Eight years ago today

Eight years ago was one of the happiest days of my life.

August 30, 2008, I married Peter.

The day was a celebration of our love. We were two youngsters unprepared and immature, but committing to life side by side.

The day was also a celebration of all the love in our lives from family and friends. The atmosphere felt magical. It was the perfect party.

So permit me a little trip down memory lane as I look back on photos from our wedding day. We’ve changed and grown in so many ways over the past eight years, but these pictures bring me right back to day one.

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Halloween fun

Because Milwaukee is strange and holds trick-or-treating on weekend days if Halloween falls on a weekday, I feel like it’s already over. I guess it pretty much is, since we had trick-or-treating tonight, so there isn’t really much left to celebrate. Still three more days till the actual holiday though!

Corban’s first Halloween was pretty low key, but we had a great time.

Friday, we carved/decorated pumpkins with friends. I got Corban his own baby pumpkin – a pie pumpkin, actually, so perhaps I’ll roast it at some point – and while the rest of the kids painted and carved, he sat and held it (and probably had just as much fun). We like to keep things simple.

An ice cream scoop also provided some entertainment.

I enjoyed carving my own pumpkin – one of my favorite annual traditions that has been forsaken the past couple years.

For a while, Corban had a crayon in his hand, and when we got home I noticed his pumpkin looked like this:

That seems a little advanced for a 10-month-old, so I’m guessing someone else did it, but it’s proudly displayed as part of our kitchen table centerpiece anyway.

Those flowers were a great investment. I bought them several weeks ago at the grocery store and they still look relatively fresh.

Anyway, tonight Corban debuted his very first Halloween costume! I had started brainstorming ideas last month for a cute baby costume before I remembered that I already had one – and actually had for several years. It’s a costume that has a special meaning too.

Back in high school, my friends and I were obsessed with lobsters. We had a lobster hat that bonded us together in a lifelong sisterhood.

Lobster even came to my wedding.

These are the kinds of photos that happen at a 22-year-old’s wedding.

Anyway, suffice to say lobsters have a special place in my heart. A friend sent me the baby lobster costume four years ago, and it’s been sitting in my closet ever since. It fits Corban perfectly right now, so my baby Halloween costume search was cut short and made very easy.

He’s ready for candy!

Just kidding.

We just spent the evening visiting with our neighbors. C was a trooper, as always, tolerating the bonnet like a champ. He did look like a girl with his pink pacifier, though.

By the time it was dark enough for my pumpkin to come to life, trick-or-treating was over.

I lit it anyway.

—–

Halloween costumes: please share! What are you or your kids dressing up as?

Matron of Honor speech/rhyme

My sister, Lauren, got married this past weekend!

It was an absolutely gorgeous wedding (no surprise since Lauren has incredible taste) and a long weekend packed with fun. Before I get to the title of this post, here’s a quick recap.

It started Friday with manis and pedis.

Then onto the church for the rehearsal, followed by a huge rehearsal dinner (seriously, like a small wedding reception).

Saturday began bright and early with hair and makeup.

Then it was time – they got married! After, the wedding party took a trolley ride around Chicago for photos at several locations.

The reception was at the Chicago History Museum and gave us ample time for visiting with family and friends, eating, drinking and dancing to a live band.

The fun continued on Sunday with a brunch at the Hancock building during the air and water show.

We came back to Naperville that afternoon and lounged around Lauren and Kevin’s new house, then had pizza and played cards with my parents.

Today we drove home, unpacked and relaxed, finally. Phew.

It goes without saying at this point, but Corban was a doll. Even at his most sleep-deprived state he was smiling while being passed around and played with by dozens of people, many of whom were strangers to him. We truly hit the jackpot with a happy-go-lucky baby – at least thus far!

And yes,  he wore a full tux to the wedding.

Anyway, I had an absolute blast being Lauren’s Matron of Honor. I got all pinterest-crazy with her bridal shower in June, had so much fun helping make her bachelorette party amazing and enjoyed supporting her through every step of wedding planning (although really, she and my mom had it all under control and didn’t need me). On her wedding day, I was there to hold up her train so it didn’t get muddy during photos and hold her bouquet so she could clasp hands with Kevin as they said their vows. That was all fun.

The scary part of this role, of course, is the speech traditionally associated with it at the wedding reception. I had lots of time to contemplate possible courses of action for my speech, but at some point earlier this summer, I had a revelation. I wouldn’t just say what I wanted to say. I would rhyme it. Somehow that made it seem less daunting.

