Friday, February 4, 2011

Home is wherever I'm with you

The Sorenson fam, Christmas 2010. Christmas is so much fun when you're able to share it with little ones. Ben is too young for Santa, and Adam was scared (we avoided Santa at the mall and I had to reassure him that Santa wouldn't come into the house on Christmas Eve, I would meet him at the end of the driveway for the gift drop-off), but it was a blast to watch him open his gifts. Such pure joy! Such excitement! Ben and Adam each received four gifts from Santa. That's our tradition now - "something they want, something they need, something to play with, and something to read." Aaron and I don't want our boys to become greedy and unappreciative around the holidays like some kids. Maybe it's hard to prevent that from happening, but we'll do our best.

Coolest "little" brother; best big brother. I wanted to show off their cute Christmas shirts from Auntie Trish & Uncle Shawny (it would've helped if they had smiled, but I couldn't expect a miracle). It's only been a little over a month since Christmas and already it seems like it happened a year ago. Funny how time seems to accelerate when you become a parent.

Hello, downtime.

It’s been awhile.

For the first time in weeks and weeks, I have a slow day. My brain can relaaaaaaaaaaaaax. Ahhhh.

In the past month, I celebrated my mom’s 60th birthday, took part in an intervention to confront a loved one’s addiction (talk about a nerve-wracking/emotional experience), dressed up for our “glamorous” company party at The Dakota (*note to self - feather boas are itchy!), accompanied my good friend Rem to The Wedding Shoppe to see her try on her gown (she is going to be a gorgeous bride!), then went bridesmaid dress shopping with the girls in the wedding party (and found a super cute dress! Holla! Now to lose 10 pounds …), celebrated Christmas at the MOA with my in-laws (what a fantastic tradition to start – the gift of an experience rather than more toys), participated in an ice fishing contest on a below-zero day and lost all feeling in my fingers while I grilled hot dogs and brats (and witnessed some serious signs of craziness when my brother’s friend ate not one, not two, but three raw LIVE minnows. Seriously. Just swallowed them whole like they were goldfish crackers rather than slippery, slimy, living, breathing fish who just moments before had been obliviously swimming around in the minnow bucket. His judgment MAY have been impaired by the two bottles of Hot 100 he consumed. I’m just sayin’), met up at the Children’s Museum with good friends Amy and Broder and our buddy Becky and her little ones—sweet nearly 3-year-old Georgie and adorable 11-pound Ellena, in town from San Diego (11 pounds! I forget how TINY that is!), nearly lost my mind here at work, felt absolutely HORRIBLE when I developed mastitis (an inflammation of the breast, commonly caused by a plugged milk duct) and had the following symptoms: a painful, inflamed boob, chills (I was shaking like I had Parkinson’s disease), deep, agonizing muscle aches that only subsided after a scorching hot bath, a headache similar to the ones I used to get the morning after doing too many tequila shots, and dizziness/nausea that made for a hellish bus ride home and an equally hellish experience picking up the kids from daycare. I had to ask Adam not to talk to me at one point because it took all of my energy just to concentrate on driving. Poor kiddo!! I felt like such a mean mom!!

I read online that mastitis can be caused by stress/feeling run-down (BINGO!) and was thankful that Aaron is such a hands-on dad who didn’t mind leaving work a little early, making dinner, giving the boys a bath, and reading them books so that I could get some much-needed rest. I felt nearly “back to normal” the next day after some ibuprofen, a trip to the doc, and a prescription for antibiotics. Thank God for antibiotics!

Snowtubing is a sure-fire way to beat the winter blahs. Not pictured = my father-in-law Rick, niece Kayla & nephew Lane, brother-in-law Josh, sister-in-law Amy, her boyfriend Jake, and our friends Luke, Lisa, Ryan & Leah. (They were on the kiddie hill at the time we took this pic.)

At the end of January I celebrated another year by snowtubing at Green Acres with a wonderful mix of some of my very favorite people in the world – minus a few “key” players (you know who you are!) My mother-in-law was kind enough to watch the little ones in the chalet while we were out on the hills, which was hugely convenient for us. Thank you, Patti! That night we also went bowling at Pinz with a few more close friends (birthday luck = I had the high score of 136!!), and on Sunday we enjoyed a home-cooked dinner with the fam at our house — well, we enjoyed it until Adam proceeded to get really sick and throw up on Aaron’s plate, then the dining room floor, and finally into his plastic yellow Easter basket, then reassured everyone, “I’m OK! I’m OK!” as barf ran down his chin. Turns out the poor lil’ guy had the flu (no wonder he was so clingy on Sunday). He looked so helpless lying on the living room couch with a cool washcloth on his forehead. It really tugs at the heartstrings to see your child in any sort of discomfort. I can understand now why my mom had to leave the L&D room when I was giving birth to Adam! (But then again, she was somehow able to handle it when I gave birth to Ben, and that time I didn’t have an epidural! Maybe she knew what to expect the second time?)

