Wednesday, March 27, 2013

don't you dare stop.

i didn't want to go to the gym on monday, but i did anyway. and i'm glad i did. mostly because i got a really good workout and felt better afterwards. but also because i met janice. actually, i don't know what her name is. but she looks like a janice. or a roxanne. anyway, janice was the teacher of the class. picture this: 5'0" mid-forties woman, orange fake tan to the max, long blonde hair, black capri leggings with matching cotton sports bra top, tennies with white crew socks, and a headset like britney spears. now, tell me her name isn't janice. i truly wish i could've snuck a pic, but i feel like the people around me in the packed class would've judged me. there were probably 40 people in this class, all following janice's every move. which isn't weird because she's the fitness instructor and you're supposed to do what she does. but janice is not your average fitness instructor. janice is bouncy. janice is intense. in fact, she is a maniac. her energy never declined even for a second during the whole hour. she high-kicked (and i mean HIGH-kicked) her way through the crowd of class-goers, all the while yelling "HIGHER!" "GET LOW!" "DON'T YOU DARE STOP!"

i seriously wouldn't dare stop.

and i'll probably be back at her class tonight. let's do this, jan.

so i'm considering a "cleanse." partly because they're trendy and i feel left out. but partly because i just feel like i've been struggling lately with my eating. just doing like a ten-day cleanse may help me jump-start things again. there's one from advocare that i've heard good things about. you basically eat clean (meat, veggies, fruits- no carbs, dairy, sugar) and take this herbal supplement. i don't want to do anything crazy. i'm the first person to judge anyone going "paleo" or "vegan" or "healthy." just kidding on the healthy. sort of. i have a coworker who is doing some version of the paleo diet and all i keep talking about is gummy worms and chocolate. but part of me wonders if maybe a cleanse of some sort would be a good thing for me. please believe i'll whine about it the whole time.

should i do it?

bennett is currently on his own cleanse. his diet currently consists of formula, yogurt melts, gerber puffs, baby yogurt, and forced bites of baby food (which usually results in both of us crying). when i tell him that he needs to eat, this is what i get:

his way or the highway. just like his dad (ha).

Monday, March 25, 2013

on the move.

we have a crawler, ladies and gentlemen. bennett has found his rhythm: knee, hand, knee, hand. it is so cute to see him scoot around. he usually has a huge smile on his face and is breathing hard as if he's running a marathon. for him, it probably feels like it!

happy boy after supper
loving splashing in his sink bubble bath
baths in the sink at grammy's house are the best
soooo happy
so, we joe got the baby gates up this weekend. (liz + power tools = yikes.) also, we made sure cords are secured, things are off the floor that ben could choke on (think: bobby pins), moved george's food and water bowls (disaster waiting to happen), plugged outlets, etc. i think we are childproofed. oh, also we had to lower the crib... when we went in bennett's room to get him up from his nap he was kneeling in his crib with like half of his body above the crib rail. awesome.

we (again i say we as if i had much to do with it) got a lot of other home improvement things done this weekend. joe painted the bathroom and finished painting the bead board and trim. we deep cleaned. we bought a new entertainment center (IKEA clearance- score!) and joe got that set up. i got bennett's clothes organized and put away all the clothes that are now too small. i got all our laundry washed, dried, folded and put away, which is no small feat, i assure you. i think i deserve a medal in marathon laundry-ing (laundering?).

it feels amazing to have the house clean and [mostly] organized again. all we have left to do is paint our bedroom and dresser. in some ways it feels slightly pointless to do all of this stuff to the house considering we plan on moving (hopefully) within the next year or so. but a year is a long time to keep everything the same. plus if we update a few things that we will take with us now (like new bedding, and a new entertainment center), it will spare us from having a whole house full of things we need to buy, update, etc. when we do move. taking it in stages is good reasoning, right?

in other news, we're moving forward with our refinance. also, we got our property tax statement and our house went up $13,000 in value in the last year! that takes the gap between what we owe and what it's worth down to a measly $19,000. chump change (ha). still feels like a long way to go, but it's good to see the value going back up since it's gone down each year before this.