Of course, deciding to take on the task of rhyming an entire speech is one thing. Actually writing it is another. And in true Alison fashion, I left that to less than a week before the wedding, which, in my world, is actually the equivalent of doing it well in advance.

Oh, and here I am re-copying it into neat handwriting on – you guessed it – the morning of the wedding.

I ended up with plenty of time to revise, edit and fact-check, and, though it was no Shakespeare, I was feeling confident in the words, as long as I could successfully deliver them.

Kevin’s best man, his brother, Eddie, gave an awesome, hilarious speech that was interrupted frequently by applause and laughter. He set the bar high, and, honestly, I was shaking in my nude patent leather heels right before taking the mic. But once I got going, I have to say, delivering my speech turned out to be just as much fun as pinning pink-themed bridal shower DIY projects. I know writing in rhyming iambic tetrameter and reading your work to a crowd of 246 wouldn’t be most peoples’ idea of fun, but it actually was yet another highlight of my stint as Matron of Honor. Mainly, I’m just glad Lauren and Kevin were surprised and enjoyed it right along with every other amazing detail of their day.

Several people asked me afterward if they could have a copy of the speech or if I’d be posting it to my blog. Since I can’t remember who all asked for it, here it is for the entire world wide web to enjoy.

On March 14th of ’89
a girl was born, that sister of mine.
One month before, on 2/15,
a boy named Kevin came to be.

In Naperville both lived and grew,
just streets apart, but neither knew
that they would someday meet and fall
in love and stand before us all.

But let’s not get ahead just yet.
First back to long before they met.

As a baby, they all say,
the boy was quite content to play
alone, in fact, his family knew,
he’d disappear out of the blue.

And after checking all the locks,
they’d find him playing with a cardboard box.

The girl was quite a different kid.
For your attention she would bid
relentlessly, both night and day.
Her little voice had lots to say.

She loved Barney till age five.
At eight tried to keep tree frogs alive.
That didn’t end well, if you know what I mean.
But she still kept her room painted lime green.

Now back to the boy – I can’t resist.
How many times did he break his wrist?
And ankles too – and some may scoff –
he almost chopped his finger off.

Accident prone? Are you kidding?
Maybe he should take up knitting.
But football was the sport he chose,
resulting in some broken toes.

Now here’s the part you want to hear.
On their first day of freshman year
this girl named Lauren sat in class
while Kevin gave the teacher sass.

She looked cute in her Benet skirt,
but neither were inclined to flirt.
They met, but then, you might be shocked,
three years went by before they talked.

It may have never taken place,
but both were urged by David Case.

Lauren was Miss Popular
while Kevin was more jocular.
He played football while she cheered.
She loved Harry Potter; he thought that was weird.

Then senior year: Homecoming dance,
Turnabout, Prom, this sweet romance
would last beyond their high school years
despite long-distance dating fears.

From here to Arizona State,
Platteville, De Paul, they continued to date.
Not easy, but they made it through
with lots of calls and texting too.

Their phone bills may be through the roof,
but now these two are living proof
that when you give someone your heart,
no distance can keep you apart.

As soon as they had their degree
Kevin got down on one knee.
Lauren laughed, smiled, cried, no less,
so overwhelmed she forgot to say, “Yes.”

So one year later, here we are,
taking advantage of an open bar,
and wishing you endless happy times,
hopefully with fewer cheesy rhymes.

Corban says his hope is this:
a cousin Dennis or Beatrice.

Truly we’re here to celebrate
your two lives leading up to this date
and the one life you’ll share starting now,
forever blessed by your wedding vow.

Lauren, though I’m older than you,
you’ve always been one I’ve looked up to.
You’re full of class, spirit and life.
I know you’ll make a wonderful wife.

Kevin, I’m proud to call you brother.
For Lauren there could be no other.
Your patience and humor are perfect for her.
I know you’re the one if ever there were.

So now let’s raise a glass and cheers:
To Lauren and Kevin, many happy years!

Coming up for air

Today felt special.

It wasn’t. It was just a regular old Saturday at home. I took Corban for a walk, we played on swings at the park, Peter and I got crazy ambitious and cleaned our entire (previously very cluttered and messy) bedroom and a few other rooms, Corban splashed in the baby pool, I made this for dinner and this for dessert, we watched some Olympics. We did, you know, normal Saturday-at-home things.

