Sunday, June 27, 2010

Mim and Papa are Coming

I am waiting for my parents to get here. Just sent Justin off to Young Life camp without me. I got to help check kids in for camp, but that is just not nearly as fun as attending with them. So, my parents said that they would come hang out with me while Justin is away. I am excited to have them come, but will be spending every down moment praying for the kids and leaders at camp.

Now, let's see what I can put on my "to-do" list before Mimi and Papa get here....

Still Got It

I still have a little juice left in me after giving birth to Macklin. This morning was the Eagle Flight Days 5k. I won last year but didn't expect anything of the sort this year. As we took off, I quickly realized that it might be possible. 21:45 minutes later, I surprised myself by holding on for the win. 3rd overall finisher behind one of my former runners (who ran for Western this past year) and another dude. I was pretty happy with my first race post-baby. I tried to find my time from last year but couldn't find. Always wanting to compare.

New title : Mommy
Maintaining my old title : Runner

Friday, June 25, 2010

Blue Ribbon Winner

So....after my playdate today....I saw an ad for a cute baby contest at the Eagle Flight Days. I thought, my baby is why not check it out. After telling Justin of my intentions, he said I could go on my own (haha). I headed over to Eagle with my future champion in tow. As I was getting out of the car, I started seeing babies everywhere! My competitive side started thinking...."Can I see that baby? Is that baby cute? Is my baby cuter?" It was so funny. Just like I would scope out the competition prior to races in college, I found myself doing the same thing as I was getting out of my car with Macklin.

Sidenote....The contest started at 5pm and I arrived with a happy baby at 4:45pm. Macklin had been super happy all day and I thought he was doing great, but not quite as smiley when I arrived.

Contintuing....I walk up to the tent where the contest will take place thinking "Am I really going to do this?" Then I rationalize that it is a community event and it is only right that one of the newest residents should participate! I walk over, sign my boy up and get a #6 sticker to put on his shirt.

I don't know how I thought it would all go down, but after the procedure was explained, I started feeling bad that I was bringing my son to this! There were 27 babies (under the age of 2) and we were to hold our child and walk past the table of judges. I think there were about 10 categories for which your child could win. Some of those categories smile, best eyes, biggest dimples, cubbiest feet, most vocal, best hair, best relative look alike, best swim wear, best hat, and best theme outfit. Each parent can decide which category to enter your child and then you line up, walk past the judges, and show off your child for each category. You can enter as many as you would like, but can only win a prize once. They did 1st, 2nd, and 3rd prizes.

At this point, I am still looking around at the "competition" and thinking about who will win each category (there was no "cute baby" category, just lots of little ones). I am just too competitive! I am also thinking about what category Macklin could compete in....He doesn't have much hair (if you would consider that he has any)....I think he looks more like Justin than me....His feet aren't really that cubby....He doesn't make any cool vocal noises on command....I didn't dress him in swim wear or the theme of the day....He has one tiny dimple on some occasions...I am feeling as though he only has a shot in three categories...eyes, smile, and hat. I brought this sweet hat from Tracy but that is just because I always have it with us to protect his head from sun.

Now it is 5pm and we are about to get started. Macklin is doing well, but I see that he is starting to get hungry. He should be ready to eat about now. So we line up for the "best eyes" round. After this, there are a few categories that don't apply, as explained above. Then, Macklin decides that it is really time to eat! I had put off nursing so that he could participate, but he has decided he is done. So, Macklin starts crying and as I am debating whether to feed him or try to calm him down, over comes the host of the contest and puts the microphone in his face. "We got a baby being vocal here!" (making my baby's cry heard by all those in attendance at the Flight Days!) I said, "I don't think crying because he is hungry counts as winning a contest about being vocal." She quickly replied, "Well, no other baby is making any noise."

So, Macklin went on to continue crying, louder and louder. I did not walk him by the judges for any more categories. I did feed my baby just a few minutes later. Since I was talking with a friend, was curious about the results, and still feeding my child, I waited to hear the winners. Many predicted winners and some surprises. "And for the next category, we only have a 1st place winner and no runner-ups. The winner of Most Vocal is Macklin Brandt!" I quickly stopped nursing him and grabbed his blue ribbon and $20 to the local toy store!

