Our Weekend in Photos

We rang in the weekend with a daytrip to Onarga to see Tim’s family.  It was really sweet because it was secretly to surprise Roger with his retirement present, a golf cart to ride around at the lake.  He doesn’t retire until October, but this way he can use it all summer with the warm weather. He was SO SURPRISED.  Silas really thought perhaps it was HIS present and couldn’t get enough.  

We hung out on the porch most of the day and then went to the lake to grill out in the afternoon.  Aunt Meg came to visit, which was lovely, and Silas got to walk down to see not one but four choo choos.  Spoiled!  We headed back home for bedtime, but we were running an hour late and ended up with two really miserable babies in the car for a lot of the drive.  Oh, well.  All in all, it was a really nice day.  



(I have one more picture to add here of the golf cart reveal, but I don’t have it yet)

Sunday Tim and I were both really freakin’ tired from two long weeks.  He let me sleep in until 9:30 and cleaned the whole house by the time I woke up!  I paid him back by letting him take a long afternoon nap with Silas.  An extra few hours of sleep go a long way toward a fresh start to the week.  

The whole fam headed to Target to grab some groceries for the week, and that was about all we could handle yesterday.  We also started pilates yesterday in an effort to get rid of our baby bellies.  My body still feels pretty fragile at this point, which I didn’t have last time, so I’m jumping back in slowly.  I need to get about ten pounds off for my wardrobe to fit again, so that’s the first goal.  

It’s a short work week.  This is Tim’s only night away for the week (yay) and we head to Bloomington for the long weekend on Friday.  We are SO. EXCITED.  It seemed like a good idea to hold off on visiting our old stomping grounds until we knew it wouldn’t make us miserable to come back to Lafayette, so it’s been a long time coming and we’re so looking forward to it.  The trade off is that Silas is a hideous traveler and won’t sleep the entire time or for a week after, but it will be worth it.  


Happenings at Our House

I have had a hard time finding time to blog anything more than weekend updates despite having a lot to say, so I decided to do a family update.  We sort of all four have a lot going on.


Silas Peter is our super chatty 19 month old dude.  He is repeating everything (and I do mean everything) he hears.  I am just about the only person who can translate at this point because he’s terribly dutchy, but it doesn’t stop him from attempting to say words or even sentences.  Some of the funnier things he says:  sup, girl?  see you (later)!  hey dude!  hewo! howdy do baby!  ope!  YYYYEAH!

He wakes almost every morning singing “hooray, hooray” which is the song from the 1977 version of Winnie the Pooh, his current favorite.  Tim and I know all the songs, so it’s probably time for a new favorite.  He loves to stack, build towers, cook in his play kitchen, read books, sing songs, have dance parties, and is starting to like puzzles.  He’s also moving into the choo choo zone and trying to learn how to build the wooden track.  Silas will, without fail, pick going outside above all else.

  His sleep was really the only thing that went out the window after Maren was born.  He turned into a bit of a monster until all the company left, but has been sweet and cooperative ever since.  Si has gotten back to 12 hours of night sleep and one or two naps, but he’s waking up once at night again which stopped for several months before baby sister arrived.  We were back to normal for a whole week until our air went out and we traveled to Mom’s overnigiht.  Back to square one.  Silas is anything but a good traveler.  Tim and I are used to it at this point but we will be happy when we sleep through the night again someday in the very distant future.

Silvano P has moved into 2T jammies and tees and is still in 12-18 month shorts. He’s a hilarious mix of lean and stout.  He also moved up to size 6 shoes and had his 45th hair cut.  Ok, not really, but I have to cut his hair all the time.  I know it’s time when he wakes up and the back of it is so nappy you can imagine vague animal shapes in it.  It’s like cloud watching, but worse.

These days, he is rarely seen without Elle the elephant.  He and I even made an elephant tee shirt yesterday.  The glee was priceless.  He’s getting his 2 year molars, so the sleeping/eating/pooping issues that come with that are pretty fun for all.  If we need an elephant party all day long to stay happy, that’s what we do.

He has mastered climbing on top of the coffee table, getting out of our king sized bed by himself, using a fork and spoon like a champion, adventuring into the wading pool at the water park without holding hands, and climbing out of his car seat before being picked up.  He will also randomly come up to me and say “guggle, mama” which means snuggle, mama.  It’s darling.

He hugs Maren every morning as soon as he sees her and shouts something loving about two inches from her nose.  She loves it.  Si also learned how to whisper and say “shhhhh” when she is fussing.  As soon as she begins to fuss he screams “UH OH! UH OH!”  So pretty much any hope of her calming back down is for naught.  But then he loves to comfort her, which is adorable.


Our little sweet pea is such a hoot.  She’s in a growth spurt and is eating more often at night (every 2-3 hours instead of every 4-6).  This week I feel tired from being up at night for the first time since she was born.  She’s six weeks old!!  I think that’s pretty awesome.

Maren is grinning at all of us, but mostly at Silas. She’s starting to love looking at things with contrast, but does not like being put down when she’s awake for more than about a minute.  She prefers eye contact and a small jazz show to keep her happy.  Just kidding.  Silas was such a mellow infant, I think she’s normal and at that age where she’s getting bored when lying on her back by herself.  Little does she know Silas will be her lifelong entertainment in a few short months.

