Thursday, December 31, 2009

Family Christmas #1

As usual, I'm behind in my blogging.
I haven't told you about an event I look forward to every year . . .

The Keller Family Christmas Party

This year, John and I hosted the party on December 19.
Family gathered from near and far . . .
Dayton, Cincinnati, Chicago, central Pennsylvania and Indiana.

We sang carols . . .

shared a few giggles . . .

spent quality time with our sweet loved ones . . .

and felt the joy of Christmas through the eyes (and wide open mouth) of a child . . .

Most importantly, it was a time to gather together and realize . . .

there is just nothing like the warmth of family, the magic of Christmas, and the sense of peace that comes from knowing you are loved by so many.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

To you and yours . . .

“Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.”
(Luke 2:10-11)

Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Just in case . . .

I'm ever kidnapped by aliens or decide to run away with the circus, I've decided someone else on the planet should know how to properly put Brendan down for a nap.

Step One: Feed him an 8 oz. bottle of formula. If you're extra-talented like me, you'll use your other hand to make Megan a sandwich, your foot to answer the phone, and your other foot to do a load of laundry. Don't forget to burp him.

Step Two: Wrap him in the miracle blanket. He will not sleep without it. Then again, he won't sleep with it either. Just wrap him. I'm not really sure why.

Step Three: In his bedroom, walk around and bounce him gently while quietly whispering, "Shhh shhh shhh." If your arms get tired, you might be able to sit down in the rocking chair. Then again, you might not. Toughen up!

Step Four - After about 45 minutes of this, you might think he is asleep. HE'S NOT. Keep walking/bouncing/shhhing for at least 20 more minutes.

Step Five - Ok, he's asleep.

Step Six - Slowly, and I mean slowly, lower him into his crib. Oops, not slowly enough. He just opened his eyes. Repeat steps three and four . . . again.

Step Seven - OK, he's asleep. Ooops, no he's not. Go back to step four again.

Step Eight - Alright, let's try this again. Slowly lower him into his crib. Like, so slowly, that if people were video recording this, the only way they would be able to tell you were actually moving was to play it in fast forward. That's how slowly you need to move.

Step Nine - Attempt to delicately extricate your arms from under him. Be very careful!!! Moving too quickly during this critical phase of the process could set you all the way back to step one.

Step Ten - Creep out of his room.

Step Eleven - Awesome! He's sleeping. You now have approximately 8 and one half minutes until he wakes up. Great job!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Sitting Here

with a bunch of tears streaming down my face.
That husband of mine! That sweet husband of mine.

He sent me this song today from work.

Even with two screaming kids, a cat that won't stop throwing up, and a dog that hates me (seriously hates me), a broken ice maker, six loads of laundry laying on our bedroom floor, and some substance (of unknown origin) all over the family room carpet . . . we still got it!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Megan's Letter to Santa

Dear Santa,
This is Megan. I've been a good girl. This year for Christmas, I would like an Elmo guitar, a little tiny goat that's not real, Littlest Pet Shop and Polly Pockets. I really love candy in my stocking, especially candy canes. Please bring my baby brother Brendan some toys and please don't be mad at him. He cries a lot. Goodbye.
3 years old

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Christmas Miracles

When I was mommy to only one child, I had the time to fret over inconsequential things,
like the yearly Christmas card.
I would start planning the Christmas card in mid-October, early November.
What an annoying over-achiever I was.

This photo is from 2 years ago.
See Megan's adorable, furry boots that went just perfect with the outfit?
The store didn't have her size and I just HAD TO HAVE THEM for the Christmas card picture.
After traveling to every Gymboree in Central Ohio and not finding her size, I ordered them online . . . but I was worried they wouldn't fit when they arrived (so I ordered five pairs of them, in five different sizes, just to make sure I had the right size.) I'm honestly not kidding.
That night, I greeted John at the door with, "Honey, don't be mad at me but . . . )
And you wonder why they call him St. John.

This year, things are a little different.
I haven't slept in 4 months and if Gymboree is selling $50 boots for toddlers I sure don't know about it.

