Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Tis the Season

Tis the season for giving, reflecting, and celebrating. In the wake of what happened in Connecticut, I can say that we are doing a lot of reflecting and snuggling our little boy a little closer. I have no profound thoughts or words to share other than my heart aches for those children and their families and it is making me extra thankful as Christmas draws near. 
Noah and I went up to SF to meet some friends for lunch. He made it his mission to find the dirtiest items and proceed to touch them all.

I also have no eloquent transition to share more happy happenings around our life (how do they do it on the Today Show...and here is the weather!). Let's just go through my list above.

Giving. While I hope to get more involved in active community giving in the coming years with Noah, this year I am pretty sure I have donated a dollar, five, ten, in about 15 different locations. Every retailer seems to be in support of something and I gladly offer to round up to the next dollar to support whenever I can. 

Celebrating. We certainly are good at this. I feel like we have already celebrated enough for it to be January 2nd! While the schedule can run us ragged sometimes, we are certainly blessed to have that many people to share in festivities with. 
I don't have a picture of Mr. and Mrs. Von Rohr (whom we celebrated with with a feast!), so you get a picture of Hoffman Von Rohr instead ;-).
We celebrated as mommies and just so happened to meet Dusty Baker while all gussied up for the night.
We made our annual trip to Union Square to participate in holiday mayhem. And mayhem it was...more below.
Reflecting. We are so excited to celebrate Christmas with our one-year-old this year. While last year was certainly special, our first with Noah, this one feels like our real first. He was such a peanut last year and this year he will be running around, causing havoc, and making the holidays even brighter. 
Last year's visit to the city.
As I mentioned above, Scott and I have instituted a mandatory Union Square trip every holiday season. We take a deep breath and set out into the craziness that is downtown at the holidays. We did this before Noah was born (and it was much easier, living in the city) but so far we are 2 for 2 with our little guy. 
It takes strong coffee (or an empty hot chocolate cup) to get through the chaos.
That hat. Could you die?!
Noah's first time in gloves. Surprisingly, he left them on!
We headed in for respite and a little lunch. Noah thought this would be a nice opportunity to practice his fine climbing skills.
And we walked out to this. About a million santas running around downtown. Apparently this is a thing (dress up like Santa and go bar hopping) and we are the last ones to know about it. It was something to see!
All that coffee and still asleep in the stroller.

A quick update on the health of my patients I mentioned last week....Scott is back up and running. Noah is just starting to be himself again. Turns out, round one of antibiotics was ineffective so we made another trip to the doctor and got new antibiotics to hopefully kick these ear infections to the curb! So far, we are seeing progress; my clingy koala is finally happy to be on his own two feet again. PHEW!
Just to be safe, I decided to disinfect Noah's toys. We are not going another round with this cold/flu/ear thing!

And there you have it. Now it is time to pack up and head east for some St. Louis Christmas festivities. I can't wait! 


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

We're Alive!

Yes, we are alive, well, and BUSY. No surprise there, though. What has happened since that Thanksgiving post?

We went to Napa for our annual post-Thanksgiving visit. It was much more fun with a 1 year old than 2 week old!

Just spending a little time in the wine rack at Gloria.

And enjoying the view.
I had a meltdown. - I am going to circle back on this below, but I think half of the reason I haven't blogged is because of this lovely little tantrum I threw on Thanksgiving night. The outcome...I realized that life, and especially life with kids, is a balancing act and I am trying to sort out all the pieces of that. Again, more on that below.
Noah watching the Thanksgiving Day parade. He makes me so proud ;-).
Noah got sick. - Noah had a little cold, low grade fever, and some coughing. No big deal. He recovered. THEN, it came on strong the following week. 103 degree fever, whining, clinging, and completely passing out in an instant (very unusual for my little goose). So, we ended up at the pediatrician and found out that he had a double ear infection. We started our very first round of antibiotics and it seems to be doing the trick ;-). For the record, fevers freak me out.
The sickies are awful, but this moment was priceless.
Scott got it, too. I'll let you guess who was the more demanding patient ;-).
Instagram. I became addicted as I am sure you can tell by the photos in this post. You can follow me at Steffy7210.
Yes, indeed Noah DID need these bear slippers from the Gap.
We started holiday celebrations. - The festivities have begun! Our calendar is jam packed with holiday get togethers with friends, families, work parties, mommies, etc... I am pretty sure this is throwing my aforementioned balance out of whack, but tis the season I suppose!
Noah actually thought about being OK with Santa for a few minutes. This was, hands down, the best Santa. He was so good with all of the kids and really took his time letting the kids come to him.

It didn't end well. But I kind of love it anyway!
The house got decorated. - It took about two weeks but I finally got everything up. I am SO happy I didn't let myself off the hook on this one. Having all our decorations up makes me very happy. Of course, a Christmas candle and music really makes it all come together ;-).
Trip #1 of decorations down from the attic. Pretty sure there were about 2 more after this.
My little helper.
Scott pretty much dominated in exterior illumination this year!

