Friday, December 2, 2011

Drinking and Weaning...

Okay moms of the world...I need your help.
I've been slowly trying to wean Gunnar since he is now over a year old. As of Thanksgiving we had cut back to 2 feedings (1 around 5am and 1 before bed).  But suddenly Gunnar has lost interest in drinking from his sippy cup. I've tried several different kinds and he shows most interest in straw cups...but still doesn't even finish one cup a day.  I fear he's not getting enough liquids. He's not really filling a diaper regularly and I can't seem to get him to drink milk at all. I can occasionally get him to drink apple juice/water mixed...but not nearly enough. Today I noticed his skin is excessively dry and started to actually nursed him a little this afternoon just to ensure he's getting some liquids.

Moms I need you help:
So what are your weaning tips?
What are you tricks for getting your wee ones to drink up?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

To My Birthday Boy

Dear Gunnar Miles,

Has it been a year already?
Since you came into our lives?
I can't think of a better day to celebrate than the day God gave me you. The greatest gift I've ever known is being "Mama" to you.

My Little One Year Old...
I love how you try to repeat what I say without fear of doing it wrong.
I love how your nose wrinkles and makes an x at the bridge and you breathe quick exhales through it when you think something is super funny.
I love your emphatic head nod and the arms that sometimes go with...and how you nod even to questions that weren't directed to you or sometimes for no reason at all.
I love your prideful "touch down!" when you want to show it off.
I love your Snake sounds and tongue and the animal sounds ("Baa" for Sheep, "Hoo" for owl, "fff" for puppy)  you love to share with anyone who'll listen.
I love how you say "UP!" and "DOWN!" when in an elevator. You excitedly point to the lighted numbers and often get the direction right (that's when I think you're a baby genius).
You love to put things away, or rather different places. I'll find books in drawers and shoes in shelves, but I love your helpful nature.
You love to point at the kitties and laugh at their silly ways...I love how you say "K-tee" and pat them oh so gently.
 I adore your cheerful kisses even though they're usually wet.
And snuggles can be rare but only because you're busy. But when I get them it warms my heart completely.

 The most surprising thing about you is your platinum hair.  Some people say it's even clear, it's so blonde.
Most people are surprised to see your mouth full of teeth...7 total: 4 on top and 3 underneath
Your eyes are dark and blue and most beautiful when you wear navy.
You are long and thin and I can't believe you're mostly wearing 18 month size clothes.
Your feet are huge, you're already wearing size 5 shoes.

You'll never know how much you've changed and taught us in your 12 mere months of life.
I never understood the meaning of unconditional love until you came into my life. You've taught me how to love and love BIG without need for anything in return.
You've given me the greatest joys and filled me with more pride than I have ever known.
Your smiles and contagious laughter are more precious to me than the stars and the moon and all the treasures of the world. You are my sunshine, you are my precious son.

I love you Gunnar Miles. Happy 1st Birthday!

I woke up this morning and read your birth story and thanked God for bringing me you.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

This Holiday Season...

I've decided to commit myself to small companies this season.
As a mom with a very small (yet growing) business I think it's important to support other people like me...who are trying to support their families in any way they can, through their art.

So I'm making a commitment to purchase most of my holiday gifts this year from small businesses and shops (like those on Etsy) or at local shops here in Chicago. This probably means I need to think ahead and buy things a lot sooner than usual (since I'm a last minute shopper) but I really think my friends and family will appreciate less commercial gifts. And I'll be happy knowing the majority of my money is going directly to a person rather than a corporation.

Have you checked out lately? Let's start a trend...Support small businesses this Holiday Season!

Here are some fun things I found today:

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Our relationship...

When things get serious around here between G and I...( he starts getting cranky or fussy or another one of those "negative baby behavior terms")... I tend to deal with it one of two ways.

1. I get cranky, fussy or irritable with him
2. I get silly

I don't know why I don't always remember that #2 is almost always the way to go...but I really should. Because that is what makes our relationship so fun! Gunnar starts whining and I start fake sneezing or do a song and dance number  or (the latest fad) mimic his whining and all of a sudden Mr.Cranky pants turns into Mr. Giggle pants and we're having a knee slapping good time! It works everytime...even at the grocery store!

