Sunday, November 27, 2011

I Kept Her Alive

The week before Thanksgiving I had to work late a couple of nights. On one of these nights I got home at 7:45 and Martin and Aubrey were just walking down the hall from the living room into the kitchen.

Me: (after smothering them both with kisses) How’s it going?

Martin: She hasn’t had dinner yet.

Me: Oh, she hasn’t? Ok.

I start making a dinner for Aubrey.


During dinner seconds later

Me: Has she had a bath yet?

Martin: No.

Me: Ha. What did you guys do tonight?

Martin: I kept her alive! And there was one moment when I thought I might have lost her. She was crying because she was trying to poop and I eventually just tuned her out a little and was watching the news. And then I suddenly realized that she stopped crying and I got really scared. But she was okay….and then she started crying again when I looked at her.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Better Way to Phrase It

A few weeks ago, Aubrey was having difficulty pooping. Yes, I realize this is possibly too much information but she’s one, it’s not like I’m talking about my own bowel problems. I was trying to research what we could give her to make the process easier and less painful. Shortly after this, Martin was searching the internet on my cellphone and noticed some previous google searches I had recently typed.

Martin: Food that make poop soft?

Me: What?

Martin: That’s what you searched; foods that make poop soft. I think the term you were looking for is pediatric stool softeners.

Me: Oh, yeah. That sounds a lot better.

And by the way, searching pediatric stool softeners yielded much better results.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Do You Do The Weed?

Last Saturday night my friend Kate and I went out together. While the evening wasn’t really crazy or super eventful, I had a great time because I haven’t really gone out in …. A while, and there were even some conversations worth retelling!

We started the evening at a Mexican restaurant. Because the Mexican restaurant doesn’t have their liquor license yet, we had to resort to bringing our own alcoholic beverage. So we filled a gallon jug of Poland Springs water half way full of gin, tonic and some limes and walked to the Mexican restaurant for some dinner. By the time we arrived dinner hour had already come and gone and we were almost the only people in the restaurant. We were enjoying our chips and salsa when the waiter came over and starting talking to us about this that and the other thing. And then….out of nowhere:

Waiter: Do you do the weed?

Us: (not really hearing him) What?

Waiter: Weed? Do you smoke weed?

Us: Oh… We’re good. Not tonight.

And I think that is definitely the first time I’ve ever had a waiter at a restaurant ask me to light up with him.

Later in the evening we went to a different bar and spent a good part of the time people watching and trying to listen in on conversations. At one point a really pompous looking kid was talking to the very nice bartender and just sounding like a complete moron. Something about a fat girl with blonde hair, I really just stopped listening to him.

Kate: I would fuck him.

Me: What???

Kate: I was going to say I would fucking kill him but I think what you heard was I would fuck him.

Me: Oh good. That makes more sense.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

One Year Old

Dear Aubrey,

Today you turn one year old! All across the country, families are sitting down to celebrate being together and to be thankful for all the experiences and happiness that life brings. I am so very thankful for you. If someone had told me two years ago that I was going to have a baby girl and she was going to be the most incredible girl I had ever met, that her smile would make my heart melt and that some days I would have to choke back tears while getting in my car for work because it would be so hard to leave her, I would have told that someone they were crazy. But now you’re here, and I can’t imagine my life without you.

This past year has been such a whirlwind. It seems like every time I turn around you have reached some new milestone that is worth celebrating. Your smile is infectious and your laugh is intoxicating and you bring such joy to everyone you meet. I know you won’t be able to read this letter for a few years, but I want you to be able to look back on it when you’re a teenager and an adult and read through all the amazing details of your first year of life.

Even though growing up on the farm and living near both your grandparents is the life you will probably always remember, you were actually born in a hospital a couple hours from here and spent the first two months of your life living in a small apartment in Trumansburg, New York. This is where your father and I had lived for a couple of years before you were born. The apartment was very small and, since it only had one bedroom, you shared a room with us during those first two months. Even though we were far away from all our family, I loved being with you those first two months when it was just you and me all day long. Your dad would leave for work and we would cuddle up on the couch, watching all six seasons of Sex and the City on dvd while you ate and napped and learned to smile. We said from the beginning that you were our little nomadic baby because you traveled so well. On you third day of life we traveled all the way back home so we could have a late Thanksgiving dinner with Grandma and Grandpa. And then you made countless journeys back and forth almost every weekend before we finally moved back to western New York in the middle of January.

