Wednesday, May 27, 2015

A day in the life with a toddler

6:00: Wake up. Think about getting up to make some coffee, let the dogs out, and begin to get my day together before Callum wakes up.

6:15: Still thinking about getting up while scrolling through Instagram.

6:30: Still thinking …

6:45: Crap. Callum's awake. Now I have to get up.

7:30: Breakfast. The only thing Callum ever wants to eat these days is cereal. I ignore his requests, and give him eggs, avocado, and banana. He feeds most of it to the dogs.

7:45: Callum's eating cereal.

8:00 - 10:00: Play time around the house. Despite the bazillion toys in our living room, a roll of toilet paper and the dog kennel are the only things that manage to keep him occupied for more than ten minutes.

10:30 - 11:30: Play group. I spend the whole hour stopping Callum from snatching toys from other kids. Waiting his turn is not something he's mastered yet.

11:45 - Quick lunch of PB&J and a smoothie once we get home. If you were listening to our lunch time conversation, this is what you would hear:

"Cereal. Cereal. Cereal."

"You had cereal this morning, Callum. We can't just eat cereal all day. Sorry, bud."

"Cereal. Cereal. Cereal. Cereal."

Noon: Nap time. Glorious nap time.

12:00 - 2:00: Prep dinner. Mow the lawn. Do some laundry. Workout. Change my mind about the workout since mowing the lawn totally counts. Pick up the disaster area that is our play room.

2:01: Sit down to read my book (The Glass Castle. It's so good!) with an iced coffee.

2:02: Callum wakes up. Never fails.

2:15: Snack time. ("No cereal!")

3:30: Pick up Legos for the 1,213 time today.

4:00: Matt's home! We all sit outside with the dogs and talk about our days. Callum babbles like crazy. This is always, always, always the favorite part of my day.

5:30: Dinner time. Callum has been boycotting his high chair about half the time, and this is one of those meals. This is generally a battle I don't fight since I'd prefer for us to enjoy our meal together, despite where we're sitting. Callum eats his dinner standing on a dining room chair. ("NO CEREAL!")

6:00: Bath time. Callum loves playing with the water as it comes out of the faucet. But, look out. Once the tub is filled and we have to turn the water off, we have one unhappy toddler on our hands.

The second we are done with bath time, Callum knows we're getting ready for bed and immediately requests his pacifier, or "ne ne" as he calls it. He likes to have one in his mouth, and hold up to four in his hands. Like many kids use a blankie or stuffed animals for comfort, Callum uses his ne nes.

King of the Ne Nes.

6:30: PJs and story time. We read 10 Fat Turkeys, the current book obsession. "More," says Callum. We read 10 Fat Turkeys, again. "More," says Callum. We read 10 Fat Turkeys, again. "More," says Callum. I pull the plug on 10 Fat Turkeys and deal with the aftermath as we finish our bedtime routine.

7:00: Callum's in bed. He does a great job of settling in to bed and goes to sleep without a peep 90% of the time, which we are very grateful for. I think we can thank his ne ne for that.

After Callum goes to bed, I pack lunches for tomorrow, run the pups to the park for a game of ball, take a shower, and then basically just relax.

10:00: I'm in bed with my book and can't keep my eyes open for too long. Another day's done.

As unbelievably exhausting and often frustrating the days can be, I wouldn't trade them for anything. The toddler stage is full of surprises. He is always looking for ways to be more independent and is soaking everything up like a little sponge. I'm relishing every snuggle I can get. The days are long, but the years are short. Before I know it, I'll be waving good bye as he drives off to college.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Milwaukee Kite Festival

This weekend, we packed up the ole Mazda 5 and headed down to the lakefront for the Milwaukee Kite Festival. It was a beautiful sunny day perfect for sitting and watching kites, unless you're a toddler. Then, no day is perfect for just sitting. No sitting. Ever.

The trip started off with a bang when Callum puked all over himself on the car ride down. It may have been the tube of sunscreen he was using as a popsicle before we left home that caused it. Anyways, we get our car parked and start cleaning Callum up. Of course we didn't bring a change of clothes for him and only had a few wipes left, but the show must go on. (I should also mention that he clearly felt fine.)

The festival ended up being the perfect activity for us to enjoy as a family. We spread out our blanket and snacks, and watched a ton of different kites. In addition to the huuuuge kites that were in the air the whole time, there were stunt and synchronized kite performances. Unfortunately, the wind was not quite strong enough for some of the stunt performances. So, a number of them ended rather abruptly - and comically I may add with the music just shutting off and the flyers suddenly freezing.