Noah turned 13 months. - It is funny...I spent the entire first year counting months and days as he got older. Once he turned one, that all went away. I almost blew right through the 9th without a second thought (it was actually the advent calendar that tipped me off). Noah continues to make us smile each and every day. We find ourselves missing him more and more each night when he goes to bed and look forward to seeing what he'll be up to the next day! His motor skills are developed well beyond his age (this kid can CLIMB), but he still calls Scott "mama" sometimes. All in all, we absolutely cannot get enough of him and are so anxious to celebrate the holidays with our 1-year-old! 
Along with turning 13 months, he gave up his bottle. With the switch to milk from formula he decided he wasn't interested in his nighttime bottle any more so we packed them up!
We also moved to the big boy bath. Yes, my kid was still getting baths in the sink until a few days ago. He loves his new swimming pool!
Balance. I will spare you the ugly cry details, but suffice it to say that after making it through turkey day I was spent. In the midst of my exhaustion I had a realization about what was really getting me down. Balance. Or lack thereof. There are so many roles that we are expected to balance:
Just to name a few. I mean, I stay at home with Noah and I still feel like I can't keep up. If I blog, my house is a disaster, if I work out, I miss Noah's dinner time and quality time with my boys, if I go out with the girls, I miss an opportunity for a date night with Scott, and so on and so on. Where is the time for all of these roles we are asked to play?! I'll be the first to admit that I put a lot more pressure on myself than is necessary. I want my house clean at the end of each day and I want to go to bed feeling like I have been a good mom and wife. And sometimes I forget about one of these things, but most of the time, I forget about my "me" time and my relationship time. Scott and I move at light speed and we have both agreed we need to just sloooooooooowwwww down and carve out the time for US. He needs his "Scott" time, and I need "my" time and we need time for us. And these things are going to start taking some priority around here. We are going to learn to say "no" to things and focus on our little family. And, somehow, the rest of it will fall into place. 
A common occurrence...baby with remote on couch.

Phew, so there is my rant on balance. I know I don't have the answer to age old question of how to do it all and master any one piece of it, but I am going to try and find a way to cut myself some slack when I need to and just enjoy the ride. December is a bust...but watch out January...I'm coming for you! 

Oh, and did I fail to mention that I thought it would be a good idea to enroll in a class this fall to keep myself smart? Yeah, all it did was make me angry. For the past 12 weeks I have been reading a book a week, writing a paper, and participating in a discussion. So, Monday-Wednesday were shot for the above items. Like I said, watch out January! 
My number one priority.
And, finally, for the record, to those mommies who work and pull off all of the above...please send me an instruction manual. Being a stay at home mom is hard in its own way, but I can't imagine not having my days to get laundry done, house cleaned, and errands run. I would probably explode from overload if I worked...you ladies deserve a medal.
Phew, I need a rest too!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Gobble Gobble

Happy Thanksgiving. Hard to believe last year we had a two week old and this year we are back in the swing of life, hosting the Retchless family for a wonderful feast in a few short hours. 

I have a few posts in the works but wanted to share a quick internet thank you for these two:

They are my world and I love them so much.

Now...off to make a vat of mashed potatoes.

Friday, November 16, 2012


One is certainly not the loneliest number when you are Noah Retchless. We have been in celebration mode for about three weeks now and the man of the hour has been blessed with so many wonderful gifts and visitors as a result! I think we were all on auto-pilot/hyper-drive because as soon as the bounce house (yes, my one year old had a bounce house....just hold on!) came down, we all pretty much collapsed.

Now that I am free (can I get a Hallelujah?!) from weekly Noah updates, I have some plans for posts about motherhood, relationships, body after baby, and more, in the coming weeks. That leaves this post to be fully dedicated to PAAAARTIES!!!

Party #1 - October 26, 2012
We were very lucky to get to celebrate Noah's birthday a little bit early with Scott's family. His brother, Jim, and his family were in town from Austin so it was an extra special day of family fun. The weather Gods were with us and we were able to spend a fair amount of the day outside (Noah's favorite place on earth).
Theme of party #1 was simply blue and white.
Noah was cool with it. He enjoyed his first lollipop.
Clearly being the center of attention suits him.
The first tear!
Trying out his new hoop!
Our little family. At what age do the smile on command?!
There was so much present opening! Luckily, our boy is a trooper and participated in each and every one.
The Retchless siblings
Cousins. Just a small age differential!
The first frosting swipe
Contemplating going for the grab.
And, ALL DONE ALL DONE. He was not ok having frosting all over his hands and was flailing to get it off (my walls have the stains to prove it).
Birthday Cake #1. I give Safeway about a 3 on decorating. Guess that is what you get for ordering a cake from Safeway last minute?!
Party #2 - November 9, 2012
This was a bit more low key (although, much less sober for the adults?!) as it was a party of 7 instead of 32! My dad whipped up his famous margaritas (the reason for the less sober state) and we celebrated the man of the year, Noah. It was fun to reminisce about how a year ago we were delirious in a hospital room soaking up the first hours with our new baby boy...and here we were a year later watching him RUN around the house. A huge thanks to my parents and Jess & Kirk (and Hoffman) for helping us ring in the 1st year.