M is weighing in at 11 and a half pounds and is quickly growing out of 0-3 month clothes.  Luckily, she has a ton of 3-6 dresses for summer that are daaarliiiing.  Thanks, Kendra and Sara!  She’s in size 2 diapers at night and cloth during the day.  Surprisingly, the cloth have leaked more with her already than in 15 months with Silas.  We are troubleshooting that at the moment.  Boosters seem to be the answer.   We switched brands and it got worse, so back to GroVias.

She is looking a lot like mama still while Silas looks evermore like a Ballard fellow.  It’s pretty fun to have one of each.


I’m in a bit of a funk these days, admittedly. It’s not the most welcome phase, but I knew shit was getting real when I heard myself say with total exasperation “I want to move to New York.  And use fabric softener.”  Neither of those things will happen, and I don’t really want them on a gut level.  I just don’t want to live in the Midwest or be doing the things I am doing, which are necessary and lifey things but not things that fill me up and make me feel like I am working on myself.  I’m having a hard time, and I hate admitting it almost as much as I hate feeling it.

Maybe you’re one of those people who is thinking “But you’re a mom and that should be enough!” and that’s true and fine, but there is real loss of identity involved in parenting two children under 20 months old with a missing husband a few nights a week.  In fact, there’s a huge loss of identity when you become a mother at all.  There’s also a very clear sense of identity that you assume when you hold your brand new baby and realize he depends on you wholly, and I found a lot of solace and purpose in that.  Suddenly career choices and stupid relationship mistakes from the past and all those things you didn’t do right go away because it doesn’t matter.  Talk about liberation.  Motherhood is remarkable.

So here I am, being a mama to these two babies and I love them so much I could burst.  But at the same time I need something to balance out all the mommyness, and that’s where we are these days.  Essentially, I have to wait until Tim is done with work to get into a routine where I can intentionally choose things that make me feel creative and like myself and make space for them in our life on a weekly basis.  A few more weeks.  So much easier said than done.  But I’m going to do it, because I have to.

Unfortunately, I’m one of those people who is so all or nothing that I have to put myself on a schedule to make sure I actually do the things I need.  I guess it’s fortunate, too, that I know that about myself, but it has been a consistently frustrating issue since getting married because I’m also the person who builds my routine around my partner’s needs.  He didn’t ask for that, it’s my own psychosis, but it affects me because I prevent myself from doing what I need, so that needs some tweaking as well.


Timmy is in the homestretch of a really long 2 years. He will finish his job with the Migrant Resource Center on July 18 just in time for family vacations.  We will spend the first half of the week with my family at the lake and then the second half of the week with the Ballard clan at the Dunes.  It has been a really long winter and spring and we are in desperate need of some lakeside relaxing.

By the time we get back, it’s August.  Holy cow.  Tim will have a few weeks off (we are going to try to tackle a ton of house projects in that window, he says) and then begins observation in the classroom to prep for student teaching this Fall.  His student teaching will be with second graders and an awesome cooperating teacher.  The administration in his building already made a point to pull him aside and ask about future plans, which is exciting.  Good job, Mr. Ballard!

This past weekend Tim got to travel to D.C. for John’s wedding, which was really special for him.  I’ll admit I was a wee bit jealous of how easy it was to travel solo and hop on a plane, stay out late having fun, and not worry about diapers and bedtimes.  Sigh.  He says it was a beautiful ceremony and totally fun weekend for all and the pictures tell the same story.

It is a busy season at work and a busy season at home, so I imagine he is feeling pretty tired at this point, but we’ve almost made it.  These are the days when we want to call a babysitter so that we can take a nap for 30 minutes.  Living the dream, man.

We have been having a hard time enjoying each other and our house in the rare times that we are all here.  We got to the point that every day felt like groundhog day.  Three times.  Toys all over every room (thanks to our open floor plan) and a real lack of energy by 8pm to pick them up one.  more.  time.  And so, while Tim was in D.C., I made a glorious play space for Silas and life became much less frustrating.  Priceless. Suddenly we enjoy our evenings again and are figuring out how to have more fun despite having long nights and long days.

That’s the news around here.  We have plans literally every weekend until August at this point, so there will be no down time for the GB’s until vacation, but that’s a sign of a good summer, right?

House Update

We are hardly recognizing our house without the peeling paint, overgrown bushes, and ostentatious Dish hanging in the eave.

We also have a red front door!  The picture was after the first coat, so it looks a little more finished and solid.  It’s Heritage Red by Benjamin Moore.  The door still needs some trimming in the door frame, but we are loving how fresh the house feels right now.

Up next:  landscaping and outdoor decor.  ImageImage

Our (HUGE) Weekend in Photos

This weekend was a doozy.  We helped my parents move out of our childhood home, which was a little sad, a lot exciting, and mostly just hectic and productive.  It was so nice to hang out with family and visit with all three Garner sibs in one spot.  We really like each other and have a good time together which makes for really enjoyable grown up time.  Aunts Leanne and Jenny kept the kids all day Saturday and I got to be a part of the moving and unpacking and organizing.  It’s weird, but it was really rejuvenating to be doing productive things with grown ups all day.  The yard at the new house already feels very much like home.  It’s beautiful and wide open with big ol’ trees!  It’s awesome.