We were also sitting next to the biggest bubble machine I've ever seen in my entire life. Callum was in heaven. He was screaming and running like crazy through all the bubbles. He couldn't contain himself. The bubbles were making him do it.

He wasn't the only kid hypnotized by the bubbles. It was basically a mosh pit of little people surrounding the machine. I was worried he was going to be trampled a few times. By the time he was done, he was soaking wet with bubble soap, just like a beer-soaked mosh-pitter at a Korn concert.

This picture was snapped during a calmer period of the bubble mosh pit. Usually, these kids were packed in there shoulder to shoulder, or head to butt if you're Callum's height.

After a few minutes of kite watching, a couple of hours of chasing bubbles, and a bag of kettle corn, we headed home for a bath and fresh set of clothes. We'll definitely see you next year, Milwaukee Kite Festival.

Friday, May 22, 2015

The most amazing thing about being a mom

Last Christmas, "Santa" brought Callum a Strider bike. If you're unfamiliar, Strider bikes, or other balance bikes, are peddle-less and supposed to be better than training wheels at preparing kids to ride actual bicycles. At the time, he was not even a little bit interested in it. The box that it came in was the clear present. Obvi.

Fast forward to a few months ago. The weather was warming up. We were spending more time outside. And Callum was watching mom and dad ride their bikes. He was now all about it. He jumped on the Strider, and it was clearly too tall for him. We had the seat as low as it would go, but my little peanut's feet could barely touch the ground. It looked really uncomfortable.

Since then, I've encouraged him to get back on it every few weeks to check if he's tall enough. Callum will jump back on, and before we can even move, goes in to total melt down mode until I lift him off. He's even watched a few of his taller friends give it try, which inevitably leads to him wanting to try again, which inevitably leads to a melt down. So, we have had zero success with this dang balance bike since we bought it for him.

Until yesterday that is.

I asked him if he wanted to give his bike a try. After an excited "Yes," I held my breath, anticipating the screams, while I helped him climb on. 

Then, nothing. No complaining. No tears. Callum was on the bike and he was ok with it! Surely there would be an issue once we started moving.

I stood behind him and helped him walk the bike along. I stopped after a few feet to see his reaction. Immediately, he requested "More, more, more." Callum was loving it! We spent the next 45 minutes walking the bike up and down the driveway. The only screaming pains were coming from my poor back.

I was so thrilled! Callum had finally been able to ride his Strider. Matt got home and it was all Callum could talk about. He kept saying "bike" between the rest of his toddler gibberish. It was hilarious.

These moments are my favorite thing about being a mom. There is nothing like watching your child experience something for the first time. It almost makes me feel as if I'm "riding" my first bike.

I remember being a kid and learning to hold my breath underwater, or tying my shoe for the first time, and that insane sense of accomplishment I had. I wanted to shout it from the roof top. My parents were always celebrating these achievements with me, as small as they may be.

As you get older, these celebratory firsts become few and far between. Let's be real. The first time you file your taxes is not exactly an exciting moment. I want to do my best to really appreciate all the firsts that Callum comes across in his life. And, I want to make it my job as his mom to expose him to as many as possible.

Now, off to teach Callum to give his first back rub.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Memories from the weekend

Just dropping in to share a couple memories from the weekend. On Saturday, I ran the Run Tosa Run 5K. The race starts on 69th and North, and winds through the street of East Tosa. I run these streets (literally) almost everyday, and I had a feeling I could do pretty well. I was hoping to finish in 22:30 and just try to run my race.

After a warm up jog to the starting line with Matt and Callum, we arrived to the start and watched the half mile kid race. It was the sweetest thing ever! I can not wait for Callum to be able to run it. Hopefully next year!

At 9AM, we were off! And, I immediately felt great and knew it was going to be a good race. I ran most of the race with a pack of 5 guys, and was able to beat 4 of them in the end. The last guy really helped motivate the last half mile or so.

I ended up finishing in 21:57! 7:03 miles! I was the second female over all, and the second in my age group. The first female finished in like 19 minutes, so there was no contest there. I was so happy with my finish, and I felt great the whole run! Now, I need to run a 5K in sub 7 minute miles. If I found a nice flat course, it could definitely happen!

Celebrating my finish with the best cheerleader ever.