In between parties we picked up Grandma and Grandpa at the airport. Could you just die from cuteness overload? I mean, look at the elbow patches!
Happy Birthday to my favorite little man on earth!

A little stroll with Grandpa.
Scott decided Noah needed a special gift just from Dad. That's when this exploded all over the floor.
Turns out, Noah loves it. We even took a walk around the block and he rode the whole way in his 4x4.

Party #3 - November 11, 2012
The final party could also be named "most ridiculous party ever", "noah's circus", or "what on earth got into us?!". This party was amazing, but also a little above and beyond. Of course, as the party planner, I thought it was perfect, but could also be objective when the hot dog man rolled in with his cart to complete the day that we might have gotten carried away. Oh, and the jet flyover...too much?! You think I'm kidding? There actually was one by two fighter jets (but I didn't arrange it, I took credit though!). That said, I got to actually enjoy the festivities instead of spending the day in the kitchen prepping food for guests. While next year will absolutely resemble party #2, I wouldn't have changed any of it for the world!

To begin, we settled on a theme. Noah's Ark. This will be the theme of Noah's birthday for at least the next 10 years. Sorry, kid, but mom built you an ark so you are stuck with it. Yes, I built an ark. It was a Pinterest find gone crazy. I started out with visions of crepe paper and some elmers and ended up with wood stain and exacto knives.
It started out innocently enough.
But quickly took on a life of its own. I might be more proud of this ark than planning my own wedding.
If anyone is looking for an ark building tutorial I would be happy to post it. Just know that I do not guarantee your sanity intact upon completion. Let's talk more decorations...

This is the amazing banner that Allie made for Noah. Close up is below but I just love that Noah cruised outside mid photo shoot (for the record, I was still in my robe taking these pictures...my neighbors must think I'm crazy).
Amazing. I am so glad we'll have this for all of Noah's birthdays!
Goody Bags.
Goody Bag contents. The water bottles varied because I made a rookie mistake and ordered too few the first time around.
The cake table. (there are animals coming out of the other side of the ark too)
Beverage station. The Sangria was a special recipe from my favorite Spaniard, Tatiana!
Tatiana and Olivia. They are leaving us for Europe. We don't talk about it.
Flower arrangements with a few special friends poking out.
Tables. You can't see it in this picture but the bows on the table were animal print.
The world's largest bouncy (or smallest backyard?).
Animal masks for the munchkins.
The kicker. Our hot dog stand. For the record, they were gooooood.
We went with cupcakes instead of cake this time around.
Noah's special cupcake...of which he ate one finger dip of frosting. He seriously doesn't like sweets.
But he LOVED his bounce house.
"Seriously, we have to sing and have cake again?!?!"

He was pretty much over family photos at that point too.
Must have been a plane flying over. He is obsessed.
More presents. Noah was definitely spoiled!!!
And, if you are still with me, Noah's 1 year stats:
  • Food -While we pretty much threw most "rules" about food out the window around 11 months, we officially got the green light for Noah to eat anything and everything he wants. Current favorites: PBJ, mandarin oranges, blueberries (back after a short strike), quesadillas, guacamole, anything he can eat with a toothpick (hot dog, chicken nuggets, meatballs), and well, anything with starch and cheese involved still.  
  • Chowing on his hot dog with his toothpick.
  • Sleep - While I not-so-secretly wish Noah would sleep in a little later, he sleeps from 7:30pm-6am. I would be willing to cut down nap times (GASP) for an extra hour in the morning. Unfortunately, this doesn't work...I've tried. Noah also still takes two naps a day. One about an hour and half after waking and another around 2:30pm.
  • Teeth - 6! 2 on bottom and 4 adorable chompers on top. He has finally figured out what to do with these little biters too and will actually bite pieces of food instead of jamming giant pieces in his mouth.
  • Length-29.5" (50th percentile) 
  • Weight-19.6lbs (a little under the 10th percentile).
  • Noises - Mamamamamamama, Dada, ByeBye, and GA (which means airplane 99% of the time)
  • Favorites - Outside...he hates our house I have decided, throwing pacis out of his crib, airplanes, marching, balls, other kids, and, well, pretty much anything that involves play play play!
  • Noah got this bat for his birthday...he insisted on carrying it around everywhere for days on end. It was a rather interesting conversation starter at Crate & Barrel.
  • Everywhere I tell ya. It even came to dinner.
  • Not so favorites - Breakfast, sweets (i.e.-cake), long car rides. He is a pretty standard one year old. His likes and dislikes changes pretty much every minute! 

Cheers to one great year!