Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The gentle reminders

A couple weeks ago, Callum and I took a trip to the mall. Why, you ask? Because, I guess I like punishing myself. Mall trips with toddlers are always an adventure. And that's putting it nicely. Well, I only had one stop to make and I we'd thought survive. Plus, we had no where to be, so we were able to take our time and walk at Callum's pace.

After about 45 minutes of Callum talking over the balcony to the mall walkers and riding escalators, we made the return we needed to and were ready to hit the road. It was getting close to nap time, so I was dealing with an especially feisty Callum.

We made it all the way to the end of the mall when I realized that we parked on the complete opposite end. After a minor panic attack, Callum and I rode down the escalator and started our trek to the other side of the mall. Of course, by this point, Callum was in totally two-nanger mode. He was refusing to walk with me, but wouldn't let me carry him, whining the whole way.

Finally, I just picked him up and carried my kicking and screaming toddler through the mall. I was totally mortified. I just needed to get out of there fast, or else, I'd be kicking and screaming, too.

As I was walking past the Fed Ex man, and I was sure he was rolling his eyes at me and my unruly child, he just stopped and smiled at me.

"My kids are now 21 and 22," he said. " I miss that age so much. Enjoy it."

And, just like that, I took a deep breath and hugged my sweet Callum a little tighter.

Parenting is funny like that. Just when you are about ready to give up, when you're convinced you can't make it through another minute, let alone another day, you get that gentle reminder that everything's ok. Something clicks and you realize how great you've got it.

So, today, let me be your random Fed Ex man at the mall. Let me tell you what a great job you're doing and how lucky you are. For a minute or two, forget the problems you're facing and those insurmountable mountains you have to climb. I promise you can do it. Remember, you've got it good, Momma.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

A full fall weekend

Good morning! How's everyone doing on this Monday morning? Did you stay up late watching the supermoon lunar eclipse? No? Me either. Pretty sure my head hit the pillow around 8:30 last night. #noshame

We had a busy, busy weekend. There was so much fun stuff happening, and everyone knows I hate missing a good party, so we squeezed in as much stuff as we could.

Saturday morning started off like this.

I'm pretty sure I've said it a hundred times before, but I'll say it again: That dog of ours is the greatest.

After Callum tormented George for the better part of the morning, we had his first swim class of the Fall sessions. We've been taking swim classes through the Milwaukee Recreation Department since he was six months old. Callum is such a fan. I love seeing how much more comfortable he's gotten in the water, too. He now willingly sticks his mouth and nose in the water, and jumps in to the pool (in to our arms, of course). His best buds are in the class, too, which never hurts. These boys are turning in to little fishes.


We spent Saturday afternoon volunteering with Tailwaggers 911 at Barktoberfest. Barktoberfest is a huge dog festival held at the Estabrook Park Beer Gardens. It turned out to be a perfect day for it! 

In addition to Callum and George, we also brought an adoptable Tailwaggers pup with us. Her foster family was unable to attend the event with her, so we got to be in charge of showing her off at the festival. Let me tell you, we were happy to spend the day with sweet Luna. After looking at her, I'm sure you'll agree.

You guys. She was the sweetest! She's a four month old terrier/beagle mix, and she had quite a few admirers at Barktoberfest. I have a feeling she's going to be with her new home by the end of this week.

In probably one of the most bizarre moments of my life, I saw a tortoise in a tutu. Not even kidding.

Told you. 

Anyways, I guess you can adopt them. The dogs had no idea what to think. I guess their scent really bugs the dogs. So, a dog gets close enough to get a good whiff, and then almost jumps away. It was pretty hilarious. They all stayed pretty curious about them, anyways. They just kept their distance.

George and Luna checking out the tortoise.

Fox & Branch

Sunday morning, we went to watch local kids band Fox & Branch at Anodyne Coffee. I know I've mentioned it before, but in case you missed it, this is one of our favorite things to do with Callum. He loves music and dancing so much, so this is right up his alley. He spends the whole time dancing and clapping his hands, while Matt and I get to enjoy some coffee and chat with friends. Win. Win. Plus, Anodyne in Walker's Point is just gorgeous! Sunday's show wasn't as crowded as usual, too, which was nice.

Had to take a quick dance break to hold sweet Maisy.

For the first time ever, while Fox & Branch were playing, we watched Callum walk up to another kid his age and just give him a high-five. It was out of nowhere. I don't think I've ever been prouder. It was such a toddler bro moment. It's so funny to watch him interact with other kids. It just makes him seem to grown up. I feel like he's 2 going 16.

Fox & Branch's next show at Anodyne is October 25. Hope we'll see you there!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Friday Favorites {13}

Happy Friday, peeps.

This week, I finally feel like I'm ready for fall. I'm not sure what happened, but all of a sudden I've fully submerged myself in to sweaters and all things pumpkin spice. This weekend, I look forward to doing just that.

In usual Friday fashion, here are a few of my favorites from this week.

