Monday, September 24, 2012

Three Down...

...for nap, that is! I have to admit, my mood for the day is usually very much dependent upon whether or not my children have napped.  The last couple days, Cooper has fallen asleep in the car on the way home from my aunt's house and my mom's house after I picked them up from work. This always spells disaster. He is now too big for me to carry in the house without waking him up, and once he wakes up its over. And then it's nearly impossible to get Sam (as the older brother) to lay down if his little brother isn't doing it. And then there's the fact that I have a two month old...

But today! Today, they have all three currently been asleep for one hour and fifteen minutes. All three of them.  I have gotten so much done in this hour and fifteen minutes, I should win an award!  I really think that the cloudy, stormy weather makes them sleep longer and harder.

So, I hate to say this to all of you, but I'm hoping for rain...every single day.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Big Day.

Well, tomorrow is it. My first day back to work since giving birth to my precious baby girl, miss Nora Jean. Of course the emotions are running high...but I think I'm doing pretty good.  She is currently laying on my lap as I write this post, snuggling me and saying (with her eyes, of course!) "no, Mommy, don't go back to work!". Or at least that's what I'm telling myself...

As I put my boys to bed tonight, my mind wandered to my other "first day backs".  With Sam, I was finishing my Master's Degree when he arrived.  He was born in August, and he attended my graduation in December, all decked out in his hawkeye gear.  I got a teaching job for the following fall semester, so I ended up having an entire year at home with him; the school year started one week after his first birthday.  What a long day that was, my first day away from my first baby boy.  I missed him so much, I didn't know what to do without him.

With Cooper, I was teaching until about two weeks before he arrived, in May.  Therefore, I had the entire summer with him, and returned to work at the end of August, when he was three months old.  I remember feeling guilty that I had spent an entire year at home with Sam, and Cooper only got three months...

...and now it's Nora's turn. Her due date was the first day of school this year. Literally.  So, of course, I had to make other plans.  I ended up teaching online for the first four weeks of the semester, and tomorrow marks week five of the school year, so it is my first day on campus. Luckily, Nora decided to arrive three weeks early, so I actually got seven weeks at home with her, instead of the four that we were expecting.

Now that the day has arrived, I can not imagine how I would have gone back when she was only four weeks old. No way! It will be hard enough to leave her at seven weeks tomorrow! When I have left her (for a few hours at most), I have felt like a piece is missing. I know it's cliche, but it's true. And with our other babies we lived with my parents part of the time and had a lot more help with them, so this time I've felt even more's basically just been me, feeding her and putting her to sleep and taking care of her all the time.  She's attached to me, and that will make it even harder for me to leave tomorrow...

...but, as always, I'm going to look for the good in the situation, and I will end this post on a happy note.  Because, in the end, we have so much to be thankful for as young parents.  Not only do we now have three healthy, wonderful children, but we have a boat load of family right here in our own town, and our babies have never in their lives had to go to someone that we don't know and love very much; in fact, they have only stayed with non-family once!  Crazy!  We know how lucky we are in that respect, we really do.  Matt and I frequently talk about how we don't know what we would do if we lived far away from our parents and family members, because we usually don't go a day without seeing at least one of them and our kids are so lucky to see their grandparents so much. 

So now, as I head to bed tonight, I am choosing to be thankful for the life that my husband and I in which I don't have to work full time, and that I can be home with my babies all summer long.  What a blessing!  And most of all, I am thankful for the fact that when I go to work each morning, my children are in the care of people who love them.  However, that doesn't mean that I won't be shedding a few tears as I drive away tomorrow...

Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Perfect Card

Last weekend we went out with our friends for our 5th anniversary.  We went to a nice dinner, and then met my cousin Elyse and her husband Ryan at the movies. Elyse handed me an envelope and said "Happy anniversary", and then she and Ryan started laughing.  Of course I wanted to know what the laughing was soon as I opened the card, I understood.

Apparently, Elyse had told Ryan to take a stack of their mail and shred it before throwing it away.  Well, our anniversary card was in the stack...

When they realized it, Ryan said they could just go get a new one.  But no. Elyse said it was the perfect card for me and Matt, and it was the only one left at the store.  I have to admit, I would have done the same thing.  There is nothing like that feeling of finding the perfect card for an ocassion...before I had kids, I would walk up and down the card aisle for a ridiculous amount of time before choosing the right one. (Now that I have three kids under 4, people are lucky if they even get a card from me, lol).

And so...they taped it back together. And in the end, it really was perfect. The card was perfect (just like Elyse said it was), and I will never forget how hard all of us laughed there, in the middle of the movie theater, when she gave it to me.  I guess you just never know how happy a crumpled up, ripped piece of paper can make you.

Friday, September 14, 2012

A Fall Tradition (Community Spotlight: Stone's Apple Barn)

Sam and Daddy on the hayrack
Two years ago, we went to Stone's Apple Farm for the first time.  Sam had just turned 2, and Cooper was a baby.  It was a BEAUTIFUL day and we walked up and down the rows of apple trees for had we not found this place before??  We took so many pictures of our boys with us and with their grandparents.  It was such a great day.
So, of course, last year we went again.  And yet another beautiful day...a little hot, but still wonderful. The boys were a little older, and enjoyed running around in the open air. Unfortunately, we weren't aware that we were there on the very LAST day of picking!  There were hardly any apples on the trees at all, which was obviously disappointing.  But, we still had fun..we walked to the VERY end of the orchard searching for apples, and I'll admit we had to break the rules a few times and climb the trees to get any good ones.  Oops!