i didn't get to the gym once last week, so i need to make that a priority this week. i'm going to a kickboxing class tonight, and will hopefully get to another on wednesday night. we leave next wednesday morning for south carolina for 5 days with my family! i can't wait! well, let me rephrase that: i can't wait until we're there. i'm not looking forward to the flights with bennett at all. he just does not want to sit still ever, so i'm really nervous about how he's going to do. any tips for flying with a 9 month old? we have two flights each way, since there aren't direct flights from minneapolis to myrtle beach. i'm thinking lots of snacks, toys, and probably the ipad.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


joe and i have been half-heartedly talking about trying to refinance our house for like a year now. we are wayyyy upside down (for those of you who haven't found yourself in this lovely spot and don't understand its joys, it means that we owe more on our mortgage than the current value of the home) and weren't really sure if refinancing was even going to be option for us. not to mention we are both (as i may have mentioned before) the type that gets excited about something on the front end but then have very little in the way of follow-through. thus, the year of pondering a refinance.

well, finally we (err, joe) got serious about looking into our options and, as it turns out, it's a pretty easy process. since our loan is backed by the fha, we can refinance and BONUS!, we don't need an appraisal! so the fact that we are upside down doesn't really matter. our current interest rate is 5.8% which is just completely out of control. our lender (chase) offered us 4% and we don't have to bring any money to the table to cover closing costs. how can this be so easy? we're lowering our monthly mortgage payment by over $200, which can go straight to saving for a down payment on a new house. also, this will allow us to rent our place for a reasonable monthly amount and potentially even make money on it. score.

dave would be so proud.

in unrelated news, bennett is starting to eat solid foods. ok, eat is a poor description of what he's doing. he's actually putting pieces of food in his mouth, immediately getting confused and grossed out, and then spitting them back out. it's actually impressive that he keeps wanting to put the pieces of food in his mouth considering his reaction once they're in there. this means there's hope. i think teeth would help, but still not-a-one. last night he tried little pieces of noodles and little pieces of cheese. he was very amused by picking them up and putting them in his mouth, but that's as far as we've gotten. baby steps.

here's some pictures of my [almost] crawling babe...

helping mama at trader joe's
before you report me to child protective services let me explain. bennett scooted backwards under this shelf at daycare, and then got super mad that he couldn't get out. i love that his teacher took the time to take the picture before rescuing him, because that's pretty much exactly what i would've done! :)

my parents' dog ollie after burying his face in the snow
loving sitting in the stroller not in his car seat anymore! such a big boy!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

shove it, dave.

saving money really sucks. yep, i said it. when we went through financial peace university, dave ramsey made saving sound like a fun game. you know what's actually a fun game? shopping. and no, window shopping is not the same. shopping brings instant gratification- you want something, you get it. saving money doesn't give quite that same high. joe and i are "saving" for a down payment for a new house right now. i say saving in quotes because our efforts are fairly minimal at this point. we had some debt to pay off from when we had bennett (doctors bills + 8 weeks unpaid maternity leave = ouch). now at least we're at a point where we can start building back some savings, but it's hard to not see it happen fast. it's the same frustrating feeling as weight loss- it's hard not to see the number on the scale move as quickly as i'd like.

[prepare yourself for liz's musings on society...] we live in a culture where everything is about instant gratification. the biggest loser shows morbidly obese people drop 100 lbs in 10 weeks. (meanwhile, the average person watching at home is lucky to lose 10 lbs in 10 weeks- probably because we're sitting on the couch watching them workout. but, i digress.) 24 bachelorettes go on a tv show, compete for one bachelor's perfectly chiseled abs, i mean heart, and the newest "it couple" falls in love, meets each others' families, and gets engaged within the show's 8 week film time. also, i'm pretty sure the chump bachelor didn't have to wait to save enough for that 450 karat neil lane rock. we don't wait for a darn thing.

so, things like weight loss, saving money, etc. are that much harder to discipline yourself to do with the "you want it you got it" society we've all become accustomed to. who wants to save $20 when you could buy a new shirt, pair of earrings, whatever is in the target checkout lane, etc. right now?  what is $20 of savings going to get you? well, save $20 100 times and you have $2,000 (totally didn't even need a calculator ;). i think i need to keep that in perspective. while each menial purchase may seem like it's not making a difference in our savings, it adds up quickly.

so, basically, if i stop buying random $20 crap at target, we will be able to buy a new house in approximately... 1,000 target trips. or forever.

dave ramsey can shove it.

