Monday, August 3, 2015

Butternut Month 1

Dear Greta,

It's been one month since you joined us. You have slid into your place in this family as if you've been here all along. All of us are enamored with you. Your sister runs into the house in the evening squealing, and the first thing she does is look for you. You are too young yet to react to her kisses and hugs though I look forward to the day when you are just as smitten with her as she is with you.

So far you've been an easy baby. You're easy to soothe. It usually just takes a paci and some cuddles, and you settle right down. Unless you're hangry. Then you make sure the whole neighborhood knows how mad you are.

Except for the second and third nights you spent on this earth when you were up every 1-2 hours, you've been a good sleeper at night. For a couple weeks now, you've only been waking up once to nurse, usually around 3 or 4. Though a couple times you've gone all the way til 5. You've been sleeping in our room this month. I'm planning to move you to your room this week so we'll see how that affects things.

Picture taken by Sassypants Photography

Your favorite game is Let's Poop in the Fresh Diaper Mom Just Put On Me. You're really good at it, having reached master status already.

When your sister was a baby, I was too nervous to leave the house with her by myself. So I spent the majority of those first couple months at home. With you I have had no such anxiety. We run errands a couple days a week together. Some trips are better than others, but it is always good to get out of the house. And I no longer stress if you start to fuss in a store. I pull out the sling, and you're much happier hanging out there as I finish up.

I've already called you by your sister's name more than once. I'm afraid that's something you're just going to have to get used to. If it makes you feel any better, Omy still calls me Laura on occasion.

Welcome to the world, baby girl. We are so happy you're here.


Picture taken by Sassypants Photography

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Butternut's Here!

For anyone who doesn't follow me on Twitter or Instagram and therefore hasn't seen the news... Butternut's here!

Greta Ruth Schroeder became the newest member of our little family on Friday, July 3rd at 1:43 p.m. She weighed 8 pounds, 10 ounces and measured at 20.5 inches. Long and lean.

Full birth story to come soon.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

38 Weeks

Ugh. 38 weeks pregnant. Nine months for all you out there who need a monthly count.

How do I feel? (I've been getting asked this question a lot in the last couple weeks.)

In no certain order...

- Hot
- Huge
- Uncomfortable
- Like I've been pregnant forever
- Hot
- Tired
- Overwhelmed
- Hot
- So incredibly blessed

But mostly I'm just hot and tired. Seriously. Mad props to all those mothers who went through third trimesters in July, August and September in Texas. It's only June, and I'm nearing the end, and I still want to climb into an ice bath every day. You made it through those hellish months. You deserve an award.

I've enjoyed this pregnancy and getting to carry Butternut with me these last nine months. But I am ready to evict this child and claim my body back as the sole occupant.


We've been talking a lot with Willa lately about her baby sister. Where baby sister will sleep. Which one is her seat in the car. Which toys are hers. As we've pulled out the baby stuff in preparation of Butternut's arrival, she would use every toddler's favorite word: Mine! After we explained to her that it was for baby sister, she seemed to accept it. Fingers crossed she'll accept her actual baby sister as quickly. And if she doesn't... well, she will eventually as I know years from now she's not going to remember her life without her baby sister in it.


Life feels a little surreal these days. We're standing at the edge of another huge life change, and we're just waiting for it to happen. A life changing event can happen any day of your life. But much of the time, you're not expecting it. Knowing how drastically our lives are about to change and just wondering which day it will be (Is it today?) is a weird feeling I'm not sure I'll ever get used to.


Mostly, I'm excited. To see this new beautiful baby of ours. I've dreamed about her so much lately. Part of me wonders if there is room for her. Intellectually I know there is. It's just hard to imagine the emotional side, how it's possible for a heart to expand that much. But that is exactly what I expect my heart to do.

Life is going to get harder. But it's also going to be more vibrant and fuller than ever.