But it felt special. You see, this was our first Saturday at home in almost a month! I had forgotten how much you can get done around the house when you have an entire day at your disposal. It felt gooood.

We’ve made it through the craziest part of our crazy summer of weddings. Two more in the next month, then one in November, but the crazy back-to-back everything time is over. The past two months’ weekends have looked something like this: out-of-town shower/bachelorette party, Memorial Day weekend, out-of-town shower/bachelorette party, weekend home, out-of-town wedding, out-of-town wedding, in-town wedding, Fourth of July weekend, out-of-town wedding, out-of-town bachelorette party (high school reunion for Peter and Corban), out-of-town wedding, THIS WEEKEND.

It’s all been fun. Really fun. I feel blessed that we have had so many opportunities to travel and see friends and family this summer. And that’s made all the sacrifices (clean house, home-cooked meals, time to breathe) worth it.

But, man, was it nice to just be home today with no plans!

I have lots to write about – I’m back to work full time, we have a new nanny, Corban is growing up so fast(!), etc. – though things haven’t fully calmed down yet so we’ll have to see if I can find any time to blog over the next few days/weeks. In the meantime here are some photos to represent our summer so far. It’s been crazy, and challenging at times, but we’ve had a blast.

Emily’s bridal shower in Naperville

My sister, Lauren’s, bridal shower in Naperville

Audra’s wedding in St. Louis

Father’s Day in St. Louis

Michelle’s wedding in Virginia Beach | Photo by Hampton Roads Photography

Litzy’s wedding in Cedarburg, Wisc. | Photo by Tim Fitch https://www.facebook.com/timfitchphoto

Litzy’s wedding in Cedarburg, Wisc. | Photo by Tim Fitch https://www.facebook.com/timfitchphoto

Julie’s wedding in Appleton, Wisc.

Lauren’s bachelorette party in Las Vegas

Lauren’s bachelorette party in Las Vegas

Emily’s wedding in Chicago

Emily’s wedding in Chicago

34 weeks old

Texting his buddies

7-month update

What a month! I’ve been absent here because I’ve been so busy, but this month has brought lots of fun and some new milestones.

Age: 7 months
Weight: ~20 pounds (has slowed down on the gaining)
Clothes: 9-month onesies, but still wearing 6-month too (ok, even thought they’re a little tight…)
Hair: Light brown, super soft, bald spot has filled in
Eyes: Deep blue on the outside with golden brown around the pupil
Sleep:
Was sleeping through the night for a few weeks, then started waking consistently at 3:30 a.m.; Still usually takes 3 naps a day and cries for a few minutes at the beginning of each
Noises: Lots of loud laughs, grunts and high-pitched “Ah”s
Nursing: Still at least 5 times a day when I’m not working
Solids: Feeding himself soft pieces of broccoli, sweet potato, avocado, banana and cantaloupe once a day; sometimes we skip days
Teething: Two bottom teeth!
Sitting: Unsteadily, but yes.
Mobility: So squirmy and wishes he could crawl
Essential items: Play mat, plastic links

A closer look at the elusive eye color.

Teeth! Sitting! Solids! Lots of big developments this month, though after looking back on his 6-month update, it doesn’t seem like he’s changed that much. Corban is still a happy little dude who does well in almost any situation.

Case in point: Aside from all the drooling, you wouldn’t have known he was teething. No fussing for no reason or loss of sleep (though I’m not too happy with the recent resurgence of his 3:30 a.m. wakeup) and he never seemed to be in pain. The only ones hurting are Peter and me, as he still loves putting our fingers in his mouth, and those chompers are razor sharp.

I’m sure the teeth are helping at least a little with eating solids. We are not entirely consistent with his meals, as I haven’t had our nanny feeding him anything but milk, so we skip days here and there when things get busy. But he is getting pretty good at picking little pieces up and eating them. Or, more often, chewing them until they come falling back out of his mouth. Manners will come later.

With the super slippery foods like avocado, if he gets frustrated I will put a piece on the tips of my fingers and let him bring my hand to his mouth like a spoon. I finally gave him his first fruit on the Fourth of July (banana) and it was the first food that didn’t cause him to make a funny face when it hit his tongue. But even if he doesn’t love the taste of the vegetables, he still is eager to eat them.