Monday, March 11, 2013

monday blues.

mondays are hard for me. all of 'em. i love spending the weekend with my boys and it's hard to get back into the groove of things. i'm thankful for a job i like, or else mondays would be wayyyy harder than they already are. but i find myself feeling sad at work on monday mornings, missing my little man and wishing i could spend all my days with him. it's hard to have to send a text just to find out how his morning is going- are his teeth bothering him? did he take a good nap? did he do something cute or funny? did he learn to crawl today? i told daycare not to tell me if he crawls there first. i'd rather have the blissful ignorance of thinking that i witnessed it myself.

i feel strangely jealous of our daycare providers. i'm thankful that we have a fantastic daycare and people there who i know take good care of him, love him, and know him. but it's just not a substitute for being with him myself. not to mention we pay an arm and a leg for him to go there.

but i know he's gaining things from daycare that i couldn't (or probably wouldn't consistently take the time to) give him at home in the same way. he's learning to socialize friends his age.
playing in the tent at daycare with his two buddies, spencer and ashton
he's learning to be independent. he's learning to be comfortable with other people besides just mama. he's doing art projects, singing songs, and learning sign language.
someone learned how to feed himself his pouches of baby food
our goal as a family is for me to eventually be able to stay home. i'm well aware that being a stay-at-home mom will not be all sunshine and rainbows. i know i'll have hard days. i know i'll be lonely some days. i know i'll crave adult interaction and a break from my busy boy. but despite the tough days i know there will be great ones too. and lasting memories. and time spent with bennett (and, hopefully, other little ones) that is precious and goes too fast.

though the ultimate goal is for me to be a stay-at-home mama, we have other goals as a family that require both of our incomes. like paying the bills (ha). but really, we hope to be able to move into a new house in the next year or so. that's going to take some major saving for a down payment. and for now that means me working. and at the end of the day, i'm ok with where we are and excited for where we are going.

even on mondays.

this will be my first 4-day work week. looking forward to fridays with my babe from now on :) one step closer...

Friday, March 8, 2013

complete the sentence...

today is my last friday at work! woo hoo! i'm so looking forward to a day a week at home with my little buddy. bennett is excited too, i'm sure.

we have a fun weekend planned. tonight we're going out to dinner with a couple of my girlfriends and their husbands. uncle jake is babysitting for ben. we're going to chiang mai thai in uptown... mmmm, pad thai. it's been too long. tomorrow i'll go to the gym in the morning and then we'll just relax most of the day. we usually go to church at 4pm on saturdays, so we'll do that and then i'm going to go hang out with my friend/coworker, andrea, and joe and bennett are going to joe's friend blake's house to divvy up the twins season tickets.  sunday we have no plans. not-a-one. can't wait.

my "official" weigh in today was up from that good number from yesterday. still a loss for the week, but a little disappointing. oh well, hopefully it'll be back down by the next weigh in. also i just had to drop my daily points down by 7 since i'm not nursing anymore. this could be a challenge.

so i like to follow a lot of different blogs, and one that i like to read, where we can live like jack and sally, is doing a link-up. the 2 people with the funniest responses get a $10 starbucks card. we all know how much i love starbucks. but really it's just for fun. enjoy!


1. People always tell me i have the cutest baby ever. and i do. obvs.
2. in the movie based on my life, i think the perfect "liz" would be giselle. we look a lot alike and both lost the baby weight overnight. it's perfect.
3. typically i end up regretting letting my gas light stay on as long as possible before i fill up the tank. but i still do it every time.
4. i always ask to leave off the raw onions. gross. who wants to smell like onions for 3 straight weeks?
5. kim and kanye really need to tweet more often. i never know what's going on with them minute to minute. 
6. my parents always reminded me that i will look back on our first few years of marriage when we were broke as some of the best years. still not sure about that.
7. every single day i could commit a violent crime before having my coffee.
8. this one time in college i went on a choir "spring break" trip. to iowa. it was the worst spring break ever.
9. my grossest habit is popping zits (mostly joe's). i'm pumped when one pops and sprays the mirror. literally one of the more gratifying things in life.
10. my latest white lie was telling someone their baby was cute, when really their baby kind of looked like a hobbit. i pray that kid grows into his face.
11. i know all the words to pretty much every episode in all 10 seasons of friends. oh, and the shane company radio commercials.
12. when i grow up i want to be a group fitness or yoga instructor. seriously, it looks fun.
13. sexy time is should be saved for marriage. i might be in the minority on that.
14. i will never, ever be a runner. not because i can't. because it sucks.
15. i think it's hilarious when ellen scares her celeb guests. so good.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

taking the emotions out of the weight loss equation.

