Thankful for my Babies on a Bench

Sometimes I look at these two and am so thankful.

Thankful that they love each other so much.

Thankful that they enjoy playing together so much.

Thankful that C is thriving, even when some days are difficult.

Thankful that they are growing, growing, growing.

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Pick ‘n Save Recipes: Tailgating with Beer Cheese Dip #MyPicknSave #CollectiveBias #shop

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CollectiveBias

Football season is here #MyPicknSave #CollectiveBias #shop

I know we’re not the only ones who eagerly await the return of football season each year! C has been talking about football for months, Hubster has been plotting his fantasy football picks and I’ve been looking longingly at my Green Bay Packers jersey. Well, wait no more – football season and tailgating have returned! I like to go to Pick ‘n Save, a Wisconsin grocery, to stock up on ingredients for our favorite tailgating recipe, Beer Cheese Dip. It’s a fan favorite and it’s no wonder why. I mean, beer? Cheese? Sounds like Wisconsin perfection.

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Hello, Sister.

Is there anything better than witnessing the love your children have for one another? The sibling bond that these two share is so amazing to me. No matter how much they fight (and that is a lot!), their friendship grows every day.

Siblings greeting each other at door #toddlers

(Kinda) Wordless Wednesday: Sister, I need a hug.

If only these two played so well together all the time…

Toddler siblings hugging #LittleMamaJama

Green Bay Packers Shareholder Meeting and 5k

At the Packers Shareholder Meeting

A few years ago when the Green Bay Packers opened up sale of their stock, Hubster had to invest. Being a Packers shareholder was always a dream of his and even though we didn’t have much, we scraped together some money and purchased a share. That share is framed and hangs proudly in our apartment. ;)

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(Kinda) Wordless Wednesday: I Wanna Hold Your Hand

Hubster and I snuck away for a few days of vacation without the kids. Baby Jo stayed with my in-laws, while C spent time with my parents. They missed each other a lot and it was so sweet to see their reunion tonight. C was jumping up and down, squealing with excitement. He kept kissing and hugging his baby sister and on the ride home, this happened.

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Sleepy Boy

Sometimes you need to run around with your cousins until past your bedtime. Sometimes you need to fall asleep immediately on the car ride home; and sometimes you need to sleep sideways in mommy and daddy’s bed until 9:30am.

C had a great weekend. ;)

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(Kinda) Wordless Wednesday: Best Friends in the Hall

Baby Jo wanted to walk to the car on her own. C proudly took her hand and they walked down the hall together. I hung back a little and simply admired the sweetness of their friendship.

Siblings holding hands in the hallway

Happy Father’s Day, Hubster!


A wrestler.

A comedian.

A comforter.

Happy Father’s Day, Hubster. We love you.

Happy Father's Day, Hubster 2014

(Kinda) Wordless Wednesday: C and Baby Jo’s Photo Shoot

We recently had a photo shoot for C’s 3-year and Baby Jo’s 1-year pictures. A big thank you Kymberly Carlson Photography for her patience with my wild, uncooperative children. :)

Baby Jo with 1-year smash cake

I wanted her to have a monkey smash cake, reminiscent of C’s!

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Brother, the Comforter

“Sister, you’re my best friend, best friend, best friend.”

There’s never any doubt that C absolutely adores his little sister. He lights up when she enters the room, asks her to play cars with him and crawls around the apartment with her. He can make her laugh harder than anyone else.

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Letting Go of Toxic Relationships

I have a confession to make. There’s an entire side of my family that I don’t really speak with. Naturally, there’s the pleasantries and small talk at funerals and the occasional wedding; but there’s not a relationship there except one formed by blood. It was not my choice, nor was it really my parents’ choice. There are many levels of complexities that I can’t even begin to understand. The bottom line is that the relationship was fractured for numerous reasons, for many, many years.

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(Kinda) Wordless Wednesday: We Ate at a Restaurant!