Butternut, I hope you're packed. Moving day is coming soon, and we can't wait to meet you.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The C Word

I knew eventually that I would have to watch what I say around Willa. That she would start aping every word that came out of our mouths. 

Swear words were the obvious ones on the list of what not to say around a two year old. But there was one word that I didn't expect. That four-letter, c-word... cake.

Willa loves cake. I mean LOVES cake. This became obvious one particular Saturday a few weeks ago.

I woke her up from her nap to get ready for a birthday party for a friend's two-year-old son. She was cranky and not cooperating with my requests to change her diaper and clothes. So I decided to bribe her with the promise of birthday cake.

BIG mistake.

She heard the word cake and then would not let go of it for the next couple hours.

Not while we all finished getting ready to go to the party.

Not during the drive to the party.

Not when we got to the party.

We tried to distract her with other things...

Willa, do you want to play on the playground?

No. Cake.

Willa, do you want to play with your cousin Lily?


Willa, do you want to eat a hot dog?

No. Cake. (Though Cheetos were an acceptable alternative.)

Willa, let's watch him open presents.


She was singularly focused and was not to be deterred from her goal of getting some cake. At one point as we drove to the party and she kept asking for cake, John looked at me and said he hoped there would be cake or we were going to be in trouble.

Cake can even be demanded at breakfast though at that point she usually means of the flat and pan variety.

Now if anyone mentions cake around her, they better be prepared to fulfill the promise, no matter how obscure, or they're going to find themselves with a new two-year-old member of their family.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

A Case Study in Pregnancy Announcements

When I was pregnant with Willa, I knew exactly how I wanted to announce it. So we did a photo session that I used in a blog post to announce the news.

With Butternut I didn't think I'd do another pregnancy announcement photo session. But, I knew I wanted to use an image of Willa. Eventually, I had my revelation... #WillaWednesday.

In an effort to be somewhat regular in sharing pictures on Instagram, I started sharing a picture every Wednesday of Willa with the hashtag #WillaWednesday. I also share the pictures on Twitter and Facebook. It was the perfect opportunity to share the news that we were having baby #2.

I looked through my album of recent photos I took and found a couple contenders. Trying to land on the wording was a little harder. But once I did, it came together.

What my inner (okay sometimes outer) marketing geek found interesting, is the difference in engagement (fancy marketing word for number of people liking and commenting) between the two announcements.

Willa's was a blog post that I shared the link on Facebook with the cryptic message "I wrote this, and I promise you don't want to miss it. So please read... Nugget"

Butternut's was a picture with the caption "So this is happening #WillaWednesday"

Willa's Facebook announcement had 34 likes and 22 comments. Butternut's had 139 likes and 56 comments.

I don't think it is because people were more excited to hear I was pregnant the second time. I think the difference comes down to what all those social media tips and tricks articles are always saying... images get better engagement. Period.

It's not something most people care about or even pay attention to. But this marketing geek found it interesting and a little validating to see the proof that what she knows to be true is actually true.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Nugget Year 2

Dear Willa,

Yesterday I got nostalgic and watched old videos of you from two years ago. It can be hard to remember the sweet baby you were when faced with the sweet, talking, running, sometimes screaming toddler you are today. 

It is so much fun to watch you discover the world around you. From recently learning what certain animals say (dogs, cats and ducks), to cautioning me when things are hot (even if they're not at the moment like how you always tell me the oven is hot even when it's not on). 

Your vocabulary continues to expand, and I delight every time I figure out a new word you're saying. It took me a while to understand when you said heart, as I kept hearing hot. And every car and truck on the road is a bus. Even your car that Santa brought you at Christmas you insist on calling bus. We had this conversation a couple weeks ago:

You: My bus
Me: No, that's a car.
You: Bus
Me: Car
You: Bus
Me: Do you hear how car sounds nothing like bus?
You: Bus

Touche, baby girl.

Your two-year wellness visit is on Monday so I don't know your stats. But we'll go with healthy and tall. You've got to be only eight inches shorter than your cousin Lily, who is two years older than you. Of course, ever since you arrived, your Aunt Lola and Omy insist that you will be the tallest of the three older girl cousins.

