Theo: 4 months old!

Dear Theo,

My sweet Theo Theo- you are 4 months old! Yes, I call you Theo Theo all the time. Just rolls of the tongue. :) Anyway, today we had your 4-month well check so I wanted to get a quick post up to document a few of my very favorite things from this month.

To start, you are quite the proportionate little man.  You weighed in at 17lb 7.5 oz (85th percentile). You are 26 inches tall (83rd percentile). Your noggin measures 17.5 inches (85th percentile). We all have giant heads, so you're in good company!

Multiple nurses and our doctor commented on how calm, content, and sweet you are today. "Is he always this happy??" The answer is YES. We hit the jackpot with you kiddo. You are sweet as pie and just go with the flow.  You make me smile so big my cheeks literally hurt on a daily basis. I cannot believe we are lucky enough to call you ours and I thank God for you each and every night when I kiss you goodnight.

Speaking of sleep, you're still in our room. I don't want to move you one bit.  Logistically, we need to replace the baby gate that your dad ripped off the wall when he slipped down the stairs a couple months ago before we can move your brother into his toddler room. Then we could, in theory, move you into the nursery. But I just love having you close! We'll see what next month holds.  I should probably head over to Amazon and re-order a baby gate...

I think you're going through your 4-month sleep regression because you've started to want a 3:30/4 a.m. snack.  It's not a big deal at this point, but I do look forward to those full-night sleeps again. We had our first 2 night getaway this month and you were a champ at grandma and grandpas. I missed you like crazy but I'm thankful you take bottles well and my supply is keeping up so we can pick right back up when we're together. 

You have amazing head control and we've busted out the Bumpo seat for you to sit up and see the world. You love standing up in our laps and you have the craziest grip. It's so hard to peel your little fingers out of my hair, off my shirt, or my fingers.  You are still ridiculously ticklish. It's so funny. You cough-laugh because you just can't even handle it. You also love when we play with your legs and feet, helping you do little exercises and dances.

You are doing a great job at daycare. You take your bottles like a champ, play, nap and charm the ladies. You are a huge flirt.

You are starting to get your daddy's brown eyes. They're still blue around the edges but I'm sure that'll change soon too. You have dark brown hair and a ridiculous hairline in the back where you've rubbed your head completely bald except for some fringe at the bottom.  I want to cut it but your daddy won't let me. ;)

Your brother Duke loves you so much. He sings to you, freaks out if we forget to let him kiss you goodnight, brings you a million toys, kisses you, tries to pick you up, etc. You've started to follow him a lot more too- I love watching you light up when you see him!

You are my favorite 4-month old in the whole world kiddo. I simply adore you. You're growing way too fast but I'm truly soaking up every second I get with you, rarely putting you down if I have a choice. Love you to pieces my Theo Theo.

- Mama T -

Dear Trish...a letter to my college self

I am constantly reminding myself in this season of life with little babies to slow down and enjoy the moments. The good, the bad, the crazy. Because it goes by so quickly and things are never quite as bad as they seem. I spent years of my life worrying away the hours and now that I have a little perspective, I wish so badly I could go back and tell my younger self to CHILL OUT and just enjoy the ride. If you're in college now and reading this, please take a little of the advice I wish my college self would've taken! 

Dear Trish,

Relax. That's right, you heard me. Relax. You think that life is busy and complicated and challenging right now- and from your perspective, it's definitely a lot different than living with mom and dad. But in a few short years, you'll be married with 2 babies, a full time job, volunteer obligations, yearning for a mom tribe (and getting closer to building one every day), juggling life as a wife, mom, daughter, sister, and friend- and feeling like you're mediocre in at least 3 of those areas every single day.  You will experience love and joy beyond anything you've imagined. You'll have a pretty good handle on your anxiety and a lot more confidence in yourself. Motherhood will be your favorite thing.

But while you're there, apply for more scholarships. Look up as many as you can find and just apply!  Take out a little extra in student loans if you have to. I know, I know, the D word makes you want to crawl in a hole and die right now, but trust me. You have years to pay those down, and only 4 short years to be in college. You could also consider refinancing them. By doing so you can have smaller monthly payments and even pay them off sooner than expected.  Win/Win! But don't take out that credit card senior year. It starts a dangerous little shopping habit that will take you far too long to payoff!  Save some money- a little bit along the way and skip the credit card.

Go out with your friends. Work a little less, stop skipping class, meet new people. Volunteer. Check out that new restaurant. Go to more basketball games (the hype video will always give you chills). Tailgate at more football games (the Jayhawks will suck every year except 2007, but the tailgates are always fun!). 

Experiment with cooking. Cook more with Lindsey and eat fewer pokie sticks. Scratch that, pokie sticks are delicious and I think they go out of business when you go back to visit in a few years. Just don't waste so much money on food. Enjoy all that free coffee...your addiction started when you walked in the doors of J&S and coffee will continue to make you ridiculous happy for years to's just not free anymore. 