The other memory I wanted to share was a definite toddler moment. I love watching Callum grow and learn stuff every day. His personality is really starting to shine through, too. He's so sweet, silly, and definitely seems to have some sass. 

At dinner on Monday night, Callum was throwing his rice and broccoli all over the table. I asked him to stop several times, and of course he didn't. So, I took him out of his high chair and put him on the steps in the hall way for a little time out. He wasn't screaming or crying, but he was definitely being a grump.

I left him on the step, and went to sit down with Matt to finish dinner. As soon as I sat down, Callum walked into the dining room with this glare in his face. He looked right and Matt and me, and then wound up his arm, and threw it, like he was throwing food but he had nothing in his hands. It was totally like "F you guys. I'll throw food if I want to!" Then, he turned around and walked right back to the steps.

Matt and I looked at each other, and it took every ounce of will power not to start cracking up. It was the funniest little thing. He was such a sass about it! I'm sure these sorts of situations won't always be quite so funny. So, we'll have to look on the bright side for as long as we can.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Mother's Day Weekend

This weekend was just phenomenal. I've definitely got a case of the Monday blues after it. It was perfect. Not only was it Mother's Day on Sunday, but my brother, Andy, and his girlfriend, Anna, were in town. It was one of the most fun and relaxing weekends I've had in a long time.

Saturday, Andy and Anna came over and spent the day just hanging out. It started off by picking up my online score, a plastic picnic table for Callum for $8! Best find ever. The boys were setting it to just the right height. Callum was a huge help, obvi.

Then, we took a walk to Camp Bar, this really cool up north themed bar just a few blocks from our house. They are dog friendly, so we jumped at the opportunity of bringing the pups. We took Jax and Andy and Anna's dog, Leinie. Everyone loved the outing. It was so cool to sit and have a beer with Callum and the dogs. And, believe it or not, everyone was on their best behavior.

That evening, my cousin, Megan, and her boyfriend, Tom, stopped over for dinner and a few drinks. We haven't seen them in a while, so it was so fun to sit around, have a few margaritas, and catch up, 

Sunday was just perfect. There are literally no other words to describe it. Matt, Andy, and Anna worked on an amazing breakfast of crepes for all of us. It was perfect, and beyond amazing to not have to cook or clean up after breakfast.

Not only that, but there is nothing like waking up and your house is filled with so many people you love. It was a slow, easy morning, filled with good food, strong coffee, and lots of relaxing.

Matt had Callum surprise me with this sweet poem and his hand prints. The poem definitely made me tear up. I just want my baby to stay a baby forever! I don't think that's too much to ask. 

It turned out to be a really dreary day, but we were able to venture out to the park with the pups for a little bit after nap time. George managed to fall a ton while we were playing ball, and Jax found some good smells to roll in, so they were both soaked when we got home. But, I think the fresh (cold and wet) air did us a little bit of good.

Gratuitous selfie with my sweet boy.

We ended the day with dinner at Maxie's Southern Comfort with our little family of three. We had to wait about 45 minutes for a table, but it was definitely worth it. Callum was such a good sport while we waited, and ate like a champ at dinner. He tried almost everything we put in front of him, which is almost unheard of. The food was just amazing: mac n cheese, a pork belly pizza, wings, crab and corn chowder. I was uncomfortably full when we left. And, they were giving away $10 gift cards to all the moms! Win. Win.

It was the perfect Mother's Day. I felt so loved and appreciated by both my boys. It was one of those days where my heart felt so full the whole time. Nothing in this world beats being this kid's mother. It is the hardest thing I have ever done, but by far the best. It is definitely what I was made to do.

Friday, May 8, 2015

First birthday fiesta

I know, I know. Like my previous post, this one is months overdue. My sweet boy turned one on September 14, 2014 and we threw a huge fiesta for him. I admit. I went overboard. Way overboard. But, I loved every minute. It was not only a celebration of his first year, but also gave Matt and I the opportunity to celebrate making it through the first year, which is no small feat. Babies are a lot of work, man.