This is one part of our relationship I hope will never completely change. I can only hope that when Gunnar is fully grown, and if we ever get into an argument, that we part with cracking jokes and rolling on the floor laughing. There is nothing I love more in this world than hearing him laugh.

P.S. Did I mention he likes to take off his shoes...we lost one of his "expensive" shoes the other day and nearly lost another's a hard life keeping track of all the things I put on this kid from day to day now that he knows how to take it all off!

One Million Things...

I am not joking when I say that I have one million things that I have going through my head on a daily basis. Or at least it feels that way. Even my lists can't keep up with all the things I want to get done...
Here is a small sampling of things I've thought or worried about today:

1. Money
2. Bills that are in dispute because they should be covered by our insurance but somehow weren't
3. Making Christmas owl ornaments
4. Making Christmas owl pillows
5. Making Fancy Christmas/Holiday Owl cloaks and hats for baby girls
6. Doing more Research for my play
7. Reading the novel that's feeding ideas for my play
8. Auditions? Any more auditions to summit for?
9. Sold another shirt
10. I need to buy more shirts for my Etsy supplies
11. I'm running out of clothing labels
12. buy more clothing labels
13. My house is a mess
14. What are we going to do with all of these toys?
15. Making personalized birthday sweaters for boys for my etsy shop
16. Should we get Gunnar another smash cake for his real birthday even though we celebrated his birthday with family this weekend?
17. I need to finish those shutterfly books I started 4 months ago...
18. new hangers for my closet...
19. I didn't buy enough hangers
20. crap I just found a coupon for the store that I spent $80 at today...I guess I should go back tomorrow and get that adjusted...crap
21. Sold a bunch of my clothes to resale shop...$92
22. She rejected a bunch of nice clothes...I need to find another resale shop that buys and make some more money
23. laundry...endless laundry
24. much trash and recycling...why do we get so much junk mail?
25. Gunnar is so big now
26. He's practically running before he completely walks
27. I hate spending money
28. Another 2 shirts sold in my shop...I need more shirts...
29. We wanted to go to CT and meet our new nephew...but not sure that will happen now that they're trapped in snow without power...
30. Should I have 2 female leads in my play or just 1?
31.  Jobs...I need to look for more teaching jobs..
32. Maybe I should get certified in Fitzmaurice technique...or Alexander....or ...
33. I need to work on that fellowship application
34. Ugh I need to vacuum
35. When did I last feed Gunnar?
36. I wonder if it's okay to start giving G whole milk...
37. I need to make G's 1 year check up appointment
39. I have 10 more things of Kathy's to list on etsy
40. I need to take photos of the 20+ items I made last month to list on Etsy...
41. I need to get out coats and sweaters to send to baby Charles
42. It is so annoying to type on a computer that has a broken delete button
43. I need to organize my Etsy supplies and closet...desperately
44. We have no food...I need to grocery shop
45. The car is a disaster from our trip to the can I clean it out with Gunnar?
46. I need to work on those shirts that sold...
47. Why am I still awake?
48. Tomorrow is Ghafir's birthday...
49. I need to write thank you notes for G's birthday presents before I forget
50. I should take down these Halloween decorations
51. I need to make an appointment for Gunnar's 1 year pictures
52. How do people have full time jobs and have a family? I don't get how I would have the time...but I think I want to do that...I think...eventually...
53. I still think we have too much stuff...
54. We need to either get rid of things or think about renting a bigger place soon...
55. I hate cleaning G's baby seat...I need to just give in and get rid of it all ready
56. I need to make new tags for my shop
57. Oh crap I forgot we need a new printer...I need to look for new printers
58. I need to find Gunnar some new soft/walking shoes since we lost one this weekend
59. Why don't we have any ice cream in this house?


and my mind keeps on going...and going...

 ...for your viewing pleasure...Gunnar's 1st Halloween and 1st Hair cut!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

4 Little Steps...

After a traumatic day of diaper malfunctions, scary shower heads and many tears...
I set him down in front of me (while chatting on the phone with my mom)
and to my surprise
he stood
f o u r
     s t e p s
          f o r w a r d.

*and now Gunnar's Mother is the one shedding tears (of pride and joy).