with weight watchers you're really only supposed to weigh yourself once a week. but i'm not that patient. plus i like to see how things are going throughout the week as a check that i'm on track. well i snuck a peek today and it felt so good to see the number that i saw. anyone who works at losing weight knows that when you're trying to get below a certain milestone number, it can feel like an insurmountable goal. well, i did it. i'm a little too shy to put my actual weight on here, but i will say i'm really happy with my progress. i am proud of the fact that i've been committed and diligent about my efforts to lose weight and that i'm seeing that hard work pay off.

i've struggled with my weight most of my life. i really don't recall many times when i was completely content with my weight and appearance and when i wasn't on some sort of [half-hearted or otherwise] weight loss venture. truly since bennett was born i think i've turned a corner in more ways than one. i seem to be focused less on my dissatisfaction with my appearance. i don't have the time or energy to obsess about that now. i am focusing more on feeling good, rather than looking good (though i won't say that's not a welcome benefit). and maybe that's why i'm sticking with it this time around. i'm focusing on how i feel, not on what i see in the mirror or the number i see on the scale. and i feel really good. i don't know what changed or how my focus shifted, but i'm going with it.

being a mom forces me to look outside of myself. i spend more time and energy worrying about bennett than i do worrying about myself. and i'm thankful for that. the less i think about how unhappy i am with how i look, what i weigh, etc. the more i focus simply on the basics of losing weight- what should i pack for lunch today? when can i work out this week? what healthy foods should i buy at the grocery store? when i take the emotions out of the equation and work, matter-of-fact-ly (yes, it's a word. actually it's probably not, but whatevs), on making good, healthy choices, the more weight i lose and the better i feel.

i don't think anyone can *teach* you how to take the emotions out of it. the times i've successfully lost weight are the times when i've been completely focused on something else. so i guess that's my answer. i need to continue to spend my emotional energy on anything and anyone besides myself and my dissatisfaction with my weight. don't get me wrong, focusing on myself isn't a bad thing. but i need to focus on myself in a positive, practical way (i.e. thinking about how i can take care of myself well vs. thinking about what a failure i am or comparing myself to other people).

i still have a ways to go, but for the first time in a long time i feel like i will get there.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

snow day & 8 month update.

i got a text yesterday morning letting me know that daycare was closed due to the snow. i felt bad i couldn't go to work, but i must admit a day at home with my favorite little man was a welcome surprise! we had a great day. ben took a great nap in the morning. then we went to the doctor- he still seemed to not be feeling well the last couple of days so i wanted to get his ears checked out again. they were clear! the pediatrician thinks it's probably his teeth bothering him so she said to keep up with the tylenol as needed. also, turns out he has eczema, so we got a prescription ointment for that and then headed to target to get some aquaphor. that stuff is expensive and it's literally like slathering him with vaseline (gross). the doctor said that if we could pick him up with one hand after putting the aquaphor on, we didn't use enough. we passed the test- he was so slippery after covering him in it! bennett seemed confused on what we were doing to him, but quickly settled into being massaged.

other than going to the doctor and target, we did laundry, cleaned, and practiced crawling. in the last couple of days ben has gotten his knees under him and started rocking. i think i need to pick up some baby gates asap!

our buddy is 8 months old today.  C.R.A.Z.Y.

here are his stats:

bennett weighs 18 lbs 13 oz and is 27 inches long. as i said, he's *almost* crawling.  he "talks" and "sings" constantly. he loves to eat still, but has gotten to the point where he doesn't love to sit to drink his bottle. we have to give that to him before his actual food now or else he'll hardly drink any of it.

