Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year

2013 was a good year... here's a highlight reel...

Jan 2nd - 8pm (actually a little earlier) I went in to St.Joseph's hospital in Santa Rosa, California to be induced. They started the induction at exactly 8pm.

Jan 4th - 5:02pm Sonja Aurora Hartung was born at 7lbs 1oz and 21 inches via C-section.

Jan 8th - Finally got to go home after a 6 day stay at the hospital. It was nice to be home.

January 22nd - Sonja got her Social Security Card! She's official!

Feb 6th - 13th - Sonja slept through the night for an entire week... it didn't last.

Feb 18th - Sonja's first real smiles.. where she kept doing it and it wasn't gas or a fluke.

Feb 23rd - Our 5th wedding anniversary.. I cannot remember it... those early months I was a sleep deprived Zombie

March 20th - Jelly Belly Factory with Meghan (hey we liked it I had to include it)

By March 31st - Sonja was laughing

April 11th - Jeff's Birthday. We celebrated it small, with Jeff and his Dad and the epic disaster cake of 2013... 
sorry no photos of the cake here.

May 2nd - Sonja's first tooth came through the gums

May 12th - Mothers Day! I got breakfast in bed.. it was nice.

May 18th - The Color Run! It was so fun! I went with my friends in California.. who I miss dearly now. 

 May 26th- Sonja's first plane ride! We went to Lubbock to see family and watch my youngest sister, Rebekah, graduate from High School! YAY!!!

June 16th - Father's Day for Jeff! I don't remember what we got him... damn this memory

June 20th - Sonja's first time in a Baby Swing!!!

June 22nd - Sonja's first REAL dip in the pool where she let me put her in more than just her feet.

July 4th - Independence Day!!!

Also Sonja's 6 monthiversary!

July 13th - Said Goodbye to Akira. We loved her so much, but she wasn't going to stop peeing on our stuff and I wasn't able to get her the help she needed to stop.. so we found her a GREAT home with a Bengal owner who wanted a Bengal friend for the bengal she had who's sister had died. She takes very good care of Akira, feeding her a raw diet, a holistic vet, and even takes her to a cat chiropracter (who has supposedly cured her).. I feel I left her in good hands.

July 20th - we left Rohnert Park and stayed in San Francisco for the night with Puppy and Sonja.

July 21st - I flew alone with Sonja and Puppy to Dallas to see my sisters, Valerie and Meghan. I left Puppy with Valerie for the next few months (he's still there) while I stayed with my Mother in Law.

July 23rd - back in AUSTIN!!! Hooray!!! 

July 29th - My 27th birthday! Could't believe it!

August 15th - the week I started working with a trainer to get back in shape.

August 25th - Sonja started clapping

September 17th - I had my wisdom teeth out

Sept 28th - Sonja started crawling really well

October 12 - Sonja had her first taste of Egg Yolks cooked by her Grandpa Hoke. She also sat in her first Pumpkin Patch and HATED it.

October 25th - Sonja's 1st Halloween!!!

November 17th- we made it rain

Nov 25th - Sonja took her first independent steps!

Nov 28th - Thanksgiving

Dec 5th - We moved into our own Apartment

Dec 20th - Flew to Park City for our Ski trip!!!!

Dec 22nd - Family Photo Shoot


Dec 24th - Christmas Eve!!!! White Elephant Gift Exchange

Dec 25th - Christmas Day!!!

Dec 26th - flew back to TX

Dec 27th - Dec 29th - My dad, bev, and bekah came to visit!

Dec 31st - Turning in the VW Tiguan :( He's been a good car, but it's time for more space...

Happy New Year!!!

Here's to 2014!!! The year of the Horse!!!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Merry Christmas!!!

Park City was AWESOME!!!!

You should check out some of the photos from the family photo shoot we did! The photographer was AMAZING.


So much happened on the trip and I tried to post about it but found myself getting bored with my own post lol.

So I'm gonna sum it up as short and sweet as I can.

Park City. Big giant house in the mountains. Rental Car got stuck going up twice. Babysitter every day. Skiing. Hot Chocolate. Hot Cider. Fancy Dinners. Babies Everywhere. White Elephant Gift Exchange. Gorgeous Christmas tree I helped decorate (by putting hooks on ornaments lol). Fun friends and family. Cute niece and nephew. Christmas gifts galore!!!