Don't put up those walls. Stay open and maintain connections with more of the amazing women you met freshman year. Oh and if it's freshman year, break up with that guy you're dating. He sucks. Stick to meeting new friends and nurturing those relationships. The guy you're gonna marry is in Colorado and he's wonderful. 

Study abroad for a whole semester! It's going to be expensive but make it work. You go to London senior year for a couple weeks and you'll fall in love with it- do a semester!

So turn the TV off, get dressed and get out and have some fun. You'll be up in the middle of the night a lot more in a few years but it will be for very different reasons! Enjoy this season of life. Because even though you didn't listen when people tried to tell you before, it truly is just a season of life, and you'll miss it.


You in 10 years

4th of July Celebrations

This past holiday weekend was a 4 day weekend for both Dennis and I and we made it an amazing one! 

Before moving back, I came home nearly every 4th of July weekend for as long as I can remember because my nieces birthday falls on the 7th and the 4th of July usually guarantees a great river weekend!  You can read all about last year's festivities here

We kicked off our weekend on Friday night with dinner and drinks at my parents house to celebrate my first week of work. My dad built a sandbox for the kids and they were in heaven!

On Saturday morning, Dennis had to work so I packed up everything I thought we could possibly need for an afternoon and evening on the river. Some great family friends have a beautiful cabin that they invited us to for a huge party they throw every year. I baked some chocolate chip cookie bars for the potluck dinner and had the boys sufficiently lathered in sunscreen and in their swim trunks by the time Dennis got off work. We drove out to the cabin and within minutes we were loaded up on the pontoon heading to the sandbar. Duke really enjoyed the boat ride, but hated the waves the boats made when they drove by the sandbars. We had an amazing afternoon playing in the sand and water, getting sufficiently sun kissed, and introducing Theo to the river life. He was an absolute champ and hung out safely in the shade smiling away and dozing on and off. We headed back later in the evening for dinner and fireworks and then loaded up our crew to get everyone in bed way past their bedtime.

We all slept in on Sunday morning and had a very lazy start to our day. We took the boys to the pool in the afternoon with my parents and finally got Duke to warm up to it! My mom had him going down the slides and turning all of the sprayers on and off over and over again.

On Monday, Dennis and I dropped the boys off at daycare and had the entire day to ourselves! It was absolutely amazing. We went to brunch, hit a bucket of balls at the golf course and saw a movie before scooping up our babies at the end of the day. We talked in complete sentences, dreamed a little about future plans and laughed a lot. Just enjoying each other's company without distraction for an entire day was pure perfection and hard to come these days. For those curious, we saw Wonder Woman and I honestly loved it! I enjoy most super hero movies but after hearing a ton of good reviews on this one, I really wanted to see it in theaters and I'm so glad we did!

On Tuesday we were ready for all things red, white, and blue. We had another day at the river planned so we packed things up, made a liquor store run and hit the road as soon as Duke woke up from his nap. By this point in the weekend he was practically putting on his floatie himself on his way to the water! We spent hours soaking up the sun, drinking plenty and enjoying time with my amazing cousin who took all of us and our stuff around on the boat and gave us free reign of her beautiful little river cabin!  One of my favorite parts about the river is you never know who you are going to run into you on the sandbar, but you are guaranteed to run into lots of friends and for us, lots of family. They had a huge tarp turned into a slip n slide down the sandbar into the river and I gave it a go once...I may or may not have bruised my tailbone but it was worth it. 

We opted to skip the fireworks because they freaked Duke out pretty bad on Saturday and headed home around 9 to bathe the babies and get them to bed. We have about 4 lbs of sand in our shower to prove it was a weekend well spent!  Hope you all had an equally wonderful 4th of July! 


Giving Back

I'm doing something a little different in today's post, but stay with me! Most of you know I started a job in nonprofit last year.  I had never worked in the nonprofit industry before, and I hardly donated to anything unless a GoFundMe caught my eye on Facebook.  Sad, but true!  I have learned so much in the past year and started including donations in our budget to make sure we are giving back to our community and causes that are important to us. I'm also on the board of the local United Way and have been completely humbled by the work that this organization does as well as the tough decisions that have to be made when you look at all of the organizations who need money vs. the actual money you have to work with.
I'd love to hear from you and the ways you give back below in the comments section.  Here are a couple of organizations we like to support:
United Way

I mentioned that I'm on the board for our local United Way, and I have to admit that even though my mom used to be President on the Board, I had no idea just how much the United Way supported my local community.  From meal programs, shelter, creative programming for kids, senior citizen support, and more, the United Way raises money to help support a wide variety of community needs.  To see a list of the organizations we support, you can go here. I am so thankful to be learning more about the impact that we can have and I'm running a special fundraising effort for the month of July in conjunction with my Rodan + Fields business.  I will donate 20% of all sales in the month of July to support this organization!  Now you can get great skin AND give back. Win win!