Daddy and Baby Jo at restaurant

What’s the big deal, you say? It’s just a restaurant, you say?

This is the first time we have ever taken the kids to a restaurant! Of course, we’ve dined at fast casual establishments like your Chipotle or your Noodles & Company. But a real restaurant? Nope. First time.

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Family of Four

Family of Four #LittleMamaJama

I unwrapped Baby Jo’s new toothbrush and slid it into the last open space in our toothbrush holder. There it was, a full toothbrush holder. Four toothbrushes. Something so simple, but it brought tears to my eyes. We have a family of four.

The month before I got pregnant with C, I was told that I had PCOS and it would be difficult for me to conceive children. Having children was not in my five-year plan at the time, but I was devastated. I had always pictured a family. That picture involved four children at the time – two boys and two girls, naturally. ;)

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(Kinda) Wordless Wednesday: Sledding with Papa

My parents recently moved just ten minutes away from us (from two hours away!) and the kids and I are so happy they did. One of the things that I’ve learned in the past six months is that it really does take a village to raise a child with special needs. C had a great time sledding with his papa during a recent snowfall!

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The Novotnys Meet Santa!

C really didn’t care about Santa Claus last year, but this year he’s been walking around saying, “Santa, Santa, ho ho ho!” It’s pretty cute. When Hubster mentioned that Santa would be on campus this weekend, I knew we had to make a trip to meet him!

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Do You Think There’s a Resemblance?

My parents have been telling me for a while that looking at Baby Jo is like looking at me all over again. I finally got a chance to dig through my old baby pictures. I found some good ones and put together a collage. What do you think – do we look alike? :)

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Flashback Friday: Fall Pictures

Fall is my favorite time of the year. I’m lucky to live in the midwest, where we get to enjoy the beauty of leaves changing colors and cooler weather. Football season, hot cocoa, pumpkin farms, jogging with leaves falling around me. I love it.

Here are some of my favorite pictures of our last few fall seasons…

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(Kinda) Wordless Wednesday: This and That

I feel like it’s been a while since I did a (Kinda) Wordless Wednesday post, so I decided to do it up big today with three pictures. ;)

walking to parking lot

I love watching these three together. We were headed to our car to run some errands and I lagged behind to capture this moment. My loves.

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Our Apartment is Starting to Feel Like a Home

It’s not like we’ve lived here for over a year or anything…

Oops! Well, I had been lusting over those amazing canvas prints that are always advertised all over the internet. Obviously I wasn’t going to let anyone take my picture while I was ginormously pregnant, so we waited to decorate with those until after Baby Jo was born and we had professional pictures done. I’ve been reserving wall space just for these beauties. For a year.

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So There Was This Guy and This Girl, and They Fell in Love…

Do you ever look through your old pictures on Facebook? I was doing that tonight and came across some pictures of Hubster and me that made me feel all kinds of sentimental. So I thought I’d share some of them with you and tell you how we met, because in the past three years I don’t think I’ve ever done that!

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C and Mama’s Day Out

Our little C-man has been having so many doctors appointments and hospital visits this month that I wanted to give him some special fun time. My plan was to take him to the train museum, but I was a little concerned that he wouldn’t be into it.

Me: “C, you need to get dressed so that we can have special fun time at the train museum today!”
C: “No. I play with cars.”

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My Surprise Birthday Weekend!

So, uh, remember that time at the end of June when I had a birthday? I forgot to write about the awesome weekend that Hubster and I had!


Do you ever get into a rut, where you’re so focused on the responsibilities in life that you don’t take the time to have some fun? After Baby Jo arrived in late April and I was trying to figure out my new role as a mother of two, I definitely got into that rut. Maybe that rut even started when I was so sick while pregnant with her. I’m not sure, but I knew that Hubster and I weren’t being silly and laughing with each other as much as we used to. I told him that I wanted to spend a weekend with him over my birthday so that we could just focus on being us – not mother, father, employee, cleaner of all the messes…just us.