Yeah.. it was great. I only wish that Jeff and I hadn't gotten sick towards the end so we could've gone skiing more. But ultimately I loved every minute of it, even the laryngitis.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 20, 2013

The Best Gifts I've Ever Received on Christmas

My childhood memories of Christmas are all jumbled up. There are a few I remember vividly, and others that have already faded from my memory entirely. But there are certain gifts that made certain Christmas's UNFORGETTABLE!

Caitlin's Top 10 Best Gifts EVER

1. Baby Alive.

She eats, she poops, she is pretty much a real baby... or so I thought at the time. It was 1990 (I think) and I was the happiest kid ever. My sister, Meghan, also got one!  It definitely made my hero worship for Santa reach new levels of insanity.

2. Bean Bag Chairs.

Imagine waking up on Christmas morning, waiting to see what Santa brought you and your 3 siblings... only to find 4 giant bean bag chairs sitting in the middle of the living room! It was like I'd died and gone to bean bag heaven! We LOVED those bean bag chairs (kudos mom and dad). We loved them so much.

3. A Pink Game Boy Color

The way our parents must've felt when TV finally came in color.. that's how I felt when game boy came out in color. I was elated! I begged both sets of parents for it, and my Dad really came through for me that Christmas. Not Only did he get me a game boy color.. he got me a pink one. He knew me so very very well.

4. Blue Eyed Contacts

As a brown/hazel eyed girl, I always thought I would be prettier with blue eyes. Around 14 years old I started begging my parents to let me get colored contacts. I really didn't expect them to get them for me.. after all, it was a vain and frivolous request.. yet again, my father pulled through for me when I least expected him to and BLAM! Blue eyed contacts. Did I look like an extra from the movie Dune? Yeah.. was it creepy? HELL YEAH! But it was also awesome. By the way, I should really stick with my natural eye color.

5. Bikes!
Another extremely awesome Christmas was the year my parents got all of us bikes.. and they were all the SAME. haha. I think my parents realized early on that we would fight over them if they weren't all the same. I think some were blue and others were yellow but I think the yellow ones were bigger and the blue ones were smaller so we couldn't fight. I can't honestly remember. I just remember how AWESOME it was. We were bike riding kids.. we rode EVERYWHERE and we LOVED to play on our bikes. We even played McDonalds Drive Through like weirdos. 

6. A Squirrel Bank

it looked EXACTLY LIKE THIS!!!
Now you're thinking.. um.. WHAT?!?! How did this make your top 10 list???? I'll tell you how. It came from my brother. I don't really know how to explain it. My mom took us all to the dollar store and told us we could pick out 1 present for 1 sibling that we randomly drew names for. My brother got my name. He got me this squirrel bank. When I opened it for Christmas, I was so happy I almost cried. I still don't really know why. I just loved it so much and I loved that my brother gave me something so cool. To this day, this might be the reason behind my squirrel obsession. 

7. A black and gold dress

this gold and black dress
The year my grandmother died.. I should say the CHRISTMAS that my grandmother died, she sent me a few gifts. A hand-stitched Christmas stocking, and a black and gold dress. I loved it. It was the most beautiful dress I'd ever seen. Sadly, she died the next day. I got madly ill with food poisoning. It wasn't the greatest Christmas, but it was a great gift, and something I cherished for a long time. I did end up giving it away at some point (I try not to be a hoarder) but sometimes I wish I'd kept it.

8. A Ski Trip to Park City

This Christmas we are going to Park City!!! Woot woot! Happy Christmas to meeeeee!!! I'm so excited to skiiiiiiiii!!!!! That is all.

9. My Little Pony (and matching underwear to go with it)

The one year I got excited about receiving underwear, was the year my mom got me My Little Pony underwear. Yeahhhhh. Every time I wore those I felt powerful. I felt majestic. I felt like a My Little Pony. I also got 2 ponies! They were the best toy ever! I will never forget those ponies and how much I loved them. I even Incorporated them into my barbie games. It was awesome. Good job, Mom.. good job.

