bits & pieces

I'm not an expert on any single subject, but I'm opinionated about several.

What a Shrimp! March 8, 2011

Filed under: In General,Parenting — nemecke @ 10:06 pm
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When I was little my twin sister, step-brother and I took swimming lessons at the YMCA. I don’t remember many of the details but for some reason I cannot forget the fact that my brother and I got moved up to the Minnow group and my twin-sister was stuck back with the Guppies.  I’m not sure if it’s a permanent memory because I’m saddened by it or because I find it hysterical.

Yeah. It’s hysterical.

Besides the fact that I think water safety is important and that I want to go swimming with Brayden this summer, I also don’t ever want him to be the Guppy kid when he’s at a pool party with a bunch of Minnows. So I signed him up for swimming lessons at our local Y.

Before his first lesson we put him in the water to see how he’d react (better to have a private fit than a public one). Turns out we may have a swimmer on our hands! Lord knows he’ll have built in flippers and an enormous wing span.

No tears and, along with some purple feet, we also got a few smiles!

I am, of course, a very proud mommy.

And, last but certainly not least – look at this face! Love, love, love.

Swimming lessons are now in full swing and Brayden is 1 of only 4 Shrimp. He is the youngest of the group but he holds his own! Again we have avoided tears because it seems that, as long as there is water and little, baby fingers to splash it with, all is well in the world. If he was graded on actual class activities he would clearly get an A for effort but would not score quite as highly in a skills test. But really, can your 6 month old sit on the side of the pool, twist his body so that his hands are supporting him on the wall and then propel himself into the water? Can he hang from the side of the wall and move from side to side? Can he sit on the wall holding a kick board and then jump into the water on my 1-2-3 count? The class description says “6 to 18 months” and apparently they actually meant “120 to 180 months.” Maybe he won’t be the next Michael Phelps but he sure as hell will be a Minnow.


Vegas ain’t got nothin’ on this. February 22, 2011

Filed under: In General,Parenting — nemecke @ 10:20 pm
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Two weekends ago Scott was off on his annual boys trip to Vegas and that left me, Brayden and the dog to hold down the fort. The last time he left for a few days he came home to a freshly painted family room, back hallway and bathroom. A standard was set. I needed a project.

Thankfully a couple of months ago I found a diamond in the rough calling my name on a curb in Green Bay.

And apparently it once belonged to Linda. Oh Linda, didn’t you see the potential!?

I did. And so it was shoved into the backseat with Brayden and then eventually hauled to  Milwaukee where it sat until a plan was formed in my head and an agenda free weekend awaited me.

After some “toy box” Google Image searches, a trip to the craft isle at Walmart and a short brainstorming session it was time to paint.

My original thought was to draw my design on with pencil but I couldn’t stop thinking about those ugly smudges left by all pencil erasers. Either I needed to draw it on without any mistakes (in that case why not just use a Sharpie?) or I needed another solution. Ah ha! I have one, lonely piece of chalk in a zip lock bag in my junk drawer. It’s been waiting for its turn.

The base coat is painted, the design is finished – time to bring this thing to life!

And there you have it, Brayden’s very first toy box and my very first furniture painting experience. It’s not perfect and I certainly didn’t stay in the lines, but I had a lot of fun doing it and the whole process made me really happy.  Even silly things like painting a toy box seem so much more special when you’re doing it for your child.  As soon as he’s old enough I’ll tell him all about how mommy painted that just for him and, because of that knowledge, I’m positive that he’ll always pick up all of his toys and put them back in the box and he will never refuse to share his toys with any future sibling(s).

By the way, I also hung two large picture frames on the wall of our dining room that weekend and I don’t think Scott has noticed those yet.  But he was really impressed with the toy box!


Baby Shower Time! June 27, 2010

Yesterday my Mom and two sisters threw me a wonderful baby shower at my house. It’s amazing how many people are already in love with our little boy. My husband and I are so blessed and so grateful. Family that I hadn’t seen in years came to celebrate, my fantastic mother-in-law and sister-in-law drove 5 hours each way to be there, friends who could have been at home watching World Cup Soccer showed up – it was amazing! A huge THANK YOU to everyone who came to celebrate with us. I’ll let the pictures tell the rest of the story. . .

Everyone got a tiny diaper pin - one had a surprise in it. . .

The Very Hungry Caterpillar cupcakes my sister and I made!

5 oranges, 4 strawberries, 3 plums...

and the 2 pears and 1 apple that he ate through.

Mom displayed the book and fruit as a center piece.


We had a list of story lines and had to guess which books they came from, and then I got a copy of each book!


We have a stroller. And our dog is crazy. June 13, 2010

Filed under: In General — nemecke @ 8:34 pm
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The good news – Scott got our stroller and car seat all figured out today. We’ll actually be allowed to leave the hospital! The bad news – our dog is crazy.

Let’s start with the good. We’ve actually had our stroller and car seat system sitting in our garage for a few weeks now but until this point it almost seemed risky to put it together. So we just looked at it each time we pulled into the garage. “Hmmm, there’s our stroller. We’ll have to get that put together before the baby is born…” I’m almost 31 weeks now, we could have this baby in 7 weeks. It was time. First let me reverse just a tad and tell you that it’s down right mean that so many different strollers and car seats have been invented in recent years. Had I been paid for all of the hours I spent researching strollers and car seats I would have had enough money to fund my own baby gear company (which I would promptly name Just Buy This One and Be Done With It). At any rate, we ended up with the Chicco Cortina/Key Fit Travel System. I felt good about our choice, but I felt great when my ex-boss (who is also an ex-Babies ‘R Us manager) sent the stroller to us with a note saying it was his #1 recommendation to his customers.  Satisfaction – turns out I’m awesome at researching.

