Sunday, April 3, 2011

Gunka! Hello? Gunka!!??

Sam had a visit this past weekend from his Uncle Ricky...whose name is now simply "Gunka."  Talk about a little boy falling in love with his uncle...these two were inseparable all weekend.  When he wasn't leading Gunka around by the hand to whatever toy or area of the house he preferred, he was calling his name at the top of his lungs, to be followed by an ear-to-ear smile and a simple, quiet, "hello!" and wave of the little chubby hand.  And the yellow school bus Gunka gave to Sam as a gift?  With him at naptime, bedtime, rides in the car, trips to the grocery store, brunch at Walker Brothers...with no end in sight.  I fully expect there to be a disappointed little boy tomorrow morning when he runs to the guest bedroom door...says "knock knock!"...pounds on the door as hard as he can...and yells...(you got it)..."Gunka!!!"

In other news, I am proud to say our house is finally stomach-flu-free.  Been a long couple weeks.

In other other news, I am happy to say we finally have agreed upon a boy and girl name for Baby K-2.  T-minus-3 months.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Viva Las Vegas

Soooo, Vegas is not exactly the optimal place to go when you're 6 months pregnant and feeling the size of a house.  It seemed like every woman I saw was absolutely beautiful.  Brad and I discovered something new we have in common - gaping at said women.

Two years ago, our "Babymoon" before Sam was born consisted of a week in Naples, FL, at a family-friendly hotel where there were plenty of moms in tankinis and non-supermodel-shape so I didn't feel like a beached whale as I sat in 3 inches of water in the beach-entry pool. 

This time, not so lucky.  During the one day of pool weather we had, I was fortunate enough to be lying on a chair next to one of the tanned, tight-abbed supermodel types.  Nothing like a good exercise in juxtaposition.

So we stayed at the Encore (new hotel owned by the Wynn), and it was gorgeous.  It amazes me how decadent and gorgeous these hotels are, smack-dab in the middle of the desert.  There were so many beautiful decorations that I couldn't help but snap a few pictures on my phone of some potential decorating ideas for the house.  We're slowly but surely getting the house furnished...not quite decorated yet...but certainly furnished. 

(I am slowly becoming obsessed with do-it-yourself decorating blogs...and for some reason, I feel it completely reasonable that I should be able to easily master a mitre saw in order to add decorate trim and chair rails to every room in my house.)

There were two arrangements of blown glass flowers that were absolutely stunning.  They were in the windows of a shoe store and were made by a local Vegas artist.  Take a look at the pictures and imagine them to be 10 times more stunning in person...




So I got on the artist's website and emailed them for pricing.  I thought, "ok, they're probably going to be $5k and Brad and I will get a good laugh out of it."

I just got their response this afternoon.  Each sculpture is $25.  Thousand.  Not hundred.  ??????

I wonder why they're still for sale??

Next item on my to-do list:  Scour Etsy for blown glass flowers and a cool vase.
And shop for shoes at the shoe store next time.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Hello Again, My 16 Followers...

Well, hello there...long time, no blog.  I got myself all excited to start this thing back in the early fall, and then I abandoned it a few short weeks later...but I had good reason, I promise. 

(And let me state for the record that I realize the lovely fall leaves background is grossly out of date...I will update soon.)

So I spent the months of September and October going through the process of IVF...and am happy to say we are expecting baby #2 in early July (or late June as I like to predict).  I cannot tell you how much I respect and am thankful for this wonderful process that gave me not only our first bundle of joy, but now our soon-to-be-second.

My first trimester was no walk in the park.  All I could THINK about was the nausea that had taken over my body, and so I quickly became pretty silent on the blog front because I wasn't sure I could write about anything else.  And as the nausea passed around the holiday time, the blog habit was broken and...kinda like going to the gym...I had to get back into a routine.

(I also didn't want to be that girl who just blogged about her pregnancy the whole time...though I can't really promise it won't come up at times.)