10. An iPad

It's so beautiful
My dad seems to be the master of pulling it out of his back side when you least expect it. That sounds wrong, but let me explain. My Dad kept hounding me about my Christmas gift and that I MUST NOT OPEN it until Christmas Day. Little did he know, that I really really wanted to open it early just because he dogged me so hard. But I didn't. I don't know what it was but I actually decided that since he was the gifter, I needed to respect his wishes. And I waited. And finally on Christmas day, I opened it. I don't know what I expected. I was a grown woman, and pregnant. I wasn't sure what my dad would be willing to give me since (again) I was a grown adult who didn't need things like barbie dolls or game boys. Well last year he really shocked me. I pulled out this iPad and just sort of stared at it in shock for a while. My dad isn't a hipster. He doesn't follow trends, and he certainly could care less about keeping up with the Jones'. To give you an example, the TV in his living room was free from HIS father in law and I'm pretty sure he'd still have the old black and white with bunny ears if it still worked... he just doesn't really put a lot of value on having the newest or the best.. he's not materialistic. So the fact that he got me an iPad was just sort of a shock. Turns out his motives were pure... he wanted to make sure he got to see as much of Sonja as possible through face-time and he was worried she wouldn't understand the small screen as well as the big screen. We have done a lot of face timing with Grandpa since then. A truly thoughtful and sweet gift... 

What makes these gifts special to me aren't really what the gifts were, but the thought behind them. The acknowledgement of my personality that was involved, and the willingness to sacrifice time, money, thought, or whatever else in order to make me happy. I think that's really what goes into a good Christmas gift. It could be a new car, or a card with a snowman on it.. it's what the intent behind the gift was that makes it a good gift.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Christmas Gifts that are Over-Rated

Christmas shopping is something that doesn't come naturally to me. I am a great shopper for certain people. If I notice a need, it really makes my life a lot easier. And sometimes, if I'm really lucky, inspiration will hit me in the face. I feel like my best inspirations always hit when I am in no position to do anything about it. Like when I have my hands full of groceries and a baby and no pens are anywhere and as soon as I unload, said ideas have fluttered away like hummingbirds and butterflies.. they're always so very close but nearly impossible to touch.

So I end up turning to magazines and online articles for inspiration when I actually have the time to sit down and dedicate myself to finding gifts for people. This year, we decided on white elephant gifts for the adults and then gifts for the kids. I am not made of money so most people aren't getting gifts from me this year that are worth much. But it is the thought that counts, right?

Meanwhile... during my hunt.. I found a lot of stupid things that are suggested as gifts, and I think it's time for me to make a list of things that I find over-rated or stupid ideas for gifting. I also am biased by my own wants and needs, so some of you may think I'm crazy for not liking these things but it's my list of over-rated.. so feel free to hate it and make your own.

Caitlin's Top 8 Over-Rated Gifts:

1. Nail Polish. Don't get me wrong, I'm not unappreciative of the times I have been gifted this item. It's always the thought that counts.. but...
I bite my nails (I'm getting better but it still happens sometimes) so this is an obviously bad choice for someone like me. I know, you're saying "but what about your toe nails? Don't they deserve to look beautiful and polished?" My answer to you is.. no. I am terrible at painting nails, I hate when they start chipping and look REALLY un-kept... I think nail polish is stupid and a waste of time. I have never really liked it and the only time I find it acceptable is if I get a pedicure professionally done and even then, I can use the polish they have in stock. It smells bad. It's messy. I just hate it in general. I think anyone that really knows me well should know just by the fact that I bite my nails and never wear polish that it's not an ideal gift for me. And I think that it's a bad idea for me to gift to others since I have no idea how they feel about polish or what colors they want.

2. Any sort of clothing. Unless its someone you know well... and even then, maybe just gift them a card to their favorite store.

But it's so sexy!
NO! I cannot tell you how many times I have gotten clothing from people and HATED it. And I always feel guilty about returning it and often end up just wearing it in front of that person so they don't feel bad. The only person who has bought me clothing and not disappointed me was my mother-in-law and she just happens to be one of those people with amazing taste and the ability to buy things that fit you perfectly. Clothing is also a very dangerous, land-mine style gift. You might offend the receptor of the gift by purchasing something that is either too big or too small, you might offend them by getting something they find ugly and then they think you think they like ugly things. It's a bad idea. Just get a gift card, trust me on this. Unless you are my mother-in-law.. then just keep the clothes coming...