Then I started receiving some holiday cards in the mail and had an "Oh Crap" moment.
That is, oh crap it is mid-December I haven't even made our Christmas card yet.
Oh the humanity!

I took approximately 93873209584975 photos, attempting to get just ONE that was usable.

Here's how it went . . .

Why do they both look terrified???
It's not like I threatened "no lunch" until I had the perfect photo.
Or maybe Brendan is thinking, "Mom will you take me out of this stupid basket.
I feel like an idiot here."

And then you have the adorable-Megan-going-in-for-a-kiss-while-Brendan-pulls-away photo.
Not pictured: Megan "delicately" grabbing Brendan's head, kissing him so hard he had an imprint of her lips on his temple for the rest of the day, all while accidentally poking him in the right eye, leading to 20 minutes of hysterical crying.

Then a complete and total lack of cooperation from the both of them.

This is Megan growing a little tired of my plan.
I keep a little pack of orange tic tacs in my purse for just such moments.

If you look carefully in the bottom right corner of Megan's mouth, you will see the orange residue from the tic tacs I was feeding her to smile.

Part of me is ashamed and part of me just isn't.

And finally, proof that Christmas miracles really do happen.
Both my little elves managed a smile at the same time.
Oh, how full of Christmas cheer I am :)
P.S. I did return the boots that didn't fit her.
P.S.S. Her sweater this year was from Walmart.
Oh how times have changed.

Friday, December 11, 2009


I've been a cake baking fool lately.
I made this one for my niece's birthday on Thanksgiving.
I already posted a picture but I'm posting another one.
Deal with it :)
And this one is my first "paid" cake made for someone outside my family.
It was for a little boy's baby shower.
The theme was green, blue, and brown polka dots.
My sister threw the shower and now owes me multiple hours of babysitting.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Fun We Have While Megan's At School

Amount of time you spent crying and fussing, indicating you might need a nap:
12 minutes
Amount of time I spent trying to put you down (including the shushing, walking, rocking, bouncing, singing, swaying, lay you down ever so gently, oops not gently enough you just woke up, start all over again, ok you're really asleep now, quietly creep out of the room and try to get something done.)
43 minutes

Amount of time you actually spent sleeping

6 minutes

Monday, December 7, 2009

My Two Turkeys

Just getting around to posting about Thanksgiving.
Better late than never I guess.
Thanksgiving #1 was in Dayton at John's sister Laura's house.
Here is Grandpa K and our little heavyweight.
And Grandma K just a short time after having BRAIN SURGERY!!!

And my two turkeys sharing a snuggle on the couch.

Then we moved on to Thanksgiving #2 with my family. . .

We celebrated my niece Austyn's 8th birthday with a little Hannah Montana cake I whipped up for the occasion. I love to see the excitement in the kids' eyes when they see their cake for the first time. This was a fun cake to make.

My brother, single and ready to mingle.

Carter and Brendan
Can you believe Brendan is only 3 weeks older?

Katie and Brendan

And last but not least, my dad and his little mini-me Carter.

They are like twins separated by fifty-something years and few gray hairs.

And that, my friends, was my two turkeys.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Weight Watcher Wednesday

Aw c'mon, it was Thanksgiving.
I had two of them, even if I haven't gotten around to posting pictures yet.
I have a personal rule.
I don't diet on Thanksgiving.

It is the one holiday that is really all about the eating.
Can't I have one holiday a year? Or in this case, two?
A couple years ago when I said that in a Weight Watcher meeting,
the teacher asked me to stay after class to speak with me about discouraging others.
I'm not kidding.

So anyway, Thanksgiving is over.
I didn't gain any weight last week but I didn't lose any either.
That is between me and my big, fat bum.
And I guess you too since I've chosen to share this very private battle with you.

One of the most important weight loss lessons I've learned . . .
If you screw up, stop watching what you eat, have a weak moment, a weak week, whatever -
If you are still worrying about it, still talking about it, still weighing yourself,
you are still on the battlefield.
Don't wait for Monday to start your plan again. Don't wait for a fresh new day.
Calories don't care about Mondays and they don't know what day it is.

