Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Thanksgiving- Gumkowski style

Just wanted to share a few pictures from our Thanksgiving celebration last week. It was a full on Gumkowski holiday (i.e. my mom's entire side of the family was present). Bet you've never heard that last name before. I think it goes without saying that mom was more than happy to take on the last name Green when she married my dad.

Anyways, it was a super fun holiday. A little hectic with two kids, 50 people in attendance, and house guests, but totally worth it. Let's just say mom and I completely forgot to cook the one side dish we were in charge of bringing. Literally completely forgot. And a family holiday is not complete without our corn casserole, but thankfully that means I get to cook it for us this week and we can eat it all ourselves!

Without further adieu, our holiday in pictures.

Here's the whole group after our big meal in my Aunt Donna's backyard. Please disregard the white bottle of RoundUp in the front of the picture. Professional photographers we are not (although I just noticed that there is a tripod on this shot that we aren't using. Strange.)

The boys posing with their cigars. Apparently every family holiday must involve cigars....

And shots. Shots! Who does shots on Thanksgiving?! Not I. But I did enjoy watching.

Mom and her girls (and baby D) (side note: thank you Banana Republic for producing this amply flowy top which allowed me not only to conceal remaining baby poundage but extraneous sweet potato casserole and pecan pie. I am eternally grateful.)

Grandma and Grandpa pre-shots (this is kind of false advertising because Grandma didn't actually do one.)

Southern holiday requirement: corn hole. No prior experience necessary.

It also helps to have a bouncy house present for the children. It's like a large plastic babysitter.

Onlookers. And yes, my Aunt lives in the middle of nowhere. There are actual hay bales across the street. My sister from NYC couldn't believe when a man rode by on a tractor. It was her equivalent to watching Little House on the Prairie.

Me and said sister in the requisite front porch shot.

And a few cuddles with Gigi and the kiddos before leaving town. If you can't tell in the Dora princess dress and cheesy grin, Madelyn has become quite a little ham.

All in all it was a truly wonderful weekend. Now on to Christmas!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

My loves

Thank you JennyLaurenPhotography for this incredible picture of our family! We've never looked better. And neither has our yard. Your talent amazes me :)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Nanny search 2011

An open letter to the sweet women who post their availability to nanny my child on a very popular website that shall remain nameless...

Dear potential caretaker of my precious child,

Thank you for posting your profile to this website in hopes that you might be the right fit for our family. Before we meet for coffee to discuss your qualifications, hobbies, and past criminal history, I'd like to further refine what I'm looking for in our family nanny.

To begin, if your profile picture portrays you as a potential drug dealer or lady of the night, you will not be hearing from me. Appropriate dress would be required for this position, and by appropriate I mean fit for public, not a jail cell.

If you have copious grammatical errors in your personal description you will not be hearing from me. I'm judgy like that.

If you are under the age of 22 or over the age of 55 you need not apply. I think we can all agree those two age groups may not be best fit for chasing my child 8 hours a day.

If you specify that you'd like to watch my child in your home but you look like someone from Hoarders, you will not be hearing from me.

And lastly, If you cannot prove you are current on your immunizations or citizenship this is not the right position for you.

Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to carefully screening the remaining 3 applicants that fit my criteria.

Warm regards,


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Postpartum exercise- you've been warned

Last week I attempted my first real postpartum workout. You know, separate from my life which has become a workout in and of itself. I think I've actually lost most of the weight from this pregnancy but Lord, do I need to do some toning. And honestly, my hips did not get the memo that I was having a scheduled c-section and gratuitous spreading would not be necessary.

Working out after you've had a baby is no joke. It's dangerous. And it isn't pretty.

A few things I'd like to note to other new moms before attempting to shed those post-baby pounds.

1. Wear two sports bras. Unless you want to risk an accidental nose job when you knock yourself out with your newly endowed chest.

2. Wear two sports bras. Because your girls are going to be saggy enough after breastfeeding. No need to exacerbate matters with all that up and down.

3. Wear two sports bras. And hope you don't still leak through your shirt.

The end.

The season of giving

I'd like to encourage each of you to take two minutes and click the link below. In doing so, you can very quickly send a Christmas card to a child who is in the hospital for the holidays.

You'd be shocked to know how many sick children are alone in the hospital every single day. Either because their parents live far away, or they have other children to take care of, or simply because they have to work! It is absolutely heart breaking to walk by a room where a child is hooked up to more machines than you can count and to see that there is no one there with them.

Click here

Think about the joy and excitement Christmas brings when you are a child, all of which is completely stifled when you're confined to a hospital bed. It breaks my heart. Now, I know many of these children are dealing with much more important things than Christmas. In fact, many of them are there because they are literally fighting for their life. But it warms my heart to think that they can take a break from their pain and struggle to read cards from people who don't even know them yet are thinking of them and praying for them. Especially those who don't have anyone there to support them every day.

My goal is to send one card every day until Christmas. I want it to be the first thing I do each morning when I get on my computer. There are days I sit in Davis' room holding him and still can't believe we're actually home, and I don't want to forget those who aren't as lucky. Please take a minute to do the same.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Change of heart

Just weeks before I gave birth to Davis, Kristin, Dai, and I were sitting on the rooftop of a restaurant in Atlanta (where I stuck out like an enormously round sore thumb amongst all of the young singles and cocktails) discussing whether or not we thought we'd like to be stay at home moms.