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Baby Jo and Her Namesake

Gma Jo and Baby Jo

Here’s my Grandma Jo rocking my Baby Jo to sleep. Love them so much. :)

C’s Running Off All Those New Calories

I can’t even express how awesome it is to see my boy’s personality returning. He was still my sweet, funny C, but he had lost that wide-eyed, adventurous fierceness that he’s had since birth. Well, my little boy is regaining that part of himself. He’s been running through the hallways so much that I’m sure all of the nursing staff knows who he is. :)

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#Mamavation Monday: Family Walks on the Trail!


Baby Jo in the Ergo, ready to go out!

Baby Jo in the Ergo, ready to go out!

The weather is gorgeous and I’m healing well from my c-section, so we’ve finally been able to go out on the beautiful trails around campus for some family walks! I’ve been very eager to get back out there. The trails are my favorite feature about where we live. Last August, I had started running on them regularly. Soon I’ll be able to start training for a 5k again on these trails!

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#Mamavation Monday: First Family Outing

I was extremely blessed to have Hubster home with C, Baby Jo and me for three weeks. We did our best not to get cabin fever by heading out on little errands; but on Saturday we went on our first major family outing.

The sun was out, a cool breeze was in the air, and I was feeling like I could be on my feet for a few hours. We headed to the railroad museum for the first time, and we had a fantastic time!

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A Family Visit and Some Cute Pictures

C and Baby Jo changing table

C loves his sister so much that he has to scale the side of the changing table to give her kisses.

C twin bed

Since we’ve been having so many issues getting C to sleep in his bed all night long, we decided to have one of the student beds brought in from our storage room. He is so excited about his “big boy bed,” and he slept in it all night by himself on his first night with it! At least if he needs us, Hubster or I can now fit beside him while he falls back asleep.

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#Mamavation Monday: One Week Postpartum!

I’m baaaack! ;) I haven’t posted a Mamavation Monday update in a few weeks, because there wasn’t much to report. I was very pregnant, very uncomfortable, and very sedentary. Baby Jo surprised us last Sunday when she decided to arrive early!

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Baby Jo’s First Few Days

The past few days in the hospital since Baby Jo’s birth have been filled with visitors, family, soaking in our new arrival, and getting as much sleep as possible before we go home and don’t have access to the nursery. ;) Here are the highlights of Baby Jo’s first few days in our lives.

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Preventing PPD The Second Time Around: Building a Routine

I’m 25 weeks along in pregnancy number two and I’m starting to get a little nervous about history repeating itself.

I’m better prepared this time.  I will be setting up an appointment with my psychiatrist to start medication before delivering Baby Deuce, to prevent the major hormonal drop that I experienced last time.  I have established a therapist.  I know what to expect.

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I Was Less Excited Than Everyone Else

Today, I’m linking up with Shell from Things I Can’t Say for Pour Your Heart Out Wednesday.

One week ago, I had an appointment at my OBGYN for a typical pregnancy checkup.  If the ultrasound technician was available, they would also check for the baby’s gender since Baby Deuce’s legs were crossed during the 20-week ultrasound.  Going into the appointment, I didn’t know if the technician would be available and, even if she was, if Baby Deuce would cooperate.

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Hyperemesis – Surviving it Twice is as Much as I Can Handle

I’ve been thinking a lot about hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), pregnancy and the size of our family over the past few months.  With all of the media attention surrounding Kate Middleton’s pregnancy announcement and struggle with HG, it’s been on my mind almost non-stop.

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Fun Times at the Holiday Parade

We took C to his first holiday parade this year!  It was scheduled for two hours and we had to leave after one because he got too antsy.  He did great for that hour, though, and we had a fantastic time.

All bundled up and ready to go. This puffy coat cracks me up!