Soooo, with no further adieu, let's get that whole blog-about-my-pregnancy thing out of the way now so we (I) can move on from here.  And now...ramblings of a pregnant working mom:
  • First trimesters suck.  The only thing that made me feel better was eating, so that's what I did.  To the tune of 55 total pounds the first time, and I'm well on my way this time as well.  Yippee.
  • I love feeling the baby move and kick and roll around.  Nothing like it.
  • As I walked down the aisle of the plane today when I was flying back from Vegas with my husband (another story for another time), I had to turn sideways so my butt didn't hit every person I walked by.  Fun times.
  • We're not finding out the gender.  That was the best surprise ever the first time.  And yes, that kills my Type-A-personality.
  • Why are girl names so hard??
  • I will pay any amount of money for oils and creams to help me avoid stretch marks.  (And please don't tell me these are ineffective and that they are genetic...I don't want to hear it.)
  • I am making it to the gym several times per week for the past few weeks now...and secretly am hoping this helps me NOT outgrow my maternity Joe's Jeans that are feeling a bit too tight for my liking.
OK.  There you go.  In all, I feel great this time.  And I feel blessed to be adding to our little family in the burbs.  And happy to be back in the blogging world.

PS - Speaking of the burbs - there are TWO houses for sale in our neighborhood.  I've proclaimed myself the new "welcome-the-new-neighbors-to-the-hood-because-nobody-did-that-for-me-and-I-refuse-to-believe-our-neighborhood-will-suck-forever" committee.  So there.

PPS - Thank you to all the lovely people in my life who said they missed my ramblings.  xoxo

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Lucy, We're Not in Omaha Anymore

Thanksgiving is definitely one of my favorite holidays...I treasure my memories of my huge Italian family gathered around the table in Nana & Pompa's adorable house...kids running around playing hide and seek...adults playing a game of Trivial Pursuit surrounded by pumpkin pie, lemon meringue pie, apple pie, cupcakes with homemade chocolate frosting and stuffed with whatever is in the middle of a Twinkie but ten times better, and anything else that Nana decided to whip up in her kitchen. 

Today's the day on which my Facebook site blows up with all my friends talking about what they're thankful for.  I used to avoid this thank-fest, but I'm feeling compelled this year to partake in the fun.

So, without further adieu, here are the things for which I am thankful:
  1. Little, wet, puckered-lip, open-mouthed kisses from Sam when I say, "Can Mommy have a kiss?"
  2. Brad's dimples and contagious smile that Sam was lucky enough to inherit
  3. My new job (as of May), where I work for an amazing manager and look forward to going to work every day
  4. That "going to work every day" consists of walking downstairs with a cup of coffee into my home office and occasional visits by Sam
  5. That Brad cares so much about taking care of himself and going to the gym everyday for this reason: "I want to be around as long as possible for you and our family and not miss a minute."
  6. My huge Italian family back in Omaha
  7. My amazing in-laws here in Chicago (it's weird to think of them as "in-laws," honestly)
  8. My renewed motivation to start writing and finally put on "paper" that novel I've been writing in my head for years now
  9. The process of in-vitro fertilization and Dr. Brian Kaplan of the Fertility Centers of Illinois for giving us our handsome little guy
  10. I hate to admit - The "Man" Cave, where I'm lounging on my leather recliner this very minute
  11. The amazing grandparents in Sam's life (near and far) and how he lights up when he sees them
  12. Lucy the Boxer and the way she seems strangely human
  13. My two bestest friends back in Omaha (H & D), and the type of friendship where it's as if no time has passed when we talk, and no judgement or hard feelings if it's been waaaay too much time  (and yes, I know "bestest" isn't a real word)
  14. Reconnecting a lot more with my two bestest friends from high school (E & K), and having people with which to share reeeaalllllly old memories
  15. The happiness my brother and sister have found with their significant others
  16. My grandparents (Nana & Pompa) celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary today - and the fact that I'm flying out on Saturday to surprise them at the family celebration
With all this thankfulness, though, comes a sense of sadness for me as I envision the whole Omaha family gathered around the dinner table today at precisely 5pm...the turkey mixed with the homemade Italian yumminess...the laughs and stories and sense of comfort that comes with being around people who have known you your entire life.  I am so very thankful for all the years I was able to be there...but so sad to miss it today. 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

It Starts With a Man Cave...

I enjoy television just as much as the next person.  My DVR is full of episode after episode of the Real Housewives of [insert-city-here], Dancing With the Stars, anything with a Kardashian, Brothers & Sisters, Desperate Housewives, Glee, Modern Family and the occasional episode of Pit Bulls and Parolees. 

(You are correct to assume I do not watch TV to further my mental capacity or knowledge of worldwide or countrywide or citywide affairs.)

However, an interesting debate has ensued in the Palooza house regarding placement of TVs in different rooms.

Currently we have a nice plasma and/or LCD in our family room, bedroom and workout area (for P90x of course...hmmmmm, I wonder where those DVDs are?  More on that soon enough).