Friday, October 21, 2011

Actor vs. Crafter

My two current professions are currently battling it out vying for my attention.
Currently crafting is winning in a major way.
My Etsy shop has SKY ROCKETED since I listed the Owl Halloween Costume I made for Gunnar 14 days ago. Since then my costume has over 1200 views and 30 admirers (a personal shop record!) I have sold SIX costumes and 2 hats from this listing and my shop is on a serious ROLL...I've had at least one sale in my shop every day for the last 14 days (when usually I only see maybe a sale or two per week).  My shop has garnered nearly $800 this month...which is a record HIGH by $400...AND the month isn't even over yet! My house is in constant disrepair and my life has been increasingly crazy because of this...but I am thrilled to be making major contributions to our income as of lately!

My acting career, on the other hand...could be going better. Don't get me wrong...I just closed one of my favorite productions to date and kicked off my Chicago acting debut with a killer role! But I'm in the "closed show blues" state of mind and constantly searching for the next gig... and well, there isn't a lot out there. Luckily I've scored a callback for a production I'd kill to be a part of and another audition tomorrow...but other than these two shows the pickings are slim and very far between.
The audition postings in the last 2 weeks have consisted of: "Seeking children actors",  "Seeking Male actor over the age of 40", "Seeking 3 Male actors over the age of 30", "Seeking 2 african american Male actors", "Seeking African American Dancers", "Seeking male 40+", etc.  I am just SICK to DEATH of seeing all of these shows with 90% male performers on the audition postings. WHERE ARE THE FEMALE PLAYWRIGHTS? WHERE ARE THE FEMALE ROLES? Of course the one listing for women that was posted is auditioning when we will be in Madison celebrating Gunnar's Birthday...perhaps this is why my actor brain is shutting down a little and my playwriting brain is clicking on. If no one is writing plays for women...than I will. I've already got a new play in the works and I've got a lot of work cut out for me on this one...lots and lots of research lies ahead of me...if I can only find the time between cutting felt and stitching owls.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Welcome Charles!!

I couldn't be more proud to introduce to the world my new nephew....Charles Lincoln.
Born on October 8th, 2011
 weight: 8 lbs 4 oz
length: 19.5 inches
with the most beautiful head of auburn hair!!

My sister was a complete champion. Enduring 10 long days past her due date...
Big Brother William is a proud new brother!

I just can't wait to meet him in person! If only they didn't live so far away.

I can't believe that my parents (who had 2 girls) are now grandparents to THREE grandsons under the age of 3!!! Amazing! What fun these boys will have together!

Monday, September 26, 2011

growing out of baby

"Will you be sad when Gunnar turns 1? When he is no longer a baby?" I'm not sure why but this question Kelly asked me has stuck with me...even though she asked it nearly 3 months ago.

YES. Oh god.

 I'm sure every mother mourns the end of her baby's first year (well except for maybe the rare colic ridden child) It just doesn't seem possible that 10 months have come and gone so quickly and now I'm suddenly contemplating what to do for Gunnar's first birthday party.  Last week we took a trip down to see Gunnar's second cousin Van, who is now 5 months old. Holding Van made me long for the days when I could snuggle G for as long as I wished without him wiggling around to get out of my arms and onto the floor. So much changes in 5 months.

 As I was browsing through a Ralph Lauren catalog I was overcome with sadness once I realized Gunnar has moved from layette sizes to toddler boy. Gone are the options of putting him in footed outfits all day long... After all we did just buy him BIG BOY SHOES at the shoe department at Nordstrom just a week ago.

He's growing up. He says "Mama," "Daddy," "kitty," "diaper," "ducky," "down," "more," "baa" and "book".  He stands on his own for nearly a minute and can cover the length of the apartment nearly as fast as the cats. His favorite games are putting things away, crawling with blocks or rings in his hands around the house and "I'm gonna get you!".  He is such a fun guy. He's eating nearly everything, even had german hotdogs last night. He sits at a restaurant like a champ calm, quiet and observant.

Yes. The thought of him not being a baby makes me quite sad. It's such a short long but short year...but I'm trying my best to keep my mind in the present...because for a short little while he still is a baby and everyday is a gift...

Monday, September 12, 2011

just because...

"Just because he is too sweet...and I am a grandpa. I insist." said the jolly older man behind me today at the Unique thrift store.

"No. That's too much. It's such a sweet offer, but I can't possibly accept." I replied.

