Monday, December 31, 2012

every good and perfect gift.

we had an amazing holiday season this year- our first as a family of three.  everything felt different because we have bennett.  my excitement came so much less from my own anticipation of the holiday celebrations and so much more from watching bennett enjoy his "holiday firsts."  joe and i have talked a lot about traditions lately.  traditions have been big in my family since i was a little girl, and have always made christmas feel special and magical.  so, even though bennett is only an infant and will not remember his first christmas, we wanted to start some of our own family traditions this year.

on the friday night before christmas, we all got in our pajamas, got hot chocolate, and drove around looking at christmas lights.  bennett (who obviously did not have hot chocolate) fell asleep within minutes and joe and i proceeded to critique the straightness of lights hung on the eaves of different houses.  *magical, right?*  the sunday before christmas we celebrated with the wienke side of the family.  we opened gifts, played with the kids, and ate yummy italian food. 6 adults, 3 kids, 2 babies, and 4 dogs makes for quite a busy house, but we had a great time. its not all that often that everyone gets together, so we fully embrace the chaos when we have the chance.  on christmas eve, we drove to my parents' house in chanhassen and had chicken and dumpling soup.  we put bennett to bed and then watched home alone with my parents. such a classic.  ("buzz, your girlfriend.  woof."  L.O.V.E. it!)  christmas morning, bennett had so many presents under the tree!  i'm fairly certain, at least if speed of present-into-mouth is any indicator, he loved them all, but he's liked his musical puppy from uncle ryan and auntie jeanie the most.
cousins!  bennett and whitney
i love this picture!  bennett trying to eat whitney- she looks so scared!
opening presents!
we had pillsbury cinnamon rolls, a tiffany family tradition, for breakfast and then basically loafed around all day.  in the past, we've gone to a movie in the theater on christmas day, but decided that it might just be too much of a challenge with bennett. so, instead, on christmas night we all (joe, me, bennett, my brother, ryan, and his wife, jeanie, and my mom and dad) watched the cartoon "how the grinch stole christmas."  the next morning, my mom and i shopped all day (starting at 7am!) while joe hung out with my dad and bennett.  i'm guessing joe and ben will have an annual "boys' day" on the 26th from now on!

my boys
then just this last weekend, december 29th and 30th, we went to hudson, iowa to see my mom's side of the family. hard to believe that last year we announced we were having a baby and now we have a smiling, kicking, rolling, almost crawling little man!  we stayed with my grandma and grandpa and it was good to catch up with them.  my great aunt beverly (my grandpa's brother's wife) passed away on december 28th after four long years living with alzheimer's.  it was a blessing that she's in a better place now and it was nice to reminisce about beverly with my grandparents.  also, we were lucky enough to get to spend some time with my cousin amanda and her husband beau who were in from denver.  amanda has been one of my very best friends since we were little (we are 2 months apart in age) and beau and joe have settled into quite the bromance.  we don't get to see them nearly as often as we'd like so it was fun to catch up with them.  my aunt stacie and uncle jay (amanda's parents) hung out with bennett while amanda, beau, joe and i went out to old chicago.  it was nice to have a night out and have good conversation and lots of laughter with them.  on sunday we celebrated christmas with my mom's family.  after we ate a big meal, we all went around and said what we praise God most for this year, which was a really meaningful reflection for all of us.  health, safety, good jobs, time with family, healed relationships, anniversary celebrations, new babies, and peaceful goodbyes were among the praises.  we are a blessed family.

very focused
love the books from beau and amanda!
me, amanda, and bennett
"every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." -james 1:17

i'm thankful, and i'm praying for health, happiness, and a year of growing closer to God this year.

Thursday, December 27, 2012


i make new year's resolutions [almost] every year.  and (as you might guess from my first post) i follow through with them [almost] never.  but, alas, i keep making them.  there's just something about that "fresh start" feeling.  it's like when you're on a diet and you throw in the towel over the weekend with the justification that you'll start over on monday.  as if there's something magical about monday.  wait, you don't do that?  just me?  huh...

anyway, this year i've been thinking about my resolutions.  obviously the "lose weight" resolution stands.  after all, it's tradition.  at least this year i've gotten a head start... i've now officially lost all the baby weight, and i'm hoping to keep trending downward.  i've been doing weight watchers online since about six weeks after having bennett.  it's worked well for me- i can eat what i want within my points allowance, so i feel like i can have a normal life and don't have to only eat certain foods.  just call me jessica simpson.  oh wait, no, she's pregnant again.  DO NOT call me jessica simpson.  beyond that, i'm resolving to be more organized this year.  i'm kind of an anal freak about organization at work.  touch stuff on my desk, and you're on my list.  my very organized, task-specific, time-sensitive post-it list, to be specific.  but at home, it's another story.  i don't know why i have split personalities when it comes to organization at work and at home.  (thank goodness i work at a mental health clinic, right?)  but, this year, i resolve to be more organized at home.  it will alleviate some stress and make being home more relaxing.  in fact, i've already started; yesterday i bought a wrapping paper storage bin.  that's progress, my friends.  my third resolution is to get more "financially fit," in the words of dave ramsey.  joe and i have mostly been following the plan we started when we did financial peace university at church a couple of years ago, but we've definitely slacked as of late.  so, back to the envelope system and a latte-free life.

