Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Chance Meeting

Last summer when I started PB & J Day I had no idea who would come. Lots of mamas were invited, emails sent and prayers asked. The Deforest Splash Pad was one of our first play date locations. It was a new discovery, looked awesome and I hoped others would come to enjoy.

A few months prior I delivered a meal to a new mama; she went to my church but we had never met. The doorbell rang as I stood there balancing a bag, cake and gift. A warm smile greeted me and instantly my inner voice said, "yes we will be friends". After a couple minutes of small talk and a quick baby snuggle I left thinking "wow I just met a new best friend".

Fast forward to that summer at the Deforest Splash Pad and she came with her baby. Lots of mamas came, kids ran through the water, sprinted around the park and it marked the beginning of lasting friendships. This random mama who I delivered a meal to is no longer random, instead a best friend and at the splash pad one year ago she met another best friend. Two mamas who had never met introduced themselves and a friendship started.

(July 2010 & June 2011)

Yesterday we went back to the splash pad, reminisced, played and photographed the memory. Ahh such great memories, can't wait to make more and see new friendships start!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

One Year Later

Here I am, one year later and once again amazed at how God works. A few months after Paceler's birth as I was completely sleep deprived and ready to crumble, my mom stumbled upon a blog and shared with me. This super trendy, high on life mama with one precious little girl gave birth to her second daughter who unexpectedly has an extra chromosome. Sweet Nella was born with Down Syndrome and her mama blogged about that experience and continues to document their life in an artistic, breathtaking way.

(Picture by Kelle Hampton)

For many this blog is too much, overwhelming and unrealistic but quite the opposite for me. I became inspired, encouraged and challenged to live out every moment making unforgettable memories. As I continued reading, diving deeper into a strangers life a wave of jealousy hit me hard. She has an outstanding group of friends, some that gather just for playdates, some she catches up with at the park and others she does every day life with. They've picked her up, shown her the positive when she couldn't find it and love her simply for her.

I wanted that. I've always wanted that. A group of mamas sharing stories, challenges, asking questions and supporting each other. Kids playing together, learning to share, discovering what it means to be a friend, have a friend and love a friend. One year ago I met a good friend of mine for lunch. We don't see each other as much as I would like but when we do God uses that time, uses her to mentor me, speak to me. As I whined on and on about how wonderful this blog mom had it with her group of besties, girls she can count on and how I longed for this so badly my friend touched my hand gently. She said, "you can have this, pray hard, believe that God wants this for you and make it happen. Start a playgroup. Get to know other moms, pray for those people, open yourself up to these moms and trust them."

Wow, one year later I sit on this same white couch with that same lump in my throat and eyes welling up with tears. One year later I am part of a fantastic playgroup that my kids and I adore. One year later I have met new people whom I love. One year later I continue to be inspired and pray to inspire others. One year later my family is still the best, the ones I must have to survive. One year later I have a few close friends whom I need in my life, they have been essential to my mamahood, my every day life and I am thankful.

One year later I am amazed, God is Good.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Featured Mama

Each week we will feature an amazing, marvelous mama. You will get a peek into the daily lives of other local mamas, see pics of their family and learn some fun facts. This week we feature...

Amber Jensen

~Age- 28 yrs
~Birthday- September 28th
~#2 profession (mommy is #1)- I am a freelance photographer/photojournalist, and I shoot for various publications in and around Madison. My family and I recently moved here from Springfield, Missouri where I worked as a staff photographer/multimedia reporter for the local newspaper. We moved back to Wisconsin to be closer to our family. I get to spend more time with my son, and still continue to do what I love. My website is (I continue to use my maiden name, Arnold, for work purpose).

~Names/Ages of Kiddos-
Sage Nicholas, 2.5yrs
~Favorite Nap time Pastime- I love to knit and enjoy the silence while Sage is napping, but I am typically working at my computer.
~Guilty pleasure food item- Milwaukee’s dill pickles don’t stand a chance in this house! Unfortunately they’re also a favorite of my husband and son.

~Most Challenging Hour of the day- Running errands are typically the most challenging time during the day. We are at the point where Sage doesn’t want to sit in the cart, but what other options are there? My iphone comes in handy on those trips. All moms need the shape builder app!
~Favorite Baby/Child Product- Ergo baby carrier! We’ve used it from birth to present, although now it’s worn like a backpack. It is the only way we can bring our dog, Abner, to the dog park or do any hiking for that matter.