"No, I must insist. I will pay for the baby. I am a grandpa you see and you work hard as a mother, you deserve it...he is the sweetest thing and his smiles have made my day." He handed his credit card to the cashier and said "these will be in separate bags but I will pay for everything."

What could I say to that? I must have thanked the sweet man a hundred was truly unexpected and so kind...but a thank you didn't seem to be enough. This complete stranger bought us 5 baby outfits, a board book and a belt for me. I went to Unique thrift because I learned on Monday's everything is 50% off...and I love to bargain shop, and well we're tightening our belts these days.
I'm looking to do some "assistant teaching" to beef up my teaching resume and since it doesn't pay and happens during the day, we need to make some changes to afford light childcare. We've put our YMCA membership on hold for 3 months (I haven't had time to go with rehearsals and such anyhow) and starting next month we're canceling our cable.  So when I realized we needed some warmer clothes for Gunnar I didn't think a shopping spree at Baby Gap or Janie and Jack would help our cause. So off to the thrift store I went...only to find kindness and love from a complete stranger...maybe he knew, maybe he didn't...but it came at a time of need for us.  I will definitely have to find an opportunity to pay it forward somehow.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

spinning round in circles...

We need money...
I should find a job... have a job I'll need to find daycare
...without a job I can't afford daycare
How can I arrange daycare before I have money to pay for daycare?
...suck it up and pay until you find job...
Called daycares...
...only one has an opening for child under 15 months...
What if I don't like this one?
What if it's too expensive?
Maybe I should look into babysitters... what a great site...
...never mind...what opportunists! I have to PAY $35/month to find a caregiver on your site???
I can't afford that!!
Babysitters are expensive in this town...$10-$25/hour...
...I'll need a good job to pay for that...
...but I need a babysitter to find a job...
someone book me on a commercial please so I can pay for the time I'm wasting looking for jobs and babysitters and getting nowhere...

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A Must Read...

August has come and gone...
and I find myself writing this blog on a brand new blogger template that has me a little wary of it's "sleekness".  Many people have asked me if I've given up on my blog...


 I still plan to write. Especially when I need to. But it doesn't serve the same function as it did when I started it back in February...which was to motivate me to get out of bed and do things everyday. I don't need to write a blog to be motivated anymore...I rediscovered my motivation somewhere along the way and then just out of habit continued to write everyday and almost felt like I was a slave to it. I needed a break...

Ever since I started rehearsal for "Red and Green" I have felt the need to pinch myself on a daily basis. Could I really be living this life? Cherishing time with my 9 month old son by day, feeding my passion and art by night? It has been incredible. I find myself dreading October 10th when I will wake up and this project will be done...will it ever happen again? So instead of spending time blogging I've been spending every waking hour that I'm not memorizing lines or reading "Peek-A-Who?" looking for a way to keep this feeling alive. Searching for the next project...

...but a few weeks ago my aunt Lisa drew my attention to a book that seemed to be directly related to the play I'm now working on. I felt compelled to buy it immediately, just in case it could inform my character.  But it did so much more than just that...

I have never been that girl who stays up all day and night to finish a book that I couldn't put down...until Little Princes, One mans promise to bring home the lost children of Nepal.  I never could have imagined that a biography about a young man volunteering at an orphanage could be so inspiring and adventurous. This book has every element anyone could possibly want out of a novel: suspense, redemption, adventure, humor...(oh he is so funny) and love.  When I finished the book at 2am last night I felt like a changed person. That I needed to devote my time and talents to making a difference, like this man had done in Nepal.

I don't know what that means for me yet...but I couldn't help but think how wonderful this world could be if everyone acted on instinct to make a difference when they saw injustice the way Conor Grennan did in Nepal. That is the kind of world I want to live in...

...Read this book. Don't check it out from the it (proceeds go to the children's home he started in Kathmandu).

Sunday, August 21, 2011

a sentence...

First he said..."Diap-ah" while I was changing his diaper.
Next, during church he leaned over to John and said "Hi Dad-dy!"
Then when we got home he said "Hi Kit-ty" to Sven...
Apparently he's moved on to sentences.
M's are on the horizon. I here him say mumumumum...maybe he prefers the British term Mum. I'll take it.
I could have sworn I heard him say "Grandpa" while we skyped G&G tonight.
This talking business sure is fun!