I love food.
I've lost a ton of weight before.
If I can do this, anyone can.

How about some new recipes to try this week?
I love recipes that don't taste like Weight Watcher recipes.
Recipes you can feed your husband and he won't complain.

Speaking of my husband, I want to tell you about him.
He doesn't have a weight problem. Never has.
He doesn't eat when he's not hungry. Weird.

When we first started dating, I asked him if he wanted a cookie. He replied that he wasn't hungry. My reply: "What the hell does hungry have to do with eating a cookie?"
A guess there is a lesson here. Don't eat when you're not hungry. Novel idea.

So here's a recipe folks. Eat it only when hungry :)

Taco Soup
Makes 12 (1) cup servings

Ingredients:1 lb. ground turkey (or lean ground beef )1 large onion, chopped 1 pkg. Hidden Valley ranch dressing mix1 pkg. Taco Seasoning mix1 can Pinto Beans1 can Chile Hot Beans1 can whole kernel corn1 can stewed tomatoes (Mexican flavor)1 can stewed tomatoes (any flavor)Brown meat and onions, drain. Mix Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix and taco seasoning mix into meat. Then, without draining, add all of the other ingredients. Simmer 1 hour. If you can find the reduced sodium taco seasoning and the reduced sodium Hidden Valley it is very helpful because of the high sodium count in both the seasonings and the chili hot beans

And don't forget to dance while you cook to burn a few extra calories.

C'mon, close your eyes and pretend you're a bad ass.

Pretend you live in Compton.

You're tough. You're rough. You're packing some heat on your ample hips.

You can win this battle with your thighs. Yes you can!

Push yourself to work harder than you thought you could.

Shake it while you open those cans.

Shake it shake it baby.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Only You

I have so much I want to tell you about.

We had TWO THANKSGIVINGS - one with John's family and one with mine.
I made a Hannah Montana cake for my niece's eighth birthday.

Oh yeah, and I've been Nana-sitting. (i.e. taking care of my grandmother while my mom is away . . . counting out her pills, making her special meals low in sodium, potassium, and phosphorous, making sure she gets to dialysis, etc.)

If I had the time, I'd post a bunch of pictures of all this stuff and come up with witty little captions, cracking myself up as I type.

Instead, I just put Brendan down for a nap that is guaranteed to be only 7 minutes long. No time for wit. Sorry.

Until I have more time to blog, please be patient with me. Listen to my baby's theme song and you'll understand. It explains perfectly how he feels about me . . . he cries when I put him down, cries when he is in the car seat and can't see me, cries when he is in the stroller and isn't being held by me, cries when he can't see me for two seconds, cries when someone else tries to hold him, cries when I'm doing anything but holding him and walking around or attaching him to my boo boos like my permanent, conjoined twin . . .

ONLY YOU!!!!!!!

He is a high needs baby . . . my second high needs baby. You know how some people get one tough baby and then get one "easy" baby. Yeah, well not me.

It is flattering yet so very exhausting.

Tune back later when I'll perhaps have time to upload some pics . . . after I take Megan to preschool and pick her up, empty the dishwasher, fold the clothes in the dryer, make dinner, make another dinner for Nana, take Megan to her doctor's appointment, buy formula, return the red box movie, borrow a sweater from my sister, entertain Megan, read and understand all 192873294 pages of the city's budget and be able to speak intelligently on the subject when the newspaper reporter calls (all while holding my 18 pound infant under my left arm) and attend my city council meeting tonight . . . without forgetting to put on my breast pads (to conceal embarrassing leaks) like last meeting when I had to put on my coat and run out the door. Good times!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Weight Watcher Wednesday

As promised, I'm back - one week later - to tell you how
I did this week with my diet plans.

Just in case you missed my
check it out here.