On my actual birthday, I went to work, had lunch with my buddies and cupcakes with my marketing team, received an outpouring of well wishes on FB, received bday cards from friends in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Chicago and Idaho, had a Chipotle dinner with my boys (“poach-lay!” according to Adam), and talked to each of my “girls” on the phone. It was perfect, in every way possible.

This weekend we’re having a sleepover at Aaron’s mom’s house. Yes I am 36 and I’m going to a “slumber party.” It’s become an annual tradition to sleep over on the day that we celebrate Josh’s sobriety (four years this year! We're so proud of him!), April goes all-out with a cake and everything. Looks like there will be six adults and five kids spending the night – not including Aaron’s sister Amy and our nieces Kayla and Morgan who have other obligations. I wonder who will get the spare bedroom? Maybe we’ll have to arm wrestle for it.
On Sunday we’re watching the Super Bowl game at our friends’ Russ and Katie’s house. I should clarify: Aaron will be watching the game. I will be watching the commercials and talking to Katie during the game. I don’t really care about football, but I am rooting for the Packers, if only because I have a lot of college friends from UWEC (three who live in Green Bay) who do care about football and I know how much it means to them if the Packers win.


Ben is 8 months old on Sunday and still growing like a weed. At his last checkup Nov. 18, he weighed 23 lb. 11 oz. and was 27 ½ inches. Nearly three months later, he’s over 25 lbs. – wearing 18 or 18-24 months now rather than 12 or 12-18. I’m curious what his stats will be at this 9-month appointment in March. As it is he's off the charts.


He eats baby food a few times each day (loves the mango smoothie and sweet potato; not a huge fan of green beans and peas) and has mastered the art of eating Puffs — he now gets more in his mouth than stuck on his fingers, lips, or onesie. He’s a very mellow, even-tempered baby and while he isn’t as quick to smile as Adam was at this age, once you get him laughing (tickling him, barking like a dog, singing in an off-key tone), it’s one of my favorite sounds in the world. Plus he has five teeth now (two top teeth—complete with a Sandra Bernhard gap) and three on the bottom, so his smiles are even more adorable!

You can't see Ben's teeth in this pic, taken at Christmas, but he has five of them now - three on the bottom and two on top.

His cheeks are incredibly chubby, and his eyes are extremely expressive, like he’s trying to figure out the world and all the crazies in it (us included). He could spend hours in his Jumparoo and has earned the nickname “Ballerina” and “Twinkle toes” at daycare because while he’s jumping, he clicks his heels together—mid-air—then slides his feet on the ground, so it’s a sort of jump/click/slide pattern. He actually wore a hole in his shoes from doing this so much at daycare. He’s like most 8-month-olds as far as “What’s this toy? Interesting! Let me see what it tastes like!” so we have to be very careful that Adam isn’t playing with ‘choke-ables’ near his baby brother. Some of those Lego pieces are downright hazardous!! When he's hungry, he sucks on his sleeve. He also sucks on his sleeve after every bite of baby food and when he's tired. It's how he soothes himself. He loves it when we sing to him, whether it's "Twinkle, twinkle" or "I'm sittin' here I'm one day old" or "Baby, you're amazing" (or anything, really). He does great sitting on his own but isn’t even close to crawling, which is partly our fault for not forcing him to do tummy time (it’s so hard to ignore his groans and cries of protest when we put him on his stomach – my reaction is to immediately scoop him up). His hair is brown and fuzzy and I spend a lot of time kissing the top of his head. When I look at him, I feel like we share an intense and special bond and my heart feels like it’s going to burst with love and pride. Sometimes I can’t believe that he’s only been part of our family for eight short months.


Three generations: Aaron, Adam and Grandma Patti on Christmas Eve. In recent months Adam has become camera-shy, so it's a major feat when I can get a pic of him smiling.