For the party, I had a huge taco bar featuring pretty much any taco fixings you can think of. I prepared the pork and chicken ahead of time in the crockpot, so there was minimal work for the actual party. I did a cake from a local bakery that turned out amazing! They did a great job interpreting my fiesta theme, especially since I really didn't get them much direction. So little, in fact, that they assumed it was a party for a little girl and made a pink and purple smash cake. I was ok with that, though.
As far as decorations went, I just wanted a ton of color. I had plenty of gallons, streamers, Mexican banners, and paper flowers. I used crepe paper to turn our garage into a little photo booth area, and I loved the way it turned out. I also ordered little sombreros, mustaches, flowers for hair, and maracas as little party favors. After the party, I've decided there's nothing cuter than a baby in a sombrero and a mustache.

Callum fighting over maracas with his buddy, Henry.

Our friends Gina, Dustin, and their son Julian in our photo booth.

Me and my boys.


Callum's high chair that I decorated with crepe paper.

I love this series of photos of Callum and his buds. Perfectly sums up motherhood.

Callum was very, very cautious with his cake. There was no real "smash" involved. He mainly picked away at the frosting.

What a great year it has been! Love you forever and ever, Callum David.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Callum's birth story

This post has been months in the making. In fact, I wrote the whole entire thing down when I was out on maternity leave, and then lost the file. I was so mad at myself. I wanted to remember evert tiny, tiny detail about the best day of the my life. So, here's round two.

It all started Friday, September 13, 2013. I had a 10:00 a.m. doctor's appointment, and Matt didn't have to work, so we had a nice, easy morning. We actually walked with Jax to Rocket Baby bakery for some monkey bread and coffee. I remember having a bad headache during the walk from the exertion. Thinking back on it now, this was definitely a sign of my blood pressure being high. However, at the time, I felt fine other than the headache and there was no concern.

At the doctor's, which happened to be my 40 week appointment, my blood pressure was measured and turned out to be borderline high, which obviously concerned Dr. Hoelzle. We ended up waiting for an hour or two, and they checked my blood pressure a few more times. It would go down, and then back up. I was only measuring about a cm and nothing else appeared to be of concern. Plus, Dr. Hoelzle was leaving for the weekend, and we were on the fence about what to do. After talking it over, I was sent down to labor and delivery for monitoring. Since I was so far along, I fully anticipated being induced.

We stopped at home to get our bags and the dog, and then headed to my mom's house to drop Jax off. Matt was running around like a chicken with his head cut off, grabbing our bags and getting everything in order. He was so nervous. It was the sweetest thing ever. I had to remind him that I wasn't actually in labor yet. Dr. Hoelzle didn't want me to drive after the appointment, and I think knowing my activities were limited made him a little nervous.

Saying goodbye to Jax at my mom's was one of the hardest things ever! I know it sounds so ridiculous, but this dang dog is seriously my first born. I love him with all my heart, and in a weird way, it felt like he should be there since he's a part of our family. It also felt like the end of an era: an era without kids, with just Jax. It was such a hard good bye. I know, so ridiculous, but it was.

Next stop: Columbia St. Mary's Hospital. We were admitted in to labor and delivery for observation. At this point, we had no idea whether I was going to be induced or sent home. As much as I wanted to go in to labor naturally, I also hated the idea of having to pack everything up and head to the hospital all over again. I was also so ready to meet our sweet baby.

During our couple hours in observation, we had several medical students roll through and ask me a few questions. I will never forget this one super awkward medical student who came through. You could so tell he had no intentions of becoming an OB/GYN. He stood with his back against the wall on the other side of the room, and couldn't even look at me. He was so adorably awkward.

My blood pressure continued to go up, and then back down. After the nurses talked with Dr. Hoelzle, it was ultimately decided that I was going to be induced. It was starting to get so real. In less than 24 hours, we would be holding our sweet baby.

However, Dr. Hoelzle would not be able to make it to the delivery since she was out of town. I was so bummed about this. I had really grown to trust her and wanted her to be the one to deliver the baby. But, this was out of my control, so I did my best to not stress about it.

I was moved in to a delivery room. The very first room our sweet baby would see. I was given something to sleep, and then something to strip my membranes. The plan was for me to try and get some sleep and then start on pitocin in the early morning hours of Saturday.

I was able to get some sleep for a few hours, and poor Matt slept right next to me in this miserable chair. I don't know how he does it, but he can sleep anywhere. He was golden for the night.

Around 1:30AM Saturday, I was really starting to feel my contractions and getting rather uncomfortable. I couldn't get out of the bed due to my high blood pressure. So, I did the best I could dealing with the contractions in different positions of the bed. Matt was sleeping through this for about 45 minutes! Once I made it clear that I was definitely in some pain, and very much annoyed with him, he woke and did a great job of supporting me.