Now, back to my week.
I did step aerobics on Wednesday (part of it while holding my 18 pound baby) - desperation.
Then I woke up Thursday with a terrible cold, cough, headache, etc.
Doesn't it always seem that there is something lurking around every weight loss corner just waiting to derail your efforts?? You know . . . illness, Thanksgiving. Ahh!

Well, despite my cold I still managed to have a pretty good week.
I counted my points every day and tried some new menu items.
I chose to focus on getting rid of my cold and will exercise again when I stop drinking
Thera-Flu like it is Kool-Aid.

My results . . .
OMG, you guys, it totally worked!
Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!

I lost one measly pound. Yep, one pound!
But it was a monumental pound.
It was the pound that "broke a ten."
You know, the pound that makes the scale read 119 instead of 120.
(I, of course, used those numbers just for illustration sake. You can stop laughing now.)
"Breaking a ten" is always a mental victory - a small goal on the long road of weight loss.
Since I started counting Weight Watcher points, I've lost 7 total pounds. Every one adds up.

We're about to face Thanksgiving.
Before throwing your face into the mashed potatoes, just ask yourself . . .
"Does this taste as good as being thin feels?"
Tomorrow, your answer just might be yes. (Mine might be.)
Just let Thanksgiving be the only day you answer yes to that question :)
Check back next week for more of my results.
In the meantime, check out this site.
Scroll down and look on the right.
This site has a comprehensive list of restaurants and the point values of their foods.
Very surprising!
Guess who won't be drinking venti White Chocolate Mochas from Starbucks anymore.
But guess who will be enjoying a lot more Mongolian Chicken from Pei Wei!

Now, my weight loss buddies, tell me how you did.

And have a happy, safe Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 23, 2009


I'm sick.
So sick I haven't even been to see this yet . . .

Told ya I was sick.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Time to Get Real

It is time to get real folks.
I'm really fat.

Has this ever happened to you?
You look at a picture of yourself and think, "Wow, that outfit made me look really fat."
Then you see another picture of yourself and think, "That outfit too?"
Pretty soon you curse every outfit you own for making you look fat.
Slowly, the harsh reality sets in . . .

Your fat is making you look FAT.
It isn't the poor outfit's fault.

Wow, that's a lot harder of a problem to solve then just getting new clothes.
Ah man!

I tend to pork up while I'm pregnant.
With Megan, I gained about 75 pounds.
Is that even possible to do in 9 months? Yes, cause I did it.
With Brendan, I gained about 60 with a lot of it piling on in the end when I gave up caring.
(P.S. Don't ever give up caring!)
I didn't eat unhealthy foods.
I just ate WAY TOO MUCH of healthy foods
(well, I guess a few unhealthy foods too.)

Imagine my surprise when I didn't give birth to a 60 pound baby!
What? Nine pounds, two ounces? What about the rest?
Needless to say, folks, I am left with 40 pounds of excess baby weight.

I am embarrassed to write that.

The other night I was sworn in for my second term on city council.
I had to stand up in front of a room full of people and take an oath.
I should have felt proud of myself for being willing to serve my community.
I should have been proud of the work I've done so far.
Instead I wanted to crawl in a hole and hide myself.
I didn't just feel fat on the outside.
I felt fat on the inside.

Anyone who has ever suffered with a weight problem knows exactly what I'm talking about.
You plump up and all of a sudden you feel less outgoing, less confident, less willing to put yourself out there. Do you know what I mean?

I know how I look shouldn't play such a huge role in how I feel.
But it does.

That was my final straw.

I lost 60 pounds after Megan was born.
I can do this again.

I need your help to keep me honest and on track.

I hereby declare every Wednesday to be "Weight Watcher Wednesday."
I will post how much weight I've lost the week prior, along with any new tips, recipes, etc. I've come across to help me along the way. I'll also tell you how much I've exercised.

You can join me if you want to. Just leave me a comment each week updating me on your progress too. We can help motivate each other.

But even if I have to do this alone, I'm still doing it.

I want to be that outgoing, confident person that takes chances inife without being preoccupied with the shame I feel on the inside for neglecting my body.