You love to watch "Finding Nemo" and call it turtle with an emphasis on each syllable that kills me with cuteness. One of your favorite things is the baby doll we gave you at Christmas. As soon as you opened that package, you squealed "BABY!" and then wouldn't let her go. I hope you have as much enthusiasm for your baby sister when she gets here. But a little less throwing her around.

These next couple months are going to bring about a lot of change in our family. One of which is moving to a new house. The biggest of course is your baby sister. I'm not concerned of whether or not you will adjust. Because you will. When we ask you where you baby sister is, you point to my swelling baby. One night earlier this week, I asked if you wanted to give your baby sister a hug and kiss, and you threw your arms around my belly and gave it the sweetest kiss.

You are not stingy with your affection often cuddling into my arms as I read you a bedtime story or giving me hugs first thing in the morning. But on the occasion I ask for a kiss and you refuse, all I have to do is pout and then you'll grab my face with both hands and give me a kiss. Mommy guilt is a strong force that I promise to wield only for good.

Happy 2nd birthday, my sweet Nugget, my baby girl.


Thursday, February 5, 2015

The Second

We knew we wanted to have more than one kid. When it took us a year to get pregnant with Willa and in the process learned that our chances of conceiving on our own are lower than most couples without any infertility issues, we had the conversation about how long to wait before we start trying for number two.

(Someone actually asked me why we decided to have another one so soon after Willa. I didn't realize two years was considered soon.)

Within the first year of having Willa was not an option. Nor did we want to wait too long and risk it taking as long (or longer) to get pregnant again and have a bigger age difference than we wanted. That's how this fall we decided to start to try again.

I was confident I would be pregnant again. What I was unsure of was how long would it take. 

Well, turns out it only took a couple months. I was shocked. I didn't think it would happen so quickly.

I remember coming out of the bathroom to tell John the good news completely stunned. I'm not even sure I actually said the words. I may have just handed him the pregnancy test.

Almost immediately I started to worry about whether we were ready. Whether Willa would be ready. Every time I did, I would have to take a deep breathe and remind myself that Willa would be nine months older by the time Butternut came. That maybe (just maybe) we'd be coming out of the terrible two stage.

I liked to think about how nice it is going to be to have Willa and Butternut be just a little more than two years apart. Hard at first while they're little. Okay probably hard when they're older too. But hey. No one said parenting is easy. (And if they did, they're lying.)

But now there is no more doubt. Butternut is already loved and a part of this family. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Six Month Recap

Six months? It's been six months since I last blogged. What happened to me? 

Well, the usual. I got busy. I lost my motivation to write. And so I neglected this space. I actually forgot about it at times. (Except for every time I read The Shape of Me and Other Stuff by Dr. Seuss to Willa. In the book there is a big animal of an unknown nature called a blogg. Without fail, every time I would feel guilty.)

Here's a quick recap of what we've been up to over the last six months:

Drove to Missouri in July for my cousin's wedding. It was Willa's first wedding.

In August we spent a few days at the Schroeder family cottage in Ephraim in Door County, Wisconsin. It rained a bit, but we had a great time. We went on a bike ride through the state park and went to The Farm where Willa had so much fun petting the cats.

September was crazy as usual for us. There were football games, and we flew up to Boston/Rhode Island for my good friend Laurel's wedding. The wedding was in Rhode Island, but we got to spend a day in Boston, which made my heart happy. Even better, we left Willa with my mom so it was a kid-free weekend. I also had a work trip to California.

October things calmed down. We got family pictures done. And there was Halloween of course.

We also got this news right before Halloween.

Yes, I'm pregnant again. Butternut is due July 8. We'll find out if it is a girl or boy in a couple weeks. (More on all this later.) Though we found out right before Halloween, we didn't tell anyone but immediate family until right before Christmas when I shared the above picture on Facebook and Twitter.