When we moved back to the farm in the middle of January we settled into life in the apartment on the farm. At the time we were thinking it was going to be a brief stay until we found the house of our dreams and moved into that, but here we are on your first birthday and we’re still in that apartment. Good thing I put pictures on the walls right away or I would probably go crazy. We affectionately refer to our home as the Van Lieshout Family Commune because while we have a three bedroom apartment upstairs, my Uncle Andy lives downstairs in an apartment and there is another apartment downstairs with the farm employees and their families. Making a total of 13 people living in one house. And there’s still four rooms that are empty!

On January 31st I went back to work and I officially will refer to that day week as the worst week of my life. Being apart from you after spending every minute with you for the previous nine weeks was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I still have a hard time leaving you for work some morning, but it makes it all worth it to come home to your smiling face and chasing you down the hall when you want to play chase is probably my favorite part of the day.

After I went back to work, I started to cherish every minute I spent with you even more than the last and your father and I spent the better part of every night laying on the floor next to you coaxing you to roll over. It wasn’t until a month and a half later that you finally rolled over for a friend’s mom while I was away for two days in central New York for work meetings. You came with me and spent the nights with me in the hotel and the day with my co-worker’s mom, whom you decided to begin your rolling debut with.

After you started rolling, it seemed like everyday brought upon a new milestone. And I am always ready to watch you do something new. On my birthday, you started crawling for the first time and I think that was probably the best birthday present you could have ever given me. It didn’t take you long to go from barely crawling to almost ready to walk! By August you really were a crawling whiz and you were walking along furniture and standing up and really becoming a little person. Grandpa was sure that you would be walking by his birthday on September 27th but here we are at your one year birthday and you still haven’t made the plunge. You are so cautious, a trait that you definitely don’t get from me but undoubtedly get from your dad, and even though you have the skills and strength required to walk you won’t just go ahead and do it. It is so funny to me that you can be so engrossed in a remote or a phone or a cup that you won’t even realize you are standing all on your own, but as soon as you realize oh my god! I’m not holding onto anything! You promptly sit on the ground.

Since I’ve been back at work, you’ve been spending a lot of time with Grandma and a lot of time on the farm. You love the calves and could look at them all day long. Your daddy has a brown swiss calf that you gave to you and it looks so good. I can’t wait till you’re old enough to show her calves at the fair. You really love all animals and reserve the same love and affection for Vick, grandma and grandpa’s dog, as you do for the calves. Even your teddy bear gets showered with love and whenever you’re feeling sad you bury your head into him and hug him tightly.

You love all your uncles and can’t smile enough when you’re around them. You and Uncle Garrett have been practically attached at the hip since you’ve been born and he loves to teach you new tricks and shower you with affection all the time. If he doesn’t get a chance to see you during the day, he is always sure to stop over to say hi to you at night. Uncle Alex just recently moved home at the end of October and he is already enamored with you. He even told me that you are his favorite part about being home and you can tell that you enjoy his presence also.

You are a very intuitive girl and I can’t wait to see you grow up to see just how smart you can become. You’ve recently become a champion waver and wave goodbye to everyone coming or going all day long. You have also recently learned to shake your head for no and when you are doing something you know you shouldn’t be you’ll look at me with an evil smile and shake your head back and forth. Just this past weekend, you were playing with a magnet and you stuck the magnet to a black hinge. Then you stuck the magnet to an overall buckle. Then, putting two and two together in your head – you tried to stick the overall buckle to the black hinge. It didn’t work, but the ingenuity for you to do that at such a young age! It has me convinced that you are going to be an engineer someday. That type of cognitive thinking is something I don’t know if I would even be able to put together now.

 Brushing your teeth is one of your favorite things to do. You love to watch me brush my teeth and then you smile so I can brush yours. Right now you have six teeth. Three on the top and three on the bottom. There was a brief period of time when you had to center ones on the bottom and one to the side on the top. I loved that time because you really looked like my little hillbilly.

Anyway, Happy Birthday Pretty Girl! I love you and I hope you enjoy this day. On top of it being Thanksgiving Day we have a great little celebration planned in honor of you. I love you!



Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Large Family??

Aubrey, obviously, comes from a small family. She's an only child!

However, watching her eat food - you would never guess it.

This girl snatched food up like its going out of style and if she doesn't get it all in her hands immediately someone else is going to eat it on her.