My body is awesome. It has brought two children into the world. It is time to take care of it a little better.

Here goes, folks!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Two Months

Dear Brendan,

OK, I do realize you are almost three months old and I haven't even gotten around to blogging about your second month, let alone create a single scrapbook page. Someday Megan will tease you, pointing out that by the time she was two months old I had already completed half her baby book and at least 12 scrapbook pages dedicated to her every gurgle. I apologize in advance for this.

Actually, you are the one that may owe me an apology. You see, you spent your entire second month engaged in the following delightful behavior . . .
and night.
Megan took this picture of you.
I must have been off somewhere beating my head against the wall.
Or maybe I was on the phone with GG, begging her to come over.
If I had to chose one word to describe your second month, it would be
I was willing to do anything to get you to stop crying.
Including having this guy (the chiropractor) massage you.
He convinced me you were crying because you had muscle tension.
I guess being nursed around the clock, rocked to sleep, and filling your pants every ten minutes is very stressful.
Then I tried this little contraption called the "miracle blanket."
It pretty much wraps you like a baby sausage to help remind you of your time in the womb.
The only miracle involved was that I managed to get this photo of you actually sleeping. A complete miracle

Next, we tried Mylicon Anti-Gas medicine.
Basically, instead of farting 36 times an hour you only farted 35.
I considered that progress.

We also tried 3 different prescriptions from the pediatrician.
They worked about as well as the Mylicon.

The only thing that actually worked was this guy . . .

I played this song for you one day when I felt close to the edge of my sanity.
It reminds me of Caribbean vacations and it just makes me happy.

"Sun tanned toes, tickling the sand.
Cold drink chillin' in my right hand."

Well, guess what, it worked!!!! I played it so loud I couldn't hear you crying anymore.
Just kidding. Seriously, you love Kenny Chesney.
You stop crying almost immediately when I turn this song on. Only this song.
Megan can now recite every word of it.
Now, when you start crying Megan starts singing, "When the sun goes down . . ."

Even if it was a tough month, there wasn't a day I didn't look at you and wonder how I got so lucky.

Happy two months big guy!

I couldn't love you more.

(And I'll get started on those scrapbook pages soon, ok?)



Friday, November 13, 2009


On November 11, I woke up at about 1 am to the sound of a barking dog.
Only our dog wasn't barking.
Our two-and-a-half month old baby was!


If you've ever had a child with croup, you know exactly what I'm talking about. Arf! Arf!
Only in between the arfs, Brendan was making a squeaking, high pitched noise in an effort to get air back into his little lungs.

We spent the night at Children's Hospital where Brendan received a dose of steroids, Tylenol for his first fever, a breathing treatment, and an x-ray of his neck.

We were hit up for the $150 copay and reminded we'll have to pay 20%. Remember the good ole days when you could just go to the hospital and worry about getting well without the man in the white coat coming to collect his money???? Tacky. Especially when you're worried sick about your child and you have to stop talking to the nurse to hand the man your credit card. Totally tacky.

Thankfully, my little man is on the mend now.
His still has a cough but we're not getting him and the dog confused with each other anymore.
He's much cuter than the dog anyway.

Don't you think?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Halloween 2009 Recap

The day began with the usual making-of-the-treats.
First, it was monster dogs and eyeballs for lunch.
Then Megan and I made these delightful little crunchy spider snacks.

She made me laugh when she said, "I ate his eyes so now he can't see. I ate his legs so now he can't move." (See photo of the poor little eyeless, legless spider below.)

Then we carved pumpkins. Well, actually John carved pumpkins and I watched and took pictures.

Check out Brendan's smile. Two and a half months old folks but that outfit he is wearing is a size 9 months. What can I say, we make giant children.

Megan took this picture.

And I took this one.

Then we suited up for an evening of trick-or-treating

and Brendan fell asleep.

Megan was shy at first about going up to the houses, but once she realized there was candy involved she was the leader of the pack.

Happy Halloween 2009!