1. I've been searching all summer for the perfect jean romper. I'm not entirely sure why this quest started, but I know I thought it would be the perfect thing to wear for summer days chasing Callum around. But, every one I came across had something wrong with it: the price, the fit, not as comfy as I imagined. Anyways, it's been quite the roller coaster. ;) Until this week, that is! I stopped in to Forever 21 for a couple pairs of leggings, and came across this jean romper on the sales rack. It was love at first sight. The color was perfect. The fit was perfect. And, it had pockets! Triple win. I just wish I had found it earlier in the summer. I'll probably wear it every day until the temperature drops below 70.

Wasn't that a thrilling story? Thanks for putting up with me.

2. How excited were you guys for fall TV to come back? Between that and the romper, this has been one epic week. I'm a big fan of Nashville, The Mindy Project (which is now on Hulu), How to Get Away With Murder, and Scandal. And, I'll tell you one more thing if you promise to never hold it against me: I LOVE DANCING WITH THE STARS! Whew. It feels good to get that off my chest.

I did check out a couple new series. Obviously the Muppets, and it was as perfect as you would expect. I also watched Ryan Murphy's new horror comedy, Scream Queens. I thought it was great! It reminded me so much of the movie, Jawbreaker. I'm usually not a horror fan, but it's all so over the top that it's hardly believable. Check it out if you're looking for a new show to get sucked in to.

3. I've been meaning to share this for a while, but it keeps slipping my mind. Sorry, I've been holding out on you. I'd like to introduce you to the best Tumblr site known to man: It's Like They Know Us. This Tumblr takes various ads or stock photos with families in them and puts the best captions ever on them. Because, let's face it, most of them are so ridiculous. Here are a few of my favorites. You can also find them on Facebook. Happy scrolling!

4. In case you missed the other bazillion times I mentioned it, Mke Moms Blog launched this week. My favorite post there this week was from contributor Laura, What Really Matters. She talks about how difficult it can be to remember what the important things are on a daily basis. Where should I be focusing my energy? It's easy to tell your kids you'll be with them once you finish the dishes. But, dirty dishes don't matter. Those moments playing with your kids do. Anyways, Laura put a few Post-Its around her house with the phrase "What matters?" to remind herself to think about it daily. I love this! As soon as I read it, I slapped one of those notes on my fridge. Check out Laura's full post. My little explanation here did not do it justice.

5. Finally, our favorite Milwaukee duo, Fox & Branch will be playing at Anodyne Coffee in Walker's Point this Sunday morning. We love these shows! They are free to attend; Callum loves, loves, loves them; and Matt and I can sit and drink coffee. They are the best. Not to mention, the music is actually enjoyable. If you're looking for something to do Sunday morning, check it out. We'll be there!

A few other amazing things happening this weekend in Milwaukee:
Have a wonderful weekend!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Milwaukee Moms Night Out and Doors Open Milwaukee

Usually Mondays are not one of my favorites, but today is a good one.

Mke Moms Blog is officially live! This site is going to be an amazing resource for moms in the Milwaukee area. I am so honored to be a part of it and I can't wait to watch it grow. There will be a ton of giveaways all week, so make sure you're following along. We'll also be announcing the first in-person event soon, as well! Stay tuned.

All the wonderful Mke Moms contributors.

On to the weekend. First off, can we talk about how gorgeous the weather was all weekend? I'm pretty sure I told Matt 100 times how much I loved it. It was sunny, warm, and just the bluest blue skies. I wish it would stay like this til next summer. We can just skip all the freezing temps and piles of snow. That's fine with me.

Saturday morning off with a trip to the Tosa Farmer's Market. We picked up some flowers, shared a few apple cider donuts, and watched the band for awhile. Callum was in heaven. There were quite a few other kids dancing, too, and he was more than happy to join the pack.

We also tried and bought ground cherries for the first time. They are tiny, super sweet tomatoes, and are so delicious! If you stumble upon them, make sure you give them a try.

Elm Grove Art

Saturday night, I attended Elm Grove Art's Milwaukee Moms night out. It was hosted by two of my favorite Milwaukee bloggers, Keila and Amber. There was wine. There was chocolate. There was painting. It was a wonderfully relaxing evening, and it was so great to meet and connect with other moms in the area. Everyone has their strong suits, and painting is for sure not mine. But, I still really, really enjoyed doing it. Elm Grove Art plans on hosting more of these events in the future. I'll definitely be back.

So, on the left is what my painting is supposed to look like. Then, on the right, there's mine. Hahaha. Like I said, no awards for my masterpiece, but it was still a wonderful time.

Doors Open Milwaukee

The rest of our weekend was filled with visits to a few places that were open for Doors Open Milwaukee. I had a list of about 15 places I wanted to check out. We were able to squeeze in three. I have this little condition called a toddler that tends to slow things down. ;)

We went to the Islamic Society of Milwaukee, the top of the U.S. Bank building, and the Pritzlaff building. Every place we went to was so kid-friendly! Callum obviously won't sit still for any sort of tour or presentation, but we had no problem walking around with him while either Matt or I were able to enjoy the tours.