Just the other day I was heading into work and brought Aubrey outside to watch my mom feed calves from her stroller. I gave her an animal cracker to munch on and then set two more in the front of the stroller to keep her occupied when she was done.

No sooner had I set them down than Aubrey lunged forward and snatched the remaining to crackers up. I'm not sure where this behavior is coming from but my bets are on her father.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Making Our Debut

Towards the end of October, I was working one Sunday morning when I received a phone call from Martin.

Martin: Are you sitting down?
Me: No.....why?
Martin: Ok. Well I've got some great news. We are making our debut!
Me: Huh?
Martin: On December me.....and Aubrey are going to play Mary......and Joseph....and Baby Jesus in the church play.
Me:(groaning) Are you kidding me?
Martin: I knew you would be excited, so I jumped at the opportunity.
Me: Oh my god. I can't believe this.

Since then Martin has been incessantly watching video clips like the one above to "make his debut"

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Newspaper Lady

I've had this story buried away for awhile, just waiting for the right opportunity to tell it.

A few months ago, when I wasn't updating this blog, our friends Ryan and Katie came over for dinner. Throughout the course of dinner the conversation at one point took a turn to.....this blog.

Ryan: Oh yeah, I forgot you have that blog. I have to be really careful what I say around you because it will probably end up on the internet.
Me: Well, only if you say something funny.
Ryan: You're like a newspaper lady, everyone needs to watch their mouth around you.

And just because I knew it would completely embarass Ryan, I stored that story up.....for months.....until today....when I knew I could finally share that little token with you.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Portabella Mushrooms

A couple Mondays ago, my friend Kate came over for dinner and we made portabella mushroom sandwiches. I had never had a portabella mushroom, but I was really curious to try one.

Oh. My. God.

It was absolutely amazing. Portabella soaked in balsamic vinegar and grilled. Set on a multigrain roll with a garlic and herb goat cheese. Fresh spinach. Tomato. Red Onion.


I'll definitely be making these again soon. And maybe I'll take a picture this time!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Riding Shotgun and Picking Pumpkins

This is probably one of my favorite pictures of Aubrey. I think because she looks like so much of a little person here. I could probably get locked up just for posting this picture of her sitting in the front seat without a carseat, so let me just clear the air….we were going across the field, not on the road. The truck never exceeded five miles an hour.

These pictures were taken during the first day we picked pumpkins. The day we were supposed to have a ton of help. But then Garrett tried learning how to ride a dirt bike on a bike twice his size and ended up taking an ambulance to the hospital. Needless to say our huge crew dwindled quickly with Garrett in the hospital getting his arm snapped back into place and stitched up and my mom in the hospital sitting patiently by Garrett’s side.

Needless to say, Aubrey is a great helper in the pumpkin patch!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Pumpkin Photoshoot

Because Aubrey is uncontrollably cute, I couldn’t resist but to do a photoshoot with her all over the stand. Putting her on pile of pumpkins after pile of pumpkins just never seemed to get old.

Put her on the pile of white pumpkins Put her on the Cinderella pumpkins Put her on the gourds Set her in front of the corn stalks. The exact same picture in each location seemed to be completely necessary

And Aubrey really is a willing model. She smiles. She laughs. She is super excited to hold a pumpkin.

And gourds….can she eat the gourds? Please let her eat the gourds. She really wants to chew them.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Perfect Family Picture: The Next Generation

You might remember this photo series.

Getting a good family picture, you know, one where everyone is looking at the camera and smiling at the same time, is typically a very difficult task.

It’s nice to see the next generation suffering the same difficulties.

All pictures taken after a family dinner at Jen’s house in an attempt to get a good photo to send to Ingrid in Afghanistan. I think even with no one looking at the camera, the series is very good.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Save the Funbags

Watching TV, a breast cancer awareness advertisement comes on.

Martin: You know, breast cancer is really kicking all the other cancers butt. I mean, not that I don’t think it’s a good cause, but if you’re out there fighting kidney cancer or something you’re probably getting a little pissed at breast cancer stealing all the credit. Whoever is in charge of marketing for them must be amazing.

Me: Yeah. They must be.

Martin: I think if I was in charge of breast cancer awareness I would make a really fun slogan like Save the Funbags. ….. or maybe Preserve the Mudslingers.

Me: I like Save the Funbags.

Martin: Really? You like it better than Preserve the Mudslingers.

Me: Yeah. Much better.