University of South Dakota

While USD isn't my alma mater, it's always been a special place to me! My grandpa Beanie coached football here and was the Athletic Director.  My grandpa Moose was always a huge supporter and incredibly involved with the athletic programs.  My dad and a couple of uncles all proudly wore their red + white on the football field and I grew up going to games.  Obviously working for the USD Foundation has given me a completely different perspective and insight into just how much these donated dollars change the lives of the students that choose to go here.  I'm partial to athletic programs and student athletes right now, but will also start to include donations to the English department soon...cheers to liberal arts majors!

St. Agnes Church + School

I attended our local Catholic elementary school growing up and we love this Church.  We don't go as often as we'd like to, and last time was a bit traumatic (ha!), but our faith is very important to us so we try to give back when we can!
Hugh O'Brian Youth Leadership
I attended the HOBY world leadership conference when I was in high school and I cannot say enough good things about how this organization helped to shape me as a leader today.  I met some amazing people and still keep in touch with some of them, including my team leader Jacie. She is still very involved and I try to support her area (Cal-Central) when I can. And of course, HOBY South Dakota is where I got my start!

If you're interested in checking out ways to get involved with other nonprofits or host your own non profit event, go here

Happy Monday friends! I'll be coming back this week with Theo's 3-month update and a 4th of July recap. For now, Dennis and I dropped the boys at daycare and are having a day date!

2 under 2

I've had quite a few people ask me what life is like with 2 under a recently. A couple of them had their first kiddos around the time I had Duke or earlier so they were surprised to see me with another one already. We've also gotten some funny not so subtle comments from people like "you're going to wait awhile before the next one right?!" I shrug it off because it's silly when people think they deserve to have an opinion about when or how we build our family, but I couldn't help but think about these past few months as I tried to answer those who were genuinely asking because they are about to embark on the same crazy ride.

At this moment, 2 under 2 looks a lot like this for us:

My arms are always full. Someone always needs something from me. That's not a bad thing, just a fact right now. I have 2 babies. Duke might be a big brother, but he's not a "big kid". He's BIG in size though...:) He communicates with us very well in his own way but he doesn't say a lot of words. He can't sit still for very long and when he needs his mama, he needs his mama. One thing I have tried to do from the very beginning was always try to give him what he physically needs. If he wants to climb up in my lap while I'm nursing, I hoist all 30 pounds of him onto the couch with one arm. If Dennis is home we trade back and forth depending on who needs what but when I'm on my own I really try to make sure neither one of them is missing out.

Duke absolutely adores Theo. I think he's young enough not to get jealous or see Theo as someone taking attention away from him. Instead he sees him as his little buddy and frequently tries to pick him up, give him kisses or rub his head when he cries. He gets so excited to find him in the mornings and is surprisingly gentle with him. Sometimes he forgets and tries to sit on his lap...or head, but for the most part, gentle head rubs for the win!  I posted a video on Facebook recently where Duke was singing to Theo and rocking his Rock n' Play back and forth. It was the sweetest!

I won't pretend to be an expert but I will share a few things that have worked for us and made this transition go a lot better than I expected it too!

  • GET OUT- get out of the house and get out of your head! The calmer you are, the calmer your babies will be.  I am admittedly quite the homebody, but we HAVE to get out of the house to be happy.  It can be overwhelming to think about with 2 little ones, but it's so important. We are fortunate with the weather right now where we can get outside so Duke can be a little crazier but we go to restaurants, the pool, stores, etc. all the time too. I generally scope out an escape plan just in case sh*t hits the fan and we have to bolt, but even if we do, it's still worth it.  We also set up a lot of fun toys and activities outside so I can be sitting on the porch with Theo while Duke plays in the sandbox, goes down the slide, or dumps all of the water out of the water table.  He loves his new golf set and throwing toys for Capone that Capone never fetches.
  • Get one on one time in whenever you can.  This certainly isn't groundbreaking advice but I quickly started to notice our evening routine was 10x smoother when Duke got some solo mama time immediately after getting home from daycare.  It doesn't always work...if Theo needs to nurse, he needs to nurse! But if Theo can hang out in his bouncy seat for awhile while I give Duke some undivided attention, he listens better and is much more patient for the rest of the evening.  He gets mama snuggle time with his milk before bed and Theo is usually sleeping on my chest or sitting in my lap from the time Duke goes to bed to the time Theo and I go to bed.  This gives me 0 time to myself when I'm not at work these days but it's temporary and I really need those snuggles!
  • Try not to forget about your husband. I spent so much time thinking about how Duke would react to being a big brother, that I totally forgot about how having 2 kids would impact my relationship with my husband.  It seems monumentally harder to carve out time for the 2 of us now, but it's probably equally as important that we do it. I posted about our day date and we have some fun 'adult only' trips and evenings coming up in the next few months and I'm so excited. I make a conscious effort not to spend the whole time thinking about how much I miss the boys and focus on my main man.  We both always walk away happier and give each other a lot more grace in the days/weeks that follow. 

This season of life is absolutely crazy and we truly love it. I'm so thankful for all of my boys, Capone included, and I'll take the crazy any day as long as I continue to have endless snuggle buddies. Happy Hump Day!
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