously, have you heard me sing?) But, I was a member of Orchesis, our dance troupe, and an active participant in the Variety Show (don't judge) and wrote for the newspaper. So, I spent plenty of time with these kids. I get it.

As usual, I was a mixed bag. I was also a cheerleader during my freshman and senior years. (I'm not kidding, I was in fact a cheerleader.) And I'd like to set the record straight: we did not always wear our uniforms like they do in the show, but we did have to wear them to school when there was a home game. Ugh. I know. Those could either be oddly empowering or insanely frightening days depending on where your head was as a body image obsessed teen.

Anyway, if you haven't watched Glee, you should! The guy who wrote it is pretty damn funny and ridiculously smart and deserves a good audience. So, give this show a shot.


A Year of Slow Cooking? Yes, Please!

I might just be in love. Well, I definitely have a girl crush on this lady Stephanie whose blog is A Year of Slow Cooking. (I haven't met her in person and don't technically know her, but I love her blog and think she's neat-o.) Honestly, I haven't tried any recipes and haven't dug too deep, but so far it's like culinary, brain candy. Love it!

And, I have to admit, I'm not a huge crock pot user. I own two of them of varying sizes, but I can count the times I've used them on one hand. This will all change now that I'm a mom and fall is around the corner and I have a new site to play with. Seriously, I love the way she writes and has this site laid out. Can you feel my enthusiasm?!?!

You better believe I'll be dusting off the old slow cooker this week... Or at least by the weekend, since we have a lot going on this week and I'm not sure that I'll have time to go to the grocery store.

He's Not Walking - And I'm Not Worried

William is not walking yet. He just turned a year old and I know this is not a big deal. Really, I'm not worried. I'm not. But, people seem to think I am. Every time someone asks if he's walking and I answer no, they tell me not to worry. This baffles me, as I don't believe I've ever mentioned being concerned. Maybe I'm cringing or wringing my hands or taking on a nervous laugh. Is that it? Am I giving people non-verbal cues that say "This lady is worried her son will never walk"???

Listen, I know this kid is going to walk soon, but what I also know is the sooner he is walking, the bigger the falls, bumps, bruises, gashes, blood. All things I'm not a big fan of, especially the gashes. Wounds give me chills. The blood, open flesh, and then the whole healing experience when it's white then yellow then scabbing. (I just about threw up.) Call it selfish, but I don't know if I'm ready to deal with all of that. So, if he wants to take his sweet time getting there, I'm all for it.

William is talking up a storm, climbing like a monkey, crawling with incredible speed, can stand up, sit down, etc. etc. But, no, the kid cannot walk, and I am not worried. Should I be?


First Birthday Party Rules

William's first birthday party was yesterday. Now that I've had some time to think about it, I'd like to share some rules to help guide new moms in the planning of the first birthday party.

1. Get help!

If friends offer to come early to lend a hand, take them up on it. Angie, Kari, and Anthony were the only reason my vision became a reality, even if I couldn't explain it to them. Once the party starts, have someone who will be responsible for the birthday kid and give the necessary bath and bottle if that time comes and the party is still going on. Thanks, Grandma H!

2. Live entertainment is always a win (if your budget allows).

We weren't sure about this one and pulled the trigger about 72 hours before the party. Best decision ever. The One Man Jamaican Band helped set the mood and was a great ice breaker when the two hosts are running around like Hannemaniacs. Yeah, Mon!

3. Pop is not just a mixer anymore.

Unfortunately, we were more concerned about making sure the beer was cold than we were about pop and juice boxes. That made plenty of people very happy, but others quite thirsty.

4. Don't underestimate the number of kids you know.

Although I counted them many times and wrote down all the names, I still was shocked to see them all running around in my yard. On that note, all of these kids needed toys, which we did not have nearly enough of and underestimated how interested 3 year old are in toys for a 1 year old. If you're lucky you'll have awesome neighbors (like we do) who will come to the rescue with kid-sized tables and chairs, sidewalk chalk, and a bubble machine. (And while we're talking about kids, don't forget to give out the goody bags. I MIGHT have forgotten that step.)

5. The party needs to move along quickly.

Kid parties do not have the longevity of normal parties, so plan for things to move rather quickly. When everyone arrived we had a very heavy spread of appetizers and our plan was to serve grilled burgers and chicken two hours later, followed by cake. We lost some guests before the burgers made it off the grill. Guests leaving before the meal is always sad. One friend mentioned that a good idea for kids parties might be to include a schedule with a rough menu. Half of the people gorged on the appetizers and were too full for burgers, the others who knew the plan took it easy on the snacks and were starving once we brought out dinner.