Looking back on this experience, I still feel kinda bad for imposing my competitive nature on my tiny son. Of course I was a kind competitor, saying how precious everyone else's kids were (and I mean it when I say it) and not showing my inner feelings. I did feel proud to take home some prize for my boy. I mean, I think he has the best smile and the best eyes, (what parents of a baby don't) even if the judges didn't get the chance to see them? There were some good things that came out of it....Mack did win $20 to the toy store. And, I did get to meet more people with kiddos in my community.

Bottom Line...Macklin has one more year to compete and I am sure we will be back next June!

-from the mom of a Blue Ribbon Winner

First Play Date

I went on my first play date today! It was so fun to be invited by Amanda, Kate, and Bren to join them and their 2-year-olds on a play date! I have learned that spending time with other moms is going to be key to my success as a stay-at-home mom. It is great to share stories and advice to make this new life as a mom not so foreign and lonely. I knew all of these ladies prior to MOPS (mothers of pre schoolers), but reconnected and spent more time with them while attending MOPS in May. I plan to join MOPS in the fall and attend throughout the next school year. It is a lot of fun and you get to meet awesome ladies like these! I told them that we had to take a picture since it was my first official play date (with many more to come!).

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Relaxing Back Home

It is nice to be back at home. Justin has guys coming over to work on our fence and I get to have Macklin all to myself...which is nice after a long trip to see people every day. So, here are a couple pics from our week.

Justin is using the baby carrier!
(see Baxter licking Mack's feet)

Rachael and Milaine came to visit! Love their sweet matching dresses.

Another bath for Macklin. He is such a happy camper. Think this might be his last bath in the "infant" sling. Guess I can't fill the water so high without it.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Adios Missouri

We made it back to Gypsum!!! It was a fantastic journey through the mid-west and we appreciate everyone who made the effort to hang out with us and meet Macklin. Last night we stayed with Tim and Ann Rulo in Fulton, MO after stopping by to see Emily (Greeno) Berendt in Jefferson City. These two visits completed our trip!

I met Emily when I was teaching my first year at Jefferson City High School. I call her Greeno still even though she is married now. I kindly refer to Greeno as the only friend I made during the first year of life in the real world. I was working in Jefferson City and living in Columbia, MO. I spent so much time teaching and the rest of my time hanging out with Justin as my new hubby! I knew we were going to move to CO the next year and just felt like I was in a very transitional phase. Well, all of the teachers in the JC Math Department became my buddies! I loved talking with Greeno as we shared stories about class situations and curriculum work. I know I will continue to talk with her as we progress through teaching.

Justin really appreciates Tim's friendship and looks forward to any encounters with him. Tim and Justin work together leading Young Life in Mid-Mo during college. Tim is now a head football coach in Missouri and Just loves to hear how he leads his team and encourages young men. Ann is always refreshing to visit as so is so welcoming. After we left, I was thinking that I have really only hung out with her a handful of times (ever) but I feel like she is a good friend - partially because Justin likes Tim so much but mostly because she is such a good listener and so inviting to be around. So, thank you both for an awesome visit.

Greeno with her baby and me with mine!
Tim, Dave Kemna, and Justin
Ann holding baby Mack!

And so the STL journey ends. It was a great.
But, I am not sad to say....

Monday, June 21, 2010

Thank You Don and Kathy

We are continually blessed by our families. Our parents have been so gracious to us and we appreciate them so much. From helping us move, to providing us with an education, to cleaning for us when they don't ask, to just plain loving us, we know we can count on them to be there for us any time! Don and Kathy are especially generous to us and we can't thank them enough.

Justin's dad was going to get a new truck so he decided to trade trucks with us and trade ours in to the dealer instead of his current one. So...we had a 2000 F-150 and now we have a 2004 F-150. Don got a fancy new 2010 F-150. So, lots of Ford trucks in the family! We are so thankful as the 2004 doesn't have air leaks, water leaks, and a huge cracked windshield!

Grandpa Don and Mack

Kathy loves her grandson Mack!

Hopefully we will see you guys at Thanksgiving!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Justin's First Father's Day!!!!