He is getting more coordinated in endeavors aside from eating, too. He loves banging his hands on his high chair, legs or anywhere he can find a flat surface. He has become a serial hair grabber, and has a painfully strong grip. He even grabs his own hair sometimes. Corban also enjoys holding onto his toes and removing/replacing his pacifier when he doesn’t want to go to sleep.

23 seconds of banging:

Rockin’ the mom tankini.

This month I was away from Corban for three entire days, at my friend’s wedding in Virginia Beach. Thankfully I was so busy enjoying every minute with my college girlfriends and participating in all the wedding festivities that I didn’t have much time to miss Little C. He got to see all four of his great-grandparents on my side that weekend when Peter took a trip to visit my family.

Corban also attended his first wedding, which, oddly, Peter and I didn’t go to. While we were at my friend’s wedding in St. Louis, Corban went with Peter’s brothers and parents to his cousin’s wedding two hours away. He stayed up an hour or two past his bed time without getting too upset, and Peter and I spent our first night together away from C. It was a little strange being able to sleep in!

Dolled up for his first wedding.

Corban is becoming a little daredevil. While loud sounds tend to scare him (he sometimes cries when I use the blender – it is so sad!), he laughs when I hold him high up above me or lean him all the way backwards, almost completely upside down, in my lap. He also laughs at peek-a-boo, with an intense emphasis on the “boo.”

My bad mommy award moment happened the other week, just as C was getting decent at sitting up on his own for a few seconds at a time. I sat him down in front of me, then reached for my camera to take a picture. A second after I took my hands off him, he fell backwards like a tree, hitting his head on the carpet. Poor baby cried hard, probably more from shock than anything else.

He still isn’t fully stable sitting up on his own, but there has been marked improvement over the past week or two, and I know he’ll be sitting, crawling, walking (oh my!) in no time.

It’s really amazing to see Corban doing things that never seemed possible just a month or two ago. Babies grow and develop so quickly, and I feel privileged to watch it all unfold before me. Every time I see his sweet little lump of a body sleeping peacefully in his crib, I just want to freeze time so I can kiss his chubby cheeks, grab his soft toes and see that giant gummy smile every day forever. At the same time, I know each new stage brings new fun to be had, and I look forward to enjoying whatever comes next.

Separation

My oh my, these past two-and-a-half weeks have been full! They’ve been full of fun and love and excitement, but there’s been another theme as well: separation from my baby.

After my first week back at work, in which I spent two long workdays away from Corban, I then proceeded to spend my first night away from him. That Friday I headed down to Chicago to celebrate my friend’s bachelorette party. The next week, due to some unavoidable scheduling issues, I worked three days in a row, Monday through Wednesday, then Friday night I flew off to Washington, D.C. for another friend’s bachelorette party. That was two whole days apart. And of course this week I was back to work – only two days, Tuesday and Thursday.

Yeah, quick transition from being together pretty much 100% of the time to being separated for workdays, then nights, then consecutive workdays and then consecutive nights!

As far as work goes, I have to admit that despite that first day of bittersweet nostalgia, I am loving being back. It took me about two days to get back into the groove, but now I am rocking out again with lots of fun projects on the horizon. Back in December in those final weeks of work, I was so ready for the break. The combination of the approaching holidays, the winter weather, my intense workload and being very pregnant caused a bit of burnout. But after nearly four months off, I am once again excited about my job. Surprisingly, when I’m at work, I can’t help but think part time isn’t enough. Then, of course, on my days off I find myself thinking being home part time isn’t enough. I guess I couldn’t ask for anything more if I’m happy doing what I’m doing when I’m doing it.

It is hard to leave these sweet cheeks every morning though.

As for my overnight soirees, I was really nervous about leaving Corban overnight the first time. I worried that I’d be thinking too much about him and feeling too guilty to have fun with my friend for her bachelorette bonanza. Fortunately, I was way too distracted by all the fun we had to be able to think too much about it. The worst part, however, was pumping – especially after leaving the hotel at 6:30 p.m. and not returning till 4 a.m. Not exactly comfortable (but a fun night).

The whole pumping issue made me even more nervous to be away for 48 hours the following weekend. I was convinced I had made a huge mistake in choosing to leave Corban at the wee age of four months. Thankfully, once again my fears were eased once I arrived in D.C. and enjoyed a really fun weekend with my college BFF and her friends.

Pumping was inconvenient, but didn’t really put a damper on anything. I’ll write more on that in another post.

Corban was fine with Daddy (though there was some bedtime drama both nights… bottle just doesn’t soothe like the breast does).