I'd say we've all been reasonably successful in our careers. We're smart cookies and as a group are all pretty driven. And when in the right position we've found quite a bit of satisfaction and fulfillment in the working world. But I think growing up we all probably imagined we'd be home with our kiddos once we got to that point in our life. Now the question was- could we ever feel fulfilled by being home with them all day? Would we be willing to make financial sacrifices to do so? Would we miss working? Or would we leave it behind like Kris Humphries and never look back?

When I had Madelyn I liked my time at home with her but I was ready to go back to work. I missed the interaction with my colleagues and the sense of accomplishment. Taking her to day care was horrible and traumatic for the first year (literally), and balancing two "jobs" was not easy but we made it work.

This time I feel completely different. I have never been happier than I am right now at home with Davis. I find joy in the most mundane things. Today, I spent an hour making an excel spreadsheet for our family Christmas card list while he napped and I was overjoyed at its completion. I can't wait for him to wake up so we can play. I love cooking dinner while he takes his afternoon nap in a quiet kitchen where I can take my time, light my pumpkin candle and have a few sips of wine. I LOVE being home. I feel fulfilled, accomplished, purposeful, and happy.

Am I going back to work? Yes. I have been blessed with an incredible job that I enjoy and a team of people that I feel blessed to work with on a daily basis. That being said, I do plan to go back at a decreased capacity so that I have more time at home with Davis and Madelyn, and I'll appreciate every minute of those days. Will I have relaxed days in the kitchen, leisurely afternoons folding laundry while I roll around on the floor playing, and long morning walks while we sing nursery rhymes? No. Will I make the most of the time I do have? Yes.

If I thought leaving Madelyn was hard, leaving Davis with a known heart condition with whom I've spent almost every waking minute for the past 8 weeks in truly unthinkable. I know I'll do it but it will not be fun and it will not be easy. As we all strive for balance in this world, I will be grateful for a job that allows me the flexibility to have more time with my sweet babies, but know with utmost certainty, that I truly belong where they are. All day. Every day.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Life with two

Life with two children is Ba-Na-Nas.


I don't think I ever truly experienced chaos until we returned home from the hospital and proceeded to begin living together as a family of four. All I could hear was "
Welcome to the Jungle" playing in the background and all I could feel was my jaw drop as I struggled to find time to brush my teeth.

Shockingly, I'm actually learning to embrace it, which goes against everything in my usually calm, structure-loving heart.

Suddenly chaos is not so bad. As long as my babies are home with me, I'll adjust. So what if I don't have time to eat or shower? Or I've forgotten what coffee tastes like before being reheated for the fourth time? I even leave dishes in the sink, a thought my former self wouldn't dare entertain. (note: would still prefer no dishes in the sink but in the essence of personal hygiene often opt for the shower over cleaning. You understand.)

Matt and I are learning to exist in a carefully choreographed dance of feedings, baths, story time, tummy time, me time (no such thing- urban legend), laundry/dishes/do you remember what day the trash comes?, beautiful, joyful, chaos.

Ask me how we plan to manage all of this once I go back to work and I'll pretend I didn't hear you and begin talking about something else.

That being said, if you are a qualified nanny/house cleaner/professional organizer/personal chef interested in joining our jungle, please inquire within.

(**Bonus points if you can spot the Rachel Zoe reference above. Life perspective= changed. Guilty pleasures=not changed)

Friday, November 4, 2011

Say cheese

Family pictures just got infinitely more difficult. I wonder how the Duggars do it?

Thursday, November 3, 2011


Apologies for the bland post title and the fact that I haven't updated you all on our status since my desperate plea for prayer. I am very (very) happy to report that we are back HOME! In fact, here is a picture of Davis that illustrates just how happy he about his new location.

We are an overjoyed, grateful, and THANKFUL family.

Thank you to all of you for your prayers, notes, emails, texts, etc. There is no doubt in my mind that they are responsible for Davis' remarkable recovery.

After 28 days in the hospital we were released on September 20th. Since then we've been busy adjusting to life at home with a newborn and a toddler. I could write a novel about this subject in itself but will spare you the details for another day.

As I mentioned Davis was treated for heart failure after the virus that caused his meningitis attacked his heart causing him to go into heart failure. After two separate trips to ICU and two rounds on the critical IV med amongst rounds of tests, xrays, echocardiograms, etc. he was released with an almost normally functioning heart. It is truly a miracle.

He is now on six daily medicines to keep his heart functioning as we won't know for some time if the improvement is sheer healing or just the right combo of meds, but either way we are home, he's doing wonderfully, and that's all we can really ask for. We'll deal with the future as it comes.

There is no doubt I have an entirely new perspective on our life together after what I can only describe as a true emotional nightmare. I feel like maybe this was God's way of telling me (shouting to me, rather) "Don't sweat the small stuff!" Because it really, really, couldn't matter less. All that matters it that our little family is safe and sound and I get to look into those sweet little eyes every day.
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