Happy First Father's Day to Justin!!!!!!!
We had a great day today with the Schlottachs and the Brandts on Father's Day. It was a special day, being Justin's first, but also Don's first Grandpa-Father's Day! Justin played golf with his dad, his uncle Jim, and his cousin Adam. Justin always says that it is hard to win at a game you play only once a year. I think Jim and Adam won every hole of their scramble...sorry to my hubby and father-in-law! But, while they were finishing up, Adam's fiance, Leslie, along with Kathy and I took the kids to the Franklin County Country Club pool. It was so much fun to take Macklin swimming for the first time! He lasted for about 45 minutes and then started fussing. As soon as I took him out an wrapped him up, Macklin feel right to sleep! He was tired! We headed back to Don and Kathy's after the pool to hang out with the Schlottachs and the Brandts for a little evening meal. It was perfect!

All the Brandt men sporting plaid shorts!

So fun to play with Mack! Love his little hat, thank you Tracy!

Justin reading his Father's Day card from Macklin!

Happy Birthday to Leslie!

Taking a snooze with Gus

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Future Buddies

Kenny (Martin's dad), Martin, Pierce, Macklin, Justin, and Don (Justin's dad)

After the wedding tonight, we headed over to Justin's dad's house to meet up with the Schlottach's. Justin's buddy Martin Schlottach's (Kathy Schlottach's nephew) wife just had baby boy 4 or 5 weeks ago. So baby Pierce Jackson and Macklin got to play together. Martin and Justin grew up riding 4-wheelers together and playing out in the fields of New Haven and Owensville, MO. I am sure our boys will enjoy playing together as they grow up as well!

Afternoon with the Kleekamps

This afternoon Macklin got to meet the rest of the Kleekamp family that he did not meet on Thursday. Great-grandma Kleekamp got to feed him his bottle and he played with Great-Grandpa Kleekamp. Justin's Aunt Lori finally got her chance with Mack, as she had waited patiently since Thursday. It was fun to see everyone and then we headed off to Candance Swartz's wedding with Kathy. It was get to see some of Kathy's friends and hang out with Justin's cousins Lena and Suzanne!

Hanging with Papa

Macklin got to hang out a little more with my dad before we took off this morning. It was so sweet to see them together. Mack was so relaxed that he fell asleep while they were watching the US Open. It is clear that Macklin likes golf just as much as I do! (sorry dad)

Sprague's Gathering

Another group gathering so people could meet Macklin! It was awesome. My parents have been hosting gathering since we have been freshmen in college. At first it was a Thanksgiving party so everyone could say hey when we were on college breaks. Then they turned into Christmas gatherings when there wasn't enough time at Thanksgiving break. Now they are just whenever we have time!

These gatherings have gone through transitions over the years. At first, we were college freshmen, just off on our own and loving it. Then, we got adjusted to college and enjoyed sharing all the memories. When someone first got engaged, I can remember the joy that surrounded those events. Then came the summer of weddings. So fun to see everyone and their spouses. is kids! There were 6 kids at my parents house for this event. The only one not pictured was the Olivastro's baby Luca. It was such a blast. I guess the next phase is multiple kids! AHHH!

Just hanging with my brothers!

Matt Bear and his daughter Theresa, just over a year
Me with Macklin, 2 1/2 months
Katie Berger with her daughter Samantha, just over a year
Katie (soon to be Muschler) and her son Logan, 8 months

Marie (Franke) Dukeshire with her boy Owen, almost a year I think (not quite sure)

Yah, Paul Zuke holding Mack!

My favorite picture of Mack and Kevin

Hanging with Papa

Macklin got to hang out a little more with my dad before we took off this morning. It was so sweet to see them together. Mack was so relaxed that he fell asleep while they were watching the US Open. It is clear that Macklin likes golf just as much as I do! (sorry dad!)

Friday, June 18, 2010

Our New, Slower, Life with Macklin

We were hoping to get out of the house today and get some things done before helping my parents get ready for the party at their house tonight. I had put Macklin in the swing while we were doing some things around the house. I went to grab him to get him ready to go, and what did I find???? My son sitting in a puddle of poop that escaped from his diaper. He was happy as a clam, but I was yelling in disgust that I had just put my hand in it as I tried to pick him up! So funny! Needless to say we did not get out to run our errands right away. We gave Mack a bath, cleaned the sink after his bath, cleaned off his swing seat cover......then we got out of the house.

