Wednesday, November 30, 2011

On Being A Mother

There are a lot of great motherhood quotes out there, but I recently (as in five seconds ago) came across this one from Kourtney Kardashian...

Being a mother is powerful, selfless and beautiful.

I know everyone isn't keen on the Kardashians, but I love Kourtney. She's bright, fashionable, and seems to be a really good mom. I see in Kourtney a lot of what I've experienced as a mother... more confidence, seemingly super-human drive, and a greater sense of self.

My friend Maggie recently gave thanks for all the changes motherhood has ushered into her life. Being a parent isn't always easy, but from what you give up, you gain so much more.

As a mother, I care significantly less about what other people think. I stand by my decisions. I'm unapologetic (unless an apology is warranted). I'm more respectful. I care more. I connect with loved ones in more meaningful ways. I take charge. I'm more accountable. I'm more flexible. I don't take things personally. I'm always putting someone else's needs first. I understand the importance of self care. I show more empathy to others. I set goals and stick to them. I'm more purposeful. I'm amazing.

In any given day, I sleep less and do more. I am powerful, selfless and beautiful. I am a mother.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Pumpkin pie with pumpkin mousse and candied pecans. Yum.

Food is an immensely powerful experience for me. I love what a shared meal represents: family, friends, fellowship, and a full stomach. While it's always a treat to have someone cook for you, I especially love cooking for other people. Or better yet, cooking together. Which is exactly how we do Thanksgiving at our house.

In the 18 hours since I have been home, my mom showed me how to make perfectly pinched pie crust, my sister helped me bake a beautiful pumpkin pie, we both helped my mom make her famous Thanksgiving stuffing, and now we're all sitting around as the turkey bakes away. It's heaven.

Wishing you an equally wonderful day with friends and family. Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Year of Thanks

I recently read 365 Thank Yous: The Year a Simple Act of Daily Gratitude Changed My Life. In this memoir, author John Kralik chronicles his efforts to write a thank you note every day for an entire year.

I was really struck by the concept, and I decided to do something similar (although modified) within my own life. A thank you note a day is a bit unrealistic for me, but a thank you note a week is certainly doable. So I'm launching my own thank you note project, which I'm calling a Year of Thanks.

Starting this week, I will begin writing one thank you note a week to someone (a friend, family member, coworker, professor, neighbor, store clerk, barista, librarian, anyone really) who has done something to make a positive impact in my life, no matter how big or small. I will be chronicling my progress here, writing a brief description of who I thanked week by week.

It is my hope that between this Thanksgiving and next, this project will help remind me of all I have to be thankful for.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

On Wisconsin!

Ben and I are proud University of Wisconsin alumni. I think we both secretly (or not so secretly) hope Will will attend our alma mater when he gets older. But we also know it's his life and his decision, so we'll support him regardless. As long as he doesn't go to Ohio State. Or Michigan. Barf.

Though Ben and I have season football tickets, we haven't been able to get to many games this year. After an awesome season start, the Wisconsin Badgers faltered a bit in the last month. Luckily they're back on track and on their way to earning a spot in the first-ever Big 10 Championship Game! Woot!

Here are a few shots of our Badger baby cheering on his favorite team...

Monday, November 14, 2011


Did I mention he likes to feed himself?
Yogurt is his favorite 
He gets so excited to eat
And he's so proud of himself 
Note the yogurt in his hair
And his short attention span

Saturday, November 12, 2011

14 Months Old

Copyright Lanari Photography (2011)
Dear Will,

Once again, this letter is so overdue. You turned 14 months back in October, so I am writing this over 35 days late. Luckily, I keep lots of little notes about your development, so I am actually able to remember what happened and when.

Despite our early worries about talking, at 14 months you said your first real words! You now say "Mama", "Dada", "Milk", "Up" and "Hush", and you're adding new words each and every day. You also know lots of animal sounds, including "moo", "baa" and "neigh".

The weather has been beautiful this fall, so we've been spending lots of time outside. You love to watch the sky for airplanes and birds, run through leaves on the trails by our house, and take "nature walks" with Grandpa Jeff. Another favorite outdoor game is to throw rocks from our landscaping into the downspout and watch them roll to the ground. You giggle and laugh, collecting them all from the pile at the bottom, putting them back in the landscaping, and doing it all over again.