3. Stupid Knick-knacky Crap.

We take all the space in your home and leave you with clutter! muahahaha!
Ok, here is when it's ok to give a knick knack. You know this person really really well and you know they collect snow globes and they love them and want as many as possible. Or... someone who is a collector of certain things (I have an aunt who collects Italian guy stuff for her kitchen and hummels). My sister's nickname growing up was "moo." You can imagine the amount of cow stuff she got growing up and still gets. I'm not sure if she loves it or hates it... all I know is, I have gotten gifts before where I'm like "what do I do with this?" "where can I put it?" and ultimately, my husband vetoes it's existence and it goes to Goodwill so we don't have any more clutter. My advice on this is to only get these for people if you KNOW they want it... or you know it will add to an already amazing collection. Or if you have no money and it's really cheap. :)

4. Kitchen Appliances That No One Uses.

Yes, cotton candy machine.. I'm talking to you
Cotton candy machines, ice cream makers, fondue fountains, the list goes on. I have moved a lot. I have had a lot of these things. I never used them (OK I used the ice cream maker once and it was delicious but I'm intolerant to milk so you can imagine my pain later that day). If someone wants to make their own cotton candy, let them buy their own machine. It's a huge waste of space and something people just don't usually get around to. The only exception is if you have some sort of whimsical chef friend or family member who really likes to use weird kitchen appliances, and again, they probably already have one if that's the case.

5. Socks and Underwear

because it's fun having your parents choose your underwear and know what it looks like
My parents were bad about this.. and I'm pretty sure my brother is following in their footsteps. I'm sorry but no one is excited about getting underwear for Christmas unless it's lingerie and even then it's usually only the men who are excited about GIVING that to their wives.. and that's an OK gift. What is NOT OK is for anyone else to pick my underwear out and gift it to me. I will choose my own underwear, and I don't want anyone else knowing what it looks like or what size I wear unless it's my husband. Gifting underwear to children as a hilarious joke is fine, but please do not make it one of their actual presents taken out of the Christmas budget.. that's just rude. Underwear is a basic necessity. It should be given freely, not as a scapegoat gift because you're too cheap to buy them underwear any other time of the year. Socks.. unless it's like fitness socks or specialty socks, the same rules apply.

6. Weight Loss Products

You might as well write a note that says "you're fat"
I don't care if the person has been complaining for 10 years about losing weight and you think this will help. Don't do it. Let that person do it. Unless the receptor of said gift has specifically said "I want this weight loss product" it's a bad idea. Even Personal Training sessions (this has happened before) are a bad idea for someone who isn't ready. I cannot train the unwilling. Just like you cannot force someone to eat broccoli or go for a swim, you cannot force them to personal train. It is also HIGHLY offensive to someone who is already really self-conscious about their weight. At Christmas, gifts should uplift, not hurt self-esteem. Please don't make this mistake.

7. Home Decor (not specified in their list)

I don't think we have enough plaid in here
You might like plaid.. or purple. But I don't. Please don't give me home decor items that I have not asked for. If it's ugly, I'll feel bad if I don't put it up when you come visit me... but it will go right back in its hidey hole as soon as you leave. I imagine that is the case with other people as well. Just stick to their list if they have something they want. I have had family members suggest I buy them certain things.. like comforters, or sheets. Even those make me nervous. I don't know what you like. My taste is different than yours. So I just can't imagine trying to make those decisions for you. Trust me, I almost made the mistake of asking for a comforter this year.. then I realized it's probably something I should buy myself.

8. Bath Salts

We make your bath smell good.. and zombies
Bath products are a total cop-out in my opinion. It's what you get when you have NO idea what to get someone, and (from personal experience) almost never get used. Who has time to relax in a bath? And who remembers the bath salts when they do? Bath balls, lotion, good smelling stuff.. it's all fine and good, when you get it for yourself. But you might love the smell of vanilla, and your best friend might feel like throwing up when she smells that. It's just a big minefield of maybe the person will love it and maybe they will feel like you put zero thought into the gift. I have never felt upset getting this as a gift, but at the same time, I never really used it either.. so it was a waste of money. Instead of bath salts, perhaps a gift card to Bed Bath and Beyond, or Bath and Body Works is a better idea.

Later I'm going to make a list of the BEST things you can get people. This list isn't meant to be critical or some sort of passive-aggressive jab at people. I just think these are funny and maybe people out there could avoid awkward situations by reading my list :).