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A Desire to be Settled

Ever since we moved in July, all that I’ve wanted was to feel “settled” here.  I want to make this place our home.  We know that we’ll be in our apartment for 3-4 years, and perhaps in this city more permanently after that.

When Hubster and I got married, we knew we’d be moving away after he graduated college.  After we moved and he started graduate school, we knew that we would only be there for two years.  We’ve never settled anywhere as a married couple.

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Wedding Weekend!

Despite a near-tantrum seconds before walking down the aisle, everything went off without a hitch!  C and his sweet cousins did a wonderful job walking down the aisle at their uncle’s wedding.  About halfway down the aisle, C turned around as if he was going to run back out of the church; but thankfully the girls directed him back to the front and they walked the rest of the way.  At the end of the aisle, C started heading toward the bridesmaids.  Everyone chuckled and Uncle T (the groom) scooped him up and handed him over to Nana.  It was pretty adorable!

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Blessed By Family

So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

-Isaiah 41:10 NIV

My strength is being tested.  Withdrawal has me reeling.

I am so thankful for family.  I’m so thankful that we no longer live six hours away.

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C Goes Camping with Hubster!

It’s a longstanding tradition that Hubster’s extended family spends a week on vacation at a camping resort.  I went with him a couple of times, but his work schedule has kept him from going the past few years.  He was excited to find out that his schedule here doesn’t get crazy until next week, so he was free to take a vacation day and spend a long weekend there.

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We Love Our Home State!

Hubster and I are absolutely loving being back in our home state.  We’ve been able to catch up with many family members and friends.  We joke that in one month of living here, we’ve had more visitors than in the two years that we lived in a neighboring state!

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Visiting Grandma and Grandpa

Yesterday, we had the opportunity to visit my grandparents before we move again.  It was great seeing them, and we managed to grab C for a quick picture.  It wasn’t easy! I can’t believe this is the first time since C was born that we got a picture together.  Love them!

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On Living Far Away

Sometimes it makes me sad that we live far away from our family and close friends.  I wish that we could just jump in the car and attend every birthday party, life event, holiday or random get-together.  We thought a six-hour drive was difficult when we moved here…but then we had C, and it is exponentially more difficult.  There is so much stuff to pack and plan for, and the drive is so much longer with him.  He hates being confined to his carseat, forcing us to make numerous stops and endure his loud protests.  PPD and 6-7+ hours in a car with an angry baby do NOT mix.

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C Loved Seeing His Cousins!

C was able to spend time with his cousins, ages 2 and 4, last week while we were visiting family.  I’m excited that C has cousins so close in age!  I think they’re going to have so much fun together growing up. :)

You should check out my sister-in-law’s blog, On The Night You Were Born.  She’s talented, and her writing is so real.  Love her!

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I’m Coming Down With Baby Fever…

Hubster and I are noticing how big our little baby is getting.  How do they grow so much, so quickly in their first year?!  He used to be only eight pounds, 22.75 inches long, and completely dependent on us.  He was so easy to hold and cuddle, and so very tiny.

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Family Spoiled My Child!

We had the opportunity to spend two weeks with our families over the holidays…and time has revealed it was both a good and a bad thing.  It was good to see everyone and C had fun playing with his cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents.  The bad part of the trip has reared its nasty head in this past week that we’ve been at home.

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2012: The Year of Me

Okay, that title sounds rather conceited; but I’ve realized something needs to change after I’ve put everyone and everything before myself for so long.  There are a few things that I want to focus on this year that have been neglected.

I will focus on maintaining healthy habits.  While everyone in the world resolves to lose weight and/or get fit in the New Year, this resolution is more about overall health.  In 2011, I did not recognize my PPD symptoms because I didn’t make time for myself.  If I had delegated any of my time to my own needs, perhaps I would have noticed the signs before my PPD had become so severe.  In 2012, I will budget daily time for myself – whether that be in the form of exercise, relaxation or a nap (or a little of each!).