~Blogs you like, follow or have- Filth Wizardry has some fun crafty ideas
~Favorite local place to take kids- We love going for hikes and exploring new territory close to home. There is so much beauty to this area. “60 hikes within 60 miles” is a great book!
~Your mommy style in 3 words- Enjoy fresh air: going outside always makes me feel better!
~Etc... Since this is my first time staying home with Sage, it has been wonderful to have such a great group of moms to talk with!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Wedding Weekend

Enjoying my baby sister's wedding weekend! I have so much to post but not enough time right now, catch up with you Monday.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Mama's Night Out

Our Tuesday night Mama's Night Out was fantastic filled with laughter, stories, adventure and sweet cupcakes.

Every Tuesday the Glitter Workshop does a "Make & Take" and this week the tables were lined with moist cupcakes, piping bags stuffed with oreo frosting and a variety of pretty toppings. I have never really decorated cupcakes before but learned some easy techniques to make them look professional.

After decorating and a bit of shopping at Glitter we headed downtown for a delicious dinner and a rainy yet pleasant walk on State Street to my newest favorite place...Campus Candy. It was amazing, every kind of candy imaginable. They even have four ice cream flavors you can choose from and then get to use the entire store as a toppings bar, yes it is true!

I for see another Mama's Night Out at the candy store...

Enjoy this gloomy Thursday, stay in your pj's and get ready for a fun day at the park tomorrow.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Featured Mama

Each week we will feature an amazing, marvelous mama. You will get a peek into the daily lives of other local mamas, see pics of their family and learn some fun facts. This week we feature...

Jenna VanderVelde

~Age- 24 yrs
~Birthday- November 17th
~Names/Ages of Kiddos-
Gavin 4 years
Grant 2 months

~Favorite Nap time Pastime- Blogging or napping with the kids.
~Guilty pleasure food item- Sweets, all kinds!
~Most Challenging Hour of the day- Between 1-2 or 8-9pm. These are the hours both boys fight sleep!

~Favorite Baby/Child Product- I really love our peg perego stroller and Bumbo.
~Blogs you like, follow or have- I love blogging, I've been blogging (our family blog) since May of 2008 and since then there have been so many blogs that I've enjoyed reading.

~Favorite local place to take kids- Henry Vilas Zoo
~Your mommy style in 3 words- Modern, Casual, Chic
~Etc... I would love to own a boutique someday! I love trying new things. I also enjoy snowboarding!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Fresh Fruit

It wouldn't be summer without a variety of colorful, delicious, fresh summer fruit. We kicked the week off heading to a friend's house for a fantastic lemonade stand. The mamas may have been a tad more excited than the kiddos but the little ones loved waving at cars, pleading for customers to stop and jumping up and down when some of the daddies, aka best customers ever, pulled up. After two hours in the sun we piled in the car bellies full of sweet lemonade, sticky fingers and heavy eyes.

As our fruit week continued we delivered lemon cookies to neighbors, took our weekly trip to the Mackenzie Center and spent time with cousin Rowan.

The week ended with PB & J Day picking red ripe strawberries. U Pick Strawberry Farm welcomed 15 moms and about 30 kiddos with big smiles showing us where to find the good berries, being patient as kids unintentionally crushed some of the plants and fed the goats way too much corn. To my surprise there were no major meltdowns, injuries or stressful situations. All the kids loved running through the field looking for red berries with most of them coming out dripping with strawberry juice and faces stained a nice color red.

***Strawberry Pictures courtesy of PB & J Mama...Amber- check out her website

Can't wait for our Mama's Night Out next week where we can chat, catch up and relax a bit without little ones pulling us away. Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Up Next

Each group of friends has their share of roles. Everyone comfortably falling into place finding their specific role. As seasons of life change and friendships evolve roles tend to shift and sway but always settle nicely. I am incredibly blessed to have an amazing group of friends who love me and my family.

In my circle of friends I am, as you probably guessed, the organizer. It's in my blood to organize, plot out the details, put the plan into action and in the end come out with a successful event. I am usually the one to organize play dates, game nights, coffee chats and more. At times I've wondered if this annoys others or if maybe my friends don't want to hang out since I am the one always initiating it but then I realize that is just silly (well I hope:)

We are all moms doing our best to juggle a full to-do list and if my gift is organizing social events well then that is what I will do! Every person has their specific gift, role in the group. There's the host making everyone feel comfortable, the prepared one who has a magic bag filled with everything but the kitchen sink, the decisive one deciding when no one else will, a laid back go with the flow kinda person reminding all to relax and oh so many more.