Now, Brad insists on creating a "Man Cave" for himself in our basement.  The electronic elements are being installed as I type.

(What is it with the epidemic of the Man Cave?  I've heard so many men recently proclaim they NEED this room.  OK, we'll let you have your Man Caves.  Deep down, we secretly really like the idea of the huge TV, comfy leather couches with drink consoles and surround sound up the wazoo.  We'll even let you feel like you designed it, picked out paint colors, etc.)

Then one day I came home to find a large 32" flat screen sitting on half of my kitchen counter.  I soon found out Brad thought it was just the perfect place for this "free" TV we got with the purchase of above-mentioned leather couches. 

(Side note - a smaller version is being installed on the kitchen WALL today as well...though I'm happy I will not be sharing counter space with it, I'm still not exactly sure who won that battle.)

And now we have that "free" TV sitting on the floor of my home office, waiting to find its permanent placement.  I'm just waiting for Brad to proclaim we should hang it in the Man Cave so he can watch as many sports games as possible.

How many TVs does one house need??  Or rather, how many TVs does one man need??

OK gotta run...DWTS just booted off Bristol Palin.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Sweet Dreams (or not)

Why, oh why must I have a recurring dream that I've spaced off an entire semester of a college course and realize it the week before finals???

Not kidding - I have it at least weekly.  Last night, the pesky class was a writing class...I had to write some sort of story or report or something within a matter of a couple hours in order to pass the class.  (I blame my new blogging habit for this one.  The pressure is immense, you know.)

The funny part is...I was such a goody-goody-4.0-GPA-student that I barely ever skipped class!  I bet I could count on my ten fingers the number of these occurrences. 

Some versions of my dream have me trying to read an entire textbook in a morning...some have me trying to sneak into a small classroom with the professor saying "I'm sorry, do we know you?"...or "Miss Setlak, thanks for finally joining us!"...some have me literally thinking "OMG!  It's Wednesday and I once again completely forgot to go to XYZ class!"

If I would have been a more avid class-skipper, would I be less haunted by these annoying dreams today?  If only I would have known.

I also repeatedly dream that my teeth are falling out. 

I can't say I prefer one over the other.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!

So Halloween at the Palooza house offered up a few interesting moments.

But first, a word about our little boy's second Halloween adventure.

Sam decided to dress up as a lovable little lion this year...ok, we decided for him...obviously 16-month-olds don't have THAT much decision-making power.  Actually, that's not true, either...he decided to take his costume to a whole new level by being the "cowardly" lion...he must know my family has an affinity for The Wizard of Oz. 



Needless to say, the costume didn't stay on for more than five minutes.

Instead, Sam and I sat just inside our front door on the welcome mat and waited for Trick-or-Treaters to come trotting by.  Every time a group would walk up to our door, Sam would drop the Charleston Chew he was gripping in his hand (so tightly that it was creamy mush), stand up as fast as he could, and bang his hands on the glass door screaming something that sounded like "eeeh eeeh oooh eeeeh!" in the highest-pitched voice you can imagine. 

All the Trick-or-Treaters commented on how cute he was.  (Duh.)

Until one little girl saw Sam grab the Charleston Chew back in his warm little hand and toddle away from the door to see what Lucy the Boxer was up to.  She was sifting through our candy bowl (as I held it), and grabbed the last Charleston Chew.  She then asked "Do you have another Charleston Chew?  My mom really likes them."  After a quick shuffling of the candy, I said, "Nope, looks like you got the last one!"  She looked at Sam, gave him a look that totally said "As if YOU need that Charleston Chew," turned around in a huff and walked off.

Since when did Trick-or-Treaters become so entitled?  And snobby?

(And trust me, little whatever-you-were-dressed-up-to-be-because-it-obviously-wasn't-memorable, you don't want that warm vanilla nougat from Sam's hand.  I did you a favor.)

Oh and the other fun part was when several neighbors would say, "You're new to the neighborhood, right?"  And I would say, "Yes, we moved here in May."  And they would say, "Yeah, we've seen you walking around."  And that was it.  No introductions, no "welcome to the neighborhood," no nothing.

(And if you see us walking around the 'hood, come out and say HI!  Because guess what - we're not going to come knock on your door to introduce ourselves when we see you peering through your blinds.)

And the last Halloween tidbit...my personal favorite...when a mom came up with a pumpkin bag and said "Trick or Treat...my son won't get out of his wagon so I'm here for him."  After allowing her to take a Kit-Kat and Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, my mother-in-law put it best when she said, "There is just something wrong with that situation."