Martin: Ok. Save the Funbags it is! Good talk. Good focus group.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Please Put the Ham in the Crockpot

A few weeks ago I made a spiral ham for dinner. And when I say made I use that term very loosely because what I actually did was purchase a spiral ham, rub the glaze on it, and stick it in the crockpot in the refrigerator. I was getting home from work late that night and Martin was coming home early, so I asked Martin the night before if he could please put the ham in the crockpot as soon as he got home from work before going out to the barn. Martin had indicated that it definitely wouldn’t be an issue, but that he would need a reminder.

I definitely made sure he had a reminder. 1. On the way into the house 2. On the refrigerator because I know he is going to have a drink of water 3. Directly in front of the crockpot 4. And then a final reminder on the way out.

And Martin responded to all of my reminders. Apparently the one on the refrigerator was supposed to be an innuendo, but I completely missed it.

Monday, November 14, 2011


Aubrey loves glasses. Touching glasses. Taking glasses off people’s face. Trying to bend glasses. And now….wearing glasses.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Chasing with a Towel

Martin: That is a pretty nice looking house.

Me: Yeah, it is. The only thing I don’t like is you can really see right through it. I mean, you wouldn’t want to run through that house naked.

Martin: Yeah right. I bet you would still run around naked and I’d have to waste all my time chasing after you with a towel so the neighbors wouldn’t see you.

Saturday, November 12, 2011


Last Sunday was gorgeous so Martin, Aubrey and I went for a walk. On the way back Aubrey was riding on Martin’s shoulders and with the sun setting in the background I couldn’t help but to keep taking pictures. Plus, Aubrey was really enjoying being so high up. After eleven months of never looking up she was finally noticing planes and geese and it was a pretty spectacular moment for everyone.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Officially Old

Me: What are you doing?

Martin: Putting an apron on.

Me: Yes, but why?

Martin: I just want to look helpful and I think I’ll really look like I’m doing something important with this apron on

Upon returning home from helping out at our church dinner on Saturday night, Martin and I settled down to watch the presidential candidate debate:

Martin: Do you remember that night on our honeymoon when we got drunk in the hotel bar and then watched the presidential debate in the room

Me: Yes!

Martin: Were you just thinking about that?

Me: Yes.

Ok. Maybe we’ve acted like an old couple for a while now.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

10 on 10

I first saw this ten on ten thing here. Every month she has such an incredible ten on ten, I knew I really needed to do this also. Plus, I wanted to see what awesome pictures I could come up with if I forced myself to take at least one every hour instead of 30 in the span of three minutes. And, invariably, the tenth of the month would come and go and I would completely forget to take pictures. I finally remembered to take pictures on September 10th and I was thrilled and just about the time I was so high off my excitement there was no chance of coming down, I realized that I didn’t have internet or any way to post said pictures. So I came crashing back down to earth. So this month. Here’s ten pictures….From September 10th. Maybe I’ll have another ten from November tomorrow.

1.       Baby foot! 2. Checking out Aubrey’s calf 3. Visiting a friend at Tim Horton’s. The cashier couldn’t resist giving Aubrey a timbit. I think this may be her first experience with chocolate and she’s loving it. 4. Going for a walk 5. Shadows. 6. Feeding calves, Aubrey’s favorite thing to do. 7. Dirty jobs, Martin cleaning out the manure pit. 8. Helping with laundry. 9. Working on dinner 10. In bed with a book delightful!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Last Sunday we went to Martin’s parents’ house for lunch. As a sidenote before I get into the point of this post, I would just like to make it known that Martin’s mom packs the best boxed dinners ever. After making a one of my favorite lunches of ham grilled in bbq sauce on a sandwich. AMAZING. And Martin’s mom boxed it up for us to have at dinner. When I say boxed it up I mean packed us ham. and sliced onions. And a tomato. And shredded cheese. And potato rolls. And even shredded lettuce. So when returning home on Sunday night – it was basically the perfect dinner.

But, returning back from my sidenote, Aubrey fed herself yogurt for the first time. And when I say fed herself, as you can tell, I mean rubbed yogurt all over her face while select bits actually did enter her mouth.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


While it’s still fresh in our minds and we still care about all the trials and tribulations that went into Halloween, I’ll let you in on all the details of the Bruning Halloween. 

First of all, I had decided way in advance that I wanted Aubrey to be a cow for Halloween.  She loves the cows so I was convinced it would be a perfect costume for her first Halloween. I am also disillusioned by the fact that I really want to be a crafty mom. I really want to be one of those great moms that makes amazing costumes so when their kid walks up to your house dressed like a cow you’re not really sure if that is an actual cow standing at our doorstep or a child begging for candy.