My favorite was the Islamic Center of Milwaukee. It was so informative, and everyone was beyond helpful with answering questions and giving tours. I was a little apprehensive about bringing Callum in to the mosque, but as soon as we walked in, a woman there told me that it was more than alright for Callum to run around and play. I will never forget Callum in the mosque, running circles around a couple of wrestling boys we just met. :)

In addition to the mosque, there is also a K-12 school at the Center that we were able to tour. Our tour guide was a junior at the high school, and she did a wonderful job giving the tour and answering everyone's questions. I was definitely not that mature in high school.

Both the U.S. Bank Building and the Pritzlaff were must-sees, too. This is only one of a few times every year the public has the opportunity to ride to the 41st floor of the U.S. Bank building. The views were just unbelievable. Poor Matt is not a fan of heights, so he was a little apprehensive on the elevator ride, but felt much better once we got to the top. Callum had a blast watching all the traffic on the highway and boats in the water.

My brother is getting married at the Pritzlaff building next August, so we jumped at the chance to take an in-depth tour of this place. The "building" is actually a complex of six large cream city brick buildings built between 1875 and 1919. The tour was given by one of the owners, and you could just tell he had such a passion for restoring these beautiful buildings. Almost everything was still original to the building. One of the bars was built from old steel beams and has beer tappers made out of old water pumps. Everything was just so gorgeous. There are also six of these huge, huge vaults that have been restored. Callum loved running in and out of those.

I'm already making a game plan for next year's Doors Open Milwaukee. I can't wait.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Friday Favorites {12}

And another week has flown by!

With all the birthday craziness from last weekend, I'm really looking forward to a relaxing couple of days in the Olson house. There are a few things happening in the Milwaukee area that we'd like to check out.

Which segues me beautifully in to some of my favorites this week:

1. Tomorrow night, I'll be attending the Milwaukee Mommas' night out at Elm Grove Art, hosted by Keila from Mommy in Milwaukee and Amber from Milwaukee by Storm. I am so looking forward to it! Keila is a blogging-turned-real-life friend, and this will be my first time meeting Amber, and I can't wait to hear their presentation. Not to mention: I have never taken one of these "night out painting" classes before. Primarily because I am just not a good artist. Period. So, I don't have any high hopes that I'll be creating a masterpiece, but I know I'm going to have a good time with everyone. If you're a mom in the Milwaukee area without plans for tomorrow night, you should join me for the event!

Here's the picture we're painting. I'll be sure to compare mine to it on Monday. Don't hold your breath

2. Also happening this weekend is Doors Open Milwaukee. This event opens over 150 buildings in the Milwaukee area to the public, free of charge! This year, I'd like to check out one of the open firehouses, make our way to the top of the U.S. Bank building, and visit the Islamic Society of Milwaukee. You can see a full list of open buildings here

Islamic Center of Milwaukee.

3. On Wednesday, our sweet foster pup, Willy, was adopted in to his forever home. Saying goodbye to these dogs who come into your home for a brief time is always more difficult than I ever expect. But, it's so nice to see them go to such loving families. Fostering dogs definitely has its challenges, but those are far outweighed by its rewards. If you've ever thought about fostering dogs, do it! (Milwaukeeans: We foster through Tailwaggers 911. They are amazing!)

4. As I was going through pictures from Callum's birthday party, I couldn't help but compare them to his first birthday. Man, oh man, what a difference a year makes. These two of Callum and his best buds especially make me smile. Maybe next year we'll actually get one of all the boys looking at the camera.



5. Finally, just for those weekend feels, this mashup of 100 movie dance scenes is perfect. Have a good weekend, errrrrbody!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Callum's Second Birthday Party

In case you didn't hear me shouting it from the roof tops, Callum turned the big 2 this week. We threw a party for him on Saturday, and had an awesome time. We did a "construction" theme, since he is obsessed with diggers, and he loved it. I will say though, my "Caution" tape everywhere did get confused with a murder crime scene a few times. 

Highlight of the day: I sent Matt to get balloons from the party store. Our wires were crossed a bit (we're blaming a parentheses that got confused as a 1) and Matt got wayyy too many balloons. Like, way too many. You guys. It was hilarious. He couldn't even fit them all in the car. He had to tie them to the door handles and drive home. So, the trunk was full of balloons, the back and passenger seats were full of balloons, and he had them tied to the doors outside. He said people were taking pictures of his car on the way home. It just cracks me up soooo much. I'm sure he was so irritated with me while he was waiting for the balloons to be filled and then realizing they weren't going to fit in the car. I love that husband of mine. 

For food, I roasted and shredded a few whole chickens the night before to use for sandwiches. I also made this pasta salad and potato salad, cut up a ton of fruit, and my mom made a salad. For the cake, I made an imitation-DQ ice cream cake that was a huge it. I'll blog about the cake in another post since it was so easy and so good. We also had the usual cheese and crackers, olives, pickles, sort of stuff. The best part about all the food was that I could do everything before hand, and just had to set it all out come dinner time.

It was so fun to watch Callum actually enjoy his party this year. For his first birthday, he was just there. This year, he could open presents, play with his friends, blow out his candles. It was just so fun. I almost didn't plan a party for him this year, but I am so glad I did.

Now, take a drink every time you see a picture with a balloon in it ...