I think this has been the biggest thing that we have learned as new parents....nothing gets done quickly. Being the serious multi-tasker, on-the-go kind of girl that I am, you would think that I would be very annoyed by this new lifestyle. But, honestly, I have taken it in stride. I kinda see it as a new challenge each day - a challenge to plan ahead and be prepared for the unexpected. Everything is a game to me. But it is all about adapting to life with this new little man that I am crazy in love with.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

BBQ at Grandma Kathy's House

This is the Varga's new grandbaby Samuel. He was only days old at the party!

We had a great BBQ at Grandma Kathy's tonight. It was a fun gathering for her to have all of her neighbors and friends come to her house to meet little Macklin. He was a hit!

Side note: I love to dress my child! I never really like playing dress-up as a kid, but I sure do now with him!

Cardinals Fan Already!

I just love this tiny hat!!!

I Still Love Baxter....

I love my dog Baxter. Part of what I love about him (not that he eats the middle out of my underwear or that I have to keep the trash cans covered, but..) is that he is super fluffy! He is so soft and has this great shag look about him. As summer is here and the tempreature is rising, Baxter is getting hotter and hotter. A few weeks ago he couldn't finish a run (I think) because he was too hot. So, we have already been talking about getting a hair cut for him. While we were in St. Louis, we decided to go for it!

This is how the discussion with the groomer went down...
Me - "Well, I am kinda nervous about getting a haircut for Baxter. This would be his first."
Groomer - "Well, let's take a look at him."
Me - "I was thinking maybe a one or two inch puppy cut. What do you think?"
Groomer - "The only thing I can do for this dog is shave him."
Me - "What (crying inside, wanting to run out)? I brush him every other day. Why?"
Groomer - "He is so matted that I can't get a brush down to his skin. You can have him shaved or never get a hair cut."
Me - "Ok. I guess we just have to do it." (still crying inside)

So, below is the before and after. I don't like it, but it is growing on me. Justin HATES it and said "If I knew my dog would ever have the chance of looking like this, I wouldn't have gotten him!" It will grow out and I will brush him correctly so this never has to happen again.

Baxter, I am sorry you are shaved, but I think you will feel better and...I still love you!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Hanging Out with Mack's Uncles

Hanging out with my brother is one of my favorite things to do in St. Louis. I was so eager to for them to meet Macklin last Saturday and get to hang out with their new nephew. So, yesterday was even better as they got to spend some more time with him.

Kevin quickly learned how slow life is with the Brandts. He was ready to roll at like 10am. I called him at 10:30 to tell him we were on our way. Then, we get there, and I have to feed Mack again. Then I burb him. Then I change a diaper. So....12:30 and we are finally ready to go! Kevin was gracious but a little annoyed that he had taken the day off of work to hang out and we were barely ready by 12:30. Anyway, we headed to John's house after a quick, but crazy rain storm canceled our zoo plans.

At John's, we enjoyed just hanging out. Olivia thought it would be fun to put Macklin in one of her doll cradles, so I said, "what the heck, couldn't hurt him." Well, he didn't get hurt, but it was a bit small and Mack did not like it after a bit. But it made Liv's day.

After another yummy meal with Jackie, Liv, John, and Kevin, we headed out. Just one more great day with the brothers!

Such a sweet pouty face!

Uncle Kevin looks great!

Proud Uncles!

Macklin Can Hold Toys!

My boy can hold toys! It was a great day today! We were playing with him and could put things in his tiny hands and he would hang on to them. It was so cool. My mom had these tiny little toys that are supposed to go on your feet so they can kick them around, but they were perfect for him to hold at this age.

But, this little play time also raised lots of questions in my mind....Have I ever really tried to put toys in his hands before this? I mean he is almost 11 weeks old and I haven't tried to have him hold toys? How do you know when they are ready for new steps and skills? It's almost like his clothes....I put him in the clothes that say his age, then I get to the next set of clothes and he is already too big for them. I feel like I am a bit slow on some of these growing-up type things. I think moms are better with the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc kids.

My conclusion....the first kid is just one big experiment
and you pray you don't mess them up in the process!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Luca + Macklin = BFF

First off, seeing my boys in the morning makes me so happy! It is such a blessing to watch Justin be a father!

On our first official day in STL, we headed over to the Olivastro home to meet Luca. It was so fun to see Jarett and Jaime and meet their precious little man. I can't wait for a future of our boys playing together. Next play date...on the beaches of CA in August!