Sadly, I am not one of those moms. And the fact that I secretly know I am not one of those moms, led me to push the costume making fiasco off until the day before Halloween. At that point I really needed to get it together so while Aubrey played with blocks and the Bills played the Redskins in the background, I started sewing, by hand….you can go ahead and be impressed. I had to take pieces of black felt that I had cut into misshapen black spots and sew them onto a white sweatshirt

Except, I’m really not that great of a stitcher and about two seconds into the project I disbanded the idea of doing a nice tight stitch around each of the spots and decided I could just tack them at each corner. So four spots on the front. Three spots on the back. Because no one really cares about the back anyway. But then I got done two of the spots on the back and I was almost out of black thread. And I still had to sew the tail on. So I decided to just leave it at two reasoning that by November 1st anyone who saw her would forget that her back was poorly spotted and why would I ever take a picture of her back???

Oh, right. My child doesn’t ever sit still. On the night of Halloween we decided to just keep it simple and go see the grandma’s. Aubrey can’t eat candy anyway and we already had plenty for ourselves because Martin insisted that we buy two bags in the event that we got trick or treaters on Halloween night. I reminded him that we live in the middle of nowhere in an upstairs apartment and the likelihood of getting trick-or-treaters was very slim. Martin maintained that he didn’t want to get caught with him pants down. So we stopped in at my parents’ house very quickly, said hello and goodbye and settled back in the car to go to Martin’s parents’ house. It was at this point that Aubrey went from a little cranky to definitely not having it. She starting crying and screaming so furiously that at three and a half miles into our eighteen mile journey we had to pull over so Martin could take over driving and I could sit in the back seat and comfort of bellowing cow before she puked all over herself. Martin and I reasoned that we deserve it, Aubrey is so good every other moment she might as well make sure she is as cranky as possible on the really monumental ones that you are supposed to document, remember and cherish for years to come. (is anyone remembering her baptism?)

But then, we got to Mimi and Papa’s. And mimi had spoons to play with. Spoons that Aubrey could put in a bowl and then dump over again and again. And life was good. Life was so good that we were even able to take a few pictures with Kendyll and Leigha and their absolutely adorable witch costumes.

Monday, November 7, 2011

And We're In Business

I’m Back. Hopefully for an extended period of time. I still don’t have internet. But I think I’ve figured out a solution to continue posting. My hiatus from blogging these last two months has been KILLING ME. But it wasn’t until dinner on Friday night that I realized, I have to get my shit together and start posting again

Jennie: Is your internet working yet?

Me: (exasperated) No!

Jennie: I know. Everytime I check your blog it’s the same post, SURPRISE. I am starting to get angry.

Judy: At this point I think it’s been too long and you’re just not going to pick it back up. You’re just going to let it go.

And I can’t have people thinking that I’ve just let it go. So. I had to come up with a plan. And quick.

I immediately went home and loaded all the pictures off of my phone and on to the computer. All 868 of them (this took awhile). I had to resort to loading all 868 of them because for the life of me I cannot figure out how to pick and choose which photo to load onto my computer leaving me with the choice of all or nothing. When I had regular internet access, I went for the nothing approach and instead would email the pictures from my phone to my computer and download them that way. On a very regular basis. Since that is no longer an option, I had to resort to the all approach, which consisted of loading all 868 pictures onto the computer and then deleting the first 584 that were already on my computer. I’m positive this is not the most efficient method, but it is the only method I know. Feel free to leave me any advice for ways to make this process easier. And remember: I really am not good with technology, I have already resigned myself to the fact that Aubrey is probably going to be more technology literate by the age of three than I will ever be and at thirteen she will be rolling her eyes at me when I ask her extremely simple questions about technology and she answers, Mom. You just touch what you want. It’s a TOUCH SCREEN. No buttons involved!

And then, after this long picture loading process that got me on an even longer tangent. I had to type up my posts in a WORD DOCUMENT. And then store them away for a time when I could make a Tim Horton’s run to get a caffeine fix while simultaneously spewing the most insignificant details of my life all over the internet for your viewing pleasure.

So. Yes. I know. I am extremely long winded. And it took me one whole post and 496 words ( I know that because I wrote this post in a word document first!) just to say hello, good to see you again, I hope I’m around for a while this time.