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Holiday Prep

Oh, the days when we could hop in the car, drive for an hour and arrive at our family’s holiday celebration.  Those were the days.  Life was so simple.  The holidays were so easy.  This will be the second year that we’re taking a 5-7 hour road trip (depending on traffic, weather and baby) to spend two weeks living out of a suitcase, splitting time between families and friends.  We’re holiday nomads.

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You know how every blogger writes the obligatory Thanksgiving post about what they’re thankful for that year?  I’ve decided to save us all some time (who has extra time on a holiday, anyway?) and do mine in pictures.  Happy Thanksgiving! :)

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Wordless Wednesday – Thanksgiving

Celebrating Thanksgiving with family last weekend. Happy Thanksgiving!

We’re Tradition-Less

At every MOPS meeting, they ask a question that is later tallied and displayed in the newsletter.  The latest question was, “What is your favorite Christmas tradition?”  It hit me: we don’t have any.

How sad is that?!  We spend every holiday season running around visiting family and friends.  We’ve never spent a Christmas at home.  We don’t have any of our own traditions.  I’m hoping that next year, we’ll live close enough to family that we’ll be fortunate enough to celebrate Christmas eve and morning at home as a family of three.  I want C to grow up with holidays rich in family traditions.

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Trust Issues

A friend of mine asked on Facebook yesterday how you know when an acquaintance becomes a friend, or when a friend becomes a best friend.  It sparked a conversation about how it becomes more difficult for some – and easier for others – to make new friends as we get older.  This topic really got me thinking.

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One of Life’s Greatest Joys

Watching my husband and son play together warms my soul.  Hubster can make C laugh like no one else can.  When C was super little and new to our family, I thought he looked so much like Hubster that once in a while I slipped and called him by Hubster’s name.  I’m completely in love with these two men in my life.  Seeing them together is one of my greatest joys.

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Happy Halloween!

Fall Festival Fun!

We had an AWESOME Sunday!  C went on his first hayride, discovered his first pumpkin, sat on a tractor…and we got some uber cute pictures. :)

C on a Tractor!

C and Hubster Hang Out on a Haystack

Ooo, a Pumpkin!

He Wanted Some Alone Time ;)



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C Has An Extensive Wardrobe!

C would like to thank all of his wonderful family and friends.  His mama went through his 9-month wardrobe today and is starting the process of washing it.  She was quite surprised by his extensive 9-month and 12-month clothing selection.  Shocked might be a more appropriate word. ;)

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When Did Leaving Home Become a Hassle?!

Hubster, C and I are preparing to drive to our home state for the weekend.  He has an annual weekend with his high school buds.  C and I are going to drop him off and spend the weekend with my parents.  While Hubster smashes 5 days of work into 4 (during Homecoming week!), I’m trying to get the apartment cleaned and get everything ready to leave for the weekend.

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Goodbye, Date Day

Hubster and I were planning on going to see Lion King 3D today while a babysitter stayed with C.  We were so excited to spend some time together and relive our childhood!  The Lion King was my favorite movie as a kid.

Instead…C got sick with a cold.  Poor kid just isn’t himself.  My nap-resistant child took a 3-hour nap yesterday!  He’s normally very active, but he’s just laying around and looking at his toys.  It’s so sad!  I couldn’t bring myself to leave my sick little boy who just wants to sleep and cuddle.

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C Laughs With Grandpa

We had the opportunity to go visit family this past weekend!  It was a great time, and C had a lot of fun playing with his cousins, grandparents, aunt and uncles.  Here is a super cute video (not the best quality my iPhone has given me…) of C laughing with his grandpa:

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One Year Ago Today I Found Out I Was Pregnant

It was one year ago today that I woke up at 6am and decided to take a pregnancy test.  I was about to join a boot camp fitness team with three other grad students.  I hadn’t been feeling quite right and my period was late (although with PCOS, the latter part was not abnormal), so I thought I would make sure that I wasn’t pregnant before I spent $75 on boot camp.