Nora's first time at the orchard! Riding with Mommy

And this weekend we made our third appearance at Stone's. I can't believe this is our third time already! Although I'd better believe it, since we did have another little person with us this Nora! I don't know how we did it, but we managed to get there on a beautiful day three years in a row.  Perfect weather, and a good time with our family and friends.  We love it so much, we have more people with us each time we go!  This time we had four year we may have to rent the hayrack ride all for ourselves!

Sam sampling the apples

It truly is a great place to take the family, and to enjoy a day in the outdoors.  You can literally spend the entire morning walking (or hayrack riding) through the rows of trees, searching for the best apples and sampling along the way...
However, my favorite part about Stone's is that it has become a new family tradition for us.  I love seeing how our kids have grown every time we go, and I love that they will have happy memories of going there with so many people who love them. And, it's always good to have something to look forward to when the long, lazy days of summer come to an end...

Cooper sword fighting the apple tree...
If you'd like to hear more about Stone's, and even enter a chance to win a great giveaway from their Apple Barn, please read my good friend Marie's post today on the Quad City Moms Blog, entitled
Apples, Apples, Apples!.  She also includes some great apple recipes...I better choose a couple to make, since my kitchen is covered in apples!

*Find Stone's Apple Barn at

Monday, September 10, 2012

Your Life's Dream

What is your life's dream?  Do you have one?  Something you have always wanted, always been passionate about, never stopped hoping for?

Mine is to write a book.  Or books, plural.  I've started a few...never given up on them, but never finished them either...

but today, someone who shares my life's dream of writing a book has done it.  She's actually done it...she's written the last page, she's gotten the book deal, and her dream is happening.

Robin Kramer, founder of Pink Dryer Lint (one of my favorite mommy blogs), has finished her book.  What a great achievement, Robin!

Robin's book, Then I Became A Mother, will be released on October 20th.  Please tell your friends, family, everyone...Robin is such a great writer, and I would love to know that when my day comes--when it's my words going to print--that my friends and family would be shouting it from the rooftops.  So let's pay it forward, and do this for her.

Congratulations Robin, can't wait to read it!

*Find more information at

Sunday, September 9, 2012


Today I took a picture of Nora in her carseat, and she made the most hilarious face when I snapped the photo.  All of the sudden, my mind rushed back to a moment four years ago (almost EXACTLY four years ago, actually)...when my oldest son Sam was just two weeks old, and I snapped a similar, funny photo.  In the same carseat, too!  Oh, memories of my babies....

Nora Jean.  September 11, 2012

Samuel Roark.  September 5, 2008

Saturday, September 8, 2012

The Perfect Day.

Five years ago today, I walked down the aisle to my happily ever after.  As most of you know, I have been in love with Matt Meehan since we were sixteen-year-old high schoolers. We went to class together, went to all the dances together, graduated together...I went off to college, and Matt spent every weekend in his car driving to visit me.  And then one night, as we drove back to Iowa City after Thanksgiving Break, he turned to me in the car (yes, while driving) and asked me to marry him.  Two months later I left for my semester in Spain (longest five months of our lives!), and when I returned, the planning began...
...on September 8, 2007 (Matt picked the date because it was 09-08-07 and therefore it would be easy to remember), I woke up as a single woman for the last time in my life.  As I put on my make up and did my hair that day, surrounded by my closest friends and family, I could not stop smiling at the thought of marrying my best friend. As the ceremony began at 4:00, I hid behind a door in the back of the sanctuary and watched the entire it got closer to my walk down the aisle, I could see the excitement growing on Matt's face.  I will never forget how he looked that day, as I peeked through the glass window and watched him wait for me.
Our ceremony did not go by without a hitch (the sound person played the wrong song twice), but if you ask me it was perfect.  ALL of our friends and family were there...all of the special people in our lives.  Our vows were beautiful, and as we said the words "you are my best friend", both of our voices cracked with tears. I get goosebumps just thinking about that moment.
The rest of that day was spent celebrating with our favorite people.  Food, dancing, fun times.  We literally danced the night away...we were still out there on the dance floor as they began sweeping up the floor and tearing down the decorations.  Matt and I got into our stickers-and-balloon covered car and drove downtown to our secret hotel room (you will understand this if you know our friends...or if you knew them at that point in our lives. if they knew where our room was, there would be NO privacy whatsoever! Gotta love them though!)  Matt carried me across the threshold of the hotel room, and as we collapsed from exhaustion onto the bed, we both realized that we had not eaten dinner.  Matt disappeared for about 20 minutes, and came back with the most delicious grilled cheese sandwich I have ever eaten (along with some candy bars and a pop, all of my favorites!). 

The day was absolutely perfect.  It TRULY was.  The weather was perfect, the wedding was perfect, the reception was perfect, and we shared every minute of it with our favorite people in the whole world.  I would not change a SINGLE thing.

Five years later, and I love him more with every year. He is the husband I always knew he would fact, he's more.  He has given me a beautiful life, one that many girls would truly kill for (well..probably not truly kill for, but you know what I mean!), and the three most wonderful children in the entire world.

Happy anniversary, Sparky.  You are my favorite.