I love each and every role so thankful for them all. Although I am generally the organizer I can also be the relaxed one or the host. Organizing comes natural to me but sitting back and letting someone else is also fulfilling.
What is your role in the group or family? Use your gifts, enjoy your friendships and love your role.

In true organizer fashion I have another fun event on the calendar. Up Next...
Mama's Night Out!!!
~Tuesday June 21st, 6pm
~Glitter Workshop for Make & Take, dinner to follow.

See you Friday for Strawberry Picking!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Featured Mama

Each week we will feature an amazing, marvelous mama. You will get a peek into the daily lives of other local mamas, see pics of their family and learn some fun facts. This week we feature...

April Britto

~Age- 31 yrs
~Birthday- May 7th
~#2 profession (mommy is #1)- I went to school to become a teacher; something I always wanted to be. I graduated from UW-Oshkosh in 2003 with an elementary education degree with an emphasis in Spanish and ESL, teaching students learning English as their second language. I have been in the education business for 6 years now. I first taught at an elementary school in Green Bay working in a bilingual program, later I team taught in a 3rd classroom for a couple of years. After that I had the pleasure of working with gifted and talented kids in Houston, TX for 2 years teaching Spanish. Currently I am teaching 2 morning class periods of 7th grade Spanish in Sun Prairie, part-time, I love it!

~Names/Ages of Kiddos-
Caleb 15 months
Our 2nd is on the way due end of December!
~Favorite Nap time Pastime- Currently taking a nap due to my preggo status. If I have energy I like to scrapbook, read, watch HGTV or some kind of "before meets
after" program.
~Guilty pleasure food item- Puppy Chow & Sweetart Jelly Beans

~Most Challenging Hour of the day- Between 4-6pm. After Caleb's nap if we don't get outside right away or if momma is tired we have a less than exciting dinner time...trying to prepare dinner is challenging especially with a little one under foot whining.
~Favorite Baby/Child Product- Johnson & Johnson Vanilla and Oatmeal body lotion; I just love the relaxing and soothing smell of it. I am also a fan of Boogie Wipes for those extra runny nose days.

~Blogs you like, follow or have- I am new to the blog world and just started my own called, Just Sayin'.
~Favorite local place to take kids- I really love the walking/jogging trails around our home. It is fun to listen and watch Caleb talking and pointing to birds and trees. We really like our little club house in the backyard too.
~Your mommy style in 3 words- Sporadically Trending and Practical
~Etc... Carlo and I are planning our baby-moon for the end of August! It will be our 4th anniversary at the end of July so we decided to take a little trip before the newest member of our family arrives! Potential Destination: Mackinac Island, Michigan. Anyone have info, stories or details???

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Green Thumb

I have never had a green thumb and have no desire to garden. My mother-in-law loves gardening, has a beautiful yard and has done most of our gardening. I enjoy how pretty and peaceful gardens are but just don't like the outdoors enough to put all that time and energy into a garden.

However my husband has been talking about a vegetable garden for a few years now. Honestly I think he should have been born in Amish country or something, he is all about living off the land, eating locally grown foods and being self sufficient. I go in phases, jump on board for a while and then fall back into my place of liking the outdoors because my boys do, eating organic when possible and picking my battles.

A vegetable garden was not worth battling about so we now have fresh green beans sprouting up. I love green beans and am excited (don't tell him) but am participating in gardening by taking pictures and encouraging the boys to help daddy. All this inspired our garden theme this week and we sure had fun. A garden tour at Oma's house, played in the water because everything needs water, played hot tomato, painted with potatoes, planted grass, played pin the flower on the stem and made hand print flowers.

Maybe someday a green thumb will appear but for now I'd rather use my thumbs crafting indoors!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Get Over It

I have one of those minds that never stops, honestly it is going 24/7. Thoughts race through my mind all day long, I map out conversations, play a variety of scenarios, plan parties and pray continuously. I can never remember if I actually told my husband the weekend plans, funny stories from the day and updates on family/friends or if I just told him in my mind. I used to work in my sleep, dream up new themes, events and schedules; I have created new Poplin products while snoozing and even solved problems.

Generally my overly active mind is fine, I know how to handle my thoughts, move on when needed, analyze at times but lately I find myself a bit lost. Being at home now full-time is awesome, I am incredibly thankful and enjoying each day but haven't quite figured out what to do with all these thoughts. Yes my two high-strung, passionate (Nama's word for them), loud, energetic little ones keep me on my toes but I am always thinking. I need something to think about and plan to occupy my mind, keep it on focused and positive. A Poplin Party, boys birthday party themes, ways to be more efficient with chores and money saving tips have helped but many of my recent thoughts are focused on my body.