In other news...his head looks like it's been through WWIII I can count 6 different bruises on his forehead alone. We are almost walking...

Friday, August 19, 2011

Family, Tea & RAVINIA!!!

First of all I'd like to apologize for the infrequency of my posts lately.  I have far too many exciting things happening right now to take the time to post every day or even every other day.
I've started Rehearsals for my first show post-baby...and that has been extremely exciting, rewarding and fascinating. I feel like I am living the dream life...loving up my sweet child by day and doing my art by couldn't be more FULL! And in addition to that for the past month or so we've been sp fortunate to be able to see the better portion of my extended family!
Goddaughter (and cousin) Megan, Kira with Gunnar

Last week my Godmother (and aunt) came with her 3 children, including my Goddaughter which was so much fun. We spent hours and hours playing guitar hero, attended a Cubs game, went to the Lincoln Park Zoo, and I enjoyed treating them to Dunkin-Donuts and ice cream from 7-11. We had so much fun...and Gunnar was in Heaven to have 3 beautiful blond girls and a cool teenage boy doting on him. 

Sometimes I worry that I won't have as much fun with my kids when they get older (because I've always been more of a baby person and fear I don't know how to interact with teens and tweens) but having my Nick (14), Megan (12) and Kira (10) around made it clear to me that it is a time to look forward to...We had so much fun! And they were so helpful with Gunnar and around the house (they even cleaned!)...and so polite! We definitely missed their presence when they left last Wednesday.

And then on Monday we were lucky enough to get my mom and grandma to come while John was away in Arkansas. We had a great time with them going to the Chicago Institute of Art, shopping downtown, and brunch at Tre Kroner (the Swedish Restaurant).  But yesterday's events took the cake...literally! What a day!

To start off, we took the "El" downtown to enjoy a leisurely High Tea at the Peninsula Hotel with mom, grandma ("Besta" to G), Aunt Lisa, Cousin Karin, Cousin Jessica and her newborn Dylan...all were there in celebration of Besta's 88th Birthday! The Lobby of the Peninsula was gorgeous and charming, the wait staff was very helpful and the food was amazing! The scones were my favorite (as usual).  Gunnar was a perfect Gentleman...sitting so quietly and patiently. Eventually I did let him crawl around on the carpet a little bit...which was probably a mistake because he bumped his head on the corner of a chair and got an instant bruise. But the waitstaff was soo sweet to bring ice and a darling Peninsula Teddy Bear to cheer him up! I was so taken a sweet of them. We took lots of generational pictures...but the most fun was putting the two babies together for a photo! Gunnar was so proud of himself to be "holding" baby Dylan and was grinning from ear to ear and giving him kisses and then trying to suck Dylan's hand...we got quite a laugh out of it all!

Besta and two of her great-grandsons

Four Generations

Cousin Karin, Besta and Aunt Lisa

Note the Bell Bear that the waitstaff gave Gunnar

kisses for Baby Dylan

"You have a hand too! These are so good...can I try yours?"

Directly after tea we loaded ourselves back on the "El" and headed back toward home where we met up with Gunnar's Auntie Kerry who was babysitting for the night; as the rest of us got in the car and drove up to Ravinia to see "The Lord of the Rings: Live in Concert". We picnicked on the lawn and sat in chairs we brought. The concert was performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, The Lakeside Singers, The Chicago Chorale, The Chicago Children's Choir and Soprano Kaitlyn Lusk and Alto Henry Griffin (age 11) who performed in sync with the screening of "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" on the screen above them. I was amazed by the spectacle of it all...I was a little sad that we couldn't see the symphony/choirs from where we sat, we could only see the screen. And I was so intrigued by how the whole thing was put together. I couldn't imagine the immense pressure the conducter must he had to keep his eyes on an orchestra, 3 choirs, 2 soloists, his score AND stay in perfect timing with the film above the heads of them all. I also couldn't figure out why some of the voices didn't match the actors and wondered if they had to re-dub everything to take out the score for it to be played live. In any was fascinating and beautiful. I was extremely impressed with the performers especially the young boy soloist, Henry Griffin, who has such a pure and crystal clear voice.

What an incredibly packed and fun-filled day!

Now as everyone left this morning...I must get back to the grind and work on lines...hopefully during naps.