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Pictures, Pictures

Chillin' in the Bumbo


C's always so happy in the mornings :)



Home Sweet Home

*Insert Relaxed Sigh Here*

We went to visit family and friends over the holiday weekend and just got home!

I love getting home after being away.  Anything longer than a 7-day trip gets a bit exhausting.  We LOVE seeing all of our family and friends and fill as many time slots on our schedule as possible.  But it’s difficult not having your own bed, bathroom, kitchen…your own routine in general – especially for C!  Hubster and I are both people who need a little alone time to be able to function at 100%.

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Happy 2nd Anniversary, Hubster!

An open letter to Hubster:


Two years ago, I married my best friend.  Cliche, I know – but it’s true.  We had the super fun wedding we dreamed about, including our own evolution of wedding dance that we surprised our family and friends with.  The weather was perfect, the toasts were heartfelt and we were surrounded by so much love.  It was a wonderful day.

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Love My Family :)


Sometimes I wish I had superpowers.  Hubster rarely gets sick, but when he does, it really gets him down.  He came back from a work conference last night and today his sore throat has morphed into a monster head cold.  As His Royal Congestedness snores in the other room, I find myself feeling powerless and wanting desperately to heal him so that he feels better.

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Tonight, my parents are coming to visit to keep me company while Hubster is at a conference for work.  I’m getting excited to have our first visitors since we moved out of state in July!  That’s a long time…

I’ve always heard people say that when they move away, it’s easy to lose touch with loved ones that they’ve left behind.  Now I realize how true that is!  No one ever comes to visit when you move away!  I’m hoping that will change once Baby is born, otherwise he really won’t know his family.

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Hubby Time

Today, I had an awesome yet supremely rare opportunity to spend the entire day with my hubster. It was fantastic. :)

While thinking about how wonderful it was to be spending quality time together, it occurred to me that today was the first day he took off of work since we were visiting family during the holidays. I’m so proud and appreciative of him and how hard he works to provide for our growing family. While he’s extremely dedicated to excelling in school and his job, I’m going to start encouraging him to take more time to relax for both his own sanity and for us. I mean, one day off in two months?! The man needs a break!

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Plans Change…

For several months, we were uber excited to have NYE plans with some of our bestest of friends.  It would be about 5 months since we’d last seen them, and the hubster and I have no plans to make the long haul back to visit before the baby is born…so it would probably be another 6 months before we would see them again. :(

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Daycare Costs

Yesterday I did some research that many moms-to-be likely do: how much will daycare cost if I go back to work once the baby is born?

Unlike some moms-to-be, I don’t currently have a job that I can go back to after maternity leave.  I lost my job as a by-product of my miserable morning sickness for the first 14 weeks of my pregnancy.  As a graduate assistant, I had to keep six credits of classes in order to keep my job.  Too sick with the dry heaves and intense nausea to sit through class, I had to drop two of my three classes due to attendance policies.  I couldn’t keep my job.  It was a very tough thing to have to withdraw from school and lose my job, but I’m so relieved now in retrospect.  There was no way I could have kept up with it all.  Trying to stay healthy during that period of time was a job in itself.  Looking forward to my third trimester, I can’t imagine having to waddle across campus to my old office.  It was really far away.

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Small Apartments

I think there are going to be many challenges to having a baby in a one-bedroom apartment through its first year of life. We have relatively large bedroom furniture, but decided that our bedroom is the only place for the baby to go. When it’s super little, we’d have to cook/watch tv/make phone calls/etc very quietly in order to provide a calm sleeping environment in the living room and kitchen area (it’s an open, connected area). When the baby gets bigger, it would be way too easily distracted by us out here to get to sleep. If he or she is in our bedroom, at least we’ll have a door to close so that we can go on with our daily routines while they’re sleeping. But…that also means no privacy for a year. Interesting trade-off. :-p

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