Oh smart, sweet, funny, beautiful Adam, where do I begin? For starters, his imagination continues to grow in leaps and bounds, from playing hockey in the kitchen (he has told me on numerous occasions to “GET OFF THE ICE!” while he’s shooting his puck around the linoleum floor) to playing with his Little People and announcing, “You got the yellow paper! You’re going to Hollywood!” (Think we watch too much American Idol??) I’m glad that he’s creative and imaginative and not one of those kids who race home to play video games or watch TV, with the exception of his favorite shows “Silly” (aka America’s Funniest Home Videos), Fireman Sam, or Caillou on Sprout. Speaking of Caillou, what happened to his hair?

Aaron loves that Adam is as interested in sports as he is, even though he’s too young to fully understand the rules. When he’s not playing hockey, he’s playing football, baseball, or basketball (his basketball hoop is Ben’s exersaucer). He likes to paint and color and is happy to sit and put stickers all over a piece of construction paper, then peel those stickers off and try to stick them on other things. He’s a recovering scissors addict, and for many, many weeks all he wanted to do was cut paper into billions of tiny pieces. Every night I was sweeping up piles of construction paper, junkmail envelopes, various candy wrappers, and the occasional Christmas card (I promise we only lost two this way).

He’s still really clingy when I’m holding Ben and whines, “Hold me, Mom!” whenever I have my hands free. I know that he’s jealous of the time I spend with his brother and this is his way of getting equal face time. I can’t always hold him when he wants me to, but I do love dancing with him in the kitchen. It’s simple moments like that—when I’m spinning Adam around to Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros Home or our Mumford & Sons mix (courtesy of Uncle Jeremy) and he’s laughing uncontrollably and Aaron is holding Ben who is also laughing uncontrollably—that I feel so, so lucky. I hope I remember these moments when I’m 90 and reminiscing about “the good ol’ days.”

I love that Adam is curious about the world, asking “Why?” and “How come?” and I love that he's so genuinely interested in people (he loves looking through our photo album and asking, “You were at Julie’s wedding in this picture, right, Mom? This is Abby and Sara. What were you and dad doing here? That’s Grandma! Look at Uncle Shawny’s fish! Look! That’s Tonya!”) and I love that he's constantly soaking up new information. I also love that it takes so little to get him excited. (Usually, all I have to do is mention Grandma Patti.)

Sometimes I forget, at this age, kids are such sponges. One day, when I was hurrying to get out the door by 7:15 (our usual weekday morning scramble), Adam announced,
“I realized something Mom.”

The word stopped me in my tracks.

“You what?”

“I realized something,” he repeated.

“What did you realize?” I asked with a smile.

“I realized that someone picked up my cars and trucks and put them in my red tub when I was asleep,” he answered matter-of-factly.

(When I relayed this message to Aaron, he answered, “Nice. Our kid thinks we’re his maid service.” Not the point of the story, Aaron!!!)

I also forget how heart-wrenchingly honest a little 3-year-old can be.

On the drive home from daycare Wed. night, I was lost in thought – worrying about something trivial like what to have for dinner or whether or not I remembered to contact that one difficult client with her latest round of copy changes or if I should stop and get gas now or in the morning when Adam’s sweet little voice broke into my thoughts.

“I cried today, Mom.”

I turned down the Laurie Berkner CD to give him my full attention. “Why did you cry?”

“I cried because Zander yelled at me,” he answered.

“Why did he yell at you?”
“I knocked over his tower,” Adam said. “But it was an AX-IDENT. It wasn’t on PURPOSE.”

It probably wasn’t an accident, I’m guessing that he had every intention of knocking down that tower, but I felt privileged somehow that he was willing to share this information with me, rather than the usual yes/no conversation of “Were you good today?” and “Did you play outside today?” and “Did you have something good for lunch?”

I worry that some day he won’t want to share his day with me, that I will have to pry information out of him (and even then I’ll only receive “yes/no” answers), so these rare moments of insight into his day, and his feelings, affect me more than they probably should.

“Did you say you were sorry for knocking over his tower?” I asked.

“No. And he didn’t say he was sorry for yelling at me.”

Ah, Adam. Life is all about disappointments and learning how to roll with the punches and apologizing to your friends when you mess up. I didn’t tell him that, though. Instead I said, “Do you want to go to McDonald’s tonight?”

And even though I know those Happy Meals are basically boxes of fat and sodium, and it probably makes me a bad mom for even suggesting it, I didn’t care. I can’t protect him from all the pain and disappointment in the world, but I still have the power of making a sad little 3-year-old boy happy with the mere suggestion of French fries, and if you could’ve seen the smile on his face, you would’ve known I made the right decision.