November and December were a blur of holiday fun.

At the beginning of this month I got a promotion at work (now the vice president of marketing). And, John is changing jobs in a couple weeks.

Now you're caught up.

I have more I want to talk about. Especially with Butternut. So I don't expect to be on as long a hiatus. But I may not be consistent either. I will do the best that I can.

So, how are you?

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Once Upon a Pillow, Chapter 2

Chapter 1

The girl who loved her magic pillow grew up to become a mom herself. At her baby shower, her mother surprised her with the beloved Pillow fulfilling the promise she had made to her 6-year-old daughter to pass the Pillow on to the next generation.

Knowing that an infant wouldn't have much use for a pillow, the girl kept the Pillow tucked away in the baby's closet. A month or so after the baby's first birthday, she was cleaning out the closet and came across it. She decided that the baby might find comfort in having some items in her crib. So the girl placed in the crib her magic Pillow along with the pillow pet the baby received for her birthday.

A month went by, and the baby seemed to still prefer sleeping on the mattress. And then one day, the girl snuck into the nursery to check on the baby while she napped and witnessed a sight that made her heart expand to the edges of her chest.

The baby was sleeping on the Pillow. The Pillow that meant so much to the girl. The Pillow her grandmother saved for decades in the hopes that she would get the chance to fulfill her promise and pass it on. 

And ever since that afternoon, that is what the baby chooses to sleep on. The Pillow.

It's like she knows what this Pillow means. That the Pillow is a promise and love.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Nothing Prepares You for This

A few weeks ago, I walked into Willa's room in the morning to get her up and could smell the dirty diaper as I reached to pick her up out of the crib. In the process of getting her clothes out of the closet and then laying her down to change her diaper, poop squeezed out of the top of the diaper like toothpaste out of the tube. Only instead of a toothbrush, it all ended up on my arm. Giant. Pile. of Poop. On my arm. 

Yup. Major parental milestone right there. Getting poop on you. 

I mean you hear the stories about dealing with various bodily fluids and functions because babies don't have control of those systems yet. In a way you think you're prepared for it to happen. Your baby gets to be 14 months old, and you hadn't gotten pooped on yet so you applaud yourself on your awesome diapering skills. Then karma reveals her bitchy self (what a whore), and your pride goes down a couple points.

First of these milestones, I got peed on because I wasn't fast enough getting Willa into the bathtub. Then I got vomited on when she got her first stomach bug. And now I've completed the holy trinity... getting poop on me. 

Oh, but the poop story doesn't end there...

The next morning before I even turned on the light, I could smell the dirty diaper. But I wasn't prepared for what that light revealed. Poop EVERYWHERE. All over her crib... the sheet, the slats, her monkey she sleeps with. And all over her. It seemed like wherever I looked THERE WAS THE POOP mocking me for my arrogance. "Haha, silly woman. You thought yesterday was bad. That was the just my warm up act."

I stood there stunned as she stood there screaming and reaching for me. Then I swallowed, turned my stomach to iron and walked out to start the bath. As the bathtub was filling up, I returned to the room to get her out and stripped her down. While I gave her a quick bath, John came in and threw all the soiled items in the washing machine. It was not a pleasant experience for any of us. But we got her clean, and we moved on.

The third morning I almost didn't want to go into her room because I wasn't sure what would be waiting for me. Luckily, the crib and Willa were both clean.

Definitely a parenting experience that's going in the book of stories I tell her when she's older.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Communication: Needs Improvement

Everything I read about the 12-18 month age said that it could be frustrating for both parents and child as communication is hard because the child understands a lot of what is said to him/her but is unable to communicate what it is he/she wants.

Boy, they were not wrong.

Willa has a couple words she says, and the rest is babble. She can make the sign for more. Well, sorta. It's not the full sign, but it's close enough, and she uses it in the right context so it's clear what she's trying to say. More blueberries, Mom. I want to eat my weight in blueberries. She can also shake her head no, which is helpful in determining what she's reaching her hand out for.