6. Don't open the gifts during the party.

I read this somewhere and it's a great idea, so I followed it. First off, I HATE opening gifts in front of people and - let's face it - I would be the one opening the gifts while William was tearing apart tissue paper or stacking all of his gift in one box. During the party all of the gifts were kept on a table. We opened a few this morning and then William starting ripping cards and was on overlaod, so we stopped. The rest were opened, organized, and recorded during nap time.

7. Cater, order pizza, or count on pre-made food items.

Grilling burgers and chicken kept Matt really busy and not able to control timing as well as we would have liked to. Like I've said, get help, which we did for the sides from Grandma B and Aunt Enza.

8. Make sure the camera is ready for the party.

I can't tell you how many times I heard this one. Just turning on the camera and seeing that there is battery life does not ensure you have a camera with a charged battery. Just charge it. Lesson learned.

9. Let your kid taste cake before the birthday.

The photo should explain this one. He hated it.

10. Take a photo of your little family before the party begins.

We didn't get a good one and had we just done it when everyone was well-rested and looking nice, we'd have one today. Everything was downhill once he tasted the cake. No chance of him smiling for a picture.

In the end, you'll have a successful party no matter what you do. But, if you read the post that I wrote on Chicago Moms Blog about planning the first birthday party, you know that this was not just a party for William. It was a party for us to celebrate our first year as a family in our home, our awesome friends and family who helped us get here, and life in general. And, if I do say so myself, I think we did a pretty good job.


This Morning's Breakfast

I made oatmeal for the males this morning and totally underestimated how much it would take to feed one toddler and one man.

Me: "You'll probably want some toast or something with your oatmeal. There isn't much."
Matt: "We don't have any bread."
Me: "Well, then I don't know.... Maybe have some cereal afterward."

Minutes pass.

Matt: "I wonder how Peanut Butter Puffins would be in oatmeal."
Me: "Seriously? I don't think you should."
Matt: "Oh, I am and I'm going to crush them."
Me: "Okay....."
Matt: "Atleast I'm not putting hot sauce on it."

Well played.


If the Shoe Fits, Then be a Mom Blogger?

My new title: Mom Blogger. That's what I've become, right? Had you told me this years ago, I never would have believed it. I'm an unlikely candidate on paper, but here I am... There is actually space for clueless new moms (like myself) who have no problem being way too honest and sharing everything they learn.

You can see my first post on William's first birthday here. Hopefully there will be one every couple of weeks.


Gee, Thanks Playskool.

"Yes! I've been waiting to get this toy! I can't wait to play with it!
This is awesome! The best birthday ever!"

William received a cool new toy called a Busy Ball Popper (BBP) for his birthday. Note from these pictures how excited he was to open this, almost as if it's something he has always wanted and finally received. (I expect a reaction like this when he gets a bike.)

So, you can imagine our enthusiasm to pull the thing out of the box and start playing. Yeah, new toy! When it came out of the box we realized that it needed a size of battery that we didn't have on hand, so we had to manually use the toy by dropping the balls in the hole and then turning it over and dumping it out. Obviously not what Playskool intended, but William LOVED it!

Yesterday Grandma B, the giver of this exciting new toy, inserted the innocent batteries into this sweet and fun toy. When we got home from work she warned us that William no longer likes the BBP and it made him cry. So, while William finished dinner we went into the other room where he could still hear and see us. We turned on the toy and he completely flipped out. Screamed hysterically. Heart pounding, hands shaking freak out. Why? Because this fun, colorful toy with smiley faces suddenly turns into a loud, crazy disco. I was overwhelmed and this is a toy intended for kids 9+ months. Seriously, Playskool, what are you thinking?

This morning William kept an eye on the BBP, which had been demoted to the fireplace. I carried him close to it and he hung onto me for dear life. I don't want him to be that afraid of anything, so I poured out all the balls to remind him what a fun toy it was at the beginning. After a bit, he warmed up and started to have a good time, yelling "Woo" everytime he dropped a ball into the slot. I thought for a moment that we should consider keeping the crazy BBP and ease him into it. Unfortunately I forgot to warn Grandma H who came today to play with William. She turned on the BBP when I happened to be outside and asked if I heard him shriek. I came in to find a whimpering and shaking William.

Final Score: Busy Ball Popper - 3, William - 0

I think it's time for the BBP to return home where some other sucker will buy it and terrorize their children. Sometimes batteries really aren't necessary.