Thursday, December 5, 2013

11 Months Old!

11 Months on the FROG!!!
Baby Sonja,

HOW did you get so big?!?!

I'm officially terrified of blinking because I swear every time I do you grow up more and more.

Here's what's up with you in your 11th month of life...

Sonja's Favorite:

* Words: "dog" "nana" "dada" "dookadookadookadookadoo" (don't ask me what it means but you say it a LOT) "jojo" (but pronounced french-like) you also like to make high pitched squeal sounds at the cats mimicking their meows
* Toys: blocks, the push cars, your car keys (and mine), whatever happens to be in my hands, my iphone, any phone really, your push walker, your musical book, your wooden puzzle.
I'm also amazing at chess... 
* Singers: Taylor Swift, Corrine Bailey Rae, Sarah Barreilles, Kenny Chesney, anyone with a smooth soothing voice
* People: Mama, Dada, Nana, Papa, The girls at the Gold's Gym Childcare center, Al the car salesman, the lady who showed us our new apartment today, Evan from the smoothy shop by Gold's Gym, Our realtor Matt, and anyone else who gives you any attention at all usually.
* Activities: Walking with a push walker or using someone's fingers, walking between mommy and daddy, getting tickled, making funny faces, clapping, feeding herself, trying to eat things you shouldn't eat like paper and cat litter...
* Things: ANIMALS.. You LOVE animals, dogs, cats, anything that will lick your face and jump all over you.. Cars...
You're an excellent driver, too


* This month you took your first independent steps on November 25th! We were so excited!
* You now LOVE meat especially red meat that has been well seasoned or cooked like brisket
What does a dead cow say? Nothing cause it's in my tummy! BAHAHAHA
* You just started saying "Mama" to address me about 2 days ago!
* You clap your hands now just by hearing the word "Clap" or "yay!"
* You are crawling like a boss and doing really well at cruising and walking.. still not able to really walk on your own very far but you will get there by your first birthday I am positive.
* You just got upgraded to a convertible car seat since we got this awesome deal on Black Friday and couldn't resist. You are now the proud new occupant of a Maxi Cosi Pria 70. It looks so comfy I am kind of jealous.
* You now do more fun faces. You do this adorable little cheesy grin, and you seem to know the exact perfect times to make this face.
* You love food and now make the "mmmmmm" sound when you are eating
* You now drink about half your "bottles" from a straw cup! I'm close to weaning you off the bottle!
You've also gotten really good at house work

Fun Facts:

* You are such a sweet girl. You are now really fond of giving kisses and hugs. You like to snuggle Mommy and Daddy.
* You don't seem to favor one parent over the other yet, and I like that. You love both of us and you love to be held by both of us. I think you seem to prefer being in Daddy's arms when we are walking around, though. I assume this is because he's taller and sturdier...
* Your hair is definitely blonde now, you've got 9 or more teeth, beautiful brown almond shaped eyes with super long dark lashes and a heart of gold
You are also an amazing mechanic... 
* You do have a temper, one I'm trying to work with. We all have tempers I think, yours mostly comes out when you don't get your way... which is often but not that often. You hate it if I eat something or hold something or do something and you don't get to eat, hold, or do that thing too.
* You're a light sleeper. You wake up at the slightest sounds, but other times I swear you'd sleep through a train wreck.
* You love to eat paper. I'm constantly having to grab paper or business cards or anything paper-made out of your speedy baby claws before you shove it in your mouth.
* You started this new "shy" act when people talk to you. You smile and nuzzle your face into me (or whoever is holding you) and it is ADORABLE
* You love music and dancing to music
* You STILL love Bubble Guppies.. a LOT.. like it's weird to me that a baby your age can love a show so much.
* I can tell you are smart. You try to trick me. It's hilarious. Yesterday you kept trying to touch an air freshener plug in and I would say no, so you'd walk away and then circle back to it again like we hadn't been there before. I was on to you though...

Truly, you are a delight. I am so happy to have you here with me, and to spend my days with you. I love snuggling you and I love playing with you. I love singing songs, teaching you things, and watching you grow and learn. You have just the sweetest little spirit and you are getting prettier by the day. The older you get, the more I enjoy you, the more I love you, and I know that we are going to have so much fun together in life. Thank you for making my life so full of love and joy.