breakfast- 4 oz bottle + fruit + oatmeal
lunch- 4 oz bottle + veggie + fruit
snack- 4 oz bottle + baby yogurt
dinner- 4 oz bottle + meat/veggie + fruit
snack- 4-6 oz bottle

he's getting both breastmilk and formula now. his favorite foods are sweet potatoes, prunes, and the blueberry/beet/banana blend. he recognizes the signs for "milk" and "eat", but hasn't signed them himself yet. bennett just learned how to drink out of a sippy so we practice that each day at mealtime. still no teeth, so he is rocking the gummy smile!  he's had 4 haircuts because he has his mama's thick hair that grows crazy fast. he loves taking baths and splashing in the water. he also loves music and watching TV (don't judge). his favorite books are "what's wrong, little pookie?" and "oh my, oh my, oh dinosaurs!"  bennett sleeps through the night 99% of the time now and takes 2 naps a day (usually one longer and one shorter). plus he gets catnaps in the car because he can't seem to stay awake long while we're driving. ben is SUCH a happy boy and we are crazy about him. it's so fun to watch him grow and learn new things everyday.

smooches from mama while waiting for the doctor
going from sitting to his tummy
always movin'
playing with his puppy from auntie jeanie and uncle ryan
george never used to sleep in his bed- but now he does because bennett can't get him there

i say it all the time, but we are so blessed. i don't ever want to take that for granted.

Monday, March 4, 2013


dedication seems to be the theme of the weekend.  bennett was dedicated yesterday at our church, eaglebrook.  parent-child dedication is different than infant baptism, which our church doesn't do.  basically dedication is the parent(s) making a commitment to raise their child(ren) in a God-honoring way, to model what it means to love and follow Christ, and to teach them about Him so that they might someday make the decision to put their faith in Him.  joe and i take this commitment very seriously and want to make sure we are intentional about teaching bennett, both through our words and actions, what it means to be a follower of Jesus.  we are so blessed that we had all of our family there to support us yesterday.  joe's brother and sister-in-law and their 4 kids came in from sioux falls, south dakota to be here for the dedication.  joe's mom and dad and his younger brother jake and his wife allison came.  my mom and dad and my brother and his wife jeanie came.  my best friend katie came.  my friend and coworker meghan, her husband mike and their son landon came.  other friends/family members texted to say they were thinking of us.

it's amazing the outpouring of love and dedication from our family and friends.  we are so thankful to have so much support.  we understand that our committment to raise bennett to know God will take more than just us, and i can't express my gratitude enough for the people in our lives who are willing to be there for our family.

joe flew in sunday morning from california, where he'd been for several days at his company's national sales meeting.  taking the red-eye from LA showed some real dedication!  [he also dedicated his afternoon to napping :)]

since jeff, robin and the kids were coming for bennett's dedication, we decided to have my niece taylor's 4th birthday party on saturday while they were here.  taylor was so excited and seemed to have a great day.  we got her a princess purse set complete with princess cell phone, princess car keys, and princess credit cards.  i knew she'd love it.  joe was bummed to have to miss the party, but i tried to keep him in the loop with pictures.  plus, not that he doesn't love his nieces and nephews, but i don't think playing golf at Trump International was too bad of a trade-off for him.

not happy about the snuggles
grabbing martin's face
playing with cousin marty
push ups
whitney is 3 months younger and weighs 3 pounds less than bennett :)
baby whitney!
playing with cousin taylor

i had a semi-difficult weekend with bennett as far as nighttime sleep goes.  he woke up both saturday and sunday nights in the middle of the night just hysterical.  i really don't know what's going on.  he's got a stuffy nose so that makes keeping his nuk in and breathing at the same time practically impossible, which just flips him right out.  he just got done with antibiotics for an ear infection, so i don't think it's his ears (although seriously what do i know?).  is he teething?  is he hungry?  some things i've read say that there's a sleep disruption nearly everytime a baby is about to meet a major milestone (sitting up, crawling, walking, etc.).  he is close to crawling, so that's possible.  i just don't know.  i've said it before but truly there is nothing that makes you feel completely inadequate and clueless quite like parenting.  i don't foresee it getting easier, either.  good thing he's so darn cute (ha).