Truthfully, her communication skills have grown.

But oh how frustrating it still is.

Especially when I set her down to cook dinner or stretch out my back from carrying around a 30-pound sack of sugar in human form, and she starts screaming. There is no reasoning with her that I'm not leaving her. I'm not even leaving the room. In fact I'M SITTING RIGHT NEXT TO YOU CHILD. WILL YOU PLEASE CALM THE EFF DOWN.

All I'm able to do is sit there and offer her different toys to play with in hopes that one of them will grab her attention long enough for her to forget the fact that I'm not holding her. And take deep breaths. Lots of deep breaths. While reminding myself she's not going to start high school with a screaming fit and crocodile tears because I'm leaving her at school. This too shall pass.

We did have a huge victory in the form of an actual conversation on Sunday. Willa finally figured out how to nod her head yes to a question recently. On Sunday we broke out her little pool, and while John was in the backyard filling it up, Willa was throwing a fit because she wanted to go outside. But first I needed to get sunscreen, a swim diaper and a suit on her so she could play in the water.

Willa, do you want to go outside?

*Pauses screaming* *Nods head*

Then please come here so I can change your clothes.

*Crawls over to me and submits to sunscreen, swim diaper and swimsuit*

She can communicate! But she still needs improvement.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Owed: One Birthday Party Post

After I finished the month of daily photos in March, I promptly forgot about this space as I got wrapped up in the final details and planning of a major event at work. And before I knew it the calendar said May, which is impossible because April is supposed to be between March and May, and I'm not entirely sure April happened as don't remember much about the month. It's all kind of one big blur.

Then at some point in May I remembered that I have a blog. Which was like finding out about a project you said you'd do only to realize the day before the deadline that you completely forgot about it. Surprise! You're a bad blogger. Please start paying attention to your blog, or you will lose whatever little readership you have and will be fired from the position of sorta, kinda blogger.

Bad blogger. Bad.

Okay, enough hand slapping. Let's move forward, shall we?

Willa's birthday passed (almost two months ago), and I never talked about it. I teased it a bit in my daily photo posts here, here and here. But I owe you a full post about Willa's birthday party. So, let's get to it.

I was a bit overwhelmed at first thinking of the theme as there were so many possibilities. I chose ladybugs because it seemed so fun and given her birthday is late March, I thought it worked perfectly with the time of year. I wanted to keep it pretty simple and low key. We invited family to our house. And I think I did a good job of balancing stuff I made with purchasing stuff. I knew if I tried to make everything for the party, it would be too much.

I found the invitation design on Etsy and ordered prints through Vistaprint.


For decorations I found ladybugs at Hobby Lobby and placed them on the walls. I also found these black and red flower name card holders that had tiny lady bugs on them at Hobby Lobby. I used my Cricut to make the birthday banner. We also hung up streamers and paper lanterns and had red and black balloons around the house to play with.

By far my favorite decoration was the 12 months of Willa. I order prints of my Instagram pictures from throughout the year and used ribbon to hang them on the wall.

The dessert table ideas all came from Pinterest. There were ladybugs on a log (celery with peanut butter and dried cranberries), caterpillar kabobs (fruit kabobs), antennae (chocolate covered pretzel rods and rock candy sticks), ladybug juice (Crystal Light) and cupcakes with "ladybugs" (chocolate dipped strawberries). We also grilled hamburgers for dinner.

And of course the smash cake.

At first she wasn't too sure about the cake kind of poking her fingers into it but not really eating it.

So I put a bit in her mouth so she could taste it. After that it was pretty much over. Literally up to her elbows in cake: 

 Done with cake? Time to throw it all on the floor!

Family picture! (Before the cake and subsequent mess)

All said and done, we had a great time. Willa enjoyed the attention and the festivities. And my baby girl is officially no longer a baby. (Though she will always be my baby girl.)