While being away overnight wasn’t ideal (and I don’t plan on doing again anytime soon), I’m glad I was able to celebrate my friends’ special milestones with them. I’m also finding that being away from C during work can be a good thing. It’s tiring spending all day taking care of a baby! Work provides a productive break and makes me excited to get to spend time with him when I get home.

This definitely is a new stage, but it’s one I’m enjoying so far.

26 weeks

The weeks are flying by! Photographed at the parentals’ today.

Still putting off buying a good pair of maternity jeans, but I really should just pony up for a pair that fits well. These old jeans from an era when I weighed a bit more (freshman fifteen, anyone?) fit in the sense that they button, but they’re still too big in the thighs and are starting to get uncomfortable after sitting for a while. In fact, I had to unbutton them on the car ride to Naperville yesterday, and then forgot to re-button them before hopping out of the car at Bed Bath and Beyond. Awkward.

Overall, feeling pretty good, but it’s been a tiring week. I simply could not drag myself out of bed without at least 9 hours of sleep each day. It felt like the first trimester again. Baby is still kicking, but it seems like less than before, which makes me nervous. Sometimes I chug ice water just to wake him/her up and feel some movement.

This was a fun weekend though. Lots of special events.

Friday was Peter’s 28th birthday, so I planned a night out for us. We started with dinner at Harbor House (lovely view, good food, classy atmosphere and surprise flourless chocolate cake with sorbet and a candle).

Next, we headed to the Marcus Center to see the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra perform Beethoven’s Fifth. This was our first time seeing the MSO, and they were excellent. Unfortunately, me + a delicious dinner + the clock reading past 8:30 p.m. + soothing classical music + comfy seat = sleep. For the last 2/3 of the concert I struggled [really hard] to keep my eyes open. Not fun! I would blame pregnancy, but it probably would have happened regardless. Peter really enjoyed it though.

Since Peter is a proud Marriott elite gold rewards member (thanks to work travels) and we had a free hotel room to use up this month, we stayed at the Marriott Residence Inn downtown.

Last birthday before baby and we enjoyed it just the two of us.

[Thank you, Instagram, for taking a crappily-lit iPhone photo and making it look like it was supposed to be shot that way]

Saturday brought more celebration. My sister’s future in-laws threw a spectacular engagement party for them in Naperville, Ill.

[Lauren & Kevin]

Thankfully, my very favorite little black dress (that has seen me through many occasions over the past five years) works with the bump. Here are the bridesmaids:

[If I were smart, I would have ditched the heels by this point too. Still feeling the effects of them today…]

And today was yet another celebration. Lauren and I attempted to plan a surprise brunch for my parents’ 30th anniversary, which was last Monday, but we weren’t cunning enough to make it a surprise. So instead, it was just a nice homemade brunch with family.

On the menu: blueberry scones, lemon poppyseed bread, baked Denver omelet, baked cranberry oatmeal, fresh fruit and monkey bread. Winning.

3 years

Well, our Tucson trip put me a little behind (so worth it, though!) and there’s lots to blog about. But since I’m already a day late, first I have to acknowledge our three year wedding anniversary, which was yesterday.

Three years! We don’t do anything too crazy for our anniversaries, but we have our little traditions already, like writing about the past year in a special notebook we started on our first anniversary and exchanging the “traditional” gifts (this year it’s leather, and we haven’t actually exchanged gifts yet because we’re both procrastinators and haven’t bought them!)

But this year we decided to pretend Tucson was an anniversary trip (even though it really was a work trip for me). We went out for a fancy dinner – actually, two fancy dinners, but only one of the restaurants acknowledged our anniversary. The one that did was called Primo, and was located at the resort and run by a James Beard Award-winning chef. We had a sweet little corner booth that provided a cozy seat and some good, discreet people watching opportunities.

Dessert was chocolate heaven with a sweet message.

Then of course we had to do something special on our actual anniversary too. Peter’s idea of a fun date is watching the Cardinals beat the Brewers.

(Peter says I look mysterious in that picture. Maybe uncomfortable is more accurate – my belly is starting to interfere with sitting comfortably.)

A fun game – and oddly, our first time to Miller Park this season.

It’s hard to believe it’s been three years already since our wedding day. If there were a day I could relive again, it would definitely be our wedding day. It was about as perfect as I could have imagined!

🙂

I’ve got lots of updates for the rest of the week. Things are changing rapidly around here, or at least it seems!