You know what else I’d do if I owned my own baby gear company? I’d send all products completely assembled. I’d be lying if the thought “how are we suppose to raise a child if we can’t get this damn car seat out of the base?” didn’t go through my head once or twice.  Or at least make the instruction manuals ridiculously detailed. You know, color coded, big font, tons of pictures, step-by-step everything. Give first time parents a little confidence in a time when they’re already second guessing this non-reversable decision. How great would it be to have opened that box along with the king of all instruction manuals, to have assembled that stroller as easily as we maneuver through the DVR and to post on our Facebook pages, “I am SO ready to be a Mom, I can do ANYTHING!”

But the good news is, we have a top-rated, completely assembled, ready for baby stroller and car seat system.

And the bad news – our dog is crazy and I’m not sure I can find a way to get the crazy out of him before we bring our son home. At the beginning of my pregnancy I read that you should prepare dogs for a new baby by carrying a doll around and teaching the dog to be gentle with the doll. Well I happen to have loved dolls as a kid so I had my mom fish out my all time favorite doll from the bag she was keeping them all in in her basement. Her name was Elizabeth and she still had the little hospital bracelet on her wrist that she got when I had to get her leg sewn back on at the doll hospital.  As long as I’m being honest, we never really used the doll like we were suppose to. For awhile she sat in our family room and if Newport happened to go near her we’d tell him to “be gentle.” Then she moved up to the nursery and I placed her in one of those bouncer things we have (should I know what the actual name for that thing is??). She’s been sitting up there for a few months, and then today Newport got crazy. I was in the room next door painting with the door closed – had to keep the door closed to avoid the disaster we experienced last weekend when we were helping my sister paint her laundry room. Of course she was painting it teal blue (which actually looks fantastic!) and of course Newport walked into the paint tray and then proceeded to walk down her hallway to see what was going on in the kitchen. So the door to the room I was painting stayed closed. The first time I opened the door to go get some water, he was asleep right out side waiting for me. Good dog! The second time I opened the door to find out what that curious noise I kept on hearing was, he was chewing a hole in the back of Elizabeth’s neck. As if he could understand me I shouted, “Newport! When we have a kid are you just going to go grab him out of his bouncy thing and start chewing on him!?” To which he responded by jumping on me, running into the nursery, jumping completely up onto the window ledge (hadn’t seen that one before), jumping off, jumping on me, chewing on the bouncy thing etc. etc. You get the idea. This was immdiately followed by a few sprints around the room I had been painting – yep, I left the door open. Downstairs he made a few laps around the house before crashing through his doggy door and taking off like a bat out of hell around our, excuse me his, backyard. Apparently that got most of the crazy out of his system, but the point is he chewed a hole in the back of the doll that was suppose to be  teaching him to “be gentle.” The stroller we had so successfully and confidentely completed had also been up moved up to the nursery. Had I opened the door to find him chewing on that this post would have had an entirely different ending. It was your lucky day Newport. So now we have 2 months to teach him that the nursery is completely, at all times off limits to him. No questions, no exceptions.

You can find updates on that adventure on Newport’s very own blog:


It’s official, I’m a blogger. May 3, 2010

Filed under: In General — nemecke @ 9:43 am
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Good morning blogging world and welcome to my first ever blog post. I actually set my blog up sometime last week but hadn’t posted anything because I felt the task was too daunting. Forever this will be my first, official post and shouldn’t the topic be something spectacular? Perhaps I’ll find spectacular later, for now I simply feel like writing and sometimes my best thoughts don’t come to me until I actually begin to put the rest of the words swarming through my mind on paper (or virtual paper as it may be).

This morning writing is saving me from making over 50 phone calls for a “work-at-home” recruiting job I thought I’d try out. Like anything else that’s too good to be true, the job description made it sound like a “can’t lose” situation and while I certainly didn’t lose anything financially, I also didn’t gain anything (Ok, I got $15.00) but so far I have lost about 7 hours of my life to the task which equals out to about $2.14/hour. So as of about 15 minutes ago I decided that’s it for me and it’s time to focus on other things like writing, which will probably prove to be equally as fruitful – for now anyway, I have big dreams…

Over the past six months I’ve tried to do a lot of soul-searching, I’ve sort of been forced to, because I am caught between wanting (and being unable to find) a full-time, decent salaried job and figuring out what it is I actually want to be when I grow up. For almost three years my husband and I lived in California where I had a job I really enjoyed as a Community Relations Manager for Barnes and Noble. But when my husband’s company offered him a new position that required relocating back home to Wisconsin, we jumped on the chance for them to help us out of the horrible real estate situation going on in Southern, CA and to move back home on someone else’s dime. It was a great opportunity for us, unfortunately for me it meant quitting my job and hoping that, somehow in the worst job market we’ve seen in years, I’d be able to find something again. Odds weren’t working in my favor and 6 months later I’m working 12 hours a week at the only part-time job I could even find and wondering if I’ll ever get my career back. This is what led me to believe in the possibilities of the at-home recruiting job (when you’re desperate…) but really, if I’m totally honest with myself, I just want to try writing. I don’t know what I want to write, where I want to write, who I want to write for. For now, I just want to be able to write – so thank you to the inventor of blogging because here I am, writing.