Your favorite toys this month are your finger puppets, blocks, fire truck "book" (it's a book with wheels on it), and dump truck. You also love your tupperware drawer, filled with lots of plastic kitchen tools from Nana. You like to help Mama "cook", pulling out bowls and spatulas and pretending to stir.

You are turning into quite a confident walker. Daddy and I joke that you have one speed: fast. You run everywhere, and love being chased.

Daddy taught you how to be a "muscle man", so you now flex your arms when prompted. You get this goofy little grin on your face when you do it, and your little fists shake from flexing so hard. You're so cute!

You love snuggling on Mama and Daddy's bed. You like to bury your face in the covers and pillows, and wait for us to tickle you. Somehow you and Daddy started playing this game where you'll crawl to the edge of the bed and fall off into his arms. He'll scoop you up and playfully toss you back into the covers. You giggle and laugh, sitting up and crawling to the edge to do it all over again.

You got your first molars this month, which made for lots of drool and few really long nights. Despite your teething pain, you were generally a good sleeper, taking monster morning naps (up to 3 hours!) and typically sleeping for 11 or 12 hours overnight.

You've started a bit of an independent streak, insisting on doing many daily tasks yourself. You want to put your pacifier away (it always stays in your crib), hold your own spoon, buckle your own shoes, etc. There's also no getting you to do anything you don't want to do, which means that you throw quite a tantrum when you don't get your way. Right now, your tantrums are generally short-lived and adorable. They typically involve you throwing yourself on the floor and crying, but after a minute or so you pick yourself up and toddle over to me for a hug. As I often say to you, "it's so hard to be the baby."

Perhaps the biggest change in your life this month was that Mama went back to work part-time. You now spend three days a week with Grandma Julie, which you both love. I miss you terribly when I'm gone, but I know you're happy and well cared for. If I can't be with you, I'm so thankful that Grandma can.

Sweet boy, you are my everything. My whole world, and the light of my life. Raising you is my greatest joy and accomplishment. I love you, now and always.



Thursday, November 10, 2011

Let It Snow...

Look who was super excited to see the snow yesterday! It wasn't Will's first-ever snow fall, but it's certainly the first one he's really noticed. He spent the entire day at the window and the patio door saying "no" (snow). He loved it!

The weather outside is frightful, but his smile is so delightful...

Thursday, November 3, 2011

More Halloween Fun

Just wanted to share a few shots from Will's first time carving pumpkins! I don't really enjoy carving (it's too messy and my designs never turn out), but it was fun to sit back, take pictures, and watch Will and Ben have fun.

Scooping pumpkin guts
I got this, Dad!
Is this edible?
Getting messy
Messier still 
Inspecting his handiwork

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Music Flash Backs

I listen to Pandora at work most days, and today I had a series of crazy music flash backs. You know, those moments where a song transports you back to a specific place and time. Where the memory feel so real that you swear you are living it all over again.

I just kept getting these songs over and over today. Among them...

1) "Fast Car" by Tracy Chapman. My roommate Emily and I practically had this song on repeat our entire freshman year. It always makes me think of Sunday study sessions on our gnarly black futon.

2) "Breathe" by Faith Hill. This is the song that was playing when I kissed my high school boyfriend for the first time. It was after junior prom, before he was my boyfriend. When I hear it, I swear I can still feel the scratchy toile of my prom dress.

3) "Wonderwall" by Oasis. Vegas. Spring Break. 2005. My girlfriends and I were obsessed with a cover band that played in our hotel, and they sang this song every night. I can't help but smile when I think about that trip.

4) "Come Away With Me" by Norah Jones. This was our wedding song, but it's had special meaning to Ben and I for a long time. When I hear it, it's like a continuum of memories... from flirting (ahem, studying) at my apartment in college, to his arms wrapped around me in my wedding dress.

Do you have any songs that provoke an intense emotional connection? It's such a powerful experience for me. Crazy to hear so many in one day!