of course, i could come up with about 8,000 more resolutions (send more cards, wash my hair more regularly- ha, exercise at least once in the new year, blah blah blah), but i think i'll stick with those three for now.  bring it on, 2013.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

santa. baby.

joe and i have been talking a lot about whether or not we will do santa with bennett. thank goodness we have time before we need to land on a decision, considering that bennett is not even six months old yet! on one hand i have incredibly fond memories of santa-related things from when i was a little girl: setting out cookies (actually chocolate cake with fluffy white frosting in our house- you're welcome, dad), milk, and carrots for santa and the reindeer; the butterflies in my tummy that kept me awake from the anticipation of santa and the sleigh landing on OUR roof and coming down OUR chimney; and the wide-eyed wonderment when i'd wake up and run downstairs to find TONS of presents under the tree and stockings stuffed to the brim. you can really only have that childlike awe and innocence for so long... on the other hand, christmas is about jesus, plain and simple. god sent HIS little baby boy into the world to save us and have a relationship with us. THAT is what joe and i want ben to know and someday put his faith in. faith requires believing without seeing. can santa help teach faith, or does it teach that believing without seeing eventually seems foolish once he learns the truth about santa? we haven't quite decided. is it possible to incorporate santa into a jesus-focused christmas? if you know how, let us know!

i think we will still get bennett's picture taken with santa this year. does it make me a bad mom if i *kind of* hope he cries on santa's lap because it makes for a funny picture? don't judge.

update: after waiting nearly 2 hours (saturday before christmas after dinnertime = new mom fail), seeing santa was a success. no tears. ben was completely intrigued by santa, his beard (real, by the way- bennett checked ;), and the bells on his arms. the picture turned out cute. so overpriced. but worth it. safe to say this will be an annual tradition.

merry christmas!

in front of our christmas tree 12.22.12
bennett and santa 12.22.12

Friday, December 21, 2012

the first blog post. but not the last. probably.

it may come as a surprise that i'm starting a blog.  it will likely come as more of a surprise (to me, most of all), if i continue a blog.  anyone who knows me (or has ever checked my pinterest) knows i'm not great at following through on projects.  for example, i have multiple half-done knitting projects.  our christmas cards were ordered, purchased, and addressed, but have yet to be sent out (ps it's december 21st). bennett does not have a baby book, though i've saved everything in case i ever decide to do one.  nor does bennett have monthly adorable photos in a white onesie with a sticker depicting how many months old he is, though the stickers have been sitting in my online etsy shopping bag since before he was born.  you get the point.  so, here goes nothing.  i'm hopeful (as i am at the outset of most endeavors) that this one will be the one i stick with.  no promises.

a quick review of the last [almost] six months...

bennett james wienke was born on 07.06.12.

first family photo!

july 6, 2012. 11:52am. 7 lb. 8 oz. 21 inches.

the most amazing, most painful (pre-epidural, that is), most exhausting, most joyful, most exhilarating day of my life thus far.  well, maybe not most exhausting.  i haven't slept through the night a single time since then, and actually even before (can we say squished pregnancy bladder?).  regardless, that day our world was rocked in the best possible way.

since then, our thoughts have been consumed with diapers, gummy smiles, cries, sleep schedules, spit-up, coos, sandra boynton books, and (let's face it) breast milk.

our little man is growing C.R.A.Z.Y. fast and some days i wish i could just push pause.  i'm trying to soak it in as best i can, but i can't seem to shake this sinking feeling that time is passing me by far too quickly.

joe and i celebrated our third wedding anniversary on 09.04.12.  i think i'll keep him around at least another year.  but seriously, i'm so blessed to have him as my husband and teammate in life.  what i'd do without him, i hope i never have to find out.  he makes me laugh, and i'm a better person because of him. i'm sure he'd say the same of me (ha).

the three of us live with our buddy, george, in our tiny little townhouse in hugo.  while it may not look like much, i get unbelievable joy from my life here everyday.  so, stay tuned.  on the edge of your seat.  for updates [fingers crossed] on the crazy, beautiful life we lead.