Maybe cause it's summer and shorts are a daily uniform or I am in the bathroom more (drinking more water is one of my at home goals), who knows. I am not so naive to think I would always look the same, weigh the same and have a closet filled with the same clothes but my body is different. Different than before, different than what I am used to, different from what I would like.

Some of the random body thoughts scrolling through my mind...
  • I am running every other day yet don't feel toned.
  • My stomach is flat yet not tight.
  • My legs won't get any thinner no matter what.
  • If I eat that bowl of ice cream I will have to get up at 5:30 to run.
  • I won't eat anything sugary or unhealthy today so I can have junk this weekend.
  • I really need some chocolate right now- maybe brushing my teeth with help?
  • My clothes are the same size as in high school yet nothing fits the same.
  • I am much wider than before.
  • Why is my chest flatter than a 12 year olds?
  • How can I weigh the same yet look different?
  • I am 26yrs old now, maybe my metabolism has slowed down.
  • I need to be in the best shape and as thin as possible before having a 3rd child.

Just some of the crazy thoughts rolling around in my mind. I am not obsessed with my appearance, have actually been embracing the no make-up look and have no problems running into the post office looking like a wreck but I do care. I want my husband to stay attracted to me, I want my kids to have a healthy mama, I want to be the put together mom casually roaming the zoo with quiet kids staying next to the stroller (ok that is not realistic at all).

(ready to have Trexen)

In the end though I need to get over it. My body is strong, healthy and yes different. God blessed me with two pregnancies where my body stretched, moved, shifted and delivered healthy baby boys. I won't look the same as I did in high school, college or at my wedding but that is ok. Those two little boys who have had much to do with my different body don't care, Trexen hears his daddy call me pretty so he does, the touch of my hair instantly soothes Paceler even if it's undone and they just want to be with me, my different body and all.

Embrace your post-baby body and get over it!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Featured Mama

Each week we will feature an amazing, marvelous mama. You will get a peek into the daily lives of other local mamas, see pics of their family and learn some fun facts. This week we feature...

Kim Lapacek

~Age- 29 yrs
~Birthday- April 15th
~#2 profession (mommy is #1)- I may have 3/4/5 professions. First, I graduated from UW Madison with a degree in civil engineering. I worked in my field until I retired at age 25 to stay at home with Cedi and have Capri a few short months later. For three-ish months of the year, I am an owner/operator of the apple orchard – Lapacek’s Orchard. The other 9 months I watch my kiddo’s and work on my crafty business (quilts, bags, hand dyed clothing and other fun sewn items) and The Apple (jewelry). I have a problem sitting still and doing nothing so I try to have lots going on so I avoid this problem.

~Names/Ages of Kiddos-
Mercedi Rose 4 (dob: 11/29/06)
Capri Grace 3 (dob: 2/24/08)
Persimoni ‘Pip’ Mae 0 (dob: 4/28/11)
~Favorite Nap time Pastime- Sewing/quilting/creating
~Guilty pleasure food item- Chips!

~Most Challenging Hour of the day- The first hour when everyone is awake – still trying to figure out how to feed all three mouths at the same time.
~Favorite Baby/Child Product- right now – my moby wrap for Pip, the adjustable roller skates for Cedi, and anything that is ‘buildable’ for Capri

~Blogs you like, follow or have-
My blogs:

My favorite parent blogs:
http:// LOTS of kleenex ready when you read Matt's story...)
~Favorite local place to take kids- Ella’s Deli, Bouncy Town, Prairie Athletic (swim lessons) the park in Morrisonville

~Your mommy style in 3 words- One Beer Mom
Favorite Spot to Buy Clothing for the girls:
Handmade:, Commercial: Old Navy

I HATE buying shoes for the girls! I swear – I buy them and then they grow out of them before they have a chance to wear them – ridiculous!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Friday Already

When your first thought out of bed is "how can it be Friday already?" you know the week was successful. We had an extremely busy week kind of throwing off our good balance and routine but filled with all fun stuff. Our building theme week kind of lacked however. I wasn't quite sure where to take the theme from the beginning, holiday Monday shortened our week, PB & J day at the zoo and then some alone time for grocery shopping didn't leave us much time for building.

We managed quite a few forts, stacking (and eating) mini marshmallows and artwork on a giant cardboard box.

The zoo was crazy busy, little ones, chaperons and teachers everywhere. Didn't stop us from having a good time though, the kids were fantastic and enjoyed the animals.