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We also made some progress on the house, which has been at a standstill for quite a while.  Namely, the exterior got painted while we were away moving Mom and Dad.  Huzzah!  We’ve been waiting on it a long time (it’s a weather-dependent job) and it feels SO lovely to have a freshly painted house.  We also upgraded the mailbox are painting the front door today, so more pictures are on the docket.  Last weekend we yanked out all the bushes along the entire length of the house.  It’s feeling really good over here!  Next up on the home improvement list:  wallpapering the small bath (anybody up for hire?), finishing the wall patching and painting from shelf removal, updating the upstairs bath, and maybe white washing all our hardwoods.  Yikes.  Before any of those, we’ll be tackling our flower beds and transplanting some things for a little curb appeal.  Last night when we got home from helping my fam, this is what we had.  It’s a huge improvement.  I should have taken before pictures when they finished powerwashing.  So gross!

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The third component of our weekend was the celebration of Father’s Day.  It was Tim’s second Father’s Day experience, but we both agreed that this year we feel much more like parents.  Last year we were still wickedly underslept and grappling with the definition of parenthood.  This year, it’s full on mommy- and daddy-hood and it feels good to have a legit day to claim as our own.  We both decided to stay home for our respective holidays and it felt great to just relax.   Tim’s gifts this year:  a new grill, a weed eater, a super soft Cubs shirt, and a summer weight Irish cap.   Oh yeah, and two cute kids.  Silas is really into sharing his toys with M while she has a diaper change.  Apparently he thinks she hates it as much as he does.  Methinks the sticker in the hair is worse than the dipe.

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Happy Father’s Day to my love.  He’s truly a partner and a fantastic papa to these cute babies we have.  I’m proud to be raising them by his side and am ever grateful for his constant willingness to do whatever needs to be done to make our family work.  Love you, baby!

One Month/Nineteen Months

Maren is a month old and Silas will hit nineteen months this week.  Holy cow are these babies keeping us busy!  We cope pretty well with the chaos for the most part.  All bets are off after about 4pm.  Last month’s photo session was hilarious.  This one involved two crying kids, a bunny, a bug, some Daddy climbing, bribery, and some pretend mustard.  It’s all fun and games until the play food shows up.


Tomorrow we will spend Father’s Day at home and I will squeeze in a huge weekend update.  Stay tuned!

Our Weekend and a Milestone

Our weekend was half relaxing and half exciting.  Saturday we took a drive in the country (we found a road that feels like Brown County) while both babies napped and it was nice to have an hour and a half of grown up time to talk.  We’re still trying to get Si back into his routine since bringing baby bella home, so naps have been scarce and short which has been a little trying for grown up quality time.  Saturday’s coffee date with sleeping babies in the car was the highlight of our week and a great way to start the weekend.  We spent the rest of the day in the yard.  M napped while Si played in the sprinkler.  We wrapped up the afternoon with some mama/Si snuggle time while Maren napped.  She’s over 9 pounds!  Oink!  

Sunday we had Sara, Derek and Dylan (plus his buddy) come for a visit.  We went to Tropicanoe Cove, which is the water park at Columbian Park a block away.  It was SO FUN and really impressive.  We’ll be making frequent stops there as the summer heats up.  Then it was time for Tim to fire up the grill in his manly ways.  He loves it.  Good food, good company, and lots of surprises from Aunt Sara in the form of new jammies and clothes for the littles.  Silas was torn between the dog jammies and the firetruck jammies.  Good thing he gets to pick again tonight.  

Here are some pictures of our weekend: 

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The best thing about this weekend has nothing to do with relaxing or swimming.  The best part of this weekend is the fact that it marks the start of the final week of Tim’s grad school coursework.  He’s done such an amazing job balancing full time studenthood, parenthood of a toddler and new babe, and working away from home.  WE MADE IT!  Mr. Ballard will be taking on a room full of 2nd graders for his student teaching assignment this Fall.  So cute.

Maren is 3 weeks old tomorrow and has passed the 9 pound mark.  She was 8 pounds last week at her peds appointment and they said not to bother coming back at the one month mark since she’s doing marvelously.  She’s so healthy!  We are grateful for two healthy, cute babies.  

People have been asking us to go places and do things, but we are sticking close to home until she is a month old.  We kept Silas home for 6 weeks, but she’s way heartier than he was and it’s not the middle of winter this time!  Call me old fashioned, but I like giving babies time to settle into life before exposing them to crowds and germs and long car rides.  Plus we’re all adjusting as well and not doing that great of a job, so a month is the least we can give ourselves to learn how to cope better and muster a pleasant mood for socializing.  We’ll go to Oliver’s last baseball game (we’ve missed the whole season!) on the 13th, but that will be the first real outing for miss M aside from walks to the park.  

Hungry baby…again.  She doesn’t miss many meals!  That’s my cue.