At this point, everything was moving very slow. I had not made much progress. I had been checked by multiple nurses, med students, residents, the doctor, and it was so painful every single time. One resident left me in tears, and she felt so bad about it. Then, around 7:00 AM, things started to get really intense. It turns out the baby was dropping faster than I was dilating, making everything even more painful. I was given the epidural around 8:00 AM. At first, nothing really happened. The anesthesiologist came back to rearrange a few things, and everything was golden. To be honest, it was pretty smooth sailing from this point on. I know, every woman that has had a terrible, miserable, painful birth, I apologize sincerely for that previous sentence.

I continued to chug along at a slower pace. Matt and I just hung out, watched some college football, and dozed for a few hours. We had a really great nurse that was with us for most of the day, of course I can't remember her name at all right now. She was very comforting and reassuring. Very motherly.

In a really bizarre coincidence, Matt walked out of our room, and a random girl (to him at least), asked, "Is that Megan McChain in there?" It turned out to be a childhood friend, Lauren Adams! Her sister, Lindsay, was in labor right next door. They stopped in to chat for a few minutes, and we all joked about how crazy it was that we were both in labor at the same place, on the same day. Lindsay gave birth to Vincente on the exact same day our baby was born.

This whole time we were waiting for Matt's parents and my mom to come and visit. They were taking forever and we were sort of dying for company. Around 2, still without our parents coming to visit, they decided to break my water. Our nurse broke my water, which was super uneventful. Nothing happened. Literally. Sorry for the visual, but there was no release of fluids.

Finally, our parents stopped in around 2:45. I had just been checked and was around 8 cm. So, I was moving really fast all of a sudden. Our family was literally there for five minutes before the nurse sent them away so they could check me again. It turns out, our parents were having Bloody Mary's at several bars along North Ave. as they were making their way to the hospital! The crazies.

The nurse checked me again, and I was at 10 cm. I was moving so quickly now. We said good bye to our parents, and told them we'd call them as soon as the baby was born. Matt had made quite a mess while he made himself at home, so our nurse sort of nagged him into cleaning all of his stuff up before I started pushing. It was hilarious! I loved her so much for it.

And, just like that, I started pushing. It was 3:00 PM in the afternoon. I started with a few slow, easy pushes. That's when the nurses, and the resident and med student, realized that this was going to go pretty quick. They could already see the head. I asked for the mirror to be moved down so I could use, and immediately regretted that decision. It was just too much for me to handle at that point. :) I just needed to do the work with out seeing what was happening.

After about 10 minutes of pushing, I was told to stop and breath. We were trying to hold off until the doctor arrived. Baby was not having it, though. After a few minutes of holding out, there was just nothing that could be done.

Callum David Olson forced himself (literally), into this world at 3:19 PM on Saturday, September 14, 2013 at 7lbs. 7 oz. and 20 inches long. He was born one day before his due date. He came out with his arm above his head, super hero style, causing quite a rip for me. Thanks, bud.

We didn't know the sex before he was born, but I had a sneaking suspicion it was a boy. Part of our birth plan was that Matt was going to tell me the sex after the baby was born. His exact words were, "You were right." I love hearing those words from my husband whenever I can.

Right as he was born, the doctor who was supposed to deliver the baby ran into the room. Her purse was still on her shoulder, and car keys in hand. She had to scrub up right there. Thankfully she was there to deliver the placenta and to stitch me up.

That whole process took about an hour, but I didn't even care. I just couldn't believe I was holding my beautiful son. There is not another feeling in the world like it. I was so full of love, and Matt had never looked happier. It was amazing.

After Callum was born, I was suddenly so thirsty. I could not get enough water. I honestly probably chugged over a liter of water. Well, the time came for them to remove my catheter, but my epidural still hadn't worn off, so I couldn't feel a thing. The nurse asked if I had to go to the bathroom after removing the catheter, and I said I honestly have no idea, but I drank a ton of water.

Well, she decided to slide the catheter back in, and I ended up filling a bed pan twice! Matt had to dump it for the nurse, while she held my catheter. Nothing like the romance of childbirth. Amiright?

After getting cleaned up, we were moved to our recovery room, and there we stayed until Monday morning. For the couple of days, we had plenty of visitors, tried to get some sleep on the miserable hospital accommodations, and couldn't stop staring at our sweet Callum. It was truly the best day ever.