i started giving bennett some formula this weekend.  thus far bennett had only had breast milk, and i've been exlusively pumping for the last 4 months.  working full time and trying to pump enough for a growing babe takes some serious dedication (see what i did there?).  i really didn't want to have to pay for formula if i could help it, but it's gotten to the point where i can barely keep up.  honestly, i'm struggling with feeling guilty  for tapering off and moving towards using only formula.  it's not that i feel that there's anything wrong with formula feeding your baby.  not at all, actually.  it's just that i feel guilty that i *can* keep breastfeeding but i'm choosing to stop.  it's an increased cost to feed him formula and i know that breast milk is what is recommended.  at the same time, i know i need to give myself some grace on this.  i'm working full time and i do think getting to 8 months is no small feat.  bennett is loved like crazy and we are doing the best we can as parents.  that's what matters and i need to get past feeling guilty for the things that really don't matter in the long run.

joe had a little health issue this weekend as well.  he's been taking an antibiotic for a sinus infection and also started using some nose spray so that he can breathe (which i hear is important).  well, all of a sudden on thursday he noticed a rash (more like hives) all over his body.  it didn't itch or anything but it looked pretty bad.  he flew out thursday afternoon for california.  i got a call when he landed in LA that his eyes had swollen up and that the rash had gotten a lot worse.  he got some benadryl which seemed to help, but all weekend he had to keep up on the benadryl to keep the rash from flaring up again.  it's monday morning and it's still there.  not sure if he had an allergic reaction to the antibiotic or the nasal spray, but either way, it's bad.  my sister-in-law, who's a resident at methodist hospital, said it can take a week for meds to get out of your system.  so, let's hope it's on its way out.

we got some great family pictures at brunch after the dedication thanks to my sister-in-law Allison (she graciously agreed to be our photographer).

Friday, March 1, 2013

going through the motions.

i feel like i keep posting about priorities, balance, etc. but I think it's because i just can't seem to find it.  here's a typical day in our lives:

5:30am: (most mornings) ben starts talking to himself in his crib
6:10am: my alarm goes off
6:15am: my second (real) alarm goes off and i get up
6:20am: pumping (does it get more exciting than this?!)
6:40am: joe goes to get ben dressed, i get myself dressed (all by myself, like a big girl)
6:55am: pack up the car, get bennett in the carseat
7am: drive to daycare
7:30am: drop bennett off for the day
7:35am: morning brueggers stop for coffee (seriously the most crucial part of my morning)
8am: arrive at work
11:30am: lunch/pumping again
3:30pm: pumping AGAIN
4pm: leave work
4:30pm: either pick up bennett from daycare or go to the gym if joe can get ben
5:15pm: feed bennett
6pm: dinner
6:20-7ish: play with bennett, give him a bath, etc.
7pm: feed ben again
7:15pm: bennett's bedtime
7:15-9:30ish: tv, pumping (no joke), shower, clean up a little around the house, get a few things ready for the AM, etc.
9:30ish: bedtime


if you read that whole thing, bless you.  i'm exhausted just reading our daily routine.  no wonder i'm actually exhausted in real life.  it's really hard to find balance amidst all the *stuff*.  i'd love to have the time to actually accomplish all the home stuff that i barely have time for.  laundry doesn't happen until we're out of socks and underwear.  seriously.  but right now, staying home with bennett isn't an option financially.  we are paying some things off and saving for a down payment for a new house.  that's important, too.  but day-to-day, it feels like a lot falls through the cracks.  sometimes, even joe's and my relationship.  (mine and joe's relationship?  me and joe's relationship?  HOW DO YOU SAY THAT RIGHT?!) by the time we get bennett to bed for the night, we're both so tired that some nights it seems like we barely talk.

k, that sounds bad.

our marriage is fine.  better than fine, actually.  but we do have to have occasional chats where it's like, "ok let's refocus on what's important."  it can be difficult to not [regularly] have the time, money, sitters, etc. to just go to a movie or go out to eat just the two of us.  i mean, we do on occasion, but it seems like it has to be planned well in advance for it to really work.  and i guess lack of "dating" can make for a strain on a relationship.  sometimes it just feels like going through the motions and getting through from day to day, week to week.

i'm thankful for a husband who recognizes when things are distant and reaches out to fix it.  i got a sweet message from him the other day after a particularly "off" week.  here's a little bit of it...

" promise to focus on us. i promise to show ben how a husband should treat his wife. i promise that we are going to be teaching married couples about successful marriages in 30 years. i PROMISE that i will always love you and you will always be my #1."

i got a good one, right?

always so happy in the morning

good morning!

dancing with grammy at dinner

crashed in the car after a long day